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For my friends who have never seen active fermentation in process, this video shows some yeast going to town.

(Para os meus amigos que nunca viram o processo de fermentação, este vídeo mostra algumas leveduras tendo muita diversão).

Homebrew Four Active Fermentation 07JULY2014

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Sauvignon Blanc Snoqualmie Washington 2013 223x300 USA, Sauvignon Blanc, Snoqualmie, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2013N/ Sun-bleached rocks, green apple skins, light yellow fruits, lime zest, and sunshine.

Cat aroma scale 1 out 10, which is the absolute perfect amount to let you know that it is sauvignon blanc, but without the offensive aromas that sometimes plague greener versions of this grape.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Lean, mineral driven green apples and refreshing citrus. Lime juice spritzed upon river rocks. Excellent acid work.

Somewhat amazingly, while she has a lean minerality that I absolutely adore, she also has a little bit of sweetness that darts in and out. Truly a fantastically interesting wine for the price point.

Winemaker = Joy Andersen

https://www.snoqualmie.com/wines/2013-sauvignon-blanc

Price = $8 (crazy great price for this fun wine)

N = A-

T = A

I = A

Overall = A

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

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USA Red Blend Whistle Stop Snoqualmie Columbia Valley Washington 2012 USA, Red Blend, Whistle Stop, Snoqualmie, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2012Red blend of: 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot

N/ Deep and dusty plum jam wafts, mesquite wood, paprika, black, wet soil.

T/ Medium-full to full mouthfeel. Round, black fruit flavors with a touch of barbecue spices. While she has an ample fruit payload, she also has some nice, clean lines of minerals and wood. While one of her attributes that could make her a crowd-pleasing wine is her round suppleness, for me, there is just a little too much of that.

I wish that the clean lines mentioned earlier carried through all the way to the finish, but they just don’t quite make it.

Other than that, this is very well crafted for the price.

I would recommend this for a party wine.

Winemaker = Joy Andersen

https://www.snoqualmie.com/wines/2010-whistle-stop-red-blend

Price = $10

Alcohol = 13.6%

N = A-

T = B

I = A-

Overall = B / B+

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

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USA Chardonnay Wente Riva Ranch Heritage Block Arroyo Seco Monterey 2012 USA, Chardonnay, Wente, Riva Ranch, Heritage Block, Arroyo Seco, Monterey, California, 2012N/ Rich and full. Wonderful butterscotch and oil waft well for the fans of such, but restrained in such a manner that even those of us who are not partial that profile can really enjoy this nose. Luscious yellow fruits, clean notes of oak, and slate.

T/ Full mouthfeel. Wow, this one is huge. In a very good way. Massive yellow fruits with a mouthwatering acid backbone and clean wood lines. This is a very well-crafted “California chardonnay.”

This will not only be a big hit for those who already love the style, but can also please those who may claim they are tired of it. Balance and elegance here in abundance.

A job very well done.

As I’ve said about Wente before….. “If you love Chard, do yourself a favor and try this one. Fantastic Q2PR here.”

Winemaker = Karl D. Wente

https://www.wentevineyards.com/wines/2012-riva-ranch-chardonnay

Price = $22

N = A

T = A-

I = A

Overall = A

This wine was a media sample kindly provided the winery.

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I was at a fab party in Sonoma a few months back that was bursting at the gills with great, and varied, wines and local winemaker royalty.  Admission price to the party was an interesting bottle of wine. Aside from two that were clearly jokes, there were approximately 40 other fascinating offerings.

I was, predictably, like a kid in a candy store if there was one where the kid spit out all the yummy offerings into a Solo cup so he would not burst the seams of his toughskins. Mine were always green.

 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

candy solo 150x150 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

 

 

toughskins 300x138 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

 

 

Three wines stood out from the sea of awesomeness.  They were from Abiousness, Bruliam, and Bacigalupi.

Bacigalupi Abiouness Bruliam Pinot Noir 300x125 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

 

 

 

What do these three wines have in common?  All are made by winemakers who are women.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was privileged to meet with Nicole and John of Abiousness wines. Two lovely folks and, as I suspected from the previous party sips, Nicole makes wines exactly like I think they should be crafted…. balanced, lively acid work, clean lines of fruit and wood, and “feminine.”

Now that last word is arguably hard to define objectively, but like that senator who spoke about the definition of pornography – well, you know it when you see it.  In this case, taste it. It is rare for me to visit with a winery and give A’s to everything I tried, but it happened here.

The wines

DSC00211 300x118 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

 

 

 

Amrita, White Blend, 2013, 200 cases, $22

N/ Dripping honey, more honey, white flowers.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Very nice weight. Gorgeous on the pallet. Grapefruit, acid, white flower reduction. Surprisingly extended finish. Peach notes kiss you on the way out.

Overall = A


Pinot Noir, Rose, Carneros, 2013, 160 cases, $18

N/ A gorgeous, unexpected blast of minerals introduce you to light raspberry and strawberry flavors. Dried hay. Old world style and proud of it.

T/ Strawberries, raspberries, and guava. Citrus and dried hay. Extended lime and slate close.

Overall = A


Pinot Noir, Silacci, Santa Lucia, 2009, 70 cases, $45

N/ Sage, violets, and briar patch. Deep, black cherry notes. Crushed rocks.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Clean, crisp, lively flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, and a nice minerality. Some spicy Burgundian type notes on yet another extended finish. Slate taps you on the way out.

Overall = A

Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch, Carneros, 2011

N/ Savory notes, sage, cherry pop, and light spice. A long mineral waft with light smoke and delicious notes of taffy.

T/ Medium-full mouthfeel. She has a sweet mid-section. Black cherry and cherry notes abound. Another run at the Burgundian type spice here. Simply a treat.

Overall = A-

DSC00208 300x228 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness
DSC00210 300x225 Winery Visit / Winemaker Focus / Abiouness Wines / Nicole Abiouness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please visit them here: http://www.abiounesswines.com/

Winemaker  = Nicole Abiouness 

Wines were generously provided by the winery as media samples.

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mandolin, Central Coast AVA, Hames Valley, Paso Robles, California, 2012

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N/ Round wafts of black cherry and cassis. Old, wet wood, forest floor, and granite. Hints of tomato leaf and paprika.T/ Medium full to full mouthfeel. Big, bold flavors of plum skin, black cherry, chocolate, and cassis. A few untamed, tannic, bites, but multiple layers and luscious fruits. She also, thankfully, has some clean lines […]

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France, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Domaine de la Perrière, Cher, 2013

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N/ Unfortunately, for me, the cat/ammonia aromas are too high on this wine. I give it about a 6-7 out of 10 on my cat scale. Some people really enjoy that aroma, I simply don’t, so don’t let that scare you away from this wine if you do enjoy that smell. Underneath that I get […]

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Italy, Garganega, Soave, ReMidas, Cantina di Soave, Soave DOC, 2012

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N/ Honeysuckle, lime zest, yellow flowers, light Vaseline. Fresh rain on cement. Cream Brulé and toast points. Lovely.T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. A very nice balance between a lightly  coating mouthfeel, and ample, lime zested acid work. Yellow apples, honeydew, and pineapples. Medium long finish with a touch of mouthwatering lime. http://www.cantinasoaveusa.com/re-midas-soave.php Price = a […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Kaiken, Ultra, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, 2011

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Red blend of: 96% malbec and 4% cabernet sauvignon. N/ Massive black fruits, black plums, sweet black pepper, brick dust and crushed rocks. Lime zest smeared across Baker’s chocolate, if I may be Dr. Dorkus. T/ Medium-full mouth feel. She starts with an unexpected, lively, acidic intro of black fruits, and deep black plum flavors. Nice […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Kaiken, Terroir Series, Corte, Mendoza, 2011

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Red blend of: 80% malbec, 12% bonarda, and 8% petit verdot. N/ Black fruits, black plums, leather, canvas, and crushed rocks. Acid kissed, dry black soil. Hint of cherry taffy. T/ Medium-full to full mouth feel. Round and woody on her start, she then delivers a deep black fruits, boysenberry and plum meat midsection. Her […]

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Portugal, Vinho Verde, White Blend, Aveleda, Casal Garcia (Em Português tambem)

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Note: this is a non-vintage, highly-affordable wine that way over delivers…. This wine was made for spring and summer, I suggest stocking up on it. White blend of: trajadura, loureiro, arinto, and azul. N/ Dried hay, sea salt, sun-baked slate, rain, and wet cement in the most agreeable way possible. T/ Medium-full mouth feel which […]

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Winery Visit, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Healdsburg, California

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Jordan Vineyard & Winery The Jordan grounds are a sight to behold.  The approaching road winds through beautiful country and lulls one into the thought they must be approaching a modest farmhouse teeming with disheveled chickens pecking about, goats with neck bells clanging, and wafts of barnyard. Instead, the road takes a decidedly manicured turn […]

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Italy, Sparkling, Brut Rosé, Franciacorta, Contadi Castaldi, Lombardia

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65% chardonnay, and 35% pinot nero C/ Gorgeous cantaloupe / copper and light pink coloration. N/ Strawberries, rose petals, light bread, and stone fruits. Hint of lime zest. Lovely. T/ Creamy, medium-full mouthfeel.  Wow, the acid work gets one’s mouth watering right away. Delicious layers of raspberry and strawberry flavors are refined yet power packed. Clean, […]

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USA, Sauvignon Blanc, Gallegos, St. Helena, Somerston Estate, Napa Valley, California, 2012

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N/ Thankfully, no cat aromas whatsoever. Fresh rain, pears, wet concrete and crisp, dried hay. T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Clean, acid dancing, layers of light yellow fruits, soft hay notes, and hints of pineapple. An extended lime juice and light mineral close. Very impressive, this would be absolutely perfect on a warm sunny day, […]

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USA, Zinfandel, Gnarly Head, Old Vine, Lodi, California, 2012

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N/ Nutmeg, coconut, and clove on her start. Red berries, taffy, and a hint of rock. Crushed bricks. T/ Medium-full mouthfeel. Pronounced red berries and red fruits. While the fruit payload is clearly dominating, there is a light backbone of minerals, and a decent acid pop that lends some balance. This is one of those […]

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USA, Rosé, Mourvèdre, Stinson Vineyards, Monticello, Virginia, 2012

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100% mourvèdre N/ Suggest you wait at least 20 to 30 minutes after opening this bottle as some reduced aromas needed to escape, at least from the bottle I had. After the short wait, she delivers nice Rosé hallmarks of fresh bracing fruit and raspberries, with a very nice mineral and rock presence. T/ Medium mouthfeel. […]

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Italy, Sparkling, Brut, Franciacorta, Antica Fratta, Lombardia

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N/ Clean marine wafts, oyster shells, dried beach. Hay and yellow grasses. T/ Light mouthfeel. Bottle of sunshine with a spritz of salt and lime zest. Steamed hay. Extended steel, flint, and green apple skins on her close. Absolutely delightful. http://www.anticafratta.com/en/ Also, a well-translated and information packed descriptor here… http://www.anticafratta.com/pdf-eng/brut.pdf Alcohol = 12.5% Price = […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pine Ridge, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, 2010

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Rated 45 minutes after opening the bottle, no decant necessary. Red blend of: 90% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 1% cabernet franc, and 1% merlot. N/ Deep notes of black cherry and rich cassis, with mature, and in this one case, delicious tomato leaf aromas. Black soil. Forest floor. Mesquite wood. Baker’s chocolate and slate. […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Smith Madrone, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, 2009

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N/ Right after decanting she started off a bit rough with a couple off aromatics reminiscent of tomato leaf and  green bell pepper. However, after about 30 minutes all those vapors vanished and out blossomed a lovely Napa Cabernet. Lightly smoked cassis and black cherry. Canvas, slate, and light gunnysack. Suggest decanting and waiting at […]

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60 Second Wine Country Restaurant Recommendation – Umé Bistro, Windsor, Sonoma, California

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Care to work in some sushi on your wine country trip to Sonoma? If yes, just get right off the freeway in Windsor and tuck in here… http://umebistro.com/ To the right of the entrance is one cozy room, or the larger room to the left. When I go to a new sushi place I usually […]

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