#WW– A Taste of Madrid with Malvar

I shared this interesting wine that I received from Olé Imports a few weeks ago with a dear friend of mine and we were automatically obsessed!  We sat down for a cheese and hummus plate and sipped the fabulous 2010 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Blanco, 100% Malvar and indigenous to the Madrid (so awesome!). My first try at Malvar, we found it to be such an easy drinking white wine and a cross between a grassy Sauvignon Blanc and an unoaked Chardonnay.  The graceful acidity paired well with the lighter cheese we had and even just drinking by itself was a treat and very easy to do! We were so caught up in the moment that I forgot to take a picture!

Like we were, were you perplexed by the design on the bottle also? Olé in their tasting notes explains that ‘Zestos’ means ‘basket’ in English.  ‘Not too many years ago, baskets like the one on the label were placed on donkeys to transport the just-picked grapes from the vineyard to the winery.”  This intricate design represents the heritage and process that was once used to harvest the grapes in the past.  A wonderful representation of tradition both inside and out!

Olé suggests: ‘If you like litchi fruit, Zestos Blanco!’

The best part, the price – $8

Have you tried any obscure grapes that you had never heard of before and LOVED?

**All photos are from Olé Imports

#WW – A Bold Blend w/ @ChalkHillEstate

Straight from the winery, last Memorial Day weekend  2011, we transported this extremely special bottle of wine from Russian River Valley’s renowned and unique winery Chalk Hill.  This wine was the inaugural release of their Estate Red that was inspired by the proprietor, Frederick, P. Furth’s vision of a wine authentic to Chalk Hill, as it blends and represents the lay of the land that Chalk Hill resides on. Made with 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Malbec, 13% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carmenere makes this beautifully smooth red wine full of vibrant fruit.  By looking at the varietals and the burgundy color and ‘young’ looking wine in the glass, my first thought was, “this is a heavy wine that absolutely needs a meaty meal to pair with.”  However, after pouring two glasses in 80 degree weather in NYC, in these wonderful Italian wine glasses from Fishs Eddy {here} I might add, my fiancé and I enjoyed this outside (perfectly chilled for a red wine) with light salads and were blown away.  With beautiful tannins that aren’t overbearing and amazing blackberry flavors with many other fruits bursting on our taste buds, the 2007 Chalk Hill Estate Red {here} was an experience and recommended for all red wine lovers to enjoy.  

To my fiancé’s point – “For such a bold looking wine, this really hit the spot on a hot day.  It wasn’t chalky and the fruit really came out in the hot weather…” Oh how I’ve taught him well… Just kidding!

Overall, definitely worth the splurge ($70) to bring to a wonderful dinner party outside on the terrace!  Enjoy!

For more on Chalk HIll
Sunday Sips {here}
Off-Roading In Sonoma {here}

Winepug Wednesday – Masseria Cavallo, Puglia

Masseria Cavallo Negroamaro Puglia 2009

Tonight’s Winepug Wednesday Wine comes from my fiancé!  It was a crazy day at work and lo and behold a bottle of red was popped open and decanting on the table waiting for us to indulge in that first ‘sigh of relief’ sip.

Coming from our Zagat Wine Club {here} stash, is a still red wine (or table wine) from Italia. It is my first experience with the Negroamaro grape and it is simply divine.  Lots of spice, plum and blackberry flavors, tannic but not too overbearing with a smooth finish makes this wine… yup, you guessed it… a drinking wine! This wine has a flirty finish loaded with prunes and sweet fruit leaving you begging for more (looking like a great Wednesday night)!  An awesome value (~$10) and a great wine to drink NOW, no need to let it sit in your wine cellar.

Where to buy in NYC:  Unfortunately, another wine I couldn’t find in NYC however, if you find it… Let me know! Definitely available through Zagat!

For more and fun facts on the Negroamaro grape {here}

Salud to YOU and Wednesday!

A Vow to Winepug Wednesday’s!

On this rainy Wednesday while I had a TINY bit of downtime at work (aka was walking to grab a quick coffee), I got to thinking that I need to manage my time better between my day job and night job.  As a marketer by day and wine blogger by night (well every free minute I have), I know that consistency and routine matters however, it’s a hard thing to do when you are juggling jobs, hobbies, friends, fiancés etc., especially in the city that never sleeps (which it really doesn’t).  So today, on this rainy Wednesday (I repeat) I am making a pledge to start Winepug Wednesday’s where I am dedicating Wednesday night’s to review one bottle of wine in various price ranges for those casual bbq’s and outdoor picnics to the fancy dinner parties and fabulous dates.   This way, you can rely on a recommendation for your parties, gatherings etc. that are coming up in the week/weekend ahead.  And please, if you need help picking the perfect wine for the perfect occasion, just shout it out!

With that, on to my first Winepug Wednesday! Salud!

 

Winepug Wednesday – Drakenskloof, South Africa

Don’t be fooled by the “dracula-esque” look and feel of this bottle because this is a mighty fine drinking wine that should be passed around the table (if you’re willing to share). On this rainy Wednesday we opened up a bottle from South Africa’s finest, The Western Cape which was a pleasant surprise in my most recent Zagat Wine Club delivery.  Have you heard of Pinotage?  I hadn’t, until I sipped this beautiful wine that is filled with dark berry flavors (blackberries, blueberries – YUM) with a hint of spice that offers a bit of relief on the heavy berry flavor that transitions nicely to an elegantly smooth finish.  Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape, has spice like a Shiraz and/or Malbec, and deep fruit like a Cabernet to give you an idea of what you are dealing with.  It’s light enough to think of it as a ‘drinking’ wine yet heavy enough to bring to a fancy dinner party but not spend $50 for a bottle. Another great wine for a great value – retails $16.99.  So where to buy in NYC?  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in NYC but can order online {here} or if Out of Stock try Zagat Wine {here}.

Hope you enjoy!  Cheers!

From the Ground Up with Paul Hobbs @ bahr che

Located at 26 Astor Place, bahr che sets a romantic scene for an intimate gathering inside their 10-table quaint yet classically chic space. With a dramatic wine wall lined with endless bottles of great wines from across the world, bahr che proves to be a true date spot and one of the only that I’ve noticed in Astor Place.  As a true hidden gem, or I’m sure not so hidden anymore, you will find yourself dining there on a romantic date, popping in for a glass of wine found on their treasured wine list or enjoying a nightcap on your way home from downtown with the friendly staff.

And… Just as you thought this wine, cheese, and charcuterie couldn’t sound any better, they also offer Winemaker Wednesdays to exhibit the authenticity of a good wine bar through introducing wines and winemakers to guests who love the exploration of wine.  On February 1st, I was invited to a special wine tasting with renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs at bahr che for their Winemaker Wednesday event.

Now onto the winemaker – Paul Hobbs…

From growing up in Buffalo, NY with ‘no wine on the dinner table’ to studying and working amongst the leading winemakers in the industry (Simi, Robert Mondavi), Paul Hobbs shared his journey of wine through his fabulous wines from California and Argentina.  The night was full of listening to his stories, trials and errors, and connecting the wine to his words (and small bites!) one sip at a time.  His parting words when we asked, “What is one thing you want to share with the world of wine lovers” his response – “Just remember, from the ground up”.  So many meanings and so much detail to think about!

Some favorites from the night…

Vina Cobos, Bramare Marchiori Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 – $39.99
Extreme buttery taste with a hint of apricot. Extremely smooth.  Highly recommend for those buttery Chard lovers!

2009 Pinot Noir, ‘Lindsay Vineyard’ Paul Hobbs – $97
A beautiful garnet colored Pinot Noir with a delicious plum and luscious fruit flavor.  It almost tasted like a ripe fruit roll-up. Hints of oak.  Very exquisite Pinot Noir that is worth the splurge!

2010 Vina Cobos Felino Malbec – $25
Black plums, hint of cedar taste, extremely ripe tannins that make this wine beautifully structured and should be served at a fancy date night dinner by candlelight

Bougrier Sauvignon Blanc – Love at First Glass

The first sight of Sauvignon Blanc is like the first signs of Spring – A beautiful thing! I don’t know if I just LOVE Sauvignon Blanc or if I’ve been hibernating with Red for too long this winter, but this is the best I’ve tasted! Not as ‘harsh’ as a New Zealand, and leaves you salivating for more! Another round please, I think I see Spring flowers blooming!

2010 Bougrier Sauvignon Blanc Touraine “Cuvée spéciale” (France, Loire Valley, Touraine)

What Zagat Thinks: “A top-class Sauvignon with a gold-medal pedigree, from trusted Loire insiders the Bougrier family. They’ve sent the follow-up to their double gold-medal 2009 Reserve. Like the best Loire Sauvignon Blancs, this is crisp, elegant and poised. An ideal white for those who enjoy a more delicate style than the tropical fruit-loaded, leap-from-the-glass character found in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. So fresh and very classy.”

Bottle Notes – “I choose the finest grapes to make my Family Reserve. It has classic Sauvignon Blanc character: aromatic elegant and dry. We enjoy this wine served as an aperitif or as acompaniment to grilled fish and seafood dishes, salads or the Loire classic goats cheese”

Winepug’s Tasting: APRICOT and PEACH are the pungent taste here, slightly acidic, semi creamy, a bit of a lovely bitter taste and beautifully smooth. Definitely drinking this as an aperitif AND with a great grilled Sea Bass!

Nostalgia with Tin Barn

I always love when a bottle of wine has a nostalgic memory behind it.  This bottle of Red Zinfandel is from our first trip to the Russian River Valley together as you may remember from {here}.  Tin Barn was my first time (probably will be the only time)  climbing into a steel barrel with a 4 year old {here}!  Sipping on this bottle with close friends and reminiscing about our time in the RRV, I think we enjoyed this wine right per it’s instruction on the bottle.

Tin Barn Vineyards 2008 Zinfandel Russian River Valley, Gilsson Vineyard

On the bottle: “Tin Barn is the fruit of five friends’ passion for the grape.  Our wines are crafted from vineyards specifically chosen for their unique soils and optimal growing locations.  Please drink with pleasure this quality wine we have produced.”

Winepug’s Tasting:  A lighter red with hints of vanilla and raspberry’s.  This wine is a great drinking wine that truly speak to it’s roots! A must with dark chocolate.  A casual yet seductive wine! – Try it and you’ll understand!

Il Baretto – The Wine Rundown!

Nestled between ‘dealership row’ on 11th Ave, lay a casual yet authentic wine bar straight out of Italia overlooking De Witt Clinton Park. Who would’ve thought in the midst of Mercedes Benz and BMW you’d come across such a hidden gem of a wine bar.  From the same owner of the delicious Italian meal Il Melograno, Il Baretto is an undercover gem that is “off the beaten path” where small plates of assorted cheeses, creative panini’s and generous selection of meats and fruits can be sampled and tasted with their magnificent array of Italian wines.

It was a cold night in Hell’s Kitchen and my fiancé and I decided to experiment and venture away from our standard Italian favorites, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Chianti Classico and submerged ourselves into a new, taste inspiring red wine from Sicily, Santa Anastasia Nero D’Avola.  A reasonably priced bottle $34 and glass $10, moving out of our confort zone was a wise choice as we tasted a burst of flavor with smooth tannins that went well with our small bites!  It was a very classic style of Italian wine yet had a modern touch which made it very well structured and easier to drink than some of the heavier Italian wines.

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood looking for a causal wine bar that will take you out of the City and into the heart of Sicily’s northern coastline, Il Barretto is your gem!

Enjoy!

Saving the best for last….

Another Wine Deal for Monday!

Another great wine deal for a wine filled Monday night in NYC!

The Fatty Crab on the Upper West Side is offering half off select bottles of wine on Monday nights with dinner!

Fatty Crab
2170 Broadway
212.496.2722 

Add this to our Monday Funday List starting with “Wine Down Monday’s @ STK” {here}

Your Perfect Wine Club

How nice is it to not have to make decisions. We come from a life where making decisions determines our fate, destiny, and quite simply what mood we will be in for the rest of the day, week, year… So how about I make this simple for all and share with you some of the best wine club offers out there to match your personality! Click each wine club name for more details!

Zagat Wine Club – For: The Risk Taker

Some of the finest hand picked wines from boutique wineries from around the world is what you will find with Zagat.  As they are with restaurants, they are with their wine – precise with a bit of education that goes a long with it.  Branch out, take risks and try some wineries you might not have heard of! I just signed up for this one… Love the wines they picked!

  • $69.99 for your first shipment of 12 wines
  • 4 tasting glasses
  • Zagat binder with comprehensive tasting notes
    

Williams Sonoma Wine Club -For: The Perfectionist

Just like how they merchandise their store each wine is carefully picked by the experts and is strategically considered for each level. A premium wine club to host the perfect gathering or holiday party!

3 Tiers

  •  The Explorer Club - Six Bottles of Exceptional Wine – $90
  • The Entertainer Club - Six Bottles of Fine Wine – $180
  • The Connoisseur Club - Six Bottles of Reserve Wine (4 red, 2 white) – $360 OR Three Bottles of Reserve Wine (2 red, 1 white) – $180

WSJwine Discovery Wine Club - For: The Overachiever

You can enjoy quality wines from top regions and even better, you can send back a bottle that you didn’t like and get another option! A great option if you love quality wine at a pretty penny that doesn’t suit the weekly budget. You get those high quality wines at a great price!

  • Introductory 12 wines for $120
  • Crystal Riedel Decanter
  • Tasting notes and binder

Cellars Premium Wine Club – For: The Explorer

A great wine club for the novice and people who are interested in starting to get into the world of wine! Offers a few wines for a reduced price to get you started and not overwhelm.  Wines are offered from around the world and some that are not even offered at retail! Great introductory club to get your inner wine god/goddess flowing!

  • 2 unique /lesser known wines (Your choice of combination reds/whites) for $29.95

Tastingroom.com Wine Club – For: The Conscientious and Adventurous

Try all the wines that you’ve been dying to spend that little extra cash on by tasting these 50ml bottles of wine!  Hold a mini tasting and receive online discounts on the full size bottle! Not to mention they throw in an amazing added bonus – VIP access at participating wineries! Not too shabby!
2 Tiers
  • The Adventurer Club – Exclusive wine club sampler with 2 full bottles chosen by you and discounts off of wine – $59.99
  • The Trailblazer Club – Wine club sample with discounts off of bottles – $29.99
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