Friday, September 19, 2014

Wine Club from Uncorked Ventures Review #Uncorked

I consider myself a little bit of a wine connoisseur. I have lived abroad and many moons ago cut my teeth on a variety of good quality northern Italian wines. Well, my love affair with wine just expanded over the years and I learned more and came to enjoy a variety of wines from different areas of the world. I find my wines here and there locally and love to discover interesting new wineries and wines in the mid-Atlantic.  I heard about a new kind of exclusive wine club recently, something truly different that I thought was worth a try. This is a totally different kind of wine club.  I think you will forget those big internet newspaper branded clubs after you hear more. 

Uncorked Ventures is a family owned and operated startup wine club based just outside of San Francisco.  They don't buy the standard run of the mill wine through middle men and distributors either. They actually spend time in wine country getting to know winemakers, vineyard owners, farmers and others directly involved in the creation of what's in your glass. As a result they find some exceptional, special and rare wines. I know...maybe I need to seriously consider a career change....

I received two bottles of white wine from Uncorked Ventures and I was excited about trying them. The first bottle I received is from Lennox Vineyards. Each bottle comes with an personally written information sheet from one of the Uncorked Ventures owners. It shares interesting tidbits about the winery, the locale and even the owners. Of course it includes  tasting notes as well which I found to be accurate and added to my enjoyment of the wines. So my first bottle was a Russian River Valley Chardonnay. If you don't know, the Russian River is in Sebastopol, CA.  I was interested in trying this one because Lennox is actually a tiny winery... producing  only 1-2 tons of grapes per acre. They shared that this factor often translates into the potential for a concentrated, more distinctive flavor.  Obviously, fewer bottles in the market as well so the opportunity to try a wine that you are not going to find in the corner wine shop too.

My 2010 Lennox River Chardonnay was actually created to for the wedding of the owner's daughter. The winery owner, Mike Bielawski created this special wine just to celebrate his daughters wedding as she had told him for years that she wanted a special wine from their vineyard when she got married.  She had requested a unique Chardonnay and of course her dad came up with something special. I love the idea that I get to be part of their family celebration, in a way. Mark Aseltine from Uncorked Ventures shared that Lennox Vineyards entire winery is about 2/3 of an acre, situated right next to the owners house. I love that because you know they are out there checking on those vines just like I am in my own 2/3 acre with my rosebushes and garden beds. Interesting that we both have the same acreage! You know they are tending to their vines and really care about the wines they produce.  The Lennox Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay was light and slightly fruity with an oakey finish. Mark's tasting notes were accurate and picked up on the pineapple and lemon aromas as well. I thought that added an interesting quality to this bottle. We both enjoyed it immensely the other evening. 

My second bottle was also a white wine but quite different. This was a 2012 Semillon from Chatom Vineyards.  Mark shared some interesting facts about the Chatom Winery which was wonderful since I was not familiar with it. It is based very far east in 
Calaveras County, California.  The area is also described as being part of the Sierra Foothillls. Mark pointed out that the owner, Gay Callan, is a little known innovator in the California wine industry. Sadly, she recently put the winery up for sale. Chatom has been known in local circles as an innovative winery introducing varietals like Semillon in California which was unheard of 30 years ago. Remember the ubiquitous California Chardonnay? That's all people knew back then. Those awful wines in the...ugh...jug. Chatom helped change all that. 

Jason Lewis is part of the brains behind Chatom after having worked his way up the ranks of winemaker. He enjoys crafting a more austere French style wine that is uncommon in the region. Think about your typical California whites...austere is not the first thought that comes to mind. That makes the Chatom wines a bit more unique. They chose Semillon originally to blend with Sauvignon Blanc but then were pleased to see it held it's own and produces a light, crisp and almost creamy wine. 

The Chatom Semillon 2012 was crisp and slightly creamy. I was surprised at the clean flavor for a California Semillon. I am always expecting fruit or oak finishes. Not with this. They can vary a lot in quality but this was pleasing.  It went beautifully with a light salad and grilled chicken.  

Uncorked Ventures is definitely a different kind of Wine Club.  I love the small-sourced vineyards which give it an exclusive feel.  I would consider Uncorked Ventures a top source for Christmas and holiday gift baskets as well. You know they put the personal, but exclusive touch to all that goes out the door. 

Uncorked Ventures has several options available from monthly shipments to gift baskets.  These exceptional wines from California, Oregon and Washington's best producers arrive securely packed and cushioned in boxes. You can choose from the Explorations, Special Selections or Reserve Selections Wine Club. You can call or order easily online and start your membership quickly or even order a gift basket for friends, discerning clients or colleagues.  

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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