Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cupcake Vineyards - fruity, rich, soft wines under $15

Cupcake Vineyards, maybe not the name you would choose for a winery, but a winner in producing handcrafted, fruity, soft wines under $15.  Cupcake is one of the worldwide brands under the Underdog Wine Merchants who focus on bringing the consumer interesting wines and wine styles from around the world.  Chief Winemaker for Underdog Wine Merchants and winemaker for Cupcake Vineyards is Adam Richardson, who has been making wines for more than twelve years both in Australia and California.  He particular enjoys wines from the cooler climates of the world where grapes linger on the vines producing enticing rich flavors.

Launched in 2008 and based in Monterey County, Cupcake Vineyards produces a variety of wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot from California’s Central Coast where the warm days and cool nights produce grapes rich in flavors yet balanced in acidity.  They reach out to New Zealand’s Marlborough valley for cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, Washington’s Yakima Valley for Riesling and Argentina’s Mendoza for Malbec.

The San Jose Wine Examiner tasting team sampled the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay. 

The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand is produced from grapes from this famous winegrowing region on the northern end of the South Island.  The grapes were gently crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks and underwent a long extended rest sur lies to give it a rich and soft palate.  While the wine certainly had the grassiness expected from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the tasting team was particularly pleased with the great tropical aromas and flavors including passion fruit, guava, papaya, and pineapple.  In mid palate you will detect a peach and stone fruit quality following up with a finish rich in pineapple.  The wine was only released in September and the price for this wine is only $14.

The 2009 Cupcake Chardonnay comes from grapes grown along the Central Coast of California where the warm days and Pacific cooled nights produce wines with great flavors.  The juice underwent malolactic fermentation with extended aging sur lie in American oak barrels for 9 months.  The tasting panel enjoyed the creamy mouthfeel with plenty of flavors of citrus including lemon and orange with touches of stone fruit and peach and a little toast.  It has good acidity and a medium long finish.  The price is only $14.

For more information check out the Cupcake Vineyards website.

Guglielmo Winery - Generations of winemaking in Santa Clara Valley since 1925

As new wineries are established in California due to the rapid growth of the industry, it is a pleasure to find a winery whose roots were established generations ago and have survived over the years by producing award-winning wines and developing a following of winelovers.  Guglielmo winery was established in 1925 by family patriarch, Emilio Guglielmo, bringing his wine making skills from his native Italy to his new home in Santa Clara Valley.  By 1946 his son George assumed the winemaking legacy, retaining the family’s commitment to quality, distinction and value.

Today the third generation of the family, brothers George, Gene and Gary continue the family heritage, producing nearly 40,000 cases annually under different labels, Guglielmo Private Reserve, TRE and Emile’s.  While the winery has grown, they have stuck to their heritage of natural, quality wines from their 100 acres of Santa Clara Valley estate vineyards.

George is the chief winemaker with his brother Gene handling sales and Gary the General Manager.  Visiting the tasting room is a step back in Santa Clara Valley history with shelves loaded with a wide selection of wines, food products, Italian specialties and special gifts.

Guglielmo 2007 Zinfandel Private Reserve from their estate vineyards is produced from wines planted over 70 years ago.  The Wineproguy tasting panel enjoyed this wine that was loaded with red cherry, strawberry with strong hints of spices including cinnamon, plus vanilla, and even a touch of citrus on the finish.  You will enjoy the noticeable soft touches of oak and cedar.  Guglielmo produced 780 cases of this wine.  It will pair nicely with lamb, steak or pasta dishes.  This is a fine wine delivering fruity flavors for only $19.

The 2007 Petite Sirah Private Reserve delivers some of the pepper and bramble characteristics found in Petite Sirah but is definitely a milder version with dark fruits, currant, licorice and black pepper.  The fruity flavors and soft spices and tannins make it easy to drink.  The price is only $19.

For more information, contact Guglielmo Winery website.