What to Pair: So whilst shopping the other day, [as I am the chief cook and bottle washer] I picked up some fresh Tilapia for a great [simple] recipe, a Lime Cilantro Marinade which I had fish swimming in all day, prior to throwing them into the oven in the evening. Then I prepared some fresh steamed Brocoli and a tasty Alfredo sauce with ricotta stuffed pasta shells, man this meal was fantastic. I was not sure about pairing the Chardonnay with my somewhat spicy Marinade, but I relented and opened it and oh-man just a match made in heaven. But hey don't take my word for go out and try it for yourself, you won't be disappointed. This is a very simple meal to put together and very light fare, just a couple of the stuffed shells per person and the sauce is highly adaptable to varying degrees of flavor, so feel free to experiment [I always do].
About the Winery: "Just down the road from the town of Calistoga, there is a crossroads. It's the intersection of wine and art. And at that crossroads, you'll find something rare and remarkable: balance." this quote from their website is not just mere PR hype, but so far with two different bottles drank, evaluated and reviewed it would appear to be all so right on point. They [Clos Pegase] have struck a balance in their winemaking approach and we the consumers are reaping the rewards of that balance with each swirl, sniff and sip. According to their website; "Their estate is located at both ends of the Napa Valley, where nature and science have come together to create one of the finest wine-producing regions of the world." Their estate comprises 455 acres, of which 90 are in the Calistoga area, known for its ripe, jammy reds, and the balance are in cool Carneros to the south, where the valley meets the San Francisco Bay.
Their Motto: "Rather than bending our wines to meet our whims, we let the vineyards be our guides, and we do our best to capture and reflect their distinctive personalities in the glass." or in other words, "the essence of terroir is what they celebrate" to which I say, Viva La Terroir!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Many travelers [including me] may miss the finer nuances of the alfresco dining [patio] experience, where every day is different and even going to the market can be an adventure. If you have traveled abroad in Spain or Italy, many travelers miss the recently accustomed warmth [but without the mosquitoes please] of the Mediterranean dining culture, as many restaurants offer outside dining [mostly because of the heat] as they tend not to be big believer's in Air Conditioners [just a little fact that may shock the first time traveler].
To the question: Are you looking for ways to re-create those European dining experiences in your own everyday life? Hey San Diego restaurant-goers and wine lovers alike, it's time [spring is in the air] to take to the streets, opting to enjoy the sunshine alongside your meal and a great glass of vino. Which is why I want to introduce to you to Buon Appetito in San Diego's Little Italy, where dining at an outside table facing India St. might take you all the way to Italy for a few hours.
Food: is often one of the most memorable parts about traveling abroad. Finding restaurants which are reminiscent European dining experiences can help you recall and recapture the buzz of previous trips, and reinvigorate you from hum-drum of everyday life. It may involve a little searching, but there are cuisine options right here in San Diego likely to remind of your own Al-Fresco dining experiences from past trips and at Buon Appetito you'll find "Nouvelle Italian" and classic Italian dishes are effortlessly blended together. But just be aware that the patio area fills up quickly on nice days, so be sure to make reservation, well in advance.
The Gist: Like a traditional Italian family, Buon Appetito is small but comfortable, and the food is delicious, fresh and authentic. A slightly campy, rotating art adorns every wall, as patrons sit nearly elbow to elbow, a college aged waiter staff, booming conversations all contributing to the restaurant's trattoria style approach.The main concept behind the restaurant according to Buon Appetito : "That is why we have this restaurant: To remember who we are and that is why we come together in celebration of food, wine and art." Well said!
The Wine List: The wine list is robust enough for what it needs to be - complimenting your meal but not overwhelming to the point where only a wine-snob could navigate. Buon Appetito understands that wine is there for your food, and not the other way around, and thus simplicity in selection meets greatness in flavor you can savor. You can order very traditional Italian varietals, but if your California palate is uncomfortable with those wines, then they have a nice selection of wine from the Golden State with a few other New World selections in the mix.
Wine Bar Next Door: They have a new, very comfortable and inviting wine bar called Sogno Divino which is right next to the restaurant. A great place to relax, imbibe on some yummy Italian varietals while waiting for your table or to just catch up with friends before heading out on the town, you could also grab a quick bite in the form of their very tasty appetizers.
Italian Market: Okay, you leave the restaurant and your thinking, "man it would be great to re-create this at home" well here's your chance to try your hand at cooking some traditional Italian cooking at home. There's a little Italian Market next door as well called, "The Market by Buon Appetito". You have to check it out, and see it for yourself.
So if you're new to San Diego or you're here to stay this a part of our town worth exploring and taking the time to swirl, sniff and sip your way to some culinary pleasures of the Italian persuasion. Until next time stay thirsty my friends and Buon Appetito, ciao!
Monday, April 19, 2010
If you are Wente Vineyards this is what you would call a "back-handed" compliment. If you are Rombauer Vineyards you are probably not to comfortable with another wine being tagged with that moniker [so my apologies in advance]. Nonetheless, Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Reserve Chardonnay, Monterey Arroyo Seco is exactly that, the poor man's Rombauer and is this phrase is bandied about as such in wine stores all over California and else where (like from the lips of wine rep's everywhere).
Let me be honest here Rombauer makes a great Chardonnay, a point to which [nearly] everyone agrees, however with a price point starting somewhere around $29.99 each, it's not going to be the QPR [quality price ration] champ or even a competitor in that arena. With the economy the way it is now, folks who love to drink wine on a regular basis are looking to cut corners. well here is your answer! I have been drinking vintages of Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay since 2004 and while each one differs a little, one thing which is not different is the overall consistent quality. Price ranges from 10.95 -17.96 a bottle and in the word's of Jennifer's Review that is "uber-fabulous".
With that said, now it's time for the review!
About the Winery: Their heritage block wines are grown in specific vineyard blocks named for the pioneers who relate to the history of Wente Vineyards’ winemaking tradition and premier Estate vineyards, which was founded more than 125 years ago, Wente Vineyards is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, which is located just east of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards.
First Swirl: In the glass the wine a golden apple colored core and pale rim. Swirling about in my glass it reveals good structure and viscosity
First Sniff: From what I recall in my notes this wine had some enticing aromas of pear, apple and fig and other citrus notes effortlessly wafting up from the glass.
First Sip: The wine has a creaminess associated with having a bit of oak influence, complimented by generous tropical notes typical of Monterey fruit. This is an excellent wine to pair with food or as stand alone sipper.
Alcohol Content: The wine weighed in at 13.5% ABV, which is hardly noticed as this wine coats your palate with a suppleness normally associated with wines of a much higher caliber and price point.
Winemaking Style: Blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices, the winery draws fruit from approximately 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed Estate vineyards.
Vineyards and Composition: Arroyo Seco is widely regarded as one of the best places in California to grow Chardonnay. Riva Ranch is the name of the Wente family’s vineyard in the Arroyo-Seco AVA which is presently planted to three Dijon clones and two Wente clones. The cool growing season and the deep gravelly soil ripen the Chardonnay perfectly, creating a natural balance of sugar and acid. The varietal make-up of the current 2008 vintage is, 94% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Blanc, 2% Gewurztraminer.
Where to find it and Price: Now about price and location, I found this wine at the San Diego Wine Company selling for $11.95. Most of you are already very familar with their location, but for the uninitiated they are centrally located on Miramar Road which can accessed from from the 805 or the 15 freeways.
Pairing Suggestions: Pairs wonderfully and easily with many food items, but it especially cries out to be sautéed scallops and clams on a bed of angel hair pasta drizzled with a dreamy Alfredo sauce and some sautéed fresh broccoli crowns, carrots and onions, but maybe that's just me.
San Diego Wine Shopping Examiner Score: Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored 92 points on the Cuvee Corner 100 point scale, which to some may seem a bit high, however you enter the QPR into this wines score and add wide availbility a much higher score is achieved.
My Recommendation: So there you have it San Diego wine shopping fans, another true bargain is uncovered by the Cuvée Corner Wine Blog and this is how I would characterize this wine: This is a drink-often wine, meaning it's as easy the wallet [or pocket-book] as it is on the palate. Ordering this by the case is a great choice and can really be considered as an everyday drinker and a great value for very little money.
Other Voices: Just incase my words and opinions didn't sway you one bit, here's a bloke with much better credentials than I have speaking about this great bargain "A rich, creamy style, with complex fig, honeydew melon, spice and light toast oak. The fruit has a sweet edge, but this is a very complex and appealing style" – James Laube from Wine Spectator who gave this wine 89 points on their 100 point scale.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The Washington Wine Scene: Now as you can see this wine is from the Columbia Valley in Washington State, where they are making some truly wonderful wines and according to the Editors at WE, "Washington State wines made an impressive showing in our Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2009, with 11 spots on the list." This short statement from the editors at WE should be enough to convince you of the point I'm trying to make, that the Washington Wine Scene is indeed heating up!
About Forgeron Cellars: Wondering where is winery that made this yummy example of a well-balanced Chardonnay exactly? I will let Paul Gregutt of the Seattle Times explain, "It's tucked away on a quiet corner a few blocks from bustling downtown Walla Walla, WA is where you'll find Forgeron Cellars" which was founded in 2001 by a group of investors, mostly from the Walla Walla Valley, who have been involved in the wine industry since 1989.This new venture emphasizes their passion and dedication for a long-term commitment to a rapidly growing industry in the Walla Walla Valley. Where they have contracted with many vineyards strategically located across the Yakima, Columbia and Walla-Walla Valleys. According to their website, their focus is based upon reflecting the quality of grapes from the best sites, to reveal the full potential of Washington State. They also have been actively developing distinct vineyards in Walla Walla, illustrating their long-term commitment to the industry in this valley we are proud to call home.
About the winemaker: The reason this wine is much more Burgundian than your typical New World Chardonnay is because their winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla [part owner] is one of the growing number of French-born and trained winemakers who have made Washington state their home. According the Seattle Times writer Paula Gregutt, "With little fanfare, she has been developing vineyard sources, fine-tuning her winemaking and making excellent Euro-styled wines." Paula if this wine is an example of what you're talking about then I'm 100% agreement you and look forward to sampling more of the wonderful ranges of wines from this region.
First Swirl: In the glass the wine a straw colored core and pale yellow rim. Swirling about in my glass it reveals good structure and viscosity
First Sniff: From what I recall in my notes this wine had some enticing aromas of freshly sliced pears and other citrus notes effortlessly wafting up from the glass.
First Sip: I really enjoyed the mouth watering spicy apple and tropical notes, effortlessly co-mingling with a tangy fresh acidity and a nice finish of fruit and lingering minerality on the finish.
Alcohol and Price: The wine weighed in at 14% and is priced well for about $17.00 to $19.00 at a few online purveyors and can be found in the tasting room at $25.00. With a case production of a little over 700 hundred cases, this wonderful wine won't hang around too long.
Vineyards and Composition: Because they source fruit from many terroirs, some cool and some warmer sites, Forgeron Cellars is able to frequently produce a consistent crowd-pleasing style of Chardonnay and I believe the composition is 98% Chardonnay and 2% Lonesome Springs Orange Muscat [makes for an interesting blend] with a barrel treatment of 100% French oak.
Pairing Suggestions: Pairs wonderfully and easily with many food items, but it especially cries out for seafood pairing of sautéed scallops and clams or with a big hearty bowl of chowder and a piece of sourdough bread.
Other Voices: "You could spend a whole day touring any one of Walla Walla's wine areas. But the one that intrigued me was right in downtown Walla Walla itself...Then up another block to Forgeron Cellars, one of the strongest of the new wineries, and where chardonnay is the star attraction. I was even more impressed however with a striking roussanne..." Robert Mayfield, Statesman Journal Newspaper, August 2007 Walla Walla Spring Release Weekend 2008 The Wine Knows and Wine Enthusiast scored the 2006 a healthy 91 points and thinks the 2007 is right on track to be as good or even better than the rated and reviewed 06.
My Recommendation: This is a drink often wine, meaning it's as easy the wallet [or pocket-book] as it is on the palate. Ordering this by the case is a great choice and can really be considered as an everyday drinker, great value for very little money. Please make sure you get your hand on some today.
Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score: Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored 92 points on the Cuvee Corner 100 point tasting scale Since this wines QPR [quality, price, ratio] score is through the roof.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Shopping for some great wines, well skip a trip to wine country and crowded tasting rooms, the vineyards best is coming to you via the Rhythm and Vine Music and Wine festival. So what are you waiting for, this is a great opportunity to sample many different wines before you buy. For an amazing low price of $75 you will get great food, great wine and some great tunes all in one place, what more could you ask for? You also will be supporting a wonderful community organization as all proceeds go to your LOCAL Boys and Girls clubs.
More than Wine: For those interested in more than just wine, the event also features craft breweries and spirit companies and also featuring three musical performances, a silent auction and VIP exclusive tent, this spectacular music, wine and food extravaganza will strike a new chord in San Diego’s North County and pave the way to a wonderful soulful inspired evening.
Ticket Info: Tickets for Rhythm & Vine are $75 for General Admission in advance, and $100 at the door. For those who would just like to enjoy the music and the food, a Designated Driver ticket is also available for $40 in advance, and $90 at the door. “Enthusiasts who purchase tickets to Rhythm & Vine will not only enjoy a night of outstanding wine, food and music, but will walk away knowing that they gave tremendous support to a fantastic cause.” added Miller. Just click here to purchase tickets and again all event proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego.
VIP TREATMENT: Rhythm & Vine VIP's get a special treat with an after-hour party until 10:00pm, access to a VIP tent filled with exclusive wines and gourmet foods, and a private performance by one of the performing bands. VIP tickets are $125 in advance, and $150 at the door.
VIP Stage Performer: Making its sound on the VIP Stage is Crossroads, the classic rock band that delivers musical harmonies and versatile instrumentation modeled after the renowned musical styling of The Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Tom Petty, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beatles, and The Allman Brothers.
Community Outreach: Proceeds from Rhythm & Vine support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. Funds raised at the event allow the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego Clubs of Greater San Diego to continue to serve at-risk youth, and to expand its services to support more youth throughout the Greater San Diego Region. According to Jeff Miller, senior vice president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. “Rhythm & Vine is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego’s most important event as it allows us to gain new supporters, as well as raise money so we may continue our support of the 23,000 youth we serve each year,”.
About the Boys & Girls Club: For more than 65 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego have been committed to serving at-risk youth between the ages of five and eighteen and reaching out to young people in need. Their sole purpose is to better serve the 23,000 youth who currently utilize their services in the Greater San Diego Region. They have a staff of more than 160 employees and now operate thirteen facilities (including a Teen Center) and four school-site programs throughout the Greater San Diego Region.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I’m so honored that Bill has asked me to do a guest post on Cuvee Corner. Mostly I’m honored because I consider Bill to be very wine educated and mostly I consider myself, not. Bill has been great to me and realizes that I’m on a wine journey. Also, I live in Wisconsin. While Bill has the opportunity to spend time in actual vineyards, I spend my time in virtual vineyards and keeping my selection to what the best wine distributers bring my way in Wisconsin.
With that said, I would love to review Black Box Wine. There are bunch of reasons why I’m reviewing this wine; I want to tempt you into trying something outside of the bottle. I’m also reviewing this wine because I’m a box wine supporter…. And I’m reviewing this wine … okay … because Bill asked me to.
Black Box Wines
Size: 3 Litres
The Black Box Wine concept started when Ryan Sproule (vintner) realized that Europeans have been drinking high-end boxed wines for years. To them, the package was not the value … the wine was. So Ryan brought his idea to America. Of course we did have boxed wines already … you may know it as the “wine flavored” wine in a box of early years … I’ll leave you to guess who/what.
Black Box wine is on a mission to provide a great wine at an affordable everyday price. This way – we can have wine all the time! In other words, as the box says …”Think inside the box”. Boxing and Bagging wine is also friendlier to our environment; it takes less energy to produce and transport.
Wondering about the taste? To me this has a high alcohol taste but the berry plum finish is warm and creates a great wine for everyday use. It’s not a complex wine however … it’s also not lacking.
I actually love getting this wine for a group of friends, it’s convenient to bring to a party and it’s equal to bringing 4 bottles of wine. This makes the party a LOT of fun! … well… as long as I’m at the party too.
Black Box Wines is trying to lift itself out of the “boxed wine” stigma – It’s black packaging and it’s video contest of last year … may help more people see this wine as a premium box wine to take out in public!
Have you tried a boxed wine yet?
Cheers to boxes!
This review was written by guest contributor Jennifer of Jennifer Reviews and see many of her many other great wine reviews and other product reviews. She is also a prolific Tweeter so if you not currently following her, please click here to here to follow her.