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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 Thanksgivi ...

      Five Wines from Coppola

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 3 readers - Over the years I've tried a lot of wines from Francis Coppola Winery. The names and brands have changed over time, but these five labels appear to be sticking around. I visited the Sonoma winery back in 2009 and have often recommended these bottles as reliable choices that are widely distributed throughout the United States.

      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.

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      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

      … fluid. As for water, not all H2O tastes and smells the same, and this can be proven by any 3 year old who is taken on vacation to a different state: "The water tastes weird!" You don't even have to travel far from home before the tap water starts to strike you as noticeably unusual. Hard, soft, fizzy, mineral, sulfurous, sometimes it's a shade other…

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

      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…

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

      2012 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay

      … that always brings me back is the use of fresh vegetables. Bright basil, spicy peppers, crisp lettuce, crunchy bean sprouts... It's almost like having salad and soup at the same time and being able to enjoy the best elements of both. Upon arriving home, I decided that I would really enjoy this meal with a Chardonnay... 2012 Edna Valley Vineyard…

      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

      …, this winery was established in 1756 but revitalized by Dr. Loosen in 1996. This particular bottle is crisp and tart with tangy green apple and pear flavors. Dry and refreshing with a short finish. With a nod towards Thanksgiving, this would be my go-to bottle for a sandwich of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce on Friday while I am sitting at home…

      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

      … The Merlot opens up with aromas of stewed fruits and pencil shavings. The tannins are extremely mild, leading to a soft but long finish. Outstanding with a veal chop seasoned with Herbes de Provence. 2012 Blueline Estate Malbec Napa Valley/Calistoga 75% Malbec, 25% Petit Verdot $75/750ml bottle This is a great Bordeaux blend of two grapes that you don't…

      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