Posts Tagged ‘great wine


Wine: Alma Negra “Misterio” Red Blend


In our quest to find the highest quality wines at value prices, we blindly stumbled on the Alma Negra Wines from Mendoza Argentina. This particular Blend is named “MISTERIO” and overall, the blend is kept a mystery as the name indicates. The tale of this wine begins with the winery owner, Ernesto Catena, begins by selecting a Bonardo Base and a secondary wine to blend leaving his winemakers, Gustavo Marin and Jose Reginato, to select the complimentary wines to add to the blend leaving everyone blind as to the final blend.

“MISTERIO” is dictated as much by the art as the science and proves a huge red wine dominated by the Bonardo and Malbec variatals with a healthy dose of Petite Verdot. While needing ample time to relax and fully bloom upon opening, the wine presents an enormous bouquet of toasted oak and oriental spices and deep floral aromas. The color is a deep crimson hue with vibrant detraction of light that radiates and sparkles beyond the ability of most wines. The body, or weight of this wine is medium-heavy presenting on the fore of the tongue with light blackberry jam that erupts on the crest of the tongue into brilliant cassis, black berries, and black cherries transcending on the finish with a light leather riddled spiciness that cascades into a lovely finish of mocha and spice.

While this wine has the ability to knock your socks off today, it also has the ability to age into maturity from now until 2025 when it will deepen in its intensity and become more subtle in its nature. Like a good lover, this wine has the potential to make you smile for many years to come.


Wine: Alma Negra Sparkling Rosé Malbec

Alma Negra Sparkling Rosé Malbec

So, you’re probably familiar with malbec and know it to be a tasty, full red wine with deep, inky-dark color.  Would you believe that you can get a sparkling rosé wine out of it?  Well, not only can you get a sparkling rosé out of it, but you can get a downright awesome sparkling rosé from it.

Enter, Alma NegraSparkling Rosé Malbec.  This wine, like much malbec that we see in the US these days, comes from Mendoza, Argentina.  The winery is relatively young, starting with the 2003 vintage, although the vineyards where the grapes for this wine were grown have been planted for 18-20 years.

Calling this rosé may even be a stretch.  It looks more like a sparkling white, but there is the slightest pink hue to the color.  It is quite amazing to come from a grape normally known for its deep purple colors.

The nose offers a beautiful and harmonious blend of yeast, floral, lemon peel and raspberry aromas.  The palate is equally beautiful, with a mineral and citrus flavor that just tastes clean and refreshing.  It has a wonderfully creamy mouth feel too.  The floral notes return on the finish, which is also has a touch of salt essence.  This is a superb bottle of bubbles.


Wine: Burly Cabernet Sauvignon



I have always encouraged our patrons to not become cultic over a label, but to follow the footsteps of their favorite winemaker. For there are a multitude of good wine makers, but there are also those few great winemakers. Massimo Monticello is among those few I classify as a great winemaker. Massimo spent those early formative years in his winemaking career at the Silver Oak Winery, back when they were still producing a good product. He now works with Hank McCrorie at Burly making what is no doubt among the greatest collectable Cabernet Sauvignons for the money in Napa Valley.

Hank and Massimo collaborate with Michael Wolf from bud break through harvest evaluating the fruit and planning the strategy to make the finest wine possible. I have had the opportunity to experience their 2008 Burly a few times now and I’ve got to tell you it is in a single word “AMAZING!”

The first time I recall trying it was in a warehouse where I tried a vertical of Burly (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008) and I still get goose bumps thinking about that tasting experience. There was nothing less than stellar on the table that Sunday Afternoon, the 2008 was a bit “green” in its profile at that moment, but showed a ton of depth and lush richness. A year or so later, I had the opportunity to try it again in a vertical at another trade show and it had come to life and started working it’s self in the bottle with huge fruit, dynamic tannic structure, and brilliant spice development. Flash forward to now and I can tell you, this wine has managed to evolve from its infant state and puberty into one sexy, orgasm riddle wine that will roll your eyes back into your head and make you cry out for your maker!

The terms “firm”, “dense”, and “chewy” have been used to describe the 2008 Burly, and they are accurate with no apologies. The aromatics are textbook with cassis, blackberry, a hint of graphite and loaminess. Caressing your lips that firmness wraps around your tongue with bright dark fruits exploding through the mid palate riding on a soft bed of spice and anise. The finish is a rich and luxurious caress of brilliant focused black currents and light pepper that lingers enhancing the desire for another sip… just as soon as you can catch your breath.

Now, here’s the cruel moment- the 2008 Burly is not released at the moment. It will not be available until January. However, you can pre-order it now and the moment it is released have it shipped to your front door! I suspect this is your best plan as 2008, like 2007 will most certainly be highly sought after and in short supply after the first week of its release.

If you click over to our web-store, be certain to note you want to 2008 upon release in the notes at checkout. The 2007 is no longer available, and limited quantities of 2006 are still in stock.


Weird Weather, Better Wine

You’ve heard about the havoc 2012’s weird weather wreaked on local cherry crops. But what about the grapes? Turns out, vineyards across northern Michigan are budding with the promise of a vintage to rival any other.

The unseasonably warm temperatures this spring did bring early buds, but several winemakers report their vines not only suffered minimal damage from the frost that followed, but might actually be better for it. “The early bud break and longer growing season will give us riper grapes come harvest time,” says Marie-Chantal Dalese of Chateau Chantal.

Bluestone’s Tom Knighton says buds on his vines began breaking last week. (Bud break is the first sign of life in the vineyard, when tiny green shoots emerge between the woody vine’s stem and leaf stems.)

“As long as there’s not a killing frost in the next couple of weeks, our vines should be in good shape,” Knighton says. “We’re never certain, but we are cautiously optimistic that 2012 will be another great vintage.”

Another? Indeed. The 2010 and 2011 vintages of northern Michigan wineries represent some of the finest ever produced in the region, with many wineries recently taking top honors in state, national and international competitions, and beating California and French wines in the process.

The 2010 Pinot Blanc produced by TC’s Left Foot Charley, for example, brought home the award for Best White Wine at the Long Beach Grand Cru international competition in California, beating more than 1,000 wines entered from five continents and numerous appellations.

Black Star Farms received two bronze, one silver and two golds – those for its 2010 Arcturos Riesling and 2010 Arcturos Cabernet Franc – at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC), which drew 3,200 entries from 22 countries and all 50 states.

Of the 53 wineries and 367 wines entered in the most recent Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition – judged by wine experts from around the country – the region’s wines dominated. Among the winners seizing Best of Class in their category of wine: Chateau Fontaine’s 2010 Dry White Riesling, L. Mawby’s Cremant Classic and Forty-Five North’s 2010 Rosé of Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Chantal’s Dalese credits the region’s climate – finicky though it’s been of late – as the reason for northern Michigan wineries’ standout performance above other regions. In northern Michigan, she says, “[Grapes] maintain a higher acidity level than warmer climates, and this makes them particularly refreshing and food friendly.” Chateau Chantal’s 2011 Late Harvest Riesling recently won a double gold in the Taster’s Guild International Wine Competition.

Despite the region’s recent winning streak, Alan Eaker of Cedar’s Longview Winery & Vineyard isn’t eager to predict the future of the 2012 vintage until after the danger of the final frost is behind him. But, he says, “If we have grapes, it’ll be wonderful.”

By Samantha Tengelitsch


Wine: Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)

Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon

Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon

OK, there are very few wines I feel a strong allegiance to, but when I find them I am all about them. Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon is one such wine, I recently was introduced to this wine in a tasting of their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon just prior to the holidays and it totally blew my socks off along with several other garments. I basically overstocked with this product and sold out not only what I stocked, but the remainder of the product in my supplier’s warehouse. This week, I was replenished on the Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon- with the 2009 vintage. Needless to say I was initially heartbroken, where was the 2007, or even the 2008 (2008 that overall has proven to be a stronger contender than the 2007 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons in my opinion). But, the current release is 2009 and that’s what I have in my hands, so a wry smile crossed my lips as I realized I needed to try it out!

The label remains simple and understated, good marketing for a high class wine! I peel the foil back and pull the cork. The cork is high quality, well grained natural cork with nice density and firmness showing no signs of mold, or abuse. A nice start! The aromas erupt out of the bottle and execute a frontal assault upon the senses creating visions of dancing dark fruit, and spice in my head.

As this elixir escapes the bottle and is unfurled in my Riedel Magnum Glass the deep ruby-crimson hues cast shadows of flavors to come as the aromatics continue to capture the imagination. Swirling the 2009 Shypoke Cabernet Suavignon proves to that this wine can really dance, making the foreplay of wine tasting all the more invigorating and creating anticipation of just what this wine is going to do once it reaches my lips!

As my lips reach for the lip of the glass, the vixen elixir held within extends a velvet glove and caresses my tongue with nothing short of sheer velvet saturated in cassis, blackberry, and black cherries creating a caressing envelop that massages the palette. On the crest of the tongue there is an pure, clean explosion of brilliant deep spice that does nothing short of elevating the fruit to a new level just short of creating life itself and makes my head shift sharply to the left; as I finish this taste, the sensation of cocoa and cassis perfectly embedded caresses the mouth again with a warm sensation that certainly leaves my face slightly flushed. And then I exhale with pure pleasure.

Did I mention, I find Shypoke Cabernet Sauvignon somewhat of an erotic wine? I am one lucky man to have discovered this wine; and if I might say I am also one generous man to offer to share it with others!


Five Secret Tips for Choosing a Wine by Yourself

**I’ve reprinted this post from Austin Beeman, why recreate the wheel? He has some great points in this article and I wanted to share them with you, and click here to go see some of his other insights!

We all know that the best way to get help selecting a wine is to talk to the person that designed the retail set or wrote the wine list.  But what do you do when he is taking some (much needed) vacation time?  Here are my five secret tips to picking out wine by yourself.

1.   Beware the Familiar

It is tempting to pick a wine that is most familiar, but unless you consider yourself a sophisticated wine shopper, don’t risk it.  Major wine brands spend millions of dollars saturating the market with their name.  That is time and effort not put into the wine quality.  If the bottle you are looking at is widely popular – run for cover!

Instead, grab something different.  Maybe pick a grape or region that you’ve never had.  Often it will be not only a tasty wine, but a stunning value as well.

2.   For Tonight?  Buy an 89 point wine.

We associate the 100 point scale with be graded in school and we all want the high nineties or one hundred.  That’s perfection, right?  Well the dirty secret of wine scores is that 10 of those points are allocated for age-worthiness.  That 95 or 99 point wine isn’t ready to drink for another decade.  Opening it now is really a waste of your money.

Instead, wines rated 87 to 89 points are ready to drink now.  You’ll pay a lot less for much more pleasure.

3.   Look for Signs with Lots of Words.

When I taste something that excites me, I can get very verbose.  Any wine manager is likely to be the same.  Look at the signs.  If it has a couple hundred words in really small font, you’ve hit the jackpot.  It almost doesn’t matter what the sign says.  That’s a winner.

4.   The Weirdly Expensive Case-Stack.

This tip is similar to the last one.  The Case-Stacks are where retailers put wines that are fast sellers and deep discounts.  So what is up with those four cases of $40 wine?  Well sometimes we’ll taste a wine that is just so darn good that we can’t bear to not have a massive stack of it.  It is totally illogical.  Completely based on raw emotion, I know, but don’t you want a wine that stirs the passions like that?  I do.

5.   Buy Old Wines

Don’t buy old white wines!  Most of those are over the hill.  Instead, look for red wines of at least fifteen dollars and at least 7 years old.  I lean towards European wines for this, but California works as well.  You’d be surprised by how much a little bit of bottle age can do for a good red wine.

Don’t worry about the wine being past its prime. Every good retailer will look to buy good mature wines for their selection.  Even in the wine has been in the store for awhile, the ‘Wine Guy’ would have ‘bargain-binned’ it by now if he thought it was bad.


Recipe: Veal with Port and Blueberry Sauce

Veal with Port and Blueberry Sauce

Veal with Port and Blueberry Sauce

4 Veal medallions, veal chops may be substituted if you might prefer

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup blueberries 60 ml

1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves

4 tablespoons Ruby Port wine

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a dish and add the veal.

Marinate for 15-45 minutes in the refrigerator (the longer the marination process, the more the intensity of the flavors in the sauce will transfer into the veal).

Remove the veal from marinade and drain; reserve the marinade.

Grill the veal to your preferred temperature.

In a skillet  bring the reserved  marinade to a rolling boil, and pour the marinade directly over the veal, placing a few blueberries around the plate for garnish.

Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir

Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir


This is a wonderfully delicate dish, as veal tends to be that has a light Mediterranean Flare to it. As a result, I usually prefer a lighter style of wine to pair against this dish such as the Raptor Ridge Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir.

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