A Fantastic Rosé for Summer – 2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé

It’s getting warmer every week and that means it’s time to stock up on lighter wines.  Last week, I discovered 2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé at Domaine LA and it will likely be taking up several spots in my wine cooler throughout the summer!

2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé
2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé

Technical Stuff

A blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache from Languedoc.  Organically farmed and fermented in stainless steel.  12% alcohol with a retail price of around $10.

Tasting Notes

Pouring a pretty coral color in the glass, 2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé opens with aromas of red berries and citrus.  The palate is light and refreshing with flavors of strawberries, raspberries, and red cherries along with healthy acidity.  Bright, crisp, and super food-friendly.  I could (and will!) drink this all summer long!

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Taco and Wine Pairings!

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, many of us will be indulging in delicious Mexican food. One of my favorite things to eat on Cinco de Mayo (and pretty much any other day of the year) is a fresh, grilled fish taco.  While a nice IPA is always a great pairing, I really enjoy finding a great wine to pair with tacos as well. Here are a few of my favorite combos:

Ahi and Salmon tacos from my favorite spot, La Sirena Grill
Ahi and Salmon tacos from my favorite spot, La Sirena Grill

Grüner Veltliner with Mahi Mahi and Guacamole Tacos

Grüner and fish tacos generally go perfectly together…especially when guacamole is involved.  The acid in the Grüner cuts the fat in the avocado and brings the Mahi to another level!  I suggest a bottle of 2012 Bernhard Ott “Am Berg” Grüner Veltliner Wagram.   Fresh and crisp with notes of green apple and peach! ($18)

Sparkling Wine with an Ahi Taco topped with Papaya Salsa

One of my favorite taco spots seasonally features a grilled ahi taco topped with fresh papaya salsa.  The salsa is a bit spicy and full of vibrant, tropical flavors.  I think sparkling wine pairs best with this fruit salsa style of taco.  It really complements the fruit without overpowering it.  Try a bottle of Fermi Bohigas Galda Finca Mas Macia Brut Cava.  With notes of stonefruit and pear, this Cava really is a nice match with fruit salsa! ($10)

Cool Climate Syrah and Braised Pork Tacos

Braised pork tacos need a wine that has some depth yet not too big of a personality.  I love pairing cool climate Syrah to bring out the flavors and spice in the braised meat.  Look for something without new oak and low in alcohol so it won’t overpower the pork.  Grab a glass of 2012 Yves Cuilleron “Les Vignes d’à Côté” Syrah.  Good acid with earthy notes of black currents and pepper for under $20! 

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Lodi Native Wine Tasting with BrandLive!

Last night, I joined other bloggers from across the country to participate in a #LodiLive tasting via Twitter and BrandLive.  We tasted through the 6 Lodi Native wines, a new project from 6 different Lodi wineries, and had a Q&A with the winemakers.  The project is a collaborative effort to highlight Old Vine Zinfandel in Lodi while focusing on minimalist winemaking practices.  This means native yeast fermentation, the use of no new oak, no acidification, and no other additives in the winemaking process other than minimal SO2.

Lodi Vineyard
Lodi Vineyard (courtesy of Goff Photography)
Lodi Zinfandel Cluster
Lodi Zinfandel Cluster (courtesy of Randy Caparoso)
Lodi Native Project
Lodi Native Project

 

The tasting was pretty awesome.  I tend to stray away from Zinfandel in general, especially the over-manipulated bottles with off the chart “big” personalities.  But most of these wines were so different from what many wine consumers think of when they consider Zinfandel.  A bit more balanced and elegant with the fruit really shining through (instead of oak or other added flavors).

It was also very interesting to hear the winemakers’ perspectives on the project.  Many of them had never worked with native yeasts or other minimalist techniques and it was noted most will probably implement a more natural style of winemaking into their winery brand.  Most of all, they seemed to have a real passion for showing off the level of Zinfandel that Lodi’s old vines are capable of producing.

Here are a couple of my favorite from the Lodi Native line up:

2012 Fields Family Century Block Vineyard Zinfandel

For me, this was the star of the show and the least stereotypical of Zinfandel.  Notes of earth and red berries with smooth texture and hints of spice.  Elegant and-balanced with healthy acidity.  So delicious! (14% alcohol)

2012 St. Armant Marian’s Vineyard Zinfandel

Another tasty Lodi Zinfandel with an earthiness that comes through both in the nose and the palate.  Lots of spice along with black cherry and a bit of an herbal undertone.  Definitely worth uncorking! (14.5% alcohol).

For more info, visit: Lodi Native

 *Media Samples

 

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Food Truck Wednesday at Barsha Wine and Spirits!

Just a quick note to let everyone know tomorrow night is Food Truck Wednesday at Barsha Wine and Spirits in Manhattan Beach.  This week it features “Cousins Maine Lobster Truck” along with a $5 wine selection from Barsha.  One of my favorite neighborhood events since moving here a couple months ago!

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For more info: Barsha events

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Burger and Wine Pairings!

It is finally spring and the weather is getting warmer.  This only means one thing…time to light up the grill and throw on the burgers!  While a lot of people tend to pair burgers with Cabernet, I want to give a few other options for your BBQ.  Keep in mind, the toppings you put on your burger also play a big part in which wine will pair the best.  Here are some awesome burger, topping, and wine pairings that I think you will enjoy!

Burgers and Syrah

A cool-climate Syrah is one of my go-to pairings for a simply dressed burger or a burger with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  The wine really elevates the meaty flavors and even works well if your burger is made from something other than beef (think lamb or pork).   Try Red Car Sonoma Coast Syrah.  Notes of earth, spice, smoke, dark fruit, and tobacco make it a great pairing!

Red Car Sonoma Coast Syrah
Red Car Sonoma Coast Syrah

Burgers and Champagne

I love pairing burgers with Champagne.  The acid and fresh flavors in the wine really enliven the palate when paired with a rich, fatty burger.  This pairing is especially nice when your burger is topped with cheese or a runny egg.  I like J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” 1er Cru Brut Champagne.  It is rich yet bright so it stands up to the burger while elevating the flavors with its acidity.

J. Lassalle "Cachet d'Or" 1er Cru Brut Champagne
J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” 1er Cru Brut Champagne

Burgers and Malbec

Another burger and wine pairing I have recently fallen in love with is Malbec from Cahors.  I definitely suggest exploring what Cahors has to offer because the Malbec tends to have a bit more acidity than those found in Argentina.  It works really well with pungent cheese along with most other savory toppings. Try Clos La Coutale Cahors.  Rustic, rich, and spicy…a match made in heaven!

Clos La Coutale Cahors
Clos La Coutale Cahors
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Malbec World Day is Today!

Today is Malbec World Day!  In honor of the celebration, I had the chance to participate in #SommChat on Twitter and chat with winemaker Aurelio Montes from Kaiken Winery.  We tasted two of his Malbec blends and had a Q & A regarding Malbec and Argentinean wines.

Kaiken Malbec Blends
Kaiken Malbec Blends

I really enjoyed the Kaiken “Terrioir Series” Corte 2011.  It is a blend of 80% Malbec, 12% Bonarda, and 8% Petit Verdot from Mendoza. The palate is rich and flavorful with notes of dark, ripe fruit and spice.  A great choice to pair with summer grilling!

And don’t mistakenly think Malbec is made in one style from one region.  My favorite Malbec wines come from Cahors in France.  One well-priced bottle that never disappoints comes from Clos La Coutale and is imported by Kermit Lynch.  Full of dark fruit flavor with noticeably more acidity than most of the wines coming out of Argentina.  It really delivers for around $14!

Clos La Coutale Cahors...a great Malbec blend!
Clos La Coutale Cahors…a great Malbec blend!

So, what are you waiting for?  Uncork a bottle of Malbec and join in on the Malbec World Day celebration!

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Happy 3 Year Anniversary to Wine and Good Food!

I really can’t believe it has been 3 years since I wrote my first post!   The journey has been awesome…I have met some amazing people, tasted stunning wine, and eaten incredible food along the way.  I have also grown so much since I first started blogging.  My palate has evolved, I have learned a ton about wine and wine making (still such an amateur though!), and, just recently, started to dig into the LA restaurant scene.

I am super excited about entering my 4th year of blogging.  So much is on the horizon (including my first trip to the Wine Bloggers Conference in July) and I have so much more to taste and learn.  Here is to many more years following my passions of wine and good food!

Cheers,

Bella

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Enter to Win a “Winecation” Vacation to Sonoma!

Are you dreaming of taking a vacation to wine country?  If so, we have a great giveaway to bring you today from our friends at Underground Cellar!

Sonoma vacation giveaway

Here is what you and 3 friends will get to experience if you are the winner:

GRAND PRIZE DETAILS
– Stay at the luxurious Villa Terra Nova located in the heart of Sonoma wine country
– Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
– VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
– Roundtrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

For more information and to enter, visit: https://www.undergroundcellar.com/landing/6/0/ExclusiveWinecation.

*Sponsored post

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Broc Cellars 2012 “Vine Starr” Sonoma County Zinfandel

I started to convince myself that I really did not like Zinfandel.  Every time I uncorked a bottle, the only adjectives that came to mind were big, jammy, fruit bomb, or overpowering (most of the time, all of the above). Thankfully, as with most things in life, there are exceptions to every rule.  This time, the exception comes from Broc Cellars.

Technical Stuff

100% Zinfandel from Sonoma County.  Naturally made with 12.7% alcohol.  Retails for $26.99.

Tasting Notes

Broc Cellars 2012 "Vine Starr" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Broc Cellars 2012 “Vine Starr” Sonoma County Zinfandel

Broc Cellars 2012 “Vine Starr” Zinfandel opens with aromas of black cherry,  earth, and black pepper.  The palate is elegant and vibrant with fresh flavors of dark fruit, anise, black tea, lavender, and spice.  Flavorful, refined, and compelling.  Throw everything your taste buds know about Zinfandel out the window…this stuff is awesome!

Broc Cellars

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La Dolce Vita Celebrates the Beverly Hills Centennial

Last night, I had the chance to visit La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills and check out their cocktail menu.  The new menu includes “The 100”, a cocktail that commemorates the Beverly Hills Centennial.  This classic, Italian restaurant has quite a rich history in Beverly Hills.  Frank Sinatra was a regular along with President Ronald Reagan and Sammy Davis Jr.  It only seems fitting that they would partake in the city’s milestone celebration!

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“The 100” is a cocktail mixing Stolichnaya 100 Proof Vodka, lemon juice, and Prosecco.  The fresh flavors make it a great way to start a meal, especially during the warm months ahead.  A nice way to commemorate such an occasion for Beverly Hills.

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In addition the “The 100”, there were also a couple of other standouts on the cocktail list.  “The Rouge” features 1800 Silver Tequila, grapefruit, lime juice and Serrano pepper.  The spice from the Serrano is addicting and will keep you reaching for another sip.

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I also really enjoyed “The Paper Lion”.  Hendricks Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and fresh basil comprise this satisfying cocktail.

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If you want to join in on the centennial celebration for Beverly Hills, I would definitely stop into La Dolce Vita and check out “The 100” along with the rest of their cocktail creations and Italian cuisine.  A quintessential restaurant that has definitely made its mark on the rich history of Beverly Hills.

La Dolce Vita
9785 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, Ca 90210

*Hosted event

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