Flat Brim Wines Not Basic Picpoul 2019 Review

Our first 100% varietal Picpoul comes not from the more well-known regions of Europe but rather the Columbia Valley of Oregon from Flat Brim Wines.

This bottle is rather aptly named Not Basic as it is an orange wine made with skin contact for two weeks and foot trodden regularly and is something you don't see all too often. (So you can see why the Not Basic name works.)

While we noted some Brettanomyces and possibly reduction on the nose that took away from this one a bit for our liking, we have to say it was rather interesting all the same!

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Azamor Petit Verdot 2014 Review – Approachable With High Tannin

Petit Verdot is one of those grapes we often see only in small percentages in a bottle often because it is late-ripening (at risk of not being fully developed) and adds big color and tannin to the blend.

So when we found Azamor's pure varietal bottle of this one, of course we had to buy it.

But we approached this one with a bit of hesitation since we knew that it could've been an intense tannin bomb. Thankfully, while would still say that the tannins in this one are firmly high, the bottle was rather approachable at seven years old and worked beautifully with a steak!

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Frontonio Microcosmico Macabeo 2015 Review – Not Just in Cava

Normally when we think of the grape Macabeo, it is in the context of Cava. Even there, this grape is often used for blending purposes and can be a small percentage of the overall makeup of any given glass of sparkling.

Since our quest here is to try every grape variety in the world as close to we can get as pure, single varietal expressions, you know we had to pick up a bottle of Frontonio “Microcosmico” Macabeo when we saw it.

This single varietal grape stands on its own with this rather delicious bottle (with bonus points for being six years old, too)!

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Shenandoah Vineyard’s Blanc 2018 Review – Off-Dry and Tropical

During my time exploring northern Virginia wineries, I found pretty quickly that I had an affinity for the white wines of the region. This was especially true at Shenandoah Vineyards where I found that I absolutely adored their base white blend for being a wonderful off-dry wine.

This white blend includes 51% of Seyval Blanc, 21% Traminette, 11% Chardonnay, 9% Vidal, and 8% Cayuga and certainly packed a punch with a nice hit of tropical flavors along with some minerality and salinity on the nose for good measure.

As it turns out, the bottle I bought at the winery lasted all of about three days before we opened it up at home.

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Cave de Tain Hermitage 2014 Review – A Stellar Syrah

The more I drink wines from the Rhone region of France, the more I start to realize how much I love the area and the grapes that are grown there.

This is especially true of the Syrah from the Northern Rhone as places like Hermitage, Cote Rotie, and others make some of the finest styles of this wine you can ever have.

Cave de Tain's Hermitage 2014 was no different and was a delightful bottle all around that we enjoyed with a burger of all things!

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Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino 2015 Review – Fruit and Spice Bomb

It is easy to get stuck in the habit of only drinking Chianti when it comes to the Sangiovese grape, if only because wine from this region is plentiful all over the world.

But there are other regions in Italy that are known for this particular grape, and if you find that you love the flavors of Chianti then you may want to look for Brunello di Montalcino as another delicious region to explore.

Just be prepared for a bit of a higher price as these come with a  minimum of five years' aging before release!

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The Oddity Furmint 2016 Review – Youthful White Flavors

When you think of the Furmint grape, your first thoughts make go to the Hungarian dessert wine Tokaji (5 or 6 puttonyos). This sweet, botrytized dessert wine is known the world over for its residual sugar content and intense flavors.

But, like most grapes made into dessert wine, Furmint is also used to make dry wines as well that are sometimes much harder to come by. When we found a dry Furmint from The Oddity, we knew we had to try it.

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Kir-Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro 2016 Review – A Hit of Tannin

When studying for my WSET Level 3 exam, we knew we had to buy some Greek wine in order to learn more about this new region (which was not featured in Level 2). So we picked up a bottle of Xinomavro from Kir-Yianni and opened it shortly after covering this country in the book.

While we definitely think this bottle is still quite intense in the tannin department (and could age well beyond its five years at the time of opening), it was an interesting one all the same!

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Uivo Renegado 2019 Review – A Field Blend Rosé

Uivo Renegado from the Duoro Valley of Portugal is an interesting rose wine as it is a field blend of over 25 different grapes including Tinta Barro, Tinta Roriz, Malvasia Fina, Donzelinho, Gouveio, Rabigato, Rufete, and Viosinho to name a few.

The wine is macerated with whole clusters, spontaneously fermented, aged on the lees, and further aged in a mix of old oak and cement tanks.

This all comes together with a wine that has a lot going on, specifically in the aroma department!

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Cesari Recioto della Valpolicella 2015 Review – Lovely Dessert

I've always been fascinated by the Corvina grape as grown in the Valpolicella region of Italy.

Beyond simply making a delicious dry red wine, the winemakers do something a bit different here. They sometimes choose to dry the grapes prior to fermenting which gives raisinated and cooked/stewed flavor to wines that you may not otherwise get until the bottle is of sufficient age.

When fermented to dry or off-dry, this is known as Amarone della Valpolicella and goes wonderfully with game. But sometimes the grapes are so concentrated with sugar that fermentation stops naturally due to alcohol killing the yeast. In these instances, you get a wine that is much sweeter and can be consumed as a dessert wine much like you would a port wine (admittedly at a lower ABV and often in a 375 mL bottle).

This is Recioto della Valpolicella, and if you ever see one on the shelf for a reasonable price you'll do well to buy it.

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