2/27/2012

Quick Sip: Breaux Vineyards 2010 Viognier


Hello Friends,

Today’s ‘Quick Sip,’ the Breaux Vineyard’s 2010 Viognier, comes from our friends in Loudoun County, Virginia (also known as DC’s wine country for its close proximity to the nation's capital). The 2010 growing season is one I remember well -- it was unusually dry, humid, and extremely hot. My flower garden was constantly begging for a drink of water and many flowers stopped blooming or wilted to the unforgiving heat of summer. Based on the 2010 Virginia wines (barrel and bottled) I have sipped so far, the hot and dry conditions that marked 2010 had more of an influence on white wines than reds. Some of the state’s 2010 Viognier wines lack the brightness and refreshing qualities the 2009 growing season and previous years produced.

Breaux Vineyards 2010 Viognier


For Breaux Vineyards, who usually makes a stainless Viognier, the 2010 vintage saw some oak aging. The result is a [slightly] round, well-integrated wine with good balancing (not crisp) acidity that boasts peach, melon, spice, and shy apricot fruit laced with soft floral, mint, and citrus notes. The wine retails for $32 and would pair nicely with poultry or pork dishes and also sips well on its own. In previous years, Breaux Vineyard’s Viognier is typically sleek, vibrant, and fruit forward and retails for around $22. Had Mother Nature not been such a fickle master in 2010, Breaux Vineyards may have not aged any of the wine in oak barrels. The change in style paid off, as the Breaux Vineyard's 2010 Viognier was recently listed as #87 in Oz Clarke’s 250 Best Wines 2012 publication and has also received numerous awards. To get some of the Breaux Vineyard's 2010 Viognier in your glass [before it’s all gone], visit the tasting room or click on the link below – they can ship to several states outside of Virginia. In closing, I encourage you to pay close attention to the vintage you are buying/drinking as the style and characteristics of a wine can vary dramatically from year to year. Cheers!

If you're looking to purchase a new bottle opener, or storage options for your wines, check out this Overstock Promo Code, and find some wallet-friendly options.

Click here to visit Breaux Vineyard's website.

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

My Vine Spot

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2/20/2012

Quick Sip: Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage


Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay ($40) from Carneros [Napa Valley], California. The Carneros AVA spans both Napa and Sonoma counties and its relatively cool climate and long growing season is prime for varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Franciscan is one of the first Napa Valley wineries to produce a wild yeast fermented Chardonnay [1987]. The 2008 Cuvee Sauvage is 100% wild (native, indigenous, natural) yeast fermented. Those who favor native yeast fermentation believe it makes for a more complex wine (e.g. enhanced aroma, flavor, texture) and reflects the character of the vineyard terroir more accurately. On the flip side, many winemakers consider native yeast fermentation risky; as it can lead to sluggish and very slow fermentations, contribute undesirable characteristics (e.g. acetic acid), or can result in a stuck fermentation. Be it risky business or not, Franciscan has a good track record with their wild yeast fermented Chardonnay; so, let’s uncork this bottle and have a swirl, sniff, and sip.

Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage


In the glass, the Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage displays a straw-yellow color with inviting aromas of toasted nuts, spiced pear, toasty oak, abundant tree fruit character, honeysuckle, and delicate citrus and mineral notes. The aromas follow through to the palate with a mouth-coating, viscous texture, nice balancing acidity, and a long toasty finish. I enjoyed this wine on its own and later paired it with poached salmon topped with a caper butter sauce – a pairing that worked nicely. There's a fairly good amount of oak, but it's well integrated and frames the fruit nicely. Less than 1,500 cases of this wine was produced and I’ve seen the price point as low as $18 from various web sources. As a matter of fact, I’m shopping for another bottle as I wrap up this blog post to pair with a lobster dish I plan on making. Cheers!

Click here to visit the Franciscan Estates website.

Note: This wine was sent as a media-sample for review purposes. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

One last thing, to all my sipping readers, here are coupons for Kmart if you're looking for cheaper wine alternatives.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

My Vine Spot

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Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2012. All rights reserved.

2/14/2012

The Wine Connection: Pairing Wine & Chocolate


Hello Friends,

Depending on how old you are, you may remember classic television game shows like The Dating Game and The Love Connection. These shows sought to connect compatible people and entertain those of us who watched. Here at My Vine Spot, your host Dezel seeks to marry food and wine on the blog show -- The Wine Connection. Red roses and dinner reservations typically claim the spotlight on Valentine’s Day, but wine and chocolate are a popular combo, too. It’s a pairing idea that I personally don’t do too often. It is also a pairing, that in my humble opinion, sounds good but can be fairly tricky when placed in front of you. At the end of the day, food and wine should complement one another -- bringing out each other’s best traits. The conundrum: sweeter chocolates have a rich sweet flavor and unsweetened chocolate has a strong bitter flavor. Both, sweet or unsweetened chocolate can overwhelm a wine or bring about bitter flavors that wouldn’t exist if you enjoyed each on their own. That being said, I’m very open to trying new food and wine pairing ideas and recently took advantage of two opportunities to marry wine and chocolate and make a gastronomic connection.

Rodney Strong Vineyard Chocolate Fantasy Exploration


The first event, The 23rd Annual Wine and Chocolate Fantasy Exploration, was put on by Rodney Strong Vineyards. This sinfully sweet event took place at Rodney Strong Vineyard’s Healdsburg, California, tasting room. This year they also did an online pairing event. Several bloggers and I had a chance to try four chocolates [Chocolate by Numbers 55%, 61%, 72% and Peter’s Chocolates 72%] with varying levels of cocoa and sweetness and taste each alongside Rodney Strong’s 2009 Knotty Vines Zinfandel (SRP $18.50), Alexander Valley 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $25), and “A True Gentleman's” Port (SRP $30). The higher the cocoa percentage the less sweet the chocolate is – thus the 55% contains the highest level of sugar.

“A True Gentleman's” Port


On their own, the wines were pretty nice – and fell in a category I call big (higher octane) and balanced. The Zinfandel offers nice red and dark berry fruit, cedar, dusty spice, soy, and peppery notes that extend to the palate. For its size, the wine has good balancing acidity and versatility and had fairly positive, nuanced results with all four of the chocolates [55%, 61%, 72% cocoa]; though I think a better match for the Zinfandel would be BBQ or grilled burgers. On the other hand, the Alexander Cabernet Sauvignon has inviting cherry, plum, cassis, and baking spice scents with soft tannins, a smooth texture, and a medium length finish. For my taste, the chocolates overwhelmed this wine to various degrees – as I was getting more of the chocolate flavors and no longer tasting the wine. I also got some slight bitter flavors as a result of this pairing. The wine that made the best connection was the “A True Gentleman's” Port. The 61% and 72% seemed to be the sweet spot with this wine. This port-styled wine offered generous ripe red fruit, dark berry, plum flavors, and a dash of sweet spice with a little trailing heat on the long finish (the first day). The chocolate dampened the heat and the residual sweetness in the port played nicely with the chocolate. This was the best pairing of the night for me, and what it said was the sweetness level in the chocolate needs to paired with an equally sweet (or sweeter) wine for positive results. For the drier reds, in this case the Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, the stronger the chocolate (e.g. dark, bittersweet) the more full-bodied the wine should be.

The Crusher Rosé of Pinot Noir and Le Belge Truffles


My second pairing opportunity, a pink wine and truffles, came compliments of my friends over at Balzac Communications and Marketing. For this connection, we paired a bottle of The Crusher 2011 Clarksburg Rosé of Pinot Noir (SRP $18) from Don Sebastiani and Sons with a package of truffles from Le Belge Chocolatier in Napa. On its own, the [dry] Rosé was quite tasty offering bright aromas and flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and light citrus notes with lovely, food-friendly acidity to balance the fresh fruit flavors. The chocolate truffles (semi-sweet) were [very] delicious on their own as well. One pair was filled with a red jam and the other pair filled with caramel. When pairing the wine with the chocolate, the red filling had a nice interplay with the bright red berry fruit components in the wine. Conversely, the caramel filling combined with the chocolate sort of blanketed the wine; letting only a little of the wine’s bright red fruit shine through. Overall, good connections – but the latter may ultimately do better with another mate. As we wrap this show up, I would like to know some of your favorite chocolate and wine pairings – feel free to drop me an e-mail. Also, Valentine’s Day chocolates will be deeply discounted soon, so get out and pick some up and host your own chocolate and wine pairing event at home or repeat what I've done. I left links to the wine producers and chocolatiers below. Happy Valentine's Day!

Click here to visit the Rodney Strong Vineyard website.

Click here to visit the Don Sebastiani and Sons website.

Click here to visit the Le Belge Chocolatier website.

Click here to visit the Chocolate by Numbers website.

Click here to visit Peter's Chocolate website.

Also, check out http://www.chocologo.com/ -- they sell a do-it-yourself chocolate and wine pairing kit.

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

My Vine Spot

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  • Friend me up on Face-Book here.

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2012. All rights reserved.

2/06/2012

#Winechat 2/8: Let's Talk About Viognier!


Hello Friends,

This Wednesday [2/8] on #winechat at 9PM EST, Todd Godbout of WineCompass/VirginiaWineTV and I are hosting a discussion and wine tasting about Viognier – the northern Rhone’s prized white grape variety. Condrieu and the smaller sub-appellation of Chateau Grillet, both located in the northern Rhone, are the height of fashion for Viognier. Although its exact origin is unknown, historical records confirm that Viognier was grown in Condrieu as far back as the Roman Empire. Condrieu is made of 100% Viognier and is considered the overall benchmark for high-quality examples of this varietal. To the north of Condrieu, upwards of 20% of Viognier can be contained in the Syrah dominated wines of the Côte-Rôtie [appellation] to add complexity and heighten aromatics. Today, some New World producers have followed suit (namely Australian Shiraz producers), and have started adding a splash of Viognier to their red wines to enhance the aroma profile. While Viognier dominates to the north, it is also grown throughout the southern Rhône.

Virginia Viognier!


All this said, life for Viognier hasn’t always been peachy (no pun intended). During the 1960’s, Viognier flirted with near extinction, with approximately 30 acres planted all in the diminishing appellation of Condrieu. In the mid-to-late 1980’s, the grape reached California and found favor with growers and a new group called the Rhone Rangers. This period marked a turning point for Viognier. Not only did it make a comeback in France, but other states in the US and New World wine producers began to find some success with the variety.

Colorado Viognier!


Here in Virginia, Dennis Horton, proprietor of Horton Vineyards, introduced the important northern Rhone variety to the Commonwealth. Horton’s 1993 vintage, which I wish I could have tasted, garnered national attention and had a domino effect of sorts – influencing other local wine producers to jump on the Viognier bandwagon. Dennis Horton’s “firsts” didn’t stop with Viognier – he is also responsible for the introduction of Cabernet Franc, Norton, Petit Manseng, and more. Today, Viognier is the 5th most planted grape in Virginia and can be found in a number of tasting rooms in several different styles. In May of 2011, Viognier was designated the signature grape of Virginia by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office.

Texas Viognier!


Besides my references above, nice examples of Viognier are being grown and produced in many areas of the United States including Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, and several other states. Other countries doing nice things with Viognier include Australia, Chile, Italy, and Argentina. In closing, one of the best qualities of well-done Viognier is its highly alluring and fragrant exotic aromas. On Wednesday [2/8] at 9PM EST, pour a glass of Viognier and sip along and tweet with us on Twitter using the #winechat hash-tag. To view the schedule for upcoming #winechat discussions check out @MariePayton "The Life of Vines" wine blog. Cheers!

Washington Viognier!


Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

California Viognier!


Here are some of the wines we will taste through:

2010 Keswick Vineyards Estate Reserve Viognier (Virginia)

2011 Keswick Vineyards Les Vents d'Anges Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Breaux Vineyards Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Paradise Springs Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Sunset Hills Vineyard Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Veritas Vineyard Viognier (Virginia)

2010 Creekside Cellars Viognier (Colorado)

2010 McPherson Cellars Viognier (Texas)

2010 Brennan Vineyards Viognier (Texas)

2008 àMaurice Cellars Columbia Valley Viognier (Washington)

2010 HoneyMoon Viognier (California)

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

My Vine Spot

  • Please Click Here to vote Dezel's My Vine Spot as your favorite wine blog - You can vote 1x per day!
  • Friend me up on Face-Book here.

Happy Sipping Friends - Tell your friends about the blog and thanks for your support and kind emails !

Dezel's My Vine Spot © 2006-2012. All rights reserved.

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