Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wine Pourers vs. Wine Aerators Pourers

" A completely original and patented decanting pourer, the Selection oxygenates your wine as you pour for a taste that is smoother and fuller.
Inside the neck of this pourer is an hourglass-like narrow passage-way called a venturi pipe. The venturi pipe increases the speed of wine flow and creates a vacuum that draws in air through the small vent hole. In addition, a special stainless screen disperses the flow before it leaves the pourer."
Beverage Factory

Wine pourers like the one above promise to decant your wine, while it is being poured into your glass. I’ve used this pourer for a couple years now and I can’t say I’ve noticed an appreciable difference. When it comes to decanting, my rule of thumb is to pour some into your glass and if you find decanting will further enhance the experience by all means do so. Back to this pourer, which I really liked when I first started using it but after a while it started to drip around the base and just a warning it does not fit all bottles the same. This pourer may actually fall into your glass, so be careful and crack delicate crystal.

"Serve wine with a touch of elegance. The Metrokane Velvet Wine Pourer with Stopper pours smoothly without drips. The stopper seals wine air-tight, preserving opened bottles of wine so that you can enjoy them later on. The pourer features an easy-grip velvet finish in black." Beverage Factory (no aeration value)
This one I liked quite a bit and it does not leak or dribble around the edges. I would recommend getting more than one. From my experience, at least 4 are recommended, the ratio I go with is 2 for white wines and 1 for red and 1 for a Port or a late harvest bottling. The thinking on this for the whites is you may start off with an aperitif of white wine or the appetizer. You simply push in the stopper and off to open the next bottle. While you will most likley finish the red, you can now feel free to tuck the white away. No fuss, no muss.

They also are great to have for your dinner parties, as they you will get nice even pours and your guests will appreciate wine not dripping on thier hands or sides of the glass.

The same can be said of after dinner wines like Port or a dessert wine which you may not finish in evening. With this pourer as eluded to above you can seal the wine back up and put back in storage with out a leak.They work very well!

Riesling: To the Rescue

Like many of my readers I’ve come to the intersection of being bored with Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc won’t cut it either! You are craving something spicy and you come across this great recipe. Like the one below, from one of my friends. Uh, huh that’s right! But I digress, back to the challenge.

Like many of you who’ve may be trying to pair wine or work wine into just about every meal, this one will pose a challenge. Typically, if you’re like me you’d want to pair Chicken with a Chardonnay. Normally a fantastic choice, but this time you’re up against the spicy monster.

Luckily, here comes Riesling to the rescue. Maybe your wondering why Riesling? Well because of it properties. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity; as such it is often found to be dry semi-sweet or a sweet wine. This is where Riesling will come to your rescue with spicy foods like the recipe above; it puts the fire out after each bite.
The other benefit of drinking Rieslings is they don’t have to break the bank either. So below I posted a couple which is found just about anywhere and for a good price…

1. HOGUE White Riesling Columbia Valley Late Harvest 2007 (WS 87 points) $9.00 bucks. Can be found on sale for less.

Soft and frankly sweet, emphasizing apricot and baked apple flavors, finishing with hints of spice. 81,000 cases made. --Harvey Steiman

Don’t be fooled by this Late Harvest tag, it’s not really a desert wine like most late harvest wines, it does have a nice acidity which keeps it in perfect balance.

Much like a German halbtrocken (half-dry), it has aromas of peaches and tangerines that fill the nose with a delicate fruitiness. V. Sattui. It can be ordered directly from the winery!

I know there are many different Rieslings out there, and you probably have a favorite already, but these two deliver consistent quality. There are also some other white wines out there, which will also do the trick, like Gewurztraminer and Chenin Blanc. So enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Can we say Le Midi?

Hey what does that mean? Speaking French or something? What gives?

For today, let’s just pretend we’re on a luxury wine cruise drinking our way down the Rhone River through Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the lesser known wine regions of southern France. Here are some recommendations on some wines from the area to be on the look out for to help you take that journey without flying or packing any bags!

Here is the line up of suggestions and the price ranges:

2006 Clos Marie, Manon, Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc - $19 -23

2006 Domaine Grand Veneur, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc - $45-55

2004 Rayas, Chateau de Fonsalette, Cotes du Rhone - $58-67

2005 La Font du Vent, 'Notre Passion', Cotes du Rhone - $12-15

2005 Chateau de Valcombe, 'Prestige', Costieres de Nimes - $13-16

2006 L'Oratoire des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape - $32-39

Let me know what you think. Go ahead take a trip to Southern France!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pure Cab Franc: 2005 Byington Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc

Santa Cruz Mtns Pure Cab Franc

Regarding this wine it's like what ZZ Top sang about, "She's got legs and she knows how to use them". This wine is in a word, balanced, pure fruit expression, with harmonious acidity, and earthy nuances weaved into every drop.

In the glass a tight core of crushed velvet. Although the nose really did not say much to my palate, but the viscous complexity spoke volumes to the breadth and depth of this wine which touched its skins ever so lightly and gave the cork a pink kiss.

It danced on my palate like a ballerina, gracefully and delightfully touching each taste bud with a beautiful bouquet of Cab-Franc delight. It delivered with amazing length and precision on the very persistent finish. Well done for an outstanding effort in a single varietal. 100% Cabernet Franc is rare and vinified correctly is even rarer.
This wine paired ever so nicely with the homemade Italian style Lasagne! Bon appetit! Until next time Cheers. Byington Vineyard & Winery: Cabernet Franc Bates Ranch, 2005 - $37.00

"Good wine is somebody's passion"

I'm feeling contemplative and helping that along is Tom Petty, "Runnin’ down a dream". That being said, I would like to start out by quoting Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Breecher, who write for the Wall Street Journal and can be viewed @ They wrote a piece entitled "A toast to a Pioneer" a final salute to Robert Mondavi who recently passed away. The key point of the article which caught my eye, is a quote I suppose they have coined, and have said very often in writing about wine "wine isn't just a liquid in a bottle, good wine is somebody's passion".
Yes, somebody's passion with the emphasis on good.
We have all been exposed to mediocre wine, something purple to yellow in color to fill a bottle with. They end on drug store shelves or local "liquor-ramma" and many times are in boxes or jugs. I here many people who say they just can't taste the difference, I beg to differ. I would say to them, "can you tell the difference between a Volkswagen bug and say a Porsche 911 Targa?" Invariably, they say sure I can, of course. Well those same vast distinctions lie in the world of wine as well.

I believe they just have never been exposed to the difference in any significant way. Personally, I was a neophyte to wine and really never embraced it one iota. But after my first trip to Napa, my eyes were opened! I quickly realized I had a pedestrian palate, as many folks do today. This is not a slight, it is just reality. This distinction we swirl, sniff and sip is the passion of the winemaker, the workers in the field, the desire of the winery owner, the land which was chosen, and the choice to excel beyond the pale of orthodoxy. These choices are reflected in the bottle and finally poured into our glasses for our consideration and enjoyment. You can almost here them (quality wine purveyors) saying, "look at what I made"! Enjoy!
Dorothy and John also wanted to remind us by finishing the article with another quote which I really liked. Remember the next time you have a quality bottle of wine, "which someone cared about, you are drinking that persons art and maybe a little bit or his or her soul". It does not hurt to be reflective of the amazing amount of work, dedication and excellence which went into bringing you a great glass of wine. It is too easy to be mediocre; excellence must be strived for, like the vines which strive for the water.

It is easy to take it for granted. We walk into our favorite wine store, order it online, or pick it up from the winery on a tasting and if you hastily gulp it down, I believe you are missing out. Take, your time to swirl, sniff and sip the artwork which lies in your glass.

Cheers everyone!

Willamette Wonderland Part 1

Willamette Wonderland Part 1

As I am writing this piece I am listening to Pearl sing "Summer Time" and I am reminded that this a great time of the year to visit your favorite winery.

Summer is now upon us, maybe your mind is wondering where should I go on vacation or what should I do for a quick get-away and on the back of mind is your deep abiding love for Pinot Noir, well I would highly recommend the wonderful Willamette Valley in OR.

I spent an unforgettable week there a couple of years ago. This is a place for folks who just can't enough of sniffing, swirling, and sipping the fruit of this amazing varietal, which also thrives on this side of the pond in a place called the Willamette Valley. There are a few places which I would strongly recommend going for wine tasting and PG is definitely one of them.

The first place is Patricia Green Cellars, which is in Newberg, OR. If want to go there, you will need to book an appointment, as they don't have a tasting room. When we arrived, we were not even sure where to go, there were no real signs, as we drove up to the property we even wondered if we were at the right place, again no signs. See the pix above I snagged from their website. On the left is the barrell room.

Looked like a nice farmhouse, with out lying buildings. I poked my head into what looked like a barn and called out to the name of our contact, we were met my a few dogs and then we met our contact who brought us into the barrel room. It was damn cold in there! Another couple showed up who must have been newlyweds (get a room) but I digress, a wonderful impromptu table of various PN's were lined up, the stemware was ideal and the pour's very generous.

None of the standard dainty pours associated with the most tasting rooms. Our host was very gracious and very knowledgeable about everything wine related. PG also puts out a great newsletter. If you do show up there, please make a point to ask about the Nortorius wine they made and the story behind it. Whatever you say, don't mention WS at all and how much like the Boston Red Sox! Just a tip...

One of the highlights was the 2004 Eason in a word, wow! After we came home from our trip, we wanted to purchase another bottle, but alas they were sold out. PG is what you would call a small production winery. So buy all you can carry or afford! If you love Pinot Noir, you gotta go to PG!

What you can buy from them now is 2007 futures and 2006 (immediately available) and I would recommend the following:

2007 Winderlea Vineyard (formally the Goldschmidt)

2007 Estate Vineyard Etzel Block

2006 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Goldschmidt Vineyard Dundee Hills

Here is a link to their site:

Stay tuned for part 2 where our story about the newlyweds we met @ PG takes a funny twist........

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