A few of my favorite things…

Summer Edition:

Here are a few of my favorite wine accessories for the summer:

• Stainless flasks

I purchased the Klean Kanteen Wine Karafe a few years ago. It is the perfect size (800mL fits 1 bottle of wine), chills quickly, and is more practical to put into a cooler than a standard bottle of wine. This became a popular gift for me as everyone I know travels with wine.

For some reason, it isn’t manufactured (branded as a wine carrier) anymore??? Strange because they now have beer specific containers. Also the original lid was made of the same material as the neck it screws into 18/8 stainless.

Others I recommend:

Klean Kanteen (general purpose) 27oz.Note: the lid is now made of plastic (harder to seal than the original Wine Karafe).

Hydro Flask- 24oz. Note: A standard bottle of wine is 25.4 oz. Not sure why they chose to manufacture this size?? You can pour a small overflow glass to “check” the wine before you pack it for the beach.

Since wine is acidic be careful not to use inexpensive “knockoffs” and especially NOT plastic or aluminum which can leach into your drink.

 

Rabbit® wine stoppers

Wine stoppers…I have tried them all. These are brightly colored (fun) and with the flanged ridges provide a really good seal for your wine. Since they are flat on top they don’t make the bottle significantly taller which helps if you are going to put the wine back into the fridge.

The BEST German wines 2015…

These recommendations come from the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland, which is the leading wine guide for German wine- via Schiller-Wine.

RobertWeil

Region

* recommended producer(s)

Ahrnone

Baden

Bernhard Huber

Franken

Rudolf Fürst

Hessische Bergstrassenone

Mittelrhein none

Mosel (Mosel – Saar -Ruwer)

Fritz Haag

Egon Müller

Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm

Schloss Lieser (Thomas Haag)- 2015 addition to list.

2004DonnhoffNahe

Emrich-Schönleber

* Hermann Dönnhoffnot on the 2015 list but one of my favorites.

Pfalz

Knipser

Ökonomierat Rebholz

Rheingau

Robert Weil

Rheinhessen

Keller

Saale-Unstrut none

Sachsen none

Wuerttembergnone

Learn how to read a German Riesling label

Anything, but Santa Margherita

WineTastingMemorial Day Italian wine tasting- anything but Santa Margherita.

SantaMargheritaFor 14 years in a row, from 1995 to 2008, it was the most popular imported wine in Wine & Spirits magazine’s annual restaurant poll. And as a popular Wine Blogger Blake Gray reports “With 2.5 times the sales of the next-most-popular wine over $20, this is easily America’s favorite wine splurge. It tastes like nothing, and the logical conclusion is that’s what many Americans are looking for.”

 

WIneLineupWe tasted 4 alternatives against Santa Margherita Pinot Grigo:

This was an informal tasting, on the beach, so we used my favorite summertime wine accessories: stainless carafes.

ORANGE• Santa Margherita Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2013- This wine needs no introduction, as Santa Margherita is the standard for the crisp, refreshing notes of Italian Pinot Grigio. Your Price: $19.97

Villata_ArneisAQUA• Villata Arneis Terredavino- Piedmonte NW Italy- Generous, crisp, and refreshing, releasing aromas of blossoms and green apple

$8.50 on sale grape varietal Arneis means “little rascal” in Italian. Difficult to grow.

 

AloisLageder_PGBOTTLE (covered in foil)• Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio 2013– Crisp, mineral driven, lively, delicious. The perfect summer sipping beverage, and a killer pairing for seafood. It’s cheaper, and better than SM, and just a fantastic wine period. – PJ Wine: $12.97

 

DelSannino_FalanghinaGREEN• Mastroberardino Sannio Falanghina –Campania Italy. The tongue of the boot. 2013- The nose whacks you with a cool sea-breeze of peach, pesto, and salt. It’s also got this fantastic fennel thing going on and smells like sweet basil being extracted by the mid-day southern Italian sun. PJ Wine $16.97

 

Luisa_RibollaGiallaSTAINLESS• Ribolla Gialla is a signature varietal of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The origins of this varietal are uncertain, but some have identified its ancestor as Avola, a varietal brought to Friuli during the occupation of Friuli by the Romans. However, others say Ribolla Gialla is a native varietal of the region. Record of its existance in the region goes as far back as the 12th century. This is a fine and pristine expression of Ribolla Gialla, with bright fruit aromas of peach, citrus and pear. There’s a touch of dusty mineral at the back and the wine is fresh and tart on the close. $17.95

CONCLUSION: The Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio was the most expensive and least favorite of the group.

The main reason Santa Margherita is so popular is because the advertise/market heavily. As I have stated in the past, I would rather have the cost of the wine go to the actual product IN the bottle, not toward magazine ads and in store displays.

Rosé perfect for Spring/Summer…

3RosesMost of us change wines based on the weather (seasons). Rosés are the perfect “in- between” or transition wine from Winter to Spring or Spring to Summer…

They are technically light red wines since they can only be produced from red or black grapes. The pinkish color comes from contact with the skins.

Rosé wines can be various shades of red– most often salmon or pink. They can be extremely light and easy drinking, or complex enough to pair with grilled meat and heavy pasta dishes.

Here are 3 of my new favorites if you are thinking pink.

Mellot_SancerreSancerre– most people are familiar with the white wines from this Loire Valley region made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Their rosés, and reds, are made from Pinot Noir and are made in a crisp, clean style. Most are stainless steel fermented.

Joseph Mellot Père et Fils – Vigne de la Demoiselle (around $15)- explore the great wines of this region.

 

 

 

IRDC_LaSpinettaTuscany– La Spinetta is extremely well known for their collectible wines from Piedmont: Barbera, Barbaresco and Barolo. The first red wine they produced (Barbera Cà di Pian) is still a great value.

This wine, Il Rosé di Casanova, fom Tuscany is a blend of 2 types of Sangiovese grape- Sangiovese Grosso and 50% Prunolo Gentile (the name for Sangiovese in Montepulciano). Aromas of flowers, honeysuckle and red fruits, this one tastes of summer and is under $20!



 

IsleSaintPierreCamargue- Domaine Isle Saint Pierre Rosé– ripe strawberry with fig. This wine is a blend of Cabernet franc, Merlot, Arinarnoa, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has been produced on an island at the mouth of the Rhône river since 1927. For around $10 this would be a welcome port in any storm.

 

More rosés to come…please share your favorites

The BEST Barolo…

MicheleChiarloHow do you find the best Barolo producers? Thanks to Wine-Searcher for some detective work…they ranked the “king of wines” based on vineyard site rankings.

The “best” regions (in bold) and some recommended producers listed below:

Third Tier:

Francia (Serralunga d’Alba)

Villero (Castiglione Falletto)

Second Tier:

Monprivato (Castiglione Falletto)- Giuseppe Mascarello

Rocche dell’Annunziata (La Morra)- Renato Ratti

Vigna Rionda (Serralunga d’Alba)- Bruno Giacosa, Luigi Pira, Cappellano

Top Tier: Continue reading

LOCALE Farmtable 8 course dinner !!

Locale Market-St. Petersburg Florida pairing dinner

Complete descriptions on the nights menu at the bottom of this post

1st Course

(Fresh) tuna with 2013 Robert Weil “Tradition” Riesling– Rheingau, Germany. This is a perfect pairing- the saltiness of the fresh tuna with the minerality and fruit from the Riesling.

 2nd Course

Beet salad with Round Pound Sauvignon Blanc– Rutherford, CA. Salads are difficult to pair with wine but this one worked nicely. Good for picnics!

 3rd Course

“Fancy” ham&cheese- Proscuitto/Taleggio with Clos Canarelli Rosé from Corsica, France. This Rosé has a bit of funk on it but went well with the cheese. A light stainless red would also have worked.

4th Course

Blue Crab dumplings w/caviar & lobster butter with 2007 Tahbilk Marsanne, Australia. This wine had a strong aroma of kerosene, but when paired with the rich lobster butter and dumpling, made an interesting match.

 5th Course

Strawberry shooter with green drink shooter.

 6th Course

Wet and Dry Aged Beef with mushrooms.

Chateau Coutet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru & Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon

 7th Course

Nitrogen chilled vanilla ice cream in espresso

 8th Course

Milk Chocolate s’mores with Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927. PX is a perfect match with creamy chocolate (especially chocolate mousse).

LocaleMenu

The best (functional) wine glasses?

Riedel_stemless2

My wife and I recently purchased a new (somewhat expensive) rug and I have to be honest, we sometimes eat in the living room.

Since wines can spill...

To protect our rug “investment” we purchased Riedel stemless wineglasses.

I am very aware of the arguments against stemless glasses:

1. Holding the glass by the bowl (and not the stem) warms the wine.

2. Fingerprints and palm prints !

However, sometimes, the pros outweigh the cons:

Continue reading