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.