According to the latest statistics of the International Organization of Vines and Wine (OIV), Argentina, which exports 26% of its production, is now the fifth wine producer and the ninth wine exporter world-wide,  well ahead  of its Chilean, Australian and South African competitors.   
According to the OIV’s statistics, the world’s major producer is Italy, with 17.7%, followed by France (17%) and Spain (13.1%). Italy is moreover the largest exporter of wine in the world with 21.5%, followed of Spain (16.7%) and France (14.5%).
 
To celebrate summer 2010, the wine and cheese experts at Whole Foods Market are offering their Top 10 picks  along with cheese pairings for each at special prices, and Top 10 Wine & Cheese Tastings at seven of their 16 Florida stores (for dates and locations: www.wholefoodsmarket.com ) .  
The easy-going wines, including an effervescent Vinho Verde, aromatic Albarino and racy Tempranillo, are great values at $7.99-$11.99 ($1-$6 below normal).  Prices for the suggested cheeses to accompany each wine are also reduced from $1-$4 ($7.99-$18.99 per lb), making a summertime wine and cheese party affordable and fun.   
 
“We carefully select our Top Ten Summer Wines to make it easy for shoppers to find just the right bottle to take to cookouts, beach parties and backyard gatherings,” said Doug Bell, global wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. “Three of our summer wine favorites are made with organically-grown grapes.  We always look for exceptional wines to share with our shoppers, and it’s a plus to find winemakers that advocate sustainable production practices.”
 
The Whole Foods Market Top Ten Summer Wines lineup, with suggested cheese pairings: 
 
PRESTO BRUT ROSÉ  (Italy)
• A rosy Italian sparkler
• Berry, strawberry and watermelon notes
• Ideal for brunch, dessert 
Cheese pairing: Capricho de Cabra – a Spanish goat cheese with a gentle sweetness and creamy texture
 
SOKOL BLOSSER EVOLUTION WHITE BLEND (Oregon)
• Floral aroma and tropical flavor in a juicy, off-dry Chardonnay alternative
• Blend of nine grapes, including Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer
• Shines with Mexican or Caribbean food or cheese
Cheese pairing: Epoisses – a deliciously runny French cheese with distinct aroma and mild salty flavor
 
OPALA VINHO VERDE (Portugal)
• Fresh, juicy and easy to throw back
• Citrusy Portuguese tongue tingler
• Enjoy alone or with ceviche, shrimp cocktail or grilled salmon
Cheese pairing: Robiola – a buttery, Italian soft-ripened cheese made from both cows’ and sheeps’ milk
 
PLOW AND STARS RIESLING (Washington)
Made with Organically Grown Grapes
• First-release orange blossom and honeysuckle gem
• A hint of sweetness and good acidity
• Match with spicy Thai food 
Cheese pairing: Humboldt Fog – a distinctive, soft-ripened aged goat cheese with subtle tanginess
 
PISATO PINOT GRIGIO (Italy)
Made with Organically Grown Grapes
• Grapes from 90-year-old vines in Italy’s Veneto region
•           Balanced, with lemon zest and green melon notes and a touch of minerality
• Pair the floral aroma with poultry, fish 
Cheese pairing: SarVecchio – this Wisconsin favorite, hand-selected and aged for at least 20 months, has a crumbly texture and nutty, slightly sweet flavor 
 
PAZO DE SERANTELLOS ALBARINO (Spain)
• Expansive flavor and intense aroma in an affordable Spanish white
• Apricot and blood orange notes
• Ideal with Spanish favorites like paella 
Cheese pairing: Manchego – sheep’s milk brings a touch of sweetness to this traditional, piquant Spanish cheese, which becomes firmer and sharper over time
 
GREEN TRUCK CHARDONNAY (California)
Made with Organically Grown Grapes
• Medium-bodied, with ripe citrus, green apple and peach flavor
• Biodegradable corks and recycled paper labels
• Drink with cookout favorites like fish tacos and fried chicken
Cheese pairing: Kilaree Cheddar – hand selected for Whole Foods Market and aged 15 months, this rich, creamy “Cheddar nirvana”
 
VALDEMAR TEMPRANILLO (Spain)
• A crowd-pleasing Tempranillo with a modern twist
• Elegant, racy red with ripe cherry flavor and blackberries and currants on the nose
• Pour with backyard classics, from fajitas to burgers
Cheese pairing: Gran Queso – a Wisconsin original cured for six to nine months, hand-rubbed with delectable spices, offering buttery, complex flavor
 
MALENCHINI RED LABEL CHIANTI (Italy)
• The inaugural vintage for this rustic, Italian red
• Flavors and aromas of stewed fruit and cherry pie
• Mouth-watering with summer pastas 
Cheese pairing: Parmigiano Reggiano – aged 24 months, hand-selected from single source farms and made with spring and fall milk, creating complex flavor and a nutty caramel finish
 
CONCANNON “CONSERVANCY” PETITE SIRAH (California)
• A must-have for grilled feasts
• Plummy, blackberry red with hints of white pepper
• Serve with blackened fish, heavily peppered steaks 
Cheese pairing: Reserve Gouda – smooth and a bit spicy, this Dutch cheese is aged 18 months, giving it a hint of nuttiness
 
BLOCK NO. 45 PINOT NOIR (California)
• Full-bodied and balanced
• Savor its oaky vanilla and dried cherry notes
• Sip with turkey burgers, pasta 
Cheese pairing: Amadeus – a semi-soft, creamy, mellow-flavored cow’s milk cheese from rural Austrian alpine pastures
 
ROSENBLUM ZINFANDEL VINTNER’S CUVEE XXXI (California)
• Pop open this classic Zinfandel at any summer barbecue
• Hints of raspberry make it supple and easy to drink
• Drink when you chow down on saucy barbecue, pizza 
Cheese pairing: Buttermilk Blue – an impossibly creamy blue, made from the raw milk of predominantly Jersey cows

 

 

Available seven days a week from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, Area 31’s express lunch includes four different courses served in a bento-style lunch box for only $15 in recyclable “to go” easily transported boxes.

 Created by Executive Chef John Critchley with healthy eaters in mind, the “Rush Hour” menu allows diners to choose their items from Traditional Chilled Gazpacho or Seasonal Hot Soup Selection; Key West Pink Shrimp Crudo, Frito Misto or Roasted Beet Salad; Seared Tuna Salad, Roasted Vegetable Wrap or a Chicken Sandwich; and  Key Lime Tartlet or Chocolate Mousse Tartlet in Compartment Four. For more information: 305.424.5234 or visit www.area31restaurant.com. Area 31,  on the 16th Floor of EPIC Hotel at 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way., Miami

 

The 6th Annual Florida International Wine Challenge (FIWC),   a 2-day event featuring a professionally judged wine competition along with a wine tasting and prix-fixe wine dinner open to the public,  will host its 2010 edition on June 24 and 25, at the Palms Hotel in Miami Beach.

The  FIWC will bring together a national and international group of wine industry professionals, including wholesalers, restaurateurs, retailers and journalists to taste and judge hundreds of wines from 16 countries including Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United States and Uruguay. Gold and silver medal winners selected at The Palms will be featured in the “Collector’s Club” of the 2010 Miami International Wine Fair, October 16 and October 17, 2010.

After the Professional Wine Competition – Thursday, June 24 & Friday, June 25 – behind closed doors   the 2010 FIWC will be open to the public  - Thursday, June 24 & Friday, June 25 - 4:00pm to 8:00pm.   The wines sampled and judged will be offered to consumers, trade and media to make their own judgment. Tasting will be held in the Royal Palm Ballroom.   

For additional information and to purchase FIWC tickets, please call 1-866-998-8466 (VINO) or visit www.fiwc.net  Admission: $60 per day or $100 for both days (dinner not included) 4-course Prix Fixe Dinner by Executive Chef Frank Jeannetti available Thursday, June 24 & Friday, June 25 - 6:00pm to Close,  Cost: $ 70 per person plus tax & gratuity For dinner reservations, please contact 305.908.5458Complimentary valet parking with dinner

The Palms Hotel & Spa,  3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 305.534.0505 www.thepalmshotel.com      

 
romanee contiOne of the most prestigious Crus of Burgundy, the legendary Domaine Romanée-Conti, recently received a blackmail letter threatening to poison the vineyards against a ransom of  € 1 million earlier this year. 
 
According to Romanée-Conti co- director Aubert de Villaine, (the Decanter Man of the Year) identical letters were also sent to Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, threatening to poison their Musigny vines. The vineyard had a lot to lose. Situated in the Côte de Nuits region of Burgundy, the "Grand Cru" vineyard produces the highest-ranked and most expensive Burgundy wine. Each of the 6,000 bottles produced every year on the 1.8 hectare plot sell for between € 5,000 and € 18,000, with certain vintages achieving even higher prices.
 
In the second letter received in January it was written that if the Domaine didn't hand over the money, the vines would be poisoned. Furthermore, the extortionist said he had already poisoned  two vines with a product that would kill them. One of the two vines was immediately pulled out and handed over to investigators.
 
"I didn't really know what to make of the first letter," said Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of the estate. "But when a second arrived shortly afterwards, I took the affair very seriously," he said.  "The letters were well written, with a really good knowledge of our vineyard, and you never know, I didn't want to risk a hostage situation. It could have been an organised crime gang," he said.
 
Together with the police, de Villaine hatched a sting to trap the extortionist. They first said they needed time to muster the ransom money after which they were ready to hand over the cash at a drop-off in a cemetery in Chambolle-Musigny, near the estate headquarters in Vosne-Romanée.
 
The man showed up with his son to get the ransom money - the ransom bag contained only false bank notes - but he was immediately seized by police. Police said  the man is a former student at the Beaune wine school. He  now faces charges of attempted extortion and is expected to appear in court within a year.  
 

Food & Wine Talk Radio

 GELATO WORLD TOUR, RIMINI 2014, ITALY
 
Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
 
 
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa

 
 

Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta

 
 

Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

 
 

Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  

 
 

James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine

 
 

Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue

 
 

Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 

 

 

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