Monday, March 28, 2011

This past weekend was my nephew's 2nd birthday and in my skewed wine view of the world, I decided that I should bring a sweet dessert wine to pair with the birthday cake.

A few weeks ago Wes at Amanti Vino convinced me to pick up a bottle of Echeverria Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, 2007.  He knows I love a good dessert wine and assured me this was worthwhile.  Not only was the bottle sold in an elegant tube package, but at $19.99, what did I have to lose?  And as I was walking out the door to the birthday party, I remembered the bottle and threw it in my cooler bag (along with my fruit salad and sparkling water - I'm not completely blinded by my wine-colored glasses). 

Wes did not let me down.  Though it's made from the usually citrus-y, sometimes flinty Sauvignon Blanc grape, this dessert wine is lush and sweet with notes of honeysuckle and apricot.  It lingers on the palate for a nice long time and it goes down easy with both berries and traditional white birthday cake.  I don't think a 2 year old has the palate to appreciate this wine, but the adults in the room sure did!

If you're looking for a good dessert wine or only drink really sweet wine, this is the bottle for you.  Plus, a sauternes-style dessert wine for $20?!?  You cannot find this good of a dessert wine at this price point from any vineyard in France, Italy, California or practically anywhere.  This one is from Chile, a country that has a lot of great wine values to offer.

Even if you don't have a 2nd birthday partry to attend, I'm sure you can find some way to enjoy this wine.

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or child's birthday party,


Alli M.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who needs a world when you've got an ocracy?

For the second time this week, I took my mother's advice and I read Eric Asimov's wine column in today's New York Times.  Asimov wrote about a a recent wine event in which a renowned wine maker, Adam Lee (Siduri Vineyards), switched labels at a wine tasting to dupe the tasters and prove his point that high alcohol content does not necessarily lead to an unbalanced wine.  Asimov goes on to say that he did not feel that Lee's stunt proved much of anything.

To me, the most alarming part of the article is its beginning in which the switcheroo is described as having
"evoked both claims of vindication and cries of ourage throughout the wine-drinking world."  Apparently I'm not part of the wine world as I knew nothing about this event.  In fact, I didn't even known that a big wine pow-wow known as the "World of Pinot Noir" was going on in Pismo Beach.  And I love Pinot Noir.  The only thing I know about Pismo Beach is the reference Alicia Silverstone (though she will always be known to me as "Cher Horowitz") makes in the movie, "Clueless."  Well, I guess I have a new goal rather than expanding my readership - officially become part of the wine world.  Then again, I already have my own Wineocracy, so who needs a world?!?

If you'd like to read the article:

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or piece of motherly advice,


Alli M.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I can't think of a more clever title. Try Evodia.

A few weeks ago I ran into a classmate from one of my wine classes.  He works for a wine distributor and happened to be hosting a tasting at a local shop.  Though I wasn't in the mood to drink, it doesn't take much to twist my arm and a garnacha (or as the French would say, "grenache") touted as balanced, full of fruit and a great value, well, I couldn't pour it fast enough!

Garnacha (Grenache) is a grape primarily found in the Southwest of France and in Spain.  It grows well in hot climates, but because of this, it also means that it can easily become unbalanced and too high in alcohol content.  This is why it is also often blended with Syrah.  A 100% garnacha is not something you see often in the U.S., and a good one is even more rare - especially at $9.99.  The Evodia Garnacha has a nose of strawberries with a hint of fragrant florals.  On the palate it is medium bodied with a smooth finish that is hard to find at this price point.  And it's incredibly versatile when it comes to food.  If you find it, buy one for yourself, one for your favorite wine lover and one to bring to your next get together.  You will not disappoint nor will you be disappointed. 

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or random wine tasting,


Alli M.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring?!? The Devil is Ice Skating and I Should Consider White Zinfandel a Wine

If this is the first day of spring, then why am I tempted to crack open a port like wine and sip it by the fire?  By the way, for Argentina wine fans and/or port style fans, you can only get this bottle at Achaval Ferrer in Argentina.  I had the pleasure of tasting this when I was down there last year and it was lovely.  SOOOO, if you should somehow come across it up here or find your way to Argentina, I highly recommend purchasing a bottle because it truly is special. 

Back to the weird weather because it's truly ruining my wine schedule.  I was looking forward to returning to my summer love - Chenin Blanc.  Guess the groundhog might have been a bit off in his "short winter" prognostication.  Thanks Puxsutawney Phil.  I hope Bill Murray (or my friends, Sara and Steve) find you and exact NO MERCY.  You're like the White Zin of garden pests. 

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or weather-related outburst,


Alli M.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Listen to your Mother!

My mother wrote me about a wine she had with dinner tonight and it sounds like a good value.  Since I'm
always on the lookout for a good value and I trust this particular palate, I thought I'd share.

Here's what my mom had to say:

"I had a wonderful glass of Spanish wine called Marques de Tomares. It was very full-bodied and went well with my roast beef."

When I heard the words "full bodied" and "Spanish" my immediate thought was tempranillo which meant that it was likely from Rioja or Ribera del Duero.  My instincts were right because this wine is about 90% tempranillo and it turns out it's from Rioja.  Most people think Rioja is a varietal and not a region, but if you like Riojas and/or Ribera del Duero (also a region in Spain that primarily uses tempranillo), it sounds like you will like this wine.  Moreover, I looked it up on and in my neck of the woods, it retails for about $12 - $18 (a wide range, I know, but I'm in the NYC Metro area so this is typical).  I'm guessing outside of New York you'll find it around $15, possibly a little less.  Definitely something worth taking a chance on.  I know I will when I see it in a store.

Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or mother's recommendation,


Alli M.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Christmas in February - kinda, sort, o.k., not at all

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a tasting of Italian wines at Eataly in Manhattan, NY (in case you were thinking Kansas). It was a last minute invite and as I'd already committed to hanging out with an adorable 23 month old vintage, I asked my classmate and friend from my WSET classes, Jen F., if she woould attend the tasting and be so kind as to write up her notes. Jen braved a sinus infection and New York City traffic (not to mention the foot traffic at Eataly) to deliver.
As it turned out, two out of the four wines she tasted were those that I was sent to taste over Christmas. When Jen told me, it made me that much more interested to see her write-up and compare it with my thoughts.

Here's what Jen had to say about the two wines I hadn't tried:

"Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani DOC I'm always interested in trying new white varietals from Italy and this Grecante did not disappoint. This wine is made from 100% Grechetto grapes. I thought it was delicious. The color in the glass was an intense straw yellow, which I learned is one of it's characteristics. It was soft and well balanced, very fruity with some floral notes. I really enjoyed this wine and would definitely drink it on its own, but it would also pair with seafood.

Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 Year DOCG

This is their jubilee wine, that was produced for the first time in 1993 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the winery, but has kept the name ever since. Again it is made from 100% of the very best, carefully selected Sagrantino grapes. Very similar color, nose and taste as the Collepiano - but everything is just more intensified! Very good!!"

And the two wines that I'd already tasted:

"Montefalco Rosso DOC

This is one of the wines that I noticed on your blog that you were able to try as well. Beautiful rich ruby color with notes of ripe red fruit and a little vanilla from the oak. It's a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino (the grape that this winery is best know for) and 15% Merlot. I agree with you that it was slightly thin, fairly dry and a little acidic, but the red berry fruit really came through. This wine, as with all Italian wines, are best enjoyed with food. You were definitely right with your pairing of this wine with prosciutto and salami. That is actually the serving suggestion that the winery itself was recommending for their Montefalco Rosso.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano DOCGThis is the other wine that you tasted as well. It's made from 100% Sagrantino. According to their brochure, "Collipiano represents the "renaissance" of Montefalco as a wine region and the Sagrantino as a unique variety grown only in Montefalco." Very dark ruby, almost garnet color with notes of rich red fruit, as well as some spice and vanilla from the oak. The rich red fruit came through on the palate as well, it was very smooth with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I'm not a big fan of bitter things, but I could see how this wine would shine more with food, especially meat. Once again your pairing with the filet was right on!"

When I read Jen's write up I was thrilled to see that she got a lot of the same things out of the Montefalco Rosso and Sagrantino di Montefalco that I did.  I promise we did not compare notes before she wrote up her thoughts.  

So if you see either of these wines and you're having hearty meats, you've now heard from two of us that these are worthwhile to check out - especially the Montefalco Rosso which retails in the low $20 range.

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.