Turkey, Kalecik Karasi, Reserve, Vinkara, Kalecik, Ankara, 2012

For best results open bottle 20-30 minutes before enjoying and possibly decant. There are a few reduced aromas that need to waft off.

N/ On her nose she has game, crushed slate, forest floor, and brooding black and blue fruits. There is also a cherry scented sweetness. Rich barrel room wafts from the use of oak.

T/ Both her alcohol and tannins are moderate. The acid is moderate+ and frames some clean minerals flavors. The black and blue fruit notes are nicely secondary to the mineral and acid show.

This is a complex and very interesting wine who’s acid and mineral profile, coupled with restrained fruits, should make her pair very well with a wide range of foods.

www.vinkarawines.com

Price = $25

Overall = A –

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

From the winery…

Kalecik Karasi, pronounced Kah-le-djic-car-ah-ser (with ‘er’ as in ‘father’) is an indigenous red grape varietal. Often compared to Pinot Noir, Kalecik Karasi is medium bodied with bright red aromas of blackberry, strawberry and cherry, a unique spice on the palate, and a fresh and elegant finish.

About Vinkara

Surrounded by nearby mountains, Vinkara’s 135 acres of vineyards are planted at 2,000 feet above sea level. The vineyards are naturally influenced by a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Aside from the climate’s impact, the soil, comprised of sand, clay and limestone with high mineral content contributes to successful vine growth. Grapes are all hand-picked then sorted and fermented separately.

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Turkey, Narnice, Vinkara, Kalecik, Ankara, 2013N/ Yellow apples, yellow pear, stone fruits like apricot and just ripe peaches. She also has yellow grasses, touches of chalk and minerals, and some buttered notes. The nose seems to be a mix between Old World sauvignon blanc and New World chardonnay.

T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Her flavors are much crisper that her nose indicates – with tart green apple and under-ripe peaches.

There is both a refreshing acidity here and some clean mineral notes.

This is a fun and delicious wine with enough sweet notes to please a crowd and also enough minerals and intrigue to please wine nuts.

www.vinkarawines.com

Price = $13 – $18

Overall = A –

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

From the winery…

Narince, pronounced Nah-rin-djeh (meaning ‘delicately’ in Turkish) is a white grape originating from Tokat province in the Black Sea wine growing region of Turkey. Narince is straw yellow colored with floral notes, tropical fruit and citrus aromas on the nose, round on the palate, medium bodied yet with great acidity.

About Vinkara

Surrounded by nearby mountains, Vinkara’s 135 acres of vineyards are planted at 2,000 feet above sea level. The vineyards are naturally influenced by a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Aside from the climate’s impact, the soil, comprised of sand, clay and limestone with high mineral content contributes to successful vine growth. Grapes are all hand-picked then sorted and fermented separately.

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Chile, Rose of Syrah, Concha y Toro, Casillero del Diablo, Reserva, Valle Central, 2015Rose of syrah, cinsault, and carmenere.

N/ Light wafts of strawberries, raspberries, dried hay, wild herbs, and wet cement.

T/ Light mouthfeel. Appropriately refreshing. Strawberry and red berry flavors with some nicely balanced acidity.

Fun, just as it should be.

13% alcohol

www.casillerodeldiablo.com

Price = $11

N = B+
T = B
I = B+
Overall = B+

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Chardonnay, Castello di Amorosa, Napa ValleyFirst off, if you’ve never been to the Castle near Calistoga, you must give it a visit. Here is my earlier write up on it… http://www.brainwines.com/winery-visit-castello-di-amorosa-calistoga-napa-valley-california/.

CdA offers a wide selection of wines, and here I want to compare and contrast two of their 2013 chardonnays…

Napa Valley 2013 chard… ($29)

N/ Fresh rain, river rocks, and dense but elegant wafts of butter, spice and wood play.

T/ Full mouthfeel. Full tropical fruits, green apples, nice soft and deep flavors accompanied by defined mineral notes.

The Bien Nacido 2013 chard… ($38)

N/ Crushed rocks covered with melted butter. Tropical fruit medley. Coconut oil smeared on toast. Delightful.

T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Tropical fruits and very ripe apples. Soft and deep. Minerals and slate. So much fruit but enough acid to have nice balance.

These are both crowd pleasers to be sure.

I’d pair the Napa Valley version with heavier meals than the Bien Nacido, but both are quite versatile.

Both wines get an overall rating of A-.

http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/

“TOUR AND TASTING INQUIRIES:
For reservations please call 707-967-6272
or email: tours@castellodiamorosa.com”

Chardonnay, Castello di Amorosa, Bien Nacido

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Argentina, Malbec, Trivento, Golden Reserve, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, 2013C/ One of the darker malbecs I’ve ever seen – almost black. Upon swirling appears like black neon blood with a beet juice floater.

Pro tip: whenever a “floater” is offered with a cocktail, just do it.

N/ A lurid tarn from Edgar Allan Poe’s prose. Gobsmacked with deep oak aromas, black musty soil, black and purple fruits, petroleum, swampy organics, and crushed slate. She even has some wild herb notes. There is a lot going on here, most of it dark and earthy. Love it. Screams for game or steak.

T/ Medium full mouth feel. Moderate tannin. Elevated alcohol but does not nose or taste hot. While she has the expected large fruit payload of black and purple flavors, she also has a surprising balance between the acid, fruits, and ample oak notes. Sold mineral and stone notes complete her.

I’m pretty sure I could actually feel my teeth turning purple as I drank this.

http://www.excelsiorwines.com/wine/trivento-golden-reserve-malbec/

Price = $21

N = A
T = B+ / A-
I = A-
Overall = A-

From the winery:

“Winemaking The grapes are harvested by hand in mid-April. The grapes are cold macerated prior to fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Natural malolactic fermentation follows. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, with an additional 12 months bottle aging prior to release. Food Pairing Enjoy with steaks, roasts, pasta dishes with robust sauces, and cheeses.”

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

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USA, Pinot Noir, Artesa, Estate Reserve, Carneros, Napa Valley, 2013

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N/ Bright cherries, raspberries, and cranberries. Light barbecue smoke and bacon. Forest floor and damp soil. Hints of vegetal, bell pepper, and crushed roses. T/ Medium to medium for the field. Moderate plus acid, cherries, black cherries, and raspberries. Inorganic and organic earth notes. Probably not truly here, but seems almost like residual sugar sweetness. […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montes, NapaAngel, Napa Valley, California, 2008

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Suggest decanting and waiting at least two hours before enjoying this wine. N/ Deep barrel room aromas, black fruits like black currants and black cherry. Bell peppers and the smell of a freshly grilled steak. Black soil, forest floor, pine needles, freshly crushed granite, flint, and gunpowder oh my. T/ Moderate plus tannin and moderate […]

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Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grey, Ventisquero, Glacier, Trinidad Vineyard, Single Block, Maipo Valley, 2013

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N/ The first aroma that hits you is smoldering campfire, this is followed by light vegtable wafts including a little bit of bell pepper. Then come plum skins, black cherry, black soil, earth, oak, and tobacco. With enough aeration the smoke and vegetables recede and she then has a beautiful nose. Definitely decant (at least […]

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Chile, Carménère, Ventisquero, Grey, Glacier, Maipo Valley, Trinidad Vineyard, 2013

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If you have had a few bottles of under $20 carménère in the past and have been put off by either the smoky and/or reduced aromas, you are in luck. This wine has none of those traits and is absolutely delicious, balanced, and elegant. N/ Dusty black fruits, wild herbs, multiple wood aromas, slate, and […]

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Spain, Sparkling, Cava, Brut Rose, Anna de Codorniu, DO Cava

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Made from 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay N/ Red apple, strawberry, fresh rain, hint of crushed rocks. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Surprisingly she has very nice ruby grapefruit flavors with some red apple skins as well. A mineral component is there but is a tad gentle. I wished for a little more complexity here but […]

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France, Sparkling, Crémant, Brut, Côté Mas, M, Jean-Claude Mas & St. Hilaire, Limoux, Languedoc

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N/ Salt/marine, red apple skins, toast, hay, oyster shells, and light notes of crushed rock. T/ medium mouthfeel. Salty sea spray on freshly cut, ripe red apples. Clean lines of mineral and salt. She closes with a lingering crisp apple taste and a lime zest mouth-water. Extended finish. Bravo. At this price? For a non […]

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How I prepare Brussel Sprouts – Simple Recipe

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Wash After trimming put into bowl Cover with wet paper towel Microwave for 3 minutes While still hot from microwave cook on high heat in oil (I use coconut or olive) Caramelize to extent you like Right before turning off heat melt in some butter and mix Sprinkle soy sauce to taste Crowd favorite every time! […]

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New Zealand, Pinot Noir, Loveblock, Central Otago, 2012

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N/ She leads with spice, lovely wood notes, and violets. Cherry and black cherry bathed in exotic spices. Black pepper, paprika, and bacon. Smoky dust. And then more lovely bacon. Really lovely. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Cherry, red berries, and a little cranberry pucker. Soft wood and earth notes. Clean mineral flavors on her close. http://loveblockwine.com/ http://terlatowines.com/new-wines/new-zealand/loveblock Price […]

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Italy, Sangiovese, Chianti Classico, Cecchi, Tuscany, Chianti, 2012

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90% sangiovese N/ Red berries, blueberries, earth, river rocks, wild herbs, the smell of the countryside after a rain. Lovely. T/ Medium mouthfeel. Red and blue fruits, great earth, mushroom, light game, and mineral notes. Acid work is perfect for a variety of dishes. http://cecchi.net/en/ Price = $22 N = A T = A- I […]

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Spain, Tempranillo, Campo Viejo, 2013

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N/ Red berries, cassis, brick dust, tobacco, crushed slate, eucalyptus, smoky forest floor, black soil. Earthy loveliness. T/ Medium weight mouthfeel. Red berries, ripe cranberry, smoked meats. Delicious wood, tobacco, and cedar notes. The flavors of sweet boysenberries without the sugary notes. Mineral and acid dancing on her close, which begs for another sip. Absolutely delicious. Flat out […]

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USA, Pinot Noir, Anaba, Sonoma Coast, California, 2012

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N/ Cherry, raspberry, roses, cedar, a touch of white pepper, and cracked flint. T/ Light to medium mouthfeel. Clean cherry and raspberry flavors with nice wood tones. Mineral and acid presence very well balanced with the fruit. She closes with a pleasant lingering spice note. Very nice Sonoma Coast pinot example with an attractive price point. Alcohol […]

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France, Red blend, Michel Chapoutier, Cotes du Roussillon Villages, Bila-Haut, 2014

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Red blend of syrah, grenache and carignan. N/ Black cherry, plum skins, compote, multiple aromatic herbs like sage and rosemary, and tobacco leaf. The smell of a walk in wild country. Outstanding. T/ Medium mouthfeel. A large payload of black cherry, black berry, and savory notes all with a nicely balanced gentle sweetness. Her close […]

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USA, Chardonnay, La Rocca, Castello di Amorosa, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Barbara, Napa Valley, California, 2013

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N/ Tropical fruits, green apples, seaspray, and fresh canvas. Incense and chamomile. Fresh rain with a hint of flint. 2-3 out of 10 on the butterscotch scale, which is perfect. Beautiful and complex. T/ Medium mouth feel. Delicious green and yellow apples with some light tropical fruits and lime notes as well.  Lasting mineral close. […]

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Italy, Vermentino and Chardonnay, Mazzoni, Bianco Di Toscana, Montalcino, Toscana, 2014

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White blend of 75% vermentino and 25% chardonnay. N/ Fresh rain, soft yellow grasses, seaspray, green apples, light tropical fruits, and toast points. Lovely. T/ Medium mouth feel. Fresh melon and pear flavors with lime zest dancing about. Popping acid work. Clean lines and nice mineral presence. The aging on lees this wine had was just […]

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Argentina and Chile, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, Amancaya, Gran Reserva, Bodegas Caro, Les Domaines Barons De Rothschild (Lafite) (Chile) & Catena (Argentina), Mendoza, 2012

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Red blend of: 60-70% Malbec and 30-40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Rated two hours after decanting. N/ Plum skins, complex spices, red berries, wet rocks, gunpowder, forest floor, warm cherry pie, wild herbs and lavender. Wow! T/ Medium full to full mouth feel. Deep flavors of liquid plum skins, black fruits, blackberries, and blueberries. Matured and solid […]

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