Thursday, May 9, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
|Along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela: We walked the final 10 - 12 km!|
|A statue on the astoundingly beautiful property at Marquez de Vizhoja|
|Percebes: The famous goose barnacle of Galicia.|
|The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela|
|The views in Rias Baixas are breathtaking...|
|...As are the wines.|
|Seafood doesn't get any fresher than this.|
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Just a reminder that, tonight, at 5pm Pacific and 8pm Eastern, legendary California producer Wente will be hosting a live interactive tasting focusing on environmental issues, sustainable practices, and, of course, their remarkable wines. The event will be hosted by winemaker Karl Wente, and, among other wine professionals around the country, I will be contributing commentary, tasting notes, and questions while sipping their Pinot Noir “Reliz Creek” 2009, Small Lot Late Harvest Riesling 2010, and the Oro Fino Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Click here to check it out once it starts.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
For most consumers, the wines of Portugal are synonymous with Port. And while Port is certainly one of the greatest, most age-worthy wines on the planet, it is a mistake to assume that it’s all that you should be drinking from Portugal. Every time I visit there, in fact, I find myself impressed and excited anew with the dry wines as well as the sweet. And great ones are being produced all over the country, from the Douro all the way down to the Algarve, and seemingly everywhere in between.
I recently tasted a bottle that every serious wine drinker should find--it embodies exactly what makes Portugal such an exciting wine producer right now. And, despite its age-worthiness, it is seriously delicious already. My tasting notes are below:
Companhia das Quintas Quinta do Cardo Grande Escolha 2009, DOC Beira Interior
Dark, rich color, nearly inky and opaque. Aromas of licorice, meat, spice, plums, a hint of Dr. Pepper, and spicy dark chocolate. On the palate, very fresh acid balances out ripe cherry, red and black plum, oregano and other garrigue-like herbs, and hints of cranberry and flowers on the edges. Beautiful, with lots in reserve. Drink now, with a stint in the decanter, all the way through 2023. Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Sometimes, you just want a beer.
Of course, these days, “just a beer” is rarely just a beer: With more variety, and a deeper well of styles and expressions to choose from than ever before, narrowing down which bottle or can to pop open and savor is as potentially fraught a decision as any in your drinking life.
To make life easier, then, I strongly recommend stocking your fridge with these three excellent brews. They all represent great quality and exceptionally fair pricing.
And let me throw in a quick comment here about that bottle of Bohemia that I recommend below: Just because it’s from Mexico doesn’t mean you should be sullying it with a wedge of lime. You do that with a Corona, for example, because the glass is clear and the beer, therefore, is likely to have been affected by sunlight. You don’t add lime because it’s what you’re supposed to do with all Mexican beer.
Long story short, UV light--i.e., sunlight--when it comes into contact with beer, can lead to the creation of a compound that results in a the so-called “skunky” character. The lime in, say, a Corona, can mask or attenuate that. Unfortunately, we humans are both creatures of habit and, in my experience, less likely to question accepted alcohol wisdom, no matter how spurious it may be. The result is a virtual nation of people adding lime wedges to all of the beers they drink that happen to be from Mexico. Which, suffice to say, is crazy.
This is all to say that, because the bottle of Bohemia Beer, recommended below, comes in a brown bottle, there is no need to add lime. Or lemon. Or anything else. It’s perfectly delicious on its own, thank you very much.
There: I’ve said my piece.
Now for the tasting notes:
Cerveza Bohemia, Mexico
Light in color with persistent bubbles and a rapidly dissipating head. Aromas of bread and lemon with a hint of spice lead to flavors of toast and yeast, a pleasant bitterness, and a very subtle hint of sweetness. Mainly, however, this is about the almost German-style yeast notes and cereal grains. Crisp and clean. Beautifully made. I’ll take three.
21st Amendment Brewery “Bitter American,” San Francisco, CA
Beautiful color, like a deep apricot or a fuyu persimmon. Nice lacing on top, not much head retention, and a nose that is gently floral against whiffs of warm citrus oils and grilled lemon. Bracing and creamy flavors all at once: Honey, butterscotch, apricot spread on toasted multi-grain bread. A very solid session ale, as advertised.
Narragansett Bock Lager, Providence, RI
Sweet, nutty-earthy nose, hints of dried apricots, mushrooms, and honey. Beautiful, and very complex. Flavors of orange, toasted multi-grain bread, nuts, honey tuille, hints of spices, and a finish that speaks of peanut butter on toast. Rich and very drinkable; well made.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Monday night, I ran a seminar on blind tasting for the Wharton Wine Club of the University of Pennsylvania. We focused on strategies for identifying both telltale characteristics of classic grape varieties, as well as differences between national and regional styles. For the first flight--a comparison of Sauvignon Blancs--we tasted an excellent 2011 Pouilly-Fume from Henri Bourgeois (the "Porte de l’Abbaye" bottling) and the always delicious Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, this one from 2012. The latter, as it does vintage after vintage, demonstrated exactly what consumers find so appealing about the wines from Kim Crawford in particular and New Zealand in general: Expressiveness, balance, exuberance, and a true sense of varietal accuracy. My notes on that one, as well as the 2011 Pinot Noir, are below.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, NZ
Aromatic green bell pepper and fresh-cut grass, ripe, expressive grapefruit, lime, melon, and a hint of spice define the nose and lead to bright, sweetly assertive flavors of grapefruit, key lime pie, peppercorn spice, and crunchy green apple. Excellent drive, concentration, and structure. Drink now.
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2011, Marlborough, NZ
A beautiful strawberry-hued transparency presages aromas of cherry, spice, a hint of cola, and a lovely whiff of rose petals. On the palate, flavors of raspberry and brambly berry fruits are joined by garrigue and black pepper that finish with subtle vanilla. Nice acid, elegant texture, and thoroughly enjoyable. Lovely wine, and a solid value, as always.
Friday, March 1, 2013
I just got word that a few seats have opened up for the Snoqualmie wine dinner I'm involved with next week at Talula's Garden in Philadelphia. Details from the official invite are below. To book seats, email email@example.com. This promises to be an epic evening:
One rare dinner; $175 per person
Snoqualmie Wine Tasting Dinner at Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia with
Winemaker Joy Anderson and Wine Writer Brian Freedman.
Enjoy a spectacular tasting menu at Talula’s Garden featuring seasonal, local ingredients while sipping six Snoqualmie wines and learning and chatting in the company of legendary Washington winemaker Joy Anderson and wine writer Brian Freedman. Enjoy this unique dining experience which showcases six lovely natural wines enhanced by Talula’s Tasting Menu pairings from Chef Sean McPaul (and cheese to be sure).
The dinner is set to take place on Wednesday, March 6th, 6:30 pm and only has 10 seats available together at our exclusive “Cheese Table”.
Come eat, drink, learn, talk, and meet others with an interest in the great Pacific Northwest wines, natural winemaking, how it is impacting wines more and more… all paired to a spontaneous 8-course menu.
Seats are very limited and many more “Meet the Maker Dinners” will come.
The menu is a surprise and will be sure to delight!
Book via e-mail request only to firstname.lastname@example.org. First come ~ first serve. Confirmation number will follow.
The event is in Philadelphia at Talula’s Garden at 6:30 on March 6th, 2013.
Menu modifications and alterations are not available.
Thank you, Aimee Olexy
Talula’s Table, Talula’s Garden, and coming soon… Talula’s Daily
Eat, drink, and learn.