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Louies Wine Dive

 Louie's Wine Education

At Louie's Wine Dive, we do more than serve great wine, we learn about great wines every day. We do this through conversation – with winemakers, with each other, and most importantly, with our guests. We hope that the articles here will continue the discussion and help demystify the world of wine.

 

Grapes & Regions

Learn about wine grape varieties and the regions around the world where they grow best. 

Wine Terminology

The history of winemaking is also the history of trying to find the words to describe the amazing variety of flavors, aromas, and sensations in every wine glass.

Pairings & Recipes

Wine and food are the perfect combination - they both elevate the other and open up new possibilities for enjoying a good time with friends and family.


 

Louie's Wine Club
 
January 18, 2019 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your January wines: Pacific Heights Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir continues to be all the rage in the domestic wine market. The Sonoma Coast ranges from windswept cliff-bound vineyards on its northern border with Mendocino to the gently rolling hills in the south by San Pablo Bay. These vineyards are site specific ‒ the soils and climate differ greatly from one vineyard to the next. However, they are ulitimately defined by the cold Pacific Ocean and the elements produced therein, importantly including the Pacific fog which in some areas of the Sonoma Coast rolls in daily, settling densely in lower elevations.

Sonoma Pinot Noir is characterized by its bold black cherry and spice notes. Pacific Heights features ripe plum and raspberry with black tea notes, and soft tannins with texture in the finish. This 2015 Pacific Heights Pinot Noir will be heavier bodied than its Chilean counterpart, Right Wave, and stand up to heartier dishes. Best served with a slight chill.

Time Posted: Jan 18, 2019 at 8:45 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
January 16, 2019 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your January wines: Right Wave Pinot Noir

Right Wave is a fresh and fun Pinot Noir sourced in the Leyda Valley, located between the great Humboldt current and the awe inspiring Mt. Aconcagua. The Humboldt Current begins in the Antarctic and drives cold water north along the western coast of South America. This has the effect of cooling the Leyda Valley, creating that rare balance of temperature optimal for growing the delicate Pinot Noir grape.

Mt. Aconcagua rises in the southern Andes to the north and east. This mountain range, and Mt. Aconcagua in particular, are massive, rising to an elevation of 22,841 feet. My experience in this region remains one of wonderment. Unlike other well ventured wine regions, this land and its winemakers have many potential viticultural areas yet unplanted. If you learn the wines, such as the Terrunyo Concho y Toro we have featured, much value can be found in and around the Leyda Valley as much wine has yet to make it to large consumer markets such as the United States.

Chilean Pinot Noir is brighter, lighter & fresher in style than Pinot Noir from the traditional Burgundy region of France. Generally you will taste Bing cherry and cranberry. Best served with a slight chill.

To learn more, visit waveserieswines.com.

- Whitney Vinzant, President, Louie's Wine Dive

Time Posted: Jan 16, 2019 at 8:45 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
December 21, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

From Louie's Locker: Vincent & Sophie Morey Bourgogne Chardonnay

The Morey family is renowned in France as true lovers of the variety and beauty of French wines. Vincent took over the domaine Chassagne-Montrachet from his father Bernard in 2006, and with his wife and partner Sophie, had their first harvest in 2007. Both come from generations of Burgundian winemakers, and treat their vineyards as if they were gardens. “Fine wines start with good grapes,” they declare in unison. Vincent is definite on the point: “Wine-making is like cooking: The basic ingredients have to be right.” In the vineyard, strict attention to detail is the order of the day. “There’s no secret. It’s a matter of devoting the necessary time to the job.”

Burgundy is of course among the most famous and storied wine regions in the world. Its history dates from the Roman era, and its system of dividing up vineyards into small, family-owned parcels makes understanding the wines of Burgundy a life-long pursuit for enthusiasts.

The cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils in Burgundy are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay with plenty of acidity. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon.

The Vincent & Sophie Morey Bourgogne Chardonnay begins with a bouquet of delicate white flowers. Lemon zest with a powerful mid-palate is followed by an incredibly smooth finish, vanishing with the vibrancy of the minerality and acidity so renowned in Burgundy.

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2018 at 8:45 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
December 20, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your wines: Concha y Toro Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon

The Maipo Valley of Chile is to most wine drinkers a lesser-known New World wine region. It’s the frontier or the Wild West - or perhaps the ‘Wild South’ for that matter! Few know that the Maipo has a 150 year heritage of winemaking, or over 7,000 acres under vine, and most certainly don’t know the sub-region of Alto Maipo in the foothills of the Andes where Concha y Toro grows the Cabernet Sauvignon for Terrunyo.

This is rugged country with poor soil composition and few nutrients, which causes the vines to work harder to develop the energy, sugars, and phenols in the grape. This stress is your gain as the vines generally produce fewer grapes but give more complexity to each year's crop. The 2013 Concha y Toro Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon is a unique wine that can truly hold its own with traditional expressions of Cabernet in France and the Old World.

Tasting Notes: Shows red fruits and blueberry with a backbone of minerality including pencil shaving. Well balanced with silky tannins. Slight chill recommended. Big flavored game and red meats including lamb, pork or wild boar, or beef cuts like a Ribeye. Strong cheeses such as bleu and roquefort stand up well to Terrunyo.

Time Posted: Dec 20, 2018 at 9:30 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
December 17, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your wines: Market Vineyards 'Arbitrage' Cabernet Sauvignon

Market Vineyards ‘Arbitrage’ Cabernet Sauvignon originates in the Columbia Valley, which is an expansive and expanding area with over 40,000 acres under vine. In it are a diverse range of wine growing regions, climates and elevations, and grape varieties from cleanly acidic Horse Heaven Hills Riesling to chewy Walla Walla Syrah.

Many think of Washington wine and their minds race to Seattle and the lush, raincharged western side of the Cascades, but the Columbia Valley is located east of the Cascades and receives a mere 8-10 inches of rainfall annually. The desert climate has a massive diurnal shift, with cold nights and hot days varying up to 40 degrees in a 24 hour period. The result of hot sun-filled days is intensely ripe fruit often expressing uber high sugar content, while the cold nights create acid, acting to balance the given wine.

In the early years of Washington wine making and indeed, still in some areas today, this balance was difficult to control, resulting too often in pronounced unbalanced wines. However, winemaking technique and knowledge in the hands of a cast of truly talented and traveled winemakers have embraced this challenge with success. Market Vineyards is one of those utlizing top quality cabernet fruit, and a quality focused winemaker.

Notes: This wine shows dark fruits with black cherry and mocha flavors followed by vanilla and black pepper. Elegant refined tannins in the finish. Slight chill recommended. Serve with rich sauces such as bordelaise or gongonzola sauce and dishes including beef carpaccio, roasted duck, and braised lamb shanks.

Time Posted: Dec 17, 2018 at 9:30 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
December 6, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your November wines: Chateau St. Georges St. Emilion

Chateau St. Georges ranks among the top producers in the satellite appellations located within Bordeaux's famous Merlot region of St. Emilion. The vineyard estate changed hands several times following the French Revolution until Petrus Desbois purchased it in 1891. Petrus Debois used the estate as a private family home and vineyard, and carefully enhanced its quality first by grafting new vines onto American rootstock thereby replacing the existing beleaguered vines with fresh.

Today, Chateau St. Georges is overseen by the third generation of Desbois family. Their Chateau St. Georges St. Emilion is aged 18 months in new French oak. The famed oenologist Michel Rolland guides this red blend of Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), and Cabernet Franc (20%) into a dark, rich, concentrated and silky wine that also shows terrific potential for aging. Chateau St. Georges pairs extremely well with fall and winter dishes, ranging from hard and soft cheeses to cassoulet, stews, and fish, to roasted chicken, pork and grilled beef. 

The 2009 Chateau St. Georges St. Emilion featured in the Diamond Club package in November 2018. Visit their site at chateau-saint-georges.com to learn more!

Louie's Wine Club
 
December 4, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your November wines: Seven Falls Rapids Red

Seven Falls Cellars was inspired by a series of seven waterfalls flowing through the Wahluke Slope (Native American for "Watering Hole") in eastern Washington. This is new wine country as wine regions go. Wahluke Slope was established an American Viticultural Area in just 2005. The entire appellation lies on a broad, south-facing slope with a constant, gentle grade of less than 8%. This, along with the proximity to the Columbia River, helps minimize the risk of frost, which can affect other areas of the state. Eastern Washington has little rainfall and is a warm if not hot climate for the classical wine grapes of Syrah, Merlot, and Cinsault that make up the Rapids Red blend.

Rapids Red is grown in an ancient flood plain with deep alluvial soils. The result is very ripe grapes, which is certiainly identifiable in the wine. Rapids Red features ripe red berries and flavors of dark cherry with a finish of anise and vanilla. This is a rich and smoothly textured wine. Rapids Red pairs really well with big cheeses, such as Caveman blue cheese, rich stews, lamb and flank steak. Whatever food you decide, make sure it's packed full of flavor to stand up to this ripe red wine!

The 2015 Seven Falls Rapids Red featured in the Platinum and Diamond Club packages in November 2018. Visit them at sevenfallscellars.com/our-story to learn more.

Louie's Wine Club
 
November 27, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

From Louie's Locker: Louis Latour Chablis 'La Chanfleure'

Domaine Louis Latour covers 48 hectares of vineyard, including 27 hectares of Grand Cru, and is the largest landholder of Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy. The domaine is centred in the village of Aloxe-Corton which has been the Latour’s family home since the creation of the house. Chablis is an isolated island of vineyards in the northern section of viticultural Burgundy.

La Chanfleure is an old word used synonymously with ‘tâte-vin’. It is actually the pipette used by the cellarmen to take some wine from the barrel to taste it during the vinification. The 2014 Maison Louis Latour Chablis ‘La Chanfleure’ is the ultimate expression of what the Chardonnay grape is capable of on the region’s famous Kimmeridgian limestone slopes.

This is an elegant and wonderful introduction to Chablis, but complex enough to intrigue even advanced sommeliers. Expressive of the refined Kimmeridgian limestone soil from which it originates. Spirited and bright with acidity. Fresh lemon, warm and muscular mid palate with a saline finish.  Rather flexible as long as you don’t overdo it with heavier proteins. Shellfish, seafood, salads, charcuterie and cheeses pair extremely well.

Time Posted: Nov 27, 2018 at 9:15 AM
Louie's Wine Club
 
November 26, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Learn about your November wines: Bolla Torr'Alta

The 2012 Bolla Torr'alta Veronese Rosso featured in the Gold and Platinum Club packages in November 2018.

The vineyards of Bolla's Torr'alta reside within the famous and ancient winemaking province of Verona, Italy. They feature a soil composition of stone, calcareous clay, and basalt outcroppings, giving range and complexity to the vines and the resulting wine. The grape varietals of Corvina and Rondinella, featured alongside Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in this red blend, are lesser known outside the Veneto, but much loved by those natives who know them best. Corvina is known for its tart, cherry flavor. Rondinella is known for its rich ruby color and gentle, red berry aromas.

Torr'alta is made utilizing the traditional 'appassimento' style, meaning the grapes are laid to rest, typically on straw mats, and dried before pressing into wine. The thicker peel of indigenous grapes in Veneto allows for this long and slow drying process, preserving the characteristics of the grapes. Thought to have its origins in Roman times, the Appassimento leads to a higher concentration of the juice inside the berries, which then gives to the wine more body and structure.

This wine shows deep cherry flavors that are smooth and balanced on the palate with soft, velvety tannins. It pairs splendidly with soft and hard cheeses, pastas, and roasted and grilled meats.
 

To learn more, visit bolla.com/winery.

Louie's Wine Club
 
October 1, 2018 | Louie's Wine Club

Superstar Varietals - Reds

Some grapes are famous, some are underappreciated but play a big part in the blends you may know and love. Regardless, these red wine grapes are stars.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the red wine of the Burgundy growing region and the Burgundian style has influenced winemakers around the world. It has found a second home in Oregon, particularly the Willamette Valley, and good Pinots can be found from the up-and-coming Washington vineyards and cooler regions of California.  

Origin: Burgundy, France
Notable growing regions: Burgundy, Loire Valley, Champagne, Oregon, California, Italy (Pinot Nero), New Zealand
Preferred Growing Conditions: temperate to cool climates
Body: light to medium
Acidity: medium to light
Pigmentation: Thin
Tannins: low
Style: dry red table wine
 

Characteristics: berries (cherry, cranberry, raspberry), roses, currant, wet earth, tobacco, leather, smoke, barnyard

Basic Food Pairings: Mushrooms, Most meat with the exception of wild game (poultry, oily fish, roasted beef, pork) cheddar, Port Salut, Mexican & Italian food. 

Fun fact - Pinot Noir is a major component of the best Champagnes and makes lovely Rosé wines as well.

 

Merlot

Merlot is a grape that can trick the eye - its deep color hides a smooth, soft wine. Merlot brings texture and fruit flavors to traditional French blends, often partnered with our next grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.  On its own, Merlot is fruit-forward, with grape, berry, and jam coming through and medium tannins.

Origin: Bordeaux, France
Common Growing regions: California, Washington, Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon, Italy, Chile, Australia
Preferred Growing Conditions: widely grown worldwide, but does best in temperate to warm climate
Body: medium to full
Acidity: Low
Pigmentation: Thick
Tannins: moderate to high
Style: Dry red table wines
 

Characteristics: Blueberries, grapes, plums, berry jam, chocolate, cedar, vanilla

Basic Food pairings: lamb, shellfish, salmon, camembert, Mushrooms

Fun fact - Merlot is the one red wine varietal that really can taste like grapes.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape in Bordeaux wines and it's found a second home in Napa Valley. Cabernet boasts some of the highest tannins of any grape, which means it has huge potential for aging. Where Merlot has thinner skins and more juice, Cabernet has small berries with thick skin. It's among the most complex wine grapes.

Origin: Bordeaux, France
Common Growing regions: Bordeaux, Napa, Sonoma, Tuscany ("Super Tuscans"), Chile, Australia
Preferred Growing Conditions: grown widely but best grown in temperate to warm climates
Body: Full
Acidity: low to medium
Pigmentation: thick
Tannins: high
Style: dry red table wine
 

Characteristics: Black currant, plums, mint, bell pepper, cedar, wet dog, vanilla

Basic Food Pairings: roasted meats, butter sauces, cream sauces, wild game, bleu cheese, aged cheddar

Fun fact - Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the wines that helped put California onto the world stage at The Judgment of Paris in 1976.

 

Barbera: Italian red variety that produces wine of medium body with good acidity & tannins.  Very food friendly.  Best examples are from the Piedmont region especially Barbera d’Alba & Barbera d’Asti.

Cabernet Franc: First used as a blending grape in Bordeaux, this grape produces dry red wine with herbaceous green bell pepper flavors.  It is still primarily a blending grape with some of the best examples coming from Chinon & Saumur in the Loire Valley of France.

Carmenere: “The lost grape of Bordeaux” is one of the most important grapes in Chile. Once mistaken for Merlot, this grape produces structured, dry red wine with medium body & very earthy characteristics.

Gamay: The most important grape in Beaujolais produces light, fruit red wines that pair well with charcuterie.  It is also grown in the Loire Valley & used as a minor blending grape in Burgundy.

Grenache or Garnacha: This grape favors the warmer climates of Spain & southern France. It produces wine with higher alcohol content & has jammy strawberry notes. It is the lead player in such famous blends as Châteauneuf-du- Pape & Côtes-du-Rhône, but can make wonderful single varietal wines especially if sourced from old vines.  It is also known for producing world-renowned rosé wines especially from Tavel. 

Malbec: Hailing from Mendoza and Cahors in its own right and appearing in classic blends from Bordeaux and Meritage in the US. This is an inky colored grape exhibits dark, juicy fruit with plush tannins in New World renditions while the Old World styles are a bit more herbal with a firmer tannin structure. A great wine varietal to introduce friends to red wine.

Why Louie's Wine Club?

Learn more with tasting notes from our team of sommeliers.

But don't just take our word for it! Take notes and follow along with our tasting guide to start picking out details of the wines you love. Or come in to chat with our sommeliers at any Louie's Wine Dive restaurant.

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Pick up at your convenience at the Louie's Wine Dive location of your choice. No shipping means we're putting more of your dollars toward what matters: sourcing and purchasing top quality wine.

Broaden your perspective with wines from around the world.

Unlike most wine clubs, our team is not pigeonholed in having to use wine of a select brand or region, but rather is procuring wine focused on your enjoyment and building knowledge.

 

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