Archive | May, 2016

JvB On Snooth: The Ultimate Cookie & Wine Pairing

28 May

I’m honored to share with you my inclusion to Snooth.com’s ‘s Ultimate Cookie & Wine Pairing Guide. I’m only one of a slew of fabulous and talented wine writers who contributed to this piece, but I know you want to see what I’m talking about and drinking! And darn, this is a yummy cookie, too!

The wine that I chose for my submission is a delightful vintage of Sauternes: 2007’s Chateau de Rayne Vigneau. It has more acidity than sweetness and makes for an ideal end to a great meal. If you try this, please comment and let me know- I think you will be blown away by how good the pairing is!

My submission (page three on the Snooth.com article) is below. They opted to use another photo, but this one is mine, and I like it:

Rayne

My family strays from the sweeter cookie types to either simple or savory flavors. So it is with no surprise that I choose Rip van Wafels’ dark chocolate sea salt, non-GMO cookie. Superbly soft, chewy texture with dark bittersweet chocolate and more salt than sugar makes a stunning after dinner cleansing bite. A perfect pairing is made with a Premier Grand Cru Classé Sauternes from 2007, also not dripping in sugar. The Chateau de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes ’07 is a delightful golden hue with a nose of honey and apricot. On the palate, the wine is gorgeously focused with bracing acidity and huge fruit flavors of ripe pear, apricot and passion fruit, drinking less like dessert and more like a meal. Stunning clarity without too much sugar, this Sauternes is the ultimate mate for the savory dark chocolate sea salt waffle cookie. Enjoy!

-Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked.wordpress.com

à votre santé!

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Finding the Chardonnay Trifecta!

22 May

May 21st was National Chardonnay Day! It’s not like we need an excuse to drink chardonnay. Recently, however, my calendar has been full of fun tastings and events (on top of my normally insane life working in entertainment) so my chardonnay intake has been quite low.

And by low I mean simply nonexistent.
Here’s a question for you, dear readers, and I’d like your responses!
Q: Does wanting to drink GOOD chardonnay make me a snob?  

There is so much mediocre chardonnay on the market. I have no problem buying a low-cost wine, mind you- I just want a great tasting chardonnay. In honor of #ChardonnayDay I went to the cellar and picked two wines I have hoarded for a special occasion, one from Sonoma, one from Burgundy. I opened them, and had a small pour from each. 

I sat and looked at the wines. I was trepidatious. These bottles of wine are my special, adored treasures. Once opened, they could no longer be kept. And that could be good or bad- I’ve been experiencing premature oxidation with many white burgundies, enough to cause my heart to race when looking through my cellar at racks I have been patiently waiting for the perfect age to enjoy.

Tangent: When you open a special, pricey bottle that has been either corked or prematurely oxidized, it’s heartbreaking. And it’s happened more often that I’d like to admit. I thought I was the only one, until I saw social media posts about it and then bluntly asked my trusted wine aficionado, blogger The Drunken Cyclist about his mention. It’s kind of like getting athlete’s foot from the gym shower and having your doctor patiently explain WHY other people are wearing those ugly shower shoes.

Apologies for the tangent, we’re not here to talk about athlete’s foot or shower shoes today. Here, these are funny wine flip flops, since I don’t have a cute cat video to share:

retro_wine_bottles_and_glasses_flip_flops-rf23dd62dbf4146aa91a059bc28c6d286_z9cuv_324

 

If you really require a higher level of amusement, watch this (not cat) video demonstrating how to open a wine bottle using a flip flop. This is a method I’d suggest only if you would like to drink your wine only after running it through a blender, which has a similar effect:

Enough of this tangent?

Getting back to the point.

#ChardonnayDay. Looking at two glasses, each one holding a small amount of wine from two of my treasured, cellared bottles for “a special occasion”, much like #OTBN. Well, “No Day But Today”, with apologies to Jonathan Larson.

 

One final whiff of the nose, and finally, to the mouth. Sip. Swirl, sucking in air. Swish, hold. Add air, swish, hold. Swallow. Consider.

 

Heaven. When chardonnay is great, there is no mistaking it. When I was nosing these wines, I wondered what food I should find to pair them with. To be certain, after a sip from each, I no longer cared about any food. Both of these wines were so blissfully stunning, I was blind to anything but the joy represented in the glasses.  Have you ever found yourself holding a glass of wine that shows this trifecta: a perfect specimen of the grape varietal, a growing region’s well-suited terroir, paired with love, care, and obsession in delicate winemaking? I have. Both of these fit the bill.

Meursault Heroine

 

I have to say, I was nervous. Our wine treasures are ever-changing chemical blends. I’ve had both brilliant and horrid experiences with bottles I’ve cellared and treasured. It could be, to quote Eddie Izzard,  “Cake or Death?”

 

Unknown

 

Except with chardonnay.

I know. You’re sophisticated.  You get the point. “Chardonnay or Death.”

 

First world problems.

 

So. Both of these wines… made me feel ecstatic and entirely focused, like a teenager madly in love: for a moment, nothing else mattered: no term papers, no cares about school, my parents, my after-school job. No matter if I had a pimple, high school was frustrating, or I’d come to terms with the sad fact that the lead singer of a band I really liked was in reality a total jerk (truth). Nothing else mattered. THIS. WAS. STUNNING. Just fast-forward thirty (ok, maybe forty?) -plus years to Middle-Age aka Blatant Adulthood. This… this is serious wine. Yeah. Oh, that’s good.

There will be no notes today of these wine, no mention of the pale straw color of the meursault or the green hue of Iconic’s Heroine. I won’t talk about how beautiful the mouthfeel, how like Sonoma the Heroine drinks, or how complex the meursault was. I found the trifecta again! Because like those glasses of wine, it was all in the moment, which was beautiful and fleeting, and now is simply a memory.

Happy #ChardonnayDay!

 

à votre santé!

Arneis & Nebbiolo: The Real Roero!

19 May

Arneis is a white wine grape whose origin is from the Piedmont region of Italy. Some of the finest examples of this wine are from the DOCG region of Roero, just northwest of Alba. Arneis wines tend to be crisp, dry, and floral; full-bodied wines with notes of white pear, apple, and apricot, with a strong mineral backbone. These wines should be available in high end wine stores in the $16-25 range and run slightly high in alcohol, usually 13-13.5% ABV.

Arneis 3

 

Arneis1

 

Arneis2

2015 was an excellent year in the Roero thanks to a snowy winter, mild spring, and rainy-but-hot summer. This combination of weather in the Roero region produced often perfect or near-perfect quality grapes with the traditional mineral-focused mouthfeel plus intense aromas and flavors of fruit with excellent aging potential.

I worked my way through the #RealRoero tasting of Roero wines held in New York City, enjoying myself thoroughly, first tasting recent vintages from 2011-2015. The Arneis wines show beautiful floral aromas with delicate fruit, mineral backbone and a sturdy finish that is absolutely delightful and makes me wonder why I haven’t sought these wines out previously.

The red counterparts, largely 100% nebbiolo Roero reds, are stunning in their own perspective. In these nebbiolos, bright fruit is in the background, while beautiful aromas mystify the nose and complex flavors bathe the tongue. My tasting notes included african violet, red plum, black cherry, pencil shavings, eucalyptus, forest floor and saddle leather. Colors range from bright ruby to muted garnet.


RR1 Deltetto

 

R3 vibrant nebb

 

R Nebb 1998

 

Like the Arneis wines, Roero reds vary from season to season with flavor profiles but show great consistency in quality and equal enjoyment between cooler and warmer years. It was a delight to taste 2011- 2012 reds alongside 1998 and 2001 vintages, demonstrating the aging potential these wines have and the beauty and complexity that is available for those willing to wait the test of time by cellaring. These wines should price in the $18-35 range on shelves and are usually 13-14.5% ABV.

2Deltetto 2001

 

sergentin

 

hold bottle

 

mal

I hope you are able to find wines from the Roero region in your local wine stores and try them for yourself, please leave a note if you are! I am excited to include wines from the Roero region in my next Italian wine tasting, and am struggling with which ones I should add to my personal cellar (can you say #FirstWorldProblems?). But know that you should expect to see more of them here on JvBUnCorked!

à votre santé!

Evening Land Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13 May

Evening Land Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2012, Sonoma County, CA. 13.5% ABV, Street Price @ $35-40 online.   

Color is deep ruby with purple center. Nose offers African violet, cherry cola, and ripe red raspberry. In the mouth, fruit-forward black cherry, slightly sour raspberry and blackberry is matched by powerful acidity. Secondary notes of wet stone, gravel, chalk and loam while the medium finish maintains valiant fruit past its completion.

 

Evening Land Pinot

While digging through my cellar, I found a half case of this and had to open a bottle. I’m glad I did, but hope I can be patient enough to leave these resting until they are mature enough for the brilliant balance and depth that is possible with proper age. It tastes fun and vibrant now, but each sip screams of the potential it offers, like an angst-ridden teenager.

 

à votre santé!

Château D’Arlay Vin Jaune

12 May

Château D’Arlay Vin Jaune 2007, AOC Côtes du Jura, France. 

One taste of a jura wine is all you need to know that they are unusual and special wines. I fell in love slowly with vin jaune, but loving the most unusual of historic and traditional French wines can have quite an impact on you. This wine is made entirely from savagnin grapes, matured in barrels for at least 6.5 years without topping off or added sulfite. The wine, left to oxidize, forms a protective covering of natural yeast. There is nothing else like a Jura Vin Jaune, one taste will make you agree.

vin jaune to edit

The ’07 D’Arlay vin jaune is light gold in color with a sherry-like nose of oxidized yeast and subtle tree fruit. In the mouth, it manages to be both rich and delicate. In addition to perfunctory fruit, secondary notes of almond, walnut, mushroom, dried earth, and salt are prominent. This is a wine created to complement food and the high acidity allows it to pair with comté cheese and a piece of bread, a simple fish appetizer, and white meat entrée. But if you love cheese, the meal can end there- vin jaune was made to complement cheese, and that was the catalyst for my love of it, and the reason why you should taste it, at least once in your life. Street price is approximately $60/bottle, but this is something you hoard for yourself or share with friends but don’t just pop open while you’re cooking, unless you live in the Jura.

Vin Jaune

à votre santé!

 

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