Friday, November 21, 2008

The Mystery of Nouveau

For this episode we take a look at how the Nouveau wines of Beaujolais are made. A unique process is used to make this the youngest of wines and the first celebration of the vintage.

And don't forget to listen to The Wine Vibe Saturdays at 1pm on am950. It's a call-in show, so have your questions ready.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Meet The Press

Here we continue with our series "Where Wine Comes From" and explore one of the many interesting pieces of the wine puzzle; The Press. Watch this short video for an informative look at the subject.


On another note, see the notes below for some information on Argentinean Wines, and why Argentina just may be the most exciting wine producing country in the world right now.


The Wines of Argentina

Among the worlds wine producing nations, Argentina is amongst the most interesting and exciting of recent memory. The explosion over the past 5-10 years of terrific Argentinean wine available in this country has been simply awesome. I remember a time when the few lucky travelers who made their way to this vast and varied country would come home with stories of two things: The amazing grass fed beef they enjoyed at local eateries and the incredible wines that accompanied these meals.

At the time there was an awareness of Chilean wines, but few of the wines people tasted in Argentina made their way into our country. Today, what decent restaurant doesn’t have at least one Malbec, Argentinas most important red varietal, on their wine list?! And the value of these wines is unbeatable. Perhaps more than any other country the quality to price ratio is greatest here.

What has made Argentina so exciting over the last years? It is a country that has attracted more outside winemakers than perhaps any other with American, French and Italian producers buying vineyards to take advantage of what makes this place a playground for winemakers.

This influx of new money and technology has certainly had an impact on the world consciousness of Argentinean wine, but what brought them there in the first place? Like all wine stories it starts in the vineyard and the land to which those vineyards are planted.

The vineyards of Argentina are planted along the western edge of the country on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains. It is very dry there which is good for grape growing, however there is ample water supply from the run-off from the Andes if one were to need to irrigate. This gives the winemaker complete control over the water supply that feeds her vineyard.

In addition, there are many microclimates as one moves from the valley floor up the mountains. The vineyards of Argentina are planted from 300 meters to 2400 meters above sea level, a greater range than any other wine region in the world. Thus the winemaker has many choices on what to plant and what styles of wine he wants to produce. Certain grapes thrive in the heat of the valley floor, while others produce better in the cooler climate higher on the mountain slopes. Stylistically the wines vary from region to region as well, the warmer lower elevation tend to produce fuller, richer wines while the cooler locations lighter wines with more finesse.

The Wines
The two wineries we want to highlight today are two of our very favorites at Sam’s Wine Shop in terms of quality and value. Alfredo Roca produces great wines that epitomize the value of Argentinean wines. Situated in Mendoza at 800 meters above sea level the winery is in the heart of Argentinean wine country.

Bodegas Benegas is located on the Upper Mendoza Riverbank, in the Maipú region, Mendoza. This land was chosen by Tiburcio Benegas at the beginning of the last century to plant the vines he brought to Argentina, mostly from France. Today they produce extraordinary wines that compete with any modern wines throughout the world.

Alfredo Roca Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay $7.99 A blend of 70% Chenin Blanc, 30% Chardonnay. Light with a hint of peach undertones.

Alfredo Roca Sauvignon Blanc $7.99 Bright and crisp with a hint of grassiness.

Bodegas Benegas, “Clara” Chardonnay $11.99 Un-oaked Chardonnay, a young, delicate wine with the light flavor of pears or apples.

Solemne Torrontes $9.97 This is made from Argentina’s unique white grape 100% Torrontes, a wine with flavors of apricot and the aroma of gardenias.

Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir $9.99 100% Pinot Noir, grown in the highest vineyards

Alfredo Roca Malbec $7.99 A great value, perhaps Argentina’s most important red grape varietal

Bodega Benegas Cabernet $12.99 Full rich and very smooth, a supple easy wine for any occasion

Bodega Benegas Don Tiburcio $14.99 A blend of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec this wine is full bodied and complex, yet very round on the palate

Friday, October 3, 2008

Got an Opinion?

Did you attend the wine tasting this week? Have any favorites? Love something, hate something? Here is you chance to get it off you chest.

At the shop we did notice some interesting trends: Firstly the white wines were way down in sales, and conversely reds were way up. Is it the time of the year, the selection, did everybody just miss Alex and Deedee so much that they protested the white selections? (I thought Joan was great at that table.)

One of the most popular reds, the W.J. Meeks "Red" from Washington State sold out immediately. It is simply great fall weather wine, a blend of Cab/Merlot/CabFranc with a little Syrah thrown in. If my sources aren't lying to me that wine should be back in stock next week! So if you missed out, check in after Monday/Tuesday.

And of course the great values from Spain continue to impress!

For your review, here is the list:

Table 1 Whites

1. Joel Gott, Sauv. Blanc California $13.99

2. Flama Roja, Tarrragona Spain $12.99

3. Argos Albarino $24.99

4. Clos Robert, Chardonnay $11.99

5. Juliette Avril Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc
normal price $49.99 on sale $24.99

6. Las Renas, Rosé $9.99/$8.97

Table 2 Spain

1. Moragana Tempranillo, Ribera del Júcar $9.99/ $8.97

2. Toscar Tempranillo Crianza, Alicante$10.99/$9.97

3. Vina Vermita, Monastrell, Alicante $12.99/ $10.97

4. Flor Tempranillo, La Mancha $16.99/ $12.99

5. Bodegas Lan, Crianza, Rioja $14.99

6. La Ninota, Priorat $19.99

Table 3 America/Australia

1.Pappas Wine Co. Pinot Noir Oregon $26.99

2. W J Meeks “Red” Washington $17.99/$15.97

3. Marquis Phillips, Shiraz $16.99

4. Turchi Syrah, Santa Barbara $21.99

5. Opolo Summit Creek Zinfandel, Paso Robles $19.99

6. Trevor Jones,Jonesy Port, Barossa Australia $10.99

October Sale Prices marked in red

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where Wine Comes From, pt2

Watch this short video to learn a little bit about the wine making process.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where Does Wine Come From, pt 1

This week we start a series of Videos on where wine comes from. In the coming weeks we will explore the harvesting, crushing and pressing of the grapes and what it all means in the winemaking process. This will be a lot of fun and we are very excited about this project.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wine at the State Fair

It's that time again, time for the Great Minnesota Get Together, the State Fair. But did you know that wine is available to purchase at the State Fair? What better to wash down those tasty cheese curds than a glass of Minnesota wine??!! Actually it's a wonderful thing, and if you haven't tried any of the wines lately I would urge you to so. There are some terrific things to taste.

And did you know that there is also an amateur wine-making contest? Every year literally hundreds of amateur wine-makers from around the state vie to see who among them is the best.

Watch this short video to find out more.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sangiovese, The Perfect Summer Red

Greetings everybody,
It looks like we are shaping up to have another great weekend here in the greater Twin Towns. No matter what you are doing this weekend, off to the lake, entertaining with friends... this little video will have a great wine idea for you! Watch and enjoy.
In Vino Veritas, --Sam

Friday, August 8, 2008

What to Drink This weekend

Wondering what to drink this weekend? Well wonder no more. Drink Pink! Just watch this short video to get the lowdown.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Talk Back

Got an opinion? Let your voice be heard! Following is a list of the wines we poured at last nights tasting. Love something? Hate something? Want to rant on another topic, we would love to hear from you. Write you opinions below!

Sam’s Wine Shop
August Wine Tasting

Table 1 Whites

1. Domaine Labbe Savoie, France $14.99/$11.97
2. Boutari Moschofilero, Greece $14.99/$12.97
3. Cline Viognier, California $10.99
4. Crucero Sauvignon Blanc, Chile $9.99
5. Spanish Quarter Chard/Albarino, Spain $12.99/$9.97
6. Doniene Txakolina, Spain $22.99
7. L’Ermitage Costieres de Nimes Rosé, France $11.99
8. H. Lagarde Blanc de Noir Rosé, Argentina $12.99

Table 2

1. Due Mari Sangiovese, Italy $8.99
2. Leese -Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon, California $9.99
3. Diseno Malbec Argentina $9.99
4. Red Rock Merlot, California $11.99
5. Sierra Cantabria Rioja, $13.99
6. Melanto Terrace Zinfandel, Amador $10.99

Table 3

1. Robert Skalli Pinot Noir, France $19.99/$15.97
2. Montellori “Moro” Super Tuscan $14.99
3. Lavradores Tres Bagos, Portugal $18.99/$14.97
4. H. Lagarde “Guarda” Cabernet/Merlot, Arg. $18.99
5. Gran Crucero Limited Edition, Chile $22.99
(Syrah, Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon)
6. Michael David Petite-Petite, Lodi $19.99

August Sale Prices marked in red