Annabells Wine

A lover of wine and wine country

Finger Lakes Wines from Dr. Frank

drf2_logoIf you don’t yet know about the Finger Lake region, it’s time to brush up. This area is home to a growing number of wineries and tourists who visit the wineries in the area. The Finger Lakes wines are often referred to as “Vinifera” grapes – meaning they are native to Europe. The typical varietals you’ll find there include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer. They also have a decent mix of sweet wines, but the Rieslings dominate the area when it comes to quality awards.

Dr. Frank’s Winery is perhaps the leading advocate of Finger Lakes wines. They ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” which was ultimately what lifted up the New York wine scene and helped develop into what it currently is. Hailing from Ukraine, Dr. Frank came to the United States in 1951. He was quickly convinced that the rootstock of grapes in the region was not sufficient. Over time, he brought together a number of varietals, and employs the “methode champenoise” using the three classic French Champagne grape varieties.

The winery has always been a family affair, and Dr. Frank handed down the ownership to his son, Willy Frank, who eventually passed it on to his own son. At that point, the brand was very well known for its great Rieslings, and they wanted to expand their reach. They created a value brand, called “Salmon Run”, and continued to expand the brand’s image as a producer of excellent wines.

Visit their website

Salmon Run Red Wine

Finger Lakes Dry Riesling

Finger Lakes Pinot Gris

Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars

9749 Middle Road

Hammondsport, NY 14840

3 Wine varietals you might not know about

Living in Northern California has its perks when it comes to sampling wines, and we get to enjoy a ton of great Cabernets, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varietals. Sometimes a stray Zinfandel or Petit Sirah comes across our plate, and of course we have your typical Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well. But as I start learning about other wine regions in the country, and around the globe, I’ve learned about other varietals that are apparently quite popular with the local populations.

St. Julian is one of the oldest Michigan wineries, and they make a huge range of wines. From Riesling to Raspberry wines and rare single-vineyard varietals, you can find it all. Their Blanc de Noir is a rare “white wine made from red grapes” that comes from selected Cab Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. They also make a great Riesling that has garnered several awards including a Gold medal in the 2012 Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition. St. Julian works with over thirty growers within the region to produce several different varieties of grapes that are used in their production.

If you live in North Carolina, you might be familiar with the Yadkin Valley and the recent explosion of winemaking that’s been happening there. One of the most popular varieties they grow is the Muscadine grape, which is a native grape to the region and one of the oldest varietals of wine that exist. In 2001, it was inaugurated as the official state grape. Typically, it’s made into a sweet wine, but recently winemakers have been bringing a range of styles to the wine, with some of them exhibiting a lot of bright acidity and more balanced flavors.

When someone mentions Argentina, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Malbec wine for most people. But that’s not the only grape they grow there. In addition to the famous Bordeaux varietal, other amazing wines exist as well. In fact, one of the most wonderful white varietals that I have ever tried claims Mendoza, Argentina as its home. The Torrontes grape brings an amazing array of stone fruit flavor – grapefruit, peach, and white nectarine – along with a bright acidity to create a white wine that’s refreshing and different. It reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc, only more fun and even tastier.

With so many up and coming growing regions and newfound appreciation for wine, it’s great to see these niche varieties gaining hold in areas. What are some of your favorite kinds of wine that you’ve encountered in your travels?

Syrah: Has it’s time come?

I found this interesting article on one of my favorite varietals today at Snooth. Syrah has been a much maligned grape in California, enjoying brief periods of fame, but then returning to the dark recesses of wine lovers’ interests. In particular, I was happy they mentioned the Lawer Family Wines Syrah.

2009 Lawer Family Wines Syrah Three Coins Knights Valley 14.5% $28

Lots of blueberry fruit greets the nose along with some nuanced notes of grilled meats, toasty oak, a touch of black pepper and some fresh balsamic notes. There’s plenty of oak here, with lots of vanilla and toasty, oaky flavors wrapped around the core of blackberry and blueberry fruit. There’s a pleasant astringency to the tannins, which helps to balance out some of the light sweetness this shows on the mid-palate. The finish is a bit spicier, with more toasty oak and vanilla than fruit, but decent length. A bit rough around the edges and showing some heat, but offers a lot of wine. 87pts

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A Wide Variety Of Wines

 

North Carolina is one of the states that has seen a tremendous growth in wineries opening up during the past few years, with more than 120 open and operating today. The Yadkin Valley is an especially popular region, where winery owners have flourished recently. Although much of this attention has come recently, North Carolina has a long history of wine growing and was one of the first places where wine was grown in this country. When the first settlers arrived, a grape known as Muscadine was planted. Today, Muscadine is still grown there, and remains a fixture in their wine production.

With wine consumption growing across America, and more wineries popping up every day, people are increasingly finding wineries to explore in their own states. North Carolina is no exception, and along with some other states like New York, Virginia, and Michigan, it represents one of the areas where the wine industry has seen huge growth. As time goes on, it’s expected to steadily increase and we will be seeing more production coming from these wineries. Although their reputation might not compare to their West coast counterparts in California, Oregon, and Washington, these new regions can produce some very fine examples of wine.

 

 

Varietals grown in NC

Muscadine might be their oldest grape, but NC wineries produce all sorts of red and white varietals NC Wine Brands From Merlot to Muscadine, you’ll find a variety of grapes being grown in North Carolina. Other varieties like Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc, and also Chardonnay are also grown throughout the state. There are several designated areas in NC where wine grows, and each plays host to a different set of conditions that help certain kinds of grapes grow better than others.

While some grapes prefer rocky, clay-based soils, others like richer and more fertile ground to spread their roots. The varying landscape in North Carolina offers a perfect range of these different terroirs, and winemakers are beginning to appreciate the nuances that each area brings with it.

 

Read more:

http://www.northcarolinawinegifts.com/winegifts

http://www.visitncwine.com/wineries

The Chappellet Wines

Chappellet wines are crafted to embody the terroir and the intensity of fruit that have made Pritchard Hill famous. Recognized for their signature mix of grandeur, power and purity, these coveted bottlings are the result of a winemaking process that begins in the vineyard, and champions its diversity.

In the winery, renowned winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus—who has been guiding Chappellet’s winemaking program since 1990—individually ferments and ages lots from numerous vineyard blocks to maintain their distinctive character. These lots benefit from an array of maceration and fermentation practices. Adding even more depth and complexity, Phillip has established a barrel program utilizing the finest barrels from elite coopers and forests.

With roots deep in the land, and a belief in constantly working to enhance the quality and character of Pritchard Hill’s fruit, Chappellet has earned acclaim for making California’s finest hillside Cabernet Sauvignons. The Chappellet portfolio also includes exceptional Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and the highly regarded Mountain Cuvée blend.

Read Further: http://www.chappellet.com/Winemaking

A Roundup Of Three Pinot Noirs from Garnet Vineyards

If you know me, then you know I like good value Pinot Noir; it’s hard to come by though, and I’m often left dissapointed. So at a recent Twitter/Wine event put on by “WineTwits” I got to try some of the Garnet brand offerings. Soon after, I picked up a few bottles of the Carneros as well, and most recently I got my hands on the Rogers Creek single vineyard one they just released. So I thought I might compile a brief review of all three.
2010 Rogers Creek Pinot Noir
Unlike the other wines they produce, this special one has a fairly limited production of just over four hundred cases. It’s sourced from a single vineyard in Sonoma – Rogers Creek, and brings a tightly woven mashup of flavors – black cherry and plum mix with dark earth/dust and small hints of oak. This vineyard is used by other reknowned producers like Siduri, Kosta-Browne, and Sojourn. While this wine could age another year or two easily, and will no doubt become better with a little time, it’s perfectly drinkable now. The alcohol comes in at a somewhat restrained 14.5%, so for all those high-alcohol nuts out there, don’t fret; it’s nowhere near as big as the 15.8% one from Trahan that I recently had.
But it is a big bodied, full flavor Pinot for sure, with a very smooth, round, and expansive flavor on the palate with a medium finish, and medium acidity It also lacked the barnyard/hay smell that I associate with a lot of PN, and don’t like. Not quite as food friendly as their Carneros version, but delicious nonetheless, and worth every penny – especially considering a Sojourn RC wine would cost almost double. It’s also much smaller production than their others, at only 436 cases I think. The cost: $29.99
2010 Carneros Pinot Noir
The Carneros Pinot opens with big ripe strawberry and raspberry, with a bit of that distinct “funk” on the nose, and mild earthy/dust/chalk tones and something that reminds me of apple rinds. The flavor is balanced throughout the palate, and lingers for a relatively long time afterwards. It’s not as big on the ripe flavors as it’s RC cousin, but I feel it might be more balanced overall. A very food-friendly wine for sure. This is one that Huffington Post wine reviewer Richard Jennings gave 92 points on Cellartracker (http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1182073)
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You just can’t go wrong with a Garnet Pinot. It’s rare to find a good Sonoma Pinot for less than $20, let alone one that you might qualify as “great”. It’s big on flavor and finish, but doesn’t have 15%+ alcohol that some Pinots (central coast especially) have, which I think tends to stray from the way this wine should be made. Alison Crowe, the winemaker, has done a great job with this one.
Have I had better Pinots? Yes, I have – but not for the price.
2010 Monterey Pinot Noir
Well, for $14.99, you can’t go wrong, but you could go a lot more right if you spend the extra $5 for the Carneros one. This Pinot is pretty average, and doesn’t have the balance that the Carneros one has or the powerful flavor of the Rogers Creek. It’s a bit more fruit-forward, with less acidity, and not as complex flavors.

Lawer Family Wine gifts

Well it’s almost that time of year again, when the Holiday season springs upon us and we’re faced with lots of decisions about what to buy for friends and family. Today, we’ll look at some wine-related gifts and see how they crossover into other lifestyles. In particular, these gifts will appeal to your friends who enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Winemakers like to have fun with their labels, and often name them after certain things – from the “Prisoner” to “OMG” I have seen quite a few memorable ones. But I recently came across one brand that had several interesting labels, each with a story behind it and a relation to something totally separate from wine. The brand was Lawer Family Wines, and they are a small producer out of Calistoga CA. They make a limited production of their wines, and have won plenty of awards and medals for most of them. So you know they’re putting out some quality juice.

The three wine labels represent the family’s history on a number of levels. As they state on their site, “Our three limited production wines, Three Coins, Hooker and Duck Shack, were each inspired by generations of family pursuits in gold mining, rugby and spirited fun at the duck shack during hunting season.”

If you know a duck hunter, or a hunter in general, then consider this offering from Lawer Family Wines. The “Duck Shack” line of wine they have is named after the family hunting outpost that, as legend has it, exploded mysteriously at one point. But really, it’s a wine that celebrates friends and family coming together to honor a tradition like duck hunting. They also have a group of “Hooker wines“; and no, they aren’t named after some lady in Las Vegas. A “hooker” is a player on a rugby team, and pays tribute to the marriage between Betsy Lawer and her husband, a former rugby player. Thus, they named one of their wines after this favorite sport of theirs. Lastly, they offer a “Three coins” wine, perfect for all those coin collectors you know.

Curious about what their wines were like, I sourced a bottle of their 2010 Hooker Cabernet. It was an all-around great wine, and I found out later that it won some recent Gold medals at California wine competitions. A bit big on alcohol, coming in around mid 15%, although it wasn’t very “hot” in the mouth. The flavor was big and rich, with a good texture and fairly soft tannins that didn’t leave the mouth feeling parched.

So next time you’re in the market for a unique gift for a rugby player, a duck hunter, or an avid coin/gold collector, consider these offerings from Lawer Family Wines.

Ram’s Gate Winery

Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma is not low-key, and you won’t find yourself sitting at someone’s kitchen table like you might at other places in Sonoma. It’s a large, $30-million dollar structure, built to look like one of the old farmhouses you might see scattered along the road. But it’s anything but an old farmhouse. Once you step into the courtyard, you realize there’s something different here. The interior design was led by Howard Backen, and features ornate chandeliers of flowing glass, spacious seating areas, multiple fireplaces, an open kitchen, large granite covered tasting bar, and plenty of outdoor space as well.
This is quite an experience, and unlike any other winery I have been to. Usually at a place like this, you’ll find a lot of pretentious visitors being parlayed by the staff; however on my visit there, we were treated as normal people and welcomed inside without any pretense. Of course, we tried some of the wines, which are certainly worth mentioning. Their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was stellar, and so was the Chardonnay. I didn’t much care for the Cabernet, which seemed a bit hot but I assume they will be working on that variety, which isn’t the most well-represented in the Carneros region. It’s also worth mentioning that they provide a full menu of food with their wines, prepared by a professional chef in their open kitchen.As an all-around experience, the visit to Ram’s Gate proves second to none. Whether you’re on a romantic outing with your loved one, or a family tour through Sonoma, I highly recommend taking a moment to visit them. From the scenery to the interior design, there are treats for all the senses.

A wine for rugby players?

Hooker cabernet rugby wineWhen you think of the sport of rugby, a lot of associations may come to mind. One of those would likely be alcohol, specifically beer and hard liquor – maybe Australian lagers and Jagermeister. So I thought it was unusual when I encountered a wine made by Lawer Family Wines in Calistoga, CA called “Hooker Cabernet”. I learned that the term “hooker” was actually referencing a rugby position, and not what I had originally associated it with.

In today’s wine market, I think it’s essential for wineries to identify with certain lifestyles, and this is a great example of that. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice glass of wine? Even rugby players do, I guess. When you align your product with certain lifestyles or themes, it makes it easier to connect with customers, and fosters a more direct experience between the brand and consumer.

So if you know any rugby players, and want to find a gift that’s a bit out of the ordinary but will still be appreciated, check out the Hooker wines from Lawer Family. You won’t be dissapointed.

WSTA urges greater consultation on minimum pricing

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association has called on MPs for greater consultation on minimum pricing plans as European opposition grows.

The European Commission has joined Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Portugal in lodging complaints about the Scottish government’s proposals to introduce minimum unit pricing.

The UK government will now have to justify the proposals made by the Scottish Parliament to the Commission.

A consultation for minimum unit pricing in England and Wales, which is due to begin soon, was meant to be finished by Christmas but the WSTA is calling for a full 12 week consultation period instead.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, reiterated the comments he made at the annual conference this week by saying: “It is now abundantly clear that plans for minimum unit pricing in Scotland have hit a wall of opposition in Europe. “While the legality of the Scottish Government’s proposals is in question any notion of a short consultation here is totally inappropriate.”

 

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