Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pfaffl Zeiseneck Grüner Veltliner 2012 Wine Review

Austria. I love Austria. I’ve been there several times and each time I’ve experienced this visceral sense of belonging. I have no knowledge of ancestry there, but sometimes what you feel is greater than what you know.  If I were one to believe in former lives I might conclude that one of mine had ties there. 

What’s interesting is the last time I was in Austria was in 2005, the first was in 1991 and if I have any regrets it is that I didn’t discover Grüner Veltliner until about 8 years ago.  Now I have yet another reason why I simply must return! Grüner Veltliner is the most important native grape to Austria. Over 75% of the varietal comes from Austria.

Today’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2012 Pfaffl Zeiseneck Grüner Veltliner is the entry level Grüner Veltliner from winemaker Roman Josef Pfaffl.  The wine comes from the Weinviertel region near Vienna which also borders the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Zeiseneck is the name of the vineyard the grapes are sourced from.

As days start getting warmer I start turning to lighter fair and wines such as this. On the nose, herbal notes and a distinct minerality with subtle hints of smoke. I enjoyed the slightly round mouth feel with a clean crisp finish and what some may describe as a bit of pepper on the finish as well.  I think of it more as a slight tingle on the tongue that can often accompany a wine aged in stainless tanks. This for me adds to the refreshment and makes it a great summer sipper.

The vineyard for this wine lies on the largest fossil oyster reef in the world and the terroir seemingly predisposes it for pairing with shellfish. Try with Steamed Mussels or Clams alla Puttanesca. In fact use it in the recipes as well. To print or save the recipes, click the links below. 

Clams alla Puttanesca

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Callaghan Vineyards Ruth's Blend (2014) Wine Review

AZ wine is fine! At least, that is my opinion of this week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2014 Callaghan Vineyards Ruth’s Red Blend. In February while my parents were visiting us in AZ we took a little road trip which included wine tasting along the Sonoita Wine Trail near Sonoita and Elgin, AZ about an hour south of Tucson. I had visited the wine trail about 3 years ago, interestingly enough, the day after wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma. At the time, I didn’t have high expectations for AZ wine, but was curious none the less. During my 2013 visit I was surprisingly impressed and purchased several bottles to take home with me. Once home and time had passed  I was equally impressed when I realized I loved the wine as much as I did while tasting at the winery. The wines of winemaker/owner Kent Callaghan were among my favorites then and once again they topped the list!

Ruth’s blend is named after Ruth Graham, co-owner of Golden Rule Vineyards where the grapes for this wine are sourced in Cochise, AZ. Cochise is about an hour north and east of Elgin. This blend is 67% Cabernet Franc and 33% Petit Verdot.  On the nose, black cherry, plum, cocoa and baking spice. On the tongue, big fruit, moderate tannins and a tart juicy finish. This wine is an incredibly balanced wine that is easily paired with a variety of dishes - a real go-to wine as a crowd pleaser for red wine drinkers. 

Ruth’s blend is not on Callaghan’s official tasting sheet, but be sure to ask for it.  The wine can be purchased and shipped from the winery. Contact them via the contact section on their website to purchase.

While visiting the Sonoita Wine Trail, make Callaghan one of your first stops and purchase there as other wineries are good, but not better. I recommend staying in Tucson.  

For dining, visit my friend Chef Alisah at Chef Alisah's Restaurant for delicious homemade European comfort food and Bosnian dishes.  I also recommend Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails and Wilko near the university.

We enjoyed Ruth's Blend with a Grilled New York Strip with Burgundy Mushrooms (I used the wine in the mushrooms) and a side of Oven Roasted Fingerling Potatoes.  Try with my Roast Beef Sandwich Au Poivre or Bouja (Harvest Stew). Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.