Gabe's View

Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

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Acorn Winery: A Russian River Valley Treasure

Acorn_2011_Medley_300dpi_BtlAcorn Winery is a labor of love for owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur. They’ve been farming their property, Alegría Vineyards, sustainably since 1990. On their 32 acres in Russian River Valley, they grow 60 grape varieties. From that they bottle approximately 3,000 cases of wine each year; every one of them field blends. Their commitment to environmentally sound practices even includes doing away with foil capsules on the bottle. I’ve been a fan of what they do for years now and try to visit them whenever I can. I was out in Sonoma County recently and I spent some time with them, chatting and of course tasting through their latest releases. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Dinner with Piedmont Winemaker Gianpaolo Manzone

Gianpaolo Manzone represents the sixth generation of his family involved in the wine business in one aspect or another. His family has two plots of land that add up to 24 acres under vine. In addition to being the winemaker, Gianpaolo is also the vineyard manager for this property which sits is in two different town’s right in the midst of the Piedmont Region. I recently had dinner with Gianpaolo at Ristorante Morini in New York. The evening was fascinating for a multitude of reasons, but two in particular stood out for me. He was remarkably passionate about what he does; that love and intensity for his vocation comes rushing out of him in loud and descriptive bursts. Here’s a man who not only loves tending his vines and crafting wine, he loves sharing it with people and explaining what he does. The other captivating item was how differently he treats each wine he makes. An example would be the grape Nebbiolo. He uses it to make both a varietal wine and several Barolos. However, he has different production and barrel regimens for each. By treating each one differently he’s allowing the grapes in question to shine more prominently than they might otherwise. Over the course of the night we tasted nine wines including a couple of slightly older Barolos which helped form a mini-vertical. Read the rest of the story over at The Daily Meal

Frisk - 2012 Prickly Rosso

Holiday weekends, parties and festive gatherings of every shape and size always get my mind thinking about what kind of wine to serve. These events offer a particular challenge. What will make the casual drinker happy and still keep the wine lovers interested? And certainly it wouldn't hurt if it’s a wine that pairs well with a broad array of foods. Of course one answer would be to serve multiple wines but that has various complicating factors. So when possible I strive to find one main wine to serve at large gatherings. Here’s a look at what I plan to pour this upcoming Labor Day. The Frisk 2012 Prickly Rosso was produced from fruit sourced in the Victoria region of Australia. This offering blends together Merlot (51%) and Docletto (49%). Fermentation took place in stainless steel with a selection of yeasts. This wine features a bit of fizz brought on by the yeast. It has a suggested retail price of $11.

This wine leads with a boisterous nose that’s loaded with red plum and blueberry aromas. The palate is refreshing and filled with sumptuous red and black fruits. These flavors are lively and juicy. They’re joined by a host of spices and as mentioned a bit of fizz. The finish shows off sour fruit flavors that lean towards darker plum and black cherry. Zippy acidity keeps things in check here.

This wine works best with a nice solid chill on it. The alcohol content is fairly low and it goes down easy with all kinds of food. In addition to being delicious and versatile Frisk Prickly Rosso is a fun wine that will delight crowds. At $11 or less it’s hard to resist; drink it up this Labor Day Weekend!

Paolo Manzone - 2010 Dolcetto D’Alba “Magna” DOC

The wines of Italy are fascinating for many reasons. One of those is the sheer breadth and variety emanating from there. There are tons of varietals made in a host of styles. Sangiovese based wines such as Chianti and Brunello get a lot of attention as does the Nebbiolo based Barolo. However some great pleasures can be had from other grapes that don’t get as much play. One of those is Dolectto. I’ll look at a fine example of one today. The Paolo Manzone 2010 Dolcetto D’Alba “Magna” DOC was produced using fruit sourced from vines that have roughly 25 years of age on them. The vineyards chosen sit roughly 375 meters above sea level in Piedmont. After gentle pressing the wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. 1,250 cases of this offering were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $17.99.

Plum, violet and vanilla bean aromas fill the nose of this 2010 Dolcetto. Blueberry, black plum, cherry and white pepper characteristics are all present in droves throughout the palate. Hints of sour cherry, black pepper, nutmeg and a wisp of anise emerge on the finish which has good length. This wine has firm, racy acidity and lovely structure. Well made Dolcetto is primed to pair with a wide array of food from roasted meats to pungent cheeses and dishes drenched in red sauce. The 2010 Paolo Manzone is quite definitely a very good example of Dolcetto d’Alba. For around the same price you can find a decent Chianti, you can get this terrific Dolcetto, give it a shot.