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Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail Tour in a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Review: 2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2014 Mazda CX-5: Impressions Review: 2010 Smasne Cellars Ancient Rocks red wine Review: A pair of Matua Wines from New Zealand
 

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail Tour in a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

By Darin Pemberton and Holly L. Smith Ten days before the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail Tour, Duane asked if I would attend in his stead. I agreed and that simple agreement lead to a fundamental change in my views of Michigan wines. I am getting ahead of myself. As the event drew closer, the good […]

Review: 2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc

South Africa is world renown for its quality Chenin Blanc and this little gem from Mulderbosch proves to bolster that reputation. For well under $15, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one – let’s get into it. Residual Sugar 4.3 g/l Total Extract 22.4 g/l pH 3.38 Alcohol 13.92 % Total Acid 5.6 […]

2014 Mazda CX-5: Impressions

Review: 2010 Smasne Cellars Ancient Rocks red wine

Winery website: www.smasnecellars.com Robert Smasne has made a name for himself in the Northwest for producing wines that show good character, varietal integrity and body. This 2010 “Ancient Stones” blend is no different. A Rhone-style blend, it is a wine that can easily tame everything from a pot-roast to lamb shank to wild game. A good-drinking […]

Review: A pair of Matua Wines from New Zealand

Winery website: http://www.matua.co.nz Matua is a wine brand that hails from New Zealand and its mission is to deliver affordable, tasty vino from the best fruit it can get. With its first bottling in 1974, it’s been around the “block a few times” and has a loyal following of wine lovers. These two, affordable offerings have […]

Screw caps: Not at all the “perfect” enclosure

Got a new wine shipment today with one “dead soldier” in the box which does happen from time to time. The difference is, however, the one that leaked was a bottle that had the “perfect enclosure” on it – a screw cap.

While screw caps do hold in the “freshness” of a wine rather well, as you can see from this picture, it’s far from perfect. One little bump and it can break its seal.

Screw caps: Far from perfect

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Ford honors National Bacon Day with Fiesta

If you’ve ever wondered when a car company might cater to bacon lovers, your time has come. With its 2014 Fiesta, customers can now order them with “bacon wraps”, “bacon racing stripes” and a “side of bacon”.

“In the 40 years I’ve been in this business, I’ve never seen so much interest in bacon,” said Allan Benton, CEO of Benton’s Country Hams. “It’s being used in bourbon, chocolate, ground beef, caramel corn and whatever else you can think of. This car just makes so much sense.”

“You can only imagine that a hillbilly from Tennessee is pretty happy to hear about a Ford wrapped in bacon,” said Benton. “I expect there will be some real excitement among the young city crowd.”

Other options from the bacon-wrap Fiesta menu include:

  • Bacon Racing Strips – two pieces of bacon that go on the car’s hood and resemble classic dual racing stripes
  • Side of Bacon – two individual strips of bacon that wrap over rear wheel – popular among those on a diet
  • While the bacon-wrapped Fiesta has all the looks of indulgence, it’s incredibly lean at the pump – with an EPA-estimated rating of up to 41 mpg on the highway. And unlike bacon grease, nothing gets sizzled away from the Fiesta interior, with technology and features worthy of a blue ribbon at any county fair.
  • The bacon graphics are just a few custom exterior vinyl graphics Fiesta buyers can have installed on their ride to express their personalities. The wraps are produced by Ford Custom Graphics, along with 3M Original Wraps, and are available at www.fordcustomgraphics.com.

Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company

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2013 Mazda CX-9: Impressions

2013_mazda_cx9_engine 2013_mazda_cx9_front_angle 2013_mazda_cx9_front_seats 2013_mazda_cx9_front_seats_ 2013_mazda_cx9_main  2013_mazda_cx9_rear_ 2013_mazda_cx9_rear_angle 2013_mazda_cx9_rear-seats 2013_mazda_cx9_side_view

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Life in the bubbly lane: Cantine Ferrari

By Duane Pemberton

Winery website: http://www.cantineferrari.it

Cantine Ferrari is an produce of sparkling wine done in the French way of Methode Champenoise and are located in near the foot of the Dolomite Mountains. Ferrari is a rather common last name in Italy, in fact I was told by their winemaker, Marcello Lunelli, at a recent lunch in Seattle that it’s about as common as the name, Smith is here in America.

Winemaker: Marcello Delamater

When its founder, Guilio Ferrari started the winery back in 1902, he was passionate about Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sparkling wine as the French use to produce world-class Champagne. He was confident that the climate and terroir of the Trentino region was ideal for these grapes – fast foward to 2013 and his vision has clearly paid off.

The winery now produces over 4 million cases per year and produces wines which range from $27 to $140 per bottle. Sure it’s more expensive than Prosecco but it should be, it’s more laborious to produce, and needs more time in-bottle for the secondary fermentation to happen which mean for a more expensive production cost. Here’s the breakdown of Ferrari’s prices:

  • Ferrari Brut NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $27
  • Ferrari Rosé NV, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $37
  • Ferrari Perlé 2006, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $42
  • Ferrari Perlé Rosé 2006, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $75
  • Ferrari Perlé Nero 2006, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $90
  • Ferrari Riserva Lunelli 2005, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – not yet available in US
  • Ferrari Riserva del Fondatori Giulio 2001, Metodo Classico Trento DOC – $140

I was invited to spend time with Marcello and the wines at Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, it was my first time experience the Ferrari brand and people. During the tasting we had the opportunity to taste various years of bubbly and I can tell you that the wines age very beautifully and exhibit many of the same qualities most of us adore about Champagne.

Intense fruit flavors like pear, golden delicious apple, apricot, pineapple and even some citrus come through in a number of the wines. On top of that was the beautiful layers of baking spices like nutmeg, clove and cinnamon that are augmented by notes of freshly-baked bread and biscuits. There’s no doubting the incredible intensity of the wines and complexity.

I believe that Ferrari has done a good job of appealing to both the new-world style of bubbly lover who is a bit more budget conscious while also having appeal for the collectors out there because these wines have the acidity to lay down for decades.

In the end, I’d encourage everyone to try the Ferrari wines and taste the passion, heart and soul to be found in each bottle.

2013_canlis_view

Life in the bubbly lane: Cantine Ferrari

2013_canlis_ferrari_beets

2013_canlis_ferrari_bottle_line_pu

2013_canlis_ferrari_bottle_shot 2013_canlis_ferrari_bottle_shot_pouring

2013_canlis_ferrari_pork 2013_canlis_ferrari_verticalPhoto Courtesy of: Cantine Ferrari Photo Courtesy of: Cantine FerrariPhoto Courtesy of: Cantine Ferrari Photo Courtesy of: Cantine Ferrari  

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Taste Of Tulalip 2013 now gearing up

Tulalip, Washington – Tulalip Resort Casino is gearing up for a weekend of revelry to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Taste of Tulalip, its coveted award-winning food and wine aficionado event.  Scheduled for November 8 and 9, 2013, this year’s line-up of top talent, to be announced within the next month, will include many familiar names as well as some stars on the rise.  Past culinary celeb appearances have included ABC TV’s “The Chew” host Carla Hall, Bravo’s Top Chef Master and author Marcus Samuelsson, wine legend Marc Mondavi, “Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco and others.  Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and Sommelier Tommy Thompson are putting together a dazzling roster of food, wine and tradition show-stoppers that have been a year in the planning.   Taste 2013 will feature honorary winemaker Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery.  Taste of Tulalip tickets have just gone on sale at Ticketmaster, with Friday night Celebration dinner tickets soon to follow.

The two-day gathering, with a focus on food, wine and tradition, begins with a Friday night wine and passed hors d’oeuvres reception, followed by the aptly named Celebration Dinner.  The multi-course repast will focus on Native American and traditional recipe inspired dishes, paired with a global offering of rare, top wines. It is priced at $175. Tickets are limited and this event is always a sell-out.

On Saturday “All Access” pass holders ($295) will enjoy early entrance to the unforgettable Grand Taste; a VIP seminar featuring a celebrity cooking demo, table talk and Q & A session on the Viking Kitchen Stage; a private Magnum Party where they’ll be treated to a high level wine and indigenous food pairings; and a special bonus this year – two in-depth Reserve Tasting forums.

The weekend’s highlight is always the Grand Taste, spanning four hours and featuring lavish food stations as well as over 100 wines from Washington State, California and Oregon, and craft beer.  It is priced at $95 and includes a Rock –n- Roll Cooking Challenge done “Iron Chef” style with celebrity judges looking for the best from both regional and Tulalip chefs, and sommelier teams.   Special guest Emilio Lopez of El Salvador (a sixth generation specialty coffee producer), will be appearing at the Dillanos Coffee Roasters espresso bar, where guests will be able to sample a special TOT 5th Anniversary Blend.

All of the weekend’s wine offerings will be available in limited quantities for purchase in the Taste of Tulalip retail wine shop.  There will also be book and bottle signings for those looking to personalize their purchases.

For tickets, go to www.tasteoftulalip.com or www.ticketmaster.com

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New gadget allows you to enjoy wine without popping the cork

By Duane Pemberton

There’s a new gadget on the market from  Coravin that allows wine lovers to enjoy their wines without pulling the cork. The idea behind it is that you don’t have to worry about over-oxidized wine if you’re the type who nurse a bottle for a few days. Its ideal market segment should be for restaurants and wine collectors who want to sample wines from older bottles but don’t want to open them. But it won’t be cheap, priced at $299.00 it won’t be for everyone.

Coravin’s “Wine Access System”, claims that the thin, hollow needle it uses to penetrate into the cork is so thin, that the cork reseals itself after you remove it.

New gadget allows you to enjoy wine without popping the cork

Before the wine is poured, the system also pressurizes the bottle with argon gas and then starts to let the wine pour into your glass.

“As a winemaker myself, I was very protective of the delicate nature of wine and took special care with the by-the-glass offerings at each of my restaurants,” said Joe Bastianich, American restaurateur, winemaker, and Coravin investor, well known for his role as a judge on FOX’s “Master Chef.” “Once I tried wine accessed six months prior with Coravin and tasted no difference, I knew this was a game changer. I now provide wine samples and glass selections from dozens of vintages and wines that we have never been able to offer, without any compromise in wine quality or waste. This product is nothing short of amazing for both restaurateurs and wine lovers alike.”

Robert Parker  said: “the most transformational and exciting new product for wine lovers that has been developed or invented in the last 30-plus years.”

Parker, who is largely considered one of the world’s leading authorities on wine, recently posted a series of videos about the Coravin System based on his own personal testing of the system on the erobertparker.com site.

Source: Mashable

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Review: 2010 Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://doublecanyon.com

Double Canyon is a new winery in the state of Washington whose initial release is a Cabernet Sauvignon. It sources fruit from the prized Horse Heaven Hills AVA, which is home to some of Washington’s better vineyards as well.

Using land that was originally owned by Don and Linda Mercer, the Double Canyon vineyard site is now in the hands of William Beightol. William has been tending to this area since he was a kid, literally, as he grew up across the street from where the Vineyard is at today.

Review: 2010 Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills
  • Vineyard: Double Canyon
  • Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Cooperage: 20 months in French oak; 35% new
  • Price: $40

On the nose: Ripe raspberries, cherries, clay, herb, peppercorn, leather and cocoa.

On the palate: Very soft tannins for such a young wine and comes across as an “old soul”. There’s a nice combination of red fruits, soil, forest floor and some herbaceousness going on here. Good acids (as is the case with most all of the 2010 Washington Reds I’ve had so far), enticing fruit, and approachable tannins make for a very solid Cabernet.

W.E.P. Rating: 95%

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Reviews, Washington Wines0 Comments

Short video: Hedges Winery and wine submissions for scores

A funny video from Hedges Winery on Red Mountain with a quick look at Christophe Hedges’ view on scores. If we could only get other wineries to adopt this no-score policy, the industry would be better off.

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Chef Gordon Ramsay awards Hell’s Kitchen Season 11 Winner

WHAT:                 Exclusive First Photos: Chef Gordon Ramsay awards season 11 winner of Hell’s Kitchen the Head Chef of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill working under the direction of Executive Chef Jeremy Berlin.

Chef Gordon Ramsay awards Hell's Kitchen Season 11 Winner

Gary Selesner, President of Caesars Palace, Hell’s Kitchen Season 11 winner Ja’Nel Witt and Chef Gordon Ramsay celebrate as Witt receives her official chef coat at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Thursday, July 25.

WHO:                   Chef Gordon Ramsay

Chef Winner – Ja’Nel Witt

Gary Selesner – President of Caesars Palace

WHEN:                 Thursday, July 25th

WHERE:               Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill @ Caesars Palace Las Vegas

ABOUT:                HELL’S KITCHEN is produced by ITV Studios America in association with A. Smith & Co. Productions airing on FOX. Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Gordon Ramsay serve as executive producers. “Like” HELL’S KITCHEN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hellskitchen and follow the series on Twitter at @hellskitchenfox, Gordon Ramsay at @GordonRamsay and @caesarspalace. More information at www.caesarspalace.com. For High Res photos, visit http://caesars.thedigitalcenter.com/.  

*Photo Credits: Denise Truscello/WireImage

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Review: 2010 Beringer Quantum

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.beringer.com

Easily one of the most recognizable names in the Napa Valley, Beringer is a long-time favorite producer of wine lovers around the globe. Although some of its lower-priced wines may lose their way among the “wine snobs”, its higher-end wines are widely sought after.

This 2010 Quantum is a red blend that has a proper amount of oak that adds just enough of a touch to let you know its there without being annoying.

Review: 2010 Beringer Quantum
Serving Suggesting: Pan-seared, pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with a creamy-Cognac peppercorn glaze. Served over a parsnip/mushroom purée.

Technical Data:

  • Blend: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Petit Verdot
  • Vinification: Barrel aged in French oak for 15 months (48% new barrels)
  • Alc: 14.5%
  • TA: 5.8 g/L
  • pH: 3.84
  • Suggested retail price: $60
  • Cases produced: 6,121
  • Price: $55

On the nose: Tart cherries, coffee ground, dark chocolate, raspberry, leather, peppercorn, tobacco and spice.

On the palate: A sublime experience of a red wine that combines the best of what I adore about wine in general. Stellar complexity of fruit, firm yet not overpowering tannins and enough acidity to help keep everything together. A beautiful wine that will age at least 10-15 years and one which is likely to get pounded like the fist of a pissed-off god. Sure, we’d love to talk about how much we “let it open up in the glass” – hogwash, it’s too good, you’ll pound-it.

W.E.P. Rating: 100%

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wines, Reviews0 Comments

Review: 2011 MontGras Quatro

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.montgras.cl/english/montgras.htm

Chile produces some incredible wine values and as this 2011 Quatro proves, however, some of them need more time. Primarily a Bordeaux-style blend (with only 10% Syrah thrown into the mix), this is a well-priced bottle which carries good acidity and fruit.

It’s produced by Vina MontGras, located in Chile’s Colchagua Valley which had its start in 1993. I had the pleasure of visiting this winery so I was personally excited to check this wine out after I returned home.

Review: 2011 MontGras Quatro

Technical Data: 

  • Blend: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Carmenère, 15% Malbec, 10% Syrah
  • Alcohol: 14.1%
  • Price: $19

On the nose: Bacon wrapped figs, plums, blackberry, blueberry, peppercorn, dark chocolate, cassis and tobacco leaf.

On the palate: Not a bad effort here but still has too tight of tannins – it needs a lot more time in the bottle. A pretty good balance of fruit and acidity but, again, the tannins are a bit overpowering for me right now.

W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Chilean Wines, Malbec, Reviews0 Comments

Review: 2013 Buty Winery Line-up

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.butywinery.com

Nina Buty’s winery that bears her name has gained a great deal of momentum over the past couple of years because of it’s wine quality. That quality squarely lands on winemaker, Chris Dowsett and his crew. He does a great job of producing approachable wines that should also age gracefully, rewarding those who opt to lay them down awhile.

2011 White – $25 – W.E.P. Rating: 85%

60% Sémillon, 19% Sauvignon, 21% Muscadelle
Alcohol: 13.8%

On the nose:Candied pears, green apples, goat cheese, lemon, honeysuckly and apricot.

On the palate: A good culmination of stone fruit like pear and a hint of apricot along with some golden apple. Very nice acidity on the mid palate that also brings with it some floral notes and a hint of honeysuckle. The dry, lingering finish entices you to pair it with fresh shellfish or white-wine-based pasta dishes.

2011 Chardonnay: $40 – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Alcohol: 13.8%

On the nose: Banana peel, fresh melon, meyer lemon, honeysuckle, a hint of marshmallow and fresh-baked biscuits.

On the palate: Quite easily, one of the better Washington Chardonnay’s I’ve ever had. It has a really good balance of fruit, texture from appropriate oak integration and retains good freshness across the entire palate. If you’re looking for a great Chardonnay which has good balance of acidity as well, then look no further.

2010 Wildebeast: $40 – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14%

On the nose: Macerated cherries, spice, peppercorn, raspberry, leather, dark chocolate and tobacco leaf.

On the palate: Very good acidity, tannin and fruit combine into a very balanced red blend. This is a very approachable red that will also age well for another 10 years or more. An easy, every-day red-blend that knocks it right out of the park.

2010 Merlot/Cab Franc: $50 – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

58% Merlot / 42% Cabernet Franc
14.3% Alcohol

On the nose: Notes of raspberry, cherry, cola, leather, clove, allspice, pepperoni stick and a hint of game.

On the palate: A seriously lush wine that has rich black and red fruit along with a good sense of muscle. This is not a wimpy wine and will easily cater to more of a new world style of wine lover. Good mid palate and finish – a no brainer with a beef pot roast, elk or even goat.

2009 Rediviva of the Stones: $60 – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

77% Syrah / 23% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 13.8%

On the nose: Black plum, squid ink, blackberry, leather shoe sole, marionberry, blueberry and a hint of bacon fat.

On the palate: A rather atypical Syrah from “the rocks” meaning a relatively high pH with lots of “meat” on the palate. There’s an insane amount of black fruit going on here; notes of plums, blackberry, boysenberry and marionberry. Across the mid palate i get notes of leather, bacon fat and some leather action with cassis. Fans of old-world style wine most likely will not enjoy this wine and that’s okay. It’s a wine that will rock your socks off with its own interpretation of finesse and fruit.

2009 Cab Syrah: $60 – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

76% Cabernet Sauvignon / 24% Syrah
Alcohol: 13.8%

On the nose: Peppercorn-glazed cherries and raspberries. A nice amount of leather strips, tobacco, dark chocolate and spice.

On the palate: Gorgeous fruit coming on strong with a tidal wave of raspberry, plum, marionberry, elderberry and cherry. On the mid palate I get flavors of cedar, tobacco and dark cocoa. The finish is very pleasant after decanting for an hour but this is not a wine that will age too long after 5 years or so.

 

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah, Washington Wines0 Comments

Review: 2010 Jordan Chardonnay

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: jordanwinery.com

Jordan winery has been a California favorite for decades. It offers wines of varying price points, made with the most popular varietals that California offers: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Review: 2010 Jordan Chardonnay

Technical Data: 

  • Varietal:100% Chardonnay
  • Appellation: 100% Russian River Valley
  • Alcohol: 13.79%
  • T.A.: 0.74g/100mL
  • pH: 3.31
  • R.S.: 0.04%
  • Bottling Dates: July 15–August 3, 2011 Fined and filtered before bottling
  • Release Date: May 1, 2012
  • Price: $29

Nose: Pineapple, pear, vanilla, green apples, melon and a slight hint of butterscotch.

Taste: Apples, pineapple, kiwi, vanilla and a splash of fresh melon really do a good job of rounding out the fruit on this wine, however, I do wish it had a more well-rounded smoothness and finish to it. The finish is bright but a bit too short for me.

W.E.P. Rating: 75%

Posted in California Wines, Chardonnay, Reviews0 Comments

Wineries worth visiting

Enjoyed at a party, on holiday by the beach or with a loved one over dinner, wine is one of life’s little luxuries. From a rich and fruity Merlot to a light and refreshing Chardonnay, there is always the perfect wine for any occasion and any taste.

If you adore wine like me then you are sure to enjoy perusing the wine list when you’re at your favorite restaurant, whether it’s the 100 Hoxton Restaurant which is famed for its healthy Asian-fusion food or it is your favourite Italian diner. If you’re visiting Seattle then here are three excellent wine tasting experiences not to be missed.

Woodinville Wine Country
Located minutes away from downtown Bothell, Woodville Wine Country is a wine-lovers paradise. Surrounded by the stunning Sammamish River Valley, Woodinville Wine Country boasts more than 90 wineries You can enjoy scenic countryside walks before popping into one of the tasting rooms. Each tasting room signifies a different region of Washington. You can meander through the historic grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle or walk through quaint and quiet boutique wineries. A variety of wine tasting experiences awaits you. Sip & Stay packages are also on offer from $60 per night.

Wining and dining
For the ultimate and luxurious wining and dining experience visit Butler Wine Tours and Purple Café and Wine Bar. Allow Stuart Butlerto to show you around some of the Woodinville Wine Country’s finest wineries before visiting the Purple Café for dinner.

The Warehouse Wineries
These wineries may not be set in beautiful countryside but do not be fooled by the industrial park setting as it is home to more than 40 top wineries. An interesting wine walk at the warehouse district is hosted once a month, each walk with a different theme. Past themes have included the likes of chocolate pairing and dog walks.

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Elqui Wines hand-made Pinot Noir Setup

Winemaker, Steffan Jorgenson, of Chilean Elqui Wines, sends this picture of its newly acquired – hand made- crush system for Pinot Noir:

Elqui Wines hand-made Pinot Noir Setup

Posted in Pictures0 Comments

Impressions: 2014 KIA Sorento SX

By Duane Pemberton
Manufacturers website: www.kia.com

KIA’s popular Sorento is better than  ever for 2014 and I have the full video run-down for you to check it out. Additionally, here are some nice pictures as well.

Impressions: 2014 KIA Sorento SX

Impressions: 2014 KIA Sorento SX Impressions: 2014 KIA Sorento SX 2014_kia_sorento_front_seaets 2014_kia_sorento_front-Seats 2014_kia_sorento_glass_roof 2014_kia_sorento_nav 2014_kia_sorento_steering_ 2014_kia_sorento_sx_front 2014_kia_sorento_sx_front_angle 2014_kia_sorento_sx_power 2014_kia_sorento_sx_rear 2014_kia_sorento_sx_rear_seats

Posted in Autos/Lifestyle0 Comments

Burgundy wine producer launches Instagram contest

Perhaps one of the easiest contests to enter – follow @MaisonJosephDrouhin and start posting up “summer-themed” pictures – the picture with the most likes at the end of it will earn you $5000.00.

Here’s the rub from Maison Joseph Drouhin’s importer:

Instagram Contest: the #SummerOfLaforet Instagram contest will take place from 7/1 until 9/30. The contest is SUPER simple: follow @MaisonJosephDrouhin, post “summer-themed” pics, picture with the most like by September 30th earns its poster $5,000! There will also be runner up prizes at the end of July, Aug, and Sept earning the post that has earned the most likes within that month $1,000. For more details visit www.summeroflaforet.com

Happy Hours: Maison Joseph Drouhin will also be hosting a series of casual happy hours, many of which will have live music, in cities across the country. Both wines will be offered for $5 per glass (which is significantly discounted compared to the usual price of between $10-15). The idea is to create a casual environment in which new consumers can discover the wine and learn about the style of the famed region from which it comes (Burgundy).

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Review: 2012 Cono Sur Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.conosur.com

Cono Sur is one of the larger wineries I visited on my trip to Chile back in May and I couldn’t help but be impressed by its commitment to both organic farming and releasing value wines. This Reserva-class Cab represents – in many ways – why I think so many American producers are having a hard time competing in regards to quality-to-price ratio.

Review: 2012 Cono Sur Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

Technical Data:

  • Blend: 86% Cab, 4% Carmenere, 5% Syrah, 2% Merlot and 3% Malbec
  • Appellation: Valle del Maipo
  • pH: 3.66
  • Residual sugar: 4.5 g/l
  • TA: 5.64 g/l
  • Alcohol: 13.9%
  • Price: $18

On the nose: A nearly sublime Cabernet experience for the money as it combines most everything I adore in this grape. Tobacco-laced cherries, raspberries, cola, pepper and jerk-rub.

On the palate: A killer combination of fruit, tannin and acidity – I get all the notes on the palate that I picked up in the aromas and that’s a great thing. Good complexity and everything I adore about wine in this glass. Easily one of the best red wines you can find for under $25.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chilean Wines, Reviews0 Comments

Review: 2010 Waterbrook Merlot

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.waterbrook.com/

As one of Walla Walla’s oldest wineries, Waterbrook has been laser-focused in on value for a long time now and this 2010 Merlot is no exception. It offers a good deal of complexity, finish and finesse.

Technical Data:

  • Varietal blend: 100% Merlot
  • Appellation: Columbia Valley
  • pH: 3.61
  • TA: 0.62
  • RS: None
  • Alcohol: 14.31%
  • Vineyards: Canyon Ranch, Canoe Ridge Vineyards, Oasis
  • Oak: 21% New American Oak, balance to 2-5 year old mixed oak
  • Fining: None
  • Aging: 18 months
  • Price: $12

Abby would love to try some! :)

Abby would love to try some! :)

On the nose: Black currant, blackberry, peppercorn, shoe leather, tobacco, black currant and a hint of tar.

On the palate: A beautiful combination of black fruit that has stellar acidity and tannin – a very food-friendly wine that plays well with roasted lamb, pizza and even pepper-crusted steaks.

W.E.P. Rating: 100%

 

Posted in Merlot, Reviews, Washington Wines0 Comments

Review: 2011 Array Chardonnay

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: www.arraycellars.com

For Array Cellars, Chardonnay is much more than the world’s most popular white varietal to work with, it’s a passion and makes up for the entire business model. All it does is produce Chardonnay and works with some of Washington State’s top vineyard sites to source its fruit from. This Dijon clone-based Chardonnay offers up a good deal of complexity at a somewhat modest price point for a well-structured wine.

This wine will be available in another month or so.

2011_array_chardonnay

Technical Data:

  • Cooperage: 25% New Oak 75% neutral oak
  • pH: 3.40
  • RS: less than 1%
  • TA: 0.57
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Price: $32

On the nose: Lightly butterscotch laced melon with pear, white peach, green apple and mango. I also get a little Fabreeze action on the end as well and I like it.

On the palate: Very good combo of the pear, peach and mango coming through with that nice hint of butterscotch component coming into the mid palate. The finish is a beautiful culmination of those flavors with a good balance of acid, mouthfeel and fruit. A very solid effort and one of the more enjoyable Washington Chardonnay’s I’ve had in awhile.

W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Posted in Chardonnay, Reviews, Washington Wines0 Comments