Wines At Our Table; Week of April 2, 2016

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended April 2, 2016

2010 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley  
Violet color with appealing cassis, black cherry aromas with hints of violets and cedar wood. On the palate it’s elegant, with well balanced acidity sweet well integrated tannins and silky texture. It’s all too easy to drink with black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors, and a lingering finish. 13.5% 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec. Fruit sourced from 85% Alexander Valley, 12% Mendocino County, 3% Dry Creek Valley.SRP; $65 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90 pts

2011 Overland Wine Company Petite Sirah Kick Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County  
Opaque black red color with very appealing black fruit, briar, violet, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate aromas on the palate it’s energetic and surprisingly light on its feet with well integrated dusty tannins with blackberry,blueberry compote, plum, black cherry , vanilla and a hint of dark chocolate flavor and a long sweet slightly spicy mineral laced finish 2 years on French oak. SRP; $36 15% alcohol Outstanding; 91-92 pts.

2014 Cave de Tavel Tavel Lauzeraies – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel 
Deep pink-red color with strawberry, cherry, and a hint of rose aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with strawberry, cherry, white pepper, spice and a hint of citrus flavors.  SRP; $10 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre. Very Good ; 88-89 pts

2013 Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands  
Nearly opaque ruby purple color with very appealing blackberry,cassis, , violet, and white pepper aromas with hints of olive tapenade. On the palate it’s leans toward medium-bodied with ample fruit and enough acidity, dusty tannins with a savory edge to keep it in harmony. It shows bright blackberry, blueberry compote, cassis, licorice, vanilla and spice flavors and a long finish. SRP; $43 30% whole cluster. Raised in French Oak, 21% new. 15.7% alcohol Outstanding; 92-93 pts.

-Wine of the Week-

Do you ever come “back” to a wine after years of not having it?  One of two things can happen. You realize you miss the wine.  Or you remember why you don’t. Fortunately, after not having had a Tavel rose for years, I realized I missed them.  Tavel is a wine region is the Southern Rhone that specializes in rose.  I picked up the Cave de Tavel Lauzeraies from K&L Wine Merchants for $10 because it was a 2014.  I’ve already picked up a couple of more bottles!  Keeping with the coming back to a wine theme, It was the same thing with the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been years since I’ve had it.  It’s very good to outstanding, but I can think of several Cabs I like as much, if not more, for the $65 SRP (it was a Christmas gift). The Carlisle Syrah Sierra Mar SLH fantastic. We brought a bottle to dinner with friends last weekend.  Unfortunately, I accidentally pulled a ’13 from the cellar instead of a ’11 I intended to pull.  While very approachable now, the wine will get better with time.

My Wine of the Week is the 2011 Overland Petite Sirah.  I actually won this bottle of wine via a raffle at the 2015 Dark and Delicious Petite Sirah event. I was introduced to Overland Wine at that event.  It was one of the very best of the 40-50 Petite Sirahs I tasted!

Sadly, there was no Bay Area edition of event this year.


More About Overland Wine Company

Dick Keenan and his wife, Kathy McNamara make Overland wines from their Kick Ranch vineyard in Sonoma County.  They grow and sell small lots of ultra premium grapes to select wineries in Sonoma and Napa, California.

Kick Ranch Vineyard

Image courtesy of Overland Wine

From the winery…Overland’s mission is to make bold, flavorful wines that show why the Kick Ranch vineyard is a source for extraordinary wines.

Overland’s name and labels honor the spirit of discovery and risk taking that marked the Nineteenth Century Westward Migration in America.  Kick Ranch was first settled by a pioneer family that walked overland almost 2000 miles on the western trails that began on the Missouri River near Omaha, Nebraska.  They walked across America to start a new life, and they bought the land we now farm.  By 1875, those pioneers had planted 25 acres of vineyards.  Over the years, whether due to Prohibition or changes in fortune, the vines disappeared.  As it turns out, we didn’t plant Kick Ranch, we restored it to a purpose and focus first set over 125 years earlier.

Ten years after our first harvest, we released our first Overland wines.  In creating a label and the Overland brand, we wanted to honor not only the pioneers who journeyed so far but all who work hard at whatever they do and bring effort and optimism to all that they do.  

So we make “Wines of Effort, Promise and Optimism.”  We make our wines for wine enthusiasts and in particular those interested in a unique Sonoma County wine experience – by offering visits to Kick Ranch for unique tastings and events and by also promoting the talented winemakers who also make Kick Ranch vineyard designated wines.

Over the years, I’ve had many Kick Ranch designated wines. First from Rosenblum, then Carica, and most recently Bedrock Wine Co.  All the wines are been fantastic!  As the saying goes…”great wine starts in the vineyard”!

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week was the Tavel Lauzeraies paired with Smoked Chicken!  Scrumdiddlyumptious!

 What was your Wine of the Week?

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated


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Wine Words Demystified: Orange Wine

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 Orange Wine...

According to Ray Isle of Food & Wine magazine…

Orange wines“—a current favorite of hipster sommeliers—are white wines that are kept at length on the grape skins as they are made. One result: their resistance to oxygen is increased, so they stay fresh longer when opened.

In other words, an “orange wine” is a white wine made applying red wine techniques.  Rather than the typical white wine process of pressing the juice off the skins, the juice is allowed to macerate, like you would when you make a red wine.  And instead of keeping the process sealed from oxygen, you allow the fermenting fluid to breathe.

Because the skins remain in contact with the juice during the fermentation process, the wine takes on qualities you’d normally associate with a red wine: tannins, structure and fuller body that doesn’t come from aging in oak, or high alcohol content.

“Orange” wine – Image courtesy of SFGate Photo: Craig Lee, Special To The Chronicle / SF

The practice of making wines using this process dates back thousands of years to  Eurasian wine producing countries of Armenia & Georgia.  In more recent years, the epicenter for orange wine is Friuli, Italy.  However, there is a nascent insurgency against the traditional method of making white wines afoot in Oregon, and California.  

From what I’ve been able to discern, the most common grape used to make orange wine has been Pinot Gris, but it also being made from white Rhone varietals such as Marsanne and Roussanne.  And while the wines are commonly an orange hue, they may be other colors such as a salmon.  So the name orange wine has more to do with the process than the color per se.

Right now, orange wines are a niche category; mostly the province of sommeliers, and wine geeks.  It will be interesting to see how far the orange wine movement will go.

I’m looking forward to trying my first orange wine soon.  I won a bottle of wine from my cousin on a bet when my Forty-Niners crushed the Monsters of the Midway (Da Bears).  I went with a bottle of 2011 Donkey & Goat Stone Crusher Roussanne.

Have you tried an “orange” wine?  If so, what did you think?


#SundaySupper Labor Day Cookout Food And Wine Pairings

I always have mixed feelings about Labor Day weekend.  The last few years, our friends and neighbors have hosted a Labor Day Cookout.  They always throw one heck of a party.  But, at the same time Labor Day heralds the end of the summer, my favorite season of the year.  Well, at least we go out with a bang!

Speaking of going out with a bang, check out this week’s #SundaySupper menu.  It’s dynamite!  My recommended wine pairing are italicized.  Cheers!

Labor Day Cookout at the Ongs

Yum…Labor Day Cookout at the Ong’s – My friend and neighbors

Pair these sensational starters, snacks, salads, and sides with sparkling wine.  A sparkling wine will instantly give your cookout a celebratory feel, and sparkling wine is one of the most versatile wines for pairing with foods.  A Blanc de Noir style sparkling wine would make a great match for this diverse palate of flavors. A Blanc de Noir is made with dark-skinned grapes used to make red wines like Pinot Noir , Pinot Meunier and/or other grapes.  I recommend the Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir.  Its red fruit and vanilla aromas are followed by creamy red fruit and citrus flavors.  

Pair these delectable dishes with a cookout favorite – Zinfandel!  I recommend the 2010 McManis Family Vineyard Zinfandel.  It shows plenty of ripe red fruits, vanilla and a bit of spice.

Pair these main and side dishes with a red Rhône blend.  What’s great about blends is that the combination of grape varietals creates a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Such is the case with my recommended wine the 2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard Contra Old Vine Field Blend.  It’s a rich blend of Carigane, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah loaded with dark fruit, spice, and a bit of smoke aromas and flavors.

Pair these main and side dishes with a white Rhone blend. Look for the 2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas.  It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne.  It’s a crisp and aromatic wine with honeysuckle and stone fruit aromas that follow onto the palate.  It also has very good acidity and an appealing minerality that make it versatile food partner. 
Pair these main and side dishes with a Pinot noir. Try one from New Zealand, where they make great Pinot Noir that can often be found for better value than Pinot Noir from California, or France.  Look for the Dashwood Marlborough Pinot Noir.  It’s full of ripe cherry, and berry aromas and flavors with a complementary spice component.  It’ll take a chill well too! Plop it in ice water for 10-15 minutes and serve.



Don’t forget about desserts when it comes to pairing wine with foods.  A wine with dessert is a great way to cap off a meal!

Pair these desserts with a sweet Moscato wine.  It’s a great match for fruit-themed dessert.  Try the 2011 Redtree Moscato with its slightly spritzy nectarine and rose petal flavors.

Pair these desserts with a Port-style wine. I say “Port-style” because true Port is only made in Portugal. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t get a tasty one made here in the good ole USA!  I recommend the Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port.  It has sweet dark berry, chocolate, black currant, and toffee aromas and flavors and is oh so smooth! 
Frozen desserts are a challenge to pair with wine, primarily because the coolness numbs one’s taste buds. But if you remember the golden rule of pairing desserts with wine, you’ll be fine. The golden rule is that the wine must be sweeter than the dessert.  Here we go...
Pair the following two desserts with a Madeira, a fortified wine that comes from the small rugged volcanic island of the same name off the coast of Africa (though it’s a province of Portugal).  Look for Blandy’s 5-year old Malmsey Madeira. It an entry-level Madeira with aromas of toffee, raisins, and nuts with rich, full-bodied, honeyed flavors, and a beautifully balanced acidity. 
  • Ice Cream Sandwich Cake by Comfy Cuisine – Pair with a Pedro Ximenez (“PX”).  PX is a ribald sweet sherry with an acidic backbone from Spain. Look for the Lustau Pedro Ximenz “San Emilio”
  • Blueberry Lemon Whoopie Pies for a Holiday Cookout #SundaySupper by In the Kitchen with KP – Pair with the Yalumba Muscat Museum Reserve, a dessert wine from Australia with rose petal, ginger and orange peel aromas, and rich raisined fruit, and spice flavors.

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper  live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite cookout recipes!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat!

We’d also love to feature your Cookout recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!