Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 Eisacktaler Kellerei Cantina Chardonnay

Tra Vigne has been a Napa Valley institution for the better part of my entire life (28 years to be exact).  Sadly they are closing their doors as of December 20th.  While I was home over Thanksgiving, I went not once, but twice to savor their amazing "mozzarella al minuto" for the last time.  

The mozzarella is literally pulled the "minute" you order and is table-side within 30 seconds.  It's warm, gooey, and drenched in grassy olive oil and flaky sea salt, absolute perfection on warm toasty bread!
We also cleared their cellar of a delicious Italian Chardonnay from Eisacktaler Kellerei Cantina.  Located in the Alto Adige region in northern Italy, the cooler climate produces higher acid, crisp wines.  Slow, cold fermentation and aging in stainless steel help to preserve the acidity in this Chardonnay, which makes it the perfect compliment to the mozzarella, the acid cut nicely through the rich cheese and salty olive oil.  

Here's hoping they bring the mozzarella recipe to their sister restaurant Pizzeria Tra Vigne!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Gilbert Picq & ses Fils Chablis

I have a wine to convince all of the Chardonnay-haters out there that this grape has so many redeeming qualities!!  

While some members of the older generations might remember Chablis as the generic term for many jug wines, traditional Chablis is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes hailing from the Chablis region in France in northern Burgundy.  This cooler climate region is actually closer to Sancerre than other Chardonnay regions in southern Burgundy, also contributing to the lighter style of Chablis.  Typically fermented in 100% stainless steel gives the wine a crisp, clean, mineral style without the buttery oak so many are opposed to in typical Chardonnay.  

If looking for a food friendly, people-pleasing wine on a restaurant list, Chablis can often be a great value vs. other Burgundian Chardonnays.  Chablis is classified in 4 levels, Petite Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru.  Value can be found in Chablis level wines.  

This bottle in particular comes from the domain of Gilbert Picq in a classic expression of true Chablis.  The vines are hand tended, producing low yields that give the wine a great depth and intensity.  The terroir of Chablis offers slightly chalky mineral notes with a nice acidity and slight citrus and saline finish on the palette. 

If you want to read up a bit more on the wonder that is Chablis, I really enjoyed this article by Eric Asimov, the NYT wine critic.     

Wine:  2014 Gilbert Picq & ses Fils Chablis
Purchased:  Backlabel Wines, NYC
Price:  $25

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Tasting in LA

I recently spent a weekend in L.A. visiting my oldest and bestest friend.  As we both originally hail from Napa, we set out to see what the L.A. wine scene was all about.

We headed out to Malibu.  First up, Malibu Wines.  We tasted through their Estate flight.  The wines were fine, but nothing outstanding or worth purchasing.  The vibe was very corporate, the hospitality staff wasn't exactly hospitable and it just felt very touristy.  For $65 you can take a safari ride and feed the exotic animals on the property.  They do allow picnics which is a nice touch, but I imagine it's a mob scene on sunny weekends.  I'd say you're better off packing a picnic and bringing your own wine pretty much anywhere else, beach picnic anyone??    

We headed down the hill to Rosenthal Winery.  From the minute we walked in the vibe was much more our style.  The gentlemen behind the counter could not have been nicer, and I'm pretty sure they poured us a taste of every wine on offer (and even some shiners from yet-to-be released vintages). 

I really enjoyed the 2014 Surfrider "Mingle" - a blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne.

Another winner, the 2012 Rosenthal Merlot, which was absolutely delicious with chocolate fudge made with the same wine!

All in all a great day touring and tasting.  Can't wait to visit L.A. again soon!

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