Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2013 Maison Roy Incline Pinot Noir

Last Sunday I bribed two girlfriends with the promise of dinner if they would come over and help me hang pictures, #livingaloneproblems.  Lucky for them I also needed an outlet for my overzealous and overabundant purchases at the farmer's market.  I threw together the perfect dinner of simple summer staples:  tomatoes and mozzarella, prosciutto and melon, roasted fingerlings with goat cheese and truffle oil, and an arugula salad with charred corn and jalapeño vinaigrette.  A simple meal, yet a bit all over the place, I wasn't sure what wine to serve.  As both of my friends are predominantly red-wine drinkers, I decided to go with a Pinot Noir, typically lighter in body and higher in acidity, Pinot's can be that bridge wine that go with many different wines and can be enjoyed even on warmer summer nights.

I reached for the 2013 Maison Roy Incline Pinot Noir from Domaine Roy Et Fils.  Located in Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the winery is a partnership between two second-generation wine-producing families and friends.

The nose was rather powerful, driven by red fruits (plums, raspberries, and oddly enough tomato water - could also have been a side affect of my tomato course) as well as a hint of spice.  The palate wasn't overwhelmingly fruity; a nice balance between fruit and spice with that backbone of earthiness well-known in most Oregon Pinots.  The texture was especially luscious, bright acidity and very little tannin, a fabulous food wine!  

Price:  $58
Purchased:  *Wine was provided as a media sample for purpose of review; all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Auberge de L'ill - A Dining Experience to Remember

I realized I never shared the third and final 3-star dinner celebrating my 3 decades.  While in Alsace back in April we dined at Auberge de L'ill, one of the oldest Michelin-starred restaurants.  3-stars for over 45 years, the restaurant is a true family affair, with several branches of the Haeberlin clan running the restaurant and adjacent hotel.  From the minute we walked in, I felt like I was in a dream.  The chorus of "bonsoir madam" rang out as we were ushered into the dining room just as the sun was setting outside behind the mountains and overlooking this gorgeous river that ran through the back of the restaurant.  Words and pictures can't even come close to capturing the setting.  

We settled in for an incredible evening.  From the choice in butter alone (salted Bordier vs. unsalted) I knew we were in for a treat!

We started with a glass of sparkling then moved on to a half bottle of 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Grand Cru "Morgeot" from Gagnard Delagrange.  Again hitting my love for the half bottles!

For dinner, we decided on a 1980 Grand Cru Volnay-Santenots from Louis Jadot.  There were a few hair-raising moments as the somm and his assistant fought with the cork, but they prevailed and the wine was beyond expectations delicious!  

Just a little dust...

Now that the wine was squared away, we could focus on the food.  The dining experience was dramatically different than our experience at Maaemo and Meadowood; much more classic and old school, but wonderful nonetheless.  What remains consist across all restaurants was the outstanding service and attention to detail.  

Our Menu:
Foie Gras wrapped in seaweed
Filet de Bar with a parsley emulsion
Poached lobster with asparagus *my favorite of the night*
Pigeon with lentils and truffles

Following the main course, you can imagine my delight as our captain wheeled over this cheese cart to end all cheese carts.  

I couldn't even tell you what I sampled but it was all amazing.  

On to the pre-dessert, dessert.  A selection of petit fours, I loved the baby madeleines!

Then on to the actual dessert course:  we had one of their famous poached white peaches with sorbet as well as a rhubarb tart with Sauternes sabayon.

Just when I thought I couldn't finish another bite, they brought around a tray of chocolates to choose from.  I just had to sample them all.....

If you find yourself in this corner of France, Auberge de L'ill is not to be missed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - Unti Vineyards NV Lacrima

I have the perfect late-summer, backyard bbq wine!  Unti Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery located in the Dry Creek Valley of California.  Instead of the standard Zinfandel in the region, Unti is specializing in Mediterranean varietals with "vineyard personality".  I recently had their Lacrima and was hooked.  

The nose had notes of blueberries and bbq'd, smokey meat.  The palate was silky, racy and fruity with soft tannins and a crazy hint of iron/blood undertone that totally works.  It was a delicious pairing with lamb burgers and grilled romaine. 

Can summer last forever?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 Lieb Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc

I first discovered Lieb Cellars during a Northfork excursion over 3 years ago.  I'm pretty sure it was my first taste of Pinot Blanc as well.  I came across Lieb once again while dining out in the Northfork and knew it would be a sure bet for a group dinner at The Frisky Oyster

Pinot Blanc is genetic mutation of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) and I've come to find that it can vary widely depending on region and producer.  It's certainly not a very widely planted grape in North America, but is one of the main grapes grown in Alsace (and grown well).   

The wine from Lieb is produced from some of the oldest vines in the Northfork (1983 is old for the Northfork!)  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel allowing the bright, crisp flavors shine through.  The nose has notes of lemon zest and lemongrass; with a pleasant taste of tart green apple and a hint of minerality and salinity on the finish.  It made for a great pairing with the signature "Oysters Friskafella" - The Frisky Oyster's take on oysters Rockefeller.   

Wine:  2014 Lieb Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc
Purchased:  The Frisky Oyster
Price:  $22 Retail

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Transmission Rosé

I had a bit of an internal conflict regarding this weeks' Wine Wednesday, I wanted to share this wine with you all, but the producer is so small and relatively unknown, I'm not sure anyone will be able to find it!  I figured it's always better to share and maybe some of you located in or near the central coast of CA will seek this guy out!

Transmission Wines is a side project of owner/winemaker David, who's full-time gig is making wine for Giornata and Broadside wineries in Paso Robles, California.  I like his mantra:  using a simple, hands-off approach to winemaking, allowing the wine to "create as clear a transmission of place and grape variety as possible".    

The wine was light but not as fruit forward as some other expressions of rosé.  I found it a bit austere and slightly green on the finish, but I didn't mind it.  I think it would be a good match for food where other rosé might be overpowered by certain flavors.  I think this would also be a good "bridge" wine for a red wine drinker that wants something nice to sip on for summer.  

*I'm sorry I don't even know the price of this wine, looks like you need to email to order.


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