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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

    Spell Winery Pinot Noir

    At Spell Estate, German-born winemaker Andrew Berge produces a portfolio that is almost entirely Pinot Noir sourced from Sonoma and Mendocino. (The exception is a Chardonnay.) Spell is a small operation, producing 1500 cases a year. The wine can be purchased from their website, and tasting is only available by appointment at their custom crush facility.

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

      Leaf Vodka

      Benito's Wine Reviews - - 4 readers - 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 a ...

      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...

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      2012 Gnarly Head Authentic Black

      … of the tasting. It has a round body with a focus on dark fruit elements and a long, lingering finish. There were times when I was reminded of fruit wines made from blueberry or blackberry but without the usual sweetness. Pair with slow-smoked pork ribs. Note also the prominent placement of Lodi on the label. I have noticed this on Gnarly Head wines…

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

      Leaf Vodka

      … to differentiate various vodkas as well as various waters in a blind tasting environment. To be fair, some of the more public denunciations involve innocent civilians who are just trying to be polite. Vodkas can and do have individual aromas, and if you ever want an example, purchase the cheapest one you can find and enjoy the alluring aroma of lighter…

      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

      … 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

      …, 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

      …, low tannins, and a tart finish. Inky black color, but lighter than expected on the palate. 2011 Francis Coppola Diamond Claret California 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc $21, 13.5% abv. Blackberries, blueberries, cassis, chocolate, coffee, medium tannins, long dark fruit finish. 2012 Sofia Rosé Monterey County…

      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

      …For the second year in a row, I've gotten the chance to taste a quartet of half bottles from Hourglass Vineyard in Napa Valley. My first tasting was in January 2013 and these were sampled a few months ago. Napa is still recovering from the recent earthquake, so if you want to support those winemakers, growers, and everyone involved in the local…

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

      Kaiken Wines of Argentina

      …, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon $22, 14.8% abv. Black cherry, leather, coffee, medium tannins, long finish. The more serious of the two, I'd save this for the more tender rare cuts of beef. It is still strong enough that flavorful seasonings and smoke will not cancel out the great elements of the wine. Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.…

      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