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A wine lover’s day in heaven! Vega-Sicilia celebrates its 150th anniversary PDF Print E-mail
Written by José R. Garrigó - The International Wine & Food Society.   
Monday, 13 October 2014 16:40

 

Arriving at the 150th anniversary of a family-run enterprise is always a reason for celebration.  Bodegas Vega-Sicilia, the historic and iconic Spanish winery, recently reached that landmark.

My wife Victoria and I were invited by the Alvarez family, the bodega owners, to share with them and other selected invitees – the proprietors of European family-owned wineries founded 150 or more years ago, celebrities, Spanish government dignitaries, a representative from the Royal House in Madrid, in short, the Who’s Who in the European wine business – the happy landmark.

At a reception held in their impeccably manicured gardens, innovative and delicate apéritifs were served, followed by the gala dinner prepared by Arzak Restaurant and El Celler de Can Roca, the renowned Catalan restaurant voted as second best in Europe.  Some of the wines poured included the 2010 Valbuena 5°, magnums of Único from the 1994, 1981 and 1953 vintages, and a grand finale of Oremus Tokaj Eszencia 2005 and Tokaj Aszú 6 Puttonyos 1972.  A wine lover’s day in heaven!

The bodega was founded in 1864 in Valbuena, in the Ribera del Duero region, slightly over 100 miles northwest of Madrid.  Its flagship wine, Único, has been touted by many columnists and aficionados as Spain’s greatest wine – an opinion wholeheartedly shared by this writer.  This wine, made from the oldest vines in the property and only in special vintages, may also be Spain’s most expensive wine and one of the first to be called “vino de guarda” (“vin de garde”).  Unico, as they say, is “the patriarch of our line of exceptional wines, an icon of world prestige.”

The first written reference of a Vega-Sicilia “finca” appears in 1377, and later in 1525 it is referred to as Vega de Santa Cecilia.  But the history of the property seems to go back to 1143 when King Alfonso VII of Castile donated land to the Cistercian Monks to build the Abbey of Santa Maria in the village of Valbuena.  They probably planted a diversity of agricultural products and raised sheep as a source of income for the monastery.  Although there are no historical records of vineyards tendered by the Cistercians, vines were probably planted for sacramental purposes as well as enjoyment of the monks and village families.  The word Vega translates as “a fertile lowland or plateau” in Spanish and Sicilia probably derives from Santa Cecilia, a saint venerated in that area.

Throughout the centuries the property changed hands many times, often in controversy, until 1848 when the Lecanda family purchased the estate.  Twenty years later, Eloy Lecanda traveled to Bordeaux and acquired vitis vinifera cuttings to mix with his local varieties (mostly Tempranillo, called Tinto Fino in the Duero region).  The winery was eventually purchased by a Venezuelan businessman who had to sell it for financial reasons.

In 1982 – coincidentally an outstanding vintage in much of Europe – the Vega-Sicilia estate was purchased by David Alvarez, a successful Spanish businessman.  Three years later, Alvarez put it in the hands of his son Pablo Alvarez, who has successfully run and grown the business since then.  According to him, they now export over 50% of their production to more than 100 countries.  The property encompasses 975 hectares (2,463 acres) of which 210 (525 acres) are planted to vines with an average age of 35 years, all with Tempranillo except 5 ½ hectares (14 acres) with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  No vine under 10 years is used for any of their wines.  In addition to Unico, Vega-Sicilia also produces “Valbuena 5°,” made from the “younger” vines and usually released five years after harvest.  A fascinating Único Reserva Especial is made only in outstanding vintages and in such small quantity that it’s not exported.

The family also owns other wineries: Bodegas Alión, in Peñafiel, Ribera del Duero D.O.; Bodegas Pintia, in the neighboring Toro D.O.; and Oremus in Hungary.  This last one was a wine cooperative from the Soviet Communist times and, when the Hungarian government privatized it in 1993, Alvarez purchased the winery and vineyards.  They produce a line of Tokaj Aszú, considered by many to be among the best naturally sweet wines from that country and the world.  A decade ago the Alvarez family entered into a joint venture with Benjamin Rothschild, co-owner of Château Lafite-Rothschild, to produce “Macán” and “Macán Clásico”, both made from old Tempranillo vines in San Vicente de la Sonsierra, in the Rioja Alta region, which were recently introduced to the United States market.

Many aficionados consider Vega-Sicilia Único to be a mythical wine.  It is the crowning jewel of the Alvarez family wine business.  At dinners of the Board of Governors of the Americas (BGA) and many of our Branches, Unico or other wines from the Alvarez group have been served.  They grace our family dinner table during special occasions.  It’s easy to understand why they were selected as Official Purveyors to the Spanish Royal House.

This article was first printed in The International Wine & Food Society Magazine (IWFS)

Last Updated on Monday, 13 October 2014 17:54
 
Drinking your wine and keeping it too: An interview with Greg Lambrecht, Inventor, Founder and Chairman of Coravin System PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 00:00

 

 

Drinking your wine and keeping it too: An interview with Greg Lambrecht, Inventor, Founder and Chairman of Coravin System
Drinking your wine and keeping it too: An interview with Greg Lambrecht, Inventor, Founder and Chairman of Coravin System

 

How would you like to taste a wine without pulling out the cork?  I know I would.  As a wine writer at www.southfloridagourmet.com I have to taste hundreds of wines before I write about them, and I hate to waste the bottle if I can’t drink it all. Because once you pull the cork, the wine comes into contact with air and oxidation begins.

When I saw the Coravin in action in a wine bar that recently opened in Coral Gables, I felt that that was the answer. The Coravin System enabled the wine director to serve pours of the store’s finest bottles and safekeep the rest for the following days, or weeks without fear of oxidation.  Before inventing Coravin and becoming the Chairmain of Coravin Systems, Greg Lambrecht -- Inventor, Entrepreneur, Medical Device & Consumer Product executive -- was President & CEO of Intrinsic Therapeutics, Inc. 

The French press hailed it as a revolution in the wine world.   Robert Parker gave Coravin kudos for what he called “the most transformational and exciting new product for wine lovers that has been developed or invented in the last 30-plus years.”    

At a luncheon at The Cypress Room in Miami  with staunch supporter Erik Larkee, sommelier and wine director at Miichael's Genuine Food & Drink Group,  Greg tells how with Coravin, he has made every wine lover and wine collector’s dream come true: having your wine and keeping it too.  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 23:41
 
Gradis'Ciutta, delicious wines from Collio, Italy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 27 June 2014 00:00

by Simone Zarmati Diament

 

 People in Collio, Italy, still  talk about the Austro-Hungarian Empire and World War I as if it only happened recently, instead of one century ago this year.  And these are young  winemakers, many in their late twenties or early thirties, like Robert Princic of Gradis'Ciutta,  an up-and-coming  passionate winemaker who, like his father before him,  makes fresh, vibrant white wines under the "Collio" designation from vineyards in The Collio Goriziano  (in Slovene: Goriška Brda).

That’s because when these young people dig the dark “ponca” soil - a sandstone-clay-calcareous marl and flysch which is firm to the touch and rich in minerals and microelements - to plant a new vineyard,  it is not uncommon to unearth torpedoes from World War I, for which they have to call the “vigilli del fuoco” (the local firefighters) to diffuse them.  But what wines does it produce!  

The landscape of pristine rivers running through rolling hills rich with fields and vineyards, was the raging front during WWI, and only a generation ago flocks of cattle and geese mingled with cherry orchards and crops.

Today, these hills – a small strip of territory between the villages of San Floriano del Collio and Dolegna del Collio in  the province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia  in Italy's north eastern corner – are still straddling the border with Slovenia –once Communist Yugoslavia and now a member of the European Union.

 Small crops of vegetables and fruit have given way to endless corn rows of vineyards planted mainly with Friuliano and Ribolla Gialla - the basic grape for the famed Collio Bianco wine -  as well as with  many other international varieties which acquire the special characteristics of the terroir.  The generally philosophy of Friuli winemakers (especially in regards to their white wines) is to emphasis the grape's pure fruitiness and acidity without the masking affects of oak.

The Collio has become a prestigious DOC and DOCG winemaking region producing some of Italy’s most prized wines in recognizable long-necked bottles, an  even more recognizable yellow cap, and labels that scream the name of the region, as per Consorzio's regulations.  

I first tasted  these versatile wines with great personality and surprising complexity  in Collio at the Gradis'Ciutta estate, where I understood the uniqueness of the terroir and the winemaker's passion to emphasize the grape's pure fruitiness and acidity without the masking affects of oak.  But I had trouble finding them anywhere in the US.  

We are now fortunate to find them in South Florida at reasonable prices ranging from $16 - $25. You can contact the importer ByWines, Miami, FL  for assistance in tracking them down. 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Collio Bianco Bràtinis  (DOC Collio Bianco).    According to the Consorzio’s rule established in 1968, Collio Bianco must be produced with Ribolla Gialla grape as its main base and blended with other grape varieties originating from the same region.   Robert Princic's  “Bratinis” – the name derives from the locality in which the grapes are grown and harvested at an altitude of 500 to 600 feet above sea level – is a blend of Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla and Sauvignon.  This wine has always been made in small quantities and until recently it was only consumed on special occasions by the family.  Fermented with natural yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks Bratinis is a full-bodied straw yellow wine,  clean, elegant and intense on the nose with aromas of green apple and ripe peach, hints of exotic fruit, melon and pineapple on the palate.  Silky, nicely structured with a lively acidity this is an elegant wine with a long aromatic finish. It is best served chilled at 47-50F, and  pairs well with a wide range of foods, from aperitifs to fish and stands up to heavier dishes like poultry or white meats. Great value.

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Collio Friulano (DOC )  100%  (Tocai) Friulano, an indigenous grape, this is the most representative and well-known white wine of Collio. In 2007, the name Tocai was changed to Friulano to prevent confusion with Hungary’s Tokay.  This wine comes from vineyards in Zavogna, Ruttars and Dolgi Breg straggling the border with Slovenia at altitudes ranging from 400 to 600 feet above sea level.    This luminous straw yellow colored wine is brilliant and well-balanced. An intensely pleasant nose of spices and fresh hay coming from 24 to 48 hours of maceration evolves in the palate into a silky yet vibrant texture with hints of almonds, camomille and crisp ripe golden apples enhanced by a lively acidity and a long finish of fresh almonds. Serve chilled but not too cold to enable the complex flavors to develop in the glass. Pairs fabulously well with antipasti like prosciutto San Daniele, cheeses and baked fish.

 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Pinot Grigio Collio (DOC)   100% Pinot Grigio planted on the descending slopes of Gradis’ciutta and the neighboring  hills since 1975. The copper berries are pressed and fermented in stainless steel, aged “sur lie” until the wine is bottled. This is a very well-crafted copper color Pinot Grigio with good structure, amazing aromas and loads of personality yet delicate and elegant. Downright addictive, I’d say.  Scents of green tomato leaf; peach, apples, citrus, flint and minerals, it has a bracing acidity and a long, clean finish that calls for a refill. It is fabulous with most foods, cheeses and seafood. A yummy wine!

 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Sauvignon Collio (DOC). 100% Sauvignon, a French vine cultivated in the region of Sauternes in Bordeaux, introduced into Gorizia in the mid-1800s, where it achieved superior results in the region’s fertile “ponca”  soils. Isidoro and Robert Princic  bought Sauvignon in 1978, and have kept the same typology; their most recent plantings date back to 1985. “Characteristics of our Sauvignon are the perfumes, not overly intense, but fine and elegant” says Robert Princic. The vineyards at 325 to 600 feet above sea level have small yields and the grapes are macerated for 24 – 48 hours to extract maximum flavors. Straw yellow with golden green hues, the wine is fresh, vibrant and lush yet delicate with hints of field flowers, pepper and sage and notes of exotic fruit – pineapple, passion fruit – on the palate and a good structure well balanced by a lively acidity. Have it chilled with antipasti, prosciutto, mushroom or saffron risotto, soufflés and fish.

 

 
At a recent wine tasting held at the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove, hosts Robert Princic and his 
distributor Victor Passalacqua of ByWines Inc., paired each wine with an incomparable luncheon prepared by Executive Chef  Ramesh Kaduru. 

A Lemon-scented crab Tian set in a feathery potato leek vichyssoise and topped with salmon roe and truffle was paired with the Gradisciutta Pinot Grigio. The Sauvignon Blanc stood up to the second course: an aromatic chicken basil roulade with summer squash risotto and sautéed wild mushrooms.  The Friulano, the most representative and well-known white wine of Collio, held its own with the the spice of the andouille-wrapped snapper and the complexity of  the spinach timbale with asparagus and lobster froth. For Dessert, the Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Collio Bianco Bràtinis melded its complex and smooth flavors with a cheese dish of  crispy pancetta, prosciutto, Irish Porter, Stilton cheese and Humboldt Fog, set next to a beguiling honey comb.

 

 


Last Updated on Saturday, 28 June 2014 01:00
 
Winemakers Bo and Heidi Barrett of Barrett & Barrett, Napa CA - a formidable team and superstars of the American wine world. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00

 

Winemakers Bo and Heidi Barrett of Barrett & Barrett, Napa CA -  the formidable team and superstars of the American wine world.

 

 

Who hasn’t heard of the Judgment of Paris ? As epic as the World Soccer Cup the legendary Paris Wine Tasting proclaimed California wines the winners.   On May 24 1976, French judges, all wine experts, carried out a gripping blind tasting of top-quality Chardonnays from Burgundy and California and another of  Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California.  Surpise! A California wine rated best in each category! The American victory stunned the world and put Napa on the wine map overnight, carving its place in history.
Bo Barrett, of Chateau Montelena, who was working at Chateau Montelena with his father, dared submit Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay to the “Judgment of Paris” competition… the rest is the stuff of legends….
CAROLE: Heidi Barrett, Bo’s wife, was the wine maker responsible for Screaming Eagle, a California cult Cab, when the wines achieved 99 and 100 point ratings from Robert Parker and started commanding in excess of $1,000 per bottle.  At  the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction, a 6-liter bottle of the ’92 Screaming Eagle set a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine selling for $500,000.
Married for over 26 years, Heidi and Bo have each well established their own individual winemaking track records and talk about their delicious cooperation.

Who hasn’t heard of the Judgment of Paris ? As epic as the World Soccer Cup the legendary Paris Wine Tasting proclaimed California wines the winners.   On May 24 1976, French judges, all wine experts, carried out a gripping blind tasting of top-quality Chardonnays from Burgundy and California and another of  Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California.  Surpise! A California wine rated best in each category! The American victory stunned the world and put Napa on the wine map overnight, carving its place in history.    Bo Barrett, of Chateau Montelena, who was working at Chateau Montelena with his father, dared submit Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay to the “Judgment of Paris” competition… the rest is the stuff of legends….

Heidi Barrett, Bo’s wife and a prestigious wine consultant, was the wine maker responsible for Screaming Eagle, a California cult Cab, when the wines achieved 99 and 100 point ratings from Robert Parker and started commanding in excess of $1,000 per bottle.  At  the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction, a 6-liter bottle of the ’92 Screaming Eagle set a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine selling for $500,000.   

Married for over 26 years, Heidi and Bo have each well established their own individual winemaking track records and talk about their delicious cooperation.

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 20:05
 
Anna de Cordoníu: Cava Brut, NV and Brut Rosé, NV PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:18

WHAT TO DRINK

Sparkling of course!  And this spring, Anna de Cordoníu has dressed its flagship Cava Brut, NV and Brut Rosé, NV with dainty colors to match the season.

They looked like Easter babies in white and pink robes in the hues of garden roses, like those brought in for the Anna Blooms tasting at The Biltmore by flower designer Kathryn Parrish,  to invoke the legend of Anna, the last heiress of the Cordoníu family, winemakers since 1551.

This young woman married a winemaker from Catalunya, Miquel Raventós,  in 1659, and started her own dynasty  of winemakers.  Inspired by the success of their French neighbor’s  Champagne, her descendants  were the first to master the “Méthode Traditionelle” and to make Cava – Spain’s  sparkling wine.

Today, Cordoníu owns seven estates, five of which in different regions in Spain, one in California and one in Mendoza, Argentina.

But it is from the estate-grown grapes from vineyards near Barcelona that Cava Brut, NV and Brut Rosé, NV are crafted.  Those crowd pleasers are definitely meant to drink young, and are easy-to-drink while being more complex than your everyday sparkling.

Anna de Codorníu Brut, NV  (70% chardonnay, 30% parellada), Spain ($10 to $15) Straw colored and brilliant Anna Brut  has become Codorníu’s most emblematic cava.  The chardonnay, sourced from the O.O. Cava region of Lleida, imparts elegance, body and structure as well as the delicacy of tropical fruit which parellada, sourced in the Penedés estates,  balances with floral aromas and citrusy hints of grapefruit and lime. The result is a vibrant, crisp, easy-to-drink bubbly  with  lively beads, a delicate acidity profile and a short finish.   Brut must be served cold, at about 50F and consumed right away.

Pairings: Great on its own as an apéritif, it complements crudités, shellfish, fish, Asian-style foods like sushi and sashimi or spicier ceviche, tiraditos and anticuchos.

 

Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé, NV  (70% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay), Spain  ($10 to $15) This rosé  stands out for its beguiling cherry, strawberry color obtained from the pinot noir skin maceration. Clear and bright with consistent bubbles, it opens with aromas of strawberry, red cherry and some warm bread on the nose. Medium- bodied and slightly more chewy than the Brut, this wine develops on the palate with crisp green apple flavors and berries, velvety tannins and a good acidity, ending in an engaging, structured finish.    Must be served cold, at about 50F and consumed right away.

Pairings: It is ideal as an aperitif and stands up to oil-rich fish like salmon, or rice, or hearty tapas and fried seafood.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:38
 
Two Kosher Wines for Passover and all-year-round PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 28 March 2014 18:02

One of the unfailing pleasures of a lengthy Seder, the Passover ritual dinner, is the “duty” to drink at least four full cups of wine during the evening.  Pleasure, that is, if we’re having a better-than-average Kosher wine.

Wine doesn’t have to be sweet to be Kosher, nor does it have to be pasteurized or necessarily come from Israel.  Kosher wines come in all sorts of varietals from around the world and has become an added source of brisk business from many a winery.

What enables a wine to receive the Kosher seal of approval, is the cleanliness of the dedicated equipment and machinery as well as the presence of a certified Sabbath-observant, orthodox Jew who must oversee the process, from crushing of the grapes to sealing the bottle.  Wine that is described as "kosher for Passover" must have been kept free from contact with grain, bread and dough.

Because wineries have to schedule this process before they go ahead with their own production, the harvest is set a few days earlier and as a result Kosher wines may have a lower alcohol content than their non-Kosher counterpart – not necessarily a bad thing if you remember to drink the four cups.

Two delicious  Kosher wines have come to my attention. One a red Bordeaux blend from Haut-Médoc, France, the other a Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.

 

Barons Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Kosher 2011, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France ($30 - $50)

A classic Brodeaux blend, 60% Merlot and 40% Carbernet Sauvignon, from six hectares planted in clay and chalky soil,  this wine spent 12 months in French oak barrels according to the tradition of great Bordeaux. And like traditionally good wines from Haut-Médoc, it is very elegant, well-balanced and complex, not too fruit driven, with a touch of minerality and a wonderful finish.  Not too ripe, no super tannins and lower alcohol (13%), it pairs beautifully well with every food.  Retails  at Total Wine.

Herzog Special Reserve 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Sonoma, CA ($30 - $50) 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine exhibits all the characteristics of Cabernet with blackberry, black cherry and licorice on the nose.  Aged for 18 months in oak it offers a luxurious mouth feel with silky layers of mocha and vanilla, and intriguing notes of spices and cedar, with round tannins tempered with a good acidity and a good alcohol content (14%).  Pairs well with meats: rib eye, brisket, lamb roast; stews and vegetable casseroles.  Retails at Jwines.com

 

Last Updated on Friday, 28 March 2014 18:26
 
Gradis'Ciutta, delicious wines from Collio, Italy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

by Simone Zarmati Diament

 

 People in Collio, Italy, still  talk about the Austro-Hungarian Empire and World War I as if it only happened recently, instead of one century ago this year.  And these are young  winemakers, many in their late twenties or early thirties, like Robert Princic of Gradis'Ciutta,  an up-and-coming  passionate winemaker who, like his father before him,  makes fresh, vibrant white wines under the "Collio" designation from vineyards in The Collio Goriziano  (in Slovene: Goriška Brda).

That’s because when these young people dig the dark “ponca” soil - a sandstone-clay-calcareous marl and flysch which is firm to the touch and rich in minerals and microelements - to plant a new vineyard,  it is not uncommon to unearth torpedoes from World War I, for which they have to call the “vigilli del fuoco” (the local firefighters) to diffuse them.  But what wines does it produce!  

The landscape of pristine rivers running through rolling hills rich with fields and vineyards, was the raging front during WWI, and only a generation ago flocks of cattle and geese mingled with cherry orchards and crops.

Today, these hills – a small strip of territory between the villages of San Floriano del Collio and Dolegna del Collio in  the province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia  in Italy's north eastern corner – are still straddling the border with Slovenia –once Communist Yugoslavia and now a member of the European Union.

 Small crops of vegetables and fruit have given way to endless corn rows of vineyards planted mainly with Friuliano and Ribolla Gialla - the basic grape for the famed Collio Bianco wine -  as well as with  many other international varieties which acquire the special characteristics of the terroir.  The generally philosophy of Friuli winemakers (especially in regards to their white wines) is to emphasis the grape's pure fruitiness and acidity without the masking affects of oak.

The Collio has become a prestigious DOC and DOCG winemaking region producing some of Italy’s most prized wines in recognizable long-necked bottles, an  even more recognizable yellow cap, and labels that scream the name of the region, as per Consorzio's regulations.  

I first tasted  these versatile wines with great personality and surprising complexity  in Collio at the Gradis'Ciutta estate, where I understood the uniqueness of the terroir and the winemaker's passion to emphasize the grape's pure fruitiness and acidity without the masking affects of oak.  But I had trouble finding them anywhere in the US.  

We are now fortunate to find them in South Florida at reasonable prices ranging from $16 - $25. You can contact the importer ByWines, Miami, FL  for assistance in tracking them down. 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Collio Bianco Bràtinis  (DOC Collio Bianco).    According to the Consorzio’s rule established in 1968, Collio Bianco must be produced with Ribolla Gialla grape as its main base and blended with other grape varieties originating from the same region.   Robert Princic's  “Bratinis” – the name derives from the locality in which the grapes are grown and harvested at an altitude of 500 to 600 feet above sea level – is a blend of Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla and Sauvignon.  This wine has always been made in small quantities and until recently it was only consumed on special occasions by the family.  Fermented with natural yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks Bratinis is a full-bodied straw yellow wine,  clean, elegant and intense on the nose with aromas of green apple and ripe peach, hints of exotic fruit, melon and pineapple on the palate.  Silky, nicely structured with a lively acidity this is an elegant wine with a long aromatic finish. It is best served chilled at 47-50F, and  pairs well with a wide range of foods, from aperitifs to fish and stands up to heavier dishes like poultry or white meats. Great value.

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Collio Friulano (DOC )  100%  (Tocai) Friulano, an indigenous grape, this is the most representative and well-known white wine of Collio. In 2007, the name Tocai was changed to Friulano to prevent confusion with Hungary’s Tokay.  This wine comes from vineyards in Zavogna, Ruttars and Dolgi Breg straggling the border with Slovenia at altitudes ranging from 400 to 600 feet above sea level.    This luminous straw yellow colored wine is brilliant and well-balanced. An intensely pleasant nose of spices and fresh hay coming from 24 to 48 hours of maceration evolves in the palate into a silky yet vibrant texture with hints of almonds, camomille and crisp ripe golden apples enhanced by a lively acidity and a long finish of fresh almonds. Serve chilled but not too cold to enable the complex flavors to develop in the glass. Pairs fabulously well with antipasti like prosciutto San Daniele, cheeses and baked fish.

 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Pinot Grigio Collio (DOC)   100% Pinot Grigio planted on the descending slopes of Gradis’ciutta and the neighboring  hills since 1975. The copper berries are pressed and fermented in stainless steel, aged “sur lie” until the wine is bottled. This is a very well-crafted copper color Pinot Grigio with good structure, amazing aromas and loads of personality yet delicate and elegant. Downright addictive, I’d say.  Scents of green tomato leaf; peach, apples, citrus, flint and minerals, it has a bracing acidity and a long, clean finish that calls for a refill. It is fabulous with most foods, cheeses and seafood. A yummy wine!

 

 

Gradis’Ciutta 2012 Sauvignon Collio (DOC). 100% Sauvignon, a French vine cultivated in the region of Sauternes in Bordeaux, introduced into Gorizia in the mid-1800s, where it achieved superior results in the region’s fertile “ponca”  soils. Isidoro and Robert Princic  bought Sauvignon in 1978, and have kept the same typology; their most recent plantings date back to 1985. “Characteristics of our Sauvignon are the perfumes, not overly intense, but fine and elegant” says Robert Princic. The vineyards at 325 to 600 feet above sea level have small yields and the grapes are macerated for 24 – 48 hours to extract maximum flavors. Straw yellow with golden green hues, the wine is fresh, vibrant and lush yet delicate with hints of field flowers, pepper and sage and notes of exotic fruit – pineapple, passion fruit – on the palate and a good structure well balanced by a lively acidity. Have it chilled with antipasti, prosciutto, mushroom or saffron risotto, soufflés and fish.

 

The climate

The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is bordered by the Alps to the north separating it from Austria. Slovenia borders the region on the east and the Italian region of Veneto forms the western border and part of the southern border with the Adriatic Sea. The northern half is very mountainous and gives way to flatter terrain and plains on the way to the sea. The climate is distinguished with very warm days and chilly nights that help maintain a balance in the grape between acidity and sugar levels and allows the grapes a long, slow growing season.

 

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Last Updated on Friday, 07 March 2014 16:47
 
Brancott launches Flight Song, a Low Cal Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio from Marlborough New Zealand PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 21:36

 

When you’re looking to launch a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio from New Zealand crafted to be 20 per cent lighter in calories,  you know that there will be a strong demand, worldwide, especially if  they retain the freshness and ripe flavors characteristic of Marlborough,

“Consumers have told us that they are looking for a wine style that is lighter in calories but doesn’t compromise on the taste and flavor complexity of the wine,” said Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate Chief Winemaker at a luncheon held last week at Two Chefs in Pinecrest, Miami.

Retaining quality and flavor was a key focus when crafting this wine and Brancott Estate Flight Song has clearly achieved this using grapes harvested earlier in the season when their sugar levels are naturally lower.  The Brancott Estate Flight Song will be available in the United States nationwide starting March.

Photos taken at Two Chefs Restaurant, Pinecrest, Miami, by SFG

 

 

Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013, New Zealand ($12 to 14.99) is pale green straw in color. This young wine with 9% alcohol content was harvested in March bottled in August. On the nose, it exhibits a distinct herbal aroma of freshly cut clover and hay, followed by notes of pink grapefruit and passion fruit on the palate with hints of flint and minerality while ripe lemon acidity and a lingering finish.  It feels dryer in the mouth when cold.  It is best enjoyed well-chilled as an apéritif or to pair with oysters, seafood dishes, chicken or pork.  At Two Chefs, it was paired with tuna tataki. 88 Calories, 4.5g carbs. 0 fat, 0 protein per 5 fl. oz. serving

Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Pinot Grigio 2013, New Zealand ($ 12 to 14.99), also containing 9% alcohol,  is pale straw in color and shows floral notes with Asian pear and sweet lemon.  White peach and guava create a full palate with ripe, citrus like acidity. Brancott Estate Flight Song Marlborough Pinot Grigio makes an excellent aperitif and pairs well with seafood and chicken.  At Two Chefs, it was paired with grilled salmon.   87Calories,  4.5g carbs. 0 fat, 0 protein per 5 fl. oz. serving

Our meal continued with a 2013 Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (750,000 cases produced per year) ($12.99) and the superb Chosen Rose Sauvignon Blanc ($65) one of 3,500 bottles of a hand harvested, single vineyard, wild fermentation Sauvignon Blanc, that spent ten months in huge oak vats and two years in a beautifully designed bottle with a red fisherman’s knot tied around its neck. With 14% alcohol content, this is a wine that can be consumed alone and can stand up to any cuisine, grills or stews.  At Two Chefs, it was served with roast chicken with wild mushrooms and a pistachio soufflé for dessert.

In 1973, Brancott Vineyard was planted with grapes, a decision that went against the popular opinion of the time that the South Island was too cold to grow grapes. In 1975, Brancott Vineyard was planted with the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Marlborough. The company – a trademark  of Pernod Ricard New Zealand Limited  − is committed to sustainable practices and is a founding member of New Zealand’s original sustainable winegrowing initiative established in 1995.

New Zealand  has made an impact world-wide in the wine making style with their extraordinarily aromatic and flavorful Sauvignon Blanc, as well as with the quality of the lamb and culturally, with outstanding movies and actors, among other branches of the arts.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:25
 
Spin the Bottle wines, kitschy label, good pour at $12 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 19:47

I recently received three samples of … yes, Spin the Bottle wines  − Chardonnay, Cabernet, and a Red Blend (Syrah, Cab, Zin, Merlot), all priced at $12 – and all with a kitschy 3D animated label  that change or move as the image is viewed from different angles – or as you play “spin the bottle. ”

It took me a while to get over the packaging but duty called and I finally mustered the courage to call a group of wine tasting colleagues, uncork the bottles and blind taste the wines.

We knew right away that these wines were not made in established wineries, and that, like so many other, they  are a product of “virtual wineries”  which source their must or their grapes from different regions.  But  Surprise!

The fruit for the Spin the Bottle Chardonnay 2012 was sourced from the  the cool central coast wine region of California, where grapes reach their peak.  And so this wine is balanced and fruit-forward with alluring aromas of ripe grapefruit and freshly sliced Golden Delicious apples. Nice acidity, elegant flavors of soft vanilla and ripe melon join in on the palate over a toasty oak finish. Pairs this refreshing Chardonnay with gnocchi in gorgonzola-cream sauce or roasted quail with fingerling potatoes.

We then tried the Spin the Bottle Red Blend 2011, an enticing medium-bodied blend (13.8% alcohol) of Syrah, Cab, Zin and Merlot with fruity aromas of berries and black fruit on the nose that combines the best of each grape and explodes on the palate along with a freshness and a very pleasant acidity tempering soft tannins.  We later had the wine with grilled meats and salads.

Spin the Bottle Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (13.52% alcohol) opens with rich aromas of cedar box, tobacco leaves, mission glack figs. On the palate, deep appealing flavors of black cherry, plum, emerge over espresso, dark chocolate and toasty oak. Pairs well with roasted meats and veggies, pastas in red sauce, strong cheeses.

Those so inclined, or still hung up on adolescent nostalgia, can even get to play! and then kiss...

Spin the Bottle wines are sold at Winn-Dixie, Target, Safeway,  Total Wine & More  and the red blend is available at Target. Check retail outlets at http://spinthebottlecellars.com/STB-Site_Retail-Page.html

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 19:52
 
2012 Doña Paula Estate Black Edition Red Wine, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina. Well-structured, well-balanced and elegant blend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:29

 Well-structured, well-balanced and elegant Bordeaux blend from Argentina   

2012 Doña Paula Estate Black Edition Red Wine, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina  $ 14.99

You can definitely woo your beloved with the sophisticated  2012 Doña Paula Estate Black Edition Red Wine.  Which shows  that Argentinean wines are definitely coming of age,  with a new breed of elegant, harmonious blends that are  light on the oak, well-balanced and easy to drink.

The winemaker’s  choice of  the Bordeaux varieties (60% Malbec, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petite Verdot) that grow  in El Alto Estate in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza  − a terroir over 3,400 feet above sea level which is the dream of any winemaker −  make for an  complex, well-structured, well-balanced and lively wine with  intense fruit concentration and freshness.  The well-rounded,  intriguing tannins,  exciting acidity,  long aromatic finish and  sophistication belie  its alcohol content (14.1% ) and its price ($14.99).

The 2012 Doña Paula ‘Black Edition’ Red Blend underwent cold pre-fermentation maceration to extract primary aromas and was aged in French Oak barrel for 10 months. The wine has an intense black, purple color in the glass and offers aromas of red and black fruits, spice, some mint and red pepper. In the mouth, the wine has round tannins and a long finish.

Pairs well  with beef, lamb, game meat, pasta, risotto, cheeses .

Doña Paula Wines is imported, sold and marketed by Trinchero Family Estates.

 
Terroir; a concept revisited: Microbes may have a bigger role in how wines taste PDF Print E-mail
Written by NICHOLAS WADE, NYTimes   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:26

Researchers have found that grape varieties in different regions carry distinctive patterns of fungi and bacteria, which may play a role in making a wine unique. Read Story in NYTimes  

Terroir is a concept at the heart of French winemaking, but one so mysterious that the word has no English counterpart. It denotes the holistic combination of soil, geology, climate and local grape-growing practices that make each region’s wine unique.

There must be something to terroir, given that expert wine tasters can often identify the region from which a wine comes. But American wine growers have long expressed varying degrees of skepticism about this ineffable concept, some dismissing it as unfathomable mysticism and others regarding it as a shrewd marketing ploy to protect the cachet of French wines.

Now American researchers may have penetrated the veil that hides the landscape of terroir from clear view, at least in part. They have seized on a plausible aspect of terroir that can be scientifically measured — the fungi and bacteria that grow on the surface of the wine grape.

These microbes certainly affect the health of grapes as they grow — several of them adversely — and they are also incorporated into the must, the mashed grapes that are the starting material of winemaking. Several of the natural fungi that live on grapes have yeastlike properties, and they and other microbes could affect the metabolism of the ensuing fermentation. (Several species of microbes are available commercially for inoculation along with yeast into wine fermentations.)

But are the microbial communities that grow on the grapes of a given region stable enough to contribute consistently to wine quality, and hence able to explain or contribute to its terroir?

Such a question would have been hard or impossible to address until the development of two techniques that allow the mass identification of species. One is DNA bar coding, based on the finding that most species can be identified by analyzing a short stretch of their genome, some 250 DNA units in length. The other is the availability of machines that can analyze prodigious amounts of DNA data at a reasonable cost.

Armed with these new tools for studying microbial ecology, a research team led by David A. Mills and Nicholas A. Bokulich of the University of California, Davis, has sampled grape musts from vineyards across California. Grape varieties from various wine-growing regions carry distinctive patterns of fungi and bacteria, they reported Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found, for instance, that one set of microbes is associated with chardonnay musts from the Napa Valley, another set with those of a must in Central Valley and a third grouping with musts from Sonoma. They noticed a similarly distinctive pattern of microbes in cabernet sauvignon musts from the north San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, Sonoma and Napa.

The discovery of stable but differing patterns of microbial communities from one region’s vineyards to another means that microbes could explain, at least in part, why one region’s zinfandel, say, tastes different from another’s. The links between microbes and wine-growing regions “provide compelling support for the role of grape-surface microbial communities in regional wine characteristics,” the researchers conclude.

“The reason I love this study is that it starts to walk down a path to something we could actually measure,” Dr. Mills said. “There are high-end courses on terroir, which I think are bunk. Someone has to prove that something about terroir makes it to the bottle, and no one has done that yet.”

Microbes are deposited on the grape surface by wind, insects and people, and may fail or flourish because of specific local conditions such as the way the grape vines are trained. And there may be genetic affinities between particular microbial species and each variety of grape, the researchers say.

Even if Napa’s chardonnay grapes, say, carry a distinctive pattern of fungal and bacterial species, the Davis scientists need still to prove that these microbes affect the quality of the wine. Microbes could exert an influence both during the lifetime of the grape and during fermentation, when they may add particular ingredients to the wine. “We will look at how overall microbial communities correlate with quality traits in the wine, and whether you can predict quality from the microbes present,” Mr. Bokulich said.

Thomas Henick-Kling, a professor of oenology at Washington State University, said it was plausible that microbes are a component of terroir. “Unripe grapes taste the same the world over,” he said. It is known that single strains of yeast can have a strong effect on a varietal’s flavor, he continued, “so it’s likely that microbes play a larger role than presently known and are probably a part of the regional differences that we recognize.”

While Dr. Mills said that “I make fun of terroir all the time,” he believes that regional distinctions between vineyards do exist and that microbes have a role in creating them. If the specific links between microbes and the sensory properties of wine can be identified, growers will be able to take a savoir-faire attitude to terroir instead of a je ne sais quoi shrug.

On the other hand, he added, pinning the qualities of wine on bacteria and fungi may spoil that frisson of enchantment for some connoisseurs. “Many people don’t want this figured out,” he said, “because it demystifies the wonderful mystery of wine.”

 

 
Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 has arrived! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 21:26

 

How is this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau? Its fans swear it is absolutely charming and quaffing, its dectractors say that it tastes of banana and bubble gum, like an “over the counter” wine.

Actually a world-wide counter in 120 countries.

The tradition that every third Thursday of November, all consumers of the planet get to take their first sip of the Beaujolais Nouveau simultaneously results in the fact that wineries that make Beaujolais Nouveau export a larger proportion of their wine than any other producer in France, sending about 47 percent of their harvest abroad every year.

Each year, millions of bottles fly as far away as Japan -- which drank nearly 9 million bottles in 2012 -- and the United States -- downed more than 2 million bottles in 2012 --, which welcome the “French” preemie with fanfare, never minding the fact that in the old time it was a poor man’s plonk; the rich drank pinot.

While Beaujolais Nouveau has been the first wine of the year for 62 years − AOC wines may only be sold after December 15 following the harvest. But an amendment, voted in 1951, allows certain wines to be put on the market a month earlier, from 15 November − the celebration of new wine, the race to sell it fast goes back to practices from the Roman Empire.

The highly anticipated arrival still creates a joyful celebration and solves many a Thanksgiving quandary: A light wine with a good level of acidity it pairs well with anything on any groaning holiday table.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 (100% Gamay), France. $10.99 - $12.99) Bright purple color with tinges of pink.  Fresh fruit on the nose. strawberry and banana in the palate, light tannins and good acidity. Refreshing and quaffing, this year’s wine is more complex and intense than in previous years.  Serve slightly chilled.

 
Whole Foods Market’s Top Ten Holiday Wines under $25 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 23:33
 
Whole Foods Market stores in Florida share their season’s sumptuous selections of Top 10 Holiday Wines (all under $25).  The budget friendly list of 12 traverses Greece, Argentina, New Zealand, France, Spain, and the U.S., pleasing from the worldly sophisticate who leans toward an elegant French white like the Simonnet-Febvre St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc to the thrill-seeking adventurer who craves something unexpected like the Spanish Tablao Navarra. “There’s something for every wine personality —And at these values, you can buy one for your favorite host and pick up a bottle for yourself,” said Doug Bell, global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market.
 
The company’s Top 10 Holiday Wines include:
 
Roger d’Anoia Cava (Spain). Lively effervescence with bright notes of green apple and pear, this sparkler is ripe and round with a touch of sweetness in the well-balanced finish. Cheese Pairing: Uniekaas Parrano. Recipe Pairing: Shrimp Cocktail with Creamy-Spicy Green Onion Dipping Sauce
 
Skouras Anassa (Greece). Made with 70 percent moschofilero and 30 percent viognier, this medium-bodied white has aromas of ripe apricot and orange peel and a clean, crisp finish. Cheese Pairing: Red Leaf Canadian Aged Cheddar. Recipe Pairing: Roasted Salmon Stuffed with Spinach, Feta and Ricotta
 
Simonnet-Febvre St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc (France). The micro-climate in the Saint-Bris appellation allows for the sauvignon blanc grapes to express their full aromatic character as well as the minerality of the terroir. The exuberant nose is characterized by freshly cut herbs and delicate fruits with a hint of red bell pepper, and the elegant finish has a lovely minerality. Cheese Pairing: Vermont Creamery Bijou. Recipe Pairing: Classic Butternut Squash Soup
 
Novellum Chardonnay (France). This zesty white has honeysuckle and white peach aromas, and anise, fennel and a hint of oak show in the lengthy finish. Cheese Pairing: Hervé Mons Camembert
Recipe Pairing: Roast Turkey with Apples and Onions
 
Allan Scott Marlborough Pinot Noir (New Zealand). This wine is rich and dark with black cherries, violets and a pleasant earthiness on the nose. It has a velvety, harmonious finish with smoky oak, subtle spice and raspberry flavors. Cheese Pairing: P’tit Basque. Recipe Pairing: Five-Spice Roast Duck
 
Cercius Côtes du Rhône (France). This blend of 85 percent grenache and 15 percent syrah is beautifully textured, lush and decadent with an aroma of smoky eucalyptus and berry and deep notes of kirsch, plum and stewed fruits and plum and a hint of leather in the long finish. Cheese Pairing: Sottocenere Italian Truffle. Recipe Pairing: Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Mashed Vegetables
 
Tablao Navarra (Spain). This juicy red, made up of mainly tempranillo grapes, has an aromatic nose of raspberry with complex hints of licorice and cherry, which round out its sublime, lingering finish.
Cheese Pairing: Seaside Cheddar. Recipe Pairing: Roasted Beef Brisket with Carrots and Tomatoes
 
H & G Priorat (Spain). Silky and robust, this spicy, well-balanced red is rich with aromas of red ripe stone fruits and finishes with a touch of oak and earthy minerals. Cheese Pairing: Fromager d’Affinois. Recipe Pairing: Crown Roast of Pork with Wild Rice Stuffing
 
Santa Julia Innovacíon Bonarda-Cabernet (Argentina). Deeply complex and full-bodied, this red created by the Zuccardi family has forward notes of plum and cigar box with jammy flavors of dark ripe berries. The luxurious finish has smoky, savory notes. Cheese Pairing: Borough Market Cheddar. Recipe Pairing: Apple, Sausage and Sage Sourdough Stuffing
 
Les Hauts de Bel Air Bordeaux (France) - The powerful but elegant nose is redolent of red and black fruits, especially cherry and blackberry, with black pepper. This rich and supple red has smooth tannins and is superbly balanced on the palate with a lengthy finish.Cheese Pairing: Fourme d’Ambert
Recipe Pairing: Portobellos Stuffed with Greens and Blue
 
Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus Napa Valley Red (California). This bold claret is made through a partnership between famed musician Mat Kearney, Peju and the John Anthony family who, combined, have more than 60 years of Napa Valley wine making experience. This luscious red is 87 percent Napa Valley merlot and 13 percent Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and has soft aromatics of black currant, plum, and notes of cedar. The bold but well-balanced flavors of vanilla, black cherry and chocolate give way to juicy dark cherry and wild blackberry. And, the long finish has nuances of roasted coffee and toasted hazelnut. Cheese Pairing: Emmi Le Gruyère Recipe Pairing: Slow Cooker Lentil Stew with Polenta
 
Grace Lane Yakima Valley Riesling (Washington). This medium-dry riesling has delicate notes of fresh green apple and crisp white peach. Its delicate yet complex flavors lead to a long, full finish.
Cheese Pairing: Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue. Recipe Pairing: Honey-Glazed Ham with Fresh Pineapple Chutney
 
Whole Foods Market invites wine enthusiasts 21 and older to chat about these holiday wine favorites during Twitter Tastings on Nov. 21 and Dec. 12. On Dec. 12, Nashville-based musician Mat Kearney will join the tasting to discuss his Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus Napa Valley Red. Go to wholefoodsmarket.com/wine for more information and use the hashtag #WFMwine to follow the conversation. The schedule is:
Nov. 21, 8-9 p.m. EST
  • Grace Lane Yakima Valley Riesling
  • Tablao Navarra
  • H & G  Priorat
  • Les Hauts de Bel Air Bordeaux Rogue
 
Dec. 12, 8-9 p.m. EST
  • Roger d’Anoia Cava
  • Skouras Anassa
  • Innovacíon Bonarda Cabernet
  • Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus Napa Valley Red
 
For more information on these holiday wines and Twitter Tastings, please visit wholefoodsmarket.com/wine. Bottle photos and an infographic pairing party personalities with the wines are available at media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/ring-in-the-season-with-top-ten-holiday-wines-at-easy-to-swallow-prices-at-.

 

 
Venissa 2010, the Liquid Gold of Native Venice, makes the Top 100 Italian wines PDF Print E-mail
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament   
Friday, 15 November 2013 23:20

Il Golosario, the Guide to the good things of Italy edited by renowned food and wine experts Paolo Massobrio and Marco Gatti, has selected Venissa 2010 among the 100 best Italian wines.

Venissa , a 100% Dorona varietal  is made an ancient variety of grapes rediscovered by Gianluca Bisol in the remote Venetian  lagoon island of Mazzorbo.  The yellow berries native to Venice were cultivated on the lagoon islands up until 1400 after which all trace was lost. Listen to an interview with Gianluca Bisol on location at Venissa.

Tasting Notes: The full-bodied  golden yellow nectar-like wine exhibits notes of wild flowers and chamomile, apricot, quince, notes of dried fruit, walnut extract, nuances of rock salt and iodine. Velvet-textured,  it is full-flavored, with a lively acidity and a long finish. It is great as an aperitivo and pairs perfectly with fish and white meats.

The Il Golosario Top Hundred Award, now into its twelfth edition, will be presented during the official ceremony on Sunday 17th November 2013 in the AGORÀ area of Superstudio Più Milan during the ‘Golosaria’ event at the Papillon show that is running from November 16th to 18th.

Venissa is part of an ambitious project aimed at showcasing and enhancing the history and cultural heritage of Native Venice, an archipelago that includes the islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Gianluca Bisol has reclaimed the ancient walled vineyard of Venissa, owned by the municipality of Venice, on the island of Mazzorbo and it is here that the historical Venetian grape variety of Dorona has been planted. It was from this grape that Venissa, the Liquid Gold of Native Venice came into being, with the participation of Desiderio Bisol an innovative and authoritative oenologist and Roberto Cipresso a renowned international expert on terroir.

The second exclusive vintage of this great collector’s white wine is now available in the form of 3911 half-litre, 188 Magnum, 88 Jeroboam and 36 Imperial collector’s bottles made with gold leaf plated Murano glass – a creation of Giovanni Moretti. The label has been replaced by a precious sheet of pure gold leaf fashioned by the modern day descendent of the ancient Battiloro family of Venice. The leaf was applied by hand and the bottle was then re-fired in the ovens of the Carlo Moretti glassworks on the island of Murano.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 23:34
 
Glenfiddich, the Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve PDF Print E-mail
Written by SFG   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 23:11

 The Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve is the Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Glenfiddich’s new limited edition release. It is a toast to the American bourbon industry which has provided barrels to Scotch distilleries for maturing their whiskies.

The Bourbon Cask Reserve is exclusively aged for 19 years in American oak casks that once travelled great American rivers.

“Aging this single malt entirely in a bourbon cask has created a spirit that has a balance of spicy sweetness tempered by rich, dried fruit flavors. Its nose consists of toffee and deep citrus notes, balanced by dry, faint smoky notes of oak. The taste is complex and layered with vanilla, fine leather and tobacco, which develops a sweet, velvety mouth-feel enhanced by spicy hints of cardamom and nutmeg, which fade slowly into a warm and long finish,” explained Malt Master Brian Kinsman.

The Age of Discovery Glenfiddich Bourbon Cask Reserve’s distinctive packaging is adorned with illustrations of the meandering Mississippi River with each panel displaying a landmark along the casks’ expedition from America to Scotland.

The deep blue box and the black glass bottle with a red cartouche compass make it an ideal gift for the adventurous and discerning drinker.

The 2013 Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask Reserve (ABV 40%) is available nationally with a recommended retail price of $149.99.

For more information visit www.glenfiddich.com.

 
Author E.L. James launches Fifty Shades of Grey wines made in CA PDF Print E-mail
Written by press release   
Monday, 23 September 2013 17:51
 

E.L. James, the renowned author of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, has created two wines inspired by her record-breaking books. Red Satin and White Silk are now available for purchase at www.FiftyShadesWine.com and will be available in the United States in October, 2013 at   retailers nationally for $17.99.  

E.L. James features wine and the experience of savoring wines frequently in her books, and together with winemakers in California’s premium North Coast appellation, she blended her selection from individual lots. “That was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in quite a while,” she tweeted.

The wines were made to E.L. James’ exacting standards in a custom crush operation at the Mendocino Wine Company in Mendocino County, CA. No single variety could express the distinctive and unconventional nature of the book’s themes, so two blends were selected to represent Fifty Shades of Grey.

Red Satin is a decadent blend with flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, creamy caramel and vanilla, leather and clove spice. It is a primarily a blend of Petite Sirah and Syrah, aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels.

White Silk has floral aromatics of lychee, honey and pear. Those are tempered by flavors of crisp grapefruit, mineral and lush pear with a faint hint of butterscotch. White Silk is primarily a blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was fermented cool, under 50 degrees F, and aged in stainless steel to preserve its delicate and rich fruit character. For more information on Fifty Shades of Grey Wine, please visit www.FiftyShadesWine.com .

The Fifty Shades Trilogy has been the fastest selling series of books in history. The series has sold over  90 million copies in 52 different languages. The books have become a cultural phenomenon and are referred to on a daily basis. Consumer awareness of Fifty Shades will continue to grow as the books are turned into movies by Universal Pictures.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 September 2013 17:58
 
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 GELATO WORLD TOUR, RIMINI 2014, ITALY
Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
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Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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Jen Karetnick, author of MANGO will be at the International Miami Book Fair, Nov. 16 - 23

 

Jennifer McLagan, author of Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes 


Allen Salkin author of From Scratch: Inside the Food Network

Janet Fletcher, Planet Cheese, on enjoying eating cheeses and lactose intolerance.

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