Mark Beringer’s visit to Wine on the Way

beringer 1024x535 Mark Beringer’s visit to Wine on the WayLast Thursday, March 31st, we hosted Mark Beringer of Beringer Vineyards.  Since he is the great, great grandson of one of the two (Jacob Beringer), founders and head winemaker, this was a real treat!

Beringer Vineyards was founded in 1876 by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer with the dream to make wines that rival the finest in Europe. In 1883, they built the historic Rhine House, which is where they now host private tastings.

We tasted through their Private Reserve Series, Distinction Series and Regional Series.

beringer2 300x225 Mark Beringer’s visit to Wine on the WayThe Beringer Private Reserve Series represents the best of what Beringer can do. Former Chief Winemakers Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia created the Private Reserve program in 1977, with the goal of crafting Napa’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon. The Private Reserve Chardonnay was introduced in the 1978 vintage, and together these wines have earned three decades of extraordinary accolades, including two “Wine of the Year” awards from Wine Spectator Magazine. These wines are routinely rated 90 points or better by Robert Parker, and he’s been collecting them for decades. We compared the 2010 Private Reserve Cabernet to the 2012, and while both delicious, the 2010 had a lot more depth and structure. The 2013 Private Reserve Chardonnay was the hit of the night with the highest number of case sales.

New to the Beringer portfolio, the Distinction Series of wines was created to highlight particularly unique vineyard sites and blends. We featured the 2012 Quantum Red Blend, the 2012 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2014 Luminus Chardonnay. The Distinction series allows Chief Winemaker Mark Beringer to take risks, experiment, and explore new, and innovative ways of working with the various vineyard sites.

beringer1 300x225 Mark Beringer’s visit to Wine on the WayThe 2012 Quantum has been a Wine on the Way favorite since the summer, however, the Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet was my favorite and what is really interesting is that in 1960 the Beringer family pioneered planting grapes in that region and created the AVA.

After decades of pioneering diverse wines, Beringer started the Regional Estates which showcase the the range of expressions found in the regions of Napa Valley, Knights Valley and Paso Robles. All the vineyards at Beringer are entirely sustainably farmed. 2013 The Waymaker from Paso Robles was a super smooth blend that Adam and I both really enjoyed and, although it’s not rated yet, at $25 per bottle, it is a great everyday wine that will please everyone.

One of the best things about our business is the people who we get to enjoy wine with and one of our good friends, Michael Borcheck, brought in bottles of 1986 and 1995 Private Reserve Cabernet to compare to the current vintages. Although sadly the 1986 was oxidized, the 1995 was drinking quite beautifully.

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Augustan Wine Imports – “Heard it through the Grapevine” Producer Tour 2016

alfond 1024x312 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016On Monday, January 11th, we attended the Augustan Wine Imports Producer Tour. This is always a big deal in the Orlando Wine industry, as they have a really great portfolio of wines. This event happens every two years and they bring winemakers and/or winery owners to Florida to meet with the wine buyers in the trade. There is always an excitement in the air during these events. This year, they started the tour at the Alfond Inn here in Winter Park. The Alfond Inn is a beautiful boutique hotel located next to Rollins College. The tasting was laid out in such a way that you could actually sit down with the winery owners/winemakers. This enabled us to not only taste the wines, but hear their story and have  a meaningful dialogue about their wines.

voirin e1453834304197 225x300 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016Various bottles of bubbles from Voirin-Jumel were placed at the entrance (by no mistake I am sure!).  Elyse Voirin was there to tell her family story of their Champagne house that overlooks the hill of Dom Perignon. This family produces Champagne from start to finish, from their own vineyards. In the industry we call this Grower Champagne (or Farmer Fizz!). Her NV Rose de Saignee was exquisite, as are all of her wines.

 

brewer 300x224 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016We got to see some familiar faces like our friend Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton Winery in California. We absolutely love his wines. Greg is a joy, if he makes it to Orlando again this year, we will definitely schedule a tasting event with him. Greg is truly devoted to his wine making process. He literally sleeps amongst the grapes and barrels during harvest and crush. His wines are very unique, and if you can get a chance to get your hands on a bottle or two you (his Pinot Noir’s or Chardonnay’s), you will NOT be disappointed. He also mentioned that he is reviving his label called Diatom. Diatom is Greg’s expression of how a singular vineyard from the Sta. Rita Hills region can be expressed through connection of the earth, maritime climate and emotions. We loved these wines immensely years ago and look forward to seeing them back in the market.

skouras e1453834553667 225x300 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016A big surprise was the wines from Greek producer, George Skouras of Domaine Skouras. We were pretty blown away by his wines. The 2014 Moschofilero ($19/btl) was an absolute treat! It smelled like sweet orange blossoms and jasmine, with a hint of lime. I expected it would be sweet but It was bone dry! This would be an amazing summer white. We also really enjoyed the 2011 Megas Oenos ($32/btl). George brought a bottle of the 2005 vintage to show the age-ability, and I will tell you this is indeed an age worthy wine. I love drinking older vintages. This was a blend of mostly old vines Agiorgitiko with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon – there’s a lot of acidity (which is why this wine ages so well), but it also had a lot of elegance and finesse. My only wish is that we had big juicy steak to enjoy with it!

arnotroberts e1453834592498 225x300 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016Another stand-out and winery I personally love is Arnot-Roberts. The winery is located in the Sonoma appellation, where most of the wines are from (although they do have a couple of Napa Valley offerings as well). I especially love their Syrah and especially the 2013 Que Syrah ($78/btl). It is an exceptional wine. Bold and intense, with a touch of gamey meats and smokiness that I love in Syrah. All the wines are made with a sense of place and balance in mind. You really can not go wrong with any wines made by this winery.

 

With 26 winemakers/winery owners and over 100+ wines taste, there was simply is not enough time taste them all, and even if we had, our palates would have been shot by the end! Our last two stops were with Emidio Pepe and Massolino, both from Italy but they could not be more different.

emidio 300x225 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016Emidio Pepe, in its 5th generation of winemakers, creates amazingly complex age worthy reds and whites in a region of mass produced Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The Pepe vineyards are located in the northern province of Teramo, with siliceous soil rich in lime and iron. The wine making is natural and the grapes are grown biodynamically, hand-harvested, hand-destemmed and naturally fermented. Before the wines are sent out of the winery, they actually decant the wines by hand into new bottles and then label them, therefore guaranteeing that every wine is exceptional. The Trebbiano white wines are golden hued, well balanced and very complex. We tasted the 2010, and it was nutty, with hints of sweet citrus, lemon acidity and a little floral. This is a very serious wine.

The Montepulciano wines are big and bold, filled with intense flavors of dried black cherries, licorice and wild herbs. We tasted vintages 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2007. All the vintages had similarities but there was a difference in the warmer vintages as the fruit stood out more.

mossolino e1453836173811 225x300 Augustan Wine Imports – Heard it through the Grapevine Producer Tour 2016The Massolino family has produced wine in the Piedmont region of Italy since 1896. Their vineyards are located in the small town of Serralunga d’Alba, where the soils are rich. The family has made history by bringing electricity to the village, as well as creating wines of which they all could take great pride in. We tasted the 2011 single vineyard Barolo’s – Margheria & Parafada. The Margheria was more feminine and exotic, while the Parafada was much more masculine with intense tannins. My favorite wine on the table was the 2008 Rionda Riserva. Antonio Galloni called this a compelling wine and I agree with him. It has some floral characteristics of violets and dark fruits on the palate, this wine is made for longevity and I think that it is one that is just at the beginning of its evolution.

 

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2015 – A Year of Great Wines!

sqn dinner 300x276 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!2015 brought forth a lot of great wines at Wine on the Way. We started off the year with an epic Sine Qua Non dinner on January 31st , that was a complete eye-opener to the differences of how their wines have changed over the last decade. We drank vintages 2004 through 2011, and what was most interesting was to taste the difference in the wines when the grapes were sourced, versus the wines made from  Manfred Krankl ‘s own estates.

 

pnv15 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!In February, Adam, Gigi and the Wine on the Way Syndicate, attended pnv15 2 300x300 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!the Premiere Napa Valley Auction, where we purchased the 2013 Larkmead ($34,000), Seavey ($30,000), Alpha Omega ($55,000) and Anamoly ($16,000) auction lots. The esteemed and exclusive barrel tasting & auction raised a new record of $6 million for the Napa Valley Vintners Association. As Adam tasted over 100 barrel samples from the 2013 vintage, he has stated time & time again that the 2013 vintage in Napa Valley is not only exceptional, but the best he has ever tasted in his 20 year career in wine.

2012 tasting 300x300 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!In March, we started our commitment to hosting more warehouse wine tastings. The first was a look at the 2012 vintage from Napa Valley. The hit of the night was the 2012 Hidden Ridge 55% Slope Cabernet and although it gained 94pts by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, we thought it drank like it was 100 points. It was absolutely gorgeous!

 

allesandro cellai 300x225 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!The months that followed included wine tastings and wine dinners with Larkmead Vineyards, Justin Vineyards, Fairchild Winery, Wagner Family Wines, Spire Estates (Lokoya, Cardinale, Anakota, Mt. Brave and more), El Enemigo from Argentina with wine maker Costanza Hartung, and wine maker Allesandro Cellai from Tuscan Wineries – Podere Monastero and Domini Castellare di Castellina.

We wrappenfolds 195x300 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!ped up the summer with a Treasury Wine Estates Tasting with wineries such as Beringer and St. Clement… that night ended up with a bottle of one Adam’s favorite wines, Penfolds Grange, being opened and shared amongst the remaining guests.

 

mcneese 225x300 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!On October 10th we partnered with McNeese Distributing and hosted over 12 winemakers and owners from Napa Valley.  BRAND, Macauley, Memento Mori, Kinsella, Eric Kent, Arkenstone, Melka, Kesner, Rossi –Wallace, and Sanglier just to name a few, were in attendance.  It was an amazing night for all who attended.

wineriffs 168x300 2015 – A Year of Great Wines!In 2015, we began a partnership with the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios for their Wine Riffs Dinners. These dinners are an experience you won’t find anywhere else. They are meticulously planned and very well executed. The dinners excite all of your senses, as the room lighting changes colors with the courses, the cuisine is paired with the wines, but also is indicative of the region where the wines come from. Each course is also paired with music selected by the Vibe Manager – Molly Ford, and there is always some sort of interesting entertainment. In 2015 they hosted Justin Vineyards from California, Torres Family of Wines from Spain, and Veuve Cliquot from France. Mark your calendars for February 13th when they host the Antinori Family from Tuscany, Italy. It is bound to be a treat!

We wrapped up the year with our Annual Holiday Show on December 10th . With over 100 wines from around the world to taste including Dominus, Schrader, Arcanum, Kosta Browne, Booker, Saxum, Anakota, Leonetti, Futo, Salon, Domaine Serene, Shafer, Blackbird and many, many more.

2015 was a year of great wines and 2016 looks to be even more promising! We sincerely thank you for all of your support and look forward to serving you in 2016.

Cheers,

 

Erin Allport

Manager

Wine on the Way

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Drinking History……..Freemark Abbey

freemark1 Drinking History……..Freemark AbbeyBeing part of the wine “trade”, you get to go to some really cool and interesting events. On September 22nd, I was able to join 20 other folks in the trade to a back-vintage tasting of one of Napa Valley’s oldest wineries, Freemark Abbey. Not only did we taste vintages going back to the 80’s, but we also got to taste them with not one, but two Master SommeliersMS Emily Papach and MS Andrew McNamara.

Freemark Abbey was actually the 8th bonded winery in Napa Valley way back in 1886. They are credited as the first winery to have a woman owner/winemaker, Josephine Tychson. The winery itself was built by Antonio Forni, a good friend of Josephine’s who purchased the winery from her and in 1899 he constructed the stone winery with hand-strewn stones from nearby Glass Mountain. Note: this historic winery structure is still used for barrel storage today. The winery was closed for 20 years during prohibition and in 1939, three owners – Charles Freeman, Markquand Foster and Abbey Ahern – combined their names to form “Freemark Abbey.” Clever huh?

freemark3 300x200 Drinking History……..Freemark Abbey

photo courtesy of Freemark Abbey

They sold the winery in the late 60’s to seven men who formed the “University of Freemark”, and in 1976, they had two wines, a 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1972 Pinot Chardonnay (not a typo!), entered into the famed Judgement of Paris. The tasting that changed the world, and the way people (the French in particular), thought about California wine.

Ted Edwards has now been making the wines for over 30 years. He likes to let the varietal and the site express itself and he picks earlier than the norm in Napa which ultimately, from what we experienced that day, gives the wines much more longevity. Freemark Abbey has two single vineyard wines, Bosche and Sycamore. The Bosche Vineyard fruit was, at one time, what went into the famous Beaulieau Vineyard “George de Latour”, but since 1970, Freemark has had exclusive rights to the vineyard

Bosche is behind Grgich Hills Winery and Sycamore is behind the Bella Oaks vineyard. Although they are a mile apart and the vinification practices are the same, the two wines could not be more different. To me, the Bosche Vineyard makes more feminine and pretty wines, where the Sycamore Vineyard has more masculine qualities and intense structure.

freemark2 300x225 Drinking History……..Freemark AbbeyHere’s what we tasted from start to finish:

2013 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay (92pts WA $29/btl) – to be honest, I am not the biggest domestic  Chardonnay fan. I love the ABC (Anything But Chard) varietals, however, I found this to be a very pleasant wine. It sees only 30% oak & 70% steel giving this wine a much more delicate body and brings out the minerality and fruit of the chardonnay grape.

1983 Freemark Abbey Bosche Vineyard Cabernet – this was a very pretty wine when it was first poured into the glass, but you must understand that when drinking older vintages of wine, they tend to fall apart quickly. After an hour being open, this one was on its way… drink fast my friends, you will be glad you did!

1986 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet – this vineyards inaugural release was in 1984. Upon opening and immediate pouring, it was pretty hard as nails. It took it an hour to open up, but when it did I thought it was an incredible wine and it kept getting better as time went on.

1992 Freemark Abbey Napa Cabernet – it reminded me of sitting on my grandpa’s lap while he drank whiskey and smoked a pipe. Anyone who had a grandpa like mine can relate to this masculine wine.

1999 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet  – this wine could take hours, even days to evolve.  The key to this one is tasting it often to finding out when that right moment is and then seizing it. One of my favorite things about wine is the wild ride it takes you on.

2004 Freemark Abbey Bosche Vineyard – this was my favorite wine of the tasting. It was simply gorgeous. Elegant and pure this is their current vintage release of this wine. Everyone in the room agreed that this was a beautiful wine.

2011 Freemark Abbey Sycamore Vineyard – I think this was the more structured and focused wine of the group. 2011 vintage has a bad rap, but we have been tasting some pretty amazing 2011’s (mostly mountain wines, not valley floor). It did produce low yields, but not necessarily low quality. As Andrew MacNamara said, “It’s what Napa can actually be.” When we did the Shafer Hillside vertical a few years ago, everyone was shocked that the 98’s exceeded the 97’s after they had aged 10+ years. 12 years from now, I will be curious to see if we will be saying the same thing about 2011 vs. 2012…..

No matter the vintage, the wines are all very well made. Just the way you can tell that a meal has been made with passion and love, I believe the same holds true in wine. These wines are made for the long haul. Next year will be the 40th Anniversary of the Judgement of Paris, I’m willing to bet there will be some pretty cool things coming out of Napa Valley this spring.

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6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer

beach wine 6 White Wines You Should Drink This SummerSummer is definitely here! As the weather heats up, it’s time to drink refreshing white wines……by the pool, on the lake or at the beach. We chose wines from around the world, some varietals you may have heard of and some are bit off the beaten path, but the beauty of wine is the adventure! It was a lot of fun trying these wines and we think that you will love them as much as we do! You can pair these wines with cheeses, salads and seafood but they are also great on their own!

cloudybay 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer

2014 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand | $28/btl | 93 pts by Wine Spectator            

“The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough is intensely scented of gooseberries, elderflower and fresh lemon with hints of white asparagus and sage. Medium-bodied, it fills the mouth with vibrant vegetal and citrus notes held up by a lively acid backbone and good long finish.”

2013 “Quibia” by Anima Negra, Proprietary Blend, Mallorca, Spain | $19/btl |90 pts by Wine Advocate Anima Negra Quibia 300x300 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer

“A kind of blanc de noirs, the color does not give you any hint of red grapes taking part in the blend (60% Callet, a red grape, 30% Premsal Blanc and 10% Giró Ros) and the nose is also redolent of white fruit, and some leesy, yeasty notes, quite clean and fruit-driven. The palate is quite succulent, with good volume and acidity, with simple, clean fruit flavors ending quite fresh. I was rather impressed”


Radici fiano 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer2012 Mastroberardino “Radici”, Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy | $24/btl | 94 points by Decanter

“Lovely tropical fruit aromas; very stylish, charming wine with outstanding persistence.”

 

2013 Tasca d’ Almerita “Leone”, Proprietary Blend, Sicily, Italy                       |$22/btl | 91 points by James Sucklingleone 225x300 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer

“A tangy white with sliced green peaches and oranges on the nose and palate that follows through to a full body, bright acidity and a tangy finish. Always delicious quality.”


 

 

eroica 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle “Eroica”, Riesling, Washington | $20/btl | 93 points by Wine Enthusiast

“Deliciously precise, marked by a green apple freshness that isn’t just a flavor; it’s a feeling. Apple informs its lifted scent, its purity of flavor and also its driving energetic movement. The textures draw to a close through the lens of citrus, lemon and lemon pith, a drawstring of focus and detail. A great aperitif, it would pair beautifully with lemon risotto as well.”

2013 Raventos i Blanc “Silencis”, Xarello, Conca del Rui Anoia, Spain | $25/btl | 92 points by Wine Advocatesilencis 6 White Wines You Should Drink This Summer

“Apple notes, smoky, flinty, bread dough and a salty, mineral finish with superb acidity and freshness. Pure acid, fruit juice with an electric feeling in the palate. A superb Mediterranean Xarello that should develop well.”


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Wine Glass Essentials

When you go for tastings at your favorite vineyard or eat dinner at the local wine bar, you’ll likely notice many different glasses for vino varietals. Seeing all of them can be overwhelming, and you may feel as though your own kitchen cabinets are lacking. However, there are only three glasses that you really need. Continue reading

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The 12th Day of Rioja – The 12 Grapes of the New Year

12 grapes The 12th Day of Rioja –  The 12 Grapes of the New Year  Those of you who have been lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Spain are familiar with the tradition of eating “12 lucky grapes” as the clock strikes midnight. If you have no idea what we are talking about, read on as we explain where this bizarre tradition originated and what it entails.

12 grapes2 The 12th Day of Rioja –  The 12 Grapes of the New Year  Although many believe the tradition of eating the 12 lucky grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve originated in 1909 due to a bumper crop of white grapes in the Almeria, Murcia and Alicante regions, there are reports that date the tradition back to the late 1800’s.  During those times, families who were well off would often eat grapes and drink champagne to celebrate the New Year. In an effort to ridicule this ‘snobby’ tradition, a group of working class ‘madrileños’ gathered at the Spanish capital’s Puerta del Sol square to eat their grapes and sip their champagne. Today thousands of people meet at the Puerta del Sol to see in the New Year, singing, dancing and, of course, stuffing their 12 grapes in their mouths whilst downing glasses of bubbles.

According to tradition, it is believed that whoever eats their 12 grapes as the bells chime (one for each of the twelve chimes) will have a lucky and prosperous year.

In this spirit, we are offering free shipping with any case (12 bottles) of Rioja Wine!

Thank you for participating in our 12 Days of Rioja celebration & we hope you have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year!

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