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Ca’ Rome’ Wine Tasting Included Barbaresco and Barolo Side-by-side

Barbaresco and Barolo are two wines from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Both wines are crafted with Nebbiolo grapes. Barbaresco wines are crafted with Nebbiolo grapes from the towns of Barbaresco, Treiso, and Neive.  Barbaresco must age for 24 months with 12 months in oak. Barbaresco Reserva has four years of aging. The minimum alcohol for a Barbaresco is 12.0%. All Barolo wines must be crafted with 100% Nebbiolo grapes from one of the eleven areas that may produce a wine labeled as Barolo. The vineyards used to produce these Nebbiolo grapes can not exceed 3,300 vines per acre. Wines have requirements for aging. For Borolo, the wines must age at least 36 months including 18 months in wood. Barolo Riserva must age for 60 months with 18 months in wood. The minimum alcohol for a Barolo wine is 12.5%.

Ca’ Rome’ was founded in 1980 by Romano Marengo. Today the winery has 6.9 hectares (17 acres) of vineyards; three vineyards are located in Barbaresco while three vineyards are located in Barolo. The winery is located in the Barbaresco area. 

During the Washington DC tasting, I sampled two Barbarescos and two Barolos. The 2017 Barbaresco Chiaramanti DOCG was made with Nebbiolo grapes from a single vineyard planted in 1978. The soil in the vineyard is calcareous clay. The wine was temperature controlled fermented for 21 days. The wine spent 12 to 15 months in French oak barrels followed by 25 hl oak barrels for a total aging time of 24 months. It was then racked to a stainless steel tank for three months and spent an additional 10 months in bottle. The wine had a translucent red color with a dark pink hue. The aroma offered perfume notes with red berry fruits. The taste was reminiscent of red raspberries and baking spices. The wine had a silky mouthfeel, medium to full body and bold tannins. It had a fruity and spicy finish.

The 2017 Barbaresco Söri Rio Sordo DOCG was made from a single vineyard in Barbaresco. The vineyard’s soil is composed of clay, silt and sand. The wine fermentation lasted for three weeks, then it was aged in wood for 24 months. The wine had a translucent red color with a dark pink hue. The aroma was floral with red berry fruits. The taste was reminiscent of violets, roses, red raspberries and baking spices. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel with medium/full body and medium/bold tannins. The finish was fruity and spicy.

The 2016 Borolo Rapet Gold Label DOCG was crafted with Nebbiolo grapes from the Serralunga cru vineyard planted in 1972. The fermentation lasted three weeks. The wine was aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in Slavonian oak. Finally the wine spent 12 months in bottle. The wine had a translucent garnet color. Flowers and fruit were noted on the aroma. Violets, cherries and baking spices were noted on the taste. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel. It was full bodied with bold tannins. The finish was fruity and spicy.

The 2016 Barolo Cerretta DOCG was crafted with grapes from a single vineyard in the Serralunga cru. Like the other wines, the fermentation lasted for three weeks. This wine then spent twelve months in barriques followed by another twelve months in Slavonian oak. It then spent time in bottles. The wine had a translucent garnet color with flowers, red fruits and spices on the aroma. The taste included baking spices and red cherries. The wine had a velvety mouthfeel and was full bodied and had bold tannins. The finish was fruity and spicy.

The Ca’ Rome’ tasting offered a compare and contrast of the Barbaresco and Barolo from the same producer. I would pair the Barbaresco with a light lunch, while the Barolo would be excellent with a dinner.

Cheers,
Terry

Empson USA Introduces Italian Wines to the American Market

Empson USA is a family owned business that searches Italy for wines that will entice the American palate. Neil and Maria Empson began the company in 1971 after visiting many Italian producers. Today, their daughter Tara continues to lead the company looking for excellent Italian wines that we may enjoy. Last week we met Tara in Washington DC during Empson’s Barolo Brunello Barbaresco Tour in Washington DC.

Tara with her family’s Cignale wine

There are some similarities between the Empsons and Kathy and me. We decided over a decade ago that if we were going to write about wine, we should be making wine at wineries as well as at home. Neil and Maria had a similar thought. If they were going to export Italian wines to the United States, they should own a vineyard and make wine in Italy. Cignale was started by the Empsons in 1981; they decided that they wanted to craft their own Super Tuscan. I had the opportunity to taste this wine and hear Tara talk about the wild boars that plague Italian vineyards in Toscana. 

Tara explained that the wine bottle label shows a sketched drawing of a wild boar. Her mother drew the boar. The Empson’s first harvest was in 1983 and the entire harvest was wiped out by wild boars. When Kathy and I visited Italy in the autumn of 2007 we learned about wild boars. I also enjoyed eating boar especially paired with wines made from Sangiovese. At the time boar was readily available on restaurant menus and at the Coop grocery store. The word “cignale” means boar. It seems fitting that an image of a boar is on their wine’s label.

Cignale has 3.5 hectares (7.5 acres) of vineyards. The vineyards are located in Greve in Chianti in the Florence Province. Vines are planted on a hillside at an elevation between 1320 feet to 1740 feet. The vineyard soil is composed of schist.

I tasted the Cignale Colle Della Toscana Centrale IGT. The blend was mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Merlot. The wine had extended maceration on the skins for three weeks. The wine aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 20 months then had six months of additional aging in bottles. The wine had a translucent ruby color. The aroma reminded me of a black fruit salad. The taste offered cassis, blackberries and leather. The medium/full bodied wine had medium/bold tannins. The finish was a nice blend of fruit and oak influences.

Empson USA has many clients. It is unique that the family has their own vineyard and is producing a wine.

Cheers,
Terry

Gunpowder Wine Trail Celebrates with Special Wine Tastings

Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery to celebrate Maryland Wine Month

In celebration of Maryland Wine Month, one of Maryland’s newest wine trails, Gunpowder Wine Trail, is celebrating with the Wine Lovers Tasting Experience Ticket. This Experience will continue throughout March.

Gunpowder Wine Trail has four participating wineries including: Fiore Winery & Distillery, Harford Vineyard, Mount Felix Winery and Royal Rabbit Vineyard.

Wine lovers can choose between a basic ticket or a VIP ticket. Tickets are available online.

Royal Rabbit is on the Gunpowder Wine Trail

Basic Tasting Experience

  • Tasting for 2 at each Gunpowder Wine Trial winery
  • Wine tasting includes six wines
  • When purchasing three bottles of wine or more, you will receive 10% off.

VIP Tasting Experience

  • Wine tasting for 2 at all four wineries
  • Includes your choice of 6 wines
  • Purchases of two or more bottle of wines will receive 15% off
  • Receive two Amplifier Vintner’s Crystal Tasting Glasses
  • In addition each of the four wineries plan to include a special experience for those with VIP tickets.

  -Fiore Winery & Distillery will provide a specialty mixed drink sample that will feature their house sangria or one made from Fiore handcrafted distilled spirits.
-Harford Vineyard will offer a sample of their Limoncello paired with chocolate.
-Royal Rabbit Vineyard wants you to enjoy a sample of locally made Amish cheeses paired with wine.

A Photo Raffle is also taking place  at the Gunpowder Wine Trail wineries. Win a prize by posting your photos of your visit at the wineries on social media. Prize: Gift Basket (The gift basket will be filled by the wineries on the trail.)

Wine Trail Traveler visited all four of the wineries on the Gunpowder Wine Trail. For reviews and photos visit the Wine Trail Traveler review section.

Cheers!
Kathy

March is Maryland Wine Month

Maryland Wine logo

March 1st is the start of Maryland’s Wine Month. The first Maryland Wine Month was in 2011. Over the years the wine industry in Maryland has grown prolifically. 

Just look at some the most recent facts about the Maryland’s wine growth, according to the Maryland Wineries Association:

  • 100+ wineries are now in Maryland
  • 1,000 acres of grapes
  • Wines include traditional wines, fruit wines and meads
  • In 2019 Maryland Wineries produced 201,000 cases of wine

Maryland Wineries also helps the economy and has added employment opportunities. According to the Maryland Winery Association, the wine industry has added 2,000 jobs.

Several Maryland Wineries have already planned for specials during March. For example Layton’s Chance Winery will offer (all month) a special tasting flight of Vidal wines. These flights are a reasonable $6 and includes the souvenir glass. At Blue Mountain Wine Crafters a special pairing (all month) will involve pairing Girl Scout Cookies with wine. 

On March 1, Dove Valley Winery will  host  a Mardi Gras After Party. Dove Valley Winery offers many other special events and activities during March. Also on Sundays during March, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards in Brandywine,  will offer a session that includes a private tour of the production area, a discussion and a tasting in the cellar.

March 21 is the day that Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard will have the Grand Opening of their tasting room.

Check the calendar on the Maryland Wineries Association website to discover more winery events.

How to Support Maryland Wine Month

During March show your appreciation of the wineries in Maryland visiting some of the participating wineries. Another way to support the Maryland wine industry includes asking for a Maryland wine when dining out or when shopping at your local wine shop.

Wine Trail Traveler has visited and enjoyed many of the Maryland wineries. For winery reviews and photos visit the Wine Trail Traveler review section.

Cheers!
Kathy

Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER Wines

The Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER winery is located in the Alsace region of France. In January I met Gilles Schoepfer who with his brother are owners of Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER, at the APVSA wine tasting in Washington. 

Wine enthusiasts enjoy tasting wines at APVSA.

The winery/vineyards started in 1656 and has been handed down from father to son. Today they are producing 50,000 bottles of wine. The winery has 10 hectares of vineyards and Gilles noted that they do everything themselves. The winery has a traditional cellar and a modern cellar. The traditional cellar houses old oak casks whereas the modern cellar, which holds much more, includes stainless steel tanks.

They are located in the Alsace vineyards region in the wine village of Wettolsheim.

Today the winery and vineyards are operated by Jean-Louis Schoepfer’s sons, Christophe and Gilles. The brothers have divided their hard work with Christophe busy with winemaking and administration. Gilles concentrates on viticulture and marketing.

Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER produces numerous wines including: Sylvaner, Edelzwicker, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir. They also produce a lovely Crémant d’Alsace.

I tasted two wines produced by Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER. The Crémant d’Alsace NV White Brut, with 12.7% alcohol, was produced with Pinot Blanc using 2nd fermentation. When the Crémant was first poured there was a large amount of bubbles forming a beautiful, fluffy mousse. The aroma included notes of white fruit. The taste was dry with a hint of sweetness. The finish was long. Consider serving this luscious wine as an aperitif.

The Muscat with 12.6% alcohol was delightful with an aroma of flowers. The taste offered a hint of orange, honeysuckle and flowers. The finish was dry. The winery suggests using this wine as an aperitif or pairing with strong cheeses and asparagus.

Visitors to Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER can taste the wines, visit the wine cellars as well as purchase wines. The winery is open Mondays to Saturdays during the mornings and afternoons. 

Location: 35 rue Herzog 68920 Wettolsheim

If you have the opportunity, be sure to try wines from Jean-Louis SCHOEPFER.

Cheers! Kathy

Two Champagne Houses at the APVSA Tasting in Washington DC

Last month I tasted wines from two champagne houses at the APVSA – Association pour la Promotion des Vins et Spiritueux en Amérique du Nord (the Association for the Promotion of Wine and Spirits in North America) wine tasting event in Washington DC. 

Champagne Vrain?Augé had one champagne for tasting, their “Tradition.” This champagne was crafted with 100% Pinot Meunier grapes. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a central and circumferential mousse on the wine’s surface. The yellow colored wine had a gold hue. The champagne aged for three years and had 8 g/L dosage. The champagne had a very creamy mouthfeel and offered red berry fruits with a hint of apple. This champagne was refreshing and would make a good aperitif.

Champagne Jean Forget had two champagnes available for tasting. The tradition was a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It had a light gold color and multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential mousse. Apple and citrus were notable as well as a creamy mouthfeel. Use this champagne as an aperitif. 

The Jean Forget Rose had a salmon color with a pink hue. This wine was also a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential mousse. The wine offered red berry fruits on the aroma and taste. The mouthfeel was creamy. This wine would make a good aperitif especially on Valentine’s Day.

Cheers,
Terry

Champagne Patrick Boivin

Baptistine p?oyring Champagne Patrick Boivin at APVSA tasting in Washington D.C.

During January 2020, we attended the APVSA – Association pour la Promotion des Vins et Spiritueux en Amérique du Nord (the Association for the Promotion of Wine and Spirits in North America) wine tasting event in Washington DC. As usual, I gravitated to the champagne houses. Champagne Patrick Boivin is a champagne house in the Epernay region. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary. The champagne house is run by Marie-Madeleine, Patrick, accompanied by their two daughters, Baptistine and Céline. We met Baptistine at the tasting. Baptistine is in charge of brand development in France and other countries.

Champagne Patrick Boivin’s vineyard is 6 hectares (14.8 acres) is mainly based in the Vallée de la Marne. Most of the vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The champagne house produces about 50,000 bottles of champagne and is looking for distributors in the United States. 

Baptistine had a nice assortment of the champagne portfolio at the Washington DC event. I was able to taste several of the house’s champagnes.

Champagnes

The Cuvée Brut was a blend of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. It aged for four years. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential mousse on the wine’s surface of the glass. The light yellow colored champagne offered apple and red berry notes, a creamy mouthfeel and a trace of freshly baked bread. The had 8 g/L dosage. 

The Cuvée Reserve was crafted with 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Meunier. The wine aged for seven years and had 8 g/L dosage. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential and a central mousse on the wine’s surface. The champagne was reminiscent of freshly baked bread, apples and red berries. The champagne had a lively mouthfeel. 

The Cuvée Brut Rosé had a festive salmon color. This 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier champagne aged for four years and had 9 g/L dosage. Multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential and a central mousse on the wine’s surface. The wine offered apple and red berry fruits. The mouthfeel was crisp and lively.

The Cuvée Tradition Millésime 1999 was made entirely out of Chardonnay. The champagne spent 20 years aging. It had 8 g/L dosage. The wine had a yellow color and multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential and a central mousse on the wine’s surface. The aroma and taste reminded me of freshly baked bread, apple and citrus. The mouthfeel was creamy.

The Cuvée Tradition Millésime 2002 was also made of 100% Chardonnay. The champagne aged for 18 years and had a dosage of 2.5 g/L. The yellowed colored wine had multiple columns of tiny bubbles formed a circumferential and a central mousse on the wine’s surface. The wine had apple, citrus and freshly baked bread notes. The lively mouthfeel also was creamy.

These champagnes were delicious and we hope they find a distributor on the east coast of the United States.

Cheers,
Terry

Wineries Offer Valentine’s Day Specials

Celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Beginning Thursday, February 13, an array of wineries are celebrating Valentine’s Day 2020! Plan on visiting a winery as a part of your Valentine’s Day treat for someone special. Check the list below for a list of upcoming Valentine’s Day events and be sure to call for details. If you have a winery in your very own neighborhood, contact your favorite winery and ask if they have any Valentine’s Day specials.

Enjoy the day with someone special!

Cheers! Kathy

Thursday, February 13

Orfila Vineyards and Winery, California
Event: Valentine’s Day Special
Website Info

Friday, February 14

Duplin Winery, North Carolina
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Bistro
Website Info

Effingham Manor and Winery, Virginia
Event: Valentine’s Day
Website Info

Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Maryland
Event: Wine & Dine Your Valentine!
Website Info

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, Virginia
Event: Valentine’s Day Dinner
Website Info

Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Maryland
Event: Wine & Dine Your Valentine
Event: Wine & Pizza Valentines Weekend 
Website Info

Youngberg Hill, Oregon
Event: Fondue of You Valentine Day Dance
Website Info

Saturday, February 15

Bon Niche Cellars, California
Wine Trail Event: Vino Valentine
Website Info

Effingham Manor and Winery, Virginia
Event: Valentine’s Dinner
Website Info

Painted Stave Distilling, Delaware
Event: Shakespeare + St. Valentine 2020
Website Info

Pearmund Cellars, Virginia
Event: Valentines Weekend Dessert Pairings
Website Info

Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, Virginia
Event: Sinfully Sweet: Dessert & Wine Pairing
Website Info

Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, Maryland
Event: Wine & Pizza Valentines Weekend
Website Info

Sunday, February 16

Bon Niche Cellars, California
Wine Trail Event: Vino Valentine
Website Info

Painted Stave Distilling, Del
Event: Galentines Day Brunch
Website Information

Pearmund Cellars, Virginia
Event: Valentines Weekend Dessert Pairings
Website Info

Monday, February 17

Orfila Vineyards and Winery, California
Event: President’s Day
Website Info

Wednesday, February 19

Sweet Cheeks on 5th, Oregon
(Sweet Cheeks Winery)
Event: Wine Wednesday Workshop/ Chocolate & Wine
Website Info

Two Kuhlman Cellars Reds

Photo courtesy of Kuhlman Cellars.

Kuhlman Cellars is located east of Fredericksburg, Texas along Rt 290, a wine route dotted with many wineries/tasting rooms in the Texas Hill Country. We received two samples of their red wines. Grapes sourced for each of the wines came from the Texas High Plains AVA. 

We learned that the winery was a passion for Chris and Jennifer Cobb. Their desire to build a winery and craft wines began as the couple toured wineries in Napa. The passion became a reality as Kuhlman Cellars opened to the public in 2014. Prior to the opening, Diane and Reed Cobb, Chris’ parents, managed a small vineyard just north of the present site of the winery. The estate vineyard is almost seven acres. It is planted with Mourvedre, Marsanne, Roussane, Carignan and Aglianico. There is not much Aglianico planted in the United States. We tasted many wines made from Aglianico while touring wineries in the Campania region of Italy.

Bénédicte Rhyne is the winemaker for Kuhlman Cellars. She received her Masters in Enology from Universite de Bourgogne in Dijon, France. She spent a decade in California, mostly Sonoma County at Ravenswood Winery. She brings both old world and new world winemaking processes to Kuhlman Cellars.

Photo courtesy of Kuhlman Cellars.

Kuhlman Cellars is helping create a wine culture in the Texas Hill Country with their program Vina Vita University. The program offers wine classes for wine enthusiasts and wine club members. In late January they offered a Winter Pruning Class (pictured left); February offerings include a Decoding the Aroma of Wine class and a blending class. 

2016 Reserve Merlot 

The 2016 Reserve Merlot was crafted with Merlot grapes from the Texas High Plains AVA. The wine spent 30 months aging in French oak barrels. With 13.9% alcohol, the wine had a translucent dark ruby color with a red hue. The aroma was reminiscent of a fruit salad with baking spices. The taste included red and black raspberries, cherries, leather and baking spices. The medium/full-bodied wine had medium/bold tannins. We paired the wine with beef vegetable soup. Some of the wine ended up in the soup. 

2017 Sangiovese

This Sangiovese was crafted with grapes from the Newson Vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA. The wine had a translucent red color with14.2% alcohol. The aroma offered flowers and red fruits. The taste was suggestive of red cherries with violets and lavender. The medium-bodied wine had medium to bold tannins. The fruity and floral finish yielded to spices and oak on the aftertaste.

Photo courtesy of Kuhlman Cellars.

You can taste Kuhlman Cellars wines at their Texas Hill Country location. They offer three different tasting experiences and reservations are encouraged. During our next trip to Texas Hill Country, Kuhlman Cellars will be a must visit.

Cheers,
Terry

Discover the Wines of Pradorey Winery in Spain

Élite Wine from Pradorey

At the APVSA wine tasting this month in Washington D.C. I had the opportunity to taste a couple of wines from Pradorey Winery and Vineyards. Pradorey Winery is a large winery located along the Douro River in Spain.

Adaro 2016

Adaro 2016 with 14.5% alcohol, was produced with Tempranillo grapes and aged in French oak for 12 months. The wine was a translucent dark red color with an aroma of earthiness accompanied with red fruit. The wine was medium bodied with tannins and the taste was of red fruit including raspberries. The finish was long. Pradorey suggests pairing Adora with game, roasts and red meats.The Adora was named for the founder of the winery – Javier Cremades de Adaro. 

The Élite bottle of wine is unique with its bottle wrapped in a translucent light weight paper with the bottle label appearing through the paper. The Élite was produced with Tempranillo Élite plantar grapes. This wine offered an intense aroma. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with smooth tannins. The wine offered notes of black berries. The finish was long. The winery suggests pairing this wine also with roasts, red meats and game.

About Pradorey

The land was purchased by Javier Cremades de Adaro in 1989 who planted the first 200 hectares of grapes. 

Today the estate of Pradorey consists of 3,000 hectares, of which 520 hectares are the vineyards. The majority of the vineyards are planted with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Current production is 2 million bottles. Oak barrels are sourced from American, Central Europe and France. In addition to the oak barrels in the winery, amphorae are also used in the production of wines.

The winery was built partially underground. Electricity is provided for the entire estate by a hydroelectric plant that was built on the Douro River in 1921. The estate also has a 640 module solar photovoltaic farm.

Pradorey encourages tourism. The estate has an historic inn, built in the 17th century. Close to the Inn is a 16th century Chapel. The winery offers a tour of the underground winery, a culinary tour and a family wine tourism event that includes a night’s stay at the Inn. Bookings can be made online.

The immense size of the estate allows for a large flock of 1,800 sheep, as well as a large dairy farm.

Pradorey wines are also available in the United States. If you have the opportunity visit Pradorey  Winey in northern Spain.

Cheers!
Kathy


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