Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2014 Belle Glos Oeil de Perdrix Pinot Noir Blanc Wine Review

From the vine to the wine. This week’s Wine Wednesday feature is steeped in family history.  It’s a story of the Wagner family spanning five generations who privately own and produce many familiar and popular labels such as Caymus, Conundrum, Meiomi and also Belle Glos (pronounced bell gloss and named after winemaker Joseph Wagner’s Grandmother Lorna Belle Glos Wagner). The Wagner family farms their own vineyards thus overseeing the quality from start to finish.

Winemaker Joseph Wagner is well known for his Pinot Noirs – Meiomi and Belle Glos. The 2014 Belle Glos Oeil de Perdrix (French for eye of the partridge which refers to its jewel like color) is a Pinot Noir Blanc from Sonoma County.

A Pinot Noir Blanc is made from Pinot Noir Grapes.  Pinot Noir grapes produce clear juice and the red color of Pinot Noir comes from the skins.  In a Pinot Noir Blanc the juice is exposed to the skins for a shorter amount of time.

On the nose I enjoyed hints of strawberry and orange but actually what struck me as dreamsicle and a slight minerality. It’s a light bodied dry wine with a pleasant concentration of fruit on the palate. Serve this wine well chilled 45°- 50°F. It’s a great summer wine by itself.  We enjoyed this with Seared Sea Scallops and I think it would pair wonderfully with a Lobster BLT Salad.  To print or save my recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Friday, June 19, 2015

2013 Small Gully Mr. Black's Little Book Shiraz Wine Review

You can’t judge a book by its cover, or can you? The 2013 Small Gully Mr. Blacks Little Book Shiraz implies well guarded secrets known only to the bearer of a “little black book”.

As I cracked the cover (opened the screw cap), poured and pondered, sniffed and swirled, tasted and well, tasted again, I found Mr. Black’s Little Book to be somewhat of an "open book".Small Gully Vineyards is located in the Borossa Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine growing regions (South Australia) where the signature grape varietal is Shiraz (red wine). Seeing as how this label isn’t listed on their website, I’m guessing this may be one they produce exclusively for Vine Street Imports – just guessing. The name is no doubt a nod to winemaker Stephen Black. 

Don’t misunderstand; I wasn’t disappointed, this is a solid offering of Shiraz from this region, full bodied, a bit bold, slightly jammy with notes of blackberry, cedar, leather and black pepper. Perhaps, the only secret Mr. Black holds here is the secret to getting me to take this one from the shelf vs. another – Mr. Black knows the secret to marketing. 

We enjoyed this with Roast Beef Sandwiches Au Poivre. For my taste, it was a bit too bold without food. However, my husband really liked it and said to put it on the list for the next trip to the wine shop. He doesn’t often put in requests so when he does I take them to heart. 

Maybe, just maybe, this one is more geared for the guys. Which makes me wonder, are their certain wines that appeal more to men than women and vice versa? Care to weigh in on that? Therein may lie a secret for Mr. Blacks little book! To print or save my pairing suggestion, click the link below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Wine Review

 “The heat is on”, sing it with me now, “the heat is o on” - at least it is in Nashville,TN. Like clockwork, the temps and humidity seem to rise every year about this time coinciding with CMA Fest. Today’s Wine Wednesday feature, the non-vintage Casal Garcia Vinho Verde is the kind of wine I reach for on days like this.

Vinho Verde means “green wine”, however it’s a reference, not to the color, but to the age of the wine thus translating as “young wine”.  It is a non-vintage wine (no year on the bottle) because Vinho Verde is meant to be consumed within the first year. Vinho Verde is a wine growing region in Portugal and generally Vinho Verde are blends, this one, a white blend of Trajadura, Loureiro, Arinto and Aza.

The wine is very refreshing for several reasons, the lower alcohol content (10% by Vol), a slight effervescence signature to Vinho Verde and of course its tasting notes. The effervescence traditionally due to malolactic fermentation in the bottle is now accomplished prior to bottling followed by an addition of artificial carbonation. Though there is a definite effervescence, not enough for Vinho Verde to qualify as a semi-sparkling wine.

Though “verde” does not refer to the color, the wine does however  have a slightly greenish straw color. On the nose, lemon, apple and pear and green vegetables. On the palate, crisp with a delightful tickle of effervescence and a slight minerality which almost gives the experience of a palate cleanser. We enjoyed this with Grilled Swordfish with Lime Crema.  You’ll want to keep the food light, grilled fish, seafood and salads. I would also recommend Grilled Shrimp with Wasabi Remoulade,. To print or save the wine pairing suggestions click the links below.

Monday, June 8, 2015

2010 Cont Degli Azzoni Rosso Piceno

“R” is for Red Wine, Red bikes and Rosso Piceno. Rosso Piceno is a DOC (denominazione di origine controllata - Italian classification for wine style) in the Marche region of Italy. Under this DOC, wines must be comprised of at least 60% Sangiovese with smaller amounts of Montepulciano. They may also have a small percentage of two different white wine varietals. This one appears to be a blend of just Sangiovese and Montepulciano. 

Right off, knowing that Sangiovese is the essential varietal in Chianti it’s obvious that this too will go well with red sauced pasta dishes. “R” is also for red sauced pasta dishes. On the nose, raspberry, black cherry and allspice. With light tannins, it’s versatile for a lot of dishes from pasta to chicken, salmon and pork. In my opinion, it’s not aggressive enough for lamb and beef. To me, it was a bit astringent though fine with food. 

Every now and then you can find a great $10 bottle of wine and fortunately the search doesn’t cost a lot. This one was priced appropriately. “R” is for reasonably priced. For recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below. Oh, and also, “R” is for drink responsibly! 

2011 Sivi Pinot Populus Wine Review

So I happened into a liquor store I've never shopped before in search of a liqueur for a recipe (which they didn't have in stock) but as long as I was there, I decided to peruse the wine selection. Today’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2011 Sivi Pinot Populus seemed to practically jump off the shelf – well not really, but the label wouldn't allow me to leave without it. 

You see, on the label I saw the map of Slovenia. I've been reading about Slovenian wines but haven’t been able to find much of a selection, well until now, any, in stores. My ancestors on my Father’s side were immigrants from Slovenia and especially during the holiday season we enjoy Slovenian dishes and traditions. So of course, I had to try this. 

Before trying though I had to remind myself that it would be unfair to judge all Slovenian wines by my opinion of this one wine – sort of like judging any other region by a single bottle. Of course I wanted desperately to like it. 

It should be noted that the Vipava Valley (Slovenia) is about 20 miles from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Northeastern Italy’s most famous region for Pinot Grigio. Sivi Pinot Populus translates as “Pinot Grigio for the People”. So what’s not to like?

With that, I poured. First off, the color was a very dark gold - darker than what I’m used to in a Pinot Grigio In fact, almost the color of a lager; yes beer, though this was wine. On the nose - notes of vanilla and slightly floral. Upon tasting, it had a juicy finish but yet was a little chalky and not as lively as I would've liked. I've read about wine aging in cement lined vats and that is what came to mind when I experienced the chalkiness - it seemed even more neutral than a wine fermented in stainless - as if it had done time in cement. 

We had this with an Alfredo pasta dish and I think it would go well with a cream soup also shellfish – mostly shrimp, scallops and lobster. Though I’d likely reach for other wines before this one, my curiosity for Slovenian wines both white and red remains. Wine tasting in Slovenia ….. bucket list…….

To print or save recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below:

Fettuccine Alfredo with Scallops

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

2012 Sábrego Wine Review

From the Valdeorras region of Spain (Northwest corner) Sábrego is a white wine made from Godello. I don’t believe that I’ve ever tried Godello before, which is most unfortunate, but I’m glad to have stumbled on it now. 

The soil from which it grows is reflected in its delightful minerality. (Sábrego is a local term for the areas granite soil.) On the nose; green apple, pear, spice and what struck me as the scent of popcorn butter – you know the powdered kind (but in a good way). Having been fermented in stainless tanks, it is lively on the tongue yet sturdy and has a long juicy finish. 

This is a wonderful wine to enjoy by the glass with a cheese plate but also with shellfish. We enjoyed it with Lobster Risotto and I think it would be fabulous with my Lobster BLT Salad. For me, this wine just begs for shellfish but could work with light chicken dishes as well. For recipe pairings, click the links below.

Middle Sister Goodie-Two Shoes Pinot Noir Wine Review

Birth order – where do you fit in? This week’s Wine Wednesday feature has me contemplating more than just the Pinot Noir in the bottle. It was the label that got me. You see, I am a middle sister. The Middle Sister Goodie Two-Shoes might just as well have had my name on the label right? Well, you’d have to ask my sisters. I’m sure they have their opinions….

Ironically, I did find this wine to have some of the stereotypical characteristics of a middle child. This one is a pleaser, easily adaptable, buy also a touch rebellious with just enough edge to get your attention.
As I poured I noted the distinct burgundy color. On the nose, raspberry, blackberry and baking spices. It had a surprising round mouth feel with light tannins and the words ‘fruit bomb’ came to mind. There was a slight tartness on the finish, more tart than tannin, but that’s that edge I referred to earlier – just enough to make me want another sip. It did strike me as being a bit ‘one note’ but if it’s the right note…….so be it. 
We enjoyed this with a meatloaf recipe I’m testing that has a mushroom demi-glace. The wine was most agreeable in the sauce and pleasing with our meal. I think it would also work well with my Italian Street Fair Crêpes and both in and with my Bistro Burgers. To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below. 

2008 Fetish Playmates Wine Review

When I reacquainted myself with the various definitions of “fetish”, among them were: “a course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment” and also, “a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.” The winery's name implies great confidence in their wines and I’m guessing the “particular object” they are hoping you develop an “irrational commitment” for is on your wine shops shelf with a sexy silhouette on the painted label. Yes, this label is painted on – quite unique – nothing one could peel off here – classy touch. 

The Playmates they are likely referring to here are 3 varietals, Shiraz (Syrah) (80%), Mataro (Mourvedre) (10%) and Grenache (10 %). It just so happens, they play very well together. This New World GSM red blend is from the Barossa Valley of Australia. 

On the nose, cherry and dark chocolate (like a dark chocolate covered cherry), a hint of cedar and licorice. On the palate, more of the same but with spice (black pepper) and moderate tannins. I love how this wine evolved. On the sip - sweet on the tip of your tongue, which led to a juicy slightly tart burst of dark fruit flavor, finishing with delightful spice on the palate. 

We enjoyed this with Baked Chicken and Wild Rice. It would also be great with steak or grilled pork chops slathered in BBQ sauce. I can’t say that this has become a fetish, not yet anyway, but it is worth repeating….we’ll see what happens…..To print or save recipe pairing suggestion, click the links below. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2011 Louis Méitaireau Carte Noire Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine Wine Review

This weeks Wine Wednesday feature, the 2011 Louis Méitaireau Carte Noire Muscadet -Sèvre et Maine was a lesson for me - a reminder that when you find something you like, don’t assume it will be there next time you go to purchase. I purchased this wine a few weeks ago but just tried it the other night and when I went to the wine shop yesterday I was told they had only gotten 1 case and wouldn’t be getting more - possibly because Muscadet is often believed to be best consumed young. Well, maybe I won’t get more of this vintage but I’ll keep asking and searching.  Of course we always want what we can’t have…. even more…..

This wine is from the Loire Valley of France, from the Muscadet -Sèvre et Maine sub appellation ( lies between the Sèvre and Maine rivers), and is an exception in that most French wines are named after the growing region or in some cases the varietal. Here it’s believed that the wine takes its name from a characteristic of the varietal Melon de Bourgogne simply referred to as Melon and described as vin qui a un goût musqué “a wine with a musk like taste”.

Rest assured however, no musk like taste here or, I know what you’re thinking, no melon either.  There is a wonderful earthiness or minerality that could by some possibly be perceived as musky. On the nose, orange blossom and a slight salinity. This is a light bodied wine with a crisp acidic finish and a steely earthiness on the palate. This wine begs for raw oysters, which is usually what I have when I see a Muscadet on a restaurant wine list. We enjoyed it with mussels and some crusty bread – oh I wish I had “savored the flavors” just a little more appreciatively. …… now I’m on a mission….. Also try with Boiled Shrimp Cocktail.  To print or save the pairing suggestions, click the links below.

Monday, June 1, 2015

2013 Elicio Vermentino Wine Review

“Vigneron” – is a new word for me this Wine Wednesday. The definition – French for a person who cultivates grapes for winemaking. Prounounced Vēnyə rôn. And for this weeks feature, the 2013 Elicio, the vigneron is Raphaël Trouiller. At least that’s what it says on the bottle.

The single grape on the label perhaps alludes to the fact that this is a varietal wine from the southern Rhone Valley (Rhone River Valley) where most wines tend to be blends. This one - a Vermentino. I happen to be quite fond of Vermentino, though most I’ve tried are Italian. It’s interesting that the word “elicio” is Latin in origin but its use is Italian meaning “to entice out”. And what has been enticed out of these grapes proved to be quite favorable. On the nose, tropical fruit, lychee and orange blossom along with a slight salinity. On the palate, citrus, light minerality, and a crisp clean finish.

I officially have spring fever (woke up with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” spinning in my head) and this wine is the perfect spring /summer choice – refreshing by the glass and perfect with light fare, especially seafood. We enjoyed this for appetizer night where we had Manchego and Marcona Almonds drizzled with honey and later my Grilled Shrimp with Wasabi Remoulade. Try this with Lobster Risotto or marinate some shrimp in the dressing for my Romaine Salad with Pineapple Basil Vinaigrette, grill them and serve them over the top. Yep, that last one, that’s what I’m going to try next. Can’t wait to Savor the Flavors! To print or save the recipe pairing suggestions, click the links below. 


2012 Yalumba "Y Series" Shiraz/Viognier Wine Review

Yalumba (Aboriginal for “all the land around”) is the oldest family owned winery in Australia dating back to 1849 when Samuel Smith planted his first vines and thus named the patch.
This week’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2012 Yalumba “Y Series” Shiraz/Viognier comes with 160 plus years of wine making experience. Yalumba also has the only privately owned cooperage (make their own barrels) in the southern hemisphere. I stumbled on this quote from winemaker Louisa Rose, “We’re not trying to keep shareholders happy. We have the freedom to play with new wine styles because we are creating our own future.” Yalumba and the Smith family seem to have struck a unique balance in preserving their legacy while continuing to be innovative. I find their outlook most compelling.
I enjoy Shiraz, but also Viognier and it was the addition of the Viognier that caused me to take this one home. Viognier is a very distinct varietal and I was curious as to what it would bring to the table especially since the wine was just 4% Viognier. What I appreciate here is the deft blend. On the nose, dark fruit, plum and blackberry, slightly floral (that may be the Viognier). On the palate, medium bodied, very fruity with a touch of black pepper. It had a rounder mouthfeel than I’ve come to expect from Shiraz that I found quite pleasant, again I suspect the touch of Viognier. Yalumba leads the way for Viognier in Australia and I’m curious to try their Viognier as a varietal wine and will look for it next visit to the wine shop.
But, back to this wine – it’s barbecue’s best friend. Presenting a little lighter than most Shiraz, this one is perfect for summer. We enjoyed this with grilled pork chops slathered in Bone Suckin' Sauce.. Also try it with Chipotle Chili Sloppy Joes. Sloppy Joes? Wine with Sloppy Joes? Why not? The price point here, $12.99, makes this a great week night wine or perfect for entertaining a crowd - great value! To print or save the recipe, click the link below.