France, White Blend, Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns, Côtes du Rhône, 2015Blend of white grenache (60%) and clairette (40%).

N/ White and red flowers, honeysuckle, marine wafts, chamomile tea, light citrus, strawberries, and river rocks.

T/ Medium mouth feel. Very nice acid. Fresh and light. Citrus and mineral flavors dominate. Yellow grasses, light spice, and chamomile.

http://www.ferraton.fr/wines/cotes-du-rhone-samorens-white-ferraton.html

Price = $14

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

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

From the winery…

“SOIL

Essentially clay-limestone soil.

VINIFICATION

After pressing, the must is cold-settled for 48 hours. Fermentation temperatures are controlled.

MATURING

Maturing in vats without malolactic fermentation.

Early bottling at the end of winter.

TASTING

Colour: bright, pale golden colour with silver hints.

Nose: Aromas of white flowers and white fruits.

Palate: Nicely balanced wine, the Clairette brings the freshness and the white Grenache brings the body and softness.”

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USA, Chardonnay, artesa, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, 2013N/ While she certainly has the deep notes of butter one expects in most ripe and malolactic California chardonnays, she also has lovely aromas of flowers, toast, fresh rain, and pineapple. Delightful.

T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Rich flavors of pineapple, passion fruit, and other tropicals. A clean and limey acid cuts through the fruit and begs for a next sip.

Best extra cold and at least 30 minutes after opening the bottle.

Price = $40

http://www.artesawinery.com/

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

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

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Spain, Rose, Cune, Rosato, Rioja, 2015N/ Her nose leads with crushed rocks, then ample red berries and ripe red apples with skins.

T/ Light to medium mouth feel. Very nice acid popping flavors of ripe red apples and raspberries.

Interestingly, some savory and wild herb flavors as well, which I was not expecting.

Note: I would pair this wine with oysters or light seafood, or simply enjoy without food.

Price = $13

http://www.cvne.com/

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

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

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Argentina, Malbec, Rutini, Encuentro, Mendoza, 2013
N/ Purple and black fruits, plum skins, paprika, the smell of barbecue, black soil, white pepper, wild herbs.

T/ Medium full to full mouthfeel. She starts with an elegant mouth-coating bombardment of purple fruits balanced by robust wood tones and a nice acid presence.

I paired this wine with a pan seared porterhouse and it was a match made in heaven.

Price = $19

http://rutiniwines.com/?lang=en

N= A
T = A-
I = A-
Overall = A-

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

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Spain, Viura, Monopole, Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana, CVNE, Rioja, 2015N/ Fresh rain, spring water, white flowers, citrus, sea spray, and wild grasses.

T/ Light mouthfeel. Elevated acidity with great mineral notes leads to subtle flavors of citrus, green apple, and chamomile.

http://www.cvne.com/en/ct-vino/monopole/

Price = $13

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

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

“About CVNE

CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay) also known as Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España – was founded in 1879 by brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa in Haro, Rioja and is still family-owned and family-operated by direct descendants of the founders, Victor and Maria Urrutia. CVNE’s philosophy has always been, and continues to be grounded in an ongoing quest for achieving excellence in the aging of wine, and modernizing the processes for producing and crafting its wines.

The CVNE Portfolio includes three wineries that symbolize the three essential principles that have always characterized CVNE’s philosophy: a respect of heritage evident at the historic Cune Winery where the highly-acclaimed Imperial wines are produced; the embrace of new technology and innovation in the James Bond-inspired Viña Real Winery; and the expression of terroir embodied at the Contino Winery, the first single estate winery in Rioja.”

For further information, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/bodega.cvne

https://twitter.com/cvne

http://www.youtube.com/cvnewines

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

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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 […]

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Turkey, Narnice, Vinkara, Kalecik, Ankara, 2013

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N/ 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 […]

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Chile, Rose of Syrah, Concha y Toro, Casillero del Diablo, Reserva, Valle Central, 2015

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Rose 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+ […]

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USA, Chardonnay, Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley and Bien Nacido Vineyard, 2013

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First 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 […]

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Argentina, Malbec, Trivento, Golden Reserve, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, 2013

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C/ 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 […]

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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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