Featured 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.
Basically 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.
Once 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.
A 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.
Great 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.
Region/District: Rapel Valley, Chile.
Grape Variety: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon; 6% Carmenère;
2% Cabernet Franc; 2% Syrah and
1% of Petit Verdot
Growers: 75% Lapostolle vineyard in Rapel: Las Kuras in Cachapoal and Apalta in Colchagua.
25% Long term contract growers in Rapel.
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.
Date of Bottling: From March 2011.
Cases produced: 27.282 cases of 12 bottles of 0,75 lts.
Not 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.
Hip, 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.
Are Organic Wines Really Safer?
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
Our team has been on the lookout for inexpensive organic wines to see if there are any wines on the market that can compete in terms of complexity and price with the rest of the wine world as a whole. To be fair, organic wine grapes like all other organic fruits and vegetables are still sprayed with pesticides. Hard to believe but yes, all organic farms in the world use pesticides, however these pesticides are all natural, as opposed to the more modern man made pesticides which would be considered non-organic. (Many scientists in the industry claim that the non-organic pesticides are actually safer for human consumption.) Time will tell which is better for us…
For now, let’s discuss these two organic wines that we found at Wegman’s Pub this past weekend. Let’s start with the Green Truck Petite Syrah. According to Green Truck, “organic farming requires a commitment to a method of farming that eliminates dependence on chemical fertilizers and toxic fungicides and insecticides in favor of natural practice.” The Petite Syrah Grapes were organically grown at the Mendocino County vineyards by the Barra family and the grapes underwent gentle de-stemming and crushing. Unfortunately, the Green Truck Petite Syrah was basically flat and completely lacked any complexity. The scent of the wine was solid and sharp, but the rest was all downhill. Tasting Notes: Mild, smooth, not very grainy, with a thin mouthfeel and having legs in the glass. Flat and watered down, more like unsweetened grape juice. The Green Truck Petite Syrah has no body and no structure. This is a below average table wine and we most likely would try it again. Retail price $12.00
The Parducci Sustainable Red was definitely better than the Green Truck but nothing to write home about. The Parducci Sustainable Red is a red table wine and the Parducci Vineyards are locally owned and operated in California’s Mendocino County. Parducci practices “sustainable winegrowing, protecting the environment and supporting our communities and local farmers.” The Parducci table red has a slight bite, and a bit of flavor with a better concistency than the Green Truck but overall is flat with no aroma. This organic wine was also a bit disappointing and we would not go out of our way to try this again. Retail price $11.00
By Sommelier & Mixologist Sara Fasolino
In the new Morton’s Steakhouse blog, Sommelier and certified mixologist Sara Fasolino kicks some serious knowledge when it comes to pairing food & wine, making cocktails and killing it with the best drinks at the holiday party. “In yesterday’s blog, I recommended Pinot Noir as a red wine for your holiday party, because it’s a well-liked wine by most everyone. So I wanted to feature a Pinot in today’s issue of ‘Wine Wednesday’…the Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir. It’s a nice choice for any get-together, and we also offer this on our ‘Wines by the Glass‘ list.”
Ponzi Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery
Their Pinot Noir is recognized by top critics, and every vintage receives strong accolades
They have a long-standing reputation for delivering the highest quality
LIVE certified sustainable vineyards and Salmon Safe
“Perfumed nose of spiced cherry, red raspberry, clove, licorice and sandalwood. A bright mouth of red currant and plum lead to a soft, lingering finish.” – Winemaker Luisa Ponzi
92 pts and “Best Buy” from Wine & Spirits
Best of luck as you prepare for your holiday feast with friends and family. If you choose to pour Ponzi Pinot Noir, I think you and your guests will be highly satisfied. Happy holidays!
Beverage Manager/Certified Sommelier and Mixologist
Morton’s The Steakhouse
A Blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero & Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes
By Matt Goldstein
When choosing Chianti, the first rule is to always choose a Riserva. A Chianti Reserva has been aged at least 27 months in the winery and has much more character as a wine. The Riserva Chianti might be a few more dollars but it’s worth it, as the complexity of the wine, more than makes up for it. The second rule for drinking Chianti is to always let it breath. Most red wines should breathe for a few minutes but the Chianti must breathe for at least 30 minutes to reach its full potential. Open the bottle of wine, and don’t touch it for 30 minutes. When you pour the Chianti in your glass, make sure you swirl it around a bit. You can also swirl the bottle. The glass swirling does not make you a wine snob; it just makes the wine good. As evident with all Chianti’s the Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva was flat and almost flavorless when first opened. However, after it opened for about a half hour, the wine reached its full complex potential. This is a solid wine with a well balanced dry and bitterness in the finish. Most all Chianti’s are made with the Sangiovese grape, about 70-80% of the blend. The other grapes in the Banfi Riserva are the Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This is a solid wine for $15 but we probably wouldn’t pay $20 for it. The Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva is worth a try, just make sure you let it breath.
About the Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva
Almost exclusively Sangiovese.
The alcoholic fermentation with a medium period of maceration is followed by 2 years of aging in Slavonian oak barrels (60-120 hl). The wine concludes its evolution with an at least 6-month bottle aging.
Colour: mauve red. Bouquet: intense with notes of vanilla, liquorice and chocolate. Taste: round, spicy, elegant and well structured.
Celebrating the best Tuscan tradition Banfi offers a family of Chianti wines varied and complementary, unique in its style. Chianti Riserva is produced from selected grapes grown in the “Classico” region of Chianti between Siena and Firenze. It is elegant, well-balanced, full-bodied with a very long aging potential.
It superbly accompanies meat dishes and typical Tuscan cuisine.
Alcohol content: 12,5 to 13% vol. following the season condition.
Available formats: 0,75 l