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    Touring Lodi's Bechthold Vineyard with Microsoft Sway

    As part of the Microsoft Office Insiders group, I get the opportunity to test out some new technology. Microsoft is getting ready to release a new Office application called Sway. Disclaimer: I'm receiving no compensation for this test and what you're seeing here is a preview of the technology. It's not completely ready, but I'm excited about it.

    8 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

    Leaf Vodka

    Michigan's ironically named Temperance Distilling Company produces Leaf Vodka, a new brand in the specialty spirits market. Both of their products are distilled from organic wheat, with the ethanol making up 40% of the bottle, while the remaining 60% comes from distinctive water. There are a lot of studies out there debunking the ability to differentiate various vodkas as well ...

    4 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Fall Wines of Germany

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 4 readers - Time once again for the quarterly delivery of two bottles from Wines of Germany. Over the years I've really enjoyed their sample system: always two bottles, one sweet, one dry, yet always demonstrating the impressive diversity that comes out of Germany with just a handful of white grapes. The holidays are approaching, and low alcohol Riesling always has a place on the Thanksg ...

      Pink Bordeaux

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 3 readers - As summer draws to a close and colder weather approaches, it was a pleasure to sample a pair of Bordelais rosés on a warm Sunday afternoon. Bordeaux gets so much attention for its red wines that it is often easy to overlook the white, pink, and sparkling wines from the region. Here is a quick look at two bottles to try before the sun disappears for its winter vacation...

      2012 Gnarly Head Authentic Black

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 1 readers - Usually when you've got a blended red table wine and a blended white in your portfolio, the next entry is always going to be a blended pink. Gnarly Head decided to go in a different direction with black. Pair it with a trendy orange wine for a festive Halloween theme. The suggested music pairing is blindingly obvious. The wine is not, of course black, no more than a Pinot Noir is really noir.

      2013 Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 1 readers - Founded in California in 2007, the Cecchetti Wine Company produces wine under five different brands: Austerity, Backhouse, Exitus, Redtree, and the source of this bottle, Line 39. As I mentioned in my 2013 review, this label is named after 39°N latitude, which runs right through Lake County, north of Sonoma and Napa.

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      2012 Collazzi Libertà & 2009 Cune Rioja Reserva

      … unrelated wines, but these are often linked by importer or distributor, or sometimes by grape or style. Thus the pairing shown here of two hearty reds in the $20 range. 2012 Collazzi Libertà Toscana IGT 55% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese $24, 14% abv. Syrah and Sangiovese really dominate with the Merlot playing a surprisingly background role. Big…

      By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      2012 Gnarly Head Authentic Black

      … black, no more than a Pinot Noir is really noir. But it is a deep, dark shade of red thanks to a lot of Petite Sirah in the blend and a lot of skin contact. I've always enjoyed the rich depths of the smallest red grapes, bottles made from Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and of course, Petite Sirah. They're not always the same, being made in a wide…

      1 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Leaf Vodka

      … them. The green bottle is made using Alaskan glacier water, while the blue bottle comes from a Rocky Mountain mineral spring. The Alaskan is sweeter with a touch of citrus, and more of a pronounced grain aroma. The Rocky Mountain version has a darker, more stony and drier profile that reminds me of great Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Both are quite smooth, however I fear that the subtleties will be lost in cocktails. But for the price, these are both fantastic bargains. Note: These bottles were provided as samples for review.…

      4 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Touring Lodi's Bechthold Vineyard with Microsoft Sway

      … a Sway about the Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi, California. I have lots of pictures that I'd not previously used, and thought that this was a fun way to present them. Bechthold was my first stop on my press tour earlier in the year, and recently we had an online tasting featuring four wines from that small patch of land: You can also click on this link for the full screen experience: A Sway About the Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi Note: These wines were provided as samples for review. …

      8 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      2012 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay

      … Chardonnay Central Coast, California 100% Chardonnay $15, 13.9% abv. Buttery with a touch of caramel and vanilla on the nose. On the palate it is mild with gentle white peach flavors. Classic California Chardonnay profile. A perfect match with the lunchtime meal and a wine substantial enough to stand up to the bold flavors of the soup. Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review. …

      1 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Pink Bordeaux

      … As summer draws to a close and colder weather approaches, it was a pleasure to sample a pair of Bordelais rosés on a warm Sunday afternoon. Bordeaux gets so much attention for its red wines that it is often easy to overlook the white, pink, and sparkling wines from the region. Here is a quick look at two bottles to try before the sun disappears…

      3 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Fall Wines of Germany

      … Time once again for the quarterly delivery of two bottles from Wines of Germany. Over the years I've really enjoyed their sample system: always two bottles, one sweet, one dry, yet always demonstrating the impressive diversity that comes out of Germany with just a handful of white grapes. The holidays are approaching, and low alcohol Riesling…

      4 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      2013 Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc

      …% abv. This Sauvignon Blanc opens up with aromas of grapefruit pith and lime peel. Tart and crisp with a quick and tangy finish. Perfect with a smoked chicken salad full of grapes and diced apples. Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.…

      1 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Five Wines from Coppola

      … Coppola Diamond Chardonnay Monterey County 100% Chardonnay $16, 13.5% abv. Buttered popcorn, touch of vanilla and caramel. Bright acidity but a fairly round body with a woody aftertaste. 2011 Francis Coppola Diamond Malbec California 89% Malbec, 7% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah $18, 13.1% abv. Bright plum aroma with touches of leather and coffee. Round…

      3 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Spell Winery Pinot Noir

      … Alder Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir Mendocino County 100% Pinot Noir 149 Cases Produced $50, 14.2% abv. Really bold dark fruit with a firm body, one that benefits from an hour of decanting. Touches of tobacco and coffee are quite enchanting. 2012 Spell Terra de Promissio Vineyard Sonoma Coast 100% Pinot Noir 148 Cases Produced $72, 14.3% abv. Rich and deep with a profile of berries backed up by hints of spice. Incredibly smooth and perfectly balanced. Highly recommended. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review. …

      6 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Hourglass Tasting

      … Napa Valley/Calistoga 83% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot $135/750ml bottle The price might seem high for a Cabernet Franc but it will show you just how expressive this tiny grape can be. It is rich and dark with a pronounced cassis flavor. A sniff yields touches of black pepper, chocolate, and leather. The tannins are firm but not overbearing and again, it is one that will only improve with proper aging. Highly recommended. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review. …

      2 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Kaiken Wines of Argentina

      … Kaiken Wines was founded in Argentina in 2002 by a Chilean winemaker, Aurelio Montes. The two countries produce very different styles of wine but there's no reason not to celebrate both. The name of the winery comes from the upland goose or caiquén that migrates back and forth over the Andes between the two countries. Both of these bottles…

      6 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews

      Josh Cellars Wines & Contest for First Responders

      …. Perfect with a smoked turkey and avocado sandwich. 2012 Josh Cellars Pinot Noir California 100% Pinot Noir $17, 13.5% abv. This Pinot Noir shows notes of plum and leather. On the palate there are medium tannins and a long finish. As it is still relatively young, I'd suggest decanting for an hour before serving with grilled steaks or roast lamb. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.…

      6 readers - By Ben Carter/ Benito's Wine Reviews