Category Archives: White Wine

2015 VinCE WINE FESTIVAL BUDAPEST HUNGARY

I attended the 2015 VinCE Wine Festival held at the amazing property, the Corinthian Hotel, voted the number one hotel in Budapest for 2014.
The VinCE 2015 Wine Conference wasn’t only about tasting fine wines, but it was a master class that  broadened everyone’s knowledge of Hungarian wine and wines from other parts of the world.
There were classes on New Zealand wines, Cohor in France, Cava from Spain, Bordeaux from France, and the USA.
Don’t misunderstand me there were wines presented from other countries at this conference, but the 2015 VinCE Wine Conference was about introducing Hungarian wines to the world.
After the conference a small group of media had the opportunity to visit Wine Country in Hungary which included the Tokaji and Ager wine regions.
The Tokaji wine region consists mainly of the Furmint and Harslevelu grapes. These grapes are the backbone of the great Tokai wines that are made in Hungary. The Tokaji wines are very sweet but well balance ranging in sweetness from 3 to 6 Puttonyos.
What is so amazing about this wine is not the level of sweetness which can range from 120 RS to over 500 RS, but the acidity level that reaches as high as 11 percent which is incredible. These wines are able to achieve an incredibly high acidity level due to the inactive volcanic soil where the grapes are grown.
Some of the top producers in Tokaji are Dobogó Furmint,  Royal Tokaji, Barta Oreg Furmint, and Sauska.
 

CONCHA Y TORO GRAND RESERVA

On Febuaray 27th, 2015 I had the opportunity to have lunch with Grand Reserve head wine maker Marcio Ramirez.  Marcio explained the reasons why the Grand Reserve a riverbank series of wines were so special.   Marcio explain that the wines come from 3 very unique rivers beds Rapel, Cachapoal, and Tinguiririca which provides very distinct and different qualities to each wine.  All the Gran Reserva series wines start with the triple Marine Mediterranean advantage.

*  Areas which have a cool breeze close to the coast,

* Areas with a temperature between cold ocean air and warm air current from the valley combine to produce cooling winds.

* Ancient river banks or oil, mineral rich free draining and unfertile.

Marcio has been the wine maker at Concha Y Toro since he graduated from Universidad de Chile in 1997 degree in Oenology, he is a well-traveled and a well educated winemaker spending time in Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Mendoza, Spain St Emilion Pomerol District.   We Tasted through several of the Gran Reserva series.

The Gran Reserva series Sauvignon Blanc 2014, was well rounded on the palate with a long lingering finish.

The Gran Reserva 2013 Chardonnay was golden in color, ripe pineapple fruit, balanced acidity and just a lovely wine.

Gran Reserva 2011 Carmenere displayed a deep ruby color blackberry/ blueberry fruit with a hint of chocolate on the palate, a well structured complex wine.  Also in my opinion the best wine of the luncheon .

The Gran Reserva Malbec 2012 and 13 were deep ruby in color, the fruit comes from the river bed area Tinguiririca which is layered in red clay, I thought it was a very good expression of a very good Malbec.

Last was the Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon  2013 and 14 these wines were very young but the 2014 has signs of being a star because of its complexity and structure, finished with well rounded firm tannin.

 

Contributing editor Alyssa Alvarez, @Tipsygypsea

THE WORLD NEXT BIG WINE REGIONS

I’ve always been a wine-discovery junkie, constantly on the hunt for new grapes, new vintages, new winemakers, and especially new places where vines may never have been planted before. Thanks to ambitious vintners, rising demand from drinkers, a taste shift to lighter wine styles, and yes, even climate change, the number of global hot spots for wine is ever expanding. If you’re still rattling off the names of the old, long-famous regions, you’re way behind the times. In these eight spots, good wine is on its way to becoming great wine, with a few stars leading the way.

Tokaj, Hungary

As Eastern Europe’s class act for wine, the historic Tokaj region is getting a €330 million (&374 million) investment over the next five years to upgrade its vineyards and bolster its reputation. (Under communism, quantity was prized over quality.) Its 5,500 hectares of vineyards, at an 800-foot elevation on volcanic slopes, are devoted primarily to three native white grapes. They include hard-to-pronounce Hárslevelü and flagship furmint, which is the key varietal in the luscious sweet wines associated with the region. The latest craze, though, is a newly available dry version of furmint, Hungary’s alternative to chardonnay and riesling.

Try This Now: 2011 Istvan Szepsy Betsek Furmint ($75). Smoky, citrusy, rich, and complex, it reminds me of a great Alsace riesling.

Virginia

Thomas Jefferson grew grapes in the state but failed to make great wines. Still, the modern era (starting in the 1970s) has drawn more than 240 determined vintners, including Donald Trump and AOL co-founder Steve Case. In 2014, they sold a total of half a million cases and seem now to be at the tipping point. Of the eight whites (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and several more), the most promising is viognier, but the best wines so far are the Bordeaux-style red blends made from cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and petit verdot. A couple of top examples wowed even Eric Boissenot, consultant to Bordeaux’s first growths.

Try This Now: 2010 RdV Vineyards Lost Mountain ($95). This complex, spicy, rich, and velvety cabernet/merlot blend rivals a French cru classe.

Yarra Valley, Australia

When you think of an Aussie wine, you may envision a blockbuster shiraz, but the most interesting bottles I tasted on a recent visit to Australia were pinot noirs from this cool, green valley an hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne. Though the area’s 100-plus wineries make only 4 percent of Australia’s wine, this spot is a hotbed of young ambitious winemakers. They’re mainly chasing great pinot noir and chardonnay, the region’s most planted grapes, but on the radar are a lighter style shiraz they label syrah, sauvignon blanc, and even nebbiolo.

Try This Now: 2012 Mac Forbes Yarra Valley Pinot Noir ($40). Forbes’s widely available basic pinot is silky and savory, with tastes of spice and succulent red fruit.

Republic of Georgia

This is the land of qvervi, the pot-bellied clay amphora lined with beeswax and buried in the earth that vintners have traditionally used for fermenting juice from nearly 500 indigenous varieties of grapes. The method and the country’s 8,000-year-old winemaking history have given its reds and whites countercultural appeal. The current wine revival was helped along by a seven-year Russian embargo that forced producers to improve and export. Among the 15 most important varietals, one red (saperavi) and two whites (rkatsiteli, mstvane) have the most global potential.

Try This Now: 2010 Pheasant’s Tears Kakheti Valley Rkatsiteli ($18). Golden amber in color, it’s round, ripe, and fleshy, with notes of apricot and spice.

Southern England

Forget England’s famously damp, chilly anti-wine-grape climate. Global warming and the same chalky soil as France’s Champagne region make its south coast a natural for sparkling wine—66 percent of the 4.5 million bottles produced here are bubbly. As in Champagne, chardonnay and pinot noir are the most planted grapes. Nearly 150 wineries are betting on the future, and so far, I’ve found the best wines come from the South Downs of Sussex.

Try This Now: 2010 Ridgeview Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs Brut ($40) is zippy, lemony, and creamy—a fine aperitif.

Lodi, California

An hour and a half east of Napa Valley, zero-glamour Lodi has a long history of growing and selling grapes to outsiders. Only recently has it fostered its own wineries; now there are about 80. Land is cheap, so wine prices are low. This is red wine country and California’s zinfandel capital, providing grapes for about a third of the state’s premium zins. Vintners here craft some of the boldest examples around. But the adventurous ones are experimenting with some 70 varieties, including Spain’s tempranillo, Portugal’s touriga nacional, and Italy’s barbera and primitivo.,

Try This Now: 2012 L’ Uvaggio di Giacomo Primitivo ($14). This juicy bargain has layers of spice and berry flavors, and is surprisingly complex for the price.

Mt. Etna, Sicily

The 45-degree slopes of a massive, perpetually rumbling volcano in eastern Sicily don’t automatically make me think of vineyards, but in the past decade Mt. Etna has become one of Italy’s most exciting wine regions. Thirty years ago there were five producers; now there are nearly 90 who tend vines at elevations of 2,000 to 3,500 feet. Native grapes carricante for whites and nerello cappuccio (and the even better nerello mascalese) for reds produce the best wines. The high altitude and rocky terroir translate into sultry, salty, highly distinctive wines.

Try This Now: 2011 Tenuta delle Terre Etna Rosso Santo Spirito ($40) is all stony earth and silky sour cherry flavors.

Maule Valley, Chile

This long, narrow country, with some 13 wine regions, has recently planted vineyards in extreme locations: at altitudes of nearly 7,000 feet in the Andes and in the middle of the Atacama desert. But I’m a fan of the little-known Maule region, in the south of the Central Valley, where small-scale vintners discovered a treasure trove of old carignan and pais vines. Though the majority of Maule’s 36 million liters of wine (in 2013) are Chile’s mainstays, cabernet and sauvignon blanc, these old vines offer something truly special.

Bloomberg News is the owner of this article, I’m posting this article to further educate my readers. Cheers

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-23/the-world-s-next-big-wine-regions

Washington state wine auction week, Journey to Walla Walla

My journey began on August 10 flying into Seattle’s airport spending the night and a relatively comfortable Marriott Courtyard hotel,  and getting up Monday morning August 11 and driving with a bunch of wine lovers down to Walla Walla Washington. As we were looking for the city of Yakima Washington and was not able to locate the downtown area, we stumbled upon two wineries Bernard Griffin and J Bookwalter these were two fabulous wineries.

We tasted approximately 15 wines at these two wineries and they are very good wineries within Washington state.  Our first stop in Walla Walla was long shadow winery and two of the highlights were The Pedestal one of the finer Merlot made in Washington state and 2011 Feathers.

Sleight of Hand Cellars, owner is Trey Bush this is a fun and exciting winery taking after their owner and the best way I can describe it is that he makes serious good juice. If you can find it you should buy it.

Va Piano vineyards established in 1999 and the owner is Justin they make a few different wines at this winery but his reserve Rhone blends are phenomenal. And worthy of exception praise.

The second day began with L’Ecole 41 a winery that has been extremely consistent in wine making for a very long time in Walla Walla and has recently received an award for their 2011 Ferguson Cabernet as Washington states wine of the year.

ABEJA, first of all I would like to thank Molly and John for their unbelievable hospitality during our visit. Their Chardonnay was the finest Chardonnay I’ve tasted in a Washington state, and their consistency in making a wonderful Cabernet is unmatched in Walla Walla.

Corliss estate, owner Michael Corliss is one of the great winemakers of Washington state and has consistently made great wines from Red Mountain and his 2008 Cabernet Franc is just one example.

Seven Hills Vineyard, Casey is the winemaker and owner he’s what you might call an experimental guy that likes to grow several different grape varietals and believe it or not he grows them all very well.  His top wines are from Red Mountain in Washington state. Ciel Du Cheval is a Bordeaux blend and Pentad 2012 red wine blend was an incredible complex wine and the best wine that we tasted at the winery that day.

Charles Smith winery, and we were hosted by the owner Charles Smith, he does not make anything small his wines are big lots of fruit, complex and built to give you great joy.

On Wednesday morning our first stopped on Red Mountain was Kiona the oldest winery on Red Mountain first planting grapes in 1982 a very good winery with some serious complex wines being made there. These wines are being made by the son of the owner, who calls himself “The one eye winemaker”

And finally Hedges winery these people have been making wine on Red Mountain for quite a long time and have been doing an exceptional job of not only making great wines but wines that are very affordable with excellent quality.