Monthly Archives: April 2011

Rosé and Lobster: Just a Normal Wednesday Night

Last night my partner in  wine crime Dana and I went to 694 Wines and Spirits for their Rock Lobster night.  We’ve been to 694 before but this was the first time we’ve gone to have food and not just wine. No worries we HAD wine but the Lobster was a great add on. Lets start off with the menu. We both had grilled lobster and corn on the cob. This meal wouldn’t have been complete without a tasty Rosé.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself what is a Rosé? Rosé is french for pink. This particular wine is blush wine and is made similiarly to a red wine but rather then keeping the skin on the grapes during fermentation they’re only allowed to sit for three days then the skins are disgarded. This three day process gives the Rosé that pinkish color.

Last night we had Triennes Rosé 2008 with our lobster. This wine had the scent of raspberries and strawberries but the taste was soft slightly dry with a long finish.  In other words you had a hint of the fruit as taste but it wasn’t sweet. The lobster’s moist taste was played off very well by the Rosé. And at 15% off (694 had a special) you can’t be that. *Special shout out to our waitress for being awesome and big thanks to Chris the owner who gave us a tour.

Our night was fun and delicious. You can’t be that right? So if you’re in Chicago stop by 694 Wines and Spirits but if you live in a different area remember when you go for Lobster or make it at home try to pair it with a nice Rosé.  Cheers!

Amarone: A Life Changing Wine

Begali amarone

Calling Amarone a life changing wine may seem a little exaggerated but that is exactly how I described it to Lissette. Yes I understand that this wine probably will have no real effect on your day-to-day life but it may change the way you look at wine. It did for me.

I first learned about Amarone at a wine tasting in 2008 (we had a Cesari Amarone). It was by far the best wine of the night and I was immediately hooked! Sadly even the “inexpensive” bottles run around $40. Since my first taste I’ve only had a handful of bottles and a few glasses at wine events, but I have yet to be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry

A Wine Filled Easter Weekend

My parents were in town this weekend for Easter. This means I had lots of good wine and good food!   They got in Thursday night and we started the weekend with a French Burgundy at the Red Rooster Wine Bar. The 2000 Laboure-Roi of the Gevrey Chambertin appellation was a very smooth wine. Being that the bottle was a 2000 the tannins had time to mellow. The wine was very balanced and had the old word characteristics you would expect from a French wine; dark fruit and hints of leather. You may be thinking leather? That’s kind of weird but leather is actually a common characteristic of wine. And can add some real complexity to a bottle of wine.

The second night my parent were here we ate in. my mother made an awesome rack of lamb and we started with a 2010 Villa Des Anges Rose from France. It’s important to note that a rose is NOT the same thing as a White Zinfandel. I repeat Rose is NOT the same as White Zinfandel. This rose run about $11 a bottle and is a perfect pre-dinner sipping wine.  It is very light and crisp. It is a dry rose (I’m not a fan of sweeter wines) and is great on its own, but would pair well with salads, seafood and other light dishes. Read the rest of this entry

White Wine Season Begins

Chateau Ste Michelle Rieling

If you haven’t noticed spring is here and with the leaves changing it means warmer weather will follow.  Barbecue and picnic season is upon us which only means you’re social calendars will start to be filled by invites to these outdoor dining activities. Emily Post rules of etiquette states that you should always bring something to your host as a thank you for the invitation. Wine has become a popular host gift.

When I’m invited to a spring/summer party I bring a chilled bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling. This particular white wine is sweet with a hint of tart. Perfect for almost any dish you’ll be grilling outside. Unless you’re a strictly red wine drinker, almost everyone will love this wine. Here is the best part of this particular wine it won’t break your bank. Its usually about $10 dollars. Unless you happen to hit Target on a good week and they’ll have a  price cut special of $5.99-stock up when this happens.

This wine happens to be the wine I like to have in the summer when I’m just sitting outside enjoying the city view. Perfectly chilled glass with a sunset will do wonders. I highly recommend you try it. You’ll be surprise and how refreshing it is and it’ll make you smile even more that you didn’t have to pay $30 bucks for it.

What Does Corked Mean?

Have you ever wondered why people swirl, sniff and taste a wine before they begin drinking it? It’s not because they are pretentious and trying to look sophisticated, they are actually trying to detect whether a bottle of wine is corked.

What is corked wine?

You may be wondering what a corked wine is, in the simplest of terms it’s a bottle of wine that has gone bad before it is opened. Now this is really dumbing down what it really is so I’m going to give you the more complicated answer too.

Corked wine or cork taint is usually caused when a cork is contaminated with  TCA (2,4,6- trichloroanisole), though sometimes other factors can cause a wine to be corked. A wine with cork taint is perfectly safe to drink but it drastically changes the normal characteristic of the wine.  It only takes a very minuscule amount of TCA on a cork to ruin a bottle of wine; we’re talking parts per trillion and depending on the amount of TCA present it may not be obvious a wine has been tainted. Approximately 3% to 5% of corks are tainted, depending on whom you talk to (some say more then that other say it’s less then that). Read the rest of this entry

Wines & Chocolate-A Pair Made in Heaven

Wine and Chocolate is like marriage you have to find the right pairing to make it work. And when you make it work it can be one of the best things you’ve ever discovered. Pairing Wine and Chocolate can be difficult and if you pair the wrong chocolate with your wine it can be disaster. In some cases it can even make your chocolate taste sour. So here are some tips that can help you create a great wine and chocolate pairing. Just remember don’t go buying your chocolate at your local 7-11 store it’ll defeat the purpose of your wine pairing .

  • Pair lighter chocolate with lighter wines
  • Pair dark chocolates with dark, full bodied wines
  • Like any wine tasting work your way from light to dark Read the rest of this entry

My Go To Wine

Gnarly Head Old Vine ZinfandelEveryone should have a good inexpensive wine that is their go to wine. Whether its dinner at home, a house-warming party or a thank you, a good bottle of wine always comes in handy.

My go to wine is Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. I tend to keep at least one bottle of it on my wine rack at all times. It’s a great everyday wine, and perfect to give as a gift or bring to a party.  It typically runs between $9 and $11 and you can find it at most wine shops and even some grocery stores. 

Gnarly Head Zin is rich and creamy with soft tannins and a smooth finish. It has flavors of dark fruits with hints of pepper and vanilla. I’ve found that my friends, whose tastes in wine vary greatly, all enjoy it. Whether you like a big bold wine or you like something with a little less body this wine works. It’s got nice flavor but it’s not what I like to call a punch you in the face red.

If you haven’t tried it already go out and grab a bottle it’s a great value for the price! Maybe Gnarly Head Zin won’t be your go to wine but I’d love to hear what is!

Champagne is wine too…sort of

Is champagne wine? Let the great debate begin. Here’s the low down on Champagne. Its sparkling wine but champagne is not considered champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. Everything  else is considered sparkling wine. Confusing right?

I know what you’re saying “What do you mean? I bought Barefoot Champagne. Does it mean what I was drinking was sparkling carbonated wine?” My answer to that is yes..you’re drinking sparkling wine. Its only considered champagne if it was made in the Champagne region of France. I think I just drove the point home. But what is considered Champagne. Here is a list of few real champagnes.

There are more of course and you can find a complete list by clicking here. And believe it or not there is an Office of Champagne, USA. Feel free to look over their site and if you have questions write in.

Most of the champagnes listed above are not cheap but they are all well worth it. Some places like Cost Plus World Market sell half bottles for about $30 dollars.

In the mean time drink your Barefoot Champagne and you can call it Sparkling Wine or Champagne. Lets face it you bought it and you’ll be the one enjoying it.

Cheers to champagne wishes and caviar dreams!

Not all Wine is made in California

Seattle 2011

I know that some people feel that all good wine comes from California but believe it not there are plenty of good wineries outside of Napa Valley. Don’t get me wrong I love California wines but everyone needs to expand there horizons. I recently made a trip to Seattle where I was pleasantly surprised.  I did some research on the kind of tour I wanted and I found a company that was both reasonable and focused on both well known wineries and smaller wineries.(Side note: If you get a chance to visit Seattle make a reservation with Bon Vivant Wine Tours he’ll arrange everything from pick up/drop off to lunch).

Our day started at 10am and we headed off to some Woodinville Wineries. The drive was about 25 minutes from Seattle. The schedule called for 5 wineries and a stop for lunch. May seem like a lot but if you don’t like the wine remember to dump it in the bucket. No sense sipping a wine that doesn’t satisfy the palate. Read the rest of this entry

Wine Speak 101

Have you ever been at a wine tasting and been asked to speak about the wine? Did you have no idea what to say other than you liked or disliked the wine? Here are some terms to help you sound like wine connoisseur whether you know anything about wine or not. 

Full-Bodied- This describes a wine that has a rich or heavier feel to it. They are usually complex and the flavor lingers in your mouth (Cabernet and Bordeaux are good examples of wine that are often full-bodied)

Thin- This is the opposite of full-bodied. The wines are usually not as complex and the flavor does not linger on your palette. Read the rest of this entry

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