About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!
Website: http://agoodtimewithwine.com
Matt.mmwine has written 198 articles so far, you can find them below.

About Matt.mmwine

Sommelier, wine writer, and overall Motor Mouth, I appear on various TV shows, host local wine events, and write about wine, food, cocktails, family & more!

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Here are my most recent posts

Alternative Summer White Wines

Alternative White Wines For Summer

Alternative White Wines For Summer

Have you fallen into a summer wine rut?  Are you drinking the same summer white wine all the time? Maybe you have found a wine you love so much, you can’t consider drinking anything else! Or, you may not have found any other wines that tickle your tastebuds.  This weekend I visited Eric Roby and Tara Cardoso at the WPEC CBS12 studios to talk about some alternative white wines under $20 for you to consider this summer.

You can view the short segment first, then continue on for some more information on each of the wines we discussed.

Matt Horbund’s CBS12 Summer White Wine segment on YouTube

One wine to think about this summer is Grooner 2009 Gruner Veltliner. Often called just Gruner, this wine is crisp and dry, with great acidity to pair with foods. It’s not sweet or fruity, and you’ll notice a lot of green flavors, from green apple to green grass to even green onion. For just $11, this wine is perfect for summer days. The tart green apple and other green flavors will be tamed a little with food, so be sure to try it on it’s own as well as with food. It works well with chicken, fish, and assorted cheeses.

 

Grooner 2009 Gruner Veltliner

Grooner 2009 Gruner Veltliner

Another great grape for summer is Gewurztraminer. It’s so often overlooked, yet it’s so delicious. Pronounced Geh-vurs-trah-mean-er, you’ll find delightful floral and lychee fruit flavors up front on this wine. However, there’s a perfect balance of baking spice that keeps the Hugel & Fils 2008 Gewurztraminer from going over the edge. I love it with only a slight chill, as opposed to ice cold. White wines should normally be served in the 50-55 degree range, though I prefer this one more towards “room temperature” or about 60 degrees. I feel the flavors open up as it warms up. Again, think chicken, fish, cheese, and pork when you think of food pairings with Gewurztraminer wines. I feel for $16, the Hugel Gewurztraminer is a great value. I think Gewurz will satisfy the palate of people who prefer sweeter or fruiter wines, while still being enjoyed by those who love dry, crisp wines.

Hugel2008 Gewurztraminer

Hugel2008 Gewurztraminer

Finally, there is the Fairvalley 2010 Chenin Blanc, from South Africa. You’ll find this wine straddling the flavor profile of two previous wines, with great acidity similar to the gruner, with lighter floral and fruit notes similar to the gewurztraminer. Fairvalley has a very neat story, where in the late 1990s they formed a co-op of sorts, with proceeds from their work goings towards housing and community development. I’ve enjoyed other chenin blanc from South Africa before, as well from France. In France, you’ll find chenin blanc coming from Vouvray, and I’ve discussed one of these Loire Valley Wines previously on CBS12 when looking at white wines from France.

Fairvalley 2010 Chenin Blanc

Fairvalley 2010 Chenin Blanc

There are plenty of options for delicious white wines this summer. Don’t get stuck in a wine rut, try one of these three recommendations, and then let me know your thoughts!

Cheers!

Wines for your July 4th Party

July 4th Wine Ideas - July 4th Wine Ideas
July 4th Wine Ideas

There will be no shortage of July 4th parties this coming week. With all the great food, and great friends, you’ll want to pair great wines. This morning I visited CBS12 WPEC in West Palm Beach to offer three suggestions for wines to pair with fun or food this Independence Day!


View Matthew Horbund’s July 4th Wine selections on YouTube directly.

Our first option is a Rose D’Anjou from the Sauvion house, and brothers Yves and Jean-Ernest. The chateau has been in the Savion family since 1935. Made of 70% groslot, pronounced grow-loh, and 30% gamay this is an inexpensive, fun, easy drinking wine. It has a palate of strawberry and red raspberry fruit which is very ripe and even shows a hint of sweetness. It should be served with a good chill, and will pair with a wide range of foods. It can be sipped alone, or with a nice salad with grilled chicken. It’ll go nicely with a fresh fruit and cheese plate as well. For just $9.99 in many stores, it’s worth trying.

Sauvion Rose D'Anjou - a great July 4th and summer wine
Sauvion Rose D’Anjou

If you’re looking for a crisp white wine for your July 4th party, look no further than Duckhorn’s Decoy Sauvignon Blanc. Duckhorn Vineyards has a variety of lines, each with a distinct winemaker and pedigree. The Decoy line draws from the talents of the various winemakers, depending on the grape, and offers good value. The Decoy Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was a delicious blend of tropical fruits, think pineapple and kiwi, balanced with delightful citrus of lime, lemon and pink grapefruit. It’s dry, crisp, and has great acidity, making it very food friendly. From seafood to chicken, this wine will be a hit at your Independence Day party. For $17.99, it’s a great Napa white wine.

Duckhorn's Decoy Sauvignon Blanc
Duckhorn’s Decoy Sauvignon Blanc

From burgers to ribs to pasta, this Zinfandel wine from Ridge Lytton Springs vineyard pairs perfectly. A blend of 71% Zinfandel, 22% Petit Sirah, 7% carignon, this is a rich, complex red wine bursting with multiple layers on the palate. First notes are dark red berries, black cherry, and strawberries. However, they’re quickly followed by notes of chocolate and mocha, and subtle balance of spice. There is a little acidity that’s noticeable when sipped alone, but that makes the Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel very food friendly. We paired this red wine with chicken Parmesan and it was amazing, but look for a delightful food and wine experience when paired with burgers, bbq, steaks, and ribs. It cost about $27.99 at most wine stores, but is a nice wine for the money.

Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel
Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel

I look forward to hearing about your food and wine choices for July 4th. What’s your go to Independence wine pairing?

A look at the award winning olive oil from Pasolivo

Pasolivo Olive Oil From Paso Robles California
Pasolivo Olive Oil From Paso Robles California

I know I went to Paso Robles to cover the up and coming wine region. I know I was sent there to see what California was doing with Rhone varietals and share that information with you. However one of the very exciting things that came from my trip was a new love for olive oil, and I have Pasolivo to thank for that.

I did not know there are a good number of olive tree groves in Paso Robles. A future article will cover Still Waters Vineyards, where they have 100 year old trees on the property, in addition to fantastic wine experiences. Pasolivo has 45 acres of olive trees, 12 different olive varieties in over 6,000 trees, all of which are farmed organically and sustainably. However, what struck me about Pasolivo was not only the small business success story, with a small crew of people who pick, press and pack the oils by hand, but also the large variety of oils made and knowledge that went with them.

Lemon infused Olive Oil from Pasolivo
Pasolivo Lemon infused Olive Oil

Joeli Yaguda, the owner of Pasolivo is excited to have people in the tasting room and can’t wait to taste you on her artisan olive oils. She will explain the various flavors of the extra virgin olive oils, from grassy notes to peppery finishes. Joeli will break out the flavor wheel and explain everything that her olive oils may have to offer. Then you’ll get the chance to sample some of the infused oils such as lemon or tangerine and truly have your mind, and taste buds, blown away!

Mostly used for finishing oils, the tangerine and lemon oils are great. Infused with distilled citrus oils, they add huge flavor to salads, poultry and fish.  Plate up a delicious grilled fish or chicken breast with a nice salad, drizzle some citrus or lemon Pasolivo on top, and watch your guests eyed bug out while they proclaim you a culinary genius. Joining the “Press Club” entitles you to certain limited production oils, as well as a very well done booklet that includes recipes and ideas for using these great oils. One tip for the Tangerine oil was to rub it over turkey and season with rosemary.

Dating the Pasolivo Olive Oils
Dating the Pasolivo Olive Oils

I also learned two very important storage and preservation tips about olive oil. First,  extra virgin olive oil has quite a limited shelf life. Each bottle of Pasolivo, tin actually, is dated on the bottom, letting you know when it’s best used by.  Olive oil is best when used within six months of press date.  The oils you get in the grocery store may have spent a month or six in the warehouse before you had the chance to purchase, potentially impacting their taste.  Second, like wine, olive oil is light sensitive. That is why Pasolivo went through a number of bottle and tin packages, finally settling on an Italian option that best preserved the flavor of the oils. Joeli tried a number of local and US made options, but none were as effective as preserving the flavors.

Pasolivo Olive Oils have won a slew of awards, too many to mention here. The price is about $25 for a 300ml tin, representing the labor and cost intensive process to create these artisan oils. I’ve compared their prices to other producers in California, and they’re similar. While they’re more expensive than the mass produced olive oils you’ll see in the grocery store, they’re also fresher, higher quality, and a lot tastier. That said, I just finished my free sample and will order one of the citrus options, as I was so enamored by my visit.  If you try some Pasolivo olive oils, let me know what you think when your oils arrive!

In Harmony – Pasta and Harmony Cellars Zinfandel

Harmony Cellars 2008 Zinfandel

Harmony Cellars 2008 Zinfandel

Paso Robles has been getting a lot of attention for it’s wines of late. When Saxum won Wine Spectator 2010 Wine Of the Year, Rhone varietals such as marsasnne, roussane, and of course syrah from the Paso Robles area became highly sought after. During a recent press trip to Paso, I tasted many great Rhone varietal wines from Paso Robles wineries such as Tablas Creek and Denner. However, as Paso Robles is also well known for it’s zinfandel wines, I had to sip a few of them. I was fortunate to have a sample bottle sent home to review of one of those zinfandel wines from Harmony Cellars.

The View Outside of Harmony Cellars Tasting Room

The View Outside of Harmony Cellars Tasting Room

A small, family-owned winery, Harmony produces about 6,500 cases of various wines each year. Owners Chuck and Kim Mulligan founded the winery in 1989, and winemaker Chuck Mulligan still does most of the work himself. The winery sits on a plot of land that has been in Kim’s family for four generations, and Kim’s great grandfather, Giacomo Barloggio used to make homemade wine in his basement.

Though I don’t know for sure, I will assume based on his name that great-grandpa Giacomo Barloggio was Italian. Perhaps that’s why the Harmony Cellars 2008 Zinfandel is a perfect pasta wine. I’ve been making a simple bolognese sauce for the past six years, and always love pairing it with different red wines to see what works well. I’m positive that the Harmony Cellars Zinfandel is my favorite pairing so far. With a price of $19 for the wine, it makes an for inexpensive pasta meal for two.

Harmony - Pasta and Zinfandel

Harmony – Pasta and Zinfandel

On it’s own, the Harmony Cellars Zinfandel was big and jammy, with plenty of dark cherry, blackberry and a little chocolate note. There’s also a good bit of spice, black pepper and cinnamon on the palate. The wine paired perfectly with the pasta bolognese, enhancing the dark chocolate notes while maintaining a good balance of dark fruit and spice.

Pasta isn’t the only food this wine will pair well with. Zinfnadel works great with almost anything you’d cook on the grill. With Father’s Day coming up, Dad will love putting some burgers and dogs on the grill, and pairing them with a glass of Harmony Cellars Zinfandel. If BBQ ribs are your thing, then zinfandel is for you! I love the combination of a great zinfandel and BBQ ribs, and Dad will too!

Sipping Chardonnay – Franciscan 2009

Franciscan Napa Chardonnay 2009

Franciscan Napa Chardonnay 2009

For over thirty years, the Franciscan Estate winery has been making small lots of wine and blending them together to bring to market what they believe is a fantastic wine. They offer multiple lines of wine, including the Signature Wines, as well as the Limited Selection Magnificat and Cuvee Sauvage lines. Their main line, Signature Wines, offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and the wine I’ll discuss now, the 2009 Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay.

I receive many press samples of Franciscan wines, and have thought they were all nice wines. This chardonnay is the first I’ve written about, because I feel for the price, it offers a solid wine. For $18, this offers a taste of a Napa chardonnay without paying exorbitant prices. This white wine needed to breathe, something I’m finding more and more whites can benefit from. As soon as it was uncorked, the bouquet was pears slathered in buttered popcorn, and the palate was light to medium, with a very round mouth feel. The acidity seemed a little off and the fruit seemed over ripe.  However, after about 15 minutes open in the glass, the wine was much different.

After breathing, the palate was much more round, a function of the malolactic fermentation as well as the 8 months sur lie in a mix of American and French Oak. Sur lie means the lees, or expired yeast left after fermentation, stays in the barrel with the wine, which gives it a rounder, softer mouth feel.  There were notes of pear, vanilla and buttered popcorn on the palate, and the acidity was much more subtle.

The Franciscan Napa Chardonnay is fermented in oak barrels, using wild yeast which results in lively, fruit and mineral flavors with some layers of complexity. When fermenting wine, some winemakers use specific yeasts to achieve specific notes. Using whatever yeasts are in the air and vineyard naturally is thought to allow nature to guide the wine’s outcome. If you are a fan of oaky, buttery chardonnays then for $18 this is one to try. However, if you prefer a crisp chardonnay, or one with more fruit, then you’d skip the Franciscan. While the pear and fruit notes are definitely present on the wine, I feel with even such a light oak aging of 8 months, the vanilla, butter, and oak takes center stage.  If you’re looking for a nice chardonnay food and wine pairing, this wine will pair nicely with a roast chicken and side dishes such as mashed potato or macaroni and cheese.

Sipping something Un4Seen

Un4Seen Red Blend

Un4Seen Red Blend

Sometimes the adage “You get what you pay for” doesn’t necessarily hold true. Sometimes, you get less, but every now and then, you get more. That was the case with a sample of Un4Seen Red Wine I received recently. And while I didn’t actually spend the $10, I’d do so in a second!

With it’s hokey little name and it’s cute little label, I really didn’t expect much from this wine. However, what was in the bottle really impressed me, especially since I hadn’t heard of the ‘new’ winery from Lodi, or the people making it. I did a little research, however, and found out who I think is behind the wine. The folks at Lange Twins winery. I mean, can it be a coincidence that the 2008 vintage was done by Chief Winemaker David Akiyoshi and the 2009 vintage by winemaker Karen Birmingham, both part of the Lange Twins Team? Anyway, I digress.

What strikes you first about the wine is the blend of grapes used to make it. Clearly listed in red on the label, Un4seen is a blend of Zinfandel, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot, not necessarily four grapes you’d expect to find in one bottle. The grapes all come from Lodi and Clarksburg, California. The 2009 vintage sees the four different grapes fermented separately, then blended to create the wine in the bottle. Each of the grapes can stand on it’s own, and what happened when they came together was interesting.

Right out of the bottle, with no air, there were restrained red cherries with some leather on the nose. The palate is a dark red fruit, cherries and maybe raspberries. There’s an earthy element and light leather as well, with a slight tart finish, but I enjoy it. The tannins are soft, and it’s an easy drinking wine with some decent complexity. However, after 30 or so minutes, and pairing with a perfectly grilled steak, this wine began to shine.

Suddenly, adding some beef to the equation allowed really nice fruit comes out of the glass. The notes from the wine vacillated back and forth, with a very fruit forward stance with a midpalate of black pepper. The Zinfandel definitely takes center state, with tremendous ripe, red berries. However, the mid palate and finish shows the malbec and merlot, with an earthy finish. From sip to sip, those flavors would show themselves, each battling for center stage, but in a fun, playful way.

For $10, I didn’t expect this wine to rock my socks off. However, it definitely brought some more to the table, or wine glass, than I expected. Worth the money, and then some. Throw a nice steak at it, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good $10 can taste.

What is your favorite $10 and under wine?

This Week at Total Wine – Sauvignon Blanc

Matthew Horbund talks Sauvignon Blanc at Total Wine

Matthew Horbund talks Sauvignon Blanc at Total Wine

A wine store like Total Wine and More can be intimidating for the uninitiated. With thousands of bottles staring you in the face, picking out the perfect wine for your meal or party may seem daunting. Though it’s really not that difficult, I kick off a new collaboration with Total Wine to help you navigate the aisles easily with a video about sauvignon blanc, a perfect summer wine.

The short video will go through where you’ll find sauvignon blanc, the different flavors this grape offers, and even a few food and wine pairing tips with sauvginon blanc. A delicious, dry, crisp white wine,  you’ll enjoy exploring the different areas producing sauvignon blanc.

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Matthew Horbund Talks Sauvignon Blanc at Total Wine

In coming weeks, we’ll talk about other delicious wines for your summer get together. In the mean time, I’d love to hear which sauvignon blanc is your favorite, and if you like sauvignon blanc alone, or with food!

Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour

The Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Pavilion at Sunfest 2011

The Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Pavilion at Sunfest 2011

The old adage of “practice makes perfect” holds true, even when it comes to tasting wine. It’s only through experience that you’ll know what you like, and be able to buy wine with confidence. Dale Cruse believes that buying the perfect bottle of wine should be one of the easiest things you do. I agree with Dale, and so does the team at Robert Mondavi Winery and Constellation Brands. To prove it, they’re taking the winery experience on the road, and bringing the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour to a festival near you.

I sat with the team at the Discover Wine pavilion from 6 until 9, and chatted about everything under the sun. During that time, we had the opportunity to of course sip on some Robert Mondavi Winery wines, including the fume blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. We then discussed the goal of the tour, which is not just to put a bug in your ear about Mondavi wines. It’s to provide an interactive educational experience that’s fun while being informative.  The tour was kicked off in Arizona on April 9th, and made it’s way to West Palm Beach for SunFest from April 29 to May 1st. It’ll stop in Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlantic City, Lenox, Royal Oak, Chicago, and wrap up in Philadelphia. And there’s some great things to encounter.

Robert Mondavi Essence Station

Robert Mondavi Essence Station

Upon entering the pavilion there is the Robert Mondavi Essence Station to experience. Taste is 80% smell, and understanding some of the typical scents a wine will have can help correlate the taste with the scent, and make it a bit easier to articulate what is in the glass. If you’ve never sniffed cassis or lemon grass, you may not understand some of the flavors in wine. The essence station had 12 different scents, from pear and vanilla to ceder and french oak, that help broaden your sniffing horizons. There are also signs explaining some of the usual aromatics wines have, both red and white, as well as a map with some California Wine Facts. I enjoy it when wineries have scent stations, and loved the one at Ehlers Estate, since they had a “barnyard” essence can!

Robert Mondavi uses iPads for Education

Robert Mondavi uses iPads for Education

After sniffing around the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine pavilion, you can stop over at the iPad station. Capitalizing on the ease of putting multimedia on the portable device, you can not only enter a contest, you can see photos of the winery and vineyards, and even email yourself recipes that the tour uses as food and wine pairing demonstrations. I don’t believe the iPad station was ever empty during the three hours I sat at the pavilion. With three iPads, there was never more than a few minutes wait to link up and learn! After signing up, an surfing around, it’s time to belly up to the wine bar and do the most fun part of the experience, taste the wines!

Tasting Robert Mondavi Wines

Tasting Robert Mondavi Wines

The tasting bar has multiple options to sip and savor from multiple Robert Mondavi wine lines. This is where you have the opportunity to do what Dale Cruse and I recommended earlier, taste different wines to see what you enjoy. You can start with some of the Woodbridge sparkling wine, because bubbles are always appropriate! They even serve it in nifty plastic champagne flutes, which I think added to the experience. They have a number of white wines to try, including the fume blanc, chardonnay and riesling. After you’ve tried those, you can sample their reds from the pinot noir to the cabernet sauvignon to the meritage, a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, and cabernet franc.

Matthew Horbund samples some Robert Mondavi meritage red wine

Matthew Horbund samples some Robert Mondavi meritage red wine

While tasting the wines, you can sit at the provided benches and tables and sip while relaxing. There’s live music in the pavilion, as well as from the surrounding music festival that creates a fun atmosphere. Additionally, you will have the chance to watch any of three different demonstrations, from Food and Wine pairing (and tasting), to a Wine 101 discussion. All of this is designed to not only be fun, but a little educational. It’s very much the experience you’d have at a winery, sampling what they have to offer, learning about the history of the people behind the wine, and walking away with some tidbits about food and wine to enjoy in the future.

Matthew Horbund sips Mondavi wines with Jaki Palacios

Matthew Horbund sips Mondavi wines with Jaki Palacios

One of the things I love about the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour is after you have sipped and sat a spell, you can get up and walk around to enjoy the festival! It was great to walk around Sunfest, listening to live music while enjoying the vendors and food. It was my first trip to Sunfest, but it certainly won’t be my last. And you can be sure that when I attend Sunfest 2012, I’ll be stopping by the Mondavi pavilion to have a good time with wine.