#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

Go with Godello!

I was feeling inspired one night when I received two bottles of Godello from Ole Imports.  I have never tasted the Godello varietal before so I decided to open both bottles simultaneously to get the full effect of this grape type.  Godello is grown in northwestern Spain mostly in Valdeorras and northern Portugal.  It’s a fine white grape that at first, reminded me of a Chard then transformed into a burst of something more unique!  These wines really reflect its place of origin and the soils where the vines are grown. Both wines were farmed in slate and granite giving the wines earthy and ‘stony’ flavors showing how specific climate and immaculate precision is used in growing these remarkable grapes.  Now… onto the wines.

2010 Castelo do Papa Godello
100% Godello (of course) had such youthful minerality with hints of pear, green apple and a hint of grapefruit.  I tasted a bit of acidity as well which to me, made this wine extremely well balanced and smooth.  Definitely a wine that can be paired with a heavier meal, such as sausage, heavier cheeses, and really any seafood.

2010 Estate Bottle Rogo Godello
Another 100% Godello.  This wine had a floral and vibrant nose and loads of minerality and stone fruit in taste.  it had a bit of honey, a tiny bit of sweetness and is a little more ‘zest’ than the Papa.  A great refreshing wine with energy!  I would stay with lighter cheeses, fish dishes, oysters, and pasta as pairings.

All in all, my Godello experience was a very pleasant one and gives a true adventure into the world of the Valdeorras region through the taste of each wine – a mineral and fruitful experience!

I highly recommend you try to brighten your taste buds and grow out of your comfort zone with wine.  Try something new and grow your palate!  I can now say I am a huge fan of Godello and will seek them out when I’m at my wine store next!

For more on the wine region check out this great article from Good Food Revolution !  

#WW – A Refreshing Ipsum Rueda 2010

Jump into Winepug Wednesday with Ipsum Rueda 2010 for a fresh, crisp apple, and authentic taste that ‘speaks for itself’, literally (Ipsum means ‘itself’ in Latin)! Ole Imports {here} sent me this bottle to try and I just had to share it with great friends and pair this light and refreshing wine with a Spring dish, Arugula with Balsamic Glazed Chicken and Asiago Salad, which we got from The Kitchen Poet {here}.

Now, onto the wine…Because this wine was created ‘un-oaked’ you really taste the authentic flavor of the grapes (85% Verdejo, 15% Viura) and the bright citrus flavors that burst in your mouth. I’m sure you can imagine how this tasted with the Asiago cheese from the salad – delish! Not only does it have all the great bright and flowery flavors we all love, it also has a lot of minerality which gives a balanced mixture with its vibrant flavors and yes, has a very smooth finish. Another great deal at $10 per bottle (can’t beat it). I wasn’t able to find it in NYC but I hope you do elsewhere and enjoy as much as we did!

For more info on the wine {here}

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!

Wine Essentials #5 – Nor. Cal.

It was a night of the top dogs, heavy hitters, powerhouses at Wine Essentials Class #5.  We ventured through Northern California, Washington State and Oregon, experiencing some of the deepest, darkest reds I have ever tasted, and boy were they elegant and delicious!  Fortunately, I will be in Sonoma this weekend to experience these lovely wines first hand!  Take a look into our journey but beware for the high levels of alcohol within the California region! TAXI!

Tastings (wines I liked bolded)

Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris, Benton-Lane 2009 – Retails $16 (Alc. 13%)

  • Notes: Smells of bright young and fruity apple; tastes very light, clean apple-y with a very nice acidic balance to it.  A very simple wine
  • Pairings: A great wine for this warm weather!  Use as an aperitif wine or enjoy with clams and oysters

Santa Ynez, Viognier, Zaca Mesa 2008- Retails $26

  • Notes: Smells of fresh grapefruit, ripe/heavy stone fruit; Bitter and spicy in taste with little acidity, a bit peppery with a long lasting woody finish
  • Pairings: Pair with a roasted chicken with herbs or great with brie and an assortment of medium aged cheeses

Columbia Valley, Reisling, ‘Eroica’, Dr. Loosen, Chateau Ste. – Retails $23 (Alc. 12%)

  • Notes: Young green grape, fragrant with a hint of petroleum in smell; tastes light, sweet/sour with a fresh and fruity hint and strong acidity
  • Pairings: Great for an afternoon with cheese and grapes; spicy fish apps

Napa, Chardonnay, Grgich Hills Estate 2007 – Retails $40

  • Notes: Oaky with smoky vanilla and apple in smell; apple-y, pear, wood with calm acidity in taste.  A very elegantly balanced wine
  • Pairings: Roasted chicken or grilled shell fish

Chalk Hill (Russian River), Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill Winery 2007 - Retails $27 (Alc. 14.5%)

  • Notes: Smells of ripe/sweet pineapple; Tastes very heavy and ripe in fruits, long lasting fruit finish
  • Pairings: Great with fish w/ butter and herb sauce; roasted chicken

Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Argyle 2008- Retails $24

  • Notes: Smells of light red fruits, strawberry and bright fruit; Tastes of bright cherry, little acidity a bit of tannin, strong taste but fades fast
  • Pairings: A lovely cob with a salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette on a sunny afternoon

Carneros, Pinot Noir, Acacia 2008 – Retails $22 (Pinot Noir, 2% Syrah) (Alc. 14.4%)

  • Notes: Smells of cherry, jammy, rich/dark fruits; tastes of rich wood, tannin, spicy, peppery and a little cedar
  • Pairings: Great with Duck!

Monterey County, ‘Le Mistral’, Joseph Phelps 2006 – Retails $40 (Alc. 15%)

  • Notes: Smelly of deep fruits and plums; Spicy plumy, dark fruit with light finish in taste.  A balanced wine
  • Pairings: Great with a stew, Pork Roast or lamb

Russian RIver, Zinfandel, Dolinsek Ranch, Mara 2005 – Retails $40 (Alc. 16.4%)

  • Notes: Ripe in fruit smelling; tastes of sweet/heavy fruit, blackberries, raisins, long lasting dark fruit finish
  • Pairings: Hard to pair with food but would be great with a BBQ or a nice dessert like cheesecake – nothing too sweet

Oakville (Napa), Merlot, Swanson 2006 – Retails $21 (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)

  • Notes: Smells of dark plums.berries, wood in background; tastes of dark elegant plums, candy tannin, very supple and elegant wine
  • Pairings: Pair with a steak and light sauce or heavy spaghetti bolognese
Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Georges de Latour Private Reserve’, Beaulieu Vineyard 2007 - Retails $106 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) – 14.8% Ac.
  • Notes: Smells of concentrated berries, very jammy; a powerhouse wine that tastes of dense berries, cedar, and strong tannins
  • Pairings: Great with steak

Pinot Gris vs. Pinot Grigio….

Grapes for thought – Pinot Gris vs. Pinot Grigio – your wine education for the day…

I think they are somewhat similar in taste and just pronounced differently but of course there always has to be something that stands out with each wine.. That’s why this industry is so cherishing, it’s ever evolving and continues to challenge your taste buds….

Happy reading from the WSJ.com!

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio?

What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio? On a basic level, nothing: The same kind of grape is used to make both wines. But on the palate, there lies a world of difference.

Here’s the lowdown on this versatile grape:

Around the world: The Pinot Gris grape is mostly associated with white wine from Alsace, a French region that borders Germany. In northern Italy, the same grape is known as Pinot Grigio. But the varietal is also grown in cool-climate areas in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Sometimes big, sometimes light: Pinot Gris grapes ripen with plenty of sugar, which means that the wines tend to be either on the sweet side or, if the sugar is left to ferment for a drier wine, relatively high in alcohol. But the wines produced from this grape vary in taste, depending on the region in which they are grown. The wines from Alsace are rich, slightly oily on the mouth and full of flavor. The wines from Italy, where the grapes are harvested before they fully mature, are light-bodied and crisp.

Pinot Gris and Grigio wines from the New World tend to split between the two styles, and the way a maker labels a bottle can be a signal. For example, a wine labeled Pinot Gris from California will be more full-bodied than a wine called Pinot Grigio from New Zealand, which likely will be brighter and more acidic.

Follow the menu: Salads, mild fish and shellfish are great matches for the lighter Pinot Grigio, and like other crisp whites, it goes especially well with goat cheese. Oilier fish and roasted chicken are good pairs for the heavier-style Pinot Gris. Either way, serve slightly chilled.

The Tangled Vine… THE WINE RUNDOWN


A truly overlooked treasure on the Upper West Side hidden between a row of other more dominating italian restaurants and wine bars, this gem could be considered yet another wine bar that the average passerby probably ponders, “I walk by this place 1000 times and always have wanted to go”.  If you find yourself in this train of thought, then I must say, GO!

Don’t be fooled by it’s small and quaint appearance categorizing it as another ‘traditional wine bar’ as this place offers something special.  First off it could easily live in the West Village as both the food, wine and atmosphere is in par with Vyne, Turks and Frogs (although Turkish, a Tangled Vine could be a nice Italian complement) and a few others but overall it would blend in nicely.  When you walk in although looks coy feels like a party!  Loud, great music, and knowledgable bartenders add to the overall spirit of the wine bar and make this place a great after work happy hour spot, early dinner turned into late evening of after dinner drinks and laughs and a casual 2nd date spot.  Also definitely going on my list for wine bars i’d rather sit at the bar with wine and bites vs. at a table.

Enjoying ourselves at the bar, we went straight to the wine list which I would categorize as an “easy read” since it serves as a great “guide” to the wines they offer per glass and bottle.  It is organized by grape variety which makes it easy to quickly flip to what you are in the mood for – red, rose and/or white.  After each glass listed, it has a brief description with non-intimidating wine words that tells you exactly what to expect. It almost forms a story of the wine for you to make the wine decision that much easier and enjoyable.  Something that I have yet to see throughout my NYC wine bar ‘journey’ is their offering of ‘Wine Trios’ that offer “variety of different wine trios, grouped for comparison between grapes, regions, or winemaking styles. Each glass is a 2oz serving, for a total of 6oz of wine in each flight. All of the trios come with optional food pairings in tasting-sized portions, a traditional service found in European cafés.”  This presented a great way for people to explore wines and spirits in an organized style. Another fun element to their list are their “rules” that they present to you when you first open the wine list to get you and your party EXCITED and ready to DRINK!

RULES WE LIVE (AND DRINK) BY

• Every wine on this list is here for a reason. Either it‘s got great taste, historical vineyards or honest winemaking to its name. Ideally all three.

• We are a European wine bar focusing on the old world and old vines, primarily from the historical wine producing regions of the Mediterranean.

• We concentrate on small grower-producers or vintners who practice organic, biodynamic and sustainable viticulture, resulting in natural, un-manipulated, and above all, DELICIOUS wines.

• Don‘t just drink what you know; drink what you don‘t.

• Wine without food is always a pleasure, but wine with great food is a sheer delight. Now eat something, you look hungry.

After getting acquainted it was time to pick our glasses of choice! We went for a French white wine that was crisp with hints of peach and apricot with lots of acidity a bit of tannin and a nice after taste of citrus. A nicely balanced wine.  It was a very easy drinking wine that you could bring to an outdoor picnic and drink for hours..  Actually, remember how addicting and easy to eat Fruit Roll-ups were?  A certain someone I was with described the taste as “An old-school apricot fruit roll-up…” and loved every bit of it!  Guess who! The wine:  Anjou Blanc “Cuvee les Rangs de Long” Château Soucherie 2010

To end our night we ventured to the after dinner drinks and since I’ve been very into spanish wines, ordered two Oloroso Sherry’s for us to try which we accompanied with the Pan con Chocolate; Belgian chocolate, Maldon salt, Arbequina olive oil.  Both the drink and dessert fused nicely together as it was the perfect sweet and salty treat!  It was very tasty and afterwards we both felt relaxed and were put into a magical trance for the rest of the night!

Overall, a highly recommended wine bar for a casual night of food, wine, music, and relaxation.  Check out their website for their Monday deals and Happy Hour details!  Enjoy!

Virtual Tastings

It’s always nice to know what to taste in a wine, how to properly taste, descriptive wine words etc. However, through text it sometimes sounds all the same and confusing, which is why more and more bloggers/experts are starting to go virtual with their wine tastings making it more interactive and experiential for YOU!  I’ve seen great examples and platforms of this in WineLibraryTV (now DailyGrape.com), Snooth.com, and of course VineTalk which is an actual TV show!  Below is a scheduled virtual tasting of the Frei Brothers Reserve that you can enjoy even if your not in the market to make a trip to Wine Country anytime soon, here you’ll be able to expereince coast-to-coast toasting and tasting!  Snooth.com periodically host’s these virtual interviews which is a great way to learn the speak of wine!  Check the brother’s out on April 20th at 9pm EST.  They even give you a link to buy the wines to join in!!  Cheers!

Frei Brothers Reserve

Airs on April 20 2011 at 9:00 PM est

From Frei Ranch in Healdsburg, Calif., Viticulturist Jim Collins joins Greg in New York City for a taste of Frei Brothers Reserve’s exceptional wines. Tune in to discover how the winery’s sustainable winemaking practices—like habitat preservation and repurposed rainwater—translate to award-winning Sonoma County vintages that help preserve the very land on which they’re grown. RSVP now for this true Coast-to-Coast Toast to Earth Day!

Go here to purchase wines for the tasting and to find out how to save 15% off your order. You can also get free shipping by entering the code EARTH DAY at checkout. Place your order by Monday, April 11th (East Coast) or Thursday, April 14th (West Coast) to ensure your wine arrives in time for the tasting.

Read more: http://www.snooth.com/virtual-tasting/video/frei-brothers-reserve/#ixzz1JdYyEPj6

FISH TAG – WINE RUNDOWN!

FishTag is a wonderful very fresh seafood restaurant on the Upper West Side.  The great thing about the menu is that it is coded by wine types.  The wine list had wines listed under categories and on the menu specified what “category” went with what dish/appetizer so we didn’t even have to think twice about what we were pairing our wines with – it was spelled out for you!  But I am not a food critic my love is for wine, so onto the good stuff!!

Just to start, I loved the wine glasses they had as they had little tags carved into them. Get it – Fish TAG.  I liked it! I tried to capture it below but it’s a little unclear…

We started off with a sweeter wine that was very “florally” in smell and taste.  Bodega Colome Torrontes 2008, White Wine, Argentina, South America. It had a grapefruit, lemon, light mineral, lavender, and even a little honeysuckle taste to it which was pleasant to sip on with our assortment of cheeses prior to our meal.  A very bright wine that you can only have a glass or two of.

We then switched to something our palates would really react to, a white that was on the other end of the spectrum and provided a major shock value to our taste buds which we needed after the sweeter floral sipping wine.  We enjoyed a 2009 Spyros Hatziyiannis Assyrtiko (Greece, Aegean, Santorini) which was a bolder wine and much more “minerally” so we really experienced a nice full bodied, more acidic wine to enjoy with our main course (fish, Lamb Burger, roasted salmon etc…)  Not only did we enjoy this wine but our “sommelier” told a wonderful story of how grapes are grown in Santorini seeing as the climate is windy and hot!  (Love the place but clueless when it comes to their wines!)!  Oh ya and shout out to my greek momma – Demi! Dem – if you have other suggestions please share!

A little history:  Basically the Asyrtiko is a white Greek wine grape home to the island of Santorini  Despite weather conditions as I mentioned  the grapes survives and actually thrives due to the traditional “koulara,” a grape growing method that weaves the vine into a basket allowing the grapes to grow on the inside covered by the vine’s foliage and are protected from the harsh outside conditions. Vines are generally woven until yields are considered too low and nutrients to scare (around age 70) and are then clipped at their roots. A new vine is then grown onto the existing rootstock. This is important because the existing vines roots have grown deep into the soil to obtain the moisture stored in the pumice soils from the morning mists. [CellarTracker Integrated Wiki]

So overall, a great restaurant and a wine list that is very easy to navigate with a variety of interesting regions!  Great for double dates :)

Another “drink” definition I was made aware of that night (not at FT) was – SNAKEBITE – Half Beer/Half Cider..

Tablelands Sauv. Blanc @ Flex Mussels

Another Sauvignon Blanc to add the list!

Tablelands Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough New Zealand

The Wine: Last night I went to Flex Mussels on West 13th street for a delicious Mussel dinner and Donut dessert!  There were four of us so instead of ordering individual drinks at the bar we just ordered a bottle.  We picked Tablelands Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough New Zealand which was great to sip on pre dinner and complemented our meal phenomenally. It was under the “Crisp & Mineral” category so we knew we were getting a light-bodied, dry and crisp white wine with a little fruity kick at a reasonable price – $12 per glass and $46 per bottle.

We literally could feel the wine almost melting in our mouth while drinking (and I think in total we had 3 bottles)…. This wine is a MUST try when you go to Flex – I promise it will make your nightthat much more enjoyable!

Wine List: They had a selective wine list which was laid out nicely. As you can imagine, the majority of the list was filled with an array of whites and had more glass options than red, but that should be expected as it is clearly important to have a solid white wine list in a fish restaurant.  Flex offers a nice range in bottle prices ($36 – $150) and did a great job providing different regions, specifically in the white category (France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, California, Oregon, even The Finger Lakes!).  They also offer a few options of Sake which I thought was neat and unexpected (which may entice more people to order).  The wine list set up makes it extremely easy to choose from since it is organized by “taste” category (below).

Organized by:

White – “Crisp and Mineral”, “Aromatic and Elegent”, “Rich and Round”

Red – “Graceful and Sophisticated”, “Ripe Fruit, Medium Body, Soft Tannins”, “Big, Rich, and Distinguished

All in all, a great restaurant with a great wine selection to go with their menu.

Enjoy!

Tablelands and Mussels - yum!

Donuts for Dessert

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...