DeMorgenzon ‘DMZ’ Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2014


Estate: DeMorgenzon translates to “the morning sun’” and refers to the fact that due to its high altitude it is the first part of the Stellenboschkloof valley to see the sunrise. The first vines were planted in the early 1700’s, in 2003 Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum purchased the estate and have considerably revived the land. They are a committed member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), a pioneering partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector.

Philosophy: “We are committed to sustainable and appropriate agriculture and are sensitive to the environment” in addition to “focusing on wines which express our unique terroir and fruit within a classic structure”.

Winemaking: The estate operates on the principle that “wine inevitably expresses the earth in which it grows”, and focuses on sustainable agriculture and protecting the distinctive biodiversity of the area. They have carried out extensive research on the effects of sound waves and music on plant growth, and pipe Baroque music through the vineyards believing the effects of sound energy have a positive effect on the ripening processes.

Tasting Notes: Cherry red with coral highlights, with aromas of strawberry and sweet hay. Strawberry and tart red currant flavours are accented by a lively acidity along with white flowers and spice hints on the crisp finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Western Cape
South Africa
Produced and Bottled by Demorgenzon
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2016

19 Crimes Red Blend 2014


‘Extent of the British Empire in 1914’ from A History of Britain Volume III The Fate of Empire 1776-2000

Brand: 19 Crimes is a brand of Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine giant with an international portfolio of over 80 brands of wine, including Rosemount Estate, Penfolds, Beringer, and Stags Leap. The wine takes its inspiration from the list of 19 Crimes that were drawn up to assist the overcrowded British prison system and send felons to Australia beginning in 1788. With real mug shots being used on the labels, the wine “celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built”.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of raspberry, chocolate and cigar box spice. Concentrated flavours of black cherry, blueberry and chocolate were brightened with traces of red current. Black pepper, vanilla and sweet oak notes comprised the lengthy finish. Although displaying a somewhat dense character, there is an easy drinking sensibility that keeps it accessible.

[Each cork is printed with one of the 19 Crimes; it’s a fun activity to see how many different crimes you can collect. Over the past year or so I have acquired three: #5. Impersonating an Egyptian, #7. Setting Fire to Underwood and #17. Watermen Carrying Too Many Passengers on the Thames, if Any Drowned.]

Winemaker’s blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Produced and Bottled by Baileys of Glenrowan Wines
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2017

Juvé Y Camps Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Cava NV

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A fuller bodied Rosé with a fantastic synergy of bright fruit, fizz and creamy finish.

Estate: Founded in 1921 by pioneer winemaker Joan Juvé Baqués along with his wife Teresa Camps Farré, Juvé Y Camps is located in San Sadurní d’Anoia [the birthplace of Cava] in the northeastern Penedès region near Barcelona. Joan Juvé Baqués restored the estate’s vineyards and was at the forefront of revitalizing the area’s wine production. Today the estate consists of 2700 acres of vineyards and is headed by the 3rd generation, who have established the estate “as the most highly regarded Cava producer in Spain”. Their wines are served at state banquets and government events.

Philosophy: To craft wines using “traditional, high quality winemaking practices”.

Winemaking: Grapes for the Brut Rosé were sourced from the 200 acre Feixa vineyard with clay and limestone soil. The Cava is made in the ‘Traditional Method’ [the same method used for Champagne] in which it undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: Dark pink with copper highlights, with aromas of strawberry and minerals. Floral notes accent vivid strawberry and raspberry flavours, whilst chalky minerals and traces of bitter almond comprise the rich, creamy-like finish.

100% Pinot Noir
Cava/ San Sadurní d’Anoia
Bottled by Juvé Y Camps
12% Alcohol
Enjoy now

Château Montaud Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014


Light and airy with a zippy acidity, this is fantastic on its own or with light summer dishes. One of my favorite Rosés, I look forward to the new vintage each season!

Estate: Vignobles François Ravel is a family owned estate founded in 1964. Located in Pierrefeu du Var, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France, the vineyards and winery are housed at Château Montaud, the site of an ancient Roman settlement. For 3 generations the Ravel family has been crafting wine and preserving their winemaking traditions at the estate. Although not certified, the family practices both organic and sustainable methods with great emphasis placed on taking care of the land. The Côtes de Provence Rosé has been a consistent best seller for the family for many years.

Tasting Notes: Pale coral in colour with aromas of pink grapefruit and herbaceous hints. Straightforward and easy drinking with delicate peach and strawberry flavours accenting citrus zest and mineral elements on the wonderfully dry finish.

Blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Tibouren & Carignan [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Côtes de Provence
Estate Bottled
12.5% Alcohol
$20 [1.5 Litre]
Enjoy now thru 2016

Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting at The High Line Hotel, NYC 2015 [Part 3]


I had the pleasure of attending the Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting held at the Refectory Ballroom at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan on April 27, 2015. Established in 1927, the Consortium protects over 3600 producers, working more than 15,500 hectares of vineyards, producing in excess of 800,000 hectoliters of Chianti. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, the Consortium ensures that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. The Consortium is committed to preserving and advancing the culture and history of Chianti, along with expressing the high quality the wine has achieved. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.

Over 30 winemakers and estate owners gathered to present their wines, many of which are in need of US importers and distributors [which is why price information is not available]. Each winemaker or estate owner I spoke with was enthusiastic to tell me the story of his or her wines, sharing details such as varietal blending methods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices, along with vintage particularities. With a region as large as Chianti, each producer can have a vastly different vintage from his near neighbor. From vibrant and fresh to subtle and elegant, a vast array of the styles and vintages of Chianti were presented.

My third and final installment involves catching up with old friends and the meeting of new ones. The Chianti Tasting is always an informative, engaging event that I am delighted to be a part of. Cheers!

Pieve De’ Pitti


The always delightful and elegant Caterina Gargari of Pieve di Pitti.

Pieve De’ Pitti is a family estate headed by Caterina Gargari and is located in the heart of the Alta Valdera. The estate consists of 198 hectares of woods and olive groves, along with 16 hectares that are hilly vineyards with sand/clay/fossil rich soil. It is this distinctive soil, coupled with “sea winds which come from across the hills of Miemo and Castellina”, that give their “grapes a mineral and savoury flavour”. ‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore is the estate’s first label and is based on a classic family blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia grapes, traditionally crafted from the oldest vineyards in the estate. Caterina preserves this tradition and puts her own mark on it by using Sangiovese grapes from vineyards planted in 2001. Cerretello is aged in cement to allow the terrior and grapes to be the highlight of each sip.

The elegant, friendly wines are a reflection of Caterina; I always look forward to discussing vintages with her whilst enjoying her wines. Last year, we discussed how even though 2010 was a phenomenal vintage for many winemakers in Chianti, it was not her best. The slightest shift in sea breezes or isolated storm can make a world of a difference within one region for each producer. In fact, it was 2011 that she was watching develop into an outstanding vintage. This year, whilst enjoying her ‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore 2011, she took her analysis further, telling me that 2011 has become the best vintage her estate has had thus far. Looking to the future, she said that the 2014 harvest was abundant with great quality grapes, she is expecting an excellent vintage.


Cerretello Chianti Superiore DOCG 2011
With another year under its belt since my last visit, vivid, clean fruit flavours still take the spotlight. Silky smooth tannins in the full body balance leather, spices and soft earth, whilst the renowned salty mineral element drives the dry finish.

Cerretello Chianti Superiore DOCG 2008
Caterina credits the very mild weather in 2008 for conferring a refined elegance to the vintage. Well balanced flavours of cherry and strawberry with an earthy, forest floor undercurrent, velvety tannins and a plush finish keep you reaching for more.

Tenuta Bichi Borghesi


The charming Niccolò Simonelli of Tenuta Bichi Borghesi.

Niccolò Simonelli’s family has been crafting wine at Tenuta Bichi Borghesi for more then 4 centuries. The estate is located in Chianti Colli Senesi and consists of over 400 hectares. Niccolò lives in the original farmhouse and strives to make elegant wines that express where they are from, that are “traditional without being old”. With respect for the past and attention to future generations, protecting the environment and using organic methods is a key part to the estate [they are not currently certified organic].

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2013
A lovely fruit forward Chianti with bright strawberry and cherry flavours, soft tannins and a plush finish.

‘Coppiole’ Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG Riserva 2008
Aged for 15-18 months in oak, Niccolò explained that 2008 was an “easy vintage” for the estate, therefore they used less oak, about 1/3 of the amount that they usually would use. Concentrated black cherry notes backed by tobacco and earth, a velvety finish of oak and cigar box spice.

Val di Botte


The vibrant and friendly Simone Pezzatini along with yours truly.

The Val di Botte estate consists of 30 hectares of vineyards located 20 km outside Florence. They strive to create a range of wines that are both affordable and of high-quality. The gregarious Simone Pezzatini presents the family estate’s wines; I greatly look forward to our engaging conversations and his insight into each wine’s character. After discussing the 2014 harvest with so many winemakers, I was ecstatic to see Simone brought a horizontal tasting of the estate’s 2014 vintage. It was fantastic to finally be able to give them a try!

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti DOCG 2014
Fermented and aged in stainless steel to preserve the vivid fruit flavours, jammy strawberry and black cherry over an earth and leather backdrop, easy black tea tannins on the dry finish. Refreshing and super easy drinking.

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2014
Easy drinking at 14% Alcohol, grapes were sourced from vineyards with large stone soil similar to many Chianti Classico vineyards. A traditional Chianti expression of balanced fruit/earth/spice flavours. A wonderfully straightforward companion at the table.

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti Superiore DOCG 2014
The Superiore is a small production label sourced from a 7.5 hectare vineyard with high quality grapes. Elegant and lively, well balanced fruit/earth/spice and clean tannins make this incredibly versatile at the table.

Val di Botte’ Chianti Riserva DOCG 2010
Contrasting with its younger siblings, the 2010 Riserva displays notes of dense cherry and plum backed by forest floor and peppery spice. Finishing with velvety tannins toasted oak and hints of vanilla. This is a rich, quiet glass whose lush, yet well balanced flavours aren’t overpowering.



Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti