Champagne and Sparkling Wines Suggestions From WineGuyMike™


The following recommendations were featured on NBC’s Montana Today Show this morning.  I will be featuring additional recommendations over the next 48 hours so stay tuned.

Champagne and Sparkling wines are drinks of celebration, so it is important to understand what’s out there, and more importantly how they are different. 

The Champagne region of France produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world.  Typically there are three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend, or the “cuvee”. 

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins which create its beautiful color.  Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne; it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.

Designations of quality:

Prestige cuvee:

This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes grown in the highest rated villages. It is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne:                                     

Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.  Remember, a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne:

The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to identify your Champagne

  • Brut is Dry
  • Extra Dry is Semidry
  • Sec is Semisweet
  • Demi-sec is Sweet

Other sparkling Wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.   Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the Italian province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8 percent.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  

Suggestions:

$$$(20.00 & up) = Expensive, complex sophisticated selections

$$(14.00 -20.00) = Excellent quality, some of the nuance and complexity of $$$

$(under 14.00) = Simple, fun, value

Gosset Champagne $$$

A crystal clear, pale golden hue with persistent fine, lively bubbles.  The bouquet of this Champagne is intense, elegant and inviting on the nose. Fresh floral notes reminiscent of honeysuckle, wisteria and white jasmine seamlessly give way to exotic aromas of pineapple, guava and mango with hints of caramel, gingerbread and cinnamon.  A trace of pear liqueur completes the harmonious finish.

The taste of this invigoratingly fresh and refined champagne is characterized by rich density and volume.  On the palate, delicate floral notes give way to flavors of sweet peaches and nectarines over subtle notes of spices like cardamom and green pepper.  The finish is delicate and smooth, with irresistible and deliciously sensual flavors of candied fruit, cinnamon and licorice.

L’Ermitage 2002 $$$

L’ERMITAGE is Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, which has consistently been rated one of California’s top sparkling wines since its debut in 1989. Taking a cue from owner Champagne Louis Roederer, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode champenoise and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend. L’ERMITAGE is made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from the very best lots.

Fine tiny bubbles and a long lasting mousse are the usual footprints of the L’ERMITAGE cuvée.  This cuvée from the palindromic vintage 2002 is showing great notes of “tarte tatin”: baked apples and buttery crust, with notes of apricot and delicate vanilla bean. The mouthfeel is creamy, expresses flavors of quince and bread crust, with a clean and crisp yet long finish.

Roederer Estate Brut NV $$

Roederer Estate Brut, the first California sparkling wine produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, builds upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking that has made Roederer Champagne among the most sought-after in the world.

The Roederer Estate Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Gruet Brut Rose $

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2010 $$

Straw color, frizzante, peach, rose petal, ginger, sweet & delicate on the palate. Good balance of fruit and acidity, complex, apricots on the finish.

Lamberti Prosecco $

This non-vintage Prosecco Extra Dry offers lovely balance in a perfumed, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices.  The finish is long and polished.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $

This fine Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine’s bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut – Extra Dry $

Slightly off-dry, it offers fresh pear and apple aromas and rich citrus, peach and green apple flavors. A subtle yeasty tone and a refreshing, elegant finish.

2008 Argyle Brut $$$

63% Oregon Pinot Noir, 37% Oregon Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

In the glass this wine presents a soft straw color with tight tiny streams of bubbles.  On the nose you get full aromas of creamy vanilla poached pear and fresh sour dough starter.  The first impression on the palate is of how well balanced this wine is, playing the purity of fruit off of the fresh acidity while showcasing the wine’s natural mineral notes.  There are notes of ripe guava, red Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, and lightly toasted brioche, finishing with notes of honeysuckle and lemon curd.  A great vintage sparkling wine from Argyle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux $$

 This sparkler is probably the oldest sparkling wine in the world.  We know that in 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire were already producing Blanquette de Limoux which certainly makes it France’s Oldest Sparkling Wine preceding Champagne by more than a century.

Dry, toasty, smooth and clean SAINT-HILAIRE truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.

ROTARI TALENTO BRUT $

Rotari was born in the heart of the Dolomites.  The mountain climate, the special care of the vineyards, the dedication of our winemakers in the manual selection and harvest of the grapes give life to the fresh and fragrant bubbles that are both complex and enjoyable reflections of the characteristics of the region.  The Metodo Classico, its history, and its long aging process on its yeast bestow upon Rotari unique and unrepeatable characteristics.

 Produced with Chardonnay grapes that are selected and harvested by hand and originate exclusively from the best vineyards in the hills of Trentino.  At the foot of the Dolomites, where the Chardonnay expresses best its fresh and fruity character, the Rotari Brut is fragrant, intense and elegant.

 

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

 
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Special Affordable Wines For Your Christmas Dinner This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/12/25/wine-guy-mike-for-1225/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Merry Christmas and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will pair well and enhance the meal you will be serving at your Christmas dinner. 

A couple of the wines I share with you today are made from the Chenin Blanc grape varietal, this wine is seeing a slight trend.  French winemakers are masters when it comes to producing beautiful wine with the Chenin Blanc grape.  In France this wine is known as Vouvray and the two Chenin Blanc wines I’m recommending today will pair beautifully with the ham and turkey dinners you may be preparing for your family and friends today.

First a little background on Chenin Blanc and Vouvray:

What is Vouvray? Vouvray (voo vray) is a town located near the city of Tours in one of the most recognized wine growing areas of France, the Loire Valley.  This specific area we are discussing, Vouvray, is located in the central Loire Valley.

A snapshot of the Loire Valley:

The Loire Valley runs across the Northwest region of France following the Loire River from Central France in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.  This northern region of France is cool and produces lighter bodied wines.

  *Wine in this region will be chosen by a style and best years*

Vouvray is produced in three different styles; dry (Sec), medium-dry (Demi-Sec), sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh), or as a sparkling wine.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape that is produced as a standalone varietal or as a blending grape, typically with Chardonnay.  It is dry, very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied. Nuances of slight spiciness, hints of honey, slight fruitiness.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.  It is known as the “chameleon”.

The Marc Bredif Vouvray I have recommended is dry yet sophisticated while the Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay is crisp yet creamy from the Chardonnay blend.  These two wines are a true companions for your Christmas dinner.

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering your Christmas Day wine list.  NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish)

Wine with the perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers.  A gentle sparkle brightens the fruit and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits.  This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal.  Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sparkling wine.

Gruet Rose Brut ($10.59)

The Gruet can be enjoyed before and during dinner.  Rose is a diverse wine that pairs well with most foods so don’t be afarid to enjoy this selection during your dinner.  This is a delightful wine that really delivers.

This nearly garnet Rose, like all of Gruet’s non-vintage sparkling wines, it is aged 24 months en tirage.  It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.  On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style.  The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.  This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive.

A-Z Pinot Gris ($10.49)

The Willamette Valley produces very good wine and this selection from A-Z will not disappoint.  I recommend this wine with Vegetarian dishes, Turkey or Ham dinners.  You’ll love this wine it is with your dinner.

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo ($12.25)

Turkey, Ham, or a Pork Roast is my recommendation for this lush and sophisticated wine.  This wine paired with a glazed pork tenderloin roast would be incredible for your Christmas dinner.

80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Color – Light straw

Bouquet – Crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.

Taste – Medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

Chenin Blanc at its finest with this dry Vouvray.  Vouvray can be made in a dry to sweet style and the French do it best.  This holiday wine selection I have chosen for you is more expensive than most Vouvray’s, but when you take one sip you will understand why.  This selection will go well Vegetarian dishes, white meats, Ham, and most seafood dishes.

The color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

Turkey, Ham or even just a wonderful wine to drink.  This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin’s minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Fresh, bold and full of flavour at entry with underlying notes of ripe grapes, followed by suave complexity.  Faintly floral shades of vanilla vie for position with lingering traces of toffee, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasantly surprising finish.

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley winery’s, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This wine pairs fantastic with lamb, salmon, pork, or turkey.  An excellent choice for your Christmas dinner.

This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, roasted beef or pork roast with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.”

This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet.  Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits.  Refined oak fragrance(very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco.  Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($16.99)

I love to drink this wine from Paul Hobbs who makes wine in Napa and Sonoma during our summer months.  His wines fetch prices north of $100.00 in the U.S.  But in Argentina he makes wine that is sophisticated and complex yet inexpensive.  Sit down to dinner with any beef dish and you will think you are in heaven with this selection.

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you just don’t want to end.

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all

Montana Today’s Christmas Wine List From WineGuyMike™


Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering your Christmas Day wine list.

Yesterday TV Segment with wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will enhance whatever you may be serving for your Christmas dinner.

Christmas Wine Flight

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish) 

Perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers. A gentle sparkle brightens the fruit and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits.  This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal.  Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sparkling wine.

Gruet Rose Brut ($10.59)

The Gruet can be enjoyed before and during dinner.  Rose is a diverse wine that pairs well with most foods so don’t be afarid to enjoy this selection during your dinner.  This is a delightful wine that really delivers.

This nearly garnet Rose, like all of Gruet’s non-vintage sparkling wines, it is aged 24 months en tirage.  It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.  On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style.  The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.  This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive.

A-Z Pinot Gris ($10.49)

The Willamette Valley produces very good wine and this selection from A-Z will not disappoint.  I recommend this wine with Vegetarian dishes, Turkey or Ham dinners.  You’ll love this wine it is with your dinner.

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo ($12.25)

Turkey, Ham, or a Pork Roast is my recommendation for this lush and sophisticated wine.  This wine paired with a glazed pork tenderloin roast would be incredible for your Christmas dinner.

80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Color – Light straw

Bouquet – Crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.

Taste – Medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

Chenin Blanc at its finest with this dry Vouvray.  Vouvray can be made in a dry to sweet style and the French do it best.  This holiday wine selection I have chosen for you is more expensive than most Vouvray’s but when you take one sip you will understand why.  This selection will go well Vegetarian dishes, white meats, Ham, and most seafood dishes.

The color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

Turkey, Ham or even just a wonderful wine to drink.  This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin’s minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Fresh, bold and full of flavour at entry with underlying notes of ripe grapes, followed by suave complexity.  Faintly floral shades of vanilla vie for position with lingering traces of toffee, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasantly surprising finish.

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley winery’s, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This wine pairs fantastic with lamb, salmon, pork, or turkey.  An excellent choice for your Christmas dinner.

This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, roasted beef or pork roast with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.” 

This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet.  Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits.  Refined oak fragrance(very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco.  Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($15.99)

I love to drink this wine from Paul Hobbs who makes wine in Napa and Sonoma during our summer months.  His wines fetch prices North of $100.00 in the U.S.  But in Argentina he makes wine that is sophisticated and complex yet inexpensive.  Sit down to dinner with any beef dish and you will think you are in heaven with this selection. 

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you don’t want to end.

"from my table to yours" Merry Christmas

"from my table to yours" Merry Christmas

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Tasting Wine For A Cause


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/12/18/wine-guy-mike-for-1218/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine and wine accessory gifts located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© I share with you an affordable wine flight from a benefit wine tasting that I hosted.  This was made possible because of the kind support of the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© show sponsors. 

St. Patrick House

St. Patrick House

This past Thursday’s wine tasting was a benefit for Missoula’s St.Patrick House.  The mission of St. Patrick House is to provide compassionate shelter to patients and their families during their time of need.  When patients have extended therapy or stays in the hospital the St. Patrick Home provides shelter in an environment just like home for $25.00 a day.  The home’s budget comes exclusively from donations.  This is why I volunteer.

I want to thank the Montana Radio Company, The Trail 1033, U 104.5, Ciao Mambo Missoula, Sleep City, and Liquid Planet.  This tasting was made possible by these businesses and I hope that if you have the opportunity to support them.

Tasting wine For A Cause Wine Flight

A-Z Pinot Gris

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo

In the annals of winemaking, Roberto Anselmi is a legend, a charismatic motorbike-riding rebel whose uncompromising quality-over-quantity approach has helped redefine the image of north Italian white wines.

Since taking over management of his family’s winery in the Soave district of northeast Italy’s Veneto region two decades ago, Anselmi has been motivated by an emotional and professional commitment to tapping the unrealized potential of the wines he grew up with. This has entailed a significant parting of ways with traditional vineyard and winemaking practices that have historically characterized the Soave district, and given birth to a new generation of north Italian white wines of unprecedented quality, character and finesse.

The Anselmi San Vincenzo is 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.  In the glass the color is light straw while the bouquet of this Northern Italian gem is crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.  On the palate the mouthfeel is medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit.  A delightful white wine selection from the Soave region.

Gruet Brut Rose

Gruet Winery was awarded the very prestigious title of the United States Wine Producer of the Year in 2010 by The International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.

Gilbert Gruet founder of Gruet Winery was born in Bethon, France in 1931. He grew up in a poor family, and began working at a young age. In 1952, Gilbert Gruet, along with his wife Danielle, dreamt of producing fine quality Champagne. Gilbert followed his heart and in 1967 created the U.V.C.B. (Union Vinicole des Coteaux de Bethon), a co-op in the village of Bethon.

In 1983, the Gruet family was traveling through the Southwestern part of the United States, and while in New Mexico met a group of European winemakers who had successfully planted vineyards In Engle, near the town of Truth or Consequence, 170 miles south of Albuquerque. The land was inexpensive and the opportunity golden. In 1984, Gilbert Gruet, whose Champagne house, Gruet et Fils had produced fine Champagne in Bethon, France, since 1952, made the decision to plant an experimental vineyard, exclusively planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. His children, winemaker Laurent and daughter Nathalie, and family friend Farid Himeur then relocated to the great state of New Mexico to begin their American wine making adventure.

At 4300 ft. the vineyards are some of the highest in the United States, so regardless of how hot the days might be, the temperature at night can drop as much as thirty degrees, cooling the fruit and slowing down the maturation process on an otherwise short growing season. Sandy and loamy soil, and a lack of humidity that might contribute to rot, give us a consistency of fruit year in and year out, and allow us to produce our award winning wines without the use of pesticides.

Gruet Brut Rose

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Errazuriz Carmenère Single Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley

In the last few years, Errazuriz has become known as perhaps the single top quality producer of Chilean wines.  Its wines were either the top-rated or shared the top rating in the last major Chilean reviews from the Wine Spectator, the Wine Advocate, and Tanzer.

Don Maximiano Erraz u riz founded Viña Errazuriz in 1870 in the Aconcagua Valley, 65 miles north of the capital, Santiago. Recognizing that this valley, with its hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world-class vineyard. Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano’s descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to lead this exceptional estate, and his work has been colossal, bringing Errazuriz into a new era where it is acknowledged as a producer of world-class wines, and opened eyes around the globe as to Chile’s incredible and diverse sites.

As an estate winery, Viña Errazuriz strives to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua, Casablanca and Curico valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity. It is this dynamism and passion for wine that has made Errazuriz such an internationally respected producer of quality wines.

Winery of the Year 2008, Wines of Chile: On November 20th, 2008 the Chilean government’s international wine association named Errazuriz the 2008 winery of the year.  

“Producer of the Year 2008”, International Wine & Spirits Competition: Also in November 2008, the largest and arguably most prestigious wine competition in the world named Errazuriz its producer of the year for its tremendous results across a range of competition categories.

Errazuriz Carmenère Single Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley

“Focused on fruit, this Carmenere emphasizes blackberry and cherry flavors in a simple line, along with soft touches of pepper.  The lovely texture and rich depth of flavor are its best assets.” 90 Points Wine & Spirits Magazine, Best Buy

“Deep red. Fresh red and dark berries, violet and minerals on the aromatic nose. Suave and attractively sweet on the palate, offering lively blackcurrant and cherry flavors and a hint of vanilla. Packs a solid punch but this wine is quite elegant and seamless. The finish repeats the cherry note and clings with very good tenacity.”

Sella& Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva

Sella & Mosca among Italy’s most outstanding wine estates. Sella & Mosca’s

I Piani estate in Sardinia constitutes one of the largest contiguous vineyard in Italy and counts itself among the country’s most impressive wineries. Situated in the northwest corner of Sardinia, just inland from the pretty, historic port of Alghero, this 1,600-acre property with more than 1,200 acres of vines is one of the largest wine estates in Europe.

As Sardinia’s foremost wine producer, Sella & Mosca is renowned for premium wines made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. In addition to native varieties such as Vermentino, Torbato and Cannonau, the winery has successfully pioneered the introduction of international grape varieties, notably Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle. Medium-bodied for food-friendly matchings.

Robert Parker called this the best wine in the world under $25.00 “A light to medium-bodied style that emphasizes ethereal, perfumed aromatics rather than an overt expression of fruit.”

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec. This 100% malbec undergoes a 3 to 4 day cold soak with a 15 to 18 days total maceration.  There is secondary native malolactic fermentation in the barrel taking 4 months to complete.  Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you don’t want to end.

'from my table to yours"

'from my table to yours"

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

This week on the Radio Show© WineGuyMike™ “The Long and Winding Road” to Waitiri Creek Winery


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; the full length conversation betwen Paula and WineGuyMike http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/12/11/wine-guy-mike-for-1211/ If you are using Internet Explorer this podcast won’t be available until mid-day Monday; technical problem.

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine and wine accessory gifts located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© perhaps Paul McCartney said it best on the Beatles Let It Be album; “The long and winding road, That leads to your door, Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before, It always leads me here, Lead me to your door”.

"The Long and Winding Road" to Waitiri Creek Winery

"The Long and Winding Road" to Waitiri Creek Winery

Paula Ramage and her husband Allistar Ward have traveled extensively and lived abroad in different places throughout the world but home for them is the Central Otago wine region on the South Island of New Zealand.  This is the southernmost grape growing region in the world, but they produce very good wine.  Paula grew up in Alexandra and the Ward family farmed for many years on Malaghan’s Road, near Arrowtown.  Last week’s blog provided an overview of New Zealand as a wine country; http://wp.me/pFhHw-Ao  This is a land that is breathtakingly beautiful and produces some of the finest single varietal wines available. 

Paula Ramage has had at least 5 careers that she can recall but in spending time with her on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week I’ll forevermore think of her as Ambassador of New Zealand and the New Zealand wine industry.  Needless to say she is a terrific spokesperson and extremely knowledgeable about her country and the wine industry in New Zealand and throughout the world.  Paula handles all of Waitiri Creek’s administrative business and development of offshore markets, a natural for a “reformed barrister”.  She has a lovely Kiwi accent that you cannot help loving too.

Allistar Ward is a merchant banking consultant full time, although he makes time to focus on vineyard development and as Paula puts it, “he juggles all the balls and keep them in the air”.

Viticulture Crew, Mark and Jason

Viticulture Crew, Mark and Jason

Jason Thomson is their very accomplished viticulturist along with his team Mark Naismith and Scott Culpan who run the day to day operations.  Interestingly the Waitiri Creek winemaker is a woman, Jen, from the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  As I mentioned last week many winemakers are now traveling winemakers who work in the Northern Hemisphere during its summer months and the Southern Hemisphere during their summer.  With the Willamette and Central Otago sharing similar latitudes with a focus on cool weather grape varietals it is a natural for winemakers like Jen.

Shanagolden Block in Summer

Shanagolden Block in Summer

In 1993 Paula and Allistar purchased their first vineyard the Shanagolden Block in Gibbston and planted Chardonnay in 1994.   The northerly facing block was ideal for sustainable viticulture and the lower half of this area provided a perfect location for the future wine tasting venue.

The Shanagolden Block was originally settled in 1867 by James Leslie, a Scot who had emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 17.  He and his partner, Thomas Kinross followed the Dunstan gold rush.  Kinross established the Gibbston store and Post Office and James Leslie was the butcher and baker but also continued to prospect for gold.

The vineyard has a micro-climate that produces ripe fruit earlier than most in the general area.  The soil composition is made up of glacial deposits and free draining alluvial soil matter (scheist).  This terrior is well suited to the cool weather grape varietals that Waitiri Creek produces.  This is where Jens’s Willamette Valley winemaking experience really shines.

Waitiri Creek’s portfolio of wines includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.  The grape vines  of Waitiri Creek are all hand pruned and hand harvested.  New Zealand is aiming for all of its vineyards to be sustainably accredited by the end of 2012.  Compliance currently stands at about 93% – Waitiri Creek has been fully sustainable for some years.  Another interesting fact about New Zealand wines, 75% of the bottles are all screw tops.  The Kiwi’s are an environmentally conscience country and I applaud them for this effort.

Chardonnay Grape Harvest

Chardonnay Grape Harvest

The first vintage of Chardonnay was produced in 1998 and full production of three different varietals in 1999.   In 1996  Paula and Allistar decided that an old church building would serve as the Waitiri Creek tasting room, they needed a structure that would be harmonious with the terroir of the Shanagolden vineyard.  So a search which led them all over the lower part of the South Island, culminating in a visit to Wangaloa, near Kaitangata in 1998.  On first sight, the former Wangaloa Presbyterian Church would have sent less hardy souls running in the opposite direction….but not Paula and Allistar.  Negotiations began with the local community and ownership of the church was secured a year later.

Cellar Door

Cellar Door

The Waitiri Creek tasting room just celebrated its 10th anniversary at its new vineyard home.   This former Presbyterian church, built in 1893 was moved to its new location at Waitiri Creek 300km in one piece on the Shanagolden Block in 2000.

I want to thank my new friend Paula Ramage for sharing this rich history of the Central Otago wine region, New Zealand, and the Waitiri Creek Winery with the WineGuyMike™ audience.  From my home in Montana to the “The Long and Winding Road” down under, Happy Holidays to my friends in New Zealand and Waitiri Creek.

Waitiri Creek Wines

One of the keys to increased demand for Waitiri Creek wines is consistant quality.   Waitiri Creek has been recognized at domestic and international competitions every year since 1999 across their entire portfolio.  Their expansion into Bannockburn with the purchase of additional Central Otago fruit has now expanded their portfolio to include Rosé, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

Pinot Noir

Waitiri Creek Pinot Noir 2007 The nose shows rich varietal layers of cherry and plums supported by an earthy complexity. The depth of fruit on the nose continues on the palate supported by a fine tannin structure, good integration of oak and a length of flavor that lingers on the tongue.

The nose displays complex notes of stewed cherries, cedar and mushrooms. This Pinot Noir shows the elegance of the 2008 vintage with a bright garnet hue and the perfume of violets and rose petals. The fruit driven palate has flavors of wild raspberries with hints of cinnamon, red cherries and succulent plums. On the finish there is a note of thyme and mushrooms. The silky tannins are woven seamlessly into a structure balanced by savory French oak and alcohol.

Rose

Rich strawberry and raspberry aromas dominate the nose and are supported by perfumed floral notes. The palate shows good berry fruit weight with strawberry and white peach aided by creamy texture. This wine is well balanced with a long, lingering, strawberry finish.

Chardonnay

Made in a fruit-driven New World style, this wine shows all the influences of classic Old World winemaking. The palate is rich and succulent with an appealing texture and displays outstanding primary fruit.  

Handpicked grapes were whole bunch pressed and the juice cold settled for two days before being racked to barrels with light yeast. The wine was then cool fermented using both commercial and indigenous yeasts. This Chardonnay spent 10 months in 100% French oak (22% new oak) and underwent 100% malolatic fermentation with weekly lees stirring. The finished wine was then racked, lightly fined and filtered prior to bottling in late-March 2009.

Riesling

This Riesling shows complex aromas of mandarin, pear, honeysuckle and orange blossom on the nose. The body has crisp citrus flavors, offset with spice and good length of finish. This wine has great cellaring potential and additional characters will develop in the bottle over time.

Riesling grapes from two different blocks were handpicked and combined. The grapes were whole bunch pressed using a bag press and then the juice was left to cold settle overnight, before being racked and inoculated with yeast.

Fermentation lasted several weeks with temperatures being maintained less than 13 degrees to retain optimum flavor. Once fermentation was complete the wine was sulphured, racked and blended. The wine was then lightly fined and cold and protein stabilized prior to sterile filtration and bottling in September 2008.

Pinot Gris

Floral and pear notes on the nose lead into a richly textured palate of nashi pear, citrus and spice flavors. The long finish is balanced by fine acidity.

First vintage fruit from Legends (Legends Vineyard, Felton Road) was hand-harvested.  One tank of the Legends juice was chilled with daily lees stirring for four days.  It was then racked taking light lees to blend with the second tank of Legends juice which was settled for one night and then racked clean to blend.  A portion of this juice went to a neutral French Oak barrel.  The blended Legends juice was warmed naturally to 14ºC and innoculated with an aromatic yeast before undergoing cool fermentation until optimal balance was achieved.

The fruit from Annika’s (Annika’s Vineyard, Wanaka Road) was hand-harvested with 50% left on skins overnight while the balance was cold settled overnight and racked with light lees.  The fruit with extended skin contact was racked cleanly.  The two Annika’s components were blended, warmed naturally to 14ºC and fermented using aromatic yeast.  A percentage of this juice was fermented in two neutral French Oak barrels.

The three barrels were stirred regularly after the peak of fermentation and then blended. The two separate tank blends were blended in August and underwent cold and protein stabilization before being lightly fined with isinglass and sterile filtered before bottling.

Sauvignon Blanc

For her 6th birthday, our niece Stella Paris Columbia B. Ramage who lives in Sydney and loves art had a wine named after her. This is a single vineyard, Gibbston fruit.

Stella

Stella

A nose of passionfruit, gooseberry and capsicum aromas lead to a lively palate displaying good balance and zesty acidity. Best served lightly chilled.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes were handpicked and then was de-stemmed and crushed prior to gentle pressing. The resulting juice was cool stainless steel fermented to retain fruit character. The wine was left on yeast lees for two months to help with mouth feel and complexity. The resulting wine was fined with milk casein prior to filtration and bottling.

Be sure to check out New Zealand wines from my show Sponsor Liquid Planet, “Best of Beverage”, in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

“Wines from Way Down Under” this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/12/04/wine-guy-mike-for-december-3/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors  

    

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula, give the gift of sleep this holiday season  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine and wine accessory gifts located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana. 

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©  I’m enthused to share with you information about a little known wine region that is Down Under, and I mean really Down Under.  This little know wine country I’m referring to is located on the South Island of New Zealand.  Central Otago is the southernmost wine country in the world.

New Zealand is known for its naturally beautiful coastline, majestic mountains, rolling hills and desirable weather, especially if you grow grapes and make wine.  If you think Lord of The Rings and about extreme bungee jumping this really captures the New World enthusiasm of winemaking in the land way down under.

New Zealand North and South Island Wine Regions

New Zealand North and South Island Wine Regions

 

In New Zealand there are two islands, North and South, that both produce magnificent wines.   There are 10 recognized wine regions within New Zealand, but five of them stand out as the recognized areas of importance.  The North Island of New Zealand has three major wine regions:

  1. Hawkes Bay that produce Bordeaux Blends, Chardonnay, and Syrah
  2. Martinsborough/Wairrarpa produces Pinot Noir
  3. Gisbourne is a Chardonnay region

The South Island includes the very well known wine region of Marborough and the lesser known wine country of Central Otago.  The famous Marlborough region is known throughout the world for their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wine.  Central Otago produces Pinot Noir that is both distinct and a great example of wine that is true to the varietal standard.

The North Island’s climate is warmer and has much higher humidity than the South Island that enjoys hot dry summer days with cooler nights, particularly in the Central Otago region.  Autumns are crisp and cool while winters can be very snowy and cold.  Summer days are long and the winter days are short and at 45° latitude the Central Otago wine region is the most southerly grape growing region of the world.  The vast differences in climate between the North and South islands typically separates their grape harvest by 6-7 weeks.

Historically the economy of the Central Otago region has thrived on sheep farming, fruit orchards, and due to the natural majestic beauty of the South Island  skiing and tourism.  The steady growth of the wine industry is having a positive impact on the country’s economy.

New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines are today recognized as world class wines.  The winemaking industry is so young in New Zealand that it is just now beginning to understand the full potential of the soil and the weather.  There are over 25 different grape varietals planted in the various wine countries of New Zealand, all with great potential.  75% of all grape vines in New Zealand are less than 10 years old.  Pinot Gris and Syrah are two varietals that are up and coming to watch for from this land way down under.

Ninty Percent of the Sauvignon Blanc produced in New Zealand comes from the Marlborough wine region.  Over 50% of all the wineries in New Zealand are located in this area also.

New Zealand’s proximity to the International dateline provides its grapes the first place in the world for the vineyards to bask in the early morning sun.  Did you know that the wine produced in New Zealland is 80% white and 20% red?

To give you a little perspective on how young the wine country of New Zealand is in 1985 there were only 100 recognized wineries.  Today there are nearly 1,000 wineries in New Zealand and as I mentioned previously 75% of the vines are less than ten years old.  The first officially recorded vintage of wine made in New Zealand was in 1836.  But it was during the Gold Rush era of the 1860’s that growing grapes and the thought of winemaking began in earnest so they have been dabbling in winemaking for a long time.  It was in 1986 though the New Zealand government offered grape farmer’s cash subsidy to anyone of them who uprooted the high volume producing Muller Thurgau grapes and dedicate their land to producing high quality wine grape varietals of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir.  Make no mistake now their varietal wines are some of the best in the world.

In 1996 there were only 1,000 acres of vineyards dedicated to the Pinot Noir grapes, but today there are nearly 15,000 acres dedicated.  There will be much more in the near future though as the young winemakers of New Zealand have persisted and now better understand the Terroir of this beautiful land down under, some of the finest Pinot Noir in the world is being produced there.  In fact it is not uncommon to find winemakers from the United States whose focus is Pinot Noir and have either gone to school or interned in New Zealand.

New Zealand touts itself as the Sauvignon Blanc capital of the world.  These incredible wines are known for their aromatics.  New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s are often described as pungent wines that are a bit aggresive, herbaceous, tropical, with nuances of grapefruit and zesty lime flavors.  Some are even said to smell like cat pee.  How can you not love that, truly the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s are incredible wines that I encourage you to try.  Dog Point is one of my personal favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Shanagolden vineyard, Waitiri Creek

Shanagolden vineyard, Waitiri Creek

Next week Paula Ramage co-owner of Waitiri Creek Winery will be joining me on the radio show.  Paula will be the first female winery owner featured on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© and I’m very excited to introduce you to her.  We are going to learn all about the wines of Waitiri Creek and the South Island of New Zealand in general.  Waitiri Creek produces Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay wine of distinct character.  I’ll see you on the radio wine friends.

This week’s featured wines 2011 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir.  Both of these selections are available at Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

2011 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc

This wine has a straw green color in the glass.  The nose is an melody of aroma, experience the allure of tropical fruit, ripe citrus, lemongrass and wonderful passionfruit.  On the palate the Dog Point delivers subtle texture, crispness, nice acidity, and a hint of mineral.  This wine pairs nicely with seafood, pale mild cheeses, or white meats.  Drink now or cellar for up to three years.

2010 Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir

This very nice Pinot Noir from Sherwood Estate is a fruit forward wine lead by rich plum and earthy tones on the nose.  The palate has a sweet entry and a rich mouthfeel that is balanced and well structured, supported with refined tannins.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"