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Tag: Merlot

Five Popular Red Wines

Old Vine cabernet from Chateau Montelena, Napa...

Old Vine cabernet from Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’ve decided that I will accept guest posts for this blog, especially while I’m pregnant, in order to provide you with fresh wine news. Here is another post from Chuck Withers over at Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog.

 

Wine has long been known as a social drink. People like to get together and have a glass with their dinner, but they are not drinking the same bottle every time. There are many, many different types of wines. Some are red, some are white. Some are dry and others are sweet. As you consider which drink you will serve at your dinner party, make sure to learn all that you can about different wines and the food they can pair with so that you serve the very best drink for your guests. The following are five of the most popular reds.

 

Merlot

 

If you are new to the drinking world, Merlot is a good place to start. It is soft, round, and not too tannic, making it a good drink for the beginner. You can pair Merlot with any foods, which is part of the reason why it is such a popular choice. Scents for this varietal often include blackcherry, plumb, and herbs.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Arguably the world’s best variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes blended with Merlot. This wine is full-bodied and the older it is, the less bitter the flavor. It becomes rich and the grip goes away as the drink ages. Many times, this drink will undergo an oak treatment, giving it a vanilla note. Cabernet Sauvignon is often served with simple red meats, such as steak. The grapes were most popular in France for many years, but now also grow in Australia, Chile, and California.

 

Shiraz

 

This drink is also often referred to as Syrah because they are from the same grape variety. It goes well paired with all types of meat, including steak, beef, and other wild game. Gripping tannins often pull the fruit sensation out of Syrah. You can typically find wild black fruit flavors in Shiraz. Not only can you find average wines created with this varietal, but you can also find some of the world’s best wines with the intense flavoring of Syrah.

 

Pinot Noir

 

The Pinot Noir grapes are hard to grow and are not rough at all. They make the best reds of Burgundy, with a delicate, soft, and fresh structure. While fruit is the main aroma in Pinot Noir, you can often find tea-leaf or worn leather undercurrents.

 

Malbec

 

The characteristics of Malbec vary based on where the grapes were grown and how they were transformed. Many people consider Malbec to be easy to drink, with plumb and berry flavors. Beginning in France, this varietal is also grown in California in some of the cooler areas. You can pair Malbec with all kinds of meals containing meat. Malbec is great for dishes with strong flavors, such as Cajun or Indian meals.

 

If you are getting together for a drink or for an all out dinner party, make sure to serve the right drink. Learning about the different varieties and flavors of each of the red wines can help you to decide which drink you will choose to serve for your get together. Not only will you discover what food to pair with your drinks and what flavors they carry, but you may also realize that there are health benefits associated with drinking red wines.

 

Article courtesy of Chuck Withers of the Two Guys Wine and Travel Blog, follow him on Twitter @twoguyswine for more updates on wine, travel and many more international delights.

 

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Five Wine Drinking Movies You Shouldn’t Miss

It’s one thing to drink wine while watching a movie, it’s another experience entirely to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while watching a movie about wine.  Here are a few classics and a few that may have gone overlooked.

 

Cover of "Sideways [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Sideways [Blu-ray]

Sideways – What is a wine drinking movie list without mention of this film. Who can forget that Miles does not drink Merlot? This is the movie that many vineyards credit with an increasing popularity of Pinot Noir and a decreasing of popularity with Merlot. This is one of those films that can always make me laugh, no matter what my mood is. There’s something about watching a misanthropic middle aged guy have a nervous breakdown in the middle of a winery’s tasting room that makes me chuckle just to think about it.

 

 

 

Cover of "A Walk in the Clouds"

Cover of A Walk in the Clouds

 

 

 

A Walk in the Clouds – Okay, so Keanu Reeves is a bit cheesy in the end of this film, but it’s one of my all-time favorite movies (let alone one of my favorite wine movies). Reeves plays a returning soldier who meets a young lady. The young lady asks him a favor, and he winds up on a vineyard helping to make wine. It has what I believe is one of the most romantic scenes in a movie ever. Watch it. Ignore the line “If you plant it, it will grow.”

 

Arachnophobia – This film scared me when I was a kid. Killer spiders invade a house – and the wine cellar in the house is literally to die for. I mean, I saw this film when I was 13 and after watching it, I thought, “When I grow up, I want to have a wine cellar.”

 

French Kiss – This is a fun film with Meg Ryan and Kevin Klein. The film involves a woman unwittingly smuggling a grape vine, lots of good wine references, and a lot of fun and romance. This is a very charming film for those who want to take the time to sit down with it.

 

 

Cover of "The Princess Bride (20th Annive...

Cover via Amazon

 

The Princess Bride – This is my all time favorite movie. You know the scene. “Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Morons.” Next time you watch the film, see if you can drink your favorite wine. It’s such a great movie – for a date, for cheering up, for a fun party celebrating movies from times before. I love it.

So, what is your favorite wine-drinking movie? Please post your recommendations in the comments section. I’d love to check them out!

 

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Creekside Summertime Wines

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes.

Ripe Sauvignon blanc grapes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This week’s theme at Creekside was summertime wines. We tasted eight out of nine of the offered wines, and we liked all but one of the wines (and that one was still pretty good. All of the wines were meant to be refreshing and fun – the perfect wines to accompany a late summer barbecue.

 

2010 Domaine des Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, Loire Valley, France – ($18) – This wine had a hint of apples to it. It was dry like Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider (except for the fact that it was a crisp white wine). This wine would be a great accompaniment to brie and apples as an appetizer. We liked it a good bit.

 

2011 Pine Ridge 79% Chenin Blanc and 21% Viognier from Clarksburg, California – ($17) – This wine had a stone fruit nose, and on tasting, we sensed white peaches and pepper. It went very well with the blue cheese from the cheese plate (Roaring Forties Blue). This wine was also very nice.

 

2011 Chamisal Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay from Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, California – ($17) – This wine was also nice. It had hints of paprika and spice. It was a dry white wine.

 

2011 Waterbrook Rose of Sangiovese from Columbia Valley, Washington – ($16) – This wine was buttery, lemony, and spicy. It would go well with a sweet and sour type dish. We liked it okay, but thought that Bertagna’s Rose of Sangiovese outshone it.

 

2007 Monte Antico “Toscana” 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet and 5% Merlot from Tuscany, Italy – ($13) – Even though the composition of this wine only included 5% Merlot, you could taste the fruit forward done right qualities. This wine had the cigar box qualities we love with notes of black pepper. If you love caprese salad (who doesn’t?), this would be a perfect pairing.

 

2009 Ancient Peaks Merlot from Paso Robles, California – ($16) – This wine was filled with notes of berries and spice. It was very robust and went great with the blue cheese. It’s strongly recommended.

 

2009 Kingston Family “Lucero” Syrah from Casablanca Valley, Chile – ($18) – This wine as phenomenal. This wine had a mushroom finish to it. It would be a wonderful pairing with a stroganoff. It also had a coffee finish and hints of truffles and cigar box qualities. This wine is on our must-purchase list.

 

2009 Yalumba “The Scribbler” 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia – ($19) – If you only try one wine from this list, you might want to make it this one. This wine was sour, hazy, and also had a lovely cigar box quality to it. It was spicy, and the finish reminded me of pumpkin pie spice – something I love to sprinkle over fruity summer deserts. It also has some hints of olives to it, and it turned smooth with the creamy cheeses. It was simply wonderful.

 

 

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Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Wines

 

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m going to be candid for a moment. I’m not a big fan of Merlot. However, the first really good wine I had was a Merlot – and it was a Chateau Saint Michelle Merlot. I had it at a restaurant in Chicago, when I’d moved out that way in order to attend graduate school in philosophy. It wasn’t until Wining Husband and I toured the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery that I realized, upon tasting their Merlot, that it was this particular beverage that was responsible for turning me on to wine.

 

They do a good job on their wines. The winery is located in Woodinville, Washington. They are known for their Riesling. While I found their Riesling quite good, I think the stars of the show were the Ethos Chardonnay, the Merlot, and the Cabernet Franc that we tried on the tour.

It’s definitely worth seeking them out – especially the wines only available through the winery – the wines are almost all reasonably priced, and they are well worth it.

We cannot display this gallery

 

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Tour de France – in Wine at Creekside Cellars

The Wining Husband and myself have made a habit of visiting Creekside Cellars once a week. Not only are their wine selections always excellent, but their cheese plate is quite the treat. This week’s selection had a French Wine theme.

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are the notes on the reds:

Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille” Sparkling Pinot Muenier from Savoie ($20) – this one was a party in a glass. It was a beautiful sparkling rosé color. It was a lot of fun, and we decided that this would be the perfect wine for toasting the New Year at our annual New Year’s Eve party.

2009 Clos La Coutale 80% Malbec 20% Merlot blend from Cahors in Southwest France ($16) – This wine was definitely a summer red. It was fruity, light, and easy drinking. It was reasonably good, but it couldn’t compete with some of the other great wines we’ve had.

2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Cabernet Franc from Chinon and Loire Valley ($22) – This wine reminded me of a “barn” wine we had when visiting the Purple Wine Bar and Cafe in Seattle. I was not a fan of this wine, for that reason, but I could tell this was a well-crafted wine.

2010 Ermitage “Tour de Pierres” Syrah 50%, Grenache 40%, and Mourvedre 10% red blend from Pic St. Loupe, Languedoc ($17) – This wine was light, sour, and good. It was interesting, because on the nose, we both got grapefruit. This one is worth checking out for an evening dinner with garlic fries and grilled chicken sandwiches.

2007 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf~du~Pape from Southern Rhone ($46) – This wine was spectacular. It had that lovely cigar box flavor that my husband and I both really enjoy. It was fruity and balanced.

What are some of your favorite French Wines? Have you had any of these? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

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North Sierra Wine Trail Day 2 – Lucero, Grant Eddie, Renaissance, Clos Saron, and Bangor Ranch

Today’s trek on the North Sierra Wine Trail involved stops at five vineyards, plus revisiting Hickman Family Farms. We started at Lucero and wrapped our way around Oregon House before heading back through Bangor and Oroville on our way home.

Lucero

At Lucero, the Cabernets were the stars of the show.

Lucero Vineyards and Winery can be found all the way out in Dobbins, California. The real winners of the tasting at this vineyard were the Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We tasted ten of their wines, starting with their 2009 Chardonnay. This wine was very fruit forward and dry, it was almost reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. Next, they poured their rosé for us. This was created from their Merlot grapes. This wine was nutty and had hints of citrus – especially grapefruit and lemon/lime. Then came the Merlot. The first Merlot was the 2006, and it was peppery, and had some spice and weight to it. We noted hints of paprika in the tasting. The 2006 Reserve had a tight, aromatic nose, and gave off hints of blackberries in the tasting. IT was sweeter than the first. The Paulina 2008 was a mix of 55% Cabernet Sauv. and 45% Merlot. This had a tight nose and was very smooth.

This cab was absolutely amazing, and it stole the scene from cabs we tasted the rest of the day.

We tried five different Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The first was the 2002, it was the first cab they made. It was smokey and sour but light. The 2003 was definitely worth it. We brought two bottles of it home with us. It was much stronger and very smokey and cloves were noted. There also was a hint of vanilla. Note that this wine has a lot of sediment in it. The 2004 had a fruity nose. It was a mix of raspberries and bold pepper. If you enjoy steaks marinated in spice, this would make a good pairing for you. The 2006 was another scene-stealer. It was easy drinking, toned-down, and smooth. Paprika came forward a lot in this wine. The 2008 was very young, and after it develops for a while, the flavors may be better. We found it sour and bitter on tasting. Grant EddieTo get to Grant Eddie’s tasting (and the Renaissance Tasting) one had to go into a large estate decorated with gold figures. The lavishness of the estate added to the tasting experience. The tasting room was absolutely filled to the hilt – and for good reason! While the two wineries did their tasting together, I will discuss our experience of each separately.

  • 2011 Rosé – this wine was really nice. It had that cigar box feel to it, and it was very rich. Don’t mistake this wine for a light wine that goes with lighter food, it can handle boldness!
  • 2011 Chardonnay – This was smokey, robust, and oaked.
  • 2009 White Pearl – This wine was spicy and had hints of basil. It was already in our cellar, but we tasted it again anyway – and WOW!
  • 2011 Semillon This wine was lemony with a hint of spice.
  • Both the 2008 and 2009 Grenache wines seemed to be a combination of rubber mallet and spice, however, the 2006 grenache-syrah was very nice. It took the best parts of the grenache and melded it with the best parts of the syrah – the 2007 Syrah was very sweet and had notes of chili powder to it.
  • The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was peppery, sweet, and jammy but in a good way. There were notes of cayenne pepper to this one.
  • The 2010 port was very very nice and honey-like. The Grant Eddie port is a traditional Portuguese-style port.

Renaissance and Grant Eddie’s Tasting Was Here

Renaissance

The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery tasting was also superb. It’s amazing, because this winery has a lot of rumors surrounding its inception. Regardless of the rumors, they make amazing wine. We started with the 2007 Semillon (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc (40%) blend called “Carte D’Or.” This wine was amazing. It was light, peppery, and easy drinking. This is the wine you serve when you grill up some white fish and you want to hang out in the back yard watching the ripples in your pool with a light summer breeze on you. It was amazing.

We then moved on to the 2002 Zinfandel. This wine had hints of nutmeg, pepper, allspice, and bell pepper, and it was also a very nice wine. From there, we moved to the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was at its peak when we tried it. It had notes of plum and blackberry, and it would pair quite nicely with a holiday ham.

The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve left me with a sense of wanting something more. Many individuals tasting the wine really enjoyed it, however, I found it on the bitter side.

Following the reds, we were able to taste two wines that were just amazing – both were late harvest wines. The 1999 Late Harvest Semillon was like a delicious almond croissant. In addition to the hints of almond paste and apricots, the wine had a honey nose, and wasn’t too sweet. It would pair well with flan or crème brûlée.

The last wine was the stunner. This was the 1985 Late Harvest Riesling. That’s right – a 1985 wine. It smelled of whipped cream. On the tasting, it was a nutty amaretto flavor. It was absolutely amazing, and we have a bottle of it in our cellar waiting for the right occasion.

Clos Saron

Clos Saron’s vineyards are mostly Pinot Noir grapes

After leaving Renaissance, we headed for Clos Saron. The vintner has been involved in different aspects of the winemaking business. He allowed us to taste three of the wines offered. While we weren’t taken with the wines offered, we could see that he had a love viticulture.

The 2011 Tickled Pink was a rosé. The wine was quite light and dry and had grapefruit notes. The 2010 Deeper Shade of Blue had a nice nose – almost like a cinnamon roll. It had bell pepper and feta cheese notes on the tasting. The 2007 Heart of Stone was smokey and had hints of blue cheese and parsley. My regret about this vineyard is that we didn’t get to sample what Clos Saron is known for – their Pinot Noir. These were all blends of grapes.

Bangor Ranch

While Bangor Ranch Vineyard didn’t have any releases to share with participants, however, they did have two wines that were made for personal consumption that were phenomenal. The Syrah was amazing. We really look forward to seeing what they do in the future.

If you participated in the North Sierra Wine Trail, what were your impressions? Did you have any wine favorites? Share your experiences in the comments.

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