Scribe Winery – Sonoma Superhero

Just in case you didn’t read our post on how to help with the CA Fire Relief, click here for why we added Scribe Winery in Sonoma to the list of local heroes. Their special release of Nouveau Pinot Noir was designed to benefit local charities that are helping with the fire aid.

We at Half-Past ordered a bottle in support of the charity. It was our first time trying wine from this vineyard, and you can find our take of the drink below.

 

Wine Review Summary: Worth every penny!

Nouveau Pinot Noir cost us $32 a bottle plus shipping to MA which ended up at around $50. Normally, we never buy blind but since this winery was producing for relief purposes, we couldn’t resist.

2017 Nouveau of Pinot Noir

First, let us just say that the sheer color of this wine is STUNNING. It’s a vibrant and practically neon-magenta shade of pink. We stared at the bottle for a good 10 minutes before opening. It drinks like a deep rose but looks like a sangria.

Styled after the famous french Nouveau Beaujolais, the nose of the wine was bright with fresh summer berry perfume. The body was light yet coated the palate with grapefruit citrus and strawberry leaves. Though the fruit is subtle at first, it ripens throughout and leaves a clean almost lime finish. It was dangerously smooth which allows for easy drinking and infinite food pairing opportunities.

 

Now we will warn you that this bottle is unfilteredIf you want every last drop, you will have to strain it for debris and sediment. We used two coffee filters….. Why? Drinking the sediment will result in a glass that is filled with tannins, grape skins, and dead yeast from fermentation.  That combination is great for wine color, but not so great for tasting in concentrated doses. It will be strong and bitter with a mineral and sandy mouthfeel.

 

This Pinot Noir was so beautifully light yet complex that we are excited to see what comes next for this Sonoma winery. Have you tried Scribe? We want to know!

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Stay thirsty wineos!

Feature image Credit – Scribe Winery Facebook 

Vineyard ending photo credit – Scribe Winery Facebook

 

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CA Fire Relief- How you can help!

 

Hey Wineos,

Our renowned wine capitals Napa and Sonoma have been hit with terrible wild fires that have displaced families and damaged many of the wineries we all love. For detailed information about which wineries were affected and which counties have been burned please read here.

In latest news, the majority of the fires have been contained for the time being. Many organizations in the area are looking for donations to help rebuild wine country and support the families.

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So how can you help?

The Winemakers and Sommeliers For California Wildfire Relief group is hosting fundraising events, taking donations, and taking donated quality vintage wine bottles to use as auction items for funds.

The American Red Cross is taking applications for volunteers to help bring aid to the area as well as donations on their website. Donations can be directed to all general disaster relief which covers the CA fires, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Maria. You can choose which disaster you want to donate to.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is also taking monetary donations and food donations if you live locally. The money goes to help feeding the displaced families.

Gloria Ferrer winery in Sonoma is doing a special where $1 from every purchase goes towards the fire relief. Check out their website for fundraising events or shop online to make a difference. Every bottle counts!

Scribe Winery in Sonoma County has opened a pre-sale for their special edition Pinot Noir where the proceeds from the sales will go to local aid forces. The wine will ship on November 1st and this limited edition bottle costs $32 dollars. We here at half-past just purchased a bottle and will be reviewing it soon for you!

2017 Nouveau of Pinot Noir Presale // Ships Nov 1st

For even more ways to help like donating to the local firefighters in the area or clothing donations check out PBS.org

Please do your part to help support the vineyards and the people that work hard to provide you with USA made wine every day. #CAwinestrong

Stay Wine Strong and Cheers

Feature Image Credit – Santa Cruise Mountains Winegrowers Association

Love in the Air Image Credit – Two-Way Breaking News NPR

Pinor Noir Wine Bottle Image Credit – Scribe Winery 

 

 

This Summer’s Top Five Rosés

It’s summer, which means we have to drink as much rosé as we can before the local wine stores focus their stocking on reds and fall whites.

While summer is coming to a close, our love of rosé continues to go strong. We’ve tried over a dozen fantastic rosés this summer, but have selected our top five in case you don’t have the time (or funds!) to sample our full list.

In order from enjoyed-a-try to bought-three-bottles, here are our top rosés of summer 2017!

 

5. Dune Gris de Gris (2016)

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A delightful light wine for the hottest summer days, Gris de Gris holds subtle flavors of grapefruit. Sweet with a citrus edge, this rosé is a crisp, cool, light-bodied pink wine that pairs perfectly with a sweltering day and light meal.

4. Domanie de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanc (2016)

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Can you tell we like grapefruit rosés? This wine holds similar grapefruit and citrus flavors to the previous wine, but with more of a fruity flavor. With light strawberry flavor, the wine has a gentle edge of sweetness on Gris de Gris. The wine also has a unique grassy nose; if you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself in the winery’s field, sipping the light wine on a warm summer day.

 

3. Phebus

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Want a little more flavor and depth to your rosé? Or are you a fan of Malbec? We have the rosé for you! This wine packs a little more body and flavor, with ripe berry flavors. And to make things better, it’s less than $10 at Total Wines!

2. Brin de Rosé 

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Simple in name and taste, this is a perfect crowd-pleaser for a sunny patio day. It’s light and gentle on the tongue in the way only a French wine can be, but with enough character to make you pour another glass (and another…and another). Not to mention, we love the bottle – it’s original shape sets it apart from traditional rosés and gives it a modern and fun non-traditional flair.

1.  La Garoche (2016)

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This is the rosé we keep coming back for again…and again…and again. The one we check is still in stock, like, weekly. Because how is no one else on to this yet? With sweet berry flavors cut by the minerally aftermath of natural tanins, this dry rosé  is perfect with anything. Especially an empty wine glass! Perfect for wine-lovers and newcomers alike, we recommend snagging a bottle before the season is up!

Photo cred:

Gris de Gris, Pellehaut, PhebusBrin de Rose, La Galoche

Rare find! – Ancient Peaks Winery

Picture owning a large cattle ranch in central California…and one day some big wine conglomerate comes by and wants to buy patches of your land to grow grapes. Three years later, the grapes are finally ready to be turned into wine, but the conglomerate wants to leave – What luck! Buy the land back, and now you have perfectly managed wine fields that are yours for production. This is the lucky story of Ancient Peaks Winery at the Santa Margarita Ranch.

Don’t worry: they are still a cattle ranch too,but now produce a line up of over 8 different wines each growing in 5 different kinds of soils. Each bottle specifies which soil the grapes were grown in the back label. Did I mention that one of their soil types in an ancient sea bed? Picture massive fossilized oyster shells popping up among the grape vines!

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Why is this winery a rare find? The inside scoop is that only 6 different wine shops in the whole state of MA have been presented with the Ancient Peaks wines. We don’t have any information about other states, but so far the number of places to possibly purchase this wine is limited.

So stay on the lookout! If the search doesn’t prove fruitful, check out their online store to see if they ship to your state. Kristen was lucky enough to try their Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Zinfandel.

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Cabernet Sauvignon  

It’s a rare day where I enjoy all of the wines that I try in one sitting. This cabernet was a perfect balance of everything we love about the grape. It wasn’t overly fruity or tart, it was smooth with softer tannins with medium body weight. Showing flavors of dark berries and even very subtle hints of cocoa on the mid palate. Perfect for dinner or just stand alone drinking.

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Merlot 

Now, Merlot I am very skeptical off because normally it is not my favorite grape. But this bottle was wonderfully produced.  It was velvety, rich, with black cherry and plummy notes and it included that signature mocha smell that you can expect from the grape. This bottle advertises that it was grown in the ancient sea bed, which might have something to do with its subdued quality. It’s a must for red meats or even game meats if you want to take the flavor up a notch.

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Zinfandel 

This has to be one of my favorite zinfandels yet. It was juicy, refreshing, quenching, and yet the fruit flavor was controlled in a way that made it enjoyable sip after sip. With bright berry notes in the front and a slight tart and pepper zing at the finish, this wine is a fun ride for your palate and I hope you get the chance to nab this bottle.

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Just in case giant sea shells wasn’t enough of a draw, the next time you are in CA I would recommend stopping by their site. Not only are there cows, a cafe, tasting room, and tours but they now host a 2.5 hour long zip line experience across their property!

Happy Wine Hunting!

Vineyard Header Photo from ancientpeaks.com

A Summer Blush You Can’t Resist!

Hey Wineos, it’s Kristen here!

I want to share a fun wine I found for these last few weeks of summer. I know so many of you red wine lovers out there are counting down the days until rosé season is over, but I have an exciting red summer wine find for you!

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Introducing Tess, the first red wine that can handle the hot summer. Technically, Tess is classified as a ‘blush’ or ‘rosé’ wine. However, it has a much darker hue of red than other wines in its category.

This is because Tess is a blend of red and white grapes, crafted to bring the best characteristics of white grapes and the flavorful aspects of red to the table. THis bottle shouts “Crisp like a white, complex like a red.”  It is even meant to be served chilled!

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Tess, meaning ‘harvest,’ is from a winery founded by two Napa Valley natives who loved experimenting with wine blending as kids on their family’s vineyard. Now the sisters have grown up and started their own winery using their unique wine blend that they invented back in 1987. Check out their website or facebook to learn more.

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I recommend red wine lovers try this label or bring it to parties that are a bit heavy on the traditional rosé craze. The wine is juicy but not heavy on the palate. It bursts with cherry and watermelon flavors but still flirts with the white grape typical apple flavor and light acidity. Tess can range a bit in price depending on the store but traditionally ranges from $18 to $20 a bottle.

Let’s all raise a glass to those fleeting few days of summer. Don’t worry – we here at half past have got you covered in the wine department for the seasons to come.

Cheers!

Tess wine picnic image credit from Tesswine.com

Tess bottle and glass image credit from Tess Winery Facebook or https://www.facebook.com/tess.winery/photos

 

Rosé All Day – Summer Rosé Reviews

Summer is finally here and that means it is the ever confusing, hit or miss season of pink wine aka rosé.

Don’t panic! We have a discovered a few general rules for rosé hunting and we have tried many different styles which we will review below to help you narrow down sea of pink bottles at the liquor store.

Rule #1: 

PINK WINE DOES NOT MEAN IT IS SWEET!!!!!

Rosé got a bad reputation from the California White Zinfandel craze that swept the nation in the US’s early wine making years. Most rosés actually aren’t sweet at all! This is why summer is so hard to work with; most wine store displays have the sugar-sweet rosés mixed in with the traditional dry style wines.

Rule #2

The lighter pink in color, the dryer the wine.

And that means what? If the rose looks barely pink at all and looks more like a tinted Instagram filter, then chances are the wine is made in a dry style. Dry means that nearly all of the sugar in the wine was converted to alcohol and it WILL NOT be sweet. However, there are always some rosés that break this rule, so pick wisely.

Rule #3 

France – the Rosé king of the liquor store- tends to make a lot of rosé, but just so you all know nearly all of them are made in the dry style.

We have tried a few that have hints of sweetness which we will list below but if you like that crisp dry rosé on a hot summers day then turn to France.

Wine Reviews:

Now we have been tasting many rosés this summer so far in order to give you a variety of rosés to choose from at the store. Here are a few winning rosés we found so far.

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Name: Globerati Rosé

Country: Italy

Vintage: 2015

Style: Dry style but hint of sweet

Tasting Notes: Berry blasts of flavor but had a light and smooth mouth-feel, aka ‘body.’

  

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Name: Logis de la Bouchardiere Chinon

Country: France

Vintage: 2015

Style: Dry

Tasting Notes: Refreshing and fruity, just slightly over what I would ‘light body’, slightly tannic.

 

Name: Cote des roses

Country: France

Vintage: 2015

Style: Dry style but hint of sweet

Tasting Notes: Obviously the cute bottle is for cliche pun lovers but the wine inside is actually pretty amazing. It’s the first Dry style rose we have ever loved enough to drink the whole bottle in one sitting. It was a mix of being strawberry fresh and almost grapefruit citrus. It’s a unique flavor that you have to try!

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Name: North by Northwest

Country: USA

Vintage: 2014

Style: Dry style but hint of sweet

Tasting Notes: Soft pops of watermelon and strawberry flavors with a refreshing acidity!

 

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Name: Lila Rosé

Country: France

Vintage: none listed

Style: Dry style

Tasting Notes: There are many ‘wine in a can’ producers out there now but we highly suggest you buy Lila over the others. Why? They have engineered their cans so that the wine is not exposed to metal which prevents that terrible metallic taste. The rosé inside is light and when cold from a cooler its the perfect secret beach drink that leaves after tastes of berries and watermelon but goes down like zesty water. Each can contains 8.4oz so that means the four pack is more than one bottle of 750ml wine!

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Name: Plum Island Rosé

Country: USA

Vintage: none listed

Style: Light Sweetness

Tasting Notes: This MA local Vineyard has mastered the rosé art. Their rosé is a new batch each year and a very limited production but WORTH the drive to vineyard to get it or if you are lucky you might be able to find it at Kappy’s. Its falls in the middle of sweet and dry styles and if full for strawberry and light cherry flavors with hints of watermelon and citrus. The wine will fill you up after a while but its so refreshing that you won’t care.

 

Name: Rosatello Sparkling Rosé

Country: Italy

Vintage: none listed

Style: Sweet!

Tasting Notes: The Italians come in first yet again with their sweet and refreshing spritzy wines. This wine is sweet but not sickeningly so. The flavors are bold ripe dark cherries, raspberries, and wild strawberries. The bubbles reminded us of raspberry gingerale and helped keep the wine crisp on the palate. It’s perfect for that summer bubbly by the water or paired with fresh fruits. Sweet wine lovers we have found the rosé for you!

 

Keep Hunting!

We will continue to post winning rosés on our facebook page throughout the summer so stay tuned for other winning bottles. Reach out to us via facebook or the comment area on the blog to update us on any rosés that you love!!

 

 

 

 

City Wines: Brooklyn Oenology

When you think of Brooklyn, wine isn’t likely to be the first thing to pop into your mind. You’re probably imagining busy city sidewalks, a community of urban culture, or a land of creative writers and artists. Well, Brooklyn Oenology manages to combine all of these things into their vibrant wine collection, representing the local culture of Brooklyn through their variety of NY-grown wines.

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We had the pleasure of meeting BOE at the Boston Wine Expo, and later sampling two of their wines: their 2014 Cabernet Franc Rosé and 2014 Social Club Wine (both perfect for the spring and summer!). We were intrigued by the idea of a wine from the center of a city – and the way the wine labels represented the local culture.

The BOE Story

BOE’s wines are like a love song to New York: the grapes are all grown in the Finger Lakes and Long Island (yes, Long Island makes wine – who knew?) regions, and the labels feature artwork from local Brooklyn artists. The labels are not only gorgeous representations of local talent, but also provide information on the artist and the medium they used, serving to promote local creative work.

 

But now let’s talk about the wines!

Social Club White

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We had the pleasure of tasting BOE’s popular white blend, coming in at around 50% Chardonnay, 15% Riesling (there’s that Finger Lakes taste we love!), and 35% other assorted whites. Stainless steel barrels maintained the body and taste of Chardonnay without the buttery flavors that could possibly overpower the other whites. The wine offers a delicious experience on the pallet, transitioning from a slightly sweeter taste to a medium-acidic finish.

The wine was named for its “easy-drinking,” making it a wine you can sip on socially with friends either with or without food. Social Club White boasts flavors of pear, pineapple and light citrus. We recommend this wine for exactly what its title suggests: casual, social drinking!

Cabernet Franc Rosé

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This rosé has an interesting story: the unusually cold weather of 2014 caused a much lower yield of the Cabernet Franc grapes than anticipated. These bottles are the surviving grapes! The rosé is light, crisp, and dry, proving to be an ideal drink for the warmer days to come. This salmon-colored wine gives a sweet berry aroma and is fruit-forward.

We detected flavors of watermelon and lime, proving to be a perfect pair for a summer BBQ. Don’t forget to chill it for that refreshing acidic pop on the palate.

Want to learn more about BOE and their wines?

Check out BOE at facebook.com/pages/BrooklynOenology or on Twitter @bklynoenology.

If you’re wondering where to find BOE near you, you can contact BOE at 718-599-1259 or info@brooklynoenology.com

Cheers!

 

 

Award Winning Rosé: Mill River Winery

Looking for a sweet and calming way to start or end your day? Take a trip down to Mill River Winery, a quaint and rustic winery with well-priced wine tastings and – most importantly – an adorable black lab/pitbull mascot to greet you at the door.

Last week, the girls from Half Past Wine-O-Clock decided there’s nothing wrong with a wine tasting before work as they traveled to Mill River Winery in Rowley, MA. The winery is the perfect mixture of a nick-nack store and a wine tasting room, offering two experiences worthy of both short and longer visits.

The store was positively adorable, featuring several different sections including fall-themed drinks and wine-related trinkets, homemade pastas and jams and – of course – a great holiday display complete with wine-themed tacky sweaters and winter stocking stuffers.

However, our main interest was in the wine.

The wines were lined up on one wall, while the tasting bar featured a synthetic, uneven block of wood to add the rustic feel. For $7 each, we tasted two flights: the Mill River and Plum Island (the sweeter of the two).

You can see the color difference in the Mill River vs. Plum Island wines in both whites and reds:

Would you believe that pale white on the right is an unoaked Chardonnay, while the darker yellow is a Riesling? The reds feature their Petite Shiraz (left) and Plum Island Red (right). One is both visually lighter and physically sweeter than the other.

Our favorite had to be their very own award-winning rosé, from the Plum Island flight. It had enough body and flavor to stand on its own, yet was sweet enough that it still represented its rose genre well. After months of searching for a rosé, that was neither watered down or sickeningly sweet, this wine was the perfect match for us!

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We look forward to the great things soon to come from this winery as well, especially the new wines soon-to-be-released with their very own, home-grown grapes! Check out the image below of their vines:

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Kristen spotted these on our way in, and was very impressed.

Anyone local to the Northshore Massachusetts area is encouraged to check out Mill River Winery, if only to peek at the shop or try a taste of their Gold Medal Rosé!

 

Cheers!

 

 

How Ros(é) Can you Go?

A few days ago, we had an epic Rosé showdown between two wines we found at our favorite local wine store, Pamplemousse. One wine, La Cuvée des Annibals, was selected by a helpful worker. In an odd pitch, he insisted we should buy it because he didn’t like it. “It was too sweet,” he said, “but if you prefer sweet wines, it’s perfect for you.” Paula, who is newer to wine, was especially excited by the word sweet. Kristen decided to select Buttonwood, a Syrah Rosé wine that included her favorite grape. As you can see in the picture below, there was a visual disparity that revealed which of the two was the sweeter rosé. Both, however, featured appealing bottle design, which we warned about in this previous post. 11651035_10207137044610393_1755615613_n Despite the color and design of our cute elephant wine, it is based in California and merely mimics French labeling and style. Either way, it wasn’t as sweet as advertised. Rather, it tasted a bit like…water. At least, enough that we ended up feeding more of it to the bushes than to ourselves. All three of us found it to be flavorless, and Kristen couldn’t even justify using it for cooking. On the other hand, the Buttonwood had a bit more flavor. We could taste the fruity Syrah flavor and appreciated the medium-light body of the wine. This Rose had a smooth finish that left the aftertaste of red fruits like berries and red apples. It was refreshing and tangy which made it a great summer heat pairing. rose-wheel http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/10-shades-of-rose-wine/ This wine adventure revealed to us that we as a group prefer wines that have distinguishable body and stronger flavors. Lighter Rosés are definitely someone else’s cup of tea, but Kristen is a strong believer that a wine can be great if paired with the right food. Perhaps all we needed was tasting snacks with our lighter elephant wine but for now, we are definitely leaning towards a wine that has something to say.

Kristen: 1

Briana: 1

Paula: 1

Average rating: 1