Monthly Archives: May 2017

White rosé and red wine

Crave Local – What to Drink Now Thirteen Wines For Summer Sipping

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By Crave Local

Well, it’s official! Summer is finally upon us, temperatures in the South are soaring, and the universe is about to be dominated by rosé wine Instagram hashtags: #roseallday, #yeswayrose, #roseseason, #roseyay, and on and on.

Snapchats and pictures will overflow with all things pink, beach, poolside, and probably a few odd looking adult floaties with rainbows and unicorns. Beyond our now rosé colored world, however, summer also means grilling season, and along with that, an entire plethora of options for wine pairings and flavor combinations.

This year, we’re sharing our favorite red wines, white, and yes…rosé selections that can take you through summer and beyond.

So, grab a glass, pop a bottle, and let’s get to sipping with Crave Local’s top wine picks for summer!

Summer Red Wine Picks

wine review caroso montepulciano dabruzzo riserva

Caroso Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOP Riserva 2016, Italy – SRP $22

A big bold red that’s sure to please, Caroso’s Montepulciano is a good choice for gift giving this summer. A dark, ruby red in the glass, this Italian red wine is earthy on the nose, with cassis and dark berries. The palate opens to black mulberry, red raspberry, dried plums, and spice. Medium bodied with a dry, tannic finish, this wine will pair very well with game meats, steaks on the grill, or portabello mushrooms with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and balsamic basil dressing. Drink now through 2020, 90 points.

Castello dii Albola CHIANTI CLASSICO

Castello Di Albola, 2013 Chianti DOCG, Italy – SRP $19

Hand-picked, and then carefully fermented in the traditional skin-on method, Castello di Albola, chooses the best Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes for their Chianti Classico, creating  red wine that’s called for rich, meaty pairings and full flavored dishes. The nose is soft and elegant, with dried cherries and leather on the ruby red rim. The palate is elegant and refined, with more bright cherry notes, lemon zest, and spice. Clean, and fruit forward, drink this Italian red with smoked sausages on the grill, or a big, juicy steak. Drink now through 2019, 90 points.

kosher wine reviews psagot peak

Kosher Psagot PEAK 2014, Jerusalem Mountains, Israel – SRP $50

You might not think of Jerusalem as the ideal terroir for growing wine, but trust us when we say, that could not be further from the truth. Some of the best wines are currently being grown and imported from Israel, and Psagot’s PEAK red blend is a stellar example of just that. Made from three French varietals – Syrah, Petit Syrah, and a touch of Mourvèdre, it’s a dry, smoky beast that’s a great pairing with filet mignon-definitely one of our favorite top wine picks for summer.

Deep and inky in color, the palate on this Kosher wine exhibits flavors of dark berries, tobacco, and leather, with a full body, long legs, and medium tannins. A round mouthfeel and balanced acidity also make it the perfect partner for beef roasts and aged cheeses.

Drink now through 2019, 90 points.

Summer White Wine Picks

Ciu-Ciu Merlettaie Pecorino

Ciu Ciu Merlettaie, Offida Pecorino DOCG, Offida, Italy – SRP $19

Like the ancient art of bobbin lace-making in Offida, Italy, the Pecorino grape is slowing beginning to make a comeback. Thought to be nearly extinct for many years, wild vines were found in the Marche region, and are now flourishing throughout the country. Merlettaie’s Pecorino is aged 6 months on the lees in oak, and creating a dry wine with a fresh, citrus and melon-like bouquet, medium body, and a nice minerality. Green melon, crisp apple, and a bit of vanilla thanks to the oak make this a great summer wine.

Think of it like Pinot Grigio’s bigger brother, and pair it with anything you’d normally choose a Sauv Blanc for, like poultry, fish, or vegetarian dishes. Drink now through 2019, 91 points

Snowbirds Vintners Grüner Veltliner Wine white

Snowbirds Vintners Grüner Veltliner 2015, SRP $18

Generally found in Austria, Grüner Veltliner is a crisp wine varietal that pairs unusually well with difficult foods like artichokes and asparagus. Although we’re big fans of Austrian wines, Snowbirds version is a bit more built for the American palate. With green apple, tropical fruits, and grapefruit zest on the finish, it’s an easy going white wine that showcases Washington State’s volcanic soil minerality, and bright, fresh flavors.

Although Chef McFadden intended for Snowbirds to be paired with food, their all American Grüner drinks quite well on its own. Pair it with lemon cod, scallops, or of course, asparagus and artichoke salad. Drink now through 2018, 90 points.

Sauvignon Blanc Wine

Sterling Vineyards  Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Napa Valley – SRP $10-18

For many years, Sterling Vineyards has established itself as a leader in wine production, dominating both national and international wine sales for the region.  Their latest rebrand is an upgrade to the original matte white wine label design, adding a shimmery silver embossed label to most of their varietals. ( A nice touch if you need a last minute hostess gift.)

Our team was provided with a sample of their 2015 Sterling Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and new package design for review, and noted they had also adjusted their flavor profile. Soft on the palate, this vintage is aged with 85% of the blend in stainless steel, and the remaining 15% in neutral French oak, creating what might be described as a cross over between buttery Napa Chardonnay and traditionally crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc. Notes of stone fruits, p ear, and citrus are present, as well as a creamy, and slightly sweet finish.

Pair it with a peach tart or lighter barbecue fare for an easy going, summer sipper. Drink now, 87 points

Pinot Grigio Wine Reviews Tommasi

Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio 2015, Veneto, Italy – SRP $17

Back on our list, for the second year in a row, is Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio. Although we’re not usually big fans of Pinot Grigio (unfortunately, many mass produced Pinot Grigio’s lack flavor and substance), this is one of our top picks and best buys for summer wines!

Vinified in stainless steel tanks for four months, Tommasi’s 2015 Pinot Grigio is a pale straw yellow with a chartreuse rim. Clean and grassy on the nose, this wine showcases a medium body with lemon peel, white citrus flower, and white peach on the palate, ending with a crisp, dry finish that makes it perfect for summer food pairings. Pair it with shellfish, light appetizers, or aged sheep’s milk gouda. A refreshing, top wine pick for summer!

Drink now through 2018, 91 points.

Summer Rosé Wine Picks

Carmel Road Barrymore Rose Wine

Barrymore by Carmel Road Rosé of Pinot Noir 2016, Monterey County – SRP $23

From actress Drew Barrymore and winemaker Kris Kato, this Monterey County rosé is as delicate and fresh as one would expect.

Crisp and fruity on the palate, this 100% Pinot Noir wine exhibits notes of red berries, white peach, and apricot, along with sweet orange and citrus flower on the nose. A nice, balanced acidity, this rosé will pair well with shellfish, Asian-inspired dishes, and grilled vegetables like zucchini or romaine hearts with a Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

Drink now through early 2018, 89 points

whispering angel

Chateau d’Esclans Rosé Whispering Angel 2016, Provence – SRP $19

Years ago, we met Sacha Lichine on the rooftop of a hotel overlooking the Atlantic ocean, as he was making his US debut with Whispering Angel. As ‘heavenly’ now as it was then, the Château d’Esclans estate and winery produces some of the world’s leading rosé wines. The portfolio includes four premium rosés with an array of depth and flavor.

Blended from Grenache, Rolle (Vermintino), and Cinsault grapes, it is delicate and floral, with silky berries contrasting with bright grapefruit and citrus.  Whispering Angel remains dry and crisp, with Provence’s noted minerality and finish. It’s the perfect choice for drinking poolside, or with ceviche on the patio. Drink now through 2018, 92 points.

Marques de Riscal Rosado rose wine

 Marqués de Riscal Rosado 2015, Rioja, Spain – SRP $10

A lively salmon-pink in color, this Tempranillo and Garnacha varietal rosé is a simple, quaffable wine, at an affordable price. A mild growing season with no extreme heat or cold allowed the vines to flourish, creating a bumper crop harvest for the winery.

With bright raspberry and wild strawberry flavors on the palate, look for notes of white flower and papaya on the nose. Light tannins are present, along with a medium body, and a crisp, clean finish.  Pair it with grilled shrimp on the barbecue, salmon cakes, or creamy pasta dishes.

Drink young, through 2017, 88 points.

Psagot Rose Bottle

Psagot Rosé 2016, Jerusalem, Israel (Kosher Wine) – SRP $20

Keep kosher for summer with this bright little gem from Psagot’s 2016 late summer rosé.

Made in the saignée method, winemaker Yaacov Oryah blended Merlot and Syrah together for initial fermentation, then added in a separate lot of Petite Sirah later into the fermentation process.  As is typical of Israeli wines, high minerality was present, accentuating the dark berries and wild strawberry notes, as well as dried cranberries, grapefruit zest, and a hint of salinity.

Don’t expect a pale, whispery rosé here, as this one definitely skews toward a fuller body and bigger flavors. Pairing recommendations are salmon on the grill with a lemon sauce, panko crusted pork chops, or a sour orange tart.

Drink now through 2018, 91 points

Snowbirds 2016 Rose Bottle white

Snowbirds Vintners Rosé 2016, Lake Chelan AVA – SRP $18

Jam out this summer with all American rosé Snowbirds Vintners! A brand new portfolio, created by Chef Jamie McFadden and winemaker Norm Saley to make food pairings easier, their newest release is a Rhône-style rosé from the Lake Chelan AVA, in Washington State.

Shimmering salmon in color, this juicy, fruit forward rosé exhibits bright aromas of wild strawberries and melon, as well as citrus flower on the nose. Comprised of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah varietals, the palate is peach jam and strawberries, with mouthwatering acidity, and a crisp, mineral finish. Quaffable is an understatement, as the Snowbirds team poured over three cases of the rosé at a recent wine event in Orlando, making it clearly apparent that Snowbirds is THE choice for summer rosé wine! Drink this one in your Corksicle wine chiller at the beach, poolside, or on a boat with friends.

Chef Jamie McFadden, Proprietor of Snowbirds Vintners, recommends pairing Snowbirds 2016 Rosé with smoked corn, queso fresco, and avocado toasts, or golden fried chicken.

Drink now through 2018, 90 points.

Villa Gemma Cerasuolo

Villa Gemma Cerasuelo D’Abruzzo DOC, Italy – SRP $19

Not quite a red, not quite  rosé, this 100% Montepulciano summer wine is a unique one, no doubt. Intense on the palate with flavors of pomegranate, black cherry preserves, and spice, and a nose of violets and dark berries, you can serve is chilled, or take it out of the fridge about a half hour before serving to allow the wine to open a bit more. Pair this one with grilled pizza, portabella topped burgers, or cold cuts and aged cheeses. Drink now, 89 points.

Whatever your wine choice, don’t be afraid to switch it up, and throw the rules out the window. After all, if rosé can be ‘all day’, there’s no reason you can’t drink pink, white, or even red wine during summer months

Castello del Poggio

Hoboken Live – The Sweet (Wine) Life Comes to Hoboken

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By Hoboken Live

Being a writer for Hoboken Life is certainly a tough existence, especially when you’re forced to attend parties where you have free cocktails and finger foods forced upon you, as recently happened when Castello del Poggio threw a party at the W Hotel in Hoboken recently to celebrate the release of their new “Sweet Collection” of wines.

If the name Castello del Poggio is familiar, it might be because they currently offer the best-selling Italian Moscato in the U.S. at a time when Moscato is rising in popularity, in part due to the wine’s popularity among A-list rappers like Drake. When your product is being mentioned in every other song on the charts, the time is ripe to expand—and that’s exactly what Castello del Poggio is doing. They’re leveraging the popularity of their Moscato to launch their Sweet Collection, adding four more sweet Italian wine varieties—a Rosé, a Rosso Dolce, a Prosecco, and a sparkling Moscato.

To get the word out, Castello del Poggio took over the Lulu’s nightclub at the W Hotel for a cocktail party—because their sweet wines are for far more than dessert.

The Wine Cocktails

Now, I’m not much of a sweet wine drinker, and like a lot of people I tend to associate sweet wines with dessert wines. What I learned at the Castello del Poggio party was that their new Sweet Collection doesn’t have to be sipped on its own—thought they are delicious—but can be the basis for a wide range of crisp, light, refreshing summer cocktails. These wines are low alcohol and combine well with a big list of mixers and are meant to be served chilled—all the ingredients for the sort of cocktail you can sip all day long while grilling in the backyard or hosting a party on your deck.

The Wine Cocktails

Naturally, we were given the opportunity to try a bunch of cocktails made from Castello del Poggio’s Sweet Collection. Our favorite? The Eternal Brunch:

Eternal Brunch

  • 3 oz Castello del Poggio Rosé
  • 1 oz distilled gin
  • 1/2 oz lychee liqueur
  • 1/8 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Served over ice with a twist, that is one delicious cocktail, kids. Another fave was the Guilty Pleasure, made with Castello del Poggio Prosecco, sake, and blackberry puree, also served over ice with a twist.

 Summertime and Chill

I’d never considered sweet wine as a cocktail base before, to be honest, beyond the traditional forays into mimosas and other champagne-based “brunchy” drinks. I have to admit that Castello del Poggio is onto something here with their “sweet life” marketing, as the summer is the perfect time to ditch heavier drinks in favor of something light and cooling like these.

So, if you’re curious about Moscato or other sweet wines, or looking to augment your cocktail game, check out the new Sweet Collection from Castello del Poggio. Because if they can convince this whiskey-loving Hobokenite to try sweet wines, there must be something to it all.

The Staycationers The Redbury

Taste the Style – Featuring Castello Del Poggio

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By Taste the Style

Tucked away in the sizzling NoMad neighborhood stands a stately hotel formerly known as The Martha Washington — a historic property that once served as a women-only sanctuary for boss babes of a bygone era (think Veronica Lake and Louise Brooks). Today, in a revamped version of its former self, the hotel is known as The Redbury, and THE STAYCATIONERS called it home for a night.

THE SPOT: The Redbury Hotel | 29 E. 29th Street, New York, NY

THE STATS: 256 guest rooms, iPrefer guest loyalty program, visually stimulating walls dripping in music history, Roman-Italian cibo aplenty at MARTA

PERFECT FOR: embracing female empowerment in this hotel’s safe space roots


When in Marta, do as the Romans do. And because no staycationer can check in on an empty stomach, the crew (joined by the one and only Georgia Grace) sat down for a veritable weekend feast of pizza, wood-fired grill specialties, and spritzes, basking in the natural light-filled glamour that veils the space.

The Staycationers

The Staycationers The Redbury

Swedish Midslumber

There’s nothing like a midsummer slumber soirée with freshly cut flowers and cups that runneth over with Castello del Poggio Prosecco…THE STAYCATIONERS draped themselves in lace robes and whimsical jewels courtesy of a curated experience from UNBOUND, serving pseudo-boudoir vibes with a feminist twist. Now that’s a cause we can get on top of (er, behind).

The Staycationers The Redbury Hotel taste the style


A Night at the Redbury

As if their evening in NoMad wasn’t already star-studded enough, THE STAYCATIONERS added another dash of luxe, styled in designer pieces courtesy of Hollywood Closet Rentals (a brand new service for bloggers and influencers that allows users to gain access to designer pieces for 30 days). Talk about a never-ending dream wardrobe for the staycay life.

That's Extra Amore

With lobby walls reminiscent of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame (thanks to the hotel’s Creative Director Matthew Rolston), THE STAYCATIONERS had no choice but to act as if their portraits had been hung. Cue the interactive hallway video booth for selfies by the dozen before heading to the velvety bar for last call.

Wine and cheese testing concept

Shanken News Daily – Led By Italy And New Zealand, Premium ­Plus Imported Wines Are Surging

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By Shanken News Daily

While overall imported table wine depletions were flat at 67 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank, the category’s premium end is painting a much brighter picture. In 2016, the U.S. market’s top 10 premium­ plus imports—defined as being at least $10 a 750­ml., on average—collectively posted a 12.6% gain to nearly 8.3 million cases. A bevy of upscale Italian offerings, as well as several super ­premium New Zealand brands, have helped drive the segment’s rapid progress.

Riboli Family Wine Estates’ Stella Rosa brand—the market leader among premium­plus imports—surpassed 1.3 million cases last year. The Italian range, best known for its sweet and semi­sweet taste profiles, has averaged about 28% annual growth since 2010. Also hailing from Italy is Constellation’s Ruffino, which is fast closing in on the million-case mark (excluding its Prosecco, which accounts for another 300,000 cases). The brand’s success has been built on its Chianti business, which comprises about a 20% share of the Chianti category and nearly half the luxury Chianti segment.

Other leading premium­plus Italian players include E.&J. Gallo’s Ecco Domani and Santa Margherita USA’s namesake range, both of which were flat last year. On the other hand, Palm Bay’s Roscato and Zonin USA’s Castello del Poggio are both clearly in expansion mode, with each carving out well over 20% growth in 2016. “We’re pretty confident Roscato is going to be our next million-­case brand,” says Palm Bay president and CEO Marc Taub.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand category continues to thrive stateside, with segment leader Kim Crawford eclipsing the million­-case mark last year. “We see great growth opportunity for Kim Crawford in the on ­premise by­ the ­glass segment,” says Julie Rossman, marketing director, imports at Constellation. Currently, Kim Crawford does more than 80% of its business off ­premise. Fellow Kiwi player Oyster Bay also continues to rise by double ­digits, and Kim Crawford portfolio mate Nobilo is likewise benefiting from the buzz around New Zealand, surpassing 600,000 cases on nearly 10% growth last year.

While Italy and New Zealand clearly dominate the premium top 10, by the end of the year Australia’s 19 Crimes could also potentially join the fold. The Treasury Wine Estates label doubled in size to more than a half-­million cases in the U.S. last year, and TWE CEO Michael Clarke recently told SND that further extensions to the upscale Aussie brand are on the way.

News Briefs:


  • Heaven Hill Brands has named Denny Potter as vice president of operations and master distiller. Potter, who previously served as master distiller and plant manager at Louisville’s Bernheim Distillery, will now have a leadership role in all Heaven Hill production operations, which include Bardstown bottling operations, Bernheim Distillery and Deep Eddy Vodka’s Austin, Texas, distillery and production facility. Additionally, Potter will continue performing his current distilling responsibilities.
  • Sazerac is reportedly lining up some changes to Southern Comfort, which it acqui red from Brown­ Forman along with Tuaca early last year for $544 million. Southern Comfort will be rolling out new packaging in July, and is changing its recipe to include whiskey rather than grain neutral spirit, the New York Times reports. The brand will also debut a whiskey ­forward 80-­proof version alongside its existing 70-­ and 100­-proof offerings, and will phase out flavored editions like Lime and Caramel Comfort. According to Impact Databank, Southern Comfort was down 4% to 1 million cases in the U.S. last year.
  • Destilería Serrallés has released the second iteration of its Single Barrel rum collection, the limited ­edition Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2007. Aged for nine years in American white oak and bottled directly from the barrel without blending, the 40% abv Single Barrel 2007 retails at $39.99 a 750­ml. and is available at select off­ premise
  • accounts across the country. Only 4,000 cases of Don Q Signature Release Single Barrel 2007 were released.
  • Breakthru Beverage has named Peter Lijewski as vice president, supply chain, reporting directly to Art Wirtz, executive vice president, corporate operations and IT. Lijewski has nearly 20 years’ experience in the beverage alcohol industry, and held a series of supply chain roles with Constellation from 1997­-2015.


Craft Brewing and Distilling News:

  • Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) officials have accused an AB InBev-­owned wholesaler of providing nearly $1 million of illegal incentives to Boston­-area bars to promote Budweiser and other AB products over the competition. The charges, filed Tuesday, allege that AB gave branded draft towers (worth up to $3,500) and refrigerators (worth anywhere from $500 to $5,700) to 441 licensees. The Boston Globe reports that the ABCC has set a June 20 hearing date. AB maintains that the company followed all laws and regulations for distributing branded merchandise.
  • Seattle­-based premium soda producer Jones Soda Co. has unveiled Spiked Jones, billed as a hard cider­-soda. Created in partnership with Washington state cider maker Spire Mountain, Spiked Jones is a 6%­-abv blend of hard cider and Washington apples, and also features the same natural flavors used in Jones’ Green Apple Soda. The launch marks Jones Soda’s first beverage alcohol extension. Spiked Jones will be available throughout the Pacific Northwest region starting this summer, handled by C olumbia Distributing.
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has announced the opening of its new Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, replacing the flagship Dogfish brewpub in downtown Rehoboth, Delaware, on May 19. The new 6,300­ square-­foot space will celebrate punk rock, hip-­hop and craft beer, with seating for 180 guests and an elevated stage for live music. The menu includes classic pub fare, local seasonal seafood and beer-­infused ingredients. The bar, made of repurposed metal from the Dogfish brewery in Milton, Delaware, features 24 taps pouring Dogfish beer and offers a handful of Brewpub Exclusives, such as cask­-conditioned beers and a cocktail program using spirits made from Dogfish Head Distilling Co.