This Week in Wine

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I am really bad at blogging about wine.  I’ll say it’s part of my charm and call it a day, I guess.  Last week was really, really rough.  The last two weeks, really.  So I couldn’t tell you what I ate while drinking these or even really what I thought beyond liked/disliked.  At some point, though, I’m going to write posts like the one a few weeks ago where I went into my pairings, etc.  No, really.  I even broke out my wine journal to start tracking a little better.

That said, I’ve got three pictures and going from right to left.  The Clos de Lunes Lune d’Argent was a surprising favorite.  No clue where I picked it up.  It’s a 70% Sémillon/30% Sauvignon blend.  I’m so weird about whites again lately but I’ve found that I enjoy Sémillon since trying it at the 2015 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in the Finger Lakes.

That Chop Shop Cabernet is one of my absolute favs — this is not the first time I’ve had it.  It’s a Club W (Winc) wine and say what you will but their $13 bottles are some of the best I’ve had.

I’m currently working through the 2014 Ye-Ye Monastrell, a Spanish grape I’d never tried before this bottle.  Very campfirey.  Campfire-esque?  Kind of reminds me of the wine I got completely sloshed on the night we went camping.  Which was supposed to taste like a camp fire.  Easy to drink and seriously opens up as it warms.  We haven’t found a place for our wine fridge yet so I’m drinking my reds way too cold.  Now that my desk is set up (YAY!  I finally get to sit at a desk tomorrow to write) my next goal is getting the wine fridge going so that my poor reds can be less chilly.  Definitely a food wine I’ve had it with mulligatawny twice this week and it was a decent pairing.  I think I’d really love it with a juicy, pepper crusted steak and some sort of roasted, spiced veggies.

My next box arrives this week and has a blaufrankisch so I’m very excited for that.  Also a primitivo and red blend I’ve had several times (and already have in my fridge).

That said, I’ll take notes this week and keep my fingers crossed that life resumes at a normal pace.

Posted in Sometimes I Post About Wine, wine

This Week (okay, few weeks) in Wine

Kris and I have enjoyed a few good bottles over the last few weeks since I last posted about what we’re drinking.  We stretched our boundaries a little and tried some new varietals… not that this is something we’re averse to, it’s just not something that often happens since Club W usually offers varietals we’ve already had and we’re kind of in the Club W routine.

Here’s the run down in what we’ve drunk and what we’ve eaten (from what I can remember).  I’ve been a little lazy about taking notes and whatnot… we’re moving on Wednesday so things have been a tad hectic.  Yes, we’re moving.  Again.  More on that next week once everything’s done :)

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Alchymist Noir (American Red Blend)

This is the second time we’ve enjoyed this wine from Club W.  I believe it came in our very first box.  This is a BIG red.  It fills the mouth and is complex while being incredibly quaffable.  The last time we had this it was with friends and handmade vegan chocolate truffles.  It is perfect with dessert.  But, as we discovered the other night, it’s also great with dinner.  The trick, of course, is to go just as big with dinner.  We tried Blue Apron for the first time last week and paired this big wine the flavorful Summer Pepper & Potato Shakshuka with Pea Shoots & Spiced Pita Chips. This was an excellent pairing — I know Blue Apron said to go with a white but believe me, this is a great alternative — a big as f*ck red.

Le Fermier Négrette

My first Négrette, I believe.  It’s a French grape but the grapes in this wine are grown in California — which is pretty rare for the grape. It was solidly, okay.  I wasn’t bowled over but I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s fresh and fruity and was an excellent accompaniment to the French-inspired dinner we made that night.  Dinner was a delicious dish from Blue Apron, a seared chicken dish that included caramelized onion and fennel served over light mashed potatoes (potatoes with a little butter mashed with a fork).  The chicken was topped with some grape tomatoes we roasted with rosemary — a great finishing touch.  Blue Apron suggests a Malbec but we didn’t have one on hand so figured we’d do a French wine with a French dish.

Barraco Vignammare (Orange Wine)

I’ve been holding onto this bottle for a while.  I picked it up when I met Jason, who owns and operates West’s Wine and Spirits over in Williamstown, MA.  I’ll get back to the shop in a second.  A while back I strolled in there and went through my usual “do you have orange wine?” routine.  But this time the routine was cut short.  Jason, very excitedly, exclaimed, “YES!” and we talked for quite some time.  I ended up with a Croatian orange that I did not like at all.  And this one.  Which tasted like the beach.  Now, when I say, “tasted like the beach” that can mean a few things.  For example, to me, the beach tastes like a lemonade and hot sausage, peppers and onions from Gregory and Paul’s.  Or like a lemon ice from Chink’s in Oyster Bay.  But those are more flavors associated with the beach.  This actually tastes LIKE THE BEACH.  Like strolling along the ocean on a cool, foggy morning.  No, really.  If you’ve not tried orange wines, you should.  Such interesting flavors.  Like this one.  Which tastes like the beach!  We just drank this while playing Pandemic… no food.  None needed.  Best super cold!

Château Peymouton 2012 Saint-Émilion

This is a mystery bottle. Like I have zero recollection of buying it.  We pulled it out and oohed and aaaahed over the label a bit.  I love these classic, old looking labels.

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I loved the tannins in this red blend from Bordeaux and think it would be exceptionally good with steak.  That said, we enjoyed it alone… sometimes we just like to open a bottle and drink.  I also think this would be really good with barbecue.  I’m sure I’m committing some cardinal sin saying that but I don’t care… it would be really good with a saucy, smoked plate of meat.

2014 Sapore Locale Falanghina

This is a Club W bottle we got a few months ago and held onto.  We didn’t hold onto it for any other reason than the paired recipe was seafood and I can’t eat seafood because of an allergy.  I am terrible at whites and had never heard of this Italian varietal but since we’re trying to drink down our collection before the move (poor us, right?) I decided to open this one with the first Blue Apron recipe we tried, which was a delicious pork dish — our favorite from the box.  Even if you have no desire to try Blue Apron trust me and click on the link and make this recipe.

This white is awesome.  Like WOW.  Falanghina is an ancient Italian grape that is super bright.  Think green, but not in the sense of young or grassy.  Think limes and green apples.  It’s bright and feels great on the tongue.  It’s also freaking delicious.

Definitely some great wines in this batch.  Our September Club W box came the other day but we’re not allowed to open it until we finish packing.  Which means we likely won’t open it until we’re in our new place.  Our new place in which I’ve already decided which cabinets are going to be fitted with a custom, dual zone wine fridge.  Our new place which we’ll be drinking in next weekend!

Posted in Uncategorized, Week In A Glass

This Week in Wine

What a week it was for wine.  Exciting conference, you ask?  No.  Trip to wine country, you question? Also no.  Tasting tour, you wonder?  Again, no.  My Winc (formerly Club W) box arrived and so it was a fun and exciting week of food and drink.*

This summer has been busy.  Like insanely busy and, of course, we didn’t pace ourselves.  So that meant we went to NYC two weekends in a row and then I turned around and went back for a night to pick up a friend who was coming into town.  It’s half the price  to fly from Detroit to LaGuardia as it is to Albany.  It’s 1% of the hassle to drive to Albany which I will keep in mind the next time a friend is driving in.  LaGuardia is a nightmare right now with the construction.  From there it was a night on Long Island followed by a week of having a guest here in Bennington and then driving to Michigan for a quick visit to Ypsilanti followed by a glorious (GLORIOUS!) weekend on Lake Michigan with friends we haven’t seen in over a year.  Well, except for Marcy.  Whom we hadn’t seen since September… which was far too long for me.

Anyway… box arrived while we were away and we tore into it upon arriving home and, let me tell you, this one was a winner.  First, I reordered a few things from a long, long time ago including the 2015 Chop Shop Cab Sauv.  I believe they’ve switched up the recipe for this one and I’m PSYCHED for the new pairing: steak and eggs.  We’re moving at the end of September but our new place is ready mid-September.  Perfect brunch pairing, if you ask me.  Will have to send out the invite for that soon!  I also reordered this 2014 Alchymist Noir Red Blend.  Partly because I liked it so much round one.  Partly because the paired recipe is to die for.  Raw vegan chocolate truffles.  Sounds like something that would taste like cardboard, right?  Um, no.  We brought these to a dinner party and they disappeared instantly.  Looking forward to making them again and impressing a few folks.  As everyone knows: I cannot bake.  I screw up slice and bake.  But these truffles are so freaking easy and make me look like a tattooed Martha Stewart.

New to us this month were the other three bottles.  I’ve gotten bold in my Club W selection process and rarely leave it to them anymore and instead select either grapes I don’t know or things that just sound awesome.  This is because I took a huge risk one month and it paid off, introducing me to my absolute fav… a sparkling Chenin Blanc called “Oh, SNAP!” which is no longer available.  I believe that this was the wine that brought on my spontaneous proposal to Club W.  Club W said yes — it’s FaceBook Official bee tee dubs.

Monday: A Continuation of my Bootleg Wine Education

The first bottle we tried, on Monday, was the 2015 Brethren of the Road “Talk West” Valdiguié.  I tried another Valdiguié recently and loved it.  I’m fascinated with climate and wine, though, so once I try a grape I like to check it out from a variety of places.  I liked the first one which was from Southern California (Paso Robles).  Great strawberry notes and that leather taste I just love.  The Brethren of the Road was definitely not my favorite — but that’s okay.  As a lover of wine I’m trying to learn everything I can and this difference in the wines was a huge reminder that it’s not just climate that makes a difference.

I thought that with the Brethren of the Road grapes being from 324 miles north in Redwood Valley, CA, I would see a difference.  A quick bit of research, though, showed me that despite their distance, average temps are nearly identical.  And yet, the Brethren of the Road Valdiqué was totally different.  This is, in part, due to the style in which the two are made.  The Brethren of the Road is open-fermented and has no added yeast.  It’s also aged in neutral oak.  I have not learned enough about style yet but I can tell you that I often do like open top fermented beers UNLESS they have raspberry (some Saisons, lambics, etc).  I wonder if that was part of my finding this wine so funky.    The vines are also 15 years old, although grown from cuttings from 70 year old vines.  I’m not sure if that makes a difference.  The Valdiqué that I did like is more traditional from what I’ve read.

Despite finding it kind of funky and not in a good way, I loved the paired recipe and thought it was a phenomenal match.  The recipe was one of those you make on the stovetop in your cast iron skillet (or your all metal skillet from Ikea if you are me… cast iron skillet is on the wishlist for this year) and then pop in the oven.  It was a chicken thigh dish with a lemon and brown butter sauce.  Very simple on the recipes but complex flavors brought about by some spice, balsamic, and rice vinegar.  I kept it simple by serving it with rice pilaf.

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Wednesday: Pasta and Italian Wine Despite The Ridiculous Late Summer Vermont Heatwave

On Wednesday we tried the 2015 Copycat Barbera.  Barbera is an Italian grape traditionally aged over oak which softens the fruit a bit.  This Copycat version is stainless steel aged which keeps the fruit pure.  I’m learning more and more that I prefer stainless, especially in whites.  Much of it has to do with whether or not I’m drinking or pairing.  I love a wine that is paired well even if it is totally outside of my usual preference.  But when I’m just having a glass I like a warm climate red.

I believe this was my first Barbera.  And I LOVED it.  This furthers my belief that I’m more of a warm climate wine kinda girl.  For those not familiar with the basics of climate and its effect on wine, wines that are grown in a warm climate deepen in flavor and have a more ripe fruit flavor and lower acidity than their cool climate counterparts (think of the cold weather coming in and stopping the development, just like putting something in the fridge to keep it fresher longer).  Cool climate wines have more tart fruit flavors and higher acidity.  I don’t like sweet wines, as a rule, but I do love riper fruit in my wine.

The recipe that came with this will be in the rotation until I can no longer cook.  Wow.  Kris and I were both floored.  It took a bit of timing and confidence to pull off (I like to drink when I cook but couldn’t pull it off this time) but man did it come together.  Roasted cauliflower, italian sausage, onion, breadcrumbs.  A little pasta water and a short pasta (I used small shells because that’s what I found at my horrible local grocery store) and bam — a delicious pasta dish that sounded weird when you broke down the recipe but was amazing.  And the wine.  THE WINE!  We will be reordering.

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Friday: Let’s Sparkle

Back in February 2015 I tried my first sparkling red at Coach Insignia.  A colleague had tried it and was raving.  I’d never had a sparkling red.  I love red.  I love bubbles.  Why the hell not?  I hated it.  Like seriously could not handle it.  I can’t remember now what it was that I didn’t like but I remember that I didn’t like it.  Not one bit.

Add to this experience that I absolutely detest Lambrusco (I’m sorry, Banfi friends!).  Maybe it’s because I don’t like frizzante.  Maybe it’s because I don’t like sweet reds.  I don’t know.

Needless to say, I was more than a tad nervous when I kept feeling drawn to Club W’s offering of a sparkling red.  But I’m a sucker for a pretty bottle.  And I would love to find a sparkling red (and, God the COLOR on this one is just superb) that I liked.  After all, I started my journey in wine saying, “I only like Sterling Cabernet.”  Really, Nancy?

I ordered the bottle of sparkling Dolcetto and gave myself license to dump it if I hated it.  Usually I try to drink the whole bottle (with Kris).  The recipe it came with was a charcuterie plate (yum!) but we go out for dinner on Friday nights.  Our new fav place is called Marigold and in North B.  They are BYO so we can get dinner AND leftovers for both of us for about $20.  We looked at the charcuterie suggestions and decided to order a pizza that aligned.  Popped the cork (have I mentioned that I can pop a sparkling bottle open like a true professional?) and were immediately floored.  EVERYTHING THEY SAID WAS TRUE.  The description said…

  • dry (yay!  I like dry sparkling wines)
  • forced carbonated (double yay!  not frizzante)
  • wicked cool (hey, we’re in Vermont and we say wicked cool all the time)
  • tannins (I LOVE the astringency of tannins)
  • depth (I LOVE depth)

Let’s just say that I have already ordered 3 bottles for my September box.

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No filter on that puppy.  And while you can’t really tell, let me tell you: this wine has got LEGS.

If you’re a Club W member, I can’t recommend these wines enough.  Yes, even the Valdiqué — pair it with the recipe and watch how quickly the flavors change and match perfectly.  If you’re NOT a Club W member hit me up in the comments or on Twitter — I’d love to give you one of my codes for a free box.  You’ll get three bottles and just pay shipping!

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*Who am I kidding?  Every week is an exciting week of food and drink when you live with me.  It just happens that the weeks when the box arrives is even better.