Thursday, February 11, 2016

Weekly Wine Review - French Red - 2011 Joel Robuchon Selection Chateauneuf du Pape

During a recent trip to Southern California, my wife and I needed to buy a couple bottles of wine to take to a dinner party.  We were in the 'hood of the Santa Anita mall, but I told my wife we'd never find good wine at the mall.  We ended up at a great little place called the Bottle Shop in Sierra Madre, and bought a couple of great wines. 

Before the dinner, I got a call from my wife's cousin - Chef Claud Beltran, our host for the dinner party - offering to let me hang as he figured out the dinner for the night.  He picked me up and told me he needed to make a quick stop, but he'd thought I'd like it.  Guess where we went...times up.... the Santa Anita Mall.  Wing Hop Fung is an Asian store at the mall, stocked with all sorts of herbs, gifts, dishes, more herbs... and oh... a SHITLOAD of wine.  So much for my mall snobbery!  There was a glass enclosure in the middle that must have contained a few million dollars in wine.  Sassicaia, Screaming Eagle, Petrous, Lafite Rothschild, La Tour, DRC - a dream collection of wine... at the mall!!!  I didn't have the big bucks to shop in the enclosure, but did come across this wine with a familiar name - Chef Joël Robouchon's Chateauneuf du Pape with the fine folks at Paul Jaboulet Aine.  If the name goes on a $500 tasting menu in Las Vegas, the wine should be good, right?  Well let's see!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Weekly Wine Review - Napa Red - 2013 Freemark Abbey Fiftieth Reserve

I worked late on a Friday night (ok only 5p, but that's late for a Friday!!!), so we decided to stroll to our local Steakhouse instead of worrying about cooking.  We hadn't been there in a while, and the first thing I noticed was their wine list had definitely shrunk.  This makes me sad, but I picked a wine that looked good.  A few minutes later... we don't have that one.  OK, perusing the list again (I am adverse to accepting the servers suggestion without another look at the list. Alright, second choice submitted.  A few minutes later ... steeeee-rike two!  But another server had brought over this wine, and it was intriguing. A special 50th Super Bowl wine by Freemark Abbey... let's do it!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Weekly Wine Review - California Red - 2013 Daou Reserve Zinfandel

Next time you're in Paso Robles California, take a trip up to the top of Hidden Mountain Road (don't worry, it's not that hidden) to Daou Vineyards.  Great view, great wine, great food pairings. We have been wine club members for years, and always enjoy our visits.
Today, let's try a taste of Daou's 2013 Reserve Zinfandel. If we close our eyes, we can pretend we are there right now... happy and sipping! Confession... I meant to grab the 2012, but accidentally grabbed the 2013 which I just received from my wine club shipment.... damn!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Arizona Red - 2012 Caduceus Nagual de La Naga

A Super Tuscan style wine from Arizona? Why not.  This beauty is from Graham County in southeastern Arizona.  Caduceus makes some serious wines... good wines, not just "good wine for Arizona."  Maynard Keenan from the band Tool is the winemaker... so their is a good chance it rocks!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Argentinian Red - 2011 Finca Flichman Dedicado

I am a big fan of Finca Flichman Malbecs.  Great tasting - and great value wines, many at around $15.  They also make a line of Malbec based blends, including this one with Cabernet and Syrah - called Dedicado. It even comes with special instructions on the back label - "Uncork a good while before drinking"... I love it!

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.