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Friday Theme Nights

Posted 4 days ago

Sign up for our weeky email blast here and dont miss our weekly specials, events. and information about our our Friday theme nights. It may be a visiting winemaker, a fun wine tasting (Girl Scout cookie pairing anyone?) or maybe a blind tasting. Whatever the event, there will be wine involved! 


Posted in Events By Uncorked Hermosa

Happy Hour!

Posted 5 days ago

Rough day? Boss yell at you? Was the foam on your double macchiato this morning not up to snuff? We've got the antidiote! Monday-Thursday from 4-6pm we do $10 tastings. 


Posted in Events By Uncorked Hermosa

Wine Basics 1: Most Popular American Varietals

Posted 6 days ago

Most of the wines in America that we’re familiar with originated in Europe, mainly France. The difference between wines in the United States and France is a question of varietal vs. Terrior. Did I lose you? Let me explain. In the United States we often identify wine by the varietal (type of grape: Chardonnay, Merlot for instance). In Europe, the wine is most often identified by the region it comes from. One reason for this is due to European winemaking having a much longer history than winemaking in the United States, hence they’ve come to understand and value the importance of Terrior (Wikipedia describes Terroir as…the set of special characteristics that the geographygeology and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, express in agricultural products such as winecoffee ...). Another reason is that most European wines are often blends of several different grapes (Burgundy being a notable exception).

 

Since “serious” winemaking in the U.S is relatively young* and Americans are still learning to make (as well as how to appreciate) wines, we still refer to wines by the name of the grape to simplify matters. I would guess that as the industry evolves and American wine drinkers become more sophisticated, we will refer to wines by region more and varietal less. In a recent trip to Santa Ynez (Santa Barbara’s wine making region) most wineries I visited made it a point to talk about the vineyard(s) their grapes came from and what affect the location had on the wines.

 

Just to confuse matters (or hopefully to simplify things in the long run), in Europe, we often associate certain grapes with certain areas. We use those associations herein the states to give us a frame of reference, and to better understand the wine we're drinking.

 

In Europe, over the millennia winemakers have found out that certain grapes do better in different regions which are best suited to express the character of each particular grape. Here’s a rundown of the popular varietals in the United States, where they originated, and what region(s) in the United States have become known for those varietals. 

 

Varietal                                       

Origin

U.S region known for varietal/

Suggestion from the shelves of Uncorked


Cabernet

Sauvignon

Bordeaux

Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Ynez (Happy Canyon), Paso Robles, Washington state (Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, etc)

William Harrison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Merlot

Bordeaux

Napa Valley, Sonoma, Monterey,

Eastern Washington (Columbia Valley, etc)

Chacewater Lake County Merlot


Chardonnay

Burgundy

Most of California, Oregon, Washington

PIer Avenue Chardonnay


Pinot Noir

Burgundy

California: Napa, Sonoma, Santa Ynez, Monterey, Mendocino, Central Coast, Oregon (Willamette Valley)

Ave Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


Sauvignon Blanc

Bordeaux

Most of California, Washington State

Pier Avenue Sauvignon Blanc


Syrah

Rhone Valley (France)

Napa, Santa Ynez, Walla Walla (WA)

Tolosa Syrah


Zinfandel

Italy via Croatia

Napa, Sonoma, Amador County, Santa Cruz, Paso Robles, Lodi

Plough Zindandel

 

*For discussion purposes, I’ll use Napa Valley winemaking of the 70’s and the famous “Judgment of Paris” as a signpost of the first real recognition of “serious” winemaking in the United States.



Posted in Events By Uncorked Hermosa

Champagne 101

Posted November 06, 2017

Sparkling wine is wine that has significant levels of carbon dioxide to make it fizzy. The most well known example of sparkling wine is Champagne, a sparkling wine that is made in the Champagne region of France (wine made in France, as well as many other countries in Europe is more about the region than the particular grape used to make the wine). Sparkling wine not made in France is referred to as… well, Sparkling Wine.

 

Some sparkling wines from other regions have made a name for themselves and have become know by other names: Asti (Spumante- Near the town of Asti in Italy), Cava (Spain), Prosecco (Italy), Sekt (Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria), and Cap Classique (South Africa).

 

Champagne is made primarily from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the lesser know Pinot Meunier. Sparkling wines from other countries can be made with a variety of different grapes, typically a grape indigenous to that country. 

 

One thing that differentiates all Champagnes and Sparkling wines is how the secondary fermentation takes place. This usually contributes to both the taste, and the cost of the wine. These two methods are:

  • Methode Champenoise or Metodo Classico: the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle.
  • Charmat method: the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks.

 

What you Need to Know:

Types of Champagne:

  • Prestige Cuvee (cuvee de prestige): Usually designates the top of the line for a producer: Louis Roederer’s Cristal, Moet & Chandon’s Dom Perignon.
  • Blanc de Noirs: A white wine made from the pinot noir and/or pinot Meunier grapes (the skins are removed from the process early on, hence the white juice)
  • Blanc de blanc: A white wine made from Chardonnay grapes.  
  • Rose': aka "Pink Champagne", typically, a small amount of Pinot Noir red wine is added during blending.

 

Sweetness:

Sweetness is determined by the amount of sugar added after the second fermentation (called dosage). From driest to sweetest, Sparkling wines use the following to designate how sweet their bubbly is:


  • Brut Zero (no sugar added)
  • Extra Brut
  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Sec
  • Demi-sec
  • Doux (sweetest).

 

In my next post I’ll delve into some of the more popular types of sparkling wines mentioned above. 


Posted in Events By Uncorked Hermosa

A little something about Pinots

Posted November 04, 2017

Maya: You know, can I ask you a personal question, Miles?

Miles Raymond: Sure.

Maya: Why are you so in to Pinot?

Miles Raymond: [laughs softly]

Maya: I mean, it's like a thing with you.

Miles Raymond: [continues laughing softly]

Miles Raymond: Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet. – “Sideways”

 

OK. So Miles (Paul Giamatti) does an adequate job describing some of the attributes of the Pinot Noir grape, while also telling the viewer why he’s a whiney, sniveling, self absorbed writer about to screw things up with a hot broad who is obviously way too good for him but for some reason is into him. If you watch the film (besides being funny and insightful, it’ll teach you about wine) you’ll see that Miles’ description of the pinot grape is a metaphor for him.  In this post, your sniveling, self-absorbed scribe will concentrate on Pinot Noir, focusing on California, while touching on Oregon and France for the sake of context.

 

France-Burgundy

Even though Groundskeeper Willie (The Simpsons) called the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”, they do know how to make a good pinot. A little background: In the US, we identify wine by its varietal (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir…). In France most wines are identified by region (Boudreaux, Burgundy, etc), and many regions grow several different grapes that are generally used in blends. Burgundy is an exception. For the most part, if you get a red from Burgundy, it’s made from the Pinot Noir grape (if white, a Chardonnay). Yes, these are some of the wines that all the French dudes make such a big fuss about. The reason? Well, Pinot is like a woman- fickle, unpredictable, particular, and isn’t about to let you sit on your ass every Saturday and Sunday with a 12 pack and a Costco sized bag of Doritos watching football all day. No, she demands attention. Otherwise, well, you’re asking for trouble. Anyway, French Pinots are known for their red fruit aromas, but develop what is known as a “barnyard” smell as they age. The French think this is cool. I’m not so sure about that, but Pinot grapes like cooler weather, which is why they thrive in Burgundy.

 

California-Napa

Most Pinot from Napa Valley comes from the Carneros region, in southern Napa Valley. Why? Well, if you been paying attention you might surmise that the Carneros region is cooler than the rest of Napa (two points to the one reader who actually got the answer). Anyway, Carneros is in the southern end of Napa, where it gets cool, moist air from the San Pablo Bay to the south. Carneros is also home to some of California’s best sparkling wine producers since most sparkling wine is made from…you guessed it…Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Hopefully, your head isn’t about to explode from all this learnin’. Examples of Carneros Pinots you might see on our shelves: Poseidon, Schug, Sean Minor.  

 

California-Sonoma

The Russian River Valley (in Sonoma) has a reputation for some of the finest Pinot’s California produces. Don’t go askin’ me why it’s called the Russian River. That’s’ what Google’s for. Known for aromas of wild strawberries and raspberries to cherries, these Pinots are kept cool by the fog and cool air that rolls up the Russian River, which dumps into the Pacific. It’s also home to one of California’s finest craft breweries: Russian River Brewing Company (home of “Pliney the Elder”. Don’t ask. If you want an explanation of Pliney the Elder, ask one of your beer-guzzling buddies). Some Russian River Pinots’ that have been known to grace the shelves of Uncorked: Iron Horse, Hartford Court.

 

California- Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez (Santa Barbaras’ wine region) lays claim to the Santa Rita Hills, which produces some awesome Pinots. Over on the west side of the larger Santa Ynez valley (near Lompoc and Vandenberg air force base) the Santa Rita hills have the distinction of being one of the few valleys (created by the hills) that runs east west, allowing Pacific breezes to cool the valley and the pinot and chardonnay grapes that grow there. This is where most of the Pinot’s Miles babbles on endlessly about hail from. Here you’ll find outstanding Pinots from Melville, Seasmoke, and Hilliard Bruce to name a few.

 

California- Santa Lucia Highlands

These “highlands” are located in Monterey County on the terraces of the eastern slope of the Santa Lucia mountain range overlooking the Salinas River Valley, on the back side of Big Sur. They get fog and cool air funneling down from Monterey Bay, which lies to the Northwest. Pinot’s from SLH tend to be bigger and richer (sort of like that fat friend of your dads that drives the Porsche) than Pinot’s from other areas so if you’re more of a big cab guy or gal, give a Pinot from here a shot. Wines from this area that may be gracing the shelves at Uncorked: CRU “Vineyard Montage”-Santa Lucia Highlands, Caraccioli Cellars.

 

California- Monterey

Although the Santa Lucia Highlands is the premier pinot growing area in Monterey, the rest of the county deserves a mention, as it produces some fine Pinots as well. Taste-wise, Pinots from this area tend to be darkly colored and lean towards tasting of dark fruit. Our own Pier Avenue Pinot hails from Monterey County. Hey- it’s our blog, we get a chance to hype our own juice…

 

Oregon- Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley is home to over 400 wineries and is a broad valley composed of six specific Viticultural Areas southwest of Portland. The general attributes that make this valley ideal for Pinot is that…well…it’s in Oregon. Yeah, it’s generally cooler there than say California…In addition, the latitude of the midpoint of the valley is the same as Burgundy’s (remember Burgundy = Pinot) Cote d’Or. At times Oregon Pinot’s can mirror their counterparts over in Burgundy. If you visit the valley, you can check out the joint in Portland that sells bacon maple bar doughnuts. Whatever. We’ve been know to carry Willamette Valley Pinots from Brooks, Walter Scott, Dominius


Posted in Events By Uncorked Hermosa

6th Anniversary Party

Posted October 18, 2017

If you've been before, you know. If you haven't, you don't know what you've been missing! Join us and help us celebrate our 6th year pouring wine for the South Bay! 30+ wineries, tasty selections from local restaurants, lots of fun! 

Details: 
2-3pm VIP Hour-Wine Club Members Only
3-6pm All Attendees
$55 per person

Click here or Call Uncorked at 424.247.7117 or stop by the shop to purchase your tickets !


Posted in Test By Uncorked Hermosa

Fri, March 24: Blind Tasting

Posted March 17, 2017

So you think you know wine? Here's your chance to test your tastebuds, prove your palate! It's educational! It's Fun! And hey...there's wine! We'll offer up 5 wines with clues as to their origin and the varietal. It's multiple choice. How hard can it be?


Posted in Test By Uncorked Hermosa

Sat March 11: Hermosa St. Patrick's Parade

Posted March 11, 2017

Expanded hours (11-11)! Join us and over 100 local businesses in celebrating St. Patricks Day Hermosa Style! Join us for wine AND beer tasting. 

 

-"All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed." - Sean O'Casey


Posted in Test By Uncorked Hermosa

Fri, March 3rd: Girl Scout Cookie Pairing

Posted February 28, 2017

Savannah Smiles and Sancerre? Do-Si-Dos and a California Zinfandel? We'll be pairing your favorite girl scout cookies with some tasty wines. Join us for one of our most popular wine tastings! 


Posted in Test By Uncorked Hermosa

Fri Feb 17th: Wines of Pacific Northwest

Posted February 16, 2017

Walla Walla. The Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills. Williamette, Dammit. Yakima Valley. Dundee HIlls. What? Yup, there all wine regions in the Northwest. This Friday we'll be sampling some awesome wines from our neighbors to the North. 


Posted in Test By Uncorked Hermosa