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“Regardless of where in Italy it comes
from, good Italian red wine speaks directly to the soul, and the gut, of place
and people and food and love. And that’s just the beginning; great wines
embrace the head as well.” ~ Eric Asimov
Many of us already know or have already
experienced to some degree or the other that Italy is home to thousands of
varietals, so many in fact, that it’s
easy to lose count. It’s with that thought in mind that I bring to you
today a tasting, I experienced not long ago that will take you not just outside
the box, but far beyond. To the point you may just need a GPS device to find your way back home.
Yes, further than the reaches of the well known areas
like Tuscany, boasting of its Sangiovese and Piedmont in the north flaunting its Nebbiolo, I’m going
to take you on a mini-tasting adventure where volcanic soils dominate the
palate profile. This tasting adventure, took my taste-buds on ride through two very interesting producers vineyards in southern Italy. Ciro Biondi from Mount Etna in Sicily and the other is Cecilia Naldoni from the Vulture appellation in the region known as Basilicata.
Although so-called scientists say there is no verifiable measure to identify what we vino-sapiens refer to as terroir. But you can definitely [easily] smell and taste the tell-tale signs of volcanic soils influence on the wine in your glass and I think most people can. This is a generalization, but in my experience, most of white-wines from these regions have notes of struck-flint and in the red wines, you often times think you're standing over a campfire roasting marshmallows.
So with no further ado, you have my tasting notes below on the wines I experienced from the tasting. Now did I like every wine, well yes and no. Each wine was unique, nuanced and some may have fared far better with the presence of the right pairing-partner.
2009 Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio: A blend of two white wine grapes, featuring 80% Coda di Volpe and 20% Falanghina. A very light hay color in the glass, much like a light colored Sauvignon Blanc. The vines are grown in a grey volcanic soil which closely resembles, 'grapenuts' cereal. The nose was very flinty, abundant wet-stone and a lemon peel aroma in the background. After the first slurp, still more lemon peel and wet-stone, a distant rich citrus and spice on the finish, it left me thinking this wine would pair nicely with schnitzel. 87 points.
2011 La Sibilla, Falanghina, Campi Flegrei: Again the glass, a light hay colored core. The nose giving off citrus rinds, honey and wet-stone. After the initial splash down, honey dew melon rinds, wet sand and a drop of honey drizzled over citrus rinds. A very light bodied wine, begging for a food pairing of some kind. Perhaps a some wild caught herring in a lemon-butter, cracked-pepper sauce, hanging out with a bit of spinach rotini. This is an "organic" wine. 85 points.
Contrade di Taurasi 2010 Grecomusc' Bianco: Now this was a very interesting wine, only 300 cases of it in all the world, a wine produced from the nearly extinct grape called Roviello. This was my very first time giving this wine a swirl and I didn't really know what to expect. The color was a bit darker, than the two above, like wet-hay. Described as a drink now and drink often wine not suited for aging purposes. The nose was a bit elusive, a bit like smelling envelope that had just arrived in the mail, where it was obvious the carrier had just finished off a gala-apple before hand. A few slurps in, lots of apple peels, lemon flower, more honey-dew rinds, of course wet stone and adequately plumbed with acidity. 87 points.
Villa Dora, Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso: The Gelsonero a delightful blend of 80% Piedirosso and just 20% Aglianico. A wine made in an 'organic' farming style, but not certified. In the glass, a dark and enticing dark ruby color. The nose is crazy inviting, a hot strawberry compote or cherry filling which had drop on a hot stove, interesting florals and match stick. A few slurps later, a rich but not overwhelming flavors flow like a fountain, cherry, plum, raspberry and dark plum-skins. Just hints of pepper and clove drop by for a few moments, soft tannins join the party as well. This wine would definitely make a tasty accompaniment to meat-based pasta dishes, as on it's not too-fab on its own. 89 points.
Contrade di Taurasi Aglianico 2005: This is a 'declassified' Aglianico from Taurasi. It sports most of the distinctive flavors of the area, the blackberry and dark plum fruit balanced with fresh acidity, but missing the campfire aromas I normally associate with these wines. It did a savory character of dark fruits but a bit more distant then I like. Though it had a style I associate with volcanic soils, it was more far lean in overall flavor than most Taurasi wines. 87 points.
Aglianico del Vulture 'Damaschito' 2007: This wine is a brilliant representation of Aglianico and is certified organic. In the glass you can see from the bright nearly dark plum-skinned core, this was had additional skin contact. The nose was rich and inviting, herbal, campfire, ripe blackberries and plum. This is a beautifully "textured" wine that had me at the first sip. Nothing but well integrated tannins, framed over a medium body delivers mouth coating flavors of black cherry and cracked black pepper and the finish seems to go on and on. As you can tell from my excitement, this wine was my favorite of the day. 91 points.
But as I've said before, when asked about this tasting these wines, I found them all to be a bit esoteric, but don't take my word for it, check them out for yourself. These wines were featured as part of a tasting by Oliver McCrum Wines an importer of fine Italian wines. Until next time folks sip long and prosper cheers!
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wines…are known to enjoy mingling with oxygen after having been corked up! But newly
freed vino thus unfurls its charms by being poured from one container to the
next for an invigorating rendezvous with aeration." ~ Andrea Immer Robinson
Many thirsty vino-sapiens
out thereon the purple paved highways and byways ask the age-old question do
you really need to ‘decant’? For many it’s an easy answer and still for others
if they must, then they would prefer a short-cut, after all we live in an “App”
oriented culture today, which is just the fancy way to say it's a shortcut. Face it we live in a culture today that wants fast cars and fast foods, one that wants everything in a microwaved minute. Soit should not be anysurprise that alternatives to traditional 'decanting' have come on the scene.
First let’s examine the
basic well known purpose or reason behind the supposed need to decant wines. The
simple reasoning behind pouring wine from the bottle into a larger vessel is
done for the purpose of allowing the wine to “breathe”.
But what does that mean; it’s
a way to bring out the wines rich aromas and hopefully mellowing tannins, to
hopefully create a smoother finish and a better experience. This is said to be accomplished,
the wine to have more room to interact with oxygen, far more than just by
uncorking the bottle.
Now the claim by Vinturi the
[short-cut] wine aerator, is that it supposedly achieves the ideal mix
of wine and oxygen with each pour, no fuss and no muss. Just pour the red wine ofyour choicethrough the
device from the bottle into your hopefully clean and lint free stem and you're ready to go.
Vinturi does offer separate
models for red and one for white wine and now even one for spirits oh-my. Claiming it’s for the purposes of optimal
aeration for every sip, slurp and maybe even the eventual gulp. While testing
this product over the last 60 days on many different bottles of red-wine I
really didn’t see a measured result that would make me think ‘wow’ this is the
product I’ve been waiting for, my days of decanting are over, woo-hoo.
But on the other hand I
did see a small, but appreciable difference between the wine that had been through the
Vinturi and wine that had not gonethrough it at all, so there is something to it. Even Mrs. Cuvee gave it her “good” rating. Speaking
of good, it’s well to remember, when holding the Vinturi, try not to put your
fingers over the holes, otherwise it just defeats the purpose. Second, don’t
let it fall into your stem or you’ll be picking up a lot of glass later.
While I won’t be tossing
my decanter aside anytime soon, I will still be using the Vinturi for some of
the simpler reds which I think could still benefit from a bit of “instant
aeration”. But that said, I think big red wines likegrand, aged Barolo for example, may need to be opened the night before and poured into a traditional decanter. The reason being; so that the wine can be decanted several hours before it's even close to being ready or risk a wine that's just too tight to want to come out and meet you.
Other places and or moments
where I think this product [I'm sure there are more] would come-in very handy would be on picnics,
backpacking and even those impromptu entertaining moments which many of us call
What comes in each
package, the Vinturi Aerator I received as a sample comes with a convenient
stand to store in between uses [but don’t forget to clean the well out often].
It also comes with a screen to grab any sediment which may attempt to make its
way to your glass, a good thing unless you like crunchy wines.
This product cleans up
easy and is easily transported. They also offer it in a smaller size for the
savvy vino-sapiens [ladies] who’d like to keep one in their purse. The prices for
this product can be widely different; I’ve seen it for as much as $60 all the
way down to $30. If you can find one in the lower price range, I’d recommend
grabbing one for the arsenal of otherwine gadgets you may already have. Until next time folks remember to
sip long and prosper cheers!
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"The nature of a wine production is first influenced by the ground, then the skies, then by mankind." ~ Louis Bouillot
Ray's wines like the 2009 Maison Ilan Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru, sell for $175.00. It has been said about his efforts there in 'The Pour'; "The wines are elegant, fresh, structured and graceful — astoundingly so, given they were made by a novice".
If you liked the video and want to read more about his story, here's a write-up I found in the NY Times, An American Hears the Call of Burgundy. I hope you enjoyed this video and Ray's story as much as I did, until next folks remember sip long and prosper, cheers!
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"Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn
from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."- Julia Child
Here it’s Thursday the launching point for
whether or not you’ll have a successful weekend or perhaps not so much. I mean
on Thursday’s you can see the weekend from where you’re seated, standing,
gyrating or what ever it’s you do while at work. The point is; it’s nearly here and it’s time
to figure-out and or firm up those plans that you may or may not have.
Seeing it’s nearly the weekend, you don’t want to
have to fuss too much about tonight’s dinner plans; you're most likely hoping for
something quick and easy, but what? Well I have something [an idea really] that
will make you look like a freaking super-star chef, something that could even
make the wild-eyed Chef Ramsey slow down his fist-pumping and wagging tongue
for just moment possibly.
Okay, maybe not. But I would like to think so for
a moment, so don’t go getting all ‘judgey’ on me, by being a buzz-kill. Just
take this ride with me a moment and you’ll see that even the most slack-jawed
vino-sapien in the audience can rock thisrecipe with class and style. Okay, so
here’s the very simple Thursday night recipe, it’s Chicken Piccata. It’s a
dish which will pair marvelously with the 2010 Treana White Central Coast
Rhone Blend, asample I [inadvertently] received from my new friends at Jarvis Communications and Hope Family Wines.
Now if you don’t happen to have access to
this wine and you happen to have some Sauvignon Blanc lying around, you may
want to go in that direction for this pairing, but I wouldn’t go with anything
too grassy, I think a Sancerre would get the job done nicely.
And yes for crying out-loud even Mrs. Cuvee gave
this pairing her highest recommendation, saying it was “good”.Which if you don’t know her, that is indeed
high praise. So now you have just grab afew things to do in order to be ready
to make this wonderfully easy and tasty dish. Either you know you have the
needed items at home and ready to go or you may have topick-up a few things on
the way home, either way this is still easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
So here again isthe recipe; the one which I followed
and since I almost always have these items on hand, there was no need to rush
here and there. I just added abit of prep work the night before and bingo I was ready
to make an easily executed Thursday night meal. Personally, I went a bit lighter
on the capers than the recipe calls for, but that is just my personal
preference. And oh on the sauce, the recipe seems to skip over the point about
heating it until most of wine is evaporated and feel free to plate with the fettuccine pasta of your choice.
Now about the wine, it’s a blend of two Rhone varietals, half Marsanne and the other half
Viognier which was partially barrel, fermented. Now with just half of
the blend being Viognier, no doubt accounting for much of this wines dramatic exotic
tropical fruit aromas and flavors, which bounce like a quarter on freshly made army-cots.
There’s a definite lemon blossom thing going on, front to back, with just a drop of honey.
On the palate you’ll find this wine full bodied and round in the
mouth without being at all flabby, with a crisp, clean, lingering finish. A
wine made to easily pair with food, a wine that is a team player. I scored this
wine an easy 90 points and can highly recommend giving it a swirl. It has a $21
SRP but the savvy shopper can find this wine price below $18. Until next time
folks remember sip long and prosper cheers!
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Poetry is just the
evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard
If you find yourself out and about on the Orgundian Wine Trail, looking around for a great place to visit while in the Carlton area, then may suggest a visit to the off-the-beaten path Carlton Winemakers Studio. It could be described as the breeding grounds, where some the very best wine in Oregon is coming to fruition.
In having visited this great little spot to get my wine on in a big way a few years ago with the fetching Mrs. Cuvee; I'm reminded of the many pioneers in the wine biz who have gone before with nothing more than a few dreams in their back-pocket with only the sheer determination and pure resolveto see them realized.
In fact there was a poem written in 1874
called "Ode" by the English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy the
line "We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams"
which I think best sums up for me the styles of wine one can expect to find from a visit to one of my favorite spots in the Carlton area.
Now I can't say
you're going to like each and every wine you encounter here, but you should
expect the unexpected. I say that becausein thisuniquely "green" [not
in color] building, neatly tucked away in the town of Carlton [a winemaking hub],liesahumongous
cooperative winemaking facility founded by Eric Hamacher, where you'll find as many different styles of wine as the winemaking itself.
It'sa shared-facility which often
houses 10-12 different artists or as some people like to call them winemakers and to be fair; everyone’s wines are
featured on a rotating basis intheir tasting room which you see above.
All of them sharing a space under one roof, onewhich has producedmanyof my favorite Oregon producers. It's alsowhere, oneits long time residents Andrew Rich produces so many tasty wines it would be difficult to name them all here. But please click here to see a list of his current offerings from the Northwest inspired Rhone-Zone collection and other favorites.
Lest you think the Rhone-Zone is his only bread and butter; Mr. Rich also has a deft-hand when it comes to Oregon's signature grape. Check out the 2008 Andrew Rich "The Knife Edge" Pinot Noir or his 2009 Andrew Rich Prelude Pinot Noir for example, a wine which recently made the Portland Monthly coveted "Top 50 Wines” list.
I like how theSeattle Times Wine Advisor describes this unique winemaking studio; "It's a great one-stop opportunity to taste through some of the newest and rarest of the region's offerings, and a lesson in green engineering to boot.” Of course you're going to find great Pinot Noirs, Pinot Gris, but like I said earlier expect to find a few other nice surprises along the way, remember the words ofCoco Chanel who once said; "There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony."
Now unfortunately for me, even though I did visit Oregon earlier this year, I'm still a bit behind on who's who in the studio these days, but don't let that stop from paying them a visit the next time you find yourself in the area. Until next time folks, remember life is short, get out there, discover and find something new. Until next time,continue to sip long and prosper cheers!
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It has been said that, "[proposing] lofty goals without
specifying the nuts
and bolts of how they are to be achieved" (Village
Voice) can be a fool hardy proposition.
I would have to say after tasting more than a few of the wines from Herman
Story in Paso Robles, that whatever goals Mr. From may have, lofty or not, that when it comes to making wine, which makes
me and many other folks say, “WOW” I must conclude he has exceeded them in spades.
If you are a big fan of wine from the Rhone-Zone [aka, Paso Robles]
like I am, then do yourself a favor and check into Herman Story. You can find
them on the other side of tracks in Paso Robles, which is something I’m sure really
agrees with Russel P. From, their winemaker and proprietor. If you find
yourself in the downtown area, drive down 13th street toward the 101 and
then make a right
lefton Paso Robles
street, don’t go too fast or you’ll drive right
by them [and yes its street parking].
Once in the tasting room, remember you’ll
like everything [no I'm not kidding], so I’d advise you to buy more than you’d normally would to
avoid any regret later [you know what they say about regret]. These wines are quite voluminous especially in the
ABV area, so if you can’t handle fully hedonistic wines that make no pretense,
I’d advise you look elsewhere or may have your delicate sensibilities offended [just saying].
Now regarding this wine in the
review spotlight today, the 2010 Nuts and Bolts, it was decanted about 30 full
minutes before dinner and from the first slurp to the last drop which I fought
Mrs. Cuvee for, wow is the word. This wine is seamless, it never drops off, it
hits you at each and every angle with a full throttle presentation, but nicely
tuned for perfect balance.
In the glass, a dark ruby core
knocks on the side of the glass just to get your attention, once the first
slurp is in you’re gonna make an “O” face. You’ll find a wonderfully expressive bouquet teasing and taunting you, on the palate
bountiful blackcurrant, dark cherry, while sexy florals and spice nuances slay
you with wonderful complexity.
wine has focused flavors which are clear, deep, and abundantly evident, a wine
that is complex and lingering from start to finish. Are you thinking about
pairing options? Well the sky is the limit, a great wine which will easily pair
with barbequed St. Louis
style ribs or even tangy barbequed chicken. I scored this wine 93 points, it
really is stellar. Until next time folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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"Compromises are for relationships, not wine." --- Sir
Robert Scott Caywood
Welcome to the weekend,
it's nearly four o'clock here on the west coast so it's time to pop some corks
and whip-up some great meals to share with the one's we love. Wow, things [not
weather] have finally cooled enough for me to turn off the AC [ferocious power
bill, ugh] and open the windows again.
But now that we are
officially into fall I know some folks may have plans to fly in the coming
months and having done quite a bit of flying over the pond in the last year,
I've noticed one thing about whether or not wine and or beer will be served to
the denizens who fly coach, yes those who can't pay the more than double price
to fly in business class or god-forbid first-class which seems to be especially
true to the folks that on domestic transportation.
The one exception to that
rule I can think of [thanks to the Matt] it appears our
good friends at Horizon Air, do offer a beer or wine of your choice and
featuring local brews or wine for in-state flights in Washington and a few
flights in California as well. Horizon Air in California will even take it a step further
offering to allow up to a case a wine to be carted in the cargo-hold for no
Now I had put this question out there on my FB page, but the response was a bit
tepid at best [But to be fair, I did havetwo great responses]. But hey, I knowwith all that's going right now, there are a few more important topics [like the upcoming
election] to think about at the moment. So questions likewhether or not a airline carrier
should or shouldn’t offer passengers in coach gratis free beer and or wine pales in comparison.
Some guy wrote
for Esquire Magazine "The days of free miniature
bottles of booze are long gone, but on increasingly more flights, you can order
cocktails (and pay for them, via credit card) directly from the console on the
seatback in front of you." While that may apply to many domestic airline
flights, whether they're flying domestically or internationally, that is not
true when it comes to international carriers like British Airways, because you
can still get a free glass of wine or beer even if you're flying coach.
So that said,
I will put the question to you; which one of my smart and savvy readers out here
knows the reason why non-domestic carriers offer [talking coach here] wine or
beer to passengers at no additional charge and are not stingy about it either,
but all the domestic carriers don’t offer any unless you want to pay for it?
I look forward
to hearing all your answers and reading your comments. Until next folks,
remember to sit back, relax and sip long and prosper cheers!
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economy, nobody’s drinking wine in Spain,” said Kerin Auth
While in Spain the folks
there may be drinking far less wine than they use to in the past, here in
America we are just now waking up to what many [myself included] an everyday
Thinking about this from
the context of time, I mean hell, there are Bodegas in Spain which have been around longer than the United States
has been a country. So think of this way; they've been drinking fab, wonderful
wines for a very long, long time so perhaps they [collectively speaking] just
want to give it a rest. Perhaps it’s like the lyrics from one of Led Zeppelin’s
more well known tunes, “I can't quit you, baby So I'm
gonna put you down for a while”. Either way, their loss in appetite for great
wines is our benefit here in the states.
I count myself one of the
lucky ones, someone who has had the blinders removed from my eyes; something which
I owe much of to my darling Mrs. Cuvee. Back before we were married, she
slapped me aside the head, knocking my rose-colored glasses to the ground,
figuratively saying; “look there’s a big wonderful wine-world out there take a
As a result I've become
someone who now likes to explore, I don't like to settle for the tried and true,
so much wine and so little time as they say. So with it being Wine Wednesday
and I all I decided it would be a great time to profile one of the wines I
brought home with me on my last trip to the UK, yes this one of the wines I
purchased in the duty free shop at Heathrow’s terminal five.
Part of the reason I
purchased this wine was because we had a direct flight and I could bring it
right onto the plane with no hassles what-so-ever and the second reason was because
this wine was on SALE
for just 10 pounds or $16 usd. How I could resist such a good deal, was beyond
me, thus I carted two of these beauties home in my carry-on.
Now that said, I do love
Spanish wines, so much so I’ve been lucky enough to make three trips there
within a year’s time. So when I saw the 2000 Bodegas Faustino
I Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa I knew
I just had to have it. The bottle comes packed in the
classic wired body, with their signature clouded glass. While I didn’t think
this wine was really representative of a true Riojan style, one that could have
frankly beat the tar out of most wines sold here in that some price point. But
unfortunately one thing kept that from being true. I have hope for the second
The wine was bright, rich and still full colored in the
glass, sporting a vivid dark garnet core, with just a tinge of brick along the
edges. Nosing this wine is where my “brett” meter went off the proverbial
scale, I was like whoa, whoa what do we have here? It’s something which occurs almost exclusively in red wines and
typically it’s a barnyard type of funk which in small quanities, it's not so bad. If you’re
not familiar with the term, I’ve included a linkto a page which I think thoroughly explains
the subject in ascientific method and a link to another pagewhich takes a slightly easier to understand approach, so here you go.
I could still taste all the
wonderful flavors and nuances behind the “funk”but all in all it was just too
much to overcome. Sosadly, I let the rest of it go the way of many other wines that I
won’t review go, right down the drain [ugh, so unhappy]. But if the wine had not had thatfault, it's my guess it would have been quite a nice bottle of wine, oh well. Until next folks please remember to sit-back, relax,sip long and prosper cheers!
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It is well to remember that there are five
reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst;
the excellence of the wine; or any other reason. ~ Latin saying
Having just recentlyarrived back from a great trip to the United Kingdom, I had a few hours to kill in London's well known and famous Heathrow Airport. I would have to say my experience at Heathrowwas much better than what could only be called a CF, at Charles De Gaulle Airport in France. I've been through that airporton more than one occasion and the "experience" if I can call it that is always the same, harrowing at best.
But laying that aside for another day, lets launch into a subject I know we all like, well at least most of us. Two topics really, one the ladies really love and that is shopping and one the guys really like, and that is getting your single malt on.
Yes, you heard me right shopping, tasting a varied selection of single malts combined with hours to wait before your flight is ready to board at the duty-free shop. All of this can be done at the Heathrow airport inLondon, no longer will you be be bored while waiting to board. I was a bit flummoxed seeing so many different bottles of single malt open, just waiting for me to ask can I taste that?
Once I do ask, an emphatic "yes" is the answer to my silent prayers from the "guy" in doing the khaki-casual thing at the duty-free shop. I'm thinking well then bring it on, there were quite a few Single Malts, I've not had the opportunity to try before, so I dove in head first, making an amber colored splash and of course I found a few more favorites that I will want to add to my collection at some point in the future.
The Speyside distillery of 'The
Balvenie' 15 year 'Golden Cask' [pictured above] was a very nice quaff, easy gentle spices, you
could taste the homegrown barley, it had nutty sweetness, a puff of smoke, cinnamon spiciness and a
delicately proportioned layer of Caribbean Rum. It's not high end, but one that
is very approachable, especially to folks who don't get the peaty, smoky thing.
So whiskey isnt' your thing huh? You thought this was a wineblog, perhaps you werewondering what the bleep is going here, with all this business about Scotch. Psssh, what-ever, hold on toyour lederhosen for just one minute, if you could please. I also discovered they had a few very high-end wines on tap in via a enomatic machine and they had some 1er Cru on tap [sorry to rhyme] oh-crap are you freaking kidding? Well they weren't and again all I had to do was ask nicely and the nice gentlemen poured me a couple ounces Burgundy Cru.
What more could you ask for, while waiting to board your plane? Well since you are asking for more, then how about
walking[now that would be something to see] a walk-in humidor? Hmmm, not bad huh? Want to try a sample, umm go ahead just ask, apparently, not being afraid to ask leads to all kinds of good things. Somewhat similar to that Zero Calories Coke commercial where the guy ask, "And?"
I nearly made Mrs. Cuvee and Imiss our flight because I was getting so carried away, 'asking', sampling and all that I somehow had lost track of time like the proverbial kid in the candy store. But nonetheless it all worked out and a quick dash to the gate had us both boarding on time, albeit a little winded from the experience [and yes Mrs. Cuvee was more than a bit unhappy].That is all I have for you today folks, until next time remember as always to sit back, relax and continue to sip long and prosper cheers!
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Welcome to Monday, I trust everyone had a
fantastic weekend full of great wine, tasty dishes and most of some
breath-taking football action. I know I had a little of all three, while some
aspects of it was a bit more challenging than the others, all in all it, there
are no complaints to be found here.
I like so many other bloggers, received a sample of this very tasty Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay, vintage 2010,
their Napa Valley Chardonnay and the Private Selection. So you've seen many
reviews of this wine already or you will be seeing them in multitude in the coming
weeks, so please stand-by.
The Mondavi brand is one which almost
everyone [vino-sapiens] is aware of or is at least familiar with in some small
way. But honestly folks I get a sample of this wine every year, but I don't
think it has ever made its way to my wine of the week list. The reason I say
that is because I want convey to you, that I thought this vintage from Carneros
really stands out for me, far more than it has in previous years. So much in fact I scored this wine 91 points.
This wine stands out in my mind and that
of even Mrs. Cuvee who gave it her “good” affirmation, as one of the better
Chardonnay’s I’ve had all year, especially at its reasonable price point. On the Mondavi website this wine has a SRP of $40, but a quick look at Costco and you’ll find it well under $30.
Bonus: You don’t have to me a member to purchase wine or other adult beverages
at Costco in California.
the glass a crisp, hay colored core warmly greets you at the door. After being
welcomed inside and stepping up to your first slurp, bam bright minerality, a
creamy texture, a bit of lemon curd, ripe pear, green apple, with nectarine
fruit piling on for good measure. According to the tech-note all of the grapes for
the 2010 Vintage were sourced from the renowned Hyde Vineyard, in the Carneros
region of Napa Valley.
the folks wondering about barrel regiment [15 months total], there’s just a
touch of oak and lee stirring action ["Sur lie"] which adds a lush
richness to the palate [Burgundian-style barrels, 68% new French oak for fermentation]. I
found it an ideal food-wine ready to take on a variety of dishes. The finish just lingers on
the palate like an urban outdoorsman waiting to greet you as you exit the
freeway; this wine has the structure and acidity to go the distance if you are
this wine with easy-breezy recipe that is in what Mrs. Cuvee calls my go-to
recipe box, which is easy that even a cave-man like me can pull it off so
easily. It’s the ever wonderful Chicken Marsala, just don’t forget you need to
have a 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine, so make sure you
have a bottle hanging about in the pantry. Here is the
to preparing this very simple, yet satisfying dish, which will make you look
like a rock-star at home if you prepare this for the Mrs. Until next time folk,
remember as I always say, sip long and prosper cheers!
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"Writers about wine should, at least on
occasion, be troublesome, irritating and critical.” ~ Andrew Jefford
Now I normally have a wine of the week, but seeing this wine really didn't quite fit into my normal headline as the "Wine of the Week", I decided to go with a new title, "Wine of Interest". While theZinfandel in today's spotlightis a very good bottle, one which I can highly recommend to you. It unfortunately can'tmake the cut asmy wine of the week, because the quality to price ratio is beyond the pale of what I consider reasonable [IMHO].
Now about the wine; 100% free-run juice, no press juice anywhere in sight, so that may explain part of the higher cost. Some subtle, but decidedly
spicy undertones put its mark on their 2010 vintage. On the plate, a vibrant
display of acidity enhances the play of the usual suspects.
raspberry and blackberry varietal expression await the thirsty vino-sapien. So
do you like it lush? If so this wine will not disappoint, a velvety mouth feel
interwoven with fine, integrated tannins which rush to greet each sip, slurp and
even a long gulp, if you feel so inclined. Additionally you’ll find this wine full-bodied;
it has a juicy mid-palate and is shot through with elegant "balance."
While this wine is bit more coin than I’m use to paying for a Zinfandel from
Paso Robles, it did give a stellar performance at every angle, I gave this
little stunner, 91 points.
Now that said, this winery is located in wonderful Paso Robles, found high a-top one of the areas highest points and the views from the outside tasting area is spectacular. One well worth the drive to the top, it must be especially gorgeous at this time of year, vine covered hillsfull of fruit, sitting among a green canopy that stretches for what seems like miles. Until next time folks, remember it's the weekend, so sit back and enjoy and never forget to sip long and prosper cheers!
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It's great to be back, but wow what afun-tastic whirl-wind visit I justhad to the UK. A great place offering so much, I barely had time to even start scratching the surface. But one thing I did learn, isthat a bus is not a bus, instead itsa coach. If you ever find yourself in York or even in Edinburgh or Glasgow do yourself a favor and step into this great little "deli" for a taste.So don't be shy, step right up, ask for a taste and you'll be surprised at the varied and off-the-beaten path flavors and aromas awaiting the thirsty vino-sapien.
Did I say a "deli"oh yes I did, I stumbled across it walking down the street in Yorkjust last week [bragging].It isa great little place calledDemijohn or as it's known the Worlds first Liquid Deli. An idea which was founded in Edinburghs Grassmarket. Demijohnoffers a unique collection of handmade products like Whisky,FruitWine,Ports, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars.Each demi-john jub has a description of what to expect you find in your sample. The shop which I visited is easily foundon [11 Museum Street] one of York's main streets, a three to fiveminute walk from the train station.This shopis divided [pretty much equally] into spirits on the right and non-spirits on the left, which makes their shop easy to navigate, alldepending on your interest.
When it comes to being environmentally conscience; it's part of their business plan and in their DNA. Demijohn founder and owner Angus Ferguson has been quoted to say regarding questions about sustainability. "We are incredibly conscious of the impact of retail on the environment and have maximised every effort to be one of the most eco-friendly food and drink retailers.”
There are many choices of package styles to choose from and ifneed-be they canwrap yourchoice and make itgift-giving ready. The perfect stocking stuffer [depending on the size] for the spirit-slurping vino-sapien who has everything. Now if you happen to not be in the gift giving mood and slurp down that 21yr old scotch all on your own leaving you with an empty bottle, needing to be re-filled. Then they have a great solution for you, feel free to bring it back to one of their shops for a refill and you'll save apound or twoon the price of the glass bottle.
The great thing aboutthis placeisthat you get to try everything and anything before you buy, yes even a 21year oldSingle Malt Scotch.So of course I had to try all the different choices, but hey I wasn't driving. I love the concept, I'd like to see more of that here in the U.S. but with zoning regulations and other red-tapebeing what they are here, it would prove a bit more difficult to have shops like this. But the next time you find yourself strolling now the street in York, Edinburgh or Glascow give them a swirl for yourself and see what the fuss is all about, you'll find it's well worth dropping a few pounds. Until next folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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Invariably any number of folkswho work in thewine-biz or wine-trades, whether it's your favorite tasting room in Napa or the wine-bar down thestreet,will beasked about the health effects of sulfites in wine and its supposed link to headaches.
This has become even more a question in our health-conscious nation, where even the question of wheretheir food comes from and whether it's ethical are a topic of daily discussion. Since food and wine are so tightly tied together, it's only natural that questions about chemicals that perhaps is potentially lurking inour vino, should also be addressed. Thus the focus on sulfites has become more mainstream, especially since a law was introduced and passedforcing producers to add the phrase "contains sulfites" to the ominous waring label found on wine bottles.
The team atVine Crowd has compiled a list of the top fivemyths about the sulfites found inwine we all drink everyday.In similarfashion tothe folks on the show Mythbuster's, they take a common sense approach to prove or disprove these popular recurringmyths. So so sit back, buckle-up as it's going to be a bumpy ride in the wine-wagon todayon our way todiscover together what is really going on in our wine and like some popular nineties show once proclaimed, "the truth is out there".
1. You or someone you know is allergic to sulfites.
NOPE, not true. Someone’s been badly misinformed. Sulfites are something that our body naturally produces at a normal rate of about 1,000mg a day. Compare that to the average 10mg per glass of wine and it’s pretty clear that if someone was allergic to sulfites, their problems would be a little more severe than a life without wine. There are, however, individuals that have high sensitivities to sulfites. We’ll get to that in a second.
2. The sulfites in wine are extremely high.
Again, not true. Sulfites are a part of the winemaking process all around the world. They are added in moderation in order to preserve wines for aging. They are also added to other foods for the same reason – anything from the vegetables in a salad bar to dried fruits will contain added sulfites. Sulfites in an average glass of wine will measure 10mg, whereas a 2oz serving of those bright orange dried apricots typically has 112mg. Yep, over 10 times as much as a glass of wine.
3. Sulfites give you headaches.
FALSE. Probably the biggest myth of all. There has been no link to sulfites and headaches in research groups – even among people with high sensitivity to sulfites. Even among the highly sensitive people, adverse reactions (mainly asthmatic) only presented themselves when subjects were given four times the normal amount of sulfites in a single glass. This is not to say that some people don’t get headaches when they drink certain types of wine or alcohol, it just shows that it’s not the sulfites that are causing them. New research is showing that headaches may be related to the type of yeast used in fermentation.
Clarification: "I wanted to clarify that the infamous ‘red wine headache’ is very real for some people, but as mentioned above, it’s not the sulfites that are causing them." ~ Jennifer Kaplan
In the June issue of the Harvard Health Letter, it says''The red wine headache is a real if poorly understood phenomenon." and according to Marian Burrosthat quote iswhat she would call "a masterpiece of understatement."
4. There are less sulfites in white wine.
It’s probably safe to say that we all know someone that doesn’t drink red wine “because of the sulfites.” In reality, white wines have slightly more sulfites than reds.
5. There are more sulfites used in American wines.
Surprise, things listed in bold are still NOT TRUE. Though winemaking practices differ in each country and region, the amount of sulfites used in winemaking tends to be the same among Old World and New World countries. Several studies show that sulfite levels are similar throughout Europe and the US specifically. The fact that the US has a sulfite warning label but Canada and European countries do not tends to add to this myth.
Other Resources: For more information on the topic there's a great article posted entitled; Eating-well the puzzling red-wine-headacheby Marian Burros who writes for the NYT. And one otherinsightfularticle on the subject; Red Wine Headaches vs. Sulfite Allergies.
Thisarticle is cross-posted atVinecrowd.com and posted here courtesy of the author Jennifer Kaplanwho was gracious enough to allow theCuvée Corner Wine Blog to post it here in its entirety. I believe the information containedin this articleis important andwill be helpful for the vast wine swirling and slurping public to get their heads around this sometimes controversial topic.Jennifer Kaplan article,does just that with a very common sense approach to dispelling the myths about sulfites.
I hopeeveryone found this article at the very least helpful andmake others feela little more comfortable about the sulfites found lurking in theirwine glass. I believe we can say this myth was emphatically busted.So until next time, remember to sip long and prosper, cheers!
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