Oct 16, 2016

2013 Pinot Nior's from Armitage Wine

Not that long ago we came across this wine maker that just knocked our socks off. A self proclaimed maker of Pinot Noir. After a taste of the range we were hooked. The wines we tasted were;

2013 Carmel Valley Pinot Noir. This is hefty for a Pinot. It has tannin's that will need a little time to figure out who they really are. This wine changes in the glass over time quite a bit. Time should prove this to be an interesting and enjoyable different style Pinot Nior. *** 7.

2013 Santa Cruz mountains Pinot Noir. 
Soft feminine and delicate A sexy young girl who enjoys leading you astray. Oh baby. Hey honey can I keep her? 100% new oak. Would not have guessed. Just delightful *** 7+.

2013 Armitage Chalone
2013 Dry Hole Vineyard Chalone Piñot Noir.
A full sumptuous, voluptuous wine that has it all going on. A Marilyn of wine. Great balance and a crackin finish that just checks all the boxes. This wine is feminine but is a bit like that sultry woman that can make grown men blush. A siren that one cannot resist. Please sir can I have some more. No new oak. *** 8.

2013 Santa Cruz Mountains Mt Roberta Reserve Piñot Noir.
2013 Armitage SCM ReserveThis is a beautiful svelte wine that has beautiful aromatics and a balanced and round mid palate. The finish is like a great suspense novel from a master that holds you on the edge of your seat for an extended period of time. A technical descriptor for this wine would be 'Yum'.  This is the same as the Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot but selected barrels that Brandon feels are the best of the best. The best of the best is a little more rounded and fuller. This seductive wine is a lover with a feel for substance and connection that will make your night one to remember. ** 8+.
Head on over to Aptos California and have a taste of some pretty darn good Pinot Noir. We are soon to taste the pre-release of the 2014's and we cant wait.
Happy Wine Adventures,


Oct 9, 2016

Scones, helicopters and 100 year old port, Barossa

What is one to do when your mum is turning 90 and needs for nothing? Start a kind of, what have you not done list, that might be of interest and or fun to do list...

A big day was planned and although most things were not a surprise, it was still a surprise as I don't think she believed me when I told her of the itinerary. Mum lives in Paradise. No really, she literally lives in Paradise. Its a suburb of Adelaide South Australia. Given the location it seemed easy to create a special day. A day of firsts in the Barossa Valley.

We took off early enough to get a full day of activities in, even with the rain. The first stop was a lovely coffee shop in Lyndoch. The Lord Lyndoch was a lovely sojourn for Cappuccinos, tea and scones with jam and cream. Oh how I miss the decadent thick cream of Australia.

After some yum in our tummies it was back onto the road. It was not long driving through the beautiful southern Barossa that the rain stopped and we came to our next stop, Barossa Helicopters. In her 90 years mum has never been in a helicopter. We did our preflight and headed of to see a bunch of Barossa Icons from the air. What a trooper. Mum just hops on in and gets buckled up. Moments later we are going airborne.

As we gently cruised across the vineyards of the beautiful Barossa we started trying to spot the winery. Not as easy as one would think. One place that was relatively easy to spot was Seppeltsfield, where we had plans for later in the afternoon. We also spotted, Gods Hill,  Whistler, Two Hands, Hentley Farm, Chateau Tanunda and also flew over the whispering wall. A lovely flight with spectacular views and a recommended stop when in the Barossa. Thumbs up from Mum!
Rain didn't slow us down.
VIP tasting area.
Next up was the stop that I was most looking forward to. The main event. The icing on the cake. A stop at Seppeltsfield . First up was a beautiful lunch at Fino. All four of us ordered something different and we each were delighted by our choices. The food, the service and the accompanying wines were fantastic. Next up for Mums (and mine) big day was a tour to learn of the Seppelt family history and their profound influence on the Australian wine industry.

Nigel talking to sister in law
about her birth year port.
We toured the 1851 Seppelt homestead, Elm Walk, 1877 Distillery and 1860s Blending Cellars. Some wonderful stuff that Mum just ate up. Then it was time for our private tour host Nigel to take us to the luxurious VIP mezzanine lounge and taste the current releases of port. First up a Grand Tawny 10 years average age. Then a Para Rare Tawny at 18 years average followed by a 21 year Old Para Tawny. The final taste in the VIP lounge was an amazing 1986 Para Liqueur Tawny. The pinnacle of the day was then wandering around in the barrel room of the world’s longest and only unbroken collection (lineage) of single vintage tawny since 1878. Here we were told of the history of the contents and it was amazing. During our wandering we also got to taste all our birth year ports.

Mum enjoying a 1926 port.
We started with a 1976, yum. Then a 1963 that was divine. Next up a 1958 and then for the birthday girl a 1923. Seppeltsfield’s Centennial Cellar is the remarkable vision of Oscar Benno Pedro Seppelt, who in 1878, began the legacy of maturing single vintage Tawny for 100 years before release. The VIP tour was finished up with a taste of a 100 year old port. What a special and amazing tasting it was and what a great day. Mum was stoked and the rest of us were as well.
An amazing adventure and all just a short drive from Paradise...

Happy Wine Adventures,

Our tour guide Nigel showing some other guests a good time.

Oct 2, 2016

Aeration by AERVANA... Is it for everyone?

We were recently sent a very nice power aerator. Now we have never really used aeration much. Generally only if we feel that the wine needs it to help drink-ability. Our normal approach is if we can swirl it into drink-ability we do it. So looking at this fancy and very nicely packaged aeration device we were wondering if it would revolutionize our drinking pleasure or just end up sitting on the shelf and keeping company with a couple of others.

The AERVANA is a well packaged and a quality device. Well made and works exactly as advertised. Tip; read instructions and follow. This way you will avoid the wine being sprayed all over the counter and splashed all over the surrounding counter items and walls. This is no fault of the AERVANA device but a simple user error. The actuation button is on the top, which after having used it a couple times makes perfect sense. But the first time while putting it into and onto the bottle pushed the button and, well, as referred to above, wine everywhere.

So how do we determine if this is a must have device for our wine drinking friends. We decided to gather a few bottles of young big reds to put it to the test. With 20 Riedel Bordeaux wine glasses, two bottles of big reds and five eager drinkers one glass of each wine straight from the bottle and one glass each of wine poured through the AERVANA. Now it became immediately apparent that we needed a little wait time to let the air bubbles disperse otherwise identifying the AERVANA wine would be child's play as it pours it frothy red wine. Within a minute or two there are no tell tale bubbles.

The company says:
Aervana is out to enhance the wine experience of wine lovers everywhere. Aervana offers a new and sophisticated way to aerate your wine with the ease of pushing a button. It’s also the first aerator designed to leave sediment in the bottom of the bottle and not in your glass.
What varietals does Aervana work best with?
Aglianico | Bordeaux blend | Cabernet Sauvignon | Mourvèdre | Nebbiolo | Nero D’Avola | Petit Verdot | Petite Sirah | Syrah (depending on the region) | Tannat | Tempranillo | Touriga Nacional

So our results? The votes counted, and four out of the five drinkers preferred the AERVANA poured wine (both wines Bordeaux). Wow we thought, that is a big recommendation.

Did it revolutionize our drinking pleasure? Is this a must have? Can we now live without it? Yes and no. We know, that is not an answer. WE continued to use it on many other wines and found it a bit mixed on improved initial drinking pleasure. On reflection, the wines that seemed better were all on the company varietals list. Perhaps not a coincidence.

So the take away is this. Nicely leaves the sediment in the bottle not the glass. Very cool and easy dispensing and cleans up super easy. With heavy and younger wines of the recommended varietals we experienced the AERVANA does make the wine more approachable for the average drinker in a nice classy and convenient dispensing package.

Happy Wine Adventures,


PS: Still using it...