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!

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Lets taste James David Cellars 2005 Central Coast Syrah

James David 2005 Central Coast Syrah

James David 2005 Central Coast Syrah

I absolutely love the tremendous amount of variety and diversity there is in the wine world. I love how the same grape, grown in the same area, perhaps even at neighboring vineyards, can taste so different.  The influence of the methods the winemaker uses to ferment and age the wine as well as the care and growing conditions the vineyard manager employs can change your perception of a varietal magically. I haven’t reviewed many Syrahs on the blog, and the ones I did review previously really didn’t trip my trigger, so to speak. It was, therefore, with a tad of reluctance that I accepted a sample of James David Cellars 2005 Syrah from proprietor David Cole, whom I networked with on twitter. I am happy to say that my excited video review is indeed an indication that James David Cellars put out some nice new world Syrah.

Though their family has been in the California farming and wine industry for some time, David and Kathleen Cole have only been at the helm of James David Cellars for a few years. However, their goal to create a wine that is easy to share with friends and family, good during a meal, or a good conversation, seems to be one they’ve already achieved with the Central Coast Syrah. A blend of grapes sourced from two vineyards, one in Monterey, the other in Paso Robles, only 350 cases of this easy drinking red wine were produced. Grapes from both Paso Robles and Monetery are said to exhibit true characteristics of the varietals. Grapevines there tend to bud a week or two earlier than other regions, and are harvested a week or two later than other regions due to the cool growing season. This means the grapes are on the vine longer, and develop an intense flavor.  Wines from these areas tend to have the peppery characteristics you find in Syrah from France (or Shiraz from Australia), and I enjoyed that very much on this wine.

Video-Let’s discuss James David 2005 Central Coast Syrah from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

I chatted briefly with David about this wine, and he said that his favorite food pairings for the James David Cellars Central Coast Syrah would be pizza, or red sauce dishes like lasagna or spaghetti. Thea, a follow wine blogger and friend, agrees with David that this is a nice pizza wine. I’m not sure if $21 is in everyone’s budget for a pizza wine, and I think this wine is a tad more versitle than that. The pork roast that Robin made in the crock pot went very well with it, as would a nice salmon dish. The wine is light enough that it would pair favorably with the fish, and even chicken. Yes, I’m debunking the myth that chicken and fish only go with white wines!  I’m not sure how this Syrah will pair with a steak or lamb. David Cole mentioned that of the two samples he sent, this and the Eagle Point Ranch Syrah, the Central Coast  wine was more “French style” with a lighter nose and body than it’s big Californian brother. I’ve decided to review them separately, so check back soon for that Eaglepoint Ranch review.

In summary, for $21, I am happy to recommend you try the James David Cellars Central Coast Syrah. It’s well structured and versitle enough to pair with a decent range of foods. It also is easy drinking, and will do fine on it’s own, helping David and Kathleen achieve their goal of creating a wine that compliments conversation, as well as drive it. I believe this wine appeals to the “Old World” Syrah lovers, while still having some of the characteristics the “New World” Syrah lovers look for.  However, don’t just take my word for it. Find yourself a bottle of this wine, pour yourself a glass, and leave some comments below about your experience!

-Disclaimer- This wine was provided as a free sample from James David Cellars for me to review on the blog.

Is Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Spatlese Riesling your Thanksgiving white wine?

Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese 2007

Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese 2007

With October just finished, and people already planning their 2010 Oktoberfest parties, I thought it would be a great time to review a German Riesling. If you haven’t had a Riesling before, or only have had Rieslings from California or Washington, I recommend you find and enjoy a German one soon. There are many great Riesling producers in the Mosel region of Germany, or Mosel-Saar-Ruwer as it was previously named. I’ve reviewed this wine’s cousin before, another Riesling from the same producer, but this one is a bit more elegant and refined. I’m talking about Dr Loosen 2007 Riesling Spatlese from the Erdener Treppchen vineyard in Mosel, Germany.

Video review of Dr Loosen Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

The wines produced by Dr Loosen come from various vineyards, which impart their characteristics on the wine. The Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling is actually made from grapes purchased from other growers in the region. However, the wine we’re discussing today is produced from all estate grapes,  grown in the Erdener Treppchen vineyards, the little staircase of Erden vineyards, as the name translates. The E.T. vineyard is comprised of iron rich red slate soil, which creates rich, complex wines and imparts the mineral qualities I describe in the video. This wine is described on the Dr Loosen website as more muscular and rugged, where as wines from their blue slate vineyards of Wehlener Sonnenuhr are described as more graceful, like a ballerina.

Muscular and rugged or not, this wine was delicious. The nose has that petrol scent that is often associated with quality German Rieslings. However, underneath that scent is super ripe apricot and honey suckle, waiting to be savored.  From your first sip, this lush wine has a medium weight to it, and an elegant mouth feel. It’s bursting with flavors of dried apricot, peaches and honey, balanced with nice acidity. It’s certainly a bit young, and will develop in the bottle, if you have the patience to let it age. The Wine Spectator gave this wine 91 points, and said

Bright and tangy, like a brass band. The lime and peach notes gather force thanks to a vibrant, well-integrated acidity. There’s also a touch of vanilla cream and mineral. Drink now through 2032. 250 cases imported. –BS

I could see this wine ending up on many Thanksgiving tables. As I mentioned in the video, friends wanted something to go with their Cajun Deep Fried turkey they plan to make this Holiday season. We’re fairly sure they’ll go with this selection, which they purchased from Zsazsa and Company, a virtual wine store serving Florida since 2008.  It will not only go well with their turkey choice, but I see it going well with any ham you put on the holiday table, as well as pairing nicely with the cheese platter you put out before the meal.  This wine is versatile, and can be on your table throughout the whole meal, playing nicely with fresh fruit for dessert.

I know that a lot of people haven’t had Rieslings, and would love to hear what you think once you pick up a bottle. If you’ve been following me on twitter, you may have seen my tweets regarding the Wines of Germany virtual wine tasting events throughout October. If you took part in that, or have had some German Riesling on your own, why not let everyone know what you think of them by leaving a comment below.

Rudera Chenin Blanc – Delicious doesn’t do it justice

Ready to taste Rudera Chenin Blanc 2007

Ready to taste Rudera Chenin Blanc 2007

The sign of a good bottle of wine is when it’s finished, you are sad that it’s  gone, and lament that you did not sip slower to make it last longer. Tonight’s wine, a Chenin Blanc, was exactly that bottle. I found myself rationing my sips, and secretly wanting to pour a tad less for Robin, so I had more for myself. Though I’ve had quite a few different wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes, I haven’t reviewed one on the blog. So, we were both in for a treat when I opened a bottle of Rudera 2007 Chenin Blanc this evening.

Often associated with light to medium bodied wines from the Loire valley, France, Chenin Blanc can produce great options from sparklers to dessert type wines. The Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC, wine producing regions in France) of Vouvray produces wines that are off-dry with honeyed and floral notes, while the AOC of Anjou produces dry wines with flavors of apple and quince.  Outside of France, South Africa seems to be the area Chenin Blanc is most widely planted. This wine combined the characteristics seen in both the Vouvray and Anjou wines, with flavors of honey and floral meshing wonderfully with apple and spice.

Rudera Chenin Blanc 2007 – A white wine not to be missed from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

Rudera Chenin Blanc

Rudera Chenin Blanc

Rated 90 point by Wine Spectator, this wine definitely lives up to it’s accolades.  A nose of dried apricots and reminiscent of a delicious Sauternes, this wine beckons you to sip like a siren calling a sailor to the rocks. It’s positively irresistible and enchanting. The palate is quite different than the nose, however, with honeyed fruit making a quick transition to a spice laden granny smith apple finish that goes on for days. I really don’t think my video discussion of the wine did it justice, as this wine evolved tremendously from first to last sip. The flavors of the wine changed and intensified as it sat in the glass, and I most noticed it on the finish. The mid-palate of spice began to consume the granny smith apple, and ultimately, all you would taste at the end of each sip was warm baking spice.

Tonight for dinner we had Chicken Wraps, which took pieces of roasted chicken, tossed them in a wrap with lettuce, tomato and onion, and topped with Russian Dressing. The wine paired absolutely wonderfully with this simple dinner, though it would have stood up nicely to fish, perhaps grilled trout or flounder. I also was able to envision this wine on our Thanksgiving table, going well with not only a Turkey, but also a nice baked ham. I may have to try this pairing out soon, you know, just to make sure it works.

If you’ve had this Chenin Blanc, let me know what you think.  In Florida, you can purchase the Rudera Chenin Blanc 2007 from Zsazsa and Company, Inc.  If you haven’t had the Rudera, but perhaps another Chenin Blanc, let me know what you like, or dislike, about the wines made from this grape

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2009 – Not so epic

Matt at Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2009

Matt at Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2009

We always have a good time at the Disney parks, whether with the kids, or with our adult friends. Robin & I decided it was time for an “Adult Weekend”, and planned a trip to the Epcot Food and Wine festival with our good friends Tom and Scottt. As Florida residents, the discounts available to us make it a quick and usually relatively inexpensive weekend getaway. We were all very excited to try some different wines as well as interesting food creations, and just have a Magical day.

We arrived on Disney property Friday evening and made our way to the Grand Floridan for our dinner reservation at Citricos. The bartender at the hotel bar on the second floor, Tammy, is not only fun and a great mixologist, she’s a good friend of Tom and Scott. We were excited that Tammy was working, and stopped to have a drink with her.  The first non-magical moment happened when Tom went into Citricos to tell them where we were, as the host was quite rude. He wouldn’t call us if we were not in the restaurant bar, and we’d just have to wait for a table after we came in.  Mind you, they were anything but full, and this is certainly NOT the way we expected to be treated.  Fast forward through the evening, and the food was nice enough, but our waiter and the service were terrible. The appetizer and salad was delicious, and the Albarino they suggested was nice with those courses. Our main course was served late, and only after we walked up to the kitchen and saw it sitting on the counter. The food was cold, and while probably delicious, the meal was positively ruined. Even the tasty bottle of Chappellet 2006 Mountain Cuvee couldn’t save the cold fillet of beef, roasted chicken, or lamb shank we had. It was a several hundred dollar dinner that was truly terrible. We’ll never eat at the Grand Floridian’s Citricos again. We left unsatisfied, though we all looked forward to our next day in Epcot.

Epcot Food and Wine Argentina

Epcot Food and Wine Argentina

After a great breakfast at the Yacht Club, we arrived at Epcot for 10am and walked around a bit. When you enter the World Showcase, which is a circular track, you can go left or right. We decided to go left, where the first stop was the Desserts & Champagne stand. This was poor planning on Epcot’s part, in my opinion, as having sweets before much of the wine throughout the rest of the event would tend to make the wine taste off. Perhaps they think everyone will go to the right, and finish with this stand. We did have a glass of Moet Imperial Rose each, then made our way to the next stand. We passed on Brazil, since we still had Champagne, and made our way to Argentina. I have recently done three different wine tastings of Argentinian wines, and was excited to stop at this stand. We sat for a while and finished our Champagne, then tried the Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec and Torrontes.

The Torrontes had a beautiful floral bouquet, and a nice, crisp palate of citrus and flowers. While I felt it left a waxy feel in my mouth, like eating wax lips when you were a kid, no one else minded, though they did experience it.  The Malbec, which is a varietal that I do enjoy, was over oaked and had no spice or pepper. We did not eat the food pairings, but they both looked fantastic, and we heard reviews later from a chef that it was the best food in the event.

The Mouse Catch - Cheese at Epcot 2009

The Mouse Catch - Cheese at Epcot 2009

Across from Argentina was the Mouse Catch. This was a cheese stand hosted by igourmet.com.  I’ve had their products before and think they offer some spectacular cheeses. I was a bit let down that we had just eaten breakfast and were too full to try any of the cheese. I thought we’d make our way around the event and try them later, though in the end that didn’t happen.

We took a break to ride Soarin’, and upon our return to the World Showcase, we went to the right this time, passing on “mojitos” from Puerto Rico, and stopping at Chile. The Natura Sauvignon Blanc was our selection, and probably would have rocked with the Corn & Cheese Arapa or the Ceviche. We were still full and not eating, but everyone loved the wine. Our next stop, Greece, was an interesting one. I have had a few people tell me they weren’t fans of wines from Greece. However, since I had never had any, I felt it was time to give it a shot, and move further along the road towards the Wine Century Club!

Greek Wines at Epcot 2009

Greek Wines at Epcot 2009

I can now say I’ve tasted Boutari’s white wine from the Santorini region, made from Assyrtiko grapes, as well as Tsantali’s Rapsani Reserve, a red wine. The Boutari Santorini had a bouquet of motor oil and gasoline, and the palate wasn’t much different. None of us could handle more than 2 sips of the wine. The company’s website describes it as having a metallic taste, and I’d agree. The Rapsani Reserve is made from Greek indigenous grapes of 34% Xinomavro, 33% Krassato and 33% Stavroto. It was aged for 12 months in new French oak, and showed on the palate which was mostly blackcurrant and wood. This red would have probably paired well with some nice Roast Lamb, but alone, it wasn’t to my liking. The food offerings looked great, but it was now approaching time for our lunch in France, so we passed.

The highlight of the visit was lunch at Les chefs de France. It is, of course, an every day option at Epcot, so I really can’t give this fabulous experience any weight when discussing my Food & Wine Festival experience. We started with a glass of Pommery Brut Royal Champagne, and selected the cheese plate, meat & pate plate, and escargot to share. The bottle of wine we ordered, the Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris, was not one of their “regular menu selections”, and apparently was not kept at cellar temperature. We had to wait a good 20 minutes for it to be chilled enough to serve, so we ordered a glass of Domaine Caseneuve Cotes de Provence Rose. It was a lovely dry rose, with delicious cherries and citrus balanced nicely with chalky notes that paired well with the meats and cheeses. When the Pinot Gris was finally ready, it rounded out a great lunch. Delicious ripe fruit on the palate, off dry, the fruit was so bright it almost came across sweet. However, the wine was nice and crisp, and was sipped with abandon.

New York Wines featured at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

New York Wines featured at Epcot Food & Wine Festival

After lunch we shopped a little in France, then made our way around the rest of the event area. By 3:15pm the park was packed and each area had a queue of 20-30 people deep. None of the remaining wines really intrigued us enough to prompt us to wait that long.  I was quite surprised that Australia showed Rosemont and Penfolds Kunga Hill, grocery store wines that really don’t showcase the variety and strength of the wines of the region. New Zealand and South Africa were also lack luster with their offerings. We would have stopped at Germany, which offered Prum Rieslings, but waiting 20-30 minutes for a 2 oz taste in 88 degree weather didn’t seem appealing.  Likewise, we would have stopped in New York,  where they had several of the Finger Lake wines I have had in the past, had there not been so many people in line. Add to this the fact that people were more than happy, some falling down drunk, and it just soured us on the rest of the day.

We left the park, headed over to Cat Cora’s new restaurant. They didn’t change the decor much at all from Spoodles, save for opening up the kitchen area. There is no bar, and the drinks the waiter brought, which he most likely made, were terrible. We had appetizers, the spanakopita which was amazing, the clam appetizer we all thought was fairly nice, and the calamari that was inedible. We didn’t even consider staying for a meal, with the noise level approaching headache producing, and the food really not Iron Chef quality. We headed over to The Swan hotel and Todd English’s BlueZoo. There, we ordered oysters and the crab nachos, which absolutely ROCKED, and hung out with Deb, a great bartender, for a few hours. We had a great time, and will most likely stay at the Swan next visit.

Sunset at The Swan at Walt Disney World

Sunset at The Swan at Walt Disney World

As the sun set on our quick visit to Epcot, we recapped our trip. First of all, wear sensible shoes. My feet are killing me from the flip flops I wore. Ladies, don’t wear heels. You may look fabulous, but you’ll cry for weeks about blisters. Wear sneakers & cushy socks. Second, plan more than one day to take in an event as big as the Food & Wine Festival. Frankly, we missed things we wanted to try, and had no time for shopping. Though as a Wineaux, I was terribly disappointed with the majority of the wine offerings, I still would have liked to experience some of them, and try the food pairings. That brings us to third, don’t eat a big meal before an event that showcases a lot of food. You won’t want any, and then lament you didn’t try more. Fourth, the one day park rate is absurd, as it cost us $80 per person to enter the park, then another $50 tasting 10 wines. Had we tried the related food pairings, it would have bumped the price another $50 per person. That’s only tasting one wine and one food pairing at 10 out of over 25 opportunities. Don’t think this is a cheap proposition. You may have a lot of different wine and food presented to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s a budget trip. I may have opened this post saying Disney is typically a quick and inexpensive getaway as a Florida resident, but this event really doesn’t fit that bill.

Finally, you’ll notice I didn’t mention any of the seminars available to you at these events.  After this unflattering review of the cheese seminar, coupled with the fact that on the day we arrived, nothing really intrigued us, we passed. They didn’t seem worth the price. Perhaps someone can tell me which events they enjoyed, so we can try them next time.  And that’s where I end up folks. Though Citricos was positively abysmal, and the wine at the Food & Wine festival really didn’t leave me feeling like I was trying anything special, I will probably make the pilgrimage to The House of the Mouse in a few years. Perhaps by then Disney will realize that to put on a festival showcasing wine, they should try to offer their guests something more than just $9 grocery store juice.

Red Wine From Navarra Spain – Marco Real – Garnacha

Video Wine Review of Marco Real Garnacha

Video Wine Review of Marco Real Garnacha

I’ve had a hard time writing this wine review for several reasons. My opinion of this wine disagrees with both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate reviews. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that WA and WS are the end-all-be-all of wine information, but it causes me to pause and reflect on the wine. I often hesitate to recommend a wine that isn’t varietally correct, because I know some wine geek out there will blast me for it. However, Robin’s opinion of this wine was identical to mine, so without further ado, lets talk about Marco Real Garnacha from Navarra, Spain.

Garnacha, which is called Grenache when it comes from areas outside of Spain, such as France or the US, is a very widely planted red wine grape. It usually produces wine that has dark berry fruit flavors, and a great backbone of pepper and spice that make it a very enjoyable red wine, in my opinion. It’s a red wine I love on it’s own, or paired with steak, lamb, or cheeses, and have served at dinner parties frequently.  When I was offered the chance to try the Marco Real 2005 Garnacha from Navarra, Spain, I jumped at the opportunity. To find out what I thought of this wine, watch the short video review, then continue on to see my summary of the wine.

Red Wine From Navarra Spain – Marco Real – Garnacha from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

As you can see, the issue I had writing this review is is not if this is a good wine. For the price, which is a suggested retail of about $11, it’s an easy drinking, nice red wine. However, if you’re looking for varietally correct, where the dark berries give way to pepper notes on the palate, this is not the wine for you. This is more of a jammy, berry focused wine that is very easy to drink, a nice evening back-porch sipper. I think it would be great with food, and had it with ravioli with a red marinara sauce, and it went very nicely. As a matter of fact, I purchased quite a bit of this wine from Zsazsa and Company, and plan on having it with friends over pizza soon. 

Closeup of Marco Real Garnacha Label

Closeup of Marco Real Garnacha Label

Wine Spectator gave this wine an 86, and Wine Advocate gave it an 88. Both reviewers noted the spice, typical of Garnacha, which I felt was lacking.  Now, you’re asking, “Matt, what does that mean?” It means if you’re looking for a perfect bottle of Garnacha, this isn’t it. I’ll work on finding one for you! However, if you’re looking for an easy drinking red, one to sip alone or with food, then for $11, you can’t go wrong with this wine.  I plan on opening a bottle of this wine over the next few days, and re-tasting it. I also plan on reviewing a slightly more expensive California Grenache, and seeing how the two compare.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve had Garnacha, or Grenache, lately. If so, what did you like, or not like about it? Have you had the Marco Real, and if so what was your opinion.  I’ll update this post when I re-try the wine with other foods, so check back often.

Crushpad Fusebox – Your Chance To Create Award Winning Wine

Crushpad Fusebox - Blend your own wine at home

Crushpad Fusebox - Blend your own wine at home

I think every wine lover, secretly, believes they can make THE best wine in the world. If only they had the tools, which include the expensive crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling operations of the big wineries. Oh, and the years of experience it takes to be considered a decent winemaker, no less a GREAT one. However, Crushpad’s Wine Blending Kit is about to make all your wine making dreams come true.

This is by no means the first blog post discussing Crushpad’s operations. Hardy (Dirty South) wrote about Crushpad in September 2008, highlighting some of the excellent winemakers who utilize the facilities to blend highly rated wine. Megan (Sonadora) visited Crushpad in August of this year, tasting some of the Cabernet Sauvignon wines created there. However, I think the first opportunity that every day people, like us, get to try blending wines at home, has arrived.  Crushpad’s FUSEBOX has all the elements necessary to create a fantastic wine, and help bring it to market. Crushpad also thought of a unique way to introduce this to the world.

Ten wine bloggers have been chosen to receive a complimentary FUSEBOX, and are having a friendly competition with each other to create a new and exciting wine. Twitter’s Sonadora has already created her FUSEBOX Blend, and Cellarmistress is excited about her Fusebox fun to come. As for me, I think this short video will tell you how I feel about my future Fusebox creation.

Crushpad’s Fusebox – Your Chance To Create Award Winning Wine At Home from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

Tweetup at Himmarshee – Food and Wine Pairing

Hanging with Miguel, Pam, Arianne & Enzo

Hanging with Miguel, Pam, Arianne & Enzo

It seems like only yesterday that Chef Dolce Debbie & I were planning our first Food & Wine Tweetup. From that amazing event, we planned several successful followups, serving delicious meals, pairing them with fantastic wines, and having some of the most interesting friends at our table. All of this came to life because of the social networking tool Twitter, where Debbie and I “met”, virtually, exchanged ideas, and created opportunities. However, my East Coast Florida friends quickly became jealous of our events being exclusively in Tampa.  Twitter played a hand in solving that issue, introducing me to PR expert Jan Idelman at a Ft Lauderdale “Pizza Tweetup”, and #Twineup was born.

One of Jan’s clients is a downtown Ft Lauderdale hot spot with a 12 year history of serving great food, and pairing it with your choice of dozens of wines. When Jan and I met, we discussed some of the wine events and television segments I’ve done, and she saw a great opportunity to introduce new people to her client, Himmarshee Bar & Grille. We quickly planned our first Himmarshee Twineup for September 12th, and it was a tremendous success. Forty friends from twitter, as well as viewers of South Florida Today who saw me talking about the event on the show, joined us for an evening of food, wine, and networking with great people. People clamored for a repeat, and we couldn’t let them down. We planned our second event, let everyone know about it, and before you could blink, October 17th was here and the fun started all over again.

The Crowd At Himmarshee

The Crowd At Himmarshee

Over forty people packed into Himmarshee Saturday night for the second event. Shortly after 8:30 we began the event and poured our first wine, Murphy-Goode The Fume 2008.  This Sauvignon Blanc was chosen for it’s light and crisp citrus flavors. Chef Chris created two dishes to pair with this wine, petite lump crab cakes with a pickled habanero tartar, and island spiced shrimp & yucca croquettes with a drunken mango salsa. The guests absolutely loved the first tasting, many of them ordering glasses of the wine throughout the night. Some even had it with their dinner after the event.

Hope Estate 2005 Shiraz

Hope Estate 2005 Shiraz

The second tasting was a Shiraz from Hope Estate in Hunter Valley, Australia. This 2005 Shiraz was fermented in 30% American oak, then aged in 60% French and 40% American. While I felt the palate was very jammy, with tons of blackberry and plum flavors, Rick Garcia, Mr Miamism and the King of Mojitos, was actually a bit overwhelmed by the wood on the finish. His wife, Ines, one of my first twitter friends, was NOT a fan of the wine. However, after tasting Chef’s duck confit and sweet potato empanada with a vanilla-Shiraz macerated cherry topping, she changed her mind. The flavors meshed beautifully, toning down the woody finish, bringing out the fruit flavors of the wine and providing a delicious experience.

Duck Confit and Sweet Potato Empanada

Duck Confit and Sweet Potato Empanada

I felt this wine lacked the pepper backbone of a Shiraz, which would have not only helped get past the oak influence, but would have also paired wonderfully with Chef Chris’ dish. Gia B Freer, and her husband Grant, two great people I met on Twitter the same time I met Ines, were taking photos of most of the food as it came out. It was awesome finally meeting this fantastic foursome, after over 19 months of “virtual friendship”. They’re great people, and really know how to have a good time. I look forward to trekking down to Miami for a Mojito-Tweetup soon, just to see them again.

If you haven’t noticed, this wine tasting is a bit of a world tour. We started with California, and a light, citrus Sauvignon Blanc. We then moved across the world to Australia, having a fruit forward, jammy Shiraz. Now, it’s time to go back to South America, and travel to Mendoza, Argentina. This last stop brings to us a very dry Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ernesto Catena Tahuan Cabernet Sauvignon

Ernesto Catena Tahuan Cabernet Sauvignon

Awarded a 90 point rating from Wine & Spirits magazine, and included in Food & Wines “Best Argentinian Reds” in February 2009, the Ernesto Catena Tahuan Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 was the famous wine of the night. The current, 2006, vintage was just given 88 points in this month’s Wine Spectator magazine, so there was definitely a pedigree expectation with this wine. This was a very dry cab, firm tannins with dark fruits, mostly cherries on the palate. I felt the oak influence on this wine was very strong, as did some of the guests. However, when paired with the Mushroom and Cambazola toasts with oil cured campari tomato topping, this wine showed nicely. The “stinky” blue cheese quality of the cambazola really brought out the fruit, and helped coat the palate so that the oak didnt overwhelm the experience.

The night ended with several prizes given away to our friends. Two lucky people won Pokens, graciously donated from PokenGirl. Pokens are digital contact cards, and when two pokens are touched together, they instantly transfer contact information between them. It’s a great gadget to have at a tweetup, and they’re definitely becoming more popular.

Handsome Gift Wrapping from Zsazsa and Company

Handsome Gift Wrapping from Zsazsa and Company

Greg Tuttle, the twitter voice for Total Wine, graciously donated five $20 gift cards to Total Wine, and those five lucky winners need to invite me over when they open their purchases. Two bottles of wine were also prizes for the night, a Murphy-Goode from Himmarshee, and a Fuedo de San Nicola that was part of Pikchur.com’s Hashtag contest. The Fuedo de San Nicola is a wine sold in Florida by Zsazsa And Company, Inc, and both wines were handsomely gift wrapped by Zsazsa and Company.

The November twineup is already being planned. The date will be announced soon. The next event promises to bring even more fun, with exciting new wines, paired with Himmarshee’s fantastic food. However, none of this would be any fun without you coming. So clear your calendar, and get ready to circle the date. You won’t want to miss #Twineup3

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Thanks to Rick Boggs, 2nd photo, for his writeup of the event

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Same grapes but different wines – WBW 62

Murphy Goode The Fume

Murphy Goode The Fume

Lucien Crochet Sancerre

Lucien Crochet Sancerre

Writers of all types experience “writers block” now and again. Wine bloggers are no different, despite the fact that there are thousands of different wines to discuss, no less the myriad of related topics to write about. However, we have the added inspiration of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the brainchild of Lenn Thompson from Lenn Devours – The New York Cork Report. Each month, wine bloggers converge on one topic, writing about the month’s wine related theme. Lenn has managed to enlist the help of wine bloggers around the world for topic ideas, which has allowed WBW to enter it’s 62nd month with today’s installment. This month Dale Cruse from Drinks Are On Me challenges us to try a grape by any other name.

Grapes often have different names depending on region in which they grow. Additionally, the grape could have the same name, but it’s labled based on where the wine is produced. I decided to talk about Sauvignon Blanc, and the stark contrast between wines made from the grape in California versus Sancerre, an AOC in the Loire Valley, France. It was not hard for me to select the wines for today’s post. I happened to have on hand a bottle of Lucien Crochet Sancerre 2007 sitting next to a bottle of Murphe-Goode The Fume 2008 in my wine cellar.

While it would have been a fun adventure to find some Italian Primitivo and talk about it in relation to Zinfandel, I was very excited to talk about the way Sauvignon Blanc makes different styles of wine from France to California. Watch the short video below, then read on about Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc.

Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc, or is it? Wine Blogging Wednesday #62 from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

Now there are Sauvignon Blanc wines that come from all over the world, with great ones coming from New Zealand and Chile, as well as these from California and France. Sancerre, in the eastern part of the Loire Valley, France, is an AOC, Appellation d’origine contrôlée, produces very distinct wines. The terroir, characteristics of the earth the grapes are grown on, greatly influences the wine made there. I highly recommend you experiment with the different styles out there, to find out which you prefer. As you saw from the video, the same grape can produce a very different experience.

I think both of these wines have their merits.  Your palate may prefer the lighter, easier drinking Sauvignon Blanc from Murphy-Goode, as my Fiancee Robin did. She preferred it to the Sancerre, liking it’s “easy sipping at a low price” quality. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the chalky, herbaceous flavors of the Lucien Crochet, especially when I thought about it with food. I think that may be the point to make, that the California expression of this grape is an easy drinking back yard sipper, fine on its own. The French Sancerre, however, is a wine that really shows best with food to help marry it’s unique flavors with the foods. I would certainly reach for a California or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for sipping and catching up with friends before a Sancerre. However, if I was serving a nice seafood dinner, the Sancerre could be my preference for the evening.

Don’t take my word for it, buy a Sancerre and a California Sauvignon Blanc, and try them together. Then, leave a comment below and let me know which you prefer, and why!