I don’t regularly promote wine events (maybe I should?), but when it comes to my favorite event of the year, I am definitely going to share it. Rhone Rangers is a non-profit organization dedicated to “advancing the knowledge and enjoyment of Rhone wines produced in America” and they do a fantastic job. Their event in Los Angeles showcases some of the best Rhone winemakers outside of France (think Bonny Doon, Two Shepherds, and Tablas Creek).
Last year’s event held at the Vibiana…a beautiful setting and even better wine!
This year’s event will be held on June 23rd at the Vibiana in Downtown LA. The Vibiana is a breathtaking location (it was held there last year as well) and the featured producers seem to get better every year. So Rhone lovers, look no further for weekend plans! This event is not to be missed!
Check out the event here: http://www.rhonerangers.org/calendar/Los%20Angeles%202013.php
Want a beautiful, summer wine at a really attractive price (definitely a rhetorical question)? That is exactly what I found when I picked up a bottle of Eric Chevalier’s 2011 Muscadet Cotes De Grand Lieu Sur Lie. Imported by Kermit Lynch, this wine is naturally fermented and unfiltered. For a price of around $14, this wine shouldn’t be missed!
Eric Chevalier 2011 Muscadet Cotes De Grand Lieu Sur Lie
This lovely wine pours a pale gold in the glass. The nose has gentle aromas of lemon peel and green apple. Racing acidity and fresh minerality envelope your palate along with tastes of sweet melon and citrus. A delicious wine worthy of being enjoyed now! (11.5% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with summer salads, oysters, or soft shell crab.
Spending last week in South Carolina really got me thinking about some wine and food pairings with low country cuisine. I ate some amazing food, including my share of grits dishes. One standout dish was shellfish and grits at Magnolia’s in Charleston. It consisted of creamy, white grits, shrimp, scallops, and lobster topped with fried spinach and was delicious!
Shellfish & Grits from Magnolia’s in Charleston, SC…the picture does not do it justice!
When it comes to wine, there are a few good pairings with this style of shrimp and grits. One wine I definitely recommend is a Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine. The crisp acidity in the wine cuts the creaminess of the dish while the fresh flavors complement the seafood. Try Les Clissages d’Or Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2009 ($13, 12% alcohol)…this is a pairing you don’t want to miss!
When I came across a Barbera aged in stainless steel instead of oak, I had to pick up a bottle! It opens with aromas of red berries and a hint of white pepper . The palate has simple, bright tastes of cranberries and red cherries with lively acidity. The lack of oak influence makes the wine very fresh and food-friendly. Easy to drink and definitely worthy of mid-week sipping! Pair with pork, game meat, or pizza. (B+, $14, 14% alcohol)
Just in case you are wondering where we have been…
Brandon and I are enjoying South Carolina until early next week! We will be back with some new wines and maybe a few reviews of some of the fantastic places we have visited in Charleston. Hope your weekend is filled with great wine, food, and friends!
Ballentine Vineyards is a family-run winery with roots in Napa Valley dating back to 1906. I received a bottle of their 2010 Petite Sirah in the mail a couple of weeks ago and was definitely surprised with the depth of flavor in each sip!
This Petite Sirah opens with enticing aromas of dark berries and spice. The palate has layers of rich flavors that aren’t too overburdened with alcohol. There are delicious notes of toffee, blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and spice. A wine that should definitely be on the radar of any Petite Sirah lover! (B+, $28, 14.3% alcohol)
Brooks is a small winery in Amity, Oregon committed to organic and biodynamic farming practices. Last week, I uncorked a bottle of their 2011 Runaway Pinot Blanc and definitely knew it was a bottle I wanted to share with you guys!
This Pinot Blanc pours a pale, gold color in the glass. It opens with aromas of tart green apple, pear, and lime. It is crisp and tangy on the palate with tastes of citrus, peach, and a hint of nuttiness. The racing acidity and vibrant flavors are sure to awaken your taste buds! ($15, 11.3% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with shellfish, sushi, or brie cheese.
There are lots of reasons to celebrate this time of year. Graduations, vacations, sunshine, beach days…the list goes on! I am always excited to find a great sparkling wine that is priced exceptionally well for summer celebrations. Albert Mann 2010 Cremant d’Alsace Brut definitely fits the bill!
This sparkler is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Auxerrois grown in the Alsace region of France. Made in the traditional Champagne method, it has 12.5% alcohol and retails for around $22.
This pale, gold wine has aromas citrus and pear with hints of fresh-baked bread. On the palate, there are delicate bubbles surrounded with fresh tastes of citrus, green apples, spice, and yeast. Vibrant acidity and a lot of value for your dollar! Perfect for any summer celebration!
My Wine Rating- B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with oysters, lobster, or sip as an aperitif.
Today, I am recommending a Petite Sirah I thankfully stumbled across a few weeks ago and is definitely worth sipping. Guglielmo is a winery established in 1925 in the Santa Clara Valley. Their 2008 Petite Sirah is estate grown and retails for around $25.
Guglielmo 2008 Petite Sirah
Take everything your taste buds know about Petite Sirah and toss it out the window! This wine is extremely balanced with 13.2% alcohol and healthy acidity. The nose is earthy with notes of dark fruit while the palate has bright flavors of plum, leather, and cedar with controlled tannins. The white pepper finish leaves a lasting impression. Something different and I like it!
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with game meats, carne asada, or rack of lamb.
Last time we were in Sonoma, I called up a small, family run winery called Pasterick and tried to schedule a tasting appointment. Friends had told us the property (which includes wine caves) was beautiful and the wines were definitely worth tasting. Unfortunately, they were closed that week and we never got to check them out. So, needless to say, I was super excited when a bottle of their 2012 Estate Rosé of Syrah showed up at my door. It is 100% Syrah with 12% alcohol and comes in at $24 a bottle.
This Rosé is a beautiful, peach-hued copper color and has floral aromas with earthy undertones. The palate is full-bodied with bright acidity. The tastes of watermelon and white pepper that are both refreshing and expressive. Balanced, full of finesse, and perfect for a summer meal!
My Wine Rating – A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with grilled pork, seafood salad, or as an aperitif.