29 Dec 2011
Bubbly, Champagne, Sparkling Wine – Celebration is a key component to life. Celebrating in life helps sustain momentum and creates positive motion. This New Year’s Eve many readers will be popping corks of all kinds. Check out the fun infographic from our friends at wine.com
Need a little bubbly to celebrate this weekend. Nectar Tasting Room has THREE great sparkling wines. Stop by for 15% off individual bottles and 20% off four or more.
Hard Row to Hoe – Good in Bed
This 2010 brut rose sparkler is made in the traditional methode champenoise way. Using 100% Lake Chelan grapes the 50/50 Pinot Noir / Sangiovese is a beautiful pink color, but not sweet. Enticing aromas of fresh cherry and raspberry with touch of rose petal fill the nose of this beautifully colored wine. On the palate, abundant cherry and strawberry flavors endure from the lush entry to the dry, very long and refreshing finish (retail $40)
2001 Northwest Cellars Brut & Brut Rose
These quality bubbles are made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley, OR. Bottled nearly 10 years ago, the wine is made in the traditional methode champenoise way. A delicious pale gold colour Brut with lively bubbles. Honeyed peaches, nectarine and apricot balance perfectly with tart green apple and lemon zest. The finish is clean and crisp lingering playfully on the palate. The brut rose is a delicate pink color that sparkles with bubbles. Raspberry and blackberry with a touch of quince, floral notes and spice settle into a finish of a lush berry compote. (Retail $31 and $33)
Brought To By Wine.com, Purveyors of Fine Wine and Champagne
07 Apr 2011
I’ve never been more compelled by a winery brochure and web site than when I started thumbing through and surfing the pictures of South Coast Winery. The grounds are breathtaking and the whole concept of a relaxing get away weekend with spa, pool, and Tuscan villas had me immediately daydreaming and planning my escape. A previous review included tastings of their GVR white blend, 06 Meritage blend, and Ruby Cuvee sparkler. Each wine showed very well and at attractive price points too. Voted California winery of the year (twice) and 2010 Winery of the Year, South Coast Winery, you may very well be the little slice of Italian heaven that I need right about now.
2010 South Coast Winery Sparkling Pinot Grigio
Want a pop of pineapple in your mouth? Pop open this amazingly crisp sparkler. The head of foam overwhelmed the glass on the pour and I had to do a double take as it looked like strands of hair dancing in the glass as the bubbles swayed from bottom to top. The aroma was bright and full of minerals, yeast, and lemon lime. On the sip, the wine was perfectly Pinot Gris with loads of citrus (specifically pineapple), and hints of wet stone. Chill this way down. When the wine starts to warm up, the tart finish throws it slightly off. The natural 2.2% residual sugar is nicely balanced with the bright acidity. At only $18 this is a perfect pairing with spicy sushi, lemon cake, or citrus chicken. 4/5 (based on value, flavor, and uniqueness).
2007 South Coast Winery IL Temporale
The super Tuscan blend of 58% Sangiovese 19% Cabernet, 13% Petite Verdot, and 10% Merlot is similar to the young wild stallion gracing it’s label. The wine is big and bold but needs to be tamed by a few more years in the bottle. The grapes come from Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyards and spend 14 months in 1 year old French barrels before being bottled. Hints of earth, sandalwood, and cherry softy rise from the glass. The mouth feel is rich with a strong sense of earth, peppered red fruit and tobacco. The wine boasts good overall quality and structure and will show well soon. Pair this with a hearty jalapeño flavored spicy pasta or pork. At $36, I can only give this a 3/5
Looking for a good deal? South Coast Winery is currently offering shipping for a penny and savings of up to 20% on online orders.
South Coast Winery is more than a winery; it’s a wine tasting destination. Boasting 76 luxury villas, and award winning restaurant, luxury spa, 14,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, and 38 acres of surrounding vineyards, South Coast Winery is now on my must see destinations on my next visit to Southern California. The winery has been named the Golden Bear Winery of the Year recipient for 2008 and 2009.
South Coast Winery is more than a pretty destination; they produce a diverse selection of wines as well. With 72 wines, from various vintages, on their web site there is a wine for anyone. You can enjoy bubbles, hearty reds and dry or sweet whites. The 50,000 annual case production wines are crafted by winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores. With a long list of awards, I was pretty excited to try these samples sent by their PR company. The press kit was impressive but the only thing it lacked was first class tickets to Temecula, CA with an all inclusive stay at their luxury spa and villa. I’m certain it was misplaced, I’ll keep my eye out for it.
The G is Grenache Blanc (44%), the V is Viognier (36%) and the R is Roussanne (20%). The Rhone blend boasts a beautiful thick angelic gold color in the glass. On the sniff I get an overwhelming aroma of melons and coconut. The wine was aged in French oak barrels adding to the flavor complexities. In the mouth there is a gentle flavor or melons, soft apple fruit, and citrus. This is a really dynamic wine that finishes with the invitation for another sip. I couldn’t find a price point on the web site but a web search reveals a $20 price point. I’m very intrigued by this wine and would love to try another bottle (the first one was emptied way to quickly). 3+/5
Cellar Tracker score of 89 points with 1 review
2006 South Coast Winery Meritage
Meritage in an invented word that combines ‘merit’ and ‘heritage’ (it’s pronounced like heritage). The Meritage Association hopes to create a class of American wines that is synonymous with Bordeaux. The 2006 SC Winery Meritage is a blend of 48% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, 18% Cab Sauv, and 14% Cab Franc. In the glass the added Petit Verdot gives the wine a deep rich plum color. On the nose is a bright raspberry fruit with hints of evergreen tree, minerality, and roses. On the sip, the 06 Meritage is slightly disjointed presenting a tart under ripe fruit and flavors of herbs and earth. A moderate chalkiness presents itself on the finish along with the bright acidity. At $20 retail I would give this wine a try before committing to a large quantity. 3/5
Cellar Tracker score of 87 points with 1 review
Sparkling red wines are a rarity. Pop the cork on this wine at a party and you’re sure to have a conversation starter. 100% estate grown Syrah from South Coast Winery’s Estate Vineyard results in an off dry sparkler that boasts a thick head of bubbles and vivacious aromas of raspberry and flowers. In the mouth the wine is mostly dry with a great mid palate of fruit flavor. A slight tart acidity is balanced with a hint of sweetness on the finish. At $22 this is a fantastic purchase for any special occasion. Create a magical morning mixer by adding a little cranberry juice. Enjoy life and drink happy! 3+/5
17 Nov 2010
Virginia is home to some of our country’s early history, 8 US presidents (including 4 of our first 5), Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, a strong military ship yard, beautiful beaches, and some of the most amazing Fall scenery in the U.S. With some of our countries earliest history of wine, Virginia is not just for lovers, it is for wine lovers.
38 years ago I was born among the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Roanoke, Virginia. The childlike fondness I have from living there for 10 years remains with me. While we occasionally go back to VA to visit my mom’s side of the family, it’s been eight years since I’ve been back. Apart from a small sip from Sean Sullivan a few months back, I’ve yet to experience the wine of my forefathers…and mothers, and aunts, uncles, and cousins.
I was recently invited to participate in an online wine tasting of six Virginia wines. Needless to say, I was excited. For me, this was a chance to connect with the wine my family drinks and a little family heritage. Sadly, shipping was delayed and I wasn’t there to receive the wines the day of the tasting. Over the days that followed I casually made my way through the six wines (three whites, two reds, and a sparkling wine).
*Note to distributors and representatives, when introducing new wines and wine regions to a group of people, please include winery information and winemaking notes.
Since I tasted these wines a few weeks ago, I’ll share my brief notes and my overall impression of the wines that I received. The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference is in Charlottesville, VA July 22-24. You can count on me being there and then enjoying a nice return visit with my family in Roanoke. If you are interested in learning more about Virginia wine, I suggest you check out the following blogs.
The Virginia Wines
The 2009 Monticello Gewurz had medium flavor but lacked a strong acidity which left the wine lingering in the mouth. A hint of sweetness is present on this mostly dry wine along with average flavors of peaches and stone fruit. Overall a nice first impression. The winery web site prices this wine at $19. 3/5
Wow! My notes indicate that I really enjoyed this wine. 14%ABV, 420 cases, combination of oak and barrel fermentation. Awesome flavors of melons and pears coupled with a great acidity make this a pleasant sipping wine or paired with food. At $22, I will definitely keep my eyes out for this wine on the trip back east! 4/5
This wine didn’t do much for me. It came across a little flabby, light in flavor and heavy handed on the oak. The label leaves a little to be desired. At a retail price of $23, I would give it a test sip before you commit. 3-/5
This Seven Oaks Merlot is a little thin on fruit and comes across very young, green and under ripe. Flavors start smooth but then move to a little tartness on the palate. The finish is rough on the edges. 75% of the wine is aged 10 months in French and American oak. $18, 3/5
60% Petit Verdot, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc – This is a very dark and moody wine with colors of dark plum and black. Good aroma of flowers and fruit jump out of the glass getting me very excited for the sip. In the mouth the wine is slightly gamey along with deep fruit flavors. Under-ripe bell peppers and a slight minerality make the mid-palate slightly disjointed. Really enjoyed the layers of flavor. $25, 3/5
95% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Noir – Lively bubbles that race to the top of the glass. Good aroma of strawberry toast and yeast. While the wine is made dry, there is a nice hint of sweetness on the front palate. I’m not a sparkling wine expert, but this was a very tasty wine that went down very quickly. With only 12%ABV, the bottle was quickly empty. $28, 3+/5
Overall, I was most impressed with the Viognier and the Sparkling wine. I look forward to exploring more Virginia wines in a few short months to see what else is coming out of the region. A few of these wines were rough around the edges, and the whites were better than the reds, in my opinion.
03 Nov 2010
What was your first experience with sparkling wine or champagne? Do you recall moments of wild debauchery? Yep, I do because before I understood the nuances of bubbly I drank it like a sprite, quickly got drunk and you know the rest of the story…Since then I have of course realized how to sip bubbly and have even taken quite a liking to it – in its many forms. So, here goes my list (not in any kind of order) of what I love about sparkling wine.
From Guest Author Coryn Briggs of Black Star Farms Winery
1. Bubbly is always refreshing
You know that “aww” sensation the 7UP and Sprite commercials tout so much, well yeah, that’s it for me with bubbly. One sip and you plus your mouth are awake. It tingles, teases, and refreshes, what’s not to like about that?
A classic Sunday morning treat and what would a Sunday brunch be without them? We have started a Christmas morning Mimosa tradition in our house that includes crème brulee French toast and mimosas. So good!
3. What doesn’t go with sparkling wine?
The old adage would say that sparkling wine is best served with caviar as an aperitif, with seafood for dinner, or eggs for brunch. Being one to bend the rules I happen to think that sparkling wine tastes good with anything! “Did you ever dunk a potato chip in champagne? It’s really crazy. Here isn’t that crazy? “Yeah,” says Richard,” pretty crazy.” (from The Seven Year Itch)
4. Makes family movie night that much better
As I mention above bubbly tastes good with everything even popcorn! Before having children my husband and I had a Sunday night movie ritual that involved a bottle of bubbly, popcorn, and a movie. Five years and two kids later we have incorporated our tradition into a family centered event where we still enjoy our bubbly and the kids get a special soda while we all get to enjoy a movie and a big buttery bowl of popcorn.
5. There’s always an affordable bottle of a Spanish Cava
Sparkling wine or champagne doesn’t have to break the bank. There are so many great ones out there in the $10-15 range. Spanish Cavas are almost always a good bargain and they are wonderful. My favorite is Cristalino Brut Rosé Cava.
6. It can make an ordinary day feel special
I don’t think I can say this any better than Josh already did his recent post Let’s Get it Poppin’ specifically quoted: “Why do we wait for the “special occasions” to break out a bottle of bubbly? Isn’t every day a miracle and an excuse to celebrate?” I agree 100%!
7. It’s always a stylish choice
Like a classic set of pearls or a cashmere sweater a bottle of bubbly is always a good go to choice when hosting or attending a party. It will always be the right size and never the wrong color.
8. Pure and simple,
There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne. Bette Davis (from the movie Old Acquaintance)
9. The sexual and romantic element
There is no way I could leave this out of my top ten. Not being one to jump on the band wagon of “sex sells” I was reluctant to include this in my top ten. However, it would be foolish of me to deny that a bottle of bubbly on many occasions has lead to one hedonistic act or another…
10. Michigan makes great sparkling wines
Perhaps this is a shameless plug for the wine region I live in and represent but our cool climate is suited for growing the traditional champagne grapes of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir so it really is a natural fit for us. If you are curious about some of our sparkling wines please join us on Twitter (@bstar2009) on November 16 at 7:30 pm as we taste our 2009 Be Dazzled and our newly released 2010 Bubbly Nouveau.
About the Author:
Coryn Briggs moved to Traverse City 6 years ago and quickly immersed herself into the Michigan wine industry. She is currently the Winery Promotions Coordinator for Black Star Farms. In this role she manages the many pieces of the marketing mix including, off-site events, website content, advertising, social media, as well as graphic design. Coryn enjoys local food, wine and the downtown Traverse City area where she lives with her husband and two young daughters.
Black Star Farms is a unique agricultural entity that features two winery production facilities, their adjacent tasting rooms, a distillery, Inn, and equestrian facility. The winery just celebrated its 10 year anniversary and is proud to represent the viticultural diversity of the Northwest Michigan region, and its proximity to the 45th parallel – the same parallel that runs through so many of the great wine regions of the world.