Remember when life felt more free? It’s almost hard to fathom at this point. We are stuck. It’s an earthly lifetime purgatory. Sure, it’s not all bad–more time to get things done, etc… but when you think about it, we are stalled. No one is going anywhere. This has been going on for over a month now with no clear end in sight.
Again, we try to find the positives, right? One of them has been our weekly wine webinars with Florida Wine Academy each Wednesday and Friday. We just “celebrated” the fifth Friday this past week with a blind tasting webinar along with a fabulous guest host, Nick Jackson, MW. It was fun to test our skills and learn new tricks for blind tasting. I’m looking forward to reading Nick’s book and practicing more.
I’m also starting my WSET classes with Nicole Ramos through Florida Wine Academy. Each week on Thursdays, we have a virtual classroom through Zoom. I’ve been meaning to get into WSET for a while now, and I finally have the time (see, more time). This is another highlight of our lockdown.
I’m grateful for our kitties who have kept us sane. Little Hank and Roy have been such wonderful entertainment throughout our quarantined life, and I’m so thankful that we adopted them when we did. Animals are angels and are always there when you need them the most.
Now, back to the wines!
Chehalem Mountain AVA, Oregon
Have you ever had an orange wine you really liked? I’ll admit that I haven’t had many, but this one was a pleasure. From Day Wines out in Oregon, Tears of Vulcan is a blend of 44% Viognier, 36% Pinot Gris, and 20% Muscat made in a skin contact style. The color of the wine truly matched my orange tabby (not pictured here).
I loved the aromatics, of course. The Viognier really adds some lovely floral aromas along with citrus and tropical fruits. On the palate, very dry with some of that texture that orange wines have alongside a fuller body. If you’re not into more natural wines and skin contact whites, it can be difficult to truly appreciate these wines, but I’d say that this bottle is a great intro into that world. It’s not offensive, and has three perfectly blended grapes that make the wine a delight. You can order a bottle from Day Wines or 305wines.com.
This was one of the wines that Florida Wine Academy included in their “blind tasting” webinar last Friday. It was the second of three and my favorite of all of them. A heavier-bodied Cabernet with mixed red and black fruit flavors, along with some blueberries and cocoa and a strong tannin structure. I’ll admit that I didn’t get Australia as a region when tasted blind until my second guess, but that’s good enough for right now.
We tasted this wine as part of our WSET 2 class on the first night. I’ll admit that it wasn’t my favorite at first sip, but I did enjoy it with some beef tacos later, and it was a wonderful pairing with the acidity of the tomato salsa and the fattiness of the meat. The breakdown of the blend is 70% Corvina, 25% Rodinella, and 5% Molinara. Aromas included fresh red cherries, sour cranberries, currants, bay leaves, and some vanilla and baking spices. On the palate, the flavors mirrored the aromas in a medium-bodied wine with a shorter finish. Let’s say, overall a good wine without any complications, but it may need a little help (like some food) to really come into its own.
Ah, Alsace. What a place, right? This medium-sweet Gewürztraminer is just heaven. Another WSET 2 wine, but one on the “outstanding” side of the spectrum. Medium gold with lots of lychee and tropical fruits bought floral aromas dance around on the nose. Mango, rose, honeysuckle are all descriptors. Fully balanced with a long, tantalizing finish. I could enjoy this kind of wine regularly. Another perfect purchase from 305wines.com.
Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (Conca del Riu Anoia DO), Spain
This bottle was a fabulous find from Happy Wine Miami. A dry, subtle sparkling rosado wine from Spain with a hint of pink color from Monastrell. Typical blend like in a Cava (Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Parellada, Monastrell). I found this wine to be on the more Extra Brut side as it is very dry, which was nice! Super crisp and refreshing with light, unripe red fruit flavors, and excellent minerality. Raventós is part of a new DO called Conca del Riu Anoia, which is separate from Cava in Cataluyna.
Viña Real Rosado, 2019
Here is a rosado wine I received as a sample from Viña Real winery in Rioja Alavesa, which is part of the CVNE brand in Spain. The color of this wine is very shocking pink–like neon wild-caught salmon in the glass. It’s beautiful, really. On the nose, there are aromas of super-ripe red cherries and some red apple and apricot. The palate is clean and not complicated with lots of ripe cherry flavor dominating. The blend is Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Viura. Though I usually like to drink my rosés very chilled, I did notice that with this wine the flavors were muted when it was cold but were revealed in a bigger way as the wine warmed up. Think about this wine as a nice option for hot outdoor activities like boating/beach/pool.
Domaine Bousquet is one of my favorite Argentine producers for many reasons. For one, their wines are all of great quality and value. In fact, many can be found at your local retailer for under $15. I’ve written about Anne Bousquet and her husband, Labid, and their family history in the Tupungato area of Mendoza before, as the story is quite incredible. Anne’s father developed the area into a sustainably grown organic vineyard back when the land was completely desolate desert. It’s amazing to see what they have accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.
The Malbec Reserve from Domaine Bousquet is a beautifully dark and inky wine, with a color of deep purple. On the palate, you’ll find blackberries, prunes, and a hint of something spicy–like vanilla. The tannins are round and full and so is the body. This is not a shy wine, but one to be enjoyed with food, especially if preparing a typical Argentine lomo. I did have it on its own, which is perfectly acceptable too, as the wine is bold but approachable.
For more on Domaine Bousquet, tune into the radio station 88.9FM WDNA in Miami this Wednesday, April 22nd at 11AM for Linda Gassenheimer’s “Food, News, & Views” show to hear from Anne Bousquet and her husband, Labid Al Ameri, about their commitment to sustainability and organic grape-growing.