Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2014


Fruit forward and super easy drinking, this is a great value and wonderfully versatile. 

Winery: Georges Dubœuf founded Les Vins Georges Dubœuf in 1964 and since then has become one of the largest and most well known French brands, representing more than 400 growers in the Beaujolais region. He is particularly recognised for his achievements in large scale production and marketing of Beaujolais wines, especially the annual “Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon” which has lead to him being nicknamed “the king of Beaujolais”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with robust aromas of black cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Jammy cherry and raspberry flavours envelop each sip, whilst a clean finish and low[ish] alcohol provide balance to the fruit and maintain an easy drinking sensibility.
Enjoy slightly chilled.

100% Gamay
Bottled by Les Vins Georges Dubœuf
12% Alcohol
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Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2014


Vibrant, fresh, and well balanced this is incredibly easy drinking and an all around fun time Beaujolais.

Estate: Maison Joseph Drouhin was founded over 130 years ago and is headed now by the 4th generation of the Drouhin family. Today, with 73 hectares assembled over the years through purchases and agreements between families, the estate is one of the largest in all of Burgundy.

Philosophy: Natural practices have granted them the capability to achieve their goal of expressing “the exact character of each terrior” in their wines.

Winemaking: “Our credo is to bring natural answers to natural problems.” They are passionate about organic and biodynamic viticulture with methods such as herb-based vine treatments, natural predators rather then chemicals, and plowing by horse.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet with magenta edges, with radiant aromas of strawberry, raspberry and fresh earth. Fresh flavours parallel the vivid aromas with strawberry, raspberry and tart cherry, balanced by a food friendly acidity and clean mineral finish.
Serve with a slight chill.

100% Gamay
Beaujolais Nouveau
Bottled by Joseph Drouhin
12.5% Alcohol
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Old York Cellars Dry Riesling & Malbec Tasting

I had the pleasure of participating in a Virtual Vines discussion with winemaker Scott Gares of Old York Cellars, sommelier Laurin Dorman and Chef Jonas Gold of 55 Main. Old York Cellars is located in the Ringoes section of Hunterdon County and contains some of the oldest vineyards in New Jersey. Owner David Wolin currently has 12 acres of vineyards, cultivating a diverse selection including Barbera, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah and Riesling. In addition to award winning wines and a lovely tasting room, they also hold special events such as art exhibits, yoga classes and Master Chef Dinners.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the tasting presented a timely spotlight on wine pairings. Chef Jonas Gold presented a variety of modern and classic dishes utilizing traditional thanksgiving ingredients such as pumpkin, roasted veggies and turkey. Whilst the two wines range in flavour and style, they are both versatile companions to a wide variety of dishes, especially Thanksgiving cuisine.


Old York Cellars Dry Riesling 2013
Bright gold in colour with crisp green apple harmonizing with a vivid acidity, making it a fantastic pairing with rich dishes. Traces of honeysuckle on the dry finish.
100% Riesling
13.1% Alcohol


Old York Cellars Malbec 2013
A crowd-pleaser with bold fruit flavours and an earthy backbone. Soft tannins, oak, vanilla and chocolate elements comprise the velvety finish.
100% Malbec
13.8% Alcohol



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Heart of Italy: The US Debut of Romagna Sangiovese Riserva 2011


I was delighted to attend the “Romagna Sangiovese, Heart of Italy seminar at Simply Italian Great Wines Tour 2014 in NYC October 27th, presented by UCLA wine instructor, Master Taster, International Sommelier and all around knowledgeable and gregarious Giammario Villa. In addition to his personal insight into the region and winegrowers, he also revealed the US debut of Romagna Sangiovese Riserva 2011. [The Riserva is is aged for at least 2 years in the cellar, a minimum of 13% alcohol and recommended drinking beginning after 3 years of aging.]

Whilst Sangiovese is usually associated with Tuscany and Chianti, it has been cultivated in the Romagna region of northern Italy for centuries. It tends to produce wines that are more floral with bright fruit and softer tannins then its Tuscan counterpart. More specifically, the wines are known for their striking flavours of violet, black cherry and herbs such as thyme and oregano.

Romagna’s unique location between the Apennines Mountains of Tuscany and the Adriatic Sea give it a range of microclimates and also position it is as the link between northern and southern Italy. There is a balance of heat and cold temperatures, along with sea breezes from the Adriatic. The soil is clay limestone, which in addition to providing good drainage, is exceptionally well suited to Sangiovese.

All of the wines presented are from family run estates that like the majority of the Romagna region, practice a blend of environmentally friendly lute raisonnée, organic, and sustainable viticulture methods. They are passionate about family tradition, the future generations, and drink the wine they make, which is reflected in their philosophy that drinking Sangiovese “means taking a sip of this land”.

Romagna Sangiovese is not just food friendly, but is made to be enjoyed with food. With its tannic structure and crisp acididty, it enhances just about every dish all the while refreshing your palate. My favourite quote of the seminar came during the Q & A with Giammario and the winemakers, when there was a long pause before he ansered a question. Equipped with only water and plain crackers, Giammario stated “It’s hard to talk after taking a sip of Sangiovese Riserva”!

The tasting was given in order from east to west Romagna, in order to observe the influence of the ocean. Wines from the northwest tend to have more exuberant flavours and structure, whilst those hailing from the coast tend to be subtler in character. The general consensus of the winemakers and my fellow classmates was that 2011 is a fantastic vintage for Romagna Sangiovese, with many noting the aging potential of the wines we tasted. Unlike many other winegrowing regions, they did not experience peculiar storms or weather, in fact they had a very “typical” growing season, with the only change being “a little more sunshine”.

Whilst I enjoyed all 8 wines, below are my 4 favourites of the tasting, in order from east to west [numbers 2, 3, 5 & 8].


Tenuta Santa Lucia Sassignolo Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva 2011

Estate: Saint Lucia Vinery came into its current form in the early 1960’s when the owner’s father’s estate was joined with his maternal grandfather’s estate for a total of 100 hectares of which 12 are vineyards. The estate is located at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level, in Mercato Saraceno in Val di Savio in the heart of Romagna. The vineyards are cultivated organically, and recently the family has incorporated biodynamic principles such as “the consideration of the influence of lunar phases (both in the vineyards and in the cellar)”. With this composite approach “the area regains its true identity, which is considered the basis for the growth and development of all the wines produced”.

Tasting Notes: Concentrated plum and cherry notes joined wrapped around a core of iron minerality, whilst crushed white peppercorn, vanilla and fruit lingered enticingly between each sip.
100% Sangiovese
15% Alcohol
$25 [average price]

Tenuta La Viola ‘P.Honorii’ Romagna Sangiovese Riserva DOC Bertinoro 2011

Tenuta La Viola is a family estate located in Bertinoro, which is on Mount Cesubeo in Romagna. Passionate about crafting wine they believe “that the quality and the character of our wines mainly come from the skills and from the history of the people who have been working with us through the years”. ‘P.Honorii’ was the name Bertinoro was called during the Gothic invasions in the 5th and 6th centuries; it is their “outstanding” wine, crafted from the finest grapes of the estate.

Tasting Notes: Ruby red with garnet edges with aromas of current jam and earth. Straightforward and fresh with flavours of cherry and plum giving way to a pleasantly dry finish of subtle oak and fruit notes.
100% Sangiovese
14.5% Alcohol
$36 [average price]

Giovana Madonia ‘Ombroso’ Romagna Sangiovese DOC Riserva Bertinoro 2011

Estate: Giovana Madonia is family estate located on a sunny ridge of the hill of Montemaggio, in Bertinoro. Officially established in 1992, Giovana Madonia’s grandfather was a passionate about wine and cultivated a few acres of vines producing enough for family and friends. Giovana expanded those few acres into 30 acres of vineyards and renovated the underground cellars of the 8th century villa. The grapes for Ombroso were sourced from a 15 acre vineyard planted in 1993/94 and will age wonderfully over the next 10-15 years.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby red in colour with enchanting aromas of cedar woods, rose and raspberry. Dense yet elegant, with cherry and raspberry flavours gliding along graphite earth elements and smooth tannins, all enveloped by smoky herbs and sweet exotic spices on the plush finish.
100% Sangiovese
14.5% Alcohol
$39 [average price]

Leone Conti Societa’ Agricola ContiRiserva Romagna Sangiovese DOC Superiore Riserva 2011

Estate: Leone Conti Societa’ Agricola is headed by Leone Conti, who started working with his aunt on the family land in 1988 and then took over in 1994. The estate dates back to the beginning of the last century and is located in Faenza, on the slopes of the Apennines in the heart of Romagna. Of the 108 acres, 44 are vineyards and 2.5 are given to olive groves. Leone considers himself “hopelessly in love with his vines” and strives “to make the very most of the vine, as good wines are a faithful reflection of the environment in which they are grown: a combination of soil, climate and growing methods”.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of smoky earth, wild flowers and cherry. Wild berries, cherry and plum notes lead the way, whilst graphite minerals, licorice and a vivid acidity provide an engaging backbone. Traces of oak join sweet fruit notes in the velvety finish.
100% Sangiovese
14.5% Alcohol
$25 [average price]

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Bleecker California Red NV


Simple and fruity with a spicy finish, an agreeable companion to everyday dishes.

Brand: Bleecker is a label of Wyatt Winery, which in turn is a Polaner Selections [Wine importers with an engaging motto of “Open your mind and taste”] label that was created with the goal of producing high quality wines at affordable prices. They work closely with multiple growers and winemakers in California and craft wines “using declassified wine that often sells at a much higher price under other labels”. [As wines made with blended vintages are not entitled to a vintage status, this wine is declassified to non-vintage status.]

Philosophy: “Great value and lots of character for the money”.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of blackberry jam, oak and black pepper. Fruit forward with cherry, blackberry and tart red current flavours backed by a spicy finish of black pepper, toasted oak and hints of sweet raisin.

Syrah “with small amounts of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel”
Cellared & Bottled by Polaner Selections
13% Alcohol
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