Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ernie Els Big Easy Red (2014) Wine Review

On Saturday night, our neighborhood wine club held its monthly gathering where each couple brings a bottle of wine and an appetizer.  This month’s theme was South African wines. I went to AJ’s Fine Foods, the best hope for something other than the limited mass production options at the local big box stores. (This is where I’m tempted to go off on a rant about the lack of wine shops in areas, especially here in AZ, where wine can be purchased in grocery stores and then big box stores, eliminating boutique wine shops with interesting finds, but I digress.) 
I was fortunate to find a bottle of Protea Chenin Blanc which I’ve reviewed in the past, and also this week’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2014 Ernie Els Big Easy Red.  I chose to take the Chenin Blanc to the event because I was familiar with it, but also because it paired well with the Cucumber Salmon Canapés I brought as an appetizer. 
I decided to open the Big Easy Red on Sunday and as I suspected, it paired perfectly with the Grilled Lamb Chops I had planned for dinner.
Big Easy as the label states, is “big in stature, gentle in character”.  A blend of 61% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Mourvedre, 5% Grenache, 4% Viognier, and 4% Cinsaut. On the nose, notes of black raspberry, ripe cherry, and baking spice. On the palate, slightly herbal, with ample fruit and noteworthy pepper on the finish. This dry wine features moderate to slightly assertive tannins.
As I mentioned, we enjoyed this with Grilled Lamb Chops, try also with Braised Beef Tips and Mushrooms. Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

2016 Granbazán Albarino Etiqueta Verde Wine Review

It’s white wine season! Well it is in Phoenix anyway.  Though the temperatures this time of year are the very reason I moved to the Valley of the Sun, this year has been exceptional with highs hovering around 80° F every day for the last week, and forecast for the coming week as well.   So, you aren’t reading this to get a weather report? Sorry, I can’t help myself.
This week’s Wine Wednesday feature the 2016 Granbazán Albarino Etiqueta Verde is the perfect wine for warm sunny days.  From the Rias Baixas region of Spain, this Albarino (pronounced Al-boh- REEN- Yoh) is a great representation of the indigenous varietal. Etiqueta Verde translates as “green label”, denoting the entry-level offering from Granbazán.
On the nose, honeydew, kiwi, and grassy notes. It’s wonderfully zippy and refreshing on the tongue with herbal and citrus notes on the palate. The finish is crisp and citrusy, with a bit of salinity lingering.  The Rias Baixas is a coastal sub-region of the Galicia region in Northwestern Spain, and the cool, damp sea air contributes to this delicious wine. If you like Vermentino; try this Albarino. We enjoyed this with Lobster Risotto (used it in the recipe too). Try also with Steamed Mussels. Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.