Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Review... Viridian Pinot Gris

US, OR, Williamette Valley, Viridian Estate Grown Pinot Gris 2009
++ // Crisp // Green Apple, Citrus, Stone // Green Apple, Ripe Peach, Grass // Medium

The wine was complex and layered. So crisp it was almost effervescent, the layers of flavor washed over the tongue in waves; the bite of a tart green apple, followed by a grassy body, with a long finish of almost over-ripe peach.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Game day wine

We’ve been trying wine with different, unexpected foods all year. Wine with Buffalo Wings, picnic food, and … With the “Big Game” coming up, we thought we’d keep on with that experiment, and try a bottle with some typical game snack foods.

Keeping it simple, we decided on a just few, easy snacks: Chips with cauliflower dip, nachos, and chicken tenders. While the cold weather makes us lean towards a red wine, the fatty nature of the food, along with the idea of drinking throughout several hours of entertainment pushed us towards a crisp white, so we selected a bottle of Viridian Pinot Gris.

Friday, January 27, 2012

How-To: Hold a Wine Glass Properly

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know we like to tackle the things about wine that cause us the most anxiety. How to hold a wine glass properly is pretty high up on that list, falling behind selecting & ordering wine on the Anxiety-o-Meter, but right alongside the tasting (Swirl-Sniff-Sip) process. It all boils down to: we don’t want to look stupid! We get caught up in the “right way,” trying to following the way things “should be” done. Of course, if you read our blog you know we always argue that there is no “should do” or “right way” in terms of enjoying wine.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quick Review... Wilhelmus Corot Noir

US, New York, Finger Lakes, Wilhelmus Estate, Corot Noir, 2008
+ // Spicy // Pepper, petrol // Cherry, pepper, dark chocolate // Full
Tasted almost like Black forest cake.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Did you know? ... White Burgundy

When most people hear Burgundy, they think of red wine. As we explained in our French Label story, its the name of a French AOC, it really means any of the specific styles and varietals of wine that come from that region, including white wines sometimes referred to as White Burgundy. White Burgundy is always made from the Chardonnay grape, and tends toward rich wines, full of fruit, mineral, and earthy flavors. While this style is common in France, American wineries sometimes recreate the style, creating crisp, fruity Chardonnays with little time in oak barrels, instead of the more common buttery, oaked style. Although you can find that too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick Review... Barrister “Rouge Justice”

US, WA, Barrister “Rouge Justice”
+ // Fruity, Earthy // Cherry, Leather // Chocolate, Jam, Plum // Medium

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elk stew & Barrister red

Holidays brought us some wonderful gifts from family. We try not to collect too many “things”, instead we love it when our family gives us “experiences”, and they managed to deliver a great one this year. A bottle of wine from Washington State, a package of frozen elk meat, and we were set for a wonderful evening at home. Elk may not be something normally associated with wine, since its hard to come by, but we have been experimenting with different pairings, and this presented us with another interesting challenge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How-To: Read a Spanish Wine Label

Of the Old World wine regions, Spanish wine labels are comparatively easy to understand. Some of the names may be unfamiliar, but they present much of the same information as American wine labels.

The Region: Spanish wine is organized by the “Denominacion de Origen” (DO) designation, clarifying the wine growing regions of the country. A further designation, “Denominacion de Origen Calificada” (DOCa) breaks it down even further, and usually indicates a higher quality wine. “Vino de la tierra”, “vino comarcal”, and “vino de mesa” indicate regional wines, not sourced from the quality growing regions.
Varietal (Grape): Spain grows a range of vinifera (think “noble”) grapes, along with varieties particular to the country.
The Winemaker or Wine Producer
Chateau name, Chateau Bottling: Having a long history of wine production, there are many old, established wine estates in Spain. If a wine is produced under such circumstances, they will be certain to let you know.
Vintage (Year)
Alcohol content
Reserva: Spain is one of the few places where this phrase,“Reserve” has any regulated meaning. Specifically, it means that the wine has been matured in oak barrels longer than is standard.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick Review...Bodegas Castano

Spain, Castano, Bodegas Castano, Monastrell 2010
+ // Sweet // Apple, Cherry // Red apples, Strawberry // Medium

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Did you know? … Verdejo

Verdejo is a wine varietal native to the Ruedo region of Spain. A full-bodied, aromatic wine, it thrives in the warm climate and poor soils of the region. Citrus and minerality give the wine an acidic flavor, well suited to the tapas plates popular in Madrid, not far to the southwest.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick Review...Spanish Rosé

Spain, Txakolina, Ameztoi, Getariako Rubentis Rosé 2010
/ // Crisp // Apple // Tart Apple // Med-Heavy

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Hour at Olea

 Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood has a bustling food and wine scene these days. We don’t wander that way for dinner very often, but whenever we do we find another favorite restaurant. For a special treat on a day off from work, we managed to beat the dinner rush and find a table at Olea. Every time we have tried to eat there in the past, it’s been so crowded we couldn’t even get the hosts attention to find out how long of a wait it might be. This time we walked in and got a table right away. Even better, we got there early enough for Happy Hour, something that we almost never get to enjoy, at any restaurant.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How-To: Read a South African Wine Label

Like their American counterparts, South African wine labels are fairly easy to understand for American wine drinkers. A wine label will include:
            -Indication that the wine is from South Africa
            -Appellation of the wine region, within South Africa
-Grape Variety or name of the blend, with vintage
           -Name of the wine producer
           -Percent alcohol content

The Region: South African wine is organized by the “Wine of Origin” designation. The most basic is by Geographical Units, with Regions being more specific, Districts even more specific, and Wards the most precise designation.

Varietal (Grape): South Africa grows a wide range of old world grapes, sometimes under a local variation on the name.

The Winemaker or Wine Producer

Vintage (Year)

Alcohol content

From Wines of South Africa

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick Review... Dr. Konstantin Frank Meritage

US, New York, Finger Lakes, Dr. Konstantin Frank, Meritage, Salmon Run, 2008
+ // Fruity // Raspberry Jam // Leather, Raspberry // Medium

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Did You Know?... About Pinotage

Pinotage is varietal of grape particular to the wine growing regions of South Africa, a cross breed of Pinot Noir and Cisault (also know as Heritage). This grape was created specifically for South Africa, growing the flavorful Pinot Noir grape on hearty, disease resistant vines.

When we heard of this grape, we thought it might be a blend of grapes, based around Pinot Noir, since the it seems so similar to Meritage, the American version of the Bordeaux blend, but now we know that’s not the case.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick Review... One World Pinotage

South Africa, Stellenbosch, One World Pinotage 2008
+ // Fruity // Strawberry // Berry, grass // Medium

Monday, January 9, 2012

Xai Xai Wine Bar

Not long ago, we had plans to catch an Off-Broadway show, near Times Square. Arriving in the neighborhood with just a little time to spare for dinner, we walked a few blocks away, to avoid evening crowds, and ended up at a small South African wine bar with tapas: Xai Xai Wine Bar. This worked out well for us, because we could grab a couple of small plates with a glass of wine, and still have time to get to our show.

We shared a handful of dishes: pickled vegetables, baked ricotta, and stuffed pepperdew peppers wrapped in bacon. Since we were sharing the same meal, we could share the same wine, and chose a carafe of Pinotage from One World Winery to share.

In all, it was a simple, quick meal that let us enjoy our time before the show. It made for an infinitely more appealing meal than stopping off at one of the chain restaurants. Who needs fast food?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Favorites of 2011... How-To Order Wine at a Restaurant

This week, we are recapping some of your favorite articles from the year...

Our goal here is to make it easy to understand wine. So much of what is written about wines makes it even harder for the novice to understand, and attempts to shroud wine in mystery. It pleases us greatly that some of our most basic articles, like How to Order Wine at a Restaurant are some of the most read, and we hope that they really help people have confidence when they go out to their favorite restaurant or bar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favorites of 2011... Quick Reviw: Baiting Hollow

This week, we are recapping some of your favorite articles from the year...

While classic Old World Champagne is a favorite topic, Baiting Hallow from Long Island is another sought after review.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Favorites of 2011... Noble Grapes

This week, we are recapping some of your favorite articles from the year...

While we love to share all we know about domestic varietals, it seems like our readers are most interested the Noble Grapes of the Old World.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Favorites of 2011... Quick Reviw: Perrier-Jouet

This week, we are recapping some of your favorite articles from the year...

It should come as no surprise that the most sought after review on our site is the most renowned wine we drank all year; Champagne from Perrier-Jouet. So let’s all pop a bottle of the bubbly to celebrate!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Favorites of 2011... Summer of Rosé

 This week, we are recapping some of your favorite articles from the year...

Summer of Rosé was an interesting series for us. Our first attempt at exploring both wines new to us, and trying wine with food we might not normally associate with wine; we we’re pleased that you responded so well to it!