Ski Lessons: Three red Wines to Try

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Recently I was reading an article about Cabernet in Food and Wine magazine. The article noted that many wine makers feel there is an obsession with over ripening grapes to get the bold distinction of a Pinot Noir or a Cabernet. I have trouble explaining to people WHY exactly I love the more natural earthy wines. They literally look at me and roll their eyes when I try to explain it. This article helped me put it to words a bit more for me. When you try to make a wine taste like something you risk stripping that wine of its distinction. The wines which are allowed instead to become what nature gave them are much more interesting to me (I hate how pretentious that sounded just typing it). That said, they aren’t interesting to everyone and I know I need to have a mixture of that. So here I have three wines that I love and have been drinking often. I think of each as having a different level of approachability. Think of its like ski trails, the first one is a green circle, the second a square, and the third a black diamond as far as complexity of taste goes.

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Bear Boat, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

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I have purchased this wine at least five times in the last month. Its available almost everywhere and is a total crowd pleaser. I have seen it for as low at $16 and as high as $20. Just ask your local wine guy for it, I’m sure they will point you towards a bottle as I have even found it in the small wine store across from North Station. (I’m fairly certain the number one item to purchase there is colt 45)

There is a pronounced dark cherry flavor giving it a very full body with a dry finish. Other review note strawberry and vanilla flavoring. The wine is low in tannins. Pairs well with pork and root vegetables.

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24 Knots, Pinot Noir, Central Coast

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This wine was a favorite of many of my friends during our recent wine tasting. A girl friend brought it over and said she purchased it at Bacco in Back Bay. The name for this wine comes from the fact that the breeze blows through the Salinas Valley and cools the vineyards making exceptional fruit. Expect the velvety Pinot Noir taste with a bit more spice/ tannin than the Bear Boat might offer. It is aged in oak barrels. The flavor will surprise you! It runs for about $15 dollars. It is a great price point for this unique Pinot Noir. 

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Le Grain de Seneve – Beaujolais

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I tried this wine at a French natural wine night wine tasting at the Wine Bottega . The guys at Wine Bottega in the north end had just arrived home from a trip through France. They did a great write up on six plus wines they had enjoyed there. My favorite of the bunch (which I purchased) was this 100% Gamay based wine. Made in the western edge of Beaujolais it’s a funk lover’s dream.  This winery has no electricity and uses just the help of a horse names “Reggae Nights”. One review I read put it perfectly “For fans of honest, rustic gamay “.

 

 

Websites Referenced:

http://www.adn.com/2011/12/01/2198735/wine-of-the-week-24-knots-2009.html

http://www.pjwine.com/store/product/33567/Domaine-Le-Grain-de-Seneve-%22500-Metres%22-2011-%28750ml%29-%28Natural%29/

Epicurean Evening in Pictures

I spent an excellent weekend up north with my parents . Today I had the holiday off for once. I took the opportunity to purchase a decanter as I have been eager to own one for awhile. I have read that decanting is only really necessary for very old wines. However, I think it can bring out some normally untasted flavors in more current wines ( especially the earthier ones). I purchased this one from crate and barrel and I’m very happy with it. I decided to have an epicurean evening with a movie and a few of my new favorites: Sel el Poivre wine, Red Hawk Cheese, Calla Lillies and some Taza Chocolate.  I’ll spare you the details and shares the pictures.

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Bubbles , Oysters, and Paul Revere for February 14th

Today I made it out of work in time to experience the actual sunlight. I walked the few miles to school and enjoyed the warmer temperatures and the longer days. After a major blizzard its really nice to feel like spring could be around the corner ! or at least a warm vacation is ….

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Horse’s Ass

I know for the most part people could really give a horses ass about Valentines Day (see above photo of horses ass) but in some way or another we are all eventually forced to participate in it. I like to enjoy mine always with good wine, good food , and good people. A taste of la belle vie !

Since tomorrow is February 14th  already,  I thought I’d put together a little something something in honor of that.

Wine :

The perfect wine for this day is a sparkling rose. Specifically I think that this

My suggestion:

Wine

perdices

Pick out a bubbling rose. Not only is it seasonal , the flavor will be a lot bigger than the normal prosecco or asti you might choose.

Vina Las Perdices  – Sparkling Rose Wine  Extra Brut Mendoza, Argentinaq

70% Pinot Noir

30% Chardonnay

Apparently I’m not the only one with that idea and Urban Grape has also put together a good selection which you can buy in their Chestnut Hill and South End stores. Thats right people you can actually go buy these things I write about !

A few examples are :

2011 Domaine Ott “Château Romassan”  ( 25)

and

NV Fentinel Brut Rose  $12.80 (Normally 16)

Food

oysters

I saw this in one of those daily emails we all get and found it hilarious. I also had that moment of … I WANT THAT. Hey it isn’t cheese but o’ boy do I love oysters. How fun would it be to shuck a few on your own at home ?!!?

This Take me Home and Shuck Me package is from Island Creak Oysters i.  While I know my mother has already mastered this in her early days in the kitchen. I kind of imagine learning how to do this to be a bit hazardous so lets hope there isn’t a spike in emergency room visits thanks to this one.

Now what can I think of for wine and food for presidents day ?? Did George Washington Drink ?

Loire Pairings for a Wine and Cheese Tasting

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As much as I love learning about a region, I think its also great to pair foods and beverage with the region they are from. It keeps the flavors familiar. When I recently had a party I decided to have a theme for my wine and cheese pairings . I was very excited by the first wine I chose so I worked to pair some wine and cheese from the Loire Valley. Loire has always my favorite area for Muscadet (basically because its the only place you can get it ), but if you read my blog at all you have seen a general obsession growing for the reds in this area. This castle laden area is a epicurean paradise.

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To start , I went to Central Bottle (remember that wine tasting I attended) and ended up asking for a red from Loire. The lovely ladies at the store steered me towards a bottle of Poivre E Sel. I purchased two cheeses and a random Muscadet (which I honestly didn’t even write down) to go along with the red. I served both wines chilled and was very happy with the pairing. Let me give a quick description of each.  You can find all the ingredients at Central Bottle and the Formaggio in Cambridge.

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Olivier Lemasson Vin De France Poivre ET Sel  2011  Loire, Valley

Grapes:

90% Pineau d Aunis

10% Gamay

Description:  Tastes earthy and of sand flint , biodynamic , spicy, light and pure ! was listed in the New York Times as a memorable bottle for $20. The Pineau d aunis grape is very obscure and the Gamay comes in to stable out the tannins. This wine takes on a lovely cloudy grape juice in its glass. Highly enjoyed!

All the girls were excited to try something different and very unlike things they havd never tried before

I had the girls all write on a wine bottle tasting comments:

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“Peasant wine for all “

“Great color “

“Spicy”

Cleary I had to force people to write some things while enjoying their wine by the bowl full , but hey I tried.

Cheese

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Colombier – Loire, France

This cheese was very popular at the party .

Milk: Goat

Style: Mold – ripened

Flavor: Medium – strong

Description: Monchese Chaize  – Pyramid Shapes which allows for longer aging and  variety of flavor. These cheese tastes different at all levels of the pyramid. There is a high lemon flavor in the cheese

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Vendeen Bichonne Pa Nos Sois – Loire, Fance

Milk: Cow

Style: Semi – Firm

Flavor: Medium

Description: Creamy Cow’s Milk Salty, Nutty with a hint of Cinnamon”

Its literally translation is “the cheese from vendeen that we pamper for ourselves”

Verdict : People LOVED the Colombier Cheese. It almost completely disappeared and its lemony taste paired really well with the earthy tones in the Sel et Poivre !

Source :

http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3025

http://notdrinkingpoison.blogspot.com/2010/09/even-losers-pineau-daunis.html

Cool Girl Creamery

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Cow Girl Creamery  was brought to my attention after my cheese and wine party. These ladies are the girl power of cheese. Not to mention their cheeses are kind of out of this world.

My lovely Epoisses might be given a run for is money by their cheese – Red Hawk. My friend brought this over to enjoy for the rest of the night I was camped with in arms distance of this cheese.

A week later I got a text from a friend that said “You Must try Mt Tam” ! So I did.  Yes this cheese is also out of this world.

So what’s the deal w/ these Cow Girls ?!

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Two friends Sue Conley and Peggy Smith drove their van out to San Francisco in the 70s, they established foodie careers and by the early 90s they were ready for little adventure. The opened the Cow Girl Creamery in Pt Reyes, California.

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They also have locations in Washington DC ! I have major cheese jealousy when I think about Righteous Cheese and Cow Girl Creamery all being located there. I wish they would come to Boston! Until then you can find their Red Hawk cheese at Bacco or you can order some on their website.

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Red Hawk is a washed rind cheese that is a triple cream made is Point Reyes.  It has a super pungent aroma and is a little firmer than other washed rind cheeses like it. The reason this cheese is so interesting tasting is became of a bacterium which is occurring in Pt Reyes that is unique to the area. They cultivate it with the washed rind which give it a unique flavor which makes this triple cream one of a kind.

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Mt Tam is their most popular cheese names after Mt Tamaulipas which is in Marin country this is another triple crème that is rich and butter with mushroom and grass flavors

Pairings:  Sancerre, Champagne

Source :

http://www.sunlightelectric.com/cowgirlcreamery.php

http://www.culturecheesemag.com/mt-tam

http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/

http://reluctantgourmet.com/component/k2/item/958-red-hawk-cheese

2009 Claus Preisinger “Basic” Wine – Anything But Basic

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Last week I tried a great wine at Belly. The 2009 Claus Preisinger “Basic” Wine. I really can’t say enough about how much I love the people at Belly Bar. The bartender is even so nice as to know that I would always like the exact kind of wine we purchased written down for me.

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This wine is an Austrian Wine made of 90% Zwiegelt greats and 10% St Laurent Grapes. These grapes are both related to Pinot Noir. If you really wanted to give grapes a family tree…

(if you really care about that you can read about it all here in a great article Vinography put together , its actually very interesting)

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This Austrian wine has a very distinct taste to it. Thanks to Claus Preisinger one of Austria’s young hot wine makers. It is made completely in the biodynamic methodology and is light and funky like so many of these wines from the Pinot Noir family. There are flavors of tea and berries through out the glass but the best is its smooth tannins.

This wine is made in Gols in Austria and since I love picturing where my wine has come from, let me give you a little taste of this beautiful area ..

The Vineyards in Gols

The Vineyards in Gols

If you can’t tell , I really can’t get enough of the peasant wines. Once you go bio dynamic you just can’t go back!!!  Give this one a try if you can find it.  Its anything but Basic.

 

Source

http://www.clauspreisinger.at/

http://circovino.com/?page_id=38

http://www.eatmagazine.ca/weingut-claus-preisinger-basic/

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2012/03/the_taste_of_zweigelt.html

Setting up for DIY Wine and Cheese Tasting

It seems like weeks ago already that I had this party but really it was just a few days.

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Thank you to my wonderful friend for taking some instagram photos for me :)

After a little prodding from friends I decided to have my first wine and cheese tasting at my house. I figured it was a great way to get a large chunk of “research” done and share something I enjoy with my friends. I tried to choose a group of gals who I thought would really get along so I invited 10 of my friends.

See Invite :

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Why must everything I do look so fuzzy?

Having my first wine and cheese party , I really wanted people to enjoy it and try to experience wine. subtext: I didn’t want a bunch of people to come to my house and just get drunk. So i asked in the invitation that each person bring a bottle of wine and a cheese that was to their liking.

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I didn’t have a huge budget for this party , so most of the tasting things I came up with were made out of a pack of multi colored paper I bought at staples. In the above wine bottles each person would fill out a piece of paper staying what they had brought and some characteristics of the wine. I made little paper bottles for them to hang on the actual bottles in hopes that people could write tasting notes on them.

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I then also made coasters with wine quotes on them and the date. On the back I included instructions for wine tasting that I had seen on real simple. I figured this would avoid some of the questions of exactly what they were supposed to do. Cant lie I was pretty proud of myself how many of these ideas I thought up on my own !

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There were circular wine tags for each wine glass so as to avoid the question ‘is this my glass”. I wrote every ladies name! I think this was fun for them to have a personal touch.

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Having read that it was best to let the wine and cheese do the decorating , I decided to lay low on the decorating and just do a few small flower things. I also purchased a lot of tea candles and set those up around the house.

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One of the hardest parts was figurine out HOW to display things and have it still be functional. There are most certainly things I would do differently next time.

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fig spread and honey on marble cheese board

I purchased all the  accouterments for the cheese and decided to have three stations , one would have spreads, one with fruit, and another miscellaneous.

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make shift bar in my house designed for entertaining

I set the table with some items i purchased at the good old christmas tree shop which included  a wine bucket for my guests who wanted chilled wine, 12 shinny new wine glasses… I was ready to go !

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toothpicks for cheese

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READY TO GO !