Sardinia Style Seafood Paella and Cantina Di Gallura Canayli Vermentino #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Sardinia (known as Sardegna to its Italian-speaking inhabitants)!

About Sardinia

Sardinia,  located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, is 150 miles off the west coast of mainland Italy. It is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and only marginally smaller than Sicily.  The island has belonged to various empires and kingdoms over the centuries. This is reflected in its place names, architecture, languages and dialects, along with its unique portfolio of wine grapes.

I love how author Kerry Christiani describes her love of the island…

Sardinia was love at first sight for me. No matter how often I return, I find new coastal trails to explore and mountains to climb, hidden bays to kayak to and little-known agriturismi tucked away in the silent hinterland. The island is deceptive – it looks small on paper, but unravel it and it is huge. It’s like a continent in miniature, shaped by its own language and fierce traditions, its own cuisine and culture, its own history and the mystery that hangs over it like a shroud. Sardinians are proud of their island, and so they should be.

The island is, of course, most renown for its beaches and coastline including Costa Smeralda.  But there is much more to see including the recently unveiled stone sculptures of Giants of Monte Prama.

Nowhere does slow food like Sardinia. Throw in views of mountains and sea, some fine home-produced Vermentino or Cannonau wine and fresh farm produce and you are looking at a great culinary experience — simple but great. (Source)

On My Plate

I adapted a recipe for Shellfish Paella with Fregola for my Sardian Style Seafood Paella. Food and Wine magazine describes the recipe as follows:

Fregola replaces rice in this Sardinian paella; the chewy, dot-shaped semolina pasta comes from the western part of Sardinia, near Oristano, where more than four centuries of Spanish occupation left Catalan influences that are still prominent today. In another change from the traditional Spanish recipe, this version is made with only seafood (no chorizo).

The primary changes I made to the recipe were mostly driven by ingredients I wan’t able to find, including fregola and fava beans.  Instead I substituted pearl couscous and baby lima beans respectively.  But I also changed up the seafood a bit, substituting scallops for the monkfish in the recipe.

Sardinian Seafood Paella and Cantina Di Gallura Canayli Vermentino #ItalianFWT

My wife and I adore paella!  We’ve had it in Spain, and cooked it a home, including cooking it on our Weber grill. We mostly prefer Paella Mixta, but we were eagerly anticipating this all seafood version.

While I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to find any fregola (a.k.a. fregula), the recipe turned out fabulously. It was a very nice change of pace from rice based paella.

Sardinia Style Seafood Paella
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 quart fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 c frozen baby lima beans (thawed)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups pearl couscous (11 ounces)
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 plum tomatoes—halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 ounces medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 ounces squid, bodies cut crosswise into 1-inch rings, tentacles left whole
  • 4 ounces bay scallops
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the fish stock to a simmer. Transfer 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid to a measuring cup and crumble in the saffron. Cover the remaining stock; keep warm over low heat.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the pearl couscous and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until it is well coated with the oil, about 2 minutes. Add the clams, mussels and 1 cup of the hot stock and stir constantly until the shellfish start to open, about 4 minutes; discard any clams or mussels that don't open.
  3. Add the sherry and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the baby lima beans, sliced red and green bell peppers, plum tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. Add the remaining 2 cups of hot fish stock and the saffron-infused stock to the pearl couscous. Lower the heat to moderate and cook, stirring frequently, until the couscous is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp, squid and bay scallops to the couscous and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the seafood is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme and rosemary sprigs. Stir in the dill and season with salt and pepper. Serve the paella immediately in shallow bowls.
  5. NOTES
  6. The original recipe called for Fregola, a toasted pearl-size Sardinian pasta that is quite similar to couscous. It's available at specialty food shops and some supermarkets. Since I was unable to find I subbed pearl couscous

 In My Glass

2013 Cantina di Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Canayli - Retail $18

Sardinian Seafood Paella and Cantina Di Gallura Canayli Vermentino #ItalianFWT

As I usually do, I picked my wine first. Then I chose a dish I thought it make for a harmonious pairing.  When I saw that this wine was described as ”one of the most popular Italian whites” at my favorite wine shop K&L Wine Merchants I was sold. So far during our virtual tour of Italy I’m finding the Italian white more interesting and appealing than the reds for the most part.

It’s from Sardinia’s only DOCG appellation – DOCG Vermentino di Gallura. It’s produced in the province of Olbia-Tempio, which is a large area at the northern end of the island that’s incessantly swept by the salty Mediterranean air.

The origins of the Vermentino grape variety are not clear. It commonly thought to be native to Spain, then brought to the Ligurian coast of northwest Italy during the Middle Ages. It is also possible that a variant of Malvasia migrated from the island of Madeira to Spain and then to Corsica. Italians would tell you the grape has been cultivated in Gallura, often under the name Arratelau, since the fourteenth century.  My tasting notes follow:

Very pale yellow green color stone fruit, lemon thyme, wet stone and a hint of green pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s dry medium-bodied and fresh with an abundance of mixed stone fruit, clove, and a hint of almond flavors with a lingering saline minerality.

The wine was a very harmonious pairing with the Sardian Seafood Paella.  The saline minerality of the wine was a nice compliment to the paella, while at the same time the citrus notes of the wine was a refreshing contrast…sort of like a spritz of lemon on seafood!

Wait……there’s more!  My fellow bloggers have lots more to share with you so check out their blogs below.  If you’re reading this in time also you can join us live on Twitter at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT and tell us all about your experiences with the island of Sardegna or come and learn something new about this region.

If you’re seeing this early enough make sure to join us live on twitter at 8am PDT. Follow #ItalianFWTTell us your food, wine or travel stories of Sardegna. We look forward to chatting with you. Next month September 5th we’ll feature the region of Abruzzo.  Let me know if you’d like to join our group.  Ciao ciao for now!

________________________________________________________________

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. 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.




Discover Beaujolais at Pabu Japanese; A Food And Wine Pairing Revelation

Last month I received an invitation to attend a Beaujolais Wines & Japanese Cuisine Pairing Dinner.  My first thought was “Huh”?

That’s because pairing red Beaujolais and Japanese cuisine had ever occurred to me.

On the other hand, having recently tried a Beaujolais Blanc for the first time on Chardonnay Day, I knew that would have an affinity for traditional Japanese fare such as sushi, sashimi, and perhaps tempura.

Nevertheless, I was eagerly anticipating  the dinner with a “I can wait to see how they pull this off” sense of excitement.

It’s not like I didn’t know about Beaujolais’ affinity for a wide variety of foods.  In fact, it was the first wine I listed in a previously posted “What Are The Most Food Friendly Wines?“ piece.

The dinner was held at Pabu San Francisco, a Japanese restaurant that  presents a modern take on traditional Izakaya-style dining (think seasonal small plates, composed entrees, and grilled skewers along with sushi, sashimi, fresh tofu and tempura). 

About Beaujolais

The event was sponsored by InterBeaujolais, the official wine-trade organization of the region

Located north of Lyon in eastern France, Beaujolais overlaps Burgundy (of which it is sometimes considered to be a part) in the north and Rhône in the south. The picturesque Beaujolais vineyards run along the Saône River, where winemakers have crafted deliciously supple and fruity wines since the days of Ancient Rome.

The Gamay grape, a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais, is used to make  ninety-nine percent with Beaujolais wines. The exception is Beaujolais Blanc, which is made of Chardonnay grapes.

The “Beaujolais” winemaking is unique and original.  Grapes are hand-picked then subjected to semi-carbonic maceration. There are 2600 winegrowers producing red, white and rosé  wines.  There are 12 appellations including 10 crus, which are considered to produces the best Beaujolais wines.

Discover Beaujolais at Pabu Japanese; A Food And Wine Revelation

These wines – all under $20 – delivered amazing QPR!

Check out the fun and informative Discover Beaujolais website, including the Top 3 reasons to try Beaujolais for more information.

Discover Beaujolais at Pabu Japanese; A Food And Wine Revelation

The Food and Wine

Upon arrival we were treated to a glass of the 2014 Château De Raousset, Cuvée Marquise de Robien Beaujolais Villages Blanc (Retail $16), an unoaked Chardonnay. It was paired with two delightful appetizers, “Happy Spoon” with Kushi oyster, Ponzu Crème fraîche, and uni-tobiko ikura, and Poke served on a crispy wonton chip.  The fresh green apple, pear,citrus and chalk character of the wine was wonderful complement to the flavors of both apps, but especially the crème fraîche and raw oyster in the “Happy Spoon”

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After a bit of socializing, we were seated for dinner.  Check out the menu!

Discover Beaujolais at Pabu Japanese; A Food And Wine Revelation

The Beaujolais Villages Blanc was also paired with the first course of Sashimi: O Toro (Fatty Bluefin Tuna), Umimasu (Ocean Trout) and Hamashi (Yellowtail). It was also a superb accompaniment to the sashimi with its citrusy acidity and mineral note.

The second, hot plate course, featured we had the Tender braised pork belly, asparagus, snow peas, onsen tamago (soft quail egg), and sesame .  It was paired with the 2011 Pascal Granger, Les Viallières, Chénas (the smallest of the 10 Beaujolais crus) (Retail $18). The wine has an earthy, floral pomegranate, cherry, graphite character with well-integrated soft tannins.  I’m a sucker for pork belly, and Pabu’s was showed a harmonious interplay between the crispness of the pork belly with the soft creaminess of the egg.  And the egg brought the minerality of the wine to the fore.

It should be noted (and this is a small but important detail) the wine was perfectly chilled. It would be the many impressive displays of attention to detail manifest by the Pabu team and sommeliers during our experience. 

Our third course was Skewers: Chicken meatball/Tsukune, Togarashi, Jidori egg; Trumpet mushroom/Eringi, Furikake and Beef tongue/Gyutan, sesame, lemon, scallion. It was paired with 2011 Domaine Bel Avenir, Laura, Saint-Amor (Retail $18), which has a raspberry, dark cherry, spice and subtle brambly character.  The wine from this cru, which sell 20-25% of its production on Valentine’s Day is the wonderful companion for the skewer course.

By now it was pretty obvious to me that Pabu was in serious contention for a scrumptious sweep – delectable food, beautifully presented from start to finish….

Discover Beaujolais at Pabu Japanese; A Food And Wine Revelation

L-R Clockwise; The Sashimi, Hot Plate, Skewers, Dueling Foie Gras, and entreé courses

On to the fourth gastronomic delight – a Duo of Foie Gras. Seared Sonoma Foie Gras of duck with grilled Nori rice, pickled stone fruit and Hatcho miso and Ankimo ‘Ocean Foie Gras’ of monkfish liver, wakame, momiji, scallion, and ponzu . My Lord this was delicious!  It was paired with the 2013 Dominique Piron, Domaine De Combiaty, Brouilly (Retail $18; The largest and most southerly of the Beaujolais crus) This wine showed an elegant, fresh, cherry, raspberry, plum, spice and wet stone character with an appealing savoriness that was a wonderful compliment to the foie gras. In turn the foie gras accentuated the earthy/savory component in the wine.  I appreciated the little slices of cherry on the plate which was a delightful bridge between the wine and food. tour de force for detail

Our entreé course was American Wagyu NY Strip with charred squash, summer beans, porcini, and ume shiso. Two wines were served with the entreé - the 2010 Domaine Bel Avenir, Les Capitans, Juliénas (Retail $17) and the 2011 Domaine Pierre Savoye, CôteDu Py, Morgon (Retail – $19; and my Wine of the Day!)

The Juliénas showed low-key cherry and earthy aromas with ample red fruit and spice flavors. The Morgon showed lifted cherry, wild strawberry, pomegranate, spice and mineral profile with an appealing tannic grip.  I preferred Morgon with the entreé, but both wines were played very well with the tender, succulent beef.

We capped off our dining experience with a dessert course of Milk Chocolate Namelaka, black sesame sponge, cocoa nibs, red bean Gelato.  It was the 2011 George Duboeuf, Beaujolais Villages.  The surprising pairing worked thanks to the ample cherry, strawberry fruit flavors of the wine, and the fact that the delectable dessert was moderately sweet.  It was a good pairing.

My takeaways from the experience were many:

  • That scrumptious sweep? Mission accomplished! What a memorable food and wine pairing experience.  I highly recommend Pabu!
  • Cru Beaujolais is a great alternative to under $30 Pinot
  • If you’re looking to try some Cru Beaujolais, consider wine from the glorious 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages
  • If you’re considering an unconventional pairing of a particular cuisine, go with wine that’s a flexible at the table  The experience reminded me  that Beaujolais should be in the Top 5 most food friendly wines along with  Sparkling Wine, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Rosé in my book.
  • Beaujolais make for great chillable summer red
  • Keep an open mind when it comes to wine and food pairing, and have fun!

Many thanks to InterBeaujolais, Sodexa USA, and Pabu San Francisco for an amazing and memorable Beaujolais Wines & Japanese Cuisine Pairing Dinner! 

_________________________________________________________________

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, yoga, hiking, 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. 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! Follow my reviews on Vivino and Delectable

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Tale Of A Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé At The Table #Winophiles

Welcome to the launch of French Winophiles!  It’s a group a food and wine bloggers started by Christy of Adventures of a Culinary Diva.  We’re taking a virtual tour of France region by region and learning about French cuisine, wine and travel.  This month we’re exploring the Loire Valley.

About the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, two hours southwest of Paris is known as “the Garden of France” due its abundance of fertile farmland that include vineyards along with fruit and vegetable farms which line the banks of both sides of the Loire River. The Loire is the longest river in France.
It’s also known as the Land Of A Thousand Chateau. The region has a rich heritage featuring historic towns of AmboiseAngersBloisChinonNantesOrléansSaumur, and Tours.

“The Loire is a garden, a mosaic of tastes and flavors with 45 appellations that attract curious wine lovers.” - Jean-Pierre Gouvazé

From a vinous perspective, the Loire Valley is one of the largest wine regions of France.  It covers fifteen departments and 52,000 hectares (128,000 acres) of vines shared between 7000 growers, who produce nearly 400 million bottles of wines annually.  It’s so large it is there are three large areas – The Western (home of Muscadet - home of my favorite still wine for oysters!), Middle (Vouvray, Tourraine and Chinon) and the Upper Loire (includes, arguably the regions most well-known appellations Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume). It’s France’s most diverse wine region producing red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling wines.

Tale Of A Crémant de Loire Brut Rose At The Table #Winophiles

Source: http://jacksonvillemag.com

There once was a wine blogger with latent foodie tendencies.

His family and friends called him “M”. He had a beautiful, and wise wife named “G”.

Image courtesy of SeriousEats.com

It was a sunny warm Sunday afternoon in their town.

But M and G weren’t enjoying the day together as they usually do. That’s because “G” toiled away at her computer for her boss.

She, for ions it seemed, had been asking him to make Argentine Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce.  But M hadn’t gotten around to it.

On this sunny day, M had been drinking magic grape juice, relaxing, and dreaming of his Golden State Warriors winning the NBA championship.

Then out of nowhere a thought popped into his head…

A happy wife, makes a happy life

M was also wise (though it seemed, never as wise as G). So he decided to make G’s request come to be.

He went to the store, fired up the Weber  and got to choppin’, marinatin’ and grillin’.

As the skirt steak was marinating, another thought popped into M’s head.

Why not take advantage of the magic fire, and make something else too?

For that would make them both happy.

IMG_2938

M decided to make Grilled Spatchcock Chicken too!

After M grilled the meats over the magic fire, G made a green salad and they sat down to partake of the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri.

They needed magic grape juice that would play well with the steak.

M chose a tasty Rioja Reserva.  At first M and G were happy with how the Rioja played the steak.

Then they put the supernatural and spicy Chimichurri sauce on the steak.  But the Rioja clashed with the Chimichurri.

This made M and G a little  sad.

But then G reminded M that their favorite sparking rosé the Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé was in the refrigerator.

She though it could bring joy to the table.

They tried the salmon colored sparkling wine with the steak with Chimichurri sauce.  The two played well together.  And this brought them joy.

Excited, they also tried the sparkling wine with the salad. And it brought them more joy that the Rioja could not.

Finally they tried the sparkling wine with the Grilled Spatchcock Chicken.

That too brought them joy! For they had found the perfect wine to enjoy with their meal of red and white meats cooked over the magic fire and their salad too!

The End

We always have a bottle or three of this Crémant on hand.  It’s our go-to “everyday” Sparkling Rosé..It retails for $12.99 at our favorite wine store, and offers fantastic value.   We’re also fans of the Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut  which made my Top 20 Sparkling Wines Under $20 list.

Tale Of A Crémant de Loire Brut Rose At The Table #Winophiles

The wine is produced by the Robert and Marcel co-op using the méthode traditionnelleIt’s a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Grolleau Noir from the Saumur region of the Loire Valley. 

It’s a pale salmon color with persistent stream of bubbles,  with appealing strawberry, peach, and a bit of floral aromas. On the palate shows a moderately creamy mousse, crisp acidity, and a surprising depth at this price point with strawberry, cherry, peach, blood orange and a hint of savory spice flavors with a streak of herbaceousness.  The fruit comes from 20- to 30-year-old vines. 12.5% alcohol

Sparkling rose offers tremendous versatility at the table, but I think the streak of herbaceousness from the Cab Franc in this wine really helped it pair so well with the Chimichurri sauce.

And speaking of Chimchurri here’s the recipe I used…

Argentine Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Agrentenian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 oz flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • ½ cu olive oil
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 lb. skirt or flap steak, trimmed
Instructions
  1. Place parsley, oil, vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Season with salt and pepper. Puree until mixture is almost smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Set aside half of the marinade in an airtight container, reserve in the refrigerator to serve along side the finished meat.
  3. Place other half in non-reactive container with skirt steak making sure the steak is well covered. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours
  4. Heat grill to high. Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade. Place steak over medium-hot area of the grill and cook for about 5 minutes each side. Serve on platter with reserved marinade on top
Notes
I recommend doubling the amount of Chimichurri marinade/sauce. It's delicious!

Don’t stop here! Check out the food and wines my fellow #Winophile-s have in store for you!

  • Jeff from from foodwineclickindulges in “Saint-Jacques Poêlées & Sancerre”
  • Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere brings us “Grilled Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Loire Valley Muscadet”
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on a Farm tempts us with “Vouvray Poached Pineapple with Rosemary Whipped Cream featuring Bardon and Guestier aka CIC meets French Winophiles”
  • David from Cooking Chat shares “Grilled Shrimp with Pouilly-Fumé
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla brings us “Gravlax, Goat Cheese, & French Sorrel Stuffed Squash Blossoms + Patient Cottat Sancerre 2010″
  • Anna from Anna Dishes is still whipping up her culinary creation
  • Tammy from Telling Stories from Chez Nous is sharing “Lemon Garlic Chicken with Pan Sauce paired with Oisly & Thesse Sauvignon”
  • Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva is sharing “Chard Roasted Salmon with 2013 Pouilly Fume and 2014 Sancerre Rosé”

Join the #Winophile conversation: Follow the #Winophile conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us today for a live Twitter chat on our theme Loire Valley on Saturday, June 20th, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m Pacific Time.

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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. 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.

Wines At Our Table; May 10th, 2015

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 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 May 10th, 2015.

2010 JC Cellars Grenache The Fallen Angel El Diablo - Retail – $42

Opaque violet color with appealing kirsch, blackberry, Herbs de Provence, and white pepper aromas. On the palate, medium-bodied, with good acidity and fine-grained well-integrated tannins with baked black cherry, blackberry, black raspberry and espresso flavors, and a bit of minerality, and a lingering finish. Russian River fruit. 50/50 Grenache and Syrah. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2013 Campovida Viognier Estate Grown - Retail – $38

Pale golden-yellow color with appealing white peach, apricot, honey, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh, and persistent with focused peach, melon, apricot, and honey flavors. Lingering finish Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2008 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Fairview Ranch - Retail – $48 

Opaque violet color with appealing roasted meat, roasted black fruit, smoke and a hint of truffle aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied with very good acidity and soft well-integrated tannins and a hint of minerality with concentrated roast boysenberry, plum, blueberry and hickory flavors. Long finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut - Retail $48

Pale straw yellow color with abundant tiny bubbles with bread crust, baked apple, and hazelnut aromas. On the palate, it shows a delicate creamy mousse with mineral accented baked apple and pear, toasted hazelnut, apricot and a hint of spiced vanilla flavors. Long finish. 12.1% alcohol –  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

Wine of the Week 

The Campovida Viognier is one of our favorite Viognier.  Campovida is interesting because it’s a family owned and operated certified organic farm and working vineyard. With a retreat center. I had, what I think was, the last of my 2008 vintage wines that was smoke-tainted by the wild fires in California that year, Big Basin did a good job of making lemonade out of lemons, and I found the smokiness to be appealing.  

My Wine of the Week is the 2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut.

Roederer Estate is the American outpost of Champagne Louis Roederer.  Their Estate Brut is my favorite under $20 (when on sale) multi-vintage California sparkling wine. We picked up this wine during our last visit to their beautiful winery a couple of years ago.

Their 580-acre family owned estate vineyard and winery are located in the Anderson Valley.  It’s a blend of  52% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir with 4% aged reserve wine (vintage ’99). It was aged 5.5 years in French oak cask + at least 6 month in bottle prior to release.  It’s an outstanding vintage bottle of California sparkling wine that a relative bargain too! The latest release can be found for $39.99 at K&L Wine merchants.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef de Caves and  Executive Vice-President in charge of the production Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon while visiting Champagne Louis Roederer last fall. He told us that he checks in on Roederer Estate a couple of time a year.

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The Roederer winemaking philosophy has guided the development of Roederer Estate, located 125 miles north of San Francisco near the Mendocino Coast. Since 1982, Roederer Estate winery has been quietly developing its own vineyards and crafting fine wines from the Anderson Valley. Roederer Estate’s Anderson Valley Brut debuted in October 1988 followed by the winery’s first vintage cuvée,L’Ermitage, in 1989, released in the fall of 1993.

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L’Ermitage, Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, is a sparkling wine made only in exceptional years from pre-selected, estate-grown grapes. Carrying on the tradition of Champagne Louis Roederer in France, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend. 

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino and Delectable

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

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.

Chicken Pipián Verde, Mexican Quinoa and the Devil’s Collection White #winePW

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.  Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva is hosting this month’s South of the Border theme featuring wine pairings for Mexican Cuisine.

On My Plate

I adore Mexican cuisine. It’s easily the ethnic food I’ve had the most.  When I considered what main dish to try for this month’s South of the Border theme, two things came to mind.

Try something new, and try something authentic.

I decided to check out the La Cocina de Leslie blog, which is written by Leslie Limón, a native Californian who has been living in Mexico for 13+ years.  Bingo!

The recipe I chose is Chicken Pipían Verde.  Here’s how Leslie describes it…

“..Pipián is a traditional Mexican sauce that gets its distinct grainy texture from the pepitas. Pipián can be made in one of two ways: Pipián Verde made with tomatillos and roasted poblano peppers and Pipián Rojo made with tomatoes and dried ancho chiles. Pipián can be served over fish, shrimp, roasted pork, or chicken. Whether you choose to make Pipián Verde or Rojo, you’ll love the nutty flavor the pepitas adds to this exquisite sauce.”  Note: I’ve also seen where it can be served over Chile Rellenos

Leslie suggested serving with Mexican Rice, but I wanted a healthier option.  I chose One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damned Delicious

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I essentially stuck to the recipes with the exception of  the following:

  • For the Pipián Verde I substituted corn meal for masa harina because I couldn’t find any in time.
  • For the Mexican Quinoa, I substituted chipotle chili powder for chili powder and used can of Southwestern corn instead of corn.

Considering it was my first time ever working with tomatillas, the Pipián Verde turned out very well.  Likewise for the Mexican Quinoa!

Both were delicious.  I highly recommend both recipes!  They are delicious (and pretty healthy too!)  How delicious were they?

My wife, and I both had seconds (actually she had thirds…but you didn’t hear that from me;-).

I even made Chicken Pipián Verde again a few days later (did I mention that my wife loves it)? Except this time we grilled the chicken, tomatillas, and Serrano peppers.

Wow! We enjoyed it even more!

In My Glass

The first two wines that came to mind to pair with my Mexican food was either Riesling (It pairs well with damn near everything) or Sauvignon Blanc.

I had neither.

But I did have a sample of Concha Y Toro’s Casillero del Diablo Devils Blend White. It’s a  blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Chardonnay,and 5% Gewürztraminer from Chile’s Casablanca Valley.

I decided to give it a go…

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My tasting notes follow:

Very pale green color with apple, lime, peach, and hints of honeysuckle and gooseberry aromas On the palate, it’s medium bodied, and dry with refreshing acidity, and a soft pleasing texture that envelopes ample apple, lime, grapefruit and a kiss of peach flavors. Lingering finish.  Overall, this is an appealing, fresh, well-balanced balanced wine that delivers very good value for the money  Very good; 86-88 pts  Retail ~$15; 13.5% alcohol.

The Pairing

Overall, this was a very good pairing.  The predominance of Sauvignon Blanc in the blend worked well with the Pipián  Verde Sauce.  But, I think the wine worked better with the Chicken Pipián  Verde than the Mexican Quinoa because the quinoa had a pretty spicy kick to it.  So a bit more residual sugar (sweetness) would have made the wine pair better with the quinoa.

Don’t stop here!

Check out what my fellow #winePW bloggers came up with for this month’s theme! 

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 “South of the Border” on Saturday, May 9th, from 8 a.m. to ( a.m Pacific Time. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the June  Wine Pairing Weekend, which will be on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon WithTablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc

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 Lover’s Dilemma; Spring Flavors and Wine Pairing”

The movable feast that is Easter has always been a harbinger of Spring for me. And here in California, our unseasonably warm weather means Spring has sprung earlier than usual with many trees and flowers already in bloom with the omnipresent colors of the season on glorious display…well except for multitude of lawns that have been allowed to turn brown, by choice, due to our severe drought!

On My Plate

Time got the best of us this year, and we found ourselves at our local Costco the day before Easter deciding, real-time, what we’d have for our Easter dinner.

We picked up a couple of enticing items for our main dishes – King Crab Legs and beautiful piece of Whole Halibut.

My wife was on King Crab Leg duty. That left me with the Halibut duty.

When I searched for whole halibut recipes, I kept coming across halibut steaks and halibut fillets.  Eventually I found this recipe for Baked Whole Fish With Potatoes and Lemon, which I modified a bit and adapted to downsize the servings.

Here’s our Easter Menu:

Roasted Halibut with Potatoes and Lemon
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 6
 
This recipe comes from Italian fashion and tableware visionary Rosita Missoni's Sardinian fish merchant
Ingredients
  • 3lb. gold potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 lemons, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 3-lb. section of whole halibut
  • 3-4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • Dash of dried dill
  • Dash of paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Put potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease parchment with 2 tsp. oil. Layer potato slices evenly on parchment; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Par-cook the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Prepare the fish by removing the spine, and any large bones with a sharp boning knife(optional; remove skin)
  4. Arrange half of the lemon slices over potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Set fish skin side down over potatoes and rub with 2 Tbsp. oil; season skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Top with remaining lemon slices and arrange bay leaves over fish. Drizzle with remaining oil, and add a dash of dried dill and paprika.
  6. Bake until fish is just cooked through, 40-60 minutes (depending on size). Using a butter knife or metal spatula, flake flesh off the bone and serve immediately.
Notes
This could easily be adapted for halibut fillets

I would consider adding Old Bay seasoning to season the fish instead of dried dill, paprika combination.

I used a meat thermometer and cooked the halibut to an internal temperature of 140 degrees

The dish turned out very well.  It was a feast for the eyes and the palate! 

IMG_1998The halibut was moist, and its delicate flavor was enhanced by the lemon, bay leaf and spices.  The lemon also imparted a citrusy brightness to the potatoes, which were al dente.  Just the way I like them.

In My Glass

There are a multitude of choices for pairing wine with fish.   In terms of white wines, I’d bet Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay would be top of mind for most.

Not me. I wanted to try something different.

And I love blends..especially Rhone blends because I believe that a well made blend can be more than the sum of its parts.

That reasoning lead me to the 2011 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc, a blend of roughly equal parts of the four primary Rhone white grapes – Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne.

I’m a big fan of Tablas Creek who essentially brought the Rhone Valley to Paso Robles (check out the full story here)  They make diverse menu of distinguished, well crafted,  harmonious wines year after year!

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Image courtesy of Tablas Creek Vineyard

Here’s what Tablas Creek Vineyard said about the wine:

The Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc is a blend of four estate-grown white Rhône varietals: Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. The wine, like most wines of the Southern Rhône, is a blend of varietals, featuring the floral aromatics and stone fruit of Viognier, the crisp acids and rich mouthfeel of Grenache Blanc, and the structure and minerality of Marsanne and Roussanne.”

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with honeysuckle, peach, melon, honey aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and broad with racy acidity and an appealing hint of tannins. It shows peach, melon, honey, and a hint of spice flavors with an appealing combination of salinity and wet stone minerality on the long finish.

The Pairing

It was a wonderful pairing.  The medium-bodied  weight of the wine was well matched to the food.  When I had a sip of wine with the food, the wine made the food taste better and the food made the wine taste a tad sweeter and more delicious! The wine also has a saline mineral character which was a perfect complement to the fish.

Don’t stop here!

Check out what my fellow #winePW blogger came up with for this month’s theme! 

If you are catching this post early enough, you can join our live Twitter Chat on Saturday, April 11, at 8 a.m. PT, via the Twitter hashtag #winePW. If you’ve come to us after April 11, consider joining us for #winePW 12 on Saturday, May 9. when our host is Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva.  Christy is challenging us to come up with Wine Pairings with Mexican Cuisine. It should be fun!
_________________________________________________________________

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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 15, 2015

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.  Includes my picks for  Wine of the Week; and Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended March 15, 2015.

Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Grande Réserve - Retail $29
Golden yellow color with appealing hazelnut, yeast, baked bread, peach, and citrus aromas and a fine bead. On the palate it approaches full-bodied and is well structured with a soft mousse and clean peach, apple, tangerine flavors with a bit of minerality. Lingering finish! This is great value at $28! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2012 La Crema Pinot Noir Cold Coast Vineyards Sonoma Coast - Retail $29
Medium ruby color with red berry, and low-key cola, earth and spice aromas. On the palate its medium-bodied and fruit forward with easy black cherry, cola and spice flavors. Good quaffer Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé - Retail $20
Consistent with prior reviews – Pale salmon color with appealing red fruit, wet stone, and citrus peel aromas with a hint of earthiness. On the palate it’s dry, and fresh and medium-bodied with mouth filling strawberry, watermelon, hints of red currant, subtle spice, and citrus flavors and a nice touch of minerality. 100 % Mourvedre. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2005 Famille Perrin / Perrin & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards - Retail $20
Carmine color with alluring tobacco, garrigue, Herbs de Provence, baking spice and red fruit aromas. On the palate it’s light bodied and fresh with a supple texture and black cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors underscored with an appealing minerality and chalky tannins. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week     IMG_1176-001

A friend asked me what is my one favorite wine was last week. That’s a bit like asking me what’s my favorite flavor of ice cream. There are many.  Perhaps I can boil it down to a “Top 5″.  But if pressed hard and I HAD to pick just one, my answer would be….

Champagne!

The Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Grande Réserve is a very good Champagne.  And the price is right at under $30.  I will be buying more, if I can find it.

My Wine of the Week is the 2005 Perrin & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Sinards. It’s a wine I purchased at my favorite wine store K&L Wine Merchants almost 5 years ago.  I got a good deal on it too!  It retails for around $30, and I got it for $20!  It’s a classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape (“CdP”) blend of (predominately) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from one of the region’s leading producers, the Perrin family (and a majority partner in Tablas Creek Vineyards). It’s a blend of purchased grapes as well as declassified portions from the rather large Beaucastel vineyard. It’s a delicious, and food friendly CDP!

The weather was gorgeous in California last weekend.  About 80 degrees and sunny.  So we busted out the Weber and barbecued some Filipino style chicken and pork ribs. The BBQ and Tercero Mourvedre Rosé were my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week. What I love about the Tercero Rosé is that it’s shows more body than most Roses. It’s a perennial favorite and it makes a great partner at the table with heartier fare like BBQ!

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino 

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
_________________________________________________________________

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

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Alto Adige – Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Trentino-Alto Adige!

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

Image courtesy of AltoAdigeWines.com

The Region

map-of-trentino-alto-adige

Map of Trentino-Alto Adige courtesy of beviamo.com

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

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

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

Cantina Terlano

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

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

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

The Wine

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

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

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My tasting notes follow:

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

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

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

A Taste of Alto Adige - Cantina Terlano Classico #ItalianFWT

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

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

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

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

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

2015 Dark & Delicious;Top 15 Favorite Petite Sirahs

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

2015 Dark & Delicious

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

Related posts you might enjoy!

_________________________________________________________________

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.

 

Wines At Our Table: Week of February 1, 2015

I’m starting a new weekly feature on the blog this week.  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.  I’ll still pick and Wine of the Week; plus a Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.

2007 Stage Left Cellars Petite Sirah - Retail $36
Opaque violet color with baked black and red fruits, black raspberry, red currant, black pepper, and baking spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and very fresh with black raspberry, fig, blackberry, red currant, spice flavors and a wonderful complementary minerality. Long finish.  Petite Sirah my not be top of mind when it comes to a wine to pair with food (well other than steak), but this one could change your mind.  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

N.V. Schramsberg Vineyards Mirabelle Brut Rose - Retail $20
Pretty pink color with an orange hue, and a fine bead. Show aromas of strawberry cream, raspberry, and ginger. On the palate, it’s dry with a soft mousse and tart raspberry, strawberry, ginger and blood orange aromas. Very food friendly. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir including at least 15% reserve lots. Good value!Very good; 86-88 pts

2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel - Retail $55
Dark ruby color with complex dark fruits, spice, licorice, bramble, wet stone and pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and dry and round with a lush texture, dusty tannins and black cherry, plum, red currant flavors with a persistent minerality. Long finish. Blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 5% Counoise Wonderful food wine. Perfect with lamb shank! Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2012 Erik Banti Carato Toscana IGT - Retail $8
Ruby color with bright cherry, tobacco, a bit of red currant, vanilla and spice aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, and fresh with surprisingly supple texture, and a lingering finish. Delicious blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo. Aged for 10 months in French barriques.  A steal for $8!  This one goes in my “Everyday” wine rotation!  It’s hard to go wrong with an Italian wine at the table, and this one is no exception. Very good; 86-88 pts

N.V. Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut – Carte Blanche - Retail $28
Pale yellow color with a fine bead and pretty white flower, yellow apple, toast,and subtle citrus aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied, with a delicate mousse. It’s elegant and dry with yellow apple, peach, citrus, mineral and a bit of vanilla flavors. Lingering finish. Blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier 12.5% alcohol. Wonderful value in Champagne under $30. Will buy more! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

N.V. Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut - Retail $40
Pale yellow color with a fine bead, and bread dough, hazelnut, cherry aromas. On the palate it’s shows a delicate creamy mousse, racy acidity and wonderful balance with cherry, strawberry, red apple, and vanilla flavors and a lingering mineral driven finish. 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine from the Aube in the southernmost part of the Champagne region  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead - Retail $36
Dark ruby color with exuberant violet, roast meat, dark fruit, tar and a hint of menthol aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and well-balanced with plum, cherry, black raspberry, and baking spice flavors. Long finish. Blend of 37% Grenache, 36% Syrah, and 27% Mourvedre  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2004 Alvear Montilla-Moriles Pedro Ximénez de Añada (375ml)- Retail $20
Brownish red color with molasses, toffee, dark chocolate and subtle spice aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, viscous, and persistent with very good acidity that keeps it from being cloying and provides balance. It shows sweet flavors of molasses, honey-dipped figs, caramel, and cinnamon flavors. Long finish  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2013 Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano - Retail $16
Light yellow-green with lime, and tangerine, and wet stone aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with an ample texture, and lime, tangerine, and a bit of spice flavors with a surprising and pleasing touch of tannins. Long mineral driven finish. 13% alcohol.This was fantastic with  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

 Wine of the WeekIMG_1521

We entertained friends last weekend, which accounts for a couple of bottles of Champagne, and the 2004 Alvear PX Sherry.  I’m a big fan of the Blanc de Noir style of sparkling wines, and you don’t find many Champagne in that style. The Fleury Blanc de Noirs was a great pairing with our entree of 40 Cloves and a Chicken.  For dessert  we served the Alvear PX Sherry over ice-cream.  (a popular way to serve the very sweet and viscous PX).  I was happy to finally get around to drinking it. It’d been laying down for nearly 7 years!  The Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel was awesome after it opened after 90 or so minutes, and it’s wine that will continue to favorably evolve for many more years. But my Wine of the Week was the  Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano.  It was my first time trying Vernaccia!  And what a fantastic introduction.  I don’t recall having a white wine with tannins in it before, but apparently some fine tannins is typical of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a rare tannic white grape variety. And the wine paired perfectly with Cacciucco, a Tuscan Seafood Stew I prepared for an upcoming #ItalianFWT post. Together the two were my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

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Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated
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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.