Monday, January 14, 2013

Pontificis 2011(Rhone $6.99 TJ's)
Rhone blend- 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre

Color: Deep Purple/Merlot
Smell: Oak, cranberry, cinnamon, grass, and resin
Taste: Cranberry, dark cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon, and old oak, very low acidity, medium alcohol, and semi-dry

Food Pairings:  WIld Game- Pheasant, Duck, and Guinea Hen 
                            Blue Brie
Dark Chocolate

Summary: Pontificis is a formidable Rhone blend for this price point. On the nose there is a heavy oakyness, cranberry, cinnamon, grass, and resin.The dark and heavy fruits hit you first, then followed by cinnamon, resin, and finishing with old oak. 

Wino's Favorite Affordable Bordeaux

Wino's Favorite Affordable Bordeaux

Le Cluzet
1)Le Cluzet 2009($6.99WFood's)

Le Cluzet 2009 is silky smooth and full bodied.
Widely available at many wine dealer's.

  I first discovered this fine low cost Bordeaux a few winter's back when I on an ice cream run to our local Whole Foods with a girlfriend. It was on a large endcap(yes another endcap they're my undoing) that caught my attention and amused me. It had a large cutout of Le Cluzet Chateau that looked like it was out of a children's popout book. I was very skeptical on first glance of the bottle the label was very plain and ordinary. Later on after dessert we aired it a wide mouth decanter for about a half hour and the taste was phenomenal. Light oakyness, tart dark berries, black pepper, medium tannins, and a silky smooth finish. This has been my go to for four years now. I'd recommend this to any Bordeaux lover!  

Three Win Glasses You Must Own

  There are many options out there when it comes to wine glasses. Far to many for the casual to moderate wine drinker. There are only three you really need to own though and half a dozen of each. The standard red wine glass. My preference is the cab glass it fits nicely into your hand and it can be interchanged for a white glass. The second is port glasses I'm not a huge port drinker anymore, but they're nice to have around and dang near indestructible. They're usually what I pull out when I have rowdy party or when company is visiting. I have half a dozen of these that are riedel and when one of my good childhood friends was visiting last July. He dropped one and it bounced off the wood floor during a party. The last but not least is champagne glasses for special occasions such as anniversary's, holidays, partys, and they can be used for rose as well. I'd recommend Riedel for affordable glassware.  

My True Love Bordeaux

My True Love Bordeaux

Bordeaux my one true love,
I never get bored with you, frustrated or tired of,
You leave your luscious deep magenta lipstick behind on my lips,
You are silky and smooth and leave me feeling warm in the hips,
You're there waiting on the kitchen counter after a hard day of work,
You're great by yourself or for dinner with steak, buffalo, or pork,
You're great after dinner when I skip dessert,
You're always alluring to me and you don't even have to flirt,
Bordeaux I love you...I love you so

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles 2011

Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles 2011(California $4.99 TJ's)
Red Blend- Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre

Color: Deep Garnet
Smell: Strawberry, oaky, moss, and black pepper
Taste: Bold strawberry, rosehips, cherry, medium acidity, medium alcohol, and semi-sweet

Food Pairings: Pork Medallions
Mildy Seasoned Lamb
Beschwipster Huhn(German Drunken Chicken)

Summary: Once again I was drawn into buying another bottle of wine that I didn't need by a bright endcap at Trader Joe's. Paso Robles has been putting some magnificent big reds on the market the past three or four years. I wasn't at all hesitant being purchasing being from Paso Robles and the very low price point. On the nose I was hit by strawberries and oak with mild undertones of moss and black pepper. The taste was strong of late September strawberries, rainier cherries, rosehips, and a little spice.

Cocobon 2009/2010(Californian $6.99-9.99 TJ's)

Color: Burgundy
Smell: Raspberry, cherry, cocoa, floral, and smoke
Taste: Cocoa, raspberry, floral, light smokeyness, very low acidity, medium alcohol, and semi-dry

Food Pairings:  Almonds 
                           Bleu de Bresse
                           Cheese Souffle

Summary: Cocobon 2010 is very popular wine I've been noticing served at evening events with appetizers or desserts. I recently ran across Cocoban on an endcap display at my local Trader Joe's in the Alphabet District and eagerly decided to give it a try finally. It's a fun and playful dessert wine that reminds me of dark chocolate with it's strong tone of cocoa and undertone of dark semi-sweet berries. The very light smokeyness helps it to pair very well with a strong cheese. Cocobon will pair very with freshly roasted nuts for an appetizer or snack. This wine would be great at an evening get-together whether it's cold winter night or a balmy summer one.

Wine Openers!

Wine Openers

  Opening a bottle of wine I've always thought was a pretty simple thing. I thought I would write a fun and entertaining post on how many different devices there are anymore to achieve this simple task though. I've always just used a cheap waiters corkscrew, but a winged corkscrew is a good go to. The nice part about a wing corkscrew is it keeps you at a set angle and is pretty much fool proof. The  rechargeable electropull's can be just fun for the lazier individual. The legacy stand corkscrews are nice and make a great piece in your kitchen if you have the counter space. There many alternatives some entertaining, artistic, and others just lazy.

From top left to right. The waiters(favorite), wing, rabbit, connoisser(yes that's the spelling), variable, corkpull, legacy, electropull, and twister. Prices ranging from $2 for the waiters to $180 for the legacy.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top 10 Wine Destinations 2013

                             Top 10 Wine Destinations 2013

                                                         1) Rioja, Spain

                                                         2) Mendoza, Argentina

                                                         3) Rhone Valley, France

                                                         4) Monterey County, California

                                                         5) Central Otaga, New Zealand

                                                         6) Danube, Austria

                                                         7) Puglia, Italy

                                                         8) Douro Valley, Portugal

                                                         9) Willamette Valley, Oregon

                                                         10) Mosel, Germany

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Must Portland Wine Bars/Restaurants!

Portland Wine Bars that are a Must!

1) Oregon Wine's On Broadway
515 Southwest Broadway  Portland, OR 97205

1314 Northwest Glisan Street  Portland, OR 97209
(503) 228-9535

1139 Northwest 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(503) 517-7778

4)Noble Rot
1111 East Burnside Street  Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-1999
5)Bar Avignon
2138 Southeast Division Street, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 517-0808

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Epicuro Aglianico 2010

Epicuro Aglianico 2010(Italian/$5.99 TJ's)
Color: Magenta
Smell: Blackberry, old oak, and heavy sage/cinnamon.
Taste: Juicy blackberry, plum, jammy, medium tannins, low acidity, medium alcohol, and high residual sugar.

Food Pairings: Gorgonzola Dolce
                           Roasted Walnuts and Almonds                           Ginger Orange Biscotti

Summary: I came into this tasting with high hopes after the last Epicuro I tried the Nero D'Avola. My hopes were absolutely crushed just on smell though. On the nose the sweetness was overwhelming as well as the sage and oak. I could tell there wasn't going be balance or have a depth of body. On the mouth the oakyness hit me first, then sugar/plum, and last the sage/cinnamon. I could have seen myself liking this a few years ago when I found sweetness and overpowering flavors desirable. This wine just doesn't have any balance though. The only way I could see this working would be hot it reminds me of a glogg or mulled wine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Trentatre Rosso 2008

Trentatre Rosso 2008(Italian $5.99-8.99)
(Merlot 33.3%, Cabernet Sauvignon 33.3%, & Montepulciano 33.4%)

Color: Deep Ruby
Smell: Cocoa, black cherry, and cloves
Taste: Black Cherry, plum, clove, high tannins, medium acidity, medium alcohol, and semi-dry

Food Pairings:  With a Hearty Red Sauce Pasta or Baked Ziti(preference)
                            Polish Cabbage Rolls
                            Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb

Summary: Trentatre Rosso is well aged and ready to drink right out of the bottle, which works out well by the end of some weeks. This is a full bodied and very high tanin red-blend. I get heavy black cherry & clove on the nose. On the mouth I get black cherry, plum, and hard spices mostly clove. It reminds me of a well aged sagiovese and an average Bordeaux. I would be most likely to serve it on a cold winter or fall evening with a slow roasted leg of lamb.

History/Information: Trentatre in Italian means 33 in Italian hence 33 on the bottle. Montepulciano is the second most common wine grape of Italy after Sangiovese. It shares very similar characteristic's to a Bordeaux, which is because it shares two of the same grape varietals. A Bordeaux is 55% Cab Sauv & 45% Merlot. The Cab Sauv is often to harsh for many wine drinks, but when blended with almost half Merlot it's more acceptable to a young palate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Epicuro Nero D'Avola 2010

Epicuro Nero D'Avola 2010($5.99)

Color: Bright garnet
Smell: Raspberry, cinnamon, and blackberries 
Taste: Medium tannins, low acidity, medium alcohol, and dry.

Food Pairings:  Bison, Elk, or Beef Steaks(with hearty dry rub)
                           Aged Wild Game Bird
                           Berry's with Dessert

Summary: Epicuro's 2010 Nero D'Avola Epicuro is astonishingly bold and full of spices & berries. Nero D'Avola's make for silky smooth red house wine. Great paired with hearty winter meals of game or grilled meat in the summer. It astounded me just how good this bottle was. This was a label I've honestly been skeptical of for a while. It's one those wines I kept hearing cheap foodies & hipsters praising for years. Recently while living in Napa for a few months it was recommended to me by a wine steward I have a great deal of respect for. I gave her a sideways look and raised eyebrows "really?" I guess I still need to be a little more open minded to inexpensive wines.

ALSO: Disclaimer
  I forgot to mention in my former post some key information about decanters. If you do purchase a crystal decanter there are a few things I should have mentioned about cleaning and storing. Crystal is made with lead, which not everyone realizes. It is perfectly safe to have around and store wine in. There some steps you need to take though after purchasing and maintaining. Before using you need to clean with hot water and then fill with boiling vinegar. and allow to sit for about a half hour and then rinse with hot water again. This process will remove significant amounts of lead from the interior surface. Also never clean crystal with dish detergent and wash as little as possible or the brilliant shine will dull and a white film will develop. Never store wine in a decanter for more than three weeks or unhealthy levels of lead will seep into the wine, which is easy to recognize by distinct sweet taste. The Roman's actually lined their goblets with lead, because they desired the sweet taste it gave their reds.

Roccalta Sangiovese 2010

Roccalta Sangiovese 2010($4.99-6.99)

Color: Deep Ruby
Smell: Old oak, cherries, hibiscus, and blackberries 
Taste: Very high tannin's, medium acidity, medium alcohol, and slightly dry.

Food Pairings: Lamb Shanks
                          Cabbage Patch Stew
                          Hearty Red Sauce Pastas/Lasagna
                          Pork Medallions(on the rare side)
                          Morbier Cheese(older aged cheeses)

Summary: Roccalta's 2010 Sangiovese is one of the best deal's you'll find in a red, although sangio doesn't have to be expensive! I often find what I consider 90+ point sangio's for between $6-11. 
This sangio I found to be great drinking by itself with proper aeration. You can use a wide mouth glass or a decanter is you have one for presentation. I would serve this with hearty meal such as pork medallions with a potato/parsnip puree, carrots sauteed in oj/ginger/g marnier/cardamom/salt, and blanched spinach leaves. A half glass would be fabulous with a cheese plate as a starter.

Think of investing in an decanter! They're fabulous to have for aerating wines and for serving to for a romantic evening, for dinner parties, or if you just want to keep it classy! They also make fantastic decorative pieces in your kitchen or on your mantle. There is one for everyone's taste! I own one similar to the crystal on the upper left.