Still here self-isolating. It’s incredible to me that we have been at this for a full month. The last time we went to a restaurant, and the same day that we rescued the kitties was March 14th. Of course, I’ll never forget that day (adoption day), but now, it has much more significance.
When we got home with the cats, we didn’t really leave again, except for essentials. That weekend and into the beginning of the week, everything began to close down. Starting with some restaurants, and eventually the beaches, parks, and entire city. As the weeks have dragged on, and I say dragged because now they are, our lives as they are now and will be post-pandemic are taking shape. What this will all look like on the other side is still a mystery.
I digress! The wine!
I had the thought the other night that perhaps I’m getting bored of drinking (gasp!). I love wine, don’t get me wrong, and I love drinking wine in my living room, but I also love wine because it’s social and brings people and places together. That is totally a part of wine, and it’s missing right now. As much as I’m enjoying the webinars and Zoom happy hours, I’m also missing the in-person connection to the people and places that add that extra layer to enjoying wine.
However, the flip side to this problem is that tasting through different wines has given me a way to explore during this time of being locked down. This is how wine can take you places without ever leaving your own home. You can go to Burgundy, Bordeaux, Napa, or Rioja, and you can learn so much about a year, a producer, grapes, and your own senses. This is the gift of wine during this time!
Here are some additional bottles I’ve been drinking
This is another great find from Elden Selections. I’m increasingly more impressed with this site. If you’re into Burgundy wines, you must check it out and discover some new bottles. They focus on smaller producers and ship to the U.S.
Can we talk about the color of this wine? It is a beautiful, perfect ruby red. I loved the spiced red fruit on the nose like cherry and cranberry potpourri. Definitely a “woody” character to the aromas and reflected in the mouth, but that red fruit persisted. The fruit was surprisingly more youthful than I would have expected but slightly mellowed by age, surely, giving it a bit more of a dried character, with the secondary flavors coming to the forefront. Overall, an excellently complex Burgundy for the price ($52).
This bottle was a complete surprise to me! We picked it up at the suggestion of JC, owner at Happy Wine Miami, and I was a little confused as to why he was suggesting that we take a Crianza when he has so many great wines. Well, I should have known better than to question his judgment! This is a fantastic wine! Wow! For a relatively young wine and a Crianza level, I was blown away by how elegant and complex it is. Unfolding red fruit and peppery spice are the main flavors, but the layers and layers as the wine opens up are what is most impressive.
Elegant and smooth, this is not your typical economical wine. Definitely worth picking up a bottle, and if you are in Miami, I’m going to recommend swinging by Happy Wine on Calle Ocho and purchasing it there.
Let me explain the two Riojas here. Each week during our isolation period, Florida Wine Academy has been hosting webinars covering various topics in the wine world. On Wednesdays and Fridays, we tune in for about an hour and a half and enjoy a new wine tasting lesson, and it’s the best part of all of this mess. This past week, Friday’s webinar was on Tempranillo. Though these were not the specific wines that Alessandra had picked for her webinar, we chose to listen along and taste through the Crianza and this Gran Reserva.
Again, this was a WOW wine. Instead of the red fruit of the previous bottle, this bottle had more concentrated dark fruits and more “cooked” flavors. Such a sophisticated wine that I could drink it over and over again. Baking spices and vanilla seep through the mature fruit flavors for a well-rounded tasting experience with completely integrated tannins. We ordered this bottle through 305wines.com, another local wine shop here in Miami. Check it out!
I received this bottle as a sample some time ago, and I was looking forward to trying it. Under normal circumstances, it’s harder for me to get through samples quickly because I’m usually in and out to events, plus I have wines I have to review on a monthly basis for Biscayne Times. However, I’m using this time now to catch up on a few of these.
I was excited to try Cedar + Salmon because I do appreciate Washington reds. This was a beautifully smooth, inky wine with lots of dark fruit and dark chocolate aromas and flavors with a bit of peppery spice. It was the chocolate flavors that struck me as I enjoyed this bottle because the “darkness” dominated. The blend is actually 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, and 1% Malbec. Overall, smooth, easy-drinking Cabernet (blend), just as expected from Washington.
This is one of those bottles that is extremely enjoyable on its own, or in our case, with a big, juicy strip steak. Hope Dies Last is an intriguing label by producer, Arling Blaza, with the motto of “the darker side of Napa Valley Wines.” It’s a blend with some 40% Oakville Cabernet, 35% Calistoga Zinfandel, and 25% Rutherford Merlot for a serious 100% Napa Valley red. Dark fruits and cocoa are the primary flavors, with smooth, rounded tannins and a full body. We picked up this bottle at Happy Wine, and it’s part of the “Jacqueline Pack.”
I fell in love with Verdicchio recently when I was asked to pour wines from La Marche region at an Italian wines event. Though lesser known than say, a Pinot Grigio, I definitely think that Verdicchio is an underrated white wine. This bottle came with our Easter lunch that we ordered from Stiltsville restaurant on Miami Beach, and I was pleased to hear that the white wine choice was Verdicchio. It’s fresh and floral on the nose with citrus flavors joining in the palate for a crisp, clean finish.
Made from 100% Grand Cru grapes, this 70% Pinot Noir/30% Chardonnay rosé Champagne is another beautiful bottle from Mumm. It’s hard to find a bad product from this producer. Brut style drier Champagne with subtle red fruit flavors. Extremely crisp and refreshing for an afternoon of balcony-sitting while in quarantine. You’ll never go wrong with Mumm (great wine club to join for sparkling lovers!).
Now, this is an interesting way to drink wine. Movia’s Puro is shipped to the consumer without being disgorged, and it’s up to YOU to disgorge the wine in a bucket of water. I attempted this with success, but not after a bit of anxiety as to how the cork would really disengage from the bottle.
The wine is marketed as all-natural with no added sulphur or yeasts. A Pinot Noir sparkling rosé and quite an interesting wine. More savory, dried floral aromas and tart red fruit flavors in an orange/pink salmon-colored wine. A bone dry wine that will grow on you the more you drink it. If you’re used to sweeter style sparkling, this is probably not the best bet, although, we quite enjoyed it as an afternoon delight.
Jacqueline Coleman is a 4th-Generation Miamian, professional wine + travel writer, wine consultant, and wine judge for the American Fine Wine Competition & Key Biscayne Wine & Food Festival. She is the monthly "Vino" columnist for Biscayne Times, writes a quarterly wine column for the Miami-based foodie magazine, Let’s Eat, and is the "Through the Grapevine" wine contributor and consultant for South Florida Luxury Guide magazine. She is also a regular contributor to the Coravin company wine blog and Winetraveler.com.
A lifetime student of history and wine, Jacqueline has a passion for exploring the local cultural and culinary heritage and flare of her unique city. She received her formal wine education at the U.S. Sommelier Association, FIU Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Wine Program, The French Wine Society, and the International Sommelier Guild. You can follow her wine tasting events around South Florida, personal stories, travel adventures, and musings about the "wine lifestyle" on her blog, History & Wine (www.historyandwine.com).
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