When it comes to Zinfandel, few do a better job than the team at Michael David Winery. Known for the massive success of their labels (Freakshow, anyone?!) the winery is, and always has been, family-owned and operated. These are the folks that created 7 Deadly Zins way back when. That wine, a.k.a the number one selling Zinfandel in the United States (at the time, anyway) sold to The Wine Group in 2019 to allow the family to focus on development of their other lines. The winery does big things but holds space for growth and I appreciate it! Having worked with Michael David as their distributor parter in Colorado for the past eight years, I can say from firsthand experience that these guys never fail to surprise, delight, and reinvent themselves.
Michael David Lodi Zin 2018
Studies show that people are naturally attracted to the shade of turquoise used on this package design (also on their new Freakshow Chardonnay!). After all, drawing folks to a label is the first step to getting it in their mouth, right? It stands out, and in a sea of wine, that matters. The marketing professional in me loves to see this stuff.
Lodi is the core of Zinfandel country. The hot, sunny climate produces happy grapes with tons of ripeness and awesome consistency. Like everything Michael David puts out, the wine is sustainably made and vegan to honor the earth and future generations. Medium-bodied with loads of red fruit, chocolate, toasty, spicy notes from a mix of 73% American (28% new) and 27% French (9% new) oak. If you like to cook with a smoker like I do, this wine is a slam-dunk.
When it comes to food pairing, I’ve got barbecue and short ribs on the brain. Ready to pair it?
Traeger Smoked Tri-Tip
Reverse-seared and smoked to glorious perfection. This wine brings a balance of fruit, acid, and complimentary smoke notes to the experience on the palate….drool-worthy!
Here's the recipe!
Don’t have a smoker?
Try this awesome recipe for Garlic Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine from Ang Sarap. Prep is relatively simple and 4+ hours in the Dutch Oven leads to melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. At this price, you can even afford to use this Zin in the recipe. It calls for 500ml of wine, so be sure to pick up more than one bottle!
Here's the recipe!
ABV: 15% | $15 average
Did you try this wine? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Cheers!
Happy Easter everyone! Today is such a special time to gather and celebrate with family and friends. Spring has fully arrived and I've chosen six special wines to try as sun is shining and the garden comes to life over the next couple months. Each of these beauties is sustainably crafted and represents the perfect balance of fruit, acid, and excellent flavor for the warm days ahead. I've paired each with a Springtime recipe that suits the flavors and is perfect for meals enjoyed on the patio.
Champagne Michel Mailliard 'Cuvee Gregory' Premier Cru Brut NV | Cote des Blancs, Champagne
Here is a clean, laser-focused Champagne that is just perfect for the season. It makes for a lovely aperitif or classic seafood pairing, but I dare you to try it with your juicy steak hot off the grill. The acid will cut right through the fat and enhance the delicious umami flavors of the meat.
Domaine de la Bretonneire Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2019 | Loire, France
In the world of high-acid still whites, few can compare to the magic of a great Muscadet. This is one of the most classic oyster pairing wines you will come across. Its "lean and green" with the classic salinity that makes it the perfect match for seafood. The time spent ageing on the lees softens the edges and makes this oh-so-enjoyable to drink.
Bodegas Ordonez Nisia Old Vine Verdejo 2018 | Rueda, Spain
If you're ready to explore something a little off the beaten path and you like fruit-forward, delicious white wines then you have got to try this beauty. It is medium-bodied with a luscious texture imparted by time spent on the lees and in barrel. It'll stand up to dishes with a big more fat like salmon or the delicious bowl of steaming mussels you can make using the recipe below.
Domaine de Triennes Rose 2020 | Meditierranee IGP
A perennial favorite of mine, this rose embodies the flavors and style of Provence rose that so many of us love and trust when it comes to choosing outstanding pink wine. One of my favorite qualities of rose is the versatility it offers when it comes to food pairing. If you're at a restaurant and everyone is having a different dish, get a bottle of rose on the table and you will see smiling faces all around!
Maison Albert Bichot Chablis 2018 | Chablis, Burgundy, France
You're not going to find a lot of New World Chardonnay on my blog, but a classic like this Chablis from such an iconic producer always has a home here! This is a fresh and elegant wine with racy acidity and a super refreshing style. Drink it well-chilled and relatively young as an aperitif or with lighter fare.
Vino Lauria Frappato 2017 | Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy
I can't get serious about Springtime without at least a few bottles of this wine on hand. I love it for warm afternoons with a refreshing chill on it from either an ice bath or the refrigerator. I definitely drink fewer red wines in the Spring and Summer, but this one has been a go-to for a few years now for its light, fruity style and food-friendly qualities.
What are you drinking this Spring? Drop a comment below!
Happy Easter, friends! - Tana
This weekend promises 75 degree weather in Denver and I’ve got warm weather cocktails on the brain.
I’ve just discovered this new brand of vermouth from Argentina brought to the US by one of my favorite importers, Vine Connections, and I’m excited to share and I'm incorporating these into my Springtime bar cart.
Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with botanicals. It was first produced in Piedmont and came to Argentina by way of Italian immigrants in the late 1800’s. Through the 1950’s-70’s, vermouth enjoyments boomed in Argentina. Then, from the 1980’s to early 2000’s, consumption slowed as the food and table wines produced in Argentina took center stage locally and abroad.
In 2016, a group of four friends were inspired to reinvigorate the category and banded together to create this brand. La Fuerza, or ‘the force’, is the first vermouth brand ever produced in the Andes Mountains! Exposure grew and in 2018 the crew opened a bar, also called La Fuerza, in Buenos Aires to make a proper home for their products. Time Magazine named the bar one of the Top 100 World’s Greatest Places of 2019. This place has officially made my bucket list!
This duo of bottlings utilize Argentina’s two supreme grape varieties – Malbec for the Rojo, and Torrontés for the Blanco. Over 40 botanicals and native plants are hand-harvested from the Andes foothills to create these terroir-driven vermouths. The entire production process takes place in Mendoza using locally-sourced ingredients.
La Fuerza Vermouth Rojo
No preservatives or added flavors are used. You’ll taste notes of juniper, mace, star anise, and peppermint, with finishing hints of dried fruits and spice. This would be the perfect addition to a simple spritz, and it’s awesome in classic cocktails like Negronis or Americanos.
La Fuerza Vermouth Blanco
Also made without the use of preservatives or added flavors apart from the natural botanicals. This one brings notes of wild sage, rosemary, dried chamomile, anise, and coriander. It makes for a delicious and unexpected apéritif or light spritz, and it can be employed in any classic cocktail that calls for white vermouth.
Here are a few fun cocktail creations from the Vine Connections team to help inspire you as you explore this category:
La Fuerza Julep
• 3 oz. La Fuerza Rojo
• Grapefruit Juice
• 2-3 Mint Leaves
• Soda Water
Place mint leaves at the bottom of a tall glass & add a splash of grapefruit juice. Gently crush the mint with a spoon to release its essence. Fill the glass with ice, add La Fuerza Rojo & top with soda water.
La Fuerza Spritz
• 2 oz. La Fuerza Blanco
• 1 oz. Sparkling Wine
• 1 oz. Aperol
• 1 oz. Soda Water
Fill a large wine glass with ice. Add La Fuerza Blanco, Aperol, sprarkling wine and soda water. Stir with a spoon & garnish with an orange slice.
La Fuerza Negroni
• 1 oz. La Fuerza Rojo
• 1 oz. Gin
• 1 oz. Campari
In a short glass add ice, gin, Campari & La Fuerza Rojo. Stir slowly with a spoon and garnish with a slice of orange.
La Fuerza Andes Tonic
• 3 oz. La Fuerza Blanco
• 1 oz. Gin
• Tonic Water
Fill a large wine glass with ice and add La Fuerza Blanco and gin. Top with tonic water and garnish with a branch of thyme, mint or a slice of citrus.
Something new and different to explore! Do you like vermouth? What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy it? Drop a comment below!
If you’re someone who gets excited over Domaine Dujac, you ought to be paying close attention to Bernard Moreau. The wines are pure and complex, traditional and innovative, delivering perennial examples of the purest, most expressive, and overall highest quality in the appellation. To the family, the true sense of duty lies plainly in not messing up the exceptional fruit nature provides. When you have it this good, no manipulation is needed. As they say, “you don’t put a bumper sticker on a Bentley.”
Many wine-lovers agree that it’s tough for a producer to make equally exceptional expressions of both red and white wines. Moreau does it with unmatched grace and elegance.
As a producer, Domaine Bernard Moreau strikes the balance between classic and current. Both revered and relevant, they have shown a natural ability to expand and evolve without losing track of their roots. Many winemakers try to be too many things, behaving like overzealous painters who mix up all their colors only to wind up with brown. Moreau understands the necessity of letting the best of Chassagne-Montrachet be just that, the best.
In 1809 Auguste Moreau constructed the cellar across from the Champs Gain Vineyard of the Côte d'Or (Golden Slope). There he farmed the family’s few hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Production grew in the 1930s at the hand of Marcel Moreau as he acquired what today represents roughly 80% of the Domaine’s vineyard holdings.
In the 1960s, at just 14 years old, Bernard Moreau took over the vineyards and cellar. He grew the estate’s prestige alongside Françoise Moreau and in 1977 the name Domaine Bernard Moreau became official. Over the years the pair applied many crucial updates and developments; including adding yet another 14 hectares (34.59 acres) to their holdings. They upgraded their equipment, farming practices, and winemaking techniques to become current with modern innovations.
In time, Bernard’s sons Alex and Benoît joined the team to assist in winemaking, sales, and viticulture after working vineyards around the globe. They traveled to New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, surely discovering the true meaning of Dorothy’s, “there’s no place like home.” Their first vintage of Chassagne-Montrachet was 1995 and they took control of all operations in 1999. The pair are an important presence in the new wave of talented young winemakers in the region, with Benoît dedicated to the vineyards and Alex in the cellar.
The brothers manage the vineyards without the use of herbicides or pesticides, with only plowing applied. They use only organic fertilizer and indigenous yeasts. Yields remain low through fastidious pruning and, like their forefathers, they do everything by hand.
In the cellar, the grapes are treated with the utmost care. After a gentle crush, they are left to settle overnight. All wines are aged in French oak barrels with no racking or less stirring to maintain the delicate aromatics and prolong the fermentation process.
Bernard Moreau et File Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Morgeot 2014
This is the very rare sort of wine that I call, “slam your fingers in the door and keep on smiling good.” The ’14 vintage is just plain phenomenal to drink right now. The flavors are of bright lemon and baked yellow apple tart with a buttery vanilla crust. The years show like the essence of a woman of a certain age when the whole world can feel that she’s in her prime. She’s radiant and confident with no need for over-the-top outfits or makeup; just naturally epic and beautiful in her God-given glory…if I’m starting to sound like a romance novelist, it’s for good reason. Constructed of 100% Chardonnay, the wine is fermented in 10-30% new French oak barrels. It was aged 18 months before release without fining or filtration to allow the natural lees to enhance the body and texture.
I paired it with a bath. To be intimately alone with a wine like this felt like the honor of a lifetime! One of my most simple pleasures taken to new heights thanks to a collector friend of my mother’s who gifted her the bottle (of course we shared it!! I only had one glass in the tub while she enjoyed her first over a book. We finished the bottle side-by-side in honor of her 70th birthday and newly acquired COVID-19 vaccine.
ABV: 13.5% -- $115 (average)
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As mentioned, the 2014 vintage of white burgundy is, in a word, spectacular. Spring was warm and dry producing a relatively early bud break. Chassagne-Montrachet (and also Puligny-Montrachet) was fortunate to escape a hailstorm in June that impacted the neighboring Côte de Beaune, causing severe damage in the villages of Volnay, Pommard, Meursault, and Beaune. Some challenges during flowering reduced the yields, resulting in a lessened crop. Despite the reduction, the fruit that did thrive enjoyed uninterrupted maturation. The reduced yields meant some producers we unable to bottle their Premier Cru sites and were forced to combine them into a single declassified blend. Moreau was lucky to produce the wine we are discussing. Me? I’m luckier still to drink it.
Learn more about the 2014 vintage in this article from Vinous
Morgeot is the largest Premier Cru vineyard in Chassagne-Montrachet Located at the southern end of the appellation. With a total size of 54.17 ha (133.8 acres) and 21 sub-divisions, or climats, the soils are mostly clay on top of limestone. Both red and white varieties are permitted here for planting.
Morgeot translates from the Gallic ‘Morga’, meaning “border limit”, as the site sits at the southern border of Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay. The wines produced here are rich and powerful with the advantage of the slightly warmer southern climate. The aging potential is proven in this bottle, as Alex takes great care to pick early enough that the acid structure remains in place and the grapes don’t over ripen.
Have you had wines from this producer or region? Drop a comment below! If not, I hope you seek them out. You won’t be disappointed.
Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Marlborough, New Zealand
I love a Sauvy B for a cocktail wine! The style is crisp, refreshing, and to the point — perfect at right around 5pm.
Astrolabe came across by radar recently and I'm so excited to share it with you!
Named after an ancient astronomical device used to measure celestial bodies for the purposes of navigation, this family-owned winery has been called “New Zealand’s leading Sauvignon Blanc maker” by Bob Campbell, MW. It was ranked in the Top 5 of Decanter Magazine’s recent Top 20 for ’20 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc feature, not to mention they dropped a mean 94 points on it. That’s a lot of hype on a wine in such an approachable price point. It’s awesome to see a producer stand out like this in a category that can be a bit one-dimensional IMHO.
The 2019-2020 season brought slightly above average temperatures but was still cooler than the three scorching years prior. It was very dry with only 1.7 inches of rainfall from December to harvest in April. Thankfully, there was groundwater and a bit of drip irrigation applied to keep the vines happy and healthy in the stony, silt-loam soils.
Four of the area’s top sub-regions are home to these vines: Awatere Valley (56%), Southern Valleys (12%), Wairau Valley (15%), and Kekerengu Coast (17%)
The grapes were machine harvested in cool evening conditions, de-stemmed, and pressed gently for minimal skin contact. Clear, cold-settled juice was fermented in stainless steel vats at low temperatures, using neutral wine yeast strains to maintain the exceptional fruit flavors.
On the nose, the wine is expansive with aromas of fresh herbs and white peach. The palate is full of classic grapefruit, lemongrass, peach tea, and citrus. Very nice indeed!
Do you like NZ Sauvignon Blanc? What are your favorite producers? Drop a comment below!
Need a little direction when exploring new wines? Here's one of my favorite tips: learn to shop foreign wines by importer!
Importers have a "house style". They travel across the globe in search of amazing producers that they feel reflect the quality they are committed to representing.
You can build trust in an importer's standards and use their emblem as an indicator of a quality product -- even if you have never heard of the wine! These folks are tireless when curating their books and I've learned to rely on certain companies to bring remarkable wines to the USA.
How does it work? While a wine is labeled with the information of the winery it comes from, in many import cases, you will also find the importer's logo on the back label. Once familiar with an importer's insignia you can look for it when perusing the shelf and know that the wine was hand-selected by their team. In other words, it's here for a reason and someone thought it was very special!
Does this mean you will love every single wine you buy? Of course not! That's never possible... but this practice can give you a point of reference when exploring wines outside your comfort zone.
A few of my favorites in order of appearance on the below Instagram Reel:
Skurnik Wines: incredible portfolio of Grower Champagne, German and Austrian wines, and others from Spain, France, New Zealand, and beyond
The Sorting Table: remarkable French, Italian, New Zealand, South Africa, and Austrian selections
Vine Connections: one of the very best sake portfolios brought to the USA, plus incredible Chilean and Argentinean wines and craft spirits
Valkyrie Selections: exceptional Spanish, French, and English producers with a focus on sustainability
WinesU Imports: amazing Italian portfolio with gems from France
Jorge Ordonez Selections: the leader in Spanish wines, bar none
Weygandt Wines: super small-production, collectible wines from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain
Broadbent Selections: the place to turn for South Africa and Portugal -- also Australia, Italy, South America, Lebanon, Germany, England, and New Zealand
Anyone else like to shop this way? Which importers do you love?!
Tasting wines side-by-side is my favorite way to explore a region. Thanks to a colleague who loaned me his Coravin, I was able to do just that without pulling all three corks.
This lineup imported by Friuli Italian Wines brings us an array of examples of unique northern Italian wines in three very different styles: a classic white, a skin-contact (aka slightly-orange) white, and a unique red made of a grape variety I’ve never experienced before.
Shall we taste?!
Bortolusso Malvasia 2018
San Gervasio - Carlino, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
The vineyards of this family-run winery are located in close proximity to a lagoon. The interaction with the sea salted air provides notes of saline and minerals, adding a complexity and savoriness that makes this wine perfect for food pairing. Grilled seafood or risotto, anyone? The team uses organic fertilizers and minimum residue pesticides to keep the vines as pure as possible.
Comprised of 100% Malvasia, this wine is made in a dry style typical of this part of Italy. However, you may have encountered an expression of this grape, which is grown historically in Mediterranean regions, by the name ‘Malmsey’ from the island of Madeira in a traditional sweet wine.
In this case, the wine is lemon-yellow in color with notes of underripe stone fruit like apricot and peach and a nuttiness that adds to its complexity. I quite like that. This one inspires saliva below the tongue and leaves my mouth with an essence of orange peel on the finish. Excellent balance at 13% ABV. At $18.00 this is a very approachable option for the summer days ahead. I’d keep this in the fridge but set it out to drink without an ice bath to allow a broader spectrum to flavors and aromas to surface.
Specogna Pinot Grigio ‘Ramato’ 2019
Friuli Colli Orientali D.O.C
I find much of the Pinot Grigio in today’s market to be one-dimensional and a bit boring. Not so with this bottle. The copper color is imparted by a 48-hour maceration with the skins. Orange wine is quite popular lately. It’s a trend, like ‘natural wine’, that sometimes has me scratching my head. However, when done in this style, I find it to be absolutely exciting. It takes a simple variety like Pinot Grigio to new heights of interest and complexity by making the most of the natural material without overdoing it.
For me, the nose of this wine does not do justice to the palate. New flavors and aromas erupt when you get this in your mouth! The mouthfeel is soft, almost creamy, which may be an indication of lees-aging, although I can’t confirm this. Excellent acid structure and balance with an ABV of 13.5%. Flavors of apples and pear, but also wild berry, which I don’t often find in Pinot Grigio. I wondered if I was tricking myself by focusing too much on the color, but I don’t think so. Sustainably produced both in vineyard and cellar, I can say this is one of the better expressions of this grape variety I have had the pleasure of tasting. At $27.00 a bottle, it may hit a touch above what you’re used to spending on Pinot Grigio, but if you’re willing to trust me, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. In a word: delicious.
Castelvecchio Terrano 2017
Carso, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
I absolutely love it when I encounter a wine made of grapes I have never tasted and from a place I’m barely familiar with. This is how we discover the world through wine! Smelling, tasting, researching, and reflection temporarily transport us to the place of origin and for a moment, we’re traveling again!
The Carso region, also called ‘Karst’, refers to the plateau that straddles the border of northeastern Italy and southwestern Slovenia. While I’ve tasted wines aged in Slovenian oak, the Terrano grape variety is a new experience. The Castelvecchio winery has been producing since 1750, but evidence of vineyards and olive trees in the region can be traced back to 1578. Sustainable, low-impact viticulture is practiced here on arid, rocky soil with red sand. The Terrano variety is closely related to Refosco, a grape I actually have tasted from Friuli.
The wine is ruby red with a purple rim and stains the glass when swirled. The producer website states that the color “confirms its high organoleptic qualities given by the presence of very high units of antiradical, anti-aging, polyphenols, antioxidants and antivirals.” I don’t know enough about this subject to speak to this, but it piques my curiosity, which I appreciate in and of itself.
The palate offers red raspberry all day with notes of red licorice and bramble. The acid here is striking and has me thinking a slight chill would serve this quite well, as would a few more years in bottle. If I were trying to give someone a tasting example of malic acid, this would be a great place to start. The wine is aged in stainless steel and at 12.5% ABV it’s an easy drink to enjoy in the early afternoon. Unfortunately, this wine is sold out on the Friuli wines website at the moment, but you can explore other options from the same producer here.
Perhaps I’ve found some wines that interest you too. If so, I invite you to give them a try and geek out with me! The first five people to enter the code WINESHIP20 will save 20% on their online order at https://www.friulitalianwines.com/. I would love to hear your impressions if you do taste, and also if you have experience with similar wines from this part of Italy.
Many thanks to Evelyn, Alex, and the Friuli Italian Wines team for this experience! Mille Grazie! - Montana
I created The Wine Ship with a few ideas in mind:
1) To celebrate the inspiration I’ve found in the great wines of the world near and far. Creative minds express themselves so beautifully using wine as their medium. This image is a nod to the iconic ‘Papillon’ label by Dave Phinney which features the hands of revered Calistoga grower, Vince Toffanelli. It was Vince’s old-vine Zinfandel, planted by his grandparents, that made the foundation of the original bottlings of The Prisoner. This brand eventually led to the creation of Papillon and other great wines. His finger tats were faux, and so are mine...(Well, the letters anyway, don’t panic mom. You’ve put up with enough.)
2) Because wine is a conduit for human connection. I’ve built some of my life’s greatest friendships around it. A friendship built on wine, for me, is a WineShip.
3) My goal is to serve as a vessel for others to board as they set sail on the sea of wine discovery. There are a million resources available to learn about wine and I hope that my platform is one where people feel safe and welcome, even when the waters are turbulent.
Wishing you all a wonderful Monday! And if you’re new here, welcome aboard! You’re now a part of the ‘Cru’!
I made it to Montalcino back in 2018. While I didn’t visit this producer, it didn’t take long for me to understand why the wines made here are so special and so important in the world of Italian wine and beyond. Brunello di Montalcino is Italy’s highest DOCG classification and many believe it to be the highest-quality expression of Sangiovese on earth.
Here, the Sangiovese grape has thicker skins, which leads to intense tannin structure, bold fruit characteristics, and very high acid. High acidity in wine equals aging potential, and as such Brunello is best consumed a decade or more after bottling. Young Brunello can be searing on the palate with such intense structure the drinker may find their palate overwhelmed. With time, the components soften together to reveal more dried, oxidative characteristics. Decanting becomes quite important here as the wine has been locked away under cork for so long and must be invited with patience to open up into its full potential for tasting, and more importantly, enjoyment.
2004 is considered a great vintage to seek out and drink now in 2021, which is why I opted to crack it after cellaring at home for a few years. When drinking older wines, I like to think about where I was in my life the year the grapes were grown. In 2004, I was a 16-year-old junior in high school living abroad in Brazil. Oh, how time flies! While this is the only 2004 Brunello that I have tasted, I found this interesting article from Antonio Galloni of Vinous on the vintage. What struck me is that he notes being disappointed by wines from the most famous producers of the region, while being pleasantly surprised by the releases from lesser-known estates. He also notes that ’04 Brunello from the southern part of the zone showed better than those from Montalcino proper. Considering he’s tasted far more than I, I’ll have to take his word for it. Overall, the ’04 vintage is considered far superior to the ’02 and ’03 harvests.
The Sassetti family has farmed some of Montalcino’s finest vineyards for over a century. Livio Sassetti worked the region through the late ‘70s before purchasing the famous Podere Pertimali vineyard, a site revered for high-quality Sangiovese where soils have a clay sublayer with a sandy topsoil layer. In 1967, Sassetti was a co-founder of the Consorzio del Brunello di Montalcino, which was the same year the DOC(G) system was written into law.
One year after the vineyard acquisition, Livio built a terracotta wall in the cellar to help preserve the older vintages produced by the family. Now, that cellar houses nearly 1,000 bottles with examples dating back to 1915. Livio has evolved the winemaking and vineyard management processes over the years while staying true to the quality standards and traditions of the family’s history.
Today, Livio’s son Lorenzo Sassetti manages the estate as the fourth-generation family member and an esteemed winemaker. As his father did before him, Lorenzo proudly maintains the family’s high-level of quality. The wines he produces are expressive of their unique terroirs and traditional style. These powerful wines are intense and aromatic, yet approachable and delicious when drunk under the right circumstances with consideration of proper cellaring.
This bottling is a wine for collectors. A benchmark of the family’s approach to making great Brunello, the Sassetti ‘Pertimali’ Brunello di Montalcino is incredibly luscious and intense with a sure need for oxygen before tasting. I decanted this slowly using my favorite vessel from Mixologist World. Loads of red fruit soar out of the glass with rustic dry floral and mushroom notes. Tannins are soft and integrated from the years in bottle and the mindful aeration.
The wine is made of 100% Sangiovese Grosso from vines planted between 1988 and 2001. The juice was fermented in stainless steel after a maceration of 10-12 days before being aged 36 months in Slavonian oak.
Average Price: $149
Overall, I find Brunello to be a fascinating category. Such true expression of terroir and an unequaled power propel the wines above so many others. These are not the wines of daily enjoyment. However, for a lover of viticulture, tasting them is simply a requirement for gaining a deeper understanding of the magical world of fine wine.
I was born and raised in Colorado and this is also the place I fell in love with wine. Colorado is a hub for great wine! We are only now starting to have chain retail in this state. As such, we have mostly independent retailers. This means that small-production wines make their way here often.
But what about the wines grown and produced here? I confess, until this past week I didn’t have much appreciation for the wines of my home state. I have tasted a few over the years but nothing has stood out and I, like many wine-lovers here, had sort of given up on the local selection.
Now, this is changing as industry pioneers reinvent consumer perception and enjoyment of Colorado wines with new offerings better suited to our unique climate. At the top of the game is Carboy Winery. Started in 2015 as a négociant (a winery that purchases grapes from growers to make wine), they have evolved into Colorado’s fastest-growing wine producer.
So what changed? It’s pretty simple. They understood that Colorado is Colorado, not Napa Valley. The Grand Valley AVA, located about 4 hours west of Denver, has vineyard sites sitting at an average of 4,700 feet. It snows here. It gets super hot here. The grape varieties that work in California can’t always cut it out here. I tasted unique, cold-hearty grape varieties at Carboy that I have never ever heard of! Things like Petite Pearl and Teroldego, as well as some we know well such as Merlot, Tempranillo, and Syrah.
The wines are expressive and thoughtfully made. Instead of trying to mask or make up for the unique conditions with massive oak they go for mostly neutral casks. It’s earth over fruit, old-world style over alcohol, acid over jam.
The Colorado industry is growing up and I’m so floored and excited to discover this new era of winemaking right here in my own backyard.
This is only the beginning…
Here are two of the five wines I brought home yesterday. I chose them because of their remarkable uniqueness and also, most importantly, deliciousness! I also brought home burrata and charcuterie from the adjoined Angelo’s Taverna to pair.
2018 Native Fizz Blanc
Sparkling Gruner Veltliner picked the first week of August in 2018
Handshake Acres Vineyard, Grand Valley, Colorado
Aromatic yeast strain, 16 months in triage, brut dosage
2018 Petite Pearl
From some of the highest altitude desert vineyards in North America
Cold-hearty hybrid variety well-suited to the hot days and cool nights of the microclimate
Medium-body and herbaceous; notes of plum and tomato vine, and earth
Thanks to Kevin, Jason, and the winemaking team for your time with me sharing your story and your wines. #ColoradoProud
Hangovers hit different after 30. We all try to keep the balance, but if you drink regularly you’ve probably overindulged a time or two. Six months ago I ordered Cheers after seeing ads on Instagram. I was skeptical but figured if it worked it was worth a shot. I share this because it’s important to me that you know I have sincerely vetted this product myself over a period of time prior to sharing it with you.
Supplements affect people differently. I noticed a difference right away when using Cheers and continued to notice it until the product in my first order was gone. However, I didn’t reorder immediately. That’s when the difference became the most apparent — when I didn’t have it anymore. I missed feeling better after drinking nights!
Cheers is in the same category of dietary supplements as Emergen-C, Airborne, Dramamine, and others. In this category, the FDA requires that products are made safely but does not comment on efficacy — that’s left to the consumer to judge. Since these products aren’t regulated like drugs, a lot of supplements hide their ingredients behind ‘proprietary blend’ verbiage. Just like wine blends, this means that the individual ingredient amounts do not have to be listed. As such, a lot of companies pump out products listing desirable ingredients but only actually contain amounts so small they don’t do a thing for you. Cheers is transparent and specific in listing all ingredients. It is also made in the USA and the company has invested deeply in toxicology testing to ensure that Cheers is both safe and effective.
DHM (Dihydromyricetin) is the ingredient we’re after in hangover land. It’s expensive but it works when you actually get a dose. Cheers has 1,200mg of DHM per dose which, like all of the ingredients in the blend, is clearly disclosed. DHM is 62% of the Cheers blend, followed by L-Cysteine HCL, Vitamins B, C, and E, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC), Milk Thistle, Prickly Pear, and Ginger. If you want to learn more about these ingredients visit the Cheers site or look them up anywhere. I particularly enjoyed the article on the Cheers website titled: DHM, Rats, & Alcohol Use Disorders.
Cheers Restore (my fave in the lineup): After-Alcohol Aid
Take 2-4 capsules after your last drink or before bed
Benefits: Reduces GABAa rebound, lowers alcohol-induced acetaldehyde toxicity levels, supports the liver when exposed to alcohol
Cheers Hydrate: Powder designed for rapid, effective, and safe rehydration to support overall health and immunity
Drink a glass of water with 1 scoop
Benefits: Optimizes the Sodium-Glucose Cotransport System for rapid rehydration; formulated using clinical research performed by the World Health Organization
Cheers Protect: Daily supplement designed to significantly increase glutathione levels, support overall liver health, and boost immunity.
Take 2 capsules daily for overall liver and immune health
Benefits: Uses L-Cysteine as a prodrug to boost glutathione levels; designed to support overall liver health
If you want to learn more about the function and importance of a healthy liver I highly recommend the book Liver Rescue by Medical Medium. His work has changed my life and my health over the years.
You’ll take a simple quiz to get started where you’ll answer questions about your frequency of drinking, whether you’re comfortable taking pills, rate how you typically feel after a night of drinking, and if you experience the dreaded #hangxiety, aka #SundayScaries aka the dreaded loss of motivation and overall crappiness mentally, physically, and emotionally.
The first 25 people to order with my code THEWINESHIP15 save 15% on their entire order.
WHAT IF IT DOESN'T WORK?
When I shared Cheers on my story last week a few of you commented that you had tried it and it didn’t work for you. Like all supplements, Cheers may not work for some people. For this reason, they offer a satisfaction guarantee so new customers can try it without risk. If you already have Cheers on hand and don’t feel it works, try it again. Make sure you’re taking Cheers Restore as close as possible to your last drink rather than hours later before bed. You can also take 3 capsules instead of 2 and see if you notice a difference.
CHEERS TO THE WEEKEND MY FRIENDS!
I’ll start with a confession: I don’t have a lot of tasting experience with Rioja. Sure, I have had the wines as necessary to prepare for exams, and on occasion beyond that, but no immersion. The reason is that based on my previous impression of the category. I like Beaujolais and a lot of the world’s Pinot Noir. I love lower alcohol, higher acid Old-World wines. My impression of Rioja was enamel ripping tannin, brooding ABV, and a shy awareness of my own ignorance on the region.
Now, this is changing; and this wine is part of the reason. I pulled the cork on Thursday night and found the initial bouquet reminiscent of a variety I like very much: Nebbiolo. When I shared this impression with one of my mentors he said, “I’d say that’s a very good thing.” Meaning, the oak and alcohol is integrated and the lovely fruit and flower aromas I’d expect from Barolo or Barbaresco are present. The beautifully integrated structure of the wine is, of course, a result of the time rested in barrel in bottle.
Let’s discuss the meaning of Gran Reserva in this context. Spain is the only wine region where the word ‘Reserve/Reserva’ is a matter of law. Here in the US, you’ll see the word “Reserve’ on wines of all quality levels. It doesn’t mean anything apart from the benefit it provides in marketing. In Spain, Gran Reserva requires that the wine has been aged at least five years with a minimum of two years in oak (this one saw 28 months). Gran Reserva wines are typically only produced from outstanding vintages.
This wine is made of 100% Tempranillo from vines planted in 1975 and farmed with the utmost respect for the environment. Located at the foot of the Sierra Cantabria, this area is characterized by an Atlantic climate that is moderated by the Sierra rain shadow.
The grapes were hand-selected and completely destemmed, ensuring only the ripest and healthiest made it into the wine. In the winery, these things took a serious! First, a pre-fermentation maceration at 43°F, followed by temperature-controlled fermentation in open top fermenters with selected indigenous yeast. Then another 12 days on the skins! The juice and skins must have had trouble saying goodbye to each other when all was said and done. The juice was then transferred to 100% new Bordelaise French Oak barrels.
El Puntino is the name of the single vineyard where the grapes came from. The wine expresses the unique mineral-driven profile of this terroir, as is the goal with all the single-vineyard wines produced by Viñedos de Páganos.
Fun Fact: El Puntido is an old word meaning 'staircase landing', like the shape that these lands form between the Sierra de Cantabria and the Ebro River depression.
A wine like this tends to taste best on day two, and this was no exception. The aroma of violets, the one that made me think of Nebbiolo on day one, is still present. Black fruits like plum and blackberry stroke the palate. On day one a note that reminded me of smokey leather or a sweaty horse (not as bad as it sounds) was present. Day two it had given way to a softer, earth-driven smoke note. Lovely.
Colorado-based critic Jeb Dunnuck gave this 94 points. I tend to value his opinion above that of most critics, although Parker did drop a mean 96 on it.
Average Price: $55.00 USD
The wine is a testament to the level of quality we can expect from the Jorge Ordoñez Selections portfolio. The more I learn, the more I appreciate the values this company is founded on.
What are your thoughts on Rioja? Ready for more?!
I have long been fascinated with Spain. Not just the wines but the country and the culture. I am fortunate now to embark on a journey through La Rioja and beyond with the incomparable Jorge Ordonez Selections and you're invited!
Jorge Ordonez is truly a pioneer of the Spanish wine industry. In 2007 he said, "When nobody cared about Spanish wines, I was there." It's the truth.
So here's where we start. Three remarkable wines and a board of meat and cheese that served as Friday night dinner. Over the weeks to come we will go deeper... this is just a tease. Will you come with me?
Three price points, three styles, three stories. Separate posts on each coming this week!
Sierra Cantabria Unica 2016 | Vinedos Sierra Cantabria - D.O.Ca. Rioja
Codice 2018 | Dominio De Eguren - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
El Puntido Gran Reserva 2007 | Vinedos de Paganos - D.O.Ca. Rioja
A gorgeous piece from one of my favorite food and beverage companies: Mixologist World. It is the perfect size and even has a drawer with four very sharp utensils. The entire piece is well-made and attractive. Use this link to order yours on Amazon for $40.
THE CHARCUTERIE & CHEESE:
From Frank's Bodega, a small, premium grocery store that opened in my neighborhood when the owner's original business of catering for performers visiting Red Rocks Amphiteater was decimated by COVID-related show cancelations. I love their selection of premium deliciousness!
Stay tuned for more! Until we can travel again, let's continue to discover the world through wine!
This might be the title of my newly imagined fairytaleâ¦or maybe just a newly imagined sakÃ© cocktail?!
This one so simple to make, so much fun, and oh so delicious! It's like two cocktails in one. At first, the fruit of the Prosecco shines, but as the sakÃ© snowball melts the flavors transform into something new completely!
Here's what you'll need:
Leave a comment if you make this yummy cocktail! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
The holiday season of 2020 wasn't the norm, but I had a great time brightening it up with custom wine advent calendars for friends and family! I designed and built over 15 of these boxes of fun with themes ranging from Christmas, to Hanukkah, and even a couple birthdays. I learned a lot as I created each one, honing my technique and getting assembly time down from an hour each to about 20 minutes.
I love the way these came out and I’m so excited to offer them in Denver going forward! If you're looking for a fun gift idea birthdays, Valentine's Day, bachelorette, dinner party pairings, music or wine pairings, I've got you covered. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order!
Has 2020 inspired you to try something new? A new hobby or pastime to enjoy during this time at home? For me, it has been exploring the world of mixology and creating special, unique, and creative cocktails at home. I have been pulling inspiration from favorite Classic Cocktails, and putting my own unique spin on my creations.
Making cocktails is so much like cooking! Trial and error coupled with gaining a deep understanding of the endless ingredients available. Like cooking, cocktail construction requires a few key tools. Sure, you can improvise and use measuring cups instead of a jigger, a jar instead of a shaker, a whisk instead of a muddler. But, as the passion took hold for me over the past couple of months I decided I needed to get a little more serious. That said, I don’t have limitless space, or a bar, or a massive budget…
Then I discovered this amazing at-home bar kit from Mixology and Craft. I am obsessed! Check out the brief unboxing video below to see what's inside and stay tuned for lots of fun new cocktail creations featuring these lovely tools. My goal is to make all of my cocktails delicious, creative, original, and EASY TO MAKE!
Need one of these kits for your own home? Find it on my holiday gift by clicking this link!!
What kinds of cocktail recipes do you guys want to see next?!
I’m back in holiday cocktail mode! I’ve dreamed up this easy and delicious collision of herbal and fruit flavors for you guys. Delightful citrus aromas from the Yuzu Gin are balanced beautifully by the easy-to-make thyme 🌱 simple syrup. The addition of pomegranate juice and seeds bumps up the fruit notes and provides a gorgeous, festive color. A float of dry Prosecco integrates the flavors and textures just like your favorite holiday wrapping paper!
A wine glass is like a speaker...
Music sounds better coming out of amazing speakers. The experience of wine is better when tasted from amazing glasses. This isn’t to say there’s no place or necessity for a small portable bluetooth, or even headphones at times, but depending on your situation, the right glassware can really elevate the enjoyment of wine.
There are a million wine glass options out there, and I haven’t tried them all. What I have here for you today is a selection of glasses that I personally use every week. I’ve selected them for their excellent quality and value; and because they make the experience of drinking wine better for me.
All of these except the last one are available for order through my @Amazon holiday gift buying guide. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE GUIDE!
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Stemware Collection Bordeaux Red Wine Glass, 23-Ounce
👍🏼: Massive/dramatic bowl, sturdy enough to put in the dishwasher (HUGE plus for me), beautiful shape/style, statement-maker, excellent for bold, full-bodied wines.
👎🏼: This is my favorite red wine glass — only con is that they are big so can be a challenge to store and take up significant space in dishwasher.
💸: $66.99 / set of 6
🍷Top Second from Left:
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Stemware Collection Sauvignon Blanc/Rose/Tasting, White Wine Glass, 13.8-Ounce
👍🏼: This is my favorite all-around wine glass, about half the size of the previous glass. I use it for both reds and whites. Easy to hold, easy to clean (also dishwasher safe), beautiful design, suitable for all occassions.
👎🏼: A little on the small side for a wine that really needs to spread out in the glass to breathe.
💸: $49.99 / set of 6
🍷Top Third from Left:
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Stemware Collection Champagne Flute with Effervescence Points, 7.1-Ounce
👍🏼: Same beautiful design as the rest of the line and dishwasher safe. I love this glass for champagne cocktails!
👎🏼: Personally, I don’t love flutes for Champagne. I often enjoy a larger bowl as I love to swirl and stick my nose in the glass, which is tough to do with a flute. Yes, you lose bubbles faster this way, but just pour small and often!
💸: $81.99 / set of 6
🍷Top Fourth from Left:
Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon ‘The Wine Glass’
👍🏼: Food and Wine Magazine refers to this as “the only wine glass you’ll ever need to buy”. To a degree, I think this is true. The shape of this glass is both beautiful and practical, making a stellar vessel for every kind of wine. I particularly like these for special bottles of Champagne. The glass is paper-thin and gets you as up-close and personal as humanely possible with your wine.
👎🏼: This glass is extremely fragile and very expensive. The website states that they are dishwasher safe, and maybe they are if you use a gentle cycle and have nothing else in the washer with them, but I wouldn’t do it. I have broken at least three of them (while relatively sober). If your friends like to drink as much as mine do, I suggest setting these aside for more organized tasting moments.
💸: $112.00 / set of 2 or $320.00/set of 6 at richardbrendon.com
Modvera 20oz Red & White Stemless Wine Glass
👍🏼: Perfect for your daily after-work glass of whatever. Easy to clean and store. These also make for a nice water glass.
👎🏼: Some people really hate stemless glasses. I wouldn’t say I fully agree, but I use this style the least unless I’m having a party. White wines get warm when held in your hand, and the overall experience is not as good in my opinion. The convenience, however, is definitely worth something. For the category and price, I like these a lot.
💸: $23.95 / set of 6
🍷Bottom Second from Left:
Govino 8 Ounce Dishwasher Safe Series Flute
👍🏼: If the previous glass is your echo dot, this is your rechargeable mini bluetooth speaker — the one you take to the park or pool or throw in the basket on your cruiser bike. These little guys are ultra lightweight and durable (made of crystal clear plastic). They are perfect for a little more elegance and style for outdoor settings. You will also find the regular tumblers on my Amazon gift guide!
👎🏼: These are, well, plastic!! They are not as nice as a real glass, but for obvious reasons. Also, although they are dishwasher-safe, you must make sure nothing metal is touching them or they can melt and distort their shape while in the machine.
💸: $24.95 /set of 4
So there you have it! What are some of your favorite wine glass options?! Which ones are you ordering??
Need a new party trick for the season? I’ve got you covered in just over three minutes!
Grab a bottle of bubbly and try for yourself. I’m here to set you up for success! When you make it happen, share your videos on your feed and be sure to tag @thewineship on Instagram. If you have questions or need help, shoot me a DM or email at email@example.com.
Below are two of my favorite beginner saber options from Amazon! Both are affordable and do the trick beautifully!
Have some fun y’all! Happy Holidays!
Thanksgiving week is upon us! We've teamed up with one of Denver's very most beloved eateries, Restaurant Olivia, to help create this lovely gift pack of three outstanding wines for the holiday season. As most people know by now, Denver restaurants were closed to in-person dining this past Friday (check out this article from 5280). With fewer options for keeping our once-thriving restaurant scene intact savvy restauranteurs, like the folks at Olivia, are looking for innovative ways to offer their customers new options.
Welcome to The Wine Ship 2020 Thanksgiving Wine Buying Guide! My intention is to introduce you to remarkable wines that pair beautifully with the holiday spread. Thanksgiving looks a lot different in 2020. We may not find ourselves surrounded by the same circumstances we are accustomed to this year, but we will definitely have some wonderful wines to brighten our spirits! Perhaps this year we find ourselves more grateful than ever before.
Each of the 23 bottles in this guide was hand-selected for its outstanding quality, flavors, and pairing versatility. We begin—as all of the best parties do—with bubbles, then to “bright” or high-acid white wines, then on to classic Chardonnay, Rosé, Italy (it has a special place with the menu), Pinot Noir, and finally to Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll even find a couple irresistible bonus wines in the mix. I’ve added links to some of my favorite Denver retailers to help you track down the wines, but please respond to this email directly for help ordering.
At the end of the guide, you will find access to a virtual showdown pairing experience I created with fellow Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, Nathan Frye. This provides an opportunity for you to experience multiple ways to approach pairing the courses of your feast.
B U B B L E S
The best days are spent with happy people, drinking wine, and smiling even when the year has been a tough one. Sean and Nicole Minor GET IT!!!
It’s officially fuzzy sweater and cozy beverage season. I had so much fun making mulled wine in the crockpot over the weekend! A few of you asked for the recipe, so here you go!