Behind the Cork™ - Left Coast Rosé


2018 Left Coast Estate Rosé ($24)

Left Coast Cellars produces a bunch of nice wines from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. And, this Rosé is another fine example.

This blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier is fermented and aged in 100% neutral French Oak. The six month of neutral oak aging softens this rosé into a very delicate offering.

The Left Coast Rosé has light distinct aromas of rose pedals, white cherry and some interesting herbal and wood notes. On the palate, there are delicate fruit notes, low acidity and a creamy smoothness.

If you’ve been turned-off in the past by rosés that are like drinking fruity soda pop or pink lemonade, this rosé from Left Coast Cellars is one you should try. At 13.7% alcohol it’s completely dry (no residual sugar) and the red fruit flavors of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (two of the primary grapes in the production of French Champagne) just peek through for some very nice delicate flavors.

As the weather warms up, rosé is always a perfect choice. Give this one a try with fresh feta or chévre cheeses that really accentuate the creamy character of this Left Coast Estate Rosé. 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 Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Wine: The Tale of Two Pinot Noir's

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Pinot Noir is a wonderful varietal of wine. In the Old World (Europe), Pinot Noir is most famous from the Burgundy region of France. There, it is simply known as ‘Burgundy.’

In the U.S., Pinot Noir is grown in multiple regions. Two notable regions are Sonoma’s Russian River and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. These two regions are producing some excellent Pinot Noir. But, they are quite different.

The differences between Sonoma’s Pinot Noir and Oregon’s Pinot Noir is due to terrior, or the interaction of the soil, climate, topography and how the grape variety grows in the specific region.

The Pinot Noir being produced in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley tends to be light and delicate. Their colors are light, yielding bright cherry red hues with even lighter pink edges on the rim. The flavors include red cherry, cranberry, and raspberry with very delicate, almost non-existent tannin and light finishes.

Now, the Oregon’s Willamette Valley Pinots can be quite different. The Oregon terrior produces bigger and bolder wines, all around. Their colors are deeper, darker red. And their flavors also tend to be of black fruit such as black cherry, currant, fig and plum. They can also have noticeable astringency from their tannin. The words ‘robust’ and ‘muscle’ can be associated with these Pinots.

Both the Sonoma and Oregon Pinot Noir’s are excellent wines; you can’t go wrong with either. But, they also have their very own personalities. So, give them both a try! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2015 Left Coast Cellars Right Bank Pinot Noir ($42)

Here’s another very nice Pinot Noir from Left Coast Cellars. This ‘Right Bank’ Pinot is from their highest elevation vineyard that is planted entirely with Pommard clone Pinot Noir. From 100% Pinot Noir, this wine gets 50% fermentation in French Oak and 50% in Stainless Steel. It is then aged 19 months in 100% French oak.

As with most Pinot’s from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this one does indeed have the dark fruit flavors along with the forest floor aromas.

And, while I do read winery notes and back labels, they are often generic or lean a bit too much on the marketing side of things. But, in the case of this wine, I have to say that their notes are quite accurate.

The Winemaker’s Tasting Notes state “Our Right Bank Pinot Noir overflows the glass with black cherry, currant, and forest floor aromas. Dark, rich flavors of plum and black fig intertwine with a rich texture and well-dressed tannins.” I think that’s pretty well said.

Then, the back label states that “The intensity of the summer sun and the long growing season creates a Pinot Noir that can be characterized as robust with some muscle.” Indeed! That’s what Oregon Pinot is all about.

So, if you love the Pinot’s of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this Left Coast ‘Right Bank’ is right on the mark. 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 Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2016 MacPhail The Flyer Pinot Noir ($50)

If you love Pinot Noir, this one is for you! It’s got wonderfully delicate flavors of red cherry and raspberry, very easy tannin and a melt in your mouth finish.

MacPhail wines are a collaboration between Tim and Sabrina Persson, 5th generation Hess Family, and well-known Winemaker Matt Courtney.

These amazing Pinot Noir grapes are from the Sangiacomo Lakeville Vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast.

Produced from the 777 and 23 clones of Pinot Noir, these hand-picked grapes are 100% de-stemmed, undergo 100% Native Fermentation and spend 11 months in 100% French oak with 30% of it being new oak. The unfined and unfiltered wine was directly bottled.

As Winemaker Matt Courtney says, this wine has “…provocative layers of black fruits - specifically dried cherries and black raspberries that are supported by beautiful acidity and silky tannins. A hint of vanilla oak sweetness shows through a lengthy and persistent finish.” I can’t agree more! As a Sonoma Pinot lover, this one’s tops! The Flyer is not to be missed. It’s super!

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 of Donna White Communications

Wine Fun Facts - Champagne


Champagne is probably the best known wine in the world. And, there’s a lot to know it about this wine.

Here are some fun-facts about Champagne:

  • Champagne is not made from Champagne grapes

  • Champagne is typically produced from three grapes — Pinot Noir (Yes! A red wine grape!), Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier

  • To be called Champagne, it must be produced in the Champagne region of France. Otherwise, it’s called Sparkling Wine

  • California can produce Champagne – such as Korbel, Cook’s or André – and it is perfectly legal to be called Champagne. The loophole that makes this legal stems from a ruling in 2005, after two decades of court battles, when the U.S. and the EU reached an agreement. In exchange for easing trade restrictions on wine, the American government agreed that Champagne would no longer appear on domestic wine labels – that is, unless a producer was already using the name

  • The first step in making Champagne is to make the wine, like any other wine, in a barrel or tank and bottle it

  • The wine becomes carbonated by a second fermentation inside the bottle that is initiated by adding a solution of sugar and yeast. As the yeast consumes the sugar, it gives off carbon dioxide which stays trapped in the wine since the bottle is capped

  • Champagne bottle are stored with their neck down during the second fermentation so that the yeast will settle in the neck

  • The upside down bottles are regularly turned to ensure all the yeast ends up in the neck of the bottle in a process called riddling

  • The Champagne bottle is then opened and the spent yeast is removed or disgorged

  • Finally, some additional wine and sugar is added (the dosage) to balance the Champagne’s acidity

  • This process of making Champagne is called the méthode champenoise

So, there you have it. A few fun facts about the most famous sparkling wine in the world - Champagne. Cheers!