Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scallops and Truffle Oil and Chenin, Oh My

Mother Nature went back to her bi-polar ways this weekend - well, for those of us in the East.  Despite the chilly temperatures and seemingly spiteful wind, I headed to CulinAriane, one of my favorite local restaurants, on Friday night.  I already knew I was going to be getting the scallops with a fragrant, earthy, melt-in-your-mouth mushroom and truffle oil sauce. 

Though the wind was calling for a rich and hearty red, my palate was screaming out for a dry white with some good acid.  Time to break out the Chenin.  Or more like Le Chenin, which is the bottle Will at Amanti Vino convinced me to try.  Wine Advocate gives it a 90 and says something about musk, animal scents, white peach, chalkiness and lime.  As mentioned in previous posts, my palate may be on the "short bus" because I got both a nose and a mouth full of citrus (guess that would be the lime).  I did get the minerality and chalkiness, which I usually do not like, but in this Chenin it was smooth, not overly aggressive as I find in a lot of more minerally whites (many people love this quality - just a personal taste thing). 

If you've been reading me religiously, as you should, it may seem like I like every wine I drink.  The reason for this is that I eat out at a lot of BYOs which means the wine buying is at my discretion and I buy most of my wine from knowledgable people at very good stores.  You do not need to be any sort of wine expert to drink good wine, you just need to find people who know what they're doing and can be the experts for you.  So finda store nearby that can serve as your personal wine experts.  And if you can't, e-mail me and I'll try to help you.

Before I sign off, please vote for my blog - often!

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Forget Aurora, just go for Borealis

For those of us in the Northeast, it feels as though spring is never going to uh, spring.  For every 60 degree day, we seem to get a week's worth of Canadian "air masses." 

So when a friend gave me a a bottle of Montinore Estate's 2010 Borealis, a crisp white blend of traditionally German grapes, I thought it would be months before I opened it.  But this past Saturday it was sunny and warm and I had dinner plans at a restaurant known for it ceviche and the Borealis was calling me.

Truth be told, I'd been wanting to open the Borealis since the moment my friend put it in my hot little hands.  I was intrigued that Montinore, a terrific winery out of Oregon, a region where Pinot Gris is the predominant white grape, made a German blend out of Muller-Thurgau, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  There is a good amount of Pinot Gris in there as well (15%), but it drinks like a good drier Riesling.  It has an aromatic nose filled with melon, pear and a hint of apple and these are the notes you get on the palate.  It has a slight sweetness to it, but not enough to characterize this wine as semi-dry.  It has a nice amount of acid, but not an overwhelming amount, which is good because ceviche is basically seafood marinated in acid.  The pairing worked out beautifully and this was the first time in a long time that I kicked a bottle of wine at dinner with just one other person (I'm a heavy wine taster and buyer, not a heavy drinker).

As I gear up for spring and summer, I checked out Borealis on to see if it's locally available and I found a few stores near me that carry it.  I was also pleased to find that at $10 - $15, it could make a good everyday white.  Moreover, with its medium body and good acidity, it's something that could pair with something a little heavier than seafood. 

So look for the "Northern Whites" as Montinore calls them, at a wine store near you.  At this time of the year, I'd much rather enjoy this Borealis than trek up north for Aurora.  I've had just about enough of sky masses from Canada.

Until the next sniff, sip quaff or half bottle,


Alli M.