A quick plug for a winemaker who I think is just rocking right now: Michael Cruse. Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguie. This grape, formerly known as “Napa Gamay”, is super fruity on the palate – read: ripe cherry & strawberry, and … Continue reading
Pet-Nat, or “Petillant Naturel” as it is more formally known, has made a strong appearance in the wine scene in the past few years – and for good reason. This winemaking method, also known as “Methode Ancestrale”, results in a … Continue reading
Despite us being in the heart of rose season, I have yet to recommend any, so here we go! …a quick post on a few of my favorite roses that are worth splurging on this holiday weekend. The Classic: Chateaux Pradeaux … Continue reading
In light of an article that came out in the New York Times Sunday Magazine several weeks ago, I think it’s worth mentioning what is going on in California right now. If you have a few minutes, and want to … Continue reading
Stigma is an unfortunate thing here, as there’s a strong fight for wine in a can, and I would venture to say we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it in the future. Pros of canned wine: … Continue reading
Wanted to share a find that I encountered this week which is such a versatile & delicious wine – MacPhail Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2012. Even being the Pinot-crazy girl that I am, the breadth of ways this grape changes from region to region is still so mind boggling!
While this wine comes in a little more expensive that I typically post, at $40, if you’re planning to splurge for Valentine’s Day, this will not disappoint. It’s a BIG expression of Pinot – fruit forward with lots of cherry & raspberry, with a big juicy mouthfeel. The finish is just right on the palate, with some clear tannin, but an even acid balance to keep you going back for more.
On trend with many new-world producers, there’s full disclosure on the back label, and on the website even more – including everything down to the clones of Pinot Noir used in production. A clone is essentially a cut from a vine with specific qualities, that is re-propogated – i.e. good tolerance to cold, or ability to thrive in specific soil types. The specific sites of the vineyards are also given (it’s a blend of 8 different sites). Here’s a basic map of the CA wine regions ->
By way of CA production, James MacPhail is working on a small scale, producing only 5,000 cases annually, as that’s all his permit allows – but he seems very content with that, and if the wines keep turning out like this, I am too.
This is a crowd pleasing wine, and while it’s totally drinkable alone, it will hold up again some hearty meals as well, and I’d even go so far as to say a tender cut of steak would be on point. But, whatever your Valentine’s Day has in store – wine is always welcome!
Once a year, even the wine-o’s have to ditch the fancy glassware (and our moral high-ground), and give in to solo cups and bottomless snacks… and that day is Super Bowl!
American “Holiday” = American wine, so I brought one of my go-to American classics, Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc (2013). It’d be rare to find someone who doesn’t like this wine – it’s straight forward, well-made, crisp, and fruity. Missing are the overly lychee and green characteristics of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and instead it also gives a bit of minerality and peachy fruit – so refreshing! And since we’re pairing it with all sorts of different finger foods, a more neutral-style of wine works well. The retail on this wine is about $30.
The game had it’s high and it’s lows, but in the long run we all had fun, and a bit of celebrating in the end!
To finish the night I tried the Ciderboys, Mad Bark, Hard Cider. Based out of Wisconsin, these guys are making moves in the growing cider industry in the US. While it was a bit too sweet & flavored for me (note: I’m just in general not a fan of sweeter drinks), I’m definitely in favor of promoting domestic cider, and there are some amazing ones hitting the markets recently! For a NY local favorite, check out Eve’s Cidery, based in Van Etten in the Finger Lakes.
This would not be my recommended time of the year to go visit Boston, but who am I to be picky – sometimes you just need friends and family by your side, and I’m so lucky I’ve got great ones!
Despite the negative temperatures, I took a visit to one of Boston’s landmark restaurants, Oak Long Bar & Kitchen (formerly the historic Oak Room), and one that I hold especially close to my heart. Following the theme of comfort, we went for a wine that’s been a staple of mine over the past few years, Au Bon Climat, “La Bauge Au-Dessus”, Pinot Noir, 2008. Winemaker Jim Clendenen has been making Burgundy-style Pinots and Chardonnays in southern California since the ’70’s, when this style was NOT in style. It’s a gentle wine, with prominent cherry flavors, but also hints of forest and earth that make it so interesting. For your non-wine-o friends who maybe don’t love the same, ‘funky’ flavors in wines like you, the ABC has enough fruit flavors to keep them happy too. You can find his wines all over lately: from the retail shelves (this one run at about $20), to private labels for Daniel and Jean Luc le Du.
For a side-note of novelty: check out the closure on this Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir (2012). A plastic plug, with a pull tab that unwinds around the top until it is able to be easily removed. For a wine that retails at about $10, this is great! You can use it to re-seal the wine as you would a cork (albeit not quite as securely), and since these wines are not meant for aging, I’d rather this to the overly-synthetic corks that are terrible to remove and can almost never be replaced into the bottle. As for the wine, it’s totally drinkable – a light-bodied Pinot with a bit of welcome complexity. No stunner, but for the price, I’d buy it again!
After spending Christmas apart, I wanted to put something nice together for my special someone… and what a great excuse to try my hand at home-made eggnog!
For the base of the eggnog, Bourbon, I decided to go with Berkshire Bourbon. Although I’m obviously biased by my home area, this Bourbon, produced in Sheffield, M.A. by Berkshire Mountain Distillers, brings a lot to the table, while still remaining understated. The clear toffee and vanilla flavors, and subdued (yet present) wood made it a good match for the nutmeg and vanilla of the eggnog. The alcohol is well integrated, and can’t wait to have this by itself as well on these chilly nights! Retail: $42
With entrees, I chose a California classic, Grgich Hills Estate. As we were having filet mignon, the Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) was definitely called for. As one of the more senior wine producers in Napa, dating back to the ’70’s. Over the last decade they’ve converted totally to biodynamic and organic practices, while still maintaining the awesome quality of their wine – no easy feat! Though this wine could still age for quite some time, it’s beautiful at the moment, with present wood, a hint of earthiness, and fresh deep red & black fruit. This is how Napa Cab should taste. $45.
So, as we head into the January doldrums, why not dress up, cook something nice, and enjoy time together at home.
Basic Berkshire Eggnog (note: contains raw eggs)
2 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
As much Berkshire Bourbon as you like
Separate the egg whites and yolks into 2 bowls. To the yolks, beat until they lighten in color, adding 1 tbsp of sugar gradually. Continue to beat and slowly add the milk, cream, and Bourbon.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Continue beating while slowly adding sugar until peaks become more firm.
Fold the whites and the yolks together. Taste for amount of Bourbon, and add if necessary. Serve in preferred glassware & garnish with fresh-grated nutmeg. Yum!