Tasting Notes: Höpler Riesling

Kevin has declared that he loves Riesling. I think we had it at a tasting once and he was surprised by the dry Riesling, so ever since then he has tried to find good Rieslings by the glass when we go to restaurants with respectable wine lists. When we were in Highlands about a month ago, the wine shop had an Austrian Riesling on their machines. I tasted it, liked it, and bought a bottle to do a more official tasting at home. 

The Facts

  • Producer: Höpler
  • Region: Burgenland, Austria
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Variety: Riesling
  • Where I purchased: Mountaintop Wine Shoppe*, Highlands, NC
  • Price: $19.99

*Mountaintop Wine Shoppe in Highlands, North Carolina. If you're ever vacationing there, check it out! They are the nicest people with a GREAT selection and great prices. Bobby, the owner, is super knowledgeable and friendly. It's difficult for us to leave without a case to take home.

  • Eyes: This wine was a clear, pale yellow color and almost had a greenish tint to it. It was not very viscous which implies lower alcohol. This is normal for Riesling since they tend to have more sugar content. Most people associate Riesling with sweet wines, but in fact, there can be (and this particular one is) a dry Riesling. This wine had about 11% alcohol, so the viscosity did not lie!
  • Nose: This white smelled very good. There were notes of lemon citrus, green apple, and peach. Doesn't all of those flavors sounds awesome? It was like spring or summer in a glass.
  • Mouth: This wine is super refreshing! I served it "refrigerator" cold and it was perfect for the warm evening we were having. The fruitiness that was on the nose definitely came through when I actually tried it, and I could especially taste the apple. It was tangy and acidic and everything I like in a white wine.
  • Thoughts: This is a great choice! As I mentioned above, it's everything I want in a white wine... fruity, acidic, and refreshing. I liked the apple notes a lot and the smell was delicious. I know Riesling gets a bad rap in the United States for being a super sweet wine, but that doesn't have to be the case. I am going to have to agree with my husband on this one and say that dry Rieslings are definitely a wine I will have to start drinking more of! 

As a random side note, I came across this post about the winemaker of Höpler (a Höpler himself) on Wine for Normal People. Check it out if you'd like to read more about the winery!


Tasting Notes: Piazza Del Dotto Pinot Noir

I may have missed February, but I did not forget "Favorite Friday" for March! To celebrate the end of our "busy seasons", K and I treated ourselves to a delicious meal at a popular Charlotte restaurant called Barrington's. It is a fantastic little place with absolutely delicious food and a cozy atmosphere. We typically bring a bottle there every time we go, and since we weren't sure what we were having, we wanted something a little lighter on the red side. We both loved this Pinot Noir the first two times we had it, so we felt like it was a good choice to take with us on our celebratory meal.

The Facts

  • Producer: Del Dotto Vineyards
  • Region: Sonoma Coast 
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Local wine shop
  • Price: $38-$40

As a little more background on this wine, Del Dotto is a famous winery in the Napa area. Their website features their most prominent feature... the beautiful house that mirrors Italian architecture and lavishness. They have several vineyards around the various towns in the valley, and Piazza Del Dotto, where this wine is from, is the most recent addition. It is located in Oakville, Napa Valley. 

  • Eyes: Immediately upon pouring this wine out, you can tell it's more of a "masculine" Pinot Noir. Ever since our Pinot Noir tasting (discussed here), I have always divided Pinots into the feminine and masculine pools. The color was deeper and the wine was more opaque. There were distinguished legs, which implies high alcohol. This was confirmed by the label which indicated it was 15% alcohol!
  • Nose: This wine smells AMAZING. I know those "Rewined" candles exist, but this wine's aroma should definitely be made into a candle. It smelled of red fruit like strawberry and raspberry with the slightest hint of vanilla. Seriously, I think this wine has had my favorite aroma so far.
  • Mouth: If this wine smells good, it tastes even better. It is more medium bodied and is heftier than a lot of Pinot Noirs out there. The wine is fruit forward with the berries and the there is a hint of spice. It is so smooth and just so pleasant to drink. If you aren't a fan of tannins, I think this wine would be for you. 
  • Thoughts: I think it's pretty clear that I love this wine. It has officially brought me over into a lover of Pinot Noirs, and more specifically, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. It is just so delicious and the depth of the flavor is amazing. For people who typically drink fuller bodied and fuller flavored wines, I think this would be a great option if you ever needed something lighter. The only downside? Outside of the tasting, I'm not sure how to get it. I know that somewhat defeats the purpose of sharing my tasting notes... if you can't buy it anywhere, then what's the point? Let me tell you, I'm going to find a way to get this wine. I will be checking out all the wine shops around, and at the very least, I know you can order it from the winery via the link above. At this price point, it's definitely not an every day bottle, but for a special occasion, why not have a stunning $40 choice?!

UPDATE: If you live in Charlotte, I did find it at Reid's Fine Foods for $39.99. 



Tasting Notes: Reference Point Pinot Noir

I can't believe another week has slipped by. I am looking forward to "busy season" ending next week, but in the meantime, I'm trying to take some time to myself to do the things I love like watch a movie with my husband, walk my dog, and drink some wine! Last week was hectic for the both of us, which meant that most of our meals consisted of grabbing something quick. Today, however, we were able to cook a nice meal which just begged for a good glass of wine.

We purchased the Reference Point from a local "fine foods" shop during its grand opening of a second location. They had tastings of lots of different things, from beer cheese to charcuterie to ginger beer to wine. The store had two different distributors there with about 8 or 10 different wines to try. When I tried this particular wine, I am so glad I said I liked it because the distributor was actually the producer of Reference Point! He had a small plot of land in Oregon, but also had a lake house in the area, which is what brought him to North Carolina. I liked the wine and he was friendly, so I bought a bottle.

The Facts

  • Producer: A very small producer. Their bottle indicates Maren LLC.
  • Region: Willamette Valley, OR
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Reid's Fine Foods
  • Price: $24.99
  • Eyes: Not uncommon for Pinot Noirs, this wine was a translucent, garnet color. It was definitely light, but not as light as some of the other Pinots I have seen. 
  • Nose: I thought this wine had a great nose. I definitely got a strong raspberry aroma as well as a hint of something earthy and maybe even vanilla.
  • Mouth: The flavor profile of this wine was definitely more on the feminine side, with red berry and a cola flavor. However, the vanilla aspect added some depth to the wine that sometimes I think is lacking from light bodied Pinot Noirs. 
  • Thoughts: As I thought at Reid's, I really like this Pinot Noir. It has more body than some of the other Willamette Valley Pinots we've had, but it's also toward the lighter end so it pairs well with a lot of food. We served halibut with roasted veggies, and I personally thought it went well with that meal. But then again, I drink red with more than I probably should! Overall conclusion is that I would definitely recommend this wine to anyone who enjoys Pinot Noir. For those in the Charlotte area, stop by Reid's to grab a bottle (or have a glass). If you're not, I worry that you may not be able to find a bottle, but please let me know if you do! 



Tasting Notes: Black Cabra Malbec

This is the first in my new "Favorite Friday" series. On the last Friday of every month, I will do tasting notes on some of my existing favorite wines. I have a stash in my pantry of my favorites and I very rarely open them because I'm so concentrated on trying new things! This will be a great way to showcase them. 

Since I had a Malbec earlier in the week, I thought it'd be interesting to compare two from the same region, so the first one up is the Black Cabra Malbec.

The Facts

  • Producer: Black Cabra
  • Region: Mendoza, Argentina
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Malbec
  • Where I purchased: Mountaintop Wine Shoppe in Western NC
  • Price: Around $10
  • Eyes: This Malbec is a medium red color. It is opaque just like the other Malbec I had this week. I never noticed that before about Malbecs, but I now associate that with fuller bodied wines. There were some defined and slow moving legs, which as I have mentioned before means higher alcohol level. I actually remembered to look this time and noticed that the wine had 14.0% alcohol, so the legs of the wine make sense.
  • Nose: The first aroma I smelled was blackberry jam. Not overly sweet, but a little more sweetness than what I associate with the berry alone. The one thing I didn't notice? Any smoke! Since this was already on my favorites list, I guess that could be inferred, but it's been such a long time since I've had this wine, I thought maybe I'd be surprised! There was also some other non-fruit aroma, but I couldn't 100% decide on what it was, but my instinct was vanilla.
  • Mouth: There is definitely a blackberry flavor to this wine. I didn't notice any of the bitterness that I picked up on in the wine from earlier in the week, which was relief. There is a hint of pepper, but it's not as spicy as I remember it being or as spicy as some of the other wines that I've had recently.
  • Thoughts: This wine will always have a special place in my heart because I had it on one of my first dates with my now husband. Even with the sentimental association, this wine is a great every day choice! It is so easy to drink because it's in the sweet spot of flavor for me to have with whatever we are eating for dinner... not too overpowering to outshine the food or too boring to drink on its own. If you like really full bodied, bold, and spicy wines, this probably won't be on your favorites list, but if you're looking for something a little more mellow, affordable, and "every day", then I think this is a great bottle to have on hand!