Showing posts with label Twitter wine tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twitter wine tasting. Show all posts

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holiday Wines At Whole Foods Market: Sophora Sparkling Cuvée

Whole Foods Market used social media recently to help celebrate wines from New Zealand, the chain’s fall spotlight in the wine department.  In a pair of virtual tasting events held on Twitter, tasters were invited to chime in with their impressions on the wines using the hashtag #WFMwine.  Here is what some of the participants thought about the Sophora Sparkling Cuvée:

@nzwineusa expressed a thought that resonated with many: “always a fan of going back for more bubbles.”  In fact, @MattMcGinnis tweeted, “Yeasty and full of ripe pear. We had to pour a second glass. Yum.”  For @WineHarlots, a favorite pairing came to mind:  “I love fish & chips with sparkling wine.”  The tasters taking part at @WFMFlorida thought “the Sophora Sparkling Wine is stealing the show tonight,” while @cloulew advised us all to “Stock up for the holidays. The bottle is beautiful.”

@wowaustin claimed, “The Sophora was def a fave here, even w/o sabering.”  This came in response to @DeniseClarkeTX’s boast of sabering the bottle open using a kitchen utensil.  Sabering, by the way, is a wine-related party trick which you can check out here.  You may want a handful of disclaimers to go along with the video - “Don’t try this at home,” “sabered by a professional using an actual sword” or “your mileage may vary.”

I shared my Sophora with friends Guido and Tina, who had invited us over for dinner.  They seemed to enjoy the festive bubbly, although they did not gush forth with tasting notes for me.  Not being wine-obsessed, like me, they had somewhat reserved reactions.  Tina liked the flavor, Guido liked the sweetness level.  I liked the fact that it gave a great start to a lovely evening of food, drink and conversation.

Sophora’s golden tint and big bubbles are certainly festive enough, and the fruity nose of pear, citrus and bread was a hit with all.  That big, yeasty, bready sensation continues to dazzle on the palate.  The creamy mouthfeel makes it seem very rich.  It's a blend of Chardonnay (52%) and Pinot Noir (48%) so its resemblance to Champagne is a fairly close one.  Since the holidays are just about to come barreling down the tracks at us, you may want to keep this one in mind for seasonal entertaining.  At $15, you can start a few parties of your own without too big a bite from your wallet.

Whole Foods’ wine department - they call them the Wine Guys - recommends pairings this sparkler with Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue cheese, French toast, bacon-wrapped figs, hazelnut shortbread, eggs Benedict and Baked Cranberry-Walnut French Toast.  It makes a heck of a mimosa, too.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finger Lakes Rieslings To Be Celebrated

The group in charge of marketing New York’s Finger Lakes wine region - the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance - will host a virtual tasting event on Twitter this month.  The event - not that they need an excuse, they’ll talk about wine at the drop of a corkscrew - is the launch of the 2013 vintage of Finger Lakes Rieslings. The #FLXRiesling Hour is coming up on Saturday September 27, 2014, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Wine writers are receiving samples and will hop online to tweet up the '13 Rieslings with Finger Lakes winemakers and fans. You can also check in through the Ustream video channel. All of September, by the way, is dedicated to the Finger Lakes Riesling Launch.

To take part, just get a Finger Lakes Riesling or two and jump in with your tasting notes. Even if you don't have a bottle handy, it's a fun way to connect with other Riesling fans. During the event, use the hashtag #FLXWineVT or direct comments to the FLWA at @FLXWine.

The FLWA bills the Finger Lakes as North America's premier cool-climate winegrowing region.  Located in the east-central part of New York, south of Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes AVA is recognized - by most who offer their opinion - as the best source for Rieslings in America.  The slate soil and microclimates near the three main Finger Lakes make for the good growing of Riesling grapes.
Finger Lakes winemakers say that young Finger Lakes Rieslings show lots of fruit, while more complex notes appear over time.  They also noted that wines from cooler vintages age better than those of warm vintages.
Minerals and citrus are the hallmark notes of Finger Lakes Riesling wines, which can range from very dry to very sweet.  How do you know which are which?  Sometimes, the label will explain the sweetness level in the wine’s name.  There is some help for the consumer, though, when that doesn’t happen.
The International Riesling Foundation has created a "Riesling Taste Profile," which appears on the label of all Finger Lakes Rieslings.  It’s a drawing of a meter, showing the sweetness level of the wine.  It is a concept which might well be adopted by makers of Syrah wines, since that grape shows quite differently from cool and warm climate designations.  It’s a great way to help consumers know what to expect in the bottle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Whole Foods Market: Wines Of New Zealand

Whole Foods Market is celebrating wines from New Zealand this fall, and they are taking to social media to alert the wine-loving public.  There are two virtual tasting events set - one on Thursday September 18 and the other on Thursday October 9, 2014.  Both tasting events are scheduled to run from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. CT.

To participate in a virtual tasting event, get the wines at a Whole Foods Market near you, take them home, log onto Twitter and stay ready with the hashtag: #WFMwine.  Using the hashtag in your tweets will channel your comments into the stream with everyone else's.  We always have so much fun that way!  To follow along, set up a search for #WFMwine and save it.  It's very easy to keep in the flow that way.

You can also win a trip to New Zealand in the Whole Foods wine department.  Look here for details on the contest. You have until the end of September to enter for that prize.

Here are the wines which are set to be the topic of both Twitter tastings:

Thursday September 18, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CT:

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc
Oyster Bay Chardonnay
Villa Maria The Red Blend

Thursday October 9, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CT:        
Sophora Sparkling Cuvée
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
Grove Mill Pinot Noir

Get your wines, get set and get ready to tweet about what's in your glass.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charles Krug Wine Napa Valley Merlot

A May virtual tasting event under the BrandLive banner featured Charles Krug Wine proprietor Peter Mondavi, Jr. tasting and tweeting about his family’s stake in the Napa Valley.  Charles Krug is the oldest winery in California and Peter Mondavi, Sr. is perhaps the oldest vintner.  He is within swirling, sipping and spitting distance of the century mark.

2011 was the 150th vintage for the Charles Krug label, and three of the wines on the tasting list for the Twitter event were from that vintage, their Napa Valley Merlot, Family Reserve "Generations" blend and Family Reserve "Howell Mountain" Cabernet Sauvignon.  See the video of the tasting here.

Wine lovers in the twitterverse came alive for the event.  During the virtual tasting, @WineJulia commented on the wine’s drinkability, messaging that "the lower alcohol keeps these elegant, while the complexity & tannins bring them to life!"  @WineFashionista tweeted, "Interesting that of these four wines Merlot is Charles Krug's best seller!"  @WineHarlots mentioned of the Merlot, "Miles has left the building."

The Mondavi blurb writer calls the 2011 Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot their “Cab lover’s Merlot,” and with good reason.  It is as big and bold as many a Cabernet Sauvignon hailing from America’s best-selling wine region, despite a cool growing season in 2011 that made harvest a few weeks later than usual.  The yield was down and the sugar content of the grapes was lower than they like, but the winemaking team members were thrilled to capture so much flavor despite the obstacles.

The Napa Valley grapes which make up this red blend are 84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Sirah, 3% Malbec and a 1% splash of Petit Verdot.  The wine spent 18 months aging in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol clocks in at a pretty reasonable 14% abv - thank you, cool vintage - and retails for $25.

The wine has a very dark color, opaque ruby red in the glass.  The nose displays robust aromas of black cherry and blueberry with a nice plume of smoke laying over the fruit.  On the palate, the moniker “Cab Lover’s Merlot” really hits home.  Rich, bold fruit flavors burst forth impressively.  Savory undertones join the show, awash in dark berries and vanilla.  A very slight herbal sensation peeks through, a light bell pepper note - the only aspect of the taste that points to a cool vintage.

Pairing with red meat is a no-brainer - the tannins are fine and the acidity is juicy.  A cheese plate would be welcome, too.  Include some Camembert, Gouda and Gruyere.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer

The Finger Lakes Wine region recently hosted another in a series of live virtual tasting events, with a video feed and participation via Twitter.  A virtual tasting event is a great way to gain exposure to a new wine or winery, and it’s a great way to mingle with like-minded wine folks.  The Finger Lakes Wine Alliance uses the social aspect of virtual tastings to their great advantage.

In May 2014, the FLWA staged a virtual event featuring a large variety of wines, not just one or two.  Participants sipped at home and joined in during a four-hour marathon. (Most virtual tasting events only run an hour or so.)  I was supplied with several white wines to sample, and today I’ll focus on the Dr Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Gewürztraminer 2013.

The Twitter crowd fell in love with the Rieslings and Canernet Francs, but Gewürztraminer was not forgotten, least of all by @DrFrankWine: "Believe it or not we released that wine only a month ago. Imagine how good it will be with more bottle age!"  Many tweeters thought the Finger Lakes is a great spot for a getaway: "#FLXwine region makes for a perfectly relaxing and delicious vacation."  @MiddleSeatView was afraid the credit card may have been too taxed while there: "I think we may have bought too much wine in the Finger Lakes..."  A picture showing a ten-bottle lineup was attached.

Dr Konstantin Frank's vision helped lift the New York wine industry to a preeminent level, hence his nom de vin as the "Father of Vinifera in the eastern U.S."  He was responsible for the "vinifera revolution" in the Finger Lakes region, insisting that European grape varieties would grow and thrive in the cold climate of upstate New York.  It turned out that it was the rootstock, not the cold climate, that was the problem.  His persistence proved him right, and now northern European varieties are planted all over the area - Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gruner Veltliner.  Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars now employs a team of winemakers from New York, Virginia, Austria and Germany.  

For the Dr Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer 2013, the wine saw skin contact for 24 hours, while fermentation was stopped to retain some residual sugar.  This wine is off dry on the IRF scale, with RS at just 0.7% and alcohol balanced at 13.2% abv.  This Gewürztraminer comes bottled under a screw cap and retails for $15 per bottle.

The wine has a golden tint, and slight bubbles clinging to the glass.  Aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, peach and apricot are abetted by a citrus minerality.  The palate features beautiful fruit - peach, nectarine, apricot, lemon and lime - while minerals play a huge part and acidity is zippy.  It is completely refreshing.   This Gewürztraminer finishes clean and is loaded with citrus minerals. A little savory kick is in there on the finish, too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Finger Lakes Whites

The Finger Lakes Wine Region recently hosted another in a series of live virtual tasting events, with a video feed and participation via Twitter.  These events are becoming so popular that if you try to take part in every one that comes along, you’ll have a pretty full dance card.

The virtual tasting is a great way to gain exposure to a new wine or winery, and it’s a great way to mingle with folks who are as inquisitive about wine as you are.  Like many wine regions, the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance uses the social aspect of virtual tastings to their great advantage.

In May 2014, the FLWA staged a virtual event featuring a large variety of wines, not just one or two.  Participants sipped at home and joined in during a four-hour marathon. (Most virtual tasting events only run an hour or so.)  I was supplied with several white wines to sample, and today I’ll focus on the Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve Riesling 2012.

On Twitter, @travel4foodfun carried the sentiment of all by tweeting, “We are now doing our virtual tasting from our friends @villabellangelo and It's a definite Wow!”  @jeffal66 commented on the wine: “Nice mix of melon, fall fruit on the Bellangelo. Pear for sure. Minerality.”   The winery of the moment, @villabellangelo, offered a glimpse behind the bottle.  They wrote, “Geek out on the Gibson Vineyard  - the source for our 1866 Reserve Riesling.” and “Check out our background history on the 1866 Reserve series at:"

This release marks the debut vintage of a Riesling that shows why New York’s Finger Lakes Riesling is known for that grape.  The fruit came from a single vineyard - Gibson Vineyard, just north of the winery on the west side of Seneca Lake.  The date in the wine’s name - 1866 - is a tip of the winegrowing hat to Dr. Byron Spence, an early grape grower in the region

With residual sugar at just 1.9%, this Finger Lakes Riesling clocks in on the dry side of medium dry.  Finger Lakes Rieslings all bear the Riesling Taste Profile scale designed by the International Riesling Foundation.
It’s easy on the alcohol - 11%.abv - and only 99 cases were produced.  My bottle was number 87 of 1188.

The 1866 Reserve Riesling gets a special touch in the winery, aging half in stainless steel tanks and half in oak barrels sur lie - in contact with the spent yeast cells - for eight months.

The light straw tint is pretty, and the nose is even more so.  Floral notes, pear and  nectarine aromas are not shy about getting out of the glass.  The mouthfeel is full and creamy and the acidity is on the gently side, making it a great wine to sip.  Flavors of pears and white peaches provide plenty to ponder while doing so.  This wine would be nice with spicy food, like a Thai dish or even Mexican food with a bit of heat to it.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Going Italian At Whole Foods - What Did You Tweet?

During March and April, Whole Foods Market has celebrated wines from Italy.  Eight lovely wines from some of Italy’s notable winemakers are offered at great prices - all under $16.  From light, crisp Pinot Grigio from Veneto to earthy, fruit forward Sangiovese from Tuscany, you can taste your way through Italy with recipes and cheese pairings from Whole Foods Market.  You can also see my articles on these wines here.

Along the way, two virtual tasting events on Twitter have brought the wines forth in 140 characters or less.  Below is the list of Whole Foods Market’s featured Italian wines discussed on the most recent Twitter Tasting, along with some choice comments from those who took part.  You can access the stream at the hashtag #WFMWine and see how much fun we had.

Presto Prosecco

Describing the aroma of this wine, @dbrogues commented that it was "like the center of a green apple."

Price was a big attraction on all these wines, but particularly the Prosecco.  From @WineFoodTravel, "Loving the Presto Prosecco. It's a slice of heaven! Crisp apple. What's the price on this?"  Just $11, by the way.

@DeborahGrossman tweeted, "for my upcoming birthday, I'll stock up on Presto Prosecco to kick off the festivities, yes?! #WFMWine Virtual party now!"

Caposaldo Pinot Grigio

@winefashionista chimed in with favorable notes on this one.  "I love the Pinot Grigio - and so does my husband! Nice balance of acid and fruit you could sip this wine all summer!"

Another fan of the P.G., @JamesTheWineGuy, is always good for some tasting notes.  "Capolsado Veneto Pinot Grigio - crisp, nicely acidic; notes of yellow citrus zest and peel, sunflower seeds, mineral & sweet fennel."

Monrosso Chianti

@MarinelliSauce tweeted, "Chianti is so versatile. the favorite red wine of Germany FYI. their buying habits drive the bulk Chianti market," to which @WineHarlots replied, "I agree. Chianti, to me, is a 'no-brainer wine.' Easy to drink and goes well with summer cuisine."

@WholeFoods offered a recipe for pairing purposes, "Looking for a nice meal to have with this Chianti? Try PUTTANESCA PASTA:"  Many agreed by retweeting the comment.  Speaking of sharing, @dbrogues was in a generous mood.  "My roommates are trying the wines with me, we're all loving this!"

Verrazzano Rosso

Some tweeters liked the lighter body on this wine.  @Liz4Aker wrote, "This is a really mellow chianti, was expecting a fuller red. Not disappointed."

@RickGriffin liked the price.  "The Verrazzano Rosso is a great value. Surprised it’s only $16."

Getting a nation full of wine lovers together on Twitter gets a bit noisy.  @takeabiteblog noted, "Awesome! #wfmwine is number 2 on the trending list :)"

In a virtual tasting event, there are likely to be as many comedians as wine lovers.  From @WineFoodTravel: "spillage?! Lick it off the table or suck it out of the carpet. Don’t let good wine go to waste:)"

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Lodi Native Zinfandels

Virtual wine tasting is really getting to be a popular pasttime.  Staged by wineries, wine regions or publicity representatives, the events offer wine-loving participants the chance to join like-minded Twitter users, along with winemakers, in a fun, free-for-all forum.

If you are casting about for a virtual tasting event in which to take part, please allow me to suggest the BrandLive event coming up on Tuesday April 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. PT.  Staged by LoCA, The Wines of Lodi, CA, and the just-launched Lodi Native project, this virtual tasting event gives you the chance to mingle on the social media platform Twitter with some winemakers from Lodi and some wine lovers from all over.  You can also look in on a video stream.   If you can get one of these Zinfandels, do.  They are available as a six-pack in a commemorative wooden box, through the Lodi Native website.  Even if you can’t put your hands on a bottle,jump in on Twitter and learn a lot about the Lodi AVA.

The Lodi Native Project is a collaboration of six winegrowers - Michael McCay of McCay Cellars, Tim Holdener of Macchia, Ryan Sherman of the Fields Family, Chad Joseph of the Maley Brothers, Stuart Spencer of St. Amant and Layne Montgomery of m2 Wines.  It aims to highlight Lodi's unique sense of place by focusing on single-vineyard Zinfandel selections from the Mokelumne River AVA.  I know, you're salivating already.  Me too.  Each 2012 Lodi Native bottling utilized native yeast fermentation, zero new oak and minimal interference in the vineyards and cellar - so the terroir-driven fruit can speak for itself.

Kira Cooper, of Charles Communications, has provided the details for the event, set for Tuesday April 22, 2014.

Wines (all single-vineyard Zinfandels):
1. 2012 Fields Family 'Century Block Vineyard'
2. 2012 m2 'Soucie Vineyard'
3. 2012 Macchia 'Noma Vineyard'
4. 2012 Maley Brothers 'Wegat Vineyard'
5. 2012 McCay Cellars 'Trulux Vineyard'
6. 2012 St.Amant 'Marian's Vineyard'

Stuart Spencer of the Lodi Winegrape Commission & St. Amant Winery (main host)
Layne Montgomery of m2 Wines
Tim Holdener of Macchia
Michael McCay of McCay Cellars
Todd Maley of Maley Brothers
Chad Joseph of Maley Brothers
Ryan Sherman of Fields Family Wines

"First, sign into your Twitter account and pull up the live stream a little before 5 p.m. PT and get ready to roll!

To access the live stream, please click on the following link:

Once you click on the link, you’ll see a box on the right hand side that says ‘Questions from the Audience.’ Fill in your name, location and type up your Comment or Question – we’ll be able to view what you say immediately!

Please note Twitter on/off button below the comment field. We encourage you to Tweet your comments and by doing so, you simply have to log into your Twitter account on a separate tab or window. If you do not want a comment or question to show up on your Twitter feed, click the button to “off.”

We welcome you to use the hash tag #LodiLive and Twitter handle @Lodi_Wine during the tasting. We also encourage you to visit and to learn more about Lodi and the Lodi Native project prior to the tasting."

So you don't forget, put the virtual tasting event on your calendar for Tuesday April 22nd at 5:00 p.m. Pacific.  We look forward to chatting with you.  To see how the BrandLive tastings have worked in the past, go here.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter