Tag Archives: Cava

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Pairing Wine And Food Made Simple

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 11:00AM MST.

It’s 2013 — welcome back to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.  I decided on today’s show topic as it occurred to meet late in 2012 how important relationships are, something I have always known of course.  But I took a moment to reflect on just how important it is in this chaotic world to take a moment, no matter how busy I am, for friends and family.

One of the ways that I do this in my life is to share wine and food with you, my friends on air and also through wine tastings and intimate dinners with friends and family.  Interestingly enough today’s show is all about pairing wines and food so we will be talking about balance which is also the point of today’s commentary for the New Year, finding a balanced and more harmonious lifestyle.

In approaching the topic of pairing wine and food let’s remember the number one rule on the WineGuyMike show, we have no rules.  All kidding aside this is a great guideline to be bound by no rules, but I will say when a wine is well paired with a meal it is a bite of nirvana.

There is much mystique and some draconian like attitude surrounding wine and food pairing, this can be unfortunate.  The hard-line approach is sometimes common amongst want to be wine experts and myopically focused sommeliers. Pairing wine and food should be fun, exciting, and a little challenging as you are thinking about a preparation for a special social gathering albeit large or small and intimate.  I am not suggesting that considering a few very common sense guidelines will not enhance your enjoyment of wine and food because it will.  My encouragement is to not over think this process, consider your guest(s), and to enjoy the moment.

When one considers wine and food thinking about balance is helpful. The balance of both weight and texture of wine and food is a good place to start when determining what wine works best with what food.  Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a wine too:

  • What wine do you like to drink?  Perhaps more important what type of wine does your guest like to drink?  Finding the right wine amongst two friends in itself is an act of pairing, is it not?
  • Consider the texture of the food, is it heavy or light?  Is it a rich or light dish?
  • How is the food prepared, has it been Grilled, Baked, or Sautéed?
  • What about sauce? Sauce has a significant impact on food, is there a gravy, crème or tomato sauce in addition to the food itself?

In considering balance, and in this case I’m referring to weight and texture of the main food entrée and the weight and texture of the wine, I will be choosing the appropriate wine to serve with my dinner.  What is my method of food preparation?  Am I dining in a restaurant?  This too can be a double edged sword as my guest more than likely will be ordering something very different than I will.  So now I have to find a wine that is suitable for both meals, or if the establishment serves wines by the glass and I know their wines have been handled correctly that will be an option for choosing the right wine with the entrée.

Here are a couple more things to consider while contemplating the most appropriate wine to serve with dinner.  Just as foods have texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture and weight.  Remember we are looking for balance and synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A big robust full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes, nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for that simple harmony between food and wine, not a power struggle.  Mild food dishes do well when they are paired with a wine that is medium to light in body.

What then are some of the basic parameters to consider when pairing wine and food?  When choosing wine the preference is medium to lighter bodied wines that have a balance of fruit and acid, have soft supple tannin qualities, and have moderate alcohol levels.  The best white wine to use in pairing wine and food are Pinot Gris or, as it is known in Italy Pinot Grigio, and Chenin Blanc.  Both of these white wines have a great fruit profile and the acid is a little higher than other grapes and the acid is what brings out the flavor so wonderfully in food.

When it comes to red wines there are a couple of things to consider.  Just like your white wines medium to light bodied wines are best when pairing with food along with the other attributes I just mentioned.  The red varietals that will always work great with food are; Barbera, Gamay, and Pinot Noir.  There is a new wine on the block too that works very well with food, Frappato.  This grape is a native Sicilian grape that is in favor with cult wine drinkers who enjoy pairing wine and food.   Another good rule of thumb to remember with red wines is that if they are light enough to see through in a glass they will work with food fairly well.

In closing I would like you to remember to consider what is really important, the relationship with your dinner partner or guests and please don’t over think the wine and food pairing.  It’s just not that complicated or important, you should enjoy what you and your guest(s) like.  I want to wish all of my listeners an a New Year filled with thoughtful relationships, and good health.  With this thought in mind I toast to you.

Be sure to check out the blog at WineGuyMike.com for my wine suggestions and if you live in Missoula be sure to visit Liquid Planet for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  I’ll see you on the radio friends.

For a great selection of wines to pair you food with be sure to visit Liquid Planet, Missoula’s “Best of Beverage”, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The  wines suggested today receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™   www.wineguymike.com is your wine resource.

From my table to yours,

 

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

Facebookhttp://on.fb.me/hvHsil please “like”

Twitter; https://twitter.com/WineGuyMike

Todays podcast on pairing wine and food; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/06/wine-guy-mike-for-january-6/

This weeks WineGuyMike YouTube preview on pairing wine and food; http://youtu.be/DAcXPbZr0TI

Last Weeks podcast on Champagne and Sparkling Wines; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/12/30/wine-guy-mike-for-december-30/

Recent podcast with wine visionary David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/12/23/wine-guy-mike-for-december-23rd/

Recent podcast featuring Christophe Hedges of Hedges Family Estate; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-December-9-554603

YouTube preview for this week’s show featuring David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard; http://youtu.be/i8cwHoT0Dpk

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/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

 

Champagne and Sparkling Wines, “All You Need To Know”

 

This week WineGuyMike™ writes all about all things bubbly for your New Year Celebration and understanding the differences between Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Cava, Prosecco, and Spumante.  In this post, I am also suggesting sparkling wines in a variety of price ranges that offer the consumer value.

What is the difference between Champagne and Sparkling wine?  Sparkling wines and champagne are still wines that have been infused with carbonation. True Champagne is made in France will be noted by the capital letter “C” on the label.  Other sparkling wines called Champagne will be designated as “champagne”, notice no capitalization. Three grapes are used in Champagne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.  It’s white because only the juice of the grapes is used.

The four methods of Sparkling wine production:

1. Carbon Dioxide Injection – soft drinks and inexpensive sparkling wines are produced using this method.  It produces large bubbles that dissipate quickly.

2. Charmat Process – wine undergoes a second fermentation in large bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.  Prosecco and Asti are produced utilizing this method, smaller longer lasting bubbles result from this method.  Many Sparkling wines are made using this method.

3. Méthode Champenoise – this process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.  During the second fermentation, the carbon dioxide stays in the bottle and this is where the bubbles come from.

4. Transfer Method – the cuvee is bottled for the second fermentation which adds complexity.  But the wine is then removed and stored in large tanks after it has spent the appropriate amount of time on yeast.

Champagne:

The Champagne region of France not only produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world but some of the finest wines in the world too.  Typically there are three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend or better known as the “Cuvee”.

Champagne is expensive due to the traditional method of how it is made, Methode Champenoise and techniques known as second fermentation.  This process takes place in the bottle and requires hands-on attention.

Pink Champagne or sparkling Rose is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins, truly a delight.  Methode Champenoise is the true French fermentation process.  The wine is fermented twice, once in an oak barrel, and the second time the wine develops carbonation in the bottle while aging a minimum of one year.

Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne, it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.  Blanc de Blancs fermented using the Methode Champenoise process, producing white Champagne.

Designations of quality:

Prestige Cuvee

This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes from the highest rated villages, it is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne

Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.  Here is an example of a few companies who produce these Vintage Champagnes; Veuve Clicquot, Perrier-Jouet, Moet & Chandon, and Taittinger.

Remember a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne

The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to Select your Champagne:

■Brut is Dry

■Extra Dry is Semidry

■Sec is Semisweet

■Demi-sec is Sweet

Quality Champagne Cellars:

Ayala, Billecart-Salmon, J. Bollinger, Canard-Duchene, Deutz, Charles Heidsieck, Heid Sieck Monopole, Henriot, Krug, Lanson, Laurent Perrier, Mercier, Moet & Chandon, Mumm Perrier-Jouet, Joseph Perrier, Piper Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Pommery, Louis Roederer, Ruinart, Salmon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot

All things are not at equal when it comes to sparkling wines and Champagne.  So what makes all of these types of sparkling wines different?  The answer is how they are made, the type of grapes, and the yeasts that are used in fermentation and left behind in the bottle to age with the sparkling wines.

There are 2-3 elements of wine that create aroma and flavor.  The first element is the fruit, and the second is the yeast used to ferment the wine.  Fruit and yeast combine during fermentation to produce aroma and flavor or sense of taste.  The third influence upon the wine in your glass may be from an oak influence during the wines aging process.

Other sparkling Wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.  Quality sparkling wines made in Italy are made by the Metodo Classico process or what the French refer to as Methode Champenoise.

Prosecco is an Italian wine, generally a dry sparkling wine, usually made from grape variety Glera, which is also known as Prosecco.  The Veneto region of Italy is where Glera/ Prosecco is grown and produced.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.  The various sparkling wines may contain some Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio wine.  Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle consequently the wine goes off or gets old quickly and should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within one year.

Prosecco is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine that is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume.  Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps.  Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun.  This Sparkling wine is aromatic and crisp, with nuances of yellow apple, citrus, pear, white peach, and apricot.  Today’s Proseccos tend to be dry and very bubbly and typically will present itself as light, fresh, with an initial intense bouquet/aroma, but simple and straightforward compared to Champagne.

Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine.  The Charmat method is a second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles.  The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine.  It is produced in the province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has a low alcohol content usually around 8%.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and for my palette I find these wines to be more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Originally the wine was known as Champaña until Spanish producers officially adopted the term “Cava” (cellar) in 1970.  Cava wines are fermented and aged in the bottle in underground cellars.   Today 95% of Spain’s total Cava production is from Catalonia.

Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  Under Spanish Denominación de Origen laws, Cava can be produced in six wine regions and must be made according to the Traditional Method with second fermentation in the bottle.  The grapes used to produce Cava are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Malvasia.  The Chardonnay grape is a latecomer to the scene despite being a traditional grape used to produce Champagne.  It was not introduced in the production of Cava until the 1980s.

In order for the wines to be called ‘Cava’, they must be made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise.  Wines made via the low-cost Charmat process may only be called ‘Spanish sparkling wine’.   A rosé style of Cava is also produced by adding in small amounts of red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell to the wine.

Cava made by the Champagne method is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne.  Cava is usually made by the Coupage method, whereby must, a.k.a.(grape juice) from different grape varieties are subjected to the first fermentation which is blended until it is consistent with the wine that the winemaker wants to produce.  After the Coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added.  It is then cellared for the second fermentation and aging.

Crémant is produced in the Loire Valley of France and is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region.  Crémant has to be aged for at least one year and it is handpicked.  The producers are also limited as to how much can be harvested, this all according to the French A.O.C.

There are seven French appellations that carry the Crémant designation in their name:

1.Crémant d’Alsace

2.Crémant de Bordeaux

3.Crémant de Bourgogne

4.Crémant de Die

5.Crémant du Jura

6.Crémant de Limoux

7.Crémant de Loire

Crémant de Loire’s are a blend of the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Cabernet Franc.  In Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne must be composed of at least thirty percent Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris while Aligoté is often used to complement the blend.  The Languedoc region in the south of France produces Crémant de Limoux.  This Sparkling wine is produced from the indigenous grape Mauzac, with Chenin blanc, and Chardonnay rounding out the wine in small amounts.

The Crémant Sparkling Wines are pressurized less than Champagne and therefore have a larger looser bubble as a result.

California Sparkling Wines:

Sparkling wines from California use a few grape varietals such as Berger and Chenin Blanc to blend with the traditional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Producers to look for in California; Hacienda, Domain Laurier, Roederer Estate, Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon, Codorniu-Napa, Iron Horse, Jordan, Mumm-Cuvee Napa, and Schramsberg.

Remember the name “Champagne” can only be used in Europe on bottles that actually are produced in the Champagne region of France.

As a consumer, you now are empowered by the information WineGuyMike™ has shared with you.  I would like to wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

From my table to yours,

 

 

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Author Becky Sue Epstein on Champagne: A Global History

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 with Author Becky Sue Epstein; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/08/12/wine-guy-mike-for-august-12/

YouTube preview of this week’s show with Becky Sue Epstein; http://youtu.be/ZrIZX-k9pHc

Recent Podcast with head winemaker of Balletto Vineyards & Winery, Mr. Anthony Beckman; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/29/wine-guy-mike-for-july-29/

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

Recent 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/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/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

This week on the WineGuyMike Radio Show I had the distinct pleasure of hosting award winning author Becky Sue Epstein.  As a long- time editor for numerous Wine & Spirit magazine publications Epstein shares her in-depth experience through her newest book Champagne: A Global History.

Epstein began her career as a restaurant reviewer for the Los Angeles Times while working in the TV and Film Industry in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The last 20 years she has focused her attention on Food, Wine, Spirits, and Travel writing for publications on the East and West Coasts.

Epstein and I had a terrific conversation on the show this week, this author keeps a very busy schedule between travel and research, somehow she finds time to write books.  Her award-winning cookbook The American Lighthouse Cookbook (Sourcebooks/Cumberland, co-written with Chef Ed Jackson) came out last year. Epstein’s second book is an entirely new update of the classic kitchen reference Substituting Ingredients (Sourcebooks June 2010) which is already in its third printing.  

The latest book, Champagne: A Global History (Reaktion, September 2011) spotlight’s sparkling wines from around the world, a great short read not only for Champagne and sparkling wine lovers but also those who want to learn more about this sexy, luxurious bubbly beverage.

In Epstein’s newest book she hi-lights influential people throughout world history who literally have shaped the face of this effervescent beverage.  She also provides readers with the 411 on all things sparkling in your glass.  This is important to know because this information empowers the consumer, allowing you to indulge in a budget minded way.  That’s right you can enjoy a daily glass of very good bubbly and not exceed you wine budget.

I want to thank Becky Sue Epstein for such an informative, lively, and engaging conversation.  I highly recommend this interesting and informative book, Champagne: A Global History.  This is a great short read that is only 132 pages in length, yet long on information empowering you as an expert consumer of Champagne and sparkling wine.  This book is available at Amazon.com as an ebook or hardcover online at http://amzn.to/NvZpxB Learn more about Becky Sue Epstein at www.BeckySueEpstein.com

I have two very inexpensive yet excellent sparkling wines I’m recommending for you this week.  Both are available especially priced at Liquid Planet, Missoula’s “Best of Beverage”, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

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

 You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

“A Good Friend And A Glass Of Bubbly” 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 MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/01/01/wine-guy-mike-for-1112/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/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

Sponsors      

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.

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.

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© special fan of 2012, my Granddaughter Elle Marie

Happy New Years and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Out with the old and in with the new, that’s today’s agenda and with that I had the pleasure of sitting down with a special friend who has been a pioneer throughout his career.   Earl Sherron founder of Earl’s Distributing in Missoula, Montana joined me this week on the radio show to share his insight about Champagne and Sparkling wine. 

Earl Sherron

Earl Sherron

Earl is a man of integrity, wisdom, and experience and he gave me the opportunity to become involved in the wine industry some fifteen years ago.  He has been a mentor, an inspiration and source of encouragement every since.

A little bit about Earl Sherron:

Earl Sherron was the youngest beverage distributor in the state of Montana when he created Earl’s distributing in Missoula in 1968.

 At the time the company only represented two brands of beer–Great Falls Select and the Olympia brewing company. Earl’s continued to grow as it acquired many more brands of beer throughout the years.

The state of Montana controlled the sale of wine until 1979. After this time distributors were able to make wine more accessible to the public by offering placement in grocery and convenience stores.

During this time Earl’s was the only member in the state belonging to the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.  The WSWA is a national trade organization representing the wholesale branch of the wine industry.

By cultivating relationships with vintners, the company was able to grow its portfolio of domestic and imported brands of wine.

Earl had a commitment to the industry by promoting wine as part of a gracious lifestyle.  The culture and education of wine was available to the consumer through popular wine festivals.  The most important component of these events was not only experiencing a variety of wines, but giving back to the community as all events sponsored a local non-profit organization.

After 38 years in the business the company had 100% market share of domestic & imported wine for the western Montana territory.

Earl’s philosophy of striving to deliver positive results to the community and its employees was the core system of the company.  The tradition of sharing wine and champagne makes every day events a celebration.

I want to thank my featured guest and special person who has meant more in my life than he realizes.  Thank you Earl, and Happy New Year’s to you and all of your family.

Champagne and Sparkling wines are drinks of celebration, so it is important to understand what’s out there, and more importantly how they are different. 

The Champagne region of France produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world.  Typically there are three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend, or the “cuvee”. 

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins which create its beautiful color.  Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne; it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.

Designations of quality:

Prestige cuvee:

This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes grown in the highest rated villages. It is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne:                                     

Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.  Remember, a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne:

The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to identify your Champagne

  • Brut is Dry
  • Extra Dry is Semidry
  • Sec is Semisweet
  • Demi-sec is Sweet

Other sparkling Wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.   Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the Italian province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8 percent.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  

Suggestions:

$$$(20.00 & up) = Expensive, complex, sophisticated selections

$$(14.00 -20.00) = Excellent quality, some of the nuance and complexity of $$$

$(under 14.00) = Simple, fun, value

Gosset Champagne $$$

This champagne presents in the glass as crystal clear, pale golden hue with persistent fine, lively bubbles.  The bouquet of this Champagne is intense, elegant and inviting on the nose.  Fresh floral notes reminiscent of honeysuckle, wisteria and white jasmine seamlessly give way to exotic aromas of pineapple, guava and mango with hints of caramel, gingerbread and cinnamon.  A trace of pear liqueur completes the harmonious finish.

The taste of this invigoratingly fresh and refined champagne is characterized by rich density and volume.  On the palate, delicate floral notes give way to flavors of sweet peaches and nectarines over subtle notes of spices like cardamom and green pepper.  The finish is delicate and smooth, with irresistible and deliciously sensual flavors of candied fruit, cinnamon and licorice.

L’Ermitage 2002 $$$

L’ERMITAGE is Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, which has consistently been rated one of California’s top sparkling wines since its debut in 1989.  Taking a cue from owner Champagne Louis Roederer, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode champenoise and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend.  L’ERMITAGE is made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from the very best lots.

Fine tiny bubbles and a long lasting mousse are the usual footprints of the L’ERMITAGE cuvée.  This cuvée from the palindromic vintage 2002 is showing great notes of “tarte tatin”: baked apples and buttery crust, with notes of apricot and delicate vanilla bean.  The mouthfeel is creamy, expresses flavors of quince and bread crust, with a clean and crisp yet long finish.

Roederer Estate Brut NV $$

Roederer Estate Brut, the first California sparkling wine produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, builds upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking that has made Roederer Champagne among the most sought-after in the world.

The Roederer Estate Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Gruet Brut Rose $

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2010 $$

Straw color, frizzante, peach, rose petal, ginger, sweet & delicate on the palate. Good balance of fruit and acidity, complex, apricots on the finish.

Lamberti Prosecco $

This non-vintage Prosecco Extra Dry offers lovely balance in a perfumed, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices.  The finish is long and polished.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $

This fine Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine’s bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut – Extra Dry $

Slightly off-dry, it offers fresh pear and apple aromas and rich citrus, peach and green apple flavors. A subtle yeasty tone and a refreshing, elegant finish.

2008 Argyle Brut $$$

63% Oregon Pinot Noir, 37% Oregon Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

In the glass this wine presents a soft straw color with tight tiny streams of bubbles.  On the nose you get full aromas of creamy vanilla poached pear and fresh sour dough starter.  The first impression on the palate is of how well balanced this wine is, playing the purity of fruit off of the fresh acidity while showcasing the wine’s natural mineral notes.  There are notes of ripe guava, red Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, and lightly toasted brioche, finishing with notes of honeysuckle and lemon curd.  A great vintage of sparkling wine from Argyle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux $

 This sparkler is probably the oldest sparkling wine in the world.  We know that in 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire were already producing Blanquette de Limoux which certainly makes it France’s Oldest Sparkling Wine preceding Champagne by more than a century.

This Cremant Dry, toasty, smooth and clean SAINT-HILAIRE truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.

Rotari Talento Brut $

Rotari was born in the heart of the Dolomites.  The mountain climate, the special care of the vineyards, the dedication of our winemakers in the manual selection and harvest of the grapes give life to the fresh and fragrant bubbles that are both complex and enjoyable reflections of the characteristics of the region.  The Metodo Classico, its history, and its long aging process on its yeast bestow upon Rotari unique and unrepeatable characteristics.

Produced with Chardonnay grapes that are selected and harvested by hand and originate exclusively from the best vineyards in the hills of Trentino.  At the foot of the Dolomites, where the Chardonnay expresses best its fresh and fruity character, the Rotari Brut is fragrant, intense and elegant.

I would like to offer a New Year’s toast to all of you, may your New Year be filled with health, happiness, and prosperity.  I thank each and everyone of my audience for making my year what it has been. 

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Champagne and Sparkling Wines Suggestions From WineGuyMike™

The following recommendations were featured on NBC’s Montana Today Show this morning.  I will be featuring additional recommendations over the next 48 hours so stay tuned.

Champagne and Sparkling wines are drinks of celebration, so it is important to understand what’s out there, and more importantly how they are different. 

The Champagne region of France produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world.  Typically there are three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend, or the “cuvee”. 

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins which create its beautiful color.  Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne; it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.

Designations of quality:

Prestige cuvee:

This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes grown in the highest rated villages. It is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne:                                     

Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.  Remember, a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne:

The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to identify your Champagne

  • Brut is Dry
  • Extra Dry is Semidry
  • Sec is Semisweet
  • Demi-sec is Sweet

Other sparkling Wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.   Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the Italian province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8 percent.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  

Suggestions:

$$$(20.00 & up) = Expensive, complex sophisticated selections

$$(14.00 -20.00) = Excellent quality, some of the nuance and complexity of $$$

$(under 14.00) = Simple, fun, value

Gosset Champagne $$$

A crystal clear, pale golden hue with persistent fine, lively bubbles.  The bouquet of this Champagne is intense, elegant and inviting on the nose. Fresh floral notes reminiscent of honeysuckle, wisteria and white jasmine seamlessly give way to exotic aromas of pineapple, guava and mango with hints of caramel, gingerbread and cinnamon.  A trace of pear liqueur completes the harmonious finish.

The taste of this invigoratingly fresh and refined champagne is characterized by rich density and volume.  On the palate, delicate floral notes give way to flavors of sweet peaches and nectarines over subtle notes of spices like cardamom and green pepper.  The finish is delicate and smooth, with irresistible and deliciously sensual flavors of candied fruit, cinnamon and licorice.

L’Ermitage 2002 $$$

L’ERMITAGE is Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, which has consistently been rated one of California’s top sparkling wines since its debut in 1989. Taking a cue from owner Champagne Louis Roederer, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode champenoise and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend. L’ERMITAGE is made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from the very best lots.

Fine tiny bubbles and a long lasting mousse are the usual footprints of the L’ERMITAGE cuvée.  This cuvée from the palindromic vintage 2002 is showing great notes of “tarte tatin”: baked apples and buttery crust, with notes of apricot and delicate vanilla bean. The mouthfeel is creamy, expresses flavors of quince and bread crust, with a clean and crisp yet long finish.

Roederer Estate Brut NV $$

Roederer Estate Brut, the first California sparkling wine produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, builds upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking that has made Roederer Champagne among the most sought-after in the world.

The Roederer Estate Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Gruet Brut Rose $

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2010 $$

Straw color, frizzante, peach, rose petal, ginger, sweet & delicate on the palate. Good balance of fruit and acidity, complex, apricots on the finish.

Lamberti Prosecco $

This non-vintage Prosecco Extra Dry offers lovely balance in a perfumed, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices.  The finish is long and polished.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $

This fine Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine’s bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut – Extra Dry $

Slightly off-dry, it offers fresh pear and apple aromas and rich citrus, peach and green apple flavors. A subtle yeasty tone and a refreshing, elegant finish.

2008 Argyle Brut $$$

63% Oregon Pinot Noir, 37% Oregon Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

In the glass this wine presents a soft straw color with tight tiny streams of bubbles.  On the nose you get full aromas of creamy vanilla poached pear and fresh sour dough starter.  The first impression on the palate is of how well balanced this wine is, playing the purity of fruit off of the fresh acidity while showcasing the wine’s natural mineral notes.  There are notes of ripe guava, red Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, and lightly toasted brioche, finishing with notes of honeysuckle and lemon curd.  A great vintage sparkling wine from Argyle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux $$

 This sparkler is probably the oldest sparkling wine in the world.  We know that in 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire were already producing Blanquette de Limoux which certainly makes it France’s Oldest Sparkling Wine preceding Champagne by more than a century.

Dry, toasty, smooth and clean SAINT-HILAIRE truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.

ROTARI TALENTO BRUT $

Rotari was born in the heart of the Dolomites.  The mountain climate, the special care of the vineyards, the dedication of our winemakers in the manual selection and harvest of the grapes give life to the fresh and fragrant bubbles that are both complex and enjoyable reflections of the characteristics of the region.  The Metodo Classico, its history, and its long aging process on its yeast bestow upon Rotari unique and unrepeatable characteristics.

 Produced with Chardonnay grapes that are selected and harvested by hand and originate exclusively from the best vineyards in the hills of Trentino.  At the foot of the Dolomites, where the Chardonnay expresses best its fresh and fruity character, the Rotari Brut is fragrant, intense and elegant.

 

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

 

Special Affordable Wines For Your Christmas Dinner 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/2011/12/25/wine-guy-mike-for-1225/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/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

Sponsors      

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.

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.

Merry Christmas and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will pair well and enhance the meal you will be serving at your Christmas dinner. 

A couple of the wines I share with you today are made from the Chenin Blanc grape varietal, this wine is seeing a slight trend.  French winemakers are masters when it comes to producing beautiful wine with the Chenin Blanc grape.  In France this wine is known as Vouvray and the two Chenin Blanc wines I’m recommending today will pair beautifully with the ham and turkey dinners you may be preparing for your family and friends today.

First a little background on Chenin Blanc and Vouvray:

What is Vouvray? Vouvray (voo vray) is a town located near the city of Tours in one of the most recognized wine growing areas of France, the Loire Valley.  This specific area we are discussing, Vouvray, is located in the central Loire Valley.

A snapshot of the Loire Valley:

The Loire Valley runs across the Northwest region of France following the Loire River from Central France in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.  This northern region of France is cool and produces lighter bodied wines.

  *Wine in this region will be chosen by a style and best years*

Vouvray is produced in three different styles; dry (Sec), medium-dry (Demi-Sec), sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh), or as a sparkling wine.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape that is produced as a standalone varietal or as a blending grape, typically with Chardonnay.  It is dry, very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied. Nuances of slight spiciness, hints of honey, slight fruitiness.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.  It is known as the “chameleon”.

The Marc Bredif Vouvray I have recommended is dry yet sophisticated while the Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay is crisp yet creamy from the Chardonnay blend.  These two wines are a true companions for your Christmas dinner.

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering your Christmas Day wine list.  NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish)

Wine with the 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.  Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sparkling wine.

Gruet Rose Brut ($10.59)

The Gruet can be enjoyed before and during dinner.  Rose is a diverse wine that pairs well with most foods so don’t be afarid to enjoy this selection during your dinner.  This is a delightful wine that really delivers.

This nearly garnet Rose, like all of Gruet’s non-vintage sparkling wines, it is aged 24 months en tirage.  It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.  On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style.  The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.  This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive.

A-Z Pinot Gris ($10.49)

The Willamette Valley produces very good wine and this selection from A-Z will not disappoint.  I recommend this wine with Vegetarian dishes, Turkey or Ham dinners.  You’ll love this wine it is with your dinner.

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo ($12.25)

Turkey, Ham, or a Pork Roast is my recommendation for this lush and sophisticated wine.  This wine paired with a glazed pork tenderloin roast would be incredible for your Christmas dinner.

80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Color – Light straw

Bouquet – Crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.

Taste – Medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

Chenin Blanc at its finest with this dry Vouvray.  Vouvray can be made in a dry to sweet style and the French do it best.  This holiday wine selection I have chosen for you is more expensive than most Vouvray’s, but when you take one sip you will understand why.  This selection will go well Vegetarian dishes, white meats, Ham, and most seafood dishes.

The color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

Turkey, Ham or even just a wonderful wine to drink.  This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin’s minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Fresh, bold and full of flavour at entry with underlying notes of ripe grapes, followed by suave complexity.  Faintly floral shades of vanilla vie for position with lingering traces of toffee, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasantly surprising finish.

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley winery’s, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This wine pairs fantastic with lamb, salmon, pork, or turkey.  An excellent choice for your Christmas dinner.

This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, roasted beef or pork roast with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

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.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($16.99)

I love to drink this wine from Paul Hobbs who makes wine in Napa and Sonoma during our summer months.  His wines fetch prices north of $100.00 in the U.S.  But in Argentina he makes wine that is sophisticated and complex yet inexpensive.  Sit down to dinner with any beef dish and you will think you are in heaven with this selection.

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you just don’t want to end.

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all

Montana Today's Christmas Wine List From WineGuyMike™

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering your Christmas Day wine list.

Yesterday TV Segment with wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will enhance whatever you may be serving for your Christmas dinner.

Christmas Wine Flight

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish) 

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.  Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sparkling wine.

Gruet Rose Brut ($10.59)

The Gruet can be enjoyed before and during dinner.  Rose is a diverse wine that pairs well with most foods so don’t be afarid to enjoy this selection during your dinner.  This is a delightful wine that really delivers.

This nearly garnet Rose, like all of Gruet’s non-vintage sparkling wines, it is aged 24 months en tirage.  It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.  On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style.  The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.  This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive.

A-Z Pinot Gris ($10.49)

The Willamette Valley produces very good wine and this selection from A-Z will not disappoint.  I recommend this wine with Vegetarian dishes, Turkey or Ham dinners.  You’ll love this wine it is with your dinner.

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo ($12.25)

Turkey, Ham, or a Pork Roast is my recommendation for this lush and sophisticated wine.  This wine paired with a glazed pork tenderloin roast would be incredible for your Christmas dinner.

80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Color – Light straw

Bouquet – Crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.

Taste – Medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

Chenin Blanc at its finest with this dry Vouvray.  Vouvray can be made in a dry to sweet style and the French do it best.  This holiday wine selection I have chosen for you is more expensive than most Vouvray’s but when you take one sip you will understand why.  This selection will go well Vegetarian dishes, white meats, Ham, and most seafood dishes.

The color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

Turkey, Ham or even just a wonderful wine to drink.  This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin’s minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Fresh, bold and full of flavour at entry with underlying notes of ripe grapes, followed by suave complexity.  Faintly floral shades of vanilla vie for position with lingering traces of toffee, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasantly surprising finish.

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley winery’s, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This wine pairs fantastic with lamb, salmon, pork, or turkey.  An excellent choice for your Christmas dinner.

This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, roasted beef or pork roast with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

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.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($15.99)

I love to drink this wine from Paul Hobbs who makes wine in Napa and Sonoma during our summer months.  His wines fetch prices North of $100.00 in the U.S.  But in Argentina he makes wine that is sophisticated and complex yet inexpensive.  Sit down to dinner with any beef dish and you will think you are in heaven with this selection. 

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you don’t want to end.

"from my table to yours" Merry Christmas

"from my table to yours" Merry Christmas