A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW

We’re pairing fresh, seasonal spring foods with wines from the diverse and fascinating Southern Rhône region of France.

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 (or learn from the ones that don’t); along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic. Jill Barth of from L’occasion is hosting this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.  

On my plate

It was a sunny warm day in the Bay Area last weekend. And I was in the mood for smoked meat!  When I’m in such mood, I usually smoke pork ribs in my Weber.  But I was looking for a healthier option and I wanted to try something new.

I decided to smoke some chicken (which I’ve always barbecued).

The wine was no brainer for me.  I adore rosé, which I drink year-round, so that was my choice for my Spring BBQ plate of Smoked chicken, Potato Salad, and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Chips.

In my glass

Provence was top of mind, but when I think of rose from Provence I think of light-bodied rose with a character that is closer to a white wine than a red wine.  With the smoked chicken, I wanted a more substantial rose that was closer in character to a red wine.

My thoughts then shifted to Bandol and Tavel. Then I learned (I’d not really thought about it before given the the fact that Provence and the Southern Rhone share geographic proximity) that Provence isn’t considered to be part of the Rhone.  And since Bandol is in Provence…Tavel was the last man standing so to speak.  And that was just fine with me! I’m a big fan of Tavel.

Image source; http://www.goodfoodrevolution.com/tavel-rose-intro/

Image courtesy of goodfoodrevolution.com

About Tavel

Tavel is a tiny, sleepy town of less than 2,000 sandwiched between the Languedoc and Provence in the southern Rhône Valley across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and just north of Avignon.

Tavel’s vineyards date back to the Greek era and the 5th Century BC.  During the middle ages, wines from the region were a staple of the ancient papal court in nearby Avignon and a favorite of Louis XIV and Philippe le Bel  – so much so that they decreed that nothing else should be produced. To this day, Tavel is synonymous with rosé.  In fact, this AOC created in 1936, has dubbed themselves “Le Roi des Rosés” – “ The King of Roses”.

Gorgeous Tavel dresses in a thousand shades of pink to seduce and captivate the senses. Luminous like no other wine, it inspires the chef, the eater and the eaten. – Christophe Tassan; Sommelier and Rhone Ambassador

It is one of the 18 crus (meaning it truly express their individual ‘terroir’) of Rhone, putting in on par with the likes of the more renown crus such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Côte-Rôtie. It  is the only communal appellation in France exclusively for rosé wines.

Grenache reigns as the primary varietal for the Tavel blends. Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah & a few other Rhone varieties are often used in smaller amounts.  The wines contain a maximum 60% Grenache, and have a maximum alcohol content of 13.5%. The best examples of Tavel – always bone dry – combine freshness with complexity of fruit and intensity.  And most, when cellared correctly, will improve for several years in bottle.

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My tasting notes:

2014 Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  Blend of  50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre.  A steal for $10 (no doubt because it’s from the 2014 vintage)  Very Good ; 88-89 pts.  Will buy more!

The food and wine pairing

In a word pairing of my Spring BBQ plate of smoked chicken, potato salad, and potato chips was “Scrumdiddlyumptious! It was a great pairing. I love a robust rose with some weight for BBQ. And this Tavel is was great example of the weight of the wine being a match for the weight of the food.  It is truly un vin gastronomique!

Check out the other food and wine pairing put together by the other Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers for this month’s Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines theme.

If you’re up early join us Saturday, April 9th at 11 am EST/8 PST for a live Twitter chatter using #WinePW.  Anyone interested in food and wine pairing is welcome to join the chat.  For a list of past and upcoming #winePW events, visit the Wine Pairing Weekend calendar here. We’d love to have you online with us!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As 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 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; February 7th 2016

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 (WoW) – 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 February 7th 2016

2010 Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Duca Sanfelice Riserva – Italy, Calabria, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore; Retail-$16
Crimson color with smoky, earthy, red fruit aromas. With a hint of graphite. On the palate its medium-bodied, fresh showing slightly astringent tannins in Day 1 that soften to appealing dusty tannins on Day 2 with juicy focused black cherry, red currant flavors with a bit of minerality and a lingering delicious finish. A Ciro DOC Rosso Riserva of 95% Gaglioppo 5% Greco Bianco and Trebbiano Toscano. Very good QPR @$16! Very Good; 88-89 pts

2011 JC Cellars Smoke & Mirrors – USA, California Retail; Retail – $25
Translucent garnet color with intriguing black fruit, smoke, cacao, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, fruit forward, and delicous with solid acidity and black raspberry, black cherry, a hint of red plum, and vanilla flavors, and a lingering sweet finish. A crowd pleasing blend of \ Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan from Sonoma. 14.8% alcohol Very Good; 88-89 pts

2006 Ridge Mazzoni Home Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County; Retail – $40
Inky black red color with complex, exuberant mixed black and red fruit, leather, violets and a hint of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, focused, persistent and oh so fresh with seamless, well-integrated tannins, and a silky texture with black cherry, blackberry, with hints of black raspberry, and red plum flavors. Long finish.This is a very food friendly wine!  It paired well with one of my favorite Filipino dishes – Chicken AfritadaOutstanding; 91-92pts

2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County; Retail – $34
The wine pours an opaque violet color with intriguing and appealing smoke, black fruit, briary spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and sleek with a great mouth feel, and dusty tannins with black cherries dusted with dark chocolate, and black raspberry flavors with a bit of minerality.Outstanding; 90-91pts

– Wine of the Week

Have you ever wondered how many grape varieties are in Italy?  Me too.  So I Googled it. The answer – 2,000!  I had the opportunity to do try one of those 2,000 different grape varieties last week when the Italian, Food, Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group of bloggers I’m a part of paid a virtual visit to the region of Calabria.  The new-to-me grape variety was Gaglioppo. The 2010 Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Duca Sanfelice Riserva was very good.  And it paired well with Costolette D’Agnello Alla Calabrese (Lamb Chops Calabria Style with Tomatoes, Peppers and Olives)  And at $16 it offers very good QPR!  The Bedrock offered some strong competition for Wine of the Week (“WoW”), but this week, my WoW is the 2006 Ridge Mazzoni Home Ranch.

I picked up this wine from Ridge Vineyards last year at a Monte Bello Collector event.   Ridge always has some gems in their cellars. So when I go to Ridge events, I always ask what’s available.  Ridge does the cellaring, and  you’re virtually guaranteed a great wine that was built to last.  Now that’s what I call a win-win situation!

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-About Ridge Vineyards-

From Ridge Vineyards: Since 1962, Ridge has championed single-vineyard winemaking, searching California for those rare sites where climate, soil, and varietal are ideally matched.    Our aim is to guide the natural process; using traditional methods, we strive to produce exceptional wines from distinctive fruit.

In the video below, the man himself Paul Draper tells the story of how Ridge Vineyards began:

Ridge Vineyards  has two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello (first commercial release was in 1962), Geyserville (first release 1966), Lytton Springs (first release 1972), and their newest property East Bench.

What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As 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 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Nieto Senetiner Wines

As a wine writer, I receive offers for free wine samples from time to time (a nice perk since making any meaningful money is almost impossible – but then again, I do it for love…). Most of the offers are for a bottle or two. Rarely do I receive more than three or four bottles of wine.  So, imagine my surprise when I received eight bottles of Nieto Senetiner wine from  Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines!

About Nieto Senentiner

The history of Bodegas Nieto Senetiner dates back to 1888, when Italian immigrants founded it and planted the first vineyards to European grape varieties in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, a province of Mendoza.
Over the first decades of the last century, the winery was run by several families including Spanish immigrant Don Nicanor Nieto, who succeeded in passing on the secret of fine winemaking and the love for their land.  These families gave the winery an architectural style of the Italian countryside that still remains today.
Over the years, the European grape varieties gave way to Malbec, and Bonarda (a.k.a. Charbono), which dominate the region’s vineyards today.
In 1969 it is acquired by the families Nieto and Senetiner, who expanded the facilities signalling the beginning of a new stage of growth and brand development. In 1998 it becomes part of the Grupo de Negocios de Molinos Río de la Plata. The winery is a leader in production of Malbec and Bonarda.  holds a consolidated leadership position, committed to the highest production and quality standards, backed by a continuous investment plan both in estates and process technology.

Nieto Senetiner has 400 hectares of vineyards in their three Estates (Fincas), all situated in the Lujan de Cuyo area.  The estates include:

  • Finca Villa Blanca in Vistalba – planted in 1900; 3,300 ft elevation
  • Finca Agrelo in Las Tortugas- planted in 1900; 3,100 ft elevation
  • Finca Alto Agrelo in Las Torcazas – planted in 2005; 3,300 ft elevation

The winemaking team includes Head Winemaker, Roberto Gonzalez, and consulting winemaker, Paul Hobbs. Nieto Senetiner was the first Argentine winery to receive ISO 9002 certification in 2002.  The wines are fermented with native yeasts, minimum SO2 and no acidifications.

Their state-of-the-art, sustainable winery and estate vineyards produce richly textured, interesting Malbec and Bonarda, the other red star of Argentina.  At the foot of the Andes Mountains Lujan de Cuyo (a.k.a.the “Primera Zona” for producing high quality grapes) is renown for its low rainfall, high altitude, and diurnal temperature swings that stress the vines, developing the highly concentrated flavors.

The Wines

Nieto Senentiner has three tiers of wine – Camila is their entry-level wine, the Nieto Senentiner are their flagship wines, and the Don Nicanor is a step up in sophistication, and complexity in terms of barrel blending and additional oak aging.  The wines I sampled were:

Camila

  • 2014 Malbec – SRP;$10
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$15

Nieto Senentiner

  • 2014 Torrontes – SRP;$15
  • 2013 Bonarda- SRP;$13
  • 2014 Pinot Noir- SRP;$13
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$13
  • 2013 Malbec- SRP; $13

Don Nicanor

  • 2012 Malbec – SRP;$19

My tasting notes follow:

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec – Garnet color with subtle plum, blackberry aromas with hints of smoke and spice. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with an appealing supple texture and good acidity, and ample fruit with plum, blackberry, fig, vanilla and bittersweet chocolate flavors and a lingering finish. 100% Malbec. Aged in French Oak for 6 months – Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon Emilia – Dark ruby color with subtle red fruit and sandal wood aromas.  On the palate it’s full-bodied, and fruity with solid acidity with easy, and juicy with red currant, blackberry, cherry, vanilla and hints of dark chocolate and spice flavors. Very Good; 86-87pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Bonarda – Violet color with blackberry, black currant, plum and perfumed spicy aromas. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, and fresh with easy, and enjoyable blackberry, black currant, plum, vanilla and a bit of spice flavors. Aged for 6 months in French  and American Oak. Pair with grilled beef, mushroom risotto or cheese ravioli. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Pinot Noir – Ruby color with promising red fruit, spice and vanilla aromas. On the palate, its light-bodied, and fresh showing a bit of savoriness with cherry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors.  Aged for 6 months in French Oak. Pair with grilled or roasted chicken, grilled salmon, mild cheese and dishes with tomato based sauces. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner TorrontésYellow color with subdued greenish shades with intense, appealing dried peach, citrus, and white flower aromas.  On the palate it’s fresh and easy with peach, and citrus flavors with an appealing hint of minerality. Raised in stainless steel. Pair with grilled chicken or white fish. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep ruby color with promising cassis, vanilla, and a bit of graphite aromas.    On the palate it’s medium-bodied, with medium-acidity and well-integrated soft tannins with generous black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors showing nice depth at this price point.  Aged for 6 months in French and American oak.Pair with roasted lamb, grilled pork, or heavy sauces.  Very Good; 87-88pts

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2012 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Don Nicanor – Inky black violet color with plum, blackberry, cassis, and roast coffee aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with a harmonious, persistent character and well-integrated firm tannins and black cherry, cassis, vanilla, and a bit of baked blueberry flavors, and a lingering graphite laced finish. 14.5% alcohol Fruit from vineyard planted at 3,450 feet altitude. Aged for 12 months in French Oak.  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Emilia – Intense dark red with low-key plum, raspberry and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, smooth, juicy and straight forward with plum, raspberry, and a hint of red currant flavors that are surprisingly persistent at this price point. Aged in French and American Oak for 12 months.  Very Good; 86-87pts

Since I typically taste sample wines organically (i.e., I work them into my daily wine drinking – almost always with a meal), it took what turned out to be a few months to taste these wines.  And I can tell you this about Nieto Senentiner wines. They are food friendly wines that offer strong value for every day drinking wines!  

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the wine samples from Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As 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 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Burgundy #winophiles

Welcome to this month’s French Winophiles!  We’re group a food and wine bloggers pulled together by Christy of Adventures of a Culinary Diva.  We’re taking a virtual tour of France region by region and learning about French cuisine, wine and travel.  This month we’re exploring legendary Burgundy (a.k.a. Bourgogne)

 About Burgundy

Steeped in centuries of history, tradition, and mystique, Burgundy is an exemplar for world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  It is one of the world’s most renown wine regions.

In spite of, or perhaps more accurately because of, its reputation (the wines can be prohibitively expensive and premox can an issue with white Burgundy), my only experience with Burgundy has been Chablis(love it), Beaujolais, and Crémant de Bourgogne.

I simply had to try at least a red Premier Cru Burgundy!

“You admire great Bordeaux but you fall in love with great Burgundy”  Neal Martin

For the uninitiated , white Burgundies are made from 100% Chardonnay. Red Burgundies are made from 100% Pinot Noir. You won’t see the name of the grape variety on the labels.

Located in the east-central part of France, Burgundy has 5 principal wine growing areas (excluding Beaujolais and Châtillonnais):

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Source: Decanter (http://goo.gl/I7lIVJ)

The most renown of the wine growing regions are Chablis and Côte d’ Or – home to Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. 

Burgundy is all about terroir.  And The Climats  and lieux-dits are the ultimate expression of the notion of terroir.  Climat is a traditional Bourgogne word for a precisely delimited plots of land that enjoy specific geographical and climatic conditions.

A Taste of Burgundy

Image courtesy of Bourgogne Wines

Last year Burgundy was awarded Unesco World Heritage Status for its viticultural heritage, its 1,247 Climats, or individual terroirs, of the Côte d’Or, and the historic centres of Beaune and Dijon .

Though the word may remind you of climate, it comes from the Greek “klima”, and then the Latin “climatis”, which means slope. Lieux-dit are also plots recognized for their own topographic or historical specificities.  But they are not registered by the INAO (Be sure to check out the excellent Bourgogne Wines website for more info)  One may find several lieux-dit within a Climat, or a Climat may only cover part of a lieux-dit.  One can see how that might be confusing.

I think I’ll just stick to main levels of Burgundy classifications, in descending order of perceived quality, Grand crusPremier crus, village appellations, and finally regional (Bourgogne) appellations

Ah, but Burgundy is not just about wine.  The region’s famous vineyards are bookmarked by two  of France’s food capitals – Dijon (the mustard capital of the world)   and Lyon.  Many classic French dishes originate from the region including Coq Au Vin, Escargot a la Bourguignonne,and Boeuf Bourguignon (did Julia Child just pop into any else’s head?). Not to mention other gastronomic delights including cheese (Epoisses de Bourgogne) and bread ( pain d’epice)

Let Paris be France’s head, Champagne her soul; Burgundy her stomach – The Concise World Atlas of Wine

 

On Plate and In My Glass

I received, as a sample, a book entitled Chablis; A Geographical Lexicon from  by Jean-Paul Droin.  The idea was to learn more about Chablis, then taste a wine from one of a Chablis Premier Cru.  In this case, it was the wine the 2012 Sebastien Dampt Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons.

The book was informative (e.g., I didn’t know there Chablis winegrowing region covers 20 communes with the River Serein running through it.  And that the river divides it into two distinct parts left bank and right bank)   It’s a must read if you have an interest in the etymology and history behind the names of Chablis Climats.

Chablis Escargot

My tasting notes on the wine follow: 

Pale yellow-green color with green reflections. It’s  aromatic with buttered bread, oyster shell, baked green apple, white flower and a hint of spice aromas. On the palate it medium bodied, fresh, focused,  and harmonious with green apple , pear, bit of Meyer lemon and spice flavors. Long finish. Highly recommended.

I paired the wine with a Chablisien classic – Escargots a la Bourguignonne (Snails in Garlic-Herb Butter), and sautéed garlic asparagus accompanied by a loaf of crusty french bread. We topped our the meal with a fabulous Saint Angel triple cream cheese from Fromagerie Guilloteau in the Cotes du Rhone region of France.

(Note: I’ve included a link to the escargot recipe, but I found an oven ready escargot in garlic-herb sauce at my local Whole Foods Market)

The wine was fantastic with the entrée. And I especially enjoyed crusty french bread dipped in the garlic herb sauce with a sip of the Chablis.  In a word – divine! The wine was a very good complement to the buttery notes and chalky texture of the cheese.  

I simply couldn’t take a virtual tour of Burgundy with trying a red wine.  In keeping with the Premier Cru theme established with the Chablis, I chose the 2012 Domaine Bart “Hervelets” Fixin 1er Cru.  It my first Premier Cru Burgundy!

The Fixin appellation, which received official recognition in 1936, produces both appellations Village and Premier Cru. There are six Premier Cru Climats.

Fixin

Image courtesy of the Burgundy Report

From the Bourgogne website – Fixin (pronounced “Fissin”) is situated in the Côte de Nuits region between Dijon and Gevrey-Chambertin. In 1860 it merged with the neighbouring hamlet of Fixey. As well as wine-cellars, attractions for visitors include the 10th century church of Saint-Antoine, the manor of La Perrière where once the monks of Cîteaux came to enjoy the good air and the good wine, François Rude’s famous statue in the Parc Noisot of Napoleon in the process of becoming immortal, a particularly handsome communal laundry and the slate-covered village breadoven. Here there are a thousand things to see, not to mention many welcoming wine cellars.

Here’s where things may get confusing – the Premier Cru Climats of Les Meix Bas, and Les Arvelets may be labeled as Les Hervelets. But Les Hervelets cannot be sold as Les Arvelets or Les Meix Bas!

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My tasting notes follow:

A subtle touch of pencil shavings sets off ripe and relatively elegant notes of black and red cherry, earth, warm spice with pretty floral notes. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and layered with intense mixed red and black cherry, red currant flavors with ample minerality, and a subtle rustic character wrapped around dusty well-integrated tannins and bright acidity.Approachable now, but would benefit from further aging.  Highly recommended and a very good value at $40!

We paired the wine with a quick weeknight dinner of grilled salmon and sautéed spinach.  Again we capped off our meal with another double cream cheese from France. This one was the decadent Fromager d’Affinois with Truffles.   Pinot Noir is the most food friendly red wine in my book and it paired very well with our meal.  And it was other worldly with the cheese! 

Check out what my fellow French #winophiles are bringing to the table this month!

Don’t forget to join the live Twitter Chat this Saturday (Jan. 16, 2016) at 8 am PST (1700 hours in Beaune, France!) Just search for the hashtag #winophiles. We love new participants, if you would like to join us, just let us know.  Stay tuned for our February visit to Alsace. Au revoir!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the bottle of Chablis and book at no cost from Sopexa on behalf of the Chablis Commission.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As 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 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Krug Champagne Redux

Last year, I was had the honor of being invited to a private Krug Champagne tasting at my favorite wine store – K&L Wine Merchants.  I recapped that phenomenal tasting in a post entitled “A Taste of Champagne Krug“.

Much to my surprise and delight, Gary Westby, K&L’s Champagne Buyer invited me to another Krug Champagne tasting several months back.  Except this time, the tasting was with Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the venerable Krug Champagne family.

With #ChampagneDay upon us, I can’t think of a better time to recap this extraordinary tasting of the most memorable wines I’ve enjoyed this year!

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The House of Krug

Krug was established in 1843 by Johann Joseph Krug, and silent partner Hippolyte de Vivès, a member of the family of the founder of Veuve Clicquot  They produced the first Krug et Cie blend in 1845.  After Joseph’s death in 1861, his son Paul was the first of five successive generations of Krug’s in the business.

In 1999 Krug was acquired by the multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. LVMH also owns grande marque Champagne houses Mercier, Moët & Chandon, Montaudon, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

Despite LVMH’s majority ownership, the Krug family is still actively involved in all the key decisions of the house but does not manage the day-to-day operations.  Olivier Krug, who has  been in the business since 1989, became house director in 2009, the same year that LVMH named Margareth “Maggie” Henriquez President & CEO of Krug

Krug produces about 40,000 cases annually (It’s relatively small house), and 80% of that production is the Krug Grand Cuvée.  In addition to the Grand Cuvée, Krug also produces a multi-vintage Rosé,Vintage Brut, a vintage single vineyard blanc de blanc known as Clos du Mesnil, and a vintage single vineyard blanc de noir known as Clos d’Ambonnay, and older vintages release as Krug Collection series.  Krug is the only Champagne house that produces five prestige cuvées.

For an excellent, more detailed deep dive on Krug, check out Alder Yarrow’s (Vinography)  “Krug: A Quintessence of Champagne

The Tasting

We tasted the same wines as we did last year…with one huge exception…

We also tasted the newly released 2003 Krug Clos du Mesnil!

Yes, boys and girls…dreams do come true!

Olivier Krug  and team presented the wines. Krug has no direct operational role in the business.  But he touches everything that connects Krug to its audience – from grape growers to vendor, and of course consumers.  He is a charming, entertaining, and masterful story-teller.

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As I listened to the Krug story, there are many things that set Krug apart from other Champagne producers. Here are a few:

The first is that Krug doesn’t make any secondary, or entry-level wines.  In fact, all other Krug Champagne is measured against the multi-vintage Grand Cuvée, their least expensive wine.  Unlike most large producers of multi-vintage Champagne who strive for consistency of flavor year end, and year out, the Krug Grand Cuvée is not meant to taste the same each year.

It was Krug’s multi-vintage Grand Cuvée, that debunked the myth that vintage Champagne is inherently superior to multi-vintage Champagne.

…unlike other great Champagne producers, Krug makes only prestige cuvées. Instead of its multi-vintage Grande Cuvée being a secondary wine, created after the vintage wine is assembled, Krug has, from the beginning, turned the region’s usual practice on its head by devoting its attentions to the multi-vintage Cuvée first, as the house’s flagship. – Richard Jennings

Next, according to Olivier KrugI believe we are the only major house to vinify every single plot separately,”  In 2014  they harvested, and pressed 240 individual plots(in the nearest convenient location to the vineyard). The pressed juice was then brought back to the main facility, where they were barrel fermented in 240 separate lots!

Finally, Krug is also leading the way among the great Champagne houses in becoming more transparent. Since September 2011, each bottle of Krug has a six digit number on the back label referred to as the Krug ID.  You can type this number into a box on Krug’s website to learn the story of that particular bottling, including the vintage(s) in the wine, the percentage of grape varieties used, and when the bottle was disgorged.

The essence of Champagne is pleasure – Olivier Krug

As for the wines? Simply the best line-up of Champagne I’ve ever tasted!

My tasting notes follow:

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Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée – Light yellow color with an abundance of rapidly rising pin prick sized bubbles and an explosion of complex, hazelnut, yeast, orange zest, dried cherry, and subtle honey aromas. On the palate, it’s broad, and rich with a delicate mousse and lively acidity. It shows delicious pear, hazelnut, lemon, apricot and subtle honey flavors. Long rich satisfying finish. ID = 213032 Disgorged Spring 2013. 44% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 21% Pinot Meunier. Blend of 142 wines from 11 different years. Oldest wine from 1990, youngest wine from 2006. This is Champagne that made me a believer that Vintage Champagne isn’t always better than multi-vintage Champagne. (94-95 pts.); Retail – $150 Click to buy.

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Image courtesy of www.harpers.co.uk

2003 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut – Golden yellow color with an abundance of rapidly rising pin prick sized bubbles, and rich hazelnut, brioche, citrus peel, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s complex, refined and well structured with a rich delicate mousse and ample apples, tart lemon, hazelnut, subtle spice and mineral flavors. Long finish. ID = 113015. Disgorged Winter 2012/13 Blend of 46% PN, 29% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier.  Known as “Vivacious Radiance” at Krug (94-95 pts.); Retail – $229 Click to buy.

2000 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut – Pale yellow color with an abundance of rapidly rising pin prick sized bubbles, and penetrating almond, date, yeast, apple, citrus, ginger, vanilla and subtle spice aromas. On the palate, it intense and refined with a delicate creamy mousse, and apple, pear, mineral, lemon/lime, and subtle spice flavors. Long finish. ID = 412048; Disgorged Autumn 2012. Blend of 42% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier. Known as “Stormy Indulgence” at Krug (95-96 pts.); Retail – $229 Click to buy.

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2003 Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil – Bright yellow gold color with a very fine persistent bead. It’s aromatically complex with very appealing hazelnut, citrus-laced creme fraiche, ginger, and and an earthiness that suggests spiced roast coffee grounds. On the palate, it’s powerful, elegant, pure and impeccably balanced with a delicate, super creamy mousse. It shows quince, ginger, honey, candied citrus, and subtle spice flavors complemented by a sublime minerality with long lemony finish. Easily the best Blanc de Blanc I have ever tasted. 100 % barrel fermented Chardonnay from the 1.84 hectare walled Clos du Mesnil vineyard (96-97 pts.); Retail – $899 Click to buy.

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Krug Champagne Brut Rosé – Salmon color with an abundance of rapidly rising pin prick sized bubbles, and very appealing complex, sweet yeast raspberry,strawberry, citrus and subtle nutty aromas. On the palate it’s elegant and rich with a delicate, creamy mousse and ample red fruit flavors of raspberries, strawberry, and watermelon along with lemon/lime, mineral, hazelnut and a sublime savoriness. Long finish. A deathbed wine for me!  ID = 113016. Oldest wine – 2000, youngest wine – 2006. Blend of 59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, and % Pinot Meunier. Disgorged Winter 2012/2013 (95-96 pts.); Retail – $279 Click to buy.


After the tasting, we were invited to partake of the bevy of bottles of Krug Champagne beckoning us…

I went back for more Clos du Mesnil and the Brut Rose!

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I can’t believe it! I’m almost ALWAYS the one with his eyes closed in photos. Sorry Olivier!

Then I went and purchased my first bottle of Krug (I have a feeling that wherever Olivier goes…Krug sells;-)

It was a bottle of the Grand Cuvée, which Olivier was kind enough to sign for me.

It’s official…I am now a Krug Lover!

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As 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.

Zin-A-Palooza! Wine Tasting Club Blind Tastes Ten Zinfandels

The most recent gathering of the Pacific Pointe Wine Tasting Club (“PPWTC”) featured a Zin-A-Palooza!

The PPWTC started in 2010.  Initially, we met every couple of months, but by popular demand we meet every six weeks or so these days.  We typically have a non-scoring event or two each year (the most recent was a record party).

As with most groups, our wine tasting club consists of a “core” group of 10-12 wine lovers that is augmented by another 10-15 individuals depending on the theme.  The Zin-A-Palooza theme was complemented by an end of summer barbecue!

In addition to bringing a wine, each individual/couple is asked to bring an appetizer that will pair with the wines being tasted.  We begin each tasting with an hour or so of fellowship, eating, and wetting of our whistles.

150911_Zin Night

From time to time folks have been known to bring a special treat….

150911_98 David Cafaro Zin

It’s not everyday you get to drink a 17 year old Zinfandel. This one from Dry Creek Valley producer David Coffaro was a treat and held up quite well!

We typically taste no more than 10 bottles (though occasionally we’ve tasted more – I don’t recommend it.  I think 8 is a good number of bottles) Bottles chosen for tasting, as well as the tasting order are usually decided on a first come, first served basis.  Any late bottles are consumed either during “Happy Hour” or after the main tasting.

Here’s how our tasting went down:

  • Club members asked to bring a wine of their choice. There was no pre-set price limit or minimum for this tasting.  While I didn’t get prices for all the wines, I believe the wines ranged in price between $13 and about $45.
  • All wines are tasted blind
  • Tasters are required to score all wines
  • The wines are scored based on 4 criteria (aromabody, taste, and finish) – each on a scale of 1-5 (1-low; 5-high). Therefore minimum score = 4 points and maximum = 20 points
  • Both average and median scores are calculated.  The winner determined by highest average score.  The median score used as tie breaker, if necessary.
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The Zin-A-Palooza Line Up – 10 Zins; One Winner!

We tasted 10 Zinfandels.  Lodi dominated the field with half  of the wines.  There were three from Sonoma, and two from Paso Robles. 

The wines were tasted in the following order:

  1. 2012 Kirkland Signature Zinfandel Old Vine – Sonoma County
  2. 2012 Michael-David Vineyards Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins – Lodi
  3. 2013 Ridge Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch – Paso Robles
  4. 2012 Tobin James Zinfandel James Gang Reserve – Paso Robles
  5. 2011 JC Cellars Zinfandel Cassata – Sonoma County
  6. 2012 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard – Lodi
  7. 2009 Mantra Zinfandel – Sonoma County
  8. 2012 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Old Ghost – Lodi
  9. 2013 Cline Cellars ZinfandelCalifornia
  10. 2013 Criss Cross Wines Zinfandel Old VineLodi

We had 22 tasters that included a diverse range of experience with wine from newbies to wine-loving enthusiasts.  I think there were a few more wine-loving enthusiasts on this night.

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The PPWTC Score Sheet

Individuals are asked to tally their scores and provide me with their totals for each wine. Half-points are allowed. I input the scores into an Excel spreadsheet I created.

150911_Tabulation of Scores

Yours truly, along with my assistant Joy Lin, furiously tabulating the scores before the natives got restless…

And the winner, with an average score of 13.6 was the: 

2012 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard!

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The runners-up in the order of finish (including average score) were: 

  • 2012 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard (13.4)/ Median score =14
  • 2013 Ridge Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch (13.4)/Median score = 13
  • 2012 Tobin James Zinfandel James Gang Reserve(12.9)
  • 2013 Cline Cellars Zinfandel (12.7)
  • 2011 JC Cellars Zinfandel Cassata (12.4)
  • 2012 Kirkland Signature Zinfandel Old Vine (12.2)
  • 2013 Criss Cross Wines Zinfandel Old Vine (12.1)
  • 2012 Michael-David Vineyards Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins (11.4)
  • 2009 Mantra Zinfandel(10.4)

My top three wines were the Ridge Zinfandel Benito Dusi Ranch, JC Cellars Cassata and Klinker Brick  Old Vine Marisa Vineyard.

I very much enjoy blind tastings in the wine tasting club setting.  It can remove preconceptions about  wines while presenting the opportunity to rate wines in a peer group setting.

Ah, but where there is a blind tasting, there is virtually always a surprise. That is the nature of blind tasting; as capricious an endeavor if there ever was one.

The surprise for me this time is that there was no real surprise!  The top 3 wines (Klinker Brick and Ridge Vineyards) are perennial favorites among Zinfandel lovers.

I wasn’t surprised to see a Lodi Zin on the winner stand.  Lodi is a region on the rise. I’m excited about the wines coming out of the region.  And fruit from the Benito Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles, in the capable hands of Ridge is bound to be a favorite among Zinfandel lovers (the 2013 Ridge Benito Dusi Ranch is sold out).

The top three wines are all in the $30-40 range, so I’m always a little surprised when a $15 bottle of wine doesn’t topple a more expensive bottle.   But this time the lower priced bottles were in the middle of the pack.

I must say, I’m starting to notice a bit of a trend within our wine-tasting club.  When the club started 5 years ago, it was pretty common for the least expensive, most fruit-driven wines to emerge victorious in these blind tastings.  But as the members of our wine-tasting club palates evolve,  it seems more and more, that more moderately priced, well-crafted wines are emerging as winners in our blind tastings.

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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.

A Taste of Alto Adige – Cantina Terlano Classico #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 Trentino-Alto Adige!

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

The Region

map-of-trentino-alto-adige

Map of Trentino-Alto Adige courtesy of beviamo.com

Trentino-Alto Adige is Italy’s northernmost wine region.  Notwithstanding it’s hyphenated name, it’s really two autonomous provinces. Alto Adige, nestled in Alps, is bordered by Veneto to the east, Lombardy to the west, and the Tirol region of Austria to the north. Alto Adige or Südtirol, as it is known in German,  has a predominately German speaking population. This is due to the region’s former status as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  It was re-claimed by Italy in 1919.  To its south is Trentino, which is almost entirely Italian speaking.

Here’s an overview of what I learned about Alto Adige:

  • Winemaking in the region pre-dates Roman occupation of the Adige Valley
  • The Alto Adige DOC, which covers the majority of wines made here, was granted in 1975
  • One of the smallest wine-growing areas in Italy (approximately 13,000 acres), producing only 0.7% of Italy’s total production
  • It leads Italy in wines meriting a DOC designation: 98% of its wines fall into this category
  • The vineyards are tiny and ownership is impossibly fragmented. Typical vineyards are about a hectare; which is probably why…
  • Most wine made here is produced by co-operatives (15 co-ops produce about 70% of the wine)
  • The major green grapes varieties, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc account for over 20% of the total wine production and are a hallmark of the region.
  • The native Schiava black grape variety dominates red wine production accounting for almost 25% of total vineyard area. The velvety Lagrein, also a native variety, is also widely planted.
  • Surrounded by the Dolomites and Rhaetian Alps Alto Adige is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Europe.
  • The Gewürztraminer grape owes its name to the village of Tramin (Termeno in Italian) about 12 miles south of the region’s major city Bolzano.

Cantina Terlano

Founded in 1893, the Cantina Terlano winery is now one of the leading wine growers’ cooperatives in Alto Adige. It’s current membership is composed of 143 growers working a total area of 165 hectares. Seventy percent of their production is white wines.

“The most impressive wines I tasted this year from Alto Adige came from Cantina Terlano. Simply put, these are reference point wines. I can’t imagine these wines not being represented in any serious cellar.” – Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 2011

Cantina Terlano winery has a traditional focus on long-lived wines. In fact, Terlano has a Wine Archive located about 13 meters underground which contains over 20,000 bottles.  It’s quite a collection of rarities comprising various vintages from 1955 to the present. Some of the wines actually date from 1893, the year the winery was founded!

The Wine

From Cantina Terlano (Kellerie Terlaner in German)… A composition of Terlano’s three most traditional white varieties, namely Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon, this old cuvée, which was one of the wines produced when the winery was founded, is an extremely complex wine. Pinot Bianco, as the main variety used in the cuvée, provides the freshness and a good acid structure, while Chardonnay delivers a pleasing warmth and mellowness and Sauvignon adds the fine aromatic character.

The fruit for this wine come from the Alto Adige Terlano  sub-region of Alto Adige, a region renown for its high quality white wines.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow-green color with pear, lemon, white flower and lemongrass aromas. On the palate, it’s dense, and tangy with bright acidity, and white peach, lemon, hint of apple flavors with a wonderful mineral note and a lingering sweet finish. Blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. 13.5% alcohol. Retail $22 >>Find this wine<<

I paired the wine with a fabulous Seafood Lasagna (recipe here) I prepared. (Note: I substituted seafood stock for the clam juice and chicken stock and used real crab meat)

What a fabulous pairing! The wine’s bright acidity was a welcome counterpoint to the richness of the Bechamel sauce in the Lasagna, while the “weight” of the wine was a perfect complement of the weight of the dish.  And in the mouth each made the other taste better!

A Taste of Alto Adige - Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

Much to my surprise, I’ve yet to try an Italian red wine for #ItalianFWT.  But , so far I’ve been captivated by Italian white wines.  I think my choices have (mostly) been driven by the foods I’ve been pairing with the wines.  But the whites have been memorable (and repeat purchases), including the Cantina Terlano Classico!

Don’t stop here.  We have lots more great information to share with you on the Trentino-Alto Adige region.  Join the rest of our Italian bloggers group:

Make sure to join us live on Twitter today and throughout the weekend at #ItalianFWT to chat about the Trentino-Alto Adige region and your experiences.  We can’t wait to hear from you.  Check back at #ItalianFWT throughout the month as well for additional blogs on food, wine and travel of Italy.  Next month on April 4th we feature Sicily so stay tuned.  Ciao ciao!

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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.

#WineWednesday Review; 2012 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From time to time, I receive wines samples from wineries or their public relations agencies for review.  I’ve decided to feature such samples on #WineWednesday’s.

This is the second vintage of Faust I’ve tried (I also tried the 2011).

The Winery

Faust Winery is the creation of Augustin Huneeus and it continues to satisfy his long-held desire to produce a wine that embodies the most seductive characteristics of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to wine.  With a career spanning 50 years, he has produced wine in more than 15 countries.  Perhaps best known today for creating Quintessa, the stunning biodynamic vineyard and winery estate he and his wife Valeria own in Rutherford, Napa Valley, Agustin is recognized as a driving force in how fine wine is produced, recognized, sold and marketed in the United States.  The philosophy that great vineyards make great wine is his guiding principle.

The Faust vineyard is located in Coombsville, Napa Valley’s newest appellation located in the eastern foothills south of Atlas Peak.  It consists of 110 acres of mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines, with small plantings of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.  The vineyard is farmed in ten distinct blocks, all of which have a unique character.  Yields on the property are especially low as extra care is put into practices such as winter pruning, green harvest and selective picking.

Faust also seeks small lots from family growers in other unique Napa Valley growing districts including Yountville, Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, St. Helena and Rutherford.

Faust is certified under the Napa Green Certified Land Program.

The Wine

The 2012 vintage is a blend of 80% Cabernet, 16% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Petite Verdot.  After extended maceration and malolactic fermentation in barrel, it was aged 19 months in 30% new French oak. Over fifty percent of the fruit for 2012 came from the 110-acre Faust Vineyard in the Coombsville district 14.5% alcohol.  Retail – $50

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My tasting notes follow:

Deep garnet color. It offers blackberry, plum, cassis and hints of cacao and violets aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with good acidity, soft well-integrated tannins and an appealing texture with blackberry, plum, cassis, and extra dark chocolate flavors.   >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-: A delicious Bordeaux blend that’s approachable now, but would benefit from further aging.

Pair with: Lamb chops, Korean Sizzling Beef,  Slow cooked Beef Brisket or Meatloaf

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Fineman PR

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 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

2015 Dark & Delicious;Top 15 Favorite Petite Sirahs

Last week, I attended the 9th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah wine and food event held at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda.  The event is put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

2015 Dark & Delicious

Clockwise from upper left – Inside Rock Wall Winery Hanger; 2012 David Fulton P.S.; Aged P.S. from Teldeschi features ’99, ’00 and ’02; ’11 and ’12 Overland P.S.; Grower Dick Keenan of Overland; ’12 Dashe Cellars P.S. Louvau Vyd; ’12 Ridge Vyds Lytton Springs P.S.

There were about 50 wineries pouring.  My guess would be there were over 100 wines available for tasting.

As always, at a large event such as this, I focus on tasting a combination of tasting the latest releases from some of my favorite producers and seeking out new to me producers.

I tasted 55 wines, including about half of the new to the event for 2015 wineries.

My top 15 favorite wines (in alphabetical order) were:

  • 2012 Carol Shelton Wines Petite Sirah Florence Vineyard
  • 2012 Dashe Cellars Petite Sirah Louvau Vineyard
  • 2012 David Fulton Petite Sirah
  • 2011 Denier-Handal Petite Sirah
  • 2010 Gustafson Family Vineyards Petite Sirah
  • 2012 Harney Lane Petite Sirah
  • 2012 Klinker Brick Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Mineral Wines Petite Sirah
  • 2009 Neal Family Vineyards Petite Sirah Rutherford Dust
  • 2010 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch
  • 2012 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch
  • 2012 Ridge Petite Sirah Lytton Estate
  • 2009 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill York Creek Vineyards
  • 2012 Robert Biale Petite Sirah Thomann Station
  • 1999 Teldeschi Petite Sirah

I also keep an eye out for wines that over deliver in terms of quality for the price.  For value (under $20) check out:

  • 2012 Parducci Petite Sirah Small Lot – $14
  • 2012 Michael-David Vineyards Petite Petit – $18

Conclusion:

This was our fifth consecutive year attending Dark & Delicious.  It’s one of our favorites events because it offers a great combination of Petite Sirah, a wine we love, and food.

In terms of the wine, this was the best year ever in my book. There were a couple of new to me wineries that were among my favorites, including Mineral and Overland.  Add to the newbies perennial favorites like Carol Shelton and Dashe Cellars (which where new to Dark and Delicious for 2015) along with perennial favorites David Fulton, Robert Biale and Ridge Vineyards, and you got a winning combination!

Food-wise, the highlight of the event for me was Chef Tyler Stone’s Petite Sirah Ice Cream made from one of the Concannon Petite Sirah.  I must confess I was disappointed with the number of food partners.  There weren’t as many as there have been in prior years.

Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time tasting some of the best dark and delicious Petite Sirah California has to offer!

Related posts you 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.

 

Dark and Delicious 2015 – A Petite Sirah and Food Extravaganza!

One of my favorite Bay Area food and wine events, the 9th annual Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah is coming to Alameda in two week on Friday, February 20th!  Dark & Delicious (“D&D”) is the preeminent annual Petite Sirah event in the world.  It’s put on each year by  P.S. I Love You, an association of Petite Sirah growers, producers and winemakers.

 

In a nutshell, it’s 50+ wineries pouring Petite Sirah (“P.S.”), collaborating with fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers for a food and wine extravaganza.

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick 411 on P.S.

  • Created by François Durif, it is the love child of a noble grape, Syrah, and an obscure peasant grape Peloursin in 1880
  • 90% of the world’s P.S. vineyards are in California
  • Produces big, masculine, typically ink-colored wines that tend to be tannic with moderate to high-acidity
  • Sometimes (increasingly it seems) referred to as Durif

What makes this event special for me is…

  • It’s a”one-stop” tasting of P.S. from the finest producers throughout Cali.  It’s a great chance to experience the diversity of P.S. both geographically, and stylistically.
  • It’s a great opportunity to get to know P.S. as a food partner beyond the typical steak and BBQ because you get a chance to try all manner of gustatory delights from savory to sweet and everything in between.
  • It’s offers great value! For the price of a couple of Napa Valley wine tastings, you can eat and drink (responsibly of course;-) to your heart’s content.
  • It has the most evocatively appropriate name of all the wine events I attend…it put’s a smile on my face whenever I think “Dark & Delicious”!

I’ve been the last several years and it’s gotten better each year. I expect this year will be the best yet! 

Check out the list of wineries (*new for 2015) scheduled to pour this year! .

Artezin Wines
Ballentine Vineyards
Berryessa Gap Vineyards
Bogle Vineyards
Bianchi Winery *
Carol Shelton Wines *
Clayhouse Wines
Concannon Vineyard
Dashe Cellars
Diamond Ridge
David Fulton Winery
Delectus Winery
Denier~Handal Vineyards
F. Teldeschi Winery
Fenestra Winery
Field Stone Winery
Foppiano Vineyards
Fulcrum Wines *
Gustafson Family Vineyards
Harney Lane
Klinker Brick Winery *
Kokomo Winery *
Las Positas Vineyards
Lava Cap Winery
Marr Cellars
Mettler Family Vineyards
Michael David Winery
Mineral Wines *
Miro Cellars
Neal Family Vineyards
Overland Wine *
Page Mill Winery
Pendleton Estate Vineyards and Winery *
Parducci Wine Cellars
Ridge Winery
Robert Biale Vineyards
Rock Wall Wine Company
Sones Cellars
Stanton Vineyards
Sundstrom Hill Winery *
The Crusher
Theopolis Vineyards *
Trentadue Winery
Tres Sabores
Twisted Oak Winery
Ursa Vineyards
Vasco Urbano Wine Company *
Venteux Vineyards *
Vezer Family Vineyards
Volk Wines *
Wilson Vineyards
Wooden Valley Winery

Here are the details!

P.S. I Love You Dark and Delicious Tasting
February 20th, 2015

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501 (map)

Tickets are $65 per person (free parking).  There are also discount tickets available ($55) for group of 6+.  The more the merrier!

The event has sold out in the past so put some pep in your step!  For more details and tickets click 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!

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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.