2016 Rkatsitelli Wine Spotlight from Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Still can’t wrap my head around how awesome this wine grape variety is! The Rkatsitelli grape was widely planted in Eastern Europe and is considered one of the oldest known grape varieties in the world. Planted in the country of Georgia in 300 B.C. The name means “red horn” in Georgian. This wine from Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery is super delicious! The vines were planted in the 60’s, the wine was fermented in stainless steel, with partial MLF. It was very bright with complex acidity, crisp mouth feel, and pleasant minerality. If you are ever in the finger lakes or see this in the package store, seriously suggest picking it up! #sorryformywinenerdrant #ithadtobedone

A Little History About the Winery:

4th generation owned, Meaghan Frank is taking over her family’s winery. Wooohoo for more ladies in wine! The Winery was established in 1962 by Dr. Konstantin Frank – a refugee from Ukrain who came to NY during World War II. His father was from Germany and managed a small winery in Ukrain, so he grew up working in the wine industry. When he came to America he spoke 9 languages but no English. However, he was eventually able to learn enough English to communicate his wine desires. He planted his first grape vines in 1958 on Keuka Lake and never looked back!

Why Are The Wines so great?

Well there are 11 total lakes in the Finger Lakes Region and they have many different soil types due to the glacial impact of the last Ice Age. For example the Shale Acidic Soil creates a good mineralogy in a Dry Rieslings and lends itself to the cool climate hearty grape varieties. This is a big reason why Riesling really excels in the region. Then they have Limestone where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are often planted. These grapes truly excel there, especially with the lake effect combination. The lakes cool the region and in winter and warm it up in the summer which allows them to produce top quality Vinifera.

Visiting The Winery:

At Dr. Konstantin Frank they always offer free tastings for their guests. This is because they are off the beaten path on Cayuga Lake and think that since you’ve journeyed that far, you deserve some free wine 🙂 They have an International Winemaking Team
consisting of winemakers from South Africa, Australia, Germany, and California. This gives them the ability to create 30 wines for their portfolio including a line of sparkling wines. When you visit, sit back, relax, and enjoy your wine with a side of awesome East Coast history.

Location:  9749 Middle Rd, Hammondsport, NY 14840

Schedule A Tasting: Advance Reservations and booking payment are required for all groups of 12 or more. Groups of 12 or more will be charged with a non-refundable fee of $5 per person and will get to keep their Dr. Frank logo glass. Please call 800-320-0735 for a reservation. Cancellations must be made up to a week in advance otherwise reservations are non refundable.

Make sure you make the trip to the Finger Lakes and Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery!

A Taste of Italy from Lanza Musto Vineyards

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{Lanza-Musto Brunello Clone Sangiovese going through veraison}

Can’t make it to Tuscany this year? Don’t worry, you can make some fabulous Sangiovese right here in the US! Lanza-Musto Vineyards has been producing Brunello Clone Sangiovese for the past 4 vintages. One of the big reasons we planted this varietal is because the valley provides hot days and cool nights. The temperature can swing over 50 degrees depending on the time of year. Sangiovese eats this type of weather up! This high producing varietal soaks up the sun and enjoys the break under the cool night air.

When producing Sangiovese wines keep in mind that even though it is a bold tasting wine, it can easily be overtaken by oak infusions. Both the Musto Wine Grape Co. and Winemaker Magazine suggest using small amounts of oak or aging your wine in neutral barrels. The oak flavoring can overpower the wine and you will lose the delicate acidity and  bright cherry notes that Sangiovese is known for. Also, blending in a little LMV Barbera or Merlot can help give it a little extra structure and complexity. 

Since Sangiovese originated in Italy, the wines pair famously with anything tomatobased. We suggest pasta, pizza, or any meat dishes that have a tomato sauce. I personally enjoy our Sangiovese with Pepe’s Pizza from New Haven, CT or a great Chicken Marsala.Sangiovese is one of the hottest up and coming varietals being produced in the United States. Make sure to secure your order of Brunello Clone Sangiovese for Fall 2016. You will not be disappointed!

Cheers and Happy Winemaking!

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{Lanza-Musto Brunello Clone Sangiovese ready to ship to Musto Wine Grape Company}

2016 MW Examination Papers

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Richard Hemming & Janice Robinson were kind enough to share The Institute of Masters of Wine examination topics. It proves how in depth the testing process is. I must admit that getting to the Master Somm level is a dream/goal of mine. The wine nerd in me kind of wants to answer some of the questions for fun 🙂 Check out the questions here and test your wine knowledge and theory. Cheers!

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR CHILE

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR CHILE

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Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC. has been importing quality Chilean wine grapes for over 10 years. We have developed long lasting relationships in Chile and are constantly growing and developing the program. The vineyards are located between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the vines have excellent growing conditions for perfect ripeness and complexity thanks to the ocean breeze and Mediterranean climate.

The Curico Valley has been a wine grape growing region since the 1800’s and is located about 115 miles south of Santiago in the Central Zone of Chile.  It is known as the “Heart of the Chilean wine industry”.  Curico has the perfect fertile soil and is best known for its micro climates and the ability to grow over 30 different wine grape varieties.  Situated along the Guaiquillo River and nestled between mountains on its east and west sides, Curico’s Mediterranean climate and unique topographical features helps to create some of the finest wine grapes in South America.

The climate in the valley is characterized by morning fog and wide day-night temperature fluctuations. Climatic conditions in some parts of the valley favor wines with higher acidity, such as white varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vert and Gris.  High quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Carménère grapes are sourced from warmer areas of the valley, such as Lontué, particularly when produced from ancient vines.

Terroir: Sandy, clay, decomposed granite, volcanic-alluvial

It has been a hot and dry season in Chile, thus producing a light but intense crop. The fruit looks to be well balanced with a lot of flavor. We will have multiple shipments from Chile this year. The first container will arrive in early May and will arrive with the white varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. The containers that follow will contain the red wine grapes.

Varieties Available:

  Cabernet Sauvignon (clone 46)

Cabernet Fran

Carmenere

Malbec

 Merlot

Petite Verdot

Pinot Noir

Syrah

Chardonnay (clone 5)

Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc (clone 42)

Note about Malbec: The Malbec grape has become increasingly popular over the past 5 years. Malbec from Chile produces a very fruit forward and complex wine. On the front of the palate you sense berry flavors, black cherry, blueberry, plum, and raspberry. On the palate there are notes of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. Depending on the flavor profile you prefer we suggest ageing your Malbec in French, America, or Hungarian oak. This brings out the vanilla, coconut, and other toasty notes in the wine. You will create a wine that has fantastic fruit flavor, good acid, tannins, and a complex mouth feel. For the best color and extraction consider whole berry maceration.

We are looking forward to bringing you our high quality grapes from Chile in mid-May! The grapes come in 18lb cases and yield about 1.25 gallons per case. We strongly advise you to pre-order these grapes as last year we sold out of many varieties last season.

I will most likely be making a Malbec or Syrah this year. Stay tuned for more information on this year’s Chilean vintage being produced in Hartford, CT!

Cheers!

PS- We are currently taking orders for the Chilean grapes. So far we are sold out of Petite Verdot. We are close to being sold out of Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. Please give us a call at the office 877.812.1137 or email us sales@juicegrape.com to secure your pre-order.

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

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The Breede River Valley is surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and is nestled between the Simonsberg and Drakenstien mountains.  Because of this unique topography, cool air from the oceans flows through the valley creating small, cooler micro-climates.  Farmers are able to use the Breede River to irrigate their vines, thus creating ideal grape growing conditions in an otherwise un-farmable part of South Africa.  The valley is an hour’s drive from Cape Town and more temperate than the Stellenbosch Valley – resulting in grapes that express good fruit characteristics without overripe jamminess.

Yet even with the cooler micro-climate and irrigation, South Africa had a very dry growing season. Unseasonable heat waves in December and February caused earlier-than-normal harvest schedules.  These heat waves also caused some varieties to become unavailable to us this year. Unfortunately due to this season’s climate and berries not reaching full maturity, the Cabernet and Merlot from South Africa did not meet our quality standards and thus will not be available this season. However, the Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc matured perfectly and are on their way to Connecticut. We expect the grapes to arrive around March 18th. While the hot and dry growing conditions this Hseason will result in lighter yields, the berries will be more intense thus leading to more complex and intense finished wines.

Note about Pinotage:  The Pinotage Grape was created in 1925 and is a cross between two vinifera grapes, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Abaraham Izak Perold created the grape to bring out the brilliant robust flavors that both Pinot Noir and Cinsault possessed, while making the grape easy to grow. Now Pinotage is known to produce smoky, earthy flavors with hints of tropical fruits. Pinotage sourced from the Breede River Valley produce wines that express notes of cedar, plums, and dark berry notes. The wine then rounds out with a smooth, tannic structure. Enjoy these wines with a hearty stew or red meat.  Please note that if you punch through too vigorously during fermentation you can get an almost burned plastic characteristic. It is better to ferment Pinotage at lower temperatures.

Note about Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa: Sauvignon Blanc produced from the Breede River Valley are often very complex and with notes of minerals such as flint, and bright fruit flavors such as apricot.

Cheers! And Happy Winemaking!

Red Wine Aromas

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Every “Wine Wednesday” we have decided to work on some type of wine education. This Wednesday we decided to focus on the aromas in Red Wine.

So the first question is – Where do wine aromas come from? Well they initially come from the grape and the terrior. Have you ever heard the quote “you can’t make great wine from bad grapes, but you can make bad wine from great grapes”? This couldn’t be more true. The grape is the starting point for the wine and its aromas. That being said, different grape varieties have different aromas associated with them. For example, most red wines have notes of dark berries and other plants. Specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon usually has aromas of black currant, mint, and violet. Each wine grape has a different aroma starting point which is impacted by where the grapes is grown, the yeast that is inoculated, oak, and any other additives that are introduced into the wine during the fermentation and aging process. Red wine aromas are complicated but pleasing representations of the vineyard & winemaker’s work.

When tasting wines many people have difficulty describing the different aromas they smell. The kit that we used challenged us to identity specific aromas and describe them. First, we smelled each essence and guessed what it was. We had some interesting descriptors…bubblegum, salt water, and aftershave just to name a few. When the actual aromas were revealed sometimes we were right and sometimes we were way off. But being challenged to describe what we smelled and training our sense of smell will only help us when making our own wines. This will also help us at wine judging events, winemaking events, and even when identifying faults.

All in all it was a great learning experience. Below are some of the aromas that are possible in red wine. Are there any that jump out at you?

Red Wine Aromas:

Raspberry

Blackcurrant

Strawberry

Blackberry

Cherry

Plum

Violet

Capsicum

Mint

Tobacco

Toast

Vanilla

Coffee

Black Pepper

Cinnamon

Liquorice

Hazelnut

Oak

Cedar

Chocolate

Smoke

Leather

Truffle

Tree Moss