If you live in the DC area, and need more than wine to survive, the TruckToMe app is a must have. Available for the iPhone (iOS 6.1 required), this app is beautiful in its simplicity.
TruckToMe tracks the Twitter accounts of more than 100 food trucks in the DC area and maps their location throughout the day - including when they shutdown for the day.
So, at any given time you can tell which food trucks are open for business and how close to you. A beautiful, simple, app.
One of the best wine bar's in the DC area, The Screwtop Wine Bar, launched a Bordeaux flight today and one of the wines featured is Jean-Luc Thunevin's Bad Boy!
Labeled by Robert Parker as the best wine Thunevin has ever produced it is one my favorite affordable right bank wines from the 2009 vintage.
If you get a chance, get over to Screwtop and check it out.
Editor's Note: The Wine App of the Week feature has been on hiatus for a while, but there are now more than 700 wine apps on the iTunes App Store and more than 400 wine-related apps on the Android store. Hopefully, we can help point out the good apps, and steer you away from the bad
WinePoynt uses artificial intelligence and localization features to help it's users select the best wine for them. The app itself is excellent and has received kudos from all over the web. However, starting in January it will get even better by incorporating social media features.
From their press release:
“Before this version, if a user wanted to see what their friends shared about a wine in WinePoynt, they would have to go to their Facebook page and now they never have to leave the application,” Chris Taylor, president of WinePoynt, said. “With this latest release, WinePoynt users can also see what others are saying about the wines they drink, not just the people they already know.”
Users can now thumb through widgets to explore what others rate and add to their lists. WinePoynt’s personalized wine experience extends the functionality into a community context. Now, if a user is looking at a wine that someone else rated 4 stars and wrote a note about, they can also see how well WinePoynt thinks they would enjoy the same wine. All of this user submitted information is updated in real time, allowing anyone who is engaged in the social area to see their wine ratings, and what others are saying about those particular wines.
WinePoynt rolls several apps into a single one. It has a built in wine locator, a wine selector and integration with your social media platforms. I allows you to find a wine at a local store or restaurant, see how other users have rated the wine, rate the wine yourself, and share that wine with your friends.
The rating and reviewing sections of the app are very intuitive and easy to use. The app experience is enjoyable and it is easy to share your reviews.
The location features of the app are somewhat limited in this area. There are national agreements in place with Target, Costco, Fridays, Carrabba's, Bonefish and more than three dozen other shops and restaurant chains. But, there are no local restaurants represented. That still leaves you with hundreds of choices on Virginia.
Overall, this is a great app, and if you are a restaurant in the Northern Virginia area I recommend reaching out to WinePoynt to find out how to get your wine list added to their app.
For more information the good people at WinePoynt have released a video showing how to use their app.
CellarBlog favorite, and owner of Domaine de Chevalier, Olivier Bernard has been tapped to replace Sylvia Cazes as President of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB).
Olivier is a great choice. Not only will he continue the work that Sylvie Cazes started, but I think he will also increase the social media presence of the UGCB - an area where they have been lacking. Domaine de Chevalier is very active on Twitter and does a good job of interacting with their fans.
The press release sent out by the UGCB:
Bordeaux, December 18, 2012 – The board of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux met on the 18th of December and thanked Sylvie Cazes warmly for her accomplishments during her four years as President of the organization.
Sylvie Cazes increased the number of tastings abroad with members of the UGCB and innovated by introducing such new markets as Brazil and India. She also focused her attention directly on consumers. Thanks to her impetus, the Week-end des Grands Crus now attracts some 1,800 wine enthusiasts from around the world to Bordeaux, and the number of events organized abroad in conjunction with wine importers and distributors has increased significantly. Today the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux offers their 134 members the opportunity to take part in more than 80 international events a year, attended by some 35,000 trade professionals and journalists as well as 11,000 consumers.
The members of the board unanimously elected Olivier Bernard to succeed Sylvie Cazes as president. This well-known figure from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, where he manages the family estate, Domaine de Chevalier, is also the Managing Director of the family firm Financière Bernard (Lucien Bernard, Millesima, Sobovi, Wine&Co, etc.). Said M. Bernard, "At a time when the success of the Bordeaux great growths calls for a strong involvement from their owners, I am honored and highly motivated to take on this new responsibility and devote a great deal of energy to it. I intend to work closely with the Union's employees on behalf of all our members. Our grands crus must work more closely with the Bordeaux négociants and envisage a stronger commitment from the region's top estates during UGCB missions."
The election of the UGC's new president illustrates the priority of member winegrowers to find the right balance between new constraints brought about by increased media interest in the grands crus, the wine trade, consumers, and respect for the cultural heritage and traditions of the great wines of Bordeaux.
“On a ramassé au début des choses intéressantes, puis il y a eu ensuite beaucoup de pluie qui a fait déraper le millésime. Cela manquait d’ampleur, il n’y a jamais eu la bonne concentration”, a expliqué Pierre Lurton. Avant d’ajouter : “Une marque comme Yquem doit savoir ne pas faire un millésime. [...] Pour l’image d’un des plus grands vins blancs du monde, pour maintenir Yquem dans l’histoire, il était raisonnable de ne pas en faire” en 2012 – comme en 1952, en 1972 et en 1992, d’ailleurs… y aurait-il une malédiction des 20 ans?
2012 will be remembered as a complicated year which often placed considerable strain on the nerves of growers in the region. Spring started warm and dry, and then ended with rain... Two months of summer without a drop of rain, botrytis that had trouble getting started, and very localized storms... Thesomewhat sluggish noble rot meant that the harvests required extreme patience. In many cases they did not start until October, and were interrupted by spells of rain. Luckily, the last days of the harvests saw an unexpected return of the sun.
By the end of the autumn, the wine’s characteristics are starting to emerge... The sweet wines of 2012 have a striking aromatic purity. The wines do not rely on power, impressing instead with finesse, delicacy, smoothness and a freshness that augurs well for the wines’ long-term balance, with a style that ismore ethereal than in recent years. And which should delight wine lovers…
This is incredible news! The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) is returning to the DC area this January!
It has been over a decade since the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) has been in Washington DC. We are happy to announce that we will be hosting this one of a kind Grand Bordeaux Tasting.
From Bordeaux connoisseurs to wine lovers we have a very exclusive and exciting evening with over 100 of the top Grand Crus Chateaux of Bordeaux. This will be a rare opportunity to talk to the winemakers and owners of the top Grand Crus Chateaux, while being one of the first to taste the highly acclaimed 2010 vintage. The event date is Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 5-8pm and it will be held at the Willard Intercontinental Grand Ballroom
Like wine, Christmas is celebrated the world over. So, from all of us at CellarBlog we wish you a Joyeux Noel, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Buone Feste Natalizie, Froehliche Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo, Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun, Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan, Glædelig Jul, Shub Naya Baras, and Merry Christmas!
Wine and cheese pairings are so commonplace that it almost seems instinctual to pair them together. Given their almost universal paring it should come as no surprise that they Have both been around for a very long time.
According to an article in this month's Nature it appears that people may have started making cheese as early as the the 6th Millennium BC:
Notably, the discovery of potsherds pierced with small holes appear at early Neolithic sites in temperate Europe in the sixth millennium BC and have been interpreted typologically as ‘cheese-strainers
You may recall that in an issue of National Geographic last year the first winery was discovered dating back to about 4000 BC:
To test whether the vat and jars in the Armenian cave had held wine, the team chemically analyzed pottery shards—which had been radiocarbon-dated to between 4100 B.C. and 4000 B.C.—for telltale residues.
The chemical tests revealed traces of malvidin, the plant pigment largely responsible for red wine's color.
Now, you may be wondering what people paired their cheese with for 2000 years, but remember that was just the first winery -- evidence of wine making has been found as far back as the fifth millennium BC (and scientists contine to look for older examples).
Either way, both wine and cheese making were at the forefront of civilization. They both herald moving from nomadic peoples to a civilized society. Still no evidence of the first wine & cheese party, but really can that be far behind?
The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux is invading the USA and bringing the powerful 2010 vintage with them!
There are three official stops during the tour. They will be in San Francisco on January 18th, New York City on January 21st and Chicago January 23rd. There will also be some surprise stops during the tour.
The 2010 vintage has been widely praised for its power and balance. Look for events in your city, you will not be disappointed.
December in Virginia Wine Country means it is time for mulled wine. Pretty soon you will not be able to walk into a tasting room without enjoying the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and orange peels.
It seems that every winery has a favorite wine for mulling. Some, like Swedenburg, even sell bottles of pre-mulled wine. Just heat and serve.
A good mulling wine is one with lots of fruit and soft tannins. You don't want the mulling spices to overwhelm the wine. Similarly, you don't want a mulled wine so astringent that you cannot enjoy the spices.
We are hosting a holiday open house this weekend during which we'll be serving mulled wine as the drink of choice. So, I posed the question to Facebook: Which Virginia Wine is the bet for mulling.
There were two recommendations: Loudoun Valley Vineyards 2008 Dynasty and the Casanel Vineyards 2008 Merlot.
Given that these are both great wines, we had to have a taste off.
The Dynasty is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Touriga Nacional. It has great vanilla aromas, lots of red fruit and smooth tannins.
The Casanel 2008 Merlot has black cherry and currant flavors with tannins that have softened nicely with age.
Both wines are great options for mulled wine.
While you can create your own spice pack, I prefer to use pre-made spices, in this case from Williams Somoma. They recommend 2 tablespoons of spices per bottle, plus 1/3 cup of sugar. I simmered the two wines for 20 minutes in a saucepan and they were ready to go.
Both wines came out really well, it was a close call. But, to find out the winner you have to come to the open house.
Do you have a favorite Virginia Wine for mulling?
There are a lot of wine tastings around the world throughout the year, but hands-down the best one is going on right now at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.
Le Grand Tasting showcases the best of French wines from all over the country. It is a chance to try Champagne alongside the best of Bordeaux (though bring some coffee for the Chateaux pouring from Bordeaux, many of them are just returning from the UGCB trip to Asia).
Tickets to the event are only 20€ (25€ on site). The event runs today and tomorrow from 10h30 to 20h30 (today) and 10h30 to 19h00 (tomorrow). If you are anywhere near Paris, definitely check it out!
Once again, Château Coutet has made available a full menu, along with suggested Coutet pairings, for Thanksgiving. Each year The team at Château Coutet produces intriguing recipes, and shares them with their fans. Not only have these recipes given me the opportunity to expand my Thanksgiving horizons, they have also helped to make Château Coutet wines a staple of our Thanksgiving dinner. Details below:
In a few days, and for the third time in a row, Aline Baly and her family will be sending out their original Thanksgiving card. With her wishes, you also will be receiving their selected menu and recipes for an all-Château Coutet celebration dinner.
This super idea of pairing Château Coutet to Thanksgiving stemmed from the Baly family’s personal experience of this holiday as newcomers to New England in the late 80s, when for the first time they faced the challenge of preparing a moist, flavorful turkey.
Since 2010, the Balys have commissioned a different chef to create a menu for this feast. This year, Chef Sarah Scott was selected specially for her original style, great sensitivity to food pairing and fine French flair, due to her numerous experiences in Michelin-star restaurants.
Featured for Thanksgiving 2012 will be a Sauternes and Butter Glazed Turkey with Chestnut and Leek Stuffing, recommended with Château Coutet 2002 or 2004, accompanied by Sweet Potato Pomme Dauphine and Château Coutet 1997 or 1998, a Twice-Baked Blue Cheese Soufflé with Quince Compote served with Château Coutet 2003 and, to conclude, a Pumpkin Crème Brulée with Château Coutet 2009.
These delicious recipes can be found on the estate’s website: www.chateaucoutet.com and the matching wines at your local fine wine shop. For more information on wine prices and availability in your area, visit www.wine-searcher.com
Editor's Note: these wines were provided to us for write up. Because I am not a Port fan, I passed them off to our secret taster to write them up.
People either love port wine or dislike it. I am in the love category so was very excited when given the opportunity to taste three different ports.
There was a Croft Pink Rosé Port, a Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port and a Fonseca Bin 27.
Since I had never seen a rosé port I decided to try that one first. I was having dinner with a friend and took the bottle over to share with her. She is in the category of not usually liking port. This port came with a little booklet attached to the neck of the bottle which provided recipes to try with the rose port. We first tried the port by itself. It had a much lighter flavor than other ports and was very food friendly. This is a port that you could easily have several glasses of at one time. I tried one of the recipes that came in the booklet but decided that I preferred it plain. My friend really enjoyed this rosé port. If you like to have a port but feel it is more a cold weather wine this is a good one to try for those warmer weather times.
The second port I tried was the 20 Year Tawny Port. I decided to have this one with a cheese plate . This is a very smooth port that doesn’t leave a burning feeling on the back of your throat. The cheese enhanced the flavor but I can easily see enjoying this port by itself. This port is made to drink now.
The last port was the Fonseca Bin 27. I tried this one with some dark chocolate on one of the cold fall evenings we had recently. This is what I think of when you mention port. Rich, with a lingering finish. I enjoyed it by itself but having it with the dark chocolate made it my opinion so much better.
Each of these ports had individual characteristics that made them enjoyable in their own way. If you want to try port or retry port I would start with the rose or tawny and move your way up to a richer port.