Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Golden Child (or Tardy for the Party)

What a week this has been! 2 huge snow storms, a roof leak, a dead car battery and a computer meltdown...good thing I had Pinotage to help me make it through. Now thanks to the computer meltdown I missed the actual Pinotage party on Twitter but I was able to sit back, with my feet up and enjoy a glass (or 3). When presented with the idea of a Pinotage Party by Dezel of My Vine Spot, I was so in! Being an acquired taste, I've found that most people have a love it or hate it relationship with the varietal. But Pinotage has been a favorite of mine for quite a while with the best examples coming from its originating country, South Africa. My Pinotage pick was a 2006 from Golden Kaan. The deep ruby red color filled my glass and as I swirled and sniffed, aromas of dark fruits, like plums, and hints of earth were present. Then I took a sip…ahh that signature bacon-y flavor of Pinotage. Clocking in at 14% alcohol, this wine also packed a punch. But once settled in the glanced I found soft fruits, soft tannins, plums and kinda gamey and earth-y on the palate. I had some barbecue chicken that I thought would pair well with the smoky flavors of the wine, and I was correct! One bite of chicken, then a sip of wine…amazing! A great wine on a cold night but also a perfect pairing for grilled pork and chicken.

So, I guess it wasn’t a total loss that I couldn’t join the party to tweet how delicious this wine was, I got to sit back and enjoy my culinary skills and my Pinotage. Guess I had a private Pinotage Party.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Wine Day Around Spain

Being a part of the wine trade means being invited to wine events. Okay, well maybe not invited, but I heard about the event and showed up :-) No worries though, I was welcome! The Spanish wine region of Ribeiro and Navarra were in town to promote their wines from the DC International Food & Wine Festival. Hosted by Deussen Communications and Jose Andres, I attended the Ribeiro event first at Jaleo first. Not to be confused with Ribera del Duero, the Ribeiro region in the NW province of Galicia is known mainly for their white wines. The treixadura grape is the star of the region with its fruity and floral notes. Other varietals indigenous to this region are torrontes, loureira, and godello. GQ Chef of the Year, Jose Andres hope to bring wines from where he grew up to Spanish wine aficionados in America. YAY for us in DC!

There were 7 tables, 18 wines...and I tasted them all. That's the only way to get the full experience of the region, right?! My favs from the tasting all contained treixadura, and of course aren't yet distributed in this area. I really do need to become an importer!

Arman Barrica 2007
100% Treixadura
Hints of toast, bacon, and smoke. Slight minerality on finish

Val de Nairoa 2009
80% Treixadura, 10% Albarino, 10% Lado
Great fruit blast of apple, citrus, and lemon. Crisp acidity

Vina do Campo 2008
70% Treixadura, 30% Torrontes
Creamy mouthfeel with refreshing florals and citrus fruits in the nose and on the palate

Next up, Navarra. So glad they had actual walk around appetizers at this event, I was starving! Citrus shrimp, cold tomato soup shooters, foie gras...Taberna del Alabadero.

Navarra, located in the North of Spain has a long rich history of wine, food, and tradition. Monks established the vineyards in the area in the 13th century and their winemaking techniques were influenced by the French. The bodegas of Navarra are known for their blends of traditional grape varieties like tempranillo, garnacha with imported varieties. Spanish rosado, strawberry in color, is also held in high regard in this region.

I slowed down with my tasting here. Of the 16 tables, I only made it to 7. But a great 7 they were! The standouts of Navarra are:

Bodegas Artajona Crianza 2006
Cabernet Sauvignon & Tempranillo
Aged 12 mos in oak, this wine had flavors of bright red fruits and a soft mouthfeel

Ochoa Moscatel 2008
Moscatel a petit grain
A sweet dessert style, this wine had flavors of honey, peach, melon and honeysuckle

Casita Mami semiCrianza 2004
60% Garnacha, 40% Graciano
Spent 6 mos in American oak, tasted of oak, clove and sweet red fruits

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wine Wednesday - House Wines

Another East Coast blizzard...another day stuck in the house. Good thing it's Wine Wednesday!! With a day in the house, I figured I would try my culinary hand and make a 3-course meal complete with wine pairings. My dinner menu is listed below.

Lobster Bisque
topped with sherry and whipped cream
Wine: Xarmant Txakoli

Beef Roast with honey glaze
Linguine Noodles with roasted red pepper sauce
Sweet & Sour Collard Greens
Wine: 2006 Chateau LaRose Trintaudon

Pecan Pie topped with whipped cream
Wine: Oloroso Sherry

The meal was fantastic if I do say so myself! And there weren't any complaints, my dinner guest cleared his plate ;-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

#Snowpocalypse 2.0

That is the twitter buzz word of the day, along with #snowmaggedon, #snOMG, and #snOMGasm. And there hasn't even been any snow yet!! All area schools are closed for the day, most business have told their employees to work from home, all the milk and bread aisles are empty at the grocery store.... Oh, did I mention that NOT ONE drop of snow has hit the ground?! HILAR!

I guess being from Chicago and never being out of school or seeing the city shut down for anything less than 2' really has me cracking up at how people are handling the upcoming snow storm. Snow is scheduled to start in 20 min (10AM) and probably won't start serious accumulation until about 7 or 8pm this evening. So glad I keep my house stocked fairly well with groceries and wine ;-) But for those that need to venture out for supplies below are a few food and drink ideas to keep you warm and toasty during the impending snowpocalypse.



  • Mulled Wine
  • Spicy Australian Shiraz
  • Big Oaky CA Zinfandel
  • Oloroso Sherry
  • 10-year Tawny Port
  • Hot Chocolate (with a touch of Baileys or Kahlua)