#WineWednesday Review: A Taste of Robert Mondavi Napa Valley

From time to time, I receive wines samples for review from wineries or their public relations agencies.  I feature such samples on here on #WineWednesday Review. This week I’m featuring (a.k.a. catching up on samples;-) trio of current releases from  Robert Mondavi Winery collection of Napa Valley wines.  

The Winery

The Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 by Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential and esteemed winemakers in California history (Click here for his story).  It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley. For decades it was California’s most famous winery.  It was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004.

It’s a beautiful property with classic California mission-style architecture, with an expansive archway and bell tower.  I must confess I haven’t been in a long time.  I recall visiting on one of my first trips to Napa.  Nowadays, I tend to visit the smaller wineries.  But, I’ve been impressed with their reserve wines.  I’ve also been impressed with a few of their entry-level wines  In particular the Napa Valley Merlot, and the Private Selection Meritage provide very good to great price quality performance.

The wines

Robert Mondavi’s original vision was to produce wines from the Napa Valley that would stand in the company of the world’s finest. These wines are sourced from the finest appellations in the Napa Valley including Oakville, Stag’s Leap, Carneros and other select vineyard sites. The wines are blended together to create wines of complexity and elegance made possible by the diversity of these vineyard sites.

2013 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc

The Original Fumé Blanc. Robert Mondavi created the term in 1966 to distinguish his dry Sauvignon Blanc from the sweeter-styled Sauvignon Blanc wines made at the time. It’s a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc & 10% Semillon. Napa Valley – 89% (61% Wappo Hill Vineyard, 20% To Kalon Vineyard) and Mendocino County – 11%.  14.5% alcohol; Retail – $20

Sixty percent of the juice was barrel fermented for added richness and complexity, with eight percent in new French oak. The balance underwent a cool fermentation in stainless steel to heighten the vibrant fruity and herbal flavors. The new wine was aged for five months in 60-gallon French oak barrels, sûr lie (on the yeast lees) and hand stirred twice a month for a creamy texture and seamless integration of flavors. The addition of 10% Semillon gives the final blend a broader mouth feel and enhanced complexity.

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My tasting notes follow:

Pale yellow with a green hued color with grapefruit, white flower, and low-key grassy aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, fresh and nicely balanced with grapefruit, key lime, and a kiss of herbal flavors. Lengthy finish.  This is my kind of Sauvignon Blanc! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Pair with: Mussels in White Wine.  We did, and it was a fabulous pairing!

2012 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The wine is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, & 1% Malbec  14.5 alcohol. Retail – $28 

The new wine was drained and gently pressed into 15% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, assuring seamless integration of fruit and oak. The final blend was assembled through repeated tasting trials over the 16 months of barrel aging, and bottled in June of 2014

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My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with aromatic, blackberry, black currant, a bit of tobacco, eucalyptus and violet aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and well made with an appealing texture, dusty tannins, and good acidity with blackberry, black currant, black cherry, and a hint of dark chocolate flavors. Lingering sweet finish.  Approachable now, it should age well in the short-term (2-5 years)   Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Pair with: Short Ribs Bourguignon or your favorite burgers!

2013 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir

Sourced from the Napa Valley side of the Carneros growing area

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My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with restrained raspberry, red plum, earth and a bit of spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied showing a nice balance of fruit, acid and tannins with raspberry, strawberry, a bit of plum, earth and pronounced spice flavors. Med finish. Very good; 86-88 pts

Pair with: Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin or Cedar Plank Salmon

These wines are a great example of the advantages of a winery the size of Robert Mondavi – economy of scale, and breadth of their offerings. They produce wines at all price/quality levels along the wine spectrum from budget to super-premium wines.  There’s something for everyone!

I want to highlight the value these wines offer. I was especially impressed with the value both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Cabernet Sauvignon offer. Both are wines I’d highly recommend!  

Wines provided as a samples for review.  Many thanks to Folsom & Associates & Robert Mondavi Winery

Follow my wine reviews on Vivino and Delectable

__________________________________________________________________

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; 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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 19th, 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 April 19th, 2015.

2011 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands - Retail $25
Ruby color with muted earth, plum, cranberry and spice aromas. A tad hot. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with a supple texture and plum, cranberry, and spice flavors. Medium finish. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Copain P2 - Retail $25
Interesting 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Reminds me a bit of Beaujolais. Strawberry, a bit of cherry and hints of floral and spiced orange rind aromas. Strawberry, spice mineral palate with a bit of tannins. Very nice chillable red that very good on its own, but really shines with food! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast - Retail $20
Dark ruby color with black fruit, charcoal, olive and a bit of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s fresh with well-integrated dusty tannins and an appealing smooth texture with high-toned blackberry , plum, a hint of black raspberry, bittersweet chocolate flavors, and a lingering savory graphite laced finish. 14.4 alcohol Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week 

It was a busy week for us!  We went out three night to either an event or dinner with friends.  Which means we didn’t drink as much wine as we usually do.  The standout Wine of the Week is the 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Sonoma Coast. 

Bedrock Wine Co. (“BWC”) was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him a couple of years ago.  They now happily have a little more space to move around in but share the same objectives that guided the winery at the start.

The winery’s objectives are:

  • To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines. They make fabulous field blends!
  • To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast. This wine is exhibit “A” .  It offers amazing value, and makes me want to drink more Syrah
  • To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.  A Bedrock Cab won our wine tasting clubs blind tasting a couple of months ago in a landslide!
  • To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.  BWC makes a vin gris style  rosé that is a perennial favorite!
  • To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.  BWC makes an outstanding Albariño, as well as other distinguished white wines
  • To dream big but keep production low!  Not mentioned here, but they’ve managed to keep the prices very fair (so far) even as demand for their wines is increasing.

I’m a fan…Bedrock is crushing it in my book!

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

Follow my wine 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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of April 5th, 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; and my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for the week ended April 5th, 2015.

2010 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Sauvignon - Retail $48
Dark ruby color with plum skin, dark cherry, low-key spice, dark chocolate, and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, lush and concentrated with solid acidity and plum, blackberry, black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate and vanilla flavors with well-integrated dusty sweet tannins. Medium finish. Blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon (from the Home Ranch, Ghielmetti Estate, and Smith vineyards), 12% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot. Aged 24 months in 75% new oak, a blend of 52% French, 43% American, and 5% Hungarian barrels. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Urban Legend Barbera Rosato di Barbera Holland Landing - Retail $19
Deep pink color with wild strawberry and low key wet stone aromas. It’s more interesting on the palate. It approaches medium-bodied and is dry and fresh with strawberry, tart cherry,spice and mineral flavors. Medium finish Very good; 86-88 pts

2012 Smith Madrone Riesling - Retail $27
Very pale slightly green tinged straw color with appealing petrol, stone fruit, lime, wet stone, and a hint of lychee aromas. On the palate it approaches medium-bodied and is dry, clean, focused, and well-structured with peach, lime, passion fruit and mineral flavors. Long persistent finish. 12.5% alcohol. Made from 40 year old vines. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon - Retail $48 
Opaque violet color with very appealing baked and fresh dark fruit, smoke,marzipan and violet aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, and well structured, with very good acidity, dusty well-integrated tannins and a supple texture. It shows ample high-toned red currant, baked blackberry, black raspberry, spice and vanilla flavors with a roast coffee finish. 14.5% alcohol. Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto Colli Bolognesi Classico Vigna del Grotto - Retail $23
Slightly cloudy gold color (unfiltered) with lime zest, honeysuckle,and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, and very persistent with a wonderfully supple texture. Flavor-wise it shows white peach, lime, honey, a bit of lemon and a suggestion of persimmon flavors with a long mineral laced finish. Bottled unfiltered. Battonage during 6 months sur lie aging in large oak casks impart some complexity and a wonderful creaminess. 13% alcohol Very good; 86-88 pts

Wine of the Week + Food and Wine Pairing of the Week 

My Wine of the Week is from Big Basin Vineyards, which is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager)

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  That’s the location of their estate and winery.  They also have a tasting room in Saratoga, which is where I’ve always gone to taste and pick up wine (Note to self: I must make it up to the estate in the SC Mountains!).

Big Basin Vineyards is among the 32 of California’s top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers to be represented at In Pursuit of Balance – one of the only wine tasting organizations in the US today that carefully selects it’s members through juried blind tastings by respected professionals.

The 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Cab was sourced from the Betchart Vineyard, directly across the road from Ridge’s Vineyard’s world famous Monte Bello vineyard, at 2,200 feet of elevation above Cupertino. The Syrah is from Coastview Vineyard at 2,300 feet in the Gabilan Mountains.

It’s one of the best Cab/Syrah blends I’ve ever had!

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My Food and Wine pairing of the Week was the wine we had for our Easter dinner – the 2012 Vigneto San Vito – Orsi Pignoletto.  It paired beautifully with our dinner of Roasted Halibut, King Crab legs and a Spinach Salad. It’s a wine a wine I discovered during my virtual tours of Italian wine regions with the #ItalianFWT group of food, wine and travel bloggers.  This Pignoletto, is a white grape variety indigenous to the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s a fantastic wine – full-bodied, creamy and fresh.  Highly recommended!

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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 29th, 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 29th, 2015.

2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Blanc - Retail $22
Gold color with a just a hint of haziness with quince paste, honey, sweet spice, baked stone fruits, aromas with a bit of earthiness. On the palate, it’s full-bodied with a lush mouthfeel and lively acidity with ample quince, baked peach, honey and spice flavors with an appealing vein of minerality and a lingering sweet finish. 13.9% alcohol Very good QPR at $22! Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2007 Ehlers Estate Merlot St. Helena - Retail $45
We purchased a couple of bottles of this wine while in Napa a few years back.  We consumed the other bottle about 2.5 years ago.  The wine has aged well. It’s a violet color with blueberry, leather, graphite red currant, caramel and vanilla aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, elegant with great texture and good acidity with ample blueberry, red currant, vanilla and graphite flavors, and a lingering sweet finish Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands - Retail $20
Ruby color with a hint of heat and cherry, spice, and caramel aromas on the palate its medium bodied and fresh with ample baked cherry, cranberry, cola, caramel and spice flavors. Med sweet finish. While I enjoyed it this wine, it was showing its age. Very good; 86-88 pts

2013 Antichi Vinai Etna Petra Lava - Retail $19.99
Ruby color with vinous red fruit, spice, wet gravel, and a hint of violet aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, dry and fresh with abundant cherry jolly rancher, strawberry, and spice flavors with complemented by an appealing minerality and fine-grained tannins. Lingering finish Very good; 86-88 pts

Wine of the Week + Food and Wine Pairing of the Week 

My Wine of the Week is the 2013 Dashe Cellars Grenache Blanc.  Dashe Cellars is an urban winery located in Oakland, CA.  My wife and have been in their wine club for many years. Come to think of it, it’s the wine club we’ve been in the longest.

I think Dashe flies under the radar a bit, but Mike and Anne Dashe are great winemakers. They make very good to excellent wines that are well-structured and fairly priced.

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This wine is a great example.  It’s the first time Dashe has produced Grenache Blanc (which seems to be trending).  The fruit for the wine is sourced from the Monarch Mine Vineyard, almost 3000 feet up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It’s a visually impressive vineyard, with extremely steep slopes and bright red, rocky soil onto which the vines cling. The altitude and climate allow the grapes to mature while keeping a bright acidity, ideal conditions for creating this wonderful wine.   It a blend of 95% Grenache Blanc, and 5% Roussanne.

Our Food and Wine Pairing of the Week featured this wine paired with a salad and Stuffed Pasta Shells with Shrimp, Crab and Lobster.  This is such a food friendly wine because of its acidity.

And hey – It’s not everyday I get to use quince paste as a description for a wine’s aromas and flavors!

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.

Wine Tasting Club Blind Tastes 12 Cabs!

Last week, the most recent tasting of the Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club(“PPWTC”) featured a blind-tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Our wine-tasting club has done tastings of Cabs before, but this tasting was a bit different because we increased the purchase price limit to $40 (It’s usually $25).

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We had a very good turn out for the tasting.  After our “Happy Hour”, where we socialize, eat and drink, we got to tastin’!

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The photo depicts the tasting order of the wines. Top Row (left to right)1-4 Middle Row (left to right) 5-8, and Bottom Row (left to right) 9-12

Here’s how our tasting went down:

  • Club members asked to bring a wine of their choice priced up to $40
  • All wines are tasted blind
  • Tasters are required to score all wines
  • The wines are scored based on 4 criteria (aromabody, taste, and finish) - each on a scale of 1-5 (1-low; 5-high). Therefore minimum score = 4 points and maximum = 20 points
  • Both average and median scores are calculated.  The winner determined by highest average score.  The median score used as tie breaker, if necessary

We tasted 12 Cabs.  Napa Valley dominated the field (7), with one each from Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Valley, Paso Robles, Washington State (Columbia Valley), and Bordeaux (St. Julien)

We had 18 tasters including two “newbies” who enjoy wine, but are just getting started on their wine journey.  The vast majority of tasters were experienced wine lovers who have been enjoying wine for many years.

And the winner with an average score of 16.6 was… 

  • 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon Bedrock Vineyard 

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 The runners-up in the order of finish (including average score) were: 

  • 2010 Moonstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Westside (13.6)
  • 2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford (13.2 )
  • 2012 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (13.1)
  • 2012 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon (12.7)
  • 2012 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (12.3)
  • 2012 Stags’ Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (11.6)
  • 1997 Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain (11.6)
  • 2012 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis (11.5)
  • 2010 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (11.1)
  • 2010 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley (10.6)
  • 2009 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru (10.2)

I enjoy blind tastings.  It removes preconceptions about  wines while presenting the opportunity to rate wines in a peer group setting.

Ah, but where there is a blind tasting, there is virtually always a surprise. That is the nature of blind tasting, a capricious endeavor if there ever was one

What was most surprising about this tasting was the dominance of the Bedrock over the other wines.  Not only did it receive the highest average score in the 5 year history of our wine tasting club, the margin of victory over the #2 wine was the largest we’ve had.  Finally, it was the favorite of 2 out of every 3 tasters! And that never happens!

Further, if you consider the fact that over half the wines were from Napa Valley (and some well-regarded names too – B.V., Frank Family, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars come immediately to mind), and the fact the first and second place wines were from Sonoma Valley, and Paso Robles respectively…Well that was unexpected!

To use an analogy from Cabernet’s heartland on the Left Bank of Bordeaux—if Napa Valley is Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux, and even St. Estephe, then Sonoma Valley is Pessac-Leognan. There are few excellent spots for Cabernet varietals to thrive, but when they are right, the can climb to their own unique organoleptic heights. – Bedrock Wine Co.

On this Cab Night, Bedrock ascended the mountain, vaulted the competition, and planted the Sonoma Valley flag at the top!

_________________________________________________________________

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.

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

Open That Bottle Night (“OTBN”), created by former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, is the one night a year that we are all encouraged to get out that bottle of wine that is so special that no occasion seems special enough to actually open it.

While it’s great to open that special bottle of wine and share a meal, what makes OTBN so special for me is making memories with friends!

My wife and I have been celebrating (and hosting) Open That Bottle Night (“OTBN”) since 2010.  After a magnificent OTBN dinner last year, one of the wine-loving friends offered to host OTBN this year.

My wife and were looking forward to this particular couple hosting OTBN because they are the consummate host and hostess.  He usually does the heavy lifting in the kitchen, while she create beautiful tablescapes, makes to die for desserts (especially chocolate, but you name it, she nails it when it comes to sweet treats!), and does the little things that make guests welcome and set the stage for a memorable evening (like the sign below).

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

When they host you know you’re going to get a restaurant quality meal complete with appetizers…and they’ve got a wonderful wine cellar!

I must tell you, it was very gratifying to have no OTBN angst this year!  Once I found out what was on the menu I immediately knew which bottle I’d bring

Aside from my wife and I, there were two other couples.  Each couple brought a special bottle for the evening.

In true high-style fashion, we started the night with a mouth-watering collection of appetizers that included cheeses and…Champagne!

Two actually…

The Delamotte was the crowd favorite (I discovered that Delamotte is the sister house to one of the world’s best luxury Champagnes - Champagne Salon).  It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  The Chardonnay for cuvee is sourced from Salon’s grand cru vineyards, and drinks above its $35 price point.  The Rose de Riceys a rare treat from the Aube region of Champagne was also very good.  It brought to mind a sparking Burgundy.

Note: You can check out my detailed tasting notes on the OTBN wines we shared by clicking here, or on the hyperlinked name of the wines

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

After polishing off a couple of bottles of Champagne, and plenty of appetizers, it was time for dinner.  On the menu:

  • Grilled beef with Sicilian herb sauce over
  • Wild mushroom risotto and peas
  • Aged Gouda Chive Popovers

The meal was fabulous!  My personal favorite part of the meal was the Wild Mushroom Risotto!  I had… (well just you never mind how many helpings I had;-)

The wines served with the entrée were as follows:

Of the initial wines served (there was a bonus bottle later…I’ll get to that), I thought the Pio Cesare Barolo was the wine that paired best with our meal.  And it was phenomenal with the risotto!

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

Of course, all the wines were wonderful.  And there were a couple of notable stories behind the wines.  The Mollydooker Carnival of Love was the Wine Spectator #2 Wine for 2014. And the 2003 Guardian Cellars (the bottle with no label) was the first ever wine produced by Guardian Cellars. It was brought by the owner/winemaker’s brother who helped bottle it. And it was his last bottle!

As the evening advanced, and the warm glow love, laughter, and not necessarily cultured badinage about love, life and children flowed like so much wine…our host decided it was time for some more wine!

Off to his cellar he went and came back with a fabulous bonus bottle!

After we’d pretty much polished off the wine, and each of us was in that sweet spot between being happily sated and falling into a food coma…

This happened!

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

The Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte which was paired with a 2008 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Moscadello di Montalcino Pascena.  

It was my first time trying this amazing dessert wine from Tuscan wine village of Montalcino,a region renown for Brunello. Its historic roots date back to the Renaissance when it was considered a “divine” wine. A nectar of the Gods!

It’s a late harvest style dessert wine made from local grape Moscadello, (a local form of white muscat) grape.  It’s an opulent, yet vibrant wine with intoxicating, perfumed aromas, and it was excellent paired with the dessert!

Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW

This is what happens when you’ve maybe had a wee bit too much wine, and there’s a selfie stick!  Happy OTBN my friends!

As Saturday turned in the Sunday, me being the wino I am, I wondered which wine(s) were the favorite(s).

I noticed there were three empty vessels of wine.  It’s been my experience that the empty bottles(or decanters) will tell you which wines were folk’s favorites.  Based on the “empty bottle” hypothesis, the evening’s favorite wines(in order served) were the Pio Cesare Barolo, Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz , and the Mark Ryan Long Haul.

It was an awesome evening of empty bottles, filled hearts, and cherished memories. And isn’t that what Open That Bottle Night is really about!

Be sure to check out these special pairings and cherished memories  from my fellow #winePW bloggers!

If you are catching this post early enough, you can join our live Twitter Chat on Saturday, March 14, at 11 a.m. ET, via the Twitter hashtag #winePW. If you’ve come to us after March 14, consider joining us for #winePW 11 focused on wine pairings for early spring vegetables hosted by A Day in the Life on the Farm on Saturday, April 11.

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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.

Wines At Our Table; Week of March 1, 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 1, 2015.

This week’s wines include wines we enjoyed at a phenomenal Open That Bottle Night (“OTBN” – which is celebrated the last Saturday in February every year) dinner hosted by friends. There were 8 of us and we (mostly) consumed 8 bottles of wine.

A bottle of wine each…Sounds about right! Right?!

2011 JC Cellars Marsanne Stagecoach Vineyard - Retail $38
Pale gold color with tropical fruits, melon, stone fruit, butterscotch and jasmine aromas. On the palate, it’s fat with a plush texture and melon, nectarine, peach, pineapple and brown spice flavors. This is a cocktail wine. Not necessarily a “bad” thing, but not the style I prefer. We paired it with Pansit one night and roasted Asian style Perch. It was OK with each 15% alcohol. $38 retail. Very good; 86-88 pts

2008 Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard - Retail
Medium ruby color with muted damp earth, cherry, and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and fruit forward with a silky texture, soft well-integrated tannins and intense ripe baked cherry, cranberry and hint of cola and spice flavors accented with some Green Valley minerality. Medium finish  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

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Delamotte Champagne Brut - Retail $35
Light lemon color with a persistent bead. Opened with aromas of toast, yellow apple, stone fruit, chalk, and hazelnut. On the palate it’s shows a delicate mousse, nice focus and apple, a flash of peach, citrus, chalk and a hint of ginger flavors. Lingering finish. Blend of 55% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir and% 10 pinot meunier. Aged 3 years and included 25% reserve wines. Very good QPR for $35!  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Guy de Forez Champagne Rosé Les Riceys - Retail; Unknown
Very pretty deep pink color with plentiful tiny bubbles and fresh cherry, raspberry, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with great energy, and easy cherry, raspberry and mineral flavors. 100% Pinot Noir from 2010 vintage. 70% of 2 day semi-carbonic maceration, and 30% direct to press Pinot Noir Very good; 86-88 pts

2004 Pio Cesare Barolo - Retail $55
Dark red brick color with complex, and expressive blackberry, dried rose, tar, mushroom aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, well-balanced and focused with a silken texture and chewy tannins with red fruit, sweet spice, and leather flavors and a bit of minerality. Long finish. The wine was aged in French oak casks (70%) and smaller French oak barrels (30%) 14% alcohol Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2003 Guardian Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stillwater Creek Vineyard - Retail; Unknown
Medium garnet color with restrained cherry liqueur, red currant, and cedarwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with solid acidity cherry, subtle red currant, vanilla and spice flavors and a lingering finish.  This bottle didn’t have a label because it was the first vintage ever produced by Guardian Cellars.  The owner’s brother is a friend of ours and helped with the first bottling.  Very good; 86-88 pts

2006 Mann Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Mannstand Vineyard - Retail $21 
Garnet color with appealing black cherry, blackberry and a hint of earth aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied with blackberry, cherry, and bit blueberry and spice flavors. Medium finish. Very good; 86-88 pts

2012 Mollydooker Shiraz Carnival of Love - Retail $97(Avg. on Winesearcher.com)
Violet color with exuberant dark fruit, white pepper, roasted meat, and hints of olive tapenade and eucalyptus aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and ripe, yet elegant with very good acidity, soft well-integrated tannins, and luscious blackberry, black cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and spice flavors. Long finish. 16% alcohol Aged in 100% new American oak. Approachable now, but will benefit from further aging. Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2008 Mark Ryan Long Haul - Retail; Unknown
Garnet color with black and red fruit, dried rose, cacao and spice aromas. On the palate, it medium bodied, and fresh with well-integrated tannins and blackberry,red berry, vanilla and spice flavors with a complementary minerality. Blend of 63% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec from Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Kiona, and Hedges vineyards. Aged 20 months in French oak (81% new). Outstanding; 92-95 pts

2008 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Moscadello di Montalcino Pascena - Retail; Unknown
This late harvest wine of White Muscat was a real treat from a land known for their reds (Brunellos and Rossos) It poured a beautiful gold color with an intoxicating perfume of peach, apricot, dried orange peel, orange blossom, aromatic spice, and honey aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, yet very fresh with luscious and utterly delicious, peach, apricot, honey and spice flavors. Long finish. Outstanding; 92-95 pts

Wine of the WeekIMG_1747

Since this week’s wines included the eight wines we enjoyed for Open That Bottle Night, there is a plethora of Wine of the Week candidates! The Delamotte Brut, which is a sister Champagne house to iconic Salon was outstanding.  And it’s all Grand Cru fruit. I highly recommend it!  In terms of the still wines, they were served in the order of my tasting notes above. The Pio Cesare Barolo was amazing with our meal of Grilled beef with Sicilian herb sauce over wild mushroom risotto (especially the risotto!) which made it my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.  Although the dessert wine with our dessert of Tripe Chocolate Mousse Torte was also a fantastic pairing.  I highly recommend the Tenuta Col d’Orcia Moscadello di Montalcino Pascena. It was my first Moscadello de Montalcino, and it’s an outstanding dessert wine.

In terms of the other wines, it’s been my experience that the empty bottles(or decanters) will tell you which wines were folk’s favorites.  And there were three empty vessels at the end of the night – the Pio Cesare Barolo, the ‘08 Mark Ryan Long Haul, and the Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz (It was the Wine Spectator #2 Wine for 2014).

My Wine of the Week was 2012 Mollydooker Shiraz Carnival of Love.  It’s a big, bold yet elegant, and complex wine that is flat-out delicious!

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
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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.

Wines At Our Table – Week of February 8, 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.  Here are my Wine of the Week; and Food and Wine Pairing of the Week for February 8, 2015.

2012 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera - Retail $28
Opened with restrained baked raspberry, spice, cherry and earthy aromas and flavors. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied with mouth-watering acidity. It got better with some time in the glass. This is one my wife’s faves, but I don’t think it delivers on the value front. Very food friendly. It was a surprisingly good pairing with Beef Bulgogi.  Very good; 86-88 pts

2011 Onesta Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard - Retail $29
Consistent with prior tasting note. Dark red color with an appealing mixture of musk, black cherry, strawberry aromas with a hint of caramel. On the palate it light-bodied moderate to very good acidity and fresh raspberry, strawberry, spice and a bit of mineral flavors. Medium finish. Paired well with Asian Style BBQ Chicken! Sample received for review. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Martinelli Road Vineyard - Retail $38
This is a beautiful wine!  It’s aromatically complex with raspberry, cherry, tons of spice, and whiffs of candied citrus rind, and dust. Raspberry, cherry, and intense baking spice flavors aromas that explode on the palate are nicely balanced by very good acidity, and dusty soft tannins. Elegant character with a supple texture. Long finish. Last tasted 2 years ago. Just got better with time.  Outstanding; 92-95 pts

N.V. Franck Bonville Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru - Retail $40
Pale yellow-green color with abundant tiny bubbles and pretty white flower, green apple, brioche, citrus, chalk, and a hint of sweet spice aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied and very dry with a delicate mousse, and a soft, fresh lemony with a bit of lime acidity that’s intermingled with a bit a salinity and with golden apple, pear and lemon rind flavors.  Long finish.  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91 pts

Wine of the Week IMG_1600

It’s rare that my wife and I have wildly different opinions about wine, but that was the case with the Jacuzzi Barbera.  She loved the wine and I think it’s “Good” but overpriced. Having said that Barbera is a great food wine and it paired very well with left over Beef Bulgogi.  The Onesta Cinsault is produced from the 129 year-old Bechtold Vineyard. I first “accessed” the wine in September last year using my Coravin.  It  tasted just as fresh as that first sample I accessed. I’m a fan of Carlisle Winery & Vineyards.  They make some “big” wines, but they always seem enough acidity to keep the fruit on the rails. Such was the case with the Martinelli Road Zinfandel, the only wine I rated outstanding this week. My Wine of the Week though was the Franck Bonville Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru. It’s a grower Champagne located in Avize. They farm about 50 acres of vines in the Grand Cru districts of Cramant, Avize, and Oger. It’s a Blanc de Blanc style made with 100% Chardonnay.  It was dosed at only 2.5 g/L, and aged about 5 years on its lees. Such a harmonious, and pure wine. It was a fantastic paired with our Sunday afternoon lunch - Oysters on the Half Shell. The two are my Food and Wine Pairing of the Week.  

In fact, the Champagne was too good! We polished off the bottle for lunch!  If that’s not a Wine of the Week, I don’t know what is!

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

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

A Taste of the Tuscany Coast #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 we’re exploring Tuscany!

Exploring Tuscany Through Food and Wine

Unlike last month’s “tour” of Emilia-Romagna, I’m pretty familiar with Tuscany.  It’s one the largest wine regions in Italy,and arguably its most well known.  Tuscany is situated in central Italy and stretches from the Apennines in the east to the emerald Tyrrhenian Sea in the west.  It famous for its endless rolling hills, artistic heritage, medieval villages and stand-out cities like Florence.  Tuscany’s reputation as of one of  Italy’s foremost wine regions is based on iconic wines such as ChiantiBrunello di Montalcino , Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Super Tuscans.

On My Plate

Being familiar with Tuscan red wines, I wanted to try something different and try a Tuscan white wine.  A search of my favorite wine shop came up with Vernaccia.  And when I looked for a dish to pair with Vernaccia, my attention was drawn to the less well-known Tuscan Coast.  There in the port city of Livorno, you will find Caccuicco alla Livorna, a popular traditional seafood dish with a history that stretches back at least five hundred years. Its name probably comes from the Turkish for ‘minute’ which is ‘kuciuk’. It reminds me of my beloved Cioppino, which is believed to have its origins in San Francisco. Game on!

DSCN0803

This “bottom of the boat” seafood stew delivered “top shelf” flavor (especially the octopus)! I think it has an earthier, more savory character than Cioppino, which I really enjoyed.  And the recipe is definitely a keeper!

Cacciucco (Tuscan Seafood Stew)
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
 
This Tuscan soup traditionally uses fish considered "bottom of the boat"—those left behind after more valuable fish have sold.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves
  • ½ tsp. red chile flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 12 oz. calamari, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 12 oz. baby octopus, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (14-oz.) can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 (1-lb.) monkfish filet, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 (1-lb.) red snapper filet, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 12 oz. large shell-on shrimp
  • 12 oz. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 8 (1″-thick) slices country-style white bread
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add parsley, sage, chile flakes, and 4 cloves garlic, minced, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add calamari and octopus, and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir well, and cook until paste has darkened slightly, about 1 minute. Add wine, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes along with their juice, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until seafood is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add monkfish, and cook, covered, until just firm, about 5 minutes. Add snapper and shrimp to the pot and scatter mussels over top. Cook, covered, without stirring (so as not to break up the seafood), until the snapper is just cooked through and the mussels have just opened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Toast bread, and rub liberally with remaining garlic clove. Ladle stew between bowls, over bread or with bread on the side.
Notes
I made a few substitutions due to lack of availability of ingredients. I substituted sablefish, wild dover sole, and Alaskan spot prawns for monkfish, red snapper and shrimp.

In My Glass

I headed back inland to the small medieval village of San Gimignano for my wine.  San Gimignano, located north of Siena in the heart of Tuscany is home to Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Vehr-NAHCH-ya dee Sahn Jee-mee-NYAH-noe). The “city of the beautiful towers”, as it is often called, has been a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. 

763-295-san_gimignano_tuscany_city

Vernaccia-based wine from San Gimignano has a long history, and since the Renaissance period has been considered one of Italy’s oldest and most noble wines.  (Source)

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The Vernaccia di San Gimignano was a milestone of Tuscan wine-making.  It was the first national wine (1966) to get the DOC classification, (Appellation of Controlled Origin). In  upgraded to DOCG status in 1993.  It’s the only white wine DOCG in Tuscany.

IMG_1521

My tasting notes follow:

Light yellow-green with lime, and tangerine, wet stone and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with an ample texture,  with lime, tangerine, and a bit of spice flavors with a surprising and pleasing touch of tannins. Long mineral driven finish. 13% alcohol. Great QPR at $16! Will buy more!

This was my first taste of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a rare tannic white grape variety, but it won’t be my last.  The wine was outstanding and it was great pairing with the Caccuicco!

Our Tuscan journey doesn’t stop here.  Join all of our other bloggers as they share with you their experience through the region of Tuscany.

Join us next month on Saturday March 7th as we travel to the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in the northeastern part of Italy in the Dolomite mountains.  For additional Italian related blogs on the food, wine and travel of Italy stay tuned to #ItalianFWT on Twitter throughout the month.  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.