The Best #SundaySupper Picnic Wines

Who doesn’t dig a picnic? The combination of good food, good company, and, especially for me, good wine combined with fresh air and sunshine are a big part of why summer is my favorite season.

Up on the Ridge

The Picnic Area at Ridge Vineyards

And planning a picnic should be a picnic, right?  Just throw together some sandwiches and salads, pack up a basket, and head to your favorite picnic spot.  Yet choosing a wine can be challenging, because picnic fare tends to include a little bit of everything, from rich and fatty foods to tart and herbal flavors.  And those contrasts in flavors can give one pause when it comes to selecting a wine.

My criteria for great picnic is that they should be wines that are 1.) light and refreshing, 2.) a good match for a variety of foods, and 3.) inexpensive ($20 or less).

Check out this week’s of amazing and delicious picnic fare and my wine pairing recommendations that’ll complement these great recipes!

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

One of my favorite picnic wines is sparkling Rosé.  It’s the ultimate in vinous synergy – combining the acidity, effervescence of bubbly with the overall food friendliness of Rosé.  If I had to choose a bottle of wine for a picnic and didn’t know what was being served it would be a sparkling Rosé for me.  Try the Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé.  It’s made from 100% Pinot Noir and has a refreshing red berry, watermelon character.

Pair these dishes with Sauvignon Blanc.  Look for the 2013 Villa Maria Sauvignon (or the newly released 2014). It shows exuberant aromas, and zesty acidity with appealing mixed tropical fruit, ruby grapefruit, lime and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Riesling.  I love the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling. It’s just slightly off-dry  with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Grüner Veltliner, a refreshing, medium-bodied, peppery white wine with stone fruit flavors.  Grüner Veltliner goes with everything from green salads to cold poached salmon to fried chicken. Look for 2012 Laurenz V. Singing Gruner Veltliner .  It has a green apple, peach, citrus, white pepper spice character with a great mouthfeel and a mineral undertone. 

Pair these dishes with a Rosé.  Look for the 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare It’s a both red and white Rhone grape varieties with a dry, crisp and refreshing strawberry, citrus, and spice character. 

Pair these dishes with Cabernet Sauvignon.  Look for the 2012 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a supple texture and a cassis, black plum and subtle spice character.

Here are the rest of this week’s beverages and desserts

Beverages

Desserts

What’s your favorite picnic wine?

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

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

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Quivira 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 Quivira Grenache Rosé Wine Creek Ranch.

The Winery

Quivira Vineyards and Winery, located in Healdsburg, CA specializes in Zinfandel, Sauvignon, and Rhône varietals.  The Quivira estate is composed of four distinct vineyards in the Dry Creek AVA - Wine Creek Ranch, Goat Trek Vineyard, Katz/Absner Ranch, and Anderson Ranch – a total of 93 acres of vineyards.

In the 16th to 18th centuries, the area we know as Sonoma County appeared on European maps as a mythical kingdom called “Quivira” whose streets were said to be paved with gold. Today, the region’s “gold” is the acres of grapevines that thrive there.

Quivira has been Demeter certified Biodynamic® and organic winery since 2005!  In addition to their vineyards, the estate consists of lush biodynamically and organically farmed gardens, a pond, greenhouse, chicken coop and a solar electric system which has supplies all of their electricity.  Produce from the garden is supplies local markets with fresh produce.  Additionally, Quivira offers estate-grown and estate-bottle olive oil and estate honey in their tasting room.

My most recent visit was during Passport to Dry Creek Valley this past April.  We always make it a point to visit Quivira because we love their wines, the tasting experience and checking out the gardens.

The Wine 

Quivira has been making Rosé for years, but this is the first release of a  Demeter-certified Biodynamic Rosé. sourced from estate Wine Creek Ranch vineyard

While the Grenache can be credited with much of what is going on in the glass, the Mourvèdre does its part, contributing spice and structure while the Syrah broadens the mid-palate and also adds subtle floral and pepper notes.

The wine is a blend of 710% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre that underwent sur lie aging in stainless steel.

Retail – $22; 13.5% alcohol; 682 cases produced

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week; 2013 Quivira Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Orange tinged pink, almost copper color with ripe strawberry, watermelon, and gentle spice aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, fresh and crisp cherry, strawberry, watermelon,spice and a bit blood orange flavors.  Lingering finish.

Rating: A- A perennial favorite, this one continues to deliver fresh deliciousness  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: A plate of salumi, light salads, or bahn mi sandwich.  Some dry rosé needs food. This isn’t one of them, it’s delightful on its own!

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.

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Wine of the Week: 2009 Volta Cabernet Sauvignon

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 2009 Volta Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Winery

Volta Wine  is an artisanal producer of single vineyard wines from the Napa Valley. The winery is owned by Steve Lau and Frederick McCarthy.

In a sonnet, a volta is the moment when a distinct change of thought or mood occurs. When Steve Lau and Frederick McCarthy met in 2009, it was a turning point in both of their lives. Steve had been a musician and record company executive prior to starting a small, artisanal winery. Frederick had built a career in finance and as a real estate entrepreneur while developing an enthusiasm for wine. Individually, Frederick and Steve had learned to appreciate the unique differences that time, place and terroir brings to each vintage and bottle. Their travels over the years had taken them to some of the world’s best wine regions where they explored small local vineyards off the beaten path. One night, at a dinner party hosted by a mutual friend, Steve and Frederick discovered they shared the goal of building a world-class winery. Frederick and Steve decided to team up and devote their skills, passion and energy to creating organically-farmed, responsibly crafted wines that would always inspire.

The winemaker is Massimo Montecelli. He’s a fourth generation winemaker whose family is in the business. Having been the winemaker at renowned Silver Oak, he knows a thing or two about making Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Wine

Fruit for the wine is from the organically farmed Mission Ridge Vineyard, which hugs a southwest facing slope at an elevation of nearly 720 feet above sea level. During the day, the ridge enjoys summer heat but temperatures drop at night with cooler air coming in from the San Francisco Bay. The rocky, volcanic loam soil, high elevation and southwest exposure all combine to create a dynamic micro-climate. The vineyard yields small clusters of intensely flavored grapes that ripen slowly and late into the growing season. Certified organic, the land is respectfully farmed, without the use of chemicals or insecticides. All  the fruit was hand-picked, and the wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Retail – $60; 14.5% alcohol. Case Production – 450

photo (74)

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque garnet color with lifted black cherry, plum, cassis, mocha and leather aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, well structured,  and dense with a supple texture, an appealing grip and black cherry, plum, chocolate, cassis, espresso and a bit of vanilla flavors. Long finish.

Rating: A:  This one is a charmer. It’s ready to drink, but can age.

Pair with: Lamb burgers, lamb kebabs, or grilled flat-iron steak!

Disclosure: Sample provided for review. Opinions are my own

Ratings Key:

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

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

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

 

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Domaine de Triennes 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 for $20 or less! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé.

The Winery

In 1989, two Burgundians, Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine,  co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, joined by their Parisian friend, Michel Macaux, in search of new vineyards. Their attention turned to Provence where they were convinced the potential for great wines was enormous.

After a long search, they discovered the Domaine du Logis de Nans in the Var, east of Aix en Provence. They were immediately attracted to its gently sloping hillside with southern exposure. They saw its cool micro climate and its clay and limestone soils as ideal for viticulture.

The estate was renamed Triennes, a reference to Triennia, the festival for Bacchus, which was held every three years during Roman times. The prefix “Tri” serving as a reminder of the three original partners.

In addition to this wine, Domaine de Triennes produces two red blends, a white blend and a Viognier.

The Wine

This wine is a blend of principally Cinsault, blended with Grenache, Syrah and Merlot.

Retail – $13.99 (Whole Foods Market) 13% alcohol

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week: 2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé

2013 Domaine de Triennes Rosé

 My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon pink color with appealing, but fleeting peach, fresh strawberry, citrus and subtle earthy and floral aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, dry and fresh with tart fresh strawberry, peach, citrus rind flavors and an appealing minerality. Lingering finish 

Rating: B+ This is very good Rosé that goes down (a little too) easy. And it’s a good value at $14  >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: Smoked Salmon Salad Niçoise, Chicken Taco Salad or Asian Quinoa Salad.

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 of the Week; 2010 Carlisle The Derivative White

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

The Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera Ranch, Rossi Ranch Vineyard, Saitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society.

The Wine

From Carlisle…Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a popular style of white wine in California called “hock”. It was a dry wine consisting of the white grape varieties widely planted at that time, Semillon, Muscadelle, Chasselas, French Colombard, Trousseau gris, and Putzscheere to name a few. Using 76% barrel-fermented Semillon from Monte Rosso (planted 1886) and 24% stainless-fermented Muscadelle from Pagani Ranch (planted 1920), we have created a modern-day version, a derivative if you will, of this century-old style.

Retail – $30; 13.8% alcohol

Wine of the Week; 2010 Carlisle Derivative

2010 Carlisle Derivative

My tasting notes follow:

Light yellow color with aromatic orange blossom, apple, citrus and wet stone aromas. On the palate, it’s between medium and full-bodied with bright acidity, and apple, pineapple, spice and mineral flavors. Long finish.  Drink now, but can age >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A- : This is a wonderful wine that’s a refreshing change of pace!

Pair with: Seafood salad, Grilled or roasted Paiche, Fish tacos, Sole in lemon beurre blanc, or fresh crab!

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.

A Perfect Pairing: Shrimp Ceviche and Saké

See the photo below?  It’s a Shrimp Ceviche Tostada from one of my favorite local Mexican joints and a glass of SakéOne G Joy Junmai Saké.

And together, they were a perfect pairing!

The Food

If you’ve not had the pleasure of enjoying a Ceviche Tostada, it’s exactly what it sounds like – ceviche, which is raw fish (in this case shrimp) marinated (“cooked”) in lime juice, onions, spicy chiles, juicy tomatoes perched atop a crisp tostada.  Mine was also topped with slices of fresh ripe avocado.  And as you can see, I also generously applied a spicy hot pepper sauce that come with it (could be Tapatio Hot Sauce but I’m not sure).

The Saké

First let’s get this out of the way…Saké is not rice wine!  Saké is brewed like beer, but drinks more like fine wine.

SakéOne G Joy Junmai Saké is one of my favorites.  It’s an American made premium saké that classified as Junmai Ginjo Genshu.  

Saké is categorized based on grade, style and amount of polishing the rice receives -so Junmai is indicative of the grade, Ginjo is indicative of the style and Genshu in indicative how much the rice was polished – the lower percentage the better the quality.

Here’s my tasting note:

Practically clear color with apple, melon, lychee aromas. On the palate, it’s rich, and full-bodied with apple, pear, yellow plum and a bit of spice flavors. Medium-long finish.

A Perfect Pairing: Shrimp Ceviche and Saké

Premium saké is best served chilled in a stemmed wine glass for ultimate appreciation of aroma and taste!

The Pairing

Ceviche pairs well with a wide range of beverages. Classic matches are beer, Pisco Sour – a Peruvian cocktail made with pisco, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white, and high acid white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Grüner Vetliner, and Sparkling wine.

I’ve enjoyed ceviche with beer, high acid white whites, and sparkling wine. All co-existed peacefully with the ceviche.  All were good matches.

But, for me, none matched this perfect pairing!

And what is a perfect pairing? It’s when you:

  1. Take a bite of food and chew
  2. Take a sip of wine or other adult beverage with the food together in your mouth
  3. The two together do more than make each other better – they become a third even better thing!

Perfect pairings are rare.

This pairing was perfect for me because the rich, full bodied nature of the saké seemed to strip the heat and acid of the ceviche off the palate, while replacing it with bright fruit and some earthy notes.  The slightly sweet taste of the saké not only eased the heat brought on by hot sauce, but when combined with the sweet taste of the shrimp, it not only enhanced the taste of the ceviche, the saké tasted better too.    

The pairing opened up my eyes to the diverse possibilities of saké as a partner at the table. Granted, ceviche may not seem too far afield from the sushi and sashimi because of the raw fish element, but the flavor profile is quite different.

This was a pairing that has me looking forward to trying saké with foods other than sushi and sashimi!

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Wine Pairings for Man Food #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is all about “man” food.  I find it interesting that just as there are foods that considered “masculine” versus “feminine”, there are wines that are considered “masculine”, and “feminine”.

What is a masculine wine you ask? I think of it a masculine wine as a full-bodied wine rather than a light-bodied or delicate wine.  For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon, or Petite Sirah, or a Port would be considered masculine compared to a most white wines, Rosé, Sparkling wines or Pinot Noir.

But when it come to pairing food with wine, I don’t think of it in male vs. female terms. I stick to one of the most essential wine and food pairing guidelines.  And that is pair the weight of the food with the weight of wine. 

Wine Pairings For Man Food #SundaySupper

Nom, nom, nom! Image courtesy of bbs.barnsleyfc.org.uk

Speaking of wine and food pairing tips here are few more that are especially appropriate for the items on this week’s #SundaySupper  menu:

  1. High impact cooking methods like grilling, and smoking move chicken and turkey over to the “dark” side of the wine and food pairing spectrum.  Think pink or red wine!
  2. Can’t bear a red wine because it’s too hot? Think Pink!  A dry Rosé is very food friendly.  Good Rosés combine the crispness and refreshment of white wine (serve chilled) with unusual and intriguing flavors–some of the red fruits typical of red wine, but also notes of tea, citrus, strawberries, or watermelon. One of my favorites is the Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rosé. 
  3. Finally, if you heavily sauce chicken, turkey, and pork, pair to the sauce rather than the type of meat. 

Check out this week’s fantastic menu of “Man” food recipes put together by the #SundaySupper team, and my wine pairing recommendations.

Manly Starters:

Pair these starters with an off-dry (slightly sweet) sparkling wine.  Bubbly goes with virtually everything thanks to its palate cleansing acidity and effervescence.  It pairs especially well with fried food, and salty foods.  Look for Mumm Napa Cuvee M.  It has a crisp, refreshing, easy to like peach, pear, vanilla and subtle caramel character.  And since it’s slightly sweet it’ll stand up to the spicier starters. 

Manly Mains:

Pair these dishes with Petite Sirah, an under appreciated grape variety that is fabulous with BBQ, burgers, ribs, grilled and smoked meats, and foods with Latin flavors.  Look for the 2011 The Crusher Grower’s Selection Petite Sirah.  It’s a blend of mostly Petite Sirah and Merlot, plus Cabernet Sauvignon and a few Portuguese grape varieties with a bold, full-bodied, blackberry, black cherry, white pepper, smoke meat, and spiced vanilla character. 

Pair these dishes with an off-dry Riesling.  One of my favorites is the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica - It’s off-dry with vibrant acidity and a beautiful white peach, grapefruit and mineral character.

Pair these dishes with Chianti from Italy.  A perennial favorite of mine is the 2009 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva. It shows a mouth-filling dried red fruit, sweet spice, and dried herb character with a very satisfying finish. 

Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir.  I recommend the 2012 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir. It shows a supple texture and an enticing plum, tart cherry, cranberry, and spiced vanilla character.  

Manly Desserts: 

Pair these desserts with Port.  Look for Warre’s “Otima” 10-year-old Tawny Port. It’s a rich tawny with a toffee, caramel, honey and dried fruits character. 

Pair these desserts with a Moscato d’Asti from Italy.  Look for the 2013 Saracco Moscato d’Asti. It shows a sweet, fragrant, delicate, floral, tropical fruit, apple and a hint of honey character.  

Happy Father’s Day to the man in your life!


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. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

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

A Taste of Champagne Krug

Last week, I had the pleasure attending a special tasting of the House of Krug at K&L Wine Merchants. I was invited to the intimate tasting with about a dozen others by K&L’s Champagne buyer, Gary Westby.

It was definitely an exciting opportunity for me.  I’ve tasted more than my share of Champagne, and sparkling wines, but precious little “luxury” Champagne.

In fact, the only such Champagne I can recall tasting was Dom Perignon, and that was many moons ago, before I gained an appreciation for Champagne.  I didn’t care for it.  I remember almost feeling guilty because I thought  I should have enjoyed such an expensive bottle of wine.

Since then I’ve come to adore Champagne for the special beverage it is, but last week’s tasting was essentially my first taste of high-end Champagne.

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 Cliquot  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 Krugs 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, 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.

For an excellent more detailed deep dive on Krug, check out Richard Jennings “House of Krug and the Quest for Perfection

The Tasting

The Krug US Brand Ambassador Garth Hodgdon presented four wines.  He is a very knowledgeable and affable fellow who did a fine job of skillfully answering the questions that came his way – frequently with a keen sense of humor, and  always in a thoughtful and focused manner.

While sharing  Krug story, Hodgdon mentioned a couple of things I found particularly interesting.

The first is that, is that as noted in the aforementioned piece by Richard Jennings…

…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

Krug doesn’t make any secondary, or entry-level wines.  In fact, Hodgdon noted, all other Krug Champagne is measured against the Grand Cuvée. which is their least expensive wine.

The other thing Hodgdon shared with us was the Krug ID. Since September 2011, each bottle of Krug has a six digit number on the back label .  You can type this number into a box on Krug’s website to learn the makeup of that particular bottling, including the vintage(s) in the wine, the percentage of grape varieties used, and when the bottle was disgorged.  Hodgdon then whipped out his iPhone and demonstrated the very cool Krug app, which enables one to either type in or scan the code.

Most Champagne houses are very secretive about what goes into each bottle. Krug is leading the way among the great Champagne house in becoming more transparent.

As for the wines? Simple the best Champagne I’ve ever tasted!  But I would love to taste Krug back to back blind against other luxury Champagne such as Dom Perigon, Cristal, or Salon.

A Taste of Champagne Krug

Why yes…I will have another splash or three

My tasting notes follow:

  • N.V. 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, and subtle honey flavors. Long 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. (95 pts.); Retail – $150
  • 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 (93 pts.); Retail – $229
  • 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 (94 pts.); Retail – $229
  • N.V. 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 (96 pts.); Retail – $279

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

Why, Yes….I will have another splash or three…

Just to see how the wines were evolving in the glass?  Of course!

Just to fine tune my tasting notes? – Um sure…if you say so…

Just because it was a transcendent tasting, and who knows when I’ll be have the exquisite pleasure of passing through Krug-ville again?

Bingo!

A Taste of Bodegas Contino

Last fall, my wife and I spent 17 glorious days in Spain.  It was the trip of a lifetime. Our itinerary included Barcelona, San Sebastian (amazing food), Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, and Granada (The Alhambra is a must – simply awesome!).  Of course, being the winos, we also squeezed in some time in La Rioja.  Our trip to Rioja was facilitated by Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino (“Contino”) Winemaker Jesús de Madrazo Mateo, and his wife Maria Alvarez, CEO of Fine Wines Connection.

I met Jesus last year at a tasting of “ ”C.V.N.E.” (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) and Contino (click here for details of one of the most amazing tasting I’ve EVER been too!) at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City.  I mentioned to him that my wife and I were planning  a trip to Spain, and he was kind enough to extend an invitation to Contino.

He and Maria are most gracious hosts. They helped us with hotel (Los Augustinos in Haro – highly recommended!) and restaurant reservations (the fabulous Rekondo in San Sebastian!), and made recommendations various restaurants, and bars. But the highlights of our time in Rioja was dinner at their home , and our visit to Contino.

A Taste of Contino

The picturesque 200 year-old farm house at Contino

About Contino

Contino makes single-estate Riojas from their 62 hectares of vineyards located just outside the town of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa.   It is owned 50/50 by CVNE and the Perez Villota family, and their wines are distributed by CVNE

The estate, situated on the northern bank of the river Ebro, includes a farmhouse that dates back 200 years alongside their state-of-the-art wine-making facility.  It is planted primarily to Tempranillo, but you’ll also find some of the oldest vines of Graciano in Rioja on the estate,  along with limited amounts of other grapes such as Mazuela  and Garnacha.  Graciano is an indigenous Spanish grape variety used in the estate wines, and Contino also produces an excellent 100% bottling of Graciano.

In the times of the Reyes Catolicos (Ferdinand of Aragon and Elisabeth of Castille) the distinction of ‘Contino’ was conferred on each of the continuation of the Life Guards who protected the monarchs and their family. The Contino Pedro de Samaniego was rewarded with the estate of Laserna from which the Contino estate derives its name.The Contino labels show a figure of Saint Gregory, founder of the Benedictine monastic order and the patron saint of vine growers.

A Taste of Contino

Jesús de Madrazo Mateo explaining the unique terroir of the Contino Vineyards which is situated in a meander of the Ebro river, with a land rise at the opposite end, and sun exposure east to west across the vineyards.

Jesús de Madrazo Mateo is a fifth-generation member of the Real de Asua family. They founded and still own a controlling share of CVNE.  His father, Jose Madrazo Real de Asua, who was on the CVNE board of directors and GM of Viña Real brand, conceived the idea of creating the first single estate Bodega in Rioja, and founded Contino in 1973.

Jesús studied viticulture at Madrid’s prestigious University of Agriculture, and is an Agricultural Superior Engineer. He started training at CVNE in 1988, and took his first paid position in 1995 in the CVNE technical department as an assistant winemaker.  He’s been the head winemaker for Contino since 1999.

A Taste of Contino

This outstanding blend of Viura and Grenache Blanc with a floral, green apple, and mineral character was a most refreshing start to our wine tasting!

After Jesus gave us a very in-depth tour of the winery we settled in for tasting through five wines selected by Jesús….

IMG_3677

My tasting notes on the wines follow:

  • 2009 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Garnacha Rioja - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja - Promising strawberry, cherry, spice and a hint of dried rose aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and bright with medium acidity. It shows charming strawberry, cherry, and spice flavors, and a lingering finish. Aged for 12 months in second use barrels (soaked in wine with white 2007) and then aged 12 months in oak casks. (89 pts.)
  • 2007 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Contino Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja - Expansive black and red fruits, smoke, leather, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied with supple tannins, well integrated oak, and a bit of minerality with black cherry, strawberry and spice flavors, and a lingering finish. Raised in French and American oak. (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Contino Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja - Appealing black cherry, plum, anise, leather, cedarwood and vanilla aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied and well structured, and polished with a silky texture. It shows black cherry, red plum, caramel, and spice flavors, and a long sweet finish. Blend of 70% Tempranillo and equal parts Garnacha and Graciano. Should continue to get better with further cellaring. From magnum (only format available) (91 pts.)
  • 2009 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Contino Variedad Graciano - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja - Alluring blueberry, cassis, white pepper, dried herb, warm spice, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, and well structured with bright, focused fruit, very good acidity and chewy tannins. It shows blueberry, black currant, and spice flavors. Long finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2009 Bodegas y Viñedos del Contino Rioja Viña del Olivo - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alavesa, Rioja - Exuberant, very appealing black fruit, warm spice, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, harmonious, and masculine, yet refined with youthful tannins and blackberry, black cherry, warm spice, mineral flavors. Long finish. Blend of Tempranillo (88%) and Graciano (12%) grapes aged for 17 months in 70% French, 20% American, and 10% Hungarian oak barrels. The hand-harvested grapes are grown around a 800 year old olive tree – hence the name. (92 pts.)

After tasting through the wines, we settled in for a splendid and most memorable al fresco Riojan lunch.

While Spanish cuisine varies tremendously across the different regions, they all have one thing in common: the use of fresh, local flavors with plenty of olive oil and garlic. And that’s why I adore Spanish food!

Check out a few of my favorite things…

A Taste of Contino

Queso de Cabra and Queso de Roncal

These stuffed peppers were to die for and paired wonderfully with the Contino Garnacha

A Taste of Bodegas Contino

I don’t know what it’s called…but it was scrumptious!

Another Rioja classic dish that is a match made in heaven  with Rioja is lamb chops grilled over vine cuttings.

A Taste of Contino

Sweet, succulent baby lamb chops grilled over grape-vine cuttings

Put simply, our visit was an unforgettable vinous and gastronomic delight!

Related post you might like:

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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.

 

#DrinkPink Rosé of the Week; 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé

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 for $20 or less! This week’s rosé is the 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé.

The Winery

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

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

I tried his wines, and came away impressed.

Since then, I’ve tasted his wines at a few other events, and I finally had a chance to visit the Tercero tasting room last summer.  I continue to be impressed. The wines all very good to outstanding, and reasonably priced (the reds are $30, the whites are $22!).

On top of that, Larry is hard-working, down-to-earth, passionate, and very affable guy in my book.  And that matters to me.

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

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

The Wine

The fruit for wine comes from the Vogelzang Vineyard in the Happy Canyon AVA, in the extreme eastern part of the Santa Ynez Valley. The grapes were brought in, foot stomped, and then let sit on the skins for about an hour. They were then dumped into the press and let sit for another hour before starting the pressing process. The juice was then transferred to a stainless steel tank for fermentation. Upon completion, the wine was transferred to older French oak barrels for its 5 month aging process.

13.5% alcohol; Retail – $20 

#DrinkPink Rose of the Week; 2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rose

My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon color with appealing red fruit, wet stone, and citrus peel aromas with a hint of earthiness. On the palate it’s dry, and fresh and medium-bodied with mouth filling strawberry, watermelon, hints of red currant, subtle spice, and citrus flavors and a nice touch of minerality. Lingering finish. 

Rating: A- This is an outstanding Rosé. Highly Recommended! >>Find this wine<<

Pair with: I paired with this with an impromptu (i.e. leftover;-) surf and turf of grilled salmon and ribeye steak.  What I enjoyed about it is, that it while it paired very well with the grilled salmon, it had enough weight to stand up to the rib-eye such that the two peacefully co-existed.  Try with more substantial foods like grilled,or cedar plank salmonProvençal Vegetable Tart, or Mediterranean Farro Salad.

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
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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.