Wine of the Week; 2012 Vrinioti Iama 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 2012 Vrinioti Iama White

The Winery

Vrinioti Wines, located on the island of Evia.  The business was founded in 2002 on family lands that Konstantinos Vrinioti’s ancestors planted to grapes in the area, and upon which they built an old traditional stone winery.  The old stone wine press from that winery was incorporated into a new facility whose construction started in 2007 and completed in 2008.

Their 45 acre estate vineyard is farmed organically and planted to Syrah, the Greek red Vradiano and the white grapes –  Roditis, Savvatiano, Assyrtiko and Malagouzia.

The Wine

Iama stands for something that fosters good health and metaphorically, something special.  That it is.  It’s a a fascinating blend of two distinctly different native Greek wine grapes – 60% Malagouzia and 40% Assyrtiko.  

Malagouzia is an ancient grape variety indigenous to Greece that  has only been identified in recent decades.  It produces a wine with floral and stone fruit aromatics and a slight honeyed character on the palate.

Assyrtiko, which I’d had before and really enjoyed, is the renown grape of the island of Santorini, where it usually makes bracing, dry whites with mouth-watering acidity and pronounced minerality.

The interplay of the two grape varieties is almost sequential, with the aromatics and fruit of the Malagouzia dominating the palate initially, and with the acidity and the minerality of the of the Assyrtiko providing the frame.  

As a point of reference for more well-known grape varieties, the wine reminded me of the combination of the aromatic and fruit profile of  both Viognier and   Gewürztraminer with the acidity of a Riesling.

photo (81)

My tasting notes follow:

Rich yellow gold color with appealing stone fruit, bergamot, honey, spice, wet stone and citrus blossom aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and approaches off-dry on the front palate with vibrant acidity and peach, apricot, a bit of fresh melon, spice, honey followed by a refreshing, bright lemony acidity on the back palate all underscored with wonderful Chablis-like minerality. Lingering finish. >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-: The acidity in this wine make it a terrific partner at the table.  It’s the most enjoyable white wine I’ve had this summer!

Pair with: Grilled Paiche, Salads featuring Feta cheese, Chile Rellenos, Grilled Octopus, Fried Calamari, or Herb-crusted lamb or port or Tuna Tartare.

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.

Grilled Paiche with a White Greek Blend

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work; along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.

The theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend is “Wine for Summer’s Bounty“, and it’s all about taking advantage of the season’s best vegetables and fruits which are peaking right about now.

With the tried, tested, and found true food and wine pairing tenet of “What grows together, goes together” in mind, I knew I wanted to grill some fish since I had a wine from Greece in mind.

The Food

Taking inspiration from a Tilapia with Fresh Corn and Hatch Pepper recipe featuring a couple of the season’s bounty - fresh corn and hatch chiles, I decided to substitute Paiche, for tilapia  And off to my local Whole Paycheck..er Foods I went.  Alas, there wasn’t a hatch chile anywhere to be found.  I decided to substitute a Poblano pepper for the hatch chile.

Image courtesy of divebuddy.com

Image courtesy of divebuddy.com

For the uninitiated, Paiche (PIE-chay) which is also known as the arapaima or pirarucu, is a one of the largest freshwater fish in the world and can grow to almost 500 lbs. in size

It’s native to the Amazonian regions of Brazil and Peru in South American where it’s considered a delicacy ,and was almost fished to extinction.

In 2006 a group of Peruvian businessmen began The Amazone Project to develop the sustainable farming of paiche, and in 2011 it began to appear on the menus of adventurous chefs in the United States.

Some consider it an Amazonian “superfood”.  It packs an amazing 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of fish,is high in Omega-3s, low in fat, and free of antibiotics or mercury. It has firm white fleshed white-fish that has the meatiness of halibut for gently sweet flavor of sea bass or dover sole.  It’s perfect for grilling, pan-searing, roasting or smoking.

To date, I’ve only seen it a Whole Foods.  It’s farm-raised, but responsibly so.

Paiche grilled to perfection in a corn husk has a Latin inspired flavor profile

Despite the challenge of getting the paiche into the corn husk (I can see how a thinner fish like tilapia would be easier to work with and cook faster), the dish turn out well given my shall we say “unsophisicated” cooking skills!

Grilled Paiche with Fresh Corn and Poblano Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Main entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • ¼ cup poblano chiles, chopped (more or less, depending on your desired heat level)
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • ½ lime
  • 2 Paiche fillets
  • Chipotle powder, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 degrees)
  2. Carefully peel back the husk from each corn cob. You will use it for roasting the fish on the grill.
  3. Cut the ear of corn off the stem just above the end of the cob, leaving the husk intact. Set the husk aside. Cut the corn off the cob and combine with poblano chiles, green onions and the juice of a quarter of a lime and a dash of chipotle chili powder.
  4. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Place one fillet inside each of the corn husks. Top each with one-half of the corn mixture and close the husks over the fish, overlapping slightly.
  5. Place on the heated grill with the lid closed for 25-35 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily or reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Cut the remaining lime lengthwise into 2 wedges. Serve the fish in the husk with a lime wedge on top.

 The Wine

My wine choice for this dish is the 2012 Vrinioti Iama White.  It’s a fascinating blend of two distinctly different native Greek wine grapes – 60% Malagouzia and 40% Assyrtiko from the island of Evia.

Malagouzia is an ancient grape variety indigenous to Greece that  has only been identified in recent decades.  It produces a wine with floral and stone fruit aromatics and a slight honeyed character on the palate.  Assyrtiko, which I’d had before and really enjoyed, is the renown grape of the island of Santorini, where it usually makes bracing, dry whites with mouth-watering acidity and pronounced minerality.

The interplay of the two grape varieties is almost sequential, with the aromatics and fruit of the Malagouzia dominating the palate initially, and with the acidity and the minerality of the of the Assyrtiko providing the frame.  

As a point of reference for more well-known grape varieties, the wine reminded me of the combination of the aromatic and fruit profile of  both Viognier and   Gewürztraminer with the acidity of a Riesling.

Grilled Paiche with Fresh Corn and Poblano Peppers #winePW

Have you ever seen a black bottle closure before? But I digress, the wine is pure deliciousness. Highly recommended!

My tasting notes follow:

Rich yellow gold color with appealing stone fruit, bergamot, honey, spice, wet stone and citrus blossom aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and approaches off-dry on the front palate with vibrant acidity and peach, apricot, a bit of fresh melon, spice, honey followed by a refreshing, bright lemony acidity on the back palate all underscored with wonderful Chablis-like minerality. Lingering finish.

The mouth-watering acidity of this wine makes it a versatile wine at table. Consider pairing it with salads featuring Feta cheese, Chile Rellenos, Grilled Octopus, Fried Calamari, or Herb-crusted lamb or port or Tuna Tartare.

DSC_0940

The Food and Wine Pairing

It was a fantastic pairing!  The the combination of spice and minerality of the wine was a great complement the spice of the corn/pepper mixture, and the slightly sweet, ever so slightly smoky flavor profile of the dish. And the great acidity of the wine cleansed the palate and prepared it for the next bite of deliciousness!
Wine Pairing Weekend # 3 Bloggers: Be sure to check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the August Wine Pairing Weekend!

Pull That Cork shared “Wine for Summer’s Bounty. Will Garnacha Do the Trick?

Meal Diva paired “Summer Vegetable Red Sauce with Amarone

Culinary Adventures with Camilla posted “Pan-Seared Padròns with DeRose Vineyards’ Négrette

Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog shared “Tomato, toe-mah-toe: Summer’s bounty with Sicilian wine Donnafugata

Grape Experiences paired “Cecchi Chianti Classico 2010 and Vegetable Lasagna

Curious Cuisiniere shared “Chipotle Garden Salsa with Wild Hare Petite Sirah

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog posted “Grilled Paiche with a White Greek Blend

Take a Bite Out of Boca shared “Quinoa-Crusted Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stacks paired with Monrosso Chianti

foodwineclick shared “Summers’ Bounty or Attack of the Killer Turnips?

Confessions of a Culinary Diva blogged about “Lobster Paella and Albarino

Tasting Pour shared “Summertime and the Cooking is Easy

Cooking Chat paired “Linguine with Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and a Sauvignon Blanc

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “Wine for Summer’s Bounty” on Saturday, August 9, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. Questions for the chat are posted here on the #winePW site. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the September Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on “Regional Food and Wine Pairings” on Saturday, September 13.

__________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral

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 Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral.

The Winery

Waterkloof Wines is a winery based in the Helderberg wine-producing area, a sub-region in the Western Cape of South Africa, just south of Stellenbosch.  Paul Boutinot, an Englishmen of French descent is the “Custodian”.  He learned the wine trade from the ground up, and launched his own successful wine import business in 1980.  It evolved into one of the UK’s biggest and most important wine distribution companies, which he subsequently sold in 2013.  In 1993 he commenced a search for a vineyard site that had the potential to produce truly fine with a defining sense of place.   It took ten years to narrow the search down to a small area on the south-facing slopes of the Schapenberg, overlooking False Bay in the Cape. As soon as he was led up a steep ravine opening out into a hidden amphitheatre of potential, all his experience and intuition told him: THIS IS IT! Waterkloof was born.  He took over the property just before the 2004 harvest.  The first vintage bottled under the Waterkloof name was from the 2005 harvest.

In 2009 a state-of-the-art gravitational cellar, tasting room and The Restaurant at Waterkloof were constructed

Waterkloof’s wines are shaped by an amphitheatre of select, high-altitude vineyards, famed as one of the finest cool climate vineyard sites in South Africa.

The Wine

The wine is made from 100% Mourvedre.  The  grapes were hand harvested and whole cluster pressed.  No further maceration of the juice with the skins was allowed.

Following in the footsteps of the great rosés of Bandol, the Waterkloof’s Circumstance Cape Coral rosé is made entirely from Mourvedre sourced from some incredible old vines in Stellenbosch

The juice was fermented on native yeast at temperatures of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, which took 5 months to complete. The wine was then left on the primary lees for another 2 months to add further complexity before bottling. 13.5% alcohol.  Retail – $16.99

Rosé of the Week; 2013 Waterkloof Mourvedre Circumstance Cape Coral

My tasting notes follow:

Pale salmon color with damp earth, peach and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with a great mouth feel, and strawberry, peach and spice flavors. Lingering finish

Rating: A-:  This is a very good rosé! It can be a challenge to find a 100% Mourvedre-based rosé for under $20 and this one offers a very good quality to price ratio!

Pair with: What I like about Mourvedre dominant rosés is that they, unlike many light-bodied rosé, can be paired with more substantial fare.  Consider Pulled Pork sandwiches, or Barbecue Chicken Sloppy Joes!

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; 2009 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael Ranch

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 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael Ranch.

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with 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).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in 1960.

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!

And speaking of anniversaries - 2014 marks our 50th year of producing fine, site-specific zinfandels sourced primarily from pre-Prohibition old vine vineyards.

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.

The Wine

Carmichael Ranch is located on the western side of the Alexander Valley, south of Geyserville.  Originally a part of the Rancho Sotoyomi land grant, these hundred acres were purchased in the mid-1800s by Archibald Carmichael. Ridge began farming the western half in 2000. Ridge first pro

It’s a blend of 96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah. Here’s how Ridge, a leader in wine industry when it come to labeling describes the winemaking process…

All Estate grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and
crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full
malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum
effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 120 ppm over the course
of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our
philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our
actions

It was aged 13 months in 100% air-dried american oak: (15 % new, 85% two to four years old).  Retail – $28; Alcohol – 14.2%

Ridge Carmichael 09

My tasting notes follow:

Crimson color with appealing ripe mixed black and red fruits, spice, bramble and a hint of leather aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with soft well-integrated sweet tannins, , very good acidity and plum, blackberry, black cherry, and spice finish and a lingering satisfying finish. 

Rating: A-: This relative newcomer to is a delicious addition to Ridge’s formidable lineup of Zinfandels! And it’s drinking very well now!

(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; 2012 Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2012 Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc.

The Winery

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

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

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

The Wine

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

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

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

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

12.5% alcohol; Retail – $12.99

photo (53)

My tasting notes follow:

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

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

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

Sample purchased for review

Related posts:

Ratings Key:

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon! 2014 Family Winemakers Tasting in San Mateo

The single largest tasting of California wines in the world…

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

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

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

fwcwineglasses

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

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

Now you can.  In a big way!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

__________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

 

Rosé of the Week: 2013 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé

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

The Winery

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

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

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

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

The Wine

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

12.5% alcohol.  Retail – $12.99

Rose of the Week; 2013 François Chidaine Touraine Rosé

My tasting notes follow:

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

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

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

Sample purchased for review

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

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

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

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

 

Wine Words Demystified; Carbonic Maceration

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

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

How it’s different

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

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

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

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

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

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Raventós i Blanc “L’hereu” Brut.

The Winery

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

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

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

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

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

The Wine

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

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

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

My tasting notes follow:

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

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

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

Ratings Key:

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

__________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

Best Wines To Pair with Hot Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

O.co Polish Dog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Hot Dog Day!

__________________________________________________________________

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.