WineStairs_LoireShopping for some lighter bodied red wines reminded me of why the Loire Valley is such an interesting wine region. In the central Loire Valley, the predominant red variety is Cabernet Franc. That one grape produces a number of different types of wine (sparkling, still, rose, light-bodied through full bodied). These different styles are made possible by the diversity of the soil and altitude.

Tuffeau_GasnierLower elevations (nearest the Loire river) are made up of sandy soils. The wines produced here are fruity and lighter bodied. Most wines are treated in stainless steel and/or concrete to keep the fresh flavor of fruit. They are best enjoyed chilled and are great summer sippers.

ConcreteTanksMid elevation (gentle slopes) are made up of sand and gravel. The wines produced here can be fermented and aged in stainless, concrete and/or some light or neutral oak. These are middle weight wines that can be enjoyed before dinner by themselves or with food.

RedBarrelsThe highest elevations including steep slopes and or the tops of hills are generally composed of limestone, also know as Tuffeau (too fo). This is a chalky, yellowish marine limestone that helps provide unique characteristics to some of the oldest vines and the most complex expressions of the Cabernet Franc grape. The wines from this soil are generally aged for longer periods of time in oak which provides more structure.

These wines need food.

Excellent examples of a light bodied Cab Franc (Fabrice Gasnier Les Graves) and a fuller bodied wine (Baudry Les Clos Guillot).

Gasnier_LesGraves Baudry_LeClosGuillot


Looking back at 2014, I drank ALOT of wine this year. Please don’t judge.

HVWI would like to share my most memorable wines of the year…

Best white wine value of the year:

2013Guilhem2013 Gassac Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc- From the Languedoc region of France- a great source of value wines.

Fresh and clean, this will become one of my favorite summer wines. A blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Clairette.

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Most interesting white wines of the year:

This one was a tie so I am listing both:

Mayu_SauvBlanc1. Mayu Sauvignon Blanc. From Chile, The name “Mayu” means “river of stars,” referring to the Milky Way in the Incan language. Notice the night sky on the label. This wine has good minerality and very nice tropical fruit flavors but also a distinct flavor of jalapeño pepper. One of the few wines I would recommend with chicken wings.

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2. 2006 Plantagenet Riesling- Great Southern Australia

2006Plantaganet_RieslingGrowing up, my parents used a kerosene heater (for secondary heat). I am one of those people who enjoys the small of fuel. Diesel, Gasoline and Kerosene are distinctively different and this wine surely has a powerful aroma of kerosene. Kerosene and lime (this wine has both) are very typical aromas of Rieslings form this part of the world.

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Overall best white wine of the year…

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Champagne for the Holidays…

by toleranttaster

DavidBowlerChampagne “insider” secrets:

Attended a recent Champagne tasting at PJ Wine. Meeting with some very knowledgeable reps provided some great wines and some new (to me) “insider” information.


The primary grapes used for making Champagne are Chardonnay (white grape), Pinot Noir, Pinot Menuier (red/black grapes).

Most Champagnes come from a blend of all three. Meunier gives fresh fruit and energy, Pinot Noir gives body and backbone, Chardonnay, high in acid provides the ability to age.

Champagne made with only  Chardonnay (or very rarely, Pinot Blanc) is called Blanc de Blanc- white (wine) from white (grapes).

Champagne made with 100% Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Meunier  or a mixture of the two is called Blanc du Noir- white (wine) from black (grapes).

Now for the Advanced…

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Under $15 Bargain wines…are these really the best?

Many magazines, retailers and websites offer “15/50/150 under $15″, “our best values of the year (under $15)” etc. Why not under $10? Here is why: Cost of bottle- $1 Cost of label-25¢ Cost of cork-25¢ Cost of cardboard case that wines are shipped in- 25¢ Cost of capsule (foil at top of bottle, if used)-5¢ Roughly […]

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Learning the Rhône

Attended an excellent wine seminar “There’s No Place like Rhône,” hosted by Vine & Co. This attractive wine store is filled with unique wines, and a knowledgeable, attentive staff, who are clearly passionate about wine! Thoughtfully presented by Ian Scudder of Serge Doré Selections, this was a thorough introduction to the wines of the Rhône Valley […]

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SoWe Food & Wine Festival- Bargain Wines of the week

When you are provided 300 bottles of wine to taste what should you do? I heard one older gentleman say, “I am going to find all of the wines over $100 and drink them all.”  2 strategies I suggest:

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THE BEST recent wine vintages

I recently joined the American Wine Society and received this interesting reference (a vintage chart). There are numerous publications that provide vintage charts (with ratings, of course) but this one is different in that it ranks vintages against each other. Basically this means that each wine region can only have one (or two) top vintages. […]

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