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Fetzer Vineyards, Merlot and Cannabis

What's relevant in wine in 2019?

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

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… 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

Propane Cannon

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.


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.


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

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

Meiomi 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.

Meiomi Pinot Noir Review Part 2

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Carbs in Wine vs Beer

carbs in wine vs beer

There’s been any number of diets over the past handful of years, which aim to limit the consumption of carbohydrates. From Atkins to Keto. Pick the year, or time period and you’ll find a different name. All of them basically have the same setup, save the carbs and lose the weight. Here’s the thing, there’s not wrong. There’s a lot of calories in carbohydrates, but eliminating them completely, forever, seems problematic at best. In any case, for those that are counting and I do think it’s smart to do so, here’s the number of carbs in wine vs beer.

Carbs in Wine: 1-2 grams per glass

Carbs in Beer: 10-20 grams per glass

In reality, the difference in carbs in wine vs beer comes down to how they’re made. Of course, beer is literally made from a carbohydrate source. This difference is also why beer tends to have at least 50 extra calories per drink than does wine.

So if you’re counting carbs, the difference in carbs in wine vs beer becomes a significant thing and a reason why you should probably have that glass of wine instead of a beer.

Some caveats, wine has less carbs than does beer in large part because the sugar is being completely transformed into alcohol. But, if you’re choosing a sweet wine, that’s obviously not the case. So, if you’re counting carbs, let’s not choose a Riesling, a late harvest wine, or anything which does contain residual sugar like this Apothic Red.

Lastly, let’s paint an overall picture. How many carbs is that 1-2 grams per glass in reality? A diabetic is generally suggested to limit their intake to about 70 grams per day. So is that 1-2 grams per glass of wine really an issue? Likely not. But, 20 grams in a glass of beer? Likely. After all, most foods tend to have some carbohydrate numbers, even if we all don’t want to admit not eating grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner every night (even that meal is like 4 carbs).

Ok, so there’s not many carbs in wine. There’s more in beer. The choice is really up to you.

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Crane Lake Sangiovese Review

Crane Lake Sangiovese Review

Well to my review of the Crane Lake Sanviovese. I wanted to talk about this wine for a few different reasons. First, as I see friends attempt to purchase cheap bottles of wine, I often see them grabbing Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon…..or even, Pinot Noir. What’s the issue with those grapes and cheap wines? To reach these cheap price points, the grapes have to be grown in warm, or even hot vineyard locations. So, they’re not all that great….even for cheap wine. Sangiovese though, is a grape that does grow well where it’s hot. After all, it’s a heck of a lot warmer in Italy than it is in Croatia (where most of the name brand grapes actually evolved, sorry France). So I wanted to offer up this Crane Lake Sangiovese review for those looking for a drinkable bottle of wine, at a $4 price point. That’s pretty rare.

Video Transcription:

I don’t so I’ll hold this up so you can get a decent look at it although we’ve got some lighting issues here since the afternoon and it’s sunny but this is a Crane Lake Sangiovese they said first before we go any further of course not a wine in the Month Club wine for uncorked ventures this is literally a four dollar bottle of wine so I’ll also turn this you can get a good look at the back or at least a decent looks so you can see kind of flavor combinations plus the fact that it is dry and not semi sweet so I hope this is interesting so kind of number of friends expressed that it’s damn hard to buy wine when you know nothing about him and it’s inconvenient especially if you’re shopping with kids to you be looking at your phone the entire time and trying to look up and say hey is this a decent model or note especially when you’re dealing with a low price point often they’ll take a few tries before you find something that has reviews that don’t make you run the other direction.

So Crane Lake is kind of the first kind of in my opinion probably true competitor to two buck chuck hey that’s Charles Shaw transitioned only being sold at Trader Joe’s or has only been sold at Trader Joe’s everybody else has been looking for that kind of compliment that a lot of grocery stores and larger retailers have gone to their own branded stuff often that’s in a $10 or so price point and so it’s kind of left Charles Shaw with this you know we want a 75 cent glass of wine just for the alcohol kind of thing to exist and no one else has been able to meet that price point currently comes the closest.

So this is kind of an important part of with your buying really really cheap wine so a you have to know what you’re getting at so this is quote unquote Appellation California so it really we’ve talked about this a lot lately so this is not the Central Coast this is not some place you’ve heard of this is a nondescript vineyard in the Inland Valley of California where they can get you know 8, 10, 12 tons per acre as much per acre grown as possible and you can see that so symmetry of it tends to be this kind of higher and alcohol wine this is 12 and 1/2 percent so the reason why that happens is because the vines are being asked as much as possible not the most densely concentrated fruit this is also why this wine actually kind of works though and this was drinkable because Sangiovese a is something that takes heat well and in the Central Valley you’re going to water a lot and you’re gonna have abundant heat and abundant sunshine.

What you have is this kind of over blue and at the end of the day do you have something that’s drinkable or not it’s really the only question that you should be asking for 4 dollars I mean we can go through tasting notes and stuff yeah there’s flavors of dry cherry and plum and that kind of stuff that’s traditional for the grape itself but really four bucks I mean we can’t ask too much especially when you know we’re talking you know 50 cents per bottle 10 cents or closure you know you know you kind of kind of go down the list and you realize that they’re likely making a dollar at most on this bottle of wine so let’s keep our expectations in line so is this drinkable yes it is does it taste like wine yes and they’ve actually done a pretty good job of keeping it along not a pretty good job a really good job keeping it so it’s dry so if you’re looking for a four dollar bottle Crane Lake Sanjiovese it actually isn’t that bad of a choice and so I will give this one a thumbs up upon effort and a thumbs up on choosing a grape that does well in hot climates too often in California we see these two points being Merlot or Cabernet that are cooler climate grapes than this and so if you’re choosing a cheaper cheaper cheaper bottle of wine choose one that makes sense in a hot climate because they’re not grown in a cold climate there’s no way to make a financial smoke so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures and I hope everyone’s having a good day so far.

Crane Lake Sangiovese Review Back Label
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Gruet Sparkling Wine

Gruet Sparkling Wine

Gruet is one of America’s foremost sparkling wine producers, but there’s one thing about the brand that most consumers don’t realize, even if they really, really like the wine. Gruet is produced in the mountains of New Mexico, largely using fruit from vineyards at high altitudes in its home state.

Video Transcription:

How is everyone? Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, so I will hold up what is one of the remains of Easter and I hope everybody had a nice holiday be it Passover, Easter or just a nice weekend.

So this is commonly referred to as Groo-It it but this actually should be Grew-a at least that’s my understanding from the family that owns the winery. So Gruet is perhaps America’s best-known sparkling wine producer and I think one of the fascinating things about it is that it’s based in New Mexico and so you know we talked so much about how California, Oregon and Washington faced the nation’s best wines and a lot of people are good from New York too and I think that’s a perfectly good argument to make. But, really what are we talking about with all these regions we’re talking about places where you can find some cooler temperatures but still enough Sun to get the grapes ripen all the way and so you know you thinking New Mexico god that’s hot you know and there’s a lot of other spots where kind of similar Arizona is having a successful kind of revitalization or a kind of birth actually a public birth is probably better idea than revitalization of their wine industry.

Texas in the hill country it has the same thing I think they just gave away my point a little bit by saying Hill Country so how do you deal with temperature and that’s really one of the things kind of the burgeoning questions of our time for winemakers is that what do you do when you have rising temperatures or you have a growing region that’s just hotter than it is on the California coast and the answer is altitude.

Yes, altitude.

That’s what Gruet has done so if you look at there are three kind of most commonly used vineyard locations that are in and around Albuquerque New Mexico and they all sit over 3,000 feet above sea level and with the two most the two largest both sitting over 4,000 and that’s something that we’re seeing in Arizona, Texas Hill Country is not at that altitude they’re you know talking a few hundred to a thousand feet but it’s something and I think you’ll see that increasingly the Colorado wine industry is kind of focusing on that same thing you know there’s this really cool concept called the vineyard at the end of the world in Chile where they’re planning Pinot grapes at 10,000 feet above sea level and so you’re seeing more and more winemakers kind of think like hey like if we don’t have the standard kind of coastal like sea level growing regions with cool climates and fog during the summer then what can we do to approximate those growing conditions but just in a different way and planning the grapes at higher altitudes is really it seems to be the way to do that so grape wise.

Gruet has done that for you know generations in New Mexico you’re seeing people do it the former lead singer from Tool(Maynard James Keenan, his name escaped me during this entire conversation) it’s a very famous winemaker Cadaceus winery in Arizona and you’re gonna see more people doing this and more people trying and I think that you’ll see increasingly there’s gonna be spots in California and the eastern regions of California this stuff the word is really really hot but there is mountains and altitude and there’s this kind of unusual land in some ways but you can put a vineyard in as long as you can harvest it I think you’re gonna see that you’re seeing it at Arizona you’re gonna see it in Texas and obviously Gruet has been so successful in New Mexico that you’ve already seen some competitors come in the landscape but there’s gonna be others and I think one of the great things about doing a sparkler in this can I can’t call it Champagne it’s not made in Champagne France but doing a sparkler as opposed to a table or still wine is that the bubbles tend to overwhelm the flavors so it gives you a little bit more leeway you can kind of create a structure in the style that makes sense for you but at the end of the day it’s really like getting the bubbles in the bottle that are the defining factor of that wine.

so Gruet this is a method of method Champagnese just made in Champagne method there’s a few different ways to do it we think of cava and Prosecco

Prosecco as an example it’s made a each tank and then put in bottle champagne is allowed to secondary ferment in the bottle basically that bubbles are created within the bottle instead of within a tank that’s why there are more bubbles in champagne and our and other types of sparklers and this is just an American sparkling wine and what’s not the like and it’s been incredibly successful and most people don’t even realize that it’s mainly New Mexico

I think you can tell by the label that they’re not even sure that they can sell that it’s made in New Mexico yet because they’re still putting American sparkling wine as a reminder on the ABA system you can always go wider you can ever go closer so if it’s made in California you could put American you know if so think about Napa Valley right you can make in Napa Valley Cabernet and you could put an American Cabernet and everyone would say why are you charging 95 bucks fort his but if you put Napa Valley makes perfect sense but the great folks don’t feel comfortable enough putting New Mexico sparkling wine which i think is kind of telling and I hope that’s something that changes as time goes by.

So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, hope everybody’s having a good week so far and I hope they have next weekend Easter Passover or just hopefully some decent weather we’ve definitely finally run this I’m here in the Bay Area which will be good as the grapes start to grow again

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What is My Bottle of Wine Worth?

What is My Bottle of Wine Worth?

Every so often, I receive an email with the same general story: I have this bottle of wine and want to know what it’s worth, or they want to sell it to me. Often it includes a follow up question, what is my bottle of wine worth?

There’s a few things to go through here, but really, there is a quick answer. A single bottle of wine is basically worth nothing. No retailer that I know of, is going to buy a single bottle of wine. I don’t buy single bottles of wine and nothing in my wine clubs come from the secondary wine market. Heck, I HATE buying from distributors, let alone private individuals.

Largely this is because selling wine that is of significant age, depends largely on how the wine has been cellared and cared for. Normally, we don’t have the ability to control for temperature and humidity, for a single bottle.

Most retailers that deal with trades like these, look for larger collections, where someone wants to unload a cellar where they have properly stored their wine, for years. Or, they’re looking for a winery that has the proper storage and ability to regulate how a wine is sold on the secondary market. If you’re attempting to sell a single bottle of Bordeaux that someone gave you as a gift a few decades ago, there isn’t much of a market for that. In fact, assuming you’re keeping it in the corner of your closet like most of the folks that reach out to me, it’s probably long since gone bad (sorry!).

In reality, selling your wine is a lot like selling your car. You can easily look up guidelines, but when the question comes up What is My Bottle of Wine Worth? It’s normally less than you think and making the deal, is a hell of a lot more difficult as well.