Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wine Wednesdays - Northfork Edition

Mom came to visit last weekend and we had a great time exploring NYC but took the opportunity to get out and explore something new over the weekend (part 2 post to come!).  We ventured out to the Northfork of Long Island and made our way to a couple of wineries.  There was certainly no shortage of wineries to choose from, with over 35 vineyards for tasting and tours.  I did some research and decided on Shinn Estate and Lieb Cellars.  We spent all of 10 minutes at Shinn, the wines were undrinkable, the service cordial at best, and overall not a pleasant experience or a place that we wanted to linger.  

We moved on to Lieb Cellars which was a completely difference experience.  Our host Megan, a Midwest transplant living out in Greenport was friendly and inviting, walking us through their "White Flight" tasting while also pouring us tastes from other flights that she thought we might like.  We spent an hour or so in their beautiful tasting room.  My mom is a strict chardonnay drinker, but I've made it my job figure out what it is that she likes about chardonnay and try to introduce her to other varietals that she might like.  So far I've had success with certain Pinot Gris and Pinot Blancs.  Lieb had 2 chardonnays and 2 pinot blancs available for tasting, and she was pleasantly surprised with both!  

The standout and favorite for both of us was the 2010 10-Year Anniversary Pinot Blanc.  It showed the structure and richness of a Chardonnay but remained light and very easily drinkable.  Their 2011 Reserve Pinot Blanc was more similar to a Sauvignon Blanc, fermented entirely in stainless steel it had the varietal character of lemongrass and citrus, with a finish of crisp green apple. 

Anniversary Pinot Blanc vs. Reserve Pinot Blanc - Anniversary blend gets our vote!
 We finished with their 2011 Bridge Lane Chardonnay and their 2009 Reserve Chardonnay.  The Bridge Lane was crisp, clean, and light bodied, fermented entirely in stainless steel it retained the purity and true characteristics of a Chardonnay.  The 2009 Reserve was a blend of stainless steel and French oak barrel fermented fruit.  It was extremely oak forward and had a bolder, creamy mouth feel with hints of vanilla on the finish.  

Oaked vs. Unoaked Chardonnay - Unoaked wins!
We took home with us two bottles of the 10-Year Anniversary Pinot Blanc and ended up ordering another bottle while having dinner at The Frisky Oyster in Greenport later that night.  It's nice to get out and learn more about a new and different wine region, and it was mother approved, bonus!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

This week a little something different for you, red wine!  I recently had dinner with friends at Mesa Grill and one of my dining companions ordered the wine.  He chose Terlato Family Vineyards 2006 Syrah.  I tend to prefer Cabs when drinking red, and wouldn't normally choose a 100% Syrah but this was a welcomed departure from my norm.  The wine was well balanced with a smooth finish.  The typical black fruits of the Dry Creek region definitely came through from start to finish.  The wine paired well with my meal of ancho chili glazed salmon.  

Wine:  Terlato Family Vineyards 2006 Syrah
Purchased:  Mesa Grill
Price:  Retail price $35.99
Would buy again:  Yes

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

I recently had my cousin over for what we like to call "mezze night".  A smorgasbord of sorts, which can vary in region (Italian, middle eastern, Greek, and almost always hummus).  We sit, we chat, we nibble, we drink wine.  This time we had a mix of Italian meats and cheeses, dried fruits, pistachios, and veggies.

I chose a French white from the Loire Valley.  Reserve Des Cleons "Sur Lie" 2011.  The varietal was Melon, a grape I'd never heard of.  It had a relatively soft palate, slight mineral tones and a burst of effervescence up front.  Overall light and very easy to drink; it paired nicely with our meal.  And for $6.99 at Trader Joe's, I'm sure this will be making it into the rotation often in the future. 

Wine:  Reserve Des Cleons "Sur Lie" 2011
Purchased:  Trader Joe's
Price:  $6.99
Would buy again:  Yes

Monday, June 10, 2013

Baking "firsts"

I recently picked up a couple of ruby red stalks of rhubarb at the farmer's market.  I've never cooked with rhubarb before but I recently remember my aunt making an amazing rhubarb coffee cake when we were kids and I wanted to try and recreate it.  I decided to attempt baking with the gluten free flour I bought several months ago but have been too intimidated by gluten-free baking horror stories to use.  

I used this recipe and altered it slightly, substituting 3 tbsp of coconut oil for the vegetable shortening and you would never know the difference.  Another first as I've had a jar of coconut oil in my pantry for a while now and didn't really know how to use it!  I used Bob's Redmill gluten free flour + xanthan gum

If I do say so myself, these muffins were a success!  You would have never known they were gluten free.  They were best right out of the oven but we kept them in the fridge and popped them in the microwave for the rest of the weekend!
If only you could see the steam rising out of the photo!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wine Wednesdays

It hit me recently, like a ton of bricks, I graduated college 5 years ago.  FIVE years.  That's not an insignificant amount of time, where does it go??  So much has happened, new jobs, moving across the country, "maturing" and all that.  But the reason I started thinking about this, is that my alcohol habits have changed so much since college (as most have I'm sure).  Gone are the days of Bacardi Limon and diet Sprite (how did I drink that??)  Now it's wine, pretty much exclusively.  And now it's an experience, something I truly enjoy for both the social experience as well as the learnings of new varietals, brands, and that so-called "terroir".  So Wine Wednesdays will be my experiment in documenting new wines, what I'm currently liking, and anything else that might relate (or not, depends on how much wine I consume as I'm writing!)

This week I enjoyed a cold glass of a new and different white blend by Steve Matthiasson.  The 2010 Napa Valley white wine is a blend of predominantly sauvignon blanc, combined with Ribolla gialla (brought over to CA from Italy), Semillon, and Tocai friulano.  It was immediately refreshing on this particularly sweltering day.  The nose and first sip give off a rather strong oak presence, not typical of a sauvignon blanc, but not unwelcome.  I would liken it more to a light chardonnay balanced by the bright citrus and tropical notes characteristic of the sauvignon blanc.  The website sums it up nicely "There is interplay in the wine between lightness and richness, and focus and complexity."  I couldn't agree more.  Definitely something to enjoy this summer!

Wine:  Matthiasson 2010 Napa Valley White
Purchased:  Beatrice Inn
Price:  Retail price $35.00
Would buy again:  Yes

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Kickoff 2013!

Despite less than normal temps, we kicked off summer on Martha's Vineyard this past weekend.  I hadn't been in 10 years and Mad Martha's ice cream was just as good as I remembered :-)

We spent the weekend BBQing, playing games, biking, shopping, and eating the largest lobster roll I've ever encountered.  Such fun people and a beautiful setting, even better once the sun decided to come out.  Let the summer begin!

Rainy streets of Edgartown 
Waiting out the storm with a glass to wine......

Who knew fudge was laid out on a marble countertop?
$15 investment against the cold
So happy to be out of the rain and ready for lobster!
Biggest lobster roll I've ever seen, and a bargain at $20!!
Reppin' the MV

Old fashioned game of King's Cup!

The "talking oar" meant for captivating attention and explaining the rules

We made it to the beach! 

Found my house..... 
Life is like a bowl of cherries 
And after....with home made tortilla chips! 

Pre-dinner whiffle ball
As tempting as that sounds....I didn't try
The sun came out just in time for one last drive around the island......

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