Tag Archives: chardonnay

Jacob’s Creek introduces Two Lands

24 Apr

On April 9, Jacob’s Creek hosted a digital wine tasting. No, there is no technology that allows you to drink through your device… yet. I was sent a bottle of the Chardonnay (2014), Pinot Grigio (2014), Shiraz (2013) and Cabernet Sauvignon (2013), and Jacob’s Creek broadcasted a wine tasting session via a video streaming service.


Two gentleman, Bernard Hickin, chief winemaker of Australia’s Jacob’s Creek and Ehren Jordan, a boutique winemaker from Napa Valley (Failla Wines) joined forces to create Two Lands, which is described as “California Craftsmanship meets Australian Character.” The best of both worlds.


We started off by tasting the Pinot Grigio and right away, I could tell this would be my summer white of choice. It had great pear, apple and citrus flavors, but it wasn’t too sweet. To me, that is perfection. The Chardonnay had an elegance to it and had a great balance of fruit and oak with hints of vanilla, nutmeg and spice. Next up was the Cabernet Sauvignon, which had a good texture, was soft and had some current flavors. Erhen said he wanted to make a cab that tasted like a cab. He believed that American cabs got away from making a real cab and so he got out of the habit of drinking it, but now he wants to drink cab again because of his collaboration. They both agreed that this would pair well with a rib-eye steak. The Shiraz had an intensity to it, but had a softness because of the tannins, and it was full of fruit flavors – plum, red fruits. Some tasters also described it with the following words, “bacon, rosemary, mulberry, dark plum, black pepper with a cedar on finish.” You had me at bacon.

One thing that stood out to me was that Berndard and Ehren just wanted to make good wines that they would want to drink and they did this by doing less to the wines. They said that sometimes people try to add too much or do too much to a wine and they didn’t want to do that.

The wines were produced in a limited quantity and are only available in the U.S. For the whites, about 7,000 cases were shipped and for the reds about 10,000-12,000 cases were shipped. All four wines sell for under $15 a bottle and can be found across the country. We may or may not have seen the Cabernet Sauvignon at Wegmans this weekend for $10.


We ended the wine tasting on a nice existential note. Ehren reflected on the surreality of the situation he was experiencing. He got on a plane in San Francisco, arrived in Australia a day later and knew that he was there to indulge in an extremely old craft, but was talking about it via live streaming video to people on the other side of the world, that were a day behind. Technology.

Follow Jacob’s Creek on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Thanks to Jacob’s Creek for letting me “attend” its wine tasting. Now go out and buy some Two Lands or better yet, come over this summer and we’ll enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio together!

For tasting notes on each wine, please find the fact sheets below. (I apologize for not providing more detailed notes on the flavors. I do not claim to be a expert in wine tasting.)

Two Lands Cabernet

Two Lands Shiraz

Two Lands Pinot Grigio

Two Lands Chardonnay


Mill River Winery – a North Shore Gem

31 Jul

About a year ago a new little winery opened its doors in Rowley, MA called Mill River Winery. To my knowledge there aren’t a ton of winery options up in these parts so it came as even more of a surprise, when the Love Muffin and I decided to stop in last Sunday for a tasting, that the grapes for their wines are locally grown in Amherst, MA. And let me tell you – the wines were good!


Mill River Winery is located in Dodge’s cider mill. The inside has such charm and character. I could have lounged there all afternoon. Alas there was more important business…the tasting! I was distracted by some local cheese as we walked in (hi! bonus!!) and after we made our way back to the bustling tasting bar (read: so many people that we had to wait, but it was okay) we were able to peruse the wine list.

They had four wines available to try for $5 – a steal if I do say so myself. I’ve done my research work (read lots of wine tasting) on the Connecticut Wine Trail, so I was prepared for more of the same here in Massachusetts. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We tasted two whites and three reds (yes that is five not four, the woman pouring was so nice that she gave us an extra taste, bonus!).


The first one we tried is their flagship wine – Mill River Naked Chardonnay. Let me say for the record that I usually cannot stand chardonnay, but this one was excellent. It’s not aged in oak, so you don’t get any of the buttered popcorn flavor that usually accompanies this wine. This was slightly sweet, crisp and would be great sipping on a hot or cool day.

The second wine we tasted was their Plum Island White. This wine was much sweeter than the chardonnay and would be great as a dessert wine or paired with a fruit dessert.

The third wine we tasted was the Plantation Red. This red was slightly oaked and had a very dry finish. It would have been great to taste this decanted or with food.

The fourth wine we tasted was a treat, as they weren’t selling it yet. It should be available in another week or so – Red Zinfandel. This was the highest in alcohol of the four wines we had tried. It was aged in oak and crafted in the traditional French style. After tasting this, I think it would just be better to drink alongside a large, well seasoned steak. Although it’s definitely not just a drinking wine, I could appreciate the craftsmanship that went along in its creation.


Lastly, we got a small sample of the Plum Island Red. They call this an East meets West creation, as it’s a blend of both California and Massachusetts grapes. This red was sweeter than expected and would be perfect as part of a sangria or paired with small, spicy appetizers.

All in all, it was a great stop on a somewhat cool and dreary day. Their tasting room is open to guests daily from 11 a.m. ET – 6 p.m. ET and you can also rent it out for private functions (perhaps a birthday celebration is in order??). They just planted their first set of grape vines earlier this spring and expect to start using the fruit in about three years. They also planted apple trees, so come September you’ll have even more of a reason to stop by. The wines are very reasonably priced and come on, grapes from Massachusetts!?!! You can’t go wrong with local.

If you’re not going to be on the North Shore soon, check them out on Facebook, Twitter or via the website. They’re doing it right! I’m looking forward to my next visit and if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll bring you with me.

That’s all for now!


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