This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Wine Cellar Craftsman and Designer Philippe Leiritz


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 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;

This week’s podcast; Philippe Leiritz and Your Custom Cellar http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/05/wine-guy-mike-for-august-5/

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

WineGuyMike with Perfect Patio Wines on KECI NBC Montana Today; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/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

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 WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Philippe Leiritz

Philippe Leiritz from YourCustomCellar.com

Philippe Leiritz was this week’s featured guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Leiritz is a native of Alsace, France and by professional trade worked as a mechanical engineer.  Leiritz and his wife Frederique worked together in Geneva, Switzerland prior to moving to and settling in Michigan.  Leiritz continued working in the engineering field but had no time to spend with his family. Frederique and Philippe made a decision to move to Missoula, Montana in pursuit of their dreams.

Collectively the Leiritz family is owner and proprietor of the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  Frederique who is from Champagne, France grew up and worked in a winery.  She is now the winemaker for her family winery and Philippe designs and builds wine cellars. 

Leiritz truly is a master craftsman with the mechanical engineering background.  A functional combination that comes together in the form of beautiful wine cellars custom built for all types of homes and businesses.

Learning how light, humidity and temperature are crucial for the finest wine storage.  There are four things that affect wines as they are stored; Temperature, Humidity, Light, and bottles need be stored horizontally on their side.

  1. Temperature 55°F – 59°F
  2. Humidity 50-70%
  3. Light – wines that are stored in areas with ample light often time indicates incorrect storage temperature.  Constant direct light is another factor to consider as it will begin breaking down wine.

In today’s world 90% of wines are made to be drunk within one year.  If you are a collector of vintage wines you already know how and where you should be storing your wines.  The bottom line; temperature is far more critical than a dark wine cellar.

  1. Lying the bottle down is critical, especially if you intend to store the wine for any length of time. The purpose of this is to keep the cork moist, if your bottle is setting upright there is no liquid to keep the cork wet and swollen thus sealing the bottle correctly and keeping the oxygen out until you are ready to drink the wine.

With synthetic corks do not need contact with the wine to protect the bottle but then you should still be laying the bottle down.  This is important for unfiltered wines with sediment being spread out evenly through a horizontally stored bottle rather than collecting on the bottom of one that is stored upright.  Remember the wine in the bottle is alive and changing every day and the sediment in the bottle plays its part in this too, but that is another story for another day…

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Master craftsman Leiritz also points out the choice of wood used in a cellar is critical for your cellar.  Redwood, mahogany, oak and alder are a few of the recommended choices for cellars.  Price, relative humidity, home décor, and personal preference all become a part of making the right choice for your wine cellar, Leiritz’s expertise is crucial when it comes to assisting you in these decisions.  

It is important to note that Leiritz builds cellars for all types of homes from modest to elegant custom homes.  There are even nice small racks that allow for proper wine storage for common guys like me.

This was a fun and informative radio show this week and Philippe Leiritz craftsmanship is extraordinary, having a nice cellar makes collecting and drinking wine just that much more enjoyable.  For more information please visit the website at; http://www.yourcustomcellar.com/home   

Here are two WineGuyMike wines that I recommend for your wine rack, pick them up at Missoula’s finest wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

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

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Anthony Beckman from Balletto Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 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 with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Last week’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Recent week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/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

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.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Head Winemaker Anthony Beckman

Balletto Vineyards & Winery produce wines that offer true consumer value.  This week I sat down with Anthony Beckman, the man responsible for making the delicious wines at the Balletto Winery.

The Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California where the Balletto Vineyards & Winery are located is influenced by maritime induced fog late into the morning, turning to sunny clear blue skies late into the day.  The cool prevailing winds that influence this area are perfect for growing exceptional grapes. The fog blankets the grapes with moist dew throughout the night into the late morning hours, allowing the grapes of the Russian River Valley to mature slowly which produces fruit of concentrated flavor and superior quality.  The RRV is one of the premier grape growing areas in the New World.

Beckman is one of my favorite winemakers for what he does not do to the grapes.  The Balletto wines are handled gently from the vine, to the press, not overly manipulated during fermentation, and then aged with special care.  The Balletto wines are some of my favorite to drink, they are true to the varietal character and affordable for the everyday wine drinker.  Every one of the Balletto wines are exceptional, a true consumer value.

There are two new wines from Balletto Winery that you should know about, 2010 Teressa’s Chardonnay, and the 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir.  Teressa’s Chardonnay is cold fermented preserving the natural esters of the fruit.  This wine is lush, yet crisp, a beautifully balanced wine for those who liked their chardonnay unoaked will absolutely love this wine. Today’s podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

Beckman’s 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is straight up the finest RoseI have ever tasted from the New or Old World.  This roseis everything I want a rose to be.  A great roseshould have beautiful color, fresh aroma of strawberries and raspberries, refreshing like a white wine with subtle mouthfeel like that of a red wine.  The Balletto 2011 Roseof Pinot Noir is all of that and then some. 

I would like to thank my friend Anthony Beckman for taking time to be on the WineGuyMike Radio Show this week and all my friends at Balletto Vineyards & Winery, one of the best consumer values in wine.

Today’s wines all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™ and are available at Liquid Planet in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.  All of these excellent wine selections (see below) have been especially priced for you.  

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops, it will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 8/03.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats having ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 8/03.

Remember to stop in at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s best wine shopping experience, to purchase your WineGuyMike wines.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 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; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Last week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/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

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 WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Paul Hobbs and his eleven siblings were raised on a one hundred fifty year old farm in upstate New York.  If you placed an X in the very center of that farm you would be standing at the barn the Hobbs children knew as wondrous and magical place.  That barn is now referred to by Paul as the CrossBarn.

Hobbs is arguably one of the top winemakers in America; he is also respected as one of the top wine consultant’s worldwide, producing world-class wines in California and Argentina. Producing wines of distinct character require sourcing grapes from only the finest vineyards, a task and talent Hobbs excels at. 

Scott Morrison’s career in wine began in a very practical way, interning at a winery in the Napa Valley.  Having discovered his passion he embarked on an academic track, studying viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.  After finishing school Morrison traveled to New Zealand, a country whose focus is growing cool weather varietal grapes, it was there he honed his white winemaking skills.  Once back in California Morrison worked with The Hess Collection and Rudd Winery, and most recently Paul Hobbs Winery.  Morrison is now head winemaker at Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery. 

CrossBarn Winery produces elegant wine offering true consumer value, thanks to the collaboration of Hobbs and Morrison.  The grapes used in CrossBarn wines are carefully hand harvested striving to preserve the core integrity of the fruit.  All three current wines are from the 2009 vintage.

The wines I’m recommending are great wines, food friendly and available at Liquid Planet. 

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops and will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats with ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 7/29.

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/29/2012  $13.99

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

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/29, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Simply What You Need To Know About Wine


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 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; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/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

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 WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

What’s Important to Know about Wine

This is WineGuyMike, good Sunday morning and welcome back to this week’s show.  Before I delve into this week’s topic I wanted to let you know that next week my featured guest will be Scott Morrison from the Russian River Valley.  Scott is winemaker the Paul Hobbs label, Crossbarn.  You will not want to miss this interesting show.

This week I’m sharing with you what I believe is really important to know about wine.  I have developed the WineGuyMike Wine Template©, a 10 point simple look that allows you to understand any wine easily.  This is important to know for many reasons, it empowers you if you are shopping for wine, tasting wine, or helping someone else to better understand wine. 

You may have noticed the last few weeks on my blog that I have been displaying the wines I’m sharing with you by utilizing the wine templates.  I feel very strongly that keeping wine as simple as possible is ultimately important.  As you may know we don’t encourage any wine snobbery here on the WineGuyMike show.

The templates generally include ten different points that is necessary for you to understand what a wines personality and a wines physical attributes.  The new templates also help you to better understand your palate and the taste profile of a wine that are appealing to you.

Here is the list and a description of 10 points I cover on each WineGuyMike Wine Template©.

  1. Style – New World or Old World

–         The style of wines can be significant depending on the winemaker’s philosophy and whether they make their wines in an Old World or New World Style.  Remember Old World wines from the Old World are made to complement foods that are grown or raised in that particular area or region.  The Old World wines often are restrained, simple and lower in alcohol content.  Wine from the New World typically has been made to drink; pairing foods with a New World wine is a bit more complicated for the average wine drinker, unlike the Old World you know what to pair the wine with if you understand what the common foods from a particular region are. 

  1. Region or Area – Where is the wine from?

–         In the Old World viticulturists and winemakers have let the land and weather, also known as terroir, dictate what grapes are grown where.  The New World now is also acutely focused on terroir, it is critical to growing grapes that reflect a true expression of the grapes varietal and tha sense of place.  Grapes that are grown in areas that are not best suited for the varietal may produce wines that are not pleasing.

  1. Grapes – What is the grape type?

–         What is your grape style?  Do you like light, medium, or full bodied wines?  Do you like wines that are dry or have a subtle sweetness to them?  Do you like wines that are lush or may have a bit of zing to them?  Knowing the grape varietals and their particular characteristics is vital to your enjoyment of wine.

  1. Designation – Old World Laws vs. New World Regions

–         In the Old World there are wines laws that dictate where a grape is grown, and how much can be produced, how grapes are pruned, harvested, and in some cases how the wines are made.  The New World is now beginning to implement some of these requirements although not nearly to the degree of the Old World.  In France you will notice on a label A.O.C., in Italy you have the D.O.C. or D.O.C.G and Spain you have the D.O.  The New World now typically identifies the origin, AVA or American Viticulture Area, of a wine.  These areas are geographically defined.  American wine law identifies on the label whether a wine is Estate produced and bottled, there are also requirements about how much of a varietal must be in a bottle of wine in order to be identified as such.

  1. Vintage – What year was the wine produced?

–         This is important to know as wines from the same vineyards vary mainly depending on weather.  Each year, just like vegetables crops, the harvest will be different. 

  1. Color – Colors vary and tell part of a wines story

–         In white wines this varies from Pale Yellow Green at one end of the spectrum to Brown. This is due to age, varietal, and influence from oak barrels.  Red wines vary from Purple to Brown, white wines gain color as they age and red wines lose color with age.

  1. Nose – This is what we sense when we put our nose to the glass

–         Aroma; a generally positive term describing the smell of a wine, for example, fruity, earthy, or even spicy.

–         Bouquet; this refers to the scent that a wine develops with age.  This is not to be confused with the wines aroma.

  1. Palate – That’s right what do we taste, what is the flavor?

–         We can sense four different tastes and possible five but that is still debatable, and they are;  sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and perhaps an ability to sense MSG otherwise known as umami

  1. Finish – What’s left behind?

–         The aftertaste of the wine, flavor and sensation.  How long does it last and what are the subtle nuances?

  1.  Vinification– What do you need to know about how the wine was made?

–         There are techniques that are used by winemakers that greatly affect a wines style, this is important to know.

Here are the wines that I’m recommending for you this week, yes in the WineGuyMike Wine Template© format.  Please let me know what you think.  The wines I’m sharing are great inexpensive food friendly wines that are available at Liquid Planet. 

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $13.99

Pair this wine with; Barbeque, Pork Chop with herbs, Fowl.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $9.99

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

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/20, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Paul Hobbs Endless Summer of Wine 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.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/10/16/wine-guy-mike-for-october-16/

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 http://www.CiaoMambo.com

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.

Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Paul Hobbs has been referred to as pioneer, trendsetter, trailblazer, and a prospector.  Originally from Upstate New York Paul grew up in a farming environment.  His first exposure to wine was a 1962 Château d’Yquem that his father brought home and poured into paper cups at the family dinner table.  This memorable wine filled the room with an unforgettable aroma and a never ending impression on Paul’s mind and palate.  His love and passion for wine began and in 1969 Paul convinced his father to replace trees in their apple orchard with grape vines.

Paul studied at Notre Dame with the intent of becoming a doctor.  His botany professor had been a former winemaker at Christian Brothers Winery in California and held weekly wine tasting seminars.  The rest was history, Paul’s focus shifted to winemaking.  His master’s program took Paul to UC Davis were he enrolled in the Master of Food Science program in the Department of Enology.

Paul’s thesis on Oak Extraction landed him a research job with Robert Mondavi Winery.  It was at the Mondavi Winery that his hands on wine production experience gained him a promotion as Enologist.  In 1981 Paul was named Head Enologist of Opus One.

In 1985 Paul moved to Simi Winery as Assistant Winemaker and it was here that his interest in other wine-regions around the world grew.  Chile and Argentina were two of the emerging new wine-regions that really intrigued him.  Paul’s recognition as a winemaker landed him consulting rolls with many other premium wineries in California.

In 1991 Paul decided to strike out on his own and founded Paul Hobbs Winery.  His mission was to produce small lot, hand-crafted, vineyard designate wines.  He started with three wines—one chardonnay, one pinot noir and one cabernet sauvignon.  He strove to produce wines that represented a sense of place and today he produces a dozen wines from new and historic vineyards.

Paul purchased 19 acres of land in 1998 located in the Russian River Valley.  He produces wine there that is recognized throughout the world as some of the very finest.  Paul Hobbs is one of the top winemakers in the world now and as a trailblazer he lives an Endless Summer of wine.  During our North American winter Paul travels to Argentina in the Mendoza wine-region to make wine at his property that he is a partner in, Viña Cobos Felino. 

Viña Cobos owners  Andrea Marchiori, Luis Barraud, and Paul Hobbs all whose winemaking backgrounds are steeped in Old World European winemaking tradition.  This team’s goal for Viña Cobos was to produce an unparalleled Malbec that exuded power and elegance.  In 1999 Viña Cobos released their first vintage of Malbec which received the highest score for any Argentinean wine.

The portfolio of wine has grown with continued accolades for the Viña Cobos partners.  This family of wine now includes three tiers which include Cobos, Bramare and Felino.  All three of these labels offer exceptional chardonnay, merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon.

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.

I recently tasted through a horizontal lineup, or wines from same vintage of 2009 Viña Cobos Felino starting with the chardonnay.  Visually this wine has beautiful straw color and the wine is not fined which allows sediment to be suspended in the glass.  This is not to say that the wine does not present elegant.  This chardonnay is produced utilizing the native yeast which forms on the grapes in the vineyard.  This allows the wine to truly deliver a real sense of the vineyard in which the grapes are grown.  On the nose this wine presents nice vegetal, herbaceous, caramel and earthy aromas.  My palate came alive with green apple, white pepper, straw, acid, citrus, and yeast.  Just delightful.  The finish is what I loved though as I found it to be one of the most unusual finishes I’ve experienced in a wine.  The finished lingered like that of a nice single malt Scotch, clean with a little heat from the white pepper.  A very nice wine indeed.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  The grapes get a 3 to 4 day cold soak; 15 to 18 days total maceration and are fermented with selected and native yeasts.  This wine receives second native malolactic fermentation in barrel for 5 months and is then aged 9 months in American and French oak barrels, 20% of these are new oak.

This is a big, 14.5% alcohol,  yet very refined in a way that it has not been over manipulated.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Fine Artist of Wine Leanne Laine 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 or http://www.fresh1045.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.c​om/2011/07/24/wine-guy-mik​e-for-72411/

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Sponsors      

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

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 would like to introduce you to the wonderful wine artist Leanne Laine.  Leanne is a fine artist that shares her work with you and I from perhaps the most beautiful city in the northern hemisphere Vancouver, BC in Canada, a city where the mountains appear to rise from the ocean.  That in itself would seemingly be an inspiration to paint and that she does, please meet my wine artist friend Leanne Laine.

Leanne Laine Fine Artist of Wine

Leanne Laine Fine Artist of Wine

Leanne and I met by following one another on Twitter.  I make a concerted effort to be personally connected with anyone I follow on Twitter.  When someone is thoughtful enough to consider following @WineGuyMike I take a moment to reach out and discover what that follower is sharing with the world.  That is when I discovered that my guest this week is the artist whose work adorns the walls of all of the Ciao Mambo restaurants.  Ciao Mambo in Missoula where I taste and write about wine happens to sponsor the show I produce each week at the Trail 1033 and Fresh 104.5.

For me wine is an experience because it almost always revolves around a social event whether it is an event or an outing with my wife.  My point is that I always put thought into my wine outing or even shopping for wine, there is a purpose behind it and culminates with the sharing of wine with someone I enjoy and care about or at an event that is striving to do good things for the world.  Sometimes they are business gatherings where I’m meeting interesting people who are making things happen in their particular niche of the world.  You get the point wine is an experience that can be shared and enjoyed with other you value in your life.

Leanne Laine the fine artist of wine is just that person, she paints her passion that helps create the experience and she is that person who is part of that experience.  Ciao Mambo is an Italian restaurant that my wife and I enjoy, the food is great, they have the best Italian wine list you will find in most establishments.  We always have a great experience when we have dinner there, and we love proprietor Bret Evje.  Ciao as we call it in Missoula has great music and great art hanging in the restaurant thanks to my new friend Leanne Laine.

Leanne journey as a fine artist began like this; Leanne started her career working as Human Resources consultant for a large company.  Growing up she loved art and has always been an artist.  For most parents though I think their greatest fear is for their children to want to go to art school, that might translate as oh no my child will be living with me until they are 40 years old.  Leanne’s parents encouraged her to go to school and find a degree that would provide gainful employment when finished and that’s exactly what she did.  That is until Leanne was laid off from her gainful employment.  Leanne is married to husband Stewart and has a 4 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. 

Leanne is a self-taught artist that is now internationally-collected and published for her renowned wine art.  After being displaced from her day job Leanne decided to turn her passion for creating art into a business by selling her paintings and limited edition canvas prints online.  Leanne’s work has caught fire and as a result her husband Stewart left his newly appointed position as head of engineering for a large corporate company to help keep up with the demand of their quickly growing art business.  Not only does her work sell online but many businesses in the restaurant, hospitality and wine industries across North America are picking up on Leanne’s work.   Businesses displaying her works in their establishments are selling them to patrons who want to buy her art right off their walls.  Leanne is a tenacious creative woman who has followed her passion and turned a seemingly difficult situation into an amazing career as a wine artist that she loves, it’s obvious when you listen to her story as she shares it with us.  Leanne loves to do good things in the world too, she gives back by donating her art pieces for silent auction throughout the year, both in the US and Canada to many charitable events, my main focus is children and cancer research.

Her is a little side story from our conversation about how she started painting wine art; Having a glass of wine while painting became a ritual for Leanne as she grew her portfolio… though she had not begin painting wines.  One night sitting in front of her blank canvas she realized she had the dreaded “artists’ block”.  She felt that creative surge but just didn’t know what to paint.  So she poured herself another glass of wine and voila…her fascination with wine as a subject matter was born.  Since then, she began looking at wine differently… by incorporating everything around us into wine… especially women.  Put bluntly, Leanne sees wine as a sexy and sensual subject.  Leanne states “wine can hold its own”.  She sees wine as coming to life in the wine glass, basically putting on a show in the glass once it has been poured: swirling, seducing, and tantalizing the taste buds. To Leanne wine seemed to have similar qualities to that of a woman (hence, her Women in Wine Series).  Sensual, sexy, empowering, and you tend to notice when a beautiful, confident woman enters the room.  People want to be her; people want to be with her….Leanne I couldn’t agree more.  My wife and I love Leanne’s art, it is always a conversation we have while dining at Ciao Mambo enjoying a glass of wine together.  You can’t help becoming lost in her work with contemplative thought; it makes for a terrific conversation when paired with wine which is exactly what I share with you this week.

Leanne was kind enough to select three pieces of her collection with descriptions that I will pair with a bottle of wine that I’m inclined to enjoy as I study her art. 

The Three Art Pieces we will have a little fun with this week:

Temptress Tempranillo http://www.leannelainefineart.com/galleries/product.php?cat=&productid=23579&rowpos=1

Leanne’s signature piece, the TEMPTRESS TEMPRANILLO.  Many women tell her this piece helps them truly appreciate what lies beneath their own skin, leaving them feeling empowered, sexy and powerful, especially while enjoying their favorite glass of wine.  As a woman and wine enthusiast, this is exactly the feeling that she expressed while painting this piece and she loves that other women connect with this as well.

Autumn Blend http://www.leannelainefineart.com/galleries/product.php?cat=&productid=23623&rowpos=1&nextid=2

Her AUTUMN BLEND is a piece where she had incorporated a rich, foliage autumn tree.  Wines come in reds, yellows, whites, ambers, purples… so do Fall leaves.  Living in beautiful BC, there are many places here displaying such a richness of fall colors that in her opinion, it’s practically quenching to the eyes.  They say to stop and smell the roses.  How about stop and watch the colors of our natural surroundings turn.

Smooth & Saxy http://www.leannelainefineart.com/galleries/product.php?cat=&productid=23530&rowpos=4&previd=3&nextid=5

Leanne’s SMOOTH & SAXY piece is an expression for her love and appreciation for all kinds of music.  Besides enjoying a glass of wine, another part of Leanne’s rituals while painting is listening to jazz.  Wine, Art, and Jazz this is one Leanne’s favorites and one of her collector’s favorite pieces from her jazz series of works.

Visit Leanne’s site for a chance to win a free limited edition giclee and to connect with her:

Leanne’s website; http://www.leannelainefineart.com

Follow her on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/leanne_laine

Follow her on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/leannelainefineart

YouTube – Watch Leanne Speed Paint for Japan Relief Efforts!

The Three Art Piece and Wine Pairings from WineGuyMike™

Let’s start with Leanne’s signature piece the TEMPTRESS TEMPRANILLO.  Okay it’s Summer time and I’m going to deviate from a Tempranillo and go to a lighter bodied Pinot Noir that I tasted recently on the show and it knocked my socks off; the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards and Winery.  Winemaker Anthony Beckman killed it on this wine; it is a fabulous Pinot Noir that pairs perfectly with the Temptress Tempranillo.

2009 Russian River Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively.  It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine.  Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more). 

On to the next beautiful piece from Leanne; AUTUMN BLEND is paired with a simple blend that is perfect for you summer palate.  It is an inexpensive value driven wine that is a must try.

Le Clos

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 with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco. It is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity.  Le Clos shows a wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.  It will perfectly accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, barbecued beef or pork chops with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

Domaine Sainte Eugénie is positioned within the district of Fontfroide, the sweet spot of Corbières, with an 800 year history of viticulture.  The estate is located within the foothills of the Pyrénées along the Mediterranean coast.  Clay and chalk soils dominate here.  The dry weather, sunny and warm climate combine to create an optimal growing environment.  This new wine, just released, is the latest addition to Domaine Sainte Eugénie.  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, a blend of  45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine hails from Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.  Don’t miss this wine it’s fantastic complement for any summer barbeque.

Now for Leanne’s SMOOTH & SAXY I have selected one of my favorite producers from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Argyle Winery and their sparkling wine that is readily available.

Argyle 2007 Brut –this gem has a 90 PT. Wine Spectator Rating, 63% Oregon Chardonnay, 37% Oregon Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine Knudsen Vineyards, Lone Star Vineyard Willamette Valley AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Prepare to be fascinated by this alluring sparkling vintage.  The aromas are a weaving together of the best that fine sparkling wines deliver.  Look for vanilla spiced pear fruit with very floral citrus blossom scents.  A lovely yeastiness blends nicely with fresh baguette bouquet.  There’s a hint of Fresca-like citrus in there too.  The palate is Vibrant and chock full of tiny bubbles.  Pear to red apple fruit folds nicely into vanilla spice.  The texture is creamy-plus, providing amazing richness while remaining zippy and citrusy.  The yeast flavor has evolved into filo dough right out of the oven.   A beautiful finish offers flavors that go on and on after the wine is gone.  Don’t miss this one folks.

It was a real pleasure to host Fine Wine Artist Leanne Laine this week, thanks for what you do to enhance wine lovers wine experience.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

A great American wine story Balletto Vineyards and Winery 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.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/07/14/wine-guy-mike-for-717/  Full conversation between Anthony and WineGuyMike™

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 http://www.CiaoMambo.com

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 uncovered a great American story that really resonated with me.  I was very moved by what I learned this week about Balletto Vineyards & Winery, and I’m not talking about the wine we’ll get around to that shortly.  Each week I share stories with you that I find so compelling; well I just have to talk about it with anyone who is kind enough to listen.  So fasten your seat belt and here we go as I invite you to travel on a virtual road trip to Sonoma County and the Russian River Valley.

Let me give you a little background about my family; my Grandfather was born in Sicily and came to New York State as many Italian immigrants have throughout the history of our country.  He was very poor and settled in the real Upstate of New York and not what people that live in the city now refer to as “Upstate”.  My Grandfather worked in a steel foundry, raised a family of five, and bought a small farm in Mexico, New York.  This farm raised all the food that fed this family and I mean 100%, from the beef, the pork, the poultry, the vegetables, and of course the wine.  My Grandfather was a magician at the craft of grafting fruit trees and grape vines, this is where my inspiration for wine was born right in my Grandfathers garden and vineyard.

In amare di memoria di Frederick e Francis Tornatore

In amare di memoria di Frederick e Francis Tornatore

My grandparent’s had a large roadside vegetable stand that helped provide the scarce money that raised my Italian family.  This will give you a little background on why I was so moved in hearing the great American story of Mr. John Balletto and the Balletto Vineyards & Winery.

John Balletto was a high school student with great promise.  He was hard working and a great track and football athlete with hope of a very promising collegiate opportunity.  John’s Father succumbed to a very untimely death when John was only 17 years old.  The dreams of college ended very quickly for John Balletto but his tenacity and willingness to work hard did not.  As any entrepreneur will tell you; you better be able to face adversity and shift gears quickly, this is what John Balletto has been so insightful in doing throughout his life.

2010 Farm Family of the Year in Sonoma County California, the Balletto Family

2010 Farm Family of the Year in Sonoma County California, the Balletto Family

Facing the reality of the writing on the wall John went to his Mother who had 5 acres of land and with $200.00 dollars John Balletto became a vegetable farmer.  This business grew very successfully but the cost of leasing land became prohibitive so with the help of his high school counselor, Mr. Pete Barbieri, John and his wife Terri purchased their first ranch in Santa Rosa, California.  John eventually grew his vegetable business to 700 acres of land and was producing 70 varietals of vegetables to the tune of 2 million cases of vegetables a year.  John Balletto had become the largest grower north of the Golden Gate Bridge, pretty darned impressive for a guy who became a vegetable farmer at 17 with all the money, $200.00, he had to his name.

Things began to change in John’s game though.  In 1994 and 1995 the NAFTA Agreement was put in place and drastically changed the vegetable business.  With the floodgates opened to the outside world to import their vegetables into the U.S. it made it next to impossible to sustain meaningful business.  John didn’t quit though, his tenacity drove him on.  Mother Nature was very cruel or so it appeared in 1998 with three successive El Nino storms wiping out three successive crops.  The vegetable farming business was done but John Balletto was not.  He had 35 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, planted on the western hillside of his ranch in Sebastopol, California.

John Balletto

John Balletto

Guess what John did next?  You guessed right John began the conversion of his land that he grew his vegetables on and began turning that land into vineyards.  John had a mentor, Mr. Warren Dutton whose families farming history dates back to the 19th Century.  Mr. Dutton suggested that John consider getting into the grape growing business and John did just that, and the rest is history.  John is now the largest vineyard owner in Sonoma County and produces wines under the Balletto Vineyards & Winery label.  10% of the grapes that John produces are used for their own Estate grown and produced wines while the other 90% are being used by other winemakers and vineyards around the region.  In July 2010, the Balletto Family was honored being awarded the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year.    

Head winemaker Anthony Beckman

Head winemaker Anthony Beckman

Part two of this story; even if you grow amazing grapes which John Balletto does you have to have someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to the winemaking piece of the equation.  Enter Anthony Beckman, winemaker extraordinaire.  Anthony was my featured guest on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week.  Anthony started his career as a daily news journalist on the East Coast and has always had a burning passion for wine and food.  After leaving his career as a journalist Anthony worked in bio-tech software development in San Francisco.  He was a frequent flier in the Sonoma Wine country as this is where his heart truly was.  No longer able to resist his true calling Anthony was up to his knees in a tank of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, he quit his tech job and has never looked back.  His second harvest found Anthony in New Zealand.  He obviously is drawn to varietals that like the day time sun and nice cool nights.  Anthony came back to Northern California as head wine buyer for Taylor’s gourmet grocery market in the Sacramento area.

Like many aspiring winemakers before him Anthony got himself checked into one of the finest wine institutions in the world, U.C. Davis.  Anthony received his degrees in Enology and Viticulture from the hallowed grounds of Davis.  In 2007 Anthony was hired by Balletto as their Enologist and was then promoted to Head Winemaker in 2009. 

Having Anthony as a guest this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© was a real treat.  Anthony graduated from U.C. Davis with top honors and it was obvious why.  This winemaker has a burning passion and love for wine first and is as smart and articulate a guest as I have had the pleasure of having on the show. 

As hard work, timing, and opportunity would have it for John Balletto as he transitioned from vegetables to grape growing in Sonoma County and the Russian River Valley, this area turned out to be one of the best places to grow grapes that there is.  Mother Nature took its cruel El Nino swipe at John but he never gave up.  It was a blessing in disguise as the climate of Sonoma provides perfect growing conditions.  The weather in Sonoma  is foggy until late morning when it burns off and makes way for sunny clear blue skies late into the day.  The cool prevailing winds that influence this area are perfect for growing exceptional grapes that are draped with moist dew thoroughout the night into the late morning hours.  In other words the grapes bake in the sunshine all day and then the cool moist influence shuts down the ripening process throughout the night and allows the fruit and sugars to concentrate within the grapes.  That’s why Sonoma County wines in the right hands of a great winemaker are fantastic, and this is what the Balletto wines are.

I thought a great deal about my conversation with Anthony Beckman this week while I virtually tasted wines with him on the radio show and wondered why he is a great winemaker.  The Balletto wines are some of the best wines I have tasted in recent memory.  As I have said before great wines are a direct translation of a winemakers personality in a bottle, and this is the case with Balletto wines and winemaker Anthony Beckman.  The other thing Anthony has going for him is that he doesn’t realize yet just how good of a winemaker he really is.  Anthony makes wines in a style that I love, not overdone and not underdone, just perfect.

Beautiful grapes from Balletto Vineyards

Beautiful grapes from Balletto Vineyards

At Balletto Vineyards & Winery they produce wines that are in a food friendly style that really complement your meal.  The wines are a bit lower in alcohol, are high in acidity, and these wines are not over manipulated.  The Balletto wines are fermented and barrel aged on the lees, but in old barrels that leave the wine in a state of neutrality meaning the wood from the barrels do not overly impart their nuances into the wine.  These wines are stirred to let all the goodness of the lees and sediment to infuse with the juice and maintain a wonderful texture in the Balletto wines.  Honestly these wines are just some of the very best California has to offer.  Anthony’s personality in the bottle is this; detailed and restrained.  You must try these wines; I will be enjoying them today at my usual Sunday family gathering.

I tasted through three of the Balletto wines with Anthony this week and here are the wines I sampled.

2008 Pinot Gris

Here’s a fantastically complex Pinot Gris.  This pale-straw colored wine opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones.  The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon.  Altogether, these aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating.  In the mouth, its lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.

The fig and honey aromas make a secondary appearance in the finish to create a generous and incredibly long aftertaste thats enhanced with a hint of butterscotch.  This versatile food wine has enough body and flavor to complement rich seafood like lobster and scallops and would also serve as an aperitif.  It’s a perfect summertime wine.

To add complexity, the Balletto Pinot Gris is made in two separate lots.  The first is fermented in a stainless steel tank at 52 degrees Fahrenheit.  This cold fermentation takes up to five months to complete and gives the wine its bright fruit tones and crisp mouth feel.  The second half is fermented in old, neutral barrels and generally finishes in three to six weeks.  The barrels are stirred every two weeks to keep the solids in suspension and enhance the wines texture.

2007 Chardonnay

This beautiful golden-straw colored wine has lush and heady aromas of honey, cream and mango that nicely compliment its brighter green apple and pear aromas.  There is a touch of spice and vanilla from oak ageing and a scent of Meyer lemon that foreshadows the wines crisp acidity.

In the mouth, the viscosity and balance of the wine instantly stand out. There’s a gorgeous weight and texture which is offset by both the wines bright fruit and its refreshing acidity.  It’s one of those wines that draws you in for a second (and third) sip.  Granny Smith apple, baking spices and rich creme brulee round out the initial flavors, and then it finishes with lasting apricot and light butterscotch.

This wine is easy to enjoy at the dinner table.  It has the rare quality of being lush and refreshing at the same time and will enhance a wide variety of foods. Because of its tartness and texture, it will pair well with salty foods like aged cheeses, roasted sardines and oysters.  It can also pair based on its creamy side and compliment rich soups like butternut squash and potato leek, or a wide variety of roasted white meats and vegetables.

This wine was completely fermented in 60-gallon French oak barrels (28% of which were new).  The wines were stirred every two weeks for the first seven months and then left to settle for bottling after 10 months.  The frequent stirring of the yeast cells on the bottom of each barrel helped give the wine its rich texture and mouth-feel which developed as the spent yeast cells slowly degraded and released enriching molecules into the wine.  This traditional practice has been used for hundreds of years to enhance the texture and weight of Chardonnay.

2009 Russian River Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively.  It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine.  Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more). 

With the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, they ferment each lot of grapes separately in three to six ton batches.  They do not add commercial yeast to the tanks and instead rely on the natural yeasts found on the grapes and throughout the winery to ferment the juice.  This process tends to increase the length of the fermentation and add an additional layer of complexity to the finished wine.  During fermentation and barrel aging, they treat the new wine as gently as possible in an effort to preserve its aroma.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"