Monday, August 30, 2010

NV Muscat de Beaulieu, Beaulieu Vineyard, California

Terry post:

What is a dessert wine? The obvious answer is that it is a wine one enjoys as dessert and I would speculate that very few people have enjoyed dessert wine for that purpose.

My personal preference for after dinner sipping is a vintage Porto (along with a good cigar if at all possible). That said, there is just something classy about ordering a small glass of dessert wine in place of that slice of double chocolate cake.

My impressions: Medium bodied with a strong alcohol presence - almost overpoweringly so. The alcohol is the predominant characteristic of this wine. Not well balanced. It is a simple sweet wine giving apricots and raisins to those with patience. Needs to warm up a bit to get the most out of this wine - it is far superior at room temperature than when slightly chilled. A hint of oak on a surprisingly brief finish.

Perhaps I expected too much from this wine: Always been a fan of the BV brand. Rather like the Porto's that my brother and I sampled earlier this year with far too many clunkers found en-route the fantastic 2007 vintage.

Is it a bad wine? No. Is it a great wine? No.

Like so many other wines I have sampled, it is a competent offering from a dependable winery which will reward the drinker with a few moments of pleasure - but is not the wine dreams are made of and its pleasure is short lived.

18% alcohol

$11.99 for 375 mL bottle from The Wine Seller, Herndon Virginia

~ Terry

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Busy Summer - Updates

Brad Post:

It’s been a very busy summer and the frequency of my postings has stagnated, much like the hot and humid weather we’ve experienced in Iowa, for the past few months. The passing of a cold front today is giving us the opportunity to open windows to air out the house and feel a hint, a promise, of the upcoming season change.

Yesterday, almost a month earlier than previous years, the harvest season began in earnest with a full day of crushing and pressing Brianna, a cold-climate white grape. The Fireside Winery owners decided to upgrade their crush pad equipment with new separate destemming machine, a vibrating sorting table, and a crusher (really doesn’t crush but actually just splits the berry to release the juice) and a wonderful new positive displacement pump (gently moves the must).

Fireside Winery Family Sorting Brianna Grapes
High quality equipment combined with sourcing the best possible grapes and keen attention to detail, via sorting out the stems and bad berries will yield an even better wine product. We ended up processing about 1,000 gallons of Brianna! If you haven’t had Brianna yet – seek it out!

Road Trip
Maiden Rock, Owner & Winemaker
We took a long weekend to see a Jack Johnson concert near Minneapolis a month ago and visited wineries along the way in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Crossing back and forth across the Mississippi a group of four of us enjoyed good and sometimes excellent wines.

With map in hand we began in Marquette, Iowa visiting the Eagles Landing Winery downtown and were treated to excellent service and amazingly well-crafted wines. This winery is establishing a strong reputation of creating award winning wines! One of our very favorite stops and one that we were sort of reluctant to visit were Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery near Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Amazing apple wine and hard ciders and warm and thoughtful owners made the experience exemplary! If you have a chance to make the trip – don’t hesitate and buy more of the hard cider than you think you’ll want – we ran out too soon.

My wife and I launched an online, daily news magazine for the wine industry this summer, called Winedustry – wine news for the “other” grapes. During the past couple of years I have grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of attention given to the non-traditional (non-California) wine industry. Most wine industry journals focus almost entirely upon this market.

After months of preparation, on August 2nd we launched Winedustry! Building awareness among the professional wine industry community is taking a lot of my time but is incredibly rewarding. We’ve been fortunate to find State Field Editors for several states and as of today we have Editors for these states: Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. Our State Field Editors are responsible for reporting the news about their states wine industry.

In the upcoming months I am sure I’ll get back to posting stories about the harvest, new wines, and my experiences judging wine competitions, and visits to wineries across the country.

Thanks for reading and supporting Two Wine Brothers. And I hope you take a moment to check out Winedustry -

Brad Johnson