Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava (Brut) Wine Review

So here it is NYE eve and the final Wine Wednesday of 2015. For this year’s bubbly I’ve decided to go with Cava - Spain’s take on French Champagne.  As you likely know, only wine from the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne. What’s interesting about Cava is that the same method is used to produce it (secondary fermentation) - Méthode Champenoise in Champagne. In Spain and with Cava it is referred to as Método Tradicional. 

What is different is the grape varietals used.  The three varietals for Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and  Pinot Meunier the last two being dark skinned grapes.  With Cava the primary varietals used are native to Spain, Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Paellada all of which are white skinned grapes.  Today’s feature the Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad (Brut) is comprised of 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada and comes from Penedes, Spain near Barcelona.

You’ve likely had Cava before but may or may not have been aware of it.  Many are quite inexpensive. Cava ranges from sweet to dry just like Champagne and the more inexpensive ones tend to be the sweeter ones. This Cava is a brut which is dry (brut nature being the driest). There’s a tendency to want to compare Cava to Champagne but to me they are distinctly different and equally enjoyable though Cava tends to be more economically friendly making it a great NYE choice especially if you’ll be raising a glass with several guests.  This quality Cava was priced at $19.99. It is labeled as Reserva which means it was aged for a minimum of 15 months (though this particular one was aged for 30 months). The grapes were all harvested by hand and the riddling (turning of bottles during secondary fermentation) was also done by hand.

The bottle is quite striking which also makes it a great host/hostess gift and what’s inside lives up to the presentation. On the nose, tropical fruit (mango) and also pear with a hint of fresh baked bread.  On the palate an abundant amount of bubbles just a hint of sweetness, apple and lemon/lime. The finish is crisp and dry.  Of course this is great by itself for the midnight toast but if you prefer your bubbly with dinner the wonderful acidity here makes it a great pairing with a creamy pasta dish like Prosciutto Pasta Roulade or Scallops with Fettuccine Alfredo. Próspero Año Nuevo! Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

La Pincoya Sauvignon Blanc (2014) Wine Review

What is the most popular wine grape varietal worldwide? Sometimes I think about that when enjoying a great wine.  What if I had to choose just one varietal to enjoy for the rest of my life, what would it be? Though I doubt it would ever come to that, if I had to make a choice, for me it would be Sauvignon Blanc.  You’ve seen me review several and in general those from the Marlborough region of New Zealand populate the top of my list. Today’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2014 La Pincoya Sauvignon Blanc is a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from the San Antonio Valley region. 

The wine is named after Pincoya a mythological female water spirit of the Chilotan Seas who is believed to control the abundance of fish and seafood to the area with her ritual dance.  If she faces the sea during her dance there will be an abundance and  if she faces the mountains with her back to the sea there will be a shortage. Ironically, or maybe not, this wine is the perfect pairing for fish and seafood.

On the nose, slightly floral with notes of honey and citrus and on the palate, a balanced acidity and also a minerality and herbaceousness - different than the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs - but what will cause me to reach for this one again when wine shopping. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc before and I’m certainly glad I tried this one. I’m reminded how a varietal can vary depending on the terroir and if I was limited to only one varietal I think these differences in time would become even more discernible and pronounced. For recipe pairings try Tempura Fish Tacos and Grilled Shrimp with Wasabi Remoulade. Now, to answer the question I opened with.... the most popular wine grape varietal worldwide is Cabernet Sauvignon followed in second place by Merlot. My favorite, came in at number 8! Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Domaine Pinchot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette (2014) Wine Review

Floral, if you’ve never tried a floral wine, I wish you would. It’s something you have to experience to really grasp, but once you do, you’ll “get it” and if you’re like me you’ll enjoy it from time to time. The Chenin Blanc varietal is a wonderful example. Today’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2014 Domaine Pinchot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette is from the Vouvray (Voo-VRAE) sub-region in the Loire Valley region of France where the primary varietal grown is Chenin Blanc. Thus, a wine labeled as Vouvray is most definitely Chenin Blanc and from this particular region. The grape is widely cultivated in growing regions across the world, but here, they made it famous or perhaps it's the other way around.

If you prefer sweet wines and haven’t tried Vouvray, you may discover a new love. Vouvray comes in many styles ranging from sec (dry) to moelleux (sweet) to even pétillant (sparkling). The Domaine Pinchot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette in my opinion is more of a tendre (off-dry) slightly sweet.  On the nose were hints of pear, honey, citrus (lime) and yes, those floral notes. It had a wonderful slightly silky mouth feel with more than a tease of sweetness on the palate followed by an assertive crisp acidity. If you are new to Vouvray look for a demi-sec (semi-sweet) for your first experience and then venture into your preferred direction but you may find you’re right where you want to be with the demi-sec.

For food pairing try Salmon with Dill Sauce or Salpicao (Brazilian Chicken Salad) To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Zynthesis Old Vine Zinfandel (2013) Wine Review

There seems to be a trend among Lodi winemakers when naming their Zinfandel. It seems the name must include a play on words. For instance you remember “Zinphomaniac” which I featured last week in an episode of Wine and Opine and then there’s the ever popular “7 Deadly Zins”.  

This week I bring you Zynthesis.  It too is a Lodi old vine Zinfandel. The play on words here seems to point to Synthesis (combination, fusion).  Here the wine is predominantly old vine Zinfandel sourced from vines 30 – 100 years old but also the winemaker adds Petite Sirah and depending on the vintage a splash of another varietal.

Here’s a bit of winemaking/labeling info you may or may not know. Labeling laws in the US allow a wine to be listed as a single varietal if it is made up of a minimum of 75% of that varietal. The other 25% can be any other combination of grapes.  Quite often winemakers add other varietals to enhance their wine.  By doing so it can add an element that they feel is missing to make a more desirable wine.

To get the most out of this wine, decant! Yes, decant! Many wines are great right after the pour, but this one needed decanting. In the case of a young wine such as this particular one it made all the difference.  Upon pouring the wine (prior to decanting) I actually found the nose to be somewhat unpleasant. There were notes of smoke and spice also forest floor and leather but the fruit seemed overwhelmed lost in the background somewhere behind the alcohol.  I swirled and sniffed and walked away several times. After about 30 minutes of exposure the wine opened up and delivered a much better experience. Notes of plum, and blackberry came to the forefront and the forest floor disappeared (thankfully). On the palate it was slightly jammy, with delicious raspberry and black pepper notes and light to moderate tannins.

This wine was much better the second and even the third evening.  Again I say, decant.  I tend to want to enjoy a wine right away, but a little patience can make a world of difference.  It made me go from wondering what to do with that second bottle I’d purchased to looking forward to sharing it.

We enjoyed this with pizza (sausage) one night and jambalaya the next and by itself the third night, each night finding it more favorable.

I think it would be wonderful with a raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce over pulled pork as well.To print or save my Jambalaya recipe, click the link below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Buccaneer Back From the Dead Red 2013 Wine Review

A red wig, a buccaneer costume and a bottle of wine!  With Halloween just around the corner, it struck me as the perfect costume/theme for a party, at least for the host or hostess anyway.  I was browsing the wine shop looking for a fun Halloween wine ( of course it would have to be a new world wine because the novelty of the name is part of the party fun) when I saw the 2013 Back From the Dead Red and knew I’d found my wine. This one was plucked from the shelf solely on the merits of its label design.

The label briefly tells the story of Jacquotte Delahaye. My curiosity caused me to dig a little deeper. Jacquotte Delahaye was born in what is now Haiti the daughter of a French father and Haitian mother in the 17th century. Her mother died giving birth to her younger brother who suffered from mental retardation. After the murder of her father, her brother was left in her care. According to legend she became a pirate - a buccaneer in order to support her brother. It is believed she faked her own death, living as a man for several years to escape her enemies. It worked for a while, but eventually her signature red hair gave her away and she became known as “back from the dead red”.  What became of Jacquotte is uncertain. Some believe she died in a shootout. What we do know is that now there is a wine named in her honor.

This offering from The Buccaneer (A label created for Plata Wines to be sold exclusively by BevMo) is a California red blend with grapes sourced from throughout CA. It’s gotta be a red wine for Halloween, right?  A bold red with great legs at that! 15.5% Alc. by Vol.

On the nose were notes of blackberry, cassis, cedar, spice and leather. After time, as it opened up, there was a subtle pleasing hint of caramel. On the palate it was fruit forward, slightly jammy with bold tannins.

As for pairing, after all, it’s Halloween so here are my candy pairings.  Try it with Twix, Snickers, 100 Grand or Rolo. It loves chocolate and the addition of caramel in the candy could really play up the subtle caramel in the wine. For a cheese pairing, it was wonderful with the Smoked Gouda with Bacon cheese I just so happened to have in the fridge.

So, put on a red wig (unless you’re so fortunate as to be a natural red head), a buccaneer costume and pour “Back From the Dead Red”.  Your Halloween 2015 will be off to a great start. 

For a food pairing at your party ( you may have to double or multiply the recipe or serve as sliders) click the link below.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Curious Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Wine Review

Today’s Wine Wednesday feature is the 2014 Curious Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.  I know what some of you are thinking, kiwi fruit must be listed among the tasting notes right?  Actually, it’s not.  In this case, kiwi is a reference to the bird, a national symbol for New Zealand. So important is the bird to New Zealand that New Zealanders have become known internationally as kiwi. The winemakers’ description on the bottle reads, “The curious kiwi loves sticking his beak into an aromatic glass of wine instead of burrowing and digging.”  You see a kiwi is a flightless bird and also the only bird to have nostrils on the end of its beak. They have a keen sense of smell and poke their beaks in the ground sniffing for food.

Well, here’s what my “beak” detected in this Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region. I’m a big fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs and this one is among the finest I’ve tried. On the “beak” or rather the nose, was that wonderful citrus note signature to the Sauvignon Blancs from this region but also subtle apricot or white peach and a grassy or herbal note that I found quite intriguing setting this one apart from some of the others. On the palate a burst of citrus but yet a slightly rounder mouth feel than what I’m accustomed to making it seem a touch more centered than some - a well balanced wine.

The wine store I visited was offering a special on this particular wine, buy one and get the second for 5 cents. Of course I was skeptical that they were for some reason trying to unload a bunch of it.  However, I went for it and I’m excited to say it was a GREAT deal! The wine was $17.99 and the second bottle just 5 cents.

I now see what they were up to, reel me in with the deal and keep me coming back for a great wine.

For food pairing, try with Tempura Fish Tacos or Grilled Swordfish with Lime Crema. To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2011 Morillon Blanc Wine Review

Botrytised is the word of the day on this Wine Wednesday. Botrytised grapes are wine grapes affected by a grey fungus known as “grey rot”. The fungus grows in wet humid conditions and in some cases it can destroy crops.  When the humid conditions are followed by drier cooler weather conditions it can cause the grapes to become partially shriveled or raisined. When picked at a certain time during infestation, the grapes can result in particularly concentrated and intense wines most often sweet dessert wines like Sauternes. In desirable situations like this, the condition has come to be referred to as “noble rot”.

The 2011 Morillon Blanc unlike the typical wines affected by botrytised grapes is a dry wine. This wine comes to us from winemaker Jeff Carrel who doesn’t have a vineyard or a winery.  He buys small parcels of grapes, those for this wine from a special parcel in the Languedoc region in the south of France known as “garde miel” (honey pot) then rents cellar space and make his wines.

This wine is 100% Morillon (another name for Chardonnay) though I find this to be unlike any other Chardonnay I’ve had before. The color, indicative of being made from botrytised grapes, is a deep intense golden color. The nose struck me like aromatherapy, stimulating the senses with floral notes as well as honey, melon and spicy pear. The wine starts slightly sweet on the tongue followed by a silky round mouth feel then a juicy delightful acidity as you swallow followed by a long finish with lingering notes on the top of your palate of toffee and caramel. The evolution in the tasting of this wine was really quite exciting – what an adventure! Each time I went back new notes seemed to present themselves.

Because of the nature of this wine, though it is a white wine, I would consider it a full-bodied wine.  Try with strong cheeses and creamy pasta dishes like my Prosciutto Pasta Roulade or Scallops with Fettuccine Alfredo. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Domaine de la Fruitière Muscadet Sèvre & Maine sur lie “Gneiss de Bel Abord” - 2014 Wine Review

Sur Lie, French for “on lees” is something I learned more about because of this week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2014 Domaine de la Fruitière Muscadet Sèvre & Maine sur lie “Gneiss de Bel Abord”. I’ve been exploring Muscadet and it was the mouthfeel of this one that stood out, For a light bodied wine, it had a noticeably round, silky, more viscous mouthfeel than others I’ve had -  giving it more structure and making it quite pleasing. Aging sur lie is quite common with Muscadet, but it was this particular Muscadet that caused me to take notice.

In winemaking, sur lie means that the wine is aged on its lees (grape or yeast). In this case, the lees are yeast particles that settle to the bottom of the vat.  During this process the yeast particles break down releasing sugars and proteins that interact with the wine chemistry. This can enhance the structure as well as the aromas and flavors of the wine. This wine, was aged on the lees or “sur lie” for 5 months.

From the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Appellation (between the Sèvre and Maine rivers) in the Loire Valley of France, the wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne.  On the nose -  slightly floral (orange blossom)  salinity and minerality.  On the palate, silky giving way to a crisp acidity with a lingering finish. We enjoyed this with Pan Sautéed Halibut seasoned lightly with salt, pepper and paprika over a wild rice medley and a side of grilled asparagus. Enjoy as an aperitif and with a Grilled shrimp cocktail or with Clams alla Puttanesca. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fragile Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes Rosé - 2014 Wine Review

Fragile? My eye! This week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2014 Fragile Rosé Vin de Pays (Vin de Pays is a step in the French wine classification above table wine) des Cotes Catalanes (Languedoc-Roussillian region of Southern France) reminds me that looks can be deceiving. Of course, by the name and pretty pink color (the hue that lines a prize sea shell found when combing a secluded beach), I was expecting something light, delicate and refreshing.

First off, it took me a minute to ponder just how to open it.  I loved the fact that I could see the cork and the text on it through the bottle - fun.  At first I thought it may be a zork closure, but that quickly proved incorrect.  So, what else could I do, I started in with the corkscrew through the black plastic cap.  As it went in, the black cracked and fell away from the bottle – perhaps that’s the fragile part in all of this.

I had chilled this blend ( predominantly Grenache with a little Syrah and Carignan) as is preferred with rosè,  and swirled at first with little hint of anything on the nose.  After a little time there was a nice salinity (or was it just me thinking about sea shells) and subtle watermelon as well as strawberry, but the strawberries were how they smell just after picking, where the scent of the soil and the vines are still present. The salinity is likely due to the sea breezes from the Mediterranean coast and not just my imagination.

On the palate, fruit forward and slightly sweet on the tip of the tongue giving way to a crisp acidic and mineral finish. The finish was moderate in length but then I felt that warmth, you know the kind you get from a big red wine, the kind that usually accompanies a wine with high alcohol content. This caused me to check the label. 15.3% alcohol by volume.  Wow, not what I’m used to in  rosé. This one could sneak up on you.  The wine could benefit from decanting and once allowed to open up, as expected, it became more aromatic.

I usually would suggest a rosè as an apéritif or with lighter fare, but the alcohol content here prescribes something a little bolder.  An exception may be Garden Fresh Guacamole. The fatty avocado could be a lovely contrast. Try also with Pan Fried Pork Chops with Chismol or Pimento Cheese Mac ‘n Cheese. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yalumba "Y Series" Unwooded Chardonnay - 2013 Wine Review

It was back in June when I reviewed the 2012 Yalumba “Y Series” Shiraz and vowed that I'd try their Viognier. Well, I haven’t gotten to that yet, but I will. Yalumba is Australia’s oldest winery and because I so enjoyed the Shiraz it prompted me to pick up a bottle of today’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2013 Yalumba “Y Series” Unwooded Chardonnay.  Yes, Unwooded, another term for unoaked or to say that the wine was aged in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels.

For many years I was sort of an “anything but Chardonnay” white wine drinker mostly because many Chardonnay’s were too toasty or over oaked for my taste. The finish always made me feel as though I’d licked the barrel sans the splinters.  Discovering an unoaked Chardonnay was a big deal for me.  I felt I could finely taste the true expression of the fruit itself. Over time I’ve expanded my taste for Chardonnay and can now appreciate that the type of oak used and the amount of time aged in oak (sometimes both oak and stainless) can make for some very delicious and intriguing wines.  However, I still prefer a bit of restraint when it comes to oak and Chardonnay.

About the label, the bird is a Cape Barren Goose -  an endangered species. Over the years, many birds and animals have sought refuge in Yalumba’s sanctuary – land dedicated to native wildlife rehabilitation.  Yalumba’s focus on sustainability is something I respect. Yalubma is the first wine company in the world to recieve the Climate Protection Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency (2007). All Yalumba wines are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Now, the wine. On the nose, herbal and tropical fruit notes as well as pear. In many ways, this doesn't "drink like a Chardonnay" even an unwooded one. Its bright acidity and assertive citrus notes on the palate are refreshing and enjoyable, but the wine is a bit lighter bodied and more "one note" than what I'm looking for in my Chardonnay these days.

The price point on the wine, at about $12, makes for an enjoyable weeknight wine. So, I have no regrets. If you tend to shy away from Chardonnay because you think they are over oaked, this wine is a great place to start if you're interested in changing your view of Chardonnay.

We had this with Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps and it was perfect with the Asian flavors. Also try it with Tempura Fish Tacos. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Féraud – Brunel Côtes du Rhone Villages Rasteau 2010 Wine Review

Here it is mid August and I’m already thinking about fall.   I see my adored Le Creuset pot looking kind of lonely on the shelf, I taste this week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2010 Féraud – Brunel Côtes du Rhone Villages Rasteau and I’m suddenly longing for braised meats and stews.

This red wine from the Southern Rhone Valley of France is a blend of largely Grenache. AOC guidelines for Côtes du Rhone (pronounced Coat – dew- roan) Villages require wines to be at least 50% Grenache and contain a minimum of 20% Syrah or Mourvedre.  They may contain up to 20% of other permitted varietals.  Wines must also have a minimum alcohol content of 12%.

This particular wine is 14% alcohol by volume, visible in the lovely legs I noticed as I observed its deep purple color. 

On the nose - blackberry, dark fruit and baking spice, with specifically a hint of clove.  On the palate, full bodied, velvety, fruit forward with light tannins and a wonderful spice on the finish though more pepper like here than baking spice.

Though the wine has light tannins, with the higher alcohol content, I would avoid lighter dishes like fish, (even salmon or tuna), seafood or salads.  Beyond that, it’s quite versatile and can handle some spice. Try with a wonderful harvest stew like my slow cooker Bouja, a Cajun Filet or even  Chipotle Chili Sloppy Joes.  I think it would be wonderful with venison too for my deer hunting friends. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

L’Arco Rosso del Veronese - 2010 Wine Review

Valpolicella (sounds like Vahl - poe - lee - CHELL - ah) is a viticultural zone of the province of Verona Italy (North Eastern corner) and this week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2010 L’Arco Rosso del Veronese is considered a Valpolicella blend.  The Valpolicella blend is based on three red wine grape varietals, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Along with these three key varietals in the blend, Valpolicella wines may also contain up to 15% of other red varieties grown in the province.

Corvina usually makes up most of the blend, up to 75%. The corvinone  grape, a relative, is allowed to take up to 50% of Corvina’s proportion.  This wine is a blend of 50% Corvina and Corvinone, 30% Rondinella,15% Sangiovese Grosso and 5% Molinara.

This medium bodied dry wine is a deep garnet color.  On the nose, raspberry, cherry and blueberry with an earthiness turning to tobacco notes that linger momentarily on the upper palate once you swallow. On the palate, ripe tart cherry fruit with sturdy tannins.

We enjoyed this with Grilled Pork Chops over Savory Whipped Sweet Potatoes one night and Cedar Plank Spice Rubbed Salmon the next. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kim Crawford Spitfire Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Being a long time fan of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, when I saw the 2013 small parcels single vineyard “Spitfire” I couldn’t resist.  Though I have to admit, I did pause a minute to think about the purchase.  At almost double the price of what I know and love from them, I wondered could they make it better, would it justify the price?

From the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the name Spitfire, is likely a nod to the World War II aircraft of the same name and the grapes for this wine were grown on what was formerly an air force training base.

The color, was a beautiful straw yellow. On the nose,  it was more complex than what I'm used to with peach, tropical fruit and spice, a more prevalent minerality,  less grapefruit and subtle grassy notes.

On the palate, it seemed sturdier - a bit reigned in. This however is not a bad thing. The structure was noticeable and worth a few extra dollars by itself.  I loved how the wine evolved. The complexity was on the palate as well.  In addition to minerality and citrus notes, there was an herbal or almost green bell pepper note – like when the growing season has been dry and green pepper wants to be hot, but not as hot as a jalapeno or Serrano, just hot for a green bell pepper - a hint of that was most enjoyable.

If you enjoy Kim Crawford, I’d invite you to A/B these two wines.  It was great fun and yes, justified the price. It’s not to say this has replaced the other for me, it’s not necessarily better, just a different experience that I’m anxious to repeat.

We enjoyed this with Grilled Swordfish with Summer Succotash.  I also think it would be great with Lobster Risotto. To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2010 Chateau Arnaud Bordeaux Supérieur

Because I tend to have an affinity for blends, it would only seem natural that my curiosity for wine would ultimately gravitate toward Bordeaux – perhaps it should have started there. So for the second week in a row, I'll share a Bordeaux. Bordeaux wines after all, for the most part, are inherently blends either red or white.  Red Bordeaux are generally either predominantly Merlot or predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon.  Those that are predominantly Merlot are considered “right bank” and those predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon are considered “left bank”. 

The main river in Bordeaux is the Gironde.  Two smaller rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne, feed into it. Together, the rivers are shaped almost like an upside-down Y. If you're standing in Bordeaux facing west, toward the ocean, the "Left Bank" is south of the Garonne and Gironde rivers, and the "Right Bank" is north of the Dordogne and Gironde Rivers. (The area in between is known as Entre-Deux-Mers.)

The left bank vineyards are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and the right by Merlot. It should be mentioned that other varietals that can be added to red Bordeaux wines in addition to Cabermet Sauvigon and Merlot are Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

This week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2010 Chateau Arnaud Bordeaux Supérieur is an example of a red, right bank Bordeaux, predominantly Merlot (70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). How can you tell by looking at the bottle if it’s right or left bank?  Well, you sort of need to know the region. On the back of the bottle it indicates this wine is from Saint - Émilion an AOC in the Bordeaux region, which is right bank, thus likely this wine is predominantly Merlot.

On the nose - blackberry, violet and a hint of spice. On the palate, raspberry, moderate tannins (right bank are usually less tannic than left bank Bordeaux wines) and a touch of cocoa on the lingering finish.  We enjoyed this with Jambalaya one night and with Grilled Lamb Chops over Wild Mushroom Couscous and sides of Grilled Marinated Portobello and Asparagus the next. 
To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions click the links below.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2011 Château Haute-La Péreyre

This Wine Wednesday, I chose a Bordeaux. A Bordeaux wine is any wine that is from the Bordeaux region of France which is centered around the city of Bordeaux. A Bordeaux is generally made with a blend of grapes. The red Bordeaux are either predominantly Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 Chateau Haut-La Péreyre Bordeaux Superior is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon; however Bordeaux wines can be a blend of many different varietals.

This one being labeled Bordeaux Superieur simply means that the grapes may be sourced from all over the region and are usually sourced from older, more mature vines.

On the nose, I found this to be highly expressive with notes of dark fruit, violet and subtle hints of forest floor and baking spice. Once the wine was allowed to open up it was very well balanced with moderate tannins and a lingering finish.

We enjoyed this with my Bistro Burgers and I used some in the burgers themselves. It would also be great with a grilled steak - substitute this wine for the burgundy in my Burgundy Mushrooms and serve them along side. To print or save my pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Brittany's Bistro Burger

Grilled New York Strip with Burgundy Mushrooms

Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

La Vidaubanaise Vin de Pays Maures Rosé

Did you ever look at a bottle of wine or a wine on a wine list and avoid it because you didn’t know how to pronounce the name? Well, unless you are fluent in French, at least where your wine vocabulary is concerned, this week’s Wine Wednesday feature, the non-vintage La  Vidaubanaise Vin de Pays des Maures Rosé could be one of those.  

So, let’s break it down. La Vidaubanaise (pronounced la Vee doh ban aze) is a wine co-op of independent vineyards that ban together to produce wine – the winemaker. Vin de Pays (pronounced Van duh payee ) translates as "wine of the regions".  Vin de Pays or regional wines are the third rank of French wines. However, that doesn't mean they can't be great wines! Vine de pays Maures (Mohr) - where this wine is from -  is an area outside of the  French AOC approved Provence growing areas, but still inside Provence.

This rosé is a blend of 40% Carignan, 30% Cinsault, 15% Cabernet and 15% Ugni-Blanc. The color,  a beautiful pale pink salmon.  The color is due to the juice having limited contact with the skins of the grapes.

On the nose (do not miss the nose on this one) sweet, very floral (cherry blossom) and strawberry along with subtle minerality.  On the palate, first, pronounced minerality giving way to supple fruit and a dry crisp finish. This is a great summer wine for an outdoor get together with friends. At around $10 a bottle you can invite several friends.

Try with light Mexican fair like Grilled Chicken Tacos or Grilled Squid Tacos with Purple Pineapple Slaw. Add some of my Garden Fresh Guacamole to the mix and you have a real Fiesta!To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below: