December 30, 2009
December 29, 2009
December 16, 2009
THE NICE LIST
Item: 2005 Marsannay
Category: Wines for Dining
Cost: $17 (as a "futures")
Where To Buy: WineSearcher.com
It's time for another "Naughty or Nice" pick TNT style, and what better place to snag from than, Burgundy!
Burgundy is one of the most difficult wine regions in the world to understand. First, it has more 'appellations' than any region in the world. You've probably heard of Chablis, Beaujolais; and maybe you've seen Gevrey-Chambertain or Montrachet on a bottle or restaurant wine list. Well there are 677 of them!!! Then, there is the 'ranking' system... from Grand Cru to Premier Cru to Village to finally "regional" wines. Now figure in all the producers and it's no wonder Burgundy can be a very scary place. But if you can take the time to explore it and learn a little about it, you will find that is produces much of the worlds greatest wines.
As a start, basically only two types of grapes are grown here... Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There are some other smaller varieties (Gamay, for instance, is grown in Beaujolais), but their use is extremely minimal. So we're basically dealing with Pinot and Chardonnay.
Next, we can learn a lot from the label... so let's look closer. Since Burgundy is all about the appellations, it's the name of the appellation that is the largest thing on the label (not the producer). So this wine comes from the Marsannay appellation.
Now, notice the label... it doesn't read Grand Cru, Premier Cru or 1er Cru... but it does say 'Vielles Vignes". Therefore, this wine is from the "village" class (not a grand or premier cru). Finally, the vintage is 2005. The vintage on this bottle is shown on a label at the top of the bottle... which is not shown in the picture. So, after glancing at the label, we know we are drinking a 2005 "village level" pinot noir from the Marsannay region of Burgundy. The producer is Dominique Laurent.
2005 Dominique Laurent Marsannay Clos du Roy Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Marsannay
Purchased as "futures" for $17 (this is where you buy wine before it's released. I purchased this in 2007 and it was delivered in 2008). Dark ruby in color with a hint of violet on the edges. Overwhelming nose of barnyard and earth. There is definitely terrior here. Behind the earthy notes lies subtle aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and ripe cherry. The crisp acidity (it's borderline effervescent) make this an excellent food wine, and the tannins can stand up to a steak. (I served porterhouses for dinner). This could use a little time for the tannins and acidity to settle down, but this is a very enjoyable wine. The fruit with the barnyard notes really make this a complex wine. And I like the fact that there is very little oak here.
My Take: Outstanding
December 14, 2009
December 11, 2009
Item: Orogeny '06 Pinot Noir
Category: Wines for Dining
Where to Buy: FineWines.com
Stemming from the Greek variation of "Oro," meaning mountain and "Geny," meaning birth, Sonoma's Orogeny very literally brings to life collisions and separations of the Earth's crust which form mountains. The last orogenic episode in Sonoma County formed Green Valley, where the grapes from this wine come from.
Cool story, right? Even better taste! This Pinot is super smooth and has lively cranberry and cherry flavors on the palette, balances with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Pinot might very well be the best medium-bodied red you can get, and this particular bottle is on the top of our list for the holidays (and all year round!)
December 6, 2009
Item: '07 Firestone Discoveries Merlot
Category: Wines for Holiday Dining
Where to Buy: Firestone.com
It's time to spin the 2009 "Naughty or Nice" List Tasting Note Tuesday style. If the name "Firestone" sounds familiar to you, you're not alone. Not only do wine lovers know the name, but so do car enthusiasts (and ex-bachelorettes!).
That's right, the Firestone Winery was started by the son of the founder of Firestone Tires! Leonard Firestone started the Santa Ynez Valley winery in 1972... a time when no one was planting vines in this coastal area of California. The family ran the winery for 35 years before legendary wine owner Bill Foley purchased the winery in 2007. For those of you who have never heard of Bill Foley, he is the owner of some of California best and most sought-after wines including Sebastiani, Kuleto and Merus.
2007 Firestone Vineyard Merlot Discoveries - USA, California
A little on the 'thin' side for a merlot. In the glass, the wine has a translucent ruby red color. Upon opening, scents of oak, vanilla and cherry are most dominant. On the palate, cherry takes center stage and the oak plays a supporting role. There is also a slight hint of cranberry... but mostly cherry and oak. The finish is a little short, but for $9 per bottle, it's not too bad.
My Take: Good
December 5, 2009
December 4, 2009
December 3, 2009
December 2, 2009
December 1, 2009
Today kicks off the month of December, which means that Santa Clause and the Hanukkah Armadillo are on their way to pay each of us a little visit... well, at least all of us who made the "nice" list. And just as we "play nice in the sandbox," it's only be appropriate that we hold our vino to the same expectations.
November 25, 2009
Nothing brings in Autumn quite like St. Supery's Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. Normally I'm not a Chardonnay drinker, I'll admit, but having the opportunity to visit St. Supery back in September, I exposed my pallette to varietals I might not otherwise purchase on my own and was surprisingly pleased with the outcome, particularly on this Chardonnay.
Sustainably farmed (we love anything that helps the enviornment!), this wine bodes aromas of toast and cantaloupe on the nose, with flavors that are reminiscent of baked apple pie (a Turkey Day must), ripe pears and some hints of Earth. It offers a light texture that is balanced with spice. It's like Autumn in a glass! Oh, if you don't like oak hints, they also have Oak-Free Chardonnay!
Where to Buy: StSupery.com
November 24, 2009
November 23, 2009
After hosting a progressive tasting, which included a Pinot Grigio, a red blend, Pinot Noir and a Cabernet (items to be reviewed and named later) the unanimous vote went with the Sebastiani Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
This Pinot is beautifully crimson and structured offering hints of both cinnamon and spice atop boasting Marachino cherry and red plum aromas which jump out of the glass. The texture is silky and elegant with dark berry flavors and soft tannins.
I can't say there was any real surprise from my end. I personally gravitate toward Pinot since its a fantastic partner with pretty much anything, and even delectable flying solo. Its a natural tie-in with both turkey and all its accompaniments so it was only appropriate I share this find with each of you.
Where to Buy: Sebastiani.com
November 20, 2009
Its thick hand blown Absinthe-green glass alone is enough to catch the eye, but the bottle is also emblazoned with a solid pewter crest with an inscription of grapes. The blend of native grapes inside (including Macabeo, Parellada and Zarello) offer a mellow, yet satisfying experience with great fruit intensity and a perfumed bouquet. The taste and appearance alone will leave all your guests thinking you spent more than you actually did!
Where To Buy: Wine.com
November 19, 2009
November 18, 2009
November 17, 2009
But, in true WinoBee fashion, we need not make our Turkey Day selections complex. In fact, when it comes to Fall holiday dining, its really as easy as ABC, according to Independent Wine Consultant, Eryn Cadoff with The Traveling Vineyard.
Check out some fantastic selections The Traveling Vineyard has to offer:
- 2005 Engel Riesling - great as an aperitif, or with the meal itself, this wine was made for Thanksgiving!
- 2005 Louis Reffelingen Pinot Blanc - this wine just begs to be paired with butternut squash soup, roasted acorn squash, or even sweet potatoes.
B = Beaujolais. This French wine region is technically a part of Burgundy, but has a character all its own. Beaujolais wines are made from 100% Gamay grapes - a fun, fresh, fruity red that is wonderful with any Thanksgiving meal, and fruit-forward enough even for white wine drinkers.
C = California. Its an American holiday, so how could we leave out American wine?! Clearly California leads the pack, accounting for a whopping 94% of US wine production. Great varietals for Thanksgiving? Try a Zinfandel on the red side, and a Chardonnay on the white.
- 2005 Blair Family Estate Zinfandel with some of the heartier sides on the Thanksgiving table - like the roasted garlic mashed potatoes or the stuffing (or is it dressing?) Depends who you ask, but the debate rages on at our family gathering every year.
- 2005 Blair Family Estate Chardonnay is always a hit - not too oaky, not overly toasty, but just right - and really great with the green bean casserole Aunt Betty brings every single year!
Want More Information? Eryn Cadoff, an Independent Wine Consultant with The Traveling Vineyard conducts in-home wine tastings in Northern Virginia and DC. When not at tastings, she's a stay-at-home-mom/taxi to her 3 and 5 year old daughters
November 16, 2009
So, my friends over at Talbert/Coppola knew I was planning a huge tailgate for the big game and were kind enough to send me a set of Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs to try out, and I quickly learned how fantastic of an addition they were to the smorgasbord of cheese wieners, burgers and layered dips we had on hand.
November 8, 2009
November 4, 2009
Monterey’s exceptional wineries, accompanied by local and nationally recognized chefs, will come together to commemorate The 13th Annual Great Wine Escape Weekend, November 13th-15th, 2009. The festivities beckon wine and food lovers from around the country.
Friday, November 13
- Coastal Kitchen—Food and wine seminars throughout the day
- Winemaker Dinners
Saturday, November 14
- Self-Guided or Luxury Coach Tours of Monterey Wine Country
- From Terroir to Table—Educational vineyard and winery tours
- Winemaker For A Day—A chance to fulfill the dream
- Winemaker Dinners—Featuring Monterey’s hottest chefs and vintners
Sunday, November 15
- The Grand Finale Tasting—Thirty-five Monterey County wineries and a dozen restaurants
The Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association web site provides package pricing, individual event prices and hotel recommendations. Additional information can be found by visiting www.montereywines.org/gwe.
Participating wineries include: Bernardus Vineyards and Winery, Boekenoogen Vineyards & Winery, Carmel Road Winery, Chalone Vineyard, Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Estancia, Galante Vineyards & Winery, Graff Family Vineyards, Hahn Estates/Smith & Hook Winery, Heller Estate Organic Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Line Shack Winery, Joyce Vineyard Winery, Lockwood Vineyard & Winery, Manzoni Estate Vineyard, Mariposa Wine Company, Marin’s Vineyard, McIntyre Vineyards, Mission Trail Vineyards, Monterey Wine Company, Morgan Winery, Otter Cove Wines, Paraiso Vineyards, Pierce Ranch Vineyards, Puma Road, San Bernabe Vineyards, Scheid Vineyards, Thomas Fogarty and Ventana Vineyards
November 3, 2009
Purchased for $17 (3L box). On the nose, oak is the most dominant scent followed by bubble gum and strawberry notes. There may be a hint of mint as well. But don't let all these scents trick you into thinking this is a complex wine. On the palate, the oak and strawberry really come through.
My take: Average-
October 31, 2009
- 1 can (14 oz) pumpkin, chilled
- 3 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
- 6 oz lowfat vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup lowfat milk
- 1/4 cup Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs, optional
October 30, 2009
- 1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
- 1 oz coffee liqueur
- 1 oz dark crème de cacao
- 1 oz chocolate syrup
- 2 scoops chocolate ice cream
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Whipped cream
- Maraschino cherry
October 29, 2009
October 28, 2009
October 27, 2009
Even though it's cocktail week, we had to pepper in a recipe or two using wine/champagne (after all, we are loyalists). When you have the time to make your own (versus opting for a pre-made bottle, like Senor Sangria), check out this delicious sangria recipe:
Sparkling Dutch Red (pitcher recipe)
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 3 ounces Liqueur
- 3 ounces Pomegranate Vodka
- 6 ounces grenadine
- ½ bottle pomegranate juice
- ½ bottle Pommery Brut Royal Champagne
- 1 sliced orange
Combine the first five ingredients. Add Champagne and give a quick stir. Pour mixture over ice and add slices of orange. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick.
October 26, 2009
- 1-1/2 oz Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka
- 1 oz Butterscotch liqueur
- 1 oz Hazelnut liqueur
- 1/2 oz Baileys
Combine in an ice filled shaker; shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.
October 23, 2009
According to TheFoodChannel.com, the top 10 trends for 2009 included dessert drinks as number two. So, I figured it was only appropriate to implement "Cocktail Week" for my fellow winos looking for something a little different this Fall season. Have no fear, we'll be back on the grape juice before you know it!
Throughout the week, I'll post a few recipes for sippable sweets that you can enjoy sans spoon. Check back each day for a lil' something new
Café Caramel Martini
Created by Rene Matos, Beverage Director, NYC Marriott Marquis
(recipe provided by Talbert Communications)
- 2-1/2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
- 1/2 oz Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka
- 1/4 oz House-made caramel sauce
- 1 oz Vanilla ice cream, softened
- Garnished with a cholive
Add all ingredients into a shaker and shaker vigorously to ensure the caramel is well blended. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a cholive.
October 18, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 16, 2009
October 15, 2009
- October 15th NEW YORK CITY Harry’s Cafe & Steakhouse (I'll be there!)
- October 16th NEW YORK CITY Roger Smith Hotel
- October 20th ATLANTA at Murphy’s
- October 20th ATLANTA WINE SCHOOL
- October 22nd WASHINGTON DC at Pearson’s
- October 23rd ORLANDO at Funky Monkey
- October 24th ORLANDO at Gran Cru