Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wine Tip of the Week - Give Thanks for... and with... Pinot Noir

Now that the Jack-o-Lantern is shriveled and in the compost heap, it is time to start planning for your Thanksgiving shindig or choosing a wine to take to someone else's feast.
The typical Thanksgiving day spread is a myriad of wonderful foods with a myriad of different and (mostly) wonderful flavors.  Your meal will very likely consist of the classics - Turkey (have you tried deep fried...awesome - but be careful!!!), ham, stuffing, cranberry, sweet potatoes, gravy, various salads from recipes old and new. These are all delicious foods, but they can present quite a challenge when trying to select one wine to hang in with so many different flavor profiles. Turkey and ham have both fairly mellow flavors; stuffing will have various herbs, spices, nuts, oysters; sweet potatoes may have a sugary sweet glaze; gravy may be from the "extra" bits of the turkey and have a slightly gamy aspect.

A nice fruity, lighter bodied Pinot Noir from Oregon or California can provide an excellent option that will pair nicely with just about all the flavors that your feast provides.  The key aspects of a lighter bodied Pinot Noir is that the fruit flavor will have a perceived sweetness (typically not actual sugary sweetness - read more), and Pinot Noir wines are fairly high in acidity. A little sweetness and a little acid will help complement and not clash with most dishes - provided they are not dessert level sweetness (beware that canned fruit cocktail salad!). 

While you guests are waiting for dinner and your Pinot Noir is chilling to the right serving temperature (55-ish degrees), severing some sparkling wine provides a nice palate cleanser, and would go nicely with some light appetizers to keep those big appetites at bay!  Try a Spanish Cava as a nice, value priced alternative to Champagne or California Sparkling.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red - 1994 R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia

López de Heredia is one of my favorite wineries in Rioja.  They age their wines beyond the requirements of the Rioja wine region.  Their white Rioja (Rioja blanco) is one of my favorite white wines of all time. Today's gem stowed away in our luggage from our last trip to Spain, and I'm soooo glad it did!  We stopped by just to pick up a few bottles, and were lucky enough to find some Gran Reserva level wine available. A splurge wine price point, but some wines are just worth it... let's see if this one is!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - German White - 2013 Weingut Geil Riesling Kabinett

If you keep only one wine on hand, I suggest a dry or off-dry Riesling.  A great pairing for many types of foods - seafood, lighter pastas, and oh, ever seen the smoked gouda pasta salad at Whole Foods?  Try it with a Riesling and prepare to be amazed!  Today's wine is a Kabinett level from the Rheinhessen region of Germany.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - French Red - 2011 Cave de Tain l'Hermitage Crozes-Hermitage Les Nobles Rives

I don't drink a lot of French wines for no other reason than I don't know or read as much about French wine as I do wines from America and Spain. But when I do drink French wines, some of my favs are from Crozes-Hermitage. Syrah based wines that are from very close to where the super-expensive Hermitage wines are made, but available at closer to $20 than $100 or more.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red - 2011 Bodegas Surco Ribera del Duero Quintana de Cue Crianza

My enamored feelings about the Total Wine & More store I frequent is beginning to wane.  At first it was the Disneyland of wine stores... row after row of wine, wine, wine (oh and some spirits and beer as well). But after shopping there for years now, I begin to see the variety does not change frequently.  Adding to my displeasure is the fact that the aisle of Spanish wine is slowly shrinking, with Rosés from around the world now encroaching on at least 25% on my favorite wine country...  However, during my last trip I did see a new Ribero del Duero at $20... so I had to give it a try! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Check Out this Great Blog Post!

Great blog post from Uncorked Ventures on the future of wine in america. Check out the article and also check out Uncorked Ventures -  The Best of Wine Country!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - South American Red - 2012 Pisano Tannat Reserva Personal de la Familia

Tannat is to Uruguay as Malbec is to Argentina... sort of... I bet you've at least heard of, and probably even tried quite a few Argentinian Malbecs. But how many Tannats have you tried?   Chances are you've tried exactly none.  Tannat is not as easy drinking or food friendly as Malbec, but if you are looking for something different - and aren't afraid of a big tannic monster of a wine - seek one out! Today's wine is a 100% Tannat from Pisano, who also makes a number of blends using Tannat.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Italian Red - 2011 One True Vine If You See Kay

Sometimes it's just about the name and the label.  Should I factor in more when picking out a wine... probably... but sometimes it's just about the name and the label. Say the name of this wine out loud and see if you agree!

Let's drink!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - California Red - 2013 Rhythm Wine Co Lagrein

Today's wine is very interesting for two key reasons. First up is the grape used - Lagrein.  This grape is very unusual to see outside of its main home in Italy's Alto Adige region.  The grape can be tough to grow, often producing irregular yields year to year. It can also produce harsh, overly tannic wines.  See why not many people want to tangle with this grape?

The second interesting aspect of the wine is the winemaker. Jasper Dickson is very young, and his Rhythm Wine label is more of a side project, producing only about 400 cases per year.  He makes only two wines, this Lagrein and a Syrah.  Enough wine geek-speak...let's drink!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red - 2004 Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva

Since our trip to Spain last year when we spent a few great days in the Rioja Alavesa area (the Basque portion of Rioja), I have been very intrigued with wineries from this area, producing wines with grapes purely from this area. Historically, grapes from the Alavesa sub-region have been blended with grapes from Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. In this case, a Gran Reserva level Rioja for only $35 only added to the intrigue.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Argentina Red - 2012 Fabre Montmayou Malbec Phebus Gran Reserva

The term "Gran Reserva" on a wine bottle makes me think of the oldest and the best that a winery has to offer.  Even though the definition of the term varies between Spain (means 5 years of aging for a red wine) and Argentina (means 2 years of aging), the general concept of the longest aged wine, typically with the best grapes that will benefit from extended aging - is the same.  Today I'll be tasting an Argentinian Gran Reserva Malbec from Phebus winery in Mendoza.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - California Red - 2011 Oak Ridge Ancient Vine Reserve Zinfandel

This week's wine is a Zinfandel from Oak Ridge - who bottle a "regular" Zin, as well as this Reserve-level wine. The promise of ancient vines makes me think of a big, delicious, jammy California wine... let's see if this wine delivers!