Archive for September, 2013

Tuscan Sun Wines

For anyone who is a “chick flick” aficionado you know about the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” based on Frances Mayes’ book. I was privileged to meet Frances last week (gave her a copy of my book!!) and taste her new line of wines from the Tuscany region. While I have to stay true to my Colorado wines, I did want you to know about these new wines making their debut in the Denver area.

Here is some info….Denver-based Curious Cork Imports has partnered with Frances Mayes, the bestselling author of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” to create Tuscan Sun Wines, which bring Mayes’ magic touch to the world of wine. Comprised of seven exquisite wines produced in Italy and around Tuscany and hand selected by Mayes herself, each Tuscan Sun Wine embodies a different concept that touches on the Tuscan lifestyle. The wines were launched in Cortona, Italy, in July and make their U.S. debut today.

 

“These wines bring to life a sense of wonder through simple joysthat my life in Italy has given me,” said Mayes. “I hope that by bringing them home to the U.S. that everyone can share a taste of the many pleasures I’ve enjoyed in Italy.”

 

The Tuscan Sun Wines include four reds and two whites. A Prosecco is scheduled to join the lineup in 2014. Each wine has an Italian name and an English translation and each showcases the unmistakable vision of Frances Mayes that has become an international phenomenon since the publication of Under the Tuscan Sun:

 

·         Pensiero (A little gift) 100% Pinot Grigio, IGT Vignetti Delle Dolimiti

·         Abbraccio (An embrace) 45% Trebbiano, 35% Chardonnay, 20% Grechetto, IGT Toscana

·         Sentiero alla Casa (Path to the house) 60% Sangiovese, 20% Montepulciano, 20% Ciliegiolo, IGT Toscana

·         Permesso (May I come in?) 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, IGT Delle Venezie

·         Tondo Tondo (Just perfect) 100% Sangiovese, IGT Toscana

·         Auguri (My best to you) 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, IGT Toscana

·         Toccare le Stelle (Touch the stars) 100% DOC Prosecco – coming in 2014

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Winery Visit – Black Forest Meadery

What is a fermented beverage that is older than wine and is said to date back to the Vikings? If you answered “mead” you would be correct. Mead is neither a wine nor a beer, but rather its own beverage whose main ingredients are honey, water and yeast. I had the privilege to visit with Adam and Shawna Shapiro, owners of Black Forest Meadery, and they gave me the 411 on mead production. (By the way, if you haven’t visited the Black Forest area since the fire, its amazing to see the devastation!!)

Since honey is the critical ingredient in mead, lets start there. The Shapiros are proud that their honey is 100% Colorado and obtain it from 2 local producers. Honey, and therefore the eventual mead, is totally affected by where the bees gather their pollen. Clover-based honey is actually lighter and makes sweeter meads. Bees “hanging out” in wildflowers provide a different flavor in the honey and usually a dryer style mead. Adam said his mead “is a local drink, from local producers and offers a taste of Colorado in each bottle.”
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There are two fermentation cycles. The first is the primary fermentation where yeast is added to the water and honey. In addition to the type of honey used, the type of yeast used also influences the mead’s taste. Secondary fermentation occurs as the mead sits in stainless steel tanks for 2-3 weeks. The Shapiro’s do not filter their meads so they “re-rack” the mead (changing it from one tank to another) to remove the sediment. Black Forest ages their meads for about 9 months, although you can age it for 3-4 months and then bottle it.

Black Forest makes 4 different meads… Their “Forest” and “Woods” are dry and their “Merry Chokeberry” and “Melody” are sweet. Over the next few years they plan to incorporate fruit meads into their line, using peaches, plums and cherries from their own orchards. Black Forest is a family owned and operated meadery as well as a small farm where they raise animals and have an orchard and vineyard. Their label depicts their property and includes their sentiments of “enjoy [their meads] with friends and quality sunsets.”

To taste and enjoy their meads you basically have 3 options….stop by their tasting room, which originally was a church, Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. (they ask you to call ahead), at the Colorado Farm & Arts Market in Colorado Springs and at various wine festivals. So open up your mind and palate to a different taste experience and try a mead soon!

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Winery Visit – Sweetheart City Wines

During my sommelier class I found it interesting that winemaking is often passed down from generation to generation in Europe, something we really don’t see much of here in the United States. So its exciting to hear that a nephew of Clyde and June Spero (Spero Winery) has opened his own winery in Loveland.  Nephew Jack Cantley, his wife Lindsay and partners David and Kathy Burks are the owners of Sweetheart City Wines. Jack and David “have been making beer and wine for years and decided to turn their hobby into something they could pass down to their kids.” In fact one of Jack’s earliest memories is making wine with his great grandfather.

Since the partners have lived in the area for over 25 years, and wanted to add that “romantic flare” to their wines, Loveland was the ideal location. I also learned that Loveland is a good place for growing certain grapes as the area used to have cherry, peach and apricot orchards.

Currently the winery operation is located at 6295 Bluff Lane, but by spring/summer of 2014 a new facility and tasting room will be located just west of town on Hwy 34 by Glade Road. See picture below for an architect’s rendering of the entire project which will also include executive offices, a private residence, venue for weddings as well as acres and acres of vineyards. Next spring 690 vines, primarily muscat, frontenac and maricot, will be planted and in the future the partners are hoping to plant cab franc and tempranillo grapes.

Currently Sweetheart City is sourcing their grapes from California, as they’ve done since their first production in 2009. They are currently working with vineyards in Colorado for a 2013 vintage. But we will have to wait until at least 2015 for those wines as Sweetheart City ages all their reds in barrel for 2 years.  The best way to view all their wines is on their website….click here for the link.

Most liquor stores in Loveland are carrying Sweetheart City wines and if you would like to taste or purchase wines at the current location just set up an appointment by calling 970-593-8563 or 970-214-3948.  They are specializing in red wines and are “committed to deliver hand-crafted wine with a romantic flare…and [their wines] are made to pair with good friends, good food  and of course someone special.” As their label says “Nel vino c e amoré” (In wine there is love)…so stop on by the winery for a taste of wine and a little love!

 

 

 

 

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