Tag Archives: Wine and Cheese pairings

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Take 2 With Top Chef “Fan Favorite” Fabio Viviani

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 11:00 a.m. MST.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© This week I had the pleasure to sit down and have a conversation that was as down to earth, informative, and enlightening as any that I can recall.  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/27/wine-guy-mike-for-january-27/

Chef Fabio Viviani was this week’s featured guest and I can tell you that after the show I was left humbled by the person I discovered in Viviani.  Yes Viviani was a “Fan Favorite” on season 5 of Top Chef and a contestant on Top Chef All Stars, and most recently featured on BravoTV’s newest culinary reality series Life After Top Chef but this is a man of integrity, true expertise, wisdom, and one of the most sincere persons I have ever had the pleasure to have a conversation with.

Viviani came from humble beginnings in Florence, Italy and at 11 years of age went to work in a bakery in order to support his family.  He is quick to point out that he was well paid for his work.  At 14 Viviani began work at Italian Florentine iconic restaurant “Il Pallaio”.  By age 16 Viviani had risen to the position of sous chef.  Hard work, passion, and a commitment for doing things right is who Fabio Viviani is.  He is a rare individual who always rises to the top because he is true to himself and everyone else that he touches.

Viviani attended culinary school and traveled across Europe, training in classic Italian and European cuisine.  He has always been on the move learning and sharing his culinary passion and by the time he was 27 he had 5 restaurants and 2 night clubs in Italy.  True of most entrepreneurs Viviani wanted to expand his horizons and ventured out to America.  Viviani settled in Los Angeles, California with all of his experience and business acumen to try his hand as a business man in the United States.  The result has been success. The reason integrity, hard work, and always delivering a valued product.  Viviani points out this is fairly simple but how many can truly deliver like he has?

Viviani is Owner and Executive Chef of Café Firenze in Moorpark, CA and Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake, CA, and will soon be opening opening Siena Tavern an Italian concept in Chicago, IL.  Viviani has also successfully published two cookbooks and will be releasing his newest one in April 2013 titled Fabio’s Italian Kitchen.  This cookbook is full of his family’s recipes from 20 generations of grandmothers spanning 300 hundred years.

Viviani is arguably the most sought after celebrity chef in America and has been a  guest on many of the top TV talk and morning shows.  His award winning “Chow Ciao!” the #1 lifestyle and food show on the internet, http://screen.yahoo.com/women/chow-ciao/  features a new show every Monday.  If you visit www.FabioViviani.com you can sign up for Fabio’s newsletter which will keep you up to date with this star that continues to rise.

On a personal note; Fabio I would like to thank you for taking time to share your story with the WineGuyMike audience.  I can only hope everyone has been as touched by your story and inspired by your sincerity and passion as I was my friend.

Thank you for joining me once again on this week’s show and remember to continue to broaden your wine palates.  Be sure to check out my wine blog at www.WineGuyMike.com for wine suggestions. You can find many of the wines that I recommend at Liquid Planet in the Heart of Downtown Missoula for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  I’ll see you on the radio friends.

 

For a great selection of wines to pair with your 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,

 

Logo_WGM

Social Media links;

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

This week’s podcast with Top Chef “Fan Favorite” Fabio Viviani; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/27/wine-guy-mike-for-january-27/

This Week’s YouTube preview Take 2 With Top Chef “Fan Favorite” Fabio Viviani;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yr__G8sof0

Last week’s podcast “Two New Grapes”; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/13/wine-guy-mike-for-january-13/

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

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; (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

 

 

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Top Chef “Fan Favorite” Fabio Viviani

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.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© This week I had the pleasure to sit down and have a conversation that was as down to earth, informative, and enlightening as any that I can recall.  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/27/wine-guy-mike-for-january-27/

Chef Fabio Viviani was this week’s featured guest and I can tell you that after the show I was left humbled by the person I discovered in Viviani.  Yes Viviani was a “Fan Favorite” on season 5 of Top Chef and a contestant on Top Chef All Stars, and most recently featured on BravoTV’s newest culinary reality series Life After Top Chef but this is a man of integrity, true expertise, wisdom, and one of the most sincere persons I have ever had the pleasure to have a conversation with.

Viviani came from humble beginnings in Florence, Italy and at 11 years of age went to work in a bakery in order to support his family.  He is quick to point out that he was well paid for his work.  At 14 Viviani began work at Italian Florentine iconic restaurant “Il Pallaio”.  By age 16 Viviani had risen to the position of sous chef.  Hard work, passion, and a commitment for doing things right is who Fabio Viviani is.  He is a rare individual who always rises to the top because he is true to himself and everyone else that he touches.

Viviani attended culinary school and traveled across Europe, training in classic Italian and European cuisine.  He has always been on the move learning and sharing his culinary passion and by the time he was 27 he had 5 restaurants and 2 night clubs in Italy.  True of most entrepreneurs Viviani wanted to expand his horizons and ventured out to America.  Viviani settled in Los Angeles, California with all of his experience and business acumen to try his hand as a business man in the United States.  The result has been success. The reason integrity, hard work, and always delivering a valued product.  Viviani points out this is fairly simple but how many can truly deliver like he has?

Viviani is Owner and Executive Chef of Café Firenze in Moorpark, CA and Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake, CA, and will soon be opening opening Siena Tavern an Italian concept in Chicago, IL.  Viviani has also successfully published two cookbooks and will be releasing his newest one in April 2013 titled Fabio’s Italian Kitchen.  This cookbook is full of his family’s recipes from 20 generations of grandmothers spanning 300 hundred years.

Viviani is arguably the most sought after celebrity chef in America and has been a  guest on many of the top TV talk and morning shows.  His award winning “Chow Ciao!” the #1 lifestyle and food show on the internet, http://screen.yahoo.com/women/chow-ciao/  features a new show every Monday.  If you visit FabioViviani.com you can sign up for Fabio’s newsletter which will keep you up to date with this star that continues to rise.

Please rejoin Fabio and WineGuyMike once again next week for part 2 of our continued conversation.

On a personal note; Fabio I would like to thank you for taking time to share your story with the WineGuyMike audience.  I can only hope everyone has been as touched by your story and inspired by your sincerity and passion as I was my friend.

Thank you for joining me once again on this week’s show and remember to continue to broaden your wine palates.  Be sure to check out my wine blog at WineGuyMike.com for wine suggestions. You can find many of the wines that I recommend at Liquid Planet in the Heart of Downtown Missoula for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  I’ll see you on the radio friends.

This wine is a secondary label from Adelsheim Vineyard.  While the Adelsheim Vineyards wines have grown in popularity so have their prices.  By creating a secondary label with this Wallace Brook Pinot Noir you can enjoy a terrific wine that is a real deal.  This is a wonderful wine to pair with your dinner.

This Pinot Gris from Balletto is an incredible wine.  Pinot Gris is perhaps the best white wine to pair with food due to the natural fruit and acid profile of the grape.  What winemaker Anthony Beckman does with the grapes grown by John Balletto is extraordinary.  Beckman is one of the top winemakers in America and Balletto is one of the best consumer values for wine in America.

Chenin Blanc is another great white wine to pair with foods and this is a wonderful example of a New World wine made from this grape varietal.  This wine is inexpensive and very well made.  I enjoy this wine with meals frequently.

Christophe Hedges was a recent guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show recently and like Balletto Vineyards & Winery the Hedges Family Estate wines are also one of the best consumer values for wine in America.  Hedges Independent Producer wines are a personal project of Christophe’s and these wines are outstanding.  Both the Chardonnay and Merlot that I’m recommending are New World Wines made in an Old World Style and you should not miss the opportunity to try one or both of these wines with your meal.

The Hedges CMS Red and White are two delicious New World wines from Hedges Family Estate that are very well made, very good wines, and offer very good consumer value.  I recommend both of these wines to drink alone of pair with your meal.

For a great selection of wines to pair with your 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,

 

Logo_WGM

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

 

Last week’s podcast “Two New Grapes”; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/13/wine-guy-mike-for-january-13/

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

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; (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

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Just Darn Good 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 11:00AM

This Weeks YouTube preview “Just Darn Good Wines”

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© This week I would like to briefly mention next week’s very exciting show and trust me it is a show to look forward to.

In recent weeks I have shared with you a great deal of information about pairing wines and food.  Well next week joining us on the show will be one of America’s hottest chefs Fabio Viviani!  If you’re not a foodie and have been living in a cave Viviani is from Florence, Italy.  He started as a baker at 11, owned and operated 5 restaurants and 2 nightclubs when he left Italy at 27.  Be sure to tune in for next week’s show to find out what this culinary master, entrepreneur, and Top Chef “Fan Favorite” contestant has accomplished since coming to America.

Now on to this week’s business, just darn good wine.  That’s right this week I’m sharing wines that I have loved over the last few weeks of tasting wines that offer great value while pairing them with food.  So let’s dig right in as I share with the wines that I have enjoyed and why.

This first wine that I have talked about as a varietal, Frappato, has been around a long time and until recently has been used as a blending grape with the well known Nero d’Avola.  Frappato is a semi-aromatic grape varietal that presents subtle floral and blossom aromas.

This Frappato is one I personally enjoyed recently as I tasted wines to share with you.  Decant this wine a good hour before serving to enjoy it at its best.  This wine really does well with food, is new and fun with a very affordable price point.

This wine is a secondary label from Adelsheim Vineyard.  While the Adelsheim Vineyards wines have grown in popularity so have their prices.  By creating a secondary label with this Wallace Brook Pinot Noir you can enjoy a terrific wine that is a real deal.  This is a wonderful wine to pair with your dinner.

This Pinot Gris from Balletto is an incredible wine.  Pinot Gris is perhaps the best white wine to pair with food due to the natural fruit and acid profile of the grape.  What winemaker Anthony Beckman does with the grapes grown by John Balletto is extraordinary.  Beckman is one of the top winemakers in America and Balletto is one of the best consumer values for wine in America.

Chenin Blanc is another great white wine to pair with foods and this is a wonderful example of a New World wine made from this grape varietal.  This wine is inexpensive and very well made.  I enjoy this wine with meals frequently.

Christophe Hedges was a recent guest on the WineGuyMike Radio Show recently and like Balletto Vineyards & Winery the Hedges Family Estate wines are also one of the best consumer values for wine in America.  Hedges Independent Producer wines are a personal project of Christophe’s and these wines are outstanding.  Both the Chardonnay and Merlot that I’m recommending are New World Wines made in an Old World Style and you should not miss the opportunity to try one or both of these wines with your meal.

The Hedges CMS Red and White are two delicious New World wines from Hedges Family Estate that are very well made, very good wines, and offer very good consumer value.  I recommend both of these wines to drink alone of pair with your meal.

Thank you for joining me once again on this week’s show, next week get ready for one of America’s Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.  Fabio and I will be talking wine and food, be sure not to miss this show!

Remember to continue to broaden your wine palates and be sure to check out my wine blog at WineGuyMike.com for wine suggestions and Liquid Planet for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  I’ll see you on the radio friends.

For a great selection of wines to pair with your 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,

Logo_WGM

 

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

Last week’s podcast “Two New Grapes”; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/13/wine-guy-mike-for-january-13/

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

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; (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

 

 

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Two New Grapes To Know

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.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©  Last week on the show I shared with you a few basics of pairing wine and food.  One of the important points I mentioned focused on balance, weight, and texture of both food and wine.  Ah yes… a harmonious balance of wine and food, it’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together.  Perhaps it is like a well written song; rather like beautiful music in your mouth.

One of my goals for this year is to drink less of what I’m familiar with and more of that which I’m not, bringing me to this week’s show.  There are two new grapes that I believe we should pay attention to.  One a red varietal from Sicily, Frappato,  and the other, Jacquère,  a white grape from a little known wine region of France.

On last week’s show I mentioned a new little known red grape native to Sicily, also a great wine to pair with food.  It is one of those varietals like Barbera, Gamay, and Pinot Noir that when you hold your glass up to light you can see through it.  Generally speaking this would be a suitable wine to enjoy with your dinner.  The new up and coming grape that is native to Sicily is known as Frappato.

The Frappato grape varietal has been around a long time and until recently has been used as a blending grape with the well known king of the island, Sicily that is, Nero d’Avola.  The Frappato grape is very thin skinned and one of the problems in making wine from this grape was getting any measurable color extraction from the grape.  This problem has been solved through the advancement of winemaking technology though.  Temperature controlled stainless steel tanks allow the winemaker to macerate or leave the grapes with the skins longer at a cooler temperature and extract the desired coloration without imparting unwanted nuances such as too much tannin into the finished product of the wine.

Frappato is a semi-aromatic grape varietal that present subtle floral and blossom aromas.  This grape that basks in the warmth of Sicilian sun at the base of Mount Etna maintains a perfect level of acidity which makes this an up and coming wine to pair with foods.  Frappato wines also have very supple tannins which also make it a perfect complement to foods.  It wonderful profile and beautiful Cherry blossom floral notes are the reason this grape has been traditionally used as a blending grape for the powerful Nero d’Avola.

The second grape I would like to share with you is also an amazing wine to pair with foods. It comes from the little known wine region around the Rhone Alps, Savoie and the predominant grape grown in the region is Jacquère (Jah-KEHR).  This white grape varietal covers about 50% of their vineyards in the region.

Growing grapes dates to the 1st Century B.C. in the region.  Greek influence was strong and their knowledge of making wine steeped in experience.  The Savoie region has been growing grapes since antiquity and mentioned in writings by

The church was amongst the largest landowners during the period of the Middle Ages.  The Monks were very advanced in their practice of viticulture and making wine and as a result implemented a system of designating the wine regions within the Savoie.  By the 18th century vineyard acreage increased as grapes were being grown from the valley to the foothills of the mountains.

After the annexation of Savoie to France in 1860 competition of the inexpensive wines of southern France became strong and it was also during this period that the phylloxera vine louse infested the vines and devastated the French wine industry.  By the end of the 19th century vines had been replanted utilizing more modern knowledge and techniques allowing the vineyards to become prolific again.

During the first half of the 20th century the wine industry was hampered by World War 1.  Scarce labor forces were another contributing factor to the decline of the wine industry as meaningful work drew laborers to city centers.  The wine industry continued a downward spiral until well after the end of World War 2.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s when this area became a popular destination of skiers from around the world that the wine industry really began to recover.  Today the region is well known for its indigenous foods and draws travelers near and far seeking gastronomic delights.

Savoie’s vineyards have always played an important role in the farming economy and remain an integral part of the agricultural industry.  It is not until recently that the wines from the Savoie region have shown up at our favorite wine shops.

Wines from the Savoie can be exceptional with the Jacquère grape varietal which produces wines that are pale-colored, delicate, fresh, and sometimes a slight effervescence.  The nose of the Jacquère grape exudes beautiful aromas of wild flowers and earthy mineral notes.  The palate this wine is light with well balanced fruit and acid leaving you with a finish that is clean and dry.  This inexpensive wine from the Savoie is exceptional to pair with food.

Well friends it has been fun this week introducing you to a couple of new grapes, Frappato and Jacquère, which you will definitely be seeing more of.  Remember to continue to broaden your wine palates and be sure to check out my wine blog at WineGuyMike.com for wine suggestions.  I’ll see you on the radio friends.

For a great selection of wines to pair with your 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,

 

Logo_WGM

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

This Weeks podcast on “Two New Grapes”; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2013/01/13/wine-guy-mike-for-january-13/

Last weeks 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://bit.ly/pVLaBr

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; (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

 

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,

 

Logo_WGM

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© David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard

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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.

Social Media links;

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

Last Weeks 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

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Today’s full conversation podcast between David Adelsheim and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/12/23/wine-guy-mike-for-december-23rd/

 

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

For a great selection on wine visit Liquid Planet, Missoula’s Best of Beverage, located in the Heart of Downtown Missoula.

The Hedges Family Estate wines reviewed today 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 or visit the new website at www.wineguymike.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"