10/22/2012

#Winechat: Seeing Red with @AustrianWineUSA


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in another fast, fun, and furious #winechat Twitter event that was put on by the good folks over at @AustrianWineUSA. The intent of this tasting was to taste, learn, and experience the red wines of Austria and celebrate Zweigelt’s (an indigenous red wine grape of Austria) 90th birthday. Generally speaking, when most people think of Austrian wine, their thoughts are usually bright and racy white wines -- with similarities to Germany. Only 1/3 of Austria’s grape production is red, so it sort of makes sense that the average US consumer associates the region with [drier styled] Riesling wines and the widely popular and indigenous Grüner Veltliner white wine grape variety. However, unlike Germany, Austria produces drier wines and has a climate that many liken to Burgundy (warmer than Germany), which bodes well for some of the region's more full[er] bodied reds that ripen later and require the warmth and longer growing-season to fully develop ripe and complex flavors.

 Event's Zweigelt Selections


Three of Austria’s most important red wine grapes that are also indigenous to the region are Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt. The latter [Zweigelt] is the most widely planted red wine grape in all of Austria’s wine growing regions. For the event, I had a chance to sample the 2010 Zanthos and 2011 Kirchmayr Zweigelt. The Zantho is fairly easy-drinking and well-balanced with inviting black cherry and cranberry aromas/flavors with slight mineral notes and a generous sprinkling of black pepper and a spice accented medium length finish. The Kirchmayr offers sour cherry, wild plum, and touches of sweet baking spice with smooth tannins, moderate acidity, and a soft, supple texture and medium length finish. Both wines were pleasant, offered moderate complexity, and paired nicely with the grilled fare I enjoyed just before the virtual tasting. As seasonal wine drinkers’ transition from summer white wines to more medium-bodied and accessible red wines, Zweigelt is a good selection to put on your list. It’s something different, it’s usually both palate and pocket friendly (under $20 sweet-spot), and you can always look like the “smart kid” at the table by being the only one able to pronounce it. Click here to hear someone pronounce Zweigelt correctly before trying this at home. Cheers!

Tip: You will have better luck finding Austrian Zweigelt or any of the region's red wines at your local wine shop versus grocers. Happy Hunting!

 Happy Fall, my friends!


To learn more about Austrian wine Click here to visit the Austrian Wine USA website. Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook too. Cheers!

Click here to view the upcoming #winechat schedule on The Life of Vines 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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

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10/15/2012

St. Francis Winery 2010 Chardonnay & Salmon


Hello Friends,

Depending on how old you are, you may remember classic television matchmaker game shows like The Dating Game and The Love Connection. Well, here at My Vine Spot, I’m looking to marry food and wine and make a savory connection on my blog show -- The Wine Connection. Today, everything is changing and with the modern technologies you can buy delicious food and wine online, but some things never change, and they are good wine and good food going together in perfect harmony. Generally speaking, the right food and wine pairing can be a match made in heaven, bringing out the best in both food and wine. It can also be a not-so-pleasant experience, producing underwhelming, even undesirable flavors. There are really no hard rules, but common sense should be applied; and first and foremost, your satisfaction and enjoyment is essential – and really, all that matters.

 St. Francis 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay


When I’m in the mood for grilled salmon or tuna, a fuller-bodied Chardonnay or an elegant Pinot Noir usually tops my list – even though, there are many other good suitors out there. With that being said, there are also suitors that wouldn’t work so well. For example, a heavy, dominating red wine would overwhelm even a fatty/flavorful dish like salmon or tuna. Conversely, a lean and light white wine wouldn’t be able to hold up its own flavor against such a dish.

 Another successful "Wine Connection!"


For this connection, I paired a bottle of St. Francis 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay with grilled garlic dijon herb salmon fillets. The wine is aged [sur-lie] for six months in 75% French and 25% American oak barrels and undergoes partial malolactic fermentation (process of converting harsher malic acid to a softer lactic acid). The result is a medium-to-fuller bodied and fairly rich wine that offers honeydew melon, ripe pear and subtle baking spice aromas with almond and hazelnut like undertones. The aromas carry over onto the palate with fresh, balancing acidity and a dash of spice in the medium length finish. This wine, in my opinion, hits its sweet spot at cellar temperature (about 55ºF); which accentuates its flavors, warm spice, and curvaceous body. The wine complements the creaminess and texture of the fish and brings out its flavors. In closing, this is nice juice for $15 and a pairing you should consider trying – especially if you like salmon and Chardonnay. And don’t forget the temperature tip! Cheers!

 Sweet Spot for a fuller-bodied, rich Chardonnay


Click here to visit St. Francis Winery and 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

Enjoying wine and a view in Georgetown #DC



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

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10/08/2012

Riesling Hour: #FLXwine 2011 Vintage


Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to participate in Riesling Hour -- a fun-filled social media driven event put on by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance to promote the area’s 2011 vintage Riesling wines. Riesling Hour is part of a month-long celebration in September that was launched last year to focus on the Finger Lakes’ preeminent grape variety. In New York, the celebration included Riesling tastings at wine shops, tasting rooms, restaurants, and a number of themed tasting opportunities throughout the state.

 Riesling Hour with #FLXwine and Asian Cuisine


Interestingly enough, the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York was once believed too cold to grow the more desirable, yet less-hardy vinifera varieties. The turning point for the region came in the early 1960’s, when Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Russian viticulturist experienced in cold-climate grape growing, successfully grew and produced wine from Riesling and other cool-climate varieties. Today, the Finger Lake's wine region is internationally recognized for their world-class Riesling wines, which span a broad range of styles from refreshingly dry to luscious and sweet. I visited the region several years ago and took back an appreciation for the area's natural beauty, its lighter and brighter food-friendly wines, and all of the great people I met along the way.

 Enjoyed the remainder the following day w/ grilled chicken fajitas


Looking back a few years, the 2010 growing season was warm-to-hot and fairly dry here on the east coast. I believe it was the warmest in the Finger Lakes in well over thirty years. It was a growing season that generally produced better reds than whites – and for Riesling, less natural brightness and vibrancy than in nominal years. The 2011 growing season was generally better for whites than reds. Unfortunately, torrential downpours, particularly during red wine grape harvest season, marked much of the 2011 vintage on the east coast. From conversing with several Finger Lakes’ producers via Twitter during Riesling Hour; I found that 2011 had its challenges -- but, many called it a good, not great, well-balanced [overall] vintage for Riesling that kept growers on their toes.

 Picture from my visit to Dr. Konstantin Frank


For the virtual tasting, I had a chance to sample the 2011 Wagner Vineyard's [Dry] Riesling Select, the 2011 Three Brothers Winery [Dry] Zero Degree of Riesling, the 2011 Fulkerson Winery Semi-Dry Riesling, and the 2011 Glenora [medium-sweet] Riesling. All of these Riesling wines are well-made, entry-level selections that are food-friendly and attractively priced at under $15. If you see these wines in your neck of the woods, buy and enjoy with confidence. In Virginia, we don’t see too much Finger Lakes’ Riesling on store shelves. And some of the sweet [non Riesling], festival chugging wines from the area we do see, while satisfying a certain customer base, are not representative of what the region is about [in my humble opinion]. The Riesling Launch promotion, as I see it, is an excellent way to introduce or reintroduce locals to some of the exceptional Riesling wines being grown right in their own backyard. The virtual Riesling Hour event gives bloggers, journalists, etc. from near and far away, a chance to share the Finger Lakes most prized liquid gem with the rest of the [virtual] wine world one tweet, blog-post, and sip at a time. In closing, some of the region’s best wines can only be found in the producer's tasting-room due to limited production. So, I highly recommend visiting the area and enjoying their wineries, restaurants, attractions, and more. I have included links below [the picture] to help you plan your visit as well as links to the producers whose wines we enjoyed. Thanks for the invite, FWA. Cheers!

 Happy Fall, My Friends!


Click here to visit the Finger Lakes Travel and Tourism website.

Click here to visit the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website.

Click here to visit Wagner Vineyards' website.

Click here to visit Three Brothers Winery website.

Click here to visit Fulkerson Winery website.

Click here to visit Glenora Wine Cellars' 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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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

My Vine Spot

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

10/01/2012

#TGTaste with HandCraft Wines & @BeAThirstyGirl


Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to participate in HandCraft Artisan Collection’s first ever Twitter-Tasting with Thirsty-Girl and Handcraft Wine’s founder Cheryl Idelicato and winemaker Alicia Ysais. HandCraft is a new California-based wine brand producing wines that I would characterize as approachable and affordable everyday wines. The brand is a dream turned reality by two hard working moms and Cheryl says their mission is to “Develop wines that are meant to be enjoyed and not fussed over – leaving more time for living.”

HandCraft 2010 Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah


For the virtual tasting, we had an opportunity to sample the HandCraft 2010 Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. Before the tasting started I had questions about the Pinot Noir since it was blended. Pinot Noir is fully capable of producing a delicious and complex wine on its own without the help of other grape varieties. Furthermore, it’s rare [for me] to see Pinot Noir blended with other grapes. Though, for some odd-ball reason, there are producers who add Syrah for color – even tannin. After learning more about the brand, I found that Cheryl pays homage to her Italian heritage by blending Italian varieties into her wines (though all the grapes blended aren’t Italian). Both Cheryl and Alicia feel that the addition lifts the aromatics and brightens the fruit profile in the finished wines. The 2010 Pinot Noir is composed of 76% Pinot Noir, 9% Tempranillo, 6% Petite Verdot, 6% Sangiovese, and 3% Petite Sirah. For me, the HandCraft 2010 California Pinot Noir offers a sweet-like nose of ripe dark cherries, grenadine, baking spice, and subtle cola notes that extend to the [fruit-driven] palate with soft acidity and a medium-length fruity finish. Cheryl’s pairing suggestion of pork chops, bacon, and creamy potatoes seemed spot on. For under $15, it’s a fairly rich, ripe, fruit-forward style of Pinot with a round/smooth texture and a hint of sweetness that I consider a real crowd-pleaser. Other tasters mentioned paring it with everything from cookies and brownies, to a blanket, fireplace, and a good book. All of which are pretty doable with this wine, in my opinion.

HandCraft Artisan Collection


Petite Sirah is possibly one of the most under-appreciated varietals out there and its name is quite misleading – as it’s typically not petite. The HandCraft California 2010 Petite Sirah is 82% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Sangiovese, 3% Syrah, and 3% Zinfandel. It’s a deeply colored, fruit-forward wine that exudes a brambly nose leading to blue/black fruit and baking spice with ripe flavors, a rounded texture, middling acidity and dusty [medium] tannins. Again, Cheryl’s food pairing of slow roasted short ribs would work well, as would some of the richer foods and even some chocolate-based desserts tasters recommended. The 2010 vintage marked the first release from Cheryl and Alicia and their Twitter Tasting kick-off was a fun event to be a part of. Overall, I found the two wines sampled to be well-made, [very much] fruit- driven, and both pocket and palate friendly. The wines, as you can see, are packaged nicely [eye-catching] and attractively priced at $12.99. Additionally, proceeds from the sales of HandCraft wines support breast cancer awareness. I wish the two working moms, Cheryl and Alicia, continued success with their new brand. Click on the link below to find their wines and learn more about HandCraft Artisan Collection. Cheers!

Click here to visit HandCraft Artisan Collection's website.

Click here to visit Thirty Girl's website.

Fall Splendor in Virginia


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. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.

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

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A Few Words About My Hobby: #Wine


Hello Friends,

 I know there’s stamp collecting, knitting, gardening and a myriad of other hobbies out there. But, is wine not the greatest hobby in the world? I mean, there are always new things to taste and learn and “wine peeps” are generally good-natured, considerate people. There are no experts (unless you want to call yourself that), just big-time enthusiasts in this sea of liquid poetry. Of course, being one of those enthusiasts, I'm just a tad biased. But, if you’re reading this post, the swirl, sniff, and sip ritual is second nature to you and you’re probably a bit partial too. “We’re living in the golden age of wine,” says George Taber, author of Judgment of Paris. This assertion is proven true by an almost over abundance of good quality juice at accessible price points that are being produced all over the world. My advice: Have an open mind and an adventurous palate and keep learning and trying new things. Remember, variety is the spice of life and wine is no exception. Happy Sipping, my friends!

 Sip Up, Folks!


"Wine to me is passion. Its family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living." ~ Robert Mondavi

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.

Make a wine wish and blow the dandelion!



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 !

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