Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot Aromatic Whites - SWE Conference

Day 6 of wine tasting, and boy am I tired! I've definitely been spitting a lot but the wines are so delicious...and I'm on the metro so some have been enjoyed, even if for the short amount of time before I have to taste the next one.

To start off Friday, I attended a sessions on some of the hottest 'new' white varietals. With so many GenX consumers now getting into wine and trying new things, the wine educator has to move outside of the typical Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc into some newer varietals that will appeal to the younger palates. Being pretty close to GenXers and hosting tastings for them, they like a lighter flavor, aren't swayed as much by big winery names, and are willing to try different things. I have some hot new whites I can't wait to feature at a tasting!

2009 CUNE Monopole (Spain)
Grape: Viura
An exotic bouquet of floral and citrus on the nose lead to crisp pear and melon. Strong acidity and crisp fruit provide a good balance and long finish on this wine.

2009 Ludwig Knoll Silvaner (Germany)
Grape: Silvaner
This slightly fizzy Silvaner is like a cousin to Riesling by its flavors. Honeysuckle and very perfumey in the nose, then you get the peach and pear on the palate. Bits of acidity and a slight fizz make this wine a definite go to for those that want to try something different than Riesling or Moscato.

2008 Nasiakos Mantinia (Greece)
Grape: Moshofilero
A grape I'd never heard of, another to check off my Century Club list, and one I will definitely try again. Again, super aromatic bouquet with jasmine, melon, and citrus. It tasted of a pears and peaches straight from the farm.

2009 Cavalchina Bianco (Italy)
Grapes: Trebbiano, Garganega, Fernanda, Trebbianello
Fruit, fruit and fruit. Melon, lime zest, apple, pear...a chilled fruit cup in a glass.

2009 Cusamano Insolia (Italy)
Grape: Insolia
This glass should have had a paper umbrella in it! It is reminiscent of a drink you would get on a beach in the Caribbean or a cruise ship. Very bright and fruity with exotic tropical fruits like pineapple blending in to a honeyed finish.

My fave wine of the tasting was the Silvaner. Which is surprising since it has a hint of sweetness in it. But, I love the slight fizziness of and the crisp fruit flavor. Stay tuned, The GrapeVine will be tasting a few of the aromatic whites at a wine tasting soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

French Wine Society Conference

A lot of text won't even do this conference justice...but pics of the wine will!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The GrapeVine Digest

Give It A Swirl
Try a chilled glass of wine for those hot summer days. Enjoy!

White – Carafe WineMakers Cabana Breezin’ (VA)
A Viognier with fresh tropical fruit aromas and lively pineapple and mango on the palate. Pale lemon in color, the crisp acidity of this wine and rich fruit balance perfectly leading to a soft lingering finish.

Rose – Gardo Besciano DOC Chiaretto (Italy)
Light pink in color with an intense fragrance of flowers and ripe red berries. Delicate in body and bright strawberries on the palate this wine is perfect for that quiet evening on the patio.

Red – Jacob’s Creek Grenache Shiraz (Australia)
A bouquet of fresh, juicy raspberry and cherry fruit aromas, with hints of rose petal, white pepper and spice. Lively and fruit-driven in the mouth, with a clean finish. Delicious on its own on a warm summer's day or as a partner for anything you pull off the grill.

Local Wine Tastings
You don't know if you like it until you try it!

Saturday July 24th – 1pm – 4pm Budget Friendly Summer Quenchers
An in-store tasting and sale on 6 terrific wines at equally outstanding prices. On the tasting table, Verace Pinot Grigio 2009, Strele Soave, Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais Pierre Chermette, Monte La Sarda Garnacha ViƱas Viejos, Simone Scaletta Barbera d'Alba Sarsera DOC.

Weygandt Wines | 3519 Connecticut Ave, NW | Washington, DC 20008

Saturday July 24th & Sunday July 25th – 12pm - 6pm

Great Grapes Uncork The Wine, Uncork The Flavor, Uncork the Fun…

Join us for our 5th year in Annapolis. Travel around the world in two days! Try your favorites from California, France, Italy, South America, Australia, Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere in the world. Also try exciting beer and hard ciders at the event.

$25 on-site includes a souvenir wine glass, unlimited samples, all performances and cooking demonstrations.

Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds | 1450 Generals Highway (Route 178) | Crownsville, MD

Sunday July 25th -- 12pm – 4pm MCLEAN GRAND RE-OPENING CELEBRATION!
Please join us in our McLean store for a Wine Tasting Extravaganza (and Beer Tastings, too) to help celebrate our newly remodeled store!
* Terlato Wines International “Down Under vs Napa Valley Taste-off,” Two Hands Gnarly Dudes and Bella’s Garden Shiraz vs Chimney Rock Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and Chimney Rock Elevage
* Cruz Alta Malbecs from Argentina with Export Director Peter Roessler
* Join Jaime Vargas of VC Family Estates of Chile for a great tasting of Chilean wines from the exciting Bio Bio Valley, the new hot spot for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir featuring the outstanding wines of Veranda Winery
* Meet Klaus Wittauer of KW “Fine Wines from Austria” and his fabulous selections from Austria including Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner Gmork

Total Wine & More | 1451 Chain Bridge Rd | McLean, VA

Save the Date
Upcoming exciting wines events that may be of interest

Monday July 26th – 6pm – 9pm Cork’d Unveils Octavin Wines
Come thirsty, hungry and ready for an experience! Cork'd and Octavin head to our nation's capital to showcase these wines. Lima, located in Washington D.C., will be a great atmosphere to highlight Octavin's unique product. Octavin will be pouring all night and Lima will be sure to satisfy your appetite - there will be music and dance! Tix only $15.

Lima Restaurant & Lounge | 1401 K Street NW | Washington, DC

Wednesday July 28th – 5pm - 8pm Bell Wine & Spirits presents the Pinot Envy Grand Tasting!
This event includes anything 'PINOT', including pinot noir, grigio/gris, pinot blanc, pinot meunier, etc. Featuring 35+ wines, there is something for everyone at this tasting and the cost is only $5! Special discounts apply on Grand Tasting purchases.

Bell Wine & Spirits | 1821 M St NW | Washington, DC

Happenings with The GrapeVine

This is turning out to be one of the hottest summers ever! Good thing The GrapeVine’s wine fridge is stocked. We benefit from cooling off with amazing wines and you can benefit from the wine reviews featured in Digest and the wine blog. Next week will definitely be ‘Wine Week’ with two mega wine events in Washington, DC. The annual French Wine Society (FWS) conference starts on Sunday, then the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) conference for the rest of the week. My brain and taste buds will surely get a workout next week and I’m excited about the people I will meet, the seminars I’ll attend, and clearly…the wines I will drink! Be sure to follow on Twitter for live FWS and SWE updates.

The GrapeVine Tasting Club is on vacation for the summer. For summer wine tips and suggestions, be sure to visit The GrapeVine Blog. We’ll be back in the fall with some very exciting events: Live Chef Demo with Wine Pairings, Cognac vs Armagnac, Wine Cocktails…you don’t want to miss it!

For additional information on anything seen, or if there is anything you'd like to see in The Grapevine Digest, please email us at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wine Wednesday - Born in the USA

With as much wine tasting, drinking, assessing that I do...I'm kinda embarrassed to say that I don't do too much with American wines outside of VA and MD in my leisure. What's up with that?! Knowing that as a 'wine professional' I probably need to do better about that going forward and Zola Wine & Kitchen was going to help. They were taking me on the Grape American Road Trip.
For the Grape American Road Trip, ZWK had Andrew Stover (Chief Wino) of Vino 50 and Rachel Martin of Boxwood Winery on hand to pour a few American wines that weren't from California. Perfect! Especially to have the chance to chat with Rachel Martin for a bit, I was just at the Boxwood Winery Tasting Room last week and bought a bottle of the dry Rose. Great stuff, but we'll save that for another blog post. I was at a tasting table with wines from Idaho and Colorado! With 4 whites and 2 reds on the table, I started with a Pinot Gris.

Jack Rabbit Hill Organic Pinot Gris

North Fork Valley, Colorado

Certified Organic, this Pinot Gris used no commercial yeasts or additives and was fermented in stainless steel. Slight minerality on the palate but definitely an essence of lemon and floral notes too. This wine had a great balance between its dryness and acidity. Crisp and refreshing, perfect for the heat of the day. I would love to sip on this alone or pair with some grilled tilapia.

Red Tail Ridge Unoaked Chardonnay

Finger Lakes, New York

Chardonnay is a grape that can take on many flavors, most of them coming from the oak if it’s used. Without the use of oak in this wine I was able to notice aromas of apple and pear. And the flavor, kinda like whip cream and apples…very creamy mouthfeel with the apple flavor on the finish.

Sawtooth Chardonnay

Snake River Valley, Idaho

Back to the oak! I personally like oak in my wines, the rich flavors of wood, toast, oak, tobacco…. I tasted all of that and more in my glass. Flavors of wet stones, tropical fruit and apple pushed through the oak and exploded in my mouth. Crisp acidity and the lingering tropical fruit flavors left a finish that I could taste long after the wine was gone.

Six Prong Red Blend

Columbia Valley, Washington

A blend of 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Zinfandel, 17% Malbec, 17% Syrah, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc (all the reds I like), I doubted this wine would disappoint. It didn’t. Rich berry aromas swirled in my glass, my mouth salivated before I took a sip. On the palate - strawberry, cherry, raspberry, every rich, ripe, red berry you can imagine with such a silkiness in the mouth…OMG! To finish up, this wine provided spice and a subtle oak.

Boxwood Topiary

Middleburg, Virginia

I was fortunate enough to have visited this winery during the Drink Local Wine Conference. What a beautiful place! They only make 3 wines, all reds and produced in the style of French Bordeaux. This one, Topiary, is a blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc and is reminiscent of the Saint-Emilion style of wines. Aromas of black fruit, but the palate showed spicyness and an herbal quality. A hint of strong tannins right now, not enough to stop me from drinking this now…but wondering how smooth and silky this wine will taste in 3 years.

The wines tasted are definitely ones that can contend with some of my fav French and Spanish wines. The prices are reasonable as well, the least expensive wine on the table was $14. But for people to begin to drink more American wines, outside of CA of course, we need more tastings, more restaurants and retailers offering the wines. You know Americans aren't going to buy an American wine they've never tasted before at a certain price point. As for me, not a bad start as I begin tasting my way through the good ole US of A. Next up, Willamette Valley, Oregon. I've heard I'm sleeping on their Pinot Noir...