Taylor Brooke St. Croix Rosé

It’s been a while since I’ve been blogging and I recently got an email to my website account from wannabewino.com about Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) and that it’s back. Well, for one, this was news to me and it’s been around for a long time. Goes to show ya that you can teach a new dog an old trick – no, reverse that. Anyway, getting back to the reason I’m posting this one is simple – I needed to get back in the “sip” of things and this seemed like a good place to start. You can read the background for WBW from Tim Elliott at winecast.com for more information. This happens to be WBW #80, but the first for me.

The theme for WBW #80 is a dry rosé and as many of you know I’m more of a bold, sassy, dry red drinker with a Borolo at the top of the list although there are many others that could easily tie for the top spot. Although when I leave this earth I believe I’ll be toting a French Bordeaux or two with me – well, I can’t use my wine luggage for traveling on the plane anymore so I might as well put it to good use.

So I went looking for a bottle of dry rosé and wouldn’t you know I could only find one and I really thought I had two in my wine cellar. Alas, whiners of wine, I remembered I did a tasting up at Taylor Brooke back a few months and was really impressed with their rosé and realized the wine was still in the box I brought home and had not logged it into my wine database yet – not like my mind is going or anything like that! Seeing as this is my first WBW I thought doing a virtual wine tasting of a local wine would be a pretty good choice. The rosé sells for around $14 and had an ABV of 12% so it won’t break the bank and one glass isn’t going to get you tipsy. It’s made for summer sipping and produced from the St. Croix grape varietal.

So, I chilled the wine as I was planning on having it on a warm summer afternoon out on the deck whiling reading one of three books I’m in the process of reading now. And yes, I can remember the plots and characters in each of them – hey, my mind isn’t all that gone – yet!! Okay, the wine’s been chilling in the wine cooler and I’m making a new recipe for a late lunch and early dinner.

The wine opened with a nose predominately of red raspberry (I have to open the wine before I start cooking) and the aroma was much like when I pick fresh wild red raspberries that grow in the backyard when it’s hot and muggy outside with the sun shining with nary a cloud to find. I continued to sniff into the wine glass and found strawberries and black raspberry aromas too. I also detected a slight hint of apricot after sniffing it for 8 or 9 more times. On the palate I found the succulent red raspberry flavors with hints of black raspberry and red currant. This dry rosé had a nice acidic feel to it and the finish was very smooth and creamy on the back palate.

The meal consisted of chicken marinated overnight with a soy ginger marinade making the chicken moist and quite tasty. Along with the chicken were grilled pineapple slices and grilled Portabella mushrooms. We then added garden fresh tomatoes, baby Swiss cheese, sautéed red onions and avocado slices. The recipe called for all of this to be delicately placed between two slices of Ciabatta bread but my better half and my son decided to put it all on a plate while I had mine on the Ciabatta sans the avocado.

Needless to say, the meal went well with the dry rosé and I opted for cubed cantaloupe and fresh picked blueberries for dessert and not only did the wine complement the meal but added to the dessert. If you could imagine a red raspberry in liquid form – this would be it.

Root 1 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

This bold red wine is produced in the Colchagua Valley in Chile and has a 13.5% ABV with a price tag of around $14 give or take a few bucks. This started with black currant, blackberry, licorice, smoked bacon, leather and earth notes on the nose. For me this is some pretty good aromas to start off with.

Once I was done wafting in the aromas, I found blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry, and mocha flavors with a hint of licorice and light pepper. A mix of mocha and chocolate on the back palate and finish rounded out the tasting on this wine.

We paired this with a beef stir fry with crunchy broccoli, snap peas, onions, green pepper, celery and mushrooms over long grain rice.

Root 1 does have a Carmenere that is supposed to be pretty good so I need to find a bottle of this and try it. If any of you have tried the Carmenere – please drop me a note and let me know what you experienced.

Nicosia 2010 Nero D’Avola

The Nero D’Avola grape varietal is one of my favorites and I’m particularly fond of Italian wines and the wine label was written entirely in Italian so I couldn’t resist buying it. I was able to translate about half of it as my Italian is limited to the darker side of speech (due to my grandparents always cussing at each other in Italian, hence I got to learn those words quite well) but nonetheless I was able to put the correct proper words from Italian to English. However, if I thought of it I could have used any one of a multitude of apps that would have done the translation easier and probably in a fraction of the time it took me to work it out.

The Nicosia 2010  sells for around $14 and has an ABV of 12.5%, rather low on the red wine scale but very tasty nonetheless. The wine was a dark ruby color with a purpleish rim which on a young wine yielded dark plum, spice, chocolate, and a hint of pepper, but not too peppery on the nose. The palate however exhibited more of a red fruit concoction of red plum, red raspberry, red cherry with nuances of earth notes and pepper accents on the finish.

This was quite an enjoyable wine as we paired this with sausage al forno and it fit perfectly with the acidity of the sauce and the sweetness of the sausage topped with Romano cheese (me), or Parmesan cheese (my better half), or shredded Mozzarella would have also sufficed (next time). Enjoy the wine and the food.

Rosedale Vineyards Serendipity

There are times I’m just looking for a decent white wine as a simple complement to a fairly simple meal. So I went into the basement where I keep all my wine (unless of course they’re open, in which case they’re upstairs in the pantry – uh, that would be for the red wine, so the whites are always kept in the chiller) and seeing as I didn’t have any opened bottles of white wine I chose a local wine that I had not had in a while. I just happened to choose the Serendipity from Rosedale Vineyards.

Made with 100% Riesling grapes, this local Connecticut wine opened with fresh apple and peach notes (about equal between the apple and peach aromas) on the nose and with spring around the corner this was a very pleasing aroma. On the palate were orange peel, peach, green apple, honey and mineral flavors. The finish wasn’t long but it wasn’t short either – maybe just right. This paired quite well with shrimp pesto over angel hair pasta.

Cupcake 2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

You might not think Cupcake is a traditional winery name but they are producing some pretty good wines. A case in point is this New Zealand rendition of a Sauvignon Blanc. A zesty white wine that is refreshing and not one that I figured I’d be drinking in the dead of winter. All we need to do is get through March and this wine made me think of spring so it should be only a few short weeks before you could enjoy this out on the deck on a warm spring day.

The wine was a pale yellow-green color and upon placing this into my Riedel wine glass reserved for white wine, the aromas wafted immediately the moment I started pouring. I found lemon, lime, grapefruit and citrus notes with the lime & lemon being the most dominant. It reminded me of a Prosecco but without the bubblies.

On the palate the flavors consisted of key lime, fresh tart lemon, and more citrus notes. On the finish I thought I detected lemon chiffon cake, smooth, slightly tart and creamy and wishing for another piece – maybe I was just imagining this or thought this in a dream. At an average price of $14 this was a wonderful wine to pair with fish & chips or whole belly clams from your local seafood shop – we did!

 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards 2009 Vidal Blanc

Located in Goshen, CT Sunset Meadow Vineyards is one of about 30+ boutique wineries in Connecticut. In my opinion, CT white wines are getting better every year. Usually when I visit CT wineries I look forward to tasting their white wines. The reds aren’t quite there yet on the grand scheme of things with the rest of the world, but hey, the rest of the world has been doing it for a lot longer than the small wineries in southern New England. The wine retails for around $19 and has a 12% alcohol by volume.

The vidal blanc had an opaque yellow color with aromas of lemongrass, lime, fresh cut hay and floral notes. On the palate I found lemon-lime jello, pear, and clementine. The finish was refreshing with ripe apricots. We paired this with Cajun sea scallops, leaf spinach, and long grain wild rice. The crispness of the wine complemented the Cajun spices (my own concoction BTW) which marinated the sea scallops.

Okay, here’s the recipe for the Cajun marinade for about 1 1/2 lbs of sea scallops (approx. 1 1/2″ in diameter and just as tall): Rinse sea scallops well and drain any excess liquid and place in a quart container. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp (you can vary this to your taste) of your favorite dry Cajun seasoning (I use the Habanero Cajun seasoning from Hell – beyond hot). You can also vary the ingredients to suit your tastes.

Pour this over the sea scallops and let soak for at least 10 minutes. Bake in a glass dish at 425 degrees for 14 minutes although this will vary based on the size of your sea scallops. Total time of preparation to sitting down and eating the meal is less than an hour so this can be a great meal during the middle of the week. Oh, and don’t forget to have the bottle of wine well chilled. The coolness of the wine with the hotness of the Cajun spices does a cha-cha on your taste buds. Bon Appetit!

Chateau Doyac 2006 Haut Medoc Max de Pourtales

A red blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from 20-year old vines and an alcohol by volume of 13.5% had a rich purple color. The aromas of cherry, blackberry, fresh sage, forest floor, and moss wafted its way to my schnozzola slowly and uniformly. This began to open the wine senses for an exciting experience with a French Bordeaux.

Not only were the aromas very pleasing but the flavors of cherry, cedar, earth, and cigar box were blended with a great deal of care. On the finish I found a delectable vanilla finish, faint but no mistaking the vanilla.

An exceptional French Bordeaux I found on sale for $19.99 but worth much more. I did manage to purchase four bottles of this so I will cellar the last three for a few years and see what develops. Although I again failed to buy a case of this and probably won’t find this bargain price again I do urge you to buy a couple of bottles and drink up.

We paired this with meatloaf, I know, cut off my culinary tongue, but it really paired quite well. I’ll presume this would go very well with grilled meats such as lamb, venison, beef. If any of you try this with buffalo let me know how the pairing went.

 

7 Deadly Zins 2007 Lodi Zinfandel

I’ve tried a lot of Zinfandel over the years and every once in a while you come across one that just brightens up your “spirits”. Upon uncorking this wine the color was a deep, dark ruby hue. With a 14.5% ABV a full-bodied old vine zinfandel was just the right wine to pick on a chilly winter weekend while the forecast of getting a few more inches of snow to cover what we already received from Storm Charlotte loomed overhead.

On the nose the 7 Deadly Zins produced aromas of blackberry, black currant, black cherry, earthy notes, cola (yeah, strange but true), and spice. The bouquet was quite pleasing and was a prelude to the flavors I was about to experience. On the palate, raisins, blackberry, spice, walnut, and red currant were the prevalent flavors and the finish was of red raspberries and black pepper. A touch of blueberry finished off this tasting and it lasted for an eternity.

Now the question was what to pair this “zinful” zinfandel with. My initial thoughts were grilled lamb, Filet Mignon, or a Porterhouse steak. Nah, too complicated for a Saturday evening. So, I decided on sauteed onions and Black Angus pastrami on a grinder roll topped with Baby Swiss cheese. It may not sound like much but this was the perfect pairing. The succulent combination of a Spanish onion and the pastrami with the peppery-ness of the zinfandel worked exceptionally well.

The next time you’re in the mood for a pastrami sandwich or an incredible zinfandel, why not combine the two and have an exceptionally paired food and wine experience. When you do, let me know how it was. At $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle this is reasonably priced and won’t break the bank.

Castle Rock 2010 Pinot Noir

Grapes from the Willamette Valley revealed a semi-opaque ruby color with strawberry, spice, cherry and floral notes on the nose. This was a tremendous bouquet and really opened the wine senses. This medium-bodied Pinot found blackberrry, cherry (dominant), cinnamon and vanilla flavors on the palate. A very silky blueberry finished this delectable inexpensive red wine.

This wine was paired with roasted turkey sans the traditional trimmings of cranberry, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc., etc., etc. after the Nor’easter dropped feet, not inches, of snow on our New England abode. After all, we were way too tired from snow blowing the driveway and shoveling out the cars to go all out with Sunday dinner and seeing as we couldn’t grill out on the deck.

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Ah yes, the unofficial, official snowfall amount of almost 27 inches, or 2 1/4 feet.

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And to really let you know how tired we were, we even had to shovel the screened in deck so we could get to the back door.

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Anyway, back to the wine. I bought this wine on sale for $8 (regular price $12.99) with a 13.5% ABV and well worth the price of a turkey dinner. I only wish I had picked up a case of this when I had the chance. I think that’s the problem with having so much wine in the cellar – not being able to get to all the wine I need to. Well, better luck next time. Hmmm, maybe when I retire…

 

 

Tommasi Rafael 1999 Classico Superiore Valpolicella

It’s been awhile, but now that the holidays are behind me for another year and I’m not on any extended business trips and the inevitable recycled air gushing through the aircraft’s well-designed “air circulators” doesn’t get me sicker than a dog I should be able to get back to one of my passions – you got it, drinking wine.

I don’t mind going on business trips for a couple of weeks at a time. But the aftermath of plane rides is what throws me underground for a spell.  First it’s rush to get to the airport, pay $25 for checked baggage, take everything out of your pockets per the TSA agent at the security checkpoint including my belt and removing my shoes has been second nature to say the least, then raise your hands above your head only to be pulled out of the line and asked by the TSA agent in an accusatory tone “What do you have in your left pocket?”

By nature, I’m a bit of a smart _ss but I know when not to be one. And this isn’t one of those times to be a smart _ss. I replied rather seriously “Nothing, the other TSA agent asked that I remove everything from my pockets, so I’m curious as to what your X-Ray picked up”. Of course I didn’t get a response but did get a pat down from the top of my left shoulder to my left ankle paying special attention to my left pocket. Then he said to “Move On” in the same tone as Yul Brenner said to Eli Wallach in “the Magnificent Seven” when he told him to “Ride On”. I’ve decided never to fly on a plane again (except maybe for going across the pond)!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox and on to the wine.

A blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella grapes from the Rafael vineyard makes this Valpolicella a delectable red wine. And one that I have not had in awhile. The last time I had this wine it would have been considered a young wine. Upon opening this and pouring it through an aerator to open the bouquet a bit I noticed the wine was a dark ruby color with an orange-brown hue on the rim of the wine. So far I’m happy with what I see.

On the nose I found a lot of cherry and fresh ripe plum – lots of fresh ripe plum, maybe some blackberries too. On the first taste, juicy plum was the dominating flavor with dark cherry and black currant. On subsequent sips the flavors were more dark cherry with hints of blueberry. The finish was very smooth and velvety. If I remember correctly this tasted as good as when I tried this as a young wine in the early 2000’s. So, this seemed to cellar quite well.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see how this cellars for another five years or so as I’m all out of the 1999 vintage. As a matter of fact, I’m out of the wine altogether. Guess I’ll have to buy several bottles of another vintage and start the experiment all over again.

We paired this with grilled chicken, spaghetti squash, and steamed broccoli. To my surprise it went very well with this meal although I’m sure it would go well with red meat and red sauce pasta dishes too. At only 12.5% ABV this wine still packed a punch or is this because I haven’t had wine in awhile, or am I still reeling over the TSA experience? Reasonably priced at $21.