Do fast cars and Italian wine go well together? You bet they do when the cars are the Formula1 racing machines at top speed on the Monza track, and the wines are Piemonte Barolos. If you are a car and a wine fanatic you simply must see the Monza race and spend at least a week touring the Piemonte region of Italy.
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Written on October 21st, 2010 , Travel, Wines

Barolo is Italy’s top collectable wine. When Piedmonte winemakers wish to make Barolo or Barberesco the laws governing these wines require a certain time of aging, a minimum of 4 years. They can only then be classified as such. Any excess wine can only be sold as table wine, even though the final products are relatively the same. Hence the creation of “Bastardo”.

This blend of red wines may be a breakthrough in wine making. In essence this wine is the illegitimate son of a Barolo, hence the name. Full bodied this variety is excellent with game, red meat, pasta, rich cheese, or on it’s own.

The aroma is fruity and the taste is soft and smooth. Lots of fruit, low tannins, and hint of spice on the finish. Not as bold as Barolo but very similar flavor. An amazing value at around $10. The vintage we tasted was from 2002 and it has held up well.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Here’s an amazing “almost port like” value from Portugal. But it is truly a drinkable everyday red wine that’s juicy and delicious. This 2006 vintage has a deep purple color and a lucious semi-sweet smell. The first taste is an explosion of fruit, juicy and thick. Very low in tannins the wine is not complex but very pleasing either alone or with meat sauces like pasta dishes. Probably great with pizza. There is a hint of spice and chocolate and the aftertaste is velvety.

The winery making this is Quinto Da Leda. They us oak barrels to age the wine for 12 months, with another 6 months in the bottle. The result is a very lite port flavour in a drinkable table wine.

The Douro region of Portugal is famous for excellent grapes and this example is a real hit for only $8.99. Find it at Trader Joes.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

The Incanto label is an excellent vintage 2005 Nobile. The actual bottling is by a Co-op in Siena, Italy just north of the Montepulciano area. Made from Sangiovese grapes, this variety of Montepulciano is close to Brunello…at substantially less money. Nice aroma and soft flavor make this a great choice with pasta and mild meat sauces. Good with grilled chicken as well. Very fruity with lots of soft flavors. Not as balanced and full as a good Brunello but pleasant. At only $9.99 its a great value both with dinner and by itself.

Incanto also makes a great Chianti Classico. The 2005 reserve is and outstanding full bodied chianti for about $10.

In California you can find Incanto wines at Trader Joes.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Graham, one of Portugal’s top port producers, has released this very drinkable everyday Port. It derives its name from the traditional cask markings used to denote the finest wines from each harvest. Only rich young wines of superior quality are used to make this blend. The six varieties are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela, and Tinto Cao.

Six Grapes is bottled relatively young to conserve its fresh assertive style and is not subject to fining ot filtration to ensure that it retains its superb, delicious fruit concentration. Six Grapes is released for immediate enjoyment and does not require decanting.

Even though Six Grapes is truly a port wine, it is quite soft and lite. It is great after a meal with chocolate, or any time with sharp cheeses. Actually it goes good with some meals that can handle a juicy heavy tasting wine. At $16 this is an amazing value, and a great way for folks new to port to explore the variety without going broke.

Written on October 21st, 2010 , Wines

Port Wine is a fortified wine, as defined in EU legislation. It is produced in the Demarcated Region of the Douro under very specific conditions resulting from natural and human factors. The winemaking process, based on traditional methods, includes stopping the fermentation of the “must” by adding grape brandy, making a blend of 2 or more wines, and letting the wine age.
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Written on July 21st, 2010 , Education (All About Wine), Wines

Wine to enjoy every day without spending the high prices normally associated with collections. Since every person has their own palette,no expert opinion can define what that means. If you like it, regardless of price, enjoy it! And share the experience with others.

Written on July 6th, 2010 , Wines

Besides outstanding cuisine, which may surprise the first time visitor, Croatia produces some awesome wines that rival those of other European countries. With influences by Roman and Venetian rule, as well as many other invading civilizations, the wines of Croatia exhibit depth and full body characteristics worth praising. Typical grape varieties include zinfandel, primitivo, and other robust red grapes, that compliment the pasta dishes, fresh vegetables, herbs, and even truffles that grow in the Istria region.
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Written on June 21st, 2010 , Travel, Wines

Hungary has a long-standing history in wine production, dating back to the time of Romans and the Celts. Centuries of great migrations brought the Avar nation to central Europe. Although their ancient cultures has since been lost, the Hungarians who later migrated to the great planes of Central Europe adopted and preserved the wine making crafts of the Avars. Thus grape growing and wine production quickly spread amongst the medieval Hungarian cities. This process was further promoted by different privileges bestowed by the rulers of that time, who considered wine production improvements as an important part of their policy. Although the Tartar and the Turkish conquests of Hungary may have hampered this trend up until the 17th century, by the 18th century, Hungarian wine making flourished again reaching markets stretching from German speaking municipalities and the Netherlands to England. Over the years, ancient tradition merged with new local innovations coupled with the great variety of climate and soil, resulted in emergence of 22 distinct wine regions in the country.
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Written on May 21st, 2010 , Travel, Wines

Slovenia lies on the southern slopes of the Alps and touches the Mediterranean. Although it may enjoy the benefits of “the best of both worlds,” Slovene viticulture is also at the mercy of unpredictable climate from both the north and the south. Consequently, the total annual output of Slovene vineyards may vary as much as 50%. There are extraordinary vintages and absolute failures, with a spectrum of “in-betweens.” There have been seven extraordinary vintages in this century: 1917, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1958, 1971, and 1983. The 1993 vintage is considered excellent in all areas, but the 1994 was only excellent in Primorje. In general the 1995 vintage was generally poor to average.
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Written on May 21st, 2010 , Travel, Wines

A Virtual Tour of Grapes, Wines, Wineries