28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

I hope that all of my readers are having wonderful Thanksgiving dinners and are currently not on the internet, but rather spending time with friends and family, enjoying great food, and enjoying the day off work. I spent the day in Jonesboro, Arkansas with Julia and her family, and today marked a few firsts for me in the many Thanksgivings I've attended over the years (sometimes two or three each season).

  1. Thanks to Julia's cousin Kyle, I got to sample a pork loin covered with three pounds of woven bacon that was then slow smoked for many hours. It was insanely tender and juicy. I used the Instagram app to share the love on Facebook and Twitter before it was sliced.

  2. While not a football fan, I, for the first time in my life, dozed off after Thanksgiving lunch while watching Detroit smash Green Bay and ride out the clock for the fourth quarter. I'm told that I only snored for five minutes, but I have finally (inadvertently) participated in a classic holiday tradition. I must be getting old.

  3. I carried four wines with me, and took all notes on the iPhone using the Microsoft OneNote app. I was able to create a document with a photo of each wine and notes below, which will be helpful in posting the eventual reviews of those wines. I haven't fully switched to an all-digital workflow but the more I work on it, the more I see it making life easier, and benefits like cloud storage prevent me from losing tasting notes due to rain or simple absentmindedness.

Saturday I'll be hitting Thanksgiving II with my parents, Julia, my brother and his wife, and The Roommate and her husband, and I'm looking forward to another great experience. Stay safe this weekend if you're traveling, don't trample anybody at the mall, and I hope that everyone finds some time to give thanks and think about those less fortunate.


27 November 2013

Mini-Post of Rutherford Wines for Thanksgiving

I've had the pleasure of trying the products of the Rutherford Wine Company multiple times over the years, and have found them to be a consistent and affordable producer of California wines.

The company produces wines under a number of marques, and since I've covered these in some depth in previous years, I will be linking to those reviews. But a sampling reveals that the quality of the wines has remained stable over time, and the wide distribution of these wines should make them easy choices for your Thanksgiving table this year.

Round Hill Wines, first reviewed in January 2013.

2012 Round Hill Chardonnay
18,000 cases made

2012 Round Hill White Zinfandel
5,000 cases made

2011 Round Hill Merlot
6,000 cases made

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
14,000 cases made

Silver Buckle Cellars, tasted and sampled in November 2012.

2011 Silver Buckle Cellars Chardonnay
Lodi, California

2010 Silver Buckle Cellars Ranchero Red
Central Coast, California


There's a lot of other classic information on the holidays here at BWR. Remember that you can always scroll down the left margin and search by topic. For instance, there are 9 posts tagged with "Thanksgiving", and a slightly overlapping category of Turkey that covers leftovers as well as one wine from the nation of turkey.

As time goes on, I'm sure that I will find new and interesting ways to make all of these many articles (1,342 as of this posting) more readily available and searchable for you dear readers.

I wrote about the Predator Zin back in November 2011

2012 Predator Old Vine Zinfandel
36,000 cases made

And the Rhiannon red blend in April 2012, during which I rambled in Welsh for a while.

2012 Rhiannon Red Wine
19,000 cases made

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

25 November 2013

2012 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin & Gulyás

Zinfandel often gets mentioned as a favorite choice for Thanksgiving, because it's (sort of) a unique American wine (by way of Italy and by earlier way of Croatia). But the big and bold style is something that really flourished in California, which is why today we celebrate Malbec in Argentina but ignore the small quantities made in the home fields of Bordeaux.

There's a big Zinfandel Experience happening in San Francisco January 23-25, 2014:
The Heritage Vineyard stretches over one acre within the UC Davis Oakville Research Station in Napa Valley. Over the years, notable winemakers such as Nils Venge, Mary Buckles, Robert Biale, Matthew Cline, Rod Berglund, Joel Peterson, Ehren Jordon, Paul Draper, Kent Rosenblum, Bill Knuttel, Dr. J. Bernard Seps, Tom Mackey, Ted Seghesio, Diane Wilson and Chris Leamy have each had a hand in crafting these wines. For the 2011 vintage, it was Scott Harvey of Scott Harvey Wines. Of this vintage, only 120 cases were produced. I'm very confident that you will love this wine.
You can read more about it at the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers website.

2012 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin
Zinfandel (Blend or pure Zin?)
Lodi, California
$12, 14% abv.

Lots of blackberries on the nose with a rich, deep berry flavor that's just on the edge of jam. Little bit of toast and just a hint of spice. Fairly balanced tannins for such a young wine, but rich, concentrated flavors all around. Long, lingering finish.

Big red wines aren't the best match for turkey and ham, but who says that you have to stick to those two proteins? For my family Thanksgiving this weekend, we're doing beef tenderloin. In the past I've done pork loin roasts, legs of lamb... If you want to be really authentic with Thanksgiving, you ought to be serving duck and venison. But that's a rant for another day.

I took advantage of the cold weather and a certain ursine impulse to store things for the winter by making a big batch of goulash to freeze. Originally known as gulyás I used the recipe from Saveur, mainly because I love parsnips so much. I was lucky to find parsnips and carrots of roughly the same size, though if you're making this, be sure to trim out the tough, woody core of the parsnips.

It's a very simple stew to make, and even though I enjoyed a savory bowl of it yesterday, I know that it will be better once it has time to rest. I might even make a batch of nokedli to go along with it.

Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.

22 November 2013

2011 Cultivate Wines "The Feast"

There are lots of wines out there that support various charities, but Cultivate Wins is a little different. In the tradition of tithing (my words, not theirs) 10% of profits are directed toward charity in a program called The Give, with a running ticker on the website. And they've had an impact here in my hometown of Memphis, with a $50,000 gift to Samaritan Ministries for maternity care for urban and underserved women. Although my tasting of a free sample does not provide any direct assistance, I hope that promotion of this charity-focused winery has a positive impact.

I'll also take this moment to point out that, if you're not feeling the Christmas spirit, if you're bristling at the carols and advertising that started well before Halloween... Do one thing this holiday season to help the less fortunate. Many volunteer opportunities are available all throughout the nation, and if you are a wine fan, you may be able to expend a tiny amount of effort and invite your next door neighbor over for a glass and a conversation. Wine was never meant to be enjoyed alone, but to be shared and celebrated with friends and family. And if neither are present, it's a great way to make new friends.

2011 Cultivate Wines "The Feast"
78% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Syrah
$18, 14.27% abv.

The wine opens up with a creamy cherry pie aroma with deep black currant flavors. On the palate there are edium tannins with a tart but lingering finish. It's a great California blend, mostly Bordeaux-inspired with a touch of Syrah to make it unique to our West Coast. The price is definitely in the affordable range, and the fact that the proceeds will help people who genuinely need some assistance will make it a great and meaningful gift this holiday season.

Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.

20 November 2013

November Wines of Vinho Verde

Over the years, I've recommended Vinho Verde for Thanksgiving, and in those cases I was talking about the green, slightly sweet, low alcohol wines most often associated with that region of Portugal. Yet over the years I've had the opportunity to try a lot of different wines from Vinho Verde, and while both of these have a little fizz on them, they are otherwise serious, delicious, and food-friendly bottles that would still certainly be welcome on the Thanksgiving table.

NV Quinta da Lixa Aromas das Castas
Vinho Verde
Alvahrino, Trajadura
$13, 12.5% abv

Bone dry, light aromas of apple blossoms and touch of lemony acidity on the palate. Gentle fizz and a delicate, mineral-driven finish. If ever a wine screamed out for roast turkey with gravy, it would be this one.

2012 Quinta das Arcas Conde Villar Rosé
Vinho Verde
100% Esapadeiro
$10, 11.5% abv.

Again, a slight fizz that mostly disappears as the wine rests in the glass. There is an alluring tart apricot skin aroma but with a gentle light fruit body. Once again, this is a dry rosé, and one with a light raspberry finish that keeps you coming back for more. In the eternal struggle of ham vs. turkey for Thanksgiving, this is the one that is going to appeal more to the ham lovers. I count myself in that group, and have been known to smuggle in jars of Dijon mustard to family gatherings. Nothing quite like a roast ham with brown sugar glaze and a healthy dollop of mustard.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

18 November 2013

Red Rock Winery

I first wrote about the wines of Red Rock Winery back in 2008 when I braised a turkey leg in blueberries.

Red Rock only makes red wines, and these four bottles represent the entire product line. The grapes are sourced from throughout California vineyards to produce table wines in a big fruit, classic Golden State style. Keep these in mind as great matches for burgers, pizza... I affectionately refer to wines like these as "Tuesday night wines": not a special occasion, but more something that you open up after a long day at work and while having a normal weekday meal rather than a complex preparation of squid ink pasta with slices of raw scallops.

2011 Red Rock Winery Malbec
$14, 13.6% abv.

Although marked as a Malbec, California law only requires that 75% of the grapes are in the mix to bear the varietal name. For instance, this one includes Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon to add depth and structure. Dominant notes of plum and black pepper with a firm tannic understructure contributed by the darker grapes.

2012 Red Rock Winery Pinot Noir
$14, 13.6% abv.

A fairly standard bargain California Pinot Noir with lots of ripe strawberry aromas, mild tannins, and a short but tart finish. The most gentle of the quartet, though not quite delicate enough to pair with salmon.

2011 Red Rock Winery Merlot
$14, 13.74% abv.

A bright and fruity California Merlot full of black cherry aromas and flavors with a touch of spice. Round body and a long, mouth-drying finish.

2011 Red Rock Winery Winemaker's Blend
Proprietary Blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel
$14, 13.5% abv.

The last one was my favorite of the batch, and represented a solid blend that achieved good balance. The initial sniff reveals dark blackberry and deep black fruit scents with matching flavors. Not jammy, but trending in that direction. The wine shows firm tannins with a long finish. Decanting is highly recommended to soften and further balance the wine.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

15 November 2013

NV Riunite Lambrusco

Advertising is a powerful thing and can stick with you for a long time. Due to the near total lack of wine advertising in the Mid-South during the early 80s and the continuing scarcity of wine commercials during network TV, the first wine brand that I was exposed to as a callow youth was Riunite, which I seem to recall from ad breaks while Mom was watching Dallas or Remington Steele.

The Riunite on Ice--That's Nice ad campaign had a catchy title, an exotic, grown-up subject matter (wine!), and a bizarre first introduction to the pronunciation of Italian words. I didn't learn how to read via phonics but tended to do pretty well in matching up spoken language vs. spelling. McLeod pronounced "Mic Loud" never bothered me, and the name Riunite made sense alongside names like Yosemite or Gethsemane.

In the commercial, I love how they recommend serving the wine with burgers, tacos, fried chicken, salads... One might notice that your humble wine blogger does a lot of that as well, though I generally do not serve wine over ice unless in sangria form. who can argue with bringing the concept of a simple table wine to the masses?

NV Riunite Lambrusco
Emilia IGT
8% abv.

Aroma of Concord grape jelly, though just a touch of sweetness and a little fizz on the finish. The fizz is entirely gone by the second day, though the flavor remains constant.

To be honest, this is the first Lambrusco I've tried, and the style is not entirely matched to my palate. I find it a little cloying and a bit off balance, but the type and specific brand of this wine have been quite popular for a long time. Everyone needs an entryway into the world of wine, and while I generally recommend Vinho Verde, this bottle has inspired me to seek out some other Lambruscos to see what's out there. Suggestions are highly encouraged in the comments section!

Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.

13 November 2013

2012 Banfi Centine Rosé

I wrote about the red blend Banfi Centine in 2006 and 2007, and since then I've frequently suggested the wine as an inexpensive but tasty Italian red that would work well with a wide range of Italian-American fare. While I'm always fond of the rich diversity of Italian food with so many unique ingredients and separate traditions, it's worth celebrating the fact that Italian cuisine branched off and formed a lot of new and delicious traditions here in the United States through the immigrant experience. Below, I'll provide the details for my chili mac that is pretty darned tasty as the weather is starting to get cold. A few days ago, I had to scrape a tiny layer of ice off my windshield for the first time this season, but today we were eating outside and eventually had to abandon the table because it was getting too warm, and the bees were out pollinating the trees that are still producing flowers in November. The joys of life in a hot climate.

Since it's still nice and warm, it's still time to enjoy a good rosé... hell, it's always time to drink pink. This is the rosato entry in the Centine line, and I was excited to open it up.

2012 Banfi Centine Rosé
Toscana IGT
Proprietary Blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
$11, 12.5% abv.

It's very bright rosé with a noticeable strawberry scent with a hint of lemon. It has a tart body with a crisp finish. The pale salmon color looks beautiful in the glass, and the wine has a remarkably long aftertaste of really ripe strawberries. I think it pair well with grilled chicken and asparagus drizzled in reduced balsamic vinegar, but I had other plans.

On to the chili mac... Purists say that chili con carne is only meat based, and the only starches allowable are small amounts of masa to thicken it up. In the real world, people around the world stretch flavorful meat sauces with various carbohydrates. It's not a sign of cheapness, and if done properly, it can taste great. I've had chili with rice (not my favorite preparation), over corn chips (good in a Frito Pie), over spaghetti in Cincinnati, and occasionally with a slice of bread. I tend to add red kidney beans whenever possible, and I recently made a big batch of chili with ground beef and kidney beans for freezing in convenient portions. It was great on its own, but a few weeks later I was able to defrost it and prepare a batch of chili mac.

I used organic rotini and didn't quite cook it al dente. I stopped early so that it was still slightly chewy and drained it thoroughly. The idea was to allow it to soak up the juices from the chili rather than letting excess water dilute the existing flavors. In order to not make too much pasta, I poured the dish half-full of dry pasta, dumped that in the water, and then cooked it in a pot. I combined the cooked pasta, some cottage cheese, about a litre of chile, and covered the baking dish with foil. I cooked it slow for about an hour, then added a layer of shredded cheese to brown on top.

With meat, pasta, and beans, it's incredibly filling, and even a small bowl is enough for an entire dinner. I was quite happy with it, and am still enjoying the leftovers days later. Obviously I'm adding a lot of hot sauce to my bowls, but I prepared the chili (and the casserole) mild to allow others to adjust their bowls as desired. Now, if only it would get a little colder.

Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.

11 November 2013

Office 365 Project

I get a lot of offers to sample things that aren't wine. When it's a gadget that I think is useful or a book that might interest you, the readers, I'm happy to take a look at it. There are plenty of other offers that I turn down either out of ethical considerations or simple good taste. When I was approached to test drive Microsoft's Office 365, I was pretty excited. Despite being a committed Apple hardware user since 1982, I have been using Windows and Microsoft applications on a regular basis in school and work since the late 80s. Office 365 provides for things like cloud storage and access to the Office applications on tablets and smart phones.

When I started the wine blog years ago, I wanted to keep it simple. I'd built websites from scratch and chose to use the free Blogspot software because I didn't want the blog to feel like work. Years later, I discovered that to get ahead and keep things organized, and to build my web presence as a writer, that I really needed to treat it like a business. For most of the past nine years, I've taken notes on scraps of paper, consulted physical prints of tasting notes, and then later taken everything upstairs to type it all up.

On my recent post about Morellino di Scansano, I tried using some of the Office 365 functions for the first time. The digital tasting notes and region information came via a USB stick, which instead of dumping on the computer, I instead uploaded to SkyDrive. While tasting the wine, I could grab the PowerPoint presentation with maps and everything on my iPhone, and when it was time to jot down notes, I could utilize One Note.

Instead of jotting down tasting notes that might get lost (and trust me, that has happened, especially when that one envelope with scribbled details gets tossed out with the junk mail), I was able to type up a note, take a photo of the bottle, and sync it so that later I could access it from my desktop computer, my laptop, or elsewhere with my iPhone.

In the interest of efficiency and the striving for kaizen (continuous improvement), I'm looking forward to using these tools to take advantage of opportunities like working on the blog while sitting in line at the DMV or being able to recycle the piles of printed PR material and instead keep everything neatly organized in one central, digital, online repository.

It's obviously tough to change your habits, but because I work in Quality Assurance, I'm excited about scrapping my old processes in search of new ones that save time, eliminate excess steps, and allow me to spend more time focusing on the wine and the writing rather than digging through a pile of papers looking for that one tech sheet or trying to remember which camera got that one good label shot. Over the months I'll be going into some more detail about these process changes, and I look forward to sharing with you what works and what doesn't as I strive for improvement. I'm hoping soon to do an entire review from start to finish, using nothing but the iPhone and the various Office 365 applications. I'm not there yet, but my goal is that I can slip it in without anyone noticing a difference. Perhaps I already have...

Note: This software was provided as a sample for review. There is no financial compensation for this test drive, and all opinions are my own.

08 November 2013

Chilean Red Blends

These wines were tasted during a recent Wines of Chile online tasting. A third bottle was also provided, but I already covered the Montes Alpha last month.

The first one is from a vineyard in Chile that was developed in the 1940s by Basque immigrants. Even after Domaine Barons de Rothschild-Lafite took over operations in 1988, the Los Vascos (the Basques) name was retained. In some respects, it makes more sense for a European wine company to have an operation in South America rather than North America; the opposing seasons allow you to have two harvests a year. And there are experts in certain fields (e.g. establishing new vines) that can shuttle back and forth across the equator to catch the right season in both hemispheres.

2011 Viña Los Vascos Grande Réserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Colchagua Valley, Chile
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carménère, 10% Syrah, 5% Malbec
$15, 15% abv.

The dominant profile of this wine is black cherry, but that Carménère really shines through with lots of green bell pepper. On the palate there are deep black fruit flavors with a little leather and cedar. A great steak wine, and a tremendous bargain at $15.

2007 Santa Rita Triple C
Maipo Valley, Chile
55% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carménère
$30, 14.7% abv.

It's unusual to receive samples that have some age on them, though every once in a while I get a chance to try something that has been properly stored for a few years. On top of that, something that I learned from the Bodega Catena Zapata tasting is that the trip from South America to the US can artificially add a year of aging, even if the bottles are stored in the cool bottom of the container ship where the cargo is under the water line. The tannins have mellowed in this wine, but what remains is a surprisingly tart raspberry flavor. However, there are delicate and earthy aromas that can still be enjoyed as the wine breathes and opens up. Any lover of Cabernet Franc should seek this out, and there are still bottles of the 2004 vintage out there. I know that I'll be snapping up bottles of the next release that comes out.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

06 November 2013

Goose Island Brewery

It's been a while since I've written a beer review, and it's not because I've lost my taste for it. On the contrary, we're experiencing a golden age of beer appreciation. You might consider yourself in the know with wine if you can properly pronounce sommelier and know how to work with one in a dinner situation, but brace yourself for the era of the Cicerone.

Goose Island Brewery is an interesting example of how writing about beer can get complicated, and while wine is so tightly focused on specific geography and terroir, a successful beer can be replicated anywhere through adjustment of water and using the same mix of hops and malts (that come from multiple sources around the country). In that respect, the modern beer industry has a lot more in common with the soft drink business.

Goose Island was founded as a Chicago brewpub in 1988, which was early for the craft brewing revolution. After years of expansion and popularity, the company was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011. Note that ABInBev is headquartered in Belgium. And although I am closer to Chicago, the Goose Island beer that is distributed to Memphis is brewed in Baldwinsville, NY, a town between Syracuse and Lake Ontario.

Considering the number of options I have for tagging the regional identify of this beer (including the possibility of St. Louis), I'm going with Chicago. Guinness gets the Irish flag regardless of where it is brewed, and besides, I haven't had the opportunity to break out the iconic flag of Chicago in a while.

Goose Island Honker's Ale
English Style Bitter
4.3% abv., 30 IBU

Lovely copper color and a nicely rounded ale flavor. Just a touch of bitterness on the finish, and otherwise a fairly pleasant and quaffable beer.

Goose Island India Pale Ale
English Style India Pale Ale
5.9% abv., 55 IBU

Of the two, I preferred this one, even though it's not as bitter as some IPAs I've tasted in the past. The hops are just enough to provide a nice bite without completely overwhelming the palate. Dark golden color and a touch of citrus flavor in the background. Quite good with the pork enchiladas in green sauce I had for lunch.

04 November 2013

Morellino di Scansano

Morellino di Scansano is a newer wine region in coastal Tuscany, established as a DOC in 1978 and upgraded to DOCG in 2007. Like Chianti and Brunello, the backbone of the style is Sangiovese. Morellino seems to serve as a balance between tradition and the Super Tuscans: the wines must be at least 85% Sangiovese but the rest can come from other grapes, including French ones like Merlot. The baseline Morellino doesn't spend much time on oak and is released young, while the Riserva has to spend at least one year in the barrel and is not released until two years after harvest.

The color of the wine is surprising. Morellino means "little brown one", either a reference to a color of a horse in the region or the Morello cherry. It's also the name for the local clone of Sangiovese. There's a beautiful garnet hue that you don't often see in younger wines. Even though the 2008 has been resting for five years, it's a color that I've mostly seen in bottles that are at least ten years old.

Armed with crusty bread, nutty pecorino cheese, and a bit of prosciutto, I opened the following three wines on a rainy afternoon...

2010 Tenuta Pietramora di Colle Fagiano Petramora
Morellino di Scansano
85% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot
$15, 14% abv.

Bright red cherry profile, tart and snappy but with mild tannins and a quick finish. Quite refreshing and a great palate-opener. A great apéritif wine for a dinner party, where it should go well with lots of appetizers yet not overwhelm the tongue if you're going to be serving white wines with the first course.

2009 Fattoria le Pupille Poggio Valente Riserva
Morellino di Scansano
97% Sangiovese, 3% Merlot
$20, 14.5% abv.

This one has that rare aroma of pomegranate with a touch of vegetal, earthy darkness underneath. It has lower acidity than the first but with a softer mouthfeel. Medium tannins provide a bit more body and weight, meaning that it would stand up well to a nice roast duck.

2008 Mantellassi Le Sentinelle Riserva
Morellino di Scansano
85% Sangiovese, 15% Alicante (Grenache)
$23, 14% abv.

Nice earth tones on the nose, giving way to the scent of dark plum. The body and tannins are very similar to the Poggio Valente, though with another year of aging it's a bit softer and shows better balance. I found myself craving venison, and since deer season is coming up, I may get a chance to cook another sirloin roast depending on how successful my friends are this winter. And given the opportunity, I think I'll be searching the local shelves for another Morellino.

Note: These wines were provided as samples.

01 November 2013

EccociWine of Spain

It wasn't until going back over the tech sheets later that I realized I'd just tried two grapes for the first time. The white contains Petit Manseng, an old grape from southwest France, and the red is primarily Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache developed in 1961. This brings my life list to 180, meaning that the Doppel level of the Wine Century Club is a bit closer. There was a time when I'd try a dozen new grapes in a week, but nearly nine years later, it's a pleasant but rare surprise when I get to try something new.

Speaking of surprises, I had to keep checking to make sure that I hadn't mixed up my notes. EccociWine is based near Girona in the Catalonia region of Spain. There is a firm commitment to environmentally-responsible production, and it is Spain’s first CarbonZero certified winery. But they are not committed to local, indigenous Spanish grapes, meaning that the varieties grown there are mostly French in heritage. These are creative blends that look more like Languedoc than Northeast Spain.

(As a side note, I love that the script on the labels is nearly as indecipherable as my own chicken scratches.)

2011 Eccoci Blanco
50% Roussanne, 30% Viognier, 20% Petit Manseng
Catalonia, Spain
$20, 13.3% abv.
20,000 bottles produced

The name "Eccoci" means "here we are", and the wine itself definitely has a presence. It has a big, round body with lots of bold white fruit, yet the acidity is low without being flabby. I got scents of peach and pear with nice citrus blossom notes in the background, and just the barest touch of sweetness on the finish. It's a fascinating balance and a bottle that I think is paired best with conversation. Even after trying thousands of wines, I enjoyed talking about this one. Highly recommended.

2008 Eccomi Tinto Super Premium
Catalonia, Spain
60% Marselan, 20% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot
$30, 14% abv.
25,000 bottles produced

This wine is singular, with a name meaning "here I am". Bright red plum aromas with touches of leather and chocolate on the nose. Medium tannins with a deep black plum flavor and a touch of spice on the finish. I'd certainly recommend a bit of breathing, but once it mellows it will be a perfect wine to enjoy this winter with slow braised meats and root vegetables.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.