Autumn Wines


I am predicting a very mild winter with temperatures in the low 70’s and not a rain or snow cloud to be seen the entire season. The south Jersey boardwalks will be full of people reveling in the awesome winter mildness and even the ice cream vendors will be ringing their bells up and down the beaches where sun worshippers will be reveling in the unusually balmy weather. I am also predicting SpongeBob Squarepants will be elected president of the United States Of America. And Patrick will be his VP. Hey, I can dream can’t I? So, OK, it’s Fall, or as it is known back in my homeland: Autumn. Fall, Autumn,, whatever…they both precede the season of gluttony and black ice, panic gift buying, school cancellations, airport delays and thermal underwear. BUT, Fall is also the buffer zone between summer and winter so we are in that time of the year when we can enjoy wines that nudge us gently into the annual ice age. We can do a little heavy red and a little frivolous light pink and each is guaranteed to make all of us very happy campers. SO with out any further ado, or adon’t, let’s get down to some wining:

Masciarelli Winery, led by the forward thinking and dynamic female owner Marina Cvetic, produces two distinctive Trebbiano wines. The wines have many terroir-driven traits and each tasting profile reflects the many microclimates of Abruzzo in Central Italy. The minerality of Masciarelli wines stems from the remarkable soil at varying levels of altitude and unique climate conditions, cultivated by close proximity to the Adriatic Sea and the Majella Massif, providing the salty notes of the warm sea breeze and the freshness and acidity of the cold mountain winds.

Villa Gemma Bianco Colline Teatine IGT (Approx: 17.99). Still lindgering summer freshness and flowers with hints of apple, jasmine and white flower. Made from 80% Trebbiano and 15% Cococcolia and 5% Chardonnay. Pale yellow straw color with an intense aroma. Great with fish, cheese and veggies.

Marina Cvetic Trebbiano d’Aruzzo Riserva DOC (Approx: $42.99). Full bodied white wine with an exquisite floral bouquet and creamy mouthfeel offering distinct flavors of peach. Papaya, lavender, honey and vanilla. Fermented and aged in wood gives this wine the incredible complex notes you discover from the first sip. Perfcet with baked fish dishes, poultry and seriously rich cheeses.

Conundrum was born 25 years ago, and today it still stands for doing things your own way and daring to explore. Its inspiration came from Charlie Wagner, Sr. – co-founder of Caymus Vineyards and father to winery owner Chuck Wagner – who would sit at the dining room table and mix wines to create the “perfect glass” to pair with his meal. At the time, blending wines was considered almost unthinkable, and even Charlie Sr. had no idea that his bold experiment would help usher in a whole new trend.

Today, Conundrum is as original as ever. They continue to source the fruit from some of the most sought-after California winegrowing regions to ensure both quality and diversity: Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Tulare Counties.

Winemakers, Jon Bolta and Charlie Wagner, preserve the individual characteristics of each varietal by taking great care to keep separate lots of fruit throughout the entire winemaking process. Some lots are aged in chilled stainless steel tanks to maintain fresh, crisp aromas and fruit flavors, and some in a combination of aged and new French oak barrels for up to ten months. The intriguing result: a wine with multiple layers, subtle and complex, born of an adventurous spirit while inviting more adventures to come.

2014 Conundrum White Wine (Approx: $25) While the exact blend remains under wraps, with every vintage they include Chardonnay for its weight and complexity, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for crisp acidity, Muscat Canelli for floral qualities and Viognier for lush texture. Taken together, they add up to a wine that’s amazingly versatile, pairing well with everything from salmon to spicy food, or enjoyed on its own as an aperitif. A beautiful light hue, this wine opens with the evocative scents of apricot, pear and honeysuckle, as well as bright notes of orange and lemon meringue pie. The entry on the palate has a subtle sweetness immediately balanced by a natural acidity and pop of freshness. Flavors of peach, apple and citrus are layered with with a touch of oak that comes from the use of barrel fermentation for a portion of the wine. The finish is long, with distinctive hints of each varietal creating a final, lingering impression.

2013 Conundrum Red Wine (Approx: $25) A rich, dark red, this wine offers aromas of ripe berries and plums, warmed by a hint of cocoa. Dried fruit and the taste of chocolate-covered cherries come through on the palate, while a wisp of smokiness makes this wine – created from dark red varietals including Zinfandel and Petite Sirah – the perfect complement to grilled meats and full-flavored dishes. Tannins are rounded out by the ripeness of the berries for a textured but smooth mouth feel. The finish makes you want to linger at the end of a long evening, not wanting to go home, with layers of rich flavor that teasingly trail off. By the way, chill this wine for 10 minutes and it will taste even more.

Miner Family Winery, Emily’s Cuvee 2013 (Approx: $50) Miner is a dynamic family-owned winery tucked along the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation in the heart of Napa Valley. Founded in 1998 by Dave and Emily Miner, Miner Family Winery crafts reserve-style wines by sourcing fruit from Napa Valley and other specially selected California vineyards. Winemaker Stacy Vogel uses a combination of old world winemaking techniques and modern technology to make wines that reflect the unique characteristics of individual vineyards or “terroir” where specific varietals grow best. This fusion of superb vineyard sites and thoughtful winemaking allows Miner to deliver elegant, expressive wines. Emily’s Cuvee is in remembrance of Emily Miner, co- founder of Miner Family Winery. The wine is decadent and rich layered with aromas of black fruit and hints of mocha, espresso and toasted oak. It is made from a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and aged for almost 2 years in New French Oak barrels. The result is a big, fruit filled, multi faceted, mesmerizing quaffer!

In the late 1800s, the first wine of CVNE was named after the company’s initials but a simple orthographic mistake with the letter ‘V’ transformed the name CVNE to CUNE and so the name Cune (also pronounced Coo-nay) was adopted as both the name of the original winery and for the wines produced with the Cune label.

Cune Rosado 2015, Rioja, Spain (Approx: $13) is made from a blend of 85% Viura, and 15% Tempranillo. Anytine of year is the right time for rosé wines especially when they are as fruity and as yummy as this one. And for the price, you won’t find a better example of year round summer sunshine in a glass.

Cune Monopole 2015 Rioja, Spain (Approx: 13). Made from 100% Viura grape, Monopole is the oldest white wine of Spain. Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana (CVNE) has been producing Monopole since 1915. And what a fab wine it is too…a fresh crisp taste with an intriguing touch of lemons on the nose. White Rioja at its best.

I’m feeling inspired today, so I’m going to close with a very apt poem, called “To Autumn” by one of my favorite poets, William Blake. And as always my dear friends…Cheers!

“O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d

With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit

Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,

And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,

And all the daughters of the year shall dance!

Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers”.

‘The narrow bud opens her beauties to

The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;

Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and

Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,

Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,

And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

‘The spirits of the air live in the smells

Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round

The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’

Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,

Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak

Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.



Comments are closed.