Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Good Earth

Like many people, lots of wines I try are recommended by people I know. When I mentioned to a friend in California a bit back that I was doing a post on organic wines, she mentioned Bonterra wines. I made a note of the name but with quite a few wines already tried for my post, I put them on the back burner. Once I tried them, I really wished I hadn’t!

Bonterra means “good earth.” And the folks at Bterra Vineyards take that pretty seriously. Located on 378 acres in Mendocino County, CA, Bonterra’s McNab Ranch has been raising organic grapes since 1987. According to their web site, they “let the land and the fruit tell them what to do.” When they started in 1987, they were just experimenting with wine and food pairings. Once they tasted how wonderful the bounty was, they committed themselves to growing organically. They claim they are one of the first major vineyards in CA to commit to organic and sustainable practices. Today, a natural balance is created between the soil, animals and plants. They are regulated by the government and independently certified to ensure they remain organic.

They also use Biodynamic™ practices such as cow horns filled with manure that are buried to ripen over the winter. They dig them up in the spring and use the manure to fertilize the vineyard. They have found that only natural horn products produce the correct results.

OK, as fascinating as all this might be, let’s get to what you all really want to know about…the wines. Bonterra has quite a few, both red and white as well as a rosé. I would have loved to try them all but then this article would have gotten long and probably sloppy. I did try four of them and I will have to save the rest for another time.

Their 2008 Rosé was the first one I tried. I had bought it for $9.99 at our local ABC Wine Country. I opened it with my husband and a friend of ours. We drank it alone while simply hanging out. It was a beautiful deep pink color with the aroma of berries. It was dry with a crisp acidity. I detected hints of strawberries and melon with a small hint of spice. Our friend proclaimed it “Delish”and I had to agree. I have already bought another bottle and I can’t wait to open it.

I then moved on to the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that I had purchased at Total Wine for $11.99. 81% of the grapes in this wine come from Mendocino County while the other 19% come from Lake County. The wine is aged in both American and French Oak barrels. When I poured it, the aroma of cherries and dark berries were the first things I noticed. These also carried over to the taste and were joined by cranberry and a hint of vanilla. There was a bit of spice with soft tannins and a nice lingering finish. I drank it alone but Bonterra suggests pairing it with osso bucco or grilled meats such as hanger steak. They suggest several other pairings as well and I can’t wait to buy more and try them out.

Next came my favorite variety, Sauvignon Blanc. It was a 2009 vintage which also came from ABC and cost $9.99. Like the Cabernet, the grapes for this wine come from two different counties with 60% coming from Lake County and 40% from Mendocino. The aroma of citrus was quite noticeable. It was mixed with a tropical aroma as well that was reminiscent of kiwi. I detected grapefruit in the taste as well as a bit of melon and green apple. It was light-bodied with a crisp acidity. Bonterra recommends pairing it with sautéed chicken, grilled shrimp and steamed clams. I drank it with a simple grilled chicken breast, a salad and roasted vegetables. It went well together so I plan to try some of their suggested pairings.

We moved back to the reds for the last wine, the 2007 Merlot. This wine is also barrel aged and light oak comes through in the taste. It had delightful aromas of cranberry and chocolate. My husband noted right away that it was “fruity” and I agreed with him. We both really liked it. In fact, my husband is already on his second bottle. We drank it with grilled flank steak. Bonterra recommends pairing it with a roasted meat ragout, grilled pork tenderloin as well as several other grilled meats. Given the fact that my husband is on his second bottle in only about a week, I think this will go onto our list of wines that we buy regularly.

These 4 wines are just a sample of the wines Bonterra offers. It seems they have something for everyone and I, for one, can’t wait to try the rest of their wines from the “good earth.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who Doesn’t Love A Cupcake

I first heard about Cupcake Vineyard wines when a friend of mine brought one over as a hostess’ gift. The variety escapes me at the moment but my husband and I both liked it. Then, it kind of went off our radar for a bit. Once I started blogging about bargain wines, it went on my lists to try again and then blog about.

First, a little background on Cupcake Vineyards. According to their web site, the winery itself is located in Monterey County, CA. The grapes for their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot come from California’s Central Coast. The grapes for their Sauvignon Blanc come from the Marlborough Valley of New Zealand. The wines are fermented in stainless steel and then aged in American oak barrels.

Now, whenever I see an advertisement for Cupcake Chardonnay, it always has this little blurb attributed to James Laube of Wine Spectator who gave it 88 points, “You’ll be hard pressed to find a better $13 Chardonnay than this Central Coast bottling.” Well, I have NEVER seen it selling for $13. I think the most I have ever seen it priced is around $10. I bought it on sale at our local ABC Wine Country for $5.99. Our local Total Wine & More sells it for $7.97 all the time. Either of those prices is fine with me!

OK, enough about the price. Let’s talk about the Chardonnay itself, which was a 2009 vintage. When I first poured it, I instantly detected the aroma of apples with a hint of tropical fruit. Both of these carried over to the taste. I also tasted a hint of lemon. It had a bit of spice and a touch of oak with a smooth finish. The bottle recommended serving it chilled with crab cakes, seared Ahi tuna or French Bread and Cheese. I drank it alone but made careful note of these suggestions and I plan on trying the pairing with tuna soon. You really can’t beat the price of the wine and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

Encouraged by how much I liked the Chardonnay, I moved on to my favorite variety, Sauvignon Blanc, also a 2009 vintage. I had bought it at Total Wine for $7.97. As I mentioned above, the grapes for this variety come from Marlborough Valley, New Zealand. The bottle said that due to the cool weather, the grapes mature slowly which gives them a “complexity and a vibrant zing reminiscent of a lemon chiffon cupcake.” Hmmm, now who could resist THAT? As I poured the wine, I immediately detected the hints of citrus, mainly lemon and lime. When I took the first sip, I noted how bright and crisp it was. It seemed perfect for a warm Florida fall evening although I have to say, I didn’t find it reminiscent of a lemon chiffon cupcake. The citrus hints carried over to the flavor with lime jumping out at me more than lemon. I was even more pleased with this variety though the fact that it is my favorite may have had something to do with that. It immediately went onto my keepers list. The bottles suggested serving it with oysters on the half shell or with a creamy lobster risotto. So, for the sake of further research, I plan on pairing it with BOTH in the future!

The last variety I tried was the Cabernet Sauvignon, my favorite red variety. I purchased this one at Total Wine as well. All their Cupcake wines were priced at $7.97. This wine was 2007 vintage. Aromas of berries and currants were the first things I noticed but I also detected floral hint after a few seconds. As for taste, the tannins were a bit strong and it was a bit too acidic. My husband noted the same thing since he tends to be sensitive to that. The berries and currants came through in the flavor along with a musty hint…tobacco, maybe? Overall, I have to say it’s unlikely I’ll buy this one again.

I will definitely be buying the white varietals again. I may give the reds one more chance and try the Merlot. After all, who can resist a cupcake?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Drinking Green Without Spending A Lot Of Green – Part Two

Welcome to part two of my series on affordable organic wines. I learned a lot of interesting things about organic wines and green practices while doing this article and I am so glad to be passing them on since so many people find these traits to be important in the products they buy.

Out of all the wines I tried, there was one lone French wine. The full name was Chateau de Nages Costieres de Nimes Rouge from the South of France. In other words, it’s a French Red Rhone wine...”an unoaked classic Rhone blend” to be specific. A 2008 vintage, this wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. I bought it for $9.99, a great value!

This wine is not only made from organic grapes but it is also sustainably farmed. The bottle boasts, “…we believe in an ‘Earth Friendly’ approach. Natural fertilization and grass seeding in the vineyard have greatly reduced our need for disease control and given out wines a unique ‘terroir’ signature.” The wine was medium-bodied with hints of dark berries and cherry and I detected a hint of herbs, possibly rosemary? It had ripe tannins and a slightly spicy finish. Serving recommendations on the bottle were Mediterranean cuisine, grilled meats and roasted chicken. My husband and I enjoyed ours with grilled sirloin steaks which made a wonderful combination. My husband really enjoyed this wine so it will definitely go on our list of regular buys.

All of the other wines I tried came from Sobon Estates located in Amador County, CA. The Sobon web site was a wealth of information on these wines and the sustainable practices of this family owned vineyard. The decision to grow sustainably came in 1989. The family spent a winter researching and then began using as few chemicals as possible. The site states, “Our growing practices have evolved over the years, and today we employ complimentary plantings, beneficial bugs, and other natural growing techniques that we believe encourage healthier grapes and better tasting wines.” On their bottles, they say they are proud of their sustainable practices which include solar power generation, composting of winery and paper waste, as well as maintaining wildlife habitat and natural pest control, cover cropping and erosion control, recycling and social responsibility. In 2007, the vineyard installed a solar power system which supplies 100% of the electrical needs of the vineyard and its operation. Since its installation, their carbon footprint has reduced to the point to where they are more than carbon neutral which means they are eliminating more carbon dioxide from the environment than they use. They even sell carbon credits to other industries. This vineyard seems to be the definition of “green!”

And their wines are wonderful. The first one I tried was the 2008 Sangiovese which I bought for $9.99. Technically, it’s a blend of 91% Sangiovese, 7% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Syrah. The wine had the aroma of fresh berries which carried over to the taste. I also detected a hint of eucalyptus and spice. It’s a medium bodied wine that Sobon recommended pairing with Italian dishes, antipasto and pizza. My husband and I drank it alone but we plan on buying it again to try with some of the suggested pairings.

The second Sobon wine I tried was the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc which also retailed for $9.99. Now, Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite variety so I was VERY excited to try an organic one that was such a reasonable price. And I wasn’t disappointed. The aromas of crisp citrus were very inviting. I tasted hints of citrus as well, specifically grapefruit with maybe a hint of melon. It was bright and crisp and would probably go wonderfully with seafood. This will probably become my “go to” Sauvignon Blanc.

The last Sobon wine I tried came from their Vicious line which Sobon calls their “recession fighters” although I bought the 2008 Vicious Red for the same price I bought their other wines…$9.99. This red was a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Zinfandel, 19% Petite Syrah and 5% Malbec. The wine starts out fruity and has a spicy finish. Sobon suggests enjoying it with chicken, beef or pork. Hubby and I enjoyed a glass with grilled NY strip steak, a wonderful pairing.

And with that, I end my venture into organic wines but I have to say, with so many of them out there, they will likely pop up in future articles. The idea of being able to drink wine from vineyards that are determined to reduce their environmental impact is very appealing to me and I am delighted I can do it within my budget!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zolo, Coppola and Rioja...Oh My!

Man, I am really having trouble thinking up catchy titles these days.  Oh well, I tried.

As many of you know, I have a new blogging gig on Zane Lamprey's Drinking Made Easy site.  Some of my posts here will correspond with my posts there.  But I'll still be doing standalone posts here since I try to keep a theme on his site but here, not so much.  And today is no exception.  I have 3 wines to tell you about that, well, have nothing in common, really.  So, here goes.

The first wine I'd like to tell you about was actually chosen by my dear husband, Brian.  We picked up up at ABC Wine Country for a wonderful $9.99.  It was a 2009 Malbec by Zolo in Mendoza, Argentina.  The bottle said, "Our Malbec grapes are selected from our estate vineyards located in the best wine-growing regions of Mendoza.  Located at various altitudes, each of these terroirs (OK, I had to look this means that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that region.) provides a wonderful expression of fruit and varietal concentration."  Umm, OK so the grapes come from several different places with each place being at a different altitude with grapes from each part lending a different quality to the wine.  At least, that's what I THINK that means.  Anyway, the wine is aged in oak for 6 months and that comes through a bit in the taste.  I also detected hints of dark berries and plum.  I detected an almost flowery hint in the aroma.  It was an okay wine that seems to taste better after it had been open a bit so it probably just needs to breathe.  Brian seemed to like it so it's likely one we will get again.

The second wine is from the vineyard of famed movie director, Francis Ford Coppola.  Specifically, this was a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from his Diamond Collection.  We picked this one up at ABC as well and it was $10.99.  Now, I think I've said this before but Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite white wine by FAR.  So, I love trying new ones.  This grapes for this wine, like the one above, come from several sources.  This wine is fermented in stainless steel to help retain the crisp acidity.  And crisp and acidic it was, but not overwhelmingly so.  It was also very bright and tasted of tropical fruits such as pineapple, as well as citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit.  It had a definite tropical fruit scent.  Recommended pairings were goat cheese and field greens, roast chicken and grilled fish.  I paired it with Spaghetti With Peas And Pancetta by Tyler Florence, which has goat cheese in it.  The pairing was WONDERFUL.  In fact, I just posted that recipe on my recipe blog today if you want to check it out.  I will definitely be buying this wine again.

The last wine I want to tell you about is a 2005 Rioja by Bodegas Arviza Crianza from Fuenmayor, Spain.  Wow, that's a mouthful!  This also came from ABC and retailed for $10.99.  This Rioja is blend of Temparnillo, Graciano and Garnacha.  The bottle boasts that the wine is "aged in oak barrels for 12 months in one of Rioja's oldest Bodegas, within ancient tunnels of the 16th century, built by hand with Roman flagstones."  Cool, a history lesson too!  I detected plum and cherry in the aroma with a bit of vanilla in the background.  It tasted of berries with a bit of spice and an almost smokiness with a bit of oakiness.  It was very different but in a good way.  The bottle recommended serving it at cellar temperature and serve with cheeses, pasta and all meat dishes.  We paired our with grilled flank steak and it went very well together.  Brian and I both likes it so this will also go on the keeper list!

Well, that's all I have for now.  My next post on DME should be up by this time next week and I'll post it here as well.  Happy drinking!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drinking Green Without Spending A Lot Of Green – Part One

“Going Green” is a rapidly growing trend. It seems everyone is getting into buying organic, hormone free, wild caught and sustainable foods. The list goes on and on. But the downside is that going green tends to cost more green. I shop on a budget so I have my list of which fruits and veggies really should be bought organic and I try to plan meals so I can get the most bang for my buck. I had never really thought about drinking organic wine. I mean, I knew they were out there but I just figured they cost too much. But on a recent trip to my local Total Wine, I realized I was wrong. They had a HUGE display of organic wines from all over the world as well as many different varietals. Many of them were quite reasonable. So I loaded up on some research and got started.

The first two wines I tried were from Verdant Circle in California. I tried to do some research but I couldn’t find out much about them. They did have a Facebook page so I joined that and I was able to get a little more information to use when I sampled the wines.

The first Verdant Circle wine I tried was their Chardonnay. The bottle cost $9.99. The bottle indicated the grapes came from a vineyard in Mendocino County. According to their Facebook page, “Verdant Circle Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel and barrel aged for four months to emphasize the fresh fruit flavors of the varietal. The finished wine has a steely, mineral structure with a backdrop of tropical fruit, citrus and peach flavors. Extremely versatile, our Chardonnay pairs well with wild hook and line caught salmon and other high omega-3 fish oil seafood.” I didn’t pair it with anything because I wanted to get the full experience of the wine mainly because I’m not a huge fan of Chardonnay. I did detect passion fruit and pineapple in the aroma. The taste was very pleasant. I detected hints of orange and peach with a touch of passion fruit. Overall, I enjoyed it very much and it made me rethink my stand on Chardonnay. It was definitely something I would purchase again.

The second one I tried was their Pinot Noir. Now I will be honest, the price was a BIT more than my usual limit. It cost $14.99. The Verdant Circle Facebook page said, “Verdant Circle Pinot Noir was grown, produced and bottled from our Windmill Ranch in the Arroyo Seco appellation. Made from three different grape clones and aged in French oak for six months, the finished wine has black cherry and plum fruit with a spicy nutmeg and cinnamon backnote. Soft and rich with a light tannin overlay, this Pinot has a nice lingering finish.” The Arroyo Seco appellation is located in Monterey County. Again, I drank the wine alone to get the full experience. I definitely detected plum fruit in the aroma as well as cherry and blackberry. These carried through to the taste and I also detected what tasted to me like pumpkin pie spice. I am fairly new to pinot noir so I am still feeling my way around that variety but the spice taste was a bit much for me. I may try it again paired with red meat, perhaps, to see if I feel any different. But given the price, I am in no rush to try it again.

The next two wines I tried were by Releaf Wines, located on the West Cape of South Africa. Releaf’s bottle stated that their “growers use sustainable agriculture to produce hand harvested, organically grown grapes.” It also stated they use partially recycled glass for their bottles and labels that contain sustainable ink and recycled paper. After doing some research, I found the web site for Organic Wine Trading Company which is Releaf’s importing partner. The site said that Releaf was started in 2001 on an old, neglected grain farm. The property had been uncultivated for 17 years and was used only for grazing cattle. No chemicals, pesticides or herbicides had been used on the land for 24 years making it an ideal spot to start growing organic grapes. Sounds like it would be perfect for hard core organic lovers and according to the site, it is also vegan although I’m not sure how a wine wouldn’t be vegan. But, what do I know?

The chenin blanc was the first wine I tried. It retailed for $7.99. I drank it alone at first but then I paired it with grilled chicken and risotto. I thought it went quite well together. It had a delightful aroma of melon, kiwi and tropical fruit, mainly pineapple…at least to my nose. Both of these carried through to the flavor that had the perfect amount of acidity. I also detected a hint of grapefruit. To me it seemed like a very good summer wine that I will likely buy again.

I then tried their Cabernet blend which retailed for $8.99. It was a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Shiraz. It smelled of cherries and blackberries and tasted of the same with a hint of plum and maybe a tad of vanilla. It was light and very smooth. The bottle indicated would pair well with red meat or vegetarian dishes. I drank the first glass alone but paired the second glass with bacon wrapped filet. It went perfectly together. My husband liked it as well so it went on the keeper list.

So, as you can see, you can drink green while spending only a little green. And this is only the beginning. I have several more wines I still need to try so stay tuned for part two!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching Up Part II

See, I told you I would be doing this more regularly. I do it for myself as much as anyone else so I can use it as a reference because God knows with Mommy brain, I can't remember anything.

My first wine today is another Chardonnay. Like I said, I am giving them another try after not really being much of a fan. This one is a 2008 By Star Tree. It's from the North Cape of South Africa and my trusty Total Wine had it for around $8. This particular Chardonnay is unwooded. It was a lovely cleat slightly deeper yellow. The aroma was that of tropical fruit and the taste was light and crisp with hints of pineapple and citrus. It had a long, smooth finish. I drank it alone but I think it would be perfect with chicken or shrimp.

My next wine is a Pinot Grigio which is another wine I kind of got away from for a bit. It wasn't because I didn't like it I just didn't think to buy it. This one was a 2009 by Kiwi Cuvee and came from Germany although it seems their different varieties come from different countries (although none from New Zealand despite the name). The color was a medium straw yellow and it had bright aromas of apple and pear. It was slightly sweet at first and them became slightly acidic which balanced out the fruit flavors. I drank it alone but I think it would go well with spicy or Asian food.

A few weeks later, we also tried Kiwi Cuvee's 2008 Pinot Noir which was from the Loire Valley of France. It was deep garnet in color with aromas of berries and a hint of cherry. It was well balanced with a hint of sweetness with light tannins in the finish. We drank it with flank steak and it was lovely pairing.

My last wine for today is also a red. It's a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon by Brisandes which is located in the Colchaqua Valley in Chile. It cost just around $10. It was a deep burgundy with a lovely aroma of dark berries and currants. It was fruity and well balanced with flavors of cherry and a soft tannin finish. I drank it alone but pairing recommendations included barbecue and red meats.

OK, enough for today. My kids are making me buts and I think it's about time to pour a glass of wine!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Have Some Catching Up To Do

Yes, I'm back. I apologize for the extended absence but life gets crazy at times. I have tried MANY new wines since I last posted. I have tried to journal as many as I could so I could blog about them and I have quite a list so I guess I better get to it!

The first one is a white from Argentina. Maipe winery is in Salta, Argentina which is in the Lerma Valley in the foothills of the Andes. The winery is named for the Lord of the Winds in ancient Andean Indian Culture and the bottle label reflected this. The variety I tried was their 2009 Torrontes (I blogged about another Torrontes below) and it was about $10. It was a pale yellow with wonderful floral aromas. It made me think of summer. I also detected hints of citrus, mainly lemon and orange as well as hints of peach. It was refreshing with a bright acidity, and plenty of body. It was pleasantly fresh with fruit and citrus notes. I drank it alone but it would be wonderful with seafood such as shrimp or scallops. It would be lovely with spicy food as well.

The second one is a red by Anakena in the Aconcaqua Valley in Central Chile. I often drink the Sauvignon Blanc (which I blogged about below) so I thought I would give their 2008 Carmenère a try. It was VERY reasonable at around $9. The color was a beautiful deep read...almost a dark cherry color with aromas of dark berries and chocolate. It had a fruity palate with a nice, spicy finish. I drank it with steak but other recommendations were game, pasta and cheese. It went very well with the steak.

The last one for today is a Chardonnay. Now, I was never a real fan of Chardonnay but I decided to give it another try. I picked up 2008 Muirwood Chardonnay from Monterey County at Total Wine for around $10. It had aromas of citrus and was bright and acidic with tropical fruit flavors and hints of butter. It had a nice smooth finish. I drank it alone but it would be wonderful with grilled chicken. It renewed my faith in Chardonnays so I will definitely be trying more.

I have tons of other wines to catch up on so there will be more very soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Everything but the...

Kitchen Sink. Kitchen Sink is the name of 2 wines I tried last week. Total Wine had them on display for a couple weeks so I finally picked up one of each...a white and a red. They were just under $9. They are American wines, from Santa Rosa, CA.

I'll talk about the red first. They call it a red table wine and it's a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. I was a rich red color and had the hint of blackberries. IT had a smooth, slightly sweet finish. I drank it with flank steak but it seemed a little too sweet to be a good pairing. I will definitely buy it again.

The white was equally as good. Like the red, it's called a table wine and this one is a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Gewurztraminer. I thought it would also have a slightly sweet finish like the red, given the Gewurztraminer, but I was wrong. It was light and fruity with hints of melon and an almost floral scent. It had a nice finish. I drank it alone but I think it would go well with shrimp or other light seafood dishes. I would also buy this again.

I'm sorry my posting has been spotty. I do have 2 more wines to blog about, hopefully later this week. I am going to try to be more regular with my posting. Happy drinking!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Branching out

I seem to be trying more reds these days. Maybe that's because lately if I buy white, it's one of my stand-by's. But they say red is better for you so I am trying to branch out a little more. I had a couple of really good reds over the weekend that I want to share as well as a local white.

The first red I picked up at my trusty Total Wine. It's a French Pinot Noir by D'Autrefois and it was $10...not too bad. It was very smooth with a nice finish. It was light and medium bodied with flavors of raspberry and blackberry. Very earthy. I drank it alone but it would go great with red meat or even turkey. Hubby liked it a lot as well.

The second one is one I have actually had before but it was either before I started this blog or I forgot to blog about it. It a South African 2007 Cabernet by Man Vintners. I got it at Whole Foods for $7 so it may be less other places though I haven't really looked for it anywhere else. It was bold and with the aroma of red berries and a hint of oak. I also detected currants. It had a smooth finish and was very good with a red sauced pasta meal. It would probably be great with red meat too.

Now the local white is from Lakeview Winery and Vineyard in Clermont, FL which is about 45 minutes away from where I live. I haven;t been there yet but I hope to go this spring. Our Total Wine carries all their wines so I picked up their Southern White which was labeled as a premium table wine. It cost $9. Now, I will admit it was NOT what I expected. I expected a dry to semi dry wine. Nope, this was sweet...very sweet, very similar to Moscato. It was smooth and flavorful with fruit aromas though they were tough to distinguish. I checked the label AFTER I tried it and it said it had a SLIGHTLY sweet finish much like Muscadine grape. There was nothing slight about the sweetness. The label says it would be a perfect match with cheeses, fresh fruit and rich desserts and I am inclined to agree. I drank it alone but I think it would be a great dessert wine.

I am starting Weight Watchers on Monday so I will probably be sticking to wine when it comes to drinking so that should help me with my "research." Ha ha!

Monday, February 8, 2010

G'Day Mates!

I think by now you have all figured out that when I go to my local Total Wine, I often try their specials at the front of the store. And so far I have been pleasantly surprised. So, I continued that trend the last time we went. They had several varieties from Gumdale on display, all for $7. Gumdale is in Southeastern Australia and is named for the eucalyptus or gum trees that surround the winery. I decided to try a white and a red so I chose the Pinot Grigio and the Shiraz.

I tried the Shiraz. Shiraz is my second favorite red, behind Cabernet. I drank it alone and it was lovely. It was full-bodied with hint of berries and plums. It was spicy with a slightly sweet finish. Total Wine recommends trying it with barbecued pork so I may do that next time I get it.

The pinot grigio was just as good. I detected hints of pineapple and citrus. It was crisp with a clean finish. I hadn't had pinot grigio in ages so it was nice to find a new one that was good. I think this would be great with light grilled dishes in the summer like veggies or seafood.

That's all I have for now but I do have several more new wines I have picked up to try, including one local to the Orlando area. I'm working my way through them and will update soon. Happy drinking!

Monday, January 25, 2010

All Over The Globe

I have been expanding my horizons and trying more reds. I am partial to cabernet sauvignon but I thought I would expand and try some new varietals. I also picked up a new white wine I want to share as well.

I'll start with a chianti. Now chianti is not new to me but it had been awhile since I had some and I was making homemade tomato sauce and I figured that would be a great addition. So I picked up Fratelli d'Italia Chianti which was $8. I used it in the sauce and then had it later with the dish I made with the sauce (Braciole). It was very good for an $8 wine with an aroma of plums and a fruity aftertaste. It went well with the Braciole.

The second red I tried was one I had actually seen on TV. I am an AVID fan of the show "Three Sheets" with Zane Lamprey. It's on Fine Living and I LOVE it and him. On a recent episode where he went to South Africa, Zane visited a winery that made a wine out of grapes similar to those grown in Rhone. He also had goats that he claimed could pick out the best grapes so as a play on Côtes du Rhône he called his wines Goats Do Roam. I tried the Western Cape Variety. It was $8 at our Total Wine and I was eager to try it. It was excellent...a nice, earthy red with light tannins and a hint of cherry. I drank it alone but I think it would be good with tomato sauce based dishes. The winery also makes a white and a rosé which I can' wait to try.

As you may have guessed from a couple of my other posts, if I see a display with a wine that is, well, cheap, I try it. I figure why not? And so far, so good. This past Friday night Total Wine had a display up front with bottles of Nobilis Vinho Verde from Portugal. It was $7 so I grabbed one. I was pleasantly surprised by how different it was. It was very light, crisp and slightly acidic with a little sparkle. I imagine it would go well with seafood. I drank it alone and could see myself enjoying it on a hot summer night. This will definitely go on my list of regulars. You can't beat the price!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Mixed Bag

Over the last couple of weeks I have tried a few wines. I am behind on blogging about them. I need to be better about that.

We tried several new sparkling wines. I picked up a bottle of the Rondel Pura Raza Semu Seco Cava which was a steal at $8. It was very good. Sweeter than the other Pura Raza, as the name suggests which I like better. We also tried the Rosé Semi Seco which was excellent and was also $8. We picked up another rosé cava at the same time as the non rosé Rondel. It was Marques de Monistrol Rosé Brut. It was a little more at $10 but also very good. My husband prefers Brut so he liked it a lot.

My husband is a fan of red wine and as you already know, I like it well enough but I prefer a good white. He picked out a new cabernet sauvignon...a 2005 Steel Creek Cabernet which was $10. We had it with flank steak and I have to say, it was really good. It was full-bodied with a taste of blackberry and hints of pumpkin pie spice. I would definitely get it again.

The last new one we tried was a white by Mendoza Station which is in Mendoza, Argentina in the foothills of the Andes. It was on display at Total Wine and was selling for $6. I thought "What the heck?" They had both reds and whites on display so I picked up the 2008 Torrontes which was a variety I had never tried. It was excellent for a $6 wine. It was full bodied and had hints of rose and orange peel. I drank it alone but it the label indicated it would go well with grilled vegetables or seafood dishes so the next time I pick it up I'll try it with one of those.

Well, that's all for now but I have 2 reds that I will be trying this week and I will try to be blog about as soon as possible. In the meantime, happy drinking!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Red, Red Wine

I will freely admit that I prefer white wine over red but I do appreciate a good red, especially with red meat. I picked up a couple new ones and tried them over the last week and I found both of them to be very good.

The first one I tried was a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Lotus Winery in California. I served this with our New Year's Day dinner which was prime rib with mashed potatoes and Caesar Salad. It was very flavorful with hints of berry and cocoa. It was slightly on the sweet side and had a smooth finish. It went very well with the prime rib. It was also a tremendous deal at around $8.

The second one I tried was a 2009 Malbec by Cruz Alta of Mendoza, Argentina. I drank it alone but the recommendation is that is wonderful with grilled meats. It was full-bodied and well balanced with hints of plum. The bottle was around $10. I will definitely get it again and try it with grilled meat.

I slo wanted to pass along this article that I found after my New Year's Eve posting. I wish I had found it before.