Tag Archives: Balletto

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Wine Cellar Craftsman and Designer Philippe Leiritz

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

This week’s podcast; Philippe Leiritz and Your Custom Cellar http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/05/wine-guy-mike-for-august-5/

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

WineGuyMike with Perfect Patio Wines on KECI NBC Montana Today; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Philippe Leiritz

Philippe Leiritz from YourCustomCellar.com

Philippe Leiritz was this week’s featured guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  Leiritz is a native of Alsace, France and by professional trade worked as a mechanical engineer.  Leiritz and his wife Frederique worked together in Geneva, Switzerland prior to moving to and settling in Michigan.  Leiritz continued working in the engineering field but had no time to spend with his family. Frederique and Philippe made a decision to move to Missoula, Montana in pursuit of their dreams.

Collectively the Leiritz family is owner and proprietor of the Missoula Winery and Event Center.  Frederique who is from Champagne, France grew up and worked in a winery.  She is now the winemaker for her family winery and Philippe designs and builds wine cellars. 

Leiritz truly is a master craftsman with the mechanical engineering background.  A functional combination that comes together in the form of beautiful wine cellars custom built for all types of homes and businesses.

Learning how light, humidity and temperature are crucial for the finest wine storage.  There are four things that affect wines as they are stored; Temperature, Humidity, Light, and bottles need be stored horizontally on their side.

  1. Temperature 55°F – 59°F
  2. Humidity 50-70%
  3. Light – wines that are stored in areas with ample light often time indicates incorrect storage temperature.  Constant direct light is another factor to consider as it will begin breaking down wine.

In today’s world 90% of wines are made to be drunk within one year.  If you are a collector of vintage wines you already know how and where you should be storing your wines.  The bottom line; temperature is far more critical than a dark wine cellar.

  1. Lying the bottle down is critical, especially if you intend to store the wine for any length of time. The purpose of this is to keep the cork moist, if your bottle is setting upright there is no liquid to keep the cork wet and swollen thus sealing the bottle correctly and keeping the oxygen out until you are ready to drink the wine.

With synthetic corks do not need contact with the wine to protect the bottle but then you should still be laying the bottle down.  This is important for unfiltered wines with sediment being spread out evenly through a horizontally stored bottle rather than collecting on the bottom of one that is stored upright.  Remember the wine in the bottle is alive and changing every day and the sediment in the bottle plays its part in this too, but that is another story for another day…

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Commercial wine rack at a local tasting room

Master craftsman Leiritz also points out the choice of wood used in a cellar is critical for your cellar.  Redwood, mahogany, oak and alder are a few of the recommended choices for cellars.  Price, relative humidity, home décor, and personal preference all become a part of making the right choice for your wine cellar, Leiritz’s expertise is crucial when it comes to assisting you in these decisions.  

It is important to note that Leiritz builds cellars for all types of homes from modest to elegant custom homes.  There are even nice small racks that allow for proper wine storage for common guys like me.

This was a fun and informative radio show this week and Philippe Leiritz craftsmanship is extraordinary, having a nice cellar makes collecting and drinking wine just that much more enjoyable.  For more information please visit the website at; http://www.yourcustomcellar.com/home   

Here are two WineGuyMike wines that I recommend for your wine rack, pick them up at Missoula’s finest wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery head winemaker Scott Morrison is this week’s featured guest, http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/22/wine-guy-mike-for-july-22nd/

Last week’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Paul Hobbs and his eleven siblings were raised on a one hundred fifty year old farm in upstate New York.  If you placed an X in the very center of that farm you would be standing at the barn the Hobbs children knew as wondrous and magical place.  That barn is now referred to by Paul as the CrossBarn.

Hobbs is arguably one of the top winemakers in America; he is also respected as one of the top wine consultant’s worldwide, producing world-class wines in California and Argentina. Producing wines of distinct character require sourcing grapes from only the finest vineyards, a task and talent Hobbs excels at. 

Scott Morrison’s career in wine began in a very practical way, interning at a winery in the Napa Valley.  Having discovered his passion he embarked on an academic track, studying viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.  After finishing school Morrison traveled to New Zealand, a country whose focus is growing cool weather varietal grapes, it was there he honed his white winemaking skills.  Once back in California Morrison worked with The Hess Collection and Rudd Winery, and most recently Paul Hobbs Winery.  Morrison is now head winemaker at Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery. 

CrossBarn Winery produces elegant wine offering true consumer value, thanks to the collaboration of Hobbs and Morrison.  The grapes used in CrossBarn wines are carefully hand harvested striving to preserve the core integrity of the fruit.  All three current wines are from the 2009 vintage.

The wines I’m recommending are great wines, food friendly and available at Liquid Planet. 

This wine pairs well with shellfish and will be on sale for $24.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with Lamb and Chops and will be on sale for $28.99 until Friday 7/29.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats with ample marbling and will be on sale for $33.99 until Friday 7/29.

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/29/2012  $13.99

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/29, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Simply What You Need To Know About Wine

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Last week’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

What’s Important to Know about Wine

This is WineGuyMike, good Sunday morning and welcome back to this week’s show.  Before I delve into this week’s topic I wanted to let you know that next week my featured guest will be Scott Morrison from the Russian River Valley.  Scott is winemaker the Paul Hobbs label, Crossbarn.  You will not want to miss this interesting show.

This week I’m sharing with you what I believe is really important to know about wine.  I have developed the WineGuyMike Wine Template©, a 10 point simple look that allows you to understand any wine easily.  This is important to know for many reasons, it empowers you if you are shopping for wine, tasting wine, or helping someone else to better understand wine. 

You may have noticed the last few weeks on my blog that I have been displaying the wines I’m sharing with you by utilizing the wine templates.  I feel very strongly that keeping wine as simple as possible is ultimately important.  As you may know we don’t encourage any wine snobbery here on the WineGuyMike show.

The templates generally include ten different points that is necessary for you to understand what a wines personality and a wines physical attributes.  The new templates also help you to better understand your palate and the taste profile of a wine that are appealing to you.

Here is the list and a description of 10 points I cover on each WineGuyMike Wine Template©.

  1. Style – New World or Old World

–         The style of wines can be significant depending on the winemaker’s philosophy and whether they make their wines in an Old World or New World Style.  Remember Old World wines from the Old World are made to complement foods that are grown or raised in that particular area or region.  The Old World wines often are restrained, simple and lower in alcohol content.  Wine from the New World typically has been made to drink; pairing foods with a New World wine is a bit more complicated for the average wine drinker, unlike the Old World you know what to pair the wine with if you understand what the common foods from a particular region are. 

  1. Region or Area – Where is the wine from?

–         In the Old World viticulturists and winemakers have let the land and weather, also known as terroir, dictate what grapes are grown where.  The New World now is also acutely focused on terroir, it is critical to growing grapes that reflect a true expression of the grapes varietal and tha sense of place.  Grapes that are grown in areas that are not best suited for the varietal may produce wines that are not pleasing.

  1. Grapes – What is the grape type?

–         What is your grape style?  Do you like light, medium, or full bodied wines?  Do you like wines that are dry or have a subtle sweetness to them?  Do you like wines that are lush or may have a bit of zing to them?  Knowing the grape varietals and their particular characteristics is vital to your enjoyment of wine.

  1. Designation – Old World Laws vs. New World Regions

–         In the Old World there are wines laws that dictate where a grape is grown, and how much can be produced, how grapes are pruned, harvested, and in some cases how the wines are made.  The New World is now beginning to implement some of these requirements although not nearly to the degree of the Old World.  In France you will notice on a label A.O.C., in Italy you have the D.O.C. or D.O.C.G and Spain you have the D.O.  The New World now typically identifies the origin, AVA or American Viticulture Area, of a wine.  These areas are geographically defined.  American wine law identifies on the label whether a wine is Estate produced and bottled, there are also requirements about how much of a varietal must be in a bottle of wine in order to be identified as such.

  1. Vintage – What year was the wine produced?

–         This is important to know as wines from the same vineyards vary mainly depending on weather.  Each year, just like vegetables crops, the harvest will be different. 

  1. Color – Colors vary and tell part of a wines story

–         In white wines this varies from Pale Yellow Green at one end of the spectrum to Brown. This is due to age, varietal, and influence from oak barrels.  Red wines vary from Purple to Brown, white wines gain color as they age and red wines lose color with age.

  1. Nose – This is what we sense when we put our nose to the glass

–         Aroma; a generally positive term describing the smell of a wine, for example, fruity, earthy, or even spicy.

–         Bouquet; this refers to the scent that a wine develops with age.  This is not to be confused with the wines aroma.

  1. Palate – That’s right what do we taste, what is the flavor?

–         We can sense four different tastes and possible five but that is still debatable, and they are;  sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and perhaps an ability to sense MSG otherwise known as umami

  1. Finish – What’s left behind?

–         The aftertaste of the wine, flavor and sensation.  How long does it last and what are the subtle nuances?

  1.  Vinification– What do you need to know about how the wine was made?

–         There are techniques that are used by winemakers that greatly affect a wines style, this is important to know.

Here are the wines that I’m recommending for you this week, yes in the WineGuyMike Wine Template© format.  Please let me know what you think.  The wines I’m sharing are great inexpensive food friendly wines that are available at Liquid Planet. 

Pair this wine with; Oysters on the half shell, Salmon, Tuna, Tenderloin of Pork.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $13.99

Pair this wine with; Barbeque, Pork Chop with herbs, Fowl.

Sale Price until 7/20/2012  $9.99

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced until 7/20, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Special Father's and Special Wines

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Today is Father’s Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pay homage to some of the men who are or were father’s, whom I have really respected and loved, and have made such an impression that they have impacted my life.  

President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966.  It was six years later, in 1972, when President Nixon made the day a permanent national holiday by signing it into law.

I thought it would be fun to share a little of my life with you, of course let us not forget this show is all about wine.  I put a great deal of thought into these men who have been important to me and thought about what wines that I have enjoyed recently that reminded me of these special men on Father’s Day.

First I’ll talk about my dad, his name is Frederick.  My dad grew up in a very poor family in Upstate New York, which is also where I grew up.  My Dad’s life growing up was not easy, he is a survivor who has had to scrap for everything in life, but my dad was a dreamer.  My dad went after his dreams and fought as hard as he could to live and achieve all that he could dream.  For my Dad I raise my glass and toast him with a great Syrah from Walla Walla in Washington State from Reynvann Vineyards.  For this toast I chose their Syrah “The Contender”, they make three great Syrah’s but this one that I think is one of the finest varietal examples seemed appropriate for my Dad.

My Father-in-law, Paul Wright who was one of the toughest men I have known, and not due to his physical strength.  He was tough enough to be a great man. Paul a recipient of the Purple Heart from the Korean War was hospitalized for nearly one year having been shot in the war, but he survived.  Paul was a Nuclear Engineer, the father of five children, foster father to over 2,000 children who needed emergency short term(Ha Ha) care.  These kids were raised alongside his own children wearing the same clothing, taking the same music lessons, and playing the same sports.  My Father-in-law just lost a long and hard fought battle to Pancreatic Cancer, he seemed to even beat that though, he lived nearly two years after diagnosis.  I raise a glass of Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards and Winery in the Russian River Valley.  This is a great Pinot Noir that expresses true and real terroir at the hands of winemaker Anthony Beckman, that is what my father-in-law was true, real, and an example of something to model oneself after.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Alfred Gates, was a survivor of World War II.  He spent his time in the war on destroyer escorts, the support team for the big battleships.  His boat survived the war and all the unbelievable storms at sea.  This man taught me self respect, how to treat others, how to be a leader of a family.  Al was loved by everyone who ever met him, and he enjoyed everyone he met.  He is a person I miss a lot and think about from time to time even though he has been gone for over thirty years.  I’m grateful for this man who always had a twinkle in his eye, for him I toast him with no other than a great sparkling wine, Gruet Brut Rose.

Last but not least by any means, my Grandfather Tornatore from Sicily.  My Grandfather came to this country with nothing through Ellis Island in New York.  He eventually settled in a tiny place in Upstate New York named Mexico, New York.  This man was a bull of a man, as wide as he was short, he was a pheasant who worked in a steel foundry and raised everything on his land to feed his family.  I am forever grateful to this man for instilling my love and passion of wine, my grandfather also loved wine.  As powerful a man as he was, his hand for the vine was gentle.  He was a master of grafting fruit trees and grapevines, I followed him and learned a love of the land, a love of the vine, and he instilled his amazing passion for the wine to me.  For this I’m eternally grateful, to him I raise a glass of Boroli Quattro Fratelli

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

These wonderful Father’s Day wine selections are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Giving Thanks for a Grape Harvest this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/11/20/wine-guy-mike-for-november-20/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Liquid Planet, “Best of Beverage”, located in Downtown Missoula www.LiquidPlanet.com

Sleep City Missoula, “Giving A Good Night’s Sleep To Those In Need” 2401 North Reserve Street  www.SleepCity.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and reflection, a tradition in history dating back to the early 1600s.  Following harvest, the tradition was for America’s first farmers, the Native Americans and the earliest European settlers (Pilgrims) to celebrate and share the bounty with their communities. The Thanksgiving traditions continue today, as families sit down to share food and drink, reminisce, and be thankful.

Just as the first farmers would celebrate harvest, it is also a time of celebration in vineyards around the world — except for in South America or down under where summer is just beginning.  Grape farmers in the Northern Hemisphere are patiently waiting and watching their crops with great anticipation.  Consumed by weather reports, farmers carefully examine the fruit in each vineyard daily.  Measuring Brix – or the sugar content of the grape – is a daily chore for the grape farmer.

Grape farming, just like any type of farming, can be stressful. With the late arrival of spring this year, the grape vines were weeks behind in producing grapes. During this past growing season, all varieties of fruit and produce were behind schedule due to weather conditions. 

With grapes, as the clusters grow and mature, the farmer waits for what is known as veraison, or when the grapes begin to soften, turn color and begin to ripen.  As the growing season progresses, the grape farmer watches over the grapes, tending and pruning to maximize the concentration of fruit within the grapes.  

As the growing season nears the end, the farmer walks through the vineyards, carefully scrutinizing the grapes and wielding a small device called a refractometer.  This device allows the farmer to know the exact moment his grapes are ready to be picked.  The sugar in the grapes has now reached a level needed to make wine.  Stand back because this is when the frenzy in the vineyard begins.

Quite literally at that moment, the call goes out to the grape-picking crew that has been on standby just waiting for the farmer’s declaration that the grapes have ripened to perfection.  Picking crews are real experts and amazing to watch work. They are able to harvest fruit at a frenetic pace, yet still handle the fruit with a gentle hand.  The grape harvest is a race to get the grapes off the vine as the sugar in the fruit has peaked.

Mother Nature plays an important role in the grape harvest. Trying to harvest when the fall rains come is very difficult.  If grapes hang on the vine at the end of their ripening cycle and heavy rains begin, the grapes will absorb excessive water, resulting in wines that are thin – a difficult situation for the winemaker.  Winemakers live for great vintages of grapes, or ones that need very little attention once the grapes have been crushed and are in the tank fermenting.  Good winemakers will tell you that great wines are made in the vineyard.

Now that the grapes have been harvested, the crush begins.  Crush is a term used in the wine industry for the harvesting and pressing of grapes, a very exciting time at a vineyard and winery.  Once complete, the vineyard crew is finished and the grapes are now in the hands of the winemaker and their team.  

At this point, it’s time for the process of fermentation, which involves putting the grapes in a tank and using their natural yeast – or an inoculated commercial strain of yeast – to work with the sugar in the grapes to produce alcohol.  If the harvest was a great vintage, the winemaker will not need to manipulate the wines, which is the ideal situation.  The grapes ferment for different lengths of time depending on the type and style of wine a winemaker is making.  It is during this process that the color of a wine, the alcohol level and the amount of tannin in a wine is determined. 

Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is ready to be aged in steel tanks or wooden barrels.  It is very common today to buy a bottle of wine that is a blend of the same juice – some was aged in a steel tank while some may have been aged in oak barrel.  This is where a winemaker’s expertise is important. Tradition, experience and a winemaker that has made many vintages of wine is critical in producing quality wine.

It’s clear that in the grape-growing business, the harvest and the crush are both stressful and exciting times.  During the crush, there is an electric atmosphere of celebration and thankfulness that is contagious. 

Each year, the wineries share their harvest with us in the form of a bottle of wine.  There are a few great wines that are available at Liquid Planet during this season of Thanksgiving.  Look for more wines throughout this month at www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com or on Facebook at WineGuyMike.

Three excellent wines this year are from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California.  Both of these wines are from the Balletto Vineyards & Winery, which was featured this summer on the WineGuyMike radio show.

2008 Balletto Gewurztraminer

The aroma of Lychee fruit, guava, red pear and granny smith apple aromas are ever present in this wine. Bright fruit and citrus flavors highlight the dominate aromas of this beautiful Gewurztraminer.  Once in your mouth tropical flavors from the nose translate to the palate and are accompanied by subtle tangerine and lemon.

The wine is lushly textured and light, balanced tannins and a delightful finish of toffee, lingering apple, and pear make this a perfect wine to compliment your thanksgiving turkey and all of the lovely side dishes. 

2009 Balletto Pinot Gris

This Pinot Gris is a complex, pale, straw-colored wine that opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones.  The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon. The aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating, and on the palate this wine is lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.

2010 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet-colored Pinot Noir is floral with aromas of rose petals, spice, ginger, cassis and fruit aromas of raspberry.  There is a bit of dusty earth with just hint of vanilla too. This wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively. It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder-like tannins.  A long beautiful finish.

Here is another wine that will pair nicely with a Thanksgiving meal and guests will certainly enjoy.

2010 Hugel Gentil

The Hugel Gentil revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines produced from a blend of noble varietals were called “Gentil”.

Hugel Gentil is a traditional Alsace blend of primarily Gewurztraminer paired with varying amounts of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner.

The Gentil blend of Noble grapes from Alsace region display a light youthful color in the glass and is ripe with floral, fruit and notes of spice.  This wine is rich, yet dry with a hint of lemon zest and mineral is the perfect complement for your dinner.  This is an outstanding Thanksgiving wine selection.

You will find these beautiful Thanksgiving wines at Liquid Planet in downtown Missoula.

"from my table to yours", Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families

"from my table to yours", Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families

A New Wine Season on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/10/09/wine-guy-mike-for-october-9th/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Fall is in the air, colors of trees are changing and beautiful.  Soccer and football fields are filled with kids, coaches, and parents.  The air is becoming brisk, the sun is lower in the sky yet still warm enough in the afternoon that you have to shed your jacket.

It occurs to me that with each new season the types of food we eat, the way we prepare food, our style of food, how we drink wine, and the type and style of wine that we drink bring about a palate of change.

Cooking has moved indoors, cooking on the stove top and using our ovens again rather than cooking everything imaginable on the grill.  Warm summer days, congregating on the deck with family and friends, grilling, enjoying a cold beer or a nice glass of chilled wine are quickly winding down.

We begin thinking about food dishes that are transitional, it’s not time for winter comfort foods just yet, but it is time for a great pot of chili or soup.  Just as our desire for food changes so does our palate for wines. 

Since the beginning of time Old World Winemakers have made wines that are seasonal and specific.  In the Old World wines are made specifically to complement indigenous foods.  Old World winemakers will also make wines that are seasonally appropriate, even if they may not be known for their summer wines.  Even in Tuscany when its 90 degrees outside you need something chilled to drink.

As our desire for different styles of food is changing with the season so are our wine palates.  It is interesting how wine choices mirror the foods we are seasonally preparing.  There is a shift from lighter fare to dishes that have a bit more substance.  Wines that we now consider will also change as a result.  While it may not be time for comfort food yet it is time for comfortable soups, chili, and light stews.  So now it’s time for wines that have more body and texture.

Life is about a journey and evolution and so goes the world of wine.  How boring would it be if nothing ever changed?  Grape farming has become very specific,  not that it hasn’t been in the past.  Science and terrior have become a powerful driving force.  Grape farmers around the world now look to science and have a much deeper understanding of terroir.  This conformation of the farmers’ sixth sense and intuition produces beautiful grapes for the winemaker.  Grape farmers from around the world are not just growing fruit in general area that they know fruit grows well, it is much more specific than that.  Farmers know and understand their land and winemakers that turn the grapes into wine will be the very first to tell you the land and terrior that produce great wine.  Great winemakers comment that it’s ninety percent of the equation.

Grapes are now being planted and harvested from specific blocks of land within vineyards for winemakers to make special wines with.  Typically these are higher end wines that can be expensive.  It is important to understand where a bottle of wine comes from and why.  Farmers consider geography, soil, weather, and the grape varietal when planting vines.  The farming trend now considers this in a  grape type; is the varietal a valley grape, a hillside grape, or a hilltop grape?  This all makes a difference in the vinification or winemaking process of great wines.

Farmers and winemakers consider what grapes grow best where?  Are they a cool weather varietal that grows best in a zone 1 weather region that is the coolest growing area.  Or does a particular varietal grow best in a warm to hot zone like a region 4 or 5.  There certainly are cross over areas where grapes can thrive, but the grape farming trend now much more exact.  Grapes that are a cool weather varietal or type provide the very best fruit when grown in zone specific areas. 

Different grape varietals require what is known in the world of wine as hang time.  This means how long a grape needs to be on a vine from flowering, to actual fruit on the vine, maturation, and veraison or onset of ripening right up until the perfect moment of harvest. 

What does this mean for the wine drinker?  Why is that important in this season of change and transition? Grapes grown in various climatic zones produce wines that are very different.  Let’s take Pinot Noir as an example; a Pinot Noir that is grown in a cool weather climate like Oregon, or Burgundy will have medium body, no heavy tannin, it will show a little less depth in color, this is a wine of elegance and finesse.

A Pinot Noir made from grapes in a warmer weather zone will produce a wine that is higher in alcohol, more tannin, and more color extraction from the grape.  Wine knowledge empowers you as a consumer.   It is important to know what a wine should be so that when you approach a shelf you can make the right choice that it is of value for you.

Here are a few examples of great wines to complement your dishes in the season of change.  I hope you will enjoy these selections.

E Guigal Cotes du Rhone Red

This is a beautiful wine that is inexpensive. This blend from the well known Guigal family is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre.  The grapes are grown in  pebbles and alluvia soil matter, sediment, limestone, granite.  This provides great drainage for the grape vines.

The grapes for this wine spend a great deal of time with the skins are fermented in a cool temperature controlled environment.  Aged 1 ½ years in oak but this wine presents with only a minimal oak influence. Visually this wine is dark red with great depth, and a beautiful shimmer. On the nose this wine has an aroma of red berries, fresh fruit, and just a hint of spice.  The palate is ample, not to full, really a great example of an affordable Cotes du Rhone.  This wine is balanced and very well made.  Nice tannin and spice that is enticing with a long rich finish.  This wine is very aromatic in a very pleasing way.

The Guigal Cotes du Rhone Red will pair nicely with cold cuts, cheese, wild game birds, pheasant and quail in particular.

Balletto 2009 Russian River Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals, spicy ginger, dusty earth, and a hint of vanilla. This stellar example of a cool weather varietal fruit from the Russian River Valley delivers aromas of raspberry and cassis which are the heart of this wine.  On the palate this wine is medium textured with fine tannin, beautiful balance between fruit and acidity with an alluring spice that may be more interesting than any other wine.  This finish is long and complex; you just need another sip because you don’t want this wine to end.  This wine may age up to five years and will only improve with age, but who can wait this wine is delicious.

The Balletto 2009 Russian River Pinot Noir will pair well with beef stock based soups, a great pot of chili, beef stews, beef bourguignon, beef stroganoff, or a nice Cornish game hen with wild rice.

2007 Reininger Syrah from Walla Walla Valley

This 100% Syrah is aged in old French Oak barrels that impart very minimal oak nuances into this delicious wine.  Ripe blueberries, lavender, and subtle orange zest is your first impression of aroma with this gem from Walla Walla.  Take a second turn with your nose in the glass, smoke and earth now adorn your sense of smell.

Take a sip, on the palate this wine has nice berry and pomegranate with a subtle smokiness that is full and lush.  Not so big that you can eat this wine though, it is very well made with a refined balance and structure.  The acidity in this wine is well suited to pair with a juicy steak or a nice cut of wild game adorned with a fruit based reduction sauce.  This wine drinks great now or can be aged 2-3 years.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

“Wine… it’s been berry berry good… to me,” Summer All Star lineup on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©

Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/09/04/wine-guy-mike-for-september-4th/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© it occurred to me the holiday in America known as, “Labor Day,” is like a break that takes place with one of America’s favorite past times, Baseball and its All Star Break.  Now for those of you reading this that may not be familiar with Baseball, really, there is a break that takes place just after the mid-point of the season.  During this three day break, just like Labor Day weekend, the sport of baseball showcases its top athletes’ in an All Star Baseball game that the world can watch on Television.

Well this is that point of the wine season for me and I thought it would be nice to take a look back over the summer at some of the wines I have written about on my blog and talked about on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.  This Labor Day weekend is really a turning point for wine drinkers, winemakers, and winery owners.  Wine drinkers like you and I will still enjoy our go to summer wines for another few weeks but then the season begins to change and so will the wines we choose to drink, it’s a natural evolution.  

Winery owners are beginning to think about the harvest.  They are considering what Mother Nature has given them in the way of weather in the spring and summer and what the harvest will produce.  The grapes have begun Veraison or the transition of growth into the ripening stage and everyone hopes for warm days, cool nights, and dry weather.  This is what produces good grapes at harvest.

Winemakers are pondering the timing, and weather of past seasons, reflecting on what the grapes have given them to work with from vintages past.  That is what they are beginning to think about as they sip on their glass of wine after a long days work in the vineyard for winemakers from smaller vineyards.  Larger operations may have many specialists, but for many vineyards they are farmers first and then transition after harvest into their true specialized rolls.

As I thought about all that I share with you today I really kept coming back to the parallel with baseball.  The season has changed and now we are entering the last trimester.  This is where it all counts, winding down the season and delivering the goods.

One of Saturday Night Lives’ best known sketches was about baseball and a certain character in particular.   In this comedic sketch Garrett Morris who portrayed the Dominican baseball player Chico Escuela, who spoke very disjointed English, delivered one of the best known catch phrases ever to a television audience; “Baseball… been berra berra good… to me.”

This week I give you my summer All Star lineup of wines.  The criteria for this lineup may exclude many of the great wines I have enjoyed this summer because the wines I share with you today must; affordable for the regular girl or guy, refreshing, easy to find, and go great with your Labor Day grillin’ and chillin’ get together with friends and family.  But I want to leave you with this parting thought; “Wine… it’s been berry berry good… to me™.”

A few Labor Day wine recommendations from WineGuyMike™:

Balletto 2008 Pinot Gris

One of my go to wines of the summe.  This pale-straw colored wine opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones.  The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon.  Altogether, these aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating.  In the mouth, it’s lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.

The fig and honey aromas make a secondary appearance in the finish to create a generous and incredibly long aftertaste that’s enhanced with a hint of butterscotch.

Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling

A beautiful French Riesling from the Alsace region of France.  This wine has a lovely nose that offers up both minerality and nice floral notes.  In the mouth this wine is both elegant and robust.  It has such great structure and being an Alsatian Riesling is beautifully dry and crisp.  Pair this with your seafood dishes this weekend.

Tuck Beckstoffer’s 75 Sauvignon Blanc

This wine presents as a classic Graves-style Sauvignon Blanc.  The light straw color is reminiscent of classic left-bank Bordeaux Blanc, while the flavors are a perfect blend of old-world complexity and crisp North Coast fruit.  The nose is just right on this gem, neither to fruity or grassy, but a nice aromatic of grass and grapefruit. On the palate this wine offers bright fruit flavors of apple skin and pear balanced by undertones of cherimoya, fig and melon.

This wine is the perfect pairing for soft cheeses, summer salads, grilled chicken and is one of my favorite domestic Sauvignon Blancs.

Vipra Bianca 2009

On the nose, this dry white wine expresses hints of fresh almonds, acacia, and citrus.  It is rich, yet fresh with a savory, elegant flavor.  This Italian white wine is a nice alternative to Sauvignon Blanc yet maintains a nice partnership with food because of the nice balance of fruit and acidity.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 is very well made.  This wine has wonderful tannin, is lush and full of its beautiful berry self.  It is a wonderfully balanced wine that will be so food friendly due to its fruit and acid companionship.  It doesn’t stop there though this wine for me delivers a great little nuance of toast and butter too.  It’s like a great mildly toasted piece of bread with homemade raspberry and cherry jam.  Serve this wine slightly chilled and pair it with everything from burgers, a nice grilled steak, or even a nice filet of grilled salmon.

Pennywise Pinot Noir

Light brick red in color with hints of emerald, the 2009 Pinot Noir blend of 94% Pinot Noir and 6% Syrah delivers aromas of cherries jubilee, root beer, rose petal, and cotton candy.  In the mouth this wine coats the palate with flavors of delicate plum, strawberry, watermelon rind, cream caramel, and vanilla bean.  The finish leaves you with delicate notes of fresh summer sweet strawberries.  Pair this wine with salads to pork chops or burgers, inexpensive and great to serve at a gathering.

Le Clos

This new wine, just released, is the latest addition to Domaine Sainte Eugénie.  It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.”  This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet.  Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits.  Refined oak fragrance (very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco.  Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.  It will perfectly accompany a roast rack of lamb, barbecued beef or pork chops with fine herbs.

Rosenere Reggiano Lambrusco

Speaking of refreshing this sparkling gem from Italy was so nice to taste. The Rosenere immediately shows beautifully in the glass, a rich and lovely deep purple color with perfect frothy head. Remember this is what a good Lambrusco should have and even as this wine sits in between sips and you give it a swirl the nice frothy head returns immediately.

The nose on this beauty is equally as pleasing with notes of grape, raspberry, strawberry, and a little cherry. On the palate this wine is so tasty with nicely balanced fruit, acid, and tannin. The Rosenere Lambrusco is like an extra-dry Prosecco which means it is semi-dry and is slightly sweet. The sweetness is appropriate and not annoying in any way.  It just feels right in your mouth, and it is.  The finish leaves you with a delightful lingering memory of refreshing fruit.

This fun frizzante sparkler is nice to pair with rich dishes you may serving or is perfect to enjoy with a nice wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as an appetizer.

The Sum

 The inaugural vintage of The Sum is a cabernet based blended red wine created by Tuck Beckstoffer whose family is widely considered to be the most famous grape growing family in the Napa Valley.

This amazingly well endowed profoundly rich red wine must be smelled and tasted to be believed.  The color is a rich, deep purple garnet and gives but a small hint as to what’s inside. The nose gives off soaring and wonderfully focused aromas of ripe stone fruit, vanilla, cherries, cedar cigar box, blackberries and cinnamon.  In the mouth, there are layers upon layers of broad, sweet opulent fruit balanced by firm tannins, great acidity and oak. 

This wine is amazing and offers huge value, just one word on pairing with this bad boy from Tuck; Steak, steak and more steak.  I recommend firing up your grill now because this wine at this price point will blow you away.

Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.

A fabulous way to end the day with this beautiful wine that offers a perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers.  A gentle sparkle brightens the fruit and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits.  This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal.  Moscato d’ Asti is highly aromatic with notes of fruit and white flowers, Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape.   A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing.  It is your dessert in a glass, everyone loves this wine.

My favorite summer recipe from WineGuyMike™:

Start with a very hot grill and a nice New York Strip Steak.

Sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes.

Kill the heat and let the steak hangout in the grill at 200 degrees

Saute sweet onions with a finely sliced mixture of peppers from mildly to fairly hot.

Your steaks should be between medium rare and medium at this point.

Plate steaks and your onion and pepper sauté right on top.  This dish has incredible flavor with just a hint of sweetness and heat from the sauté.

Pair that with The Sum I have recommended in my summer All Star wine lineup and you are in heaven.

Have a wonderful Labor Day celebration; I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my summer favorites and this recipe with you.  Salute!

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"