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Posts Tagged ‘2007’

25 Days of Christmas: Day 17

Thus far in the WineLife365 25 Days of Christmas countdown, I’ve shared with you some terrific wine choices, under $20, for holiday parties, marathon wrapping sessions, and even a cookie/wine pairing.  With Christmas now only 8 days away, it’s time to intensify the countdown.  If you’re a frantic, harried procrastinator like me, shopping for last–minute Christmas gifts, then you don’t have time to mess around with bargain shopping.  You need something amazing NOW!  So for the remaining shopping days, it’s only 100% totally badass wines…regardless of price! You can worry about that credit card bill later, when it arrives next month.

The first badass is the 2007 Bodega DiamAndes de Uco Gran Reserva (Sample: $42 US) from Argentina.  Take a close look at the label on this red wine:  it’s got a big ole sparkling diamond – the size of the rock that Kris Humphries gave to Kim Kardashian – on the front.

The 2007 Bodega DiamAndes de Uco Gran Reserva is a luxurious treat of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s an avalanche of blackberry, black cherry, plum, black currants, black pepper, leather, roasted almonds (breathe…breathe…), and finally some vanilla.  And the finish?  Let’s put it this way – it lasted way longer than that Humphries-Kardashian union.

Expect at least 10 “atta boys” and 5 high fives from your peeps thanking you for bringing such a great bottle of wine.  There are only 3,500 cases to go around, making this gift even more special!

Stay tuned for more tomorrow! :)

25 Days of Christmas: Day 8

It’s not all about the gifts – it’s really about love…right?  I gotta say, there was a lot of love for Spanish red wines in our casita in 2011!

Here are 3 Spanish Delights that’ll have you and your friends singing Feliz Navidad all season!

The first selection is no stranger here at  It just keeps bringing Sexy Back, again and again, with remarkable consistency.  Just like past vintages, the 2010 Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha is, yet again, pure liquid gold in the under $10 wine category.  

If you’re looking to crank up the dial and prefer a comfortable and friendly Old World feel, then the 2007 Ramon Bilbao Limited Edition Tempranillo offers familiar flavors of cherry, vanilla, leather and black pepper.  For around $18 per bottle, it’ll elevate a plate of assorted meats, cheeses and olives to new heights.

Finally, our late season find (thanks to a recommendation), leads us to an amazing, mouth-filling red from the sub-region of Priorat.  The 2010 Bodegas La Cartuja Priorat is a delicious blend of 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo (aka Cariñena or Carignane), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah.  After trying all three wines, a friend of mine said, “I LOVE all three, but if you want to go all the way and furthest, then the 2010 Bodegas La Cartuja Priorat is the one that will take you there!”  $15 and I get to go all the way?!  Sounds like a good deal to me!  ;)

BTW – no need to worry about a few broken ornaments when you come to my house! Mi casa es su casa, dear friends!

Dinner with a Couple of Locals from Across the Bridge

This past Fancy Dinner Friday sure felt a whole lot different from other Friday nights we’ve spent together as a family.  No mascots on this night;  instead, this past Friday evening we all felt a bit of anxiety and concern as Hurricane Irene continued to move furiously up the East Coast into our neck of the woods.  In spite of this, though, we still managed to have a pretty spirited chat with our boys that ran the gamut from, “What was your favorite thing you did this summer?” to “What was your least favorite thing?” and “Are you ready to go back to school?” 

As the pasta cooked to al dente perfection and the meatballs simmered in red sauce, Andrea Bocelli played softly in our dimly lit dining room.  It was the perfect setting to reflect on how fortunate we really are to have one another.  All this sense of home and togetherness got me thinking about a couple of wines that had been sitting on my wine rack waiting to be opened on a night just like this one:  Heritage Vineyards kindly sent two wines for my wife and me to try from their 2007 vintage.

I’ve written about New Jersey wines several times.  Some wine lovers may be surprised to know that New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain is similar to the Bordeaux region of France.  The soil itself has its differences, but in terms of climate, both areas are very similar.  Because of New Jersey’s climate and geological diversity, there are more than 225 different varietals being grown in the Garden State – ranging from Pinot Noir and Riesling in North Jersey to Italian varieties, such as Sangiovese and Barbera, in South Jersey.  

Heritage Vineyards, located outside the small town of Mullica Hill, NJ is owned and operated by Penni, Bill, and Richard Heritage.  The winery rests on 100 acres of farm land; of which approximately 22 acres are allocated for winemaking, while the remaining land is used for apple, peach and pear farming.  The family hopes to eventually transition its entire farm into wine vineyards and expand its winemaking program.

We started with the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin (MSRP: $20.99).  Chambourcin, or “East Coast Zinfandel” as Penni and Bill call it, is a French/American hybrid that has only been available since the early 1960s.  It was planted in the United States in the 70’s and grows particularly well in the northeast and midwest regions.  This winter-hardy, vigorous and disease-resistant grape has found ideal conditions to flourish in New Jersey; and Heritage Vineyards, along with several other New Jersey wineries, are using it to produce some noteworthy wines.

As my wife and I tasted the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin we remarked several times to one another how the berry flavors in this wine just jump out and smack you in the face – in a good way. :)   It’s a flash of juicy blackberry, blueberry and plum, with a hint of green pepper and a touch of roasted nuts.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Chambourcin.  

Our second wine, was the  2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot ( MSRP: $19.99).  Unlike the estate grown Chambourcin, which possessed soft tannins and pure berry bliss, the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot was meant for those seeking refuge in the bigger, mouth-filling camp.  In this Merlot, one gets a big juicy mouthful of Jersey Fresh strawberries, along with green pepper, clove, vanilla, leather, black pepper, and licorice.  My wife was sensing some fennel seed as well – but then again, maybe it was the meatballs.  ;)

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Heritage Station Estate Merlot.

Late Night ‘Strange’

Let’s face it – crazy things can happen in the wee hours of the night:  spontaneous, wild acts that are better left forgotten and definitely never mentioned the next day.  You know exactly what I’m talking about – the kind of night that when you wake up the next morning, rub your eyes, half open them and say to yourself, “What the hell happened last night?!” 

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no angel – I’ve definitely had my fair share of rude awakenings!  In most cases, I generally abide by the code of silence that is expected after these nights; but every now and then, shouldn’t a little late night “strange” be shared with others?


It usually begins with a long talk that goes deep into the late hours.  In this particular case, it was pretty late when my wife said, “But I’m not ready for bed yet.”  Next, comes the familiar phrase, “So, what do you have in mind?”

Standing at the Crossroad

On this particular late night, my wife asked, “Can you make us a snack and grab a bottle of red?” 

I had two options here:  I could suggest that we call it a night or I could throw caution to the wind and see where this goes.

I’m a gambling man, so I said, “Sure.”  I thought to myself, “I can either keep things under control or I can take a turn so sinful and dirty that it might require asking for forgiveness the next morning.”

What do you think I did?

The Dirty

This little ‘unmentionable’ consisted of diced, (leftover) grilled Chorizo with sautéed corn, chopped bacon, chopped pecans, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, fresh raspberries, with a scoop of sour cream and a handful of fresh cilantro.

Before you go judging my little late night indiscretions, I did take some prudence when picking the wine to go with this naughtiness.  This would require a red wine gutsy enough to contend with any “wrongness” that was happening on the plate.

I decided to go with the 2007 Wyndham Estate Shiraz George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve – that’s a mouthful!  :)   (Sample, MSRP: $20).  Chief winemaker, Nigel Dolan does a fine job of reigning in super-ripe black fruit, coupled with a tonsil-clinging nutty characteristic (reminiscent of a port wine), and knows precisely when to apply the brakes on the alcohol level.  It’s a Shiraz that offers up a lot of “impact” on the finish – which ain’t a bad thing if you’re gonna do ‘The Dirty’. 

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Wyndham Estate Shiraz George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve.  The combination of flavors between the snack and wine was almost as good as an impromptu basement burlesque show…from what I hear! :)

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