Peace, Love and Fizzy Wine

During a recent mid-winter afternoon visit to Bella Terra Vineyards in Hunker, PA. I had the pleasure of talking with owner Jay Bell during one of the rare times when his trendy winery wasn’t bustling with activity. Jay walked behind the bar and over to a row of taps where he grabbed a brightly colored pull and filled a glass with his latest offering Hunker Hippie. The catchy name brought a smile to my face as did the bubbling wine in my glass and the thought process behind it. Hunker Hippie is a lower alcohol carbonated light red wine with 6% ABV and a hint of blackberry.

Jay and his team used a Piquette-style of winemaking to utilize the same grapes that were used to make several of BTV’s full-bodied wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Barbera grapes from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, California were re-passed and made into a light red wine that is the base wine for their Rosé Cider and Harvest Rosê Cider. This year Jay reserved 130 gallons of that wine to make his initial offering of Hunker Hippie. Hunker Hippie is the perfect wine for a warm summer day at the winery when you want to drink a refreshing light wine that won’t fill you up. It is on tap now by the glass but is also available in a growler at a great price. If you’re curious about Hunker Hippie don’t wait until summer to try it because this first batch is going fast.

Conceito Contraste Tinto 2014

     Conceito Contraste Tinto 2014 is one of the Fine Portuguese wines from small family owned producers that is being offered by Silver Coast Imports. This Douro Valley old vine field red blend sports surprisingly firm tannins with red berry, plum and spice flavors showing nicely through mild oak undertone. 70% is oak barrel aged for 18 months. It was rated 89 pts by Robert Parker and 87 by Wine Enthusiast. Great to drink now and I see it continuing to improve in coming years.

http://silvercoastimports.com   email: cbento@silvercoastimports.com  267-236-4248

Cune “Crianza” Rioja 2012

     Cune “Crianza” Rioja is very popular in Spain and it is easy to see why after you tastecune-rioja-3 this very good “everyday” Rioja. C.V.N.E. ( Compañia Vinícola del Norte de España ) produces 4.5 million bottles of this well-crafted commercial Rioja in different lots to meet market demand. The 2012 vintage is a wine that again has proven to be a critical success garnering ratings of 91 points from Wine Spectator and 90 points from Wine Advocate.

Cune “Crianza” Rioja 2012 stays true to its winning formula of a Tempranillo-based blend with 15% Granacha Tinta and Mazuelo. This wine is aged one year in French and American oak to give it just the right amount of oak to enhance both taste and bouquet. Cherry red with a hint of violet in the glass its medium body brims with cherry and vanilla flavors plus spicy notes on the finish. Soft tannins and balanced acidity blend seamlessly into a classic Rioja profile.

     If you are looking an approachable Rioja that is easy to drink at a value price I suggest you give this Spanish favorite a try.   cune-rioja

       

McWilliam’s Jack”s Blend 2011

Snarky Puppy Preforms at SummerSounds

Snarky Puppy Performs at SummerSounds

     McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Jack’s Blend South Eastern Australia 2011 is a Red Wine Blend that has a solid character and the good taste that are usually only found in a more expensive wine.  Jack’s Blend exhibits a light oak aroma with a medium body and a long smooth finish full of mild tannins.  This offering would pair well with grilled meat or even pizza.  I had the pleasure of drinking this red while sitting with friends under a starry night sky in St Clair Park , Greensburg Pa as the band Snarky Puppy performed at SummerSounds.  When you need to grab a bottle or two of red wine for a gathering of friends this wine will give you good quality at a great price.  Jack’s Blend can be found at P.L.C.B. stores for only $5.99 or online for under $10.