Možeš Možeš — The Epic Blue Danube Wine Roadtrip in Croatia!

Contributed by Marcy Gordon. Marcy is a freelance travel writer, published in a variety of publications, and the Forbes Travel Guide Corespondent for Napa and Sonoma. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Writing Between the Vines — Vineyard Retreats for Writers — A literary arts foundation providing residencies for writers on vineyard estates around the world. In April, Marcy joined the Blue Danube Wine team for two weeks in Dalmatia, Croatia. Back in April I embarked on an epic two-week road trip through Dalmatia in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with Frank Dietrich, Catherine Granger and Gisele Carig of the Blue Danube Wine team. This post kicks off my blog series that will recount all the extraordinary locations, people, vineyards, wine, food and vistas and adventures from the journey. I would argue that a road trip is the best way to really experience a place. Sure you can travel by train or bus or boat, but to really get off the proverbial beaten track to truly go deep into a place and get into all sorts of adventures and tight spots (literally!) — you need to have a car. All of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had (both … Continue reading Možeš Možeš — The Epic Blue Danube Wine Roadtrip in Croatia!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #38: Kindzmarauli Marani Rkatsiteli

Contributed by Christine Havens, Portland-based wine writer and former winemaker who has become a Vivino featured user with over 37,000 followers largely thanks to her wine ratings. An early adopter, Ms. Havens has been sharing her reviews with fellow users since the app hit the US market in late fall 2011. She also frequently contributes articles and wine pairing recommendations to the news section of the app. Original review can be found here. From the foothills of Georgia’s Caucus Mountains, is this softly-hewn Rkatsiteli. Interestingly, this is a variety that was planted in my former estate vineyard, in a single test row. Kindzmarauli’s interpretation of this ancient, indigenous white brings back memories. Bruised pear, dried orange peel and wild prairie flowers. Full and round in the mouth, like a welcome embrace, with low acidity and rather vinous orchard fruit and dried pineapple overtones. Try the Kindzmarauli Marani Rkatsiteli yourself! You can order it here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

Contributed by Croatian wine writer Nenad Trifunović. Nenad is based in Zagreb and writes regularly about wines, in particular those from Croatia, on his blog Dnevnik Vinopije (Wine Drinker Journal). To learn more read our interview with him. 2015 Miloš Stagnum Rosé Blood orange by color and scent. Pomegranate in the mouth, with its astringent vegital refreshment. A resemblance that transcends aromatic associations, Stagnum rosé is “white” juice of a noble red variety. One that is easy drinkable and full of freshness, with integrated acidity. A juice which refreshes since there is no sweetness whatsoever. Except in the aromatic sense because those sure are fruity enough, but also very much like tea. There’s tannin, evenly spread like a herbal component in pitted juice, an indicator of not over-processed fruit. Alcohol (13,5%) is invisible, carefully integrated, present only as a transferor of information, a persuasive witness of a proper wine in the glass and not a fruit juice. Stagnum Rosé is so impressive and incredibly subtle. It can be simply enjoyed, but can also be seen as an example of paradox. Those who seek depth will wait for Stagnum Rosé a bit, to toughen exposed to air and to approach its … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

#WineWednesday Spotlight #35: Piquentum Rouge

French-born winemaker Dimitri Brečević is the founder of Piquentum in Buzet, Istria where he grows the three Istrian varieties, Malvasia, Teran, and Refošk. In an old Italian water cistern made in the 1930s, Dimitri aims to make organic wines that express the typicity of the terroir. His Piquentum Rouge 2012, a 100% Teran, was recently tasted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, a website committed to serving as a timely and reliable source of information about Croatian wines for wine advocates and consumers, professional wine buyers and sommeliers, agro-tourists, members of the international wine trade, and the global media. Here is his contribution: 100% Teran of Istria. Thick and viscous, mouth filling and vibrant–but only 12.5% alcohol. Savory with dusty plum, bright cherry, and cured meat notes. Perfect with Italian pasta, charcuterie, and grilled meats. Learn more about Piquentum here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #34: Bibich Lučica

Broken down by wine Instagrammer Michael Trainor aka @awordtothewine. Michael is a “high energy guitar playing glorified wino with an intense curiosity and passion for all living things” based in Los Angeles. Be sure to follow him and his poetry! 2011 Bibich Lučica To the EYE: Lučica is liquid gold. Uptown elegance. The belle of the ball. On the NOSE: working class rust, dried herbs. A bit of Vermouth. In the MOUTH: elegant and graceful. Salty ocean spray. Broken skin of fallen fruit. Citrusy finish, lemony orangey zest. Lučica was a stitch in time. Evokes memories. An example of a wine that may take you someplace you’ve never been.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #33: Muhr-van Der Niepoort Samt und Seide

This Austrian blaufränkisch has gotten a lot of praise in the press lately. And deservedly so! See what top wine publications have to say and try a bottle for yourself. 2013 Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide Wine Enthusiast: There is nothing obvious about this wine: everything is subtle and elegant. The nose holds back and the taut palate only unfurls slowly to show a floral, fruity wine that reminds one of crimson peony petals as much as of dark, juicy cherries. yet there is nothing facile about this. it is the silky-smooth texture, however, that delivers the killer blow. A most sensuous, intriguing wine of great elegance. Little wonder: its name means silk and velvet. 92 points Wine & Spirits: Samt & Seide (“velvet & silk”) is a spot-on description for this blaufränkisch, a blend of young and old vine fruit. It’s expressive from the get-go, the rich texture holding a wealth of fresh, frisky fruit. It’s how the wine lasts over the course of several days that proves it is more than just delicious, the minerality holding it firm as a rock while the breezy acidity blows over it with notes of herbs, spice and sappy flavor. This … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #33: Muhr-van Der Niepoort Samt und Seide

#WineWednesday Spotlight #32: Füleky Pallas Late Harvest

Contributed by Colm FitzGerald. Colm was born in Ireland, grew up in Southern California and now lives in Hungary. He’s passionate about exploring new cultures and off the tourist-trail destinations. His blog, The Paprika Project was born from the idea of sharing Hungary’s rich culture and natural beauty with the world. Learn more about The Paprika Project in our blog. Füleky Pallas Tokaji Late Harvest 2012 Made from overripe shriveled grapes creating a sweet, but balanced wine. A great introduction for those new to Hungarian dessert wines. Sticky sweet, but with acidity, with hints of butterscotch and ripe fruit. I never understood what people meant when they said a wine had the taste or smell of “cut straw” or “cut grass”. Now I know. Long finish of residual sweetness. Delicious. You can read about Colm’s full visit to the Füleky estate here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #31: Kindzmarauli Marani Original

Continuing our celebration of Georgian wine month with Kindzmarauli Marani Original semi-sweet saperavi. The wine has been getting plenty of well deserved attention this month. Here are two independent reviews of the wine. One is by Tara Q. Thomas, Eastern European wine critic for Wine & Spirits Magazine, and the other is a video by James the Wine Guy, San Francisco-based wine vlogger. Kindzmarauli Marani Original 2014 (Best Buy) 90 points This saperavi is made in the traditional semi-sweet style but its not at all cloying. Rather, it tastes like wild cherries, from the leaves to the pits, intense in their clarity, then fades into a steaky, cedary savor. Its like the red version of a good Spätlese riesling, the sweetness serving to bolster flavor, and balance the strong acidity. And like a good Spätlese, this can go with a wide range of foods, in this case from grilled eggplant to seared steak to chunks of dark chocolate. -Tara Q. Thomas, Wine & Spirits Magazine June issue Now enjoy the video review by James the Wine Guy. He gives the wine 92 points citing its versatility at the table and the fact that it’s “not cloyingly sweet” as part of … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #31: Kindzmarauli Marani Original

Georgian Wine Historian Video

Check out this great video showing Giorgi Barisashvili, Georgian wine historian and educator, visiting the wine regions of Western Georgia. There he talks about rare, indigenous grapes and traditional Georgian winemaking practices. Last year a few members of our team were fortunate enough to meet Giorgi and spend some time with him in his marani (wine cellar). Here are a few pictures from that meeting: Browse all Georgian wines.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #30: Gotsa Chinuri

Review originally published in the June edition of Wine & Spirits Magazine. Written by Tara Q. Thomas. Tara has been a wine writer for about 15 years, mainly at Wine & Spirits, where she is the Executive Editor and the wine critic for wines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. A Wine & Spirits Wine of the Month for June! 2014 Gotsa Chinuri Beka Gotsadze grows 13 varieties in his vineyards in the hills of the Asureti Valley, at an elevation of 4,200. He works organically, and exclusively with qvevri (the local amphorae), though his techniques are not exactly traditional: His fermentation qvevri have holes drilled in their bottoms so that he can transfer the juice into aging qvevri by gravity; those qvevri are wrapped in silicon tubing that carries cool water from a nearby spring. Perhaps this is how he’s attained such a complex, delicate wine, as crisp and saline as it is redolent of orange blossoms, marzipan and salted capers. The tannins give it an edge of bitter tea, while the acidity keeps the wine lifted and fresh. It feels like it could age for decades; it lasts on the countertop indefinitely, and is especially … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #30: Gotsa Chinuri