Bidding is Now Open!

All Materials Courtesy of Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auction

All Materials Courtesy of Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auction

    Have you ever wanted to bid on a great bottle of wine offered at a wine auction but could not stand the thought of sitting in a room filled with wine snobs while holding a little paddle with a number on it.  If your answer is yes then you are in luck because Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auction is conducting an internet only auction on Wednesday February 27th at 10:30 a.m.(EST) on their website www.morrellwineauctions.com.   Bids may only be placed by absentee bid and live bid.  Absentee bids may be placed now and the live bidding will be available online at the commencement of the auction.  To participate go to the website and register, peruse the catalog of offerings then place a bid if you find something you like.  If you intend to bid live, Morrell recommends using their Live Bidding Simulator to check your computers compatibility to prevent any issues when live bidding starts.  Need more information? Call 212-307-4200 

Winter at Standing Stone Winery

Wine Barrels  Photo Courtesy Standing Stone Winery

Wine Barrels  Photo Courtesy Standing Stone Winery

I have just heard from Martha Macinski or Marti as she is known to everyone in the Finger Lakes.  She updated me on the happenings around the Standing Stone Winery that she and her husband Tom have owned since 1991.  They have just finished pressing frozen grapes to make Riesling Ice and Vidal Ice.  The grapes are not picked frozen but are picked as late harvest and then frozen commercially so that they may be pressed to make Ice wine.  The Riesling Ice 2012, Vidal Ice 2011 and the Riesling 2012 are all ready and will be bottled in early March.  One of the nice things about stopping by the tasting room during the winter is that there are fewer people visiting so Marti and her staff will have more time to talk and share details about the wine.  The vineyard crew is busy fixing any trellis components that have broken over the previous growing season.  Pruning will start in February and after that task is completed the vines will be tied up before bud break in the spring.  There was some concern that the recent spike in temperatures would reduce the snow cover that protects the vineyard during the winter but the cold nights and the return of normal winter weather prevented any damage to the vines.  Marti made me laugh when she told me that ” You would be surprised how much work it is to taste 10 barrels of Standing Stone Saperavi.”  I know it is a tough job but I guess someone has to do it :-).  They will be bottling some 2010 and 2012 wines in April and May with the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot being of reserve status and reportedly delicious!  Thanks to Marti for keeping me informed on the latest news from Standing Stone Winery which is on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in Hector, NY.  If you want more info you can visit the website www.Standingstonewines.com or go to their Facebook page.

Mad Dog 20-20

MD 20-20  Photo courtesy MD 20-20

MD 20-20 Photo courtesy MD 20-20

     When you are out with friends and want to make them laugh, you might want to ask “Should we get a Pinot, Cabernet or maybe a nice bottle of Thunderbird or Wild Irish Rose?”  This will surly elicit the polite knowing snickers of someone who has sipped from a hi-proof wine bottle in their youth.  These wines have been around a long time and they will not be leaving the shelves anytime soon, much to the dismay of the fine wine crowd.  The names are iconic and well-known to the entire vertical scale of American culture.  The names include MD 20-20 and its many classic fluorescent manifestations starting with Banana Red, Electric Melon, Orange Jubilee, Peaches & Cream, Strawberry-Kiwi and  Red, also equally notable are Richards Wild Irish Rose and Night Train Express but the granddaddy of them all is Thunderbird.  I was very disappointed recently to learn that Boones Farm Strawberry Hill and the multitude of flavor choices it spawned was in fact a malt beverage!(Is nothing sacred these days).  We laugh about these products but they are still here because they provide a steady and reliable revenue stream to their producers unlike the Fine Wine business that is at the mercy of harvest quality, the skill of the wine makers and the opinions of the critics.  With that in mind may I suggest that it may be time to roll down the top of your paper bag, crack open the screw top and ENJOY!!! 

Second Label Value

Overture  Photo Courtesy Opus One

Overture Photo Courtesy Opus One

CRU  Photo courtesy Vineyard 29

CRU Photo Courtesy Vineyard 29

     There is real value to be found inside the bottles of the second label offerings of famous wineries.  These are very well-made wines by renowned wine makers that do not quite meet the high standards required for being sold under the flagship label of the winery.  The November 2012 issue of Men’s Journal Magazine had an interesting article on this category of wines.  Stoney Hill Winery is one of this country’s greatest white wine estates with  their flagship label Stoney Hill Chardonnay costing $42 but the second label is SHV Chardonnay that can be yours for only $24.  Opus One is well-known to everyone with the 2009 vintage selling for $225 but did you know that Overture is their second label and is only $80.  You can buy a bottle of Vineyard 29 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for $225 or go with the second label CRU Cabernet Sauvignon for $54.  Great values can be found with some research and if you want to do some detective work who knows what wine secrets you will uncover.  Here is an example of a great value that could be easily overlooked by the uninformed wine shopper.  Boekenhoutsko is one of South Africa’s top producers and it’s flagship label sales for $45 but their secondary is called The Wolftrap 2010 and retails for $8.  Second label wines are an affordable alternative to their big-name and highly touted first label counterparts and can competently fill the need when a well made wine at a reasonable price is the challenge presented to you.  

 

Wrecking Ball

English: Airport in direction of Abidjan for t...

English: Airport in direction of Abidjan for the first amnesty international tour of Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night we went to the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.  I can report that two red Robert Mondavi Wines were available at the Miller Lite Brewhouse Bar on the 200 level in the form of Woodbridge Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We enjoyed our selection of  Merlot served in a lovely clear plastic cup 🙂 as we looked out onto the skyline of the city through the glass walls of the bar.  Bruce and his E Street Band are a powerful 17 member band with a five-piece horn section featuring Jake Clemons, the nephew of the late Clarence Clemons.  The 63-year-old Springsteen showed incredible energy and stamina throughout his over 3 hour performance.  Bruce said it best “I’m an old man but I don’t want to go home.  I want to keep on rolling”.  During the encore longtime Springsteen friend and Pittsburgh music legend Joe Grushecky and his son Johnny appeared on stage with Bruce much to the delight of the crowd.  Reviews have this show as the best he has performed in the “Burgh” and I will echo the wishes of all of his fans that he will keep on rolling for a long time to come.

Standing Stone Vineyards

Tom and Marti Macinski Photo Courtesy: Standing Stone Vineyards

     I recently received an e-mail from Marti Macinski to keep me up to date on activities at Standing Stone Vineyards.  Marti and Tom Macinski have owned and operated Standing Stone Vineyards since 1991.  They have steadily increased the yearly production from 800 cases in that first vintage of 1993 to about 8000 cases last year.  They are officially done picking grapes with great results and have some of their wine fermenting while sitting on the lees.  Their Cabernet Sauvignon is starting to ferment and needs punched down four times a day.  Tom is looking for volunteers that want to learn some winemaking skills while helping to basket press the Cab.  Even if you are not up for a hands- on winery experience you can always stop by the tasting room that is open every day and while you are there don’t miss the chance to sample the bread and the many dips. 

Standing Stone Vineyards 9934 Route 414 Hector, NY 14841  (607) 582-6051  www.standingstonewines.com   Blog   http://www.standingstonewines.wordpress.com

Altus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005 $35.99?

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo taken at Skil...

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     If you are looking for a wine that can be described as Bold, Plush, Opulent, Intense and Concentrated then you should look no further than Altus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005.  This Cab has potent dark fruit flavors like currant, blackberry and black cherry along with wild berry flavors.  The tannins are velvety but the finish is firm with a creamy minerality.  This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot.  Wine Spectator bestowed a 92 point rating upon it in 2008 and because of the structure of this blend, time has been kind to it.  You can purchase this Altus wine in Pennsylvania only online from the PLCB website where it is listed on the Wine Sale page.  The regular price is shown at $74.99 but the sale price is $35.99 and I believe that is a fair price for this bottle.  PLCB Product Code 11238.  http://www.finewineandgoodspirits.com