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BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review

So, I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a while and then to share it, because it helps to show where the industry is moving. Here’s my BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review.

I am going to hold this one up for all this up so you can get a look at it. Before we move on too far, here is my BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review.

So not a wine club wine but instead of a review of the BV coastal estates Cabernet Sauvignon from California in 2017 so a few things to unpack here.

So why is this here? So I think one of the most interesting things to me in the wine industry is watching how the industry often will move one direction and then you get these huge players like BV which is undoubtedly one of the largest wineries in the world and watching how they adjust to that and so this coastal estates brand is one of the ways that BV is adjusting to the movement toward lower alcohol kind of lower density kind of lighter mouthfeel wines.

I think the fascinating thing is as we’ve seen you know we’re seeing this kind of the industry is moving towards a smaller number of grapes and Cabernet is obviously one of the huge winners but really one of the other huge winners is Pinot but Pinot runs into some special issues in that it’s hard to grow a lot of it on the yield for Pinot is much smaller than Cabernet and it needs to be in cooler climate vineyards which even depletes the yield further so you know how can a company like BV which you know is making this you know depending on who you ask between seven and eleven dollars per bottle you know how do you hit this kind of new consumer outlook where they want lighter lighter wines in mouthfeel but they like the way Cabernet tastes.

So how do you hit that and one of the ways that they’re trying to is that through more coastal vineyards.

So you know for one you know when you see California label that could mean anywhere from the state so these grapes could really easily come from the Central Valley and they could throw a coastal states thing on it and not really actually mean it but then when you open the bottle then you’d have to kind of be able to figure that out pretty quickly and so I think these are kind of vineyards you know as you drive down the 101 through the Central Coast you see these vineyards popping off on the side of the freeway and for a longtime winemakers have joked that those are the only profitable vineyard locations anymore and I think that’s where this probably comes from.

So what are you getting here you’re getting flavors of vanilla and oak which are very consistent for cabernet sauvignon. It tastes like a Cabernet with one major major change and that major change is a heck of a lot lighter and mouthfeel and I call it density most people will use mouthfeel. You’ll hear other wine critics use kind of more advanced terminology than that, but really you know the weight of the thing how heavy does it feel in your mouth and if you think about the difference between the average Cabernet and the average Pinot Noir know that the average Pinot is very light in your mouth whereas Cabernet is heavier Syrah is even heavier still but really so what is this so this is a Cabernet of taste and a Pinot and style as far as mouthfeel goes and so you know when you read if people like it or not you know people tend to say that they like it because it was an easy drinker blah blah blah you know there’s a kind of the other thing really what they’re getting at is the mouthfeel and that’s really where the industry is moving and so it’s fascinating to see BV kind of going in that direction too so if you’re looking for a standard Cabernet Sauvignon don’t buy this because that’s not it, but if you’re looking for a Cabernet maybe the lighter style this is a great choice for under $10.

So this is a BV coastal estates cover dated from 2017 I think we’re gonna see a lot more options like this for two reasons one industry is moving that way and two you know over the past ten years or so the industry has seen this coming and so you’ve seen all these vineyards starting to pop up on the Central Coast and so there will be grapes available they can hit these type of price points and this type of style which is kind of the big issue beforehand is that there weren’t grapes available at the right price point in style that kind of dude this kind of wine it takes five years from the time of vineyards planted to really come online where you can have usable grapes and sellable grapes really so you know if they planted them a decade ago you know at the time when sideways was really kind of kicking up then you know they’re just coming now for the most part so.

In any case Mark Aselstine from Uncorked Ventures, again not a wine club wine but actually I thought this was a great example to share about how the industry is changing and how large wineries are moving to meet the need where smaller wineries and startups really had you know only been able to meet the need at the $40 or so price point this is you know a hundred ten bucks it’s not the quality of a forty dollar wine but this is kind of the new style so in any case what everyone’shaving good

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How Many Servings in a Bottle of Wine?

Ok, so a bottle of wine is 750ml. That, I think is pretty common knowledge for wine drinkers. But, those 750ml are really something akin to 25.4 ounces. So, exactly how many servings in a bottle of wine are there?

Since we know how much wine is actually in a bottle, we have to come to some conclusion about the amount of wine in an actual glass. Unfortunately, when I took a look a while back and adjusted for the average alcohol content in many wines being made in the 21st century, I found that your glass should be less full than you expect. How many ounces are in a glass of wine? PS, it’s like 4 and not the 5 that everyone says.

So the result is that your bottle of wine has about 6 glasses, not 5. Yeah, yeah I know I know you thought that there were 4 servings in a bottle of wine, but really there are 6. Bummer, right?

To sum it all up, how many servings in a bottle of wine are there? Yeah, there’s about 6…..

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Calories in Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s something that we all have to worry about, especially as we get a bit older. Counting calories, attempting to stay healthy and not gaining too much weight. So, you might be wondering, how many calories are there in Cabernet Sauvignon?

There are approximately 120 calories in Cabernet Sauvignon. Of course, you’ve got to watch your alcohol intake because there might not be as many ounces of wine as you think in a glass.

If you want to keep track of the number of calories in Cabernet Sauvignon, there is one important part of the label. The alcohol content. Really, the amount of alcohol is what determines the number of calories in a specific wine. Other factors are much less important. We’re assuming a 14.5% alcohol percentage here for our 120 calories glass of Cabernet, but move that to 16% and there’s closer to 140 calories. Move it down to 12% and you’ve got something closer to 100 calories.

So how many calories are there in Cabernet Sauvignon? It kind of depends, but you should plan on there being about 120 or so, give or take. Plus, your pour is going to be more inexact, than the alcohol percentage.

Lastly, if you have a wine with some amount of residual sugar, like the Apothic Red or Carnivor that I reviewed a while ago, those new age wines are going to carry additional calories. As it turns out, the residual sugar carries more calories than does the alcohol. Plus, those new age wines tend to be extracted and higher in alcohol as well as, with residual sugar. Call those type of wines close to 200 calories per glass!

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J Roget Champagne Brut

I’ve talked previously, about the relative lack of sparkling wine startups in America. After all, making a sparkling wine is more time intensive and yes, intense than making a still wine. That’s why I was fascinated to see the J Roget Champagne Brut for sale at a local grocery store, for under $5.

To start with the basics, according to the bottle, this wine was produced in Canandaigua, New York. If that name doesn’t jump off the page at you, don’t be surprised. But, yes, Canandaigua is in the Finger Lakes. Here’s the map:

The Finger Lakes are an interesting place on a few levels, but this is kind of the thing that I’d expect to see more of in the future. First, they definitely have a big advantage that New York City offers an amazing home state market for their wines and the industry itself is moving toward a more acidic and cooler growing region future. Both of which fit what’s generally happening in the Finger Lakes. Plus, those cooler growing conditions help when making a sparkling wine.

You may be wondering why I have yet to call the J Roget Champagne Brut a Champagne. That’s largely because it isn’t on at least two levels. First, there are some rules and regulations about using the word Champagne on a bottle. There was a series of wine trade deals signed back about a decade ago, where American vintners agreed to stop using semi generic terms like Champagne and Chianti on wine labels. (Here’s the Wine Spectator description of those deals). A few California vintners were grandfathered in, but given that most of the other folks using the term got shut down-I wondering if J Roget is an older label, which was also grandfathered in, but because it isn’t California based, it gets left out of the news articles about the changes that took place in regard to labeling.

My real issue though, is that there’s something more egregious going on here. On the front of the bottle, there’s a small insignia that says “Secondary Fermentation Before Bottling”. That’s where using the word Champagne is simply wrong and IMO, misleading. One aspect that makes Champagne more expensive is that secondary fermentation happens in the bottle. It requires weekly shifting the bottles, an ongoing Champagne base and quite a bit of planning. The other version is how Prosecco is made, basically the wine is allowed to go through secondary fermentation in a large tank instead of an individual bottle.

So a more accurate name for this J Roget Champagne Brut, would probably be J Roget Processco Brut. Of course the Italians would cry foul based on the nomenclature there as well.

There was also one other interesting aspect to this wine that you don’t see all the time in a sparkler. It had a screw cap.

Honestly, for me the screw cap leaves a bit to be desired. I know it’s cheaper and all, but there’s something about popping the cork that I missed.

J Roget Champagne Brut Review:

So overall, how was the J Roget Champagne Brut? I thought it was ok, drinkable, which at about $5 is actually saying a lot. It’s quite fizzy when you pour it into the glass, but because this is doing secondary fermentation in a tank instead of bottle, the pressure per square inch is about half of what you’d expect based on the label. So it’s not as bubbily as you might expect. There are abundant flavors of apple and pear, there’s a bit of something in the aftertaste which I think makes this perfect with Mamossas, perfect for a party, but less than perfect if you’re a Champagne snob. We aren’t and we enjoyed this, especially given the price point, the J Roget Champagne Brut seems to deliver outstanding value. After all, for $5, it’s an enjoyable sparkler.

Ok, lastly, there’s not any information about who actually owns and makes this wine on the label. Given some of the naming sheninigans, I don’t think that’s utterly surprising. But, I wanted to look at bit deeper. Given the price point, it was clear this wasn’t going to be a small business.

It turns out that the J Roget label is owned by a truly massive conglomerate. Canandaigua Brands owns almost 200 alcohol brands and sells and distributes them worldwide. They’ve owned any number of household names in the wine and beer space,including Inglenook. More specifically for this article, J Roget became a brand in 1979. So it’s as old as I am. That also means that the brand is old enough and common enough, to use the Champagne term on its label as it was likely grandfathered in. Not making the sparkler though again in Champagne style, is what makes the French quite angry.

In any case, any naming issues aside, the J Roget Champagne Brut offered a nice value and shows how the Finger Lakes might move forward and gain more sales and attention across the country.

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Wine Headache

I think we’ve all been there, at some point after a glass, or a couple of glasses, the dreaded wine headache rears its ugly head. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about the causes for a wine headache, so I wanted to delve in and find some real answers about what causes a wine headache, how we might avoid it in the future and hopefully, dispel some of the common misconceptions about your wine headache.

Wine Headache Causes:

Dehydration: Ok, so for 99% of you reading this, dehydration is the likely cause of your wine headache. Wine, like all alcohol, acts like a diuretic, encouraging urine production and therefore, causing dehydration as more liquid is leaving your body. Not having enough water, tends to lead to headache. Luckily, that old rule that your parents told you before going away to college does really work. If you mix in a glass of water with every glass of alcohol, you’ll not only avoid the embarrassing drunken nights, but you’ll also likely avoid the headache the next morning.

Tannins:

So, tannins might be the most complicated of all the possible causes of your wine headache. Basically, tannins are imparted by the skins and the stems of the grapes. If you only get headaches from red wine and not white, white wines basically have a minimum of tannin, so this could be a cause. Additionally, if you suffer more from darker and thicker skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in lieu of Pinot Noir, that’s another sign.

While the science isn’t entirely clear to everyone yet, most scientists believe that your body may be reacting to tannins, by either releasing an excess amount of serotonin in your brain, or causing your stomach to release a different set of enzymes than it would normally. There’s not a complete fix unfortunately, other than to figure out if you can stomach certain varietals and not others.

Sugar:

Sugar functions much the same as alcohol in that it tends to dehydrate us. Basically your body performs a simple function when processing sugar, it uses an awful lot of water. If you don’t have that water readily available, your body will strip it from cells within your body, including your head/brain. That lack of water can lead to headache. It’s also why the easiest solution to many headaches is to drink a glass of water before they come on too strong.

A second consideration in regard to sugar comes down to the types of wine that you normally drink. While there are some wine varietals which tend to carry some residual sugar (IE, sugar that is left over after fermentation on purpose) like Riesling, those make up an incredibly small percentage of wine sales in America. Instead the real culprit here are the mass produced wines which are sold at every grocery store in America.

I wrote a review of one of them, the Apothic Red, which carries a significant amount of residual sugar. Many cheaper wines see their winemakers actually add sugar during fermentation to up the alcohol level (sugar is directly turned to alcohol, that’s the entire point of fermenting grapes)

Histamines:

Admittedly, histamine research into wine is in it’s infancy. In fact, there’s barely any real science behind it as it currently stands. There were some studies taken on back in the early 1990’s like this one, showing that yes, people with a history of not tolerating red wine, tend to do so because their bodies are not processing histamine effectively or efficiently.

It’s worth it to point out that histamine’s tend to show up, not only in wine, but in all fermented foods. So this is a pretty quick check. If you’re unable to tolerate wine, but you can tolerate other fermented foods like aged cheeses, yogurt and cured meats like sausages your issue is likely not due to histamines.

It’s also worth it to point out that histamine levels in wine are inconsistent based on a number of different factors that include things which you won’t notice based on the label. A glass of white wine tends to have about 75 micrograms per glass on average, whereas red wine tends to have many times that number, sometimes into the thousands of micrograms, although it seems that about 500 is likely average.

Blue Cheese: 2,300

Fresh Tuna: 180

Pepperoni: 55mg per 100grams (this is about a serving, give or take)

Do Sulfites Cause Headaches?

Quick answer, nope. Here’s some common foods with their accompanying sulfite levels.

Wine typically has some naturally occurring sulfite levels. It’s about 5 parts per million. Additionally, sulfur does get added by winemakers as a stabilizer, that’s normally like 200-400 parts per million. Some wineries and winemakers tend to avoid added sulfur, with Donkey and Goat in Berkeley a great example.

You’re thinking, dang, those count for sulfites right?

They do, but not really compared to some other choices like dried fruits which pack a fairly amazing 2,000 parts per million. Lunch meat is well over 100 parts per million as well.

Ok, so what is causing your wine headache? It’s likely dehydration, unless it’s something totally obscure that doesn’t happen much. We like to blame our favorite things for causing our issues, but sometimes the facts simply don’t match up.

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Do You Refrigerate Pinot Noir?

I’ve talked previously about some basic questions in regard to temperatures for serving wine. Specifically, do you chill red wine is a question that comes up from time to time and my answer is basically: sure….if you want to. Of course, everyone wants some specific information for the exact wine that they like to drink, so a customer asked the other day, do you refrigerate Pinot Noir?

Honestly, the usual red wine caveats hold true here. In America, we tend to serve white’s too cold and red’s too warm. Think about an old, dusty Chateau in France. Room temperature is colder than in your house right?

Really much of the Pinot Noir we drink can be actually a bit colder than that even. Generally speaking, wines based more on acidity rather than tannins, can be served at colder temperatures.

So really, do you refrigerate pinot noir? Maybe for a little bit, especially if you’re serving it in an area that’s either really warm, or cold enough that you’re running the heat in the house. Don’t overdo it though, as Americans we definitely love our ice cold drinks, it just so happens that wine really shouldn’t be one of those.

I’d give you specific temperature instructions, but in practice nobody follows them. Basically you want your Pinot Noir to be both colder than the ambient air in your house, but also significantly warmer than the milk in your refrigerator.

Easy enough, right?

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This Was The Whole Point: Charles Smith and K Vintners

A while ago, I noted that one of my favorite little Washington wineries wasn’t likely to be a little Washington winery any longer.

Truthfully, K Vintners was literally the first Washington wine that we shipped as part of our wine clubs and my former business partner Matt deserves the credit for doing the original digging.

A while ago, I ran into a news story that they had changed their national distributor, coincided with an uptick in production and a move from their sleepy little spot in Walla Walla to Woodinville (which is a short train ride from Seattle) made it painfully obvious that Charles Smith and K Vintners (their single vineyard brand) were about to be the 2nd household name in wine from the state of Washington.

Here’s what I wrote about the upcoming changes: Safeway and Charles Smith

Anyway, I ran into a bottle of Charles Smith’s Boom Boom Syrah the other night at a friend’s house for dinner.

She likes her wine. He doesn’t.

Which made me wonder where this might have come from.

Then today, I had to pick up Claritin’s for my youngest, which as it turns out are actually cheaper at Costco than via prescription (let’s keep that topic for a different day and a different blog).

But then and there was Charles Smith, sitting in the middle of Costco.

So yeah, here’s another Washington winery made good. Basically what I’m looking for here, is that I told you so. This was clearly the goal and given the quality, this was clearly happening.

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Flooding in the Russian River Valley

If you live in the rest of the country, this hasn’t been a big story. But, here locally in the Bay Area we’ve had something along the lines of 2 months of consecutive rain.

In western Sonoma county, where many wineries line up right next to the Russian River. Things got interesting when an atmospheric river dumped 5+ inches of rain yesterday.

It’s not quite that bad everywhere in Sonoma of course, but Guerneville is one of the classic destinations along the Russian River (it’s the best beach and it’s a spot we find ourselves a handful of times a year with the kids).

Anyway, the river has crested its banks and then some:

Ok, so a few questions are going to come up. From a wine perspective, does the flooding mean anything? Not really, the vines don’t mind it and if anything, this allows even greater dry farming. In fact, one of the main defenses that vineyard owners and growers have against frost, is flooding of the vineyard. So this isn’t really all that unusual at least insofar as the vines being underwater. For the vines themselves, this isn’t a problem unless it continues for a long time.

For the winemakers and other industry related employees in the area. Yeah, this sucks as bad as you think it does. Many live in cheaper regions in western Sonoma county, after all the wine trade can’t keep up with tech salaries, so they’re going to be effected more so than people with other jobs. Plus, many are hourly employees and there’s no guarantee that these wineries will be open any time soon, or that even if they are able to open, that visitors will be able to reach them in any significant numbers.

So yeah, this is going to be a long tough road for those working in wine country, less so for the vines.

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Chardonnay and Climate Change

Climate change. It’s whispered about by winemakers. Others don’t really to even whisper about it, but we all know it’s there. I’ll be running a series of chats about climate change and how it may change the way our favorite grapes are consumers and really, grown and vinified.

First up in that series, is everyone’s favorite grape: Chardonnay.

Hi all Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures so coming back at it finally so this week, I’ve been writing a little bit about climate change in the wine industry and it’s coming and winemakers are aware of it and some are starting to make some adjustments to what they’re doing because of it.

In some regions of the world namely France there’s only so many adjustments that can be done when a few theological choices in regard to climate change have been taken away most namely you can’t change what you’re planting if you’re only allowed a number of grapes and you can only plant in a certain area.

So I think in California when we start talking about climate change Chardonnay is something that comes up often with people and overall on climate change there’s kind of two things that we’re gonna see happen.

So first, areas that are considered marginal now are going to be considered better over time. Stuff that’s too cold now might not be too cold in a decade or two.

Second higher altitude is going to come into play because as temperature rises altitude is one of the few ways that winemakers and growers can keep grapes acidity.

So what are we going to see specifically for shards so I though this is Trail Marker wine was a pretty good example so it’s a really small production wine it’s sourced from the Santa Cruz Mountains and so that’s kind of what an area that we don’t necessarily think of in terms of a world-class growing region although it is and has been since the Judgment of Paris.

The Santa Cruz Mountains were not well well before that but you know it is a mountainous region it’s hard to get into it’s hard to get out of it’s hard to get people into and out of but what you get is then you get a higher acidity wine.

The fact that as you allow it(ie the grape) to ripen you lose acidity so winemakers have a really crucial choice about when to pick and keep as much acidity as possible.

Growing at altitude like in the Santa Cruz Mountains might allow them to keep acidity while allowing the grapes to ripen more and that’s one part diurnal temperature differences ie it’s colder at night in the mountains of the Valley.

Then secondly there is something just intrinsic to altitude and grapes that seems to happen there’s a lot of research ongoing with that mostly being done in South America the Chileans are kind of at the forefront they have a Pinot vineyard planted the vineyard at the end of the world so-called it’s at 10,000 feet up in elevation which is something that we wouldn’t even consider in the United States.

So the second thing you’re going to see insofar in Chard is how, other than different growing places, you’re also gonna see different winemaking styles coming into play.

I think the other obvious thing that’s gonna happen is that you’re going to see more sparkling wine and so this is a growing market as it is and then secondly we do have to take a second and remember that some of the most successful American sparklers grew it is a great example and those grapes are grown in New Mexico state and the state of Arizona.

Arizona specifically has a number of winemakers doing some really interesting things combining altitude with desert temperatures and I think you’re gonna see more of that for vineyard locations that are just too damn hot compared to what they used to be.

So once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures and we’ll have some more climate change kind of stuff coming up you know I know this can be a thorny a political issue at times but we’re just gonna go with the scientific consensus that the earth is warming and we’re causing it.

That’s what I believe and I think that’s what most of my customers would believe and even if we’re not causing it frankly doesn’t matter because it’s happening.

So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures I hope everybody might think a little longer about what their Chardonnay might look like in the next few years.

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100% Satisfaction Guarantee

So, there’s a lot of 100% satisfaction guarantee’s floating around these days. Some of my competitors have them, others say they do, but normally in the wine trade, a 100% satisfaction guarantee doesn’t include if you don’t like the wine.

That’s weird right?

I’ll make this simple here. If you’re shopping from Uncorked Ventures, I want you to be happy with your purchase. If you’re not, I’ll either refund you, or ship you some new wine.

Simple enough, right?