Wednesday, May 31, 2023

From Sicily With Nero D'Avola

The Donnafugata winery was founded in 1983 by Giacomo Rallo, but there were three generations of winemaking experience before him. A fifth is now helping to create quality wines from five estates of Sicily.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria is the first and only red wine in Sicily which has DOCG status. It is made from Nero d'Avola and Frappato grapes, vinified in steel tanks and aged there for eight months before maturing for another 10 months in the bottle.

The Donnafugata website describes the front label art as "a fantastic figure of a woman who is giving the gift of … flowers and fruits." It is a lovely and eye-catching illustration to go with the lovely wine inside the bottle.

This wine is medium tinted in a violet hue. It sports a nose of raspberry, but the fruit is just about covered up by a savory blanket. There is a strong earthy element to the aroma package, and even a bit of barnyard funk. The palate is quite dark - black raspberry, blackberry, bramble - with an extremely savory aspect. It is a very tasty wine, the acidity is dead-on perfect, and the tannins are firm, so it will pair well with your meaty dishes or pizza. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Scouting Around For A Good Rosé

Every now and then, the wine world reveals a surprise to us. The bottle of rosé I opened boasted nothing more than a "California" appellation on the front label. That is usually a red flag indicating that the grapes were grown in subpar regions. On the back label, though, was a note that it was bottled in Santa Maria, CA. That happens to be one of my favorite growing regions in the state. I let my hopes get up. 

Scout Wild Rosé was founded by former lawyer Sarah Shadonix out of North Texas. Scout Wild Wines is located in Santa Maria. The wine tastes so good that I just knew there were Santa Maria grapes in there - I just knew it.

A bit of research revealed that the grapes were - as the label touts - sustainably grown, vegan friendly and gluten free. They were harvested from a place called L&P Ranch - which I could not locate - and Joe Soghomonion Farms, of Fresno. 

It was a downer to find that this wine was made from Central Valley grapes, only because I like to think I can make deductions about wines like the big sommeliers do. At least I pinpointed one of the grapes - the wine is 48% Grenache. The 48% portion of Merlot escaped me completely and the 4% splash of Valdiguié - which they call Napa Gamay - never entered my mind. Alcohol rests at 13.9% abv and it sells for $19.

This wine is a pretty light pink in the glass and has a nose which shows ripe red strawberries and cherries. A slight savory note floats in and out on the sniff. The palate is delicious - full of bright fruit - and has a bit of heft to it, along with a good slap of minerality.

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Demonic Spirits

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, our attention goes to three films that were spawned by the devil, or someone with similar tastes.

The Vigil is a 2019 horror film which whips up all kinds of bad vibes in the Orthodox Jewish community of Brooklyn. It drips with references to the religion's traditions. 

The demonic spirit here is a Mazzik, described in the Torah as invisible. For the movie, of course, the Mazzik is given a visible countenance - all the better to see and be terrified by him. The story centers on a former Orthodox Jew who is hired to be a Shomer - sit watch over a dead Holocaust survivor before his burial. As it happens, the guy had done some bad stuff in his life and his body is the host of the Mazzik. Because surviving the Holocaust just wasn't punishment enough, huh? 

The Mazzik plays havoc with the Shomer through weird noises, flickering lights, apparitions, visions and - oddly - a disturbing video sent to his phone. That's a feat that the poor guy probably couldn't have swung on his own when he was alive, but here we have a very tech-savvy Mazzik.

Critical response was mostly good, although one scribe did give up a "gefilte fish" reference to what he considered to be a movie for an acquired taste.

Obviously, we need a kosher wine to pair with The Vigil, and preferably one with a demon-fighting name. Carmel Vineyards of Israel has a Merlot which was grown in the Evyatar Vineyard of Upper Galilee. Evyatar was a high priest back in the day, and his name means "God is great." L'chayim. 

While we chase demons around the cinema, we should go grindhouse for a minute. Burial Ground - from 1981 or 1985, depending on your source - is an Italian zombie horror movie. Put that on your big screen, Quentin

A curse is unleashed, which you can blame on another one of those careless scientists who seem to turn up in horror movies with great regularity. This time his blunder brings dead people out of their graves in a nearby cemetery. The nearby graveyard should have been a red flag that the labcoat was in dangerous territory for experiments. Where do you think you are, Wuhan?

No solitary science guy, our unlucky researcher had invited a handful of guests to come stay in the mansion. Yeah, mansion, don't ask. The zombies get to him before the travelers arrive, and they are forced to hole up in the big house while trying to fight off the living dead. It's a vacation that - as they say on the TV news - went terribly wrong.

For Burial Ground, one of the obvious choices would be Woodbury Winery's Zombie Red. This works not because of the winery's location in lovely Fredonia, NY, along the scenic shores of Lake Erie; not because the cherry-flavored wine has enough residual sugar in it to take you back to your Boone's Farm college days; not because the winery's name has the word "bury" in it. This is the pairing because it's called Zombie Red, fer cryin' out loud.

1995's The Day of the Beast is a black comedy from the combined efforts of Spain and Italy, two countries that know a bit about the dark side of things. Think Franco and Mussolini.

Ángel is a religious man who is hell-bent on killing the Antichrist as he is born on Christmas Eve. Sounds like we have a movie here that will supersede those annual arguments about whether Die Hard is a Christmas film or not.

He finds out that saving the world is tougher than it sounds. But who knew that all it takes to kill the devil is a handgun? 

The Day of the Beast sounds like a weird ride, and it is. But its fan base is hardcore, critics love it and at least one organization that hands out awards has found it deserving of a handful of prizes. Your enjoyment of it will be heightened if you like metal music.

A wine called The Beast would be perfect here, and waddaya know? Rioja's Bodegas Santalba Lamalba sounds more like a fad dance than a winery, but their The Beast Tempranillo is stocked by an outfit called Gorey Wine Cellar. 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Tracing The Herzog Lineage Back Nine Generations

The Lineage line of wines, the latest from Herzog Wine Cellars, helps trace back the Herzog family winemaking tradition over nine generations. From Eastern Europe, to America's East Coast, to the western US, Herzog has been producing fine kosher wines all along.

The  2020 Clarksburg Malbec - one of six new wines in the Lineage line - is a full varietal wine which hits 14% alcohol by volume and retails for $20.

This kosher wine is quite dark in the glass, showing a ruby red coloring with rose notes while pouring. On the nose, a blast of black raspberry and blackberry is laced with pepper, clove, anise and tobacco. The palate is just as dark and carries a savory streak along with the black fruit. It is the fruit that steals the show. Acidity is racy and fresh while the tannins have a good bit of grip. Have it with game or lamb for a real pairing treat. 

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Monday, May 22, 2023

Barolo In A Family Way

Pio Cesare has been producing Barolo and Barbaresco wines in the Italian city of Alba for more than 135 years. They are now in the fifth generation of family winemakers. The man named Pio Cesare began it all by making wine just for family and friends. He was so good at it, though, that it turned into a career.

Those who followed in his footsteps have held the quality high. They have been doing wonderful things with Nebbiolo grapes for well over a century, and it doesn’t appear that they plan on stopping anytime soon.

This Barolo wine has a medium-dark violet color, with a sort of brick red tint to it. Aromas of plums, blueberries, cassis and flowers come forth on the nose. The palate is black fruit and earth, with a peppery note and a firm set of tannins. A savory aspect rides along with the fruit, and there is a fine acidity which will make for some delicious pairings with food. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - The Script's The Thing

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we examine three films which rest on the masterful scripts that were written for them. We are in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, and whether you carry a sign or post one on social media, we hope you join us in supporting the fine members of the WGA as they strike for the future of writing.

George Axelrod's Paris When it Sizzles is a 1964 remake of a 1952 French film. Axelrod based his screenplay on Holiday for Henrietta. Since one should write what one knows, the Sizzles script centers on a screenwriter. He has been hired to put words on paper, but keeps putting off the job at hand. Writers will relate to the situation. 

William Holden and Audrey Hepburn may not have sizzled in their starring roles, but the movie they are writing in the movie has plenty of references to their previous film work in real life. Paris When it Sizzles fizzled out when it came to the critics. The work of the lead actors gained praise, but some scribes felt that Axelrod should have put a match to his pile of paper.

The pairing of Holden and Hepburn recalled an earlier time when the two had a fling. Holden said he didn’t know which was worse - having to face Hepburn again or having to face his growing problem with alcohol. Both proved to haunt him.

Pairing a wine with Sizzles will most assuredly require a glance at France. We're looking at you, Burgundy, with your elegance on display both in the red and the white. For Holden, a nice Pinot Noir, Vincent Girardin's Cuvée Saint-Vincent. It sells for a reasonable $35. For Hepburn, Louis Moreau Chablis is 100% Chardonnay and smells just like the sea. At $30, a very good deal.

Preston Sturges made 1941 a year to remember with his great Sullivan's Travels. The movie concerns a director who wants to quit making comedies and turn out serious art instead. He travels as a tramp, learning the value of comedy in the process. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake star in the film, and despite their on-screen chemistry the pair would never work together again. That was reportedly McCrea's choice. Sullivan's Travels is recognized today as a masterpiece of filmmaking. 

Censors must have used up a box of red pencils on this script. They thought the word "bum" would be off-putting to the British. They warned about the scene in which McCrae and Lake's characters share a bed - in a homeless shelter. The prison sequence rankled federal censors, who felt it showed inhumane treatment which could be used as propaganda during wartime. In the end, Paramount no doubt felt they had gotten their money's worth of trouble and talent. They reportedly paid $6,000 for the screenplay.

You have a bargain script - you want a bargain wine, too? If I told you there is a California Cabernet Sauvignon for $5 at your local supermarket, would that be of interest to you? Meridian Cab is actually pretty good, although nobody is going to forget about Opus One because of it.

Michael Tolkin based his screenplay for 1992's The Player on some pretty good source material - his own 1988 novel of the same name. A studio executive kills a writer - the wrong writer, it turns out - and sets in motion a green light project which has red light written all over it. Stars, no stars, happy ending, bummer ending, bad title, bad traffic - this film-within-the-film has everything in Hollywood attached to it.

There are so many famous people making cameo appearances in The Player that you may think you pushed play on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World by accident. You'll know you didn't make that mistake because Tim Robbins is so very much taller than Terry-Thomas. 

I wanted to get cute with the wine pairing for The Player by selecting a Black Knight Wine from golfer Gary Player. My wife, though, thought I should honor Greta Scacchi - the "happy ending" of the movie - with a beautiful Italian wine. I have found that it is good luck to agree with my wife, and I happen to have a lovely Italian wine right here - the Pio Cesare Barolo. Its brawn doesn't get in the way of its elegance. 

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Toasty Chardonnay From Sonoma Coast

La Crema's 2021 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay hails from one of Sonoma County's biggest AVAs. The Sonoma Coast ranges from the San Pablo Bay in the south all the way to Mendocino County to the north. Its defining feature is the rugged coastline it runs along, and its cool climate. That comes thanks to the fog which keeps summer temperatures at bay. Cool climate Chardonnay is a treat, one that makes the Sonoma Coast a prime locale for growing Chardonnay grapes.

2021 was an excellent growing season, according to the folks at La Crema. They say the winter was relatively dry and the spring was quite cold. The ripening of the grapes were urged along by a hot spell in August. The grapes were sourced from a handful of La Crema's estate vineyards - Laughlin, Saralees, Fluton, KelliAnn, Carneros Hills West, Carneros Hills East, Piner and Durell among them.

The wine was aged for six months in barrels, on the lees and after malolactic fermentation. Three-quarters of the wood was French and a quarter was American oak. Seventeen percent of it was new. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail price tag reads $23.

The straw colored wine offers a bountiful nose, full of floral notes, citrus, stone fruit and a decent helping of oak spice. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, yet with an acidity that is just short of racy. The fruity palate is draped with enough oak so that you know it's there, but not so much that it is a bother. La Crema has a nice sipping Chardonnay here. 

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Monday, May 15, 2023

Springtime Means Bring On The Rosé

It's springtime - that means it's time for new vintages of our favorite rosé wines to enjoy. One that I look forward to each year is the Rosé of Pinot Noir from Sonoma-Cutrer. The grapes were grown in the Russian River Valley, maybe the prime spot in California for raising Pinot Noir. 

The wine was produced by Sonoma-Cutrer's Pinot Noir winemaker, Zidanelia Arcidiacono. She says, "As with prior rosé vintages, fruit was specifically grown and harvested to make this wine. Grapes were harvested in August from Sonoma-Cutrer's Vine Hill and Owsley Vineyards. Clusters were destemmed and pressed leaving the juice in direct contact with the skins for a short period of time to achieve the perfect pale pink color. Immediately afterward, grapes were gently pressed to obtain the juice. Each batch of rosé was fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to protect the delicate aromas and flavors. After fermentation, the rosé batches were blended together and prepared for bottling in early December."

Director of Winemaking Mick Schroeter sings the praises of the 2022 vintage. He notes that the first three months of the year were "some of the driest on record," but they were followed by perfect spring and summer seasons. He says the Pinot Noir grapes were perfect in flavor and acidity. The alcohol tips only 11.9% abv and the retail price is $20.

This wine has a pale pink hue as it sits in the glass. Its nose is very pretty, full of ripe cherries and strawberries and showing hints of honeydew and tangerine. The palate plays a little more to the tart side, with a lovely savory streak to offset the fruit. The acidity is quite lively and fresh. The wine is as elegant as we might expect a rosé of Pinot Noir to be. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Flying Monsters

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we examine three films which feature some winged wonders of horror - Flying Monsters - with an appropriate wine pairing for each.

The Flying Serpent took off in 1946 as the living embodiment of the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl. Ol' Quetzy was one of four main deities of the Aztecs, and the other three had equally hard-to-pronounce names. In fact, the producers of a 1982 remake gave up on trying to educate the public on how to say it and simply called their version Q - see below. 

In this feature, the flying serpent guards an Aztec treasure and really hates it when psycho archaeologists pluck his feathers from him. In fact, that is what sends the killer lizard into a rage, not a threat to the treasure it is supposed to be standing guard over. The lunatic scientist uses that weakness in the monster as a means of manipulating him to kill. "Here, hold this feather, willya?" Then he turns and runs.

Those who pick apart old movies for a living point out that the story was basically lifted from The Devil Bat - also see below - and that ol' Quetzy looks about as scary as a stuffed animal you might win at a county fair.

There was a wine which zeroed in on this movie perfectly, Quetzalcoatl, a limited release from a graphic designer named Efraim Franco. The bottle design seems to be the thing here. Or, you could just do tequila shots.

Q the Winged Serpent is the 1982 remake of the previous film. Director and TFH guru Larry Cohen has the flying dragon-god living in the Chrysler Building in New York City, quite a step up from that cave in who-knows-where, Mexico. NYC has been center stage for other movie monsters through the years - King Kong, Rosemary's Baby, Gordon Gecko, etc.

There is a nest and an egg in this one, providing the viewer with the prospect of more Quetzalcoatl sightings while taking in the Big Apple on the tourist bus. 

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is more of a thing than I could have imagined. It is a deity based on noodles and charged with being the word and the light for the lighthearted religion known as Pastafarianism. The wine seems to be out of stock - wouldn’t you know it - but you could order a Chrysler Building bottle stopper from any number of NYC gift shops and use it with whatever wine you want for your viewing party. I mean, really.

The Devil Bat provided the source material for the aforementioned The Flying Serpent. That film got a lot of heat for its similarity to The Devil Bat, even though they had turned the bat into a birdlike reptile. That sort of script-robbing is the stuff that Babylon was made from last year.

Bela Lugosi plays a scientist driven off his bean by a bad business decision. He gets his revenge by developing jumbo-sized bats - the mammals - to attack and kill his perceived enemies. He also devises a special after shave and trains the bats to go after it. Then, he manages to get his targets to wear the scent. Jesus, I'm tired already. Agatha Christie could have called it The Aqua Velva Murders.  

For a Bela Lugosi movie, you have to be ready for a Bela Lugosi wine. His family makes vino and sells it under Bela's name - despite Dracula's insistence that "I don't drink … wine." I'll bet he'd go for a blood-red Malbec, though, with Bela Lugosi's name on the label.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Terroir Reflected In Pure Paso Red Blend

As the name suggests, the 2020 Pure Paso Proprietary Red Blend from J. Lohr is made from all Paso Robles grapes. Anji Perry, J. Lohr's expert viticulturist and vineyard research director, cites the blend as 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Petite Sirah, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 1% Merlot.

Perry explains the mixture: "Savory varietal notes of Cabernet Sauvignon are layered with the dark fruit character of Petite Sirah. The bouquet of cocoa powder, caramel, and anise works in harmony with the black cherry fruit signature of this wine. Bright and focused on the palate, with a firm and appetizing finish."

The Cab came primarily from the Shotwell Vineyard in the slightly cooler El Pomar District. The Petite Sirah is from the warmer Estrella and San Miguel Districts. Aging took 18 months in American and French oak barrels. Alcohol is up there at 14.8% abv and the wine retails for $27.

This wine is very dark. It has a nose which connotes darkness as well. Aromas of black cherry lead the way with coffee notes - mocha and espresso - tagging along. The chalkiness which I find to be a hallmark of Paso Cabernet is there, although more subdued than it typically is. On the palate, that chalky atmosphere stops hiding. It is draped over black fruit with a meaty sensibility and a smoky backbeat. 

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Monday, May 8, 2023

Ode To Burgundy Or Tip Of Hat To Old Cali?

The grapes for the 2021 J. Lohr Arroyo Seco Chardonnay were sustainably grown in the gravelly soil of the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County. J. Lohr's white wine specialist, Kristen Barnhisel says that most of the blend for this full varietal wine are Dijon clone 76 grapes. There are some of the Mt. Eden clone, which gives us the Meyer lemon notes. Clone 17 brings a creamy floral aspect while clones 95 and 96 have stone fruit in store.

Barnhisel says that "the 2021 growing season in the Arroyo Seco was characterized by the coolest spring and summer in a decade. The cool weather during the summer provided a slow and even ripening of the grapes, while the afternoon winds helped to keep the fruit healthy until harvest." The wine was fermented in oak and aged there as well, for 14 months. Nearly half of the French oak was new. Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price is $25.

The J. Lohr people call this wine their "Ode to Burgundy.," but I feel that this wine wants to be noticed. The pretty yellow juice offers up a nose of Meyer lemons, peaches and nectarines with a healthy dollop of oak present. The bouquet also contains a bit of vanilla and butter. The palate is loaded with oak effect, but the citrus and stone fruit still poke through. Acidity is refreshing, if just a tad flabby. It is an enjoyable wine, particularly if you have a fondness for the old Cali style of Chardonnay. 

Friday, May 5, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Fantasy Worlds

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌ This week, we examine three fantasy films that take us to their own special worlds.

Prehistoric Women  is a 1967 British film which debuted in the US, but it didn't hit movie screens in the UK for another year and a half - and with the new title of Slave Girls. A year and a half they had, and that was the winner of the New Title Contest. Some folks just don't deserve to be making movies.

Anyway, the main character has a thing with white rhinos, or they have a thing with him - it's hard to tell. He also has a thing with a beautiful - er - slave girl, from a million years ago. There's the leader of the dark-haired prehistoric women who wants him dead because he won't hook up with her. Yeah, there is a lot to process in this movie. 

If things look a bit familiar from time to time, it may be due to the fact that Hammer Films saved a few bucks by reusing the sets and costumes from the previous year's One Million Years B.C. It also may be due to the fact that if you've seen one cave, you've seen them all.

That is certainly not true in Sicily, where Scientific American details a cluster of caves where the oldest wine in the world was found. It's brutally hard to get inside these caves, and you are likely to die if you do, so let's just take a bottle from … well, this shelf right here. Duca di Salaparuta is the oldest winery in Sicily, and they make a white wine that smacks of volcanic earth. Get some. They make a red wine from Etna's slopes, as well.

Atlantis, the Lost Continent shows what can happen when you let your technologically advanced super continent get away from you. The 1961 sci-fi has submarines, magic crystals and a mad scientist, all rolled into a story of Greek fishermen unwittingly rescuing a princess from the lost continent. Before it was lost, of course.

There is some slavery involved here, and the princess will require a second rescue - because why shouldn't a princess be as much trouble as possible? The impending apocalypse seems to be a sure thing until … well, let's not spoil it for those who don't know how the story ends. The title really gives it away. It's not called a lost continent for nothing. As Donovan said, "Hail, Atlantis."

Go with Greece for this wine pairing, and we’ll make it a shorter trip to pick up a bottle. Georgós is wine made from Greek grapes and shipped halfway across the world, to be bottled in Sonoma County. The vintner says those Greek grapes save him the headaches he gets from other wines. 

The Witches came along in 1990, based on the book by Roald Dahl and directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is a darkly comic fantasy which isn't going to win any kudos at the local PTA meeting.

The witches in this film hate children, which doesn't necessarily make them bad people, if you were to ask me. They do, however, want to destroy the little tykes, and that really is out of bounds - even for kid-hating witches. Just look at poor Hansel, who could have been a witch's entrée except for sister Gretel's quick thinking. Let it be noted that in this fantasy world, the evil witches can ruin everything unless they are stopped by a boy and his granny. The world seems to be in a bit of trouble, trouble, toil and bubble, so let's find a sparkling wine from an appropriately named producer. 

San Diego County's Witch Creek Winery has a bubbly bottle called Cool Cat. While witches don't like kids, they do like cats - it's one of the great paradoxes of life. The winery also offers up Cat's Cauldron Chardonnay which features a witch as well as the cat on the label.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Israeli Wine With A Touch Of Volcano

Israel's Carmel Winery launched their fine wine line two years ago. They have now expanded Carmel Signature Single Vineyards to include wine made from volcanic soil. The new Volcano series introduces a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot to the winery's luxury line. The wines were both grown in an Upper Galilee vineyard that is rich in volcanic earth. Both are kosher for Passover.

The 2020 Evyatar Creek Merlot was aged for a year and a half in French oak barrels, with another year of maturation in the bottle afterward. Head winemaker Yiftah Perets says the wine was produced in a unique growing area, on the slopes of the Dalton Volcano, 2700 feet in elevation.

The nose features bright red cherry aromas along with some campfire smoke, black pepper and a minty herbal note. The medium dark wine offers a palate that is rich and dark, graced with good tannic structure, refreshing acidity and a long finish that begs for a pairing with beef, game or even a smoked cheese.

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Monday, May 1, 2023

Trusty Steed From Oregon Delivers

Pinot Noir does not exactly put me in mind of horses. I think of Cabernet or something else strong and brawny in association with equine animals. Firesteed, however, has made the connection between horses and Pinot since the winery's establishment in 1992. 

Firesteed even partners with Dreamer Horses Colorado, contributing to the support of retired horses as they live out their lives.

The grapes for the 2021 Firesteed Pinot Noir were grown in various areas around Oregon, but the wine was cellared and bottled in Quincy, Washington. The juice was aged in a mix of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Alcohol resides at 13% abv and the retail price is $17.

This wine smells delicious - a bright cherry overlay with raspberry and coffee notes, plus a generous supply of earthiness. The palate holds plenty of red fruit with mocha, tea and a hint of vanilla in the flavor profile. The tannins are gentle and the sip is quite smooth. This is a lovely example of Oregon Pinot, one that bridges the gap between California and Burgundy very well.