Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 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 March 20th, 2016

2013 Tablas Creek Syrah – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
Violet color with promising dark fruit, white pepper, olive tapenade, and a hint of cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s smooth, harmonious, and fresh with blackberry, black raspberry, cassis, and spice flavors with subtle minerality, and a long finish Outstanding; 90-91 ptspts.

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Deep dark nearly opaque garnet color with plum, tobacco, spice, garrigue, and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, savory, and fresh with well-integrated round tannins with plum, black raspberry, kirsch, and spice flavors with an appealing streak of minerality, and a lingering finish.  Outstanding; 90-91 ptspts.

2009 Knez Winery Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard – California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Ruby color. Initially tight on the nose, but after a bit of air it opened up very nicely showing mixed red berry liqueur (cherry, raspberry), cardamom, sassafras and damp earth aromas. On the palate it’s lush, focused and lively with a gorgeous mouth feel sporting velvety well-integrated tannins with cherry and raspberry liqueur, spice flavors with an attractive lingering floral and spicy finish.  Outstanding; 91-92 pts

2007 Scharffenberger Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs – California, North Coast, Mendocino County
Pale straw color with plenty of active pin prick bubbles and hazelnut, pear, and citrus flavors. On the palate it’s show a moderately creamy mousse with green apple, pear and a lemon flavors. Medium finish. $20 great value for a BdB. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

-Wine of the Week-

Some weeks it seems fairly easy to pick my Wine of the Week because one clearly stand out because it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. Then there are other weeks, such as this, when it’s more challenging. What made this week more challenging is that I considered three of the four wines outstanding.  And the fourth was an outstanding value.

My wife and I took the Tablas Creek Syrah  to a Northern Rhone tasting.  While it wasn’t my favorite wine that night (it’s young, and I believe it would have improved with further aging), it represented a California quite well.  It was varietally correct, well-balanced, and had that bit of minerality I cherish in wine.  The Guigal CdP was a Christmas gift from my father.  He doesn’t really know wine, but he picked up a winner! Guigal is an iconic producer in France.  And their CdP was wonderful (though like me,  it took some time to open up, but once it did it was easy to love;-) It’s definitely a bottle I would love to would enjoy drinking again. And I would especially love to try an older vintage!  In the end, I chose to feature a  perhaps lesser-known producer whose wines I highly recommend. So my Wine of the Week was the Knez Pinot Noir.  The 2009 Knez Winery Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard is a fantastic example of what thoughtful winemaking from grapes planted in the right place can yield in California!  Knez is a producer you need to check out!

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 20, 2016

Knez is a winery whose wines I tasted for the first time when I attended the San Francisco In Pursuit of Balance tasting last year.  So, when my wife and I visited the Anderson Valley Thanksgiving weekend last year, I wanted to make sure she had the opportunity to taste Knez wines.

But they weren’t open on Saturday.  Fortunately, we spent the night in Fort Bragg, and returned on Sunday.  Viola! The tasting room was open and disappointment turned to delight!

We’re big fans of Anderson Valley wines (especially the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). And we’re now big fans of Knez!

More About Knez

Single vineyard wines crafted by the alchemy of ocean, fog, soil and patience.

Knez_Logo-Round_v11

At Knez Winery, we believe that the deeper and more extensive our knowledge, the better our wine will be. We start with an Anderson Valley location that is epic in its richness—with maritime influences, complex soil, a near perfect amount of sun exposure and heritage clones like Martini, Pommard, David Bruce, Wädenswil and Wente. To this, we add the beauty of science—detailed analytics and painstaking research that help us make the most of our land’s bounty. We consider ourselves stewards of the land and our farming practices are sustainable and progressive. In our winemaking, we are hands-on in the vineyard and hands-off in the barrel room. Through careful stewardship of our land and attention to detail in every phase of winemaking, we are producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir every bit as complex, expressive and ageworthy as our compatriots in Burgundy, France.

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was the Scharffenberger BdB paired with Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches.

 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.

 

Pays Nantais And Taste of Contemporary Muscadet #Winophiles

Long dismissed as an innocuous companion to oysters, Muscadet is stepping out as a white wine serious enough to nip at the heels of white Burgundy – Jon Bonné

This month the French #Winophiles continues its virtual tour of Frances with a visit to Pay Nantais. When I first saw Pay Nantais was our region, I wasn’t familiar with the name. Then I realized it was the region I’ve always known as simply “Muscadet”.

Ah, the beauty of wine…it’s a life-long journey of learning!

About Pay Nantais

Pay Nantais is sub-region of the larger Loire Valley. It is located on the Atlantic coast of Brittany, near the city of Nantes. Wine has been produced in the region since the Roman era.  The region is renowned for Muscadet, a crisp white wine from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.

Muscadet wines are produced under several different appellations, of which the most famous (and most prolific) is Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine.

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Photo courtesy of waywardwine.com

I was introduced to Muscadet years ago when I was searching for a wine that would pair well with raw oysters. Since I adore raw oysters, I’ve enjoyed quite a few very good bottles of Muscadet over the years.

But Muscadet has a bit of a reputation.  And it’s (mostly) not been good. That’s because the Melon de Bourgogne grape is widely considered to produce bland and uninteresting wines.  As a result, after peaking in the 80s, Muscadet lost its way and fell on hard times.

More recently though, thanks to innovative and passionate producers committed to elevating the quality and standing of Muscadet, the regions has proven that Melon de Bourgogne can make outstanding wines with a minerally, intense  character that offer great value.  And whose food pairing potential extends well beyond raw oysters.

In my glass

Over the years, I’ve had some good Muscadet (the Michel Delhommeau “Harmonie” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie has been my go-to for years), but the 2009 Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere is unlike any Muscadet I’ve ever had.  It was made from 80 year-old vines.  And  this wine spent an amazing 31 months on the lees in cement vats. Muscadet are often compared to Chablis, but this one brings to mind White Burgundy (at a fraction of the price).

Though it turned out the be the best Muscadet I’ve had thus far, initially I almost didn’t purchase it because it was from the 2009 vintage.  I’d never purchased a Muscadet  that more than a year or two old before thinking all such wines were best enjoyed while young and still “fresh”.

Well, the truth  of the matter is that the best Muscadet can age beautifully for decades.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pours very pale yellow tinged green color with enticing yellow apple, mixed citrus (lemon, grapefruit and a hint of lime) wet stone aromas with hints of white flower, honey and lees. On the palate its dense, focused and fresh with great texture. It shows apple, lemon, subtly spiced mandarin orange, and honey flavors with an appealing vein of minerality, and a long finish.  Outstanding; 90-91 pts.

From the winery: The House of Chéreau Carré occupies the most privileged position in the Loire-Atlantique department of France. This family-owned property dates back to the 15th century. The vines here are some of the most prized in the region of the Sèvre-et-Maine. The property is managed by Bernard Chéreau, whose family origins date back to the eleventh century. Bernard’s passion for Melon de Bourgogone is evident in the quality of his wines. Château l’Oiselinière, meaning “owl’s nest,” comes from a very privileged site located on the northern bank of the Sèvre, near the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. It is 10 hectares of 40 to 80-year-old vines facing Southeast, enclosed by the two rivers and surrounded by forests. The soils here are schist and orthogneiss. Two wines are sourced from this vineyard site and both are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees in cement tanks… the Le Clos de Château l’Oiselinière, sourced from a two hectare plot of the older vines within the vineyard, is aged for 31 months

On my plate

I prepared Cat Cora’s (seared) Sea Scallops for dinner and planned to pair the wine with that dish.

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But my wife decided to whipped up a Yellow Salmon Curry for lunch, and after having shared a bit of the wine before lunch, I thought it would play well with the Salmon Curry.

I was spot on. The wine paired beautifully with both dishes!

Be sure to check out what my fellow #winophiles discovered on their plates, and in their glasses!

Join us on Saturday, March 19th for a live Twitter Chat at 8 am PST/11 am EST using hashtag #Winophiles to share your favorite wines, food, and travel experiences from Pays Nantais.

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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; Week of March 13 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 March 13th 2016

2012 Giornata Nebbiolo Luna Matta(Retail; $45) California, Central Coast
Garnet color with dried cherry, rose, a bit of tar and baking spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and a bit tannic with ample cherry, and cranberry fruit flavors that intermingle with dried herb and savory notes with a lingering finish. 14.5% 100% Nebbiolo aged in French oak (20% new) with native fermentation. This wine is approachable now, but I think will benefit from further aging.  I wish I’d held it longer! Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Riesling Wirz Vineyard – (Retail; $18) California, Central Coast, Cienega Valley
Pours a pale green yellow color with lifted apricot, almond skin, wet stone, floral and lemon aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and dry with ample fruit nicely balanced with bright lemony acidity, and apricot, white peach, lemon, and lime flavors underscored with minerality, and a lingering lip-smacking finish. From a vineyard planted in 1963, which has a little Sylvaner interplanted in it, which the owner Pat Wirz calls by the name indigenous to California “Franken Riesling.” The wine was fermented with native yeast in a neutral oak upright tank and aged for 6 months on lees prior to bottling Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2013 Trapiche Malbec Oak Cask – (Retail; $11)Argentina, Mendoza (3/13/2016)
Violet color with restrained dark fruit, violet and peppery aromas. On the palate it’s supple and smooth with ample (bordering on jammy, but not quite for me) blackberry, plum and a bit of black currant flavors with a spicy finish. Very Good ; 86-87 pts.  Very good value 

2009 Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere(Retail – $19) France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
Pours very pale yellow tinged green color with enticing yellow apple, mixed citrus (lemon, grapefruit and a hint of lime) wet stone aromas with hints of white flower, honey and lees. On the palate its dense, focused and fresh with great texture. It shows apple, lemon, subtly spiced mandarin orange, and honey flavors with an appealing vein of minerality, and a long finish. Outstanding; 90-91 pts.

– Wine of the Week

I often refer to myself as a “promiscuous” wine lover. Last week was a good example,  I enjoyed both Old and New World wines.  The New World wine included the very good Giornata Nebbiolo which pays homage to the great wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. It was very good. And I think it would have been even better had I given it a couple of years in the cellar.  I brought it to a Barolo tasting and it fared well.  While it wasn’t my #1 wine that night (that honor went to a 1979 Bersano Barolo) it was my #2 wine and it was better than a couple of younger Barolos in my book.  The Bedrock Riesling was outstanding, and it offers great value at $18!  It was Bedrock’s first Riesling.  I certainly hope it wasn’t their last.  I scored it the same as the Trimbach Riesling from a couple of weeks ago. Even though the score was the same, I found the Bedrock to be the more interesting wine.

My Wine of the Week was the Chéreau-Carré Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Le Clos du Chateau l’Oiseliniere.  If you’re familiar with Muscadet, let me tell you this isn’t the typical Muscadet.   It was made from 80 year-old vines.  And  this wine spent an amazing 31 months on the lees in cement vats. Muscadet are often compared to Chablis, but this one brings to mind White Burgundy… Fantastic!  And it was very food friendly. We enjoyed it with Yellow Salmon Curry for lunch, and then Seared Scallops with Mushroom Risotto for dinner. Highly recommended!

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More about Chereau-Carre

The family settled in the Muscadet region in the 15th century. In 1953 Bernard Chéreau Senior bought the Château de Chasseloir – a superb farm with 25 hectares of vines in an ideal location on the Côteau de la Maine in Saint Fiacre.

Shortly afterwards, he married Edmonde Carré whose family owned the Château l’Oiselinière de la Ramée in Vertou, at the confluence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. The 10-hectare estate entered the Chéreau-Carré family heritage.
The Chéreau Carré wine company was set up in 1960. It brings together four properties, including Château de Chasseloir and Château de l’Oiselinière. Two other properties were bought later: Château de la Chesnaie and the Bois Bruley estate in Basse Goulaine, on the outskirts of Nantes.

Today we farm 135 hectares of vines, all on wonderful schist, mica schist and orthogneiss terroirs in the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie appellation.

Work continues to be done by the family, as we now have the third generation involved in cultivating and producing high quality Muscadet wines every year.

The House of Chéreau Carré occupies the most privileged position in the Loire-Atlantique department of France. This family-owned property dates back to the 15th century. The vines here are some of the most prized in the region of the Sèvre-et-Maine.

Bernard is constantly innovating and seeking to show off the incredible sites of his domain. These sites are part of a new system used to identify vineyards (called Cru Communaux). The first is Comte Leloup de Chasseloir. This site at the front of his estate is composed of over 100-year-old vines growing in slate soils. The site is three hectares of vines on a plateau that overlooks the river. The wines are then aged in the only underground cellar within the region.

Château l’Oiselinière, meaning “owl’s nest,” comes from a very privileged site located directly at the convergence of the Sèvre and Maine rivers. It is 10 hectares of 40 to 80-year-old vines facing southeast, enclosed by the two rivers and surrounded by forests. The soils here are schist and orthogneiss. Two wines are sourced from this vineyard site and both are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees in cement tanks.

 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.

An Italian-Themed #OTBN #WinePW

Of all the wine “holidays” (Cabernet Day, Chardonnay Day, etc), Open That Bottle Night (“OTBN”) is my favorite.  That’s because it’s a great opportunity for fellowship around food and wine, and making memories with the special people in our lives.

OTBN was created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher.  It’s the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no occasion seems special enough to actually open it.

My wife and I have been celebrating (and hosting) OTBN since 2010.  After one of our wine-loving friends hosted a magnificent OTBN last year, it was our turn this year.

An Italian Theme OTBN

The table is set…let’s get it started!

As is my wont, I picked the wine, then decided on the food.  A quick story behind my wine…We adore Barolo, but it’s a treat for us, so we rarely drink it (which of course makes no sense) The  2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra has been in our cellar for five years! Not so long for wine collectors, but I consider myself more of a wine drinker…so five years was plenty long!

Once I decided on the wine, I decided to prepare a favorite we hadn’t had in years – Cook’s Illustrated’s Hearty Italian Meat Sauce (Sunday Gravy). It’s their take on an Italian-American meat sauce recipe that didn’t require a long list of ingredients and many hours to prepare. It includes Italian sausage, baby back ribs, and time-consuming braciole is replaced with standout meatballs.  And I do mean standout – the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten!

The evening by the numbers,  four and a half hours, eleven people, eleven wines, and 33 wine glasses!

Here are the wine and food menus — you will have to imagine the stories.

The Wine Menu (our contributions in bold italic)

Sparkling Wines:

Mitchell Katz

Christophe Mignon Champagne Extra Brut

2009 Louise Brison Champagne Millésimé Brut

Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé Brut

The Italian Wines

2010 Castello di Volpaia Balifico Toscana IGT

2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra

2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti 

The Cal-Ital, California and Washington Wines

2009 Seghesio Family Vineyards Quindici Toscana IGT

2010 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Mark Ryan Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

2010 V. Sattui Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 125th Anniversary

Click on the photos below to enlarge and see slide show

Wines At Our Table; March 6 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 March 6th 2016

2011 Di Majo Norante Molise Ramitello – Italy, Molise
The wine is a deep black red color with appealing black fruit and lavender aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied, and fresh with a rustic edge, showing blackberry, plum, black cherry, black currant, spice and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering satisfying finish. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2012 JC Cellars The Imposter – USA, California, Central Coast
Opaque ruby/purple-color with smoky black and red fruit aromas with a bit of floral aromas. On the palate it full-bodied, and lush with fruity plum, black cherry, and black raspberry flavors. A bit to plump for my palate, but tasty! Blend of 54% Zinfandel/19% Syrah/13% Petite Sirah/6% Alicante Bouschet/4% Grenache/3% Carignane/ 1% Viognier. Very Good ; 87-88 pts

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Old Vine Rosé – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Pink copper color with savory strawberry, blood orange, spice and a hints of mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and focused with a very appealing hint of tannins. It shows tart, strawberry, tangerine, blood orange, mineral and spice flavors, with a very giving savory finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2009 Pierre Brigandat Champagne Cuvée Dentelles et Crinolines – France, Champagne
Very pale yellow color with abundant active tiny bubbles. On the nose it show pear, green apple, brioche, sea shell and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate, it’s bone-dry with a creamy mousse, and crisp mineral driven acidity. This is a harmonious wine with green apple, pear, lemon and a hint of spice flavors. Blend of 30% Chardonnay, and 70% Pinot Noir 12.5 alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2013 Ridge Zinfandel Jimsomare – USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Garnet color with very appealing red fruit – raspberry, red currant, damp earth and wood spice aromas. On the palate this wine is all about harmony. It shows balanced acidity, well-integrated velvety tannins and focused red fruit flavors that follow the aromas. Lingering finish. It reminds me very much of the Ridge Lytton Springs in terms of balance and food friendliness. It was great paired with Stuffed Shells! Outstanding; 91-92 pts

– Wine of the Week

I’ve been loving my exploration of Italy with the #ItalianFWT group. Last week we visited Molise, an obscure region, a.k.a. the “belly button” of Italy.  I very much enjoyed the Molise I had.  And it was fabulous paired with  Portobello Parmesan recipe by Giada De Laurentiis (but then again, it seems like Italian wines go with everything!), The Champagne from Pierre Brigandat was part of a half-case special I picked from this producer via Cruzu.com (think crowd funding for wine).  It’s the best bottling. It was bone dry, and for my palate it needed food. Nonetheless, it was a crisp, well-balanced Champagne that showed the minerality I love about Champagne.

Last, but not least my Wine of the Week is the 2013 Ridge Jimsomare Zinfandel.  It’s a wine from the iconic Monte Bello Vineyard.

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We enjoyed the wine at a casual dinner with friends last weekend.  My friend picked it up last year.  As we were enjoying the wine with some delicious Stuffed Pasta Shells, I was reminded of a popular myth that’s worth addressing here.  The myth is that Zinfandels are not food friendly wines.

Simply not true!  Of course much depends on how it’s made. And I’ve had many that fall into the “claret” style such as this one, which show moderate levels of acidity and are very food friendly. Don’t ever let anybody tell you Zins are just cocktail wines. If they do remind that the Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel blend has been on the wine list at Alice Water’s iconic Chez Panisse for 40+ years!  I can guaran-damn-tee you it wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t food friendly.  

For more on the 2013 Ridge Jimsomare Zinfandel, check out this video…

-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.

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.

 

New Wine (And Food) Experiences Around The World

What if, instead of finding comfort in the familiar, you sought out the unfamiliar?  What if you took a chance, and rolled the dice on something new?

I’m not talking about jumping out of an airplane (One of my greatest fears!  I’m convinced I’d have a heart attack before I had a chance to pull the cord and float to earth), or worse…public speaking.

I’m talking about trying new wines…

No.  Make that wines produced from new-to-you grape varieties. Or new-to-you wine regions.

Image courtesy of www.wineponder.com

Image courtesy of www.wineponder.com

And what if, at the same time you had a chance to un-tether yourself from the S.O.S. (Same Old Sustenance) on your plate?

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  I think a place’s food and wine are a manifestation of its people, culture, and customs.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.

I’ve had the chance to do just that since last year by participating in two blogging groups Italian Food, Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT) and French Winophiles (#Winophiles).  

Each month we pick a wine region, and post about its wine, food, or travel.

It’s how I discovered new-to-me grapes like PignoloCesaneseBiancolella, Petit Rouge Fumin, Mayolet, CornalinPignolettoGaglioppo,  and Fer Servadou.

Here are 5 of the more memorable wines I’ve enjoyed while virtually traveling to France, Spain, and Portugal.  The first wine is one of the best white wines I’ve ever had.  It’s made from the autochthonous Encruzado grape.  (I tried this one after going to a Portuguese Wine Tasting hosted by Bliss Wine Imports). The other four are from Italy and France.

2008 Torre de Tavares Dão; Portugal> Beiras> Dão Hazy yellow tinged gold color with aromatic, appealing quince, pear, orange marmalade, and wet stone aromas with an appealing oxidized note. On the palate it’s well structured, full-bodied, and very fresh, yet lushly textured (an extraordinary waxy texture) with a very appealing hint of tannins. It shows tart quince, orange and vanilla flavors, with a hint of baked nectarine and a long mineral driven finish.  The grapes are harvested by hand. The wine is not fined or filtered. It went through malolactic fermentation in a steel tank, then was aged on its lees in oak for 1 year. It then spent another 6 months in the tank before bottling. It was aged in the bottle for 5 years. 12.5% alcohol.

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

2009 Ermacora Pignolo Colli Orientali del Friuli; Italy> Friuli-Venezia Giulia> Colli Orientali del Friuli – The wine pours an inky violet ruby color with beguiling, and complex black fruit, dried herb, savory spice, graphite and a hint of lavender aromas.  On the palate it’s powerful, yet light on its feet.  It’s fresh and well structured with dusty well-integrated tannins with delicious black cherry, blackberry compote, a kiss of black currant, plum and vanilla flavors with an appealing minerality, and a long satisfying finish. Aged for over 36 months in oak barrels and 4 months in bottle.  If Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah had a child, it would be this wine. I double decanted before drinking.  14.5%. alcohol

2013 Casale Della Ioria Cesanese del Piglio Tenuta Della Ioria >Italy> Latium> Cesanese del Piglio – The wine is a dark ruby color with promising red fruit, juniper, and forest floor aromas.  On the palate it’s medium-bodied  and fresh with a very smooth texture, and a subtle savory character.  It shows distinctive Morello cherry, red mulberry, hints of red currant, black olive and vanilla flavors with an earthy undertone.  The wine reminds me of a cross between Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.  Among the many things I enjoyed about this wine is that takes a chill quite well. I’ll be adding it to my (short) list of chillable reds.   

2013 Domaine des Costes Rouges “Tandem” France> Southwest France> Marcillac – Dark violet color with promising red currant and raspberry aromas with low-key spice and dried herb notes. On the palate it’s light-bodied, fresh and well structured with charming, easy-going cassis, raspberry, and spice flavors  with supple tannins and an enticing minerality.  Stylistically the wine falls between a Loire Cab Franc and Gamay. 12%;  The wine was made from the grape Fer Servadou.  I learned about a bit of about the grape researching it. But I learned more from this tweet from the inimitable Randall Grahm:

In addition to expanding my palate for wine, I’ve also had a chance to broaden my gastronomic palate.  Here are a few favorites I’ve prepared that have been sensational paired with the wines of the region.

My experiences with both #ItalianFWT, and the Winophiles has been educational and fun. Here’s what I’ve taken away from the experience:

  • An opportunity to expand my overall wine knowledge the best way I know what drinking a little wine and doing some research
  • I’ve come across some great value wines – An outstanding Vernaccia di San Gimignano for $16, and a Premier Cru Burgundy for $40 are top of mind
  • I’ve become friends with like-minded food and wine lovers

And all because I was ready to love to try something new!  You too can be a wine adventurer. Try something new!

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This is my entry into March’s #MWWC. Last month Chad of (Un)CommonGrape won the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #22 (#MWWC22).  Like all previous winners of the Challenge, his “reward” was to choose the theme for the following Challenge (in this case #MWWC23). This month’s theme is NEW.

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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 Molise: Authentic Italy

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  I think 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 are taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Molise!

The thing I love about the “Old World” is its rich history.  Much of it unfolds before us like an epic drama rife with  epic battles for territories, assassinations, and self-proclaimed kingdoms.

For example, take Molise.  It’s the ancestral home of the Samnites – fierce gladiators would regularly take on, and defeat Roman legions.  But after the fall of the Roman Empire, Goths and Lombards invaded the territory, which was part of Abruzzo. But it’s also been part of Campania, and Puglia (Apulia) neighbors to the South.  It’s as if no one wanted the place.  It was eventually absorbed with Abruzzo to create the overarching Abruzzi region. It remained part of this combined region until 1963.

molise map

Image courtesy of http://www.e-rcps.com/

It’s a mountainous and sparsely populated region sandwiched between the Apennine ridge to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It’s Italy’s second smallest region after the Aosta Valley, and certainly not top of mind for visitors to Italy.

It’s a remote land of immense natural beauty, history, art and age-old traditions that will take you on a journey off the beaten path to experience another kind of Italy – a largely undiscovered Italy.  Though its cities lack the luster of Italy’s more renowned areas, they possess a humble authenticity and charm that provide a window into old-fashioned Italian life and culture.

Wine has been made in Molise as far back as 500 BC with influences coming from the Samnites, Etruscans and Romans.  In the 18th and 19th century Molise’s boasted the most extensive vineyards in the Kingdom of Naples.  But the region extremely mountainous terrain discourage production of quality wine (I’m sure WWII didn’t help either) Today there are approximately 7,700 hectares under vine, including a mix of native and international grapes. The most common red varieties are Montepulciano and Sangiovese, but Aglianico, Barbera, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grow too. White grapes include Trebbiano Abruzzese (and Bombino Bianco, with which it was long confused), Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia Bianca Lunga, Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Falanghina, Greco, Chardonnay, and Pinot Bianco. About 10% of the region’s total wine production is of DOC wines ( Biferno, Molise and Pentro di Isernia).  Of the three Biferno is the most well-known.

In my glass

From producer Di Majo Norante comes the 2011 Di Majo Norante Molise Biferno Ramitello.   It’s a  wine made from a selection of the best Montepulciano (80%) and Aglianico (20%) grapes grown in the Ramitello vineyard. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine was aged in a combination of stainless steel tank s and barriques for eighteen months.  It was ranked #74 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014.

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My tasting notes follow:

The wine is a deep black red color with appealing black fruit and floral aromas.  On the palate it medium-bodied, and fresh with a rustic edge, showing blackberry, plum, black cherry, black currant, spice and a hint of bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering satisfying finish.

On my plate

As I was checking out the cuisine of Molise, quite naturally given its agricultural tradition, I keep coming across either pork or lamb dishes. Or seafood dishes.  I’ve been limiting my intake of meat since last year, so I wanted something vegetarian that would pair well with the red wine.  These days eating less (or no) meat is motivated by healthy lifestyle choices.  It hasn’t always been that way.  Molise has historically tended to be less prosperous than Abruzzo.  As a result, the currency in Molise was not money, but livestock. Because of this, the livestock that was raised was more valuable to sell in Abruzzo than it was to eat. This is why many of the dishes typically served in Molise were vegetarian.  I don’t know if it’s still that way today, but certainly there was a time when la cucina povera (“cooking of the poor”) was born of out of necessity rather choice.

With that in mind, I opted for Portobello Parmesan recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

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Portobello Parmesan

The dish was a perfect weeknight vegetarian meal.  It’s definitely one I will make again. Portobello mushrooms have an inherently meaty quality.  The addition of Parmigiano Reggiano and Mozzarella cheese up the umami quotient which made for a wonderful pairing with the wine!

Check out more Molisan food and wine delight from my fellow bloggers:

If you’re up early enough, join us live on Twitter Saturday March 5th at 8am PST @ #ItalianFWT to chat about Molise.  Next month we travel to Puglia on April 2nd!

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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 28th 2016 #OTBN16

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 28th 2016

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Godello AbrenteRetail; $22 USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Pale yellow gold color with a green tinge with aromatically complex and appealing chalk, ocean spray, quince lemon peel, stone fruit and a hint of floral aromas. In the mouth, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh, dry, textured, and focused with enticing apricot, quince, and Meyer lemon flavors that give way to white peach, lemon peel and a saline minerality, and complementary nutty sort of savoriness, and a very giving finish Outstanding; 91-92 pts

Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé BrutRetail; $30 Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
Pale pink color with bread crust, raspberry, strawberry, and a hint of dried rose aromas. On the palate it’s very dry with a creamy mousse, and an elegant, fresh, round character with raspberry, strawberry, and lemon flavors with a satisfying clean crisp finish. 100% NebbioloVery Good; 88-89 pts

2001 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì GinestraRetail; $129 Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
Medium-red color with enticing aromas of dried cherries, plum, mushroom, cedar wood, tobacco, and a bit of spice. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, very concentrated, yet harmonious, with great texture and dried cherry, plum, and spice flavors with an appealing minerality, and velvety tannins that build with time in the mouth. Long finish.Outstanding; 93-94 pts

2014 Saracco Moscato d’AstiRetail; $13 Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d’Asti
My first Moscato d’Asti! And it was very good. It’s a pretty golden-yellow color with perfumed, peach, apricot, white flower and a hint of citrus aromas. On the palate, it’s smooth, clean and fresh with a light fizziness. It’s sweet, but nicely balanced with candied peach, pear and a bit of citrus flavors. I purchased on a hunch hoping it would pair well with Crack Pie. And I was right! Twas a very good pairing! Very Good; 88-89 pts

– Wine of the Week

For my wine loving friend, you know last weekend was “Open That Bottle Night”.  It’s night meant for gathering with friends and finally opening that bottle you never seem to get around to (find out more here).  We did just that with 10 friends when we hosted an Italian themed dinner for OTBN.  I contributed 3 bottles to the evening (there were 11 in all).  And those are the second, third, and fourth bottles listed above.  I’ll come back to those.

The first bottle is an outstanding Godello from Sonoma County.  Abrente is a joint project between Michael Havens and Bedrock Wine Company’s Morgan Twain-Peterson. It turns out that Godello is also known as Verdelho (which I didn’t know). No matter what you call it, the Abrente is an outstanding wine! And it was definitely a strong contender for Wine of the Week.  The Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo Rosanna Rosé Brut is a rosé of 100% Nebbiolo. Trying a sparkling Nebbiolo has been on my list of wines to try for the last year of so.  And this one didn’t disappoint.  The 2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti was also another first for me.  My first Moscato d’Asti.  Now Moscato d’Asti isn’t my jam because it’s too sweet for my palate.  But I purchased the wine to pair with Crack Pie (if you haven’t had Crack Pie, you MUST – It lives up to the name). And indeed it turned out to be a great pairing with the Crack Pie.  It also turned out to be very good.  It wasn’t overly sweet, and it was balanced and clean.  Definitely a wine I would purchase again. Especially for my friends who like their wine on the sweeter side.

Wines At Our Table; Feb 28, 2016

Last, but not least is the Conterno Fantino Barolo Sorì Ginestra. It’s an awesome Barolo and my Wine of the Week.  It hails from the famous Ginestra cru in Monforte d’Alba, one of Barolo’s finest and most historical.  Barolo, is one of my favorite wines, though I don’t drink it often. I need to change that! This one had been in my cellar for five years! I’m delighted we broke it out of jail and shared with friends!

More about Conterno Fantino

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Conterno Fantino stands for two families, the Fantinos and Conternos. At the same time, it is virtually a single family – the “Conterno Fantinos”, whose energies and vision seamlessly come together on the estate. It was founded in 1982 by two friends, Guido Fantino and Claudio Conterno, whose own fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers had all earned their livelihood in the vineyard, making wine they sold in bulk.

Guido and Claudio were little more than toddlers when they were charged with weeding between the vine rows. Their studies in agronomy and winemaking completed, they set out on their own and determined to invest in top quality and estate-grown, estate-bottled wine. The very high reputation they have built for themselves has never diminished the characteristic, grass-roots simplicity and sincerity that goes into everything they do. Their vineyard management, like them, foregrounds authenticity and respect for the soil.
Like Claudio and Guido themselves, tradition and innovation are close friends at Conterno Fantino. French oak barriques and new wood marry Piedmont’s own, blockbuster structure, opulent, tightly knit texture, magnificent tannins and rich, layered flavors. 
It is in the vineyards, under Claudio’s careful tutelage, that the quality cycle truly begins. The estate’s original nucleus is cru Ginestra: a historical one for Barolo, documented as far back as the 1800s.

Conterno Fantino via Vinoitaliano

In 1989, Guido and Claudio acquired terrain from the nearby area of Bricco Bastia, within the commune of Monforte d’Alba, where they eventually built a state-of-the-art new winery. This new location is scenically set, dominating the most ancient section of Monforte and overlooked by the majestic sweep of the Alps all around. 

The subsequent years continued in the same vein: cru by cru, with an aim towards expressing the individual terroirs fully and faithfully.  Two such crus are Parussi (a Barolo terroir from Castiglione Falletto rather than Monforte d’Alba), renowned for its elegance; and Mosconi. The Mosconi cru is exactly parallel to Sorì Ginestra, higher in altitude (averaging 400 meters, i.e. 1,312 feet), on a ridge running alongside the estate’s historic Ginestra nucleus, less than a mile away. Mosconi soil endows the grapes with extremely high levels of polyphenols, particularly anthocyans: hence Barolos of extraordinary structure and longevity. 

The newest generation has joined the winery in the form of Guido’s children. Fabio Fantino, an enologist, works side by side with his father styling the wines while Elisa handles PR and marketing. (Courtesy of Importer Empson USA)

 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.

Wine Tasting Along the West Sonoma Coast

Wine tasting along the West Sonoma Coast on the kind of day that inspired “California Dreamin'”, including some tips for how to maximize your trip to the West Sonoma Coast.

Last weekend, on the spur of the moment, my wife and I decided to head up to the Sonoma Coast to visit an old friend.

And by friend, I mean Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery. We last visited about 3 years ago when the tasting room, in its current location in Jenner first opened (I was so impressed by our experience I wrote a review on the American Winery Guide click here to check it out).

The drive from our home in the East Bay is about two hours, but it took us longer because we stopped at Whole Foods Market in Santa Rosa to pick up provisions for a picnic lunch at the winery.

Once we got back out of the road, we took California Highway 116 (a.k.a. River Road) west to through charming towns like Guerneville,  and Duncans Mill past cow filled pastures out to the coast (with plenty of breathtaking scenery along the way!) through the main section of Jenner, past the River’s End Restaurant….

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Then a right turn and up Meyers Grade Road to the winery…

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Just beyond the sign above there is an automatic gate the leads to this road…

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Past this pond…

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The Tasting Room

Just beyond the pond, as if fashioned by Divine providence, is a clearing in the midst of a meadow where you see the rustic exterior of the Fort Ross tasting room.

This amazing video from David Moss showcases the beauty of the Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery tasting room and property…

Once inside the beautifully appointed tasting room…my eyes, like a both to a flame, were drawn to the view of the gradient shades of blue skies and languid cirrus clouds above the Pacific Ocean in view just behind the tasting room bar.

We immediately walked past the tasting bar out onto the patio and to bask in the breathtaking beauty of this view that befitting the closest vineyard to the Pacific Ocean in California.

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The view from the patio of the Fort Ross tasting room. And, yes that is the Pacific Ocean under azure blue skies and low clouds in the “crook” of the tree line

Trust me…the photo doesn’t do the stunning view justice, but it’s what I got y’all…

Located in one of Sonoma County’s newest AVAs, Fort Ross-Seaview. The tasting room brings to mind one of the many historic barns that dot the landscape on our drive out to the coast.

Surrounded by Madrone trees, the tasting room has an industrial chic vibe inside with its concrete floors. There’s a long onyx bar that can be illuminated from underneath and is lighted from above by pendants on heavy metal pulleys. Outside, the patio is enclosed by a handmade wrought iron railing that depicts grapevines. – Carolyn Jung

For more photos of the tasting room and property check these photos I took(click on the photo to enlarge and see the slide show):

It was the perfect day for tasting – sunny and warm. The winery offers Pinot Noir, Chardonnay(including a delicious late-harvest dessert wine) and Pinotage, all made from grapes grown exclusively on the Fort Ross Vineyard Estate.

Kristin, our tasting room attendant started us off with a splash of Chardonnay, which was fantastic.  It was vinified using more oak than I typically prefer, but the acidity was there to balance it out.  Delicious.

Thereafter, we moved on to several Pinot Noirs.  But the patio got to be a bit too warm so we moved inside.  You can see all the wines we tasted below (click on the photo to enlarge and see the slide show):  All the wines were outstanding.  A magnum of the 2010 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard, and a bottle of the 2012 Fort Ross Pinot Noir The Terraces made its way home with us.

After the tasting, Kristin was kind enough to let us borrow a couple of glasses and we headed out to the picnic area for lunch…

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We enjoyed a bottle of bubbly with our picnic lunch

It was glorious day to bask in the singular beauty of the Sonoma Coast.  And that’s what we did – taking a two-hour lunch.  By then it was getting to be close to closing time.

Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery website states…Overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean, floating above the coastal fog and surrounded by forests and meadows, the Fort Ross Vineyard Tasting Room beckons. Indeed it does.  Heed the call for an experience you won’t soon forget!

On our drive back home, my wife and I talked about what things we might do our next trip to the Sonoma Coast.  Here’s are a few of the things we talked about and a few tips for maximizing your trip to the West Sonoma Coast:

  • The West Sonoma Coast is a wonderful day trip, but make it an overnight and stay in on of the great inns/hotels/B&Bs that along the coast!
  • You’ll reap the rewards of planning ahead a bit.  In addition to Fort Ross, Hirsch Winery & Vineyards has a tasting room within a 30 min drive, but you’ll need an appointment.
  • Make some time to visit historic Fort Ross, where the first grapes were planted in Northern California in 1817.
  • The River’s End Restaurant is just down the road from the winery.  We definitely plan to check it our out next trip to the area.  Other restaurants we’ve enjoyed in the area are Nick’s Cove, and Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant.
  • If you travel via Highway 116 (River Road) and are looking for a great tasting experience and to pick up some sparkling wine, just a mile or so off of Highway 116 , you’ll find Iron Horse.  Definitely worth the detour!
  • There are plenty of other wineries located along or just off River Road.
  • Likewise, check out Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.  Well-kept trails make this park, two miles north of Guerneville on Armstrong Woods Road, It’s a good stop for a day hike.
  • Once you’ve hit the coast, check out Goat Rock State Beach. There could be no starker counterpoint to the shady redwoods than this wide, sandy beach by the Russian River’s mouth.

If you’ve been out to the West Sonoma Coast, what are you favorites places to go, things to do?  And if you’ve not been…what are you waiting for?

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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; Week of February 21st 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 21st 2016

N.V. Pacific Redwood Organic RedRetail – $8 USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino
Ruby color with low-key red berry aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, lacking in the mid-palate with slightly watered down and tart blackberry, plum, vanilla flavors. Good; 83pts.

2013 Campovida Dolcetto Fox HillRetail – $37 USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
Ruby color with perfumed dried rose, black and red fruits, and a hint of menthol aromas. On the palate, it’s shows a nice (and pleasing) weight for a Dolcetto. It’s well structured with firm well-integrated tannins and wonderful acidity with dried cherry, blackberry, red plum flavors and a very giving finish. Aged for 14 months in neutral French oak. Outstanding; 90-91 pts

2010 Château la Caminade Cahors Élevé en Fût de ChêneRetail – $22 France, Southwest France, Cahors
Garnet color with earthy black fruit (blackberry, plum) aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and a bit tannic with a bit of minerality. Blackberry and plum flavors dominate with a bit of cassis and roast coffee flavors, and a lingering finish. A blend of 97% Malbec with 3% Tannat, this Cahors is sourced from 30-50 year old vines planted in calcareous clay. Very Good; 87-88 pts. This wine was wonderful paired with Chicken BBQ Pizza

2012 Château du Cèdre Cahors Cèdre Heritage Retail – $13; France, Southwest France, Cahors
Inky violet color with aromatic leather, earth, black fruit, and a bit of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh and smooth with well-integrated tannins with blackberry, plum, black raspberry, graphite flavors underscored by an appealing minerality and a lingering satisfying finish. A steal at $13! Very Good; 88-89 pts

– Wine of the Week

I tried my first wine explicitly marketed as an “organic”  this week.  The wine was a Christmas gift from a party who shall remain unnamed.  You know the cliché – “Life is too short to drink bad wine”?  We’ll l took it to heart after a half glass of the Pacific Redwood Organic Red.  I didn’t care for it.  Shall we move on to better wine (my palate screams…Yes,please!)?

If you follow this blog regularly, then you know that my wife and I founded the Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club in 2010.  It’s a great wine tasting club that is thriving 6 years on.  Last week we had a blind tasting of Malbec.  I was reasonably confident all the bottles (there were 11) would be from Argentina.  I was right.

Though France is the birthplace of Malbec, Argentina has made a name for itself with Malbec.  Just to mix things up a bit, and offer an educational opportunity for those who arrived early, I purchased a couple of bottles fo Malbec (a.k.a.”Cot”) from the Cahors.   To put it succinctly, Malbec from Argentina = cocktail wine (fruit forward, plummy, smooth texture).  Malbec from France = food wine (savory, firm tannins, tart, blackberry, plummy). I enjoyed both wines, though I enjoyed the one that cost less more!

My Wine of the Week (“WoW”) is a distinctive Dolcetto from Campovida. This wine took me by surprise.  I’ve had a few Dolcetto’s, but none like this.  I normally think of the wines as light-bodied, tart affairs. This one had more weight, complimented by a great structure showcasing lifted aromatics, well integrated dusty tannins, and freshness with great flavors. Definitely a winner in my book!  Highly recommended.  You may find the wine here. And Campovida is a producer I highly recommend as well!

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More about Campovida

Campovida is a family owned and operated certified organic farm and working vineyard located in Hopland, California in Mendocino County.  It’s a unique place that offers deep connections with nature, wine tasting, a professional culinary kitchen, a 10-room retreat center. It’s a place where you can relax, enjoy and create your custom gatherings. The property is located on a site that was formerly the Fetzer Valley Oaks Food & Wine Center , a 51-acre property originally opened and founded by the Fetzer family.

Hopland Sign

Image courtesy of Campovida

The husband and wife team of Gary Breen and Anna Beuselinck are owners of Campovida. The couple purchased the property intending to make it their dream home. But it’s evolved into Campovida.

The winemaker is Sebastian Donoso. Sebastian, who was born in Chile, moved to the United States with his family when he was 14. He attended architectural school in Miami, Florida, but quickly realized that’s not what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.  He moved to California and graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in enology and began his career as a winemaker at Sarcina.  He became winemaker for Campovida in 2012.
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From the Campovida websiteWe are a family business created by Gary and Anna, along with our daughters Faith and Gabriella, and our dog Buster. We are farmers. We are makers. We are parents and we are friends.  We see and partner with real farmers, so we can create real wine to be celebrated with real friends.

We are just beginning.

WINEMAKING

Making wines of sourced from organic and biodynamic vineyards of Mendocino County. Beauty in a bottle that leads to conversations and celebrations at the table.

FARM

Our garden is abundant with plant and wild life.  We tend to all of nature’s activities and are humbled daily by what we learn.  The garden is for our guests, members and our families – be sure to connect with us about how and when you can visit.

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.