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Xplorador Releases 100% Malbec from Argentina

The Xplorador line of wines, from Chile’s leading Concha y Toro winery, has announced the launch of a new varietal – a 100% Malbec.

Xplorador’s Malbec grapes are grown in the Lujan de Cuyo section of Agentina’s Mendoza wine region. Originally from Bordeaux, the Malbec grapes thrive in Mendoza and produce luscious wines that are full of fruit flavor.

Xplorador Malbec is bright ruby red and well-balanced yet, full of fruit and spicy aromas and flavors. The wine serves as a perfect accompaniment to a big, juicy steak. It retails at approximately $8 for 750ml bottle.

In addition to the Malbec, the Xplorador line of wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. They are crafted in a forward-fruit style that makes them an ideal accompaniment to a wide range of foods. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep ruby red with appealing aromas of black cherry. The Merlot is a dark and deep red with luscious fruit flavors and hints of chocolate and spice. The Chardonnay has rich and appealing tropical fruit balanced with crisp acidity and toasty oak.

Concha y Toro is the best-selling imported line of wines in the United States. Along with Xplorador, they also produce the Casillero del Diablo, Marques de Casa Concha, and Frontera lines as well as the famed Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon and Amelia Chardonnay. In addition to their Mendoza vineyards, Concha y Toro owns more than 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of vineyards in twelve separate estates throughout four of Chile’s premier winemaking regions; Maipo, Maule, Rapel and Casablanca.

Wine X & North Coast Wine Group form Wine Club

Wine X Magazine editor/publisher Darryl Roberts and North Coast Wine Group co-owner Jenny Helman announced an alliance between their companies, creating the X Rated Wine Club. The club will feature small production, highly recommended and exceptional wines that have been reviewed by Wine X Magazine and are published in the magazine’s print version, weekly email blasts and X Rated Wines section of the publication’s popular web site, Wine X Wired. Readers of the print version will be able to use Personal Library™ technology to learn more about the featured wines as well as to purchase them instantly. On-line readers can simply click through to a special wine club page on North Coast Wine Group’s web site, where featured wine packages and information about the club are available.

“We’ve been looking for the right e-commerce partner for a while,” Roberts says. “We still don’t believe that people, especially young adults, will buy wine on-line for full retail when they can find it in the store down the street for 15 percent less. Hence the dot com disasters of the past few years. However, when it comes to smaller producers and harder to find wines, I think our readers will appreciate both the opportunity to learn about them, as well as the ease and convenience of buying them.”

North Coast Wine Group, specializing in marketing wines from small, family owned wineries directly to consumers via their web site, has been looking for a way to expand its client base. “It makes obvious sense to focus on Generation X,” Helman says, “and what better vehicle to accomplish our goal than Wine X Magazine. They totally understand what wine consumers in the 21-35 age bracket are looking for.”

The X Rated Wine Club will launch next month. Wine selections will change bi-monthly with the release of each magazine.

Wine Lovers Get Three Times More To Love

If “Variety is the Spice of Life”, then be prepared to allow the varietal selections of The WineSellar & Brasserie to introduce you to an explosion of the spice of life. Established in 1988, The WineSellar is located on the floor below The Brasserie Restaurant. Recently tripling wine shop floor space, they are now boasting approximately 1800 sq. ft. of wine in open display to compliment several private collections of rare and premium wines offered to the public as well as a dynamic online wine auction for private enthusiasts. The WineSellar & Brasserie is unveiling a new tasting room with some of the hottest selections open for sampling as part of the wine shop expansion project.

The WineSellar specializes in hard to find “boutique” wines, including older Bordeaux and Burgundy, plus many jewels from California. Their expert tasting panel samples hundreds of wines to find the unique and special wines that meet their standards and reflect the quality and reputation of their two fine-dining establishments. Selections are chosen from around the world — California, France, Italy, Australia, and later this year, fresh new wines of South Africa. This premium wine shop also has been working hard towards getting the best-valued wines for everyday drinking into the store and is very proud of their selections.

“I want to share my intimate knowledge and love of wine with as many people as possible. I am pleased to offer the wine public an opportunity to grow with us as they learn about their specific wine tastes”, says Gary Parker, Chairman & CEO, local wine authority and proprietor of The WineSellar & Brasserie. “With our public wine storage facility housing well over 200 individual wine collections, we often obtain wine from collectors’ that has been off the market for years. This further adds to the ever-changing and exciting selections offered at competitive prices.”

Vino! Wire: Wine News

Standing Stone to Release Unfiltered Red Wines

This fall, Standing Stone will release its 2000 cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and Pinnacle. That in and of itself is uneventful, except that these wines will be unfiltered. Standing Stone is standing alone. This is perhaps the first attempt at commercial unfiltered bottling in the Finger Lakes.

The Macinskis and other proponents of unfiltered wines say that filtering removes positive characteristics from wine. With the exception of merlot, Standing Stone reds will forgo filtering. Their colleagues in the Finger Lakes rely on filtering to prevent wines from going bad. Making unfiltered wines is a risk no other local winery has been willing to take.

“People are asking if we’ve gone nuts,” Marti Macinski said. “The Finger Lakes, as an industry, hasn’t considered what is ultimately possible in terms of quality. I fear we could be resting on our laurels, content on consistently producing very good wines that sell at $12” per bottle.

Not filtering wines is directly linked to winemaker insomnia and indigestion. The vast majority of commercial wines are sterile filtered to remove yeast particles, any remaining sugar, and microbiological contaminants. Filtering helps guarantee that wines will be stable in the bottle and not turn funky or cloudy before getting to consumers.

By not sterile filtering, a winemaker increases the chances of re-fermentation, spoilage, and bad smells and tastes. Most notorious of these is what is known as “Brett” an aroma created by a type of wild yeast that in small concentrations smells like a sweaty horse or a band-aid. Most Finger Lakes winemakers view making unfiltered wine as an oenological Russian roulette.

Some wine critics, notably Robert Parker, actually like small amounts of Brett in wine. He, in particular, discourages “serious wineries” from filtering.

Several years ago, University of California Davis enologist Christian Butzke wanted to see if filtering changed wine. He bought several bottles of unfiltered wines, filtered half of them, and asked 12 experienced tasters to pick the unfiltered wines. The average correct response was only 54 percent, little better than random guessing.

Locally, Cornell Enologist Thomas Henick-Kling conducted a panel tasting that concluded that consumers find even low levels of Brett objectionable.

Macinski explained the academics’ aversion to unfiltered wines is part of the culture – their job is to caution the industry to do no harm, and play it safe.

Macinski points towards anyone’s Top 100 wines list, saying that a fair number are unfiltered. Filtering, she said, is a New World technology. Only recently did the European wine industry start filtering and the finest winemakers still do not, she said.

Like the non-filtering wineries in California and Europe, Standing Stone wine will retain its stability by fermenting to dryness, which eliminates sugars that could cause re-fermentation; by aging 18 months in oak, and by regular laboratory analysis.

Standing Stone may not forgo filtering every year, depending on the quality of the fruit.

Standing Stone’s unfiltered wines will cost more than their standard wines, but Macinski isn’t sure how much. She said she’ll be talking with buyers and Manhattan retailers to get a feel for what a “credible” price would be.