Balance & Burgundy

DSC00205This week was a BIG week for wine happenings in NYC: In Persuit of Balance, Burgundy 2013 vintage previews, and the start of La Paulée. In lieu of that, here’s a pretty visual post, with some of the standouts. I’m not saying anything here is a ‘bargain’, but… this is good juice! (p.s. yes, that is the river, frozen)


Domaine de la Cote, “la Cote”, Pinot Noir, Lompoc, CA 2012, $90


Liquid Farm, “Four” Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills, 2012, $74


Hirsch Vineyards, “Reserve” Estate Pinot Noir, 2012, $85


Knez Winery, Demuth Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2012, $47

Au Bon Climat, “Isabelle”, Pinot Noir, 2012, $41.99

Ceritas, “Old Shop Block Hellenthal Vineyard”, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2012, $78

Copain, “Brousseau Vineyard”, Chardonnay, Chalone, CA, 2013, $52

Twomey, “Monument Tree Vineyard”, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, 2012, $68

Tyler, “La Encantada”, Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills, CA, 2013, $60

Matthiasson, “Michael Mara Vineyard”, Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, 2013, $50

Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils, Chambertin-Clos de Beze Grand Cru Pinot Noir, 2013 (…not priced yet, but 2012 is at a cool $2,308)

Domaine Lignier-Michelot, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, FR (no pricing yet, 2012 currently at $100)




Almost Amarone


Amarone is some serious wine. Made in a unique process, and creating flavors unlike any other wines in the world, it also comes with a serious price tag. Not to worry, here’s a wine that is a compromise in price, but not in taste.

Veneto Map 2

Made in the Veneto region of Italy, Amarone is a wine made famous by the process of partially drying the grapes prior to pressing & fermentation, concentrating the flavors, in a theory similar to late-harvest wines. The grapes are left on large, flat palates for 120 days, reducing the weight by 35-45%. In Amarone the wines are fermented to dry, leaving no residual sugar, but leaving all the flavor, and an illusion of sweetness.

Amarone Drying 1Using the same grapes as Amarone, Alanera, Rosso Veronese, Zenato, 2012, is made primarily of the grape Corvina, the same as Amarone, and grown in the same area in Veneto. The name comes as a reference to the raven (“Corvino” in Italian), Alanera translates as “Black Wing”. This wine is like a semi-Amarone – 50% of the grapes are partially dried for 45-60 days in Sant’Ambrogio, where the producer also makes its Amarone. The result is great! Even though it’s a young wine (2012), the color is a bright ruby-red wine, and while it still shows so much fresh fruit, think cherries & raspberries, it also shows more complex layers of flavor, such as tobacco and prunes. The acidity keeps it fresh, and makes you want to come back for more… as does the price, retailing at $19.95 (?!).

Buy now. Drink now. (…or save for a few years I suppose).




A Pinot for Him & Her

Wanted to share a find that I encountered this week which is such a versatile & delicious wine – MacPhail Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2012. Even being the Pinot-crazy girl that I am, the breadth of ways this grape changes from region to region is still so mind boggling!

DSC00187While this wine comes in a little more expensive that I typically post, at $40, if you’re planning to splurge for Valentine’s Day, this will not disappoint. It’s a BIG expression of Pinot – fruit forward with lots of cherry & raspberry, with a big juicy mouthfeel. The finish is just right on the palate, with some clear tannin, but an even acid balance to keep you going back for more.

On trend with many new-world producers, there’s full disclosure on tCA Wine Maphe back label, and on the website even more – including everything down to the clones of Pinot Noir used in production. A clone is essentially a cut from a vine with specific qualities, that is re-propogated – i.e. good tolerance to cold, or ability to thrive in specific soil types. The specific sites of the vineyards are also given (it’s a blend of 8 different sites). Here’s a basic map of the CA wine regions ->

By way of CA production, James MacPhail is working on a small scale, producing only 5,000 cases annually, as that’s all his permit allows – but he seems very content with that, and if the wines keep turning out like this, I am too.


This is a crowd pleasing wine, and while it’s totally drinkable alone, it will hold up again some hearty meals as well, and I’d even go so far as to say a tender cut of steak would be on point. But, whatever your Valentine’s Day has in store – wine is always welcome!



American Classics

Once a year, even the wine-o’s have to ditch the fancy glassware (and our moral high-ground), and give in to solo cups and bottomless snacks… and that day is Super Bowl!

DSC00154American “Holiday” = American wine, so I brought one of my go-to American classics, Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc (2013). It’d be rare to find someone who doesn’t like this wine – it’s straight forward, well-made, crisp, and fruity. Missing are the overly lychee and green characteristics of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and instead it also gives a bit of minerality and peachy fruit – so refreshing! And since we’re pairing it with all sorts of different finger foods, a more neutral-style of wine works well. The retail on this wine is about $30DSC00170


The game had it’s high and it’s lows, but in the long run we all had fun, and a bit of celebrating in the end!



To finish the night I tried the Ciderboys, Mad Bark, Hard CiderDSC00180. Based out of Wisconsin, these guys are making moves in the growing cider industry in the US. While it was a bit too sweet & flavored for me (note: I’m just in general not a fan of sweeter drinks), I’m definitely in favor of promoting domestic cider, and there are some amazing ones hitting the markets recently! For a NY local favorite, check out Eve’s Cidery, based in Van Etten in the Finger Lakes.

Eve's Cidery