A Bright and Balanced Chardonnay from Marquee Artisan Wines

I haven’t had a chance to try many bottles of Chardonnay from Australia so I was happy when Marquee’s Signature Chardonnay arrived from the Yarra Valley.  Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape variety in this cool climate and I was excited to see what this wine had to offer.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Marquee 2008 Signature Chardonnay is 100% Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley region of Australia.  It has 12.7% alcohol and retails for $14.99.  For more information see www.marquee.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Marquee pours a vibrant gold in the glass.  Its aromatic nose has notes of lime, honeydew, and mango.  This light bodied wine shows bright flavors of pineapple, lime, peach, and melon that are nicely balanced with hints of toasted nuts.  The finish is tangy with pleasant acidity.  A very refreshing Chardonnay from Marquee!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Perfect with a salad with chicken, apples, and walnuts, pasta with scallops, or grilled red snapper

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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What Are Some of Your Favorite Food and Wine Pairings?

If you follow my blog, you know I love to offer suggestions as to what food pairs well with the wines I review.  I believe if you pair the right food and wine together, the flavors of both will be enhanced.  There is no real right and wrong…it’s all about what tastes great to you (but I wouldn’t exactly suggest pairing Cabernet and artichokes).  Some examples of food and wine pairings that I think are matches made in heaven include a juicy, semi-sweet Petite Sirah and dark chocolate or d’Affinois cheese and Champagne.

I am going to be hosting a wine tasting soon for a small group of friends and my brain is already churning with ideas of what to pair with the wines.  I have some of my personal favorites in mind but I am always on the lookout for something creative.  I would love to hear what you guys think goes best with your favorite wine…it could be simple or something far out on a limb.  What would you suggest for my tasting party?

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An Incredible Value From Doña Paula – 2009 Los Cardos Malbec

As I cruised into my favorite wine store this week (Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa if you happen to be near by), I noticed a display for their wine of the month.  I always try to grab a bottle of what they are offering because they usually feature a great find.  This month’s Malbec from Doña Paula is definitely no exception!

About the Wine- From the Winery

Doña Paula 2009 Los Cardos Malbec is 100% Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It has 14% alcohol and retails for around $7-9.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Los Cardos pours a dark ruby in the glass.  The fragrant nose has notes of blackberries, vanilla, tobacco, and spice.  The palate is full of juicy blackberries and dark cherries with earthy, ripe tannins.  Spicy, black pepper lingers in the finish along with a nice dose of acidity.  I am really impressed with what this wine delivers for the price…one of the best values I have found in a while.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pairs perfectly with BBQ beef ribs, a juicy burger, or dark chocolate.

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Rich and Complex- Caligiore Organic Legacy 2008 Malbec

Bison steaks are becoming one of my favorite meats to grill.  The steaks are flavorful and generally a little more tender than beef.  This past weekend, we grabbed a couple of bison steaks from Whole Foods and opened a bottle of Caligiore Organic Legacy Malbec.  They were a nice match for each other but the Malbec was definitely the star. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Caligiore Organic Legacy 2008 Malbec is organically farmed Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.  It has 13.9% alcohol and retails for $24.99.  For more information see www.marquee.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

The Organic Legacy pours a blackish plum color in the glass.  The nose is complex and intriguing with notes of blackberry, dark cherry, cedar, and spice.  The palate is very rich and has many dimensions…tastes of dark berries are mingled with cedar, tobacco, vanilla, and spicebox.  Spice and cocoa come alive in the smooth finish.  Caligiore’s Malbec invokes sophistication and I am definitely looking forward to the next glass…cheers!

My Wine Rating- A-

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine pairs perfectly with roasted lamb, a juicy filet, or bison steak.

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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A Saturday Afternoon Kind of Wine- Lulu B. Pinot Grigio

In continuing my tasting tour of Lulu B.’s wines, I had the chance to try their Pinot Grigio.  It’s simple, straight forward, and perfect for a Saturday afternoon with friends.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Lulu B. Pinot Grigio is from the Trento, Fiuli, and Veneto regions of Italy.  It has 12.5% alcohol and retails for around $10.  For more information see www.lulub.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

LuLu B. Pinot Grigio pours a pale straw color in the glass.  It has a crisp nose with aromas of pear and citrus.  The palate is light with clean flavors of pineapple, pear, and lemon that lead into a tangy, citrus finish.  While there isn’t anything complex about this wine, there doesn’t have to be.  It’s a great wine to open on a Saturday afternoon with great friends and even better conversation.  Cheers!

My Wine Rating- B-

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine pairs well with pasta with shrimp, a salad with roasted vegetables and chicken, or as an apéritif.

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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Unoaked and Refreshing- Mer Soleil Silver 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay

I have professed my love for unoaked Chardonnay before.  They are generally lighter, less buttery, and allow more of the true flavors of the Chardonnay grape to unfold.  While most unoaked Chardonnays I have tried are aged in stainless steel tanks, Silver is aged in cement tanks.  I am excited to dive in and see what Silver has to offer.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay- Ceramic Bottle Edition

Mer Soleil Silver is an unoaked Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands.  It has 14.8% alcohol and retails for around $22.  For more information see www.mersoleilvineyard.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Silver pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose is pleasant with aromas of lemon and pineapple surrounded by mineral notes.  Tastes of grapefruit, lemon, and green apple are and matched with a nice dose of acidity and minerality.  The finish is long, zingy, and refreshing.  Yet another unoaked Chardonnay that I am impressed with…cheers!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine pairs well with braised pork, pan seared scallops, or brie cheese.

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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An Up and Coming Varietal from Spain- Capa Rota 2010 Macabeo

You definitely aren’t going to find Macabeo in every supermarket wine section and I am going to bet that a lot of you haven’t heard of this varietal before.  Macabeo is a grape commonly grown in Spain that is generally blended in with other wines including Cava.  I have only had the opportunity to try Macabeo twice before but each time it’s brought unique, rich flavors to the glass.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Capa Rota 2010 Macabeo is 100% Macabeo from the Yecla region of Spain.  It has 12% alcohol and retails for $9.99.  For more information see www.marquee.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Capa Rota Macabeo pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose has lemon, lime, and light floral aromas.  The wine has a bit of a thick feel in the mouth.  Tastes of tangy citrus and melon are complemented by rich mineral notes.  It’s a nice wine for those looking for a white that isn’t sweet or overly fruity.  It’s simple and refined and a good find for under $10.  I would love to hear your thoughts on Macabeo if you have tried it before!

My Wine Rating- B-

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine would be a nice match for linguine with white clam sauce, grilled salmon, or goat cheese

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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A Wine With Layers of Jammy Fruit, Herbs, and Spices- Trapio 2006 Monastrell

I love a wine with personality…a bottle with lots of flavor that keeps me coming back for another sip.  Trapio Monastrell from La Purisma Bodegas definitely fits that description.  A great wine from Spain with layers of jammy fruit, herbs, and spice.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Trapio 2006 Monastrell is 100% Monastrell from Yecla, Spain.  It has 14% alcohol and retails for $24.99.  For more information see www.marquee.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Trapio Monastrell pours a deep, blackish plum in the glass.  The nose has notes of dark berries, prune, fennel, and spice.  The palate is packed full of sweet, dark berries, plum, and prune.  Tastes of liquorice, mint, and a hint of pepper are interwoven with the fruit.  Trapio has the essence of a port but is not as sweet with much more depth from the herbs and spices.  A really nice wine that will keep your taste buds awake!

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine pairs well with dark chocolate, a burger with blue cheese, or gilled lamb chops

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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A Pinot Noir From Lulu B. That’s Smooth, Simple, and Fun to Drink

All of us women know the stress…girls’ night planned, friends coming over in a couple of hours, and still panicking to find a wine to serve that will impress your friends but won’t break the bank.  I opened a bottle of Lulu B. Pinot Noir hoping it would be an easy recommendation to ease your hospitality worries…

About the Wine- From the Winery

Lulu B. Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir from France.  It has 12.5% alcohol and retails for $10.  For more information see www.lulub.com

Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Lulu B. Pinot Noir pours a bright ruby in the glass.  The nose is straight-forward with aromas of sweet dark berries, plum, and cherries.  The smooth palate is filled with tastes of juicy dark cherries.  The cherry flavors continue into the silky finish and are followed by a hint of spice.  Lulu B. Pinot Noir is casual, fun, and super-easy to drink.  A perfect fit for a girls’ night in!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Easy to sip on its own, with grilled salmon, or a great cheese plate (pairs well with cheddar, feta, and smoked brie). 

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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North Carolina Wine Has Come a Long Way- Biltmore Reserve Viognier 2010

I will be honest with you…the last time I had a wine from the Carolinas, I threw it out.  This is coming from a girl who spent the first 25 years of her life living in South Carolina before I ventured out to sunny, Southern California.  I was a little apprehensive when a bottle of North Carolina Viognier arrived from Biltmore Estates (a winery located on one of the most beautiful estates I have ever seen) but I am happy to say the wine from the Carolinas has come such a long way since I last had a glass. 

About the Wine- From the Winery

Biltmore Reserve Viognier 2010 is 100% Viognier from North Carolina.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for $18.99.  For more information see www.biltmore.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Biltmore Reserve Viognier pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose has invigorating aromas of lime, melon, and kiwi.  The palate is tangy and full of strawberry and citrus flavors.  The finish is unique with a healthy dose of acidity and some spicy, white pepper.  The wine could use a touch of elegance but overall I really enjoyed the wine.  If this is any indication of the progress of NC wines, I will have to another bottle soon!  Cheers!

My Wine Rating- B-

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine goes well with pan seared scallops, a spider roll (sushi), or grilled halibut.

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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