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Pinotage: A Brief Introduction

I’ve talked about Pinotage before, but it came up again for me the other day when I talked about Gamay. Largely because Pinotage is really the best wine to drink if you’re sick of Pinot Noir. After all, it probably should be. It is at least half of Pinot genetically, after all.

One thing I struggle with, as a human being though, at least one woke enough to care about this stuff, is talking about Pinotage and South African wine because the history of the grape and the industry in South Africa is, without a doubt, tied to Apartheid. While the diversity in the wine trade, is a good thing, if it came from a racist and horrible history in the country, should I support it? Does supporting it now help groups of people that were negatively effected by Apartheid? Are there enough native Afrikaans employed in the trade for this to matter? Those are all questions I’ve love to explore, but for today I’ll be comfortable enough to say they exist and that it’s something as an industry, we NEED to talk about. We

Hello, this is Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

So I’m going to hold this up so you can get a good look at it but really the only thing that’s important here for today is this little we’re right in the middle which you probably aren’t familiar with enough to know that it’s a type of wine but maybe not familiar enough to know exactly what it is.

It’s Pinotage and Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and so when we look back at the history of South Africa which is apartheid terrible stretches and buy everything that’s been said about it and I don’t want to lessen that by any extent here but we have to remove our-self a little bit and say that these people that came from Europe and ended up in South Africa they wanted to make things as easy as they could and they develop this grape which is the cross between Pinot which obviously it’s in burgundy and Cinsaut her which is in the southern Rhone valley.

What came out is easy enough to understand, it was a hell of a easy thing to grow but when you got into the winery and you try to make wine with that things got a little more complicated so that sometimes on the nose you’ll get hint of acetone you know which is the stuff you take your fingernails polish off other winemakers will tell you that it taste them like a wet dog.

After apartheid ended in the early 90s one of the things that happened was that a lot of people that were South African by birth said we see ourselves as a wine industry more as European than new world and pinotage in a lot of ways is very new world in the way that it taste it can be lighter and body but the tastes are very strong and it can be very forward and that they see themselves more in the European model of winemaking were and where they think they should be growing more International varieties.

More than one interesting thing is as in the United States especially when we’ve moved into the Pinot Noir and light or red wine categories we really struggled to create a secondary like if I start talking about Gamay the other day a little bit and I think that’s one valid kind of choice.

I think pinotage was probably another and I think you know about the wine industry is that we have all these really important differences in how people look at you know what the industry should be and kind of what kind of grape should be grown and I think there’s a lot of reverence to people in South Africa that lived through a terrible set of centuries really and then when they came out that they still have this native grape that they were largely cultivating on their own and so people are interested to see you know what will this do I plant in the United States but then you’re also seeing it planted by people with vineyard space and if you have a couple of rows at the end of your Vineyard and you want to plan something unusual Pinotage can be a good choice and I hope this is a decent and some of the history of South Africa although to say that I think the history and the grape in this case are largely intertwined we shouldn’t lessen that.

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Kincade Fire and the Wine Industry

As many of you have seen already, there is another round of fires in Northern California, largely centered again around the city of Santa Rosa. The winds are blowing from east to west, causing an evacuation of at least 20 miles of Sonoma wine country cutting from the Napa/Sonoma county line in then mountains, all the way to the ocean.

While we’re safe and almost unbelievably, still have power (PGE and their power shutoffs is another interesting discussion) the smoke is now becoming a significant issue for much of the urban bay area.

Some quick notes:

  • Yes, most of the grapes were picked, “harvest” people will write was done. But, harvest includes fermentation and that’s tricky when winemakers are fleeing for their lives. It’s a communal industry though and like last time, they’ll continue to figure it out.
  • No, smoke won’t effect your wine from this vintage. It doesn’t seep into the juice. The real issue would be if something like this happened much earlier in the growing season and was taken in by the leaves and then imparted to the fruit.
  • Yes, most wineries and custom crush’s have back up generators. They learned over the past 2 years. Some purchased them, others rent them along with fuel at a cost of close to 10k a month for the few months where harvest would be taking place.
  • Yes, some wineries will be destroyed. Already have in Alexander Valley. At least the physical buildings. Vineyards as it turns out, make for a really nice fire break. They’re low laying, small density plants. Unlike much of what’s native to California, they also aren’t made to burn. Like the last few fire cycles, vineyard damage will likely be at a minimum.
  • Fire retardant is going to be EVERYWHERE in Sonoma vineyards. The stuff isn’t toxic though. Having lived with someone who was fighting fires for Cal Fire one summer, I’ve seen it, firefighters will often use the retardant as something of a garnish to prove to people it’s safe. It’s 85% water and the other parts are organic compounds. There’s going to be clean up, some organic certifications are going to be interesting, but overall, this doesn’t seem to be a concern. But, we don’t have a lot of examples of fire retardant in vineyards, so things can change. Again, if this would have happened when the leaves needed to stay on the vines, we’d have an issue for the vintage, but damage at this point in the growing cycle isn’t important, shoots and leaves are made to fall off in the next 60 days anyway.

As of this morning, Monday the 28th of October the Kincade Fire is still only 5% contained. There’s something close to 200k people displaced by flames, 2MM people without power and millions more with their health at risk due to the smoke which is starting to choke the bay area.

I’ll try and keep writing about the Kincade Fire and how it effects the wine trade as the days go by and more information and data become available.

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Stuck In A Pinot Noir Rut? Try Gamay

As the wine trade has struggled to offer lighter bodied red wines outside of Pinot Noir, consumers have started to branch out when they’re feeling stuck in a Pinot Noir rut. One grape they could turn to, if they’d ever be able to find it, is Gamay. Literally Pinot Noir’s cousin, it’s an acidic, lighter bodied red that’s darker than Pinot Noir making it a pretty good first try for many wine drinkers looking for lighter in body reds.

Video Transcription:

All right,  hello everyone Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures so I’ll hold you this up so you can get a good look at it but the important part here is a little line at the bottom of the bottle that says, unlike a lot of French wines, this one tells you what is in the bottle.

So if we use the full name, or at least most of the full name, for a good idea what this is exactly, it’s actually called Gamay Noir.  Which if you’re thinking hey what kind of wine is this it’s a cousin of Pinot Noir that dates a really really long time ago to the 14th or 15th century so in a lot of ways ancient grape it’s pointed only in a few regions around France.

Really a difference between on a couple of important ways while it’s kind of similar next few ways so first we have this kind of thing the United States wine market in people are looking for lighter red wines and so we can kind of get there by a choosing correct Vineyard locations for that kind of stuff be we have some wine making choices that can go on that can lead to but also what happens is which grapes do you plant and you know for increasingly over time what happened was we we planted Cabernet and then well, I didn’t go there so we planted Syrah and that really didn’t work so we tried Mourvedra.

You know that Gamay was thinner skinned and therefore lighter and body being Pinot’s cousin is one that obviously makes sense to be lighter in body and style that being said it’s not as light as Pinot it’s actually darker skin grape Pinot is and kind of what you get is this kind of interesting mix of both more acidic and production of wine plus this kind of lighter body but in Darker and thicker liquid.

So if you’re looking to try something new I try something that you know often you can find for under ten or fifteen bucks a bottle give me an interesting choice really I wouldn’t Focus too much on the region people can get into this ad nauseam I don’t think there’s any reason for it really the important thing is try the great and see what if you like it and then kind of after that then maybe we could do some exploring through different regions of France and there’s really only two or three of them.  Once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

I hope that was a nice little intro.

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1 Piece of Advice When Buying Bulk Wine

Buying bulk, or unknown wine, isn’t the task that it was a generation ago. After all, there is an inordinate amount of information out there, consumer reviews included, about almost every wine on the market, all available at our fingertips. But what if there’s not? What if you want to spend something less than hours perusing the aisles of your wine shop or supermarket? Where should you start.

My one basic tip for buying bulk wine is simple: pay for information.

Video Transcription:

Hi All,

Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

I’m going to hold us up so you can get a little bit better look at it so yes it is a Kirkland brand wine in Kirkland has most current version of Costco’s started. 

So a couple things so really why I wanted to talk about this is not about the wine itself other this is a great example of Sauvignon Blanc and one for like 7 Bucks I think Sauvignon Blanc is one of those wines that leaves itself better to bulk wine than others and really I wanted to give you one firm suggestion if you’re buying bulk wine.

If you are like most of us at this point in age we look up wines on vivino or wine spectator reviews  we are trying to get some actual information of what’s in the bottle outside of just price point and what the little shell talker says.

If for some reason you can’t find definitely are places where you would be buying wine where you wouldn’t be able to and so what should you do in that scenario in this case you’re paying for information.

So I’ll hold this up again and you can see a little note underneath that an AVA which is Ti Point and Ti Point is the vineyard location and so that’s what makes this a hell of a lot better than any other generic sauvignon blanc that’s just to be labeled like California and you have no idea this you know exactly where it came from.

So pay for information if you’re buying bulk wine they tell you the vineyard by that because most likely and I’ve looked it up the actual the exact same wine from the same Vineyard under the wineries labels about 25 bucks so it’s a good deal for my only piece of advice when buying bulk wine, pay for information

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Fetzer Vineyards, Merlot and Cannabis

Every so often a bottle of wine makes me think a bit. This Merlot, from a Mendocino producer, got me thinking about the relationship between wine and cannabis, while wondering whatever happened between wine and craft beer. Also, I thought a Fetzer bottle in this space was overdue because it shows so much of what the industry is going through.

Video Transcription:

Hi all, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

I’m joined today and you’re gonna be shocked I know it’s a bottle of Fetzer Eagle Point right yeah no Eagle Peak Merlot. So if you’re not aware so Fetzer is one of the pioneers of kind of the affordable wine genre if you take a logical step up from two buck chuck you and that’s seven to ten dollars depending on what state you live in and how realistic your wine shipping laws are and that’s kind of where Fetzer comes in.

So this bottle also couldn’t be more kind of relevant in 2019 and I’m shocked to say and think that despite the fact that this is Merlot so you know if you know Merlot is kind of on its death bed in a lot of places. Pinot has kind of taken this huge step forward and has taken most of the great growing spots, Cabernet or he has all the all the other ones and pretty much anybody who has Merlot would love the grafted over to something better and we even have tape of that happening (grafting grape vines)so why is Fetzer relevant in 2019?

Talking about Fetzer, so this winery became this kind of big huge multi national conglomerate of wine that was being produced and shipped to you know 50 or 60 countries around the world and then in 2011 the Fetzer family sold the brand and a lot of the associated parts to a South American wine company and that South American wine company as you might know grew because the export rules were easier you know it’s a hell of a lot easier to get South American wine to say Ohio than was Californian wine for some time which was just dumb.

Anyways, so Fetzer the family kept the original vineyard which is kind of touching if you think about it you know this is 80 acre vineyard you know kind of North of Mendacino County and the family kept it and I think a lot of people within the industry thought that this might be where the family have restarted under a different name and then a couple weeks ago the property went up for sale for three and a half or four million dollars or whatever and ended up sitting in escrow now and it’s being sold.

This is where that gets really relevant to Cannabis, so of course California is one of the states where it’s legal and it’s kind of the push and pull that’s happening especially in Mendocino County which has been known for illegal cannabis for years and years but now is you know obviously there’s legal cannabis vineyard, orchard, fields?

I guess all over the place and so you know how does it you know two years after legalization it’s actually fairly amazing to think that they have four million dollars to buy an 80 acre site.

It’s also something you know for long for a long time we’ve thought about craft beer versus wine and how those kind of two things are intertwined with one taking sales from the other.

I don’t necessarily think that’s true I think those two coexist as well there’s a lot of those same kind of you know this is going to be the end of the industry or this is going to constrain in the growth of the industry kind of thing between cannabis and wine. I don’t know what happened to craft beer in this scenario but really you know I think as population continues to grow there going to be plenty of space for cannabis, craft beer and wine.

I think the wine industry does need to be careful cannabis is awfully easy to understand in a lot of places and the wine industry is not that awfully easy to understand because not only do we have to worry about you know where the heck is this vineyard where was this made what grape is it but also what’s the vintage and how does that change things and you know can we as an industry to do a better job of communicating all that stuff on the bottle instead of this kind of flowery language that everyone seems to like to use you know that’s a question for a different day.

So this is a Fetzer merlot and if you’re wondering and maybe the review part of this is that this is a 90 point wine and for a merlot for 10 bucks I mean what’s my plate so once again Mark Aselstine with uncorked ventures hope you’ve enjoyed a short story of better the winery the label and the space which i think is really relevant in 2019 although at first glance of this bottle you would’ve never thought that whoever was having a good week so far.

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Wine Tasting Ideas

Admittedly, we don’t do much of this any longer. But, for quite some time, we did run a local Meetup group and over the years, my friends have picked up upon the fact that I own and operate an online wine club…..so I tend to end up being responsible for wine tastings at the holidays and the random Friday night. Because of all of that, I do have a few wine tasting ideas to talk about with you.

Wine Tasting Idea #1: Guess the Mass Produced Wine:

Ok, so this is going to require a trip to a good local wine shop, or ordering from someone like me to receive wines that aren’t widely available. Generally speaking, most wine drinkers don’t realize that the mass produced wines that they recognize so easily, are HEAVILY researched and the producers know exactly what the average consumer will drink. Ever wonder why that LaMarca Prosecco Review is always a positive one? It’s because a large wine company has an amount of data based on consumer preference in regard to not only taste profiles, but also bottle designs that would make big tech jealous.

So, to prove that….we take a handful of wines, normally 4 of them. I try and make them around the same price point. 3 of them are smaller production, or at least wines that aren’t for sale everywhere. The last, pick one mass produced wine that you see literally everywhere you shop. Cover all 4 bottles and simply ask everyone participating in your wine tasting, to rank them based on what they like best.

Almost every single we’ve done this, the mass produced wine has finished second or a close third. There’s almost always an excellent small production wine, if you ask someone who is paying attention. But, the mass produced wines show better than your wine snob friends think they do.

Wine Tasting Idea #2: Guess The Price Point

Much like the process above, we bring 4 bottles of wine to this wine tasting. Also like above, we cover the labels with brown paper bags.

The difference here is that we should have chosen bottles in different price points. As an example, the last time we did this, we had bottles priced at $5, $10, $20 and $40. Of course, for your wine tasting, adjust your price points on what works for your budget, but then you’ll want to ask everyone to guess the price point of the bottles. Generally speaking for this wine tasting, having bottles of the same varietal makes the most sense (IE all Cabernet Sauvignon)

Wine Tasting Idea #3: Guess the Varietal

This is exactly what you think it is, but PLEASE don’t make it too easy for everyone. Sure, it’s nice to have a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir, but throw in a Grenache and always throw in a blend. GSM blends are especially fun, often because they trip everyone up.

Wine Tasting Idea #4: Guess the Percentage

So, this is only going to work for GSM or other blends, but if you have a group of rather serious wine drinkers, this might be the most fun of any of my wine tasting ideas. In this you’ll have 4 GSM blends and ask people to estimate the amount of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre in each of them. It’s a rather fun wine tasting because it really challenges people to consider what they’re tasting. Plus, GSM might be the best value in wine right now and too many are stuck in a Cabernet or Pinot rut.

Often, you’ll find that people expect that the thickest and most dense of the wines to be the most expensive, whereas the lightest is often the most expensive especially if you’re dealing with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

I hope you have enjoyed my wine tasting ideas. I think you’ll find that despite everything we read about wine, it’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be enjoyable and I hope these wine tasting ideas help you to get back to that, instead of the stuffy, snooty wine industry that too many people seem to find right now in America.

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Propane Cannons in Napa Valley Vineyards

So a bit of good news from Napa Valley today. Unlike so many stories that I’ve talked about over the years when it comes to rules and regulations, the board of supervisors in Napa passed a new law, that seems to may have made everyone happy. Normally among the three groups of interested parties (grape growers, wineries and people living in the valley especially those not working in the wine trade) there’s never a way to make everyone happy. Don’t get me wrong, the rule isn’t helping those with young kids……but listen or read on to see how Napa Valley changed the lack of regulation in regard to propane cannons being used in Napa Valley vineyards.

Video Transcription:

Hi all Mark Aselstine and no bottle of wine today just a quick note so we had a major compromise this week with the City of Napa and really napa county on the whole.

So one of the biggest issues that’s kind of occurring at this point is we’re getting close to the raisin the reasons the point of the growing season where Veraison on the vines turned from green to darker it’s one fruit it’s one sugar starts being out into the berries and as you might expect if you’ve ever had a fruit tree in your backyard the birds take notice pretty quickly.

So the compromise was really this so for a lot of places in Napa especially southern Napa you have trees that are protected parts of the environment and then so you have these birds that live in the trees and they’re comfortable kind of going down and grabbing stuff off of the lines that are right underneath the trees where they’re living whereas if it’s an open vineyard they’re not going to find their ways all the way into the middle, so over time you know people have tried to put out boxes in they try to encourage other kind of predatory animals to live in the vineyard and it kind of keeps the birds at bay but it doesn’t solve the problem.

So of course they’ve tried other things that after that and a propane cannon is one of those and it is exactly what you think of so the thing can be kind of motion sensored the thing can go off at a set time interval and it really it sounds like there’s a gun going off in the minute and the idea is to scare the birds off so they can only eat for a minute before they have to fly away and start over again as opposed to kind of eating every last berry often single vine.

So really for a lot of people that aren’t kind of growing grapes or even just living in the region the issue then became these things are going off all night and can’t sleep and so the Napa board supervisors which has long had issues kind of bringing growers, non growers wine producers kind of these three groups that you don’t think we’d necessarily be at odds at all times, but they kind of often are especially in terms of the growers and producers.

You don’t think they would be at odds but that’s where the real drama often lies and so the rule they set up these these rules that basically say that they’re going to limit the amount of times these cannons can be shot off from 30 minutes before sunrise to three hours after and then likewise at sunset so really you know nothing in the middle of the night and so they do there’s this kind of law I would say almost ancient when it comes to the wine industry Napa Valley agricultural preserves set of rules that exist and so they were able to use some of these rules to protect natural habitats to also protect people that live in around Napa Valley and they said that you know these can’t be going off at night you have to move them around every three or four days so their birds don’t focus only on your neighbor’s property etc etc.

You know I think the one thing that I would say that was almost shocking to me as somebody could kind of pay attention to this stuff is that residents who don’t own vineyards walked out of there saying this was a good compromise and vineyard owners and growers walked out of there saying this was a good compromise so hats off to the Board of Supervisors and Napa you guys did good on this one and you know some of us are more shocked than others.

Once again their propane cannons in the vineyard that is a definite thing if you come to Napa Valley during harvest obviously along time by that point because tourists don’t want to hear the things being shot off it’s especially a big problem with Pinot grapes which tend to grow in such a way that they’re more accessible for birds and and so carneros is kind of the southern region that shared between Napa and Sonoma and it’s also a region where there are less vineyards per capita ie there’s more people actually living there so it becomes kind of this pressure point area where the wine industry is coming together with actually normal folks who are living and working in an agricultural region so a good compromise on vineyard cannons and it’s something to watch it’s actually maybe even a better sign than you think it is for the long-term health of Napa Valley.

If they can keep kind of these three groups of people all happy and living together so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures not directly tied to a wine of the month club shipment today but thought a little piece of good news from Napa Valley would be warranted.

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How Pinot Noir is Different From Other Red Grape Varieties?

I get pitched a lot of guest posts (yes, I do accept them). Normally, they’re absolutely perfect for the person pitching them while not being a very good fit for my blog. As an example, tying together your Netflix coupon codes with my wine of the month club website, is going to be difficult. Yes, that got pitched to me yesterday! But, this was a good one and I’m happy to run it. Enjoy our most recent guest post and in classic internet fashion, it comes straight from Australia.

From France to Australia, there are many grape varieties that have made their way to our hearts. Whether they are red wines or white wines, both types provide a wide spectrum of aromas and flavours. Every grape has some distinctive properties that make it different from other grape varieties. Otherwise, all wines would taste the same if it weren’t the case. Today, we’re going to talk about Pinot Noir red wine and what sets it apart from its red counterparts. Before we start, let’s know more about the history of this noble grape.

History

The world’s 10th most planted grape, Pinot Noir originated from the famous Burgundy region in France and is known as ‘Red Burgundy’. The name Pinot stands for pine and Noir for black in French. Today, this grape has crossed borders and is now widely grown all over the world. You can find some of the finest Pinot Noir wines from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Chile and Spain.  After France and the US, Germany is the 3rd largest producer of this grape variety and it’s commonly referred to as Spätburgunder in German. Although its grown in many regions, it requires optimal conditions with consistent care to grow. It thrives in cool climate regions and is vulnerable to viticultural hazards due to its tendency to forming tight clusters. Its thin skin doesn’t do any good either, it is more sensitive to heat and susceptible to pests. That is why cool climate regions are the best for growing this grape.

Flavour

It’s a dry, light-bodied red wine which is loved by many people for its red fruit flavours, higher acidity and low tannins along with spice aromas. It is well paired with duck, chicken and pork dishes.  A young Pinot Noir has red fruit flavours, as the wine ages, it will exhibit vegetal notes.

As compared to other reds such as Shiraz which is a full-bodied red wine relished by people for its distinct flavours of blackberry, plum and peppercorns. It has higher tannins and acidity, making it go exceptionally with dark meats and spicy dishes.  As aforementioned that every wine is different from the other, origin plays a key role in the flavour spectrum. Syrah originated from the Rhone Valley of France and is the most planted grape in Australia. One of the chief reason this wine is popular is because of its characteristics as compared to other reds. Mostly red wines have higher tannins and are deep in colour but not this wine. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon too like Shiraz is a full-bodied wine with high tannin level and acidity. It is a result of a natural cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. It showcases blackcurrant notes accompanied by mint, pepper and cedar hints when grown in cooler climate regions. In hot climate conditions, you’ll find more ripped flavours.

Depending upon the region from where it is grown, there will be a noticeable difference in aromas and flavour profile. There are many factors that play an imperative role such as soil and climate conditions as well as the viticulture practices.

The Role of Region

Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region offers earthy aromas along with slightly floral smells of violets, roses. If produced in Germany it would have more sweet cherries and raspberries aromas along with earthy characters. It’s a known fact that this variety blooms in a cool climate region, its called Pinot Nero in Italian. The fruit flavours are similar to its neighbouring country and the place of its origin—France. However, the earthy flavours of tobacco, clove and white pepper and constitutes higher alcohol. With regards to its French and German counterparts, it is more fruit-centric with blackberries flavours in California. In Australia, it grows in some areas of Western Australia and in Mornington Peninsula. You’ll find blueberry fruit notes with blackberry hints. New Zealand is blessed with sunshine throughout the season and produces Pinot Noir red wines similar to California, the only unique characteristics are meaty and strong spice aromas.  

Some Interesting Facts

  • Some writers assert that Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, as well as Pinot Blanc, are colour mutations of the famous Pinot Noir grape. Their DNA is identical to each other.
  • It is 1000 years older than Cab Sav and is used in making Chardonnay along with lesser-known grape Pinot Meunier.
  • It might come as a surprise that Chardonnay is related to this grape, as a result of a natural crossing of an extinct variety—Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir. This is the reason why you’ll find Chardonnay is grown near to Pinot Noir, just a few acres away.

That was all on this elegant Pinot Noir red wine. We hope you found the information worthy of your time. Do share your thoughts with us. Till then, stay tuned for more posts.  

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LaMarca Prosecco Review

Introduction: Here’s a Lamarca Prosecco Review for you all. Sure, this isn’t exactly standard fare around here, but my wife admittedly does really enjoy her Prosecco. I do as well actually. In any case, if you’ve bought a bottle of Prosecco almost anywhere, you’ll probably recognize this Lamarca Prosecco bottle. From Costco to your local grocery store, to Bevmo, it’s pretty much everywhere. That’s why, I thought a Lamarca Prosecco review might be in order. What are you getting from one of the best marketed imported wines around?

Video Transcription:

Hello, this is Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

That this is gonna be a little market perspective review which is something that we don’t do all the time but every so often it’s kind of fun to check in on something that’s really produced for the mass market within the United States. I think especially when it comes from overseas I think it can be kind of instructive what’s going on in the wider wine market so first you’re here for just a simple review so this is kind of quote-unquote entry-level Prosecco you’ll see LaMarca sold almost everywhere wine is sold consistently and if your state is part of the 20th century and allows grocery store sales great if your stay is part of the 21st century and allows online sales also great ten bucks or so although the total wine off and I’ll have pick up a case and it’s like six bucks per bottle kind of thing.

Ok, onto my actual Lamarca Prosecco Review: So it’s a light strong color kind of amid kind of palette you’re going to find no touch of sweetness at all it is definitely more tart and fruit flavor and kind of lemon zest eat rather than anything else and quite frankly it’s just a nice sparkling wine so we’re going to go through kind of a couple things about why Prosecco can be priced at ten bucks or so a bottle and Champagne can’t so there’s a few things so first so this is the Galera grape so Galera and Prosecco were used interchangeably well really was just called Prosecco and then they created a kind of department of control as they call it in Italy really a wine growing region but based around sparkling wine and they wanted to change the great name from Prosecco to something else they didn’t want people in other regions of the world to be able to grow Prosecco and then call it that they wanted a kind of their own trade name for their sparkling wine and that happened back in 2009-2010 and so you’ll now see Galera graoe name used but Prosecco now being the kind of overall brand name

Ok, so onto Larmarca. Lamarca is a group of farmers there’s 5000 of them or so and they create kind of this wine through a group of ten to twelve wineries and it’s you know at thousand acres or something I’m free so it’s kind of you know they proofs enough of it to be able get into the export market in the United States being their kind of favorite target and that’s kind of consistent with what you see wine-growing regions often do is that they want this kind of grower co-op thing to exist to get people into the grape or to variety or in this case kind of the function of wine and then hopefully the theory is at least for the Italians is that if you’re drinking a little market Prosecco and you think it’s good then maybe you’ll buy a Prosecco that’s $20 instead of this $10 bottle and that’s usually the progression that people did go through and then so Prosecco also can be cheaper than champagne for one other simple reasons so it’s how it’s made and so secondary fermentation for champagne happens in the bottle and that’s where you see that the you know the French kind of pictures and stuff that come out from the champagne wine engine of turning the bottle quarter turn a week and it’s just kind of manually labor-intensive kind of thing until we figure out a robot to do it of course but Prosecco is secondary fermentation happens in huge tanks and much like bigger vineyards spring costs down bigger ferments being bring costs down too and so that’s something that happens and plus Glera versus most champagne or other sparkling wine is made from Pinot or Chardonnay grapes.

Galera is kind of this ancient grape that came to Italy from Croatia or Slovenia depending on who you ask I think the answer is public Slovenia because it’s just across the street and it gets a bigger yield then does Pinot or Chardonnay plus Italy’s a little bit warmer so the yields increase based on the grape and based on the weather so in that case and so Lamarca Prosecco if we’re going to do a quick review of the Lamarca so this is a solid entry point to Prosecco and that’s exactly what its intended to be and if you told me that they were either taking a loss on this or if they were making only a few cents per bottle as a way to try to get people to drink more Prosecco and to introduce the kind of trade name to the world I wouldn’t be surprised at all and so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures and I hope everybody something a good start for the week and I hope you enjoy your Prosecco.

Oh and of course, since we’ve been called one of the top wine clubs in America by Forbes and others….this is too freely available for us to include in one of our wine club offerings.

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Meomi Pinot Noir Review

Introduction: Welcome to my Meomi Pinot Noir Review. I’ve started attempting to offer some of these reviews of commonly available wine for a few reasons. First, it’s good to see what’s out there in the marketplace and to avoid confirmation bias as much as possible. Secondly, this brand is so famous right now, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When I tried the wine, I understood. I was almost shocked when I started this Meomi Pinot Noir Review because the wine was a significantly higher quality than I was expecting given the production levels and price point. With Pinot Noir especially, that’s a tough one to pull off.

Video Transcript:

Hi all, so I am Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

So I’ll hold you up so you can get a look at this although if you’ve literally bought wine anywhere or even bought food you’ve seen it so this is the Meomi Pinot Noir.

To start, let’s take a couple steps back here first first Meoimi was started by the Wagner family which quite famously started Caymus in Napa and so this was their foray into the Sonoma side of Pinot Noir and much like Caymus this wine kind of carries that style (their Cabernet is full bodied, as is, this Meomi Pinot Noir)

So if we look here the one thing that I think is pretty cool about this is that they give you the percentages of counties and where this is actually from so it’s Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma County you know to really put those all together you would have to just call it simply a Californian Pinot and that’s a kind of a task and that’s kind of what a cheap wine from California calls itself.

There’s a generic AVA doesn’t it our lack of AVA does man really just calling it California and we only wanted to avoid that because you know those those many locations that we just named off are largely more coastal and largely much more expensive than say growing fruit in the Central Valley.

So what you get from those is you get this kind of darker richer or style of Pinot Noir which is much more popular much like Caymus as a darker richer style of cab and that’s become so much more popular over the years too.

So I walked into trying this wine thinking that I was going to just hate this and this was going to be awful and you know you couldn’t possibly produce 700,000 cases of this which is give or take what the number is these days and have it not be terrible but really what we found is that the folks from Consolation Brands who bought the Wagner suite of winery properties for 315 million dollars or so about a few years ago have done a pretty incredible job.

Normally you’ll see this Meoimi Pinot Noir rated at somewhere around 90 points you see eighty-seven some years ninety others I think that’s probably about the high point it’s a well-made Pinot.

Additionally, I think they’re doing a smart thing in that when you so if you wanted to source only Sonoma grapes you might have a $40 price point even kind of this you know as you might expect for anything sourcing more grapes it’s often easier but Monterey is kind of the Uncharted West still in a lot of ways and Santa Barbara County is masked and massive and so you know you can really see how they can put this together at a$20 or sub $20 price point and I think from a wider perspective this is kind of an interesting foray into Pinot in a few levels.

So we have the super cheap Pinot’s made in the state, which is mostly done terribly because you can’t grow Pinot in warm conditions and hitting a $5 price with Pinot is a fool’s errand and so this really might be the first price point where Pinot can make sense and really the way that the Meomi folks are giving it is the only way that it does.

I walked into this thinking that I was going to hate it. I thought this was gonna be awful. I thought this was gonna be a watered down version of Pinot much like the $5 versions often are and I walked away saying that was pretty darn good and they’ve done an excellent job with that and so if you’re looking for a fifteen to twenty dollar bottle you know went on so there’s not that many choices from California or France and this Meomi a pretty good bet which surprised the hell out of me so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.