Wine Reviews: Australian Riesling from Barossa Valley

It's wine wednesday! And what better way to celebrate than with a wine review! This time I had the opportunity to taste a Riesling from an unexpected area - Australia! More specifically, from Barossa Valley in the southern region of Australia.

Are you as surprised as I am that I picked up a Riesling from Australia?! Honestly, I have always been a huge advocate for Riesling. Too many of us assume that all forms of Riesling are sweetness bombs. While some are pretty sweet, there are tons of Riesling styles made in Germany and the U.S. that have great acidity and fruit flavors without the overwhelming sweetness. Plus, some even argue that Riesling is one of the best food pairing wines. But my passion for German Rieslings aside, I did not know that they made decedent Riesling in Australia! 

After I heard about Australian Rieslings, I have been looking for them for a while - they are surprisingly hard to find. But when I moved to my new apartment and stopped in what is now my neighborhood wine shop, I found one! It is made by Chateau Tanunda in Barossa Valley.

Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, around the city of Adelaide. Barossa Valley, along with Coonawarra, are two of the best wine growing regions in the whole country. The wine making style in Barossa Valley has been heavily influenced by the British.

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Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Riesling 2010

Where it's From?  Barossa Valley region of South Australia.

Grapes?  100% Riesling.

Winemaker Notes.  The wine has a subtle yellow color with delicate aromas of lime blossom and citrus fruit. The flavor features lemon, lime, passion fruit and a juicy finish. The finish has a touch of minerality and refreshing acidity. Forty percent of this wine comes from old vines planted on the Château Tanunda Estate in the 1920s.

My Thoughts.  Every time I try a Riesling like this, I wonder when Americans will understand the versatility of this grape! It's delicious. Especially when it is made in this dry and refreshing style. I could not agree with the winemaker's notes more - I loved the minerality, acidity, and bright citrus flavors. I look forward to more delicious Rieslings out of Australia.

 

Cheers!

Benchmark Wine Tasting Class: Aromatic Whites

Back in mid-January, I had the privilege to participate in a Benchmark Wine Tasting at Penn State University with the Penns Woods Winery crew. Needless to say, for a wine-nerd like me, it was an awesome experience! First of all, I got to taste approximately 30 different wines - made with different varietals and produced in different regions. But as an added bonus, it was interesting (and somewhat refreshing) to not be the biggest wine nerd in the room!

This series will discuss the wines that were tasted and provided an overview of the region and/or grape of each wine. To keep the posts (relatively) short, the series will be broken up into multiple posts, organized by the flights we tasted. First up, we tasted a flight of aromatic whites, including three Rieslings and two Gewürztraminers. I will also discuss the two Moscatos that we tasted at the end of the day, since Moscato (while sweet) is typically a highly aromatic white wine.

(Above are some of the labels we tried. These images are intended to identify the producer and not necessarily the specify wine/vintage).

So what is the definition of aromatic?

Webster's tells us that, generally, the term "aromatic" means "having a pleasant and distinctive smell." But, we know know that when it comes to wine - everything has multiple definitions. When I hear aromatic, I think white wine. I expect a strong, fruit-forward or almost floral, aroma from the wine. Officially speaking, wine professionals agree the most common winemaking techniques used in the production of "aromatic wines" include: fermentation in stainless steel or concrete and harvesting the grapes later in the harvest to yield high acidity and low alcohol wines.

So what should you look for in the wine store if you want an aromatic white? The most popular varietals include: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Viognier. For now, our discussions will stick to a comparison of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Moscato.

Photo Source.  The International Riesling Foundation (a fine foundation indeed!)

Photo Source. The International Riesling Foundation (a fine foundation indeed!)

Riesling.

Call me a broken record, but Riesling has a bad rep... especially in the United States. Americans either love it or hate it, but most assume its a honeyed sugar bomb. I can not say it enough -- drop the Riesling assumptions and taste with an open mind. The blog has discussed Riesling a few times, check out the feature here, but we have yet to dedicate a full tasting to this noble grape. Before I give you my thoughts on the individual Rieslings, remember the grape's best qualities, including:

  • Ability to withstand cooler climates, 
  • Notably food friendly, and
  • Light body and naturally high acidity.

Nimble Hill Riesling 2011

Where it's from. Pennsylvania, specifically Sugar Holland Vineyard.

My Thoughts. The room was amazed at the complexity of this Pennsylvania Riesling. I thought it was tart (in a good way), astringent and high acidity, with flavors of stone fruit and citrus.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2011

Where it's from. Columbia Valley, Washington.

My Thoughts. This wine was tart as well, but not nearly as astringent when tasted. The group thought it tasted of citrus, grapefruit and even petrol. (not sure where some get this taste from - I'm looking into it!)

S.A. Prum Kabinett Riesling 2009

Where it's from. Mosel, Germany.

My Thoughts. I think one of the reasons Americans (and wine-drinkers internationally) fear Riesling is the ever-daunting German wine label. Germans are nothing if not thorough, and so are the wine labels. So when you see "Kabinett" on the label, remember that the wine was made with late harvest grapes that can be semi-sweet or dry (trocken). When I tasted this wine, I was definitely intrigued. When I heard "Kabinett" I assumed it would be on the sweeter side - I was so wrong. It had a subtle sweet apple flavor without the overpowering honey.

Gewürztraminer.

Gewürztraminer is distinguishable from Riesling because it has only moderate acidity and is full-bodied. It's primarily grown in the Alsace region of France. I notice the prominent bouquet of aromas from this grape, including: rose, passion fruit and lychee. 

Paul Buecher Gewürztraminer 2011

Where it's From. Alsace, France.

My Thoughts. This wine was awesome. It had a powerful floral aroma including rose and honeysuckle. But the taste was completely different from the aroma. It had an almost hoppy flavor, spicy up front with a mellow finish.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewürztraminer 2010

Where it's From. Columbia Valley, Washington.

My Thoughts. This wine was mild in flavor. Drinkable but nothing to write home about.

Photo Source. 

Photo Source. 

Moscato.

"Moscato" is the Italian name for the Muscat grape. It is known for making semi-sweet, lightly sparkling, and low alcohol wines

Montefiori Moscato

Where it's From. Piedmont, Italy. Moscato is most commonly grown near the northern town of Asti (hence the term Moscato D'Asti, meaning Moscato from Asti).

My Thoughts. This wine totally surprised me. As a fan of red wine and dryer reds I was expected to not enjoy this wine. But I loved it! (As did most of the room). It had a beautiful aroma of rose water, honeysuckle and lemon. It tasted similarly to it's smell and was wonderfully fresh. We compared it to Barefoot Moscato, which even given the price, was flat and less enjoyable than the Montefiori version.

All in all -- it was a great day of tasting wine! Stand by for follow up posts from this benchmark tasting series!

 

Cheers!

 

Grape Tales: Riesling

Riesling has been in the news lately and not all of it has been good... no there isn't a major scandal (that I know of) but prices of German Rieslings are set to rise in 2014. With the threat of price increases, I figured I would share some details on Riesling and why you should pick some up while you can.

Let's start with the bad news. Decanter.com (a great resource for those interested in wine) reported that the price for German Rieslings is set to rise in 2014. The culprit for this spike in prices = bad weather during the 2013 growing season. Key regions like Rheingau and Mosel are seeing 20-30% decreases in their grape yields compared to last year.

So you know that German Riseling may be pricey this year, but you still have some reservations regarding the wine. Give me a chance to change your mind! We discussed a simple overview of Riesling in our Big Six Grapes post last year. Since then, I have noticed that Riesling is seriously misunderstood. Initially, wine drinkers may assume all Rieslings are "Über Sweet." Only when you discuss Riesling amongst serious drinkers will you likely hear more praise than disgust. I have said it before (and will likely say it again), Rieslings are not all super sweet and are arguably the best white wines to pair with food.

Riesling Tasting Profile.

Where it's Grown.  Mosel and Rheingau regions of Germany; Alsace, France; Austria; and Clare Valley Australia.

Common Characteristics.  Aromas of peach, nectarine, apricot, honeysuckle, jasmine, wet stone and even baking spices if it is well aged.

Acidity.  High to very high (perfect for food). It is also this high acidity that allows Riesling to be aged in the bottle and even stay preserved once opened. Most can last at least a decade, while the best bottles can last for almost 100 years.

Alcohol.  Extreme range, can be very low to high.

So if you don't mind the lightly sweetened styles, look to Germany first, anything with Kabinett (normally ripened grapes), Spätlese (sweeter, meaning "late harvest") or Auslese (sweeter still). If you like drier styles, try Alsace, France, where you will notice more citrus and apple balanced with mineral flavors. 

 

Cheers!

Dessert Wines 101

So much for those resolutions to eat better, work out more and lose weight. Why? - because the lovely ladies and gents of The Enthusiasts! an NYC Wine Tasting Club have chosen a truly decadent topic for this month's tasting - Dessert Wines!

Photo Source.  Creme Brulee is by far my favorite dessert!

Photo Source. Creme Brulee is by far my favorite dessert!

Personally, when it comes to dessert wines - I am typically NOT a fan. Seems weird, I love dessert and have a serious sweet tooth. My first experience with sweet wines was an Eiswein tasting in Heidelberg, Germany. Then, (age the grand old age of 18) I remember thinking the wine was sweet but delicious. However, a few years later, at a food and pairing event (where I had a white dessert wine paired with cheesecake) I was turned off to dessert wines because the pairing was way too sweet. And last month, when I sampled the Lacrima Dolce from Penns Woods Winery, my appreciation for dessert wines was revived! I am officially a fan!

Full disclosure: I work in the tasting room at Penns Woods Winery (and it's kind of the best job ever!). But, I aim to be upfront about my affiliations and remain unbiased when discussing wines I have tasted here (fun fact - it's actually the law). All disclosures aside, the Lacrima Dolce really did change my perspective on wine - it's merlot based and has ripe cherry flavors with a chocolate and cinnamon finish. I would have gladly had just that wine as the perfect finish to any meal. So even,  if you're not the biggest fan of dessert wines you will keep tasting and maybe there will be a game changer for you out there!

Now before you rush to the store to pick up a few bottles of sweet wine, it is important to understand the different types: late harvest, noble rot wines, raisin wines, and fortified wines.

Late Harvest Wines.  Typically, when wine is made, the majority of the natural sugar found in the grapes is consumed by the yeast during fermentation and yields the production of alcohol. So it actually takes a bit of effort to reach the increased sugar levels found in most dessert wines. When reading about dessert wines you may see the term chaptalization**, or the process of adding sugar before fermentation. Many winemakers today consider this cheating and it is an unpopular winemaking technique, especially among higher end producers. Thus, some sweeter wines are made from "late harvest" grapes, or grapes left on the vine as long as possible to increase their natural sugar content. This style of wine is commonly made in Germany, Austria and the Alsace region of France with Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Chenin Blanc grapes. Be sure to check the label, for "late harvest," vendange tardive (French: "late harvest"), spätlese (German: "late harvest") or auslese ("select harvest," even later) - these are the sweeter styles.

Photo Source.   Ew, noble rot!

Photo Source.  Ew, noble rot!

Noble Rot Wines.  Or 'botrytis cinerea' (if we want to get super nerdy), is a beneficial form of fungus that concentrates the sugar content of the grapes. This process is typically used with white grapes because red grapes become too unstable under noble rot. Also, be prepared to pay more for these sweet styles because this process is very expensive - many of the grapes are unusable so it takes many more grapes per bottle. Some of the best examples are made in Sauternes, Barsac from Bordeaux and Centraol Loire Valley. In Germany, look for "beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese" or even look to Hungary. The grapes used in each region vary.

Raisin Wines and Eiswein.  Both of these styles involve a process that dehydrates the grapes resulting in wines with high residual sugar. Making wine from raisins is actually one of the oldest methods of making sweet wines. Similarly, eiswein is made from grapes that are exposed to cold temperatures and frozen. 

Fortified Wines.  This is the process of adding alcohol during the winemaking process, either during fermentation or after fermentation has been completed. Common styles include: Port, (made in Douro, Portugal) which is infused with brandy-like yeast or Sherry, (made in Jerez, Spain) which isn't necessarily a sweet style, and even vermouth.  

Regardless of what method is used, expect to pay a bit more for quality dessert wines. It may seem like a splurge, given the smaller size of the bottles, but you are paying for the the extra production costs. If you are looking for values, check out wine made from Moscato or "Late Harvest" Riesling as these styles have higher residual sugars.

 

Cheers!

 

**Correction, this term was previously misspelled as "chapitalization" and has since been corrected.

Winter Wine Project: Kung Fu Girl Riesling

This post will definitely put the "winter" in Winter Wine Project! Why? Because of all the snow! As a February baby, I have always loved winter. Sure it's chilly, but I love getting outside and then coming back home to warm up with some hot chocolate or coffee. This time around, however, I decided to warm up with a different drink of choice - wine! More specifically, the next wine from my winter wine project, the 2012 Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State. Check out my review below, along with some fun action shots from my snow day!

My snow day, views from winery (bottom left) and the park near my house!

My snow day, views from winery (bottom left) and the park near my house!

So fun fact about the Kung Fu Girl label, it was one of the first wine's I picked up early in my wine-drinking career. I had just turned 21 and I was visiting my sister in Boston. We stopped in a random wine store downtown and I saw the Kung Fu girl label and thought, "this is a fun label and I like riseling, so let's try it!" These days I go into the wine shop with a little more direction about what I may buy, but that goes to show that using a fun label that jumps off the shelf is definitely helpful in the U.S. wine market. With that said, I was so excited to see Kung Fu Girl on not only WS 100 Outstanding Values, but it made the cut for Top 100 Wines of 2013. Way to go Kung Fu Girl! I am excited to see if the wine lives up to both this ranking and the delicious wine that I remember. 

But first, let's chat about wine making in Washington State. This state produces the most wine in the U.S., after California of course. The top varietals grown in Washington include: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtztraminer. But the most notable wines are often made with Merlot or Syrah grapes.

Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen 2012.

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Grapes: 100% Riesling. Classically, Riesling produces white wines with a strong citrus flavor balanced with a complex minerality. Many of the best Rieslings are made in Alsace or Austria. Please don't knock this grape until you try it. Also, if you have a sweet Riesling that you don't like, keep trying them, it is definitely a complex grape that requires patience to appreciate because there are so many styles out there!

Where it's From: Washington State, Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticultural Areas). Columbia Valley is one of the largest AVAs in the United States, approximately 30,000 acres. Kung Fu Girl is grown specifically at Evergreen vineyard.

Alcohol: 11%

Winemaker's Notes: "This wine kicks ass with tons of complexity, showing shoes of white peach and slate. Focused acidity finishing with mandarin orange and lots of minerality." Pairs well with spicy dishes or grilled seafood.

My Thoughts: I have missed this wine!!! First thing you notice off the bat is the strong notes of peach - they were not lying! I can also smell hints of slate or stone (kind of like the smell of a stone beach - weird description I know!). The taste is awesome and definitely deserving of its awards - soft citrus fruit up front with the perfect bite of acidity at the end. You should run, not walk, to your nearest wine store and pick this up ASAP. I'm beginning to wonder if my skepticism against WS has been mistaken for all these years.

So that brings us to the end of today's tasting for the Winter Wine Project. Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. Next time, we will be tasting A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir 2011, from Oregon. 

 

Happy Holidays and Cheers!

Wine and Chocolate: The Results!

Wine and Chocolate: The results are in!

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In honor of the Oscars, I figured I would share the results of the latest Enthusiasts wine tasting! And - oh my! - will the results surprise you! This week the Enthusiasts tasted wine with chocolate and below are the list of wines we paired with chocolate and some comments from the group:

(1) Trader Joe's House Chardonnay

About the wine:

a.k.a. "formerly known as two buck chuck." Since the tasting was based pairings with chocolate, we tried to save money where we could on wine. This chardonnay is known for its pear aroma, medium body, and perfect price.

Paired with:

 White Chocolate

Comments from the group:

 Most of the group was surprised how much they liked this pairing and how the buttery aspects of the wine and chocolate were featured when paired together.

(2) Trader Joe's House Sauvignon Blanc

About the wine:

 See above, but with a touch of acidity and bright fruit.

Paired with:

White chocolate

Comments from the group:

 No one in the group disliked this pairing, however, it wasn't anything to write home about and most felt white chocolate and chardonnay paired better.

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(3) Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel

About the wine:

 On its own - this was a great wine worth mentioning to friends. It had everything you want in a zinfandel - a well rounded taste with spice and berries.

Paired with:

 Dark Chocolate

Comments from the group:

 Many in the group thought this was a weird pairing. In fact, most thought the flavors of the wine clashed with chocolate. Ultimately, the group concluded that perhaps zinfandel generally does not pair well with chocolate.

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(4) Mark West Pinot Noir

About the wine:

Most reviews on this wine salute its balanced taste and affordable price. Its aroma includes cherry and plum. The taste includes ripe cherry, plum, strawberry and earthiness.

Paired with:

 Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.

Comments from the group:

 Generally, the group thought both pairings tasted nice and balanced. Most concluded pinot noir is a great red to pair with chocolate.

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(5) Dante Merlot

About the wine:

 This lovely merlot has an aroma of raspberry, strawberry, cherry and vanilla spice. The taste is bold upfront with bold red fruit and a pleasant tart cherry finish.

Paired with:

 Dark Chocolate.

Comments from the group:

 Despite the group's apprehension for chocolate paired with red wine, many in the group enjoyed this pairing. In fact, I thought the dark chocolate actually enhanced some bold fruit flavors in the merlot - one of my favorite pairings!

(6) Trader Joe's House Cabernet Sauvignon

About the wine:

 See above - drinkable, affordable, red, with bold fruit flavor.

Paired with:

 Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate

Comments from the group:

 Similar results as with the pinot noir - both chocolates paired well with this wine. 

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(7) Dr. Hans Von

M

üller Riesling

About the wine:

Check out the label - there is a lot to see and learn! First, what is Mosel? Well, its foremost a river in southeastern Germany and the wine region is known for producing some of the most famous rieslings around. The soil in this region varies from sandstone/limestone to clay slate and stone. This terrior plays a major role in the famous acidity and balancing sweetness of riesling. Second, what is auslese? Translated from German, it means "selected harvest." Generally, it describes a category of German wine that is very sweet, made from late-harvested grapes.

Paired with:

Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate

Comments from the group:

 Most in the group enjoyed riesling pair with milk chocolate and said it emphasized a buttery taste. However, riesling paired with dark chocolate was everyone's favorite! The dark chocolate brought out the fruit flavor of the wine.

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(8) Old Vine Tawny

About the wine: 

The good thing about the Enthusiasts

 is that the group can taste new wines and learn what they love - and what they don't. While the label describes this wine as a murky brick red color with spiced berry and ripe plum flavors. Unfortunately, the group only seemed to notice a murky flavor and it did get better when paired with chocolate.

Paired with:

 Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.

Comments from the group:

Do not recommend this wine to a friend :(

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(9) Girl Go Lightly Moscato

About the wine:

I was very excited to open this wine for two reasons: (1) the label is so freaking cute. I know what your thinking - c'mon Kelley how can a wine enthusiast like you get hung up on the label. True, I generally urge my friends that the quality of the wine is in no way associated with the label art. However, sometimes the label is a little piece of art in its own right and is worth mentioning, and (2) its the first time the Enthusiast! gets to discuss Moscato! 

Moscato is actually made from the muscat grape variety. This grape is known for its pronounced sweet aroma and multiple varieties and synonyms. For example, Muscat is known in Spanish as Moscatel, and Moscato in Italian.

Paired with:

 White Chocolate

Comments from the group:

 The group thought this wine paired nicely with white chocolate!

And the award goes to... wine and chocolate!

Cheers!

Introduction to American Wine: The Results!

While this post is a bit dated, please enjoy!!

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Image from goodfoodgoodfriends.com

This year my family started what I hope to be an annual Christmas tradition - a Wine Tasting and Holiday party held on December 26th.  In the end, it was a very successful event and the whole family is looking forward to next years! Below is the list of wines we tasted and some comments from the group:

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(1) Rombauer Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay

Grapes:

 Chardonnay

Where its from:

California, Napa/Sonoma County, Carneros Appellation

Vintage:

2010

Alcohol:

14.4%

Comments: 

The label says...

Rich yellow color and becoming more golden with age. Inviting fruit aromas of honeydew, yellow peach and fig are supported by vanilla and caramel. Creamy vanilla integrates with honeysuckle, pineapple and apricot for a fabulous richness on the palate. A luscious mouthfeel leads to a generous and creamy finish.

The group said...

4 out of 5 rating, smooth, pronounced flavors with a buttery taste. For many it was their favorite wine of the evening.

Recommend to a Friend?

Definitely! The label did not lie - the wine was so smooth and had a balanced flavor.

(2) Aliceanna Riesling

Grapes:

 Riesling

Where its from:

Baltimore, Maryland

Vintage:

n/a

Alcohol:

n/a

Comments:

 This is a new winery located in a relatively undeveloped wine region. The riesling grape is known for its light and refreshing taste, fruitful and floral aromas and sometimes slightly sweet taste.

The group said...

all sorts of things! The average group rating was 3.5 out of 5. The comments ranged from overly fruity, weak and lacked character to lovely flavor with a sweet sparkling taste.

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes with Reservations. I would recommend this to a friend if you know that they enjoy reisling. (Really who doesn't?!) This was definitely a well done reisling, but may be too sweet for those who don't enjoy this style of wine.

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(3) Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Grapes:

 Sauvignon Blanc

Where its from: 

California, Napa Valley, including Rutherhford and St. Helena

Vintage:

2011

Alcohol:

14%

Comments:

The label says...

vibrant aromas of gooseberry, pineapple and fresh pink grapefruit. Flavors include pear, guava, passion fruit and citrus lime tones. The wine has a lush mouthfeel and  notes of sweet clover and melon, with balanced acidity.

The group said...

light and smooth. The average group rating was 3.5 out of 5. Many in the group would buy this wine again.

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes. Overall, this is a solid wine that would make a good addition to any table.

(4) Sterling Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Grapes:

 Sauvignon Blanc

Where its from:

California, Napa Valley

Vintage:

2011

Alcohol:

n/a

Comments:

The label says...

 Flavors of ripe melon, fig and citrus. Grapefruit flavors with a tart element. This wine pairs well with summer dishes, including grilled chicken and light pasta salad.

 The group said...

 light, fresh, very smooth, crisp and delicious. The average group rating was a solid 4 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

 Definitely. This sauvignon blanc is well balanced and fresh. 

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(5) Folie a Duex Pinot Noir 2011

Grapes:

 Pinot Noir grapes from 

Clarksburg, Central Coast and North Coast.

Where its from:

California, Napa Valley, St. Helena 

Vintage:

2011

Alcohol:

13.3%

Comments:

The label says...

vibrant cherry flavors, dusky violet notes and silken finish.

The group said...

 very oaky. The average group rating was 2 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

  Yes with reservations. By no means is this wine undrinkable. For those who love a round, creamy or oaky finish - this wine will be great for you. However, for those of you who are turned off by an overly oaky wine, I would steer clear.

(6) Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Grapes:

 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Where its from:

 Napa Valley

Vintage:

 2010

Alcohol:

 13.8%

Comments:

The label says...

the aroma primarily consists of plum and dark fruit. The taste includes black and red fruit flavor with a hint of cinnamon and tobacco. This wine aged for 17 months exclusively in French oak. 

The group said...

 they could not really taste the cinnamon, but definitely noticed a sense of burnt tobacco. The average group rating was 3 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes. 

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(7) Napa Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Grapes:

 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Where its from:

 Napa Valley

Vintage:

2010

Alcohol:

 13.8%

Comments:

The label says...

this wine has cherry and plum aromas.  The taste includes black and red fruit flavor with a subtle hint of spice. This wine aged for 20 months in exclusively French Oak (92% of it new oak). 

The group said...

 nice, dry, spicy flavor that would be great with steak. Others said this wine was full bodied and lovely. The average group rating was 4 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

 Yes. White wine drinkers may try to steer clear, but red wine drinkers will fine this wine both developed and complex. 

(8) Sterling Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Grapes:

 Cabernet Sauvignon

Where its from: 

Napa Valley

Vintage:

 2009

Alcohol:

 n/a

Comments:

The label says...

this wine has a deep purple color and an aroma filled with black fruits and oak. The taste includes dark fruits, dried cherries, dark cocoa and sweet hazelnut. 

The group said...

 subtle taste, sharp and short finish. The average group rating was 4 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

 Yes.

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(9)

Sterling Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Grapes:

 Cabernet Sauvignon

Where its from:

Napa Valley

Vintage:

 2007

Alcohol:

 14.8%

Comments:

The label says...

 this wine smells of dark fruit and fragrant spices. The taste includes layers of dark cheers, licorice, espresso and vanilla. 

The group said...

 amazing flavor with a smooth finish. Also, the wine had a nice bite at the end. The average group rating was a 5 out of 5.

Recommend to a Friend?

 Definitely! This wine is big, bold and complex. Definitely worth tasting.

(10) Folie a Duex Merlot 2010

Grapes:

 92% Merlot, 7% Syrah, and 1% Petite Sirah 

Where its from:

 Napa Valley

Vintage:

 2010

Alcohol:

14.2%

Comments:

The label says...

this merlot tastes of ripe, juicy black cherry flavors with notes of vanilla, tea and cocoa. 

The group said...

 very smooth and not much else. Do not get me wrong - this by no means an undrinkable wine. However, by this time in the tasting, the group was more interested in partying that taking intricate notes... a good night in my book!

Recommend to a Friend?

 Yes. Try it for yourself and leave a comment about the taste! I will update the blog with your comments!

With that, we have reached the end of our introductory tasting of American wines (aka California). Special thanks goes to my mom - Lori - to choosing this wonderful selection of wine from her collection and hosting the party at her place! Here's hoping next year is even better! (I'm hoping for from wine from south africa!)

Cheers!