Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fun and Savory Selections To Kick Off The New Year!

We know European wines, particularly French, can be intimidating. Believe me, I get it! Unfortunately you do need to know a little about European geography to comprehend the labels. You don't need to know a ton but some. And we hope to teach you a little to make it less daunting because many European wines are just fantastic. Seriously! See some of them below, including the Brunello we just scored!

2007 Domain d'Andezon Côtes-du-Rhône, France. When you hear Côtes-du-Rhône, an area in southern France, you should automatically think of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre, usually the main grapes that comprise red Côtes-du-Rhône. This is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache. The Syrah is from 40 year-old vines, and Grenache is from 60 year-old vines. It has a lovely texture and fuller body than most Côtes-du-Rhônes. A real blockbuster! Believe it or not, in '94 this wine was sold in bulk which we refer to as "vinous suicide." It was "saved" by a US wine distributor who added it to his portfolio and where it has remained a core item for him and us. Whew - that was a close one! ($12.99)

2008 La Châsse du Pape Côtes du Rhône, France. This wine should be an easy one. It's also from Côtes-du-Rhône, made by La Chasse du Pape, and is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanche and Roussane. (Did you get all that?) Just like the red, one of the main grapes in white Côtes-du-Rhône is Grenache Blanc. This fruity, well-balanced, white Côtes du Rhône offers a delicate nose with aromas of white flowers, fresh lemon and grapefruit. Delicious on its own, it is also great with shellfish, grilled seafood and salads! ($12.99)

2008 Zum Martin Sepp Zweigelt, Austria. Zweigelt is a red grape, and is the most widely grown grape in Austria. Zweigelt, a hybrid grape created from St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch (Blue Franc), was developed in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt. It takes the best qualities of its parent grapes. This Zweigelt is a great representation of Austria's most well-known red. Rich cherry, gamey and earthy aromas lead to bright cherry flavors and a soft, light-bodied feel on the palate. A fun label (see left) makes it a hit anywhere it goes. ($15.99 for 1 Liter)

2008 Pietra Majella Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy. Try the wine that cured the disease of hunger, "la scabbia della fame!" According to a Greek historian, Annibale, his horses and soldiers were dying from "la scabbia della fame," but once they drank this wine they were cured. Warm and dry with pronounced wild cherry and raspberry flavors, this red wine is full of life! The enticing bouquet fills your glass and is incredibly peppery with a clean finish. If you like Merlot, try this wine for a pleasing and spicy change. ($9.99)

2001 Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino. With only 700 cases made and even less shipped to the US this is a wine to snap up quickly because honestly there isn't much around. Gianni is an iconic figure in Italian winemaking. He has been making his wine since 1989 and is renowned for his Brunellos and Rosso di Montalcino. This Brunello was aged in oak for almost three years before being bottled in 2005. Just had it again tonight and it is great, classic Brunello. It needs some aeration time but then the red berry aromas lift up the glass beautifully, while in the mouth loads of spice, black cherry and pepper are abound. A Wine Spectator 91 pointer, I would wait at least another year before opening. ($67.99)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ring In The New Year With These Sparkling Suggestions!

Only a few days remain until we bid farewell to 2009 and welcome a fresh start to a new year. While we wave goodbye with one hand, we will certainly hold a glass of bubbly in the other.

With that in mind we developed a list of bubblies that will help make your New Year's Eve fun. Since sparklers are great food wines, we give pairing ideas too so you can also begin the evening with some bubbly.

Sparkling wine is typically thought of as a special occasion wine. That simply should not be. Bubblies, as we call them, are great to pair with food and for that reason should be considered a main wine at any happening that has food, including New Year's Eve celebrations. But why?

Sparklers usually have higher acid levels than still wines and are great options for foods of high acidity (ie., salads in balsamic dressings, prosciutto).

Sparklers cleanse the palate when having with high fat foods (ie. cheeses, quiche, deep fried foods), and cut through the fat nicely.
On the contrary, sparklers are not good usually for pairing with fruit. A fruit's sweetness usually clashes with a sparkler's acidity.

Cheese is an easy food for sparklers - try hard ones - Manchego or Parmigiano Reggiano or soft ones - Brie or Camembert.

Enjoy our bubbly suggestions!

Jean Francois Merieu, Loire Valley, France ($18.99): Not Champagne but from the Loire Valley, this dry sparkler is mostly Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Divine and our first choice after Champagne, this bubbly has a bright nose of apples and pears with hints of citrus.

Perrier Jouet Fleur Brut Champagne 2000 ($153.99): This is a specialty sparkler that is one to impress and proves true time and time again. Doesn't hurt that it rates 94 points. Perrier Jouet is a producer that's most known for its "flower bottle," one of Champagne's most recognizable designs.

1+1=3 Cava Brut, Spain ($15.99): This Spanish sparkler has smooth, dry, citrus fruit flavors that make it a great alternative to Champagne.

Grandial Brut, France ($10.99): If you want something from France but can't do the price of Champagne this should be your choice for a dry bubbly. This surprised us and others recently who had it at an in-home wine tasting.

Thierry Triolet a Bethon Brut Champagne ($37.99): Delicious yeast on the nose & palate, this Champagne has a mouth feel of golden delicious apples & fresh baked bread. You can't expect a better Champagne for the money!

Jacquart Rose Mosaique 1999 Champagne ($57.99): From the famed Champagne house, Jacquart, this Rose is lovely with soft notes of cranberries, raspberries & dried bread. The perfect Brut!

Carpene Malvolti Prosecco, Italy ($16.99): About an hour drive from Venice, Carpene Malvolti is a leader in Prosecco production. This dry Italian sparkler has delicate, fresh pear notes that end in a full, pleasant finish. Our Prosecco of choice for 2009's end.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wonderful Winter Wines

2007 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay, Oregon. This wine is crafted of grapes from three vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains, Oregon. It's stainless steel fermented to retain the fruit's purity, flavors and aromas and then sits a little in neutral French oak to augment textural richness and create a more balanced and complex wine. It is truly delicious!! ($22.99)

2006 Milbrandt Traditions Merlot, Washington State. Washington State has been continuously producing top notch wines, and this Wahluke Slope Merlot is another to put on the list. Mostly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Barbera produce rich aromas of ripe plums, cherries, toasted oak and blackberries. ($16.49)

2006 Zin 91 Old Vine Zinfandel, CA. A recent Wine Club selections, this Old Vine Zinfandel was sourced from an exceptional vineyard in California's Dry Creek. The wine is well structured with a unique resinous pepper-spice. The ripe, full bodied, juicy character of red raspberry marries nicely with the more supple dark plum and cherry flavors. A fantastic wine for the winter season. ($14.99)

2008 Ferraton Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, France. The Ferraton Crozes-Hermitage Blanc is made from 100% Marsanne a unique white grape that is in white Cotes du Rhone. It delivers aromas of acacia, fresh flowers and roasted almonds while the palate is soft with a great minerality and an offering of white peach. Not something you see everyday, but this is truly a magnificent bottle of wine. ($19.99)

2007 Ferraton Cotes du Rhone Villages, France.This wine is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah; it offers aromas of lavender, black currants, licorice, and spice. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannins, it has a beautiful purity and long finish. It can be consumed now or will improve with 3-4 years aging as well. A sleeper of the vintage and a real staff favorite!! ($14.99)

Wine Festival Yields Forty Thousand Meals for t... | MyPRGenie

Wine Festival Yields Forty Thousand Meals for t... | MyPRGenie