Wine Monogamy…Is There Such A Thing?

Posted on April 4, 2016

During a recent night ouMonogamy 1t at my favorite wine bar, I advised the proprietress that I wanted to try something new. I’ve been in a routine of my usual Malbec mode lately…stuck on the same grape, my usual “go-to.” I was in a rut. She’d recommended a Cabernet  Sauvignon named “Monogamy.”  I found it quite perfect, and a little funny…considering I was not going to be monogamous to my Malbec. The tongue in cheek label expounding on “when you’ve found the love of your life, is there really a need to keep looking?”  Well, yes! and no!, is my nebulous answer.

Monogamy was the perfect Cab for me, but not traditional in the bold, dry reputation of Cabs. This one was very fruit forward, like a splash of dark fruit in your mouth. Dark, ripe cherries and juicy, purple skinned plums. Felt smooth like silk on the tongue. It was lively and delicious. I paired it with a flatbread pizza, and it was the perfect after-work, weeknight escape!

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The playful “Truly…Madly…Deeply” sold me on the branding. Monogamy is a blend of grapes from the Lake Mendocino and Sonoma areas and it certainly shouts “I’m from California!” Monogamy is a Wine Sisterhood wine and each bottle supports women and families in need. As Wine Sisterhood and Wine Debutante’s most certainly have a lot in common, I was even MORE excited when I’d done my homework!  You can find them at www.winesisterhood.com.

So, monogamy in wine drinking? Certainly, stick to what you love and what works, but in no way should you be a one woman wine. Malbec and Pinot Noir tend to be my loves…the good looking, bold and playful Californian’s and Argentinian’s. There are too many grapes and regions to explore, yet nothing wrong with coming back to the one you most enjoy.  My blind date with Monogamy was a great evening, and I’m sure we’ll see each other again, soon.

Wine and Words… “You Can’t Just Talk To Anyone!”

Posted on September 24, 2015

Tasting, sipping, and talking are a few of my favorite things. I was recently accompanied to a wine tasting by a beautiful and intelligent friend, and while we sampled the new and interesting selections, we had the time to talk about important things. That’s what wine does. Sharing over a glass of wine, there’s some sense of communal ritual. Whether it’s to laugh, eat, cry, love, or as for this evening, to talk of important topics. There were no shallow depths in our wine glasses or our discussions.  My friend, “Y”, said it best, “You Can’t Just Talk To Anyone!” I think that goes along in friendship and in wine. Some things are special and are meant to be treated that way. On this evening, we were all over the globe in our conversation and in our wine. There is not a tasting that I attend that I don’t learn something new about a region, a wine, or growers. I always try something for the first time, and encourage you to be bold and step out of your comfort zone all the time.

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Our first tasting was Suavia Soave Classico, Italy. The Suavia was one of those “white wine in the middle of the summer for al fresco dining.” Their own website describes it as “It is a wine for flowered terraces and summer nights; a wine for bars with umbrellas and tables on the cobbles of an old illuminated square.”  An easy drinking wine made from 100% Gargenega grapes, it’s crisp and tart, with that granny smith undertone. Would I drink it? Yes, absolutely can see drinking this with grilled fish or chicken, salads and a crudité, and some cheese and crunchy crackers. Not a complete stand out, but good. Retailing at $15.99, a decent bring along wine to the group party, to the bosses barbeque, or to your backyard.

Rating: 3 Shoe Rating

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Next, Philippe Milan Bourgogne Blanc, Chardonnay. This is a family owned winery in the Burgundy region, passed through generations. 90% of their distribution is domestic France. A refreshing, buttery colored Chardonnay, another light and bright wine. As I was discussing with the distributor, she’d recommended a plate of clams in a white wine brine with linguini as the perfect accompaniment, and I could not agree more.

This is a wine to play it safe, it would fit in anywhere.  Retailing for $24.99, this is not the best buy for a chardonnay.

Rating:3 Shoe Rating

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Country jumping and jumping into reds, we went back to Italy, and went organic! Giorgio and Gianni Angel Nero d’Avola is a Sicilian wine grown 100% organically. The nero d’Avolo grape is indigenous of Sicily and the grape itself is dark skinned and evokes a raisin finish, and a little spice. This would be a good wine for a steak or a pot roast. It’s dark, sultry, and smooth. liked it, didn’t love it.

Retailing at $12.99, put it on the table with a pot roast that’s been simmering in a crock pot all day, with cooked carrots and roasted red potatoes, or fix up a plate of a semi-firm, pungent cheese and bread, toasted and hot, drizzled with an infused olive oil or maybe some butter and chopped garlic under the broiler.

Rating: 3 Shoe Rating

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We finished with a South American,   Montes Twins Red, a Cabernet/Malbec blend, from the Colchagua Valley of Chile.  The Montes Twins Red has this artsy, fun label and inside, the wine was just as lively. Big like a cab and smooth like a malbec, it was a beautiful color and bold to drink.  Cabs have this leather/coffee/dark thing going and I felt more cab than malbec, even though it is 50/50. This was easy to drink and was a nice combination. Hungry too, I paired this with a flatbread with basil, mozzarella and roasted tomatoes. A great combination.

Retailing at $14.99, this was the winner of the wine tasting! A great value and can sit perfectly with a fancy flatbread or pizza delivery, or how about chili with your wine from Chile!

Rating: 3 Shoe RatingHalf Shoe Rating

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A Family Affair

Posted on August 31, 2015

Wine tasting is that much sweeter when shared with another. The compliment of conversation and wine partners like a kindred friendship. On this night I attended solo, but was quickly rewarded by having the attention of the wine bar proprietress. I’d come in late for the tasting, and as the crowd had thinned, I was treated to a few good tales of life, love, family and wine from a lady that knows a great deal about all!

 

So, what to tell you about this tasting? I was delightfully entertained with quite an interesting legacy and affair of the heart. Peirano Estate is a winery in California that was started by an Italian immigrant that followed the gold rush, and when his luck ran dry, moved to Lodi, California. He’d brought clippings of his family’s zinfandel vines back from Italy, and cultivated a thriving estate. As with any family legacy, there was heartbreak, tragedy, happiness, and survival. Today, this estate is run by the fourth generation Peirano’s. That’s the abridged version! For more, visit Peirano Estates www. peirano.com

 

Time to taste! First selection was the Peirano Estate Moscato. It was viscous and flowery. Sweet and smooth. Everything you’ll come to expect in a Moscato. This is an excellent choice for a “jumping in” wine. I’d recommend this as a hostess gift or a bring along to a girl’s night. Light enough to flow and be casual, I think it’s perfect as a fun, classy, and casual wine. Retailing at $13.99, it’s worth its value.
Rating: 3.5

 

Peirano Estate, Chardonnay was the next wine selection. I’d ordered a nosh plate, which is a perfect accompaniment for wine tasting and so easy to whip up at home (and beautiful for serving, too!)  I didn’t love it for what it was. My wine journey began with Chardonnay… buttery, peachy ripe Chardonnay. This wine was tart and acidy, like a Savignon Blanc. It was good. If it were a Savignon Blanc, I would have liked it. It paired really well with the tart green apples but didn’t give me what I’d expected. Would be a good match for an outdoor dinner al fresco. Retailing at $13.99, I’d probably choose another label, if my heart was set on drinking Chardonnay. I rated it higher, because it was a well made wine.
Rating:3

 

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If wine were chosen by the gorgeousness of the label, I’d grab this one immediately! You are treated to a sketch of the back of a voluptuous woman. The Wine was voluptuous and sensuous too! “The Other Red” is a Cabernet/Merlot/Syrah blend. It was heavy like a cab and tasted smooth on the tongue like a Merlot/Syrah. I felt a little spice too, and I nibbled on the almonds and Manchego cheese from my nosh plate, a firm cheese with a nutty mild taste, which balanced out this wine. I probably would not have The Other Red without food. It pairs well as a compliment with a meal Also, $13.99, it holds its value. Bring it to a dinner party with steaks or a great pasta covered in a hearty bolognase sauce.
Rating 3.5

 

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Last, but certainly not least, was the wine I’d waited for. After hearing the tale of Giacomo Peirano bringing back the Zinfidel vine clippings from Italy to California, I was intrigued and excited to drink a part of this estate’s history! I was not disappointed by the “immortal Zin, Old Vine.” A full bodied red that was impressive and absolutely delicious. Mr. Peirano got this one right. You can pair this wine with any meal, take out, snacks, and it will stand on its own, yet not compete. For the price of $13.99, this was the star of the show. My recommendation for our Wine Debutante’s… if you are tentative about trying reds, this is one to play with. This one explodes in your mouth and would be a great before, during, or after dinner wine, a date night wine, a wine to pour when you’ve put the kids to bed, or are up late doing a project. This one has you covered!
Rating 4.0

 

 

A Tour of The Mediterranean

Posted on August 20, 2015

How do you take a tour of the Mediterranean for $15.00 without leaving home?  Wine, of course! I had the pleasure of attending a wine tasting and meeting with a US importer/distributor of Italian and Greek wines. Quite honestly, Greek wine was never my first choice, but the distributor quickly schooled me that there is evidence that wine was around in Greece since 4,000 BC. They may know a thing or two about good wine! I was pleasantly educated!

First up was Moris Farms Mandriolo, a wine from Tuscany, Italy (I’m already daydreaming about a rolling Tuscan countryside!) This was an interesting blend of Vermentino / Chardonnay grapes. Not sweet at all… if you lean to sweet wine, this isn’t for you, but I’d recommend trying it! Must try new things! This wine is a perfect bring-along to an outdoor party – beach, pool, barbeque. It’s snappy, has a refreshing citrus like finish, and would be perfect to drink chilled on a hot summer day. This wine averages $11.99 retail, so it won’t break the bank! Throw a bottle in your tote bag and you are off!

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Next up was Santo Santorini Assyrtiko, a Greek wine. Also a white, but this one has a mineral like taste. So light!  Would be a great wine if you are wanting to experiment with different varietals. This wine would be absolutely perfect with seafood… and think about it, it comes from Santorini Greece! We ate a smoked salmon flatbread, with cream cheese, capers, and red onions and it was a fresh and bright compliment. I can see a summer dinner party with a seafood or light chicken entrée (like a Chicken Francese) and this would flow freely! This wine retailed a little higher at $16.99, and was worth the price.

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We then delved into Sant Evasio Barber D’Asit, Italy, the first red of the evening. The Barbera grape is the little brother of the Nebbioli grape and is called the “working man’s wine.”  There is no oak, it’s a nice red, with pretty color that I would say is something that you’d put on the table as a “quantity” wine… it’s not a  special occasion wine, but it’s a fun wine to have with pizza, a big hearty lasagna, or a few burgers on the grill with a bunch of friends. It’s a great bottle to keep in the house to have on a regular evening. Retailing at $11.99, keep a few bottles!

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Last, but not least, was the Greek Alexakis Kotsifali Syrah. Immediately I thought that this wine is not right for a “wine newbie.” If you are experimenting with reds, I wouldn’t make this your first attempt, but by all means do not hesitate to try at some point. This wine is 60% Kotsifali and 40% Syrah grapes. This wine spends a year in oak, and you can taste it. It’s more complex and feels dry on the finish, and has spice on the front and fruit on the back. It’s bold and would pair well with a big meal… a grilled steak, pasta with a nice marinara, or cheeses. I noshed on some Goat Gouda, from Holland with a few crackers. You can pick this up for $14.99 retail, and I think it would be a nice dinner wine, if you like a bolder red.

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At the end of the tasting, I like to choose one to have a full glass and tonight’s winner was the Sant Evasio Barbera from D’Asti Italy! We ate hummus and chips and enjoyed this “working woman’s wine” as a great casual wine to end a very excellent tasting. It’s rare to like everything at a tasting, but tonight was a win, with four very different, but delicious and inexpensive choices I’d recommend you experiment with.

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