Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Peachy Canyon Cirque du Vin Red Blend (2011) Wine Review

Cirque du Vin (Circus of the Wine) is the name of this week’s Wine Wednesday feature from Peachy Canyon Winery (Paso Robles, CA). This wine is their version of a Bordeaux style blend taking a few liberties with some of the varietals to give it a California twist. The 2011 vintage is comprised of 44% Merlot, 38% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah.

It should be noted that the blend for this wine varies with each vintage. Perhaps that’s the circus here. The cast is ever changing – somewhat mysterious – even intriguing - perhaps. Who will the players be the next year?

The nose on this vintage is one of blackberry, dark plum and subtle smoke. On the palate, the same fruit with an assertive but not overt acidity and bold lingering tannins on the finish. I must note that I found this wine to be much better the second day when cloves became a pleasant part of the nose as well  On day 2, the acidity became more balanced and the tannins a touch smoother. For food pairing, I say braised dishes particularly those that include beef like my Braised Beef Tips with Mushrooms or Bouja (Harvest stew). Both are great slow cooker options. To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mouton Noir Bottoms Up (2014) Wine Review

Bottoms Up! For all you country music fans, this is NOT the latest offering from Brantley Gilbert! This week's Wine Wednesday feature, the 2014 Mouton Noir ( French for black sheep) Bottoms Up comes to us from the Willamette Valley (Oregon) and winemaker André Hueston Mack.

This wine is considered a garage wine. Garage wines are wines that are limited production wines often made by négociants (winemakers who buy grapes and vinify them or buy wines and blend them and bottle them under their own label).

André Hueston Mack, a sommelier and winemaker who initially created wines for several New York restaurants now makes them available nationwide.

Bottoms Up is a blend of predominantly Riesling with small amounts of Pinot Blanc and Viognier. On the nose, peach, ripe red apple, pear and a gentle floral, somewhat perfume-like whisper I've come to relate to Viognier. On the palate, Big juicy fruit with a subtle sweetness and crisp acidic finish.

For food pairings, try with my Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps or with appetizers like Edamame Hummus with Won Ton Chips or Crab Rangoon. To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eve Chardonnay (2013) Wine Review

It’s the first Wine Wednesday of the New Year and like many of you I tend to be eating lighter. I find myself gravitating toward seafood and salad and away from heavy meat dishes and rich sides and this week’s feature the 2013 Eve Chardonnay was a perfect pairing choice.

This Chardonnay comes to us from Washington state and Charles Smith Wines (I’ve enjoyed his Kung Fu Girl Riesling as well as his Boom Boom! Syrah.) The wines all share rather homespun label art but it’s what’s inside that matters most and I find this wine, like the others, highly drinkable and enjoyable (right now) and affordable to boot! Charles Smith originally from CA is a former manager of rock bands and his persona (the kind I'm quick to recognize having toured in bands for years) indicates he’s still rockin’ and always will be. Though now, and for some time now, he’s been rockin’ the wine world!

Nothing on the label specifically says it, so I was pleased and a little surprised to find this Chardonnay to be unoaked – aged in stainless tanks. (Perhaps the name Eve conjures up thoughts of nakedness and alludes to a Chardonnay without the cloak of oak.)

On the nose were notes of pear and citrus blossom. The palate -  slightly floral with a subtle round mouthfeel and a clean, dry, yet lingering finish. The mouthfeel here, one found often in Chardonnay, is likely due to Malolactic Fermentation. This is a process where specific bacteria are introduced to the must usually once the primary fermentation (process wherein yeast converts the sugar to alcohol) is complete. In Malolactic Fermentation (secondary fermentation) this bacteria converts Malic acid which occurs naturally in the must into Lactic acid. This process helps round out or reduce the acidity in wine. Malic acid is tart where Lactic acid is more buttery. This process isn’t desirable with all varietals for instance in the Kung Fu Girl Riesling the acidity is quite desirable and part of that wine experience. Here however, a portion of the must (20%) undergoes Malolactic Fermentation. And yes, it’s quite desirable – Adam be warned.

For food pairing, try this with Steamed Mussels in White Wine and yes, use this wine in the recipe. Since it is unoaked, it will work wonderfully. For those of you that like breakfast for dinner, try it with my Spinach and Egg en Cocotte. To print or save the recipes pairing suggestions, click the links below.