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"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right" ~ Mark Twain
This may sound odd, but in some cultures around the world even the mere mention of the idea or thethought “let's have a drink” has negative connotations [most likely not a theme in most western cultures]. The way some folks behave after having more than their fair-share has undoubtedly contributed to some of the negative stereotypes which has been associated with consuming wine or spirits. As some in knee-jerk response, believe abuse automatically means non-use and have sought to band it out-right. Remember that was tried once, it was called Prohibition.
While that may be true, you may also be surprised to find that potentially intoxicating liquids like wines and even more so spirits do have their benefits as well. That being said, moderation is the operative word when it comes to consuming adult beverages. It’s not that imbibing is bad per se, but we can run afoul of any benefit when get too close to the edge of over indulgence. I know this may sound too much like common sense, but we all know that's just not that common.
But on the flip side of the equation, studies have shown that the moderate consumption of wines and or spirits is actually good for our health. Especially when compared against outright abstainers. To most folks who drink wine for example, moderation means a shared bottle with your meal, three or four times a week.
That said, abstainers and imbibers alike please take note. Because below I've outlined some succinct points about the health benefits of drinking wine which you may find compelling, despite a current study which suggests the alternative may possibly be true.
1· Good for the heart: Alcohol acts as a natural blood thinner and enables the free flow of blood through the arteries, thus reducing the work that your heart has to do in order to pump blood to all parts of your body. So when you have one glass of wine three or four times a week, your risk of heart disease is significantly lower and you are less susceptible to strokes which occur because of blood clots or blocked arteries. A study conducted at the Yale School of Medicine proved connection between drinking red wine [sorry white wine fans] and improvements in cardiovascular health, because of its polyphenol [high in antioxidants] content.
2· Slows aging process: Grapes are rich in an anti-aging wonder chemical known as resveratrol prevents damage to and repairs cells and blood vessels. It also brings down the level of bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of blood clots. Red wine is a good source of resveratrol, so if you’re in the mood for a drink, make it a glass of red rather than anything else.
3. Resveratrol: You may be wondering what wines have the highest resveratrol content? Again sorry white wine fans but between white wine and red wine, the red variety has more resveratrol than white wines like the ever popular chardonnay.The reason being is thatred wine is fermented longer and stays in contact with skins helping to produce those red colors you see. White wine on the other hand;has about a tenth of resveratrol content compared to red wine. Some even believe and facts even suggestthat the only reliable non-supplement source of resveratrol right now is red wine.
4. Rich in antioxidants: If there’s one chemical that everyone is going gaga about, it’s antioxidants – they’re being praised to the skies for their ability to prevent cancer and boost your immune system. Red wine is rich in antioxidants and if you have one glass five times a week, you could significantly increase your life span and live a long and healthy life. Just look at the French who consume more wine per capita than Americans tend to live a little longer, what they call the The French Paradox (though the fact that they drink wine moderately and slowly with meals, instead of downing shots at the bar, could make a difference).
5· Boosts lung function: White wine helps lung function, according to a study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences which determined that people who enjoyed the occasional glass of wine were found to have better lung function than those who did not. Besides this, wine has also been known to be effective in destroying upper respiratory tract bacteria.
6· Prevents tooth decay: Wine has antibacterial properties and has been use forcenturies in helping treat infected wounds. Researchers have only just nowdiscovered that wine is capable of killing various strains of oral bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay and even a sore throat. But you want to be careful about [red] wines staining potential, you could earn a new nick name "purple-teeth" if your not careful todrink with bit of moderation.
7·Guards against diabetes : Drinking wine, in moderation, has been shown to help boost the function of the pancreas and reduces the level of glucose in your blood. This prevents you from being at risk for diabetes during any stage in your life.
Now you maybe wondering which red-wine has the largest source of Resveratrol orwhich grape delivers the biggest bang for the buck? Well it just so happens to be the most delicate of red-wines grapes, onewhich has the most potent formresveratrol, the winner is Pinot Noir.So yes,in fact it has been shown that Pinot Noir has more resveratrol than other red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc.
Since Pinot Noir grapes are naturally more delicate, prone to rot, and are generally considered more difficult to grow.Some speculate that the reasonthese grapes are so much more beneficial, is thatneed to produce more resveratrol to protect themselves from natural pathogens or what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. In addition to PN being a bigger source of resveratrol grapes grown in regions that are both cool and moist will produce an even higher resveratrol count than anywhere else. For more information on the Health benefits of wine º Antioxidants, resveratrol, and living healthier, please click on the link provided above.
While the benefits of wine and wine consumption are not meant to be an incentive for teetotalers to startuncorking bottles of wine. Butit should be regarded by casual drinkers as a lesson in health - five glasses [3-4oz]a week is the optimum level, and if you go beyond that, then the negatives tend to far outweigh the positives whichwine has tooffer. Here's a toast to your good health, cheers!
By-line: This article is written by guest contributor Shannon Wills, who writes on the topic of Physical Therapist Assistant Schools She welcomes your comments below or at her email id : firstname.lastname@example.org .
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The Gate is Straight, Deep and Wide; Break On Through to the other side ~ Jim Morrison
Break on through is what we did in Oregon, broke through to the other side of Pinot Noir and onto the Orgundian Wine Trail. Here in the picture above you have the aerial view, which of course I sadly didn't take. But I wanted you to have the bird's eye view of this beautiful property. Their winery and the vineyards are easily located at 19143 NE Laughlin Rd. in Yamhill, OR in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. So please do yourself afavor the next time you're in Portlandstop by the tasting room, see the property [take a tour], taste the great wines and relax because after-all you're in wine country.
My most recent visit came as part of this year's Wine Bloggers Conference that was held in Portland,OR making this my second trip out to visit. I was surprised to find some new changes; they have since moved the main tasting room to some new a new spot, with a wrap around deck and a great view of the vineyards. The new spot is not too far from the old building, which still has a view of the fermentation tanks, but is perched upon the area where Mrs. Cuvee and I took our first picture. Just above you can see the picture from the deck.
Here in the picture above you see the old tasting room, which is still used. And in the picture below you can see the brand-new tasting room, which I think I like quite a bit better. But with such a big space, I was surprised that the new bar was not a lot bigger.
After a quick spin through the new tasting room it was time to take the bloggers out to see what makes the wines so special, it was time to play in the dirt. There was a large hole dug down into the soil so we could see the layers of sediment and complexity that give the grape and wines from this area their distinctiveness.
The next thing we did and thought this was a fun exercise is that we learned to cut-off the wing-man that grow off to side of the main grape bunch, sucking the life out the other grapes. Which you can see in the picture below.
After thatfun andinformative trip into the vineyard, it was time to go back in side to taste the wine from the many different winerieswho call the Yamhill Carlton AVA home.
Wow, thiswas agreat tasting, that they had lined up for us. Each wine on that sheet told its own story. You had everything from freshly cut cigars, floralsto an odd unexpected eucalyptus jumping out of one of the glasses.I also foundwhat I would callall the other usual suspects in Oregon Pinot Noir, things liketar, black berries,raspberries, coffeeand baking spices. Some more subtle than the others, whilestill others had an amazingly captivating nose. After this was the an up-hill walk to the Triple Black Slopes, tasting wines and sampling snacks meant to be paired with the wine.
There was a bit of logistical difficulties, but by the time we made it to the top it was all worth it. Taking into account the considerable heat some of the bloggers wilted like a sun-flower on parched soil, it was not a pretty sight. But none-the-less most of persevered and drove-on wine glass in hand.
Having arrived at the top many of us, including yours truly were awe-struck by the view from the top, thus commanding most of us to get a picture of the view.
Nothing like a wanna-be wine-writer [aka, blogger]whoo seems to be standing atop of the world, striking the would-be "conquerer" pose. But what to do when faced with a bunch of hungry wine-bloggers and very thirsty vino-sapiens, I know serve up some more fantastic, to this point untried Pinot Noir, served along side a generous plate of vittles.
After a wonderful evening of feasting, chit-chatting with many winemakers sitting at our tables, slurping on some the best Pinot Noir that I've ever had the opportunity to taste. It sadly was time to go home, many of us lamented that it would be great to just stay, continuing to take in the view and what we all knew would be a glorious night sky had we stayed that long.Some of us tromped back down the hill as easily as we strode up, but still others needed to be carried back by a passing vehicle, jumping into the back ofpick-up.
All in all, it was a great adventure and I for one learned so much more about Oregon wine that day and look forward to seeing the Orgundian Wine Trail again soon. Until next time folks, sit-back, relax and remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." --Gustave Flaubert
I'm always on the lookout for the next big thing on the wine-scene here in San Diego and this time I've uncorked a great one that you need to check out for yourself. If you are anything like me, you're tired of the ho-hum everyday selections found in many so called wine-stores [more so the average grocery outlet] today. If there is anywhere or any place I want to encounter diversity, it's in aisles of my favorite [and even my not so favorite] wine shop. Sadly though, finding places like this are the exception and not the proverbial rule.
Sometimes when I see folks tweeting about or throwing up a FB post about seemingly generic mass produced wines, like Chateau Two-by-Four [insert mass market label here]Chardonnay for example, I feel like I've not done my job properly as a wine-writer, I've not shook enough trees, to let folks know they have alternatives, outside of California. Let me go a step further; to me those "kind" of wines are too similar of a choice between deciding whether to buy farm-raised salmon or instead going for the "wild-caught" Sock-Eye, there's no comparison [I don't mind paying extra].
That said, I'm happy to introduce you to the Protocol Wine Studio, a new start-up here in San Diego, one poised to captivate your palate with unique and surprising wines at every twist and turn. I was invited over to sample a small sampling of the style of wines you could expect to find, should you decide to partner with them on a voyage of wine discovery.I was pleasantly surprised by the wildly different styles and flavors presented that evening.If you'd like them to help you fill up an empty cellar or ifyou're simply looking certain types or styles wine, that just can't find anywhere else, chances are that Tina and Guy can help.
Tina and Guy have a simple yet straight forward mission; "Our philosophy centers around a wine culture aesthetic where wine gently glitters from the background and becomes part of a complete social experience, distinct for each individual." Let these two Sommeliers and True Wine Culture Consultants help you as they say"taste it, share it, live it!" and to that I say viva exploration!
One of the surprises of the evening was a great little wine calledFie Gris [Éric Chevalier], a wine whichto me isthe poster boy for "esoteric". A wine for which it has been said; "Long before there was Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, certainly before Marlborough or perhaps even Sauternes.And long, long before there waseven Sauvignon Blanc, storytellers and wine historians say, there was Fie Gris." ~ North Berkeley Imports.
The nose on this winegrabbed my attention immediately; very smokey [gun-flint], bell-pepper,loads of wet-stone, infused with just a twist of lemon peel and not fully ripe plums. On the palate, vivid acid, but still a lush mouth feel,smoke from a distant fire, herbaceous, wet-stone fruit,a wonderfully terroir-driven wine, it had to be I've never really tasted a wine similar to it. A very exotic wine to be sure, but none-the-less captivating, inviting sips at first, then slurps and finally even a big gulp.
One of the more surprising elements was how it paired ever so nicely withthe back-yard camp-fire toasted marshmallowswhich we all chowed-down on toward the end of the night; like a pack of wolves experiencing their first kill in weeks [okay, maybe that was just me]. It was a fun evening, Mrs. Cuvee and I sitting in the VIP area [don't ya know]helped to close down the evening, lighting a few gars and telling tales till the wee-hours of the morning. Until next time folks, sit back, relaxandplease remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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Picking the rich, ripe summer tomatoes from the backyard this morning, posting a picture of it to my FB wall, I was inspired to write this post in anticipation about what I would have for lunch today. It was my good friend, Shawnof Wandering-Winofame who helped me with this quick and impromptu brain storm.
What could be better than a simple lunch with simple ingredients and fab bottle of wine to compliment that effort, one with bubbles no less. The wine is a sample I received earlier this summer in a three pack from the great folks at Domaine Chandon just north of me[a few hundred miles]in the Napa Valley. A great place to visit, easily found on the famous route 29 corridor in Yountville. This folks is one tasty bottle of bubbly, it's simply a party waiting to be uncorked and inexpensive to boot. Boat loads of fresh summer strawberries, resting on a flaky croissant crustawait the first slurp of the thirsty vino-sapien, you’ll find it very easy drinking and plush. There is nothing to not like about this great lunch time partner, a wine which I scored 90 points, a sparkling wine you can find most places for a SRP of $20
If you want to make this simple yet delicious lunch for yourself, then run off to the store, farmers market or even your basic grocery outlet, grab some [if you don't have these items already] basil, tomatoes, a couple baguettes, EVOO, fresh garlic,and a block of Parmesan cheese. Now it's time to put together some Italian style bruschetta (pronounced "brusketta"). There are many variations on this recipe, sofeel free to adjust as needed.
Honestly there is no need to turn the oven on to make this easy-breezy lunch time delight, you'll just need a skillet. Dice the tomatoes to the size you're going to be comfortable with and set aside. Cut the entire baguette in half and then cut into pan-size pieces. Add butter to skillet and melt over high-heat, then add the bread, cook until golden brown, pressing down as needed. The bread cooks quickly and leaves it crispy on the outside, but soft inside
Now using the same skillet [one pan operation], add some cooking olive oil, then toss in the tomatoes, again cooking on medium-high heat. You'll know they are ready when you see them start to soften. Now throw in the spices, garlic tooand add the basil at the very end. Now it's ready to be plated unto the baguette, sprinklesome freshly shavedParmesan Cheese over the top, pop the cork on the Chandon and enjoy. Until next time folks remember to, sit back, relax, slurp long and prosper cheers!
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Does anyone remember that song "Love and marriage"
sung by Frank Sinatra, which introducedAmerica to the concept of dysfunction in the form a of a sitcomin the late eighties called Married... with Children
.? While this wine has nothing to do with that show, it does have something in common with that theme kind of, because what is true in marriage is true in wine as well. The marriage of or the bringing together two different varietals toform a blend thatin many cases rival the mono varietal based wines. See even wine is okay by itself as a single entity, but when correctly brought together with other varietalsto form a single but multi-layered thing of beauty, let the quaffing begin.
The song goes, "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,"
but in this case it's love and Meritage
, that could make for the operative phrase in your life, Married with Children. What do I mean my that, well the biological imperative could be absolutely enabled by a good Meritage typewine and this easy drinking wine could put you in the right frame of mind rather easily if you get my drift. "wink~wink"
According to good old Wikipedia:
Um what the bleep is a rubric anyways? Survey says, "A rubric is a word or section of text which is traditionally written or printed in red ink to highlight it. The word derives from the Latin: rubrica, meaning red ochre or red chalk."
Little did I know that therubric method is one I've been usingon my blogsince I started writing over two years ago.
The Winery:Blackstone WineryDanger, Will Robinson:
has had some ubiquitous selections on store shelves formanyyears now. Their everyday priced offerings have [thankfully]recently been augmented with the addition of a Sonoma County "reserve"
series of wines.This winery lays in the heart of Sonoma, I drove past it twice just a couple weeks ago but didn't goin as my travels had other destinations in mind.Fornearly 20 years, they’ve cultivated close ties with grape growers and viticulturists throughout Sonoma County
.Sonoma istheir inspiration andtheir home, Sonoma remains the heart of Blackstonewines.
Okay wine-rangers this is a warning, a shot across the bow if you will. Even though I loved, loved
, don't read into my review as a blanket endorsementfor their other cellar dweller wines. Meaning the wines with the brown label selling for $7
just about everywhere are no where near the same quality as their Sonoma Reserve wines, you've been warned. Step up to just $9.99
[at TJ's] and you've hit pay dirt! I'm not like many wine-bloggers, I don't "gush" over every wine that comes across this desk, in fact there's mucho amounts of vinothat will never see the light of day on this blog.Composition:
This red blend
is Blackstone winemaker Gary Sitton's take on a Meritage
-based blend which leads the way at 55%. The winemaker really threw in the proverbial kitchen sink with this blend. So rounding out the blend the other varietals in the mix are Malbec
; Cabernet Franc
; Petit Verdot; Tannat; Merlot
; and Petite Sirah
. The fruit was sourced from the following areas,Dry Creek Valley (59%
), Sonoma County (20%
), Sonoma Valley (15%
), and Alexander Valley (6%
). Treatment and Case size:
Oak [most likely 2nd useFrench]aging occurred over 20
months in combination of new and older barrels. 7,000 cases of this wine were produced. The reason I mention the case size is that while the case size is large the quality is also large and readily available.What's a Meritage:
Well according to theMeritage Alliance "red meritage wines historically have been among the world’s most highly rated wines."
Very true, think about Bordeaux, which isthe model for Meritage wines here in the states.And why are meritage wines so good? Because of "their smooth, silky texture and complex, robust structure coupled with the ability to age beautifully"
— often for decades, while most are also very drinkable in their younger years. Like theBlackstone Winery Sonoma Reserve Rubric Sonoma County 2007
I will be reviewing today. Another word of advice,
for god's sake don't pronounce it like a French word, folks will just roll their eyes and shake their heads in disbelief, it's Mer-it-tige! I really don't mind how you say it, as long as you find yourself of these wonderful wines. Blend Rules:
According to theMeritage Alliance
, "a red meritage is a blend of two
or more of the red “noble” Bordeaux varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and the rarer St. Macaire, Gros Verdot and Carmenère." The kicker
, "If the blend includes any other grape variety, it is, by definition, not a Meritage!" Also, to qualify as a Meritage, no single grape variety can make up more than 90%
of the blend. So technically this wine broke the rules and like Reggie Bush, will have to hand in its title or trophy status, sadly it's not a meritage. But it is darn close!Full Disclosure:
Hey FTC and anyone who may care, this wine wassent as a sampleto Cuvée Corner Wine Blog for the review process over 4
weeks ago and has a SRP
.Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score:
Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored92
points on the Cuvée Corner 100
pointscale. The QPR
is off the charts, stupid good for the $9.99 price tag.First Swirl:
I did decant this wine, frankly it didn't really need it [contrary to what you've read on other blogs
]. Sorry Gabe, you're just wrong
. A bright shiny clean purple core, most likely the Malbec kicking in some blue tones and a pale cerise colored rim. First Sniff:
Bold dark and red fruits dominate the pronounced but wonderfully clean nose, while subtle well integrated notes of oak and vanilla dance delightfully together, while wafting gently from the glass. Isn't that a pretty scene? First Slurp:
Holding the goblet up to my mouth, I gave this wine a good [proper technique and all] swirl in that large cavity, sometimes called my mouth.This exerciseconfirmed the impressions I had upon putting my fat half Irish wine loving nose into the glass. This wine taste freaking fantastic, I was utterly amazed at its complexity and the overall flavor profile, dark red fruits, leather, mocha and trace minerality. The tannins were smooth as a babies ass [ohh, he said a bad word]and glided about nicely into a rather nice finish. Good Job, Blackstone!Price and Where to Find:
Okay Chula Vista this is your opportunity, I found a huge cache of this vino at my local Trader Joe's
in East Lake and they are selling it for $9.99
each. You can also buy it from the Blackstone Winery website for a suggested retail price [SRP]of $22
each.C'mon this wine is juststupid goodat the TJ
price, so why would ya get it anywhere else? My Recommendation:
This wine is already sold out at a few TJ's
around town, but you folks in the South Bay obviously need to put down that Two-buck upchuck
and step up to something truly palatable for a few dollars more, your liver will thank you. I'm telling you once this review is posted it will not last long, I've called the over to this store and inquired about the status of this wine, they have something like twenty cases leftand at this price you have myrun don'twalk recommendation
. So hustle your buns down there now, buy a case or twoand please
tell them the Cuvee Corner Wine Blog
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My wife and I just took a wonderful trip to Sonoma and Napa, where we tasted some fantastic wine, made some new friends, met up with folks I only knew through Twitter and talked with winemakers, growers and the folks who meet and greet ya in the tasting rooms.
These are the stories I've been waiting to write, since I returned late just this last Thursday. The first winery I wanted to bring to your attention is Anaba Wines
in Sonoma, in the heart of the Carneros Appellation
. This winery is a new kid on the block relatively speaking. One of the wineries in Sonoma with some very nice Rhone
varietalsin their line up.A visit to this winerywas recommended to by a fine gentlemen [cork-dork]who really has his finger on the pulse of the Sonoma Valley,
his name is William Allen andyou can read his excellent work over at Simple Hedonism,
whichI highly recommend youdo before you plan your next trip.
So Anaba Wines is just down the street from Gloria Ferrer [who I will write up soon]. One reason I wanted to talk about this winery so soon is that their Chardonnay, which I totally loved is heading over to the big wine publications [theglossy page folks]for review, so I wanted to scoop them. This is the power of the Wine Blogging Community, we don't have to wait for "our" articles to come out in print, there's no editor standing over my keyboard telling me what or who to write a story about. Could I use an editor to go over my work before I hit the the big "publish button", umm without a doubt.
But that's beside the point I'm attempting to make, which is Wine Blogs
are your key to finding the best values and where to purchase it, before the big boys get their grimy mitts on it. So the bigger point is this, all youpoint seeking lurkers out their in my audience who love a great California Chardonnay that doesn't have Chateau Two by Four on the label and is one I know will score big with folks over at WE or WS, this wine is one you will want to grab before it's all gone. Because once theyreview the wine, it will be gone in a flash.About Anaba:
Interesting name huh? Curious, I asked where the name came from? The answer, "The windsof Sonoma lentus our name" [my first thought, um okay]. Check out their landing page, where you can betreated to a sample of theAnabatic winds
which are a blessing to the grapes. Their description ofthe prevailing winds, "Wafting softly, with some gusts and gales, they glide through the vineyard rows. As they encounter steeper slopes and drift upward, they become anabatic winds."
The Japanese word Anaba, means "hidden spot" or "special place", but their wines and the quality they have achieved cannot be hidden any longer and with the other reviews I've seen it looks like the cat is out of the bag! By they way they have a lap-top
set up in the tasting room, showing exactly how these winds flow through the area.Why Anaba:
According to the website their were a few contributing factors that drove John Sweazey to open the doors at Anaba, "I created Anaba Wines
because, quite simply,I justlove the wine business."
He never wanted to become a winemaker. John explains, "My desire to get into the business was fueled by my long-time interest in production, making the best possible wine from the finest grapes, then marketing and selling it. To me, that's the romance of wine." and his answer to the question what is wine?Why Sonoma:
According to Anaba Wines
, in 2003John Sweazey [Proprietor] was finally able to begin his search for a premium winegrowing property in Sonoma, finding a serendipitous spot in Western Carneros, where cool winds temper the summer heat, allowing for a longer growing season for his chosen grape varieties.
John explains further, "Sonoma is more attuned to my personality — and is the best place to grow the Rhône Blends and Burgundian varietals that I love."
To that I say, you made a brilliant choice the wine is quite fabulous and although they've ripped up all the Pinot Noir plantings they previously had on their small 10 acre property, they've contracted with none other than Gary Pisoni to continue their Pinot Noir program. If you're at all familiar with Pisoni fruit, than your mouth should be watering just about now.The Wine Maker:
At Anaba, Jennifer Marion
is director of both winemaking and vineyard operations, enabling her to put her [their words]distinct fingerprint on the wine. Anaba winemaker Jennifer Marion believes the art of winemaking finds its soul in the vineyard. When asked about her winemaking approach she said, "I've always said you cannot trust a winemaker with clean shoes and soft hands,"
which is similar to thewell known saying,"You can'ttrust a skinny chef"
and she went on to say "My winemaking philosophy is defined by attention to the details in the vineyard as well as the winery."Full Disclosure:
Hey FTC and anyone who may care, yes my tasting fees were waived and I did receive a discount on my purchases
, but I was given no samples or other special treatment. Just another bloke stopping by the tasting room to see what was new.
I had the opportunity to try many of their wines last week when I visited, butthe one that really caught my attention [and came homewith me]is the wine I will highlight in this review.2008 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay:
This is wine I was referring to earlier, which is on its way to be reviewed and I predict will be one of those run don't walk recommendations, just remember you saw it here first. Fruit Source:
The fruit was sourced from Sonoma growers: Bacigalupi, Fallen Leaf, Sangiacomo, Bonneau, and Haddad.Treatment: 60%
of the fruit was fermented in stainless steel tanks at 50 degrees without malolactic fermentation. 40%
of our wine was barrel fermented for 11 months in new French oak.First Swirl:
In the glass just brimming with a near golden core and apale rim.First Sniff:
Pronounced aromas of bright crisp pear, green appleleaps from the glass, with a dollop of custard wafting about.First Sip:
Had the taste of crème brulée, lovely Carneros Fruit,a fresh clean wine with a good backbone of acidity, and I picked up some rich tropical notes, threaded through toasty oak notes.Price and Purchase:
This wine can be purchased online through their website or in the tasting room for $28 and in my mind represent a great value for the caliber of wine in the bottle.Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score:
Hey point seekers here's my score if you're interested: Thiswas really good juice andscored 93
points on the Cuvée Corner 100
pointscale, please tell them the CCWB sent ya!2007 Anaba 'J Mc K' Carneros Pinot Noir
This Pinot was fantastic, highly recommended. But this is the last of it, they ripped out this vineyard so get these while you can. $32 and 91 points 2008 Anaba 'Coriol' White, Sonoma Valley
A wonderful Rhone blend, 30% Viognier, 12% Marsanne and 10% Grenache. Very delightful! $28 and89 Points2007 Anaba 'Coriol' Red, Sonoma Valley
Here's another wine from the Rhone Zone with 38% Grenache, 27% Mourvedre, 25% Petite Sirah and round it out with 10% Counoise. $28 and 89 PointsAnaba Red "Aero Port" Wine, Sonoma Valley, NV
A ruby stlye port made with 100%
Syrah grapes and fortified with the same grapes. Anaba goes the extra step and takes their grapes to be distilled, so the spirits added is from the very same Syrah grapes. $28 and 90 PointsAnaba White "Aero Port" Wine, Sonoma Valley, NV
Made from 100%
Viognier grapes and fortified with distilled from their Viognier Grapes. This was one the very best White Ports that I've had the pleasure to taste. Alcohol: 18.4% ABV
and the residual sugar: 9.4%
selling for $28, 89 Points.
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Get 1/2 off shipping when you purchase 6 or more wines with checkout code "corner12"
We all know someone who is in the ABC club, who knows it may very well be you. The ABC club, what's that you may ask? If you are in it, then you already know, but for those of you are not familiar acronyms it stands for Anything But Chardonnay. Yes I know some of you may love Chardonnay and can't get enough of it, but many folks are in the the ABC camp, in fact just the other day I wastwittering with someone about what they were imbibing on that evening and I queried [rather tongue in cheek], "not Chardonnay is it?" and received a rather blunt response, not only "no" but "Oh Hell No!". I had to laugh to myself a little, because truly folks this response is the mantraof folks would characterize themselves as part of the ABC camp.
Many do feel this as strongly in their disgust for former President Bush as they do in not having anything to with Chardonnay. Some folks feel this way about all white wines in general, I've personally seen this many times. If you go to any tasting event, you'll definitely find white wines tend to be the wine that is left over at the end of the day, next time you throw a party for a bunch of cork-dorks [technical term], check for yourself I believe you'll see that the white wines will be the last to go or still brimming with a nearly full bottles compared to the red counterparts.
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the phrase "Variety Is The Spice Of Life"which is one of my favorite quotes, and one I subscribe to myself.Isnot life much better when it is filled with a "variety"
of the things we like? Of course it is. It is inevitable that somewinesin your life will become boring and your palate will crave new tastes, new experiences, so it is nice to have otherwines that you still enjoy to fall back on.
Now there's is nothing wrong with with not liking Chardonnay, it's is very plentiful and you can find it on just about any grocery store shelf. But when you've got to the point, that many seasoned wine drinkers get to, the last thing you want is Chardonnay. Especially when the world is brimming over with a virtual cornucopia of other white winesWine with Depth:
Think the Miami heat has depth on the bench? Uh no not compared to this champion with roots in the Northern Rhone Valley of France. It's with the idea of "depth" that I bring to your attention a white wine [that'sNOT Chardonnay
]with somedepth, complexity, intermixed with bold flavors and floral characteristics, sure to please even the most discriminating palates, yes maybe even you lurkers out there.
I present to you Viognier [pronounced vee-oh-nyah].
Which hails from France's Northern Rhone Valley. In fact, according to wine expertRemington Norman
who has identified two
distinct strains of Viognier an "Old World"
strain, most common in Condrieu, and a "New World"
strain, which is found in the Languedoc and other areas. Although made from the same grape, the two strains produce distinctly different wines and Viognier from Condrieu tends to be on the expensive side of the equation. So with that said, you will mostly find the NW strain here in the states, although if youstretched yourself and did some research you could find yourself some of the Old World style. Personality Disorder:
Uh, huh so you thought only people and maybe even your pets were the only ones with personality disorders, even your wine can have the same dysfunction. There are a couple styles of Viognier to be found and the style you chose depends on whether it has been aged in Oak
or Stainless Steel
. If the wine has been aged in Oak, it will give a creamy nuances along with its floral expressions you can also look forward to an in heady bouquet of nectarine, lemon peel and lychee complemented by floral notes of lime blossom and honeysuckle.Butif you prefer the more traditional stainless steel approach, look for more clean flavors, higher acid, a somewhat more restrained styleand but at the same time more elegant, meaning more pronounced on the nose and less on the palate.Pairing Champion:
Viognier's are food pairing champions and can stand up nicely rich creamy dishes and butter based sauces. It is especially good as an appetizer pairing wine, would go beautifully with lightly toasted French baguette cut in small bite size slices covered with a base blend of goat cheese, topped withfig paste, orange rind, just fantastic. Viognier also pairs nicely with soft and semisoft cheeses: Fresh chèvre [goat cheese], gruyère, aged gouda, and double and triple creams, give it a swirl, you won't be disappointed.Other dishes:
Foods that I've found pair best with Viognier quite nicely include but are certainly not limited to, Chicken Cutlets based in an anise, tarragon butter sauce, Roasted Salmon covered in a creamy yogurtherb sauce and will also go nicely with any number seafood dishes, shellfish Scallops, lobster, crab, and shrimp.Shopping Tips:
I've gathered together below some great choices that I've run across myself in Viognier, that I'm sure will please a broad range of palates.K Vintners Viognier 2007
(Columbia Valley; $20
). Edgy spices and minerals under honeyed white peach, orange blossom, and apricot. Itasted this one at the 2010 Walla, WallaWine Bloggers conference this past summer and it's just fantastic.Miner Simpson Vineyard Viognier2007
[Napa Valley, CA $20]
Nice minerality and citrusy yet lush, with white peach and apricot nectar. I've tasted and purchasedthis wine on many occasions and is for sure one of my go-to labels. Year after year, it's a well made wine.Cold Heaven Viognier 2007
[Sta. Rita Hills, CA $24]
Earthy, restrained style, with stone-fruit blossoms, juicy citrus, and white peach notes. I've had this wine a few times and for folks who likethe "dry"approach this would be a great choice, look for the blue label.Les Jamelles Viognier 2007
[Languedoc-Roussillon, Vin de Pays d'Oc France $10
] In the glass you have lovely pale gold color core and watery rim.Nose: A rich, very aromatic wine, with lots of characteristic fruity scents, and typical varietal aromas, such as apricots and fresh white peaches a small bit of white pepper. This wine represents a great value.Fess Parker Viognier 2008
[Santa Barbara, CA $20
] Fess Parker Viognier's like many othersdisplays great fruit focus, offering peach, apricot and pear notes that are ripe and well-structured, with a supple texture. I've had this wine also on many occasions and folks I'm telling ya it is just fantastic California representative style of Viognier. ServingTips:
I recommend tasting this wines chilled, but not so cold as you will lock in many of the wonderful perfume like aromas escaping from the glass, but served too warm and it may resemble more of a petrol profile and you may be thinking about putting it the gas tank instead of your wine glass.
From the wonderful folks atWine Dine TV
I present to you the Viognier as the anti-Chardonnay word of the day!
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Getting a cab in some cities and some situations can be down right difficult, but to be honest gone are the days of showing some leg, or waving umbrellas to grab a cabbies attention. But there you're standing on the sidewalk, facing traffic and . . . nothing. Geez what do have to do to get a "Cab"
? Many folks on that same crowded cornermaybe looking at you wondering to themselves, what are you doing flailing about? Perhaps you're thinking, "duh,I'm obviously waiting for a Cab
". But why won't they stop?
With everyone [clamoring masses] standing ona corner next to youit can bedifficult to find a goodCab, one that isclean, with good structure, paneled with well integratedFrench Oak, plush leather accents bound around some dark fruits, with a bouquet of cedar, cigar box, and currant,which is ready to drink now but will develop further with age. You have to figure out a way to flag this kind of Cab [talking vino now]
down, what to do, wave your hand at them or something or should you whistle, jump up and down scream "hey cabbieeeee?" A possible solution for you just maybe to read a blog like mine or one of the many others out there, see my blog roll
down to the right. Blogs
are a great source for getting the skinny on great tasting juice at reasonable prices.
Most of those methods mentioned above may or may not be effective for hailing a cab to your next destination, however when you're are looking for a wonderful Cab
ernet Sauvignon you have no further to look than the one I'm reviewing for you today. But if you'd like to do more shopping,youwill ultimately have toread some great blogs, walk down many wine store aisles,go to myriad tasting, do some spitting, pouring outand yes even drive or fly out to wine country [called a vacation]in search of a good "Cab"!
That is what I will be doing shortly myself, making another trip up the coast to Napa and Sonoma Valley.
I must have flailed my arms correctly because this time Ihave flagged one downthat's reasonably priced and will definitely take your palate where it has always wanted to go, that place is happy land! I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. You can be too, just get your "happy" little self down to Jonathon's or the San Diego Wine Company, pick up a few bottles, get together with some friends and tweet away the evening about Cabernet Sauvignon the King of Wine.
In keeping with the joys of opening a fat Cabernet Sauvignon
,just before firing up your grill tomake something tasting,I present to you the concept
of one Mr.Rick Bakas
the Social Network Marketing Guru forSt Supery"Cabernet Day"
onThursday Sept. 2nd
which will be on all social media sites. So if you're reading this today, you still have time to join in on thecelebration. The celebration of what you maybe asking, the "king of grapes". There two ways you can participate; either in person or online by joining the 50+ tweetups around the globe and the people who have all joined in on via Twitter with the hash tag
Well the fast approaching InternationalCabernet Day
is on the way and I wanted to participate by providing the review of this wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon hailing
from the brand spanking new “Happy canyon of Santa Barbara”
AVA, with no further ado, I present to you the 2006 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon
, Santa Ynez Valley.First Swirl:
In the glass, this was bright and clear despite it not being filtered, the core was a dark ruby to purple in color and opaque, while the legs were reflecting the core.First Sniff:
The opportunity to put this wine through it paces occurred during my WSET
Advanced Certification class, where learning "proper"wine evaluation is the fun part of the instruction. This wine had a clean, pronounced nose, brimming with dusty mocha, cigar box, black pepper and currant. First Sip:
I found this wine to have mouth watering balanced acidity and well integrated tannins, which obviously aged on French Oak, appealing flavors of cocoa, blackberry and cherries swirling about to lithe long coffee type finish. Plush elegance!Aging:
months in 75
% new French oak and a light fining with 3 fresh egg whites per barrel, the 2006
Star Lane Cabernet was bottled unfiltered. Composition and ABV:
A blend of four different grapes, with 78
% Cabernet Sauvignon leading the pack, followedby18%
Cabernet Franc 3%
Petit Verdot and just a drop of Malbec, presumably to add color and body. The ABV on this wine is hardly noticable 15.1%.Price and Where to Purchase:
You can purchase this wine from their website for $42
or you can buy it, here in San Diego at Jonathan's Market
in La Jolla or Del Mar for [I assume] under $40
each, but when I called they didn't know the price or you can pick it up at San Diego Wine Company
who's selling it for $36.95
each or if you want to buy 3 cases or more they will sell it for $33.95
The grapes are harvested from three different blocks, in fact they're the warmest and the highest elevation vineyard in the Happy Canyon AVA
[American Viticulture Area]. Backing up to the lower slopes of the San Rafael Mountains which loom high above the ranch, Star Lane features a unique range of weathered sand, gravel and alluvial cobbles over a clay/loam subsoil.My Recommendation:
Oh boy this cab ride should cost you a lot more, good thing the meter isn't still running. I would run down and grab some today if you are planning on this for the Cabernet Day, then I would grab at least 3 one to open that night, and two to open later. You won't be disappointed, definitely well built solid wine that is drinking excellent now, but is built to age a few more years. For some the price of the wine most likely knocks it out of the "everyday" drinker category, however you don't want to missing grabbing some of this wine and storing them as a weekend wine or as one to give as a gift. Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score:
Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored91
points on the Cuvée Corner 100 point and would have scored a little higher if the price point was a bit lower, but since availability is high and the quality is quite amazing it received 91
points. The Point System:
I know there's a lot of discussion going around on the point system, and how unfair it is and blah, blah, blah. But nothing in this life will ever be completely fair or completely just. So argue against it if you like, but I believe it's here to stay, just accept it.The point system islike any other great tool, if used correctly and I believe it can be, than it will reward your palate over and over. One rule is get to know your reviewer, try to find out if they have a New World Palate or an Old World Palate and match it up your own. Some will say I have neither, but c'mon on the majority of us gravitate to onestyle or the other if we just admit it.
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Their seems to be a resurgence of the Merlot [as a single] varietaland for that my heart is very glad, because I do love this varietal very much, but there has just been so little of it that I've been impressed with over the years,whichhas had an impact on my 200
hundred bottle wine cellar, I recently removed the tag from the shelf where I use to store my Merlot [very sad state of affairs, indeed
]. I have a pretty simple filing system in my personal wine vault, I label most of the shelves by varietal and mark the bottles with prices I paid and the date of purchase and if it's a sample I bust out my big black sharpie and write sample over the UPC code and the date.
Having recently visited Washington State and having had the opportunity to taste much of the great Merlot being made there, has rekindled my interest and passion for these wines. In the coming months you will continue to hear about other wonderful examples of this great varietal.
Funny the only Merlot I have in my wine vault are the samples I've been sent from different PR companies who work on behalf of many different wineries to get the word out about their wines. I've recently been sent a number of Merlot under the $10
price point, however I found many of the wines were undrinkable, flat out plonk
. Sorry no other way to really put it, other than that.
You have to know that Isample
and [sometimes drink]thousands of wines from all over the world in a years time, but mostly New World wines, likely a ratio of anywhere from seventy tothirty, New to Old.I travel to wine regions, I speak with wine makers, I go to wine trade shows and attend local tastings and spit or pour outlots of wine thatwill never see the light of day on this blog[and the majority ofwhich is at myown expense]. So what I'm trying to say here, I think I've narrowed down a good majority of wine that is well made,tasteswinetastic andthe best partthey have what I believe are reasonable prices.Why you may ask, because I am crazy about vino and love to bring these stories to you my readers and hopefully you can feel better about making an buying decision [an informed decision
], on your next bottle of vino and maybe you don't have to ask "what's in the box?".
So when I tell I've come across this Merlot
from a relatively new label [design], brought to you by Concha y Toro
in partnership with Banfi Vintners
, that I am this excited about, you just may want to pay attention. Because in my [not-always] humble opinion, this Merlot that was sent to me for the review process is just wine-tastic. The Scoop:
This wine currently is not on anyone's radar [yet], nope I could not find another single review of this wine anywhere on the net, what does that mean to you? That means to you my readers that I just gave you "the scoop"
on one of the best values in wine, that has come across this desk in quite a while. While I have not opened all the Xplorador series of wines which were sent to the Cuvee Corner Wine Blog
, as a sample for review purposes, thisMerlothas really caught my attention the most amoung the samples I've opened and evaluated.Goodbye Miles:
Like in baseball, when the announcer says the guy touched all bases, meaninghe knocked it out of the park and so did this Merlot. So my days of me yelling [not really] like Miles did in the movies Sideways, "I'm not drinking any focking Merlot" are over. To me Merlot can be very desirable and this Merlot is all of that for me, especially when you consider the price point, how can a wine this low in price deliver so much for so very little, I don't know and I don't care! Sorry Miles, but I will be drinking somefocking
The label you see on the picture I took aboveis new,butbrand has been around awhile, I have seen the old labels and the wines before, butnever tasted them.They could bejust fine if there's still some laying about, but it won't have my seal of approval.However, this new label and the wines in the bottle are very good and ata price point under $10
, you just can't go wrong. Full Disclosure:
Yes okay, I received this wine as sample that was sent to me for the review process. They also sent me the other wines below, that I've had an opportunity to review.Other Wines in the Portfolio:
points, Carmenere 88
points, Malbec 87
points and the Sauvignon Blanc, well I have not opened it yet. But you can see a trend here, well made wines at very reasonable prices, what more could you ask for?Wine in Focus: The 2009 Xplorador MerlotFirst Swirl:
After busting this wine of out of the cellar and popping the cork, I let it sit a half hour while I cooked dinner and poured it into my decanter [Riedel
, don't settle] and small portion into my glass, holding up against the screen door with sunlight streaming in, I found a very polished core of ruby and a touch of garneton therim. No really!First Sniff:
It took some time to ferret out the nose, but after the wine warmed a little it started to release a fresh mix of berries, toast and mocha. Even after the wine was gone, the nose just kept giving and giving.First Sip:
The moment you've all been waiting for, it showed excellent depth of fruit [in a word, plush
], mixing dark fruits, black cherry and cassis, with a subtle smokiness. It rounded out nicely in the mid-palate tapering off to a crisp, pleasing finish.With/With-out Food:
I first evaluated this wine before dinner and also had it during dinner, I took a risk and paired it with a "Beef" Teriyaki Stir Fry and this wine shone through like a champ. It will most likely pair with just about anything in my estimation. The Winemaker:
From the Xplorador website, "Over the past 20
yearsHector “Tito” Urzua,
Chief Winemaker for Xplorador, has dedicated his life to searching out the absolute best vineyard sites for his wines. Having studied vineyard practices and winemaking in some of the world’s leading countries including France, Australia and of course Chile, Tito now merges excellence of tradition with today’s fresh, fruit-forward character."Fruit Source:
The creation of Xplorador Wines starts from sourcing the fruitinthe Central Zone of Chilefrom theblocks in Villa Alegre. Aging and ABV:
Ninety percent of this wine spent four months in stainless steel and 10
percent in French Oak barrels for anotherfour months. Many of you, myself included won't believe this wine is only 13.1%
abv, normally to achieve this much extraction in a fruit forward wine, you see much higher ABV's but not in this case.My Recommendation:
Okay folks, not sure how much of this wine will beavailable on the market, however because of its small price point and the fact that distribution of this wine is being sold to large retailers, I believe you can safely assume that there is a large amount of it available. That said, I'm still giving this wine my, "run don't walk recommendation"!
Believe when I tell you, the folks at WS
, the bigwine pub's will have this featured on their top ten wines under $10
next month or as one of their wines featured in the "Buying Guide"
listed as a "BEST-BUY". You saw it here first
, no one else has the scoop on this winelike I do and now so do you, so whatthe bleep
are you waiting for get your buns overtoyour favorite wine storeand buy a few cases.Price and Where to Find:
Okay this is perhaps the best part, because what you find on this blog is exactly what you will never find
in the "big boys"Vino Publications or many other blogs for that matter. So what's that you may ask,everyone wants to knowwhere can you find the juice? This is one of the key points many forget to tell you, as you maybe reading about it on those other wine publications, so instead ofsearching for a wine you just read about,with this blogya don't have to google it, I've already done that for you and or taken the next step and called the distributor directly to get the skinny on a particulars wines status.
Nowmany of you're saying, ok so this wine is fan-freaking-tastic, so how much does it cost and where the bleep do I find it? Great questions, are you ready for this? This wine will mostly likely sell for between $7.99
Now I have it on very good authority, that this wine and it's companions are being sold into Bev-Mo
, Cost Plus
[in East Lake]and The San Diego Wine Company
. If they don't have it already, it's available through the distributor, just tell them to order it. Don't let them give ya the run-around, I did my due diligence, meaning I did my homework and this wine will be hitting store shelves soon. For you Military folks
this wine will be available in the PX and or Exchanges near you. Oh by the way, please tell them that theCuvéeCorner Wine Blog sent ya, just so they know why they're getting all this business.Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score: Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored92 points on the Cuvée Corner 100 point scaleand is a top performer on the QPR side of the equation. If you are at all curious how I come up with a score, please take a look over to your right and click on the tab review process.Other Voices:
Okay just in case you need a second opinion, a certain "wine~guru"
who lives right here in San Diego, has his own highly rated wine-talk-show and is a wine judge, had this to say on twitter in response to my post about Xplorador
wines in general, "Xplorador isvery good for the price andat those prices they should be everybody's favorite tailgate & bbq wines".Robert Whitley of Whitley on Wine
If you have not seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it to you, cheers! Please take a look at the trailer, I just love it and I'm sure you will as well!
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We've all most likely experienced this little dance [ordering a bottle of wine]with the wait staff or the Sommelier when ordering wine in a restaurant, the rituals of presenting the bottle, opening it, and the first pour and the waiting for your approval or disapproval.
Often thislittle dance between you and the service stafftend to givesome folks a bit of angst in the process.When folksdine out, it's precisely the angst-factorthey would like to avoid and isa big part of thepurposefor dining out in the first place.When most folks are dining out they're attempting to escape the everyday chore of preparing a meals at home, when folks encounterobstacles ordering a bottle of wine, well this is preciselywhy some folks would rather avoidthe ritualall together, by simplyordering wines by the glass or having cocktail instead. The point is to make the customer to feel comfortable when ordering wine in the restaurant, most customers expect to be treated like a guest in your home and not an interloper here to spoil your day.
I’ve long saidto as many folks as will listen, that manyeating establishments or other relatedbusinesses need to do more, a lot more, to make this process more friendly to the consumer if they collectively expect to capture a larger share of the market and turn more of their clients into what every restaurant or eating establishment wants, the "repeat"
I recently took a poll on my Face Book page to see if wine service issues were the "HOT" button issue I imagined it to be and oh boy did I ever get comments, far more than any other topic I've brought up to date. Now you maybe saying, hey I thought this was a "wine-review" site, yes and no. You see I called it Cuvée Corner Wine Blog for a reason, my blog is a blend of all things vino, thus the topics here can vary greatly.
What you have below is alist some of the "TOP"wine service pet peeves, that we as consumers face in restaurants across the country and around the globe for that matter.Many of these I've encountered on my own and many were added as a result of the poll I took. But please if you have one of your own not addressed here, please feel free to make a comment. My apologies in advance, I have to use the "moderation method" in my comment section because of spammers, keep gumming up this page with theircrazy messages.
So below are some the answers I got to the question I posed: "I want to know your TOP TEN Wine Service pet-peeves, so please don't hold back, just let it all out here and now." Thanks to everyone that participated.
- Customer Service: Not listening to the customer; making recommendations based on what the wait staff thinks they understand or is a wine they are attempting push.
- Stemware: tiny "old world" wine glassesor justbad stemware, that would serve better as a tool for taking down muggers, but for drinking wine it's not so great. Amazing how many restaurants with $30 entrees that don't offer nice stems. Please don't only give nice stems to people who order a bottle;some folkslove to pair a glass with each course and we shouldn't have to ask for nice stems.
- Not Wine Savvy: Servers who know nothing about wine, this one is really "bugs" c'mon you're running a business and if you expect a"return" customer then it would behoove you to train your staff to be a little wine savvy. You can get your distributors to do this for you, with little or no cost.
- Italian restaurants: with no Italian wines on menu - just Merlot and Chardonnay. Howard Hewitt~ "yes, I've had that experience more than once" Italian restaurants with no Italian wine, just a shame.
- Inconsistent pours: this one can really create distrust and dissatisfactionwith customers and I've personally experienced this on more than one occasion.
- Restaurant mark up: Most folks don't mind paying retail prices, but paying three times the retail that's is beyond the pale in terms of respect to the customer of whom many know what "real prices" are, which is why so many folks love to BYOB and skip being taken over the coals with ridiculous mark-ups.
- Pouring: more wine into theglass before asking. I could be the driver, I could want something else, or maybe I just think that last sip in the glass is the best because it really had time to aerate....none the less...don't just...sneak behind me and pour me more wine.
- Bottle Purchase: Pouring too much wine in the glass is a serious faux pas in wine circles, "PLUS I HATE HATE HATE when purchasing a bottle, that I get this big ass pour in my glass, so much so I can't swirl and let the wine breath, just offer a decanter instead." ~Amanda Hagood
- Champagne: served by the glass, huh? If your restaurant is doing this please stop. Just order splits, it's better for the customer and for the reputation of the restaurant.
- Wine List: Out dated wine list and oh leave the wine list on the table, unless the table is really small.
- Corkage Fees: Unreasonable corkage fees. More than $20 is highway robbery!
- Proper Storage: Wine not stored properly [bringing me warm red wines]
- Ice Buckets: No ice buckets for Champagne or having to ask for it in the first place.
- Wine Flights: where the same wine is served in each glass, but is supposed to be different.
- Decanting: If you decant the wine, make sure you do it table-side and leave the bottle on the table.
- Thank You: There seems to be a lack of politeness in the service industries today, thanking the customer is paramount in delivering good customer service and cannot be overstated.
Well that's it, if you could think of anyotherWine Service Pet Peeves
that I didn't cover please feel free to leave a comment and I will get them posted as soon as possible.Check out this video from WS
, who talks a few different Sommeliers about their thoughts onWine~Service, good stuff.Until next time, stay thirsty my friends, cheers!
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I know that this title is a mouthful, but it came out of a mini conversation on Twitter
with horror writing phenomRain Graves
regarding the picture of the Zinfandelin my glass and the tenderloin on my plate.
Truly nothing was in a paper bag and there were no tenderloins scurrying about in hood. Just thought it would make for a quirky little title.
That said, speaking of mouthfuls I had the great pleasure of sitting in on a Wine and Food pairing Seminar hosted by the Culinary Council
, this past Saturday with none other than Andrea Robinson, formerdean of Wine Studies at the French Culinary Institute, where she graduated with honors from its professional culinary program, a master sommelier, and a chef.Sheis also one of only 16
women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier and the first woman to be awarded the Best Sommelier in America distinction, impressive resume for sure. That is why I was thrilled to be invited down for the food and wine pairing demonstration. The talkand live cooking demonstration was just fantastic, her presentation skills, rapportwith her audience and command of herwine and food pairing was undeniably spot on.It wasconducted ina completely disarming fashion and what I would characterize as afirst-class
event all the way, filled with fun, learning andwrapped up withnice afternoon snack, paired with tasty wines and I could sense nothing but good vibes from the crowd.
I've been asked to give a talk on food and wine pairing myself and the tips and techniques I learned this day were just fantastic, inspiring and incredibly helpful and I plan on incorporating some of these concepts into my own talk. I'm not sure why she's not the Next Food Network
star, be that as it may, you can still catch her older programs onYou Tube
and she will soon be launching here own series of videos.
During her talking on Wine and Food paring, she also introduced her new stemware collection - “The One”
– which is a line created to take the guesswork out of choosing the proper wine glass. It comes in a set of four,eitherfour stems forRed winesfour stemsfor White wines and can be found for sale at Macy's Home Store or Andrea Wine Stemware Shop
. They are selling for $49.95
andare said to be dishwasher [I recommend hand was only]safe and break resistant.Review of the One:
In reviewing the stemware here at Chez Eyer using my own informal comparison and having full knowledge of which glass was which I still came to one [pun not intended] conclusion; that it's very hard to avoid the conclusion that something real is involved with this technology, but exactly what that is indeterminable.Clarity:
First, let me preface my remarks about my results; noting that I did not overtly prefer the wine out of the "One"
rather, I was able to identify which glassof wine was in the "One"
stems, because the wine seemed more expressive to me. But that difference was not as appreciable as I expected it would be. While I didn’t always like what was being expressed by the "One"
glass better, I did however find more aromas and diversity of flavor in the overall expression on the palate and the bouquet. I know that seems likesquishy-land
talk, but truly I was unable to have that "aha" moment.Compared to What:
This is a phrase I ask many folks, especially after someone has extolled their praise or condemnationfor a particular product or service. Because if there's really nothing tomake a comparison against, then what's the point, you're just performing an exercise in futility. That said, I put some Reidel Stemware
up against the "One"
and put both sets of stemware through their paces.Conclusion:
More importantly what you have with the "One"
is stemware which can be used for a large variety of red or white wines without having to purchase expensive separate pieces and this point should not be missed. If you purchase thistype of glass youdon't have the need for many types of stems any longer.Think of it this way if you purchase a number of them [the One] and when you have guests over everyone can drink from a similar glass. Because if you are like me and already have many different types of stems and let's sayI have more than a few guests overmyhome,I'm oftenforced into givingthem a variety of stems andit does seem little awkward, but with this concept in stemware your life can be so much easier.Full Disclosure:
Hello FTC and anyone else interested, yes I received a set of the "ONE"
stemware as a SAMPLE
and in part because of my involvement in the WBC or Bust
wine blog contest as the prelude to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla, Walla Washington.
If you're just starting out on your own wine loving life-style, youhave the opportunity to acquirestems that are all of the same profile [meaning same size and shape
],making itmuch easier to stow them in your cupboards and without the difficulty of trying to remember which glass goes with what. With the "One" there's only thing you need to remember is this, the big glass for red wines or the small glass for white wines, as a result your guests will most likely think of you as a little more prepared.
I would definitely recommend these glasses to you to provide you with somestemware sanity
and they also make a great gift for the wine lover who perhaps seems to have everything. I liken my conclusions to what Morpheus told Neo in the Matrix: "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe and if you take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland." the choice is yours of course.The Pairings:
was paired with St Supery Sauvignon Blanc
which exhibited grapefruit zest, floral, green lime and tropical fruits which are typical of California style of Sauvignon Blanc. The pairing of these two items complimented each other flavorprofiles nicely. The Edamame Pesto
, I thought could have used a little more something [but hey what do I know], as it was a bit monolithic, maybe a little more cilantro, not sure but I did enjoy both those flavor profiles together. The St Supery Sauv. Blanc
was very good and I scored it 88
points and can be purchased most places for $16.99
and be found at your local Bev-Mo
or favorite grocery outlet and really good with a little chill on the bottle.
Prosciutto-Sage Crusted Pork Tenderloin
was paired with Ravenswood Old Vine Zin
adensely packednose which exhibited rich black raspberry notes, accompanied by the scents of freshly made summer fruit jam, creating a nice mouth feel. This wine can be purchased again from your local Bev-Mo
from $9.99 to $14.99
and most likely can be found at many local grocery outlets as well Iscored this wine 87
This pairing was pulled off wonderfully, the half cup of sherry andsage called for in the recipe really tied to these two elements together. I heartily recommend this pairing and it of course doesn't have to be with this Zinfandel, but I believe any "old-vine" zin would work with this combination. Old vines are typically vineyardswhich are typically30
years orolderand you will find more concentrated juice being derived from these vines.
converted to the role of appetizer in the blink of an eye. This item was also paired with the Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel and I thought it was a good pairing and enjoy the interactions of the sweet characteristics of the Zin, the chocolate and zesty notes from the Chorizo. You do need to have one of those long thin baguettes and is really just regarded as the blank slate for the yummy goodness that can be piled on top. Regarding the pairing, I believe if you had a few ounces of after-dinner Tawny Port, that it could be equally winetasticorpossibly aeven be a better pairing, either way I did totally enjoy it.
Remember wine and food pairing is an adventure, but if you would like a basic outline or guide here's a link
to the Basic Principles of Successful Food-Wine Pairing
, click here.
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Hello, hello to all the wine lovers and wine collectors of the world! If you are as passionate about wine collecting as I am, you have surely run into the problem of how and where to store all these precious gems. Where are your fabulously famous bottles stored? In a hall closet, in the basement, don’t tell me… under the bed?!Arrgh, Wine, Wine Everywhere:
I know many of you have dreamed of owning your own customized wine cellar or wine storage area, a place where you could add some personal touches and caters to your particular specification for keeping and storing your wine collection. And thank goodness, there's actually a wide variety of options readily available to people who aspire to construct their very own customized wine cellar and lack the do-it-yourself skills and desires.
With all the well accounted for options available out there for wine storage,wouldn't you like yourownwine cellar to surely be a placewhich reflectsyour good taste, and your personal style as well? After all, you put so much personal preference intobuilding yourwine collection why shouldn’tthe place you store your vinoreveal it? With that said, below I've put together a couple thoughts on how you can approach building the cellar of your dreams or just something to get by on until then. I've also included a video presentation below featuring Joe Roberts
, known to many as the1 Wine Dude
, who takes his out of control collection [including samples]and with the help ofGrotto Cellars
makes it into a workable cellar space.An Easy Solution:
Modular wine racking arrangements are the simple remedy to designing and building your wine racks from scratch and still achieving a completely customized look and feel. Modular wine racking is available in various, sizes, grains and finishes. In general, the least costly of those made from pine. Many folks [purchasers] of modular
wine racking systems looking for a more personal feel tend to prefer finer woods species like mahogany or premium redwood offered by Grotto Cellars.Why Modular:
The beauty of using a modular wine cellar is it takes the guess work out of the design. The wall configurations are contrived by someone else, a wine storage expert, and they tend to mix and match individual bottle cubicles with bulk wine storage. And because many companies make kit racks that have a similar look and feel, the racks you may already have can be easily combined with several varieties adding to its personality and customized feel.
Beyond that there are numerous wine rack companies that go a step further and offer crown molding, trims and radius curved corners to really complete the look of a wine storage area. Recent designs that I have stumbled across even include built-in stemware storage and table top systems within the racking scheme. By adding this feature it creates character and ambiance, as well as adding to the functionality of the space.Bang for the Buck:
The most cost-effective kind of wine storage is the dozen-bin, or bulk racking system. This type of racking can accommodate a dozen or more wine bottles in one compartment. This can be extremely useful for wine fanatics who buy their favorite wines in bulk. But the main drawback of this type of storage is the bottles stack directly on top of one another restricting air flow and possibly damaging the integrity of a wine label.
The second most efficient way to store your wine in bulk is through the employment of case racking. Case racking is a unique and efficient way to store wine bottles in their original packaging. This preserves the look of the bottles, and creates an easy way to locate each variety.Entry Ways:
If you have the luxury of turning an entire room into a wine cellar, you can’t forget the most visually important aspect of your wine storage area will be the entry door. Wine cellar doors come in numerous looks and finishes, with glass inserts, and wrought iron options the possibilities are endless. Be creative, this will be first thing your guests will experience when entering your cellar and you want it to be a preface of what lies inside.Wine Shops:
Maybe your a wine shop owner reading this and you're wondering what's available to you? Good question, check outthe Grotto’s Commercial racking line which is designed to provide maximum storage and brand exposure in minimal spaces. Some features include top shelf displays, double isle storage, horizontal shelf displays and toe kick to ensure no bottles touch the ground andare available in four different types of wood to blend with a variety of decors.
Where are they:Guest Contributor and Author:
There are many ways that you can contactone of ourfriendly design consultants in your area to help you choose the perfect products for your wine cellar.We are located in Laguna Design Center
, 23811 Aliso Creek Road, Suite #105Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 or give'm a call at 1 (877) 5-GROTTO or catch them online at Grotto Cellars
Christy Bonner can currently be found in the offices of Grotto Custom Wine Cellars sorting through wood wine rack samples and feel free to visit their page on You Tube
. She is married with two kids, lives in Southern California and can be found on many warmevenings sipping her favorite Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio.
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Ahh yes who doesn't like a good old fashioned Smack-Down, [are they really old fashion
?]. Anyway, I forone love the idea or the premise of seeing different wines
go head to head, like some steroid induced freaks in tights, talking trash and hurtling themselves toward each other and throwing chairs [sorry I'm no fan of WWF
] and no I'mnotinsinuating the wines were juicing. This isn't major league baseball you know and Barry Bonds trainer was no where in sight.
Part of the fun of being a wine
-blogger is theopportunity tosniff,swirl
through avoluminous amount of different vinoeach and everymonthand the added bonus,you get toparticipate in events with the producers and rub elbows with the decision makers [wine-makers], no longer a spectator
or even a garden variety consumer.Igetto watch the unfolding of the wine-biz from behind the scenes and take a look under the hood,sometimes even theso-called "romantic"
world of vino things candevelop intoproverbial“fisticuffs”
[figuratively speaking]bruised knuckles [bruised egos more like it] smack-down.
In Red Mountain wines I found what some have called “enlightened traditionalism:” or the ability to marry the best of the old and new while producing wines true to their origins, but stay tuned and see for yourself, the fight is on!Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
In"smack-downs" and life there's an art form which canbe reallyinformative and it doesn’t always involve snarky language or trash talking. No my friends, sometimes the best smack-downare the ones that take each and every part of what is argued against [for example some folks believe only old world wine styles are best]the backdrop of a head to head, a Mano a Mano showdown pitting enlightened traditionalists in a war between traditionalists and modernists.If you want my two cents, you'll find itbetween the two, this where you find the ideal balance.
I really wasn't expecting anything like this and neither were many of the other bloggers [of whom some I could hear grumbling about this set-up]. To me what this "smack-down"
didwas takethe debateout of the realm of conjecture,and let the wines speak for themselves.Many folkshave pre-conceivedideas about what New World and OldWorldwines represent, but in this smack-down I think many quickly found out, "what itis or isn't"backed up with the facts in the glass [via a little tasting contest
What are the rules of any good smack down
? This is a good question,as I had no-idea and had to do some research myself to come up with the rules. First
mustline upthe target which is what Hedges did, by havinga differentRed Mountainwine in a direct face off with another well know wine, whichwere of a similar weight class. With the target set, time for shot number two
, know yourproductand in this case know your wine to greatlyincrease thechance for success.Time for the killshot
, show you know something about the other wine’s home turf or the terrior, vineyards, winemakeretc and you may just end-up selling a few cases of vino, instead of a just a few tastings.So yep, all in all it was a smack-down
, one as good as you would see on the WWF
oron a typical episode of Jerry Springer,but it was a lot more fun and the only trash talking was done by a few unhappy campers. The Setting:
Okay to be honest Hedges didn't refer to it as any kind of Smack-Down, that was just how I viewed it,so as Iwalked into their barrel room I saw itwas filledwith red carpets, bigred wines,Wine Bloggers andthe ambiance of a candle lit room and the combatants[open wine bottles
]were ready for the face off. As we entered through the heavy towering doors ofHedges Family Estate Chateau and moseyed into theirbarrel room[arena
] on theRed Mountain AVA,
in eastern Washington, located just east of the Yakima Valley AVA, and just north of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA and is thesmallest of Washington's AVA's.This part of the trip was for me wasthe "icing on the cake"
I've had some familiarity with their winery before and had written a review of their 2007 Three Vineyards, but never had a full appreciation for all the wonderful wine being made and their Three Vineyards as wonderful as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg.
This tour was part of the optional
post Wine Bloggers Conference agenda and as I'm sure you are familiar with the saying, "saving the best for the last"
well this trip to Red Mountain certainly summed up for me exactly what that familiar phrase engenders.
In the first match in one corner we had the 2008
Descendants Liegeois Dupont "Cuveé Marcel Dupont" this powerful lip-staining Syrah from Red Mountain weighing in at 14.2% ABV
versus the Kaesler Stonehorse Shiraz 2008
an assemblage of six different sites of inky darkness weighing in at 15% ABV
and both in the $20 - $30
price range. Winner:
While I like both wines, I picked the Hedges, even though their individual score cards were very close, Hedges gave that final kick to win the match.Round Two:
In the second match up we have the 2006
René Rostaing who's the closest thing to a true cult star that Côte-Rôtie has yet produced, this wine is very difficult to obtain and sell for $70
and up most places, weighing in at a mere 13.5
% ABV. While in the other corner we havethe 100%
Red Mountain 2006 Goedhart Family Bel' Villa Syrah
an elusive and somewhat exclusive wine with a very small production. Selling for $50 or more. Winner:
Since I found both wines were so evenly matched on their respective score cards, it was just too difficult to call, and the match ended in a draw. Both wines wererich, velvety, deep wines with subtle smoky, bacon fat, floweringaromaticslapping over an opulent base of roasted blackberry and plum fruits.Third Round:
In one corner we had the 2007 Obolisco Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
weighing in at 14.1% ABV
and amazing Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (with a bit of Merlot and Malbec) selling for just over $60
and sold out at the winery. In the other corner, the2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon
, from Napa Valley, selling in the neighborhood of $60
described as"Ripe and fleshy, dressed to impress and freshly bathed in the lime-light of a 92
points Wine Spectator and weighing in at 14.8% ABV
Checking over the score card, hmmm both wines appear to be mostly sold out and are unavailable, minus points for that, but in the flavor profile category Oblosico Estate got the nod. Both wines were equally matched in weight, color and complexity with lingering finishes and similar price points. This one is tough to call, but if you want to drink a great Napa Cab, there are many on the market, but for it's uniqueness alone the Oblosico Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
is the winner on points.Round Four:
Pitted the 2007
andtheir 2006 Hedges Family Estate, Red Mountain
, Three Vineyards, a monster of finesse and layers of flavor, weighing in at a mere 13.6% ABV and selling in the neighborhood of $15 - $25
a lot of wine for the small price. The competitor was the 2006 Chateau Talbot, St-Julien
, a savoury and even considered a little juicy in character, weighing in at a flat 13% ABV
and selling between $40
a formidable foe with a rich heritage of distinction, but with limited availability.The Winner:
But alas the poor 2006 Chateau Talbot
was no match for the Hedges 2006 Three Vineyards as itlured it in with the old "Rope-a-dope". Sorry Chateau Talbot fansbut reading scorecard was even necessary, this decision was madeby knock out
! The Hedges 3 Vineyards 2006
clearly dominated the entire match, with its great price, clearly layered and nuanced flavor profile, it said Bordeaux even more loudly than its opponent. I left the Chateau [arena] with six bottles of this wine in tow. I could not pass up such a great deal and I would recommend you give their 2007
a swirl as the winery is near the end of the 2006
with only a few cases remaining. Decision:
Well that was a great match up and the in my [not always so humble] opinion Red Mountains wines really won the day
and showed the wine-blogging world that, "it's not always the size of the dog in a fight, it's the size of fight in the dog."
Well done Red Mountain and congratulations, you really turned some heads this day, as I know many others were very impressed by your wine-making efforts there, in making great juice for reasonable prices and not letting points monster get in your way.
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