Tag Archives: wine

Brazil Wine

A Taste of Wine From Brazil

The most exciting sparkling wine I have tasted recently is from Brazil. It’s the Casa Valduga 130 Limited Edition, and I discovered it an exclusive event promoting Brazilian wine in Atlanta.

The sparkling wine is similar to Champagne as it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and gets its bubbles via the traditional method. It has lovely creamy and toasty notes with flavors of lemon, dried apricot and almond. Elegant with small and lively bubbles, the Casa Valduga 130 is an excellent introduction to the wines of Brazil.

Casa Valduga was one of five Brazilian wineries showcasing their wines at the event put on by Wines of Brasil in partnership with the Brazilian embassy and consulate. The food at Fogo de Chão provided the perfect pairings. Atlanta was the second city on the tour, which included Miami, Washington, D.C. and New York.

The Wines of Brasil event started appropriately with bubbles. As I found out, Brazilians love sparkling wine and drink a lot of it.

Of course Brazil is better known for its Cachaça, but their wine is gaining momentum outside the country. Brazil is the 6th largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere, with 750 wineries and 79,000 hectares of vineyards. Brazil’s six main wine regions are in the south of the country, which is on the same parallel as South Africa.

Though the main grapes are generally French varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Chardonnay, Muscat and Riesling – the winemaking owes much to Italian tradition. All five of the wineries at the Atlanta event were founded by Italian immigrants or their descendants.

The United States can expect to see more Brazilian wine, as exports have greatly increased in the past year. Here are Brazilian wineries and wines to look for:

Casa Valduga

Founded in 1875, when Luiz Valduga arrived from northern Italy, Casa Valduga is still family-run today. It is a popular spot to visit in Brazil, welcoming more than 200,000 visitors per year. In addition to the winery there are guest houses and a restaurant. Casa Valduga is the official wine of the Brazilian Government.

Besides the 130 Limited Edition sparkling wine, Casa Valduga produces a brut and brut rosé. I also enjoyed the Casa Valduga Cabernet Franc. By the way, the Casa Valduga 130 costs approximately $34.99, which is a great value for its taste and quality.
www.casavalduga.com.br

Vinicola Salton

The third generation of the Salton family runs this winery, which was founded in 1910 by six brothers. Their father, Antonio Domenico Salton, arrived in Brazil from Veneto in northern Italy in 1878.

Salton is the largest producer of sparkling wine in Brazil. The Brut and Intenso Moscato were featured at the tasting event, as were two reds: a Tannat and a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.
www.salton.com.br

Casa Perini

Casa Perini was founded in 1970, though the Perini family has been growing grapes and producing wines in Brazil since 1929. The first generation of the Perini Family arrived from Italy in 1876.

The wines range from the fun and easy-drinking Macaw line to the sophisticated Quatro, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Ancellotta and Tannat.
www.casaperini.com.br

Miolo

The Miolo Wine Group traces its roots of wine production in Brazil to 1897. After decades of growing grapes, the company decided to produce its own wine in 1990. In 2003 they brought on Michel Rolland as consulting winemaker.

With the combination of skilled grape growing and French expertise, Miolo wines are delicious examples of the fine wine being made in Brazil. The Lote 43, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, was one of my favorites at the tasting.
www.miolo.com.br

Mioranza

Mioranza was founded in 1964 by four Italian brothers who were the second generation of the Mioranza family in Brazil. The winery is mainly a negociant; 90% of the grapes come from small producers, and 10% come from their vineyards.

RioBravo is a line of sparkling wines, offering dry, semi-sweet and sweet styles. Under the bright Mioranza label there are whites and reds that also range from dry to sweet.
www.mioranza.com

To learn more about wine from Brazil visit the Wines of Brasil website at winesofbrasil.com.

Vintners Reception

What to Taste at the 2017 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Top winemakers and wineries from California and beyond will be in Atlanta March 22nd through 25th for the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. Celebrating its 25th year, the auction has raised more than $26 million for the High Museum.

Earlier: High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Returns for 25th Edition

Whether it’s your first High Museum Wine Auction or you’re a regular, here are the wines you won’t want to miss at Saturday’s Vintners’ Reception. Bonus if you love Pinot Noir.

Au Bon Climat

Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction
Jim Clendenen at the 2016 wine auction

Owner and winemaker Jim Clendenen is one of this year’s guests of honor. It is well deserved – beyond making delicious wines, Jim is a familiar face at the wine auction and always has entertaining stories. In addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Jim brings fun and unique wines for guests to sample. Au Bon Climat is based in Santa Barbara County, in California’s Central Coast.
aubonclimat.com

Kosta Browne

Co-founders Michael Browne and Dan Kosta round out this year’s guests of honor. If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir you’ve no doubt enjoyed one from Kosta Browne. If you haven’t tasted these wines from Sonoma, you must make them one of your first stops.
kostabrowne.com

Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery's tasting room
Single vineyard Pinot Noir at Bernardus Winery’s tasting room

Bernardus Winery

Start with the Sauvignon Blanc from this Carmel Valley, California winery and you won’t be disappointed. Bernardus was founded by Bernardus “Ben” Pon, who is from the Netherlands (you’ll notice orange in the logo). Marinus, a Bordeaux-style blend, is a must-taste. Bernardus also makes single vineyard Pinot Noirs that when sipped side-by-side offer a glimpse at the different terroir. After the wine auction you’ll want to plan a trip to the tasting room in Carmel Valley Village.
bernardus.com

Big Basin wine

Big Basin Vineyards

In the charming town of Saratoga, on the edge of Silicon Valley, is where I first discovered Big Basin Vineyards. Their small and unassuming tasting room doesn’t prepare you for the big and bold flavors of their red wine – Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rhone blends. Big Basin’s vineyards are located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Wine auction guests got their first taste of Big Basin at last year’s event; this year owner and winemaker Bradley Brown will be offering tastes of current releases. Big Basin also makes Chardonnay and white wines from Rhone grapes. I’m a big fan of their Roussanne.
bigbasinvineyards.com

Continuum Estate's vineyards on Prichard Hill
Continuum Estate’s vineyards on Prichard Hill

Continuum Estate

Continuum made a big splash at the wine auction in 2014, when father and daughter Tim and Carissa Mondavi were guests of honor. Continuum’s vineyards are located on Pritchard Hill on the east side of Napa Valley, a stunning location if you have the chance to visit. Each year Continuum produces one wine, made from the estate’s best grapes, that truly captures a sense of place and the characteristics of that vintage. More recently they introduced Novicium, a second wine made primarily with grapes from younger vines. Continuum is a prized wine that all aficionados should have in their cellar.
continuumestate.com

Domaine Della

Domaine Della

A favorite discovery from last year’s wine auction, Domaine Della returns for its second year. Owner and winemaker David Hejl named the winery for his mother, who as he will tell you, was a truly remarkable woman. David’s experience crafting high quality Pinot Noir shows in each bottle of his wine. It’s hard to pick a favorite between his Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Be sure to join Domaine Della’s list for a chance to buy wine during the spring and fall releases.
domainedella.com

Lando Wines

Sam and Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction
Sam & Jennifer Lando at the 2016 wine auction

Sam Lando is the kind of guy who you want to have a beer – or in this case, glass of wine with. Besides being engaging and entertaining, Sam is extremely knowledgeable about Pinot Noir, having worked with Kosta Browne winery. He’s another wine auction regular, and his table is always a popular spot. Lando makes flavorful and balanced Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
landowines.com

Patel wines

Patel Winery

If full-bodied Napa Cabernet is your favorite, you must seek out Raj Patel of Patel Winery. As I wrote in 2015, “when Robert Parker awards your first wine a 95, you know you’ve made something special.” Patel wines are lush, layered and elegant, thanks to having access to some of the best grapes and the expertise of Luc Morlet, one of Napa’s top winemakers. Last year Raj debuted a Malbec, a deliciously spicy wine. This year he’ll be offering tastes of his 2014 Napa Valley Malbec, Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon.
patelwinery.com

Winderlea Pinot Noir

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

You could spend the entire Vintners’ Reception enjoying California Pinot Noir but be sure not to miss these Oregon Pinots. The name Winderlea evokes images of the breeze gently blowing through the vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Founders Bill Sweat and Donna Morris made their wine auction debut last year, offering tastes of their Chardonnay and single vineyard Pinot Noirs. I can’t wait to taste what they’ll have this year.
winderlea.com

Of course, you can’t go wrong with Champagne. This year Champagne Billecart-Salmon will be offering tastes of its bubbly. I’d suggest starting there, then moving on to the wineries featured above.

The Vintners’ Reception at the 25th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 11 a.m., followed by the Live Auction. Located under the tents at the Green Lot at Turner Field.
atlanta-wineauction.org

Click to see earlier articles on the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

wine auction 2016

High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Returns for 25th Edition

Raise a glass to one of Atlanta’s top social events! The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction returns for its 25th year in March 2017.

This year’s theme is “The Big One,” and celebrates the event’s major milestone. Over its 24 years the High Museum Wine Auction has grown to be the largest charity wine auction benefiting the arts in the United States, and has raised more than $26 million for the High Museum.

High Wine AuctionFrom Wednesday, March 22nd to Saturday, March 25th there will be special lunches, dinners and seminars, leading up to the Friday Fête and Saturday’s Vintners’ Reception and Live Auction. For the second year the Friday Fête and Auction will be held inside the tents at the Green Lot at Turner Field.

Jim Clendenen, Michael Browne and Dan Kosta are this year’s special guests of honor. Jim, the owner and winemaker at Au Bon Climat, hardly needs an introduction. A High Wine Auction regular, he has been regaling guests with entertaining stories and delicious wines for years. Michael and Dan are the co-owners of Kosta Browne Winery, which is well-known for its outstanding Pinot Noir. Kosta Browne is being honored for its support of the Wine Auction, having participated for nearly 10 years.

A number of wineries have already confirmed their participation in the 2017 Vintners’ Reception and Auction. Click here to see the list.

Benefactor packages to the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction are now available. Single tickets will go on sale in late January.

For more information on the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction visit atlanta-wineauction.org.

For more information on the High Museum of Art visit www.high.org.

I’ll see you under the tents in March!

>> Connect:
Facebook: HighMuseumWine
Twitter: @HighMuseumWine
Instagram: @HighMuseumWine

Toast to #LanguedocDay on May 27

Back in 2013 I said the Languedoc region in France was one to watch. I still feel that way, if not more so.

It’s really the best of all worlds. The weather is ideal, the villages are beautiful, and seemingly every grape does well there. Plus you’ll find an abundance of great values.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Looking for a sparkling wine? There’s Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux, made using the same traditional method as Champagne (and the second most imported French sparkler after Champagne).

How about the perfect summer white? Picpoul de Pinet is the wine that goes from poolside sip to nighttime aperitif, and is made for shellfish and seafood.

And the de rigeur rosé? Mais oui! Though Provence, its neighbor to the east is best known for its rosés, Languedoc comes in a close second. The climate and grapes make for wines that are very similar in style to Provence rosés.

For the red wines there is just about anything you could want — Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and beyond.

This #LanguedocDay I invite you to join me on Twitter and Instagram and share what Languedoc wines you are sipping.

For more information visit languedocadventure.com.

#LanguedocDay is sponsored by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc.

Cheers and santé!

wine auction 2016

Drink & Dine During the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

One of the year’s most anticipated events is happening at the end of this month — the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction!

More than 100 wineries and winemakers will descend on Atlanta March 30th through April 2nd for four days of tastings, seminars and dinners with the city’s favorite chefs, culminating in the Wine Auction on Saturday afternoon.

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the event benefiting the art museum. New in 2016, the Friday Fête, Vintners’ Reception and Live Auction will be held at Turner Field.

Click here to see articles from previous High Museum Wine Auctions

If you aren’t attending the auction there are still many mouthwatering ways you can join in the festivities.

The Dine Around Dinners offer guests an unforgettable evening at top Atlanta restaurants on March 30th and 31st. Chefs are teamed with celebrity winemakers for multi-course meals perfectly paired with wines. The dinners range from $75 to $225 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. For the full list of dinners click here. Reservations should be made directly with the restaurant.

At Tasting Seminars on Friday, April 1st, guests will meet winemakers and learn about wine in new and unique ways. From toasting to terroir with a panel of winemakers and complementary dishes prepared by Chef Linton Hopkins, to tasting wine in the dark — literally, with blindfolds — there’s a seminar to suit your tastes. The seminars range from $100 to $125 per person. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

We’ll see you there!

The 24th Annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, March 30 – April 2, 2016. atlanta-wineauction.org

>> Connect:
Facebook: HighMuseumWine
Twitter: @HighMuseumWine
Instagram: @HighMuseumWine

STKOLeary88

STK Atlanta Hosts Wine Tasting with Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary

Here’s your chance to sip with a shark!

Kevin O’Leary, a.k.a Mr Wonderful from ABC’s Shark Tank, will be showcasing his own wines at a special tasting at STK Atlanta.

Kevin O'Leary WineThe no-nonsense investor is the founder and Chief Sommelier of the award-winning O’Leary Fine Wines. He’ll be sharing tastes and tales in STK’s Bistro on Tuesday, March 8 from 6 to 8 pm.

Guests will have the chance to meet and take pictures with O’Leary, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres from STK Executive Chef Mark Alba.

A limited number of tickets are available for $35 per person by emailing VIPAtlanta@togrp.com in advance. The event is ages 21 and up.

O’Leary Fine Wines Tasting with Kevin O’Leary, STK Atlanta, Tuesday, March 8, 2016 from 6 to 8 pm. 1075 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30309. 404.793.0144, stkhouse.com

images courtesy of O’Leary Fine Wines

May 29 is #LanguedocDay

Languedoc Day

Want to share your love of the Languedoc or looking to discover this wine region in the south of France? Join the Amateur Gastronomer and wine fans on Friday, May 29th for #LanguedocDay.

Why do we here at AG love the Languedoc?

It’s a beautiful place for growing grapes.
The region gets 320 days of sunshine on average. That means picture perfect growing conditions and grapes that can reach their ideal ripeness.

There’s a wine for every taste.
Red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling, you’ll find it in the Languedoc. It’s the best of all worlds — there are Burgundy varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and Rhône varietals like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

With so many wines to discover.
The crisp Picpoul de Pinet is perfect for summer and pairs well with seafood and shellfish. Or if you’re in a celebratory mood, Crémant de Limoux makes an excellent alternative to Champagne.

And at great values.
Wines from the Languedoc are extremely wallet friendly. You’ll find many delicious wines for under $20 a bottle.

To join the conversation, pick up a bottle of wine from the Languedoc and share what you’re sipping with posts and pictures on Social Media using #LanguedocDay.

For more information on the wines from the Languedoc visit languedocadventure.com.

>> Connect:
Facebook: LanguedocWines
Twitter: @LanguedocWines

image via Languedoc Wines’ Facebook page

In the Magazines: The Atlantan

Check out articles from the AG’s Robin Alix Austin in the December 2014 issue of The Atlantan, out now.

Atlantan December 2014Present Perfect
Luxe gifts for five unique occasions. Plus experts share their favorite holiday entertaining tips.
Page 46

Innovative Excellence
For the oenophile who has everything, check out the Coravin.
Page 124

What’s for Dinner?
Anne Byrn, UGA alumna and former food editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution dishes on her new cookbook.
Page 126

In the Magazines: Men’s Book Atlanta

Check out articles from AG’s Robin Alix Austin in the Winter Issue of Men’s Book Atlanta, out now.

Men's Book Atlanta December 2014Holiday Spirits
Mixologist Miles Macquarrie of Kimball House in Decatur shares some of this season’s top spirits.
Page 110

One to Try: Cahors Malbec
This big and bold red wine from southwest France demands a spot on your dinner table.
Page 110