Archives for 

Grenache

What is a Rhone wine – WBW71 post

Wine Blogging Wednesday 71

Wine Blogging Wednesday 71

One of the issues many new to the wine world face is learning the grapes certain wines are made with. This is more an issue with old world wines, such as Italy and France, though it can be an issue in the US as well. For example, when I tackled today’s Wine Blogging Wednesday post, Rhone not from Rhone , I had to first recall exactly which grapes make up Rhone wines. The main ones are GSM, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, if you weren’t sure. However, there’s a great supporting cast of cinsault, petit sirah, viognier, roussanne and marsanne. For today’s WBW post I selected a Paso Robles cuvee, or a blend, of Rhone varietals and am excited to tell you about it.

By way of background, Lenn “Devours” Thompson started an initiative to corral wine bloggers, getting them focused on the same topic once a month, called Wine Blogging Wednesday. Each month a different blogger would come up with a topic, and we’d all write about it. I didn’t join the fray until 2008, years after WBW was in motion. However, it’s a great way to get different perspectives on the same topic. It shows that even the experts see grapes differently.  Today’s topic is Rhone Wines not from Rhone, brought to us by Tim Elliot of Winecast.

As I mentioned, wines made in the Rhone style include Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes. I could have selected a Grenache from Spain, or a Syrah from California for this article, however I’ve wanted to write about my dinner and interview with Austin Hope of Hope Family Wines and thought tasting his Liberty School Cuvee was the perfect opportunity. I’ll first cover the wine, then a little about Austin and dinner.

Liberty School Cuvee 2007

Liberty School Cuvee 2007

The folks at Liberty School believe that the Central Coast of California is perfect for Rhone varietals. If their 2007 Cuvee is any indication, I say they’re right. A cuvee is a blend, and this wine is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. I’ve often said that I’m not a fan of Syrah from California, as it comes in big and jammy, and I prefer the more restrained, earthy Syrah from France. However, at 13.5% ABV the Liberty School Cuvee is not a big wine, and it’s anything but jammy.

I taste the wine at three intervals, right after opened, after 10 minutes of air, and after 30 minutes of air. While it definitely opened and changed, it was fairly consistent throughout. The wine was a dark inky purple, and the cork bottom was almost black. At first, the nose had a very meaty bouquet, with a note of cocoa and spices. It had a great lush mouthfeel, and after 10-30 minutes there were dark berries balanced with some earth and nice leather notes on the palate. When I say leather, I could envision a well polished leather chair in a stately mansion, regal and sophisticated. The wine was definitely dry, though not tannic very tannic. Towards the end I started to taste secondary notes on the finish of spiced cherry pie and smoke, with a finish that lingered. I grabbed this wine at the grocery for $15, and it’s definitely a wine to try. We paired this wine with hamburgers, though we could have thrown a variety of grilled, roasted or smoked meats it it successfully.

What I enjoyed most about the wine was how it captured the essence of old world Rhone wines, with a touch of new world finesse and approachability. I’ve planned on tasting some more Hope family Wines and Libery School Cuvee against some Rhone wines in the near future and compare and contrast. I had taste several Paul Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage a few weeks back, and while they cost a bit more, I’m interested in the taste profiles as a comparison. I’ll be sure to let you know.  I’ll also let you know more about Paso Robles, home of Liberty School and Hope Family wines, as I’m visiting the area next week.

I hope to catch up with Austin Hope again when in Paso. He’s a great guy. very dynamic, and passionate about wine and all that it entails. My interview of Austin turned more into a dinner with a great guy, as the restaurant was too noisy to record our conversation, and we talked too quickly and about too many topics to take notes of any quality. We did, however, cover a few topics that I thought were quite interesting, such as multi-vintage wines and box wine, as well as a hot project that make change the way you look at Paso in the future.

Austin feels that the concept of multi-vintage wines needs to be looked at a bit more closely. He maintains that by using wines of different vintages, winemakers will be able to capture the youth and expressiveness of younger vintages, with the maturity and complexity of older vintages. He believes by doing this, wines will be more approachable upon release, and offer more than any young release wine can. I’m excited to see what he does with this concept. Austin also believes that he can put out a box wine of sufficient quality to carry a Hope Family Wines name. Expect a spring or summer 2011 release of his box, and I will definitely get my hands on it. I expect it to be a very approachable and affordable wine.

As for the last project, well, that one I can’t talk about yet. However, when Austin told me about it, I found myself secretly rooting for him to succeed. We’ll see soon!

Have you tried a Rhone style wine, whether from France, California or elsewhere? Let me know what you thought!

 

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.

Tasting and Talking about Quivira – 2007 Grenache

Quivira

Quivira

I wasn’t fortunate enough to join my fellow wine writers for the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference, where many had the opportunity to walk the Quivira Vineyards. I was, however, fortunate enough to visit Quivira and two other wineries as part of a Visit Dry Creek series of wine segments for Daytime, a nationally syndicated morning show. We had a great time visiting first Michel-Schlumberger, and then Montemaggiore, and knew that our time at Quivia would be equally as enjoyable.

Quivira Waterfall

Quivira Waterfall

Upon arriving at Quivira Vineyards & Winery, you are greeted by a beautiful landscape, and a very serene waterfall. This sets the stage for your visit, where you’ll learn about their biodynamic farming practices, take a self guided tour through their organic garden, and of course sample their wines made from their biodynamically grown grapes.  Check out the short video of my discussing Quivira and their 2007 Grenache, then continue down to more information about my visit.

Quivira Vineyards & Winery 2007 Grenache from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

Though they have many wines to sample, from Sauvignon Blanc to Zinfandel, Syrah, and Mourvedre, Quivira is one of only a handful of wineries in Dry Creek making Grenache, which is why I wanted to discuss it with you. Grenache, or Garnacha as it’s called in Spain, typically has flavors of berries with a nice spicy component that lingers on the finish. As I mentioned in the video, I noticed a nice dark but still red berry bouquet and palate, and the spice on the finish was beautiful. We had some of the wine left over the next day, and it’s palate smoothed a bit, the tannins that dried my mouth during the video tasting weren’t as firm, and it was drinking wonderfully. The 2007 Grenache was aged 15 months in 90% neutral oak, 10% new oak, and boasts a hefty 14.9% ABV (Alcohol by volume).

In the video I mentioned the typical fatty meat pairings for this wine, as the Grenache would pair well with lamb, veal, and beef. I also wouldn’t hesitate to put this with a nice smoked or bbq rib or pork, or game birds. It’s a fairly versatile wine that doesn’t need a lot of fanfare to drink. While I believe it would benefit from some time decanting, it was quite fine right out of the bottle with no air.

Peter Kight at the sorter

Peter Kight at the sorter

When we visited Quivira, proprietor Pete Kight was sorting through the grapes, working hard to ensure that the quality of grapes going into his wine was up to standards. We didn’t have the opportunity to chat with Pete, but did have a chance to sit with winemaker Steven Cantor as well as farm manager Andrew Beedy. From Andrew, we learned about the organic garden and farming practices, the various livestock on the property, and his thoughts on Biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming is a step above organic farming in terms of caring for the land, farming sustainably, and not using chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. However, Andrew makes it sound easy, saying “Basically, I give plants water. That’s what I do. The plants do all the hard work, we just make sure their environment is as healthy as it can be.”

Quivira Grapes

Quivira Grapes

Winemaker Steven Cantor was more than happy to discuss not only the wines he makes, but many other thoughts on winemaking, biodynamic farming, and life. Dubbed the “Philosopher Winemaker”, it was very interesting to hear his passion for the grape, and the wines he makes. He wasn’t able to single out any one Quivira wine that he’d call his Baby, despite my proding, loving each one of them for an individual characteristic.

There’s so much to see and do at Quivira, my video and post don’t scratch the surface. From their olive oils and preserves from their garden, to the farm to table dinners they do once a quarter, there’s always something new and enjoyable available at Quivira. Be sure to check out the Daytime segment which airs on Wednesday November 18th. If you can’t find Daytime in your viewing area, the segment will be online shortly at tweetmetv.com.

*Disclaimer – the wine tasted in this segment was provided by Quivira during the visit.

*Credit – the photo of Wine Creek in the video was ‘borrowed’ from Frank Morgan at drinkwhatyoulike.com .. hope the link back to your Quivia post makes up for that!

Come back tomorrow, when we journey over the hill to Napa, and start our visit of three St. Helena wineries. Are you ready?

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.