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Featured Pairing of the Week: Cape May Merlot & Bella Vitano Espresso Cheese

Cape May Winery Featured Pairing of the Week: Cape May Merlot & Bella Vitano Espresso CheeseCape May Winery Surprisingly Solid

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

We  recently visited the Cape May winery while touring some spots in South Jersey.  Surprisingly, they had some solid wines that could be sold anywhere in the world.  Of course, they had a number of sweet wines indicative of the amateur grower, palate and wine region often found in NJ, PA and NY, but a few of the wines were quite good, specifically the Cape May 2008 Merlot.  Very drinkable and still a bit complex enough for the educated wine drinker, we were very surprised that Cape May had a red wine this good.  “This dry red Merlot is structured and complex. Ripe red fruit flavors with strong tannins, new oak and just so-acidity.  Drink now, but know this wine will improve over the next 2 to 4 years. $18 a bottle,” Cape May Winery explains through the web site.  We did a tasting and bought a bottle of the merlot.

The great thing about this small quaint little winery just minutes outside of Cape May is that you can bring a picnic basket and enjoy the wines on their deck.  Sipping this beautiful merlot, we paired it with the Bella Vitano Espresso Cheese by Sartori.  If you don’t bring your own food to the winery, cheese, crackers and other delightful treats are available to purchase.  The Bella Vitano Espresso Cheese has beautiful rich coffee notes that match perfectly with a bold red like a merlot.  After tasting cheese plates up and down the east coast, this is literally one the best cheeses we have ever tasted period, perhaps the best.  The cheeses available at the Cape May Winery might be better than the wines there.  We also tried a Bella Vitano Merlot Cheese, also excellent.  Both were winners at the World Cheese Awards.

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Best Malbec’s Under $10: Don Paula Los Cardos 2010 Malbec

don paula wines 300x126 Best Malbec’s Under $10: Don Paula Los Cardos 2010 MalbecFeatured Wine of the Week

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Don Paula wines from Argentina’s Mendoza region can now be found all over the world, and after only two years on the international scene, Don Paula was already landing awards in Europe and America.  97% of Don Paula’s production is exported to 60 countries all over the world and we found a bottle in Sophia’s in Margate NJ, an upscale Greek restaurant.  Recommended by our favorite bartender and surfer, George, the Don Paula Los Cardos 2010 Malbec was the perfect choice for a complex red when you’re not looking to break the bank.  For about $10 a bottle, the Don Paula Los Cardos is simply one of the best malbec’s you can buy in the price range.

From the Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza region,  the desert climate has ooor clayey soils.  Also, the climate is characterized by its warm days and cool nights, with an average temperature variation of 14°C (57.2°F).  The estate is located at 1,050 meters (almost 3,445 ft) above sea level and the average annual rainfall in this area is 200 mm (7.87 in)managed using sustainable agriculture practices.

Tasting Notes if the Don Paula Los Cardos 2010 Malbec:

Slightly bitter, tart and complex, flavorful and well balanced.  Notes of fruits and bitter herbs, this red wine is soft, with a perfectly balanced finish.  We absolutely recommend the Don Paula Los Cardos Malbec for about $10.

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South Jersey Vineyards Have Same Soil as Bordeaux France

New Jersey Vineyard South Jersey Vineyards Have Same Soil as Bordeaux FranceCan New Jersey Winemakers Compete with the World’s Best?

By Matt Goldstein

According to a recent report on NPR, the soil in South NJ is very similar or in fact the same type of soil as in Bordeaux France, one of the greatest wine regions, if not the greatest wine region in the world.  With the expansion of vineyards all over America and recently NJ, it’s very possible that New Jersey Vineyards can make the same quality of wine as in France.  Of course there are generations of experience, reputation, accolades, awards that New Jersey has to compete with but the fact remains that competition is possible.  New Jersey wines have a long way to go but they are now available throughout the world.  Our cousins actually bought a bottle of New Jersey wine on the honeymoon in Italy, which was in fact recommended by the waitress in a small Italian eatery on the outskirts of Rome.

On reputation and legend alone, it will be impossible for New Jersey to be considered as good as France, at least for the next generation or so.  However, if New Jersey can recruit big name winemakers and big name wines to craft and grow their wines in New Jersey, it would be one step in creating their own legend.  Big names create more big names as well as international contests, gold medals and international access.  Recently we enjoyed a Cape May Winery Merlot which can compete with many merlots on the world stage.  Article coming soon…

 

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The Un-Featured Wine of the Week: Yellow Tail Grenache Shiraz Blend Basically Crap on a Crap Cracker

yellow tail shiraz grenache red wine The Un Featured Wine of the Week: Yellow Tail Grenache Shiraz Blend Basically Crap on a Crap CrackerBasically a Shitty Grape Juice

By Matt Goldstein & (Amy K. Haight)

We’re not really sure who coined the phrase “crap on a crap cracker” although we think its Homer Simpson.  However, that description couldn’t be more fitting than when discussing the Yellow Tail Grenache Shiraz blended red.  Normally we don’t go into tasting notes this quickly but damn, this red wine has the scent of a shitty flat grape juice and an overwhelming metallic flavor which is indicative of a cheap amateurish wine.  Yes, Yellow Tail is an economical wine but usually not this bad.  The bite and dry mouth feel are sometimes ok but the finish is metallic, flat stale and spoiled.  For those that are new to the web site, we go out of our way not to be total dicks, but when it’s warranted, we have no choice. The over produced economical Yellow Tail Australian wine is really hurting with this bottle.  We can’t recommend this wine at any price. The blend is 80% Shiraz and 20% Grenache but don’t even bother.

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The Capital Grille Artists Wine Event

Capital Grill Artists Wine Event 209x300 The Capital Grille Artists Wine EventOnce again, our Master Sommelier, George Miliotes has worked in close partnership with legendary Freemark Abbey’s winemaker Ted Edwards to create another extraordinary, limited-production Cabernet Sauvignon to be offered exclusively at The Capital Grille. The collaboration between Miliotes and Edwards, who has 25 years of experience crafting world-class Napa wines, has resulted in a wine you won’t want to miss.

It’s a full-bodied Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from grapes grown in the high-elevation Stage Coach vineyards on Atlas Peaks and the valley floors of Red Barn Ranch in Rutherford and Van Z Vineyards in St. Helena. The finest barrels from the world renowned Bosché Vineyard were used to round out this complex wine. The wine features opulent flavors of black cherries, black currant, plum, vanilla, and dark chocolate, and is presented in individually numbered bottles, adorned with a label featuring the winning artwork from our art competition held last autumn. The original painting Complexity, created by Missouri-based artist Julie Agee, features a beautiful combination of vibrant colors and abstract lines that perfectly complement the robust flavors and subtle undertones of this exceptional Cabernet.

For every bottle of this special vintage sold this spring, The Capital Grille will donate $25 to Share Our Strength to aid their ongoing quest to end childhood hunger in America. This is a rare opportunity to sip, savor and make a real difference.

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Gary Vaynerchuck’s Ultimate $10 Wine: The Veedha Douro 2008 Red Wine

Veedha Douro 2008 Red Wine 125x300 Gary Vaynerchuck’s Ultimate $10 Wine: The Veedha Douro 2008 Red WineA Complex Red from Portugal

Compiled By Matt Goldstein

One of the world’s leading wine experts and certainly one of the most popular, Gary Vaynerchuck, has proclaimed the Veedha Douro 2008 Red Wine the ultimate $10 bottle of wine.  Vaynerchuck became infamous in the wine world with his web videos where he breaks down different wines with systematic analysis.  The wines are all brown bagged and Gary tastes them completely blind, but Vaynerchuck can call out the price, type of grape and origin with ease and success.  Also a best selling author, Vaynerchuck proclaimed “This is the Ultimate $10 wine and the Ultimate Pinterest wine because at $10 it is not only a deal that most can afford but it is a FANTASTIC WINE and has a radical label for art purposes.”  Gary goes on to discuss the tasting notes of the Veedha Douro 2008, “loaded with dark, dark flavors and the ripe cherry, peppercorn, cinnamon, plum, and plum fruit dance around the silky almost silk sheets like texture. The olives, tar and black currant on the long finish put the exclamation point on this wine.”

That sounds like a very complex wine for only $10 and although we haven’t tasted the Veedha Douro yet, it’s number one on our to do list.  We’ll update with our thoughts as soon as we get a chance.

Source: Printerest

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Featured Wine of the Week: Casa Lapostelle Cabernet Sauvignon

Casa Lapostelle Cabernet Sauvignon 213x300 Featured Wine of the Week: Casa Lapostelle Cabernet SauvignonGreat Bang for Your Buck

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Our featured wine of the week, the Casa Lapostelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Chile scored 90 Points from the Wine Spectator, a very high score for wine that retails for about $12.  Lapostelle wines from the Rapel Valley region of Chile are made on 3 different vineyards and produce about 200,000 cases of wine a year.  Harvested by hand, this Cabernet blend is about 89% Cabernet Sauvignon,  6% Carmenère, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah and 1% of Petit Verdot.  With a complex scent and a very good complex flavor, this solidly dry medium bodied wine.  This is a solid wine and we recommend it for the $12, which is an excellent price, but the 90 points from Wine Spectator is a bit much.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in French Oak barrels this wine pairs well with pastas, pork and grilled red meat.

“Our Casa Cabernet is the perfect wine to celebrate with friends and family: this wine can transform a simple celebration into a memorable occasion.”  Jacques Begarie, Chief Winemaker.

APPELATION

Region/District: Rapel Valley, Chile.

Grape Variety: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon; 6% Carmenère;

2% Cabernet Franc; 2% Syrah and

1% of Petit Verdot

VINEYARD

Growers: 75% Lapostolle vineyard in Rapel: Las Kuras in Cachapoal and Apalta in Colchagua.

25% Long term contract growers in Rapel.

AGEING

Fermentation: 100% Stainless Steel.

Ageing: 34% of the blend was aged in French oak

for 7 months.

Malolactic fermentation was done in barrels.

Barrel use: French Oak Barrels of 225L. 45% second use and 55% third use.

Coopers: Saury, Radoux, Taransaud,

Seguin Moreau and Sylvain.

Level of Toast: Medium mainly.

PRODUCTION

Date of Bottling: From March 2011.

Cases produced: 27.282 cases of 12 bottles of 0,75 lts.

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Featured Wine: Coppola Shiraz not the Godfather of Red Wines

Coppola Shiraz Red Wine Featured Wine: Coppola Shiraz not the Godfather of Red WinesNot Francis Ford Coppola’s Finest Hour

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Normally the Francis Coppola Wines are pretty solid for the price usually having great complexity, flavors and crispness.  However, we can’t say the same for the 2009 Coppola Shiraz.  For those that don’t know, Francis Ford Coppola is the infamous director of the Godfather who’s turned his film fame into a very successful winery and vineyard with many styles of red and white wines available all over the world ranging from about $12 and up.  The 2009 Coppola Shiraz was about $14 and simply underperformed from the first sip.  We tried to let it breath a bit but over the course of an hour the wine was still flat and lacked complexity, bite and any type of crispness, bitterness or anything remotely indicating a good wine.  Yes, it’s easy drinking but that’s about it.  We would certainly try it again just in case it was a bad bottle however we wouldn’t recommend the 2009 Coppola Shiraz.  This is a below average wine.

According to the web site, the Coppola Shiraz pairs well with burgers, BBQ and pasta.

 

From Coppola Vineyard

Easy-drinking wine perfect for summer BBQs or hearty, winter stews.

Small amount of Viognier added for light floral notes.

Ripe, lush texture and moderate tannins are the trademark characteristics of our Shiraz. To achieve this, we source fruit from old dry-farmed vineyards in Lodi. These grapes are blended with fruit from Paso Robles, which gives the wine its intense berry and spice flavors.

Our Shiraz is aged in both French and American oak barrels, achieving more complexity of flavor; French oak imparts a vanilla character, American oak helps sustain the inherent spice qualities.

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U.S. Wine Sales Hit All Time Record in Exports as Asia Sales Explode

wine bottles wine cellar 300x200 U.S. Wine Sales Hit All Time Record in Exports as Asia Sales ExplodeRecord Sales for American Wines

By Matt Goldstein

A few days ago we discussed an article for record Cognac sales because of an explosion in China and Asia.  Now, U.S. wine sales are also reporting record numbers in exports and mainly because of China.  The newly born Chinese middle class has gotten a taste for European and American Wines and Spirits.  90% of the wines exported overseas are from California and according to the LA Times, much of the boom is because of the weak dollar.  However, the dollar has been strengthening and China still spends money on American products.  The trend of American wine sales throughout Asia will only continue to rise with the new powerful economies of the Pacific.  Up 23% from 2010, American wine exports topped $1.3 billion for 2011, an all time record.  American wine sales are up 38% in China, 48% in Hong Kong and 42% in Japan.  Europe is still the #1 American wine importer but sales only rose about 10% which is still a very good number.  Overall, the consumption of beer, wine and liquor are up all over the world, an indication of growing economies and the growth of secularism and California still has much room for export expansion when production capability is considered.

Source: LA Times

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Capital Grill Winter Wines: Pairing Red Wines & Meats

capital grill red wines Capital Grill Winter Wines: Pairing Red Wines & MeatsHip, Hip, Syrah

By Master Sommelier George Miliotes

There is a time and place for delicate, complex wines that carefully weave complementary flavors and textures into a dining experience. The middle of winter at a table featuring Wagyu Pot Roast is neither that time nor that place. Pot roast is a big, hearty dish of comforting, familiar flavors as American as the apple pie often served afterwards. So what better wine to serve with Wagyu Pot Roast than an equally big and hearty Syrah direct from America’s West Coast. Syrah is often blended with other grapes, creating wonderful, layered reds. But Master Sommelier George Miliotes suggests seeking out a single-vineyard Syrah for this dining occasion. It will be a big, briary wine with aromas of spice and flowers, flavors of ripe forest berries, and substantial tannins that beautifully balance the richness of pot roast. Consider Alban Vineyards’ Reva Syrah, grown in Edna Valley of California’s Central Coast. Alban Vineyards is actually the first American winery and vineyards established exclusively for Rhone varieties, and their Syrah is exceptional. Another favorite of ours is Radio-Cocteau’s Timbervine Syrah, created from grapes grown in California’s Russian River Valley. And from farther up the coast in Walla Walla, Washington, comes Cayuse Winery’s savory Cailloux Vineyard Syrah. There will be time enough for lightness and frivolity come spring. Winter is about gathering indoors with friends, indulging in robust comfort food, and curling up with a good Syrah.

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