Best Wines To Pair with Hot Dogs

According to Days of the Year, tomorrow, July 23rd is Hot Dog Day.  Though I love hot dogs, I must confess they  are a guilty pleasure.  So, I don’t eat them often.   But when I do eat a hot dog, I want to make it worth the calories and fat.

And by hot dog, I mean all manner of sausage crammed in a hot dog bun. While I enjoy fairly traditional dogs like beef franks, kielbasa, bratwurst, hot links, or linguiça, I also love exploring new flavors, so I’d try the mango habanero hot dog on the menu at Top Dog in a heartbeat.

As much I as love hot dogs, I love wine even more!  And, if possible, I  prefer to enjoying them together.

I don’t think wine and hot dogs is “top of mind” for most folks who eat hot dogs, and that’s a shame.  It should be. Hot dogs go great with wine!

Pairing a wine to a hot dog is mostly driven by what is slathered on the hot dog. Of course there are exceptions such as if the dog itself is quite spicy. I’ll get to that…

Here are some of the most popular styles of hot dogs and my wine pairing recommendations:

New York Style Hot Dogs (kraut & deli mustard) - Pair with Gewürztraminer or Pinot Gris. Either will stand up to sourness of the kraut,and the spice of the mustard.  Look for the Dr. Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes region of NY or the Navarro Vineyards Pinot Gris.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs (tomato, pickle, onion, mustard, picked sport peppers & celery salt on a poppy-seed bun) - Pair with a dry to off-dry Riesling.  Look for the 2013 Kung-Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State.  Its acidity gives it a tangy character that will match well with the tangy, salty, sweet profile of the dog.  This would also be my wine of choice for a Louisiana style hot link based dog.

The Classic (mystery meat, mustard, ketchup, relish) – Enjoy with a glass of dry Rosé.  Look for the 2013 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Rosé. It sports ample cherry, watermelon, vanilla and spice flavors that’ll be a good match.

Chili Cheese Dog (chili, and melted cheese) – Putting chili on a dog means it’s time to think red wine.  I recommend a full-bodied red wine. The tannins will cut through the fat  of the chili and cheese.  Syrah would be my wine of choice.  Look for the 2012 Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous Les Jours Syrah.

Coney Island Dog (all-beef hot dog, chili, chopped onion and yellow mustard) - This dog, ironically has nothing to do with Coney Island, New York’s. It’s a staple in Detroit where it originated instead at a restaurant called Todoroff’s Coney Island in Jackson, Michigan. The addition of mustard, and the lack of cheese  changes this one up a bit for me.  It’s a bit leaner, so I recommend a lighter bodied red.  Look for the Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti from Italy.  I bet it would be a good match with the Cline Cellars Mourvedre Rosé too

Corn Dog – Pair with a glass of sparkling wine.  Sparkling wines go well with deep-fried foods.  Opt for a glass of Prosecco or Cava. Look for the Kirkland Prosecco or Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava.

O.co Polish Dog

And last but not least?  What wine to pair with the World’s Most Expensive Hot Dog - New York’s 230 Fifth’s $2,300 creation made out of 60-day dry-aged wagyu and topped with Vidalia onions, caramelized in Dom Perignon, sauerkraut braised in Cristal, and caviar?

I say “bridge” the wine to the Cristal used to braise the sauerkraut, and pair it with a bottle of Cristal.  Hey- If you’ve got the coin to drop $2.3k on a hot dog – what’s another couple hundred buck for a bottle of Cristal?

What’s your favorite style of hot dog?  Ever had it with a glass of wine?

Happy Hot Dog Day!

Best Wines For A Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is a Summer BBQ Party.

Perfect.

That’s because Summer is my favorite season.  Always has been.  I love the warmer weather, the longer days, my favorite fruits (yes – including wine grapes;-)} and vegetables are ripe or ripening.  And I get to use my Weber grill more often than not.

Which brings me to this week’s virtual Summer BBQ party.  The #SundaySupper family of food bloggers dishing up a diverse Summer BBQ party menu.  And I’m offering recommendations for all the dishes.

While beer is probably the top of mind beverage for barbecues for most folks, don’t forget about wine! A glass of wine alongside your grilled favorites can elevate a meal from mundane to memorable.

Here are some of the things you need to know to successfully add wine to your list of favorite adult barbecue beverages!

  • If your meat, or vegetable has a sauce, salsa, chutney, etc. that dominates the flavors of the dish, let the sauce dictate which wine to pair with the food. BBQ Chicken is a good example. If you follow the cliché white wine with white meat “rule”, it could be a challenge to find a white wine to stand up to the bold flavors of the BBQ sauce. It’ll be much easier to find a red wine, or a Rosé that will complement BBQ chicken. In other words, think of the meat, or vegetable as a “vessel” for the sauce. Pair to the sauce, not the “vessel”.
  • Smoking, grilling, and blackening all transform the flavors of food, so that will dictate which wines to serve with the food
  • Spicy (hot) foods like sweet. Pair spicy hot foods with wines that have low to moderate alcohol levels (less than 14.5% generally), no or minimal oak, and some residual sugar (sweetness)
  • More red wines than you think work well during the summer.  Just chill them in an ice bath for 20-30 minutes.  Look for lighter bodied, less tannic wines like Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Beaujolais, or Grenache.  Also look for reds from cooler climate wine regions like Loire, Alsace or Germany.
  • BBQ wines should be inexpensive
Best Wines For A Summer BBQ Party #SundaySupper

Image courtesy of Pico Communication

Check out the awesome Summer BBQ menu and my wine pairing recommendations.

Pair these sides and accompaniments with a glass of sparkling wine.  My everyday bubbly these days is Kirkland Prosecco. It has a clean, refreshing apple, pear, mandarin orange and honey character.

Pair these dishes with a food friendly Sauvignon Blanc. Look for the 2012 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc.  It’s a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of Semillon for body.  It has nicely textured lime zest, lemon curd, slightly herbal character underscored by some minerality which adds a bit of complexity. 

Pair these dishes with Gewürztraminer.  Look for the Dr. Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer. It’s from the Finger Lakes wine region in New York State.  It’s fragrant, and medium-bodied with sweet citrus, stone fruit, and baking spice flavors with a touch of sweetness.  

I like a Riesling with theses appetizers and sides.  Look for the 2013 Kung-Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State. It shows gobs of white peach, apricot, and mandarin orange flavors with an alluring off-dry sweetness and lively acidity. 

Pair these appetizers and main dished with a Rosé.  It’s my favorite summer time wine because it’s so food friendly.  It’s served chilled, which make it refreshing, while at the same time being “bolder” than the most popular white wines when it come to pairing with grilled, and smoked foods.  Look the 2013 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé.  It’s a blend of  Grenache, Mourvedre and Counoise with lively, refreshing wild strawberry, spiced citrus character.  

Pair these side and main dishes with a red Rhone blend.  One of my recent favorites which offers great value is the 2012 Château Pesquié “Terrasses” Côte du Ventoux.  It’s a blend of 70% old-vine Grenache and 30% Syrah that combines the generous fruit of Grenache with the spice, mineral, and acidity of Syrah that shows a juicy cherry liqueur, mixed berry, and licorice character. 

Pair these dishes with Malbec.  I recommend Pascual Toso Malbec from Argentina.  It has a red cherry, blueberry character with a hint of smoky earthiness that makes it a good match for the flavors of Summer BBQ! It’s a red wine that can take a bit of a chill too.  Go ahead and throw it in the ice bucket for 10-15 minutes.  

Pair these delectable desserts with 10-year-old Tawny Port.  I recommend a Tawny because unlike vintage port it can take a chill.  In fact, it should be served at cellar temperature (about 55 degrees) to maximize its enjoyment.  And that’s important when you’re looking for something cool to enjoy with your dessert on warm (if not hot) Summer day. Look for Warre’s “Otima” 10-year-old Tawny Port. It’s a rich tawny port with a toffee, caramel, honey and dried fruits character. You know what else I like about Tawny?  It’ll last for months after opening!

Pair these delightful desserts with Moscato d’Asti.  Look for the 2013 Cupcake Moscato d’ Asti.  It’s slightly fizzy and shows lovely floral, and bright fruit aromatics with peach, lychee and tropical fruit flavors.

And last, but not least, check out this stellar line up of other Summer BBQ Beverages

*Clink* – Here’s to you and your Summer BBQ Party!

Sunday Supper Movement
Join 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.

Rosé of the Week: Donkey & Goat Isabel’s Cuvée Grenache Gris

Summer is officially here!  Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Donkey & Goat Isabel’s Cuvée Grenache Gris.

The Winery

Donkey and Goat Winery is a family owned and operated urban winery located in Berkeley, California.  The winery is owned by Jared and Tracey Brandt.  Theirs is a story we’ve heard before, but with a “natural” twist.  They left tech careers to pursue their dreams of making wine. They got started making wines in the Rhône Valley, and returned to California to apply what they learned in France.

The “natural” twist is their focus –  no make that obsession, with making wines as naturally as possible.  While “natural” wine-making has become more and more en vogue  these days, the Brandts have been doing it since day one.  You can read their complete manifesto here, but suffice it to say they take minimal intervention to the next level.  This includes using native yeasts, fermenting their wines in used oak barrels or concrete (most wineries use plastic bins), using no machines for crushing the grapes, and not filtering or fining of their wines.

They also make it a point to mention their wines are made “for the table not the cocktail glass”  That means having their fruit picked sooner than most, with the decision on when to pick driven by flavor and structure rather than brix.  As a result their wine are lower in alcohol (also trending these days it seems – but my sense is that’s another thing the Brandts were doing long before the pendulum started to swing toward lower alcohol wines)

Donkey and Goat produces wines from white, and red Rhône varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the unappreciated El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills.

Donkey and Goat owners Jared and Tracey Brandt were named one of 5 Winemakers To Watch by Jon Bonné of the SF Chronicle in 2011.  They produce about 3,000 cases of wine annually.

The Wine

Donkey and Goat uses an unusual  and rare grape variety for this wine – Grenache Gris. Grenache Gris, a pink-hued grape that yields white juice, is related to the more common Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc.  It’s not officially recognized as an official grape variety in California and precious little is grown in France.

Made from a field blend of 99+ year old Grenache Gris from a special old Mendocino vineyard in McDowell Valley. Made 50% like a white wine (whole cluster press to neutral French Oak barrels) and 50% was de-stemmed and left to soak on the skins for 44 hours in an open top wood vat before pressing and then on to neutral barrels. Spontaneous fermentation occurred in barrel followed by a naturally occurring malolactic fermentation. We bottled unfined and unfiltered.  As a result, you may find pink sediment in the bottle, particularly as you get to the bottom. The sediment isn’t indicative of a fault of any kind or otherwise adversely affect flavor of the wine.

I like what Alder Yarrow of Vinography says about it…Sediment is a sign of many good things. First and foremost, it is a likely sign that a wine has not been filtered or fined to oblivion. These processes strip things from the wine, and while sometimes that can be good (especially if those things would cause the wine to spoil) most of the time it’s unnecessary and (in my opinion) damaging to the complexity and personality of the wine. Unfined and unfiltered wines taste more honest, and more interesting, all things considered…

photo (50)

My tasting notes follow:

Slightly hazy orange tinged pink color with red fruit, tangerine, watermelon rind, mineral and hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with wonderful acidity and a hint of effervescence with strawberry, ripe fresh cherry, a bit of red plum, spiced blood orange, and mineral flavors. Lingering finish.  Retail – $22; 13.7% Alcohol >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A- An outstanding,and oh-so food friendly Rosé.  This is a  Rosé I buy every year and it’s always delivered – big time!

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

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.

9th Annual Urban Wine Xperience

One of the things I love most about living in the East Bay.  It’s a wine-lovers paradise.  Napa ValleySonoma, the Santa Cruz Mountain, and Livermore Valley wine regions are all within a 90 minute or so drive.  Even so, I frequently find myself also taking advantage of the East Bay’s Urban Wine Country, which includes a dozens of family-owned wineries in Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and Emeryville. EBVA-LOGO_Square

That’s because the East Bay features some of California’s finest urban wineries.  In fact, the East Bay is California’s largest urban winemaking region.

Once a year, the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance (EBVA), an association representing more than 20 urban wineries, hosts The Urban Wine Xperience.  It’s a great opportunity to taste all the best artisanal wines made in the Bay Area all at the same time.

The Ninth Annual Urban Wine Xperience will be held  on August 2nd on the Ferry Lawn at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.   Member wineries will pour a wide array of their white, rosé, red, dessert wines, and mead.  Local eateries and food purveyors will create delicious bites that pair perfectly with the EBVA’s wine portfolio.  Wine, food and live music can all be enjoyed in the outdoor setting of vibrant Jack London Square on the shore at the Ferry Lawn.

The event promises to be  bigger and better than ever – a testament to the rise of Oakland and urban wine making in the East Bay.

9th Annual Urban Wine Xperience

The participating wineries include:

Aubin CellarsCampovidaCarica Wines, Cerruti Cellars, Chouinard Cellars, Dashe Cellars, Ehrenberg Cellars, Eno Wines, Irish Monkey CellarsJeff Cohn Cellars,  Mead KitchenLusu CellarsParadox WinesPeriscope CellarsR&B CellarsRockwall Wine CompanyRosenblum CellarsStage Left CellarsTwo Mile WinesUrban Legend Cellars  and Urbano Cellars

Each the participating wineries will be pouring three wines, so there will be plenty of wine!

Scheduled participating restaurants offering bites include:

Venga Paella, Pacific Fine Foods, alaMar, Tay Ho, Nido,  Acapulco, Bocanova, Café Jolie Scolari, Chop Bar, Mockingbird, Tribune Tavern, Haven and Lungomare.

PosterB_OL FINAL

The Urban Wine Experience
August 2 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Ferry Lawn at Jack London Square
Oakland, CA ( map )

Advance tickets are $45 per person (Designated drivers are $15) and are available for purchase online. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $60 per person.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to take public transportation to the event.  Both the  Lake Merritt and 12th Street/Oakland City Center BART stations are  close to Jack London Square.

Remember to maximize your enjoyment and learning at public tastings:

  • Wear dark, comfortable clothes
  • Hydrate
  • Spit
  • Skip the perfume and cologne

Hope to see you at The Urban Wine Xperience!

__________________________________________________________________

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.

Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

You want to know the difference between winos and foodies?  Winos are more likely to pick a wine, then decide which food to pair with it.  Foodies are more likely to pick the food, then (maybe) decide which wine to pair with it.  I’m a wino ( granted - with latent foodie tendencies), so when I saw the theme for this week’s Wine Pairing Weekend #2 -  Refreshing Summer Wine Pairings,  the first thing I did was select a wine.  And top of mind for me,  was a refreshing summer white wine. But I wanted something other than the typical Sauvignon Blanc, or Chard.  No, I was in the mood to experiment,  and try something new.  And that’s when the 2012 Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc I’ve been holding on to for a few months came to mind.

The Wine

Picpoul Blanc is an ancient white-wine grape variety native to the Languedoc region in Southern France, where it is known as Piquepoul or Piquepoul Blanc.  It’s used primarily as a blending grape in Châteauneuf du Pape, but is best known for the light-bodied green wines of the Pinet, a region that run along the southern coast of France in the Languedoc. Like the better known Grenache and Pinot, Picpoul has red, white and pink variants, though Picpoul Noir and Picpoul Gris are very rare.

The name Pique-poul translates literally as “stings the lip”, and is a reference to the grape’s naturally, mouth wateringly high acidity.

Tablas Creek Vineyard imported Picpoul vines from France to replicate the clonal selection of French grapes. The grapes were quarantined in 1996, and released in 1998. The first vines were planted 2000.

Tablas Creek says that Picpoul grown in California maintains its bright acidity, but also develops an appealing tropical lushness.

My tasting notes are below…

photo (76)

The Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc shows subtle pineapple, lemon, and white flower aromas. But it really comes alive on the palate.  It’s harmonious, and  fresh with a lush texture and very acid driven with expansive pineapple,  and lemon flavors complemented by subtle mineral and spice shadings offering some complexity.  The acid drives a lingering finish.  >>Find this wine<<

This is a very food friendly wine that will pair well many dishes including fried calamari, fish cakes, all manner of prawns, Thai dishes.  I’d even give it a go with Spaghetti Carbonara!

The Food

I adore Ceviche, and it’s a great dish for summer when the mercury is rising.  Not only do you not have cook use heat sources to cook it, it’s also pretty healthy too.  It’s a great source of lean protein. I chose to use the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado.

I made the Ceviche after I started a Beer Can Chicken on my Weber. Typically, it’s more like an appetizer served with crackers and the like, but I decided to “saladfy” it by chopping up some Romaine lettuce, adding some cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and sliced avocado dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.

Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado

Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado

Ceviche with Tomato and Avocados
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer or Salad
Cuisine: Latin American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), large sea scallops, skinless fish fillets, or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest from 1 lime
  • ½ cup juice from 4 limes
  • ½ cup juice from 4 lemons
  • 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeño chile (small), stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced fine
  • Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. If using shrimp, peel them completely, devein, and slice each shrimp in half lengthwise using a paring knife (through the deveined groove in the back). If using scallops, remove the side tendon (see illustration below) and slice into ⅓-inch-thick rounds. If using fish, remove any bones and slice into 1-inch squares about ⅓ inch thick.
  2. Stir the lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Gently stir in the seafood, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the seafood is firm, opaque, and appears cooked, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through the marinating time.
  3. Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, leaving it a little wet, then return to the bowl. Gently stir in the oil, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sugar followed by the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Notes
Fresh seafood and freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice are essential for this dish. Be sure to pat all seafood dry with paper towels so that any moisture does not water down the marinade. I used a 50/50 blend of shrimp and Dover sole. Slicing the seafood into pieces no thicker than ⅓ inch is important for even cooking; super-thin fish fillets (such as sole, flounder, or tilapia) are the easiest to use, as they require the least amount of prep. Heat is not used to cook the fish in this dish—the acid in the citrus juice firms it and makes it opaque. Add the avocado just before serving to prevent it from breaking down and coating everything with its green color

Use a nonreactive container for making ceviche, such as glass, ceramic or stainless steel.

The Wine and Food Together

The Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc was  stellar pairing with my Ceviche with Tomatoes and Avocado.  The food made the wine taste better and the wine made the food taste better.

The weight of the wine was a perfect complement to the “weight” of the Ceviche, which was loaded with avocado and tomatoes.  And the ample tropical fruit profile of the wine was a great complement to the tart nature of the Ceviche.

Score!

Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

Wine Pairing Weekend #2 Bloggers: Be sure to check out the great pairings my fellow bloggers have come up with for the July Wine Pairing Weekend! 

Culinary Adventures with Camilla posted “Green Fig Ice Cream + Cambiata Albariño

Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog shared “Orzo salad and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

Curious Cuisiniere posted “Grilled Trout paired with a Tropical Fruit Viognier

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog paired “Ceviche and Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc

Take a Bite Out of Boca shared “Grilled Mango-Sriracha Shrimp, Pineapple and Peppers paired with Burg Layer Schlosskapelle Spatlese Kerner

foodwineclick shared “Steamers and Cava on the Porch

Confessions of a Culinary Diva blogged about “Aperol Spritz

Cooking Chat paired “Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa and a White Burgundy

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “Refreshing Summer Wine Pairings” on Saturday, July 12, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the August Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on “Wine for Summer’s Bounty” on Saturday, August 9.

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week: 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé

Summer is officially here!  Rosé season is in full bloom, although truth be told, it’s Rosé season for me pretty much year-round for me!  With that in mind, I’m cranking up my annual series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  It’s my quest for the best Pink Porch Pounders! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Rosé.

The Winery

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

The Wine

Dashe used to refer to this wine as “Vin Gris”, which is a French expression that translates literally as “grey wine”, and traditionally refers to a wine made from red wine grapes, but with white winemaking practices.  But so many people called it rosé, that Dashe renamed it.  It’s 100% Grenache.

Retail – $16; 13.7% alcohol; 222 cases produced

photo (49)

 My tasting notes follow:

Red color with pleasing strawberry, sour cherry and hint of spice aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied, and is dry with mouth-watering acidity and ripe strawberry, black cherry and peppery spice flavors. Medium finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: B+ This is a delightful, food friendly and pocket-friendly rosé!

Pair with: Hamburgers, or BBQ Chicken!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
__________________________________________________________________

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.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Tercero Verbiage

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Tercero Verbiage. 

The Winery

Tercero Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, California.  Larry Schaffer is the owner/winemaker.  Schaffer left a successful career in publishing to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker.  He earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis.  Thereafter he got winemaking career started as an enologist at Fess Parker Winery.  While at Fess Parker he started Tercero.

I first meet Larry a couple of years ago at one of my favorite events - Dark & Delicious. Initially, he caught my attention because he was aerating his wines in Erlenmeyer flasks rather than traditional decanters.  I thought – How cool is that (note to self – buy some lab beakers; they cost less and work as well!)?

I tried his wines, and came away impressed.

Since then, I’ve tasted his wines at a few other events, and continued to be impressed. The wines are worthy of attention, and reasonably priced (the reds are $30, the whites are $22!). On top of that, Larry is hard-working, down-to-earth, passionate, and very affable guy in my book.  And that matters to me.

Tercero Wines offers a range of wines including varietal bottlings of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, a red Rhône blend, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, and a dry Gewürztraminer. All wines are bottled under screwcap (extra points in my book!) Annual case production is about 1,250 cases.

The wines are worth seeking out, and if you get a chance, I heartily recommend a visit to the winery!

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

Larry Schaffer of Tercero Vineyard. Image courtesy of Santa Barbara County Vintners Association

The Wine

The wine is labeled “Verbiage” because according to Larry - ”I love to talk – a lot! I also love to make wine – a lot! so this label pays homage to the fact that every wine tell a story“.

It’s a blend of 62.5% grenache – from the Camp 4 and Watch Hill vineyards, 25% syrah – from the White Hawk and Larner vineyards, and 12.5% Mourvedre – from the aforementioned Camp 4 vineyard.

Each component fermented and pressed off separately, ,then barreled down for approximately 34 months.

Retail – $30; 14.5% alcohol;  Screwcap closure.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Tercero Verbiage
My tasting notes follow:
Nearly opaque violet color with enticing, perfumed mixed black and red fruit, smoked meat, and baking spice, and white pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with blackberry compote, strawberry, black currant, and sweet spice flavors. Long sweet finish. 
Rating: A-:  This is a wonderful GSM from an area more well know for Pinot and Chardonnay.  It’s ready to drink now, but will improve with age!

Pair with: Glazed Asian Chicken Breasts or Grilled or Braised lamb, or Grilled Sausages.

Sample provided for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

__________________________________________________________________

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!

 

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week: 2013 Big Basin GSM Rosé

The Winery

Big Basin Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager), while his sister Wendy Brown is co-owner and provides business management expertise.  The winery was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

The estate vineyards include Rattlesnake Rock (planted to Syrah), Old Corral Block (planted to Syrah in 2006) and the Homestead Block (planted in 2007 to Grenache, Roussanne and Syrah). They also source from other vineyards, like Monterey County’s Coastview.

Big Basin produces Rhone Reds, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne, a dry Riesling and this Rosé.

Tasting is available at their beautiful Saratoga tasting room, and by appointment at their estate vineyard and winery.

We tasted through the lineup of wines, our last visit to the Saratoga tasting room.  The wines are sensational and we like downtown Saratoga where the tasting room is located.  I highly recommend visiting and/or acquiring the wines!

The Wine

The wine is a blend of  33% Grenache, 58% Syrah, and 9% Mourvedre

The beautiful label is the artwork of Matt Jones, and is entitled “Rhino Girl”

14.1% alcohol; Retail – $22; 7 barrels produced

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Big Basin Vineyards GSM Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Vivid pink red color with cherry, strawberry, and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry, fresh, and focused with strawberry, tart cherry flavors and an alluring minerality. Lengthy satisfying finish

Rating: A-:  

Pair with: Watermelon and Feta Salad, or Over the Top Mushroom Quiche

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

__________________________________________________________________

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!

Wine of the Week;2008 Iron Horse Brut

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2008 Iron Horse Vineyards Classic Vintage Brut.

The Winery

Iron Horse Vineyards is a small, independent, estate, family owned wineries located in cool, foggy Green Valley in western Sonoma County. The founding partners, Audrey and Barry Sterling first saw it in the pouring rain in February 1976. Driving down Ross Station Road, they were sure they were lost until they crested the knoll and the view opened up to 300 acres of gentle rolling hills and a wall of trees behind that looked like Camelot to them. Incurable romantics, and having extraordinary vision, they bought the property in just two weeks.

Iron Horse is truly a family affair. Audrey and Barry’s daughter Joy Sterling is the CEO and lives at the foot of the vineyard.  The Sterlings’ son Laurence, his wife Terry and their children moved to Iron Horse in 1990 and built their home on the far southwest corner of the property. Laurence is Director of Operations. Audrey and Barry are retired, but still reside at the heart of the estate in the original Victorian built in 1876

Iron Horse is best known for their sparkling wines, but they also produce elegant estate-bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Green Valley in the coolest, foggiest part of the Russian River Valley, just 13 miles from the Pacific as the crow flies. There are approximately 160 acres in vine, planted exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – with gentle, rolling hills, and a spectacular view from the winery clear across Sonoma County to Mount St. Helena.  The land was once under water many millions of years ago, and the soils is full of marine sediment and fossil. In this regard the area is similar to Chablis and Champagne in France. And the soils are perfectly suited to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which dominate the AVA.

The Iron Horse name came from a train that cut across the property in the 1890s. The logo, the rampant horse on a weather vane, came from a 19th century weather vane found while clearing away the rubble to build the winery.

Whenever, we’re in Sonoma County Iron Horse is on our short list of “must visit” wineries. It’s a beautiful property, with what is essentially an outdoor tasting room.   We love to grab of glass of bubbly, or one of their still wines, and sit on one of the benches that overlook the property, and simply savor the view.   Drop by on a Sunday if you can, the Oyster Girls will be serving up Tomales Bay oysters shucked to order raw or barbecued.

The Wine

Fruit for the base wine was hand-harvested.  It’s a blend of 72% Pinot Noir and 28% that was aged, sur lie for over almost four years.  The dosage includes 2007 Rued Clone Chardonnay and 2010 Thomas Road Pinot Noir.

Retail – $38; Alcohol – 13.5%; Production – 2,300 cases; Disgorged – April 2013

Wine of the Week; 2008 Iron Horse Vineyard Classic  Vintage Brut

My tasting notes follow:

Very pale straw color with very active pin prick sized bubbles, and brioche, citrus zest, and a bit of hazelnut aromas. On the palate it sports a delicate mousse, explosive freshness, and tart apple, citrus, and ginger flavors, with an appealing minerality I’ve come to associate with Green Valley fruit. Lengthy satisfying finish.  >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-:  An outstanding bottle of sparkling wine that world class!

Pair with: Raw oysters with mignonette or course!  But this is a the quintessential sparkling wine for food. Why not try with  Buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits, or a savory Mushroom and Gruyere Cheesecake!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

__________________________________________________________________

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!

A Taste of Stinson Vineyards

As a wine writer, from time to time, I receive sample from wineries, or PR firms that represent wineries for review.  When I received my first samples of wines from Stinson Vineyards, located in the great state of Virginia, I was excited.  That’s because I’ve heard good things about Virginia wine, and  have been looking forward to trying them myself.

Now, while I’m aware there are vineyards in Virginia, and the fact that there are very good wines being made there, I’m wine geeky like that. Most folks are not, including many wine enthusiasts.

Consider this discussion with my wife, who knows here way around a wine glass and wine regions, when we sat down to taste the wines:

Wife: Where’s the wine from?
Me: Virginia
Wife: Where’s the fruit from?
Me: Virginia – they do grow grapes there

I suspect my wife isn’t alone in her perception of wine in the state of Virginia.  You might be surprised to know…

Virginia currently ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation and is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. As of 2012, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 individuals and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy annually. More importantly, Virginia wines are surprising critics, winning awards and fans across the globe. – Katie Kelly Bell

It’s appears that Virginia is a state whose wine fortunes are on the rise. And I expect to hear more good things and more importantly taste some great wine from Virginia in the years to come.

The Winery

Stinson Vineyard is a family-owned estate winery in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, specializing in small-batch wines with a distinct French influence. The father-daughter team of Scott and Rachel Stinson take their inspiration from the “garagiste” wineries of France.  Not only in terms of their winemaking techniques, but also because the winery is built in an old three car garage. The wines of Stinson Vineyards are enjoying growing critical acclaim, and the winery has become a visitor destination for its fine wines, stunning views, and artisan farm store.

Their wines are produced from a combination of estate and locally sourced fruit.  The estate vineyard is 5 acres, and is planted to carefully selected clones of Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat. Rachel Stinson is the winemaker. They produce approximately 1,600 cases/year

The Wines

I received two wines:

  • 2012 Stinson Vineyards Mourvedre Rosé  - Sourced from Horton Vineyards – a vineyard planted to some of the first Rhone variety grapes in Virginia.
  • 2012 Stinson Vineyards Cabernet Franc – Sourced from Benevino Vineyards located in the Northern end of the Shenandoah Valley.

photo (73)

My tasting notes follow:

  • 2012 Stinson Vineyards Mourvedre Rosé 
    Pale pink color with orange highlights and intriguing red berry, earthy, and a bit of smoky aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and dry with medium-low acidity and strawberry, red currant, and raspberry flavors. Medium finish. 100% Mourvedre; Retail – $17; 13% alcohol; Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Aged 3 months sur lie.  Rating: B+
  • 2012 Stinson Vineyards Cabernet Franc 
    Dark nearly opaque garnet color with cassis, plum, and spice black tea leaf aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with medium acid and cassis, plum, black cherry flavors. Medium finish.  It’s a blend of  80% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot; Aged 5 months in 35% new French Oak; Retail – $23, 12.8% alcohol. Rating: B+

While I really enjoyed both wines.  And if these are exemplars of the quality of Virginia wine ,then Stinson Vineyard and Virginia are contenders!

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Stinson Vineyards and Folsom + Associates

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Related posts you might enjoy:

__________________________________________________________________

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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.