The latest educational wine tasting event from Clink Different “celebrated all things sparkling from Germany and Bordeaux (with) a virtual tasting of Crémant de Bordeaux and German Sekt.” We were greeted in the Zoom presentation by Cecile Ha from the Bordeaux Council. Ha shared that both Germany and Bordeaux created white, red and sparkling wines, benefitted from a young generation of both male and female winemakers, and both are also well known for healthy tourism in their respective wine regions. Ha then introduced our host for the event, New York Sommelier and Martha Stewart Living wine expert Sarah Tracey.
Tracey shared that all of the four sparkling wines we were to taste “checked off all of the boxes” in being delicious, fun and affordable. She had presented a food pairing for each sparkler which I will share in our tasting notes below. For this tasting I enlisted help from local pals and Friends Who Like Wine in The Glass founders Vashti and Stephen Roebuck.
Celene NV Cuvee Amethyste
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc. Region/AOC: Crémant de Bordeaux. SRP: $12. Importer: Fine Wine and Good Spirits.
From Tracey: Bordeaux Crémant AOC can be made with both white and red Bordeaux grapes, they spend 12 months in traditional aging methods and there are 214 growers in the appellation. This example was a Blanc de Noir, meaning a white wine from red grapes, and should be drunk within one to two years of bottling. Aromas and flavors: yellow plums, persimmon, honeysuckle. Suggested pairing: green olives, oysters, something salty/briny and creamy.
From our group: We found the choice of red Bordeaux grapes unique, but the flavor was all sparkling with no hint of red fruit: apple, French toast, sweet Meyer lemon, white peach and wet pebbles. A steal and a conversation starter for $12.
Markus Molitor NV Riesling Sekt
100% Riesling. Region/AOC: Mosel. SRP: $19. Importer: Banville Wine Merchants.
From Tracey: Sekt is the word for sparkling in German and there are different quality levels. In the 1800s German winemakers traveled to France to learn how to make sparkling wine. The Mosel region is known for Riesling, is the oldest, has very steep inclines and red volcanic slate soil. Aromas and flavors: Pear, peach, white pepper and nectarine. Suggested pairing: Prosciutto due to its fat and saltiness, working well against the acidity in the wine.
From our group: Cantaloupe melon, biscuit, cool asphalt and milk aromas, with flavors of peach, Red Delicious apple, sweet creamed corn and a nicely carbonated 7 Up. I’d totally buy this one for $19.
Calvet 2018 Brut Rose
100% Cabernet Franc. Region/AOC: Crémant de Bordeaux. SRP: $18. Importer: Monsieur Touton.
From Tracey: 31% of Crémant de Bordeaux are Rose wines, with over 100 wine growers planting specifically for Rose Crémant. There has been a 13% increase in the past 10 years making Rose. The grapes for this wine were manually harvested and manually pressed. Aromas and flavors: Raspberry, wild strawberry and tannins. Suggested pairing: milk chocolate with 40% to 50% cacao, the tannins in both make the pairing work. Also goes well with Prosciutto.
From our group: Very pretty rose gold color with bubbles racing their way to the top of my glass. On the nose there was icy peach, cantaloupe melon, red berries and wet river rock; followed by flavors of freshly sliced peaches, more melon including Honeydew, sweet ripe pears and an interesting minerality that played on my palate for a long finish.
Raumland Cuvee Marie-Luise Brut 2013
100% Pinot Noir. Region/AOC: Rheinhessen. SRP: $46. Importer: German Wine Collection.
From Tracey: This wine is made by “The Pope of Sekt”, has a cooling influence from the climate as well as chalky soil. This was the “premium” wine in the line-up. Aromas and flavors: fresh, minerality, saltiness. Suggested pairing: Drunken Goat cheese and any other “zingy” cheeses.
From our group: Green apple, cheese toast, almond cookie, white peach, Hawaiian ginger flower, citrus oil and hints of crisp slate. This was the favorite amongst the people in the Zoom tasting.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
About a month ago I attended an all Rose sparkling and Champagne tasting courtesy of the Tasting Panel Magazine, an annual event held just before the new year. This past year’s event was held at the charming Sotto Restaurant in LA.
The tasting is set up as a self-pour format and attended by various members of the press and wine community – people that can be trusted to spit and not over pour. I like the tasting as I can not only control the pour, I can usually complete the event in about 90 minutes. The downfall is that there is no way to take notes while holding my glass in one hand. I can only accomplish that at a sit-down tasting.
It’s important to me to give a shout out to the Tasting Panel Magazine for hosting this event, it really is quite a nice way to end the year and very generous of them to host it.
And for my readers had to wait until January to read this: Sparkling wine and Champagne can be enjoyed all year long, and not just for special occasions like New Year’s Eve. I learned the lesson well when reading and reviewing The Widow Clicquot, and I dare you to argue with her logic.
Now, moving on, I have the complete list of wines below that were shared, and some one-word descriptors (a bit wine-stained but I can make them out) in CAPS and italics for the wines I enjoyed the most and/or found the most interesting. You can also see a brief slideshow of my faves here in and under 1-minute YouTube.
USA Michelle NV Brut Rosé – Columbia Valley
USA Gruet NV Brut Rosé – USA
USA Piper Sonoma NV Brut Rosé – Sonoma County WOW
USA Gloria Ferrer NV Blanc de Noirs – Carneros
USA Gruet 2010 Grande Rosé – New Mexico
USA Frank Family Vineyards 2011 Brut Rosé – Carneros
USA J. Schram 2007 Rosé – North Coast AGED GREAT
Tasmania Jansz Tasmania NV Premium Rosé – INTERESTING
Spain Cavas Hill NV Rosado 1887 – Cava
Spain Pere Ventura NV Tresor Brut Rosé – Cava WOW
Spain Vilarnau NV Brut Rosado – Cava
Italy Mionetto NV Prestige Gran Rosé – Veneto/Trentino
Italy Lamberti NV Spumante Rosé – Veneto IGT
Italy Masottina NV Cuvée Brut Rosé – Veneto IGT
Italy Buglioni Lo Spudorato 2013
Italy Ferrari NV Rosé – Trento DOC
Italy Ferrari Perle NV Rosé – Trento DOC YUM
France Charles de Fere NV Cuvée Jean-Louis Brut Rosé
France Charles de Fere NV Réserve Rosé – France
France Gratien & Meyer NV Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé – A.O.C.
France Grandin NV Brut Rosé – Loire Valley
France Le Grand Courtâge NV Grande Cuvée Brut Rosé
France Pierre Sparr NV Brut Rose – Crémant d’Alsace
France JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset NV No. 69 Rosé BRIGHT
Champagne Bernard Rémy Brut Rosé
Champagne Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut Rosé WELL DONE
Champagne Lanson rose label brut
Champagne Alfred Gratien Classic Rosé
Champagne Veuve Clicquot NV Yellow Label Rosé PERFECT
Champagne Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé, NV BALANCED
Champagne Champagne Palmer Rose Reserve NV
Champagne GH Mumm Brut Rose NV LOVELY
Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé Prestige Brut NV PERFECT
Champagne Ernest Remy Rosé de Saignée INTERESTING
Champagne Leclerc Briant Brut Rose NV UNIQUE
Champagne Leclerc Briant Rubis de Noirs 2006 UNIQUE
Champagne Champagne Philippe Gonet
Champagne Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rose
Champagne Gosset Grand Rose
Champagne NV Champagne Delamotte, Brut Rosé
Champagne Charles Heidsieck Rose Reserve NV YUMMY
Champagne Charles Heidsieck Vintage Rose 2006 OMG
Champagne Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Rose 2006 OMG
Champagne Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2004 PERFECT
Champagne Armand de Brignac Rosé PERFECT
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
CHICAGO (PRWEB) – From the lush, exotic Pacifica Evan’s Collection Riesling ($17.99) to party-pleasing Domaine La Loyane Cotes du Rhone ($16), the mouthwatering medalists from this year’s competition make perfect pairings for life’s everyday celebrations. This year’s 19th annual challenge touts 25 wines scoring over 90 points, and 220 wines costing less than $12, making Tastings.com the value seeker’s resource to discover new cost-effective favorites. The best values on the market are conveniently showcased on Tastings.com, making this year’s results the go-to wine buying guide to get the most out of your budget.
Crystal R. of Chicago, IL makes heavy use of these results. “Tastings.com is my party-planning life-hack.” she says. “I use the mobile site in-store when shopping for my monthly get-togethers. I trust Tastings.com scores because they don’t accept advertising dollars from the brands they review. The WVWC is the ultimate guide for great wines in my budget. I use the suggested pairing ideas to pair my menu to my wine offerings and I love learning about new wines using their guides.”
Highlights of the competition represent a diverse group of wines spanning four continents and eleven countries. This year, top honors for value in robust reds went to some outside-of-the-box styles. Both the “Rich and stimulating” Shiloh 2017 Privilege Red Blend ($19.99) from Judean Hills in Israel and the earthy Quasar 2016 Gran Reserva Merlot ($20) from Maipo Valley in Chile snagged a 94-point Gold Medal. 90+ Cellars lives up to their name by scoring 92-points for their 2017 Reserve Chardonnay out of Russian River Valley, which judges lauded as a “great balance of creamy, toasty oak and zippy acidity.”
The WVWC results make economics and hedonics pour in unison. Check out these affordable pairing ideas:
- The fresh simplicity of seared scallops is a fantastic first course to serve alongside the pure and elegant Zonte’s Footstep 2018 Shades of Gris Australian Pinot Grigio ($18.00).
- For cheese pairing, why not choose bubbles? Pop a luxurious 92-point French crémant, Louis Revoir NV Cuvee Prestige Brut ($19) and serve with triple-cream washed-rind cheese. Impress your guests with this super-sophisticated sparkler alongside a perfect bite of Camembert; you’ll be the only one that knows it cost less than twenty dollars.
- Seek out the gold-medal-winning Three Ghost Vine 2016 Pinot Noir. At $7.46 a bottle, this is one of the best values on the market to pair with anything from Chinese take-out to tea-smoked duck.
With so many bottles to choose from, in-the-know tipplers love how easy Tastings.com makes it to find their favorite award-winning wines. Each recommended wine is listed with a tasting note, suggested pairings, and style guide to help discover the best bottle for every taste. Their ‘Buy It’ button on each high-scoring wine’s page effortlessly pulls up a list of all the shops that carry the bottle. For a complete list of this year’s winners and the only value wine buying guide consumers need, visit Tastings.com.
About Tastings.com: Tastings, powered by the Beverage Testing Institute, was founded in 1981 with the goal of producing fair, impartial wine reviews for consumers.
A recent grand tasting of Alsatian wines was paired with pork dishes created by Chef Kris Morningstar of LA’s Terrine restaurant and Chef Chris Oh of Hanjip. Organized by lawinetasting.com and produced by Teuwen Communications NY for Wines of Alsace USA, the #DrinkAlsace #AlsaceinLA event was full of appreciative wine and food lovers.
A traditional staple on Alsace tables, pork finds its perfect pairing in the wines of the region. With one of the most varied terroirs in France and mineral-driven, aromatic varieties, Alsace’s wines have the versatility to match the equally adaptable pork….(Taste) over 60 wines—representing Alsace’s five main varieties and sparkling Crémant d’Alsace wines…
Impressive. With 60 wines to taste (I didn’t have them all) and wonderful pork dishes to pair them with (I think I missed one) it sure was a pleasant way to while away an afternoon educating my palate. If you think white wine (Alsace is known for Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris) has to be paired with white food (fish, chicken, salad) you need to think outside the box a bit.
Every dish I tried I liked. Same with the wine. You can see a slice of the event in a one-minute slideshow here. Some of the wines that impressed me were ALL of the Cremants: Joseph Cattin Brut NV, Pfister Brut Blanc de Blancs NV, Dirler-Cade Brut 2012, Vignoble Des 2 Lunes Brut Blanc de Blancs Comete 2011, Allimant-Laugner Brut Rose NV, Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose NV, Jean-Baptiste Adam Brut Rose NV and Pierre Sparr Brut Rose NV.
After these came some tasty Pinot Blancs including Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbes 2014, Josmeyer Mise Du Printemps 2014, Charles Sparr 2013 and Dopff & Irion 2013. Of the Rieslings I enjoyed the Weinbach Cuvee Theo 2014 and Hubert Meyer 2014, though I admit that I was unable to taste all that was available, and the same for the busy Pinot Gris table. I, did, however, make up for it with some lovely Gewürztraminer: Boeckel 2014, Famille Hugel 2013, Eugene Meyer 2012, Pierre Sparr Grand Cru Mambourg 2014, Albert Mann Grand Cru Steingrubler 2012 and Marcel Deiss Grand Cru De Bergheim 2009. A few Pinot Noirs that I got into my glass included the Andre Scherer 2013,Emile Beyer De L’Hostellerie 2012, Florian Beck-Hartweg “F” 2012 and Albert Mann Clos De La Faille 2011.
Of the pork dishes, I was smitten with the “Bossam” Korean style pork with kimchi, “Cochinita Pibil Tacos” with citrus onion, cilantro and cojita and the “Torta Cubana” smoked ham, capicola, gruyere, spicy pickle was my favorite.
ROCKS & RIESLING RETROSPECTIVE, led by Master Sommelier Brian McClintic
A focus on Riesling highlighting Alsace’s ability to produce world-class examples. Terroir’s effect on the grape and its ageability will be discussed, as well as specific Grand Cru sites. A comparative tasting between new and old vintages of wines from four different soil types will follow.
McClintic began the seminar by giving us a visual of the Alsace region. The vineyards are placed north to south to catch the morning sun and take full advantage of a long growing season. There are various soils, some of which are mentioned below in the tasting notes.
In our sampling we were to have roughly 4% of the Grand Cru produced – which represented the “best of the best.” (I was beginning to salivate as we were to taste decades old Riesling and newer vintages.) McClintic said that all are good paired with Thai or Indian food (as well as the pork dishes we had enjoyed earlier) as cool Riesling handles heat well.
Seminar Tasting (Eve’s tasting notes separate aroma and taste with ; and are preceded by McClintic’s)
Trimbach Riesling 2009 and 1997
McClintic quoted the winery for saying it’s the “soil, soil, soil” that makes this a unique wine with tension on palate and “raciness.” The first bottling was in 1919, very old vines, so there is undoubtedly a wealth of experience in winemaking at Trimbach. These wines mellow with age. In this tasting McClintic thought that the 2009 was too young. However a “subdued petrol” character and some of the minerality comes through in the 1997, due to magnesium in the soil and limestone elements.
2009: A bit flinty, pale fruit, sharp lemon, ash, dried flowers; Acidic, lemon, tart, rich and long finish. 91 Eve pts.
1997: Bruised yellow apple, peach, floral; Same bruised apple, lemon, nice mouthfeel, both tart and sweet elements. Interesting. 92 Eve pts.
Weinbach 2014 and 1998
Granite instead of limestone soil type. Weinbach makes sure botrytis in wine is clean. Iron character, and iodine, is palpable on the palate. The Schlossberg site is considered “demanding”, according to the winery, and translates to beautiful things in the glass.
2014: Grass, sweet Meyer lemon, cling peaches; Tingly, pear, viscous, white pepper, honeyed finish. 92 Eve pts.
1998: Apricot brandy, golden raisin, honey, bark; Caramel, browned butter, char. 94 Eve pts.
Schlumberger 2012 and 2001
Family has more Grand Cru land than anyone else in Alsace. Lots of limestone, sandy and silt mixture with clay. Saering vineyard includes 60+ acres of land. Had the Saering label since 1800s.
2012: Chalky lemon, pineapple, green apple; sharp, unsweetened ice tea with lemon, acidic. Want to age this. 88 Eve pts.
2001: Pale honey, overripe pineapple, sandy beach; balanced fruit and acidity, not the same mouthfeel, lighter, very pleasant juxtaposition of sweet and salty. 93 Eve pts.
Zind-Humbrecht 2013 and 1993
Heavily volcanic, steep terrain, worked by hand, biodynamic. Clos St. Urbain are the highest vineyards in Alsace, almost 1,500 feet, and has a high ash content.
2013: Lemon soda, white pepper, concrete; Grapefruit juice, lemon wedge, short finish. 89 Eve pts.
1993: Courvoisier, fig, caramel candy; Thick, bruised fruit, tart on back palate was a surprise. 91 Eve pts.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
This past Tuesday night, March 8, an intimate party of about 45 Santa Claritans attended the first French wine paring dinner held this year inside Valencia Wine Company. Hosted by Guy Lelarge and his staff, the dinner was privately catered by former Oaks Grille Chef Samson Francois with assistance from Kelly Klemovich.
Attendees encountered a gastronomic delight that included no less than 4 courses of the finest French food paired with 4 full 5 ounce glasses of French wines. (We might have had more, who was counting? No one!) Find our menu – and the wine it was paired with – at the bottom of this post.
Valencia Wine Company was resplendent with its normal glass-topped tables transformed with linens and fine cutlery; while what was used in prior incarnations as barstools became opulent dining chairs.
Each course, beginning with the appetizers that were served during the “cocktail hour” was timed with the next. Nothing, it would appear, was left to chance.
Guy, as is his way with every dinner he arranges, introduced the chef first as guests happily bit into delicate cheese and crab filled “Profiteroles” paired perfectly with a bubbling Cremant.
“I see some old and new friends here tonight,” began Samson with a broad smile. “If you want to see more of me though you’ll have to become a member of the Jonathan Club – that’s where I’m cooking now! But I want to introduce Kelly to you. She owned Chameau, which you can find online and she now caters with me.”
Samson joked about the menu stating that he was taking guests on a “journey to Spain for the Filet Mignon course, Granada for our sausage, to Seville for the pork croquettes and then back to America and France for our dessert.”
Guest Larry Mazzeo egged Samson on, and in teasing Guy’s own French roots, said, “French food came from Italy because Caterina De Medici, of Florence, married King Henry of France…” (Want to learn more about that? Click here.)
All kidding aside, Guy then told his guests, that were growing with anticipation, “Okay, so if it’s to be Italian here tonight I will say ‘Buen Apetito’! And, one more thing, I plan on have a dinner like this every 5 or 6 weeks!”
At that, we were off to our second course: white asparagus, ham, and one very fresh and very large, scallop. Guy paired that with a Chenin Blanc that I noticed several guests marking to order when the meal was over.
After that came the main meal: the filet, sausage and croquette. I sliced them all small enough to get a little of each on my fork, and the balsamic reduction as well. Guy paired this with a blend, 60% syrah and 40% Grenache, from the south of France. I had more than my share of the wine – it was a very good pairing.
Finally, the chocolate truffle cake, dates and cheese were brought to each diner along with another new glass of wine: a Rhone blend that most drank up…over and over again..
Stretching my legs, and wanting to get a few quotes, I circled the room.
From Bill Farrar: “Guy Lelarge has done it again! Exquisite wine and food. We had a good time.”
From my new friends Cindy Davis and Jo DeNicholas: “Everything was good…loved the potato croquette and the filet – and how it was all ‘put to perfection’ by complementing the wine and the ambiance of the entire evening.”
Mark White: “After 8 years as our best wine bar, this is the best dinner I’ve ever had…partly because my wife Julie brought her mother tonight and we’re celebrating her birthday too!”
Me: “The next 5 or 6 weeks can’t pass by quick enough for Guy’s next dinner!”
Tray Passed Appetizers
Profiteroles filled with Brousin Cheese and Crabmeat Mousse
paired with Domaine Rolet Cremant du Jura 2007 (Cremant is a French Sparkling wine made in the Champagne method. Made in the city of Jura, not in Champagne, hence it can’t be called a Champagne. 100% chardonnay, Blanc de Blanc.)
White Asparagus Spears with Serrano Ham
& Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Béarnaise Sauce
paired with Domaine du Fresche Anjou Blanc 2009 (100% Chenin Blanc. Loire Valley 6th generation winemakers.)
Roasted Petit Beef Filet with Balsamic Reduction
& Moorish Lamb Sausage with Roasted Pepper Salsa
& Chorizo Potato Croquette
paired with Domaine Mas Bruguiare L’Arbouse 2008 (60% syrah, 40% grenache. 7th generation winemakers. From Pic Saint Loup in Languedoc region. Drink now.)
Medjool Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese
& Chocolate Truffle with Cheese Slice
paired with Domaine de Trapidis Rasteau VDN (07 Cotes du Rhone, 60% grenache, 25% carignan, 15% syrah.)
Accompanying the two wines recently sent to me for review was this message, “As you may know, Planet Bordeaux wines include 7 AOC’s – Bordeaux Blanc, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux Supérieur Blanc, Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux Clairet, Bordeaux Rouge and Crémant (sparkling) – and represent 52% of the Bordeaux wine region (270 million bottles in 2013). Overall, 13 bottles of Planet Bordeaux are consumed every second worldwide!” That last sentence stuck. Pretty amazing?
It’s important for wine 101ers to understand that Bordeaux, first, is a place in France. Wine made from that region is called Bordeaux. The predominant grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon (left bank of Bordeaux) and Merlot (right bank of Bordeaux). I love explaining to people that if they like Cab or Merlot to try Bordeaux, and vice versa. The other grapes grown in Bordeaux, or considered a Bordeaux variety grown stateside or in other new world regions are: Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Malbec. White wines from Bordeaux are mostly Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon.
What is Bordeaux Supérieur?
From Wine Searcher, “Bordeaux Superieur wines are, as their name implies, a slightly “superior” form of standard Bordeaux AOC wines. The supérieur appellation is open to both red and white wines from anywhere in the Bordeaux region, which stretches 80 miles…(more)
Aromas and flavors separate by ;
2013 Domaine de Chevalier
Rose De La Solitude
Beautiful blood orange color followed by aromas of lime, white peach, lemon, strawberry, and a hint of orange blossom; crisp green apples, a little cantaloupe, and with enough acidity to carry through into a very long finish. I felt the wine a little too tart for me, I let it sit in my glass for a bit to revisit, and closed up the remainder to try again in a day. An hour later, and the next day, I detected no changes.
2010 Domaine de Courteillac
70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
Aromas of plums, juicy figs, black cherry, cloves, black olive, walnut and dark chocolate; black fruit, medium toasted oak, dust, dark tannins, earth, mint, with a medium length on the finish. Enjoy the full body of this wine with roasted meats, Bolognese sauce, hard cheeses and dark chocolate.
Planet Bordeaux (From Facebook)
Bonjour, Friends! Welcome to Planet Bordeaux – and to a voyage of discovery! http://www.planet-bordeaux.com
The aim of Planet Bordeaux is to share the wines and art de vivre of Bordeaux, but also to connect and keep in stride with today’s American lifestyle, and budget.
On this page and the new English-language website, www.planet-bordeaux.com, you’ll find information on where to enjoy, learn, and buy Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wines, and suggestions on how to add a dash of Bordeaux to your life, including food and wine pairing ideas and recipes.
Bordeaux Wines 101 on the website is a primer on Bordeaux varietals, blends and appellations, how to read a label, how to choose a wine, how to pair wine with food, and how to serve Bordeaux wines. The site also contains links to the blog written by Jana Kravitz, a native New Yorker, entitled Jana’s Bordeaux – Wine Country Living Moments.
We look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions – on the vineyards & châteaux, food & wine pairing ideas, as well as your stories of good people, good food & good wine from Planet Bordeaux.
We invite you to become a fan, check out the website, and follow us at @PlanetBordeaux on Twitter.
And please invite others to join!
Planet Bordeaux winemakers and other wine, food & tourism professionals are encouraged to link their fan pages with ours, share their news, châteaux visiting hours & events, and where the wines can be enjoyed.
Every 13 seconds, a bottle from these two appellations of a world-renowned wine region is consumed. And the answer is…What are Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur!
Known collectively as “Planet Bordeaux,” a shorter, more convivial name that represents both the winemakers’ association and all wines produced in Bordeaux’s regional appellations, we’re working to give people fresh new ways of exploring these high-quality, value-for-money — and very often, overlooked wines.
Get to know them, the people who make them and their stories, and experience the insider’s view of Bordeaux Wine Country Living.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com
I’m of the opinion that Thanksgiving, more so than even 4th of July, is OUR National Holiday Event that bests defines the unique nature of the American Experience. A few other countries (i.e. Canada) may have national holidays to give thanks, BUT I am not convinced that in those countries Thanksgiving is for them what it has become to the cultural landscape and the psyche of America. I find it interesting that, while WE are encouraged to give thanks, there seems no clear expectation of to whom or for what we should be giving thanks! It never seemed clear if the creators of “National Turkey Day” did so with the intention to emphasize either the secular or the religious make up of American society. So as I’ve pondered that question, the answer became clear to me that Thanksgiving is America’s most religious non-religious holiday…(OR perhaps that should be vice-versa???)
In any event, what is most important about Thanksgiving is that each of US, NOT our government, really does get to decide the type of holiday Thanksgiving will or will not be for our families! You can’t be a freedom loving American and not appreciate that! So with my 2 cents worth now said, lets move on to discuss something quite near and dear to our enjoyment of the Thanksgiving Holidays… That is of course the HOLIDAY WINES!
As Thanksgiving time is fast approaching yet again many of us will once again proclaim: Yay – Happy Happy Joy Joy Thanksgiving is here! Yep, Thanksgiving, that most difficult of holidays for wine lovers is once again here to challenge and torture us! Torture because you inevitably will have to endure a family member or friend who insists on telling you that 2-BC is “really fine wine”, AND challenging because selecting good wines to pair for your Turkey Day meal is just not that easy!
To start, just take a moment and look at the “average” family Thanksgiving feast –
Start with a busy salad perhaps overdressed with some type of vinaigrette (and hopefully NOT ranch or thousand island). Then move on to the feast of a whole roasted turkey (both dark & white meat); accompanied with smashed potatoes loaded with butter & cream; a “family” stuffing laden with butter; rich artery stopping gravy; coma inducing candied marshmallow yams; a cheese filled casserole with either a bit of green beans and/or cauliflower; and a sweet & savory cranberry sauce. After that gut buster of a meal you’ll hopefully finish off your feast with real whipped cream atop a piece of pumpkin and/or pecan pie… Say what you will, BUT that adds up to one hella-valotta big hot dining mess not just to sit down and eat, but also to successfully pair up with a bevy of decent wines!
So as wine lovers, what are we to do??? After many years of both Turkey Day success and failure I’ll take my moment and offer what I believe are a few sound bits of advice about Thanksgiving (and for that matter Christmas) Wine. A few guiding principles if you will, that I’ve found to be tried and true for success… Who knows, perhaps I’ll get lucky and help inspire a choice of two or three for you! These are Holiday Wines that I believe will certainly help yawl enhance your dinner time during that most wonderful of holiday family time WE all know and love as Thanksgiving! Now, before simply giving you a list of wines you should look to pair with your Holiday Fare; I first want to begin my primer with the following disclaimer –
My list of Wines For The Holidays will not contain any recommendations of… Big Chardonnays, Cabernets, Merlots, & Shiraz or Syrahs. These Wines Will NOT Be On MY Must Look For & Buy Holiday Wine Recommendation! Also Expect A Negative for wines like Sargrantino, Algianico, Amarone, Barolo, Barberesco, or Brunello Wines… Not that any of these are not fantastic wines (THEY ARE) – I just can’t recommend them as IDEAL choices to pair with your Turkey Day Fare! Disagree if you like, but IMHO, “BIG” wines paired with ponderous amounts of ‘busy” food does neither the wine nor food any good! So with that said, here’s my thoughts on what I believe will be inspired and delicious choices of wines for pairing to your Thanksgiving Holiday Festivities:
Sparkling Wines: To be absolutely clear, there is no requirement that a Holiday Sparkler must be Champagne, but it is always a nice step up! Any Sparkler you select for Turkey Day should however show notes and flavors of fresh apple (for white’s) or red berries (for rose’s). They should also have nice acidity with a clean zesty finish. Excessively dry “Extra – Brut” (and also some White Bruts) may not be the best choices among the long list of potential sparklers! Traditionally you may know that many Sparklers are produced primarily from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and/or Pinot Meunier grapes, but notably there are many locations in France, Italy, Germany, Australia, AND the United States, where great sparkling wines are made not only from these grapes, but also using Chenin Blanc (Cremant), Glera (Prosecco), Muscat (Moscato), Riesling (Germany/U.S.), & Shiraz (Australia). Increasingly more people are finding sparklers from these later grapes to be very much in vogue as inspired choices! It is still surprising that people overlook selecting sparkling wines for Holiday Dining. In truth it seems a natural choice as they pair so well to so many types of foods! WE should ALL remember to rethink sparklers as wines that are only appropriate for Weddings & New Years! A List Of Holiday Sparklers Worth Featuring On Your Holiday Meal Table Might Include –
For Value (Under $20):
Chandon NV Brut Rose (CA), Korbel NV Brut Rose or Sparkling Riesling (CA); Gloria Ferrer NV Brut & Brut Rose (CA); NV Gruet NV Brut Rose (NM); Cristilano NV Brut & Brut Rose (ESP); Segura Viuda NV Brut Rose (ESP); Domiane St Michelle Brut Rose & Luxe Brut (WA), La Marca, & Jeio NV Prosecco (ITL); Candoni NV Moscato (ITL); Allimant Laugnerr NV Cremant D’Alsace
For A Step Up (Over $20):
08 Flying Goat “Bubbles”, Laetitia NV Brut & Brut Rose, Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee or Brut Rose, Roederoer Estate Brut & Brut Rose, & Domaine Carneros Vintage Brut (CA), Nicolas Feuillatte NV Brut & Brut Rose; Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz (AUS)
For IF Money Is NOT A Concern:
Soter Vintage Brut Rose (OR); Richard Grant Vintage Brut Rose (CA); Tattinger Brut Rose, Ruinart NV Brut & Brut Rose, Hendroit NV Brut. & Moet “Ice” Imperial (FRA); Mollydooker Goosebumps Sparking Shiraz (AUS)
German Austrian & Alsatian Whites: I love when people ask me about these wines during Thanksgiving Season… The rising new found popularity of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and even more so Riesling all brings a smile to my face. These wines are often the most commonly uttered request for people wanting “off-beat” varitials to feature on their Thanksgiving Table. Add Austria’s quirky Gruner-Vetliner to that list and you have the makings of some fairly eclectic, but delicious whites to pair with your Holiday Fare. All are known as great food wines that easily pair to a multitude of styles and flavors of cooking. . Fine examples of these wines should possess some fine floral notes while also showing flavors of delish fruit, minerality, and acidity. Even better is knowing that many fine examples of these wines made from these same varietals are now produced in countries like Australia, Italy, Slovenia, and the United States… Here Are A Few Fresh & Lively Wines Sure To Enhance Your Holiday Fare –
For Value (Under $20):
08 or 09 Dr Loosen “L” & “Blue Slate”, Dr Loosen St M Riesling, Villa Wolf, Kellar “Trocken Qba” & Monchhof Estate Rieslings (DEU); Trimbach Riesling (FRA); 09 Columbia Crest “Grand Estate” & Hogue Cellars Rieslings (WA); 09 Rancho Sisquoc, Claiborne & Churchill “Alsatian” Riesling (CA); 08 or 09 Trimbach & Allimant Laugner Pinot Blanc; 09 Carr & J Pinot Gris ( CA); 09 Elk Cove & Kings Estate Pinot Gris (OR); 09 Navarro & Claiborne & Churchhill “Alsatian” Gewürztraminer (CA); 09 or 10 Nigl, Soliner & Weinrieder Gruner Vetliner (AUT); 09 Racho Sisquoc Sylvaner (CA); 09 Trimbach Sylvaner (FRA)
For A Step Up (Up To $40):
Flying Goat Pinot Gris (CA); Batic Reserve Pinot Gris (SVN); 08 or 09 Trimbach Gewürztraminer (FRA); 09 Pyramid Valley Pinot Gris, Riesling, & Gewürztraminer (NZ)
Rosé: Yes first and foremost, Rosé Wines are most often thought of as summer-BBQ wines! That does not mean that a crisp fresh Rosé will not pair up to you Thanksgiving Feast. The number grapes used to make Rosé wines is almost limitless. Some Americans may still think only of “White Zin” (or “White” Merlot), BUT in throughout the US as in other parts of the word you can find Rosé wines made using Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, Samgiovese, Malbec, or even Aglianico grapes. No matter what country they’re from, the best Rosé Wines will show great floral notes with subtle flavors of berry or cheery fruit. Add the plus of a fresh vibrant acidity and you have a whole slew of wines just perfect for the Holiday Meal! To our benefit there are plenty of fine Rosé wines from throughout the world and with few exceptions most are priced well south of $20 a bottle! Here Are A Few Rosé’s That Will Bring Vibrancy & Color When Paired To Your Holiday Meal –
For Value (Under $20): 09 Beckman, Carr, Groundworks, Juliette’s “Dazzle”, Ampelos, Ojai, Point Conception, Stolpman, Villa Creek, & Solo Roso (CA); Soter (OR); Whispering Angel, Clos Caillou (FRA); Crios (ARG); Terredora Rosato (ITL)
Beaujolais: If I’ve said it once, I’ll say again till the day I check out… A Cru Beaujolais (NOT the more well known & cheesy Nouveau) is THE best choice for a red wine from Burgundy France to open and enjoy for THIS Holiday. To often this wonderful region is treated like the proverbial “Red Headed Step- Child” of Burgundy. No the Gamay grape is not Pinot Noir, BUT the Gamay found in Great Beaujolais offers you a combination of beautifully delicious bright cherry fruit and acidity that is not only a spot on choice to pair with your Holiday meal, but also will provide you with a world class Cru Beaujolais at a fraction of the cost as a good DOC Pinot Noir from Burgundy! Good to exceptional vintages over the last 5 years also means that there is plenty of great wines available… IF you’re willing to Seek, Find, Buy, & Enjoy these wines! For Those On The Look For A Gem Or Three I Recommend These –
For Value (Under $20): 08 & 09 Michael Rey “Julienas Tres Vielles Vignes Les Paquelets”; Vissoux, Louis Jardot “Beaujolais Villages”, “Morgon”, & “Moulin a Vent”; and 08 & 09 Georges Duboeuf “Beaujolais Villages” & “Morgon” (FRA)
For A Step (Over $20): 08 or 09 Vissoux Moulin a Vent & Brouilly Pirreux (FRA)
Italian Whites: You say – Too obscure for all but the most committed Wine Geek… Perhaps, but that doesn’t equate to mean that white wines from Italy won’t be inspired choices to pair to your Holiday Fare! Better yet to know Italian white and red wines are fast developing in the US and other countries. Why are Italian whites a fine choice… like many things Italian it comes back to the food! Most Italian cuisine is noted for featuring strong and (certainly in Southern Italy) contrasting flavors. Many Italian whites will offer flavors that complement Holiday Food and a crisp finish and nice acidity that cuts through and stands up to richly flavored foods… When discussing Sparkling Wines earlier I already touched upon a few Prosecco recommendations from Italy. So Now Here Are A Few Still Whites From Italy That Are Certain To Bring Smiles & Joy To Your Holiday Dinner Guests –
For Value (Under $20): 08 & 09 Coenebium (ITL); 08 & 09 Damilano “Arneis” (ITL); 08 & 09 Maso Canali and Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio (ITL); 08 & 09 Palmina and Buon Natale Pinot Grigio & Tocai Friulano (CA); 08 & 09 Terredora “Greco di Tufo” & “Falanghina” (ITL)
For A Step Up (Over $20): Songo Duo “By Savannah Samson” (ITL); 08 & 09 La Scolca “Gavi” (ITL); 08 & 09 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio & Tocai Friulano (ITL)
Italian Reds: I did mention that I would not be recommending any of the “Noble” Reds from Italy, BUT that did not mean there were NO Italian Reds worth recommending for the Thanksgiving Holiday! Italian Reds such as Barbera, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Corvina, and Nero di Avola (and a few light bodied Nebbiolos) are like Italian Whites in that they are often loaded with bright fruit and a food friendly acidity that makes them wonderfully inspired choices to pair with your Holiday Foods! They are more often seen produced outside of the Italy (US) AND they also come much better priced than the more well know bigger powerful “Noble” Italian red wines of which you may already know… Look For These Italian Reds To Be A Big Mealtime Hit With You, Your Family, & Friends –
For Value (Under $20): 08 & 09 Coenebium (ITL); 08 & 09 Damilano “Arneis” (ITL); 08 & 09 Maso Canali and Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio (ITL); 08 & 09 Palmina and Buon Natale Pinot Grigio & Tocai Friulano (CA); 08 & 09 Terredora “Greco di Tufo” & “Falanghina” (ITL)
For A Step Up: 07 Antinori “Peppoli”, Felsina, Fontadi, Castella della Paneretta or Nippozanno Chianti Classico & Riservas (ITL); 09 Palmina Nebbiolo (CA); Stolpman “Estate” Sangiovese (CA)
Pinot Noir: Ok so some one is going to say that I must add a Pinot or three to my wish list of Thanksgiving Wines. Not MY first choice, but ok I understand the idea… An easy drinking fruit forward low tannin red wine with nice acidity… What’s not to like? With that said, my recommendations will lean more towards “value” than age worthy gems. I love Thanksgiving, but in my experience opening $50 plus Pinot has been a less than fulfilling experience… Look For These Price Friendly Pinots To Gracefully Enhance Your Holiday Fare –
For Value (Under $20): 08 & 09 Au Bon Climant, Byron, Bishops Peak (Tally), Sean Minor, A By Acacia, Bishops Peak, Chandon, Cambria, Fluing Goat “Ynot”, Greg Norman, Melville “Vernas”, 3-Saints, Thorne Family, Luli. Paraiso, Migration, & Angeline (CA); 08 & 09 Kings Ridge, Argyle (OR); Vermonte-Paul Hobbs “Ritual” & Kingston Family “Tobiano” (CH); Cooralook (AUS)
For A Step Up (Under $40): 08 & 09 Zotovich Family, Lucia, Loring Wine Co, Rodney Strong Reserve, Jayson, & Richard Grant (CA); 08 & 09 Cristom, Shay, Pennar Ash, Sineann, North Valley-Soter (OR)
Zinfandel: I could not in good conscience write an article about recommending wine for America’s Holiday without including a moment to speak of Zinfandel for those that must enjoy a big red wine during the Holiday. Zin makes the list, more so than Cab, Merlot, Syrah, and other big reds because Zin is simply a food lovers red wine… Great Zins are loaded with rich thick berry fruit and while not overly acidic can have enough muscle to mesh with all the busy flavors you experience during Turkey Day Dining. While Zin is most associated with the United States, it is actually a European grape – A sibling of Crljenak Kaštelanski in Croatia, and a cousin to Primativo in Italy. In addition small vintages of excellent Zin have also been produced in Australia, so you should have no problem finding excellent international wines made from “America’s Red Grape!” It is also worth noting that when winemakers choose to blend Zins, most commonly with grapes like Alicante Bouche, Petite Sirah, Carignane, and/or Mourvedre, the resulting blends gain both power & structure to balance all that great juicy fruit for which Zins are prized. That’s a fine way to keep your “Big Red” Lovers happy and satisfied throughout your Holiday dinner. A Few Fine Examples Of America’s Red That You Can Show Off To The Holiday Feasters Include –
For Value (Under $20):
09 Karly “Bucks Ten Point”, Four Vines, Renwood, & Ravenswood OV Zins; 09 Layer Cake & Amano Primativo (ITL); 08 or 09 Bogle OV Zin or Phantom Zin Blend (CA); 08 JRE “Tradition Rouge” Zin Blend (CA)
For A Step (Up To $40):
09 Four Vines “Biker” or “Mavrick” Zins; 08 or 09 Valdez “Rockpile” Zin; 09 Seghiseo Sonoma Co, OV, or Home Ranch Zins (CA) Zin; 09 Owen Roe “Abbot’s Table” Zin Blend (WA); 08 or 09 Orin Swift Saldo Zin or The Prisoner Zin Blend (CA); 08 St Fracis & Gamba “Old Vine” Zins (CA)
For IF Money Is NOT A Concern:
08 or 09 Biale Zins (CA); 08 or 09 Turley Zins (CA), and the 08 or 09 Martinelli “Jackass Hill” Zins (CA); 08 or 09 Ridge “Geyserville” Zin Blend (CA)
In spite of the breath of this piece, I don’t mean it to be A definitive list of go to wines for the Holidays! There are just so many wines to recommend and so little time give them all their due!!! BUT, it is a start to show you that the world is full of great wines that are just waiting for you to Seek, Find, Buy, AND Enjoy!!! My goal is always to encourage you to look beyond the known and discover the many opportunities to pair and enjoy fantastic wines during OUR most American Holiday – That’s Right… Thanksgiving!
Now here’s wishing you all the best for a happy healthy and sane Thanksgiving Holiday… Remember: “In Vino Veritas” … Salud!!! : )