Behind the Cork™ - Phantom Red Blend by Boglea


2015 Phantom Red Blend by Bogle ($25)

The Phantom is back! Last week’s Behind the Cork™ feature was the Phantom Chardonnay that was so good I went out and bought another bottle. This week feature is the Phantom Red Blend by Bogle.

This Phantom Red Blend is comprised of 44% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It spent 24 months in 1 & 2 year-old American and French Oak.

On the nose you know you are going to get richness, dark fruit, some earthiness and a healthy dose of oak.

And that oak comes right through. Along with the richness of the Petite Sirah, and the jammy Zinfandel, you get wonderful chocolate and vanilla tones from the oak that are followed up with a low tannin, smooth and lingering finish.

I’ve enjoyed Bogle wines for years but this offering from their Phantom label, along with their Phantom Chardonnay, really step it up a few notches.

And, you can bet I’ll be out soon looking for more of this Phantom Red Blend by Bogle! Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Bogle Vineyards

Ever Wonder? - What Does 'Vin Sec' Mean on a Riesling Label

Vin Sec Riesling Label.jpg

Ever wonder what “Vin Sec” means on the label of a bottle of Riesling?

In French it literally means ‘dry wine.’

Riesling is a wine that is most famously produced in Germany where nearly half the world's Riesling grapes are grown. Other great producers of Riesling include the Alsace region of France, Australia, Austria, Canada and the United States.

Riesling that is grown in cooler climate regions result in highly aromatic wines with great acidity and big, bright fruit flavors. But mention a Riesling and most often you'll hear "Oh, that's a sweet wine."

But not all Rieslings are sweet. They can span the range from dry to sweet. The Alsace region of France is known for its dry Riesling. And warmer climates, such as California, Oregon and Washington, produce dry Rieslings that typically have more muted fruit flavors, are more medium to full-bodied.

So, if you are looking for Riesling that is not sweet, look for the words ‘Vin Sec’ on the label. This will ensure that you’re getting a ‘dry’ or low-sugar wine.


Behind the Cork™ - Phantom Chardonnay by Bogle


2017 Phantom Chardonnay by Bogle ($20)

Here’s a “scary” one from Bogle that is very appropriate as we approach Halloween. This Phantom Chardonnay is inspired by a ghostly figure that wanders the Bogle cellars at night. And, there are also some paranormal stories of the Phantom available by downloading the “Augmented Reality Wine Labels” app from the internet and scanning the Phantom bottle label.

As for this Phantom Chardonnay, it was sur lee aged for 10 months in 100% French Oak with lees stirring twice a month.

The result is anything but scary. It’s actually downright friendly to the nose and pallet. This Chardonnay has wonderful aromas of honey, vanilla and baked apples. The oak aging results in creamy, buttery flavors of caramel and butterscotch, along with apple and pear with just a touch of acidity to round out its flavor.

After tasting this one, I went out the next day and bought another one. It’s that good. So keep you eyes out for this Phantom Chardonnay by Bogle! Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Bogle Vineyards

Wine Facts: Are You Familiar with Zibibbo?


While perusing the wine list at a casual restaurant, a friend of mine recently asked “Have you heard of Zibibbo?” I had to reply that I didn’t but promised to look into it.

It turns out that Zibibbo is a white wine grape varietal used to produce both sweet and dry wines, most notably on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria.

The varietal is also known as Muscat of Alexandria, and has similar aromatics to that of Muscat.

To produce the sweet version of this wine, the grapes are usually left on the vine until they partially ferment in the hot sun and start to raisin. Hence the name Zibibbo that is derived from the Arabic word zabib that means "raisins".

The popularity of sweet and fortified wines around the world has declined with time as winemaking techniques and consumer preference have moved towards dry wines. This has led to the appearance of dry wines (both still and sparkling) made from Zibibbo. The dry version of Zibibbo is a bright, golden yellow color. It can have flavors of orange, ripe pineapple and peaches with some hints of saline.

The sweet dessert wines have aromas of almond and apricot, while the taste is sweet, aromatic and with a typical almond aftertaste. The alcohol content of these wines often a minimum of 10 ABV and is typically served cold.

As for pairings, as well as being used as an aperitif, the dry version of Zibibbo works well with fish and shellfish, as well as bold cheeses. However, as you might expect, the sweet wine it a nice match with desserts, especially traditional Sicilian Cannoli, Cassata, and pastries filled with almond paste, as well as pistachio-based desserts and ice cream.

While most notably grow in Sicily, it is also grown in California, but is most often used as a blending variety.

So, there you have it. I’m certainly going to keep my eye out for this wine. And, maybe you should too. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon


2016 The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.99)

The Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon was created to honor Benjamin Franklin who was a passionate man who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and campaigned for Colonial unity during the American Revolution. The Federalist’s passion for winemaking rivals that of Ben Franklin’s for the country.

This Cabernet Sauvignon is from Lodi in the middle of California’s central valley. With more than 100,000 acres of vineyards, it is twice the size of Napa Valley.

The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Zinfandel and a combined 2% of Petite Sirah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Different blocks were fermented separately to preserve the characteristics of each. They each spend an average of 18 days on the skins during fermentation and then finished with 15 months in oak - 35% of which was new oak.

While Lodi is known for producing big and bold wines, the Federalist Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon actually leans toward being a medium-bodied wine with notes of sour cherry, plum, and blackberry. The tannins are quite soft and this Cab finishes with light notes and medium acidity.

This Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon is another good one that’s affordable and attainable - Just right for being featured as a Behind the Cork™ wine of the week! Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications