Have you heard of Egri Bikavér? It is more commonly known as Bulls Blood. Egri Bikavér or Bulls Blood is the traditional dry red wine of the northern Hungary region of Eger. It is a controlled blend that must use at least three of the seventeen grape varieties that are permitted in the making of Bulls Blood. Bulls Blood is steeped in legend that dates back to a 16th century battle in which Hungarian forces were victorious over Ottoman forces.
Bulls Blood being made in North America is not easily found but one exactly like the one-of-a-kind Chateau Niagara Bulls Blood would be impossible because, to my knowledge it is the only one made with a blend of Blaufrankish (Lemberger), Cabernet Franc, and the Hungarian red grape Turan (Agria). Turan is a teinturier grape, meaning like Saperavi and Chambourcin it has pigment in both its skin and pulp making for a richly colored juice when pressed. Jim Baker got his Turan as clippings for his vineyard in Newfane New York by chance when a West Coast vintner included them in a shipment of Saperavi clippings and as they say “The rest is history”.
Chateau Niagara Bulls Blood 2019 is a deeply colored dry red wine blend that has a medium body with notes of smoke and flavors of dark berries. It has more than ample acidity to give it complexity. Each grape in the blend contributes something special to the finished wine. Cab Franc supplies the fruit while Lemberger adds the smoke then Turan provides the fire. I suggest decanting it and to consider adding some to your cellar to age for a few years.
This wine as well as others from Jim Baker’s award-winning Chateau Niagara Winery are are available online at http://www.chateauniagarawinery.com
The Burchino Estate is in the village of Terriccola. Their 37 hectares of vineyards in the Pisan hills of Chianti are on some of the best land in the Chianti Area.
Tenuta di Burchino IL Burchino 2010 Toscana is a Toscana made up of a perfect 85% Sangiovese – 10% Cabernet – 5%Merlot blend. With floral and blueberry aromas this medium-bodied red is soft and round on the palate. Balanced with good acidity and flavors of cherries, berries and earth makes this wine a nice pairing for any grilled red meat, especially beef. James Suckling gave this Tuscan wine 93pts.
Hot to Trot Red Blend Photo Courtesy: 14 Hands Vineyard
The 14 Hands Vineyard in Paterson, Washington produces one of the best blended red wines made in the United States. This red was once only available to restaurants in selected markets but now can be found in wide distribution due to overwhelming demand. Hot to Trot is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvgion, Mourverde and Petite Verdot grapes harvested from vineyards in several of Washington’s AVA regions including Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope and the Yakima Valley. It is made using techniques that are usually reserved for more expensive wines, these include cold soaking, performing a daily pump-over to extract color and flavor followed by aging in both French and American oak barrels. This extra care produces a medium body red wine with flavors of very lightly oaked red berries and dark fruit with a hint of vanilla giving way to refined supple tannins followed by a pleasant lingering spice and mocha finish. Reds from WashingtonState can be pricey but this blend always delivers a well crafted wine at a great price and its ability to pair flawlessly with a range of food makes it very difficult to beat. 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend can be found at P.L.C.B. stores for $12.99 with the product code 5213. I suggest using the in store product locator on the website www.finewineandgoodspirits.com to check for availability of this wine because of demand.
2011 Volere Pinot Grigio
2011 Volere Rose
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.