On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Profile Wine Group Tasting

13 Mar 2020

(September 2019) … At a Profile Tasting there are way too many wines to try in one sitting (especially because you’re walking around) – so it was time to pick-and-choose, mainly stuff coming to Vintages, then on to other stuff that might be interesting … this is the list of wines I came up with, and at the 4-star and above level I have linked the wines to a full review – enjoy:

Three & a Half Star Wines - (*** ½)

Champagne Devaux Cuvee Augusta (France)
Champagne Devaux Coeur des Bar Blanc de Noir (France)
Gil Family Estates 2018 Bodegas Atalaya Laya (Spain)
Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rosé (Spain)
Somerston 2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (USA)

Three & a Half Plus Star Wines - (*** ½+)

Castelli de Grevepesa 2016 Castelgrave Chianti Classico (Italy)
Castelli de Grevepesa 2012 Lamole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (Italy)
Bodegas LAN 2015 Crianza (Spain)
Bodegas LAN 2012 Reserva (Spain)
Firriato 2013 Santagostino (Italy)
Gil Family Estates 2016 Bodegas Ateca Atteca Old Vines (Spain)
Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva (Spain)
Segura Viudas Cava Brut Organic (Spain)
J. Lohr 2017 Los Osos Merlot (USA)
J. Lohr 2016 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon (USA)
Peter Franus 2016 Brandlin Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (USA)
Somerston 2014 Priest Ranch Coach Gun (USA)
Somerston 2016 Priest Ranch Snake Oil (USA)

Four Stars and Above …
(you can click on the name of the wine for full review)

Bodegas LAN 2011 Culmen Reserva (Spain) - ****
Chateau de Nages 2016 Vieilles Vignes Red (France) - ****
Coriole Estate 2016 Shiraz (Australia) - ****
Cristom 2016 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir (USA) - ****
J. Lohr 2015 Cuvee POM (USA) - ****+
J. Lohr 2017 Arroyo Vista Chardonnay (USA) - ****
Montes 2016 Purple Angel (Chile) - ****+
Montes 2017 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) - ****
Peter Franus 2015 Brandlin Vineyard Zinfandel (USA) - ****


A Taste of Veneto

12 Mar 2020



(December 2019) … When most people think of Veneto you’re probably thinking of Valpolicella, Ripasso or Amarone all red wines – but would it surprise you that Veneto is about three-quarter white wine? And mostly sparkling at that?

Within the region there are 14 DOCG, 29 DOC and 10 IGP designations. Glera (the grape of Prosecco and formerly called Prosecco) makes up 24% of the grapes planted, while Garganega (also white) comes in second at 14% and Corvina (a red variety) at only 10% … and if you find (and / or buy) a bottle with the word “Rive” on it, that wine is from a single vineyard, or Cru, and these wines can be quite simply mind-blowing … I had a chance to taste a number of them while in the region a few years back and I can tell you that Rive Prosecco can stun the palate with its complexity - and still offer up great value.

Higher end Prosecco, or those from the DOCG have the “Valdobbiadene” moniker attached, while Prosecco and Treviso are simply the lower DOC designated wines.  

On this day seven wines were tasted: 5 whites (including three bubbles) plus two reds (a simple Rosso and an Amarone) – here are the notes for the wines that impressed.

Andreola NV “Col del Forno” Rive di Refrontolo DOCGVal D'oca
This bubbly made from 100% Glera is a single vineyard Valdobbiadene … lovely notes of pineapple and lime, but I found that this bottle lacked the acidity I was really looking for and instead had a certain creaminess that was also appealing; the long finish also aids in its enjoyment.  (*** ½)

Bianca Vigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG
Creamy lemon and mac apple with a subtle bitterness on the finish that also contains a bit of floral … it’s a drinkable wine, but far from exciting.  (***)

Val D’Oca 2018 Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut
While not the most exciting bubble I’ve ever had, there were some definite high points here – enough to make me want to add a few bottles to my cellar to enjoy on a Friday night:  nice lemon, lime, mac apple and subtle floral notes – it’s pretty and quite drinkable with jangly acidity on the finish bringing out lime and lime zest notes.  (*** ½+)

MassotinaMassotina 2000 Colli di Conegliano Rosso
A blend of three international varieties: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Marzemino thrown in for good measure – this 19 year old wine was definitely the wine of the day showing great signs of life with earthy and oaky notes plus plum / prune, smoke and cedar … the more I read my description the more I realized it does not seem to do this bottle justice – it was just one of those wines you sit and ponder, especially knowing its age and think “that’s beautiful”.  (no score, just enjoy)

Cantina di Negrar 2016 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
The usual red suspects: Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella; it’s fresh and fruit driven with plum and black cherry – hints of vanilla and mocha plus a sweet fruit finish that lingers on with a coffee/mocha/latte finish.  (****)



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