Tag Archives: zinfandel

10 Tips for Tasting in Temecula Wine Country

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There’s a reason that you’ve probably heard of Napa and Sonoma, but haven’t heard of Temecula Wine Country. Some of the wines in Temecula are decidedly… meh. But there are some really great ones, too!

The trick is to find them.

Because of that, we decided to offer you some tips to make the most of your experience should you go to Temecula one day. And you should! Temecula is a worthy destination. In fact, we will probably return. One of the things that surprised me most {but now makes sense} is the almost desert-like Old Southwest feel. But that’s for a post later this week…

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10 Tips for Tasting Wine in Temecula

(In no particular order.)

1) Get recommendations from the locals.

There are 40+ wineries in Temecula. We weren’t expecting that. In addition, my trips to Sonoma and Napa were all-expense-paid by The Traveling Vineyard. I was spoiled. I didn’t have to worry about transportation. I didn’t have to plan my meals. I didn’t have to choose wineries. We went to the little, boutique ones that supplied the wines for our tastings.

A friend gave me a list of her favorite wineries and ones we should skip. I was still overwhelmed. I just wished that there was a list somewhere of all of the wineries and vineyards in Temecula with a note next to each indicating what it is known for or makes it unique. Okay, so you can get historical and other info here, but the information doesn’t help me decide which vineyards I’d like best.

So when we were out to dinner our first night in Tememcula, we asked for recommendations. The truth is, you’ll get differing opinions. Which, at first, confused me even more.

“What kind of wines do you like?” asked the owner of a restaurant in Old Town.

“We tend to like big Cabs and Zins,” Rob told him.

This question, I learned, was key. He could recommend wineries that suited our tastes! At first, while I appreciated his suggestions, I wondered if he was just giving us names of those people who were his friends and telling us to steer clear of people he didn’t like. {Truth be told, he was spot on with his recommendations!}

In the end, we knew that we still couldn’t do all of the wineries recommended. So we narrowed them down by making sure to hit the ones that more than one person notes or the ones whose descriptions sounded good based on what we liked. Then we planned a route.

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2) Plan a route: Start with the winery furthest from you and make your way back.

After you’ve determined which wineries to hit, make a plan. We were staying at the South Coast Winery. We planned our day so that if we couldn’t hit all of those we wanted to, we could finish up with the ones closest to our home base the next day. I originally planned two days for tasting, but was concerned that we’d get “wined out.”

Therefore, it’s important to do the tastings that you don’t want to miss the first day.

Most wineries are open 11am – 5pm. (A few open at 10am, and a few close at 4pm or 6pm.) Make sure you take that into consideration when planning your route, too.

You can find a map of Temecula wineries here.

3) For a more personal experience and/or better service, go during mid-week or during off-season.

We arrived in the late afternoon on a Monday and did the bulk of our tasting on a Tuesday. We’re also told that October tends to be a bit slower. Win-win for us! We had a lot of personal attention. Some of these tasting rooms were huge! I can’t imagine them completely full on the weekends. How would you even get to taste or learn anything?

When we tasted, there were usually five people or less in the tasting rooms when we were there. Rob hates crowds so I was thanking my lucky stars that things worked out this way.

On some occasions, we were the only ones in the tasting room. On others, even it was busy, we always got a spot at the bar and could ask questions about the wines. As much as I like to think I know about wine, I learned a thing or two!

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A Sparkling Sangria from Wilson Creek

Also, some wineries only offer certain wines in their restaurant that are limited and not usually available for tasting. If they have some leftover from the weekend on a Monday or Tuesday, you may get to try them!

4) Plan to visit only four to six wineries a day. (NOT 8!)

This is why, with 40+ wineries and maybe only a day or two in Temecula, you need to pick wineries that suit your tastes!

We had planned to hit about six wineries that Tuesday and had a couple extra on our list in case we had more time.

We did eight.

This was TOO many.

I’d like to think that palate fatigue was the reason I had trouble differentiating or appreciating the wines at the end, but I will admit it probably had something to do with having too much to drink.

In the same respect, it goes without saying, you need to decide who is going to drive. {Unless you go on a tour where that is provided for you.} Rob was designated that day. {My turn was the following day!} So he tasted a lot less. {The next tip explains how.} And we actually parked and walked from our resort to the 8th winery because it was right next door.

5) Split your Tasting.

This was one of the best things we did. We knew that we couldn’t taste all day long and still have one of us drive, so we *hoped* it would be okay if they let us split a tasting. Besides most tastings were $15 for six tastes. That could really add up at the end of the day for the two of us! {Six wineries for two people would have meant about $180!}

We were so happy that at our first tasting that the wine rep asked us if we preferred to share a tasting or if we wanted our own. All of the other wineries followed suit and had no problem with it. It seemed common and even the norm! Whew! We also found that each taste was about four good sips, so it was perfect for us.

Tastings generally cost $10 – $15 and offer four to six tastes. At each winery, you receive a card with a space for your server to write down each of your tastes {so they know how many you have remaining} or you’ll receive tickets to redeem tastes, like this:

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6) Not comfortable splitting? Find two-for-ones.

Okay, so I get that you might not what to split your tasting with someone who’s not your S.O. Or maybe you are going with a group of girlfriends and you just met Suzy yesterday. Or Jane tends to be a drinker, so you’re worried that you’ll only get half of a sip. To make it more affordable, see if you can find some two-for-one coupons/cards. That’s what this “Ladies-in-Hats” bachelorette party from Alaska did before they went off to enjoy the view.

I found a two-for-one coupon before our trip online and printed it off of the winery’s website. I was so proud until Rob pointed out that the expiration was June 30th. Oh. They really need to update that. I forgot about it until…

We stopped in at Danza del Sol. We were the only ones there! The wine rep asked us if we had a two-for-one deal. Rob said, “Uh, no. How would we get one of those?!” I think he was hoping he’d offer the two-for-one anyway.

But he said, “Well next time, just go to the Wine Grower’s Association website.” {You enter your email to have deals sent to you.} “Wait! I might have a couple of them for you.” He gave us two-for-one coupons to three other wineries! SCORE!

Another benefit of two-for-ones is that even if you are tasting with your S.O., there are often too many wines to choose from on the list. If each of you gets different wines, you each get try twice as many! Some wine reps liked to showcase the wines side-by-side. For example, a zinfandel from this year or that or with grapes from an entire vineyard vs. a block or a wine aged/fermented in French vs. American oak.

Because we were staying at the South Coast Winery {more on that next Wine Wednesday!} we received a “Passport” that included a BOGO Wine Tasting as well.

7) Talk with your server/wine rep/bartender.

We were lucky enough that it wasn’t too busy that we could really talk with and ask questions of the people pouring the wines. But even if you do come when it is busy, they are there to serve you. They may be busy pouring like crazy, but if you want to get the most of your experience, you need to determine which wines you really want to try either because a) It’s a wine you’ve never had before and it sounds interesting or b) you might want to buy it.

First, look at the menu. What looks good to you? In what do they seem to specialize?

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This Callaway menu is one of the smaller ones of the bunch and was one of our least favorite wineries, but you get the point.

Then, tell them what you like, but be open-minded.

If you say, “I only drink Cabs,” then you aren’t going to be impressed every place you go. Cabs might not be their specialty.

I often said, “We tend to drink big reds at home. But what are your specialties? What are you known for? What do you have that might surprise us?” I know that from doing in-home wine tastings that sometimes what you think you will like is different than what you will that day! The dry Riesling at Miramonte was exceptional. I adored the dry sparkling wines and ports at both the South Coast Winery and Wilson Creek. The Petit Verdots and Mourvèdres at many of the wineries like Danza del Sol were some of the best.

The wine rep will steer you in the right direction if you give them the right information. Show your interest. Show your passion. If it’s slow enough, they may even give you extra tastes or special pours. 😉

We went to one winery where I swear a 22-year-old version of Justin Timberlake took us through every red on their menu. We only paid for five tastes there. But he was so excited that we liked reds and that he’d be talking with people who appreciated the same styles of wines that he did that he wanted us to experience them all. It was fantastic!

And don’t forget to tip! A couple of bucks is fine. We liked to tip mid-way through the tasting. If we really liked the wines and were hoping for specialty pours, we’d even throw in a fiver.

8) Plan a lunch in between & drink water deliberately.

We had a tentative lunch planned. We did pick up some groceries when we came into town the night before. So my  breakfast consisted of a small portion of the grapes and cheese with the bread in this picture:

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Our intention was to stop and eat at one of the wineries that offered food. But it didn’t happen. By the time we were hungry, we weren’t too impressed with the winery that had a restaurant (Callaway), that we skipped it entirely. That wasn’t such a good idea.

Wineries do offer tap water. But it is usually in a location across the room. You need to make the effort to go there and get yourself a glass. Or keep a filled water bottle in your car and force yourself to drink X amount after each tasting.

9) Join a Wine Club or two!

To relive your Temecula Wine Country experience while you are back at home, join a wine club. How do you choose? There were a few wineries where we found a wine we really loved, but we weren’t so keen on the other ones we tasted. Then there were wineries were we liked all of the wines.

That is the club to join.

They usually offer many types of clubs, so you can do reds, whites, mixed, sweets or bubbly. There’s something for all tastes. We ended up joining the South Coast Reds Wine Club. The other club we considered was Danza del Sol. If you sign up on the spot, you can take your wines home with you and get your next shipment delivered. {Just be sure to pack your wines carefully in your checked luggage!} If you want to decide later, just make sure your wine reps info is on the order form, so that they get the credit. Most of the clubs are shipped quarterly, not monthly. So that helped us decide that the cost was worth it.

10) STOP… and smell the roses grapes!

Don’t rush. Enjoy the views, like those hat ladies did…

…and the art, too.

Or just take time to pet the vineyard dog!

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So I know you want to know… Where did we go?

On that gorgeous Tuesday, we visited the following wineries in this exact order:

  • Leoness – great Zins, tried an excellent Cab Franc, beautiful view
  • Danza del Sol – great reds, loved nearly all of the wines we tried!
  • Wilson Creek – known for their Almond Champagne. We liked their dry bubblies and ports!
  • Miramonte – beautiful views!
  • Callaway – only because we had a 2-for-1
  • Lorimar – excellent reds, known for music on the weekends!
  • Wiens
  • Ponte

The next morning, we visited the winery at our resort at South Coast after breakfast.

Our favorites (in no particular order):

  • South Coast
  • Danza del Sol
  • Lorimar

Ones we would definitely SKIP or advise to skip next time:

  • Callaway
  • Wiens
  • Ponte

The only other one we were recommended, but didn’t do was Briar Rose. They require reservations for their tastings. I thought this meant that they were more formal and elite and perhaps more expensive. But it sounds like it means that they just have a smaller tasting room. We had intended to make reservations and go on day two, but we were all wined out.

Overall, we loved tasting in Temecula. Although there are several wine regions we want to visit, we do hope to return one day. We might fly into San Diego next time, though, just for a change!

Have you ever done wine tasting like this?

If so, list your favorite thing and your number one tip!

Cheers~
Carrie

What’s Your Wine Style?

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Happy Wine Wednesday!

Yesterday, I received my Food & Wine Magazine for July:

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The blonde on the cover is Jamie Malone from St. Paul, current chef at Sea Change in Minneapolis. I love when locals earn these accolades! I haven’t been to Sea Change yet. Have you? It’s not a brand new restaurant, but the fact that it’s seafood focused makes it a little difficult to venture there with my husband. I’ll have to check to see if they have any food for carnivores. Otherwise, it might be a girls’ night destination.

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However, this isn’t a Twin Cities Restaurant Impression post. It’s Wine Wednesday and an article in this month’s Food and Wine Magazine intrigued me. When teaching at Wine Tastings, I find that people usually follow a general progression across the spectrum when they try and learn to enjoy new wines. We often start at the sweets and slowly work our way to the fruit forward reds. Somewhere after that comes the appreciation of more earthy and acidic wines.

But this chart got me thinking more about that.

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(source: FoodandWine.com)

Unlike most people, however, when I first started drinking wine, I started with the reds. {Unless you want to count the Boones Farm I drank my first year of college. Yes, that is now in print.} Thanks to my friend Sally, I was introduced to the fruitier, mellower, more approachable Lambruscos, as well as Zinfandels. {I’m talking the red kind, of course. None of the silly pink stuff!} I did drink an occasional sweet Riesling from time to time. And if I was in a restaurant, as a new and young wine drinker, I knew that ordering Merlot was a safe bet without showing that I really didn’t know anything about wine. {And it still is. Merlot is a pretty easy-going middle-of-the-road wine that can go with most foods.}

When I became a Wine Consultant, I tasted different wines extensively because I had company. I also had focus. When we met for “classes” {aka drink wine together and discuss} and when I did Tastings, I was really focused on the wine, unlike when I’m out having dinner when I’m focused on the conversation. I concentrated on the color, the body, the aromas and the flavors. Tasting wines side-by-side or one after another in small quantities allowed me to understand the differences and nuances in different types of wine.

What I learned in the those first few months was that I enjoyed fruit forward reds with a hint of vanilla. This almost always meant a New World wine. {Read: Not European.} However, with such extensive tasting, fast forward almost ten years later and I’ve found that my palate range has grown. I’ve learned to appreciate many different varietals for what they are, rather than favoring just a few. Now I often find wines with too much vanilla and fruit-forwardness to be a bit “generic”. They lack character and uniqueness. I still like my zins, but they have to have to have some complexity and heft.

But this is what I’ve come to discover over time. You, however, may be able to determine what you like more simply. Read this article from Food and Wine that corresponds with the above chart to discover on what part of the spectrum you fall. Do you like light or rich wines? Do you want something rounder or tangier? What foods do you prefer? I think it’s genius. You might, too.

What types of wines are your favorite?

Are you willing to try something new?

Cheers~
Carrie

Our Absolute Favorite Wines

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Today is our 3rd anniversary – Rob’s and mine, that is. Of course, we’ll be celebrating at one our favorite special occasion restaurants – Perron’s Sul Lago. I just may order a steak – they have the best filet mignon in the entire Twin Cities {and, yes, I have been to Manny’s and Murray’s}.

But it’s Wine Wednesday, so I thought I’d share our absolute favorite wines! These are wines that are so pleasing to us that we will never turn them down. They are ones that are more expensive than you average wine, so we don’t drink them every day. They are not in order of love, but in order of discovery. Enjoy!

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In 2005, I earned my first trip with The Traveling Vineyard. It was to the wine country of Sonoma and I remember thinking about all the times I had been to Europe, but this was my fist ever to California! On this trip, we made a visit the Davis Family Vineyards tasting room. Guy Davis was one of the winemakers and collaborators of many TTV wines. It was in his tasting room that I first fell in love with Pinot Noir. I hadn’t liked the varietal prior to that. And this was also before the big Sideways anit-Merlot and pro-Pinot Noir craze.

Davis Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

(Approx. $40 – $45/bottle)

Davis Pino

At that tasting, I learned why I adored this Pinot Noir more than any other I tasted. Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape. It’s fickle and a hard grape to grow. It’s hard to do it right. Guy has 5 rules to crafting a great Pinot… and I love # 3. So what makes it so great? The best way for me to describe it?

It tastes like velvet.

It has just the right balance of tannins and acidity to feel like velvet on your tongue. That is, a velvet made of fruit and warm spices!

Now, Rob likes to describe Pinot Noir as having a waxy characteristic. Well, for me, that would be the cheap-cheap Pinot Noirs. {In fact, I still have a tough time with some South African red wines that taste like lipstick to me.} I like to describe Guy’s Pinots as dusty. Just the perfect amount of dry. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I truly believe that this wine has made me a Pinot Noir snob.

Guy makes fantastic other wines, but in my opinion, his Pinot Noirs outshine them all. He wins awards year after year after year. And rightly so. But the wines don’t come cheap. That’s the price you pay for expert craftsmanship. Would you pay an Ikea price for a handmade mahogany chest? I walked away from the tasting room that day having joined the Davis Family Vineyards Friends of the Family Wine Club. A year later, I had to cancel because we needed to save all the money we could to buy a house. Sometimes you just have to make those sacrifices!

But, Rob, if you are reading this… A membership to the Davis Family Vineyards Friends and Family club again would make a perfect anniversary, birthday or Christmas gift any year. You know that you will reap the benefits of that gift as well! 😉

P.S. You can’t find this one in stores, so you’ll have to order them from their website.

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Another wine I discovered with my fellow Traveling Vineyard friend, Madeline from Colorado, who was visiting family in town with her husband. We met up at a wine bar and they treated me to this phenomenal wine.

Opolo Mountain Zinfandel – Paso Robles, California

(Approx $25 – $30/bottle)

opolo

Months later my friend Sally took me out to dinner. When I saw this wine on the menu, I pointed it out. The main reason? My friend Sally is the one who got me into Zinfandel! {This ain’t the pink stuff, folks! It’s a hard core red.} I finally found it in a store across the street from the wine bar where Madeline and I had tried it. I just had to introduce it to Rob. I knew he’d fall in love. And I was right.

Months later, Rob and I were invited to Sally and her husband Ryan’s place for dinner. On the way, we stopped at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of the Opolo Mountain Zinfandel as a gift. The clerk there said, “You are lucky this! A lady came in here a day to buy a case, so this is our last bottle!” Whew. Upon presenting the bottle to Sally, she giggled. She was the one who had just bought the case at the wine shop. Yeah. That’s how good this stuff is.

This wine is big, bold and a bit spicy. You’d think it’d hit you in the face with its high alcohol content; but it really is just complex. I love the jamminess, followed by warm spices. It’s exactly how I like my zins. And while the “Summit” version of the Opolo Sin is still good, it’s just not as good at the Mountain!

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And Lastly, is a wine that is very dear to our hearts:

Dievole Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy

(Approx. $20/bottle)

This wine hails from the Vineyard where Rob proposed in 2008, thus very appropriate for our anniversary. It was another trip I earned through The Traveling Vineyard and, actually, Rob’s first trip abroad. I was completely clueless about his proposal. It was the ultimate surprise.

And even for Rob, this trip was Un. For. Get. Able. and In. Cred. Ible. Barbara MacDonald, who orchestrated the entire trip, could not have done any better. We are forever in her debt. I mean, LOOK at this place! That’s just where we stayed…

In any case, Rob never liked Italian wines before arriving in Tuscany and now he is a life-long fan. I will say that we ultimately agreed that the Italians keep the good stuff for themselves and send the leftovers abroad. 😉

Here’s a bottle we enjoyed at Sul Lago. We can’t find Dievole wines anywhere. So it was a treat that the very first time we happened upon Sul Lago, it was on their menu! Currently, they have this baby Chianti, but the Classico is even better!

Dievole

Yeah, these are some of the higher end wines we drink, but because tonight is a special night, we found it important to share.

What is your absolute favorite go-to wine when celebrating a special occasion?

Cheers~
Carrie

Restaurant Wine: Best Priced Bottles in the Twin Cities Metro

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Sure, you can usually find a $20 – $25 {or even less} bottle of wine at a local restaurant that really isn’t known for wine. These sorts of places have wine on hand only for the occasional request, but wine generally isn’t their focus. Furthermore, the wine isn’t of high quality and it is quite often just cheap – meaning probably around $7 retail.

Wine markup is high in most restaurants though – between 100% and 200% per bottle. And oftentimes, it’s much more per glass. You may even find that the most expensive wines on the menu have the least amount of markup. We’ve found that restaurant wines in the $40 – $45 range are usually pretty decent. However, when we can afford it, wines in the $50 – $60 range are worth the splurge. Still, it’s tough to justify paying that for one bottle of wine. That’s when it’s best to take advantage of half-priced bottle of wine nights!

But what if you could find a high quality wine in a restaurant at an affordable price?

Well, if you live in the Twin Cities metro area, you can! Just head yourself down to Historic Main Street Minneapolis to Vic’s Dining, a restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River.

The cobblestone streets of St. Anthony Main offer riverfront dining from a selection of restaurants. My friend Jen and I popped into one for some gelato when walking in the area a couple of summers ago. And Pracna was on her list of restaurants to try when it was her turn to pick where to dine one month. But another restaurant won out.

And as per the usual, it took us a Groupon to get our butts down there!

We made reservations, but there were very few people when we arrived. We took seats at the bar and asked for a wine menu. We had already perused it online, but knew that it changed often. The Vic’s Dining website advertises a “fabulous 99 bottle wine menu where all bottles are priced dangerously lower then anywhere around town”. I completely agree with this statement! Check out the wine menu the night we dined there:

Vic's Dining Wine Menu: February 15, 2013

Vic’s Dining Wine Menu: February 15, 2013

Have you seen such prices for 90 and 91 point wines or those from specific appelations?! These prices are insane! It almost made me feel a little bit guilty using a Groupon. Now the trouble was choosing a bottle. I had no idea what I was going to eat and there were so many unique wines that caught my eye. I don’t like going with well-known wines when I order off of a wine menu. Variety is the spice of life, so why not try some new wines? We did find a bottle that the two of us could agree on and it wasn’t one I’d had before:

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2010 The Federal Visionary ZinfandelDry Creak Valley, California – $19.00

We love a big, bold spicy Zin. {For those of you who are still drinking White Zin, this is nothing like it. I’ll post about the difference on a future Wine Wednesday!} I find that it’s hard to find a good one that isn’t overpowered by vanilla these days. You usually have to pay a bit more for a good quality one. And we found an excellent one here for just $19 – at a restaurant!

What I’m about to tell you next reminds me of an episode of Frasier. Do you remember the episode where Niles realizes that he never rebelled as a teenager? When he thinks he’s eaten a pot brownie and decides now is the time he’s going to rebel he exclaims: “I’m thinking of pairing this Chilean Sea bass with an aggressive Zinfandel!”

Haha. Yes, while I’ll always stand by my mantra that you should pair any wine with whatever food YOU like it with; generally big, bold red wines don’t go with seafood. And that’s just what I ordered!

Scallop Pappardelleseared scallops, pine nut basil pesto with grapetomatoes, roasted peppers & Parmesan..........................22

Scallop Pappardelle
Seared scallops, pine nut basil pesto with grape
tomatoes, roasted peppers & Parmesan$22

Doesn’t that dish just scream my name? I adore scallops and one of the best scallop dishes I ever had was one with a pesto sauce at a Minneapolis restaurant that has since closed. I hadn’t been able to find anything like it since, so there was no way I was going to pass this dish up, even if it meant pairing it with an aggressive Zinfandel!

It didn’t disappoint. However, after a while the dish became a little too heavy. Maybe it was just the sheer amount of food, or the fact that I’m getting used to eating normal-sized portions? In any case, it was worth ordering it.

Rob, the burger guru, really wanted to give theirs a try. It’s also a more appropriate pairing with an aggressive Zinfandel!

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“V” Burger
8 oz U.S.D.A. choice ground chuck, basted in a rich Demi Glace – $15

Guru Verdict? It was okay – just an average burger with average fries. It won’t make the Top 10 Twin Cities Burgers or Fries list, nor will he order it again. But this isn’t really a burger joint, anyway.

There are so many places to discover along the St. Anthony Main Mississippi riverfront {we did stop for an aperitif and a digestif at two of them!}, that we’d come to Vic’s for a bottle of wine and an appetizer next time. It definitely wins my vote for best-priced quality wines in the Twin Cities!

What’s the best wine you’ve ever had in a restaurant (regardless of price)?

Cheers~
Carrie

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The Difference Between a Good Wine and a Great Wine – Part 2

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This Wine Wednesday, let’s continue with what differentiates a good wine from a great wine.

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#1 – TERROIR

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#2 – THE AGE OF THE VINES

The age of the vines can directly influence the quality of the finished product. Generally speaking, older vines produce grapes that make better wines. Why? A 50-year old vine will yield less fruit than one that is ten years old. And as we learned in Part One of this series: less yield = less wine = higher prices. That explains why wines made from grapes grown on old vines can be more expensive.

But it doesn’t explain why they are often better.

Consider this, vines with more fruit soak up the same amount of nutrients and water from the soil that vines with less fruit do. This means that these nutrients must be shared with all the grapes on the vine. There is only so much to go around! The fruit on older vines doesn’t have to share the nutrients with as many other grapes. Therefore, the older vines produce fruit that has more concentrated flavor which results in a deeper, more complex wine.

The quality is often superior.

Old Vine

The only problem?

There is no regulated definition for “Old Vines” on a label.

Because of this, you may even see $8 wines labled as “Old Vine”. Old to them may mean ten years! How do you know? You don’t always. But you can read the back label or check the wine’s website for additional information. Vineyards and winemakers that use grapes from truly Old Vines don’t mind revealing the age. In fact, they’re proud of it! Even if you don’t know how old the vine is or it says nothing of the sort on the label, just know that it can be a factor in explaining why a wine of the same grape, vintage and location is more expensive.

As an example, one of the wines I market at my Wine Tastings does not say “Old Vine” on the label:

$16.99: Worth every cent for the quality!

“A delicious take on California’s signature grape, this Zinfandel comes to you straight from Amador County vineyards spread over the lower Sierra Foothills – an area known to produce gutsy reds from old (often pre-Prohibition) vines. For this release, we wanted delicious accessibility with just the right amount of heft. (That’s why it has been in development for close to a year!) From tasting notes carefully jotted as far back as November 2010, our winemaker worked tirelessly to craft the most concentrated grapes he could find into a Zinfandel with unique fruit and spice components – robust, peppery, and bursting with ripe fruity currant, cranberry, cherry aromas and flavors.”

Have you had a wine made from Old Vine grapes before?

What kind of differences did you notice?