Jet Wine Bar

Philly's Global Vineyard.
We specialize in wines from emerging and lesser-known regions, as well as uncommon varietals.

We also have a selection of craft beers and a full bar.

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    Wine Tasting Recap:  Wines for Barbeque!

    Wine, of course can be paired with anything: Cheez Its, TastyKakes – even TV shows for a non-food pairing.  But, there are also classic pairings that are often discussed and, more importantly, eaten and drunk together.  These include Sancerre and Oysters, Champagne and Caviar, Barolo and Truffles, Port and Stilton, etc.  None of those, however, comprise the typical, American, summer-time meal of barbeque.  Too often, the grilled, smokey, tangy meats off the grill are paired with beer – which certainly is tasty.  But, wine can be equally – if not more – tasty with barbeque, and can match the bold and spicy notes perfectly.  So what are these wines?  Bob Barrett, Certified Expert of Wine and our Global Vineyard Passport Series guide, came up with five different wines, from the classic barbeque wine, Zinfandel, to a more unique choice, Rose of Cannonau.  Here are all five:

     

    Argiolas SerraLori Rosato Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2013, Sardinia  

    This rose is a blend of 4, native, red varietals: 50% Cannonau, 35% Monica, 20% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo from the Guamaggiore and S’elegas vineyards planted at 750 feet elevation.  Grapes are hand-harvested and vinified in stainless steel tanks, and skin contact is made for less than 24 hours. It has residual sugar of 1.9 g/L, which gives it just enough sweetness to compliment ingredients such as honey and brown sugar that are often used in BBQ recipes, but is below the level (2 g/L) required to perceive sweetness.

    This rose is fresh and very “drinkable”.  It has ample, red berries, including dark cherry. The body is full, with strong tannins for a rose.  Those characters and its spiciness make it drink like a red wine. 

    Winery itself recommends with barbeque chicken or ribs, and I can vouch for those options.  It would also be great with pork – especially one of Sardinia’s specialties, “maialetto”, or roasted piglet. 

    Everyone enjoyed this wine, and I think it was quite surprise to some to have a full-bodied, strongly-flavored rose.

     

    Graham Beck “The Game Reserve” Pinotage 2012, Western Cape, South Africa  

    Made from 100% Pinotage, the hybrid of pinot noir & cinsaut (hermitage) for which South Africa is known.  Grapes were hand harvested from vineyards in Franschhoek and Paarl.  Fermentation occurred both open and covered, with regular punch downs and pump-overs.  Portions of the wine were aged in 3rd and 4th fill barrels.

    The nose on this wine has very strong berry presence, as well as the typical “smoke” of the pinotage.  More fruit in the mouth along with some peppercorn spiciness, and soft tannins, with a nice mouth feel.  The winemakers attest this wine would be good with many foods, including a “good old fashioned barbecue”.  South African’s – and other southern African peoples – enjoy traditional barbecue over a “braii”, a grill over an open flame. Despite the fact that this wine’s label is an homage to an insectivore fox (!), it is most definitely a barbeque wine.  I guess we could try it with barbequed termites?

    Not everyone loves pinotage… but I do!  Though this was not as smokey, tar-y, and band-aid-y as some, it still proved a bit challenging for out tasters, about 50% of whom found its strong flavors a bit overwhelming. 

     

    Seghesio Zinfandel 2012, Sonoma County

    This is made from 100% zinfandel. Seghesio is one of the oldest properties in Sonoma County, and their first Zinfandel vineyard was planted in 1895. Fermentation occurred in both open and closed stainless tanks.  Maceration occurred for 8-12 days, followed by malolactic fermentation.  The wine was aged 10 months in American and French oak.

    This wine has deep, deep flavors of red fruits, cinnamon, tobacco, and Mexican (spiced) chocolate.  It tasted rich and full-bodied, plus a bit hot (ABV 14.8%).  The winemakers suggest pairing this with pizza, meats, and barbeque.  Zinfandel and Barbeque are truly a classic pairing – especially at Seghesio – as indicated by their annual Zin & BBQ Festival.  

    This wine was generally loved by all of our tasters who, at this point, were quite ready to get some roasted meat!

     

    TerraNoble La Higuera Vineyard Carmenere 2012, Maule Valley, Chile  

    This wine is made from 95% Carmenere and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from the La Higuera vineyard, at an altitude between 200-400 meters in the Maule Valley. The wine is given a cold-soak maceration of several days, with frequent pump-overs. It is aged for ten months in a combination of stainless steel and French and American oak barrels, followed by an additional eight months of aging in bottle

    This full-flavored wine has a nose of mint and smoke, with a hint of bell pepper.  There are deep, fruit notes fig, and hints of dusty cocoa.  The oak also imparts a touch of dill-pickle tang.  The tannins are round and soft.  The winemakers note that this would be good with lamb, a common feature of the Chilean (and Argentine) Asado – which refers to the open grill (parilla) and the social event, itself.

    This is a crowd-pleasing wine, and was enjoyed by the majority of the tasters.

     

    Domaine Gueissard Bandol 2011, Provence, France

    This wine is made from a blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Cinsault and 15% Grenache.  The grapes are grown on ancient, terraced hillsides of limestone and clay soil on plots of land in Sanary sur Mer, in the heart of Provence.  Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and sorted. The wine undergoes an extended maceration period of 30 days, and after 100% malolactic fermentation the wine is aged in oak barrels for 18 months.

    This is a beautiful, dark, rich wine, with a lovely garrigue nose.  It gives an immediate tingle on the tongue, followed by rosemary, black olive, dark-red fruits.  This wine has a ton of flavor and ample tannin for the rich fruits and for barbeque.  Bob thinks this wine would make an excellent pairing with grilled lamb chops with herbs de Provence or les tomates Provençales au barbecue, a dish of grilled, stuffed tomatoes.  Winemakers also recommend it with beef, game, and black truffles… J

    All of our tasters enjoyed this wine.  A lot.

    **************************************

    This was another successful tasting – thanks, Bob! – of five, flavorful wines.  All of them certainly would be at home on the picnic table with grilled meats and vegetables.  There was no overwhelming favorite, as the three, richer reds (the final 3) had almost equal numbers of proponents.  

    Jill & Phill - Gruner & Nero

    We drink 2 great wines with “color” varietal names… Gruner Veltliner and Nero d’Avola - both with black olive notes!  Green & Black. Austria & Italy. Jill & Phill

    Jill & Phill - Voodoo & Evil Twin

    Jill & Phill tackle Voodoo & Evil in the world!  or, listen as they chat and sip beers from Voodoo & Evil Twin…

    https://quentinsadler.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/chacoli-map1.jpg  Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve: http://www.bizkaiacostavasca.com/img/ocio/i_urdaibai.jpg

    Tasting Recap:  Iberian Summer

    How to stay cool in the midst of this hot, Philadelphia summer?  Drink refreshing wines from somewhere even hotter!  That was the philosophy behind our latest tasting, “Iberian Summer”.  For this tasting – part of our Global Vineyard Passport Tasting Series – we were joined by Eric Lopez:  wine expert, great guy, and Iberian Wine Brand Manager for Winebow Imports.

    Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo Fino Sherry

    Bodegas Emilio Hidalgo was founded in 1874, and is now run by the 5th generation of the Hidalgo family.  The bodegas is located in the Jerez de la Frontera in Adalusia.  This region has winters that are mild and wet, summers that are long, warm to hot, and dry, and an annual average of 133 days of sun. The Atlantic Ocean tempers some of this heat, and also lends salty and humid air that aids in the creation of flor – a vital component in fino production that you can read about here

    This fino is made from 100% Palomino grapes from aged soleras, sometimes 6 and 7 years old.  Eric informed us that this wine is produced en rama style, or “raw”.  That means that the the sherry is only lightly filtered at bottling, in essence leaving some of the oxidized flavors from the barrel’s flor. 

    Consequently, this has a wonderful nose – we were informed that the winemaker suggests “bay leaf”, but that was not really found.  There are, however, herbs and greens on the nose, to go along with the apple, nut, and – yes – slight turpentine that is a hallmark of fino sherry (in my mind, anyway).  It has a nice hint of salted nuts.  It is bone dry, with a lingering finish.  About 22 of the 25 people in the room enjoyed the sherry – even some who were not familiar with fino. 

    J. Portugal Ramos “Lima” Vinho Verde  

    Vinho Verde, which translates as ‘green wine,’ refers to the early drinkability of the wine rather than its color (which could be white, pink or red). The region is situated along the Atlantic Ocean and consists of a large granite plateau with many rivers running throughout. In fact this wine takes its name from one of those rivers, the river Lima. This river initially prevented Roman incursions through the peninsula, as the Romans believed it to be the river Lethe, one of the five rivers of the netherworld; crossing the Lethe would cause complete forgetfulness of one’s mortal life.  However, in 137 BC, the legions crossed after Decimus Junius Brutus proved that it did not cause forgetfulness and could not be the Lethe.  

    Grapevines flourish along the river banks, and among them grows the flavorful, Loureiro, which composes this wine. Loureiro is mainly associated with Portugal and Galicia, Spain, and was first reported along the Lima in 1875   This wine is 100% Loureiro.  Vinho Verde translates as “green wine”, and this wine is made in its traditional style; an early harvest yields grapes with a higher acid level and less sugar for a vibrant with a low alcohol content.

    This has an aromatic nose of greens and herbs, though not necessarily the “bay leaf” that the winemaker says is there.  The mouth has a lot of citrus, and plenty of  mineral. This recent bottling is still very fresh and slightly effervescent – giving the wine a great zip. This wine was much enjoyed by our tasters.

    Itsas Mendi Bizkaiko Txakolina 

    Itsas Mendi is Basque for “Sea and Mountain”.  Bodegas Itsas Mendi is in the Basque DO of Bizkaiko Txakolina, between mountains and the Bay of Biscay, not far from the city of Bilbao.  This very lush region around the Urdaibai Estuary was designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve.  This wine is made with the native varietals Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratie.  The wine is made by one of Spain’s most-famous female wine-makers, Ana Martin Onzain.

    This wine is incredibly aromatic, with hints of flowers, lime zest, and sea salt.  The mouth has great acid and salinity, with a touch of grapefruit bitterness.  It is minerally and dry, and very crisp and refreshing.

    Castillo de Monjardín Rosado de Lagrima, Navarra

    Castillo de Monjardín is in the northwest corner of Navarra, northeast of La Rioja, in the foothills of the Pyrenées.   Monjardín has over 500 acres of vineyards planted on sunny, wind-cooled slopes at elevations around 2000 feet. This region is known for producing excellent Rosado – though most of it is Garnacha based.  By contrast, Rosado de Lagrima is made from single-vineyard, estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Tempranillo (40%).  Lagrima, Spanish for “tear,” is a reference to the local style of rosé production, which utilitzes only free-run juice.  The juice stays with the skins for 10 hours, and then is fermented in stainless steel.

    This is a very complex rose.  The nose is deep and evolving.  I never did figure out what I was smelling; I just kept throwing out words: pink peppercorn? black tea? rose?  Others found powdered jalapeno and poblano peppers in the nose.  The mouth had graphite, mineral, a dose of salinity, and some cherry.  

    Finca Antigua Tempranillo Las Escalerillas, La Mancha  http://www.familiamartinezbujanda.com/antigua/?idc=27

    Finca Antigua is in La Mancha, a sparsely-populated windy plain  (“meseta”) in the center of Spain where summers are hot and dry.  Wine-making has a long history here, as does the family of current owners and siblings, Carlos and Pilar Martinez-Bujanda Irribarria.  The region is currently known for rich red wines, often made with the local Tempranillo, known as Cencibel.  This wine is made with 100% Tempranillo from the Escalerillas Vineyard.  The juice was fermented in stainless steel, then aged 8 months in American oak.

    This is a BIG wine; it has ample, round tannins with a great acid balance. Dark red color and flavors, though quite “fresh” tasting, too.  It has a lot of pepper and spice, plus dried figs and cassis, and a bit of tobacco.  Bob would like us to “think BBQ” for this one!

    ************************************************************************

    This was a great tasting for us, though unusual for only having one red wine (sorry Milton!).  Our 21 tasters gnerally liked all of the wines, with a few exceptions.  Two people were not fond of the Fino, thought this was not specific to the Hidalgo, but generally to sherry-like flavors.  However, it was a favorite for the evening of a few individuals.  The “Lima” was a big hit with just about everyone.  It is a very easy-drinking wine.  The Txakolina was easily the crowd-favorite white wine.  It is just full of flavor and character, and definitely refreshing.  This is going on the Jet by-the-glass menu!  The Rosado was, again, liked by most - but not all.  A few tasters found a sensation of sweetness that was not to their liking.  Yet, this bold rose did have many fans.  The tempranillo elicited a collective “wow” from our tasters.  It was definitely loved.  

    Join us for our next tasting on August 12th:  Wines for BBQ!

    Jill & Phill - Jill's Travels & Philosophy Wines

    Listen in as Jill & Phill chat about Jill’s archaeology travels and Philosophy wines.  Picnics on the Rhine, Italy, Kurdistan in June…

    1WineDude, Phill & Jill - Wine Snobs, Gruner, Negrette

    Listen as we taste Gruner Veltliner from PA and Negrette from (of course) Fronton!  1WineDude joins the fun…

    Tuesday is back!  Experiment with our list with flights and half glasses…

    Jill & Phill - Sevilen & Tramontane

    Listen to the “Brilliant Wine Sketch”!  This time Phill and Jill chat about a fantastic wine from Turkey (have you heard of Kalecik Karasi?) and an old vines grenache from Roussillon.  Plus musical interludes!

    Galen Glen vineyards
http://lehighvalleywinetrail.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/GGlen_vineyard.png Ravines vineyard on Keuka Lake
http://ravineswine.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Keuka-Lake-Vineyard.jpg Cave Springs Vineyards - in the snow. http://images.winecommunicationsgroup.com/image/wv_2010-12-20_cavecellars.jpg Millbrook Winery vineyard walking trail http://www.millbrookwine.com/images/stories/walkingtrail.view.jpg Penns Woods Winery vineyards
http://westchesterdish.com/files/2013/03/pww.jpg

    Tasting Cold-Climate Wines (i.e. PA, NY, and Canada!)

    In our latest tasting in the Global Vineyard Passport Tasting Series, Bob Barrett brought 5, fantastic wines from cold-climate regions of the East Coast and Canada. 

     

    Why “cold climate”?

    Many of the world’s fine-wine regions occur in “Continental Climate” zones in which hot summers can give way to occasional periods of ice and snow in the winters.  These regions include Germany’s Mosel, northern Italy’s Piedmont, Marlborough in New Zealand, the Wachau and Danube of Austria, and France’s Champagne region.

    The effects of a cool climate on grapes are, generally, less sugar and thus less alcohol, more minerality and less fruitiness, and good acid balance.  Because of these qualities and their lighter styles, these wines tend to be very complimentary to food.

    A lot of wine makers and wine drinkers seek out these characteristics, leading to winemakers in warmer climes – such as California – to seek out grapes produced in that state’s cooler micro-climates like the Western Sonoma Coast, the Santa Lucia Highlands, and the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys.

    Here on the East Coast (and above the Mason-Dixon Line), we don’t have to worry about seeking out those regions; we are in a Cold-Climate zone.

    Characteristics of a “cold climate” that need to be reckoned with for grape growing are freezing temperatures in the winters, the likelihood of frost conditions in the springtime,  and a relatively short growing season.  So, grapes used in these regions need to be cold hardy, bud late, and able to mature quickly.  Fortunately, there are many grapes that do fit this bill that occur throughout the Continental zones, including the very popular riesling, chardonnay, and pinot noir varietals.  Even with these cold-hardy grapes, grape growers in these regions can (and do) try to mitigate some of the effects of the cold, namely by siting vineyards in protected, sunny areas, and by placing them near geographical features that produce “moderating” effects, such as lakes and rivers. 

                 

    What did we taste?

    Galen Glen Winery Stone Cellar Grüner Veltliner, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

    Galen Glen is found in rolling hills between two sets of mountain ranges:  the Appalachian and Mahoning. Their vineyards sit at 1000ft on a ridge North of Blue Mountain at the Appalachian’s eastern end. The region is characterized by these long, even ridges, with adjacent, continuous valleys. Grapes are grown in well-drained soils – called Berks Shale – composed of fossil-filled sedimentary-rock.  The Stone Cellar label comprises “select” grapes of the varietal.  For this Grüner, the selection is from the winery’s oldest vines.

    The Stone Cellar Grüner is complex and round.  We tasted white pepper, hints of peach/apricot, and Marisa perceived a celery note.  Acid is light and balanced.  It is crisp wine that could pair with nearly any food – particularly some spring asparagus - and a perfect wine for spring.  This was liked by nearly everyone, and we are pleased to soon have it on our by-the-glass list at Jet!

     

    Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York

    Ravines Winery and vineyards are found in New York’s famous-for-wine Finger Lakes.  Ravines has a 17 acre parcel of land on the eastern slopes of the small-ish, y-shaped, Keuka Lake, and also receives grapes from other vineyard areas – including the rather-famous Argetsinger vineyards on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.  The main Ravines parcel benefits from being sited at the widest part of Keuka Lake, whose temperature-moderating effects helps extend the growing season.  Soils are mineral-rich and sloped, and 2, nearby, namesake ravines serve as cold-air sinks in the (freezing) winters.  Ravines’ slow-ripening vineyards in sloped soils of shale and calcareous stones provide classic Riesling conditions.

    The Ravines Dry Riesling is… fantastic.  The winemaking team says the 2013 vintage was grown and harvested under excellent conditions for the grape.  This wine has many of the same flavors and notes as the Galen Grüner, along with the crisp, fine acidity for which good Riesling is known.  The mineral soils are also apparent in the finished product.  This was a very-well received wine though, following the Grüner, its acidity proved a bit too sharp for a few of our tasters.

      

    Cave Springs Cellars Pinot Noir, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

    Canadian wine!  Cave Springs Winery, located in southern Ontario, is the northernmost winery in our tasting.  It is found on the southern end of Lake Superior on the Niagara Escarpment. The slopes beneath the escarpment cliffs are well drained, and composed of limestone, clay, sandstone, and shale. The Great Lake provides temperature moderation in the cold climate, and springs stemming from caves at the base of the escarpment provide underground nourishment for the vines during drier weather.

    This wine provided an excellent introduction to Canadian wine, which - outside of Ice Wine - was almost completely unknown to our tasters.  Bob – an avid Pinot Noir fan – waxed poetic about the light, perfect, pinot color of the wine.  It has great earthy and woodsy undertones, white pepper, and a dose of almost-candied fruit.  It is lighter bodied with excellent acid – very typical of pinot noir from cooler climes.  It is a very nice wine.

     

    Millbrook Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Franc, Hudson River Valley, New York

    Millbrook is situated in the midst of New York’s Hudson River Valley.  The north-south oriented Hudson River provides the temperature moderation needed for the cold-climate, which is further provided by the placement of vineyards on southwest facing slopes with well-drained, gravelly soils. Millbrook was the first vineyard in the Hudson River Region dedicated to growing vinifera grapes, and cold-tolerant Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grow well in appropriately-situated vineyard-sites.

    This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc, with 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It drinks like a nice, classic, Cabernet Franc, with notes of raspberry, cherry, and chalk.  The Merlot gives its typical smooth, round tannins and hint of plum.  This is a well-balanced wine, with herbal notes and acid to balance the fruit.  Another well-like wine!

     

    Penns Woods Winery Chambourcin, Pennsylvania

    Penns Woods Winery, in the Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania, is the southernmost winery in our tasting.  At the winery, they have 30 acres of vineyards on rolling hills of shale and clay, essential for good drainage and warming southern-exposures that give them a relatively long growing season with moderate temperatures.  The Chambourcin grape is a French-American hybrid that has found a niche in the States, particularly in the mid-Atlantic States.  The grape is resistant to fungal rot and is thus prized in humid regions.   

    We, at Jet Wine Bar, are pretty familiar with Penns Woods Winery.  We’ve carried several of their wines and we’ve even taken a field trip to their tasting room.  But, this wine still blew us away.  This is a fuller-bodied wine, with a nose of chocolate and blackberry, plus more chocolate, blackberry, raspberry, and bramble in the mouth – which is nice juicy.  The full-flavors, balanced acid, and great mouth feel make this a very nice drinker that was thoroughly enjoyed by our tasters. 

    ****************************************

    We did have a clear “winner” on the night as the Penns Woods Chambourcin was easily the favorite, followed by the Galen Glen Gruner Veltliner.  So, I guess it was a win for PA wines, too!  Of course, our tasters were the real winners. This was an excellent tasting of 5, very high-quality wines.  Many of these wineries – and regions – were new to the class and were well received by them.  If you missed the tasting, why not take a road trip or two?

    Aegean wine region of Turkey, from http://www.winesofturkey.org/aegean/

    Our newest wine: Kalecik Karası from Turkey

    The Grape: Kalecik Karası

    This varietal is one of several hundred – perhaps a thousand –grapes grown in Turkey, many of which are indigenous.  That high number reflects the diversity associated with early domestication of the Vitis vinifera, which most likely occurred somewhere in the Trans-Caucasus region.  The home of Kalecik Karası  is central Anatolia, near Turkey’s capital of Ankara.  The grape is black (“Kara” is an older word for “black” in Turkish.  “Siyah” is the modern alternative) and produces lighter-bodied, juicy wines with great freshness – much like gamay.

    The Wine:  Sevılen Güney Kalecik Karası 2011, Turkey

    The winery was established in 1942 in the coastal city of Izmir, bordering the Aegean.  The winery now has vineyards in this Mediterranean micro-climate, as well as grapes from the higher-altitude Güney plateau, which has a continental climate; this wine’s grapes are from Güney.  The resulting wine has fresh notes of sour cherry and raspberry, plus an abundance of wild herbs: mint, oregano, thistle.  It has a medium-light body, and ample acid. 

    If you like gamay or pinot noir, this is for you. 

    Fun Fact:  The geographically diverse range of this grape’s “home” at Kalecik, near Ankara and this wine’s production near Izmir are linked by their importance as centers of international trade – at various times in history.  The Kalecik region is at the heart of the Hittite empire, whose imperial capital (Hattusa) was found at Bogazkoy in the early 2nd millennium, BC.  Further south, near Kayseri, was the Old Assyrian trading colony of karum Kanesh, located at Kültepe.  Kanesh housed merchants exchanging wares in a massive network across Syro-Mesopotamia, the Gulf, Iran, and Anatolia.  We know a great deal about this colony and its merchantile activities from the large-number of cuneiform documents it produced.  Its inland location meant much of the loads were carried by donkey and mule - a far cry from the modern port city of Izmir, for whom international shipping has boomed for several centuries.

    Try it now for $9.50/glass.  Perfect with a cheese plate.

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