Tasting Notes: Seghesio Old Vine Carignane

Wine and cheese. Is there a more famous, and perfect, pairing? I think not. When I saw that Weekly Tasting put together a box for wines to pair with cheese, I had to order it. My favorite duo! After a weekend back in Texas celebrating the marriage of one of my best friends, I knew a cheese plate was the perfect way to top of the weekend. I read over the information cards that accompany their boxes to find which one would pair well with a few cheeses, and this Carignane was the winner! 

The Facts

*This bottle came in my "Cheese & Wine: The Perfect Pair" pack, which is four wines for $69.99 including shipping. If you are interested in trying it for yourself, please contact Weekly Tasting to see if there are any packs still available for purchase. Also, I do know that Total Wine carries their Zinfandel, so it may be worth it to ask if they can order the Carignane for you.

Eyes: It's that beautiful magenta color that I love so dearly. Not quite purple, but also not a true red. Looks like it's going to be tasty! (Is that a thing? I think it's a thing for me. I guess I should admit that I judge books by their cover...)

Nose: Smells great! Definitely get a lot of ripe red fruit, especially raspberry. There's also a hint of spice and something earthy. Maybe the earthiness reminds me a bit of leather? Regardless, it smells like it will have some depth to it, but with the fruit being front and center.

Mouth: The ripe fruit on the nose comes through as a little more jammy on the palette, but not so jammy that it tastes overdone. There were mild tannins and a slight burn I usually want to call spice, but that's probably the alcohol. This wine has a good balance to it to keep it interesting. Nothing is worse than a jammy and flabby wine! 

Thoughts: I think this is my favorite wine from Weekly Tasting yet. There was a Quo Grenache they had that was also excellent, but the Carignane takes the cake. It also paired perfectly with the Robusto (best cheese EVER, you can find it at Whole Foods) and the Stilton blue we purchased. This pack was selected by Laura Maniec, and her information card suggested those types of cheeses. She was SO right! YUM! As I mentioned above, I haven't found this wine elsewhere yet, but I am definitely going to be on the lookout! Also, I plan to try out their Zinfandel which is available at Total Wine.

Story: Seghesio has been in Sonoma for over 120 years! The vineyard was started in 1895 when Edoardo Seghesio, an Italian immigrant, planted some Zinfandel vines. While many wineries went to ruin, Seghesio was one of the few vineyards to survive Prohibition. Seghesio was a family owned operation until it became part of the Crimson Wine Group in 2011. Ted Seghesio, 4th generation, is still the winemaker.

What is Carignane? Carignane, or more commonly spelled as Carignan and pronounced care-in-yen, is a grape usually used in blending and is mostly grown in Southern France. You can read Wine Folly's full write-up on Carignan here, but the grape is making a comeback and is typically a good value. If you like Merlot, Zinfandel, or Syrah/Grenache blends, definitely check out wines made from this grape!

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Tasting Notes: Palmaz Cabernet

Happy Favorite Friday! I don't think I will ever NOT be amazed at how quickly a month goes by. August's Favorite Friday is particularly special to me and I can't wait to share why with you!

First, Palmaz is a splurge. No way around it. I started Favorite Fridays as a way to showcase my go to bargains, but also some wines that are on the pricier end for special occasions. This is definitely one of the latter. Palmaz has a lot of sentimental value because it's where Kevin and I got engaged in August 2014. Well, it actually was the winery we visited right before we got engaged, but semantics. 

Because we felt it played an important role in our engagement story, we also had it featured in our wedding. The Palmaz family was generous enough to send me corks for placecard holders, and we also borrowed some wine boxes from the local wine shop in Highlands.

Finally, Palmaz is just a cool place. I will tell anyone and everyone going to Napa that they MUST do a tour here. Nice people, awesome wines, and a winery unlike any other I've visited because there's so much science behind it. You can read a little bit about it in this WIRED article. Anyway, long story short, we love this winery and its wine. For this tasting, I actually used my Coravin so we could save the bottle for our actual anniversary!

The Facts

  • Producer: Palmaz Vineyards
  • Region: Napa Valley, California
  • Vintage: 2010
  • Variety: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot
  • Where I purchased: Palmaz. You can find it at small wine shops, too.
  • Price: $100+

I'm not going to do my traditional tasting notes setup because, to be honest, I was enjoying my small pour too much to focus on taking extensive notes. The wine is definitely what you'd expect for a Napa Valley Cab color-wise. It's a deep reddish purple color and much more opaque than what we've been drinking lately! The primary aroma was raspberry, and that came through in the first sip too. It's velvety with very smooth tannins. Kevin mentioned it was less spicy or had less pepper flavor than other Cabs we've had from there, and I'd agree. I think this wine is so well balanced with the alcohol, tannin, flavor, and body all being in proper proportion to each other. I would say it's less bold than what some might expect from a Napa Cab, but I think that also adds to its charm. I highly recommend as a splurge, and DEFINITELY check out the winery if you're ever in Napa!

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Tasting Notes: Da Vinci Chianti

Happy "Favorite Friday"! July went by quickly, but I am super excited to see the arrival of August. What's happening in August you may ask? Kevin and I are headed to the wonderful country of Italy to celebrate our first anniversary! We've been looking forward to this trip since our honeymoon, so we're glad it's finally (almost) here! 

The summer is over, which means the majority of my traveling for work is behind me. It's a relief to be home for more than two or three days at a time and to actually get to spend quality time with my husband and pup. I travel to small towns typically, so the wine choices are usually what I can find at a Kroger or even Walmart. It's not the best situation, but I've tried to find a wine or two that I like that I can buy even in the smallest of towns. One is the Gnarly Head Zinfandel that I reviewed previously, but this Da Vinci Chianti is another solid choice. Both are affordable and very drinkable... important when you're away for work!

The Facts

  • Producer: Da Vinci Wines
  • Region: Chianti region in Tuscany, Italy
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine*
  • Price: $11.29*

*Note: I was able to find this at Whole Foods and our local Harris Teeter for $12.99. That seems to be the typical price in stores other than Total Wine.

  • Eyes: This wine was a medium purpleish-red color. I've been drinking so much white wine recently, that it was nice to get back to wines that are my favorite color! The wine was also almost translucent and did not have an haziness.
     
  • Nose: The wine smelled of ripe raspberries and spice. According to my Wine Folly guide, clove is a popular aroma for Sangiovese grapes. I actually happened to have some dried cloves on hand from making bread-and-butter pickles, so I got up and smelled them. I was finally able to put it together that the "spice" smell I was picking up on was clove!

    As a side note, if you're looking to improve your aroma identification skills, start smelling things! I like to smell my spices when cooking, and I also am that crazy person who walks around the grocery store smelling everything. I've even started smelling the can of tennis balls when I open them to make sure I've got down the "freshly opened can of tennis ball" smell down from Somm (only sort of joking). It's the best way to learn!
     
  • Mouth: This wine is a bit jammy, but not overwhelmingly so. There are flavors of cherry and plum, and those fruits just taste very ripe. There is also a hint of pepper, which helps balance out the ripeness of the fruit. I think the wine has good body to it and also a decent amount of tannin. It's got a medium finish, so it doesn't linger too long. Overall, it's easy drinking, but has more complexity than some of the other inexpensive wines out there.
     
  • Thoughts: Well, it's a Favorite Friday post, so you know I'm a fan. Do I need it to be part of my stash all the time? I wouldn't say so, but I think it's best described as my "safe bet" when at a restaurant with a less than stellar wine list or in a town with very limited choices for wine. It's a good value at $12.99 in grocery stores, so I plan to keep this name in my back pocket for future business trips.

What are your favorite "safe bet" wines? 

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Tasting Notes: Honoro Vera Garnacha

I probably say this at the end of every month, but I can't believe another month is over! How is it almost JUNE?! That just blows my mind. For this "Favorite Friday", I went with one of our favorite values. We had asked for good "every day" choices one time when we were in Total Wine and the girl pointed us toward this Spanish grenache. Since it's part of the series, it's no surprise that we enjoy it, but read on to find out more about its flavor profile!

The Facts

  • Producer: Bodegas ATECA
  • Region: Calatayud, Spain
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Garnacha (Grenache)
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $7.99
  • Eyes: This wine is a nice garnet color and was "medium clear", so not quite translucent or opaque. The bottle indicates it is 14.5% ABV which shows through the legs of the wine.
     
  • Nose: This wine smells of red berries and jam. Think raspberry compote or cherry pie. There is also a tinge of alcohol which is not surprising given the ABV mentioned above. Beyond the initial aromas, I also picked up on hints of vanilla. This plays in nicely with the fruit aromas. 
     
  • Mouth: The first thing I notice on this wine is the acid. There's a tartness to the first sip, but not in an unpleasant way. There were also notes of cherry and raspberry jam, as mentioned above. I would not say that it has a lot of spice to it like some Grenache I've had, but there's some and the acidity helps give it some oomph. 
     
  • Thoughts: At $8 a bottle, this is a GREAT find! It's got enough pizzazz to appeal to drinkers of the heavier and bolder stuff, but isn't so heavy that it can't appeal to those who like lighter wines too. It's easy to drink and doesn't linger too much, so I think it'd pair nicely with meals. Plus, beyond the random model's face, the bottle has a colorful label (you can't see it all in the photo above) and who doesn't love a nice label?! We like to pick up a bottle or two to have on hand if we want something drinkable and good. I highly recommend you give it a whirl the next time you're at your local Total Wine!

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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. 

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