The holidays are a time of friends and family, shopping and presents, food and beverages, adult beverages to be more precise. To be even more precise, wine, and if you are lucky, many bottles of wine. I have been lucky, I have six new bottles of wine to taste, four that came in a wine basket loaded with all kinds of goodies and two that came from my favorite coworkers. They are not my favorites because they gave me wine, but it helps.
This year we are nineteen hundred miles from my family and friends so Christmas dinner consisted of just Mitch and me, and not even on Christmas day. Mitch had to work on Christmas so today, the day after Christmas was our holiday dinner.
The dinner menu was:
Prime Rib w/ au jus and horseradish cream
Baked Potatoes w/ butter and sour cream
Italian Green Beans
Pumpkin Pie w/ whipped cream
The wine I chose to complement the Prime Rib was a bottle from the gift basket my wonderful friend sent us, Talaria Vineyards, a Dry Creek Valley, California Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013. It had 14.5% alcohol content and was a dark reddish almost purple color in the glass. We decanted the wine, but poured a taste in each glass prior to decanting to compare.
The wine before decanting had a high alcohol smell, smoky and a hint of blackberry. After decanting the wine opened up a lot. There was no alcohol smell when I stuck my nose in the glass. I swirled the wine and took a sip, gone was the woody smoky taste and more blackberries emerged as I chewed. The wine was dry and grabbed the sides of my tongue, leaving a full finish.
The wine went very well with the prime rib, the wine and meat melded together for a very nice holiday dinner. Even though it was just the two of us this year, it was still a special holiday dinner, maybe more so.
In keeping with my New Year’s resolution I have been drinking more wine and writing down my experiences. Last week on my semi-monthly wine stock up one of the bottles of wine I bought was a Sicilian white wine from MandraRossa, Fiano, 2009. It had 13.5% alcohol content. The Fiano grape is an Italian grape that produces very little juice and small yields.
To go with the wine I fixed a salad and chicken breasts, sautéed in garlic olive oil and onions. The wine was a bright yellow color, almost the color of straw. It was dry, not as dry as a Sauvignon Blanc, acidic with a hint of a citrus taste, and had a full finish. To me there wasn’t much taste, in fact I thought it was kind of bland, but Mitch liked it more and drank most of the bottle by himself.
It went well with the chicken, not overpowering the dish. But I could probably have had a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio and it would have gone with the chicken just as well and I would have been happier.
Oh well, at least I can say I gave it a chance and I can move on to another bottle.
I’m always on the hunt for a great bottle of wine, especially one that is relatively inexpensive too. When I find a bottle of wine that tastes great and is still within my budget I feel like I’ve gotten away with something. Granted I would dearly love to taste one of those pricey bottles of wine, like Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon at $850 a bottle, just to taste and savor something that good. But I also know that the likelihood of that ever happening is farfetched, so I keep on the hunt for great wines at great prices.
One of those wines I found that fit in my budget under $15 a bottle and turned out to be very tasty too was a red wine from Sicily, Stemmari, Nero D’Avola, 2012. Nero D’Avola is a red wine grape that is one of the indigenous grapes of Sicily. You can find it at http://www.stemmari.it. I paired it with pork chops and roasted Brussel sprouts. The wine was dry and soft with a medium finish. It had a taste of strawberries and cranberries. Fresh and soft, easy to drink and it went well with the pork chops. It had an alcohol content of 13.5% not too high but enough to know you were drinking wine.
This is a wine that would go great with turkey at Thanksgiving, especially if you are looking for a red wine and don’t want to drink Pinot Noir. This is a wine that would complement ham too I think and if you are having Italian like lasagna or veal parmesan for Thanksgiving then it would be a match made in heaven.
It was definitely a wine that I will buy again.
As far as summers go, this one has been a very mild one around here. I’m not complaining mind you, in light of the previous three summers, this one has been very pleasant, rain now and then, temperatures only hit the nineties a few times, almost picture perfect. The only down side has been that because of the really long cold winter, it has taken my vegetable garden longer to produce any zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes.
This summer I’ve experimented with new white wines I hadn’t tried before. Overall I’m making a bigger effort to get out of my comfort zone and try more red and white wines. A few have been really good.
One of the white wines that I hadn’t had before is Concannon Selected Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012. A California white wine that was very light and tart, with a grapefruit aroma, and a clean taste. It had a nice light finish.
Another new wine we had was one of the wines we bought in Texas. Becker Vineyards, Wildflower, Fleur Sauvage, 2012. This is a Texas High Plains white wine blend. This wine was off dry, demi-sec. It was a wine that went really well with spicy food.
The third one is one that we’ve had many times, Toscana Villa Antinori, an Italian white blend. The vintage was 2011 and super tasty. The wine was tart and dry, with a mineral taste like a Sauvignon Blanc. The first taste was grapefruit with a medium finish.
One of the best things I’ve discovered about wine is that there is always a new wine to taste. No one can ever say that they’ve tasted them all. This is a passion that can never be fulfilled, but will never get boring either.
Summer is in full swing and here in the Midwest, Summer means heat and humidity. And what makes heat and humidity more palatable? Something cold to drink. It’s a perfect time to drink the lighter wines out there. On my last wine stock up run, I bought eight bottles of white wine, three red and one rosé. I wanted more rosé but I had a difficult time finding any that sounded appealing.
I have to admit that the one I did buy, I bought because of the label. Once again I got sucked in by those marketing wizards. It was a French rosé called AIX Vin De Provence vintage 2013 and was a very pale blush color, not as pink as some I’ve tasted. It was reasonably priced at <$15 so I thought I would give it a try.
It didn’t taste at all as it was described on the label. The label described “bright fruit flavors” and “delicate floral notes”. Well to my uneducated nose, the first thing I smelled was alcohol and at 13% there was plenty to go around. I was expecting pears or strawberries, but what I tasted was more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc with a drop of red food coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the wine, but it was as though someone had switched labels on the bottles. This wine had all the mineral notes of a Sauvignon Blanc and was almost paper dry.
Another rosé I tasted was from our trip to Texas in May I bought a very nice rosé from Pedernales Cellars, from the Texas Hill Country. It was a dry rosé vintage 2013 and was a bright pink color. The first thing I smelled was strawberries and the alcohol second. It is a very refreshing wine that is so drinkable. I found myself refilling my glass more than normal.
I’m on the hunt for more rosé wines. I’ve had a few that are very tasty and some that I wish I’d never opened the bottle. I know it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it and it might as well be me.
Anybody that knows me knows how much I love wine. I love to drink wine and I love to talk about wine. Occasionally some of my friends and even a few co-workers give me a bottle of wine. Sometimes the wine is not an especially good wine, even though the thought meant a lot to me, but sometimes I am given a winner. In this case, the wine exceeded all of my expectations. A co-worker gave a bottle of wine as a thank you gift for helping her land a very big sale. I had been saving it for something nice and decided to have it with steaks on the grill.
The wine, Meiomi (may-OH-mee) meaning “coast” by the California Wappo tribe, a pinot Noir was so far the best Pinot Noir I have tasted. A California 2012 wine that the grapes came from: 35% Monterey County, 34% Barbara County and 31% Sonoma County and was everything a Pinot Noir wine should be. It was soft and smooth with bright berry fruit taste with a light spicy bite and full finish, dry but not harsh at all. The wine was dark red almost purple in the glass and had a soft delicate aroma. I was only sorry that there we didn’t have a second bottle.
The wine is bottled by Belle Glos Wines. I have no idea how much the wine sells for since it was a gift and when I checked the website there was an error trying to load the online shop. But I think I will definitely be looking for a bottle or two on my next wine stock up trip.
We have all tasted that one super awesome wine at one time or another and can’t wait to buy it again. I don’t know about you, but for me it was a 2006 Zinfandel by Rosenblum Cellars called Planchon Vineyard in Contra Costa County, California. It was everything that a Zinfandel should taste like to me. It was not overly dry, but it was definitely not sweet. It flowed in my mouth like liquid velvet, swirling around filling my mouth with this wonderful big bold jammie taste. I couldn’t get enough of it and when the bottle was empty, I couldn’t wait to buy more.
But alas, this story has a sad tragic ending; I haven’t been able to find another bottle anywhere. Not at any store in our area, and not even online. I’ve asked at all of the area liquor stores and have been told by one store that Rosenblum has been sold, so I should not expect to find any more Zins at the same quality of the elusive bottle I am searching for. So I search and search for another bottle with no luck. So far every other bottle of Zinfandel has not hit that high point yet, some have come close, but I haven’t found a replacement yet.
My advice to you would be that when you do find your perfect bottle of wine, run don’t walk back to the store and buy more, don’t wait until your regular stock up trip, like I did. Watching a grown woman cry in the store was embarrassing, or so Mitch said.