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

Behind the Cork™ - Tió Pepe Fino Sherry


Tió Pepe Fino Sherry ($20)

Tió Pepe’s Fino Sherry is from the city of Jarez in southern Spain's Andalusia region.

It’s made from the Palomino grape, fermented to the 11-12% ABV range, fortified to 15.5% and then enters the Tió Pepe Solera. While it spends four years in the Solera, a layer of yeast, known as the ‘flor’ forms on the surface of the Sherry within the cask. This protects the Sherry from oxygen and gives Tió Pepe it’s unique aroma and character.

The aroma is notable for its yeast along with notes of toasted almond. This Sherry is a pale golden yellow in color and light in flavor (hence Fino). It’s completely dry and, when served very chilled, makes for a wonderful aperitif.

Sherry can also be used to make cocktails. And, Javier Ortega Diaz of Las Vegas NV recently used this Sherry to make the ‘Sophia’ cocktail that won the U.S. Tió Pepe Challenge in New York City and moved him on to the recent International Tió Pepe Challenge Final in Jerez.

The award winning ‘Sophia’ cocktail included 2 oz Tió Pepe Fino Sherry, 3/4 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice, 1/2 oz homemade kumquat, rosemary & thyme syrup and 1 oz homemade sparkling hibiscus water and is served over ice. Sounds amazing!

So, whether you enjoy Sherry straight up or mixed in a cocktail, try this one from Tió Pepe. It’s quite nice. 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 Rebekah Polster of Donna White Communications

Ever Wonder? - What's that Stuff at the Bottom of Your Wine Glass?


Have you ever taken that last sip of wine only to find a nasty surprise either at the bottom of your glass or in your mouth? Sediment! It can be a very unpleasant discovery. But, luckily, it’s nothing to be worried about.

Sediment is a natural bi-product of the wine making process.

Wines are made from the juice of grapes. And, the skins of the grapes. And the seeds. And sometimes the stems. So, there are actually a lot of solids that are involved in wine making. That’s why, in some cases, you get some ugly particles in your wine glass.

It doesn’t just happen with red wines. White wines are susceptible too.

There’s a lot of chemistry involved in for formation of various types of sediment in wine. But, keeping it simple, these solids in your glass are mostly filtered out at the winery and are just microscopic when they leave the winery in the bottle.

But, age and temperature then act upon these microscopic particles to form the stuff you see in your wine glass.

Next time, I’ll get into a bit more detail on this topic. But, for now, don’t worry. This sediment is not harmful to consume. Cheers!

Ever Wonder? - What is 'Priming' or 'Seasoning' a Wine Glass?


There is a process used by some restaurant wine servers and Sommeliers that, at first might seem a bit odd or even a bit pretentious. When you order a bottle of wine, they first pour a small amount of the wine in your glass. They’ll swirl it around inside the glass. Then, they’ll dump it! And, your first reaction may be “Hey! That’s my wine you’re dumping out!” But, there’s an explanation.

As you’ve probably guessed, this process is called ‘Priming’ or ‘Seasoning’ the wine glass. And, it’s done for a couple of reasons.

First, this may be done to ensure there are no other residual undesirable “aromas” in your wine glass. These could include odors of dish washing detergent, musty cabinets, cardboard boxes or wooden cabinets. Not the kind of aromas that your server wants you to experience with your first sip.

A second reason this may be done is simply to enhance the wine’s aroma, even in a perfectly clean and odor-free glass. This process of swirling the wine and dumping it coats the entire inside of the wine glass with the wine and fills the bowl with the wine’s aroma.

Both of these reasons for priming or seasoning your wine glass ensure that you get the optimal wine experience right from the start.

So, if you experience this process being used on the bottle of wine that you’ve ordered, don’t fret. You’re going to have a great wine experience. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay

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2016 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($19)

This Sonoma-Cutrer is one that is easy to pass-by on the wine aisle. It’s from a big producer and it’s widely availability. But, this is a solid wine. Which makes it perfect for a Behind the Cork™ feature.

The Sonoma Coast is producing a lot of very good wines and Chardonnay is one of the stars. It’s a great growing climate for this grape.

Sonoma-Cuter hand sorts their grapes to ensure only best fruit get processed and the leaves, stems and damaged fruit are removed. The whole clusters are pressed avoiding any skin contact or seeds that result in bitter tannin. The fermentation takes place in a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks.

To get the creamy smoothness of this 100% Chardonnay, it undergoes Malolactic conversion and is then aged sur-lies in a mixture of new, one-year old and neutral French oak.

This results in a Chardonnay with soft flavors of pear and peach, hints of vanilla and just a touch of acidity.

It’s a really good one! Cheers!