Posts Tagged Pinot Noir

Lucky Star Pinot Noir 2014

For under $15 this is an ok wine. Nice pepper overtones and soft oak. It is very drinkable and enjoyable but will not blow you away.   


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Wine Tasting 101 and J Sparking Wines

Welcome back to Tasting Notes Radio, today we are going to cover a number of subjects.  First off we are going to go back to wine tasting 101 and talk about how to taste wine.  Then we are going to look at the differences between Champagne and Sparkling wines. Finally we are going to talk about two fantastic Sparkling Wines from J Vineyard and Winery out of Healdsburg California.

There are two ways to taste wine, and in my opinion both are correct.   And both have their place out there. Let’s start with the more complex style.

  1. Pour the wine into a wine glass. Now for you who have trouble with this, this means no Styrofoam, plastic, or mason jars. This is a glass shaped like a bowl, and in most cases has a stem running off the bottom. Fill the glass about 1/3 of the way up.
  2. Place it to your nose and smell the aromas
  3. Now swirl the glass in your hand. It is not uncommon for someone to swirl it by placing the base on a table top and moving it in a circular motion. Also be very very careful doing this while next to someone you’re trying to impress or wearing white.
  4. Bring the glass again to your nose and smell the aromas that have opened up. Really get your nose into the glass
  5. Now drink a little, holding it in your mouth
  6. Swirl it around so all your taste buds experience it.
  7. Now with the wine still in your mouth suck a little air in over the top of your mouth. This will help you get the full flavor. It also can give you an idea of how much alcohol is in the wine by the intensity of the heat
  8. Now if you’re drinking is the time to swallow it. If you taste a large number of wines, you might want to spit it out into a container. This is a very acceptable practice at tasting rooms and wineries around the world

Now the less complex way to taste wine

  1. Again pour about 1/3 of a glass with wine in it.
  2. Now take the mouthful you want
  3. Swallow
  4. Let’s face it sometimes we just get too fancy and forget, it’s just grape juice.

Be as complex as you really want to be.  However if you start doing the more complex style too much, before long you will find yourself doing it with everything in a glass. I caught myself once swirling a glass of Coke, and even a beer or two. Trust me …weird looks from people.

Enjoy the wine, that’s the most important part of it all.

champagne-department-mapBefore we get started let’s talk about the term Champagne and Sparkling Wine. Simply put all Champagne is Sparkling Wine. However all Sparkling Wine is not Champagne. The simple difference is Champagne, must come from the Champagne region which is about 90 miles outside of Paris.  Most wineries acknowledge this and call their wine by the accurate title. In the United States this is something that is not enforced and you will see wines called Chablis, Champagne, and Burgundy and so on. It is perfectly legal, though in my opinion not ethical, to name an American Wine after a foreign location.  The next time you order Chianti, is it really from Tuscany, or is it from the Central Valley of California.



So let’s talk about wine. Today I am going to talk to you about “J” sparkling wine. Now as we approach the holidays, New Year’s Eve, College Bowl Game Wins, and the Super Bowl; this is a great time to enjoy sparkling wine.  However any time is a great time for sparkling. Today younger people are drinking more Sparkling Wine that their parents. In fact 36 % of Gen Xers drink Sparkling Wine more frequently than Baby Boomers at 22%.

J Brut Rose

J Brut Rose

Let’s talk about two exceptional Sparkling Wines today. The first wine is the J Brut Rose NV which comes from the Russian River Valley. This is a fantastic wine at $38.00. The Brut Rose is a light red color, with a lovely floral bouquet. Plenty of Cherries and Strawberries overtones in this well balanced wine. The finish is amazing as it lingers for an amazing time. The J Brut Rose is a blend of hand harvested grapes; 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier.

BLEND: 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier.
APPELLATION: Russian River Valley
WINE ALCOHOL: 12.53% by volume
WINE ACID: 9.3 g/L
WINE PH: 3.12

J Cuvee 20The second wine from “J” is the J Cuvee 20 Brut which comes from Sonoma County. This wine has a suggested retail price of $28.00 and is worth every penny. This wine has a beautiful clear color. The Cuvee 20 is extremely fresh and full body with tons of citrus flavors such as grapefruit and lemons. Like the Brut Rose these grapes were all hand harvested.  It has a blend of 54% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir and 2% Pinot Meunier. This is an outstanding sparkling wine at an amazing price point for the quality. Don’t miss out on the J Cuvee 20 Brut.

BLEND: 54% Chardonnay, 44% Pinot Noir and 2% Pinot Meunier
WINE ALCOHOL: 12.53% by volume
WINE ACID: 8.9 g/L
WINE PH: 3.23
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If you have a negative comment or a suggestion, please email directly at info@tastingnotesradio.comand perhaps it is something we can look at. You can also follow on Twitter @tastingradio. Additionally you can follow me on the Untappd beer app and Delectable wine app both for Iphone.

 You can also join this blog by clicking “Follow Me” on the side. Your comments are always welcome.


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Dark Beers and Twelfth Night Wines

Yes I know it’s been too long , and I am working on it.  I am not going to make excuses. However let’s just say my full time job has had me working a few extra hours the last 6 weeks. With that behind me my goal is to still get a new post out to you every 2 weeks for now, and eventually get it to weekly in about 6 months times.

Today we are going to discuss two different topics. The first topic is seven dark beers; all of them are extremely good and worth looking for.  Then we are going to discuss a beautiful set of wines I just discovered out of New Zealand.

Over the past several weeks I have had the fun time of tasting a number of dark beers. I really love dark beer. So whenever I can taste a new stout or other dark beer, I jump at the chance. To me they have more character than a lot of other beers and are my favorite styles of beers.

The first beer is Liquid Bliss, a Dark American Porter made by Terrapin Beer Company out of Athens Georgia.  Terrapin is a micro-brewery that’s only been around since 2002 and is producing some excellent beers available primarily in the South Eastern United States.  The Liquid Bliss has loads of chocolate and peanut butter, almost like tasting a Reese’s Pieces.  This is a must try for those who like heavier beers.

The second beer today is well worth searching out for. Breakfast Stout made by Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids Michigan. This is my first beer from Founders Brewing and I am hoping for more in the future.  The Breakfast Stout is extremely smooth, slightly nutty with maple and coffee flavors.

The third beer is out of North Yorkshire England, the Samuel Smith Old Brewery.  This is a very well-known brewery that has been around since 1758. Their Oatmeal Stout has traditional Chocolate flavors, with a touch of maple and caramel. A very well balanced beer that might get over looked since it is easier to locate on the shelves.

Beer Number four comes from my hometown of Franklin Tennessee by a small family owned microbrewery called Turtle Anarchy. The Portly Stout is robust with traditional Coffee and Chocolate flavors. Extremely drinkable. If you’re in the Middle Tennessee area or driving through its well worth checking out Turtle Anarchy and the Portly Stout.

Beer Number Five comes from The Saint Louis Brewery in St Louis Missouri and it’s their Coffee Stout. This was the lightest of the stouts we are looking at, but extremely enjoyable. Nice coffee overtones, in fact these folks use French Roasted beans from a local St Louis coffee roaster. It’s the full St. Louis experience.

Beer Number Six was something different, from Boulder Beer Company in Boulder Colorado its the Shake Chocolate Porter. Now if you’re a fan of Chocolate Milk Shakes and Beer, this is the beer for you. Totally different flavor and well worth trying for you chocolate shake fans.

Finally from Finch’s Beer Company in Chicago Illinois comes Secret Stache Stout.  Great flavor on this intensely dark stout. Very tradionional flavors and extremely drinkable. Extremely glad I found this beer.

So what happens when you get  two men one from France and the other from Russia, and an American woman, all who are scientists? No not a new episode of Big Bang Theory; but 3 people who have a love of wine and adventure. Vela Wines was founded by Arié Dahan, Beth Ann Dahan and Max Risman, all who are based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. After becoming captivated with the country and people of New Zealand, the three decided it was the perfect location for them to produce fine wine. Vela currently owns vineyard land in Central Otago and is producing Pinot Noir and Riesling and plans to expand production to other varietals in the future. Most of the wine is currently being exported to the USA under the label Twelfth Night.

So again if you’re looking for Vela Wines in the United States it’s under the label of Twelfth Night.

12 Night SBLet’s start with the 2013 Twelfth Night Riesling. This wine has amazing flavors that burst out at you. Beautiful flavors of pear and orange. This is by no means a light Riesling. This is a full body Riesling that can be drunk in place of many lighter Chardonnays. Extremely enjoyable! Suggested retail on this wine is $18.00

BLEND: 100% Riesling
APPELLATION: Central Otago, New Zealand
WINE ALCOHOL: 12.5 % by volume
WINE ACID: 9.0 g/L
WINE PH: 2.98

12 Night PNThe 2012 Twelfth Night Pinot Noir is lighter in color but not light in flavor. Lots of black cherry, hints of raspberry and a slight touch of cloves. This wine aged for nine months in French oak barrels. This wine will go well with many dishes. This is what I would refer to as a very elegant wine. Well worth trying out and a great buy at $22.00

BLEND: 100% Pinot Noir
APPELLATION: Central Otago, New Zealand
WINE ALCOHOL: 14.3% by volume
WINE ACID: 6.0 g/L
WINE PH: 3.62

These wines are going to be very hard to find in the retail shop as they are only available in Massachusetts and New Hampshire at this time. However you can also contact the winery at

If you have a negative comment or a suggestion, please email directly at and perhaps it is something we can look at.

You can also follow on Twitter @tastingradio. Additionally you can follow me on the Untappd beer app and Delectable wine app both for Iphone.


You can also join this blog by clicking “Follow Me” on the side. Your comments are always welcome.


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LaCrema 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Review

LaCrema is a winery where you always get top notch wines. And the 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is no exception. This wine is everything you would expect from LaCrema and more. With its deep red color and a full aroma that hits you in the face. Rich with bing cherries, strawberries and a hint of raspberries. The finish is smooth and soft. You will not be disappointed with this wine from LaCrema

BLEND: 100% Pinot Noir
HARVEST DATE: August 30 – October 21, 2012
WINE ALCOHOL: 13.9% by volume
OAK AGING: 98% French (26% new) medium toast levels

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Truchard Vineyards 2009 Carneros Pinot Noir Reviewed

Truchard Pinot Noir

I have yet to find a wine from Truchard Vineyards that I did not love. This small Napa Valley winery makes consistently great wines.  Tony Truchard started his vineyard in 1974 selling grapes to many of Napa Valley’s top wineries. They still continue to sell to about 20 wineries. In 1989 they started producing their own wine.  Today they produce 16,000 cases with 11 different wines.
A recent stop to my local wine shop had a bottle of the 2009 Truchard Pinot Noir Carneros. This wine is aging perfectly This full body wine, is extremely smooth with hints of black cherry, cranberry and touches of tea.  With just a touch of tannin’s   The Truchard 2009 Pinot Noir Carneros is the perfect example of Napa Valley Pinot Noir.

APPELLATION: Carneros – Napa Valley
HARVEST DATE: September 02 – 16, 2009
WINE ALCOHOL: 14.1% by volume
WINE ACID: 6.3 grams per liter
WINE PH: 3.57
PRODUCTION: 3078 cases
RELEASE DATE: March 01, 2010

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