Variety versus Varietal, Do You Know the Difference?


“Variety” and “Varietal” are two words that are used interchangeable frequently. Years ago, I read if you are referring to a grape, you say “variety” and “varietal” is used when you are referring to the wine.


As of today, I continue to read and hear the words misspoken. Therefore, I am updating my research and found the following:

Mary Gorman-McAdams, Master of Wine, a New York wine educator, freelance writer and consultant states:

“…variety is a noun and varietal is an adjective. The word variety refers to the grape variety used to make the wine such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and so forth. The word varietal is an adjective, and refers to the wine. It describes a wine that is made from a single or dominant grape variety. Such wines are called varietal wines…”

Wine Spectator addressed the same question from a reader and advised of the following:

“A lot of folks confuse these terms—most wine lovers don’t know that one word refers to grapes, the other to wine. Varieties are types of grapes, i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, Chardonnay grapes, Zinfandel grapes, etc. A varietal is a wine that is labeled as being made from one grape variety. Typically you’ll see varietals from New World countries, while Old World wines are more frequently labeled by their region of origin. So wines labeled as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Zinfandel are varietals.



We have consensus! Folks, do not allow others who misuse the words to cause you confusion. In my opinion, it isn’t that serious and does not require correction when an individual utilizes the terms incorrectly. However, it is important to understand the correct meaning of the words. But not important enough that you lose sight of the wine’s true essence, (negative or positive) and sharing the experience. 

In conclusion, varietals refers to the wines and variety is the grape… wait, did I say that right? 😉


Salute! Sante’!

Josh and AVO – A Magnificent Pair

On this nice pre-Spring day, the bees are already out and the birds are chirping. Before the sun sets and to relieve this stress that has me knots, a 2012 Josh (Josh Cellars) Pinot Noir is calling my name.


Josh has vibrant ruby color and its bright cherry aroma is welcoming me. “Well, Hello Josh!” “Mmmm Josh, you are YUMMY! Your fruit-forward cherry and raisin flavors are delicious.”  Second sip,  I am reminded of berry flavored natural dried fruit snacks; not the fruit roll-up kids love. This is an excellent treat!

Time to see if AVO Uvezian Heritage and Josh Pinot Noir can play along nicely.

I have always been a fan of AVO cigars. Around 2008/09, I had the great pleasure of personally meeting AVO at Famous Smoke Cigar Expo and gifted with two of those beautiful AVO ashtrays displayed the below picture, which was a hot item at the event.





Did you know AVO Uvezian is a jazz pianist? Yes. In a NY Times article, dated December 27, 2015, by Jacob Langston, it is reported that AVO Uvezian wrote the melody to Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night”. Unfortunately, Mr. Uvezian did not receive any credit. Following is a link of Mr. Uvezian playing his melody:

youtube video: AVO Uvezian Jazz Pianist Playing

To learn more about AVO Uvezian visit and video on the history of AVO Uvezian cigars at History of AVO Uvezian Cigars .

This early evening, I’m having a AVO Heritage short robusto. The draw is tight and rolling between my fingers is not loosening the cigar. I am dire need a cigar poker; time to get creative. A metal skewer will do just fine. Hey! this cigar is too good to discard because the draw is tight. OH YES, much better!


AVO Heritage is a smooth medium-full bodied cigar with hint of cocoa. The Heritage is Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper with Dominican binder and fillers. AVO Heritage is a VERY NICE SMOKE! So happy we are getting acquainted. 🙂

The 2012 Josh Pinot Noir has introduced some herbal notes to AVO that was not previously noticeable. In addition, the Pinot Noir is enhancing the cocoa flavor on finish. Josh pairs magnificently with AVO Heritage; GREAT COMBINATION!


The damp Spring-like air and the AVO are producing aromas of manure GAROSS! Ok, it’s not the cigar. A neighbor must be mulching their yard-MANURE IS IN THE AIR. The smell is affecting my smoking experience. It’s the same displeasure when you are enjoying a cigar and you get a whiff of sweet aromas. You immediately find yourself searching the room for the culprit. I don’t know about you, but the scent of sweet aromas causes a few moments of disruption. By the way, I do not have anything against flavored cigar; I too enjoy a Java Maduro. I digress…

Josh and AVO, you are a perfect end to a stressful week!


Salute! Sante’!

“Rose of Sharon” – Sparkly Delicious!


I’m hesitate in drinking Willowcroft’s 2014 “Rose of Sharon” rose. Since, I’m out of everyday drinking wine, I have no other options. Plus, I’m too lazy to drive 45 minutes to a vineyard or drive to a wine shop. Bottom line I’m just being plain lazy. Therefore, this Saturday afternoon, “Rose of Sharon” will be my source of entertainment.

A slight “Aaaah” has escape my lips. Immediately, I notice the sparkle. FOLKS, we have bubbles! Excitedly, I know I’m in for a treat. This cloudy Saturday afternoon is not going to be gloomy after all.


courtesy of

The color reminds me of watermelon candy, Jolly Ranchers to be specific and my mother. Mother-dear must be talking about me. When I was a young girl, my mother had a dish of watermelon Jolly Ranchers and told my sister and I not to eat the candy because it was her medicine; this little tale worked. We did not touch her dish of “medicine”. Years later (I’m talking junior high school age), I discovered the candies were Jolly Ranchers candy. To this day, watermelon Jolly Ranchers reminds me of my dear mother and I dislike the watermelon flavor :). Ok, back to the tasting…

Goodness, I hope this wine meets up to my expectations. I’m salivating, time to taste.


YES! A sparkly dry rose and I suspect the residual sugar is low. Soft bubbly with light, smooth tannins on the finish. Mmmm… the tannins are growing and creating a light pucker sensation.

“Rose of Sharon” composition:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin and Petit Manseng.

“Rose of Sharon” would be perfect for a brunch or brighten up any gray gloomy day :). “Rose of Sharon” is deliciously delightful!

For more information visit Willowcroft Winery at Willowcroft Winery. “Rose of Sharon” can also be purchased online for only $22.00. You will not be disappointed! 

Salute! Sante’!

PART THREE – “6 for $60 Challenge, the Quest for Goodness”

It’s noticeable that I am getting tired of this challenge. My wine tasting notes are short-straight to the point. I’m so not in the mood for a mediocre wine. But, I must push forward and complete this experiment.

If you are new to my blog and have not read parts one and two of the challenge, I invite you to read the previous blogs for the background on the “6 for $60 Challenge, the Quest for Goodness.”

Following is a brief overview of the rules:

  • The cost is $10.00 or less,
  • The wine cannot be from the same vineyard,
  • It had to be a wine that I’ve never tasted and
  • No two wines could be of the same variety and same winery.

The wines that were chosen for the challenge are, as follows and was consumed in no particular order:


  • Rex-Goliath -Shiraz
  • HandCraft -Petit Syrah
  • Redwood Creek -Malbec
  • Dark Horse -Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Naked Grape -Pinot Noir
  • Jacob Creek -Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

We are not at the fifth wine in the Quest for Goodness Challenge, which is a Redwood Creek, Malbec. I don’t know if I’m becoming numb from editing our next book project in “BookSmart”, Redwood Creek, Malbec is pleasurable and paired with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese is delightful.


Folks, a historical moment has occurred; I’m pretty sure this is the shortest wine review I’ve written. HOORAY! (If I’m getting tired of this quest, I can imagine how you’re feeling reading about mediocre wines (rolling eyes)).

LASTLY, wine number six, THE LAST WINE IN THE CHALLENGE! YAY!! I present you “Rex the Rooster”. No, the wine is not called “Rex the Rooster”, but it’s close: “Rex Goliath – The Giant 47 pound Rooster”. Okay, that is definitely a much grandeur name. ☺


Before, I discuss the tasting, time to research the origin of Rex Goliath-The Giant 47 pound Rooster.  

Per the website, Rex who is referred to “His Royal Majesty”, weighed 47 pounds hence the name Rex Goliath and was a popular circus attraction in Texas. The Rex Goliath wines are a tribute to the 47 pound rooster’s “larger-than-life personality”.

Rex Goliath Shiraz aromas are the most fragrant out of all the wines we’ve tasted in the challenge: BIG bouquet of dark cherries and plums. Fruit-forward flavors with a slight mineral on the finish and the tannins are absent, which is in proportion to the wine. Rex Goliath is a light-medium bodied red wine.

We are now on the fourth sip and we are enjoying and appreciating Rex. Rex has developed into a delicious wine with hint of spice and the tannins are evolving. Overall, Rex Goliath is Good.

Can you believe it? We saved the best for last! Rex is not bad. If I recall correctly, Rex was the cheapest wine. HA, GO FIGURE!

I would love to know if you conducted a similar quest and found GOODNESS. If so, please share. “That’s All Folks!”

Salute! Sante’!

Part Two: 6 for $60 Challenge, the Quest for Goodness”

If you have not read Part One of “Harris Teeter Six for Sixty (6 for $60) Challenge, the Quest for Goodness”. Here’s a recap:

While grocery shopping online at Harris Teeter, they had a BIG WINE SALE and many of the wines were under $10.00. Curiosity got the best of me and I wondered if the wines were any good. So, I developed the challenge.


* The wine must be $10 or less before taxes;
* It must be a wine that I’ve never tasted. By the way, there are certain  wines that I   refuse to place upon my lips. For instance, Yellow Tail, Menage Trios, Cupcake and Barefoot, to name a few;
* Must be different varieties and
* Two wines can not be from the same vineyard.

The wines chosen for the challenge are:


* Rex-Goliath Shiraz
* HandCraft Petit Syrah
* Redwood Creek Malbec
* Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
* Naked Grape Pinot Noir
* Jacob Creek Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

To prevent the blog from becoming a short story, I’m posting my results into three parts. In Part One, we tasted 2013 HANDCRAFT Petit Syrah and
2013 Jacob Creek Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon blend, both were TASTY.


Following are the third and fourth wines in the “Six for Sixty, the Quest for Goodness”:

Wine #3 – 2014 Dark Horse, Cabernet Sauvignon


We are having a Valentine’s day sip and cigar. We are pairing the Dark Horse with a Perdomo Factory Tour Blend cigar. First the wine,

Sniff – Shoot! No distinguished aromas; not surprise when you are
subjected to sipping out of a cup. Yes, you read correctly (don’t ask). I dig in deeper, inhaling, eyes are closed, concentrating; there are slight hint of prunes and plums aromas. This tasting is going to be a struggle.

Taste – medium-full bodied with a slight spicy finish and firm tannins. It’s OK. Even though, my current drinking vessel (Yes, I surprised myself referring to the cup as a vessel; reading too much of Amoxes short stories. Another project on the way :)) is not prime and based upon past experience of consuming wine in a cup, which did not hinder aromas or flavors, I have to give Dark Horse an overall rating of BORING.


We have the pleasure of seeing how well Dark Horse pairs with a cigar. This evening we have selected a Perdomo Factory Tour Blend cigar.

The wrapper has chocolate aromas. The beginning taste: medium-bodied with lingering walnut flavors. Half-way through my husband picks up grassy flavors and three-quarters into my cigar the nutty flavors continues. Paired with the Dark Horse, the Perdomo Factory Tour Blend cigar has a slight sweet aroma and taste.



Next in the “6 for $60 Challenge is Naked Grape (fingers crossed) I’m getting tired of drinking mediocre wine.

Wine #4 – The Naked Grape, Pinot Noir

12767245_10206339275977122_2079598310_nBefore I begin the tasting, I want to give a quick lesson on foil cutting. Please do not butcher the foil. The knife on the corkscrew is not there to pick the foil into little pieces until the cork is exposed. It’s really simple. Run the knife around the top of the bottle (mouth/opening) in a circular motion and WA-LA! The foil cap is evenly removed, exposing the cork. If your corkscrew does not have a knife, use the tip of the screw and run it around the top of bottle neck. In addition, there is not a need to remove ALL the foil from the bottle. 🙂



Naked Grape‘s texture is thin, bold spicy aromas and fruity flavors that taste like “grapey water” (not sure “grapey” is a word but it describes the wine perfectly). I actually taste water. Long tannins rest on the back of my palate.

Second sip, I’m not able to appreciate this wine, watery. No fruit flavors but posses a long tannic finish.

Third sip, twenty minutes later…. no change. Naked Grape is a light-bodied red wine. I’m not going to say it is good for a novice red wine drinker. I do not want Naked Grape, Pinot Noir representing red wine for beginners.

AMATEURISH. It makes me wonder about the winemaker’s experience. I imagined if I produced wine (having no experience) this is what my wine would taste like as a beginner.

The winning question:
Me: “How does it pair with pizza?”
Husband: “It does not make much difference; it literally doesn’t change”.

Overall: Naked Grape has the perfect name, “Naked from possessing any flavors or complexity”. NEXT!


DISCLAIMER: Please remember the reviews on my blog/website are my personal opinion. I encourage you challenge yourself and taste wines outside of your comfort zone. Any dislikes are no reflection of the winery/vineyard. Merely, I’m may not able to appreciate a wine at the time of the tasting. SEE Main DISCLAIMER NOTICE on HOME and TREEVINO pages.

Salute! Sante’!


“Six for Sixty Challenge, the Quest for Goodness”

One of my favorite domestic chores is grocery shopping online at Harris Teeter with curbside pick-up (perfect for this freezing weather). I have reached the wine section and BAM! Harris Teeter is having a BIG WINE SALE! There are so many delicious wines on sale. What really surprises me is the number of wines sold for under $10.00.




I wonder, vineyards who sell their wines for under $10 are they advertising to the pubic that the wines are not worth more or are they dedicated to producing affordable wines; wanting everyone from the novice to the Master to enjoy their wines. Goodness, I hope it’s the latter.

One vineyard, Rex-Goliath wines are cheap; the regular price is under $10.00.

OMG! Manischewitz Concord Grape wine is still on the market. I remember this wine when I was a school girl. My mother drank Manishewitz calling it her medicine.



Curiosity was becoming the best of meand I had to see if any of these wines were good. So, I developed the “Harris Teeter Six for Sixty (6 for $60) Challenge, the Quest for Goodness”.


The wine must be $10 or less before taxes;
 It must be a wine I have never tasted. By the way, there are certain wines I refuse to place upon my lips. For instance, Yellow Tail, Menage Trios, Cupcake and Barefoot to name a few;
 Different varieties and
 Two wines can not be from the same vineyard.

The selection process was very difficult. Following are the wines chosen for the challenge:

1. Rex-Goliath Shiraz
2. HandCraft Petit Syrah
3. Redwood Creek Malbec
4. Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
5. Naked Grape Pinot Noir
6. Jacob Creek Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

To prevent this blog from turning into a short story, I will break up this experiment into three parts.


The first and second wines in the 6 for $60 challenge are:

Wine #1 – 2013 Jacob Creek – Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon blend


Aromas – prunes, black fruit and earthy aromas; there is a slight mineral on the nose. I’m getting excited. Swirling, mouth is watering, time to taste.

Taste – juicy medium-bodied, smoky with firm tannins; this South Australian wine has potential.

For the third time, the husband has said,“this is good.” I sip and nod in agreement.

Now that my palate is coated with Ghirardelli dark chocolate and wine, I have created a delicious rich chocolate cake. Yummm.

This is a good everyday drinking wine. We will definitely purchase Jacob Creek in the future. GOOD JOB Jacob Creek!


Wine #2 – HANDCRAFT – Happy Pre-Valentine’s Day

I’ve been baking Valentine’s Day treats and, of course, licking the spoon (trust me, they taste better than they look :)) and drinking water was not enough to cleanse my palate. All I taste are cocoa powder and blackberries.


There is a noticeable difference from a wine directly from the vineyard and a store bought wine. I wish there was a way to know how long a bottle of wine has been sitting on the shelf.

This wine needs additional breathing time and it’s time to change the glass. My husband filled the glass a tab bit to high and the aerator was not utilized, which in my opinion has a significant impact on the taste. Okay, lets start this tasting over.


Sniff – Black pepper, smoky and black fruit aromas.

Taste – Before and after aerating, the husband picked up flavors of black licorice and plums. I too taste a multiple of flavors: prunes, plums, black fruit, black pepper with a hint of black licorice. The second and third sips are producing smoky flavors.

Yes, much better! Smoky, deep dark chocolate and black fruit; not bad or maybe its those delicious Valentine’s Day treats. Either way, HANDCRAFT you are TASTY!

We are on a roll. I can not wait to see what wine number three has to offer.


Salute! Sante’

“No Water, Please!”

Annual Reminder

Anyone who has been wine tasting with me or casually enjoying a glass, okay, a BOTTLE of wine, knows my pet peeve is pouring water in between wines. Folks, this is a BIG NO-NO!

An experience tasting room clerk will know better and rinse your glass with a white wine, usually it is Chardonnay. If you are lucky your glass will be rinsed with Viognier :). If the tasting room clerk has not learned this taboo practice, KINDLY, place your hand over the glass and say, “I prefer a white wine rinse or a new glass.” If she gives you that “How dare you stare” or a bizarre look, further explain WITH A SMILE, “when you rinse with water, it always leaves remnants of water in the glass and I am left with diluted wine”. Depending on the vineyard’s wine inventory, the tasting room clerk may simply change your glass; make sure you say THANK YOU; even if she gives you the evil eye.

Taylor funny eyes
I’ve been preaching “No Water Please” for years and I continue to observe tasting room clerks committing this blasphemy. Ok, not a blasphemy act, but close to it. Who wants to sip diluted wine? NOT MUAH! Unless… you are a wine novice, eagerly wanting to appreciate red wine. I observe this ritual at a party.

The host had a bowl of ice near the red and white wine. The white wine was being chilled in an ice bucket. For a quick moment, I became puzzled than discounted the thought. She had a nice selection of wines; the wines that caught my attention were Bogle Merlot, Yalumba Viognier, which I love, specifically their Organic Viognier, DELICIOUS! I, of course, poured a glass of the Yalumba Viognier.

Later, I witnessed a young woman placing ice cubes in her glass and pouring herself a glass of red wine. My lips were silent but my facial expression must have spoken a thousand words of distressed because I was asked by a gentleman, who was smiling, “You don’t like ice cubes?” I quickly replied, “Not at all!” This exchange caught the young woman’s attention, who proceeded to explain that she puts ice in ALL her drinks, not just wine. Based on her swift response, this was not the first time someone has questioned her practice. She just likes ice. I suggested frozen grapes for wine and ventured on my way.

Now, I know there are many wine drinkers who prefer ice in their wine, especially during the hot weather. To this day, I still do not understand this preference. How can you truly express you appreciate wine when it has been diluted? So to my diluted wine drinkers, instead of using ice cubes, may I offer a suggestion to replace your ice with frozen grapes: red wine = red grapes and white wine = white grapes. Grapes are in season the entire year, so they isn’t any reason try it.


cigar: Alec Bradley American (medium bodied). cigar-holder: Tobaccology cigar shop & lounge located at Haymarket & Manasssas, VA


I hope you enjoyed this annual reminder of “NO WATER PLEASE!” Check out my original post on and search “water”.

Salute! Sante’!