As the weekend rolls in, many of you are looking for a nice bottle of wine to unwind with. There are many options of course, and almost every one of them is a good one. If you are looking for something new to try, and are a fan of red wine, then I have a great recommendation to kick off the weekend. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of wines from Chile. They offer great value, have a wide range of options from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon to Carmenere and Pinot Noir. Yes, Chile, a very hot and dry place, is producing cool weather Pinot Noir now. And they’re doing it well in many cases. I was able to taste four Pinot Noir wines from Chile recently, and enjoyed them all. Today’s recommendation is not one of those four, but I think it’s a great wine, especially for the price. For under $10, you can get a nice Pinot Noir to sip and savor as you put your feet up and relax this weekend.
Chilensis 2009 Reserva Pinot Noir
The Chilensis 2009 Reserva Pinot Noir can be found in most wine stores and grocery stores. It comes in at $9.99 locally, and that puts it within almost everyone’s wine budget. It’s a medium bodied red wine, which makes it a perfect summer wine. The palate has red fruit, from strawberry to dark berries, with a little smoke and earth that Pinot Noir is known for. The Chilensis Pinot Noir will go perfectly with most any food you want to pair it with, whether that’s cedar plank salmon on the grill, burgers, dogs, or salads for summer. However, this wine has become a staple at our house, and we just love to sip on it slowly and enjoy.
If you try the Chilensis Reserva Pinot Noir, let me know your thoughts. Cheers to a great weekend!
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.
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!
The weather is perfect to fire up the grill, invite some friends over, and have your first backyard BBQ of the season. As you saw in the short video above, I brought three wines into the CBS12 WPEC studios today to offer you suggestions to make your grilled food and wine pairing perfect this summer season.
Huber Hugo - Gruner Veltliner - 2008
Our first wine, a versatile white from Austria, comes from Weingut Huber. The 10th generation to work the winery, Markus took over the reigns in 2000, after a stint in South Africa where he really learned about wine making. Gruner Veltliner may not be a wine you’re familiar with, but you’ll thank me for introducing it to you. Crisp and clean, it’s a wine that will range from citrus driven with great minerality and acidity (as this one is), to soft peach and apricot flavors and floral notes.
Gruner Veltliner, or GruVee, is a wine that will pair with nearly any food you put with it. Starting with the cheese plate, it’ll play wonderfully with any rich cheese, and even “Stinky” cheese! You dont stop there, however, and try it with grilled chicken, fish, lobster, pork, as well as spicy Thai or even sushi. The video has great descriptive tasting information, so be sure to watch. The Huber Hugo Gruner Veltliner is available for about $12.
Morande Reserva Pinot Noir 2008
The next wine that should be at any back yard BBQ this season is a Pinot Noir from Chile. Yes, Chile. I know you have enjoyed Pinot Noir from France, California, and Oregon; now it’s time to try one from Chile. Morande, founded in 1996, makes some delicious wines, including a Carmenere in their Pionero line that has this fantastic eucalyptus note that rocks! The grapes come from the Casablanca Valley, and the maritime influence on the weather provides cool enough growing conditions to make a great Pinot at a great price. You can get the Morande Reserva Pinot Noir for under $12
Pinot Noir is a red wine that has a very wide sprectum of expressions. It can be light to medium bodied, and from fruit focused to earthy and smoky. It really picks up the characteristics of where it’s grown, the terroir, and that is what I think I enjoy about the Morande Reserva Pinot Noir the most. It’s light enough, and has enough great strawberry fruit on it, with showing the earthy, smoky notes that you not only see in Pinot, but that you may expect from a Chilean red wine like a Carmenere. It’s light enough to pair with grilled salmon, but has enough body to stand up to burgers, grilled pork chops, and even steaks. We grilled some portobello mushrooms, paired it with this wine, and had our guests in heaven!
Bennett Lane Turn 4 Cabernet Sauvignon
The last wine, which we didn’t get to talk about in the segment is Bennett Lane Turn 4 Cabernet Sauvignon. If you watched the video, I botched the name trying to get out something about the wine in those 5 last seconds! It’s a nice Napa Cab for only $20, made by a winery that has earned several high scores on it’s various wines over the past few years. The fruit is sourced from multiple vineyards, in Calistoga, Oakville and St Helena, is aged 10 months in French oak, and is just a nice wine.
The Turn 4 Cab is definitely a Napa cab all the way, with a heavy mouth feel, and a lot of dark cherry fruit up front. There’s a nice transition to a Christmas spice component, and a finish with some pepper. It’s perfect with grilled steaks, or throw a lamb chop that is brushed with olive oil and rosemary on the grill, and you’re going to enjoy the way the flavors work together with the wine.
What will you be grilling next? I’d love to hear how you prepare some of your favorite backyard BBQ foods, and we’ll talk about the wine pairings together!
Though I didn’t make many resolutions this year, one of my goals is to finish my journey into the Wine Century Club, as each member has drank 100 different wine varietals. I started logging the wines I drank, cataloging each different grape the wines were made from, back in October 2008. Sadly, I stopped recording names and just focused on reviewing, writing, and discussing them. I have 50 written down so far, so there’s only another 50 to go. While I won’t blog about each grape I try, I may mention them, such as the Greek wine made from the Assyrtiko grape I had at the Epcot Food & Wine festival. I hope you come with me on the journey, and discover new and fun wines with me.
I love sharing great wine information with anyone who’s interested. Today I was on CBS 12, WPEC, in West Palm Beach, and spoke about four wines that I think work for almost any holiday party. While we only covered two of the four wines on the segment, I’ll tell you about all four right now.
First up was Gougenheim Chardonnay, from Mendoza, Argentina. This delicious white wine costs less than $9, and is versatile enough to go with a range of appetizers, as well as a holiday ham, seafood or chicken. It’s light, fruit driven flavor will go well with most anything you serve. A lightly oaked white wine, the pear and apple fruit flavors show nicely, and are balanced with just a hint of toast and spice from the oak aging.
If you’ve read any of my wine blog posts, you’ll know that Camenere was one of the first red wines I had ever had. Therefore, it’s always a pleasure to try a Camenere from a producer I haven’t had in the past. During the Wines of Chile blogger event, we had the pleasure of trying 8 wines from Chile while video conferenced in with the wine makers to get their insights on their wines, Chile, and wine in general. I have reviewed several of those wines already, and have a few more coming. You’ll find my thoughts and tasting notes on the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere in the video review below. Please be kind when watching it, I was in a hotel room after a full day of Oracle training, and pretty wiped out.
Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere 2007 hails from the Aconcagua Valley of Chile, right around San Felipe, north of Santiago. The Aconcagua river flows through the valley, which provides “melt water” for much needed irrigation in the area. While wine grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere have grown in the valley since the mid 19th Century, there has been renewed interest in the area since the 1990s. Experiements have proven that Aconcagua valley vineyards located closer to the Pacific can provide great grapes, and great wines. Personally, I’m on the look out for some of these wines, especially Syrah which is pointed out in the Wines of Chile brochure that was sent to the bloggers for reference.
Now, it’s no secret that I think wines from Chile offer great value, bringing to us nice, or even fantastic wines, at a great price. I’ve probably written about more Chilean wine on this blog than any other country. At $26 retail, the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere is not an everyday budget wine for many people. However, I think it’s definitely a wine to give a try, if for no other reason than to see what Carmenere is about, and have a nice frame of reference for other producers.
As the video notes, the first night this wine was definitely a lot more fruit driven and didn’t have some of the characteristics I love about Carmenere. I felt it was lacking the earthy flavors with a black pepper and spice driven backbone that screams STEAK! I found it very “new worldy”. However, I actually REALLY liked it the first night, finding the wine fun and enjoyable. The second night I think it was “done”, with too much oxygen breaking down the wine, as notes of cherry cough syrup were dominant, which were not what I found the first night. I would like very much to get another bottle and see how it opens over time, because I believe I didn’t really experience the full potential of this wine in the situation I had to taste it.
Check out the video, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!
As you may have read in earlier posts like the Los Vascos Reserva review, I was given the pleasure to participate a blogger event put on by the PR folks from the Wines of Chile back in May. Several bloggers participated in a video conference between eight wine makers in Chile and the PR folks, moderated by Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine. In this fourth installment of my Wines of Chile video conference writeup, we talk about a great red wine made with the Carmenere grape.
While originally from the Medoc region of Bordeaux, the grape is rarely found there any longer. Instead, most Carmenere comes from Chile, and it’s their 3rd most planted red grape, behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I love carmenere, a typically earthy and peppery red wine that when done right, is great alone or with food. I pair Carmenere with a nice grilled steak, but it’ll go well with a variety of roasted and grilled meats.
I’ve mentioned the value wines I see coming from Chile many times, and believe the Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Carmenere is worth every bit of its $15 SRP. Made with 100% carmenere, the wine, considered in their “Gran Reserva” range, is aged at least 10 months in oak barrels, mostly new. Additionally, the wines age in the bottle at least 4 months, which the wine maker believes helps “ensure the evolution of the complex aromas and flavours”. Adding some punch to this $15 wine is the 91 point rating it received from Wine Enthusiast Magazine in the May 2009 issue. The one thing I was not able to verify is that while they are “Carbon Neutral” with their delivery, I can not confirm if Santa Carolina makes organic wines or not. Unlike the Cono Sur wines, it did not list Organically Farmed on the bottle.
Now, I’ve had Santa Carolina wines before, and my first impression was they were overly oaked and not to my palate. You’ll see in the video that while I may have thought this when I originally tasted the wine, the second tasting the next night completely changed my opinion. Watch the video, and let me know what you think. Not just of the video, but of Carmenere, wines from Chile, or Santa Carolina Wines.
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.