A French Bargain- 2010 Georges Descombes Régnié

Beaujolais…often disregarded and overlooked.  I will admit there are French wines that may show a little more sophistication but to ignore Beaujolais as a category is a huge mistake.  Over the weekend I uncorked a bottle of 2010 Georges Descombes Régnié and was amazed at the complexity and depth I found in this medium-bodied wine.

About the Wine- From the Winery

2010 Georges Descombes Régnié is a Gamay from the Beaujolais region of France.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for $23.99.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

2010 Georges Descombes Régnié pours a bright ruby in the glass.  The nose is musty with aromas of strawberries, cherries, and spice.  The palate offers layers of dark cherries, raspberries, pepper, and vibrant acidity.  The finish is long and elegant and gives your palate time to ponder the flavors in the wine.  A wonderful wine at a very fair price.

My Wine Rating- A-

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this wine with a charcuterie plate, grilled chicken with roasted vegetables, or Camembert cheese

*Media Sample

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Weekend Mini-Review – Andrew Murray Vineyards 2011 Sanglier

When I was in Los Olivos earlier this week, I made sure to swing over to Andrew Murray Vineyards tasting room to try out his new releases.  I have talked about his wines before and he has one of those rare tasting lineups where I like, if not love, every wine I try.  One of Andrew’s brand new releases, 2011 Sanglier Rosé, quickly won me over.

2011 Andrew Murray Vineyards Sanglier

The Sanglier is a Rosé of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah from the Camp 4 Vineyard in Santa Ynez.  This isn’t your typical sweet or dainty Rosé…the palate is spicy, crisp, and will grab your attention from the first sip.  There are tastes of bright, red fruit with spicy, earthy undertones.  The spicy notes continue into the finish along with a nice lift from the acidity.  There were only 70 cases made of the Sanglier so I seriously recommend that you grab a few bottles before they are gone!  A bold, delicious Rosé I will be sipping all summer long. ($15, 13.5%, A-)

Andrew Murray Vineyards Tasting Room in downtown Los Olivos

 

 

 

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A Perfect Afternoon at Cimarone Estate Wines in Santa Ynez

I had the good fortune to spend the last few days in Santa Barbara with my husband.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel, had great weather, and delicious food but the highlight of our trip was a tour of Cimarone Estate Wines in Santa Ynez.

We drove up from downtown Santa Barbara on a sunny Monday afternoon and we were in awe of Cimarone’s beautiful property as we slowly made our way to the estate.  We were met in the driveway of the estate by Roger Higgins, Cimarone’s owner, and his two dogs, Kali and Max.  Roger and his wife Cilla purchased the vastly undeveloped land in 2000 and admittedly didn’t know much about starting a winery.  Trial and error proved successful and they now produce two lines of fabulous wines.  Their Cimarone label features the best wines from their estate and their 3CV features wines for everyday drinking (every wine is under $20).

Vast views from Cimarone Estate Winery

We started off the tour with a glass of their 3CV 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (one of my favorite wines from the 3CV line- review here http://wp.me/p1vdhr-Dt) and made our way into the vineyards.  Large lots of Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, and other varietals fill the property.  As we learned about the vineyards, it was evident that Roger and Cilla poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this beautiful estate.  In 2008, they converted an existing horse barn into a 2,500 square foot winery consisting of a tank room, barrel room, and crush pad.  We continued to learn more about their sustainable wine making practices as we wandered through the chilly, glorious smelling barrel room.  A lot of love goes into each bottle.  The grapes are hand sorted and and there is minimal intervention in their wine making process.

Roger and Brandon touring the barrel room

We wrapped up the tour by uncorking a bottle of their 2008 Le Clos Secret, a Cabernet Blend.  A beautifully complex wine with tastes of dark fruit and structured tannins.  I was so glad we had the opportunity to visit this phenomenal winery.  Cimarone is making wines that prove that Santa Ynez is an undervalued wine region worth paying a little more attention to.  Grab a bottle or two and you will taste what you have been missing!

Roger, Max, Kali, Brandon and I in the vineyards
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Weekend Wine and Food Pairing- Petite Sirah and Dark Chocolate

I have mentioned pairing dark chocolate and Petite Sirah before and it still remains one of my all time favorites.  As much a people like to think that red wine and chocolate naturally go together, it can sometimes be difficult to find a great match.  I first tried Petite Sirah with dark chocolate a couple of years ago and was amazed at how harmonious the flavors of the wine and chocolate were together.  A perfect dessert combination.

One Petite Sirah I recommend pairing with dark chocolate is 2009 Rock Wall Gamble Ranch Petite Sirah.  This wine is loaded with rich tastes of plum, dark chocolate, and dark cherries.  The chocolate flavors linger in the finish.  A mouth-watering combination! ($30)

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Tasting Sauvignon Blanc with Villa Maria Estate and Thirsty Girl

There is not much better to do after a long day of work than come home, relax, and taste a couple of new wines.  Last night, Thirsty Girl (www.thirstygirl.com) put on a live tasting via Twitter with Villa Maria Estate, a winery in New Zealand.  Everyone who participated had the chance to taste two of their Sauvignon Blancs and both wines are perfect for warm weather and light, summer dishes.

We started off with Villa Maria 2011 Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine was refreshing and rejuvenated me after a long, hot day in Downtown LA.  Tastes of pear, citrus, and melon along with tangy acidity make it a great choice for fish tacos, oysters, or as an aperitif. (B, $14.99)

The second wine of the evening was Villia Maria 2011 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine was a bit more herbaceous and sophisticated.  The nose had a bit of grassiness along with aromas of lemon and honeydew.  The palate was packed with lemon, grapefruit, and floral notes.  Elegant and balanced.  Pair with scallops, tofu teriyaki, or soy-miso salmon.  (B+, $21.99)

A very fun tasting event and two great wines from Villa Maria!

*Media Samples

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Mini-Review- Ruffino Orvieto Classico 2009

Orvieto…it is not exactly the first wine you think of when you think Italian white wines.  I had the chance to try it for the first time over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised at its light, floral qualities.  It is a perfect wine for a warm, summer afternoon.

Ruffino Orvieto Classico is a blend of Grechetto, Procanico, Cannaiolo, and Verdelho.  It pours a pale straw color in the glass and has abundant floral aromas.  On the palate, the wine is light and refreshing.  The floral notes dominate the palate along with tastes of green apples and a hint of citrus.  The finish is clean with lingering floral and mineral notes.  An easy drinking wine that pairs well with light seafood or Italian cheeses!  (B+, 12% alcohol, $10)

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Weekend Wine and Food Pairing- Grüner Veltliner and Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my favorite foods.  I have developed a killer recipe I make at home and also order it at all of my favorite Mexican food spots.  Finding a wine that pairs well with guacamole can sometimes be a challenge.  I often find myself reaching for a Mexican beer instead.  That all changed this past weekend when I had a wine and guacamole pairing revelation…Grüner Veltliner!

Grüner and guacamole was pretty much made for each other.  The lively acidity of the Grüner cuts through the fat in the avocados and the citrus and apple flavors work in perfect harmony with the lime, onions, and cilantro in the guacamole.  One Grüner I suggest that would pair perfectly is R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner (review here http://wp.me/p1vdhr-Aq).  If you love guacamole and wine, give this pairing a try.  You won’t be reaching for a Mexican beer instead of wine any longer!

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Rich and Elegant- Montes Alpha Syrah 2009

I love when I open a bottle of wine and I am pleasantly surprised.  I really had no idea what to expect when I uncorked the bottle of Montes Alpha Syrah 2009 that arrived at my door.  I haven’t had too many Chilean Syrahs and I have only ever tried one other wine from Montes.  After a few sips, I realized that it wouldn’t be hard to finish the bottle.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Montes Alpha Syrah 2009 is 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Viognier from Chile’s Colchagua Valley.  It has 14.8% alcohol and retails for $21.  For more information visit www.monteswines.com.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Montes Alpha Syrah pours a dark reddish-purple in the glass.  The nose has earthy aromas of blueberry, leather, and spice.  Tastes of dark fruit, tart cherries, and tobacco fill the wine’s silky palate.  The finish is smooth and spicy with earthy undertones.  A rich yet elegant Syrah that drinks well beyond its price point.

My Wine Rating- A-

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this Syrah with braised lamb shoulder, spiced short ribs, or portabella burgers.

*Media Sample

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A Wine Worthy of a Special Occasion- Château La Nerth 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Anyone who knows me knows that I am in love with Rhone wines so I am always excited to try a new bottle.  Château La Nerth 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a Rhone blend from a winery that got its start in the 12th century.  My husband and I decided to uncork it over the weekend and we were pretty impressed with this beautiful, Rhone red!

About the Wine- From the Winery

Château La Nerth 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 48% Grenache Noir, 29% Syrah, 22% Mouvedre, and 1% Cinsault and is certified AB organic.  It has 14.5% alcohol and retails for $59.  For more information visit www.pasternakwine.com.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This wine pours an intense ruby in the glass.  Rich aromas of cassis, dark cherries, and spice immediately drew me into the wine.  The palate is smooth and sophisticated with tastes of dark fruits, spices, and balanced acidity.  The finish has a bit of spice and lingering earth.  Château La Nerth 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has layers of flavors that kept my taste buds entertained sip after sip.  A wine worthy of helping celebrate a special occasion or just life in general!

My Wine Rating- A-

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this wine with filet mignon, rack of lamb, or smoked gouda.

*Media Sample

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