Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Qupé Central Coast Syrah (2012)

Spring is in the air and this week's Wine Wednesday feature the 2012 Qupé Central Coast Syrah may be the perfect wine to toast the season. Qupé, is the Chumash (a Native American People) word for the lovely wildflower turned California state flower known as California Poppy that blooms every spring. The Chumash inhabited the central and southern coastal regions of CA and the wine label pays homage to them. Winery owner Bob Lindquist took the liberty of adding the diacritical mark to the “e” giving the pronunciation kyoo-pay.

Typically, I might think of Syrah as being a big, full bodied, tannic wine, but I found this one to be fruit forward with notes of blackberry, blueberry and plum along with a subtle hint of smoke. The tannins were moderate making for a well balanced wine with that wonderful peppery finish I associate with Syrah. We enjoyed this with Grilled Pork Chops seasoned with Chardonnay smoked sea salt and slathered with Hot Bone Suckin’ Sauce along with a side of Savory Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Pecans and the next night with etouffé. This wine is a very drinkable, ready to drink now wine. To print or save the recipe, click the links below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Alexana Pinot Gris (2014)

It was back in December that my sister and brother-in-law took my husband and I wine tasting in the Willamette Valley. They know it's something we enjoy and there's no shortage of great wineries to explore each time we visit. This time our tour took us to Alexana Winery an 80 acre vineyard of largely Pinot Noir but also other varietals. I enjoyed the wine tasting in their gorgeous tasting room and managed to catch a glimpse of the sun through the large windows as it momentarily peaked through the rain clouds and cast its light on the lush green expanse that is their vineyard and the Willamette Valley. If an atmosphere could influence the wine experience for the better, this place could indeed do just that. I loved the wines, purchased this bottle of Pinot Gris but reserved my final opinion until I opened the bottle last evening.

Pinot Gris as you may know is the same grape as Pinot Grigio. The same - yet largely different. Pinot Grigio, the Italian treatment of the varietal, in my opinion tends to result in strong citrus notes and a clear crisp finish. Pinot Gris from the Alsace region of France tends to be a little fuller bodied with more green apple, pear and tropical fruit notes and is a little “smoother around the edges”. Generally, where the varietal is grown outside of these two regions, winemakers name the wine after the preparation style it more closely resembles – Italian Pinot Grigio or Alsatian Pinot Gris.

As you may have guessed the Alexana Pinot Gris, as is the case with most Willamette Valley representations of the varietal, is a reflection of the Alsation style. I found this wine extremely enjoyable sans the fancy showroom and majestic view. On the nose, honeysuckle and pear.  On the palate much the same with that slightly rounder mouth-feel I adore in a Pinot Gris. Because it is a fuller bodied style of the grape vs. Pinot Grigio, the food pairing expands to dishes beyond salads, fish and seafood. Of course it would pair well with all of those but in addition, try with my Baked Chicken and Wild Rice or Pan Fried Pork Chops with Chismol. Click the links below to print or save the recipes.

Also, just a reminder, if you can't find some of the wines I review in your local wine shop, most wineries can ship to most states and the wine can be ordered from their websites.