Friday, July 31, 2009

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

To be honest, I'm not the biggest Led Zeppelin fan, but given that it's been almost two weeks since I last had any wine, starting with this famous line from "Rock and Roll" just felt right.

Tonight I met up with my friends, Stacy, Wendy and Chris for dinner at Passionne (, a local French restaurant. Those who know me know that French food is among my favorite kind of food and I particularly love pairing French wine with French food. I was in a red mood so I packed a few bottles of French Bordeaux and off I went.

When I arrived at Passionne, I found that Chris had also brought a bottle of Four Vines red zinfandel. Though I expected it to be a bit spicy for the seafood I was planning to order, we had the waitress cork the zinfandel because, well, I was curious. The wine was a great, big zin with wonderful spicy pepper and a nice oak finish. Too bad it paired terribly with our shellfish!!! Ironically, Stacy, who wasn't drinking, ordered the fois gras appetizer which worked really well with the zin (or at least the bite I had worked well and I'm not a big fois gras girl). In any event, we learned our lesson and after working our way through the zin, we moved on to one of the Bordeaux I brought - a 2005 Chateau Duplessy.
I picked this up a few weeks ago at The Wine and Spirit Company of Greenville, Delaware (, one of my favorite stores near my hometown of Wilmington. I was intrigued by this bottle because most typical Bordeaux blends are made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a little Petit Verdot or maybe another grape for blending. This wine has the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet France, but also contains 10% Malbec, which is one of the original Bordeaux blending grapes but is rarely used now by Bordeaux wine makers.

Once corked, this had the jammy yet restrained nose of a typical Bordeaux wine and it was pleasantly smooth and juicy on the palette - or as Chris remarked, "chewy." This definitely would have tasted a bit more rustic and oak-y had we not had the big zin before it but it was nice to have something very mellow after the mouthful of spice. And, it went really well with Chris' chicken and Wendy and my scallops as well as two of the cheeses that came on our dessert cheese plate.
All in all, it was a lovely evening with wonderful friends. Though we made a slight mis-step with our initial wine, we more than made up for it with the Bordeaux. But isn't that what wine tasting and pairing is all about -- learning what doesn't work as well as what works?!? At least it is for me. Not all of us can be Robert Parker -- YET.

Cheers and Happy Weekend,
Alli M.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nothing to wine about.....

Oh the horror! I haven't had any wine in over a week so I haven't been posting. Sorry to my loyal readers - all 3 or 4 of you.

This past Saturday I had a nice dinner out, but it did not involve any alcoholic beverages, let alone wine. However, the food was so good that I barely even noticed. On Saturday night, my friends, Trish and Mike, and my brother, Matt, and I met up for dinner at Habana Outpost ( in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn, NY. I enjoyed a flavorful, fresh chicken burrito and a spicy, literally mouth-watering corn on the cob.

If I would have paired my meal with anything, it would have been a cold glass of Riesling - likely a sweeter Spatlese or maybe even just a Kabinett. Kabinett is made from the least ripe Riesling grapes and produce the lightest style of wine with a low alcohol content (8-10%). Spatlese is made from Riesling grapes that are picked later and have a little more flavor. The sweeter Spatlese tends to pair very nicely with spicy foods. The sweetness and/or the lower alcohol content would have been refreshing with the spice of the corn.

Either way, now I know what wine to sneak into Habana Outpost next time I'm there.

Until the next glass (or the thought of the next glass),


Alli M.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bin (14) There, Loved That

As mentioned in my previous posting, earlier tonight some friends and I went to Bin 14 in Hoboken. Bin14 is a well regarded wine bar and tapas style restaurant.

Shortly after bing seated, my friends passed the wine list over to me as their "personal sommelier." I love when my friends trust me with their wine choice, but I always get a little nervous that I'm going to pick something that some, or all, of them hate. Luckily, as one would hope with a place that calls itself a wine bar, the wine list was quite extensive and offered many choices at different price points. They had many, many good choices and knowing this crowd and guessing we'd go through more than one bottle, I wanted to stay on the budget side. I went with a tried and true, Stickleback Shiraz/Cabernet.

Stickleback is an Australian producer and I've had their Shiraz/Cabernet on many occasions ( It's a lovely medium bodied wine with a bit of spice and some nice, tight tannins. Moreover, it tends to be pretty smooth given its age (mostly you'll find 2006 and 2007 right now). In short, it goes down easy and pairs with a bunch of different things. This is key when you have 5 different women ordering various small plates.

All in all it was a lovely evening. the wine was great and the dinner was fabulous from the food to the company.

I'd go into some of our more entertaining conversations like how Mousume almost ended up in traffic court or why we refer to Joanna's grandmother, Mary Ellen, as Gladys or how we were "coaching" Rachel on approaching her PATH crush, but my mother reads the blog. We were lucky we weren't kicked out for noise pollution (as well as our neighboring table's noise pollution). Oh, and Aimee I'd call you out for something but I'd rather you not kick my butt should we find ourselves traveling together.....

Cheers and happy weekend,


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A glass of whine

The last week has kept me very busy. First I got older, then I went down to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to see my second Phillies game of the season (go Fightin' Phils), and for the past few days I've worked 11, 12 and 13 hours.

I'm not complaining. I just want to explain why I have blasphemed and have neither drank any wine in the last week nor written about any wine in the past week. For those who need to soothe their shocked selves: a) I did partake of a Corona Light at the baseball game - it was quite refreshing and was definitely better suited to pairing with my soft pretzel than a glass of wine and b) I bought six bottles of wine this Saturday - one for me and five for my friend, Trish, for whom I'm putting together a special case on the occasion of her wedding. Apparently the best gift I can give is that of drunkeness - provided it's on smooth, fruit forward jammy wine with soft tannins.

I'm going to a wine pairing restaurant with friends this Friday so I hope to have something more to write this weekend.


Alli M.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What does a self-professed wine snob drink on her birthday?

Earlier tonight I had a birthday dinner for me and a few friends at one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Artisanal is a classic French bistro known for its cheese plates, its fondue and its wine list ( In short, it's the perfect place for me to enjoy a lowkey birthday meal.

Of course, it wasn't as simple choosing the wine to go with our meal. After much deliberation and a frank discussion with the sommelier, I narrowed it down to a couple of choices on the wine list (and one off the wine list that the sommelier told me they had a few more bottles of). Ultimately I decided on a 2006 Peter Franus Zinfandel. I'd had a Franus Zinfandel a few years ago and remember enjoying it. It did not disappoint (

The nose was full of fruit and a little spice and the flavor lived up to the nose. The wine had a lovely berry flavor with just a hint of pepper and a slight taste of oak. Very smooth and not very acidic and nicely matched with our respective dishes of mussels and vegetable risotto. I was a little nervous trying to pick a wine that would fit a couple of different palattes, but the Franus 2006 Zinfandel seemed to appease everyone. What was even nicer is that after the meal, my friends tipped off the restaurant that it was my birthday and they gave us complimentary glasses of a very elegant sparkling muscat with lovely lush pear flavors and a nice citrus finish. It was the perfect end to a lovely night.

Actually, as nice as the wine was, the more perfect end of the evening came as I was driving back to New Jersey. Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" came on the radio and seeing as this is one of my guiltiest pleasure songs, I had no choice to blast it and open all the windows. The young twenty-somethings in the car next to me looked over at this "old lady" rocking out and gave me a thumbs up and some air kisses. Thanks to those kids for reminding me I still "got it!"
Happy birthday to me and happy drinking to you.


Alli M.