Soter Vineyards ‘North Valley’ Pinot Noir Rosé 2015

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Winery: Tony and Michelle Soter founded Soter Vineyards in 1997 with an “uncompromised commitment to quality and an ardent reverence for the environment”. Mineral Springs Ranch is their estate vineyard, consisting of 240 acres of “savanna-like oak woodland and grazing land”. Their vineyards [and those of their growing partners] are certified sustainable.

Philosophy: Committed to protecting the environment, with the “intention to convey place as an essential character in everything we make”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from their growing partners in the rolling hills of the North Valley of Willamette Valley. They view their partner vineyards sites as “satellite estate property”, as their partners mirror their commitment to sustainability and crafting great wines. 52% was aged in “previously filled French oak”, 48% in stainless steel barrels. Certified Salmon Safe and Sustainable.

Tasting Notes: Pale pink-coral in colour with aromas of hibiscus flower, pomegranate and wet slate minerals. A mouth puckering acidity encases fresh cranberry and cherry flavours. A harmonizing, clean fruit finish sustains the refreshing character of each sip.

100% Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
Oregon
Produced and Bottled by Soter Vineyards
13.4% Alcohol
$20
Enjoy now thru 2020

Armas de Guerra Mencia Tinto 2014

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Winery: Don Antonio Guerra founded Vinos Guerra in 1879, making it the oldest winery in the Bierzo region of northwest Spain. Today the estate’s 2471 acres of vineyards are one third of all the vineyards Bierzo. The winery is known for its highly selective processes of only using the best 10% of grapes, which translate into wines with consistent “extraordinary quality”. The estate also possesses “the oldest and most precious Mencia and Dona Blanca vines in the Bierzo region”.

Winemaking: All of the vineyards are dry farmed and cultivated using only organic methods. Grapes were sourced from vineyards with calcareous clay and slate soils, planted in 1955-65.

Tasting Notes: Dark red violet in colour with aromas of cherry, spice, sweet rose and a hint of mint. Fruit forward with cherry, raspberry and blackberry underscored by fresh, herbaceous notes and a shake of black pepper. A streak of chalky minerality joins black cherry on the wonderfully dry finish. Not just an engaging sip, this is a fantastic value well worth seeking out.

100% Mencia
Bierzo
Spain
Bottled by Vinos Guerra
13% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2017

Primarius Pinot Noir 2013

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Brand: Primarius Pinot Noir is one of the many labels of Precept Wine. Founded in 2003, Precept Wine is the largest privately owned wine company in Northwest America. They source grapes from a combination of owned and contracted vineyards, operate their own wineries, and manage all sales and marketing.

Philosophy: “WINE without character isn’t worth drinking. WINE improves the quality of life. WINE reflects the people who make it.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from Waldo Hills Vineyard, Battle Creek Vineyard, Kraemer Vineyard and Red Hills Vineyard. Aged for 6 months in French Oak, with 10% being new oak.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, raspberry and earth. Silky smooth with cherry and cranberry flavors, tart fruit notes carry thru and comprise the clean finish. A straightforward and gluggable Pinot, great on its own or with simple dishes.

100% Pinot Noir
Oregon
Vinted and Bottle by Primarius Winery
12.5% Alcohol
$15
Enjoy now

Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2014

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Estate: Tenutae Lageder [or Alois Lageder Wineries] was founded by Johann Lageder in 1823 in Alto Adige, northern Italy. Today, five generations later, Alois Lageder is at the helm of the family estate. Since the early 1990’s he has been a pioneering force at the estate; he expanded the vineyard holdings and transformed all of the viticulture practices to organic and biodynamic principles, and constructed a high tech, sustainable, solar powered winery. He is renowned for his commitment to ecological awareness, sustainable practices, as well as cultural projects involving art and music, believing that these are important sources of inspiration that “enhance the experience of wine”.

Philosophy: Simply stated: “to pay attention to the natural properties of our vineyards and to make the best possible use of them”. A more comprehensive explanation is: “to understand the ways in which the following relate to one another: the rhythms and forces of nature, the human being and cultural traditions, technology, the cosmos, the past and the future, tradition and life in the modern world”. To further explore their impressive ideology and biodynamic principles, please click here.

Winemaking: Committed to sustainable, holistic methods, they strive to carry organic and biodynamic principles from the vineyard into the winery with the use of “non-invasive procedures” along with the “most advanced technology” in the cellar. Grapes were sourced from vines 3-60 years old located in the southern part of Alto Adige with an elevation of 750-1380 feet. The soil is a blend of rocks and sand, with a distinguishing limestone content. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, aged for “approximately four months on the lees”.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant gold in colour with radiant aromas of apple blossom, chalk minerals and spice. Sunny and cheerful with a clean mineral streak running thru fresh apple and pear notes, the steely lemon finish adds to the irresistibility of this crisp, clean Pinot Grigio.

Suggested Food Parings from the Winery: Starters, fish and shellfish, poultry, white meat and mushrooms.

100% Pinot Grigio
Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
Italy
Bottled by Alois Lageder
12.5% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now thru 2018

Spanish Garnacha Tasting Part 3: My Favourites

jamongrnch

I recently had the pleasure of attending an Aragon Garnacha tasting that showcased Garnacha from its five D.O regions; Calatayud, Terra Alta, Somontano, Campo de Borja and Cariñena. Whilst I throughly enjoyed all ten wines, below are my personal favourites of the evening, wines I found to be exemplary expressions of each ancient, distinctive region in northeastern Spain that they hail from.

Aragonesàs Fagus de Coto de Hayas Old Vine Garnacha 2012

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Estate: Founded in 1984, Aragonesas Bodegas consists of 3700 hectares and is located near Fuendejalón and Magallón in the Campo de Borja region of Aragon, northeastern Spain. Since 1145 Cistercian monks of the Monastery of Veruela were cultivating vines on the land, the currant owners inherited the property from their ancestors who were the keepers of this rich winegrowing legacy. Consisting of numerous terroirs, the vineyards extend from the foothills of the Iberian Mountain range to the northernmost regions of the Zaragoza province. The winery has the largest amount of vineyards in the entirety of the Campo de Borja region.

Winemaking: The brand Coto de Hayas was created as a series of wines that “represent the best of what the land can give and what the winemakers can produce”, representing “the soul of Bodegas Aragonesas”. Grapes were sourced from vines aged 40-50 years old, the wine was not fined or filtered and was aged in new French barrels for 10 months.

Tasting Notes: Ruby red in colour with enticing aromas of wild berry compote. Charming and super easy drinking with black cherry and raspberry along with hints of velvety vanilla in the medium body. Cigar box spice and lingering berry compote elements comprised the sweet and spicy plush finish.

100% Garnacha
Campo de Borja
Estate Bottled
14.5% Alcohol
$22 [average price]

Viñas del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha 2012

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Estate: Viñas del Vero was founded in 1986 in the Somontano region of Aragon, northern Spain. Today with their 700 hectares of vineyards, they are the leading winery in Somontano for volume and quality of wines. They practice sustainable and organic viticulture. Along with initiatives to restore indigenous plants, many of the vineyards are located on steep slopes, where the vines act as a natural stabilizer for the land. The estate belongs to the prestigious Association of the Great Estates of Spain.

Philosophy: “To develop a quality, sustainable and environmentally-friendly viticulture industry.”

Winemaking: Located in the most northern part of Somontano, Viñas del Vero has been a firm believer in Secastilla’s potential, and is currently the only winery in Somontano that makes wine from grapes grown in the Secastilla Valley. The vineyards are farmed both organically and sustainably.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant ruby red in colour with aromas of ripe cherry and dried flowers. Fresh and well balanced, this is a relatively lighter-bodied Garnacha with earthy elements framing strawberry and cherry notes, white peppercorn and clean minerals flourish in the polished finish.

Blend of Garnacha, Syrah and Parraleta [At least 85% Garnacha, I could not verify varietal percentages]
Somontano
Bottled by Viñas del Vero
13.5% Alcohol
$12 [average price]

Las Rocas de San Alejandre Viñas Viejas Garnacha 2012

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Winery: located 55 miles north of Madrid, Bodegas San Alejandro was founded in 1962 as a cooperative for growers. Today there are over 350 growers that cultivate 3000 acres of vineyards spread across the sunny, rocky slopes of the Zaragoza province of the Calatayud region in Aragon, northeastern Spain. The cooperative’s Managing Director is Yolanda Diaz, who is regarded as a “woman with a mission: to keep a new wind blowing across winemaking in Spain”.

Philosophy: “Let the land speak in the wine.”

Winemaking: Both the growers and winemakers believe in as little intervention as possible in all processes, “remaining faithful to the notion that quality is born in the vineyards”. Vinas Viejas was sourced from non-irrigated vineyards 60-100 years old and aged in American and French oak.

Tasting Notes: A complex, velvety Garnacha with brambly wild berries and dense black cherry wrapped around a core of earthy forest elements backed by smooth tannins and mellow spices in the dry, refined finish.

100% Garnacha
Calatayud
Produced and Bottled by San Alejandro Coop
15% Alcohol
$20 [average price]

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