Archive | November, 2015

My 2015 Thanksgiving Wines

24 Nov

It’s been a while since I was a guest at someone else’s home for Thanksgiving. But this year that’s our plan, to visit my wife’s sister upstate, “far, far, away”.  It’s such a trip that I actually have to fly there Thursday evening after I’m done working (I am an audio engineer on the NBC/Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade). It’s also a little weird that the East coast is unseasonably warm this time of year, and in general I expect the wine drinkers to be either into full-bodied reds or moderate whites, so my standard approach is definitely out. So here are the wines I’m sending up for Thanksgiving:

Sparkling/Delicate White: I’ve had two sparkling wines on standby but I’m shifting gears and going instead with the gently effervescent Vale Do Homem Arinto Vinho Verde ($8). Light on both the palate and in alcohol, it’s an easy, delightful wine for an appetizer or the non-wine drinkers who want a taste of something they will enjoy but rarely drink a full glass. I’ll know we’ll have three people who fit this category at the table this year.

Full-bodied White: This year, I’m dropping down from full-bodied white Bordeaux to a gentler Sancerre. 2014 Les Fossiles Domain Phillipe Raimbault Sancerre ($18) is refreshingly crisp of bright citrus and has smashing acidity. It’s  a white wine drinker’s dream in weather like this, gentle on the palate by itself but enough strength to cut through the savory and heavier dishes that dote the thanksgiving table. I expect it to be a crowd pleaser.

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Rosé:  Lelievre  Gris De Toul Rosé 2014 ($17). My readers know I love to serve a high end rosé, and this one is a great value. Superbly clean, crisp, and wonderful at cleansing the palate with nice acidity, delicate fruit and a nice mineral finish, from the Lorraine Valley.

Medium-Bodied Red: 2013 Lieu Dit Cabernet Franc, Santa Ynez Valley ($29). This wine knocked me out at a blind tasting recently and I thought, “what a killer Thanksgiving wine”. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and going for it, realizing that this knocks out my traditional pinot noir or cru beaujolais, but I’m excited to see how it stands up! I adored this wine at the tasting (and went back for more) and am excited to see how it fares with this meal of meals.

Full-Bodied Red: 2006 Château Larteau Grand Vin de Bordeaux ($18) . A mature, full-flavored red bordeaux blend that demonstrates excellent color, nose, and favor. Cassis, eucalyptus, and a touch of road tar give this wine the full body that red wine drinkers adore, and I know this as a consistent fan favorite in the under $20 range that compares well to wines at twice the price. My brother-in-law will love this wine and I expect we’ll be watching football and finishing the bottle together after the dishes are done.

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What wine is going on your Thanksgiving table this year?

À vôtre santé!

 

 

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Thanksgiving Wine: Street Exchange with a Beer Drinker!

19 Nov

I’ve had people tell me “This is Thanksgiving for the REST of us!”
So here you are… Thanksgiving Wine Advice for the Beer Drinkers.

jvb uncorked

I had a funny exchange on a freezing street corner: A co-worker approached me, needing some wine help and at the same time, unwittingly offering me some interesting constructive criticism.
“JvB, you know I’m a beer guy and have no time… or honestly, any interest to read your wine blog. But I can’t go to the liquor store and say ‘gimme a thanksgiving dinner wine’ because I have done that before and they point at a row of stuff that nobody enjoys. I just need enough to sound like I know what I’m looking for, and to choose ONE decent bottle of wine for Thanksgiving. Can ya PLEASE do me a frickin’ favor and give me ONE wine to buy instead of a hundred options?”
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I bit my tongue down on my sarcastic reply. His point was immediately taken. This guy actually wanted help, and here I was. I was…

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Special Occasion Wines: JvB UnCorked for Snooth

19 Nov

When it comes to special occasion wines we have to make some tough choices. Old world vs new world wines? Will they open it soon, or lay it down to give it rest and age? Do they even have proper storage? A gift-giver should never expect that a bottle will be opened after being presented, but sometimes it is, you simply never know. The old world wine lover in me wants to gift older Bordeaux, but instead of finding bottles with a decade of age, I most often will choose recent vintages of high end, small-volume, independent California winemakers that will delight lovers of both old and new world wines. 

 

Modus Operandi Vicarious Red Blend 2011 ($45, MSRP)

Color is an opaque, ruddy purple. The nose shows black fruit, orchid, and clove. On the palate, blackberry, cassis and black plum with vanilla , spice box and a bit of heat. Huge  finish, nice lengthy balance, with toasted oak as the final note, while the tannins squeeze my cheeks to ask for more. A stunning, vivacious red blend in the new world style with nods to old world technique and balance. Aptly named!

link: http://moduswines.com

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DuMOL Chardonnay 2012 Russian River Valley, Sonoma, CA  (approx $60)

Green-gold in color, a perfumed nose that demonstrates white peach and tangerine. In the mouth, an expansive palate of pear and baked apple with a  touch of citrus is met by bold acidity. Excellent depth and focus, finish offers gentle wood with secondary notes of stone and spice. Just beautifully made and a treasure to enjoy. Pre-allocation makes this hard to find but a joy to experience.

link: http://www.dumol.com

DuMOL copy

 

This post was originally submitted to Snooth.com and the Modus/Vicarious review can be found here as part of Snooth’s “Special Occasion Wines Worth the Price” 

à votre santé!

DOC Montalcino! Italy’s Sangiovese in Good and Great Vintages

16 Nov

Castello Banfi Rosso Di Montalcino 2013, 13.5%ABV, $20/bottle.

The wine’s color shows a deep ruby center with garnet edging, while the nose exhibits menthol, cherry and red plum. In the mouth, it is a soft and delicate balance with mature red fruit expanding across the palate with a gentle acidity that slowly builds in the mouth. The medium-long finish has notes of young tobacco, cedar plank, and calcium.  This bottle stayed valid for almost a week and paired well with white and red meats as well as Italian and South American spices. After five days the acidity was pronounced and a slight bitterness noted the finish, but I was very impressed at how well this opened bottle maintained consistency over time, offering excellent value at this price point.

Banfi Rossi

Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 2010, 14%ABV, Average $61/bottle, as low as $50/bottle online.

The color is full garnet with a ruby edging, the nose is perfumed, showing red plum, raspberry, hints of vanilla, white pepper, and mature oak. In the mouth, a delicate balance of full-bodied  and slightly sweet fruit: plum, cassis, dried cranberry and fig jam cross the palate followed by notes of limestone, road tar, leather and green pepper. The lengthy finish offers stone, dust, nicely evolved tannins. The harmonious balance in the wine stayed consisted from the first opening of the bottle until my final tasting on the fifth day after opening when I could no longer restrain myself to only an ounce. This wine complemented salad, pasta sauces, asian spices, meat, strong cheeses and chocolate. Beautifully feminine in structure, this Brunello deftly demonstrates the beauty of the Sangiovese grape. Excellent after decanting and consistent over several days, here is a perfect example of the stunning fruit that Italian winemakers were talking about in their 2010 growing year,  matched by expert winemaking and balanced aging. Don’t just buy a bottle, you can go for case quantity comfortably on this wine as it will age beautifully and continue to improve.

Brunello

 

à votre santé!

Rock City Riesling!

7 Nov

 

Jakoby-Mathy Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Kinheimer Hubertuslay; Mosel, Germany. 10% ABV, $19/bottle from Garagiste.

Pale straw in color with a vibrant nose of white pear, melon, tangerine, and sea spray. On the palate, the forward fruit is fig, followed by bosc pear, tart granny smith apple, a powerfully focused flint and limestone minerality with a punch of lime zest on the finish. The mouthfeel is perfectly dry, and idyllically acidic. I found no trace of petrol. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this wine, not only was it a fabulous foil for both a strong balsamic salad dressing and a juicy protein, but I also loved this wine by itself both served chilled and as it expanded and evolved at room temperature. The fact that I was able to source it for under $20 was a huge added bonus for a terrific wine. The moderate fruit is inviting, the huge stone and citrus finish is boldly stunning, and the finish is focused, precise, and long lasting. In short, the Matterhorn in a bottle. 

 

Jakoby Aufsteig

 

à votre santé!

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