Archive for category Red Wine Blend

Amber Falls Cajunfest

This is a fun Tennessee wine to drink with hamburger or Pizza and other spicy foods.  This is not a wine you will drink every day but once in a while it’s fun. 

Per Amber Falls website:

This fun wine, a sweet red blend of Concord, Chambourcin and Chancellor grapes, is infused with Cajun spices. Sweet on the front palate, it has a warm and delicious lingering finish. This singular wine is truly one of a kind and unforgettable. Without a doubt, it brings out the festival in any occasion!

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Matchbook Wines and Petit Verdot

This wine got a 95 in Wine Spectator, it got 3 puffs in another, a major wine writer gave it two thumbs up. Every winery markets their wine showing the biggest ratings they get, and with the best known reviewers.  This is all part of marketing, and marketing sells.

However, in my opinion, people are putting too much faith into wine ratings.  When I look at a wine, beer, or whatever I am tasting, I ask myself one question: For the price I paid, how good is my return on my investment?

You can’t compare a $100.00 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, with a $20.00: or Can you ?  Absolutely! You have to look at the wine value. Yes the $100.00 bottle may be very good, but the $20.00 for the price may be out of this world. Was that bottle really worth $100? Or $20, only you can tell for sure.

One thing I watch for when looking at wine reviews is their marketing to see if their current marketing is current or stuck in the past. For example, if a winery is promoting its 2015 wine with reviews from the same wine from the past few years, Fantastic! On Target!  However if a winery is promoting the wine with ratings from 10 years ago, or they keep promoting they won some competition from the 1980’s or worse the 1970’s, then they are telling me that they have not been able to produce anything equal or better in so many years.

We have all heard bad reviews on a movie, television show, album, and later when we experienced whatever the review was on, we wonder did the reviewers experience the same thing as I just did. Again only you can tell if you’re getting a good return on your investment.

Matchbook Wines 2012 “Tinto Rey” Red Blend Wine

Tinto ReyThere are very few wines, that when I taste them, I want to run out and get another bottle. Matchbook Wines  2012 “Tinto Rey” is one of those wines. I was totally blown away at the complex flavors this wine has. At an average price of $17.00 this is one of the best buys out there right now.  I tasted the 2012 blend which I found to be a beautiful, complex wine, with smoky overtones and a classic finish. This wine will go great with some heaver or spicy foods. The 26 months this was in barrels brought out the best in the wine. Now as I mentioned the “Tinto Rey” is a blend of red grapes with Temparillo at 50% and Syrah at 27%, the remainder is Petit Verdot, Graciano, and Tannat.  It comes primarily from the Dunnigan Hills appellation. For those not familiar with Dunnigan Hills, it is in Yolo County California, just west of Sacramento.

BLEND:  50% Temparanillo, 27% Syrah, 11% Petit Verdot, 8% Graciano,, 3% Tannat
APPELLATION: 85% Dunnigan Hills ( Temparanillo, Syrah, Graciano) 15% California (Petit Verdot, Tannat)
WINE ALCOHOL: 13.9% by volume
WINE ACID: 6.9 g/L
WINE PH: 3.91

BARRELLS: 100% Barrel Aged. 22% New Barrels, 78% from 2-5 year old barrels. French Oak, American Oak, American/Hungarian Hybrid
PRODUCTION: 7,351 cases

Matchbook Wines 2012 “The Astonist Red” Red Blend Wine

Arsonist BottleLike the Tinto Red this is another full body wine. Tons of black cherry overtones, with a slight peppery finish throughout this beautiful wine.  This is an amazing wine for the price of $22.00.  It’s a steal to get this wine for under $30.00 probably more. Grab this wine as quick as you can.

BLEND:  24 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Petit Verdot,  24% Merlot
APPELLATION:  Dunnigan Hills

WINE ALCOHOL: 13.8% by volume
BARRELLS: 100% Barrel Aged. 45% New Barrels, 55% from 2-5 year old barrels. French Oak, American Oak, American/Hungarian Hybrid
PRODUCTION: 2800 cases


Podcast Grape – Petit Verdot:

Since both wines we looked at today, have one grape in common, Petit Verdot that is what we will talk about. The name Petit Verdot means “small green” which fits, as this is a late season grape. This is a classic red Bordeaux grape. It’s used often in small amounts with wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon to make them more full body and add tannins. In the hands of a skilled winemaker this can be a beautiful single varietal wine.  Petit Verdot is produced throughout the world with the number of countries and American states being added to the list all the time.

Shout out

Finally I want to do a shout out to a fellow blogger Joey Casco CSW/CSS who writes The Wine Stalker. Now if you’re asking what all those fancy letters mean after his name, well CSW is Certified Specialist of Wine and CSS is Certified Specialist of  Spirits. Both of these certificates come from the Society of Wine Educators. Joey recently did an article on those of us who write wine blogs, but live in not traditional wine areas. Joey for instance lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and I live in the great wine area of Tennessee.  Neither area is well known for its wine production. However we have a few small wineries that do a nice job here in Middle Tennessee. Be sure to check out Joey’s blog at

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How To Study Wine? The Homework is a blast!

Are you a Wine Expert?

It’s not uncommon for someone to want to learn everything there is to learn about wine. No matter how you look at it, there is a lot to learn. I will assure you studying wine is one thing …its fun.  Where else can you study a subject and drink at the same time.  However, I don’t think people understand just how vast the subject is.

According to the Wine Institute there are 8806 wineries in the United States alone.  There are over 3700 wineries in California alone. Add into that the thousands of wineries through the rest of the world in France, Italy, Portugal, and Australia and so on; and you can see you could easily be talking about tens of thousands of wineries.  Let’s just stick with California wineries, if each winery produced just two types of wines, one red and one white, you would have to taste over 7400 bottles of wine.   I told you the homework would be fun!

So what’s the trick? There is no trick to it.  You need to learn to take things in stages, one part at a time. Anyone who says they are an expert in all things wine is just full of it.  It’s mathematically impossible to be an expert in everything wine.  You will find that many of the experts are experts in a very specific area of the industry, and then know a little bit about a great deal more.  There is nothing wrong with this, however just because your dentist is a doctor, it does not make him a brain surgeon.

So what do I recommend; when you first start tasting wines keep very detailed notes. Figure out what you enjoy, but start small. Perhaps study a winery and only one winery. From there find similar wineries perhaps near by the first winery.  Instead of a winery you can start with a varietal such as Pinot Noir. Try bottles from around the world from different appellations. You will be surprised just how different the same grape tastes in different areas, some not too far away from each other.  Not only can the region make a difference, but the winemaking styles that the winemaker is using. For instance there is a big contrast between a Chardonnay made in a steel tank and one that has been aged in French Oak Barrels for 6 months, going through malolactic fermentation.

Again take it in stages, and for more fun do it with friends.

Varietal of Interest:

220px-Cabernet-francAs many of you know Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of grapes.  However I have always felt a little sorry for its cousin Cabernet Franc.  So today let’s take a quick look at Cabernet Franc.  Coming out of the Bordeaux region of France, Cabernet Franc is now produced worldwide with over 47000 acres planted. Many wineries use it as a blending grape, adding it to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or a number of other grapes. On its own Cabernet Franc is being released by a growing number of wineries as its own varietal. The flavor is a little softer than Cabernet Sauvignon.  Depending on the region, it can have a slight peppery flavor, bell pepper and raspberry flavors.  Next time you’re out look for a bottle of Cabernet Franc.

Appellation of Interest:

Photo courtsey of Fiddletown Cellars

Photo courtsey of Fiddletown Cellars

One of my favorite areas to taste wine from is Fiddletown area which is located within Amador County.  This region is just over 2000 feet up the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. Fiddletown produces some of the most full body Zinfandel’s you will ever taste.  These Zin’s are so intense you cannot see light going through them.  Wines from Fiddletown will be very hard to locate, even in California. However keep your eyes open.  Zinfandels from Amador County are amazing wines to experience.  If you can’t locate a wine from Fiddletown, try one from Amador County.


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Le Filigare Wine Tasting Notes

It’s well worth the drive off the main road. As you travel down a gravel road for a few minutes you come upon Le Filigare Winery. Located in the Chianti region of Tuscany, this beautiful small winery lies half way between Siena and Florence. Until I was in the region I did not realize the history, including wars that took place between Siena and Florence. But that’s another story.

View from Le Filigare Winery

View from Le Filigare Winery

The views from Le Filigare are stunning. It was here in the summer of 1857 that Pope Pius IX came at the invitation of the Archduke of Tuscany to enjoy the beauty, its wines and olive oil. Today Le Filigare is a modern winery producing some amazing wines. These wines are of very limited release in the United States. However they can be purchased directly from the winery and shipped to you. They are wonderful wines to add to your cellar. If you do order some be sure to ask for a bottle or two of their wonderful Olive Oil.

Alessandro and Brian touring the cellar

Alessandro and Brian touring the cellar



The winery today is run by Alessandro Cassetti Burchi and his family. Just speaking to Alessandro for a few minutes and you will understand just how important and special family is to him. This winery has been run for several generations by his family. In fact the wines are not just his heritage, but also his family tree.   The entire estate covers 60 hectares/148 Acres of rolling hills covered by vineyards.  The cellar contains 300 wooden casks and 210 barrels for aging.







Germogilo SangioveseThe 2013 Germogilo Sangiovese is a beautiful wine for every day drinking. An intense nose in the “ancient style of Chianti” as they like to say at the winery. Lighter in color this wine has slight tannins and overtones of Cherry and Strawberries. Very drinkable

BLEND: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, Colorino, Trebbiano, Malvasia
HARVEST DATE:October 2013
WINE ALCOHOL: 12.5% by volume
PRODUCTION: 7,333 bottles


Chianti ClassicoThe 2011 Viticoltore Chianti Classico hits you when you least expect it. Extremely smooth and easy to drink is an understatement for this wine. This wine has hints of blackberry and plums. This wine is very drinkable now.

BLEND:90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino
APPELLATION: Tuscany Italy
HARVEST DATE: October 2011
WINE ALCOHOL: 14.5% by volume
WINE ACID: 5.05 g/L
WINE PH: 3.33
PRODUCTION: 15,100 bottles






The 2011 Lorenzo Chaniti Classico is darker in color with a slight peppery nose. This is a big wine with a long finish. Only one word can really describe this wine, Intense. Licorice, blackcurrant, and cherries throughout rich wine. This wine was made for aging, but enjoyable now.

BLEND: 100% Sangiovese
APPELLATION: Tuscany Italy
HARVEST DATE: October 2011
WINE ALCOHOL: 14.5% by volume
WINE ACID: 5.12 g/L
WINE PH: 3.32
PRODUCTION: 9,333 bottles


le-filigare-maria-vittoria-riserva-chianti-classico-docg-italy-10237633The 2009 Maria Vittoria Chianti Classico spends one more year in the barrels than the Lorenzo. The flavors linger on your tongue with this very smooth wine. This is a wine that will stain your teeth. Throughout it there are hints of cloves, vanilla and blackberries in every sip of this wine.

BLEND: 90% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino, 5% Merlot
APPELLATION: Tuscany Italy
HARVEST DATE: October 2009
WINE ALCOHOL: 14% by volume
WINE ACID: 4,93 g/L
WINE PH: 3.46
PRODUCTION: 5,333 bottles


26299The 2010 Podere Le Rocce (the name translates to rocky farm) is another intense wine with overtones of Licorice, blackberry’s and plums with a hint of cinnamon in the finish. This primarily Cabernet Sauvignon wine will age well and should be in every cellar.

BLEND: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Sangiovese
APPELLATION: Tuscany Italy
HARVEST DATE: October 2010
WINE ALCOHOL: 14% by volume
PRODUCTION: 1,900 bottles



The 2010 Pietro is primarily Merlot. Aged in new barrels this is a smooth easy drinking wine. Raspberries, Cassias, and chocolate are just a few flavors that jump out with this wine.

BLEND: 70% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese
APPELLATION: Tuscany Italy
HARVEST DATE: October 2010
WINE ALCOHOL: 14% by volume
WINE ACID: 5.22 g/L
WINE PH: 3.4
PRODUCTION: 2,000 bottles



For more information on Le Filigare please visit their website at

I have to mention that if you are ever in the Tuscany region and our looking for a tour, please be sure to contact Roberto at Tours by Roberto.  Extremly knowledgeable and having worked in the wine industry for more than 15 years Roberto will make sure you get the tour your looking for. Be sure to look him up at

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Vitiano Rosso Umbria IGP 2011 Wine Review

This $16.00 wine out of Umbria was a fantastic find. Don’t let the lighter color fool you. With its medium red body, and ruby red color this wine packs a big punch. This wine has a huge amount of cherry, blackberries, chocolate and a hint of licorice. The finish is smooth and lingers for a long time on the tongue. This Italian red blend is an excellent everyday drinking wine for the price. The 2011 Vitiano Red is a wine you should not pass up

BLEND: 34% Sangiovese, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 33% Merlot
HARVEST DATE: September – October 2011
WINE ALCOHOL: 13.5% by volume
WINE ACID: 5.0 g/L
WINE PH: 3.7
PRODUCTION: 1,500,000 bottles


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