Wines At Our Table; Week of October 18th 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 (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 October 18th 2015.

2008 L’Aventure Optimus – Paso Robles Retail $50
Inky purple color with an exuberant perfume that brings to mind blackberry, kirsch, violets, graphite and a bit of smoked spice aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, and harmonious with lively acidity, supple well-integrated tannins, and a silky texture. It shows enticing black cherry, blackberry , plum, cassis, dark roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate flavors, and an appealing minerality with a long satisfying finish. A flat-out well structured and delicious wine! 15.5% alcohol.  (92 pts.)

2012 Tablas Creek Vermentino – Paso Robles Retail $27
Pale yellow color with beeswax, lemon,lime peel, wet stone and a bit of white flower aromas. In the palate it’s medium-bodied, and well-balanced with vibrant acidity and apricot, Apple, citrus flavors and an appealing minerality. Lingering finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

2013 Cécile Chassagne Gigondas – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas Retail $19.99
Pale purple garnet color with appealing savory black and red fruit aromas, subtle spice, and floral aromas with a nuanced appealing mineral note. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with tart black cherry, black currant, blackberry, and spice flavors framed by well-integrated dusty tannins and an appealing minerality. Lingering finish. Definitely a food wine, as opposed to a cocktail wine. 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre 13.5% alcohol. Very good QPR at $20 Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

2012 Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras La Cantarelle – Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras Retail $19.99
Bright crimson color with roast meat, black and red fruit, spice and a subtle floral, and mineral aromas. On the palate it’s full-bodied, and fresh with a supple texture and silky tannins with black cherry, red currant, licorice, and spice flavors with underlying earthiness, and a very giving spicy finish. 15% alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

– Wine of the Week

It was a very good week for wine in the Redmond household!  I did a post last weekend for the French #Winophiles group I’m a part of entitled A Taste of Gigondas and Vacqueyras.  I found a couple of under $20 gems from each of these lesser known (at least when you compare to Chateauneuf-du-Pape) regions.  As always it’s a treat for me to taste wines from new to me wine regions.  I preferred to the Gigondas over the Vacqueyras.  It’s a wine I would definitely buy again.  Speaking of buying a wine again. The Tablas Creek Vermentino is a favorite.  I’ve enjoyed it with a few different foods, but it’s my favorite wine to have with Pesto. It was a perfect pairing with a Pasta Salmon Pesto my wife made.

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My Wine of the Week (“WOW”) is the 2008 L’Aventure Optimus. It’s a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 24 % Petit Verdot  2008 was vintage from 100% Estate fruit.  It was aged in 14 months in 90% new French oak and 10% 1-year-old French oak with malolactic fermentation in barrel No fining, no filtering.

It’s a full-bodied wine, harmonious and delicious wine with a refined character. Highly recommended. 

We picked up this wine on a visit to Paso Robles four years ago. That’s when I first heard the term “Paso Blend” which is a blend of Bordeaux and Rhone grape varieties.

A few things have changed since we visited four years ago. L’Aventure is in the process of building a brand new tasting room and underground caves. What hasn’t changed is that L’Aventure is making some great wines!

I think it’s time for another visit!

More about L’Aventure

laventure 2014-039

Stephan Asseo, owner and winemaker at L’Aventure Winery, began making wine in 1982, following his education at L’Ecole Oenologique de Macon, Burgundy, France. In that same year, Stephan established Domaine de Courteillac in Bordeaux. He and his family later purchased Chateau Fleur Cardinal and Chateau Robin in the Cotes de Castillion, Bordeaux. Over the next 15 years, Stephan developed into an artisan winemaker of fastidious craftsmanship and gained a reputation as a maverick vigneron. However, his true desire was to be more innovative than AOC law would allow. In 1996, this led him on  a quest for a great terroir, where he could pursue his ideal as a winemaker. After searching for over a year among the world’s great wine fields, ranging from South Africa to Lebanon, Argentina to Napa, Stephan found Paso Robles. Stephan immediately “fell in love” with the unique terroir of west side Paso Robles. The rolling topography of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the deep calcareous soils, and the maritime influences of the renowned Templeton Gap all combine to produce a world class wine country, with the potential to craft some of the world’s greatest blends. It is here, in Paso Robles, that Stephan began his adventure, “L’Aventure”.

The 127 acre estate is located on the west side of Paso Robles. It is planted to Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc.

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

Wines At Our Table; Week of October 11th 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 (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 October 11th 2015.

2012 JC Cellars Smoke & Mirrors – California Retail $25
Violet color with a bit hot, mixed red and black fruit liqueur, red licorice,spice and a bit of garrigue aromas. On the palate it full-bodied with a lush texture and good acidity with cherry, blackberry, plum,vanilla and spice flavors. Lingering finish 14.9% Blend of Zin, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Cab, and Alicante Bouschet. Very Good; 88-89pts

2014 Rarecat Grenache Brigitte – Napa Valley, St. Helena Retail $24
Pretty pink-salmon color with aromatic ruby grapefruit, raspberry, watermelon, and orange blossom aromas. On the palate, it’s very fresh, dry, well structured with bright red fruit, and citrus flavors with an alluring minerality.  Outstanding; 90-91pts

2011 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – Retail $24 
Bright purple color with appealing black cherry, red currant, spice aromas enhanced by pretty floral note. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, well structured and fresh with black cherry, raspberry, spice, and a hint of mocha flavors. Soft well-integrated tannins. Lingering sweet finish. 89% Zinfandel/11% Petite Sirah Very Good; 88-89pts

2013 Cline Cellars – California, Sonoma County Retail $15
Gold color with grapefruit, lime, and white peach aromas. On the palate it medium-bodied with good acidity, and generous white peach, grapefruit, lime and a hint of spice flavors. Easy and tasty. Very Good; 86-88pts

– Wine of the Week

We kept it local this week. All the wines were enjoyed were from California and came from wineries located in either Napa or Sonoma.  It reminds me how blessed we are to live so close to not only Napa, Sonoma, Livermore, and the Santa Cruz Mountain wine regions, but also some world-class Urban wineries!

As I consider which wine is my Wine of the Week (“WOW”), there’s really no contest this week.  The 2014 RARECAT Grenache Brigitte is my WOW.  It checks all the boxes for a WOW. It’s a memorable wine because it’s so well structured, food friendly and delicious.   It’s new and different in that I can’t recall having a rosé from any Napa Valley producer, I enjoyed nearly as much.  It offers very good QPR (especially these days when it seems become more and more of a challenge to find high quality rosé  for $20 or less). And it’s from a producer you definitely need to check out (see more below).

RARECAT Rosé has been created to be a rosé with a pedigree, a lyrical expression of Grenache with a touch of Viognier.

On the food pairing front, we enjoyed this wine with my wife’s Grilled Paella Mixta (a fabulous pairing!). 

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More About Rarecat Wines

Rarecat Wines was founded by Sharon Kazan Harris with the release of  the 2009 Rarecat Lionheart Sauvignon Blanc. I was introduced to Sharon and Rarecat, when my wife and I attended the 2015 Wine-A-Pawlooza, a fund-raiser for the Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. The event featured plenty of big name cult wines, yet Rarecat’s 2010 Rarecat Cabernet Sauvignon Old Toll Hillside Vineyard stood out as the most memorable wine for me.

My wife and I had a chance to visit and taste with Sharon (I’ll cover that in more detail another time). She’s a smart, funny, driven,  down to earth, and multi-talented individual with a fascinating story (see more here)

In addition to the rosé, and the aforementioned Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate Old Toll Hillside Vineyard, Rarecat produces another Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. I had a chance to try both their single vineyard Charles Heintz Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, and the 2012 Syrah. I thought both were harmonious and outstanding wines.  

Joel Aiken, an internationally recognized winemaker with a 30-year history of producing award-winning Napa Valley wine is the winemaker for RARECAT

The winery is not open to the public. By appointment Sharon welcomes guests into her home, where winery business takes place in a rehab’d warehouse, known as the  “grey barn”. For more information visit: www.rarecatwines.com

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

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

Wines At Our Table; Week of October 4th 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 (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 October 4th 2015.

2010 Sandlands Syrah Amador County – Sierra Foothills, Amador County Retail $20
Inky violet color with kirsch, red currant, white pepper and a hint of olive tapenade aromas. On the palate it’s light bodied and fresh with mouth drying tannins that soften a bit with air. It shows cherry, red currant flavors wit a bit of stony minerality. Lingering finish. I think it needs food (not a bad thing) Very Good; 86-88pts

2010 Antonelli San Marco Contrario Umbria IGT – Italy, Umbria, Retail – $20
Translucent violet color with a very appealing mixed dark berry, plum, tar, aromatic dried herb and a hint of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate, medium-bodied, very persistent, focused and very fresh with blackberry, black cherry, plum and firm, well-integrated tannins with a long sweet finish. 14% alcohol. Very Good; 86-88pts

2012 Under The Wire Zinfandel Sparkling Bedrock Vineyard – California, Sonoma Valley Retail $45
Pretty coral pink color with active tiny bubbles. On the nose it shows very appealing fresh bread dough, strawberry, red currant, creamy citrus and a bit of chalk aromas. On the palate, the mousse starts about a bit aggressive on the attack, but dissolves into an appealing strawberry creme fraiche like texture, with a hint of tannins. It’s fresh with strawberry, red currant, creamy citrus, and mineral flavors, and a lingering finish. The 2012 vintage of the Bedrock Zinfandel will be in the inaugural release and was disgorged in April 2014 with 2 grams of dosage. Different and very enjoyable – It brings to mind Lambrusco.  Wish I had more Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

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Wine of the Week – Lately I’ve been inundated (at least for me) with sample wine.  I’m far behind where I’d like to be, in terms of sampling and posting about the wines I’ve received. As a result I’ve been drinking more sample bottles (I post about those separately), and fewer bottles from my own stash. Thus only 3 wines this week.

I made them count though.  The Sandlands Syrah is the personal project of Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua (Tegan is also the winemaker for Turley). The wine is a bit of a surprise, taste and body wise if you only consider the source of the fruit – the Sierra Foothills. One would normally expect a fuller-bodied style of Syrah, but this one is decidedly cool climate syrah in nature.  Great value too at $20. The Antonelli San Marco Contrario is made of a new-to-me grape Sagrantino, which is native to the Umbria region. Delicious stuff.  It’s wine I blogged about for the #ItalianFWT group I’m a part of (read the details here) Having the wine has certainly piqued by curiosity about the more traditional Sagrantino di Montefalco.  It paired wonderfully with a grilled rib-eye steak.  My Wine of the Week (“WOW”) is the 2012 Under The Wire Zinfandel Sparkling Bedrock Vineyard. Under The Wire is a collaboration between Chris Cottrell and Morgan Twain Peterson. Inspired by grower Champagne, essentially they’re producing vintage, single-vineyard sparking wines.  This is one of the first two wines they released. It’s produced from fruit sourced from Bedrock Vineyard. Here’s what Under The Wire says about the vineyard…

Originally planted in 1854 by Generals William “Tecumseh” Sherman and General “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker, Bedrock has grown grapes for over 150 years. In all likelihood, at some point in Bedrock’s long history, sparkling wine was made from the vineyard’s grapes. Out of the 24 old vine varieties grown at Bedrock Vineyard today we chose to use Zinfandel. It is a grape that is not only decidedly Californian but also surprisingly well-built for sparkling wine. Bedrock Vineyard’s ancient Zinfandel tends towards both great flavor development at low sugars and strong natural acidity, both of which are fundamental to great sparkling wine. The vines are head trained, grown in rock studded red Tuscan loam soils, and farmed sustainably.

Here’s what I say about the wine…It’s among the most memorable wines I’ve had this year.  It’s not Champagne.  But it’s not intended to me. It’s a sparkling wine of place. A magical place. Well done and highly recommend.

More about Under The Wire

From the winery…Under the Wire is a project grown from a mutual friendship and love for wines with bubbles. Our simple, yet unique premise is to make California sparkling wines based on an individual vineyard in an individual year. Inspired in part by the grower Champagne movement we aim to prove that California can produce unique, delicious and terroir-driven sparkling wine.

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste of Greece: Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono Paired with Hatzidakis Assyrtiko

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 (or learn from the ones that don’t); along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.  Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting “Let’s Talk Scorched Terroir – and Volcanic Wines – for this month’s #WinePW

The Volcanic Island of Santorini

As I began to consider this month’s theme, my initial thoughts turned to the Napa Valley (which has a fascinating geology that includes a vast array of soils of volcanic origin).  But I was leaning toward a white wine rather than a red.  Then as fate would have it, I saw a post from Camilla, our host for this month’s theme that featured an Assyrtiko (one of my favorites – Domaine Sigalas) from the Greek island of Santorini.

Bingo!

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed one. In fact, my second post for #winePW was a fabulous blend of Assyrtiko and Malagouzia last summer.  And I’ve not had any since then!

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The breathtaking beauty that is Santorini seems to have risen from it’s volcanic ashes quite nicely…Thank you!

I hadn’t really given much thought to Santorini being a volcanic region. I’m more familiar with the Santorini pictured above.

But Santorini is a part of a volcanic island group at the central south end of Aegean Sea. The island caresses the vast crater left by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history – the Minoan eruption of 1613.  Thus, the island is also renown for its spectacular sea-filled volcanic caldera, which are surrounded by steep colorful cliffs. One of the island’s most fascinating sites is ruins at the Minoan site of Akrotiri. Click here for a cool video about the volcano!

On My Plate

One of my favorite restaurant’s in the Bay Area is a Greek restaurant in Palo Alto, Evvia. They serve a delicious oven roasted Branzino that is fantastic.  Inspired by that dish, I, decided to make Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono.

Branzino (plural, branzini),  is a European sea bass that is low in fat, but with a  wonderful richness when cooked on the bone. That’s because the fish has lots of cartilage.  So, when the flesh gets hot, it stays succulent long after the fish has hit the right temperature.

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono

I purchased the Branzini from our local Whole Foods market,  The fish is farm-raised in Greece and was reasonably priced at $12.99/lb.

Ladolemono, with its one-to-one acid-to-oil ratio (as opposed to the usual one-to-three), is a classic Greek vinaigrette that gives a flash of brightness to the smoky, crispy skin of the branzino (would also be wonderful with  grilled octopus, shrimp, or squid)

Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes 2-4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole bone-in branzini, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Ladolemono
  • 2 lemon thyme or thyme sprigs
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lemon—1 thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Season the fish cavities with salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. Stuff each cavity with a thyme sprig, and 2 lemon slices. Rub the outside of the branzini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the branzino over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp and just cooked through, about 7 minutes per side.
  3. Remove the lemon slices and thyme before plating, and discard. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with Ladolemono , and serve.
Notes
This is recipe is very simple and offers a very high taste/effort ratio

The fish turned out perfectly.  It had tender well flavored flesh (the Old Bay makes it pop), with  a hint of the lemon thyme and lemon placed inside the fish prior to grilling, And the Ladolemono was the perfect complement.  If you  haven’t tried whole Branzini on the grill, what are you waiting for?  

In My Glass

The 2013 Hatzidakis Winery Assyrtiko Santorini is a blend of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri

My tasting notes follow:

Pale green color with gold highlights and apple, lemon zest, chalk aromas with a dusty note. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with zesty acidity. It shows apple, lemon, white peach, and mineral flavors with a dusty grip and a lemony mineral driven finish.

The wine was fantastic with the Grilled Branzini.  The lemony minerality of the wine was a great compliment to the Ladelmono.  It was as if the wine was a bit of  spritz of lemon on the grilled fish.  And after taking a sip of the wine the grilled Branzini tasted better.  

The wine was very good on its own, but was better with food.  We had leftovers of the Branzini the next night and paired the wine with a homemade salsa, that included chunks of avocado on a bed of spinach.  It was a wonderful partner with at the table for both the fish and the salad!

Here’s what the #winePW crew posted about volcanic wines…
Come chat with us…

#winePW Twitter Chat September 12,  8 a.m. PT: Connect with us on twitter, using hashtag #winePW. We’ll chat for an hour about volcanic wines, food pairings, and #scorchedterroir. “October’s #winePW is hosted by @foodwineclick. Stay tuned for Jeff’s invitation that might have something to do with #MerlotMe Month.  Cheers!

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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, 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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of August 16th, 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 (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 August 16th 2015.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut – Retail $47
Very pale yellow color with tiny bubbles and a fine bead. Offers aromas of fresh biscuit dough, grapefruit, lime cream, with hints of quince and white flower. On the palate it shows soft creamy mousse with clean well delineated apple, peach, lime, lemon and grapefruit flavors underscored with an appealing minerality. Seems much improved to my palate over a few years ago – cleaner more complex Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2013 Trivento Amado Sur – Retail $15
Opaque violet color with mixed black fruit, licorice, and low-key spice and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with good acidity, ample fruit, and soft tannins with black currant, black cherry, plum, vanilla and a hint of spice flavors. Medium finish. Very Good; 86-88 pts

2013 Domaine des Costes Rouges Marcillac Tandem – Retail $17
Dark violet color with promising red currant and raspberry aromas with low-key spice and dried herb notes. On the palate it’s light-bodied, fresh and well structured with charming, easy-going cassis, raspberry, and spice flavors with supple tannins and an enticing minerality. Very Good; 86-88 pts

2014 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble Rosé – Retail $17
Pretty salmon color with watermelon, red berry and a hint of earthy aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied and fresh with an especially nice mid palate weight. It shows strawberry blood orange, cherry and raspberry flavors with a nice spice note. Medium long finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2014 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles – Retail $24
Ruby color with appealing strawberry cream, sour cherry jolly rancher aromas with light spice, and mineral notes. On the palate, it’s light-bodied with vibrant acidity, a juicy texture underscored  some dusty tannins with strawberry, sour cherry, plum, spice and a bit of earthiness on the finish. Medium plus finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2009 Ridge Merlot – Retail $45
Dark ruby color with aromatic black cherry, blueberry, cassis and a kiss of vanilla, and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, balanced and elegant with black cherry, blueberry, cassis and vanilla flavors. Long finish. 14.2% alcohol.The Merlot is made from two parcels planted at 1,300 and 2,000 feet of elevation in the Jimsomare property, which is now part of the Ridge estate. 2009 was their first bottling of a varietal Merlot since 1997.Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

Wines At Our Table; Week of August 16th 2015

Wine of the Week (“WoW”)  Any week that includes some Champagne is a very good week indeed!  Not only that I tried a completely new to me grape – Fer Servadou (2013 Domaine des Costes Rouges Marcillac Tandem)

For quite a few years I was not a fan of Veuve Clicquot.  In my opinion, not only was it ubiquitous, but I thought it was overrated in relation to its quality.  I think it’s improved over the last few years though, and it’s back in my good graces (though there are still quite a few Champagne that I enjoy just as much if not more for less.  It’s definitely a quality bottle of Champagne that’s on par with many in the same price range.  The Ridge Merlot was a treat. As paraphrase a cliché goes…I don’t drink Merlot often, but when I do I drink Ridge😉

My WOW is the 2014 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles.  It’s one of my favorite summertime reds wines. It’s take a chill very well, and its lively acidity make it a wonderful partner at the table with a variety of dishes.  Highly recommended!

More about Dashe Cellars

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.   Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager.  Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at  some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California;  Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and  Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.   The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

From the start we always wanted to make this Grenache almost in a Grand Cru Beaujolais style: a serious wine that offers bright, lively fruit but with a great structure and balance.  Dashe Cellars

From Dashe Cellars…In 2014, low yields and perfect ripening weather created a lovely Grenache, a bit softer and more delicate than previous vintages. Because of the way we make this wine—fermented with the native yeasts on the grapes; aged in large French oak barrels; unfined; and bottled with low SO2 levels—we felt that it deserved to be labeled with our other wines in the Les Enfants Terribles (the “Wild Children”) series made in a more Old World style.  The resulting purity of flavor, velvety texture, and lush midpalette is a break from the brash, fruit-forward style of many Californian wines.

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

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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; Week of August 9th 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 (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out; plus my Food and Wine pairing of the Week for the week ended August 9th 2015.

2008 Torre de Tavares Encruzado Dão – Retail $42
Hazy yellow tinged gold color with aromatic, appealing quince, pear, orange marmalade, and wet stone aromas with an appealing oxidized note. On the palate it’s well structured, full-bodied, and very fresh, yet lushly textured with a very appealing hint of tannins. It shows tart quince, orange and vanilla flavors, with a hint of baked nectarine and a long mineral driven finish. 12.5% alcohol 250 cases were produced.Outstanding; 92-95 pts
2013 Dashe Cellars Ancient Vines Bedrock Vineyard – Retail $35
Garnet color with pretty black cherry, spice, dark chocolate and licorice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with a very appealing texture and firm well-integrated tannins with black cherry, raspberry, mixed peppery and sweet spice flavors and a medium long finish. 98 % Zinfandel; 2% Petite Sirah Approachable now but will easily age 5-7 years Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts
2012 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas – Retail $20
Violet color with tobacco, blackberry, black cherry, dried herb and bit of cranberry aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with very good acidity and a supple texture with soft well-integrated tannins and black cherry, blackberry, cranberry, flavors with mixed sweet and savory spice notes and an appealing minerality on the back end. 53% Syrah,27% Grenache,18% Mourvedre and 2% Counoise 13.8% alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts
2014 Tercero Mourvedre Rosé Vogelzang Vineyard – Retail $22
Medium salmon color with red fruits, and orange peel aromas with hints of earthy/meaty notes and wet stones. On the palate it approaches full-bodied and show wonderful acidity with an appealing light tannic grip with strawberry, stone fruit, and spiced orange peel flavors with a lingering satisfying finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts
IMG_3339Wine of the Week (WoW) – We’ve been building up a bit of a wine cellar.  Not necessarily by design (trust me there’s no master plan; though in hindsight I wish we had more Old World wines) It’s simply because we’ve been buying a bit too much wine (No “Novinophobia” for me) The downside is a light wallet. The upside is that we rarely purchase “everyday” wines anymore to prevent ourselves from drinking better bottles, which would be likely to benefit from some aging.
So we’re definitely drinking better pretty much every day of the week this year.
This past week was a good example of that .  The Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas offers great value for a $20 bottle of wine year in and year out.  Under normal circumstance we wouldn’t have consumed the 2013 Dashe Ancient Vines Bedrock.  It’s a wonderful bottle of wine that was built to age. Unfortunately my wife and I had a “failure to communicate”.  Oh well. The Dashe was delicious and bound to get better.  The Tercero Mourvedre Rose is a fave because it’s fuller-bodied rose, and Owner/Winemaker Larry Schaffer seems to make it better each year.
However my WoW, the 2008 Torre de Tavares Encruzado stood head and tails above the other wines I enjoyed this week.
The grapes are harvested by hand. The wine was not fined or filtered. It went through malolactic fermentation in a steel tank, then was aged on its lees in oak for 1 year. It then spent another 6 months in the tank before bottling. It was aged in the bottle for 5 years. Unfortunately, winemaker João Tavares de Pina wasn’t able to source grapes from the same vineyard in subsequent years and the wine is now sold out.
It was a remarkable bottle of wine. It will most certainly be in the conversation if you ask me “What’s the best bottle of white wine you’ve ever had”? 

For my Food and Wine Pairing of the week, we paired the Encruzado with Grilled Fish Setubal Style. It was a fantastic pairing!. The wine’s vibrant acidity cut through the butter and the sauce of the dish, while the weight of the wine was a great match for the weight of the dish. Additionally, the citrus notes in the wine perfectly complimented the citrusy flavors in the dish.

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. 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.

#WineWednesday Review; 2013 Trivento Amado Sur

From time to time, I receive wines samples from wineries or their public relations agencies for review.  I feature such samples on here on #WineWednesday Review. This week I’m featuring the 2013 Bodegas Trivento Amado Sur.

The Winery

When in the mid-1990s Concha y Toro, Chile’s leading wine producer, announced its successful purchase a collection of vineyards (now accounting for 3,185 acres) in the Mendoza region of neighboring Argentina, there was little doubt on either side of the Andes that change was in the air. Wind is an agent of change, so it was only fitting that the new venture was named “ Trivento” (Three Winds), a whimsical reference to three winds that sweep through Mendoza and are such a distinguishing feature of the region’s climate and environment.

Trivento’s principal vineyards are located in the Uco Valley, Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, San Martin and Rivadavia districts of Mendoza, a region that exemplifies the advantages of high-altitude viticulture.

Significant differences between day and night temperatures help minimize the risk of pests and disease.  Vineyards that barely receive 8 inches of rainfall a year are irrigated with natural snow melt from the Andes.

With the release of Amado Sur Malbec, Trivento became one of the first Argentine wineries to experiment in a significant way with blends.

The Wine

The 2013 Trivento Amado Sur is a Malbec based blend of 70% Malbec, 20% Bonarda, and 10% Syrah

Each variety is separately fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The separate wines are aged for 8 months in French oak barrels. After assemblage, the wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel and then further aged in bottle for 5 months prior to release.  Retail $15

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My review notes follow:

Opaque violet color with mixed black fruit, licorice, and low-key spice and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with good acidity, ample fruit, and soft tannins with black currant, black cherry, plum, vanilla and a hint of spice flavors. Medium finish.  Very Good; 86-88pts

Pair with: Rich dishes and roasted meats including lamb, beef, and pork. It would be great with a hamburger too!

Follow my wine reviews on Vivino and Delectable

Wine provided as a sample for review.  Many thanks to Excelsior Wine and Creative Palate Communications

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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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of August 2nd 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; plus my Food and Wine pairing of the Week for the week ended August 2nd 2015.

2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine – Retail $19
Garnet color with dried cherry, black raspberry, and sweet spice aromas. On the palate it’s between light and medium-bodied, and well structured with soft well-integrated tannins and wonderful acidity with cherry, black raspberry, sweet spice, a hint of strawberry and very appealing spice. Medium-long finish. Great value at $20! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2014 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé – Retail $22
Salmon color with lifted red berry, melon, blood orange, wet stone, ocean breeze and a hint of damp dusty earth aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, layered and fresh with fine concentration and mixed melon, stone fruit, red berry, flavors with and herbal note and a very giving mineral driven dry finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2010 Carlisle Syrah Papa’s Block – Retail – about $60 now, but purchased for $38
Opaque violet-purple color with very appealing bacon fat, mixed blackberry and blueberry compote with a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and focused, with ample fruit deftly counter-balanced with very good acidity and a supple texture and well integrated tannins. It shows blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, peppery spice flavors with hints of red currant, bittersweet chocolate and plum. Long finish. 95%
Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre. 1% Viognier. 15.5% alcohol Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente – Retail $22
Pale yellow color with appealing green apple, lime, cantaloupe, ocean breeze aromas complemented by hints of tropical fruit and orange blossom. On the palate, it approaches medium bodied, and persistent with crackling acidity, and a wonderful texture. It shows green apple, lime a bit of stone fruit and a bit of melon flavors with a giving finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier – Retail $47
Pale yellow color with plentiful active tiny bubbles and fresh bread, almond, apple, subtle citrus and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate, it’s refined, lively and fresh with a delicate creamy mousse. Mixed tart apples, pear and lemon curd flavors dominate but hints of grapefruit, black currant and an appealing smoky minerality play in the background. Long finish.Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova – Retail about $90 per Cellar Tracker
Very dark red brick violet color with very appealing, mature, dried cherry, cherry liqueur, leather, and vanilla with a hint of balsamic aromas. On the palate it’s light-bodied, complex and, elegant with a silky texture. It shows dried mixed red berries, leather, and spice flavor. Long finish. A distinguished beautiful wine! Outstanding; 92-95 pts

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Wine of the Week (WoW)It was a wonderful week for wine. I tend to drink a lot of California wines because that’s what I have the most of (I like to try before I buy), but since I’ve been participating in a few food and wine pairing groups, I’ve been tasting more Italian and French wines.

Not a dud in the bunch this week.  The Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel offers remarkable value at $19. Likewise for the La Bastide Blanche Rosé, and the Bedrock Wine Co. Albariño Abrente. Both are offer a lot of bang for the buck.  I’m glad I’ve got a couple of more bottles of the Albariño, and I’ve already purchased more of the Bandol, which I think is comparable to the Domaine Tempier Bandol at about half the price!  The Carlisle Papa’s Block Syrah is such a delicious and well structured wine.  I wish I had more.

Ultimately though my WoW is the 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova.  My good friend Enrique and his wife brought the bottle for a very memorable brunch with my wife and I at Nopa in San Francisco last weekend.

The 2001 is its best Tenuta Nuova ever, delivering the depth, richness, freshness and unique character expected of such a great vintage—Wine Spectator

While we went to brunch, ostensibly, to see if their burger lived up to the hype (it did), Enrique brought this fabulous bottle of wine (#1 on  the 2006 Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines) kick off my birthday month celebration (not my idea – I’m cool with a day;-).  I won’t be able to think of this bottle of wine without thinking of the remarkable day shared with good friends, or vice-versa.  And isn’t that what makes wine such a beautiful thing?

For my Food and Wine Pairing of the week, we paired the Bedrock Albariño with Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas from our favorite local taqueria.  Just a remarkable pairing!  And the Albariño has great acid making it a very versatile wine at the table.

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. 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.

Five Year Blogiversary!

Today marks five years since I started sharing my vinous adventures with you here on ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.  What an wonderful and exciting five years it’s been!  I have written 630 posts and tasted thousands of wines.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful folks along  the way including many wonderful people in the wine industry, as well as fellow wine enthusiasts.  Not to mention the many “virtual”  friends who are also writer/bloggers.  While we’ve not met yet in real life we share my passion for great wine and food. I sincerely hope we get a chance to share a glass or three of wine and a meal one day!

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Over these last five years I’ve welcomed many opportunities I’ve had to expand my palate and taste wines from all around the world through private tastings with the Pacific Pointe Wine Club, a multitude of virtual tastings, samples tastings, trade tastings, and other events.

There are many highlights but top of mind for me are:

  • Media trip to Champagne
  • Being included in the The 103 Best Wine Blogs That You Can’t Miss
  • I was a the top of Google search results for “Best Wines To Pair with Paella” until Google changed their algorithm to reward mobile friendly sites a few months ago. It’s hands-down my most popular post.
  • Became a correspondent for the American Winery Guide.

blogiversary2013

A few thanks:

First and foremost to my wife who has supported my passion for wine and writing. She’s has been with me every step of the way. She’s offered some great advice, an occasional kick in the butt.  She’s also been my photographer and food stylist.  Te amo mi corazon!

Also, I owe a debt of gratitude to the incomparable Richard Jennings who has inspired and encouraged me more than he knows.

And of course…Thank you so much to all of my readers!  I love wine and love sharing that passion with you through this blog.  I am humbled that you care to read what I write.

Here’s to another great wine-filled year together!

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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, 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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of July 12th

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 July 12th, 2015.

2011 Urban Legend Barbera Cooper Ranch – Retail $27
Dark ruby color with appealing cherry, red currant, damp earth, vanilla and a bit of dried herb aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, intense with very lively acidity and a smooth texture with ample cherry, red currant, cola and baking spice flavors. Has in interesting hint of salinity. Delicious! 14.3% alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – Retail $24
Violet color with lifted baked cherry, lavender, dark chocolate, and brambly aromas. With some time in the glass takes on a bit of savory aromatics. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and well structured showing lively acidity, a smooth texture and soft well-integrated tannins with black cherry, red currant, and spice flavors with a very giving finish. 13.7% alcohol.  This is a well balance food friendly Zinfandel. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2011 Carlisle Grand Noir Dommen Ranch – Retail $19
Inky purple color with black fruit, dried mushroom and white pepper aromas that are more savory than fruity. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with vibrant acidity, and slightly tannic with ample blackberry, black currant, plum fruit flavors, along with spicy and earthy notes which give the wine a rustic character. Long finish. Approachable now, but will benefit from further aging. This wine’s acidity makes it food friendly, and it has savory character to it. Would have paired nicely with a burger or steak…or a veggie burger made with portobello mushroom! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2014 Château du Rouët Côtes de Provence Cuvée Réservée Tradition – Retail $15.99
Pale salmon color with peach skin, strawberry and cherry aromas. On the palate it’s fresh with peach, tart strawberry, and cherry flavors with a bit of minerality and a solid finish. Nice value at $16  I enjoyed this with Very Good; 86-88 pts

Wine of the Week

It was a wonderful week for wine.  I always enjoy trying new to me grapes/wines.  The new to me grape I tried this week was Grand Noir de la Calmette (a.k.a. Grand is a 1855 cross of Petit Bouschet with Aramon noir. It’s a teinturier (from French, meaning to dye or to tint) grape, meaning it’s red-fleshed and red-juiced (red grapes typically have clear juice). The Carlisle Grand Noir was wonderful, but needs more time IMO.  On the other side of the time equation was the Dashe Cellars Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, a blend of grape from throughout Dry Creek Valley.  It’s their entry-level Zin with a few years aging on it, and it’s showing beautifully now!  My first Rosé from Provence this year was very good.  It’s one I haven’t previously tried.  I’m not sure I’d buy another bottle.  Not because this because I didn’t like this one…I’ve have quite a few more from Provence and other regions I’d like to try…

My Wine of the Week is the 2011 Urban Legend Barbera Cooper Ranch

Urban Legend is a small urban winery located in Oakland, California near Jack London Square.  The winery is owned and operated by husband and wife team of Steve and Marilee Shaffer.  As is so often the case with small wineries, the two had other careers before deciding to pursue their winemaking dream.

Marilee’s  past careers include academic research to discover effective bacterial vaccines, development of molecular cloning methods with a focus on DNA sequencing, and biotech equipment sales engineering and marketing (ask about her exhibit at the Smithsonian). Steve had a career in engineering, with designing computer and telecom systems.

Urban legends are remarkable but often apocryphal stories that spread like wildfire. Urban Legend is a winery in a city—almost an apocryphal story in itself—that makes remarkable wines.

What I’ve appreciated about Urban Legend over the years is their focus on producing wine from Italian grape varieties.  On my first visit, on the strength of a recommendation from a friend, I specifically went to taste there outstanding Teroldego.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

More recently they’ve diversified their lineup to include producing wines from Rhone grapes.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend stopping by for a taste!

IMG_3137 From the winery…Cooper Ranch is set in the rolling hills just outside of Plymouth, California, full of Amador’s rocky, red granite soil. Dick’s father, Stan, began planting Barbera here in the late ’50’s, far ahead of everyone else in Amador County. Some of the vines date back more than 50 years to these original plantings. Like an old vine Zin, the Coopers head train their Barbera vines, a strategy that, while labor intensive, concentrates flavors while maintaining bright acidity.

My Food and Wine Pairing of the Week is the 2014 Château du Rouët Côtes de Provence Cuvée Réservée Tradition with Courgette & Goat Cheese Ciabatta.  Rose and Goat Cheese.  Need I say more?

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. 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.