Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’

Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina

A first look at vintage quality in South America, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Ready to taste the first wines of 2013? While vines are just flowering in Europe and North America, the Southern Hemisphere has picked, crushed and fermented this year’s crop. Argentina and Chile experienced a cool growing season, which left vintners waiting for grapes to fully ripen. That wasn’t a problem for big reds like Argentina’s Malbecs and Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon, but it could be trouble for Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming vintage. Check out Wednesday’s report on Australia and New Zealand and come back Friday for details on South Africa.

Argentina
The good news: A long, cool growing season produced what many winemakers are calling fresh wines

The bad news: Up and down temperatures tested winemakers’ patience and required long hang times for grapes to reach full maturation

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Breaking old rules, to creative new wines ...

Breaking old rules, to creative new wines …

 

As I mentioned here once before, the fad in California wines for more than a decade now has been the heavy emphasis on what I call MSG wines. 

 

No, that’s not a designation of something to order in your favorite Chinese restaurant; rather, it refers to Rhone-style blends featuring Mourvedre-Syrah-Grenache.   Many of these blends are knockouts, and adjusting the blend allows winemakers to bob and weave depending on the weather and harvest to deliver a very consistent wine. 

 

A number of French winemakers have come to the central coast of California because they can experiment here, whereas in France the wine bureaucracy prevents wine makers from innovating.  While I like many of these efforts, I still prefer old-fashioned straight-up classic varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.  (I’m having a 100% Syrah tonight with my grilled pork roast.)

 

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Sassicaia

 

The table wine that put Tuscan cabernet sauvignon on the map is now one of the most sought-after Italian reds in the world. Kerin O’Keefe reports.

Sassicaia is the Italian wine world’s rock star, and not just because of the unusual rocky soils where the wine’s grapes are cultivated. A rebel when it was first released in 1971, Sassicaia – like the defiant rock musicians of the same period – shook up the status quo and spawned generations of imitators.

It can also claim the title of Original Super Tuscan as it was the first of Tuscany’s renegade wines to break with the antiquated rules that governed Italian winemaking in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Although no longer a revolutionary, Sassicaia is one of Italy’s most iconic and seductive wines.

Sassicaia was the brainchild of Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who planted cabernet sauvignon at his Tenuta San Guido estate in Bolgheri in 1944, back when this strip of Tuscan coast – known as the Maremma – was a mosquito-infested backwater with no tradition of quality winemaking.

According to Mario’s son Nicolò, who has run the property since his father died in 1983, “my father loved fine Bordeaux and decided to try his hand at making red wine. He chose the first and subsequent vineyards not only for the right sun exposure and altitude, but above all for their rocky soils – unique in Bolgheri and Italy but similar to the gravel found in Graves.”

Sassicaia, a derivative of “sassi” – Italian for rocks or stones – owes its catchy name to this uncommon soil. Nicolò also points out that the original cabernet sauvignon his father planted in the 1940’s was not imported from Château Lafite, as legend often states. Rather, it hailed from 50-year-old vine cuttings cultivated on a friend’s estate near Pisa, which have long since been pulled up.
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Justin Timberlake Jessica Biel wedding photo.

Plus, Hip-hop star Timbaland introduces a sparkling blend of wine and vodka, Adam Carolla introduces Mangria and more Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts

National treasure (in Unfiltered’s opinion, at least) Justin Timberlake married actress Jessica Biel this past month. We declined the invitation that was no doubt lost in the mail, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the inside scoop on the couple’s private wedding wine, which was served and also given as gifts to their guests, who reportedly included Saturday Night Live vets Andy Samberg, Jimmy Fallon, and hip-hop hitmaker Timbaland (more on him in a bit …). The Timberlake-Biel wedding cuvée was a red blend made from Alexander Valley Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2009 vintage. Only two barrels were made by Jessie Katz, who is winemaker at Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley, and a friend of the Biel and Timberlake families. Rumor has it that they… read on