Vinos de Arganza Flavium Premium Bierzo 2008


A phenomenal value, glugable jammy fruit wrapped around a velvety core of toasted oak spice.

Estate: Vinos de Arganza is a family estate owned by Victor Robal and his wife, Ángeles Varela, who can trace her family’s winemaking traditions back to the 15th century. The estate is located in the El Bierzo region of northwest Spain and contains nearly 4000 hectares of vineyards.

Winemaking: Aged for 20 months in French and American oak.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of black current and toasted oak. Blackberry, black cherry and dense raisin flavours harmonized with sweet and spicy toasted oak along with herbaceous traces on the lengthy finish.

100% Mencia
El Bierzo
Elaborado y Embotellado por [Produced and Bottled by] Vinos de Arganza
13% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2016

Rated 90 points by Robert Parker

Lancatay Andean Foothills Cabernet Sauvignon 2013


Estate: Located in the Andean foothills, the estate’s name Huarpe was chosen in honor of the peaceful native inhabitants of Mendoza. Family owned, the Toso family has a winemaking tradition in Mendoza that dates back over 100 years. Today the estate is run by “worldwide-trained oenologist” José Hernández Toso along with his brother Maximiliano Hernández Toso, who manages the commercial operations of the winery.

Philosophy: In addition to paying “obsessive attention to each detail” in order to always learn new things with each year, the family seeks “to bring together state of the art winemaking knowledge with the age-old traditions we have inherited from our family”.

Winemaking: Passionate about their heritage and distinctive terrrior, the family practice sustainable viticulture, collect meltwater from the Andes for vine irrigation and use recycled materials in their packaging and merchandising. Cabernet grapes were sourced from vineyards 3,250 feet above sea level located in Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Fermentation was done in stainless steel tanks, the wine was left unfiltered and unfined, and then one-third aged in French and American oak barrels for 4 months.

Tasting Notes: Brick red in colour with aromas of spiced fruit and toasted oak. Cherry and black currant blended with chocolate notes and were offset by slightly bitter tannins, whilst black pepper, dry leaves and toasted oak hints comprised the lengthy finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Grown, Produced and Bottled by Huarpe Wines [Estate Bottled]
14% Alcohol
$10 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2016

Da Vinci Chianti DOCG 2013


A straightforward, glugable Chianti good with simple pizza and pasta. [I paired with cheese ravioli with two sauces, spicy vodka and marinara.] 

Winery: The Cantine Leonardo da Vinci is a cooperative founded in 1961 by 30 farmers in the town of Vinci in the Tuscan hillsides. Today the cooperative winery consists of 200 small growers who own and cultivate over 500 hectares of vineyards.

Philosophy: Committed to producing “authentic Tuscan wine” the grower’s motto is “The better the grapes, the better the wine”.

Winemaking: The winemaking approach is “to bring the new and the old together by blending the centuries-old winemaking heritage of Tuscany with the most modern winemaking techniques”. Grapes were sourced from hillside vineyards outside Vinci and Cerreto Guidi in the western part of the Chianti region.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby red in colour with aromas of cherry and hints of earth. Straightforward with an easy drinking medium body, cherry along with woodsy nuances were joined by smooth tannins, white pepper and traces of earth comprised the moderate finish.

90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot
Vinted and Bottled by Cantine Leonardo Davinci SOC. AGR. COOP.
13% Alcohol
$10 [average pice]
Enjoy now thru 2017

A Mini Horizontal Spanish Garnacha Tasting

One of the best ways to really get to know a grape and understand the influence of viticulture and winemaking styles and techniques is to do a horizontal tasting. The only real rule is that all of the wines must be from the same vintage year and by different producers. After that, you can decide any additional requirements such as a singular grape varietal or particular appellation. Its fun and entertaining to come up with a variety of guidelines that can be mixed up however you desire. I did a mini horizontal tasting with the following: a pair of Garnacha from the 2012 vintage, from the Campo de Borga appellation in Spain, both 14% alcohol and both right around the same cost. The wines were each fantastic, and the differences [from plush and concentrated to refined and graceful], between the two were rather impressive.


PdM Moncayo Garnacha 2012

Estate: Bodegas Pagos Del Moncayo is a family winery located at the foothills of the Sierra del Moncayo in Campo de Borja in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain. The Albar family has been growing grapes for centuries in the Campo de Borja region; the winery is their dream to transmit the passion and experience of those centuries of Garnacha cultivation. They have slightly over 7 hectares of vineyards containing Garnacha and Syrah vines that are cultivated using “artisanal techniques” such as all vineyard work from pruning to harvest is done by hand.

Philosophy: “To combine tradition and technique”. The family is “committed to an artisanal way of production” in order to craft wines that “retain the purest flavours of this land and give them a strong character”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from the La Marga vineyard, which consistently produces their best Garnacha grapes. More then 5000 vines are cultivated on slight slopes with clay based soil. Grapes were foot stomped or treaded, a tradition inherited from their parents “that has proven to be most effective for extracting the full potential of a good quality grape”. The wine was aged for 10 months in American oak barrels. Only 13,600 bottles were produced.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with robust aromas of chocolate, cedar and vanilla. Concentrated, fleshy flavours of black cherry and black current were flanked by chocolate and espresso hints in the full body, whilst chili pepper, sweet cherry and toasted oak notes comprised the lengthy, velvety finish.

100% Garnacha
Campo de Borja
Bottled by Pagos Del Moncayo
14% Alcohol
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2017

Rated 89 points by the Wine Advocate

Bodegas Ruberte Tresor Garnacha 2012

Winery: Ruberte Winery is located in the province of Zaragoza, in Campo de Borja in the Aragon region of northeastern Spain. It was founded over 50 years by Andrés Ruberte, who pioneered wine production in the town following his return from oenology courses in Barcelona. Today the 24 hectares of vineyards and winery are run by his children Susana and Felix.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from old vines, the wine was aged one month in French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, woods, and herbs. Tart cherry and red currant notes glided atop an herbaceous undercurrent, whilst leather and traces of sweet oak lingered between each refined sip.

100% Garnacha
Campo de Borja
Bottled by Bodegas Ruberte S.L.
14% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2016


Samples submitted for review purposes.

M.A.N. Family Wines Bosstok Pinotage 2013


Characteristic smoky earth notes intact, this an accessible, lighter styled Pinotage.

Winery: M.A.N. Family Wines [formerly M.A.N. Vintners] was founded in 2001 by José Conde and brothers Tyrrel and Philip Myburgh in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. M.A.N. is an acronym representing the first letter of each of their wive’s names. Beginning with 300 cases produced in a tractor shed, they have advanced to producing over 175,000 cases of wine per year and exporting to 25 countries. The winery consists of 30 farmers that are also shareholders in the company.

Philosophy: Using modern techniques with traditional elegance, they strive to produce “daily wines for wine geeks”, wines “that offer bang for your buck”.

Winemaking: All of the vineyards and growers are certified sustainable and socially responsible, nearly 80% of the vineyards are un-irrigated, and 52% are un-trellised “bush vines”. “Bosstok” actually refers to these bush vines, the “bosstok Pinotage vineyards grow close to the ground, producing lower yields of concentrated, flavourful grapes”. 
25% of the wine was aged in American oak barrels [20% new].

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, crushed black peppercorn and wisps of smoky campfire. Cherry, blackberry and earth notes wrapped around soft tannins, whilst subtle toasted oak and smoky earth comprised the velvety finish.

86% Pinotage, 14% Shiraz
Coastal Region
South Africa
Produced by M.A.N. Vintners
14% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2017

Rated 87 points by Wine Spectator