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 194 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!

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Forget Blondes-Bloggers have more fun

Wine Bloggers Ward Kadel, Matthew Horbund, and Thea Dwelle At Hahn Tasting Room

Wine Bloggers At Hahn Tasting Room

I don’t care what Rod Stewart says, it’s the bloggers that have more fun. Specifically the wine bloggers. We take our task of tasting, discussing, discovering and sharing wine seriously. However, we have a ton of fun doing it. We have fun when friends come over to taste wine with us. We have fun when we join others at wine events and dinners. However, perhaps the most fun the wine bloggers have is when they visit Hahn Family Wines in Santa Lucia Highlands, California. Don’t get me wrong, a visit to any winery elicits excitement and fun for a blogger (or any sane person), but Hahn has something that makes it very special, the Blogger’s Block.

During the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference, a number of awesome winebloggers, including friends Thea Dwelle and Ward Kadel, pictured to the left, had the opportunity to not only visit Hahn Family Wines, but each had the chance to plant their own grape vine. They planted a block of Grenache,which they will one day help harvest and make into wine. And while they wine may not make it to your glass, it will certainly grace the lips of a lucky wine lover.

Wine Bloggers with Hahn Family Wines Vineyard Manager Andy Mitchell

Wine Bloggers with Hahn Family Wines Vineyard Manager Andy Mitchell

This May, I visited Hahn to film a television segment for Daytime, a nationally syndicated morning show. It happened to coincide with the Santa Lucia Highlands 4th annual Gala event where 30 wine makers showcase their latest vintages to adoring wine lovers. The good folks at Hahn decided to make it a Trifecta of Wine Love, and invited the bloggers back to see their vines. The bloggers also had the chance to tour the property, with a guided tour by Vineyard Manager Andy Mitchell, who discussed the various soils, grapes, and even the avocado grove. The tour ended at the blogger block where Hahn Wine Maker Paul Clifton opened a few bottles of Hahn Grenache and treated the bloggers to a taste of what their vines will someday become, delicious wine.

Hahn Winemaker Paul Clifton

Hahn Winemaker Paul Clifton

The fun didn’t stop at the blogger block, however. Next, the entire group made their way back to the Hahn tasting room, and had the chance to join the Santa Lucia Highlands Gala, and enjoy the wines made from the various wineries of the appellation.  Below you can watch the segment from Daytime, to see the fun that the bloggers had.

I don’t want you to think that only the wine writers can have this much fun. You can too! The Santa Lucia Highlands have a number of fantastic wineries and vineyards to visit. I had the chance to visit Hahn, Paraiso and Pisoni and not only tour their wineries but also meet the fantastic people behind the wines. In the coming weeks I’ll write a little about those visits, and also share the television segments we made of their fantastic families, farms and wines. I’d love to help you plan your next visit to California wine country. Then you can have fun like the bloggers do! After all, it’s A Good Time With Wine!

The Bloggers of Blockers Block

The Bloggers of Blockers Block

There were a number of other wine writers there. I hope I don’t miss any, but they included

Tim Beauchamp

Russ Bebe

Larry Chandler

Brix Chicks Liza and Xandria

Some more photos of Hahn and the Santa Lucia Highlands Gala

A few more Thanksgiving wine options

Got Turkey?

What do I pair with?

With Thanksgiving approaching, you may be scrambling to find some wines to go with everything you serve.  As I’ve said before, there’s no one wine that will pair with everything you serve, and more importantly, drink what you like on Thanksgiving. That being said, if you rather focus on your family, friends and the meal itself, you can leave the wine selections to me. I’ll offer two more options that I recently tasted as part of a sample review from Frederick Wildman’s various offerings.  I’ll also point you to some wines I’ve recommended in the past, because they’re tried and true.

Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese 2007

Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese 2007

I’ve always thought that Riesling is a great grape for the holidays.  I mentioned a few different producers in the past, though I do always think that a Dr Loosen wine makes a great showing.  From the $12 Dr Loosen Dr L to the $25 Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen, they offer great flavors alone, or paired with food. I’ve enjoyed them with ham or other pork dishes, as well as poultry. Many of my family members love the easy drinking, fruit forwardness of the Dr L, especially with it’s crisp, clean finish.  It always makes an appearance on our holiday table.

El Coto Rioja Rose

El Coto Rioja Rose

If you are looking for an easy drinking “welcome” wine, look no further than El Coto Rioja Rosado 2009. This rose is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha, and is 100% great. With a fresh fruity nose of bright, brilliant strawberries, this $12 wine will be greatly appreciated by your guests as they settle in for the day. The nose carries through to the palate, with fresh strawberries and raspberries and mild acitity, making this wine a fun, light to medium bodied wine to sip on, or pair with appetizers and cheese.

Christian Moreau Chablis

Christian Moreau Chablis

Another interesting wine sample from Frederick Wildman was the Domaine Christian Moreau 2008 Chablis, which retails for about $24. I love Chablis for it’s crisp, pure expression of Chardonnay, and the opportunity to have my “I hate Chardonnay” friends eat those words, or swallow them.  There’s a crisp, steely nose with apple laced scents, which is followed by a medium bodied crisp palate of tart apple. There’s a bit of a citrus note, attributed to the firm acidity, but it’s a nice refreshing wine. This wine will certainly drink well with any fish or poultry dishes on your holiday table.

Ponzi Pinot Noir

Ponzi Pinot Noir

If you’re a fan of red wines, don’t forget a bottle of Pinot Noir. Whether it’s from California, Oregon, or Burgundy, a glass of Pinot Noir will go well with much of your holiday fare. It can be light enough to pair with your turkey, and full bodied enough to pair with any beef dishes. We had a bottle of Oregon’s Ponzi 2008 Tavola Pinot Noir with lunch last week, and it immediately made my “Thanksgiving Wine” recommendation list.  Great fruit mixed with an earthy smokiness that everyone at the table enjoyed. It paired with everything from croque monsieur to a french dip to a salad with grilled chicken. We’ll probably be serving a bottle of J Christopher Pinot Noir, also from Oregon, and a bottle of Hahn Estate SLH Pinot Noir, since we have them both stocked in our cellar.

By no means should you reserve these wines for holidays alone. And of course, this is not a definitive list of wines you can serve on Thanksgiving. Make a statement with dessert wines, whether a Sauternes or a Port. They will satisfy your sweet tooth without making you feel that you ate more than you should have. I’ll have some recommendations in the next few days, and add them for your sipping pleasure.

I’d love to know what you are serving for Thanksgiving! Do you have any annual traditions? Share them in the comments below!

What wines will you serve for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Is Upon Us

Thanksgiving Is Upon Us

Wine Experts are bombarding you with the perfect Thanksgiving wine ideas right now. You’ll see them on TV, you’ll read about them in the newspapers, and probably get an email or tweet about them. While I did indeed visit Kara Kostanich and the folks at CBS12 here in West Palm Beach to talk about wines that you can serve with your Thanksgiving Cornucopia, I rather point out a few wines that go well with the various dishes you may find on your table this holiday season, and let you pick which one you believe is perfect.

Thanksgiving is about, well, giving thanks, whether it’s for family, freedom, or the bounty we call our daily lives. It’s one time a  year that everyone stops and takes stock of what they have, and celebrate with friends or family or strangers in doing so. That celebration often takes the form of a large meal, and undoubtedly some libations. For us, that libation is wine, and pairing wine with food is one of my favorite parts of the feast.  Food and wine pairing is intimidating for some, and fascinating for others. While some may break out into a sweat trying to pick a wine that will go with your steak, I always love pairing food and wine and coming upon one that reminds me of a waltz, two parties dancing gracefully together in close proximity. This short video will talk about three of the wines, and I’ll have more information below about them, as well as three other options for you to choose from in another post.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Rose

Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Rose

The first wine in the segment was Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Rose, from the Rhone in France. This $15 wine is made from three different grapes, Grenach, Cinsault, and Syrah. It’s light enough to have as an aperitif, but weighty enough to stand up to your cheeses, appetizers and even your main course, should you prefer rose wines. The nose is great strawberry with a light floral aroma. There is good acidity on this wine, which as I mentioned in the clip, lends itself to pairing well with food. There is a nice fresh fruit forward palate, strawberry and raspberry, with an almost citrus feel from the acidity. The finish is great white pepper and spices, and it balances the fresh fruitiness of the wine wonderfully.  As an aside, you pronounce Cinsault as San-Soh , not sin-salt as I mentioned in the video. Pair this wine with turkey or ham if that’s what’s on your table, as well as the various cheeses and appetizers you may have. Or, just sip on it and enjoy!

Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles

Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles

Next our holiday wine selection takes us to Burgundy, France, where we meet up with an Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles 2007, $20-25. Made from Chardonnay grapes, this Bourgogne Blanc is fermented in a mixture of 60% oak,10% of which is new, and 40% stainless steel.  What does that mean for you and your taste buds? You’ll experience some of the vanilla and spice from the oak, but the pear and apple characteristics of Chardonnay will still shine. There is a harmony of crisp meets creamy in the mouth, and this becomes an exciting and versatile wine. Of course, this would go with your Turkey, but also your fish, fried shrimp or gator tail (hey, we’re in Florida).  We did our tasting with roasted chicken and potatoes with rosemary and garlic, and it was fantastic.

Coto de Imaz Rioja

Coto de Imaz Rioja

Finally we have Coto de Imaz Rioja 2004 Reserva. This red wine, made from 100% Tempranillo and aged 18 months in oak and another 24 months in bottle comes from Spain, and will certainly grace our holiday table this year. On it’s own, it has flavors of dark fruit and leather, and is quite dry. However, when paired with beef, the palate was a silky indulgence of chocolate and coffee mixed with earthy flavors that just were amazing. For a $20 wine, there was great complexity that beckoned you to take another sip, and another bite, to discover what flavors would show next.  If your family has a beef dish, such as prime rib or perfectly grilled steaks, or perhaps serves roasted lamb, this is your go-to wine.

The three wines I discuss were all provided by the folks at Frederick Wildman, importers of fine wines. While they were indeed provided as samples, this in no way influenced what I spoke about on TV, or what I post here. I freely selected the wines, based on what I like and what I support, and there was no influence or pressure to do discuss them.

I leave you this something Richard Auffrey said quite well - dont be merely a glutton. Find ways to not only be thankful for what you have, but also to give freely to others. Regardless of how hard your year has been, or how difficult things may be for you, there is someone, somewhere, who could greatly benefit from whatever charitable act you can muster. Whether it’s a monetary donation, articles of clothing, or your time at a local shelter or soup kitchen, someone needs what you have to offer. Please, offer it this holiday season.

All Wine and no Scotch Makes Matt A Dull boy

Battlehill Scotch at Total Wine

Battlehill Scotch at Total Wine

I absolutely love wine. It’s my passion. I enjoy talking about it, I enjoy drinking it, I love sharing it with friends. There’s very little about wine I don’t like, other than the fact that the bottles always end up empty.  However, I’m not a one dimensional man! I have other needs, and one of those needs is scotch. And on November 30th, I’m going to satisfy that need, and you can join me.

I’ve had the opportunity to host a number of wine tweetups, and some fantastic friends have joined me. During a few of them, several of us arrived early, to sip on and share our love for scotch. That spawned the idea of having a scotch tweetup, and while everyone was in agreement, we could never find the time or place to host it. However, a fantastic partnership with Greg Tuttle, Manager of Product Education for Total Wine, has given us a venue and a date to bring scotch lovers together to learn and taste four blended and for single malt scotch.

Our first South Florida #Scotchup will take place in Boynton Beach, Florida. We have space for 20 or so Scotch lovers to get together, learn about and sample the eight different scotch offerings, and of course, tweet about it. If you’re in the area, join us for a good time with .. scotch .. on November 30th from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Total Wine! Salute!

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What do you want?

What do you want?

What do you want?

Writing doesn’t come easy for most people. I’m sure you can recall dreading writing for your English class as a student, and sympathize with your children as they go through the same thing now. I, on the other hand, love to write, and have thoughts and stories swirling around my head 24/7. Sadly, I rarely find the time to get them down on paper (or a computer screen). I started blogging to get the voices in my head on paper a few years ago, but even that has gone by the way side lately.  However, I’m about to change all that.

I started my wine blog with the intention of making wine fun and approachable. All too often people are intimidated by wine snobs or overwhelmed by choices, and either skip the vino all together, or pick the well marketed or popular wine by default.  Somewhere along the way, I veered from that, allowing the wine geek in me to take over, and sometimes delving too deep into topics of biodynamics or terroir that perhaps most of you don’t care much about.  Again, I’m about to change all of that.

I would like to know what you’d like to read about.  I plan on continuing my “reviews” and recommendations of wines, whether for meals or sipping on with friends, or even Thanksgiving recommendations.  I also continue working with friends and chefs, to prepare meals, pair with wine, and explain both processes.  However, what would you like to see? Should I try exotic grapes and discuss them and wines made by them? Should I focus on specific wine producing areas? Perhaps a wine tasting trip around France, then Italy, and focus a few months worth of posts on each area?  Or something completely off the wall, which you’ve always wanted to see done, but no one had the nerve to do it?

Leave a comment, or connect with me via twitter or facebook.  I have, sadly, closed my mmwine twitter account, but you can find me there as mmwine2 – new and improved, upgraded so to speak. I already have a few items in the hopper, including a review of a compact wine cooler, but really, what do you want?

Featured Wine Blogger on Foodista

Food and Wine Pairing

Food and Wine Pairing

I was fortunate enough to be selected as the featured wine blog on Foodista.com recently. Since food and wine go together very well, I thought this was quite a good pairing. What I hope comes from this opportunity is more people sending me recipes that I can make, pair with wine, and post on my site. So, if you have a favorite recipe, email it to matt @ mmwine.me.  I’ll create the recipe, pair it with wine, and blog about it!

Foodista Featured Wine Blog of the Day Badge

Are box wines really that bad?

Monthaven Winery Chardonnay Boxed Wine

Monthaven Winery Chardonnay Boxed Wine

Years of poor quality wine in cardboard boxes have made even the most frugal wine shopper pass them by. However, recent quality improvements as well as a focus on “greener” delivery methods have brought the box back to bearable. With Memorial Day just a few weeks away, in the short video below, I bring four options to CBS12 and chat with Kara Kostanich about them.

What’s good about boxed wine?

  • Boxed wines are affordable. They typically come in boxes that hold three liters, or the equivalent of four regular 750 ml bottles of wine.  You usually pay 1/2 to 2/3 price of the four bottles.
  • Box wines last longer after opening. Boxed wines typically last about four to six weeks after opening, allowing you to not worry about spoilage if you are just pouring one glass from a bottle.
  • Box wines are more eco-friendly. The packaging for boxed wines is not only cheaper than the packaging for the equivalent four bottles, it’s also lighter. That allows delivery to be more “green”, using less carbon emissions to transport them.

What’s Bad About Boxed Wine

  • The quality is still low. While the wines I brought to the show are fine for drinking, they won’t win any awards.  They are definitely steps in the right direction, but for me, they’ll be relegated for big parties where the budget is the focus.
  • They have a shorter shelf life than bottles. Talking with a number of retailers, they all agree that boxes don’t last more than six months. The new Octavin wines, such as the Monthaven in the video, say they last over a year. I’ve not put that to the test, yet.
  • They are a bit more difficult to keep at serving temperature. The producers of Monthaven say the reds should be served at 57 degrees, the whites about 50. That means having them outside in the summer time requires some thought as to how you’ll keep them cool. Ice may cause the cardboard to soften and break, and you’ll have basically a plastic bag in the ice chest.

In the video I talk about

  • How to store boxed wine
  • How to serve boxed wine
  • A bit about how the wines taste
  • The prices of the box wines we tried

My next post will talk about each of the wines in a little more detail. Be sure to come back and see what I have to say about the Double Dog Dare and Monthaven box wines, which were purchased from Total Wine and More here in Florida..

Biodynamic wine and witch doctors

Shona witch doctor Zimbabwe

Shona witch doctor Zimbabwe

When I wrote about wines that were organic, sustainable or biodynamic, I made the mistake of mentioning Voodoo and Witchcraft. After my post was read by Elizabeth Candelario, Marketing Director for Demeter USA, I’ve come to see I’m only perpetuating the wrong image of biodyanmic grape growing. It’s time to change that! Elizabeth took the time to write me a letter that puts the right focus on Biodynamic farming and grape growing. It helps point to not just the astronomical influences on the farming, but also the homeopathic influences.

Read with great interest (and watched too!) your coverage of Biodynamic in a recent post on your website.  I am a really big fan of Montinore so I appreciated your mention of them as well.  For the record, if you don’t mind my making a few comments…

Vooddo!  Witchcraft!!  What the heck!!!  Your description of Biodynamic practices was terrific: no chemicals, view of the farm as a living organism, holistic natural approach, use of the preparations.  Thanks for that!  But I always have a hard time understanding how we can move from sound agronomy to adjectives like voodoo and witchcraft!

Anyway- if you are interested- check out our website where you will find lots of materials, and also the Demeter Farm Standard itself.  The important thing to remember is that the term BIODYNAMIC is held as a certification mark by Demeter in the commercial marketplace relative to agriculturally-based products and farms.  In order for a farm or product to refer to itself as BIODYNAMIC it must meet the Demeter Farm and Processing Standards and be verified though certification.

In a nutshell then the term BIODYNAMIC = The Demeter Standards.   There is mention of astronomical influences as one consideration within an extensive farming system.  The preparations are also an important part- but think homeopathic remedies- and there is some science pointing to increased microbial activity in soils that have been treated with the preps- not to mention a lot of antidotal support.   There is no mention of spiritual forces per se, although many Biodynamic practitioners will share that as part of their own personal observation.   Most importantly of all- the Farm Standard is composed of all of the other practices you described.

And the Farm Standard is historically significant because it dates back to the beginning of the sustainable agriculture movement and captures key agronomic principles not comprehensively addressed within any other agriculture certification system in the world.  It seeks to create a farm system that is minimally dependant on imported materials, instead meeting its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself.  It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.  Sections of the Farm Standard include soil fertility management, crop protection, greenhouse management, animal welfare, and the use of the preparations.  It’s actually a beautiful document that would align with any sustainable farmer’s understanding of good agriculture.

Anyway- hope you don’t mind my long winded note.  Just trying very hard to get away from the more sensational things being written and spoken about Biodynamic agriculture as I feel it actually isn’t accurate.  Sure do appreciate you and the work you are doing to educate wine drinkers.  Please do consider me a resource.

Warm Regards,

Elizabeth Candelario

Marketing Director, Demeter USA

Board Chair, Stellar Organic Certification Services

www.demeter-usa.org

My response to this well written, and educational, email was:

Thank you so much for taking the time to write me. I appreciate it, sincerely. I would actually like to take your email and post it on my blog – as I think you covered some very interesting and important points.  I assure you that while my descriptors may have come across as derogatory, there were never intended to be.

During September 2009 I visited two biodynamic vineyards in CA. Both of them were very passionate about what they did, and how they were stewards of the land.  However, both of them used the terms Voodo and Witchcraft, tongue in cheek, when discussing some of the practices. I think it was their way of bridging the gap between their audiences ignorance and their heartfelt beliefs and practices of biodynamic farming.  I also think that they were able to leave a lasting impression when doing so.

While it may not be wholly accurate to use the term Voodoo when discussing Biodynamic preparation 500, it definitely made an impression on us. It was perhaps a bit outlandish, and inaccurate, of course, but it helped me remember what they do, and why they do it. I do agree, however, that we have a responsibility to help educate people accurately, and that is why I’d like to post your letter on my blog. I believe it’ll help people searching for information become more educated in terms of biodynamic farming. I found the subject of biodynamic, as well as sustainable and organic farming quite interesting. However, the average attention span of visitors to our websites lately have declined. I therefore had to take a tremendous amount of information, cut it down, and hope I didn’t leave out the good stuff.  My intention was always to go back, revisit each of the three classifications or methods of farming, and hopefully engage people on them individually. This may be a great way to do so.

Thank you again!

So, as you can see, I posted the letter. The question I have for you, is what questions do you have for me? Let me know your thoughts on Biodynamic farming, grape growing, and wines. How can I help you understand what’s in your glass?