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 199 articles so far, you can find them below.
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!
What do you get when you mix one part culinary expertise with one part fine wine, and sprinkle with Cabot Cheese? You get the recipe for the perfect night in. Join us Saturday, July 18th at 7pm EST as we bring you one of the most exciting social media events involving food and wine ever! Cabot Cheese Coop has asked Chef Dolce Debbie, Executive Chef of Savory Adventures, LLC, and me, to bring their products to you in exciting new ways.
Chef Dolce Debbie
Chef Dolce Debbie will be preparing a three course meal, all involving fantastic Cabot products in various forms. I’ll be pairing those culinary delights with fine wines, and discussing them with you via a live uStream video event. There will be a chat room attached to the video stream, where you can speak not only with other viewers, but with Cabot representatives, as well as the hosts of the show, Debbie and I. To make the experience even more interactive and enjoyable, we’ve provided the menu, complete with the wine pairings, so you can join us on our taste adventure.
We’ll start the evening off with appetizers at 7pm EST. Debbie has brought some amazing flavors to the table in the first appetizer, Shortbread with Cabot Hot Habanero Cheese! (for recipe, click here)! Debbie will also be serving Radish with Tzatziki Sauce (recipe here) for an interesting appetizer using fresh Cabot products. Both of these dishes will be paired with Dr Loosen Dr L 2007 Riesling. The sweet fruit from the wine will balance the heat in the two appetizers perfectly. You’ll be pleased with how well the flavors mesh!
We’ll top off the evening with home made Apple Pie with Vanilla Bean and Greek Yogurt Sauce, which is served with Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar! (for recipe, click here) We will pair this finale with Cru D’Arche-Pugneau Sauternes, though a more widely available wine such as Apex 2007 Late Harvest Semillion will pair just as nicely.
And if that menu wasn’t enough to excite you, you can win a Cabot apron! Follow @Cabotcoop on twitter, and tell the cow which course sounds best to you, and why. The winner will be randomly selected after the event.
So, pencil us in for Saturday July 18th, and be ready for a good time with wine, and cheese, and Dolce Debbie’s fabulous creations from the kitchen!
I love it when people drink the same wine across the world to compare notes, and the Wines of Chile blogger event in May 2009 was amazing for that opportunity. You’ve probably seen my posts on some of the wines we enjoyed that night, the Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir for example. Additionally, you probably know I’m a big fan of wine from Chile; I feel Chile offers some great wines at quite reasonable prices. This event, hosted by the PR folks at Wines of Chile, and moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, allowed 8 wine makers to answer questions for the bloggers, so we could learn a bit about them, and their wines.
As you’ll see in the short video wine review above, I’ve discussed what my tasting notes were during the event, then revisited each wine the next day to see how they stood up. This wine, the Los Vascos Reserve (blend) was actually more enjoyable the next day, benefiting from some time opening. The Los Vascos vineyard has been part of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) since 1988, which is a wonderful pedigree to have associated with your wines. Los Vascos website does not seem to have information specifically on the blend we had the opportunity to taste with the bloggers event, but there is some great information on the site for your Chilean wine education.
Los Vascos reserve Chilean red wine
During the tasting, the Los Vascos Reserve red had a bouquet of red berries and cherries, with some brambles. The palate was black cherry fruits with very earthy notes. The wine had a rustic mouth feel, and the finish had some herbs and a dry, chalky component. The finish was quite long, and I enjoyed it very much.
On the second night, the nose was quite similar to the first night, however it seemed to become a tad more dark and rich. Additionally, there was a chocolate component that showed up on day two that wasn’t present on the first day. The brambles were still noticeable, but they seemed a bit more integrated and not as prominent as the previous night. The palate of the Los Vascos Reserve became much more fine and silky, and the chalky finish was no where near as noticeable. The wine opened up nicely, with dark cherry from the Cabernet Sauvignon integrating nicely with the spicey, zesty, earthy Carmenere and the fruit and pepper from the Syrah.
Josh Reynolds from the International Wine Cellars rated this an 89, with the following notes
“Bright ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers a sexy bouquet of ripe cherry, blackcurrant, fresh rose, tobacco and cedar. Suave, supple and sweet, with smooth red and dark berry flavors, gentle tannins and refreshing mineral bite on the close. Very sexy and drinkable now.”
I could continue to write about the flavors this wine, but you can get more from watching the video above. At $20, I will let you know that not only do I find this wine to be one to add to the shopping list, Lenn Thompson agrees with me and thinks the Los Vascos Reserve Chilean Red Wine is a “buy again” kind of wine.
If you follow me on twitter, you know I’ve been talking up Dr Loosen Wines Dr L 2008 Riesling this week. It’s not because they promised to feature me on their blog, and it’s not because I owe them anything. I’ve paid for the 3 bottles of this sweeter white wine that I drank this week with various groups of people. It’s because for the retail price of about $13, I think it’s a great value! It’s a well made wine, and something that will appeal to those who like well structured wines as well as those new to wines and are perhaps a bit timid to try different things.
You may know that I offer wine consulting services to Zsazsa and Company, a small Virtual Wine Store serving Florida with a select group of great wines at great prices. Several of their clients were looking for sweeter Rieslings that were well priced. After tasting 10 different wines, we settled on two for the time being, this one and the Villa Wolf, which I’ll review later on.
Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2008
The Dr Loosen Dr L 2008 Riesling comes from the Mosel River area of Germany, just down stream from the village of Bernkastel. While the estate has been in the family for over 200 years, this wine is not made from estate fruit. However, the quality is excellent, especially for the price. The Loosen Brothers, Ernst and Thomas, work closely with local growers, establishing long term contracts, to ensure the fruit is up to their high standards.
The wine’s bouquet is quite inviting, and reminds me of summer! Envision bees buzzing around the garden, gathering pollen, kids picking fresh peaches from a tree in the yard, and the summer warmth filling the room. Then, add a mixture of baking spices for making the most amazing dessert with those peaches, setting on a counter with honey suckle scents wafting in from your spring garden. And while the bouquet speaks volumes for this wine, it’s palate is quite interesting, starting off as it smells, but finishing a bit different.
When you first sip on the wine, it’s an explosion of stone fruits, nectarines and apricots, laced with honey. Then, just as you start to think the wine is TOO sweet, or cloying, it transitions to a phenominally crisp, clean finish laced with the spice from the bouquet that refreshes wonderfuly. The finish is of a nice length, leaving a fresh summer peach flavor in your mouth that beckons you to sip again. The Dr L Riesling has a good mixture of sweet fruit and back end acidity and spice that makes it enjoyable.
Some Cabot Cheese to pair with great wines
Of course, this wine is a nice summer sipper by itself. However, the Dr L Riesling would also pair quite nicely with spicy foods. For a Riesling, typical food and wine pairings including spicy Thai, Chinese, or Indian foods. I am going to be trying the Cabot Cheese Hot Habanero cheese pictured here and pairing with the Dr L Riesling to see how they mesh. I would also be curious how a dish flavored with some of Michele Northrup‘s All Natural Hot Sauces would pair, and will be giving those a shot as well!
If you live in Florida, you can order the Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling from Zsazsa and Company, Inc. Just remember heat is wine’s enemy, and be sure to elect over night early morning shipping! It’s worth the extra cost. Why not leave a comment below and let me know what Rieslings you’re drinking now, and what you’re pairing them with! And as always, have a good time with wine!
Pinot Noir from Chile? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Everyone knows Pinot Noir comes from … well, a lot of places. Which is why it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that Chile is putting Pinot on the table. While not it’s primary red wine, ranking 5th in hectars planted behind Cabernet Sauvignon (41k hectars), Merlot (13k hectars), Carmenere (7k hectars), and Syrah (3.5k hectars), I assure you that Chile is managing to put out some very enjoyable Pinot Noir, and at very reasonable prices.
I’ve already made the point that Chilean wines are offering great value. They are certainly producing good wines that, at their price point, rival wines from most every other country. I was fortunate enough to participate in an event with other wine bloggers, which allowed us to sit in on a video conference between the New York PR folks from Wines of Chile, and 8 Chilean wine makers in Chile. Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine moderated the panel, asking questions on behalf of the bloggers, so we could learn a bit about the wine makers, and their wines. There was definitely some skepticism on behalf of the bloggers when it came time to try the Pinot Noir.
As you can see from my video, while I found it enjoyable, I mention another Chilean Pinot that I haven’t had the time to write up yet. I find the Morande Reserva offers just a bit more organic, earthy flavors and smoke, allowing the terrior show through. However, there are Pinots of all shapes and sizes, and a Pinot with nice round fruit is not unappreciated.
After the tasting, I corked/capped up the wines, and let them sit out at about 70 degrees until the next evening. Then, one by one I tasted each wine, comparing the 2nd day to the first. In some cases, the wines evolved in a beautiful way. In others, they held the same, or perhaps were better the first time. My video recaps my tasting notes from the first night, when I tweeted them with the #winesofchile hashtag. It also recaps the tasting notes I made from the 2nd night.
Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir 2008
A few things I’d like to note about Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir before I recap some of the discussion had amongst the bloggers about this wine. First of all, Cono Sur, like Emiliana’s Natura Sauvignon Blanc, has a commitment to the environment. Their wine is certified organic by BCS Oeko Garantie GMBH Germany. They achieved Carbon Neutral status in terms of their delivery, their sustainable farming practices offsetting carbon emissions due to delivering their product. More and more companies in agricultural arenas are doing this, and it’s likely going to be achieved by more and more wineries as concern for our environment increases.
The Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir hails from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. It’s a cooler part of the valley, which offers ideal Pinot Noir growing conditions. These grapes come from “68 Old Vines” section of the vineyard. The name hails from the fact the vine were planted in 1968, and thus being over 40 years old gives them the Old Vines designation. The wine is aged 10 months in barrels, 1 month in stainless steel tanks. It has 13.7% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).
There were some detractors, who found the wine flat and a bit pedestrian. However, many of us found it to be quite enjoyable. Some of the bloggers thought that this was a very nice wine. Katie from Gonzogastronomy felt it was a “pleasure to drink a Pinot that wasn’t loaded with overripe fruit.” Robert Dwyer of Wellesley Wine Press said “the Cono Sur Pinot Noir was more varietally correct than almost any US made in the same price range.” And Jeff from Good Grape said that “the Cono Sur Pinot is nice, too. $15 bucks, CA Pinot cant touch that at price point.”
After viewing this video, let me know what you think. Are you going to give a Pinot Noir from Chile a shot? Or are you going to stick with a French or US Pinot Noir? And if you aren’t going to venture out to Chile, why not? Take a moment to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think of Chilean Pinot Noir, the Wines of Chile in general, or anything else you’d like to offer.
There’s no doubt that I’ve been drinking a lot of wine from Chile lately. Well, on Wednesday May 20th, I was given the opportunity to not only drink some more, but virtually drink with with a gaggle of wine bloggers, and the wine makers themselves. The PR folks at Wines of Chile put together a great event where the winemakers met in Chile, and via video conference, were asked questions by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. During the event, the bloggers were tasting along with the winemakers and Michael, tweeting about it using the #winesofchile hashtag, and enjoying a good time with wine.
Natura Sauvignon Blanc
The first wine of the evening was the Natura Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Emiliana. This wine is from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, where it’s proximity to the ocean gives it great growing conditions to produce a very nice white wine. Winemaker Antonio Bravo, who’s been with Emiliana since 2006, gave the bloggers a bit of background on the wines, and the wine making process. Of note was that this wine is made with Organically grown grapes, and that Emiliana has a commitment to being environmentally responsible and organic. The wine label does indeed say it’s certified organic by IMO Switzerland, which I misspoke about during the video. Although Emiliana has a great website, I cant seem to find information on the NATURA line, which is under the Organico label from what I’ve been told. (Update 6/12, You can get information on the Natura line of organic wines online!)
The bouquet on this white wine is a mixture of orange and orange blossoms, showing citrus and subtle floral together. The citrus fruit was round and full, with some nice back end acidity. There was definitely more acidity the first night I tasted this wine, but the second night still had nice balance. This Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t have the minerality and herbaceous notes that French and some New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs do, but that’s not a bad thing. Quite honestly, for an $11 wine, I would more than certainly give this wine a shot. I’d love to pair this white wine with some grilled chicken, a salad, or grilled fish.
Let me know what you think after you check out the video, and leave a comment below. I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts!
I was quite fortunate to participate in the first ever Wines of Chile blogger tasting event last night. And while I was not as quick as John, who managed to get a post on the event this morning, I wanted to touch on one important thing about Chilean wine. Chile offers some very nice wine, and some unique varieties, like Carmenere, their signature grape. However, we need to keep in mind that what attracts many people to these wines is the value they offer.
During the tasting last night, moderator Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, took a question from one of the blogger participants. Paraphrasing, he said that the blogger thought the prices were too inexpensive. This set off some conversation that sounded like we would soon see price increases in the future. Katie Pizzuto from Gonzogastronomy said “exactly! Now they’re gonna hike up prices” after I had said “nonono .. we arent saying we want them more expensive. we’re saying Chile makes GREAT wines @ Great value #winesofchile” regarding Michael’s comment. Further to that, Dave Honig commented that “Hey @mmwine I repeat, GREAT QPR, but only GOOD wine. ”
And that is the point that I want to make. While Chile is offering great QPR (Quality to Price ratio), the wines are good. They will perhaps one day be GREAT, and I firmly believe they will. However, I will also, quite honestly, say that if these wines were 30-50% more in price, no less double in price, I would probably find other wines to drink. While I really enjoyed last night’s Cono Sur Pinot Noir, and I love Morande’s Pinot Noir at $15 and $12 respectively, I would probably pass on them if the were $25 or $30. Some of last nights wines were approaching the $30 range. And while I enjoyed them, and would recommend them, as well as drink them in the future, they were definitely starting to approach the top end of the QPR segment.
Now, please don’t think I am not a fan of Chilean wines. I sincerely am, and one of my TV segments on Daytime TV will feature Morande’s Pinot Noir as a great red for summer (or any time, honestly). I just feel it’s my duty to bound the rave reviews I, and apparently some of the other bloggers, gave to Chilean wines last night. They’re making good wines, and GREAT QPR wines. That needs to be their focus, at least for now.
What do you think about Chilean wines, and QPR wines in general? I’d love to hear!
As most of the wine loving world knows, Robert Mondavi passed away one year ago May 16th. In an effort to recognize and pay homage to this progressive and influential force in the wine world, Jeff LeFavere from goodgrape.com has chosen a topic for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday that invokes Mondavi’s passion for California wines. Jeff’s mission was simple, “revisit a California wine that they have enjoyed, or have a particular fond memory of, and tell a story.” Everyone that knows me knows I love to tell stories, and this topic allows me to do so. I’ll post the video wine review at the end of the post, so please take the time to read the story, and of course, view the video.
Before I get into the wine, and my story, I want to take the time to reprint some of Jeff’s original post and comment on that. I thought his post was quite well written, and captured some of my own thoughts and feelings. Jeff writes that “Mondavi was such an inspiration physically, spiritually and philosophically to so many – both in the industry and to consumers, while acting as the forefather of the modern California wine movement” and later goes on to say “Mondavi was a people person, fostering a spirit of goodwill amongst friends new and old while promoting a life well lived that included wine and food as complementary companions on the table and in life.” Quite frankly, that is what I love about wine, that it allows us to bring together friends, new and old, and enjoy time with each other, harmonizing the food and the people at once.
Robin & I creating memories in San Francisco
In March of this year, Robin and I took a long weekend and flew out to San Francisco, CA. Robin had never been to San Francisco, and since I was there for training the following week, we decided to tack on a few days and have some fun with it. Coincidentally, it was the 2009 “Wine Road Barrel Tasting” event, so we figured after a day in The Bay, we’d spend two days in Sonoma tasting wines and enjoying life. We have some friends from Twitter who live in the area, so we all planned on meeting Saturday morning for the adventure. Robin and I had a lovely romantic day in San Francisco on Friday, and Saturday morning started our wine journey.
Our first stop was the meet Thea (@winebratsf on twitter) and Robbin (@robbin_g) in San Francisco. After picking them up, we drove out to Dry Creek, stopping at Truett Hurst for our first of many tastings. There we hooked up with a bevy of people including Valerie (@winedog), Shana (@Sharayray), John (@DrncPno), Amy (@WineWonkette), Patrick (@Oenophilus), as well as Jim (@sonomawineguy) and probably more I’m forgetting about! We began tasting wines that were just put into the barrels (hence, “Barrel Tasting”), as well as wines that each vineyard had already bottled as current offerings.
Click for the view from atop Michel-Schlumberge vineyard
The first day of tasting we ended up going
to 5 or more wineries including Michel-Schlumberger where we met up with MS President & General Manager Judd Wallenbrock (@Humanitas and @M_Schlumberger), where we had a lovely walk through the vineyards and some spectacular private tastings. We capped off Saturday by going to a nice wine bar and doing a Pinot Noir Twitter Taste Live event, complete with live streaming video.
Sunday brought us more wine, and more friends. We met up with Liza (@Brixchick_Liza) and continued to tour much of Healdsburg ‘s wineries, tasting rooms, and coops. Robin and I purchased a case of wine from here, and a case of wine from there, selecting what we thought were the stand outs of the visits. The day wore on, and we began to wear out. Robin and I were freezing, as a cold and rainy Sonoma Day is not the same as a hot and humid Florida Day. Just as we were about to recommend we head on back to the hotel and call it a day, Thea mentioned that we were to meet Patrick, his wife Genevieve, and their family at Chateau Felice for one last, special tasting. Patrick and Genevieve originally started Chateau Felice, and have since turned it over to their family. The couple have moved on to a new adventure, Iridesse Wines, and they’re going to do great things there.
Click for a view of Chateau Felice from Tasting Room
Driving up to Chateau Felice, on Chalk Hill Road, took about 20 minutes from our last winery. However, as soon as we approached the gates to the Chateau, we were all glad we made the trip. A beautiful gate opened up to a sprawling estate with fantastic landscaping and property. We made our way around the water to a barn, which was the tasting room. There we were able to sample some of the future offerings from the barrels, as well as some finished product.
We met Barry & Phyllis Rodgers, vintners and proprietors of Chateau Felice. A lovely couple with outgoing personalities, they welcomed us to their home and their passion. We listened as they told us about the wine, the estate, and the future. Barry poured us wonderful barrel samples, and tempted us with futures. Unfortunately, Robin and I had met our quota on wine purchases, and avoided those temptations. We were not, however, as diligent with the current releases.
A gorgeous Sitting Area outside Cheateu Felice wine tasting room
We next met Barry and Phyllis’ daughter Samantha Rodgers-Daniel, director of Sales & Marketing. She was pouring the current releases, and gave us a fabulous tour of all of the wines Chateau Felice had available for sale. We had the opportunity to taste 6 different wines, each more lovely than the last. And here is where we go back to what Robert Mondavi and Jeff’s theme is all about. The people and the event made this wine moment memorable.
It was more than just Robin & I in a wonderful place for the first time, enjoying each other and our passion for wine. It was more than just friends enjoying a nice time. It was the harmony made between the people, the location, and the wine that created “a time and a place” worth savoring. We took our time, enjoying each others company. We took our time, enjoying each sip of wine. We took in the beautiful scenery, despite the cold and the rain. We savored our experience. And Robin and I bought a mixed case of Chateau Felice wines to relive that experience again, and again.
Chateau Felice 2007 Black Label Zinfandel wine
The wine we selected to relive these fond memories was the Chateau Felice Black Label Zinfandel 2007. We selected this wine tonight because not only was it one of our favorite Zinfandel’s from the weekend’s tastings, but because we knew it would go nicely with our dinner of homemade lazagna. I’ll let the video speak for itself in terms of what the wine has to offer, and leave this wine blog post with it’s mission in tact. I selected a wine that invoked fond memories. And now, I have the blog post, and video, to relive them again, and again.
I will, as the video said I would, discuss how the wine paired with the meal. I’m going to be making a conscious effort to discuss food and wine pairings in each of my wine reviews and wine blog posts, as many of my friends have asked for this information. Between the live tastings, twitter taste live events, and my own tastings, I’ve been able to taste a variety of wine with an array of foods, and I want to discuss and share this knowledge.
As the flavors from the lasagna, the sauce, cheeses and pasta, coated the palate the wine transformed. The Chateau Felice Zinfandel morphed from the bright fruit discussed in the video to this dark and deep wine. There was certainly a coffee and cocoa component on the finish that was very enjoyable. Much of the zip and pepper was smoothed out, and the mouth feel was much more elegant with food. It was a great pairing, and I’m sure you’d enjoy it as well.
AS always, thank you to Lenn Thompson for helping the wine blogging community stay strong and focused, at least once per month! We appreciate the effort you took, and take, to keep Wine Blogging Wednesday going.
There is no doubt that when the weather heats up, Robin & I reach for white wine more frequently than red. As luck would have it, the PR folks of Wine Of Chile sent me some samples of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines to try and talk about. This week we got to try the 2008 Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc from San Antonio, Chile.
Production of this white wine is limited to 1,380 cases, and is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Leyda Vineyards. Undurraga’s Leyda Vineyards are located in the San Antonio Valley of Central Chile, approximately 9 miles from the Pacific ocean. Research suggested that this area would be suitable for cool-weather varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Given the proximity to the ocean, the South Pacific breezes and coastal summer fog lasting until midday, the climate in the Leyda Vineyards means longer ripening periods and crisper acidity for leaner, more food-friendly wines.
The color of the T.H Sauvignon blanc was a typical pale yellow. More yellow than straw, but less than a sun gold Chardonnay, for example. On the nose, there was nice citrus with a hint of green, such as grass. There was definitely some grapefruit on the nose, and it gave off a nice, crisp bouquet. After some time, perhaps during the 2nd glass, the nose developed a bit of a melon note. I tasted this wine well over a week ago, and in the midst of posting this review, I went to the winery’s website for more detail. Interestingly, they describe the nose as “Enticingly fragrant, with aromas of ripe grapefruit, white peaches, fennel and blackcurrant leaves, sprinkled with subtle notes of green chili pepper”. While I didn’t find the peaches, fennel or black currant leaves, I most certainly found the grapefruit and the green chili pepper.
Undurraga TH Sauvignon Blanc 2008
On the palate, this crisp white wine had a very heavy mouth feel, and was quite fruit forward. The mid palate was a bit uninspiring, and it lead to quite a tart finish. The acidity really wasn’t racy on the finish, and it seemed mostly round citrus fruit, finishing with a super-tart granny smith apple. With time, as the above mentioned melon comes out on the nose, the tart aspects of this Sauvignon Blanc really takes center state. I see this wine as a summer sipper, especially if you’re a fan of citrus fruit and tart green apples. It’s quite fruit driven, and not a lot of acid.
While it’s definitely a different style of some other Chilean Sauvignon Blancs I’ve recently written about, I think it’s fairly nice. I believe I saw it retail online for $10-12, and at that price, it’s worth a try. If you like grapefruit and tart granny smith apples, this wine is right up your alley. And if you just like crisp, citrus fruit driven Sauvignon Blancs, then see if you can give a bottle of Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc a try.
As an aside, I know that I normally do vlog wine reviews, but this is going to be the start of a few regular wine blog posts. I’ve been swamped lately, and just haven’t been able to pull the camera out before I break into the vino! I must have tasted about 25 wines in the past 3 weeks, and written down a bevy of notes. Once things calm down, between work and getting Robin’s wine business off the ground, I’ll get back to making fun wine video reviews for you to enjoy.