Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 André Scherer Pinot Noir

As many of you know, I have a rather big birthday coming up in May.  To kick the celebrations off,  I'm heading to France, and Alsace in particular, this Friday!

To get in the spirit for my upcoming trip, I recently tried an Alsatian Pinot Noir from Vignoble André Scherer.  When I think "Alsace" I think Pinot Blanc and dry, zippy Riesling, not necessarily red wines, so it was fun to try something new to me.  My knowledge of Alsatian reds is minimal, I've even been told to avoid them all together!  But apparently it all comes down to the producer as quality can vary widely.  

This 2012 Pinot Noir From André Scherer was apparently an exception to the rule of Alsatian reds.  The domain is owned and operated by the 9th generation of the Scherer family in the village of Husseren-les-Chateaux.  The wine was characteristic of Pinot Noir, ripe, juicy, red berries and cherries with a subtle spice undertone.  Alsatian wines are known for being great food wines and this was no exception.  I paired it with a simple roast chicken and roasted potatoes with goat cheese.     

I hope to return much better acquainted with Alsatian wines ;-)      

Wine:  2012 André Scherer Pinot Noir
Purchased:  Chelsea Wine Vault
Price:  $18.99

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Verget Terres De Pierres Mácon-Village

One more from my weekend in the Berkshires.  I was lucky to spend valentine's day with my mama.  We celebrated at the Prairie Whale, a lovely restaurant from the same group that runs Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard etc. in Brooklyn.

As you may have guessed, Mom is a white wine only drinker, which obviously impacts my choices when dining with her.  Lucky for us, I've grown to love and appreciate similar wine and style (she does joke that she almost named me Chardonnay, that was a joke, right Mom?).  I know she's reading this.....

For dinner we chose a 2014 Mácon-Village from Verget.  Mácon-Village wines are one of my back-pocket secrets for finding value on a restaurant wine list (past Mácon wine here).  These wines are 100% Chardonnay, unoaked, and carry the same flavor profiles I love in white Burgundies but for typically much lower prices than more prestigious names/vineyards from the same region.

This wine was a very classic expression of Mácon.  With a nose of white flowers, a little citrus, stone fruit and honey.  It was rich yet balanced in the mouth, with a mineral, chalky finish and a nice acidity.  

We paired the wine with a delicious charcuterie board and a perfectly roasted chicken.  

Wine:  2014 Verget Terres De Pierres Mácon-Village
Purchased:  Prairie Whale, Great Barrington, MA
Price:  $15-$18 retail

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - Domaine Marc Morey Rully White Burgundy

A definite highlight of our dinner at Allium in Great Barrington was the truffled popcorn appetizer paired with a White Burgundy from Domaine Marc Morey.  Located in Chassagne-Montrachet in the Cote de Beaune, the domaine was first established in 1919 and is now under the direction of the 4th generation of the Morey family.  This wine comes from a premiere cru parcel in Rully.  

White Burgundy from this region is almost always 100% Chardonnay.  This wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged in 15% new French oak barrels, giving it the round, slightly buttery, creamy finish on the palette, but not overly oaky in any way; a great compliment to the buttery popcorn with a salty Parmesan dusting. 

Wine:  Domaine Marc Morey Rully White Burgundy
Purchased:  Allium Restaurant, Great Barrington, MA
Price:  $27 retail

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Division Gamine Grenache Rosé Pétillant

In honor of the 75 degree day today in NYC, I have a new and different rosé to kick off the spring season!  This 2014 Grenache rosé is a pétillant (Pet Nat for short), meaning "naturally sparkling".  This method was a precursor to Champagne and quite possibly was born out of ignorance.  Basically wine is capped before fermentation is entirely complete, leaving a wine with soft bubbles and a sometimes cloudy appearance.  These wines often have a tiny bit of residual sugar as the yeasts die off before they are able to convert all the sugar to alcohol.  Find a good one and it's the perfect balance of fruity, off-dry, and thirst-quenching.

Division Wine Company is based in Portland, Oregon and makes a wide range of wines.  Gamine, by definition, means girl with mischievous charm, a fitting description for this charming and mischievous wine!  The grapes were pressed after 6 hours of skin contact, giving the wine the perfect blush color.  The nose was full of fruit:  strawberries and melon.  The palette had a nice acidity, more fruit, and a soft effervescence that had me reaching for another sip.

This is what all the cool-kid somms are drinking these days, you'll be sure to impress your wine-geek friends if you bring a bottle to your next soiree!

Wine:  2014 Division Gamine Grenache Rosé Pétillant
Purchased:  Backlabel Wines
Price:  $30

Monday, March 7, 2016

Travelogue - Weekend in the Berkshires

Mom and I headed up to the Berkshires during one of the coldest weekends of my time in the Northeast (no really, record breaking lows!!).  We had a fun weekend full of antiques, great food and wine, our favorite hobbies!

We rented a car and made the 2.5 hour drive from NYC, stopping along the way in Millbrook to check out a few antique stores.  We spent 2 nights at the adorable Wainwright Inn in Great Barrington and from there explored the other hamlets throughout the Berkshires.     

Lunch and tea at Harney & Sons in Millerton, another stop with some great antique stores along the way to Great Barrington.
We had a fabulous dinner at Allium on Saturday night.  Seared duck breast and buttery roasted hen of the woods mushrooms!

And for dessert, the most delicious banana semifreddo, and I don't even really like banana flavored desserts!  

Don't let those blue skies fool you, it was SO cold!

We enjoyed happy hour warming up by the fire in the living room of the Inn.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2012 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée Pinot Noir

Last week I was lucky enough to cross an NYC institution off my bucket list:  dinner at Peter Luger.  I've heard about this bacon for years and I just HAD to see what it was all about.  

But since this is Wine Wednesday after all, I wanted to start by sharing the wine.  While Peter Luger is not exactly known for having a stellar wine list; we managed to pick what I think was a delicious bottle and probably one of the better values on the over-priced, Cali-Cab, standard steak house list.  

Domaine Serene is located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon; prime Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing territory.  Fun fact, the Willamette Valley is on the same latitude as Burgundy, the other great Pinot Noir/Chardonnay growing region.  The owners of Domaine Serene have made my dream their reality as they just purchased a wine estate in Burgundy, allowing them to make wine in both regions.  

This 2012 Pinot Noir is a blend or "cuvée" of several different vineyards in the region.  The wine was aged for 13 months in 50% new French oak.  It had all the typical varietal characteristics:  fresh red berries, soft tannins, a slightly nutty/caramel note and a hint of spice on the finish.  While the typical pairing for meaty steak is a bolder Cabernet, this wine had enough weight to compliment our meal from start to finish.    

Now back to that bacon....a juicy, thick-cut slab similar to Canadian bacon.  So salty and amazing!  We also had the wedge with, lucky us, more bacon!

Unlike the nouveau steak houses around this city and others, Peter Luger has a rather limited menu that focuses on what they've done best for 125 years.  There's a few starters, 2 non-steak entree choices, and a handful of sides (most of which are potatoes).  We had the steak for 2 (which can easily feed 4) as well as both the French fried potatoes and the German fried potatoes (after a slight ordering mix-up).  The steak comes out sizzling hot, perfectly medium-rare in a pool of it's own juices and melted butter.  This steak needs no sauce.  And I'm here to report that both the steak and potatoes go swimmingly well with eggs for breakfast the next morning!  

We finished the meal with a classic sundae topped with their homemade "Schlag" (whipped cream).  The wine was a perfect compliment to the cherry on top!

Purchased:  Peter Luger
Price:  $45 retail

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