Crazy-Ass Reds with Wine On The Road

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Crazy-Ass Reds with Wine On The Road

Time for some Crazy-Ass Reds!

Time for some Crazy-Ass Reds!

There are many great wines that don’t have gold-plated pedigrees.  Some may be made from unfamiliar varieties in well-known regions.  Others are produced from familiar grapes in unfamiliar locales.  One commonality they often have is that, because of uncertainty among the wine buying public, the consumer can pay less per bottle as compared to more standard offerings yet receive higher quality in return.

 

 

So much wine, so little time...

So much wine, so little time…

I’ve spent a lot of time lately writing about wine country trips and feel bad that I’ve neglected the basic premise of loving wine and drinking the good stuff.  So this week’s column is about various fun reds that I’ve had the pleasure to recently taste, usually from samples or at an industry gathering.  I include my tasting notes at the end of the column in shorthand that goes like this: appearance (if relevant)/aroma/taste/acidity & finish.  If I can find a retail U.S. price then I list it, with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.

 

CAMPANIA UNFILTERED WITH ANDREA FRIZZI AND IL POSTO RESTAURANT: SEPTEMBER 14-21, 2014

Il Posto

Il Posto

Immediately after Wine On The Road’s Champagne-Burgundy Unfiltered tour, I’m leading an exploration of Campania, Italy, another of the world’s most renowned wine regions, with behind-the-scenes access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines.  With Wine on the Road tours, Il Posto’s chef/owner Andrea Frizzi and I have created the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.  Check it out at www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php.

Highlights of the Campania Unfiltered tour include:

• Seven days in Campania during the heart of harvest focused on acclaimed wine estates, wineries selected by Andrea and me for their distinctive expressions of local terroir and culture

• Up-close-and-personal time with well-known winemakers, as well as one-of-a-kind, winery-focused tours, tastings, meals and lodgings

• Superior accommodations at the Radici Resort in the heart of wine country

• A cooking class with Andrea focused on regional specialties and techniques

• Privately guided tours of bustling Naples (the “Great Pizzas” excursion) and hallowed Pompeii

• Unique non-wine experiences such as helping to make world-renowned Mozzarella di Bufala in its hometown of Caserta, attending cultural events, and joining up with locals for evening activities

• Optional activities such as visiting local markets, personal appointments with select artisans who handcraft unique local products, golf, and spa treatments

Price is $5,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between eight-and-twelve paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php.

 

OREGON WINE COUNTRY WITH DAVIDSONS LIQUORS: MAY 15-19, 2015

Davidsons Liquors

Davidsons Liquors

Davidson’s Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Maher, who leads this tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and Davidsons Liquors have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Highlights of our Portland and Willamette Valley tour with Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Mayher of Davidsons Liquors include:

• Five days and four nights in Portland and the Willamette Valley focused on acclaimed artisanal food producers and wineries selected by Aaron and Ben, based on distinctive expressions of local terroir and culture

• Up-close-and-personal time with well-known artisans and one-of-a-kind, tours, tastings, and meals

• Accommodations in upscale hotels

• Special access to cultural events, including joining up with locals for evening activities

• Free time in the picturesque towns of Newberg, Dundee, and McMinnville

• Optional activities such as visiting local markets, personal appointments with select artisans who handcraft unique local products, spa treatments, golf, and other cultural events

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php.

 

WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS

Wine On The Road

Wine On The Road

With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines.  Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.  We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities).  We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.

Planned excursions in late 2014 include a combined visit to Champagne and Burgundy (www.wineontheroad.com/champ-burgunfiltered.php), and another to Italy’s Campania (www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php).  Early 2015 tours include Chile/Argentina (www.wineontheroad.com/chile-argunfiltered.php), Piedmont, Italy (www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php), Oregon’s wine country (in conjunction with Davidson’s Liquors, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php), and Seattle and Eastern Washington (www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php).  You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.

 

Recommended:

 

Frisk Prickly Rosso 2012 (Victoria, Australia) $11

Light raspberry/dark cherry, milk chocolate/pith, red raspberry, smoke/slight fizz, himod

 

Loukatos Mavrodaphne of Patras NV (Peloponnesos, Greece) $13

Red purple/red cherry, black licorice/raspberry, cola/himod

 

Las Rocas Garnacha 2012 (Calatayud, Spain) $14

Black-red/cherry, black plum/pomegranate, tobacco, green herbs/himod

 

Campo Viejo Rioja Riserva 2007 (Rioja, Spain) $20

Dusty purple/tea, lime, black raspberry/pomegranate, ash/hilong

 

Vina Pomal Rioja Riserva 2008 (Rioja, Spain) $21

Black red/black pepper, red currant/Turkish coffee, almond, vanilla/hilong

 

Montes Purple Angel Red Wine 2009 (Colchagua, Chile) $50

Dark purple/black plum, dark cherry/Asian spice, iron/hilong

 

Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Red Blend (Shiraz/cabsauv/pverdot) 2012 (Fleurieu, Australia) $14

Dark purple/blueberry, cherry, vanilla/creamy raspberry, black tea/modmed

 

Verse & Chorus Red Wine 2012 (Napa Valley, California) $30

Black red/black raspberry, cola/nutmeg, black cherry pie, dark chocolate/hilong

 

Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge 2012 (Napa Valley, California) $42

Black-red/tangerine, chalky red cherry/red raspberry, ginger, dark chocolate/hilong

By |2014-03-17T16:56:31+00:00March 17th, 2014|General Interest, Uncategorized|4 Comments

About the Author:

The President of Ben Weinberg Consultants is a Senior Consultant with the company, specializing in marketing, sales, and operational support. He has creatively impacted a variety of projects and brands in his 30+ years of consulting while focusing on the particular needs of small- and medium-size businesses.

4 Comments

  1. Paul Skizinski March 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Looks like some great choices of red wines, and some of them are within my budget. But I have a question unrelated to this particular post. Is there much of a crossover between grapes intended for wine-making and grapes primarily grown for eating before they are fermented? I know that wine can be made from eating grapes, and it often ends up being on the sweet side. Can a person enjoy eating wine grapes?

  2. admin March 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul, thanks for reading and also this great question. There is not much crossover between wine and eating grapes. Mainly this is because of the differing philosophies of yield — wine grapes are usually best at low yields (below three tons per acre) while eating grapes, which are generally separate varieties, thrive at much higher yields (sometimes above ten tons per acre). Another issue, somewhat related, is physiological maturity at harvest — most eating grapes are harvested a bit more tart (and thus earlier in their maturation cycle) than most wine grapes. These differences result in some varieties being best for wine and others for food.

    As for eating wine grapes, when they’re ready for harvest (i.e., very ripe) they can taste quite excellent. However, most wine grapes are high in tannin, which is important to the winemaking process (and another big difference from eating grapes, which is also related to the first two, because wine grapes hang longer on the vine and are also genetically selected to have thicker skins, where much of the tannin resides).

    Hope that answers your excellent question. Thanks again and please stay in touch.

    • Paul Skizinski March 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      You sure did answer my question, Ben. It was prompted by your use of the term “wine grapes” in the text of this post. But it also led me to reflect on my much younger years, when we would visit my mother’s parents in Schenectady, New York. My grandfather owned two city lots, and turned one whole lot into a garden, and behind the house on the other lot was a grape arbor, with white and red Concord grapes growing along both sides and the overhead structure. On one side there was a swing he built, big enough for four people to sit, two on each side, with a platform between. We could swing and eat grapes to our heart’s content. He made a sweet, dessert wine. I seem to recall the red wine in particular, and I think he added some elderberries. He also kept bees and collected honey and wax for candles. What memories!

  3. admin March 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    That’s a great story, Paul. So much of what I do revolves around the social element of agriculture, the idea of family farms and generational roots, and I’m happy that you had those sorts of experiences growing up, even while in a city.

    Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on how your story is very similar to what it’s like to visit wine country that’s close to a large community, perhaps a place like the Willamette Valley near Portland, Oregon, where Wine On The Road is planning a tour in May of 2015 (for more information go to http://www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php). Just sayin’… 🙂

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