Thursday, July 29, 2010

Una Bella Serata Tra Amici, Buon Vino e Bocce ( Bocci & Wine at Poolside) at TRUMP (Where's Donald?) Philip S. Kampe

It's 87 degrees outside, smmer time in the BIG CITY.
And who else would venture in the middle of the summer, other than TEdwards ,"The True Unusual Wine Tasting Location GURUS" to
host a Trade tasting of their Portfolio of Italian wines at the new Trump Soho.

Imagine sipping TEdwards standout Prosecco, "FAGHER" Valdobbiadene DOC ( $13.99) by Le Colture, while playing Bocci on the rooftop of this elegant building.

Warm weather makes my taste buds think of FIANO del SANNIO, a favorite from Campania. This wine was produced by Fattoria la Rivolta. At $$19.99 a bottle, FIANO del SANNIO DOC 2009, is a wonderful, full bodied wine that rivals the best whites from Italy.
What a standout at a realistic price.!

Having spent alot of time in Umbria, I decided to sample a 2009 GRECHETTO dei COLLI MARTANI DOC ($13.99) from Fattoria di Milziade Antano. This white wine is full of character, due to the grechetto grape. The wine was dry, yet full of acidity with citrus overtones. The long mineral finish was pleasing. This is certainly a wine to stock-up on for warm summer nights, as well a winter dinner parties..

Sticking with wines from Umbria, the red wine I always desire is a Sagrantino from Montefalco.
Bingo, a 2004 SAGRANTINO di MONTEFALCO DOCG from Fatorria di Milziade Antano appeared. Considered by me, to be the "KING of SOUTHERN ITALIAN REDS", this wine had all of the attributes of a true Sagrantino: deep cherry fruit, licorice, plum with grilled figs.
Robert Parker gave this KING of SOUTHERN REDS 94 points.
At $59.99, it is a bargain!

Of course the 2004 BRUNELLO di MONTALCINO DOCG produced by La Palazzetta from Toscana at $52.99 is a true rival of the Sagrantino.

Many notable wines were tasted, followed by a few standout sweet wines.
I loved the 2009 MOSCATO d'ASTI DOCG by Bricco Del Sole at $18.99 a 750ml bottle and the VERLIT PASSITO DOC 2006 by Marco Cecchini/D'Orsaria at $17.99.

I guess it's time to join the Green team for the Bocci tournament.
I heard DONALD TRUMP may be playing for the Red team.
You never know in New York!

If Donald Trump actually appeared, I would lead him to
the FRANCHETTI IGT 2008 produced by PASSOPISCIARO and presented by Elena Capobianco.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


2009 in Spain, was marked with great heat and little rain.

Many regions in Spain labeled 2009 'A DROUGHT YEAR".

In dry (drought) years, the Best Wines come from soil types that can retain water.

Converesely, in wet years, the Best Wines come from easy draining soil types, like sand, gravel, steep slopes and river stones.

Heat is another factor that determines quality.

High elevation vineyards escaped the 100+ heat and were blessed with cooler nights.

In 2009, vineyards with higher elevation and access to water made the Best Wines. Both the clay dominated Ribera del Duero and Rioja Alta come to mind.

High elevation vineyards, fertile soil types, old vines with deep root systems are the key factors determing success in 2009.

In 2008 the vintage would be considered a "COOL VINTAGE" in Spain.

The harvest in 2008 took place two to three weeks later than usual due to the cooler than average summer. The late harvest allowed the winegrowers to pick grapes that are Bright in Aromas with good Acidity and Ripe Tannins.

The 2008 wines will have bright floral expression coupled with an exceptional ripeness.

The following wines come from balanced climates that had access to water in 2009.

The 2008 wines I chose are outstanding, primarily due to the craft of the winemaker.


All of the wines are available and should be in your local wineshop.

If you have trouble locating the wines, go to for information, location and prices or visit , who distributes many of these MUST BUY Wines.

Grape Varietal: 60% Verdejo, 40% Viura
Suggested Price: $ 10.99
Wine Advocate: 87 Points

The wine has a pale green straw color. The nose is full of herbs, flowers and minerals. Strong citrus notes dominate the mineral and herb undertone. The wine has an exceptionally long finish.
At $10.99, this wine is a true bargain.

Grape Varietal: 50% Tempranillo, 50% Garnacha
Suggested Price: $ 11.99

This bargain priced wine has high minerality on the nose. Cortijo Rosado is a rather dry wine with strawberry overtones on the palate. The finish is long and memorable.
This value wine has good structure and balance.
A true value at $11.99.


PAPA 2009
Grape Varietal: 100% Godello
Wine Advocate 90 Points
Suggested Price: $ 16.99

PAPA 2009 is a very special, interesting wine that has it's own taste, thanks to the GODELLO grape. The wine is intense, dry and a palate pleaser with mango, pineapple and lime mineral overtones. The wine is very complex with hints of buttered popcorn and pear.

PELTA 2008
Grape Varietal: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Monastrell
Wine Advocate 88 points
Suggested Price: $ 9.99

The scent of blackberries and blueberries dominate the nose. This rich and deep wine has juicy dark fruit overtones on the palate. The finish is both fresh and bright.
A true treat at $9.99 a bottle.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Exopto (BIG BANG) 2008
DO: Rioja Alavesa
Grape Varietal: 50% Garnacha, 40% tempranillo, 10% Graciano
Wine Advocate 90 Points
Suggested Price: $19.99

Deep purple in color, this exceptional wine has a rich nose that smells like expresso mixed with tobacco and blueberries. The complexity of the acidity on the palate mixes well with the intense, structured wine. BIG BANG has an unusually long, pleasing finish.
This is a great wine to cellar and drink within the next five years.


Many other Spanish wines are Worth Buying from the 2009 and 2008 crop.

A few wines to look for include:

MUTI 2009, 100% Albarino from Rias Baixas ( November arrival)

ULTREIA St. JACQUES 2009, 100% Mencia from Bierzo (October arrival)

VICO 2008, 100% Mencia from Bierzo (October arrival)


Top 5 players of our EWBC wine quiz - Austria #3

Look who is going to get our books and t-shirts for this month's Austrian wine quiz.
The top 5 players are here. Congratulations to you all. Great job!






A new wine EWBC wine quiz is going to be posted today. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about Austria and its lovely wines.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


ARGENTINE Wine Expots have grown EXPONENTIALLY for the past five years.

In 2009 alone, wine exports from SALTA to PATAGONIA were UP 33%.

Dollar for dollar, more quality wines are being exported from Argentina than any other South American country, including Chile.

AREGENTINA's wine production is now FIFTH in the world, due, to foreign investment.
Over 1200 miles of vineyards are planted throughout Argentina, with the Mendoza region producing nearly 80% of the countries wines. Mendoza rests along the Andes, where irrigation from the mountains and high altitudes are favorable for growth.
AREGENTINA has a very notable white grape varietal named TORRONTES.
Last night, I opened a bottle of LA LINDA TORRONTES 2009 produced by BODEGA LUIGI BOSCA from the Mendoza region. The yellow-greenish colored wine had a bouguet that was dominated by a very FLORAL lavender- orange aroma, followed by a fruity, concentrated, acidic, flavor that made me feel like I was drinking a true summer wine.
LA LINDA TORRONTES 2009 was a DOUBLE GOLD WINNER at the NextGen Wine Competion, beating out 700 other white wines.
At 14.2% alcohol and at $9.99 a bottle, this 89 point Robert Parker selection is a TRUE HIT.
Serve overly chilled..
The second wine of the evening that was poured was a LUIGI BOSCA MALBEC RESERVA 2007 , which retails at $19.99 a bottle. This wine was produced from Malbec grapes of low yielding vines planted at the foothills of the Andes. The 3,500 foot vineyard lies in Lujan de Cuyo, an area of Mendoza.
This LUIGI BOSCA MALBEC 2007 RESERVA has a very round body and is ruby in color with aromas of coffee, pepper, lavender and fig. Aged in oak casks, this 2007 Malbec Reserva is supple and ripe with dark fruit and a medium body.
At 90 points from thw Wine Spectator, this elegent wine is a steal.
NOW, is the time to support the WINES OF ARGENTINA!


Sunday, July 18, 2010


JOIN the FRENCH WINE SOCIETY for a FREE Webinar on Monday, July 19th at 12-1pm EST.

The event will be led by Matthew Stubbs, Master of Wine. The Webinar will deal with 10 good reasons why the Languedoc-Roussillon should be considered as your wine choice, whether you are a buyer, importer or consumer.

To Register for this Free Event, visit:

As you already know, I am a fan with all of the wines from France's largeest wine region. The whites, roses, reds, sparkling and sweet wines are all affordable, quality wines.

You must REGISTER Prior to the event to receive WEBINAR instructions.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

VALDO Spumanti...Since 1926..Italy's Most Innovative Prosecco by Philip S. Kampe

It's 91 degrees and sunny today.
Summer has arrived and so has my thirst.

There are so many summer drink options to deal with.
Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Beer, Campari, St. Germaine and Prosecco come to mind.

I am entertaining a half dozen people tonight and decided to serve only sparkling beverages.
VALDO Spumanti came to mind, as I remember learning about and tasting their products at a wine tasting several months before.

Today is my opportunity to shine.
And VALDO is the answer.

VALDO opened their doors in 1926.

VALDO's winery is located in the center of VALDOBBIADENE, hence the name, VALDO.

The vineyards are located in the TREVISO province.

The vineyard occupies 40,000 hillside acres, of which 10,000 are planted with vines.

The vineyard is sheltered from the north by the Dolomites, but receives breezes from the Adriatic Sea..

VALDO is located in the center of the D.O.C. Prosecco production area.

VALDO began it's history in 1926 and was named the SOCIETA ANONIMA VINI SUPERIORI.
In the 1940's, the BOLLA family purchased the vineyard.

Today, Dr. PIERLUIGI BOLLA is the Proprieter.

GINO CINI is the winemaker.

One-third of the FIVE million bottles of Prosecco produced is exported.
The sparkling wines that make VALDO so exceptional are due to the care that is taken through the production stages: the perfect ripening of the grapes, the Charmat fermentation method and the new technology regarding bottling and packaging.

I chose FOUR Valdo Sparkling Wines for my summer evening.




VALDO NERELLO MASCALESE BRUT ROSE is a perfect blend of two typical Italian grapes, the Sicilian black berry Nerello Mascalese blended with the Prosecco grape. Roses are now considered 'trendy wines' and this young wine personifies trend. The grapes are soft pressed and go through Charmant fermentation for three months in stainless steel tanks.
The color of the rose is like rose petals. The nose is floral with a hint of raspberry. On the palate, a fruity taste prevails. This 12% alcohol sparkling wine, with it's tiny bubbles is elegant.
At $12.99 a bottle, this fantastic rose is a pure steal. 89 points PSK
VALDO PROSECCO BRUT D.O.C. is a very well balanced, straw-colored Prosecco that has a disinguished fruity bouquet. Made from 100% Prosecco grapes, this sparkling wine is an ideal apertif that can be served throughout the meal and is a perfect sparkling wine for seafood.
Prosecco Brut D.O.C. is easy to drink, versatile and has an unusual fresh quality. At $9.99 a bottle and 12% alcohol, Prosecco Brut D.O.C. is a true bargain. 87 points PSK
VALDO CUVEE di BOJ PROSECCO D.O.C.G. is made with selected grapes from the
" Valle dei Buoi", an age old extraordinary viticulture area that has southern exposure. The Cuvee follows the Charmant fermentation method for five months and then is aged in the bottle for an additional three months. The result is a Great Valdobbiadene Superiore D.O.C.G. Cuvee. The Cuvee di Boj is gold in color with small perlage (bubbles). The bouquet is floral with pear overtones. The palate detects a slight fruit flavor followed with a savory, peppery taste. Cuvee di Boj Prosecco is an elegant wine that can stand up with the best Prosecco's in the world. At 11.5% alcohol, this $15.99 bottle of Prosecco is a sound investment.
I would buy a case at thie price. 91 points PSK
VALDO CUVEE FONDATORE PROSECCO D.O.C.G. is a special Prosecco that has been dedicated to the company founder and Prosecco advocate, Sergio Bolla. The grapes are manually harvested during the second half of September and go through a soft pressing and fermentation. This wine is made from 90% Prosecco and 10% Chardonnay. The Chardonnay is refined in oak caskets, while the Prosecco goes through the Charmant fermentation method for 12 months in steel tanks and then is transferred into bottles and is aged for an additional six months. The result is a 12.5% straw-yellow wine with gold reflections. The bouquet is a mix of vanilla, honey, hazelnut and ripe fruit. On the palate, a spicy fruit flavor is detected with an oak barrel vanilla overtone. The wine is very complex. Cuvee Fondatore Prosecco retails for $19.99 a bottle.
It is worth every penny plus some. 92 points PSK
In summary, VALDO makes some of the World's Finest Prosecco's, which are all available at your local wineshop or online. Visit VALDO's website for information on their product line at .
Pasternak Wines is the U.S.Importer. You can find valuable information on their website, including tasting notes, etc., at


Sunday, July 18th: "BASTILLE DAY, BROOKLYN STYLE" by Philip S.Kampe

On Sunday, July 18th, BASTILLE DAY BROOKLYN will be celebrated in locations near and including BAR TABAC Restaurant, located at 128 Smith Street.

The annual event drew 14,000 visitors last year, with more expected this year.

The Bastille Day festivities begin at noon and will last until 10pm.

The event will highlight music, games, food and of course, wine.

Look for the Sud de France team. They will have a festive tent where ambassadors will offer tastings of Sud de France wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. They will hold a raffle (tombola) with prizes of bags of French goodies.

You will be free to play petanque, a national sport of France, where 17 million French enthusiasts normally play in the summer months.

There will be numerous food vendors selling grilled and unique French food.

Bastille Day in Brooklyn is a family event, well worth attending.

"A CELEBRATION OF ORGANIC WINES FROM THE SUD de FRANCE" takes place on Tuesday, July 20th (7:30-9:30pm) at Le Pain Quotidien United Nations, located at 937 Second Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in New York City.

The cost is $32.50 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Sud de France and Le Pain Quotidien will host a three course meal, paired with Mediterranean Organic Wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France.

Following the meal, there will be a discussion on the impact of organic viticulture with regional organic wine specialists.

To attend, you must reserve by either calling (646) 233-3768
or via e-mail:

Visit: for Updates on French activities throughout the World!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And Now For Something NEW!

To say that Prince Edward County is a “hopping place” might be a bit of an understatement – and the growth is in more than just hospitality fields. The Economic Development Office for Prince Edward County always seems to have something on the go and they are constantly on the move. If you want to see what I mean, follow @CreativeDanT and @CreativeKarinD on Twitter – they are constantly up to something…and in a very positive way for Prince Edward County. When I asked Dan last week how many wineries were opening between now and the end of the year in Prince Edward County, his quick count came up with between six and eight new wineries opening bringing the total number of wineries to around thirty or slightly more. That means that, in the four short years since Prince Edward County received official DVA (Designated Viticultural Area) status from the Province of Ontario, they have more than doubled the total number of wineries found in the previous DVA to receive status – Lake Erie North Shore.

So, on Monday, June 21st, I decided to make a trip out to Prince Edward County. Now, I have done this trip many times in the past but my focus that day was slightly different. I did have a couple of stops I had to include – like buying a case of Pinot Noir from my friends at Lacey Estates Vineyard and Winery which was definitely a happy necessity – but my plan was that I needed to stop and check out some of those six to eight wineries that have opened already this summer. My first stop was at Hillier Creek Estates on Stapleton Road – a winery I have been watching transform over the years. In the Fall of 2000, Amber and Kemp Stewart purchased the property that is now Hillier Creek Estates. Though the property had not been inhabited for 15 years, the land had quite a bit of history, tracing its roots to the Loyalist days of the County. The barn, now used as our winery, cellar, and tasting room, outdates us all. Estimated to be over 150 years old, the original barn was built directly on the ground. After its purchase by the current owners, it was necessary to raise the barn in order to complete renovation and restoration. A cribbing system was used to hold and suspend the barn, alternating timbers four inches at a time. Upon raising the barn, it was discovered that there were two underground streams, which necessitated the building of a 9000-gallon cistern below the patio. The finished foundation stabilized the structure in 2008, and the barn was completed in 2009. Their winemaker is Lauren Horlock and I remember her work from her days at Oak Heights Estate Winery and it was Lauren who took me through the portion of Hillier Creek’s portfolio that uses either estate or Prince Edward County fruit. Eventually, Lauren hopes they will be 100% estate or County fruit but for a few more years at least, they will have to bring in certain varietals from other areas in the province – namely the Vidal grapes for their award winning Icewine. Of the four wines I tasted – Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir – three of them were made up of 100% estate fruit. What that means is that the all of the grapes that went into the Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have been grown on the lands that the winery owns. The grapes for the Gamay are 100% Prince Edward County fruit so those grapes came from elsewhere in The County. While I enjoyed all of these wines, there were two that I was particularly drawn to – the Chardonnay, which is not an easy task for any winemaker when it comes to my palate, and the Gamay. The Chardonnay was made from 100% estate fruit, and you could see the very vines that were used as you looked out onto the patio from the tasting bar. Aromas of apple, melon and just a touch of strawberry – which was the part that surprised me, but, yes, Strawberry. The palate was a continuation of the very same aromas which made it less than a typical Chardonnay. It had great balance, lovely acidity and a unique finish which is rather refreshing in a region that is rapidly become as known for its Chardonnay’s as it is for its Pinot Noir’s. On the other end of the scale was a very unique Gamay Noir and it was that uniqueness that drew me to it. Gamay Noir is typically one of the lightest wines made in North America and it can be rather one dimensional with simply fruit flavours. While that can be quite enjoyable when you want an uncomplicated wine on a summer afternoon, it is nice to see a winemaker try to stretch their wings with this grape and add some extra dimensions to what is in the bottle. Now, to understand where this wine’s uniqueness comes from, you need to first know that for their Pinot Noir, Lauren wanted to use a couple of Canadian Oak barrels made in Prince Edward County. Now, Canadian Oak, for those who are not familiar with it, is the same type of tree as American Oak – it basically comes down to the geographical differences. In general, American Oak can be a heavier type of wood than the wood used in French oak barrels (or European Oak barrels in general) so when new barrels are purchased, depending on the grape, some winemakers may choose to initially put a different wine into the barrel to soften it before putting the originally intended wine in. Pinot Noir is definitely one of those grapes so, in this particular case, Lauren decided to put the Gamay into the Canadian Oak barrels – which were made locally in Prince Edward County as well – for two months to soften the barrels before putting the Pinot Noir in for aging. The resulting differences with the Gamay Noir were quite astounding and it made for one of the most interesting Gamay’s I have ever had made by any winery in this province. There were the typical aromas of cherry and cranberry but there was a distinctive peppery note to the nose. There was also added complexity to the fruit flavours in this wine and a slightly lingering finish which made this wine quite lovely.

My next stop was at Karlo Estates – a place I have visited before, while they were under construction – but this was the first time I had been there since they opened to the public. Richard Karlo is rapidly getting the distinction of being a “Maverick” in the Prince Edward County wine scene and with twenty plus years of experience under his belt as well as awards in every competition he has entered in the past twenty plus years, you know that you are bound to get some amazing wines when you step into the barn at Karlo Estates. On this wonderful sunny Monday morning, as I walked into the barn, Sherry was there to greet me as she was setting up some nibblies to enjoy with the wine. Richard makes wine in a very food friendly style so to show the wines to their best, they take great pride in pairing them with a variety of cheeses, crackers and nuts. First wine up was their 2008 Chardonnay which was made from 100% County fruit. This wine was barrel fermented in French oak and then transferred to County Oak, made by Carriage House Cooperage, for four months before bottling. The wine has this lovely golden yellow colour and the aromatics were an understated medley of apple, pear and a little bit of citrus. The understated aromatics are made up for with a lively, crisp, clean citrus palate and just enough of a lingering finish. Next we moved on to their 2008 Frontenac Gris which was made in a Rose style from grapes (Frontenac Gris) that were developed in Quebec to withstand temperatures of -40°C. Having grapes like this planted in a Prince Edward County vineyard means that you do not have to hill them up in the fall to prevent frost damage and winter kill unlike a lot of the other grapes that are planted here. There is an amber, almost copper colour to this wine and aromas that actually remind me of a young Madeira – caramel, grapefruit and slight vanilla. The palate is very fruit forward with just a touch of sweetness and it finishes off with a flourish of key lime. We paired this up with La Rumeur, which is a double cream French Brie – YUM!

Our next step were Richard’s much anticipated red wines – Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and a Bordeaux blend which has yet to be released. The 2008 Malbec has a lovely purply red colour and dark fruit with a hit of spice, vanilla and cedar on the nose. This wine has a medium mouthfeel, with flavours of dark fruit, cedar and spice. There are smooth tannins and excellent balance and this wine is a great accompaniment to Asiago cheese, and not so bad with Cheddar cheese. The 2008 Cabernet Franc was made using fruit from the same vineyard on Wilson Road that Richard used for his 2008 Chardonnay. In both the aromas and the flavours, there is lots of dark fruit with hints of floral and chocolate. There is a big mouthfeel to this wine – in face, even before you take that first sip you can taste the flavours of fruit, spice, violets and a nice string of acidity up the sides of your tongue. This wine paired wonderfully with spicy salami and old cheddar. The next wine up was the 2008 Merlot which actually spent an extra six weeks on the vine past the “normal” picking time making even the seeds riper. As a result, this wine had an almost chocolate brown colour with a garnet ruby hue to it with aromas of earth and tobacco. There was a great big, mouthfeel to this wine and it paired amazingly with both Kalamata Olives and Cheddar Cheese. Now, our final red wine of the tasting is something extra special – and Richard has yet to release this so, when he does, make sure to get your hands on this. They are calling the wine Quintas and it is a Bordeaux blend of five grapes. It is a 50/50 blend of Niagara and Prince Edward County fruit with the following breakdown – Cabernet Franc from Prince Edward County and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Sirah from Niagara. It has this captivating purply red colour with an inky black hue and there is a real complexity to the aromas but without any one aroma being overpowering. The aromas of floral, dark fruit, tobacco, earthiness and a hint of chocolate translate on to the palate seamlessly where it shows a great balance of acidity and flavours. Now, some people wonder why Richard chose to use grapes from Niagara and not concentrate on Prince Edward County fruit – or even fruit from his own estate. To understand the rationale behind his decision, you need to understand that Richard and Sherry are firm believers and supporters of abolishing the Cellared in Canada wine system that currently exists in Ontario and British Columbia. If you are on Facebook, Sherry created a group a couple of years ago called Boycott Cellared in Canada Wines and, with over 1300 members currently, this has rapidly become one of the largest voices on this subject. Unfortunately, even with our voices, grape growers in Niagara are still having to let a lot of their grapes fall because they are not able to get contracts for them. So, Richard and Sherry came up with a plan – help out some of those grape growers by buying their grapes and making a very traditional Bordeaux blend using the five grape blend instead of the regular three. Boy, are we ever glad Richard came up with this plan and, when he is ready to release this wine, there will be a great many people who will be equally happy to get their hands on this blend.

Now, that is not the end to this story – we still have dessert to enjoy. Two wines – one from Frontenac Gris grapes and one from Frontenac Noir. Both equally delicious and both are going to make people stand up and take notice. Now, the 2008 Frontenac Gris Dessert wine is one I would highly recommend any person try who regularly says “I don’t like sweet wines”. This wine is made from 100% estate grown fruit and it is not your typical dessert wine. It has an almost smoky aroma accompanied by aromas of persimmons, apricot and cinnamon. The palate is very expressive and just when you think it is about to become sickly sweet, the acidity kicks in and brings it right back to a crisp clean finish. This wine was great with soft cheeses but it would do just as well on its own. Now comes the final wine – Richard’s Frontenac Noir 2008 Tawny Port Style. Believe me when I say that if you are even remotely interested in Port or Port Style wines, you need to get on Richard’s reservation list for this wine. Sherry indicated that Richard is contemplating the idea of doing a Port program – the only one in Prince Edward County and possibly all of Ontario – and, if he does, what a treat that will be for wine lovers in Ontario. This particular Port style wine, which Sherry took my picture of while enjoying a glass of it, had this amazing nutty nose with hints of chocolate, caramel and floral. The palate was silky smooth with a slightly nutty character and it paired beautifully with walnuts and cheddar cheese.

As much as I would have loved to stay the entire afternoon with Sherry and Richard, I did have two more stops I had to make before heading back home. My next stop was at The Old Third Vineyard who specializes solely in Pinot Noir. They are currently pouring their 2008 vintage and right from the second the wine hit my glass, I was captivated. The colour is this delightful brick red but with a slight hint of orange to it. The aromas were very fruity with just a hint of spice while the palate was very fruit forward with tons of complexity in the mid to back palate and into the finish. There was just a touch of oak to this wine and Bruno revealed to me that only 20% of his barrels are new French Oak so the wine does not become overpowered with oak aging. The part I love the most about this particular wine is the string of spicy acidity that weaves its way through this wine right to the lingering finish. Now, Bruno also gave me a sneak peak at the 2009 vintage which is shaping up to be just as delicious as the 2008 vintage and a special treat – a dessert style Pinot Noir. He will not be releasing either for a while but, when he does, get some quick because they will not stick around on his shelves for any length of time.

My final stop was more for picking up wine then trying anything new but I would hate it if any of you – my loyal readers – were to miss out on this so I am adding in my personal recommendation on this winery. I have been here many times before – I have even helped harvest their grapes with hands that have gone almost black from the Baco Noir juice. Today, I was on a mission, for my guy just as much as myself, to pick up a case of the as yet unreleased 2008 Pinot Noir from Lacey Estates Vineyard and Winery. Instead of trying any at the tasting bar I waited until I was home with my guy and we cracked open the first bottle from that case. Aromas of chocolate and cherries and leather and just a hint of smoke poured out from the bottle. The palate is very fruit forward but it is balanced out with just a touch of oak. The firm tannins on the finish shows that this wine, while drinking really great now, will definitely reward if you want to put this down for a couple of years.

So, the next time you want to take a road trip – or have a weekend away - and try some of Ontario’s great local wineries, take a look at Prince Edward County. With all of their wineries, plus the other small business opening up, this is an area that is hip and happening and full of delicious little goodies to tempt your palate with. Cheers,

The Stars of Ontario are Shining

I love the month of June in Ontario – well, more specifically, I love the middle week of June in Ontario. A few years ago, our provincial government decided that the second week in June every year would be designated Ontario Wine Week. It was a nice gesture on their part – too bad they still have tons more to do to help out Ontario wineries. To coincide with Ontario Wine Week, Tony Aspler and the Ontario Wine Awards competition holds a tasting during Ontario Wine Week to showcase the winners of his prestigious awards – now that is something to look forward to. If you are passionate about, or have ever been curious about, Ontario wines, then this tasting is definitely not one you ever want to miss.

This year, instead of being at their usual home of the Distillery District, the Sip & Savour Ontario tasting was held at the Pantages Hotel in downtown Toronto. Prior to the walk around tasting, they also held three tasting seminars focusing on three grapes that Ontario excels at making – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and, my favourite, Riesling. Each seminar was led my someone who is highly esteemed in working with the particular grape in question – Bill Redelmeier for Chardonnay, due to his efforts in organizing the Chardonnay tasting at London House back in May, Norman Hardie for Pinot Noir due largely to his pioneering efforts in Prince Edward County and Natalie Reynolds for Riesling due to her focus on Ontario Riesling at her winery, Thirty Bench Winemakers. Having already had multiple discussions with Bill and Norm over the years on their particular subjects, I took advantage of the Riesling seminar opportunity and sat in on a tasting that included two gold medal wines, one silver medal and one bronze medal winner from this year’s Ontario Wine Awards competition. Although I had never had the opportunity to meet Natalie prior to that day, I discovered rather quickly that she and I share a couple of opinions when it comes to Rieslings. Both of us prefer Rieslings made with Weis Clone 21B and both of us recommend picking up Rieslings that are under $20 because, not only are they good value in general, after a few years of proper aging, they will become something spectacular.

Of the four wines that were in the seminar, my favourite ended up being the silver medal winner – Tawse Winery 2009 Sketches of Niagara Riesling. At $18 a bottle, which was not the lowest priced wine either (in case you were wondering), and a blend of mostly Weis Clone 21B with a slight amount of Clone 49, this wine had aromas and flavours that were not overpowering but not overstated. A combination of citrus and stone fruit with a string of minerality, this wine was the most balanced of the four in the seminar. The others were either lacking something or came off too strongly – the Tawse Winery Riesling was absolutely perfect.

Now on to the main tasting – the walk around featuring the various wineries of Ontario. Although there were a lot of the regular favourites, I wanted to go into this tasting looking for wines I had never tried before or wineries I had never visited before. Well, of the twenty five or so wineries in attendance, only one winery was brand new to me so that was my first stop for the day – Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowrey Vineyards. This is a very small winery, and most of their fruit is sold to another winery, but the Lowrey family keeps five rows to themselves to make wines from for customers who appreciate a fine wine and having that extra something special to open up for friends and family. While all of the wines they had on the table were quite lovely, the two that impressed me the most were their 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2007 Pinot Noir. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was a silver medal winner in this year’s Ontario Wine Awards and it is a very well rounded, enjoyable wine. Aromas of blueberry, cherry and vanilla with flavours of jam with soft tannins and great balance. The 2007 Pinot Noir was completely different from the Cabernet Sauvignon – as it should be – but was equally delicious. Aromas of berry, earth and a slight whiff of tobacco which continues on to the palate where it shows great balance and just enough tannins to age this wine for many years if you like.

While there were plenty great white wines in this tasting, there were two that stood out that day – a white blend from a virtual winery and a single varietal from a celebrity winery. The white blend is Nyarai Cellars 2009 Trois – a blend of Viognier, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has great aromatics – not too subtle but not overpowering either – and the flavours are a delicious combination of stone, tropical and citrus fruit. It has great power and a nice, lingering finish but it is not so “in your face” that it is unbearable either. The single varietal wine from the celebrity winery was Mike Weir Wines 2008 Chardonnay. A few years ago I did an article on all of the celebrity wineries popping up in Ontario and, naturally, Mike Weir Wines were included in that article. That was before Mike had decided to change from Creekside Estate Winery and move to Chateau des Charmes and, although I did find the wines enjoyable then, there is a difference that is noticeable and quite enjoyable. This particular vintage was bright and lively, even with being slightly over chilled, and it seemed to continue endlessly. This was just one of those wines that, even if you were serving it to a wine snob who “would never” drink a celebrity wine, would even be surprised.

So, the next time you are deciding which bottle of wine to open for dinner – or with family and friends on your deck on the weekend – take a serious look at the wines of Ontario. Our winemakers are making some amazing wines and, although they may not all be available in your local wine store, all of these wineries are more than happy to deliver the wines to your doorstep…or your office desk. Cheers,

Can You Tell The Difference?

The Wine Australia Comparative Masterclass is always a very interesting tasting to go to. Wine Australia loves to “test” those of us who attend to see if we can pick out which wines are Australia and which are from other wine regions that make wines using the same grapes and this year’s Masterclass included wines from Australia as well as France, California and Ontario. Some of the foreigners were easy to pick out while others were just a little bit difficult so, if you are not someone who can pick out a specific wine region based on what you are tasting, don’t worry because even some of us seasoned professionals can have difficulty doing this as well. There were four flights of wines – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon – with five different wines in each flight, except for the Shiraz/Syrah category that had six different wines to taste. In each flight, there was three (or four in the one flight’s case) that were from various regions within Australia and two international wines from regions that are considered to be “benchmarks” in the particular flight we are tasting.

Naturally, we started the tasting with the flight of Chardonnays – one from Margaret River, one from Mornington Peninsula and one from Adelaide Hills with the imports being from California and Burgundy. Of the five wines, I did have two favourites – the Chardonnay from Yabby Lake Vineyards and the 2008 M3 from Shaw & Smith Tasting Room. Both of these wines had a tropical fruit quality to them but that is where the similarities ended. The Chardonnay from Yabby Lake had a distinctive but not overpowering salty quality to it. Considering the vineyards proximity to the Ocean, the salty sea and air is giving this wine its saltiness. There was also a smoky nose to this wine – like Applewood Smoked Cheddar – and, overall, the wine had great balance despite a strong presence of oak aging. On the other end of the scale, the 2008 M3 from Shaw & Smith had this wonderful, big mouthfeel but still showed some restraint to its flavours. It was like it was trying to be this huge, complex wine but then the winemaker reigned it in and made it this elegant, great drinking wine. If you like old movies, think of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady when you drink this wine. It’s like the process Professor Henry Higgins goes through to transform Eliza from her original self into a classy lady – Eliza is the wine trying to fight free from the restraints and Henry Higgins is the winemaker reigning her in when she starts to go too far. In the end Henry Higgins won the battle and that is what this wine does as you are tasting it.

Next we move on to the Pinot Noir flight where we have wines from Mornington Peninsula again, Yarra Valley and Tasmania alongside a wine from Burgundy and Ontario. My favourite was from the Yarra Valley – a 2008 from Oakridge Wines – that just stood out as being completely different from every other wine in that flight. While there was some berry fruit flavours and aromas to this wine there is an unmistakable earthy quality which none of the other wines really seemed to bring to the table. There was one other wine in this flight that deserves an “honourable mention” and that is the Yabby Lake Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir. The vines for this wine were planted in 1998 and you can get a real sense of development from this wine that the other wines do not quite have. A variety of flavours and aromas including black fruit, vegetal, tobacco, chocolate and beet root with incredible balance makes this wine rather nice to enjoy.

Our next flight was of six Shiraz/Syrah’s from McLaren Vale, Victoria, Hunter Valley and Barossa Valley with the Northern Rhone and Sonoma Coast mixed in for diversity. My favourite came from the Barossa Valley and it was the 2005 Schild Estate Morrorroo Limited Release Shiraz. Out of all of the six wines in this flight, this wine was the most developed in flavours and aromas and one of the tastiest wines of the afternoon. Aromas of coffee and dark fruit, even the nose smells complex. The palate is jammy and fruity with smooth tannins and a good string of acidity to give this wine really great balance. I do remember hearing several people simply say “YUM” as we tasted this wine and I have to agree – that’s the best way to describe this wine.

Our final flight of the tasting was the Cabernet Sauvignon wines and this is where something surprising happened. First off, when I think Cabernet Sauvignon – and it is not a wine I drink on a regular basis – Australia is not really a region I think of. However, that’s part of the point – the people behind Wine Australia wanted to expand our horizons and, essentially, give Australia a chance when it comes to choosing Cabernet Sauvignon’s for our dinner tables. Now, as I said above, Cabernet Sauvignon is not a wine I enjoy on a regular basis but I am always open to trying them and have found a few I enjoy over the years. Surprisingly, although California is known for great Cabernet Sauvignon, up until this tasting, I had yet to find a California Cab that I really enjoyed. Equally surprising is that side by side with the California Cab I enjoyed, I found a great Cabernet from Coonawarra that I enjoyed just as much if not more. The Australian Cab – from Katnook Estate – was the 2005 their Limited Release Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon. It had pleasant aromas of berries, dark fruit and a slight hint of floral. The mouthfeel was full and expressive and very enticing with flavours of dark berries, plums, vanilla, coffee and chocolate and a nice string of acidity winding through the mid palate to the lingering finish.

Now, in case you are curious, my California Cab find at this tasting was the Joseph Phelps 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Pinot Noir flight was very nice but since the French comparison was from Burgundy, it would have been nice to see how a Prince Edward County Pinot Noir compared to the others as opposed to the Niagara Pinot Noir that was chosen. Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy the Niagara Pinot Noir and, in 5-7 years from now I am sure it will be really enjoyable, but just as a personal preference, most of my favourite Pinot Noir’s come from Prince Edward County. As for the Chardonnay flight, it was interesting to see how the three Australian versions compared to a powerhouse like a California Chardonnay – the results were quite impressive. Either way, the next time you are in your local wine shop, give the Australian section a try – you may find something you really like that you have not tried before.

An Afternoon at C5 Restaurant

Have you ever walked up to the Royal Ontario Museum and wondered what was with that thing “growing” off the side of the building? That giant Crystal like formation that gives the ROM it’s uniquely modern feel now? Have you ever wondered what’s inside that Crystal? Well, on the fifth floor – the top floor – of the Michael Lee Chin Crystal you find C5 Restaurant. So, why was I there one sunny afternoon in early June? Well, I was attending a wine pairing lunch with the Wines of Portugal, specifically those of the A9 Fenadegas, which is a Portuguese cooperative of wineries. The A9 Fenadegas has 27 associate wineries spread across Portugal and, on this particular day, we were pairing seven of their best with the food prepared by the talented culinary team of C5 Restaurant.

As I arrived at the tasting, and saw many of my colleagues already gathered, I was handed a glass of Favaios Favaito Moscatel (Douro) to enjoy with the passed hors d’ouevres in the room. While I did not have any of the appetizers, I did sample the Moscatel and found it to be quite enjoyable. Normally I would not start a tasting with a sweet wine like a Moscatel but this was refreshing and light. I found it similar in “weight” to a Canadian Late Harvest wine with flavours of stewed fruit and a hint of tropical fruit to balance it out.

Moving into the actual luncheon, we had five glasses sitting in front of us. Looking at the menu, we saw that with the first course – BC Wild Halibut Cheek & Scallion Pancake - we were going to be pairing it with two white wines – Veercoope Via Latina Alvarinho 2009 (Vinho Verde) and Adega Pegoes Selected Harvest 2009 (Peninsula de Setubal). Okay, before I go any further, let me explain how these names work since they can be a tad confusing. The first word (or in the case of the second wine, the first two words) are the winery name. The second set of words, prior to the vintage, is the wines name. Thirdly you see the vintage the grapes were picked in and then the word or words in brackets are the wine region within Portugal. In some cases, the wine name will contain the grape name but not always. In the case of the first wine, Alvarinho is the grape name but in the second wine there is no grape name provided. It was explained within a few minutes that the second wine was a Chardonnay based blend which, when you take that first sip, you immediately know it is. The first wine had aromas of cut grass and slight citrus. It had a full mouthfeel with a good string of acidity winding through it. It was mostly citrus flavours on the palate but there is a hint of cut grass and a lingering finish that makes this wine thoroughly enjoyable. The second wine had aromas of apples, pears and a touch of melon and tropical fruit. Those aromas continue on to the palate where there is a slight oilyness to the mouthfeel which is slightly mellower than the mouthfeel in the first wine. Now, out of these two wines, the Selected Harvest 2009 from Adega Pegoes was the better of the two, particularly because of the light batter coating the fish (almost like a tempura batter) making it a perfect pairing with any Chardonnay based wine. However, if you tasted the wine specifically with the Scallion Pancake, the Alvarinho from Vinho Verde was the perfect accompaniment.

The main course – a Cumbrae Farms 60 day aged Ribeye with Potasto Hash, Green beans and Piri – was paired with three red wines – Extra Madura Colheita Selectionnada Tinto 2008 (Madura), Vale do Rodo Cabeca de Burro Reserva 2007 (Douro) and Udaca Adro da Se Reserva 2008 (Dao). The first wine had aromas of berry fruit, cedar, a hint of mint and cherries. There is a good string of acidity the whole way through this wine and it has firm tannins throughout. Herbal and berry flavours are trying to peak through but this wine needs food and probably a little bit of time would do it some good as well. The aromas on the second wine are slightly pungent with a distinctive earthiness and mushroom being the predominant scents. The palate still has a lot of tannins, a string of cedar and a slight bitterness on the finish. It is hard to tell if this will develop more with time although, in theory, it will so this wine will improve. In the meantime, this is definitely a wine that needs food so it is good that we are going to be pairing this with steak. The final red wine of the lunch was a real medley of aromas – mint, black fruit, slight cigar – but the palate says this wine still needs A LOT of time. The fruit flavours are trying to peak through so it will develop into something nice but, for the moment, this needs a good steak to make the wine better in its present form. Although all of these wines, on their own, need time to develop, the general consensus at our table of wine writers was that the second wine – Vale do Rodo Cabeca de Burro Reserva 2007 (Douro) – was the most complimentary to the steak we were enjoying. The food did an excellent job at softening the tannins of each of the wines and they were all great pairings but the extra development in the palate of the second wine is what helped it make the pairing the best it could be.

Finally, we moved on to dessert which was a Chocolate and Rhubarb Cheesecake which was paired with a Santa Marta Porto Vintage 2004 (Douro). There were great aromatics on this Port – slight chocolate and dark fruit mostly – and a great string of acidity with the chocolate and fruit gave it good balance. I decided to get a bit creative with this final pairing because the kitchen had sort of deconstructed the cheesecake. Pairing the Port with the Chocolate or with the Chocolate and Grapefruit was a great combination but I found that if you tried just the small grapefruit segment with the Port that the combination was completely off. Luckily I tried that in the beginning so I finished the meal with a decadent mouthful of chocolate, grapefruit and my last little bit of Port – what else can I say but YUM!

Travel to Greece

I am rather behind in my writing but there is an advantage to that – the ability to go back and look at the wines I tasted last month and rediscover my favourites. This blog will be about the Greek tasting that I attended last month in downtown Toronto and the five wineries that I really enjoyed wines from.

Let’s start with the wines of Boutari, which is one of the largest wineries in Greece, running seven different wineries across Naoussa, Goumenissa, Santorini, Crete, Mantinia and Attica as well as Domaine de Mayrac in France. Although there were several wines available on the table and I did enjoy a bunch of them, my favourite was definite the Boutari Moschofilero 2009. All of the aromas were slightly understated but given the complexity of aromas, it made the wine more aromatically balanced than overpowering, which it could have easily been had the aromas been more forceful. Along with slight fruit and slight floral, there was also a touch of clover on the nose giving it “something extra” that the other wines on the table did not seem to have. Those aromas of fruit and floral continued on to the palate where it found a great string of acidity making this wine a real thirst quencher. This wine, which is 100% Moschofilero, would be great as a summer sipper but you could try pairing it with light foods and appetizers as well – maybe some Greek Dolmades if you enjoy Greek food just as much as you enjoy Greek wine.

Next we move to Mediterra Winery and their Mirambelo Reg 2007 which is a blend of 80% Kotsifali and 20% Mandilaria. This wine was smooth and easy drinking – exactly what you want at this time of the year – with aromas and flavours of black fruit and plums. There are fine tannins and cedar notes making this wine incredibly balanced and very tasty. Our next winery is the Parparoussis Winery which is situated near Patras in the northwest part of the Peloponnese. This winery likes to focus on vineyards that are small and privately owned and I got a real sense of this as I was trying their Nemea Reserve 2003. Made from 100% Nemea, this wine has an aroma that can only be described as POWERFUL! Mostly cherries, raspberries and earth, this wine also has a fruit forward palate with a nice string of acidity to balance it out. It is medium bodied and you can tell it has some oak aging behind it but not excessively so, making this wine one of the most intriguing wines I tried this afternoon. The next winery – Semeli – was founded in 1979 and my favourite on the table this day was their Mountain Sun White 2009. Normally a blend of Moschofilero and Roditis, this particular vintage was 100% Moschofilero. It had a floral nose, which continued onto the palate where it joined a hint of clover, a slight waxiness and then finished with a slight tartness. It was crisp and refreshing and everything you want a white wine to be when you are sitting on the deck in the summer sun.

Domaine Sigalas – located on the northern part of the island of Santorini – and their Sigalas Santorini Barrel 2009 was just wonderful. It was made from 100% Assyrtiko and the one aroma and flavour that stuck out the most with this wine is its smoky character. There is a good string of acidity running through the palate and the finish, making it quite enjoyable, but I bet if you had a small sample of Applewood Smoked Cheddar to enjoy this with that the result would be orgasmic. Our final stop was at Domaine Spiropoulos and their Mantinia 2009 was quite captivating. Made from 100% Moschofilero, this wine had a wonderful tropical fruit aroma to it. It had a crisp, clean palate with more of those great tropical fruit flavours and a slightly lingering finish. This was, quite simply, a very enjoyable wine to try and I would love to have more of it while sitting on the deck on a Saturday afternoon.

So, have you ever had a chance to try wines from Greece? A quick check on the LCBO website found more than 50 wines from Greece to choose from ranging in price from $5 a bottle up to almost $60 a bottle. So, the next time you’re planning a dinner party, take a look at the wines of Greece – you may be surprised. By the way, they are meant for pairing with more than just Greek food – try your favourite dishes with these wines as well.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BASTILLE DAY...Part 2 Celebration...JULY 14th at the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City..6:30pm to 1am...JOIN IN THE CELEBRATION! by Philip S. Kampe

Wednesday, July 14th marks BASTILLE DAY, the day the French revolted in 1789 and won their Independence.

FRENCH TUESDAYS, part of New Yorks' Sud de France, managed by Marianna Fabre-Lanvin, is sponsoring an Unbelieveable Bastille Day Celebration on July 14th from 6:30pm to 1am at Long Island City's, famous "Water Taxi Beach".

Tickets are $20 each and can be bought online at: . Tickets must be picked up at the French Tuesday office at 495 Broadway, 7th floor. All of the information is on the website.

If you are not in New York, French Tuesday's is sponsoring the July 14th Bastille Day event in other cities, including Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City. Check out the website for all info, including French Tuesday membership, a must for everyone who loves France and their ongoing Festivities.

The New York Bastille Day Celebration includes music by the French famous recording star, Jean Michel, live performances, games and other attractions.
Wine and food will be available for purchase.

The Water Beach Terminal is located at 34th and FDR Drive ( 400 East 34th).
Transportation is not included.
You can also reach the beach either by subway or car.

The dress code for this event is Business chic, which, unfortunately means no t-shirts, jeans or sneakers. Revolutionary costumes are welcome.

JOIN IN THE BASTILLE DAY CELEBRATION! It will be a night you will never forget!!

++If you are unable to attend, mark Sunday, July 18th on your calendar for Brooklyn's Bastille Day Celebration. More info to come++



Saturday, July 10, 2010

BASTILLE DAY CELEBRATIONS on JULY 11th in New York City..."VIVA la FRANCE" by Philip S. Kampe

BASTILLE DAY is a National Holiday in France. The Holiday celebrates the People's Revolt that took place on July 11th, 1789.

In France, it is considered their Independence Day, much like our own.

It is a Holiday where everyone cries out, "VIVA la FRANCE".


On Sunday, July 11th, an Annual three block fete takes place on 60th Street between 5th Avenue and Lexington from noon to 6pm. The French Themed FETE features petanque, kids activities, delicious treats, music and a myriad of attractions.

Celebrate like the French....

If you are in the mood for French wine and cheese, feel free to go to the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) at 22 East 60th for samples.

The Celebration for BASTILLE DAY is in your backyard.

Enjoy Bastille Day and VIVA la FRANCE!!!

++Just a Reminder: If you are unable to attend the NYC Bastille Day Celebration (maybe you are watching the World Cup Final), mark either July 14th, the True Bastille Day or July 18th for other Celebrations, which I will write about in my next blog. Both events take place in the NYC area, one in Queens and the other in Brooklyn++


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Sauvignon Blanc, a green grape varietal, originated in France's Bordeaux and Loire Valley Region (southwest France). The grape gets its name from the French word 'Sauvage', which means WILD and 'Blanc' that translates into WHITE.

Sauvignon Blanc was originally indigenous to only southwest France.

The grape is now planted worldwide.

The most famous producers of Sauvignon Blanc include New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Australia and California.

Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first wines that was bottled with a screwcap. Over 90% of
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is sold with a screwcap.

Sauvignon Blanc is a grape that is used in the French dessert wine, Sauternes.

Sauvignon Blanc is usually consumed young.

French Sauvignon Blanc from Graves and Pessac, when aged in oak, can age up to fifteen years.

California's first cuttings of Sauvignon Blanc were brought to the state in the 1880's by Charles Wetmore, founder of the Cresta Blanca Winery. The cuttings came from Chateau d'Yqem.

In 1968 Robert Mondavi promoted Sauvignon Blanc as 'Fume Blanc'.

In the 1970's the grape was introduced to New Zealand. The grape was going to be an experimental grape that was going to be blended with Muller-Thurgau.

Sauvignon Blanc is now being planted in Italy's Collio region. It is a main ingredient in the Italian sweet wine, Muffato della Sala.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape buds late, but ripens early. It flourishes in cooler climates.

New Zealand's Marlborough region has recently gained the reputation as the world's leading producer of Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with sushi and Thai food.

Loire Valley wines made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc include Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. They are usually un-oaked.

The varietal aromas and flavors include gooseberry, lemon-grass, weeds, grass, grapefruit, lime, melon, mineral, green olive, bell pepper and asparagus.

Sauvignon Blanc is naturally high in acidity and is normally tangy, tart and zesty.

If you sample all of the wines below you will see the worldwide flexibility of the Sauvignon Blanc grape and it's impression on your palate. It does not matter where the grape is grown, whether in New Zealand, France, Chile, South Africa or California.
The impact of the Sauvignon Blanc grape is Worldwide.

Prices for the wines below vary from $8.99 to $11.99 a bottle
This wine was developed in 1989 in the Awatere Valley.
Clean fruit with mineral overtones.
Very intense and concentrated fruits yielding citrus, melon and tropical fruit flavor.
Long, clean, crisp finish.
$9.99 a bottle
GOLDWATER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008 Marlborough, New Zealand
Goldwater Estate was established in 1978. In 2006 they merged with Vavasour creating one of New Zealand's largest wine companies.
The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc was cool fermented in stainless steel.
The color of the wine is pale straw gold.
Aromas of grapefruit and passion fruit dominate.
Concentrated flavors of tropical fruit and citrus.
Long, crisp finish.
$11.99 a bottle
VINA LOS VASCOS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 by Les Domaines Barons de Rothchild (Lafite)
Casablanca Valley, Chile
In the mid-1800's vines were brought to Chile from Bordeaux to improve the quality of wines at the Vina Los Vascos vineyard. This Sauvignon Blanc is a result of that action.
The aromas of Vina Los Vascos resemble boxwood, chives, pineapple, lime and green apple. It is very expressive on the nose.
The palate tastes like fresh, creamy fruit with a touch of minerality on the finish.
$8.99 a bottle
Located in the JaJa Range, this wine is made by Estelle Daure, an ambitious winemaker.
Chateau de Jau is stored in stainless steel tanks for four months to enhance the true fresh fruit flavor associated with Sauvignon Blanc.
The nose of this wine resenbles blackcurrant.
On the palate, flavors of crispy, zesty honeyed grapefruit dominate.
It is a very lively wine.
$8.99 a bottle
Le Petite Perriere SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008 by GUY SAGET Loire Valley, France
Jean-Louis and Christian Saget, known as the Saget brothers, produce outstanding wines on their limestone and clay based 150 acre vineyard.
The Le Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc 2008 represents a wine with intensity. The ripe peach and apricot aroma is followed by a complex ripe melon flavor that explodes on your palate.
$11.99 a bottle
Acampo, California
Split Oak vineyard has been making wine since the late 1800's.
The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is crisp with exotic fruit overtones, followed by the unique flavors of gooseberries and juniper berries.
$9.99 a bottle

++Please let me know what you think++


Thursday, July 1, 2010

redtailridgewinery....A Finger Lakes Premier Philip S. Kampe

redtailridgewinwery (always in lower case) is a Finger Lakes winery located on Seneca Lake.

The 34 acre vineyard was purchased several years ago by Mike Schnelle and Nancy Irelan, a dynamic husband and wife team. Their wine philosophy is QUALITY over Quantity. They believe it is easier to keep production down so they can better monitor the wine making process.

To learn more about their philiosphy, go to

Both Mike and Nancy like to experiment with grapes. Presently, their 34 acres are divided into several plots, consisting of 3 acres of Pinot Noir clones, 2 acres of Chardonnay, 14 acres of Riesling and the rest of Teroldego and Dornfelder.

Recently, I had the chance to taste their wines and was pleasently surprised and somewhat shocked how drinkable and balanced all of the wines are. The Finger Lakes area was known for Riesling, but, after tasting the wines from redtailridgewinery,you may have to add Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to the list.

The five wines I sampled:

+ Aged 10 months in 2-4 year old French and American Oak
+ Aroma of toasted almonds
+ Palate of peaches and pears
+ Long finish of vanilla and coffee
++ $16.99 a bottle
++587 cases produced

+ Stainless steel
+ Palate of apple and pear
+ Soft finish
++ $10.99 a bottle
++ 449 cases produced

+ Dark fruit aromas of raspberry, cherry and strawberries with caramel, butterscotch
+ Concentrated fruit on the palate with a hint of tobacco
+ Long,vanilla finish
++ $19.95 a bottle
++ 578 cases

+ Stainless steel
+ Tropical aroma of pineapple, mango and banana
+ Citrus flavor of melon and pear
+ Crisp
+ Finish of grapefruit
++ $15.99 a bottle
++ 1,080 cases

+ Aromas of lime and orange
+ Palate of peach, lemon, apple and lime
+ Minerality
+ Finish of citrus
++ 89 points Wine Spectator
++ Silver medal 2010 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition
++ $18.95 a bottle
++ 649 cases

redtailridgewinery is a unique Winery in the Finger Lakes region. With experimentation of grapes and a 'hands on attitude' plus a small batch production philosophy, I believe Mike Schnelle and Nancy Irelan will make a name for themselves in the Wine Industy.

LONG LIVE RedTailRidgeWinery!!


How Hungarian Cabernet Franc Changed My Life by Philip S. Kampe

My Dad was known to his friends as ‘Cab Franc.’ You see, his name was really Joseph and all of his social time with visiting frien...