Wine of the Week; 2012 Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc

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 2012 Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc.

The Winery

Michel Gassier is the fourth generation of his family to make wine.  He organically farms his 70-hectare vineyard, Château de Nage, located on the southern edge of the Rhone Valley in the Costieres de Nimes near the ancient city of Nimes.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

They are one of the leading estate in the region, and have been one of Wine Spectator’s Top 10 French Wineries for Value every year since 2007, and nominee for the 2014 European Winery of the Year Wine Enthusiast Star Award.

The Wine

I picked up this wine from K&L Wine Merchants a couple of weeks ago.  The wine is a project of partners Michel  Gassier, Philippe Cambie and importer Eric Solomon bottled under the name Michel Gassier.

The wine is named for the legendary mistral winds of Provence  that sweep over the vines and out to the Mediterranean Sea. The Latin name for these north-northwest winds is Cercius.

It’s a blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Sauvignon Blanc from vines with an average age of 25 years.  It was aged on lees in concrete to maintain freshness.

This is the fifth (see “Related Posts” below) such custom cuvee put together for Solomon that’s been a winner in my book.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence – Solomon has a knack for wonderful every day wines that dramatically over deliver for the price.

12.5% alcohol; Retail – $12.99

photo (53)

My tasting notes follow:

Straw yellow color with appealing white peach, lychee and citrus aromas. It’s between medium and full-bodied, fresh and focused with a lovely texture. It shows stone fruits, mandarin orange, lime and a bit of spice flavors underscored by an alluring minerality, and a clean lingering finish.

Rating: A-  A refreshing summer time porch pounder! It’s a stunning value at 12.99!  Will buy more! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Roasted paiche or monkfish, paprika grilled game hen, or goat cheeses.

Sample purchased for review

Related posts:

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
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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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Coming Soon! 2014 Family Winemakers Tasting in San Mateo

The single largest tasting of California wines in the world…

Wrap your mind around that.  Better yet, grab a glass and seize the opportunity!

The Family Winemakers of California (“FWC”) is hosting the 24th Annual Trade and Consumer Tasting on Sunday, August 17th. in San Mateo, California

Family Winemakers of California, is the trade advocate for California’s “small family” wineries (although behemoth wineries like Kendall Jackson and Gallo are also considered “family wineries”, most of the wineries are smaller family run wineries ).

fwcwineglasses

This is one my favorite big wine-tasting events because it’s a chance to taste so many different types and styles of wines from throughout California diverse wine regions, from so many producers, large and small, well-founded and new kids on the block.

And you know how sometimes you can’t quite make up your mind between one wine or another, and wish you could taste them back to back?  

Now you can.  In a big way!

Unlimited access to 175+ wineries from 20+ California appellations pouring over 35 varietals and 750 different wines.  This well-respected tasting is a once-a-year opportunity to tour and taste California’s wine country under one place.

Here’s a list of participating wineries.  And FWC provides a helpful “Varietal Map Search” tool whereby you can pick which type of wine you’re interested in tasting, and it’ll indicate which wineries are pouring that type of wine  At a huge tasting like this it helps to have a plan of some sort in order because one simply can’t taste all the wines available. For example, last year, I focused on Grenache.

After 23 years of being held in San Francisco, this year’s tasting will be held in San Mateo. And they are more ticket options available than ever too, including what looks to be a fascinating special seminar with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein entitles; Not the Usual Suspects: Unexpected Wines from Expected Places/Producers and Expected Wines from Unexpected Places/Producers,” that features a blind tasting of eight different California wines from across the state that go against the grain.

2014 Family Winemakers Public Tasting
Sunday August 17th, 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM
San Mateo Event Center
1346 Saratoga Dr.
San Mateo, CA 94403

To redeem 10% off registration to the consumer tasting simply enter the code ENOFLYZ when registering here.

Remember, in order to maximize your enjoyment and learning at public tastings:

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

Hope to see you there!

__________________________________________________________________

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.

 

Rosé of the Week: 2013 François Chidaine Touraine 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 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé.

The Winery

François Chidaine is one of the Loire Valley’s great success stories.  After finishing viticultural school in the mid-1980s, François, born in Montlouis,  went to work alongside his father, Yves.  At that point, the family had only four hectares of rented vineyard land in the appellation of Montlouis, in the Touraine.  When Yves retired in 1989, he passed the torch to François. Since then François and his wife Manuéla have dramatically expanded their holdings and set up La Cave Insolite, a tasting room and wine shop.

François was certified in both organic and biodynamic farming in 2003.  Their vineyards are managed biodynamically,  with ultra low yields and ‘hands off’ winemaking approach.

The majority of the Domain’s vineyards, which now encompass 37 hectares, are situated in Montlouis, with more in neighboring Vouvray, and additional land in the Touraine appellation.  The majority of their vineyards are 40- to 80-years-old.

I have a bit of a personal connection with François Chidaine because the first Chenin Blanc I ever tried was their 2005 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Tuffeaux.  That was some time ago, and the memory still makes me smile!

The Wine

Grapes for this wine were sourced from several parcels from within the Touraine. They were hand harvested and gently pressed, then vinified on wild yeasts in stainless steel. It’s a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Grolleau.

12.5% alcohol.  Retail – $12.99

Rose of the Week; 2013 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

Pretty vivid pink red color with lovely floral, gooseberry, and wild strawberry aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied, fresh and mineral driven with very good depth, especially for the price. It shows tart strawberry, raspberry flavors and a lingering finish.

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

Pair with: Goat cheese, light salads,  or a tomato tart.

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!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

 

Wine Words Demystified; Carbonic Maceration

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!  This week’s term is Carbonic Maceration...
According to Wikipedia…
Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique, often associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing.
In other words, it’s a technique for making light, fresh, fruity wines.
Wine Words Demystified-Carbonic Maceration
I became interested in the term, which I knew next to nothing about, after I read the following backgrounder on the 2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch

 I have long wanted to make a light, summer, red—a  California version of Beaujolais or Pinot D’Aunis or Frappato, but perhaps kissed with just a trace more sunshine.  Something fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious.  This fits that description.  It was fermented with 50% whole-cluster with no foot-trodding to maximize carbonic fermentation with the rest destemmed… 

How it’s different

In most red grape traditional winemaking styles, grapes are crushed and fermented for ten to twenty days, then pressed and aged for six months to two years in wood before bottling.
In carbonic maceration, grapes are placed as whole clusters (or as in the case of the Bedrock half were whole cluster and the other half were destemmed) into temperature controlled steel or concrete fermentation tanks, which are then sealed and pumped full of carbon dioxide.  The bottom one-third of the grape clusters are crushed by the sheer weight of the grape mass, and these undergo traditional fermentation by way of the natural yeasts that exist on the skins of the grapes which convert the grape sugars into alcohol.  The overlying two-thirds of the grape clusters are converted into alcohol by way of carbonic maceration.  The carbon dioxide in the containers creates an anaerobic environment which then allows the carbon dioxide to permeate the intact grape skins. The entire process takes place inside each single, intact berry at an intracellular level.  The entire process is shorter than conventional fermentation (it usually takes four to five days), and The resulting wine is fruity with very low tannins.
Pure carbonic maceration is rare.  Most carbonic fermentation is actually semi or partial carbonic maceration because it involves a combination of carbonic and conventional fermentation. There are other variations on the theme as well. For example, as mentioned for the wine above, half the grapes processed  were whole clusters and half were destemmed.
And that wine mentioned above?  Mission accomplished – it’s a chillable red wine that’s fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious!
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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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: Raventós i Blanc “L’hereu” 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 2011 Raventós i Blanc “L’hereu” Brut.

The Winery

The family of producer Raventós i Blanc, has been winemaking in the Catalonia region of Spain for an astonishing 500+ years! They’ve grown grapes on their historic 90 hectares (just over 222 acres) property, which has been in the family since 1497.

In 1872, Josep Raventós Fatjó, the great-great-great-grandfather of current manager/winemaker and oenologist Josep “Pepe”Raventós, began experimenting with Spanish wines made in the same manner as was being done in Champagne, France – and hence, CAVA was born.  But unlike Champagne, the DO Cava designation is defined by a specific practice of winemaking, rather than a region where wine is made. There are over six regions with the DO Cava status, though over 90% of production is from the Penedès region. The town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is the unofficial Cava capital in the heart of Penedès, home of many top producers, including the benchmark estate of Raventós i Blanc.

Josep “Pepe” Raventós of Raventós i Blanc decided that, given Cava’s less-than-glorious reputation, he wasn’t going to call his wines “Cava” anymore but “Conca del Riu Anoia,” or simply “Conca” for short. 

In December 2012, Raventós i Blanc took an important step in its evolution, leaving the Cava DO and creating a new designation, Conca del Riu Anoia. This small geographical area will convey strict viticultural traditions, the strength of the land, the unique, indigenous grape varieties and the characteristics of the soils.

The exclusive use of native Catalan varietals like Xarel·lo, Parellada and Macabeo is one of Mr. Raventós’s criteria for producers who wish to use the Conca name for sparkling wines. (Many Cava producers also employ Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.) In addition, 80% of their fruit must be their own, not purchased; they must produce only vintage sparkling wines, no nonvintage; and they must age their wines for at least 18 months (current Cava law requires a minimum of just nine months of aging). Would-be Conca producers must also observe both biodynamic and organic practices.

The Wine

This wine is produced from nearly 100% estate, biodynamically grown fruit. The grapes are harvested by hand and rapidly delivered to the winery, where they are processed via a gravity flow system.  It’s a blend of 45% Macabeo, 35% Xarel.lo, and 20% Parellada. The is dosage is 8.5g/l.  12% alcohol

Wine of the Week: Raventós i Blanc "L'hereu" Brut

It’s NOT Cava, it’s Conca del Riu Anoia!

My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with lots of pin prick bubbles, and autolytic, yellow apple, pear, citrus and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s clean and fresh with a moderately creamy mousse with apple, ginger, lemon, lime and mineral flavors. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A-  This is a serious wine that drinks like many $35-$40 sparkling wines I’ve enjoyed in terms of complexity and refinement (including many entry-level Champagne) It’s a fantastic value at <$20!  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Popcorn with Truffle butter, Mesclun Salad with Veggies, Goat Cheese, and Crispy Garlic, or Fish and Chips!

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

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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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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…

O.co Polish Dog

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.

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!

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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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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
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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 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

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!

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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.

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…

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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.