Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Taste of Oregon: Wine Rating #1 of 5

The Wine: Henry Estate Pinot Noir 2000 Oregon Umpqua Valley Barrel Select

Winery: Henry Estate
Country: United States
Region: Oregon, Umpqua Valley
Category: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2000
Price: $25
Decanted or Not: No, but bottle was open for 2 hours before tasting
Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes:

The Color: Ruby

The Nose: Strawberries, some plum and a bit of earthiness on the nose.

The Taste: Sour cherries, nice acidity with great vanilla notes on the finish. This is not a New World fruit bomb. Great mouthfeel and silky texture,
perfect balance of fruit with good tannins. A pinot in the Burgundian style. Very impressive. Paired very well with an aged sirloin and horseradish mashed potatoes. It's a little more than I tend spend on wines, but we'll worth it. I have to give credit to Grand Harvest Wines in Grand Central Station in New York City for pointing me in the direction of this bottle. If you've never been to this wine store, I would recommend it purely on that fact the staff is extremely knowledgeable. You'll pay a couple dollars more, but think about the real estate they're paying for, and as I said they know their sh*t. They always seem to point me in the right direction.

The Verdict: 9 Corks

Monday, February 26, 2007

World Wine Tour: Welcome to Oregon, USA

Hey folks. Welcome to Oregon. This is pretty exciting for us, because it's our first opportunity to showcase some domestic wines. But as usual, I will give you an intro first, then we'll publish our first rating later today...so check back often. Here we go...

Oregon wineries are generally small and decentralized within each official wine region of the state. They are often winemaker- or family-owned. The fact that the wineries tend to be smaller in size, has not stopped explosive growth in Oregon. In fact, Oregon is now (depending on what you read) the second largest wine producing state in the US. Most Oregon wine regions lie in valleys between the southern Cascade Mountains that run through the state and its Coastal Range to the west. Three quarters of the wineries are located in the Willamette Valley.

The Oregon wine region was born during the 1840s, when Italian and Swiss immigrants began planting wine grapes and bottling wine. Like so many wine regions, Oregon's wine industry was suppressed during Prohibition, only to emerge as a productive wine-growing region in the mid-1970s.

The Willamette Valley, which stretches from Eugene in the south to Portland in the north and encompasses two-thirds of Oregon's population, is the largest wine-growing region in Oregon. Sheltered by the Cascade Mountains to the east and Oregon's Coastal Range to the west, and on the same latitude as France's famed Burgundy region, the valley has gained international recognition as a world-class growing district, especially for cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay.

To the northeast of the Willamette Valley are the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley appellations, which Oregon shares with Washington These warmer, drier appellations are well-suited to the cultivation of red varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.

In the southwest of the state are the Rogue Valley, Applegate Valley and Umpqua Valley appellations. Although generally drier and warmer than the northern wine districts and well-suited to Bordeaux (Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc) and Rhone Valley (Syrah) varieties, each contains cooler microclimates allowing for the successful cultivation of the Burgundian varieties that flourish in the Willamette Valley.

Collectively, these six wine-growing regions contain over 11,000 vineyard acres and over 200 wineries, which together produce over one million cases of wine annually.

Anyway, that's Oregon in a nutshell. We'll get to the ratings a little later in the day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Have you tried anything we've rated?

If so, we want to hear what you have to say. This is supposed to be about sharing, and it seems more like Grape Nut and I are downloading info. If you've tasted anything we've reviewed here, we are very interested in reading your assessment. Please post your comments here.

Also, from this point on we will visit a new place every other week, as opposed to every week. It will give us more time to rate wines, and give you more time to drink some of the wines we recommend here. We will visit Oregon starting Monday.

Our trip to Oregon should be a lot of fun, as the state is really producing some amazing domestic wine. And, if we're lucky, we may even get some up-close ratings from a friend in Seattle who has a lot of experience drinking wine produced in Oregon.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Global Warming Jeopardizing Italian Wine Production?

I know I know...it's ridiculous to think of such a thing. As my friend Mr. C would say...BASTA, BASTA, BASTA. Or, if you prefer it in English....STOP, STOP, STOP. Can you imagine a world where your Chianti is made in Switzerland? Me either, but experts in Italy caution that it may very well come to that if global warming continues unchecked.

According to a recent report by the Toronto Star, a study by Florence University linking the effects of rain and temperature to wine production found that increasingly high temperatures and intense rains are likely to threaten the quality of Tuscan wines. Italy's farmers association warned the cultivation of olive trees, which grow in a mild climate, has almost reached the Alps.

According to Simone Orlandini, an agronomist at Florence University and co-author of the study, the rise in temperatures will continue, and they will be too high and unfavorable for the quality of wine because they cause the grapes to over-ripen. Even if temperatures go up three or four degrees Celsius (seven or eight degrees Fahrenheit) it will be a big problem. It will be warmer and rains will be more concentrated in fewer events, thus damaging the earth, which will not be able to absorb all the water.

The study compares quality checks on some of Italy's most famous wines – Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti Classico, Barolo, Barbaresco and Amarone – to the weather conditions of the past three or four decades. The research shows that while warmer temperatures favor wine quality, the rain that comes with them is often bad news.

The dangers stemming from climate change have drawn increasing attention. The world's leading climate scientists warned during a gathering in Paris this month that global warming is so severe that it will lead to a far different planet in 100 years.

Wine makers in Tuscany are playing down the risk.

"I don't foresee harmful effects within the next 20 years,'' said Filippo Mazzei, whose wine company near Siena produces 700,000 bottles a year, mostly of Chianti Classico. "We are in an area with a temperate climate, and I do not think it faces an immediate risk. I am not saying it is unfounded, but a range of 100 years is not very significant," he said

Meanwhile, Orlandini said that a rise in temperatures would push wine production to the north, allowing regions like Scandinavia to join the industry.

For the complete Toronto Star story, please click here.
So, can you imagine your grand children drinking Chianti made in Scandinavia? Does global wamring concern you, or are you one of those people who says it will work itself out?

Let us hear from you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Crazy Week

Hey folks. Sorry we haven't posted since Friday, but things have been a bit hectic. We will have a post for you tomorrow, and our wine tour will take us to Oregon next week.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Taste of Portugal: Wine rating #5 of 5

Ok folks...this is the last rating for Portugal. I Hope you have enjoyed our trip here. As has become a tradition, I am going to close this trip with the review of a white wine. Now, it's not just any white wine, nor is this a typical rating. The reason for that is because the wine is Casal Garcia Vinho Verde...but the real kicker is I'm not rating it. YOU ARE!

Enough of you readers have had this wine in the past...in fact, I was the one who introduced many of you to it. And, goodness knows there have been enough parties thrown by me and Mrs. Vine Guy, as well as others, where the main beverage for consumption was Casal Garcia. So, here is you chance to strut your stuff, and tell me and Grape Nut what you've learned so far. Are you up for the challenge? I'm hoping to see lots and lots of comments posted here, so get it together and let us see your tasting notes.

I look forward to reading your comments.

To assist you, here is the wine you're reviewing...

The Wine: Casal Garcia Vinho Verde 2004

Country: Portugal

Region: Minho

Vintage: 2004

Price: $5.99

Tasting Notes: YOU TELL US!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Taste of Portugal: Wine Rating #4 of 5

The Wine: Alto Pina Castelao Alicante Bouchet Reserva 2003

Winery: Cooperative Agricola de Santo
Country: Portugal
Region: Teras Do Sado
Category: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2003
Price: $13
Decanted or Not: No
Alcohol: 13%
Tasting Notes:

The Color: Ruby, not as dark as most Portuguese wines.
The Nose: Cherries on the nose, maybe a hint of cranberry, almost tarty
The Taste: Pretty dry wine, cranberries and tartness come through. Acidity was pretty high. Seemed disjointed, poorly put together. Overall, nothing special, nothing to write home about. After the last Portuguese bottled I had, this was a disappointment. I will give it another try tonight.
The Verdict: 7 Corks

Also, I asked this in the comments section, but here it goes again: Did you serve any special wine last night for that special someone or just happen to open a bottle of note last night for any reason? I want to hear about it.

I opened a Henry Estate Pinot Noir 2000 Oregon Umpqua Valley Barrel Select (Hopefully I'll be rating it soon here as our wine tour continues) that was deliciously paired with an aged sirloin. Lets here kids!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Taste of Portugal: Wine rating #3 of 5

Hey folks...hope you're enjoying the snow.

The Wine: Bridao Ribatejo Red 2003

Country: Portugal
Region: Ribatejo
Category: Red Table Wine
Dencanted or not: No

Tasting notes:

Color: Very deep ruby red

The Nose: Ripe dark cherry and blackberry. Surprising pepper and spice.

The Taste: Fruit up front, cherries and plum, with a kick of pepper. A little oaky, and bitter. Finish is smooth and fruity, but the aftertaste is bitter. Overall, I don't like it. Maybe I had a bad bottle, but to me the bitterness was quite prominent. Maybe it's because I paired it with turkey meat loaf and spinach, but I did not like it.

The Verdict: 4 corks

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Taste of Portugal: Wine rating #2 of 5

The Wine: Lavradires/de/Feitoria Tres Bagos 2003

Winery: Lavradoes de Feitoria
Country: Portugal
Region: Douro
Category: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2003
Price: $11.99
Decanted or Not: No
Alcohol: 13%

Tasting Notes:

The Color: A pitch black, very dark red

The Nose: Powerful nose, with black raspberries and ripe cherries, small notes of vanilla.

The Taste: Tastes of currants, dried red fruits; not overly fruity, but showing well. Nice structure to the wine with good legs and a nice, but not overly long finish. A very solid wine that paired well with a hearty Italian meal, but didn't overwhelm the food.

The Verdict: 8 corks

Monday, February 12, 2007

Taste of Portugal: Wine rating #1 of 5

The Wine: Quinta Do Vale Meao Meandro 2004

Country: Portugal
Region: Douro
Category: Red Table Wine
Vintage: 2004
Price: $18.99
Decanted or Not: Decanted ~ 1 hour

Tasting Notes:

The Color: Very dark ruby red

The Nose: Grabs you by the nostrils with aggressive scents very dark, ripe fruit; and strong oak.

The Taste: In a word, powerful. Very intense rich, ripe fruit, with surprising amount of spice. Taste the oak but not overbearing, as can be the case with some of these Portuguese table wines. Burst of smokiness and plum right at the end. Very smooth and moderate finish (20 seconds). Not nearly as dry as some other reds I've had from this region. Very nice.

The Verdict: 8 corks

Sunday, February 11, 2007

World Wine Tour: Welcome to Portugal

Boa vinda a Portugal...Welcome to Portugal! This has been one leg of the world wine tour that I've really been looking forward to.

Depending on where you get your info, Portugal is the sixth or seventh largest wine producing country in the world. However, unlike most of the world's wine producing countries, Portugal's wine reputation has been built around its own indigenous grape varieties, and of course, its classic fortified wines - Port and Madeira. Rarely seen are the big 'noble' grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, the Portuguese preferring to reflect the character of their wines in grapes best suited to the terrain, topography and climatic variations. It is a country of contrasting climatic conditions from the cooler regions of the 'Vinho Verde' in the North with its Atlantic influence to the parched climate of the Alentejo in the South.

In looking at Portugal’s wine regions, it’s helpful to split the country in two, by drawing a line about a third of the way down. This separates the northern regions of the Minho, Douro, Dão and Bairrada, and the central and southern regions of the Alentejo, Ribatejo and Estremadura. Ok, so let's take a look at some of these regions, and briefly touch on what to expect from them.

Minho or Vinho Verde
Portugal's largest DOC region stretches from the hills south of the river Douro to the River Minho in the North. The region is best known for one of my all time favorite types of wines - Vinho Verde. The white wines are crisp, refreshing dry wines, naturally low in alcohol and bottled with a slight sparkle. Vinho Verde wines are largely exported, and are the most exported Portuguese wines after the Port Wine. In the extreme north of the region around the town of Mono the Alvarinho grape produces delicate, dry white wines with slightly higher levels of alcohol.

Both red and white wines are produced here and, of course, the famous Vinho do Porto (Port Wine). The grape varieties used to make table wines are similar to those in Port, with more than 90 different grapes being permitted. Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz are the most widely accepted grapes and accepted as the best for table wines. Some of the used castas or grape varietals, such has the Touriga Nacional, are unique to the country and do not exist anywhere else. The red wines are deep and dark with ripe aromas and full berry-fruit flavors, which are both intense and concentrated. The white wines are crisp, fresh and fragrant with great flavor. There has been a major influx of red table wines from this region into the US, and the quality seems to improve year over year.

This region is in north central Portugal, with the reputation of producing some of the country’s best table wines. Over two-thirds of Dão wines are red. Red Dão tends to be firm and tannic, with fruity flavors.

The Bairrada region produces table, white and red wines. The whites are generally dry but fruity.

Located in southern Portugal, with a pretty harsh climate, Alentejo produces some unique, high quality wines. Red and white wines made from healthy grapes share ripe fruity aromas and flavours. White wines are crisp and fresh.

The region produces two very different styles of wine. Vineyards on the fertile river flood plain produce large amounts of light fruity red and white wine for drinking young. White wines still predominate in the Ribatejo, but it is the reds that are gaining reputation. With so many different soil types and grape varieties, wines from the Ribatejo region vary greatly from lighter red and white wines nearer the river to full flavoured reds capable of long ageing in bottle.

That's all for now. We'll post a review later today.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Port Wine. Nature's Candy?

So I got a call from a buddy on Wednesday night with a wine question. He was curious to know if Port wine would be a good match for a cheese cake desert he planned to enjoy. Man, now I was on the spot...I needed to recall some of the info I learned from my visit to Porto in Portugal over the summer. Me, the wife, and my bro and sis-in-law visited the Sandeman facility there. One word...AMAZING! But anyway, back to my buddy's question. It got me to thinking that I should write a post about Port, since it may be very unfamiliar to many of you.

First, let me tell you that real Port wine is comes only from Portugal, the Duoro Region to be specific. Port wine is definitely a desert wine, and is different because it has above average alcohol content (most range between 19 and 22% volume). It's also special as its color and sweetness range according to the different types of Port.

White Port - Mrs. Vine Guy's favorite!
Made from a selection of white grape varieties, and is then aged and fortified. It is typically a simple multi-year blend of vintages, can be sweet or dry depending on the house style.

Ruby Port
The most basic of port styles. This label given to younger wines that display a deep color; they are fairly fruity and are, on average, 2 years old. This is made with a blend of red grape varieties and is blended from several years. It should not be aged, and tends to taste of berries, with light tannins.

Tawny Port
Is a ruby port that has been aged for several years in small oak barrels. This gives the port a tawny color, as well as a buttery, caramel flavor. If a tawny port is listed as being "10 years" or "20 years", this means that the *average* vintages used in the blend is that number. A 10 year tawny might include some wine from 8 years old, and some from 12 years old, and so on. These are usually sweet. The decreed age indicators are 10, 20, 30, and even more than 40 years.

Dated Port Wines
From a single year can be sold after they have aged for at least 7 years. These uniform types are labeled "dated Port." Mrs. Vine Guy and I bought 3 bottles of a 1999. And also bought a bottle for Grape Nut when we were there.

Vintage Port
Is the high end of port releases. Vintages, as the name suggests, are wines of superior quality, produced in exceptionally great years from distinct areas within the region. Only the best years are declared a vintage and used for this purpose. Vintage Ports account for only two percent of all Port wine made. All of the grapes from a single harvest are used in a given wine - i.e. a 2000 vintage port contains only grapes from the 2000 harvest. This wine is aged in oak and then aged in the bottle. When you buy a vintage port, often you must then age it for another 10-30 years before it is at its best drinking flavor. This is the type of port you find in expensive cellars, waiting for decades to be enjoyed. Vintages are very full-bodied and deep-colored. Once they are in the aging process, they get a smoothness and elegance. Some exceptional vintage years include 1945, 1955, 1963, 1970. Others of note are 1977, 1980, 1983, 1994, 1997, and 2000. 80, 83 and 97 are very good buys compared to the prices of some of the other years I mention.

Late Bottled Vintage (L.B.V.)
Port is also from a single year, only it's borne from years of excellent quality and is aged longer in wood than is the case with vintage Port. It was created specifically for the restaurant market, to give them a vintage type port that did not have a sediment and could last a while after being opened. Generally, it is bottled between the fourth and sixth year after it is made and is red in color, full-bodied and smooth. When you buy your LBV port, you should drink it soon - it is not meant for aging. When you open this bottle, though, you can expect it to last for a full month before starting to lose its flavor. Traditionally, it's more gentle and full-bodied than vintage Port wine (of the same year).

So, which Port is right for You? Well, generally I recommend newer Port drinkers start off with a tawny that provides an excellent introduction to Port drinking and are relatively inexpensive. Moreover, you can drink it at the time of purchase. Tawny Ports of very good quality are often sold with an indication of the time they have spent in cask: ranging 10, 20 or 30 and even 40 years. By the way, I recommended my buddy with the cheesecake pick up a 10 year Tawny.

This info on Port wine is a great segue into our visit to Portugal for the world wine tour. Don't forget, starting Monday, we will review 5 wines from Portugal. I hope you'll join us. Also, don't forget to vote for where we go after Portugal.
That's all for now. If you have questions or comments, let me know. Remember to swirl, sniff and swig. Have a great weekend!

What was that first bottle that got you hooked on wine?

I think most people have that one bottle that got them absolutely hooked on wine. If it wasn't a bottle, maybe it was a situation, a romantic dinner or specific moment when you realized there was more to wine than just a good buzz.

For me it happened in a kind of unusual way, as I thought I was already into wine. I befriended my local wine merchant in my new neighborhood of Jersey city. As I would come in there he would observe my buying habits and one day recommended a bottle of Neonato 2000 Rioja by Marques de Marrieta.

The wine would explode with fruit up front, then mellow out with a velvety texture. Beautiful nose and an overall great wine as I remember it. The next day, I literally walked into the store on my way to work and shook the guys hand. It was an epiphany. I told him that I'd be back that night to pick up a case of Neonato. Since that day, I have been much more adventurous and open to trying new and different wines - spending a small fortune to keep up with this obsession.

So lets here from you out there, was there one wine, moment, dinner party that just set you off? (At least got you hooked enough to be reading a wine blog) Post a comment and let's hear it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sweeten Up Your Valentine with Wine & Chocolate

That's right. Once again it's time for that totally useless holiday, Valentine's Day. In my opinion, this holiday was created by women simply as a way to get yet another gift. That being said, it is a day for romance, love, passion, blah blah blah. Two items immediately come to my mind when you mention romance and Valentine's Day - wine and chocolate. In fact, if you pair them correctly, you may very well have some sexy time after dinner...can you hear the Barry White music yet? But, before you start spraying yourself down in perfume and cologne, and slipping on your sexy pants, there are some things to consider.

Let me start by saying that all wine and chocolate combos were not created equal. In fact, pairing the wrong wine and chocolate can lead to some very unsavory results. However, if you have the right wine to complement the right chocolate it can be a match made in heaven! As Robert Dinero would say, "fugget aboudit!" Whether you are pairing a delicate white chocolate or a lively dark chocolate with wine, try to keep the following in mind.

Rule #1, the wine should be at least as sweet, if not a touch sweeter, than the chocolate you are serving it with. Otherwise, the taste may quickly veer towards sour. This is a general rule that I have read over and over again in various wine magazines.

When pairing wines with chocolate, you should generally try to match lighter flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied the wine should be. For example, an intense dark chocolate tends to pair well with an intense, in-your-face Zinfandel.

White Chocolate Wine Suggestions
White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Spanish Sherry, a Moscato d'Asti from Italy’s Piedmont region, or an Orange Muscat. The Sherry and Moscato d’Asti will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the Orange Muscat will pick up any fruit tones present. Another drink that I would recommend with white chocolate is some good ol' relaiable champagne. Also, Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc.

Milk Chocolate Wine Suggestions
Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Merlot will complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, Muscats or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates. In additiona to Pinot and Merlot, try some Shiraz and Malbec. In my opinion, Port wine and milk chocolate is perhaps the best food & wine pairing you could ever wish for. Don't believe me? Just give it a shot...you will once again hear Barry White music. Also

Dark Chocolate Wine Suggestions
Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offers a bold, powerful flavor itself. Cabs and Zinfandels would be the best bet for dark chocolate match. A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations. Also feel free to try some of these full-bodied beauties: Rioja, Chianti, Sangiovese, Vinho Tinto. I once had a Rioja with some dark chocolate, and I truly enjoyed it.

If you have had a wine & chocolate pairing that you absolutely loved, please share your ideas with us. This blog is not about us downloading onto you...it's about us all sharing our experiences.

That's all for now...so get busy being romantic. And, if you don't have anyone to be romantic with, go ahead and try some of these pairings anyway. At least you'll be ahead of the game when you do have a Valentine. I'm gonna try some with the Mrs. this weekend and I'll let you know how I make out (wink, wink).

By the way, if any of you are interested, the Garden State WIne Grower's Association is holding it's annual Valentine's Day wine and chocolate trail this weekend (2/10 & 2/11). Here's a link to more info. http://www.newjerseywines.com/chocolate.html

That's all for now. Remember to swirl, sniff and swig. Cheers.

Fratastic Wine Tasting # 1- Block Wine

As we take a break this week from our world tour, I thought I would post a tasting that was a little different. I thought I'd give a new boxed wine a try. Yes, a boxed wine. Not just any boxed wine, boxed wine in a cube or as they call it Block Wine. A flood of memories came back as I opened this well designed and unique package. Memories of "Wine & Cheese Socials" with drunken sorority girls and box upon box of horrible crap passed off as wine. After my freshman year, I learned that it was a good idea to just keep a bottle of something decent in my room, you know, something like a $6 or $8 bottle. I was in college, live and learn. This was our idea of being classy, and in the end everyone had a good time and a lot of people were introduced to wine.

On to the tasting:
The Wine: Block Wine Merlot 2003 Country: USA
Region: California
Category: Merlot
Price: $10 (I think, it was a gift)
Decanted or Not: No

Tasting Notes:

The Color: Purple, dark, inky red

The Nose: Smelled like alcohol, faintest smell of something resembling fruit

The Taste: (First Tasting) What you would expect you get from a boxed wine. No real depth to the wine,
drinkable, but barely. Leaves the mouth dry with high alcohol content. Has the slightest touch of cherries, maybe a kind of flavor. This wine was pretty bad. Says the wine will stay good for up to 6 weeks (define "good") and each cube equals two bottles of wine.

First tasting verdict: 4 corks
(Second Tasting) I retested this wine again last night. It was still not very good and showed little depth and complexity. It did lose most of the alcohol nose, but didn't open up to be notable. I would guess that, because this packaging is designed to preserve the wine for weeks on end, the wine would have probably needed to be decanted. But that kind of takes away from the point of having it in a box with the little spigot. I do plan on decanting this wine one day and slipping it into a blind taste test.

Second tasting verdict: 5 corks

Any one of have any particular fondness for boxed wines or any funny stories to share?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Taste of Spain: #5 of 5

Ok folks, so here's the last review from our visit to Spain. What's sad is that there are soooooo many wines I would love to review here, but there are simply too many. Do yourselves a favor and sample Spanish wines...so much variety, at reasonable prices! And, since I wrapped up Argentina with a white wine, I figured I might as well do the same for Spain.

By the way, our next visit will be Portugal...thanks for all your votes. However, since things are a bit crazy next week, we'll be postponing our trip to Portugal for a week. We'll head to Portugal and start reviewing the wines on Monday, February 12...just in time for Valentine's day! Look at the bright side, it gives you an extra week to explore Spanish wines. Speaking of Spanish wines, let's get to the 5th and final review for this week. Hope you enjoyed our visit...

The Wine: Naia Naiades 2004
Country: Spain
Region: Rueda
Category: Verdejo
Price: $20.99
Decanted or Not: No

Tasting Notes:

The Color: Bronzy yellow.

The Nose: Surprisingly powerful nose wood, pear, citrus and liquorice.

The Taste: Full and thick. Very juicy, and actually feels somewhat chewy. Powerful fruit flavors: pear explodes, melon, citrus. Very mild on the wood flavor, but noticeable. Very tasty, but much fleshier and thicker than what I expected. Finish is long, smooth and silky with a burst of orange and something else at the end...maybe liquorice, maybe cinnamon.

Never had this type of wine before, and likely won't try it again for a while. Pretty good, but not my cup of tea. Consistency is too oily for my liking...actually has a similar texture to orange juice, if you know what I mean. A hearty juice.

The Verdict: 6 corks

Once again, our world tour will continue on February 12, with Portugal. But you can vote now for where we go after that.