Try Some Wine! Win A Contest! Tapena Is Here To Help.

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Wines from the Grocery Store | 1 Comment

“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” – Sarah Bernhardt

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d talk to you a little about love. …And the Spanish company, Freixenet (known for it’s world-famous black-bottled Cava, Cordon Negro). Love is what built Freixenet. In the late 1800s, Pedro Ferrer Bosch, whose family owned La Freixeneda – a farming estate dating back to the 12th Century – and had been making wine since the 1500s; married Dolores Sala Vivé, whose family owned the wine export company Casa Salas, and had been making wine since the 1830s.

The Phylloxera epidemic hit hard around that time, wiping out vineyards across Europe. But the family stuck together and their love of working in wine persevered. Instead of continuing to export wines from Europe – which had become a daunting endeavor, since many of Europe’s vineyards were now gone – Pedro and Dolores joined forces with her father and changed the direction of Casa Salas; while once they shipped vino, from then on, they made it.

With France’s venerable Champagne region as their guide, the family decided to make traditional sparkling wines, and planted all white grapes – Macabeo, Xarelo and Parellada, to be precise – and dug cellars at their home in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain. In 1915, under the name Freixenet (a nickname the locals gave to Pedro), the family began selling their own wines made in the Méthode Champenoise style. By the end of World War I, they were already shipping internationally.

Today, the Freixenet Group has distributors in 150 countries, and they rank number one in the world in production of sparkling wines made in the traditional method.

And they continue to look for ways to share the family’s love of wine.

To this end, the company is launching a value brand called Tapeña – a combination of the words tapas (“the American equivalent of bar hopping with an epicurean twist”) and peña (“slang for a group of close friends”) – the idea being that this wine is ideal to share over good times with the people you care about. What’s more, they offer a rewards program for fans to earn all kinds of cool stuff – just for drinking wine! – and at around $9.99/bottle, what’s not to love?

The Tapeña wines are made from primarily Spanish varieties, and there are four in all: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Verdejo, and Rosé (a blend of Garnacha, Monastrell and Shiraz). To introduce wine lovers near and far to these value vinos, the Freixenet Group is running a promotion, and winners will receive one bottle of each of the four wines, as well as nifty gifts like wine charms, a Spanish foods cookbook and a few other items, thrown in for fun (party pack is valued at over $100!).

How do you enter? Easy. In the comments section below, simply give us your favorite tapas recipe! That’s it! A winner will be selected at random on Friday, February 10, at 10am PST.

And if that doesn’t warm your heart, might I suggest picking up a bottle of Cordon Negro, to share in the rest of the world’s love of this classic Cava. After all, what Valentine’s Day isn’t made better by an intoxicating kiss of something sparkling?

“When you came, you were like red wine and honey, and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.” – Amy Lowell

Happy Valentine’s Day!

#Winning (photo courtesy beausbarrelroom.blogspot.com)Love Tapeña wines?

 

 

Love Tapeña wines?

– “Like” them on Facebook

– Follow them on Twitter

 

  • Must be 21 years or older to enter. By entering the contest, you verify you are over 21.

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“Love is like red, red wine…” (photo courtesy blog.craftzine.com)“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” – Sarah Bernhardt
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d talk to you a little about love. …And the Spanish company, Freixenet (known for it’s world-famous black-bottled Cava, Cordon Negro). Love is what built Freixenet. In the late 1800s, Pedro Ferrer Bosch, whose family owned La Freixeneda – a farming estate dating back to the 12th Century – and had been making wine since the 1500s; married Dolores Sala Vivé, whose family owned the wine export company Casa Salas, and had been making wine since the 1830s.
The Phylloxera epidemic hit hard around that time, wiping out vineyards across Europe. But the family stuck together and their love of working in wine persevered. Instead of continuing to export wines from Europe – which had become a daunting endeavor, since many of Europe’s vineyards were now gone – Pedro and Dolores joined forces with her father and changed the direction of Casa Salas; while once they shipped vino, from then on, they made it.
With France’s venerable Champagne region as their guide, the family decided to make traditional sparkling wines, and planted all white grapes – Macabeo, Xarelo and Parellada, to be precise – and dug cellars at their home in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain. In 1915, under the name Freixenet (a nickname the locals gave to Pedro), the family began selling their own wines made in the Méthode Champenoise style. By the end of World War I, they were already shipping internationally.
Today, the Freixenet Group has distributors in 150 countries, and they rank number one in the world in production of sparkling wines made in the traditional method.
And they continue to look for ways to share the family’s love of wine.
To this end, the company is launching a value brand called Tapeña – a combination of the words tapas (“the American equivalent of bar hopping with an epicurean twist”) and peña (“slang

for a group of close friends”) – the idea being that this wine is ideal to share over good times with the people you care about. What’s more, they offer a rewards program for fans to earn all kinds of cool stuff – just for drinking wine! – and at around $9.99/bottle, what’s not to love?
The Tapeña wines are made from primarily Spanish varieties, and there are four in all: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Verdejo, and Rosé (a blend of Garnacha, Monastrell and Shiraz). To introduce wine lovers near and far to these value vinos, the Freixenet Group is running a promotion, and winners will receive one bottle of each of the four wines, as well as nifty gifts like wine charms, a Spanish foods cookbook and a few other items, thrown in for fun (party pack is valued at over $100!).
How do you enter? Easy. In the comments section below, simply give us your favorite tapas recipe! That’s it! A winner will be selected at random on Friday, February 10, at 10am PST.
And if that doesn’t warm your heart, might I suggest picking up a bottle of Cordon Negro, to share in the rest of the world’s love of this classic Cava. After all, what Valentine’s Day isn’t made better by an intoxicating kiss of something sparkling?
“When you came, you were like red wine and honey, and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.” – Amy Lowell

Happy Valentine’s Day!

#Winning (photo courtesy beausbarrelroom.blogspot.com)Love Tapeña wines?

Love Tapeña wines?
– “Like” them on Facebook
– Follow them on Twitter

Must be 21 years or older to enter. By entering the contest, you verify you are over 21.
Path:

Wine Club Review: Hola, Vinos

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes | Comments Off on Wine Club Review: Hola, Vinos

On a recent crisp, spring afternoon I met Jess in her sunny apartment to hunker down and taste the latest wine shipment from Gourmet Monthly Wine Club (read more reviews at WineClubReviews.net).

Jess opened the box and set three bottles on the coffee table: A 2008 Carmen Rapel Valley Carmenere2008 Carmen Rapel Valley Carmenere, a 2008 Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda, from Chile and Spain, respectively; and a 2005 Surfrider Red2005 Surfrider Red (Bordeaux blend/Meritage) from Rosenthal Estate Wines in Malibu. But that's pretty much all there is to say about that one.

2008 Carmen Carmenere

2008 Carmen Carmenere

I've written before about the Carmen Carmenere. It had a nose full of pepper and jam and a taste of lead pipe and salad. I wish I could speak more favorably, but – try as I might – I just couldn't bring myself to like this wine. Jess thought it was ok. She got the green pepper essence I kept complaining about but she didn't hate it as much as I did. So…there's that…ringing…endorsement.

The Rueda was good. It had a lovely, lovely aroma like muscadel (maybe?), peach and ripe grapefruit with undertones of lime. On the palette I picked up flowers and grapefruit, although I felt the wine was a little flabby. But good. It was flabby but grapefruity deliciousness, with a nice balance and mouthfeel.

But here's the thing: The Gourmet Monthly Wine Club tasting notes say that Carmen is “Chile's oldest wine brand,” and “South America's leading winery as well as its oldest.” Which makes me wonder, once again, if I need to find a different job. Apparently Wine & Spirits named Carmen “Top Winery of the Year” at least four times (according to the literature), and, I don't know, I guess I was supposed to really like this juice. I will say this: Even though I didn't love the wine, clearly there was a lot of thought that went into choosing it for the club.

Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda

Bodegas Gormaz Vina Gormaz Rueda

Rueda is actually a Denominación de Origen (DO) in Spain, for the wines from the Community of Castile and Leon, located northwest of Madrid. The Verdejo grape has been grown in this region since the 11th Century, and is now one of Spain's most successful white grape varieties. In order to be labeled Rueda, a wine must contain 50% Verdejo, with the rest typically consisting of either Sauvignon Blanc or Viura – as in the Bodegas Gormaz Vina, which is 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura. Interesting stuff, and the Vina Gormaz was a good wine for introduction.

I have to admit that this was not my favorite overall shipment, but I don't believe it was for lack of quality in the wine. And, truthfully, sometimes we all pick up bottles of otherwise highly rated and glowingly reviewed wine that just doesn't please our palate. I think that's what happened here. In vino veritas…

Gourmet Monthly Wine Club Review

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes | 1 Comment

WineClubReviews is not a name we chose by accident. It is our mission to personally sample and review each club, in order to bring you real reviews. This way we can provide you with the best information for making a personal, informed decision about the best wine club to meet your imbibing interests!

Wine Club Shipment Review

Gourmet Monthly Wine Club

Gourmet Monthly Wine Club

We received a Gourmet Monthly Wine Club Premier Series shipment, at a cost of around $29.95 (plus shipping and handling). Inside were both a white and a red; for the price, Jessyca and I both felt they were both worth every penny. You can also catch our Gourmet Monthly Wine Club Review (Premier Series) at WineClubReviews.net.

I wrote about the white wine in my recent post, Orvieto, Vinho Verde and Pinot Blanc – Oh Dear… The wine in the Gourmet Monthly Wine Club shipment was the Orvieto part of that piece. Specifically, 2008 Palazzone Umbria Dubini Bianco , which is an Orvieto from Orvieto DOC, located near Umbria and Lazio, in Italy.

Palazzone Dubini Bianco - definitely delicious

Palazzone Dubini Bianco – definitely delicious

When Jess first poured our glasses, the wine was right out of the refrigerator. Yes, refrigerator. At least for now, we’re still regular, everyday folk, and don’t have special cellars kept at specific wine-friendly temperatures. But the reason for special cellars kept at specific wine-friendly temperatures is that wine really does work better when it’s served the way it wants to be. Refrigerators are too cold. As a result, our first impression of the Palazzone Umbria Dubini Bianco was that it was rather bland; the taste had been chilled right out of it.

As the wine warmed a little, it really opened up. The bouquet unfolded with ripe peach and pineapple and a touch of hay. Flavors of apple and stone fruit and honey revealed themselves as if waking up from hibernation. Another interesting thing that happened was the sweetness that hit me over the head on my first sip was soon rounded out with more acid and a satisfying structure that took all but the tiniest hint of sweet away.

The red part of this program was a 2007 Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero. From Australia. Ha!

Tinto Fino fine for the price

Tinto Fino, fine for the price

OK, obviously from Spain (That was just a little bit of wine humor. OK, sorry. I’ll just get back to my review now…).

In fact, the family-run winery of Bodegas Emilio Moro is located in the Rioja region of Spain, and – typical to the area – their Tinto Fino is a special clone of Tempranillo grapes (for more Tempranillo goodness, you might want to also check out my review of Campo Viejo Crianza).

Tempranillo is sometimes described as juicy raspberry, perfume-y, dry earthy…and…leather. This Tempranillo I found to have a nose of oak and mineral, a bit of heavy-handed alcohol and a lovely smell and taste of black cherry. It bowled me over with tannins at first, but the more it breathed, unsurprisingly, the better it got. I also thought that this wine would be well served by decanting. It will certainly stand up to cellaring for 3 – 5 years.

As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine on 10/09: Rating: 88/100 – Made from young tempranillo vines (from five to 15 years old), this wine offers simple, refreshing red flavors on a large scale. Serve it with chorizo.

I didn’t love this wine, but I did love the Palazzone Umbria Dubini Bianco. And there is something I should add about the price: For awhile Jess and I thought this shipment was priced at $45.95, and at that cost we were both deeply unsatisfied. However, once we learned that the shipment was closer to $30, everything changed. In fact, these wines seemed perfectly priced at around $15 each. Despite not being a huge fan of the Emilio Moro Finca Resalso Ribera del Duero, I feel I still got my money’s worth.

Even better about the Gourmet Monthly Wine Club: Each shipment can be mixed and matched to include wine or beer, cheese, chocolate, premium cigars or fresh cut flowers. That, alone, is worth the price of admission.

2007 Las Rocas Totally Rocks

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes | Comments Off on 2007 Las Rocas Totally Rocks
Dark ruby-colored, fruity deliciousness!

Dark ruby-colored, fruity deliciousness!

As we've covered in previous posts, wines from Cost Plus World Market can be very hit or miss. In general, I have had great luck with their wines, and since I had a coupon for their Friends and Family 25% Off sale, I thought I'd do a little shopping and buy some new bottles and test my luck.

2007 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha, from the Calatayud region of Spain, is one of the wines I picked up. It's a 90-point Wine Advocate/Parker, and deliciously drinkable now and over the next three years.

I'm not very familiar with Grenache (in Spanish, Garnacha and Garnatxa in Catalan), but it was first cultivated in Spain and is arguably the most abundantly planted grape on the planet. Although it is used on its own to make 100% varietals, it is frequently used to “fill out” other reds, including the bulk of Rhone and over 80% of Châteauneuf du Pape.

This particular bottle is 100% Grenache/Garnacha. It's an absolutely gorgeous deep garnet red in the glass, with a smokey bouquet mixed with red berries and just the tiniest tinge of alcoholic heat. On the tongue, my first taste was of grapefruit! Other imbibers agreed that this was present, although no one else found this to be the principle taste. We all agreed it tasted of smoke and lush berries. Although slightly lightweight (some might say watery), I found this wine to be absolutely scrumptious. It would make a delicious table wine.

From The Wine Advocate:

There are 18,000 cases of the delightful 2007 Las Rocas Garnacha, a wine sourced from Calatayud vineyards ranging in age from 70 to 100 years. Dark ruby in color, it delivers alluring aromas of spice box, mineral, cherry, and black raspberry. Layered on the palate, it has superb depth, succulent flavors, and a pure, lengthy finish. It will provide pleasure over the next three years. (02/08)

From Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar:
Deep ruby. Rich kirsch and blackberry aromas are complicated by mocha and licorice. Smoky dark berry aromas pack serious punch and are supported by suave tannins. Finishes clean, lively and persistent. As usual, this is a great bargain. (9-10/07)

At $10 – $12 per bottle, the 2007 Las Rocas de San Alejandro is also a great buy. It's not always easy to find a highly rated wine for such a low price. This wine is ready to drink now and seems to be universally declared as delicious! If you don't like it, I'll finish it for you.

Cheers!