Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - 2015 Wind Gap "Soif"

I'm late to the game but I just discovered the Tavern at Gramercy Tavern.  It's the perfect spot for a casual lunch at the bar or after-work drinks.  I first visited the restaurant when I was visiting NY with my family my freshman year of high school.  I really wish I appreciated food and dining back then as much as I do now!  

My dad and I have added the Tavern to our rotation of lunch spots when he's in town.  The trick is to get there by 11:50am as the bar typically fills up with those in the know as soon as they open.  Now you're in the know ;-)

On our last visit, we tasted this interesting red wine by Wind Gap that was on the by-the-glass menu.  "Soif" is the French word for "thirst".  The wine is a blend of 7 different grapes from vineyards planted between 1881 and 1975; it was served slightly chilled and would make for a great summer sipper for those red wine only drinkers out there.  It was very light in color and a bright, cherry red tint.  The nose was full of cherry and strawberry with a hint of spice.  The palate had a great acidity that was enhanced by the slight chill of the wine.  It was a great pairing with the Tavern burger.      

Wine:  2015 Wind Gap "Soif"
Purchased:  Gramery Tavern 
Price:  $29 retail

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - Champagne and Lobster: Agrapart & Fils "Terroirs"

What are everyone's thoughts on Valentine's Day?  Just another day?  Something to be celebrated?  I've always liked the holiday.  I see it as an excuse to bake up sweet treats and a reminder to express my love to those around me.  In my single days it was wine, cheese, and chocolate nights with my galentines; this year, my man went all out to treat me to one of my favorite meals "lobster rolls and french fries".  This is in quotes because I'm currently on an elimination diet and can't really eat like normal so it was extra special to have an indulgent, yet clean meal!

The extra special cherry on top was the Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Champagne that we shared.  I've been slow to come around to understand the nuances of Champagne.  It wasn't until our trip last spring and being introduced to Blanc de Blancs that I really gained a true appreciation for what Champagne could be.   

Agrapart is considered the gold standard of grower Champagne in the Avize region.  The Agrapart family has been making Champagne since the late 1800's.  Growing and wine-making practices remain mostly natural and organic with minimal intervention both in the vineyard and in the wine. 

The "Terroirs" is a cuvee of 100% Chardonnay from 4 different Grand Cru vineyards from the 2010 and 2011 harvests.  The wine was bottled in 2012 and aged for 4 years.  The wine is full of Chardonnay characteristics:  stone fruit, white flowers with tight, tiny bubbles that perfectly coat your mouth.  Notes of toast and yeast are some of my favorite characteristics and why I love Blanc de Blancs so much.  It was a lovely pairing with the rich lobster.      

One review I read called it a "poor man's Clos du Mesnil" which I think was a great description.  A lovely Champagne that is great for special occasions but doesn't break the bank.  That's a Valentine's treat I can totally get behind!  

Wine:  Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Champagne 
Purchased:  Verve Wine
Price:  $70

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wine Wednesdays - Cioppino Night

I can't think of anything better than a rich, hearty, seafood stew on a cold night, unless that meal is paired with two lovely red wines, now we're talking!  Family friends treated us to homemade cioppino.  We brought an Italian Cabernet Franc and they opened a Napa Malbec and an older vintage of one of my favorite Zinfadels.  It was a feast of epic proportions!

Anyone know the origin of "cioppino"??  Supposedly this dish originated in San Francisco, the fishermen would all "chip in" from that day's catch to a big pot of tomato based stew, and the "chip in" turned into "cioppino" and there you have it!   

As for the wines:  we started with the 2013 Cabernet Franc from Le Monde.  Hailing from Fruili Grave in Italy, the wine was light, bright, and acidic which helped to cut through the rich tomato-based sauce.  The wine is also fermented and aged in stainless steel (no oak) which keeps it light and fresh.    

Next up, Hendry 2014 Malbec.  Based in Napa, Hendry will often bottle small lots of single Bordeaux varietals.  The wine was an intense dark purple color with earthy, leathery notes.  I found the tannins overpowering in this one, not my favorite of the night.  

Last but certainly not least, this 2005 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel from Nickel & Nickel.  I had the 2009 last spring and loved it, this was even more delicious!  The vineyard was located in the Russian River Valley, so cooler climate and 80+ year old vines make way for low yields, concentrated fruit and flavors.  Even at 11 years old, it was still very fruit-forward with ripe, jammy flavors that coated the mouth in the most luxurious way!  A touch of oak and spice rounded out the finish.  It was perfect to cap off the night with Ina's brownie skillet, homemade caramel sauce (salted and rosemary flavors) and quite possibly the best ice cream out there!

2013 Le Monde Cabernet Franc - $18 retail
2014 Hendry Malbec - $29 retail
2005 Nickel & Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel - $40

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wine Wednesday - Mid-90's Christmas

Another win from the bargain bin at Benchmark Wines, we served this 1995 Bordeaux Blend from Chateau Guiraud Cheval Blanc with Christmas dinner and it was delicious!  Not to be confused with this Cheval Blanc, but still good in it's own right!  

The wine was most-likely a blend of predominantly Merlot mixed with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, typical of blends from the Cotes de Bourg region.  I'm not sure if it was the aging or this wine in general, but it was rather light, in both taste profile and color vs. a typical weightier Bordeaux (could also be attributed to the age).  The fruit was still there:  dark cherries and hints of more savory fare (black olives) but the acid was starting to fade.  This wine probably won't last much longer, so if you come across it, drink it now!  

The label may be a little worse for wear but the wine was still tasting great!

I revisited a favorite dessert recipe, this red-wine pear tarte tatin which was a huge hit.  Seriously, make it, serve with a delicious red wine, and your guests will be singing your praises!


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