This is one of several releases in the Octavin Home Wine Bar system. The wine in a box, billed as eco-friendly, delivers the equivalent of four standard bottles of wine. This is a blend with minute quantities of other grapes from several parts of California's Monterey and Paso Robles areas. The wine has a deep purple color with hints of blackberry and raspberry. It is a very light-flavored glass of cabernet but no finish for the serious drinker. This wine stayed consistent from week one to week six as promised by the company.
For a second-generation winemaker, following in your father’s footsteps may well mean doing your own thing. Chuck Ortman made his name in California by mastering one of the state’s most widely planted varieties, Chardonnay. His son Matt is taking a different route, building on the family tradition with sparsely planted sangiovese.
Skip the Nouveau and go for a Cru Beaujolais that is virtually the same price and, frankly, much better wine. The La Trinquee Julienas is a well-balanced offering that will go well with holiday turkey and most all of the trimmings. The wine has a fresh strawberry fruitiness with a floral component, perhaps rose petal. Still, the time this wine gets in the barrel gives it enough of a finish that you're not left with just a mouthful of fruit. It has a silky texture and should please both regular wine drinkers and occasional tipplers at your Thanksgiving table.
Big and bold is easy for any wine drinker to understand. Nuance, on the other hand is more of a challenge. With nearly every U.S. state producing wine, Michigan is trying to nab a spot, along with regions like New York’s Finger Lakes, as the next best thing outside the west coast.
An Italian blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet sauvignon, and Merlot would suggest a big bold rosé that might be too strong for some palates. The Centine is surprisingly fresh, balanced and delightful for rosé lovers. And, you can't beat a nice light summer rosé for just $11. This wine was surprisingly light and enjoyable.
Dancing Coyote gets attention for its unusual California-grown white wines. The Clarksburg area winery produces albarino, gruner veltliner, and chenin blanc. Chenin blanc was big long before chardonnay took over on the west coast but few are producing it today. Dancing Coyote's 2009 Chenin Blanc is a lighter version than many others with nice citrus, particularly lime, and balanced acidity. Frankly, this one is the best I've tasted from California. The winery made just 208 cases.
Frascati has been around a long time. Fontana Candida is one of the oldest and biggest producers of Frascati. The region is made up of five villages near Rome where the malvasia grape grows in volcanic soils. This light-colored white wine is not the lighter style associated with many Italian whites. The Malvasia and Trebbiano blend gives nice pear and almond flavors with a surprisingly long finish. At $10, it's a great way to try a different summer wine. Read more at Howard’s blog, Grape Sense.
The 2006 Lange Three Hills Cuvee (90 points by Wine Advocate) is a great example of what Oregon is doing with pinot noir. This blend from three Lange estate vineyards is powerful on the nose with an earthy, dark cherry, and smoky taste. This rich-colored red wine is a fine expression of the jory soil in the Dundee Hills. There are more expensive wines on the Lange list and throughout the Dundee Hills, but few are any better. Read more at Howard's blog, Grape Sense.