The Best Wines to Pair with Tropical Food #SundaySupper

Today, the #SundaySupper family of food bloggers features recipes made with tropical food or originating from the tropics.

I adore tropical flavors. They are among my most favorite foods.  Whenever I think of tropical foods the first thing  that comes to mind is a Jamaican Jerk.  In fact, my first #SundaySupper blog that featured both food I prepared and wine pairing recommendations was Jerk Turkey Burgers With Mango Slaw!

Here are some general guidelines for pairing wines with tropical foods:

Whites

I favor aromatic, refreshing whites with a bit of sweetness to provide balance. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Albarino, Torrontes, fruity Sauvignon Blancs (New Zealand is top of mind), Chenin Blanc, Viognier and white blends are all good choices.

Reds 

I’d be the first to tell you red wines are not top of mind when it comes to pairing with tropical flavors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable.  Looks for reds with prominent acidity moderate tannins and alcohol and buoyant fruit flavors.  Consider Pinot Noir for grilled fare, but Gamay, Grenache, and many Tempranillo are also fine choices.

Rosés

Aside, from sparkling wines, rosés are the most versatile, food friendly wines in my book. They offer a harmonious combination of bright acidity, texture and appealing aromatics. Both dry and off dry, rosés can work with a diverse range of tropical flavors.  If your tropical dish is more sweet that savory look for a  rosé with a hint of sweetness.  There are wonderful examples of rosé being produced all around the world.  But for the best value, I tend to favor rosés Provence, and Rioja.

Heat and Sweet

A couple of other things to keep in mind when pairing wines with tropical food 1) the spiciness (heat) of your dish, and 2) the sweetness of the dish – especially desserts.

Spicy foods like sweet wine.  The spicier your food, the sweeter your wine should be.

And for desserts, you want your wine to be sweeter than the dessert.

The Best Wines To Pair with Tropical Foods #SundaySupper

Image courtesy of fredericpatenaude.com

Check out  terrific tropical menu at the #SundaySupper table , along with my wine pairing recommendations (except for condiments and coolers).  My recommendations include wines from the U.S., Germany, France, and Italy

Pair these Tidbits, Pupus, Breakfast and Companions with a Rosé sparkling wine.  My “house’ (everyday) sparkling wine is the Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Rosé Brut. It’s a beautiful pale salmon color and packed with strawberry, cherry, peach and blood orange flavors, with a bit of sweetness that is complemented with a hint of herbaceousness.   

Tidbits and Pupus

Breakfast

Companions

Condiments and Sauces

Coolers

Pair these main dishes with Riesling.  Look for the 2013 Josef Leitz Dragonstone Riesling from Germany.  It aromatic and off-dry with white peach, pineapple, apple and citrus character and a refreshing acidity that will prepare your palate for the next delectable bite!

Pair these dishes with a white Rhone blend.  One of my favorite is the 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc.  It’s a well-balanced, juicy blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne with a tropical fruit, peach, lemon zest and mineral character.

Pair these main dishes with with Rosé.  A perennial favorite  of mine from Provence is the  2014 Commanderie de la Bargemone  Rosé.  It a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon that offers classic aromas of wild strawberries, red currant, and citrus. It’s dry, and fresh with ample strawberry, red currant and citrus flavors. 

Pair these main dishes with a Zinfandel.  Look for the 2012 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel.  It’s offers appealing red fruit, spice and vanilla aromas with juicy black cherry, plum, raspberry, baking spice, and a bit of pepper flavors with a supple texture.  Damned delicious!

Pair these desserts with a Cadillac, named for a little known village just south of Bordeaux that produces wonderful sweet botrytized white wines. It’s never reached the lofty status of Sauternes, just across the river.  The wines are typically made from Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Look for the 2009 Chateau Suau, Cadillac.  It a blend of 40% Sauvignon – 60% Semillon with a fruity, complex, and sweet peach and honey character with good acidity. 

Elevate these desserts by pairing with a sparkling red wine - Brachetto d’Acqui, from Piedmont region of Italy. It is produced from the Brachetto grape.  Look for Banfi Rosa Regale. It has delicate aromas of  rose petals, strawberry, and raspberries with  luscious raspberry, strawberry and a kiss of cranberry flavors. It’s off-dry meaning it exhibits ample sweetness when pairing with fruit based desserts,  and dark chocolate. 

Cheers!

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 19th, 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out; for the week ended April 19th, 2015.

2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands - Retail $25
Ruby color with muted earth, plum, cranberry and spice aromas. A tad hot. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with a supple texture and plum, cranberry, and spice flavors. Medium finish. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Copain P2 - Retail $25
Interesting 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Reminds me a bit of Beaujolais. Strawberry, a bit of cherry and hints of floral and spiced orange rind aromas. Strawberry, spice mineral palate with a bit of tannins. Very nice chillable red that very good on its own, but really shines with food! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast - Retail $20
Dark ruby color with black fruit, charcoal, olive and a bit of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s fresh with well-integrated dusty tannins and an appealing smooth texture with high-toned blackberry , plum, a hint of black raspberry, bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering savory graphite laced finish. 14.4 alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week 

It was a busy week for us!  We went out three night to either an event or dinner with friends.  Which means we didn’t drink as much wine as we usually do.  The standout Wine of the Week is the 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast. 

Bedrock Wine Co. (“BWC”) was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him a couple of years ago.  They now happily have a little more space to move around in but share the same objectives that guided the winery at the start.

The winery’s objectives are:

  • To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines. They make fabulous field blends!
  • To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast. This wine is exhibit “A” .  It offers amazing value, and makes me want to drink more Syrah
  • To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.  A Bedrock Cab won our wine tasting clubs blind tasting a couple of months ago in a landslide!
  • To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.  BWC makes a vin gris style  rosé that is a perennial favorite!
  • To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.  BWC makes an outstanding Albariño, as well as other distinguished white wines
  • To dream big but keep production low!  Not mentioned here, but they’ve managed to keep the prices very fair (so far) even as demand for their wines is increasing.

I’m a fan…Bedrock is crushing it in my book!

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What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my wine reviews on Vivino and Delectable

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 2 – The Grand Tasting

I attended the 18th Annual Rhone Rangers Celebration of American Rhone Wines  held March 27th and 28th at the Craneway Pavilion & Conference Center.  I attended the events held at the on March 28th, which featured a  two course Seminar Series and the Grand Tasting.

I’ll cover the Grand Tasting in this post, the second in the two-part series of my 2015 Rhone Rangers experience.

I previously recapped my experience at the two seminars: “Rosés made from Rhone Varietal Grapes” and “American Rhone Wines: See How They Age” in Part 1 of this series.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 2 – Grand Tasting

Inside the Craneway Pavillion

The Grand Tasting is the LARGEST Rhone tasting held in the US – 80 wineries (For a list of participating wineries click here), and around 300 wines to try.

$30 or less Reds

If there ever is a time the vinous cliché “So many wines, so little time” is true, it’s at a huge event like this!

In prior years I’ve focused Rose, and Grenache (see below).  This year, after a quick glance at the excellent tasting booklet,  I decided to taste $30 and under Reds.

For big events like to keep things simple.  I rate the wines on a scale of 1-5.  Wines rated “4″ or higher make my favorites list.  A rating of 4 points is roughly equivalent to a wine I’d rate  in  the Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts  range on a 100 point scale.

After tasting a dozen or so wines, I decided to take a break because it was coming up on 2 o’clock and I was getting hungry!

Besides,  it was an absolutely gorgeous day on the Bay and I wanted to get some fresh air.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 2 – Grand Tasting

Twas a gorgeous day on the San Francisco Bay!

This year, in addition to a handful of vendors offering cheese and other small bites, the Rhone Rangers arranged for some their favorite food trucks to be on hand offering small plates.

I picked up a (rather sizable) slice from Fist of Flour Pizza Company.  It paired quite nicely with the wine I was tasting at the time, the 2012 Eberle Cotes-du-Robles. 

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 2 – Grand Tasting

A slice of “Protesto” pizza from Fist of Flour Food Truck – Potatoes, Provolone, Arugula Pesto, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Nom, nom, nom!

After a brief respite from the rigors sniffing, sipping and (mostly) spitting wines, I resumed my mission to taste all the $30 or less reds.

I didn’t make it.

Between the 20 wines I’d already tasted at the seminars, and the abundance of $30 and under reds, I’d already tasted 50+ wines.  It was simply too much wine if I intended to drive home.

Lesson learned: If I plan to attend to the seminars next year.  Limit my subsequent focused tasting to 20-25 wines.  That’s about as much as my palate can handle and still have time for ”Taster’s Choice” (more on that later)

My favorite $30 or less reds were:

  • 2011 Derby Wine Estates FIFTEEN10 Red Derby Vineyard
  • 2012 Eberle Cotes-du-Robles
  • 2013 Eberle Syrah Steinbeck Vineyard
  • 2012 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate
  • 2013 Fields Family Wines Syrah Estate
  • 2012 Fields Family Wines Vin du Sol
  • 2011 Quady North GSM
  • 2011 Quady North Syrah Steelhead Run Vineyard
  • 2013 Qupé Los Olivos Cuvée
  • 2013 Ridge Carignane Buchignani Ranch
  • 2013 Ridge Grenache Mataro Lytton Estate
  • 2013 Sierra Vista Grenache Rayas Vineyard
  • 2013 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas
  • 2010 Tercero Verbiage (Rouge)

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Taster’s Choice

After tasting through as many $30 and under reds as I could handle, it was time for “Taster’s Choice”.

Yup…it’s just what it sounds like.  I’m off “the clock” so to speak. And that means I no longer rate the wines I taste, and I taste whichever wines strike my fancy.  This is also the time when I check in with some of my favorite producers.

After all, this is gathering of the best Rhone wines America has to offerand I wasn’t about to leave without tasting some of the best of the best!

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 2 – Grand Tasting

Even with rigorous spitting…after tasting 50+ wines…I was still seeing straight…or was I?

My Taster’s Choice favorites were:

  • 2011 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly
  • 2011 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Coastview Vineyard
  • 2012 Kale Wines Broken Ankle Stagecoach Vineyard
  • 2011 Kale Wines Home Run Cuvée Kick Ranch
  • 2011 Pax Syrah, Castelli-Knight Ranch, Russian River Valley
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas
  • 2013 Tercero Viognier White Hawk Vineyard

It’s A Wrap

It’s true.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

Despite starting at 10am; wrapping up around 4pm, and tasting 70 or so wines, I still didn’t get to taste as many wines as I would have liked, especially during my Taster’s Choice.

On the other hand,  it’s brings me joy to discover some new to me producers that offered outstanding wines I’ll be on the lookout for.  This year,  that list includes, Kale Wines, Quady North, Pax Mahle Wines, and Domaine de la Terre Rouge.

Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise“, as the saying goes, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Rhone Rangers event.

And…to coming up with a better focused tasting strategy!

Until then…Get your Rhone on my friends!

Related posts your might enjoy:

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

No Reservations Wine Tasting – Smith Madrone Vineyard and Winery

My wife and I do more than our fair share of wine tasting.  We’ve hit all the major wine regions in California (and a few minor ones too;-), along with some tasting in Oregon and Spain, and Champagne.

From time to time, we have a wine tasting experience that stands above the rest, and is everything we’re looking for – great wine and commendable service in a relaxed unpretentious environment. It’s those experiences that are the focus of this No Reservations series.

Why No Reservations?  Because I can honesty say I have no reservations about recommending the winery to anyone who is looking for a great wine tasting experience!

The latest in this series features Smith Madrone Vineyard and Winery in the Spring Mountain District of the  Napa Valley. 

My complete review of Smith-Madrone, including history, a recap of the tasting experience – including reviews of wines tasted may be found at the American Winery Guide’s website.

From the winery…At Smith-Madrone our goal is to make artisanal wines which are distinctive and are an expression of both the vintage and us, as vintners, but above all else, are wines which bring pleasure to the senses. Every year our wine is made from the same vineyards, pruned by the same people in the same way, cultivated in exactly the same manner and harvested at similar levels of maturity, yet Mother Nature stamps each vintage with a unique set of flavors, senses and character. Vintage dating is a celebration of that uniqueness and diversity.

 All wines made entirely from the winery’s estate vineyards surrounding the winery on top of Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Stuart Smith chose specific slopes with different exposures for specific varietals when planting the vineyards: eastern exposure for Riesling, southern and western exposures across flat stretches for the Cabernet Sauvignon and the coolest north-facing slopes for the Chardonnay. There are numerous historical sights on the ranch, as well as the huge array of natural beauty and wildlife.

The vineyards sit at elevations between 1,300  and 2,000 feet, on steep slopes which range up to 34%.

Current Releases

The current releases and my tasting notes follow:

2011 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 83%, Merlot 7% & Cabernet franc 10% from 39 year-old vines. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels; 1,070 cases produced; 14.3% alcohol

No Reservations Wine Tasting - Smith Madrone Vineyard and WineryDark Ruby color with exuberant cassis, tobacco, cedar, plum, spiced black cherry, and a bit of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and well-structured with ample cassis, black cherry, tobacco, and a bit of mineral flavors. Medium-Long finish  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

 2012 Smith Madrone Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay from 40 year-old vines.  Aged 8 months in 100% new French Oak.  779 cases produced; 14.2% alcohol

No Reservations Wine Tasting - Smith Madrone Vineyard and Winery

Pale lemon yellow color with promising green apple, pear. lemon cream, and limestone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and harmonious with a creamy texture, and apple, pear, lemon zest, vanilla, a kiss of tropical fruit, and subtle spice flavors. Lingering finish  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2013 Smith Madrone Riesling

100% Riesling from 41 year-old vines; 1,288 cases produced; 12.6% alcohol

No Reservations Wine Tasting - Smith Madrone Vineyard and Winery

Very pale green color with wet stone. lime, stone fruit, quince and a hint of lychee aromas. On the palate medium-bodied, elegant, and harmonious with mouth-watering acidity and a great texture with very appealing white peach, lime, melon, a bit of lemon and apricot flavors and a complementary minerality. Lingering finish.Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

I highly recommend these wines and a visit to Smith-Madrone!

Samples provided for review. Many thank to Julie Ann Kodmur!

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 12th 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out; and my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended April 12th, 2015.

2012 Broc Cellars Cabernet Franc Central Coast - Retail $20
Dark ruby color with low-key cherry, cassis, bell pepper, and some herbal notes. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied and is fresh, and soft with juicy black cherry, and cassis flavors with dusty sweet tannins. Gulpable and delicious! Very good value at $20
Blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon 12% alcohol Very good; 86-88 pts

2011 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc - Retail $27
Pale gold color with honeysuckle, peach, melon, honey aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and broad with racy acidity and an appealing hint of tannins. It shows peach, melon, honey, and a hint of spice flavors with an appealing combination of salinity and wet stone minerality on the long finish. Blend of 27% Viognier, 26% Grenache Blanc, 25 % Marsanne, and 22% Roussanne. 13.1% alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2013 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Les Enfants Terribles Heart Arrow Ranch - Retail $24
Dark ruby color with earthy plum, and black cherry aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, fresh, gulpable with fine-grained tannins adn black cherry, black raspberry flavors and a pleasing crushed rock minerality. Very good; 86-88 pts

2011 Under The Wire Chardonnay Sparkling Brosseau Vineyard - Retail $55
Pale gold color with tiny bubbles and apple, spiced ginger, peach, and pastry dough aromas. On the palate, it s light, refreshing and appealing with tart apple, peach, and hints of pear, lemon and ginger flavors with an appealing minerality. It improved with some time in the glass to warm up. It’s young. My bet is that given time it will improve with age. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week + Food and Wine Pairing of the Week 

My Wine of the Week is the 2012 Broc Cellars Cabernet Franc Central Coast.  Broc Cellars is a small urban winery located in Berkeley, California.  Click here for a NYT piece on Broc Cellars and Chris Brockway, the proprietor, by Eric Asimov.

I became acquainted with Broc Cellars a couple of years ago when a fellow wino recommended his 2012 Broc Cellars Zinfandel White Zinfandel Arrowhead Mtn.  Broc’s version is anything but the overly sweet, overly confected White Zins which have given White Zin a bad reputation.  It was fantastic stuff. In fact, it’s one of the best White Zins I’ve ever had. I picked up a few other bottles that day. All were wonderful and all offered tremendous value. 

Fast forward to V-Day this year.  My wife and I stomped in to check out their new digs, taste some wine and an art show.  We picked up a few bottles including this one.

From the winery…”sourced from 2 vineyards located within the Central Coast appellation, Happy Canyon in Santa Barbara and Santa Margarita in Paso Robles. The 2012 Cab Franc is 100% whole cluster giving the wine a softer/fleshier texture, plus 15% 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon that’s completely destemmed.  This give the wine more medium bodied, Bordeaux nuance as opposed to my single vineyard bottlings of Cabernet Franc which are more Loire – inspired”.

I’m a huge fan of Cabernet Franc and this was such an alluring and delicious wine for me. It’s offers great value too.  wish I’d bought more!

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When was the last time you saw a red wine in a clear bottle?

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was a pleasant surprise.  It was a crazy week with a lot of long hours.  We ended up eating out a couple of times.  We had Bánh mì one night.  I had Tofu and my wife had chicken.  The 2013 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Les Enfants Terribles Heart Arrow Ranch was fantastic paired with the Bánh mì!. This wine is though isn’t your classic California Zin.  It tastes like a richer version of a Beaujolais.  It shows an appealing earthiness and minerality, blended with the warm, sweet red fruit. It’s a great food wine.  Plus it’s chillable.  It’s one of my favorite spring/summer reds! 

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 1 – Seminar Series

I attended the 18th Annual Rhone Rangers Celebration of American Rhone Wines  held March 27th and 28th at the Craneway Pavilion & Conference Center.  I attended the events held at the on March 28th, which featured a  two course Seminar Series and the Grand Tasting.

I’ll cover my experience at the two seminars: “Rosés made from Rhone Varietal Grapes” and “American Rhone Wines: See How They Age” in this post.

I’ll recap the Grand Tasting in a separate post.

Recap of 2015 Rhone Rangers Part 1 - Seminar Series

Clockwise from upper left; Moderator Patrick Comiskey; The many shade of Rhone Rose; Flight #1 of the “American Rhone Wines: See How They Age” seminar; Bob Lindquist talking about the ability of Roussanne to age well

The seminars were moderated by Patrick Comiskey, of Wine & Spirits Magazine. Both seminars featured distinguished panelists interacting with both Patrick and the audience.

While Rose is made all over the world, the Rhone Valley seems to be the home of its heart and soul – Patrick Comiskey

 

Rosés made from Rhone Varietal Grapes

First let me say that if you adore rosé wines, as I do, there are not many better ways to start your day than tasting 8 wonderfully delicious and diverse rosés!

Good rosé must quench the thirst, first of all. Even better, it ought to energize, inspire an appetite and induce the desire for another sip. -Eric Asimov

There was geographic diversity with the wines sourced from fruit from Paso Robles, Monterey County, Contra Costa County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, El Dorado County, Santa Barbara County and Oregon.  While most of the wines were blends of various Rhone grape varieties, there were a few that were made from a single Rhone grape variety.

The seminar panelists were as diverse as their wines.   While most have been making rosé for decades and before it was “cool”, there were a few who’ve been making rosé a relatively short period of time.

The seminar (and panelists) featured the following rosés

  1. 2014 Anglim Rosé (Steve Anglim)
  2. 2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Reserve (Randall Grahm)
  3. 2013 Cornerstone Cellars Syrah Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé (Craig Camp)
  4. 2014 Field Stone Petite Sirah Rosé Heritage Block (Jason Robinson)
  5. 2013 Kale Wines Rosé (Ranko Anderson)
  6. 2014 Quady North (Herb Quady)
  7. 2014 Sierra Vista Grenache Rosé (John MacCready)
  8. 2014 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé (Larry Schaffer)

Patrick’s first question to the panelist was”Why do you making rose and what are you after when you’re making it?

The answers were interesting.  But essentially, I’d break down the responses into those who make rosé out of passion and those who are capitalizing on the rising popularity of rosé.

It was interesting to note that regardless of the motivation behind the genesis for making rosé, many of the winemakers have evolved over the years (and continue to do so) from making one style of rosé to another.

I started out making rosé for the wrong reasons, luckily I managed to correct that misguided behavior.  I originally started making pink wines as a way of making my red wines darker, more profound, and more critic friendly  This was misguided in retrospect – Randall Grahm

Another aspect of the seminar I found interesting was the distinction being drawn between vin gris (which some rosé are called) and rosé.  Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards, and one of the pioneers of the Rhone movement in California since the late 1980s,  described a “proper vin gris” as the lightest pressings of red grapes made from grapes that are bespoke for the wine, you actually end up making a more subtle, complex, and interesting wine..that intrigues your customer that actually beguiles them and draws them into the wine rather than hits them over the head.  He went on to elaborate about the difference between vin gris and rosé by stating Vin gris and rosé are different. They have different meanings.  Some of it is regional.  Vin gris is a style that typically originates in Provence.  It’s paler in color, lower in alcohol, a little higher in acidity, and not as overtly fruity.

So…Is vin gris about how the wine is produced, or about style? I think for Grahm it’s both.  My sense of it is that most winemakers, nor consumers are not nearly as persnickety about the distinction as Grahm.

As I considered Grahm’s definition of vin gris, and began to think about some of my favorite pink wines,  I realized that most are in fact what Grahm would define as vin gris (though most are not labeled as such). In that sense, the distinction is meaningful for me.

Having said that, I’ve also had some saignée rosé that I enjoyed more than certain vin gris rosé because I found the vin gris too austere for my palate.

Of course,  no seminar with winemakers would be complete with out some geeking out about wine – stuff like terroir, pH, residual sugar, clone selection, rootstock, vineyard slope orientation and the almost obligatory suitcase clone tale complete with the promise of anonymity.

My favorite wines from the tasting were the Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Reserve, the Sierra Vista Grenache Rosé , and the Tercero Mourvedre Rosé.

As I recollect upon favorites,  which foods I think they’d pair well with comes to mind. The Bonny Doon was so savory, and broad with a great mouth feel. It’s a rosé I’d pair with Oyster Po’Bao, a mash-up of an Oyster Po Boy and a Chinese Bao with pork belly and plum sauce along with the fried oyster. The Sierra Vista on the other hand showcased a combination of red fruit, plenty of spice, a bit of smoke and interesting umami to the party and brought goat cheese mac and cheese to mind.  I loved the roundness, lively red fruit, and spice of the Tercero and would love to have it with Shrimp and Grits!

The seminar was a fantastic showcase for the diversity of Rhone-based rosés.

American Rhone Wines: See How They Age

This seminar featured both new releases and library releases from six wineries, so that one can see how the wines age over time.

The wines were presented in two flights of 3 presenters/6 wines for each flight as follows:

Flight #1

  • 2005 Qupé Marsanne
  • 2013 Qupé Marsanne
  • 2002 Lagier Meredith Syrah
  • 2012 Lagier Meredith Syrah
  • 1998 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak
  • 2008 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak

Flight #2

  • 2003 Silver Wines SyrahTrentotto File
  • 2010 Silver Wines Syrah Trentotto File
  • 2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2012 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2002 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate
  • 2012 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate

Before I go any further, I must make a confession…

I had my recorder turned on for the Rosé seminar. But I forgot to turn it on for the Aging seminar until the last couple of wines from Ridge were being discussed.  Therefore, no quotes from the winemakers or detailed notes about their wines.

My excuse?  Well it least it’s a good one…

I was too busy enjoying the outstanding wines presented!

Here what I can tell you. For nearly every wine, I preferred the more mature wine.

My favorites from the tasting were

  • 2005 Qupé Marsanne
  • 1998 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Syrah Pyramid Block Sentinel Oak
  • 2003 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel
  • 2002 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate

It rare that one gets to taste a library side by side with the new release of the same wine.  I certainly appreciated the opportunity to do so at the seminar.

Now if I only had the discipline to lay down my Rhone wine!  Until then…I need to start asking about library wines!

Coming soon…my recap of the Grand Tasting!

Related posts your might enjoy:

 

 

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon WithTablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work; along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.  The theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend is “Wine Lover’s Dilemma; Spring Flavors and Wine Pairing”

The movable feast that is Easter has always been a harbinger of Spring for me. And here in California, our unseasonably warm weather means Spring has sprung earlier than usual with many trees and flowers already in bloom with the omnipresent colors of the season on glorious display…well except for multitude of lawns that have been allowed to turn brown, by choice, due to our severe drought!

On My Plate

Time got the best of us this year, and we found ourselves at our local Costco the day before Easter deciding, real-time, what we’d have for our Easter dinner.

We picked up a couple of enticing items for our main dishes – King Crab Legs and beautiful piece of Whole Halibut.

My wife was on King Crab Leg duty. That left me with the Halibut duty.

When I searched for whole halibut recipes, I kept coming across halibut steaks and halibut fillets.  Eventually I found this recipe for Baked Whole Fish With Potatoes and Lemon, which I modified a bit and adapted to downsize the servings.

Here’s our Easter Menu:

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 6
 
This recipe comes from Italian fashion and tableware visionary Rosita Missoni's Sardinian fish merchant
Ingredients
  • 3lb. gold potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 lemons, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 3-lb. section of whole halibut
  • 3-4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • Dash of dried dill
  • Dash of paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Put potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease parchment with 2 tsp. oil. Layer potato slices evenly on parchment; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Par-cook the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Prepare the fish by removing the spine, and any large bones with a sharp boning knife(optional; remove skin)
  4. Arrange half of the lemon slices over potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Set fish skin side down over potatoes and rub with 2 Tbsp. oil; season skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Top with remaining lemon slices and arrange bay leaves over fish. Drizzle with remaining oil, and add a dash of dried dill and paprika.
  6. Bake until fish is just cooked through, 40-60 minutes (depending on size). Using a butter knife or metal spatula, flake flesh off the bone and serve immediately.
Notes
This could easily be adapted for halibut fillets

I would consider adding Old Bay seasoning to season the fish instead of dried dill, paprika combination.

I used a meat thermometer and cooked the halibut to an internal temperature of 140 degrees

The dish turned out very well.  It was a feast for the eyes and the palate! 

IMG_1998The halibut was moist, and its delicate flavor was enhanced by the lemon, bay leaf and spices.  The lemon also imparted a citrusy brightness to the potatoes, which were al dente.  Just the way I like them.

In My Glass

There are a multitude of choices for pairing wine with fish.   In terms of white wines, I’d bet Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay would be top of mind for most.

Not me. I wanted to try something different.

And I love blends..especially Rhone blends because I believe that a well made blend can be more than the sum of its parts.

That reasoning lead me to the 2011 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc, a blend of roughly equal parts of the four primary Rhone white grapes – Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne.

I’m a big fan of Tablas Creek who essentially brought the Rhone Valley to Paso Robles (check out the full story here)  They make diverse menu of distinguished, well crafted,  harmonious wines year after year!

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Here’s what Tablas Creek Vineyard said about the wine:

The Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc is a blend of four estate-grown white Rhône varietals: Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. The wine, like most wines of the Southern Rhône, is a blend of varietals, featuring the floral aromatics and stone fruit of Viognier, the crisp acids and rich mouthfeel of Grenache Blanc, and the structure and minerality of Marsanne and Roussanne.”

IMG_2013

My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with honeysuckle, peach, melon, honey aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and broad with racy acidity and an appealing hint of tannins. It shows peach, melon, honey, and a hint of spice flavors with an appealing combination of salinity and wet stone minerality on the long finish.

The Pairing

It was a wonderful pairing.  The medium-bodied  weight of the wine was well matched to the food.  When I had a sip of wine with the food, the wine made the food taste better and the food made the wine taste a tad sweeter and more delicious! The wine also has a saline mineral character which was a perfect complement to the fish.

Don’t stop here!

Check out what my fellow #winePW blogger came up with for this month’s theme! 

If you are catching this post early enough, you can join our live Twitter Chat on Saturday, April 11, at 8 a.m. PT, via the Twitter hashtag #winePW. If you’ve come to us after April 11, consider joining us for #winePW 12 on Saturday, May 9. when our host is Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva.  Christy is challenging us to come up with Wine Pairings with Mexican Cuisine. It should be fun!
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 5th, 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week - a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out; and my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended April 5th, 2015.

2010 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon - Retail $48
Dark ruby color with plum skin, dark cherry, low-key spice, dark chocolate, and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, lush and concentrated with solid acidity and plum, blackberry, black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate and vanilla flavors with well-integrated dusty sweet tannins. Medium finish. Blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon (from the Home Ranch, Ghielmetti Estate, and Smith vineyards), 12% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot. Aged 24 months in 75% new oak, a blend of 52% French, 43% American, and 5% Hungarian barrels. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Urban Legend Barbera Rosato di Barbera Holland Landing - Retail $19
Deep pink color with wild strawberry and low key wet stone aromas. It’s more interesting on the palate. It approaches medium-bodied and is dry and fresh with strawberry, tart cherry,spice and mineral flavors. Medium finish Very good; 86-88 pts

2012 Smith Madrone Riesling - Retail $27
Very pale slightly green tinged straw color with appealing petrol, stone fruit, lime, wet stone, and a hint of lychee aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied and is dry, clean, focused, and well-structured with peach, lime, passion fruit and mineral flavors. Long persistent finish. 12.5% alcohol. Made from 40 year old vines. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon - Retail $48 
Opaque violet color with very appealing baked and fresh dark fruit, smoke,marzipan and violet aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, and well structured, with very good acidity, dusty well-integrated tannins and a supple texture. It shows ample high-toned red currant, baked blackberry, black raspberry, spice and vanilla flavors with a roast coffee finish. 14.5% alcohol. Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto Colli Bolognesi Classico Vigna del Grotto - Retail $23
Slightly cloudy gold color (unfiltered) with lime zest, honeysuckle,and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, and very persistent with a wonderfully supple texture. Flavor-wise it shows white peach, lime, honey, a bit of lemon and a suggestion of persimmon flavors with a long mineral laced finish. Bottled unfiltered. Battonage during 6 months sur lie aging in large oak casks impart some complexity and a wonderful creaminess. 13% alcohol Very good; 86-88 pts

Wine of the Week + Food and Wine Pairing of the Week 

My Wine of the Week is from Big Basin Vineyards, which is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager)

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  That’s the location of their estate and winery.  They also have a tasting room in Saratoga, which is where I’ve always gone to taste and pick up wine (Note to self: I must make it up to the estate in the SC Mountains!).

Big Basin Vineyards is among the 32 of California’s top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers to be represented at In Pursuit of Balance – one of the only wine tasting organizations in the US today that carefully selects it’s members through juried blind tastings by respected professionals.

The 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Cab was sourced from the Betchart Vineyard, directly across the road from Ridge’s Vineyard’s world famous Monte Bello vineyard, at 2,200 feet of elevation above Cupertino. The Syrah is from Coastview Vineyard at 2,300 feet in the Gabilan Mountains.

It’s one of the best Cab/Syrah blends I’ve ever had!

IMG_1967

My Food and Wine pairing of the Week was the wine we had for our Easter dinner – the 2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto.  It paired beautifully with our dinner of Roasted Halibut, King Crab legs and a Spinach Salad. It’s a wine a wine I discovered during my virtual tours of Italian wine regions with the #ItalianFWT group of food, wine and travel bloggers.  This Pignoletto, is a white grape variety indigenous to the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s a fantastic wine – full-bodied, creamy and fresh.  Highly recommended!

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Sicily-Tuna and Sea Bass Spiedini #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Sicily!

Sicilian Beach

The harbor in Levanzo – a small island off the coast of Sicily; Image courtesy of blogsturismo.blogspot.com

My #ItalianFWT journey has been amazing so far!  We’ve virtually traveled to Tuscany (with which I was familiar), Emilia-Romagna, and Alto-Adige (which I knew nothing or next to nothing about). And now Sicily – which I thought I knew something about,  but  it turns out, I knew very little about!

Among the island’s innumerable charms, here are a few personal favorites: the ever-present scent of lemon trees, the purity of dawn light on terracotta walls, the colourful decrepitude of Palermo’s markets, the drama of Stromboli erupting against a darkening sky, the sense that history lurks always just around the next corner, the reflective marble glow of late-night Ortygia and Marsala streets, the lonely majesty of Segesta, the exotic flavours of Sicilian food and the kindness of its people. – Gregor Clark for Lonely Planet

Admittedly, the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Sicily was the Mafia (thank you “The Godfather”)

On how little I knew.

I knew about a few Sicilian dishes, that it is an island, Marsala, and of course the Mount Etna (a wine region on the rise!)  But once I started researching it…

Wow!  Such an amazing place (check out 10 Amazing Things You Should Know About Sicily, or for my foodie friends - 23 Sicilian Dishes To Die For)!

On my plate

Inspired by an episode of Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian entitled “Sicilian Summer“, and the summer-like temperatures in California these days (it was sunny and 80 degrees last weekend), I brought a bit of Sicily to California with this menu:

I modified Giada’s recipe by substituting half of the tuna with some great looking Chilean Sea Bass I found at Whole Foods, and cooking the dish on my Weber grill instead of the oven. 

Before…

DSCN0934

The skewered spiedini ready to go on the grill – chock full of marinated tuna and sea bass with fennel, red onion, scallions, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and lemon!

After…

A Taste of Sicily - Tuna and Sea Bass Spiedini

All grilled up and served on a bed a delectable Mediterranean Salad full of the flavors of Sicily – lemony couscous, fresh basil and mint, tart cranberry and almonds!

This was a perfect light meal for al fresco dining!

And the Spiedini served on top of the Mediterranean Salad?

Wow! The combination offers a tour de force of contrasting tastes and flavors!

You get little explosions of sweetness from the grilled tomatoes and the dried cranberries in the salad that are the perfect foil for the unami of the seafood.

You get the crunch of the almonds, and the grilled fennel, and onions.

There’s a nice textural contrast between the grilled tuna which is firm,and the seabass which was more tender and succulent.

And the lemons (90% of Italy’s lemons come from Sicily btw…) used for both the marinade for the seafood, and the salad adds a delightful citrusy brightness to the meal.

Despite my ongoing challenge with kebabs (I can never seem to get the meat, and veggies the same size - tips anyone?), this is definitely a “make again” for me!

The Talenti Sicilian Pistachi Gelato?  OMG!

In my Glass

I was fortunate to find a Sicilian Rosé at my favorite wine store.

I adore Rosés. They combine the best of white and red wines, while maintaining their own unique charm. They offer the crisp acidity, delicacy and freshness of white wines, and the body, and flavors of red wines.  And they’re great at the table!

The  2013 Antichi Vinai “Petralava” Rosato hails from the Etna D.O.C.  It’s a blend of Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio grapes grown in vineyards on the slopes of Volcano Etna in Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo districts.  

IMG_1948-001

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with vinous red fruit, spice, wet gravel, and a hints of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and fresh with abundant cherry jolly rancher, strawberry, and spice flavors with complemented by an appealing minerality and fine-grained tannins. Lingering finish.  13% alcohol  Retail – $15

It paired wonderfully with our salad and entrée. What a great meal!

Ti amo la Sicilia! I’m hereby officially adding Sicily to my bucket list!

If you’re ready to fall in love with Sicily too, there are lots more where that came from.  Check out my fellow bloggers and what they have to share on their sites.

 

We are live on twitter today and throughout the weekend at #ItalianFWT.  Join us and share your food, wine and travel experiences in Sicily; We’d love to hear from you!

_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

 

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 29th, 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  Includes my picks for  Wine of the Week; and Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended March 29th, 2015.

2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Blanc - Retail $22
Gold color with a just a hint of haziness with quince paste, honey, sweet spice, baked stone fruits, aromas with a bit of earthiness. On the palate, it’s full-bodied with a lush mouthfeel and lively acidity with ample quince, baked peach, honey and spice flavors with an appealing vein of minerality and a lingering sweet finish. 13.9% alcohol Very good QPR at $22! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2007 Ehlers Estate Merlot St. Helena - Retail $45
We purchased a couple of bottles of this wine while in Napa a few years back.  We consumed the other bottle about 2.5 years ago.  The wine has aged well. It’s a violet color with blueberry, leather, graphite red currant, caramel and vanilla aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, elegant with great texture and good acidity with ample blueberry, red currant, vanilla and graphite flavors, and a lingering sweet finish Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands - Retail $20
Ruby color with a hint of heat and cherry, spice, and caramel aromas on the palate its medium bodied and fresh with ample baked cherry, cranberry, cola, caramel and spice flavors. Med sweet finish. While I enjoyed it this wine, it was showing its age. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Antichi Vinai Etna Petra Lava - Retail $19.99
Ruby color with vinous red fruit, spice, wet gravel, and a hint of violet aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and fresh with abundant cherry jolly rancher, strawberry, and spice flavors with complemented by an appealing minerality and fine-grained tannins. Lingering finish Very good; 86-88 pts

Wine of the Week + Food and Wine Pairing of the Week 

My Wine of the Week is the 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Blanc.  Dashe Cellars is an urban winery located in Oakland, CA.  My wife and have been in their wine club for many years. Come to think of it, it’s the wine club we’ve been in the longest.

I think Dashe flies under the radar a bit, but Mike and Anne Dashe are great winemakers. They make very good to excellent wines that are well-structured and fairly priced.

IMG_1923

This wine is a great example.  It’s the first time Dashe has produced Grenache Blanc (which seems to be trending).  The fruit for the wine is sourced from the Monarch Mine Vineyard, almost 3000 feet up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It’s a visually impressive vineyard, with extremely steep slopes and bright red, rocky soil onto which the vines cling. The altitude and climate allow the grapes to mature while keeping a bright acidity, ideal conditions for creating this wonderful wine.   It a blend of 95% Grenache Blanc, and 5% Roussanne.

Our Food and Wine Pairing of the Week featured this wine paired with a salad and Stuffed Pasta Shells with Shrimp, Crab and Lobster.  This is such a food friendly wine because of its acidity.

And hey – It’s not everyday I get to use quince paste as a description for a wine’s aromas and flavors!

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.