From Pittsburgh’s East End the Bridges Wine Company will be bringing their wines to the Pittsburgh Public Market, 2401 Penn Ave. in the Strip District for the next two weekends. Get a taste of what Bridges Wine has to offer on Saturday March 14th & 21st from 9-5 and Sunday March 15th & 22nd from 10-4. The newly released 2014 Washington Moscato will be available for $15 along with the Bridges 2012 Pinot Noir and 2012 Zinfandel. James and Rebecca McCeney will also be offering special discounts on multiple bottle purchases.
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
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!!!
I have to tip my hat to Volére for the imaginative packaging of a box wine trio that was perfectly timed for the holiday season. The wine business is extremely competitive and it is very hard to grab a consumers attention but this innovative idea does just that. Volére has packaged three selections in a box that looks like a designer purse with details which include a color coordinated handle, hang tag and a zipper printed on the top of the purse. The box contains 1.5 liter of either a 2011 Pinot Grigio, Rosé or Red Blend and is list priced at $14.99. My wife purchased a few as hostess gifts that she will give out this holiday season. I forgot to mention that the spout pulls out of the end of the box/purse, so it can serve on the go or from the shelf of your refrigerator.
Thanksgiving is only a week away and the menu is set but the wine list will remain fluid until the last-minute. White wines are the traditional choices because they pair wonderfully with Thanksgiving fare. A dry Chardonnay with a light oak aging is always a sure bet but a fruity unoaked offering might be a more interesting choice. Sauvignon Blanc is also a good pick with its lively acidity or if you want to spur some dinner table wine talk try a Gewürztraminer, White Burgundy or even a Viognier. If your guests like a little sweeter wine try a White Zinfandel to satisfy their tastes. Reds are hard to blend with the flavor palate of this holiday meal but if you must uncork a bottle of red I suggest trying a light bodied wine with fine tannins and the best choice for that is Pinot Noir. We will be pouring three New York white wines from the 3 Brothers Winery in the Finger Lakes Region, a 2010 1st Degree Medium Dry Riesling and a 2010 2nd Degree Medium Sweet Riesling along with a 2011 Stoney Lonesome Estates Grüner Veltliner. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
We often complain about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that regulates alcohol sales here but there are times when they get it right. I have to say the Chairman Selection offering of 2007 Argyle Pinot Noir Spirithouse for $39.99 (a savings of $ 35.01 from its quoted price of $75 ) is one of those times. This Oregon Pinot Noir was produced by the Knudson Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA of the Williamette Valley. It is currently listed as Sold Out by the winery but that should be no surprise after Wine Advocate rated it 93 pts and Wine Spectator gave it a 90 pt rating in 2009 which means it has only gotten better since then. Spirithouse exhibits plenty of ripe fruit flavors especially raspberry and red cherry and just enough tannins with a smooth textured finished. This is a very good quality Pinot Noir that has more than sufficient acidity and the hint of pepper that is the signature of a good Pinot. I will tip my hat to the PLCB on this one and say “Job well done”. PLCB Code 32593
The Three Brothers Wineries and Estates are located at 623 Lerch Rd Geneva, NY. It is just a short distance off of NY Rte 96A South at the north end of Seneca Lake. This winery is a collection of three distinctly different wineries (Passion Feet, Stony Lonesome and Bagg Dare) and a brewery (War Horse). We arrived at the property just a day after the conclusion of Winestock, a wine and music festival that had run through the weekend. Three Brothers was the only winery that we visited twice and is a perfect example of the saying “What a difference a day makes”. The first day we visited we were served in the tasting room of the Stony Lonesome Winery by a very well versed young man named Alex. Alex poured our selections and recited the characteristics of each flawlessly and with a friendly ease. That day we would purchase two Riesling: Degree 1 Medium Dry 2010 and Degree 2 Medium Sweet 2010 along with a wine that I was unfamiliar with Estate Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2011. I could have easily have picked up their Barbera, the first to be produced in the Finger Lakes but the promise of the wines in my near future caused me to pass on it. The next afternoon we decided to return to Three Brothers to pick up a bottle of their Pinot Noir and that Barbera that I had passed on the day before. We entered the Stony Lonesome tasting room and stood around until we were finally approached by a small young woman. We asked her several questions about their Pinot Noir and other red wines which she struggled to answer with her limited knowledge of the products. Since the Pinot was to be a gift I asked if she could do me a favor and photo copy the wine list and its tasting notes. She went into the other room only to return and say no and that it could be found on the website (I looked but couldn’t find it there). I bought the 2009 Pinot Noir and forgot about the Barbera.
The wines at Three Brothers Wineries and Estates were probably the best I tasted on this trip but the tasting room experience was surly the most sub-standard that I encountered. The management of this business has to remember that making good wine is important but there is much more to a brand than just that.
I just could not wait any longer to open the bottle of Pinot Project 2010 that I bought in New York City. It was very drinkable and was well worth the under $20 price. It is hard to find an enjoyable bottle of Pinot Noir for a reasonable price but the Pinot Project 2010 did provide a satisfying wine that can be poured for friends during a relaxed evening at home. I do want to repeat a recommendation from an earlier post (Keeping Score) and it is Louis Latour Volnay 2007. I think you would like either of these wines but since the PA L.C.B. stores do not stock the Pinot Project you will be happier with the Louis Latour Volnay.
I usually only recommend rated wines because to put it simply I see no reason to reinvent the wheel by trying to rate wines myself. When a wine is rated you can check its rating against the rating opinion of several other reviewers to see if it deserves your further consideration. The scale is a 100 point scale with the two most important ranges to me being 85-89 for a very good wine with special qualities and 90-94 for an outstanding wine that has superior character and style.
Pinot Noir is a popular wine that can be expensive but if you do your research some good examples can be purchased at a reasonable price. Louis Latour Volnay 2007 is Wine Spectator rated at 89 and can be found as a Chairman’s Selection at PA L.C.B. stores for $19.99, a sizable discount from its quoted price of $55.oo. This Pinot Noir is broad and sweet with a juicy ripe fruit body that offers cherry and raspberry flavors plus a silky texture. Look for it with the product code 13223 in the store or online.