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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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!

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Tasting Notes: Phantom

In honor of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays to decorate for, I thought I'd share my tasting notes for one of my favorite wines that just so happens to have a spooky name and an eery label!

The Facts

  • Producer: Bogle Vineyards
  • Region: California
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Blend of Petit Sirah (46%), Zinfandel (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (11%), and Mourvedre (3%)
  • Where I purchased: Originally a wine shop in the mountains of North Carolina, but most recently Total Wine and Trader Joe's.
  • Price: $16.99
  • Eyes: Very deep red color, like almost a dark maroon. I noticed that it almost looks opaque when pouring and while in the glass.
     
  • Nose: Red berries with a hint of spice. Not sure of the red berries, but something darker given the color would be my guess.
     
  • Mouth: Full-bodied, definitely a bold wine. Black fruit such as blackberries. Medium tannin and very smooth to drink. Spice could be black pepper, but a vanilla flavor plays up the smoothness. After some further research about the wines that go into the blend, popular or common flavors were plum, blackcurrants, and  pepper. While I'm still developing my ability to identify flavors from the get-go, I can see these as being characteristic of Phantom as well.
     
  • Thoughts: I think this is my favorite red blend. It is definitely bolder and deeper in flavor, but is at a relatively inexpensive option. I would definitely recommend Phantom for someone who enjoys cabs. Also, who doesn't love a cool label?! 

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