Showing posts with label white. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc

The 2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc wine from this small, family-owned winery is our second introduction of unique and flavorful wines from David and Sara Specter.  Pinot Blanc is not a dominant varietal and if you haven't tried it, this is the one you need to get.  Aged on lees for six months, this has a fuller body feel than many white Pinot grape varieties and the terroir of Willamette Valley is evident by the wet stone, crisp fruit flavors and dollops of soy sauce lurking in the background.  There is just the right amount of baking spices mid palate and a memorable finish that includes a noticeable acidity and mineral notes.  We love when you taste a wine and just smile from ear to ear, knowing that you've discovered a fun, memorable bottle.  This wine is drinking very well right now and should for another 4-5 years.  

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc label
Medium golden color and very fragrant.

2021 Bells Up Winery Rhapsody Pinot Blanc with Popcorn

We generally don't taste wines (when reviewing) with food.  After we scribed our thoughts on paper we could just tell that this Pinot Blanc would be a great wine to compliment a snack.  We tasted this with popcorn from Northern Neck Popcorn Bag and the pairing was a-MAZ-ing!

ABV:  12.9%

Willamette Valley, OR

Production:  114 Cases

Suggested retail price:  $32.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100





 

Monday, July 18, 2022

2017 Patland Estate Vineyards Chardonnay

2017 Patland Estate Vineyards Chardonnay



We all know that Napa Valley is home to some of the most amazing full-bodied red wines in the world.  But it would be a shame for wine lovers to overlook the throngs of high quality white wines that are also available from this region.  When we first visited Napa in 2009, we found one of our favorite wines (a Chardonnay from a now defunct winery) and we have again found one of our favorite Chardonnay in this bottle.  The 2017 Patland Estate Vineyards Chardonnay is a prime example of delicious and age-worthy Chardonnay that we feel is a "must have" wine for your portfolio.  Much of the fruit in this offering is from the Stagecoach Vineyard (one of our favorite) and the wine is absolutely singing right now!

Vanilla, baking spices and pear on the nose with hints of lychee fruit.  As always, we tasted this wine at room temperature and were introduced to flavors of homemade apple pie, toasted marshmallow and almost no oak.  While we tend to lean towards more oak-framed wines, the fruit in this bottle is the star of the show and each sip is a dive into pure bliss.  It's absolutely stunning. 

Most people are used to paying $12 - $15 for grocery store Chardonnay.  Do yourself a favor and try something outside of your comfort zone and budget.  Try this exquisite Chardonnay from Patland Estate Vineyards and you can thank us later.  We think you'll love this with grilled chicken and asparagus with a lemon cream reduction sauce or with sashimi.  Enjoy!

2017 Patland Estate Vineyards Chardonnay label

Did we mention that after the initial tasting....

We enjoyed this with some salted dark chocolate carmel popcorn from Northern Neck Popcorn Bag?  It was a WINNER!

Chardonnay and Popcorn?  Yes, please!


ABV:  14.4%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100



Wednesday, June 22, 2022

2019 The Shepherd Sauvignon Blanc

 

2019 The Shepherd Sauvignon Blanc

Hot days are made for cooler wines and Sauvignon Blanc almost always fits the bill.  But when you have a Sauvignon Blanc like this one that is so pure, straightforward and extremely easy to enjoy, you know you have hit the jackpot.  Don't mistake this as simple, because it isn't.  It is just very well made and exactly how we enjoy SB.  Shepherd Wines, aka Truchard Vineyards, presents a fine California example of this wildly popular grape.  Aromas of cooked pear, grapefruit and crisp linen resonate throughout the glass and intensify as the wine begins to warm.  Delicious and crisp citrus flavors lead to a zippy and memorable medium acidic finish.  Absolutely and easily a daily drinker!

ABV:  13.9%

Napa Valley, CA (Carneros Region)

Suggested retail price:  $18.00

Drink The Bottles score:  90/100


Friday, May 27, 2022

2019 Dawn's Dream Winery Frances Jane Chardonnay

2019 Dawn's Dream Winery Frances Jane Chardonnay

There's no question that a quality Chardonnay really pleases the palate and is one of the world's most diverse and celebrated white wines.  We recently had the opportunity to taste this exciting wine and we know that you will love it.  This is the 2019 Dawn's Dream Winery Frances Jane Chardonnay and like most wines that we love, it has a back story.  The Frances Jane name comes from Dawn's granddaughter and the fun label comes from the love that Frances Jane has for the four-legged fur babies.  In fact, $5.00 of every bottle of this wine is donated to Peace of Mind Dog Rescue.  We love this!

This wine is on the drier side but welcomes the palate with toasted ciabatta, lemon cream and crisp pear.  It opens up the senses and warms the mouth with candied apples, hints of oak and bright acidity, leading to a lingering and satisfying finish.  While we tasted this wine without food (like we do all of our wines), we think this selection would be a lovely accompaniment to hard breads, smoked Gouda and a variety of seafood selections.  Delish!

2019 Dawn's Dream Winery Frances Jane Chardonnay label


ABV:  13.4%

Monterey, CA

Suggested retail price:  $55.00

Drink the Bottles score:  93/100



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

2019 Pope Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

 

2019 Pope Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Here's another fine example of great wine made with exceptional fruit.  The 2019 Pope Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc sets itself apart from many others made with this grape.  If you're looking for a Sauvignon Blanc that is overly grassy with an strong acidic backbone, look somewhere else.  This wine effortlessly blends tangerine, yellow baked apple, honey, and interesting hints of river rock on the outer edge and finish.  This wine is surprisingly very silky smooth and a welcome change to "traditional" SB.  And talk about a food wine!  We feel that the versatility of this offering would pair with anything from artisan breads & jams to Eggs Benedict to sashimi and beyond!  We tasted this near room temperature but served chilled, this wine would be a porch drinker for certain.  Drink now. The 2020 vintage is currently available from Pope Valley Winery on their web site.

2019 Pope Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc wine label

ABV:  14.46%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $32.00

Drink The Bottles score:  92/100

Thursday, September 30, 2021

2018 Lagana Cellars Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay

 

2018 Lagana Cellars Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay

Fans of crisp, bright Chardonnay are sure to love the 2018 Lagana Cellars Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay.  This Walla Walla Valley selection isn't heavy and would be a perfect selection for sushi or a lighter baked fish dish.  Pale color yellow in the glass with stone fruits dominating the nose.  Wet river rock also makes an appearance.  In the mouth is a delightful and welcoming combination of more stone fruits, apple tart filling and hard pineapple candy.  This wine combines the right amount of sweetness and acidity, leading to a solid finish.  Best over the next 10 years.  This one is a reliable choice if you're looking for some Chardonnay to keep in your cellar.

2018 Lagana Cellars Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay label

ABV:  13.4%

Walla Walla Valley, WA

Suggested retail price:  $22.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100




Wednesday, September 15, 2021

2018 Knights Bridge Estate Chardonnay Knights Valley

 

2018 Knights Bridge Estate Chardonnay Knights Valley

The 2018 Knights Bridge Estate Chardonnay (Knights Valley) is a welcoming and affordable wine that can be presented as an every day sipper or for a lighter food wine.  While this particular vintage is no longer available from the winery's website, you can still find it readily available at many retailers.  In the glass is a medium golden apple color with crisp aromas of stone fruits, baked bread and vanilla.  In the mouth you easily embrace flavors of pear, vanilla bean, apple tart and lemon curd, leading to a solid and refreshing finish.  This wine is not overly oaked and should be drank in the next 2 years for optimum enjoyment.

2018 Knights Bridge Estate Chardonnay Label

ABV:  14.5%

Sonoma County, CA

Suggested retail price:  $39.99

Drink The Bottles score:  88/100


Monday, September 13, 2021

Winery Adventure: Repris Wines

We were very blessed to be able to travel to California recently for a wine trip with great friends.  We had planned the trip in 2020, but we had to postpone for a year due to most of the world shutting down from the Covid pandemic.  We decided that we would take this trip in 2021, come hell or high water.

Our "Winos" group as we jokingly and affectionately call ourselves, spent a few evenings and many text messages back and forth to discuss the "must visit" wineries as well as those that had been on various wish lists throughout the years.  After much discussion and many emails back and forth to the wineries on our radar, we finally decided on nine wineries that would complete our adventure.  And, so we begun with Day #1...... Repris Wines.

We love Southwest Airlines
We love Southwest Airlines!  However, a non-stop flight from IND to OAK would be ideal.

There were three couples who took part in our journey and each one flew into a different airport.  Kris & Scott flew into Sacramento.  Richard and Sarah flew into San Francisco and we flew into Oakland.  Previously we had flown into San Francisco but next time would try Sacramento as we heard that the drive is very easy and the traffic isn't as heavy.

Tour Guide Skippy
Share a car - save some money!  And take a lunch break when YOU want!

Our tour guide/driver was Napa Scott.  Sorry, he's not for rent.  Well, I guess everyone has their price.  Contact us and I'll put you in touch with him!  One great benefit to having your own transportation is you can make changes on the fly, move at your own pace and grab a bite whenever you want to.

Repris Wines ATV Tour
Become a member at Repris Wines and ask for the ATV tour!

Both of the other couples in our group are members at Repris so they specifically asked for something special for our group.  We took an ATV tour of the property, a tour of the cave and......   well, I'm not going to spoil it yet.  We started to get excited when we saw the ATVs waiting for us. What a great way to start a few days in wine country!  Now if I could just get them to trade these units for John Deere Gators.....

Repris Wines Vineyards

Everywhere we went on the property was meticulously maintained.  The grapes were about 2-3 weeks away from harvest and the deep purple/blue-ish colors were so inviting.

Old Zinfandel vines at Repris Wines
These vineyards are 45 years old and producing delicious Zinfandel.

Drinking wines is always the highlight of visiting any winery, but learning about the property and the history is a close second.  These Zinfandel vines were planted by horse and plow and have been here for the better of 50 years.  The root stock is said to be as deep as 75 feet below ground.

View from the top of Moon Mountain Road
The view from the top of Moon Mountain Road?  Priceless.

Despite some smoky haze in the area from various California fires, we were completely in awe of the view from the top of Moon Mountain Road.  This is a view that we could get used to every day.  By the way, if you haven't been to Repris Wines in Sonoma, the drive up to the property isn't for the faint of heart.  You're completely safe, but the roads would not be forgiving if you don't pay attention.

Jeff and Melissa acting like tourists
Say "cheese" and act like a tourist...

No tour to the top of the mountain would be complete without a "touristy" picture.   I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has taken this exact same photo on their visit to Repris.


Repris Wine Cave Entrance

The entrance to the cave at Repris is breath taking.  Candles lined he main entrance that fed into one of the barrel storage rooms.  If you've never had a cave tasting experience, you need to add it to your list.  It's such an intimate surrounding and (in our opinion) the best way to taste wine.  For those of you who are cold blooded, there are very cozy and warm blankets at the table to keep you comfy.

Barrels, Barrels Everywhere
Do you think they would miss just ONE barrel?

Throughout our trip we had discussed (like literally EVERY OTHER visitor) the idea of "Oh, they surely won't miss just one barrel" and we thought we were clever.  Our winery host chuckled, although he was probably rolling his eyes when we weren't looking.  He finally told us that if we could lift the barrel, we could take it.   No dice.  

Let me first say that there was absolutely NOTHING disappointing about this winery visit.  We would definitely go back again.  One thing we personally would have love to experience was a barrel tasting (and we would have gladly paid for that).  Barrel tasting really gives you a finer appreciation of how different a wine tastes pre vs post bottling.

Intimate Wine Tasting Experience
Our wine tasting setting, complete with candles, charcuterie and blankets.

Incredible Wine & Charcuterie List

We loved how not only was the wine featured (duh!) but that Repris also went above and beyond to explain what was offered with the charcuterie.  The L'amuse 'Signature Gouda' was one of our favorite cheese of the entire trip and now we are on a hunt to find it.  Take a look at these amazing wines that we sampled at Repris:

  • 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2016 Texture Lancel Creek Chardonnay
  • 2018 Syrah
  • 2018 Left Bank
  • 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain Vineyard
Each wine was uniquely delicious.  The Sauvignon Blanc was offered when we first arrived while we were waiting to board our ATV for the property tour.  The remaining wines were tasted in the cave setting.

Repris Wines Charcuterie
Get in my belly!

We really appreciate a winery that serves food with their wines.  Whether it is charcuterie, a light meal or snacks, a little food is always welcome.  Yes, it is great to add a few solids to the belly, but more than that, we appreciate the confidence that a winery has in pairing their wines with food.  We typically are not "wine/food" people because it can actually distract from the beauty and wonderful flavors of the wine.  However, this charcuterie was expertly paired and made us think about trying the same going forward.

2018 Repris Syrah
Gorgeous colors and amazing aromas..

The staff at Repris were so much fun!
A fun winery host helps build lasting memories.

The staff members at Repris were not pretentious at all.  And believe me, they have every right to be.  Their wines are really top notch and we appreciated them more with every pour.  It's one thing to have a host who is knowledgeable about the winery and the wines.  But to have a host who is not only a great ambassador of the brand but ALSO funny, welcoming and makes you feel like a friend?  You just can't beat that type of experience.

Repris Wine Cave
"Forever"memories were made at Repris!

We don't rate wineries or our experiences.  Nearly every one that we visited during our trip was amazing in their own way.  The one that disappointed us won't be written about.  But Repris absolutely exceeded our expectations!   Admittedly, when our friends originally told us that we had to visit Repris, We thought they were a little crazy because they had all been there on prior trips.  "Why would someone want to go back to a winery they have visited before?"  Now we understand.  Repris is without a doubt on our "must see" list of wineries for our next trip.  It was incredible!

Check out our new friends at Repris Wines

Please visit Repris Wines for more information about their wines and membership opportunities.











Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Rodney Strong Wine Estates REJUVENATION Virtual Wine Tasting

 

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Wine Lineup

It was a great day for a wine tasting.  But then again, isn't any day perfect to gather for some vino?  

Rodney Strong Rejuvenation Power Point

Our group of six gathered at our home (aka DrinkTheBottles HQ) for a virtual wine tasting provided by our friends at Rodney Strong Wine Estates.  This tasting was promoted as a media tasting and we invited our friends to enjoy some new wines.  Whenever we have a virtual tasting we always try to include others.  It would be a shame to "waste" six bottles of wine on two people.

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Portfolio

The folks at Rodney Strong Wine Estates have been going through a makeover, or a REJUVENATION as they call it, for the last 3 years.  They have touched every part of the business from the estate, the vineyards, the tasting room, the personnel and, as you may notice, the logo/label!

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Wines

The lineup consisted of six unique and flavorful wines.  The winery proves that you don't have to be expensive to enjoy quality wines.   We tasted these wines in order:
  • 2020 Rodney Strong Rose of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley:  $25.00
  • 2019 Rodney Strong California Chardonnay:  $17.00
  • 2017 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot:  $20.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon:  $22.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon:  $28.00
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Old Vine Zinfandel:  $25.00
Rodney Strong Wine Estates note taking

Everyone had the chance to taste all six wines and choose their favorites.  Jeff took notes.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

We started off with a bang!   Collectively and unanimously our group thought that this Rose of Pinot Noir got two thumbs up!  Strong strawberry finish with a medium acidic finish.  At only $25.00 suggested retail, this is an incredible deal.

Charcuterie Board

Melissa and Jeff tried their hands at their first charcuterie board.  You simply cannot have a proper wine tasting without charcuterie.  This is only a small sampling of all of the food that we had!

Rodney Strong Vineyards California Chardonnay

Great golden color and bright Chardonnay.  Some people tend to look down their noses at Chardonnay, like Merlot.  But this one full of flavor and you won't believe it is only $17.00 when you taste it!

Rodney Strong Vineyards wine close up

The nearly hour-long virtual wine tasting presented by Director of Communications Christopher O'Gorman and Director of Winemaking Justin Seidenfeld started out with a history lesson and background about the winery and vineyards.   Rodney Strong (or "Rod" as they referred to him) started off as a dancer and became a wine pioneer not just in Sonoma County, but throughout California.  The winery has been active for over 60 years and Justin is only the 4th director of winemaking in those 6 decades.  

RSV is a Certified Sustainable Winery that believes heavily in conservation, water management and solar energy.  The focus is now more on micro farming while they also plan extensive vineyard replanting over the next 7 years.  

The original tasting room at the winery was opened in 1970 under Rod's watchful eye and just went through a complete remodel.   The focus now is flighted wines by appointment, which will give wine lovers a better tasting experience.  

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Sonoma County Merlot

I really have to applaud the entire Rodney Strong Vineyards (Rodney Strong Wine Estates) team for their vision.   While it may have been a bit overdue to some, they clearly have the right people making decisions both aesthetically and with their winemaking.  Change can be difficult.  But change is inevitable and often necessary to survive in business and to attract a new or emerging audience.  

If you haven't tasted any wines from the Rodney Strong portfolio recently, we would encourage you to do so.  You might find a new favorite.  While they do offer more expensive and exclusive wines like Alexander's Crown or Rockaway Cabernet, the bulk of their offerings are in the $20 - $30 range and affordable for most people.  FYI, our favorites of the day were the Rose of Pinot Noir and Old Vine Zinfandel.  Thank you for Alicia, Christopher and Justin for spending some time with us last week and sharing your labor of love.  Cheers!
















Friday, May 28, 2021

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend - Rodney Strong Vineyards

 

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend

Once in awhile we are introduced to a wine that really opens your eyes, especially at this price point.  The 2019 Upshot White Wine Blend by Rodney Strong Vineyards is just such a find.  If you're looking for a daily drinker for summer or a fun treat for your guests at your next outdoor dinner party, we think this one is a great choice!  Stone fruits on the nose joined with new spring flowers and a fresh summer rain.  In the mouth are ripe peaches, fig jam and just the perfect touch of salinity that opens up for an incredibly crisp finish.  You'll likely want this one chilled (but not over chilled) and we think this wine would be a great accompaniment to some hard cheeses and cured meats.  Enjoy!

2019 Upshot White Wine Blend Label

ABV:  13.0%

Healdsburg, CA

Suggested retail price:  $19.00

Drink The Bottles score:  85/100



Thursday, February 25, 2021

2019 Pope Valley Winery Sauvignon Blanc

 

2019 Pope Valley Winery Sauvignon Blanc

We've been tasting and writing about some lovely white wines lately and that has put us in the mood for warmer weather.  The 2019 Pope Valley Winery Sauvignon Blanc is without a doubt a wine that you should stock up on for summer sipping!  Not only is it very affordable, but it is extremely well put together and very tasty.  Pale to medium yellow in the glass, aromas of lemon zest, wild grasses and stone fruits work well together and get the mouth watering.  In the mouth is a lively, welcoming combination of lemon candy, lime and the wonderful crispness that we expect from a well-made Sauvignon Blanc.  We tasted this at room temperature of 67° like we do most wines to really capture the aromas.  There's a zippy finish that presents hints of river rock and we think this wine is a keeper!

2019 Pope Valley Winery Sauvignon Blanc Back Label


ABV:  14.37%

Napa Valley, CA

1,050 cases produced

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100



Friday, February 12, 2021

2017 Patel Winery Sauvignon Blanc

 

2017 Patel Winery Sauvignon Blanc

I wish you all could have been here to experience this wine with me.  That's not me bragging, but rather telling you that you are missing out on an incredible opportunity if you don't seek out this wine!  For Sauvignon Blanc lovers, this wine will prove to be something out of the ordinary and wonderfully delicious.  This wine was tasted at room temperature (67°) as are all of our white wines.

Most of the time when we think of Sauvignon Blanc, we think brightness and lemongrass.  And most of the SB on the market taste very similar - until now.  The 2017 Patel Winery Sauvignon Blanc is unlike any in recent memory.  Medium golden in the glass with focused aromas of lemon peel, nutty cheese and dried spices.   The  wine has a fuller mouthfeel than most Sauvignon Blanc, but does not feel weighted or heavy in any way.  The flavors of lemon candy, basil, mint and oak are dominant but again, a lovely, smooth mild cheese flavor presents itself in the back end.  In some ways this wine is reminiscent of a fresh Caprese salad with the freshness and flavors.  And this wine would be an amazing pairing to that salad.  Do yourself a favor and seek out this wine directly from the winery in the link above.  I think it will knock your socks off, too!
 
2017 Sauvignon Blanc Patel Winery

ABV:  14.2%

Napa Valley, CA

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2017 Farmhouse White

2017 Farmhouse White wine

The 2017 Farmhouse White from Cline Cellars mixes it up and stands out from most white blends because of the uniqueness of the six varietals that are the backbone of this refreshing beauty.  Medium golden with loads of honeycomb and warm tropic fruits on the nose.  Hints of wildflower appear as this wine warms to (my) proper drinking temperature (which is room temperature).  Blended with Palomino (41%), Muscat Canelli (25%), Roussanne (22%), Marsanne (6%), Viognier (5%) and Riesling (1%), this wine provides a crisp and slightly sweet flavor profile of tropical fruits, pear preserves, key lime pie and cantaloupe. The finish is solid and this wine should be taken seriously, because it is one that will bring you back over and over again.  I would recommend this with raw veggies and dill dip or bruschetta that is high in garlic content.

2017 Farmhouse White wine label

ABV:  13.5%

California

Suggested retail price:  $15.00

Drink The Bottles score:  87/100


Thursday, July 5, 2018

2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling

2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling

Full disclosure:  I have absolutely no experience with Idahoan wines.  Well, that's not true.  The first one I tried a few weeks ago was corked, but that happens to wines from any region so it's a loss and shouldn't be symbolic of the wines in general.   Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss this 2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling from the Snake River Valley AVA of Idaho.  I actually leaped at the chance to taste these wines because I love discovering AVA's and producers that I'm not familiar with.   If this 100% Riesling is indicative of what this region can produce, they've got a real winning combination with grapes and terroir.  

If you love sweet white wines then this is your jam!  If sweet wines turn you off, find something else to drink.  I started out with this well-chilled and the honeysuckle, pear, peach and wildflower aromas were really prevalent.  As I've said dozens of times, I taste nearly all of my wines around room temperature to get a true picture of the flavor profile, but chilling this wine seemed appropriate, and it was indeed!  When you put this in the back of the throat, it is literally mouth-watering and overall, this wine is very welcoming with mellow flavors of apricot, and hints of powdered graphite and candied lemon rind.   This wine wants you needing another sip and I think it is a very agreeable with salty ham and cheese pinwheels, New York style cheesecake or even spicy Thai food.  If you're unfamiliar with wines from Idaho, I highly recommend you give this one a try.

2016 Ste Chapelle Special Harvest Riesling label

ABV:  12.0%

Snake River Valley, Idaho

Suggested retail price:  $11.99

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

Frey Ranch Bottled In Bond Straight Rye Whiskey

On a 1,500 acre farm in Fallon, Nevada comes some of the best whiskey we have tasted to date.  The Frey family has been farming this ground ...