Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

Left Coast Right Bank.jpg

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


2015 Beronia Crianza Rioja ($15)

The Rioja region of Spain is noted for its Tempranillo and this one from Beronia is indeed noteworthy.

This is a typical Rioja blend of grapes consisting of 91% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha and 1% Mazuelo (a.k.a Carignan).

The Tempranillo in this wine defines its structure. The Grenache provides more berry flavors and spices while adding to its wonderful aroma. Finally, the Carignan, even this wine’s 1%, adds acidity and an ever-so-slight hint of tannin.

With nice bright fruit on the nose, this wine immediately yields red fruit flavors of cherry and raspberry. Its medium body allows the fruit flavors to shine though.

This wine’s label includes the word “crianza.” In case you are not familiar with this term, crianza indicates that wine has spent one year in oak barrels.

The oak aging was done in mixed barrels with American oak staves and French oak caps. This process added subtle spice flavors and yielded low tannin. This makes for a easy finish with each sip.

This is a very nice wine that can pair with lighter fare and also stands up nicely with bigger-flavored foods.

As with all wines featured as a Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week, it’s very affordable and easily attainable. Enjoy! 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

This wine is imported by Gonzalez Byass.

Wine - It's Really Very Simple

Question Mark.jpg

I recently read a piece in Wine Spectator (March 31, 2018) by Matt Kramer. It was titled "It's Really Very Simple." He started off by stating "The temptation for all wine to somehow make wine simple." He then goes on to say "Although the reality is that wine, fine wine anyway, is anything but simple, the temptation to simplify is irresistible."

And, yes, I started and my weekly blogs in order to make wine more understandable and simple. So, I guess I too have fallen into the temptation.  But, I really think there is good reason to try to simplify wine, although I admit it's sometimes difficult.

As I started out writing blogs for my website, one of the requests I got was "Just tell me what wine I should buy."  I have regularly struggled with this request.  It's a simple one. Yet, I have always found it to be a difficult one to address.

The problem with this simple request is that everyone's palate for wine is different. There have been plenty of times that I've said "Oh, wow!  This wine is really nice!" and had someone else try it, make an ugly face and shake their head and exclaim "No!  I don't like that at all."  

So, what I have continually tried to explain (in simple terms!) is that wine appreciation is a journey. You shouldn't expect to start with exceptional quality wines and immediately like them. But, if you truly want to try to understand and appreciate wine, you have to start somewhere; anywhere.  And, because our brains are wired to like sweeter things, it's often sweeter wines or bubbly that people with start with. Or, a very fruity rosé wine that maybe isn't that sweet but has lots of bright fruit flavors.  But, you have to jump in somewhere. And, give it time.

It's so simple! Right?  Well, at least I'll keep trying. Cheers!