The 2012 Real
provided a lot of fun for the money. The grapes for this wine come from 20 to
50 year old vines planted in Central Spain. This Garnacha is very fruity and
bright, with an aromatic intensity that includes a wide variety of bright red
fruit, including cherries, strawberries and raspberries. The nose follows
through to the palate, where a touch of red licorice adds complexity to the
soft and fruity finish. Great with rice casserole dishes and red-sauced pastas.$10
And we opened the 2009 Bodegas Muriel
Crianza - which is a Tempranillo that is matured for one year in very large (225
liter) American oak barrels. The aroma of vanilla, coconut, roasted coffee
combine with notes of ripe red berries and dark licorice on the elegant palate.
The medium-bodied finish is lush and clean. It would match well with small
appetizers – i.e. tapas – and hard cheeses. $16
Both of these wines were great pairing for the food and best of all, they were easy to drink and affordable.
Hi Vince - well, it all depends on your taste and everyone's taste is different. I have found that a lot of my friends cut their proverbial teeth on Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir tends to be a softer, more lush style of wine. The smooth tannins and bright fruit make it easy to drink on it's own but it also pairs really well with a wide variety of foods.
By the way - I like the way your doctor thinks!!!
As for the actual health benefits of red wine, it turns out that red-wine has tannins and tannins contain procyanidins, which is thought to protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France seem to have higher levels of procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
However, it is ALWAYS advisable to drink in moderation (an 6 oz glass, maybe two, a day) and always drink responsibly.
Red wine should be transferred to 1/2 bottle and record with the same cork from the original wine. Once you have 1/2 bottle recorked, place it in the refrigerator to slow down the oxidation process. Properly sealed, your wine should last you another three or four days. If you choose to use a vacu-vin or other type of suction device to remove the air from a bottle of wine, still put it in the refrigerator to slow down the chemical process of oxidation.
You can use this same technique with white wine, however it is my experience that white wine tends to last longer in refrigerator with less fuss than red wine.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, once proclaimed, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much
Champagne is just right.” Let’s face it; sparkling wines were made for New
Year’s Eve. There is nothing quite like wine with bubbles to create a festive
atmosphere and elevate the last night of the year to celebration more festive.
While only wines made in the Champagne region in France
can technically be called Champagne, all wine with bubbles is referred to as
Sparkling wine. So whether you are hosting a holiday soiree or need a
well-received hostess gift, Sparkling wines make any occasion more festive.
So, just how should you go about finding the right
sparkler for your particular palate? Well, price is always a factor, but many
consumers often overlook the importance of bubbles. How a wine gets its sparkle
can impact both the flavor and the feeling it creates in the mouth. For example,
the French use the Méthode Champenoise in Champagne. The Italians use the
Charmat method for their Prosecco. The wines can range from bone-dry to
wonderfully sweet. The bubbles can be tiny or effervescent. They can be white,
red or rosé. They can be fresh and lively or older and mellower. But it all
adds up to a good time whenever a sparkling wine is in the glass.
Here are a few Sparklers from around the world that
put the “pop” in popular.
Prosecco is an inexpensive way to enjoy a wonderfully
crisp, refreshing sparkling wine that will make your guests feel welcome. The Non-Vintage La Tordera Prosecco Brunei Brut
from Veneto, Italy is a good value. Scents of lemon/lime fill the bouquet while
flavors of apple and nectarine dominate the front of the palate. The crisp,
refreshing finish features citrus notes and just a hint of pear and yeast at
the very end. $20
The Loire Valley of France is home to the Non-Vintage Jean-Marc Gilet Vouvray Sparkling
wine. This sparkler is made exclusively from Chenin Blanc, using the Méthode
Champenoise, and sports fresh scents of white peach and nectarine on the
bouquet and bright flavors of citrus, apple and roasted almonds on the delicate
and complex body. An underlying sweetness is balanced by excellent acidity that
buoy up the notes of mango on the refreshing finish. $20
If you’re looking for a classic sparkling wine with a domestic label, the Non-Vintage J
Vineyards Cuvée 20 Brut from the Russian River Valley of California is a
great pick. It sports a wonderful bouquet that is full of toasted brioche,
green apple and lemon scents. Tight, compact bubbles carry flavors of ripe
apple, citrus and roasted almonds across the entire palate. Great acidity adds
a crisp finish and a perfect pairing with oysters on the half shell or shrimp
Many people consider Jack and Jamie Davies the founders of the high-end American sparkling wine movement. In 1965, after painstakingly restoring the historic Napa Valley Schramsberg winery in St. Helena, they introduced their Blanc de Blanc sparkler. Today, the Schramberg portfolio includes a variety of sparkling wines, but my favorite is the Non-Vintage Schramsberg Brut Rosé. Made from a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, it displays gorgeous flavors of strawberry and bright cherries on the front of the palate and notes of mango and papaya on the back end, adding delicious depth to the lovely, long finish. $38
Of course, if you want to really splurge, the Non-Vintage Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve from the Champagne region of France is a wonderful value in authentic Champagne.Starting with the elegant bouquet of white peach and baked bread on the nose and heading in to the flavors of pear, nectarine and peach on the palate, the wine sparkles and shines. Bright acidity holds up the telltale hints of brioche and vanilla on the crisp finish. A great wine to start or end the evening with.$50
Taking wine as a hostess gift is a tricky proposition. First of all, is your host or hostess a wine collector, or novice? I have found that most hosts enjoy a nice bottle of red wine or sparkling white wine. As for a specific "go to" wine, I think I would do something with a recognizable label, like the on-vintage Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve is aged for at least 3
years in the cellar, even though the legal minimum ageing requirement is 15
months. A range of different crus make up the blend. The nose is initially
restrained, with fresh white fruit scents of apple, pear and peach. intermingle with curry and turmeric spices. The
palate mimics the nose with more flavors of nectarine and peach with a touch of
baked bread. The mouthfeel is ultra-clean on the attack, with an elegant and
complex finish. Enjoy it with an aperitif of smoked salmon crostini. $28
If you're unsure what they would like, get something YOU like and let them know that your gift to them is one of your favorites.
A lot of people think that a screw-cap closures indicates lower-quality wine. Not all that long ago, this statement might have been true, but not today! Screw-caps closures have come a long way, thanks in part to the innovative and trendsetting winemakers in Australia and New Zealand. Today, many bottles of fine wine, especially white wines, from all over the world have turned to screw-caps as a less expensive and more reliable closure. Best of all, it eliminates the possibility of "Cork Taint" - a term referring to a set of undesirable smells or tastes found in a bottle of wine, that can only be detected after opening. This condition is generally caused by a cork found to be tainted by the presence of the chemical compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). When it comes into contact with the wine, it causes the wine to have odd aromas associated with a musty basement. The wine has a distinct flavor of wet cardboard. Make mine a screw cap!
Here are my favorite screw-cap wines to enjoy during hockey games (or any sporting event of your chosing):
If you’re looking for a crisp white wine to face off with, try the 2011 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. For only $14, this wine delivers beautifully balanced layers of flavor, including ripe gooseberry, and passion fruit on the front of the tongue and crisp lime on the zippy finish. It would be delicious with chicken (or Pittsburgh Penguin. Editor's Note: Scott is a Caps fan).
I am convinced that the 2012 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre from McLaren Vale may be one of the best red wine values – just $11 - coming out of Australia today. This front line of three muscular grapes possesses a huge nose full of blueberries and blackberries. On the palate, it delivers a lush yet balanced mouthful of black fruit flavors and spices that pair perfectly with robust meals like red wings or blue jackets – uh, I mean chili or lamb stew.
Take a "flyer" on the 2010 Tempra Tantrum by Bodegas Osborne, a Spanish wine made from a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Made in a "new world" style, the Cabernet provides structure and depth while the Tempranillo contributes dark, juicy flavors of plum, blackberry and chocolate. The abundant acidity keeps the wine bright on the finish and it is only $8 – like another great 8 I know, it’s an excellent value. - I would pair it with Duck… Anaheim Duck, that is.
You know that screw caps are here to stay when one of the most well known wine houses in France is now using them, as evidenced by the 2007 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rouge, from the Rhone Valley. This wine – at $11 – is a terrific buy. It has a beautiful deep red hue that seems almost opaque. The nose displays lovely aromas of berry fruit and earthy spices that are repeated on the palate, which is full and deep. The medium-length finish has solid support from soft tannins and notes of tobacco.
It was 1994. My wife and I were invited over to the friend's home for dinner. He was a big wine collector and wanted to teach us more about wine (at this point, I was brewing my own beer...). He opened a bottle of 1981 Chateau Beaucastel from the Châteauneuf du Pape region of France. It literally changed my life. It was like drinking velvet. I remember turning to him and saying, "I would drink if it tasted like this." He looked at me and replied, with a twinkle in his eye, "it does."
And that's all I have to say about that...
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