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Posts Tagged ‘4-Star’

Holy Kale!?

Kale…isn’t that for garnishing plates?  I don’t know about you, but I never considered including kale on my shopping list.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a grudge against this green cabbage – honestly! It’s just one of those green leafy vegetables that I passed en route to the romaine lettuce or mixed greens.  Maybe a side effect of my upbringing:  salads consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, Ba-Cos and French dressing.

But on one magnificent day, on a jaunt to Whole Foods with my brother-in-law, life changed:  he made the most delicious kale salad for my wife and me!

Checkout this out!

A kale salad mixed with beets, carrots, crumbled bleu cheese, quinoa, walnuts and topped with an Asian Ginger Vinaigrette (I like this one) - freakin’ delicious!!  Since that day, I’ve been hooked and make this salad quite frequently now.

To accompany this healthy goodness, I recommend a sensational Riesling…and I’ve got the perfect one for you!

Made from 100% Riesling, the 2010 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling from Alsace, France is a delicious mouthful of dried apricots, sour apple, and almond with the swagger of flinty Alsatian terroir (plant roots are parked in part soil and part bedrock to give it that twang).  Wildly incredible wine with this kale salad!

4 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling (Sample, MSRP: $15 US).

A huge thank you to my brother-in-law for introducing me to the world of kale and for broadening my salad horizons.  Lookout okra – you’re next! :)


You Have to Start Somewhere

As the saying goes, “everyone has to start somewhere.”  This past Friday, after a long week of absolutely gorgeous weather here on the Eastern Seaboard, I was thinking that this would be a great way to officially start the weekend: 

Living lovely on the deck.

I do have to say, I love…LOVES me some caviar!!  Now, now… I know what you’re thinking, but to be completely honest with you, this is just some tasty and cheap roe that gets the job done for my tuna fish wallet.

This simple slice of Icelandic heaven consists:

  • Table Water Crackers
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cheap Caviar
  • Add in some fresh mozzarella balls on the side, and you’ve got yourself a Friday night party on the deck!

To celebrate this beautiful Eastern Spring evening and appetizer, I thought I’d lock lips with a few east coast sparklers:  two exquisite bottles of bubbly from New York’s Dr. Frank Wine Cellars.

Pioneered by Dr. Konstantin Frank, this Finger Lakes winery has earned a reputation for producing outstanding Rieslings and sparkling wines that adhere to the classic French “methode champenoise.” 

The first was the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs (2006) (Sample, MSRP:  $29.99 US).

This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and was aged for more than three years before its release.  When my wife and I released it into our glasses this past Friday night, it was like a fruit pie being swept up into a twister of teeny-tiny bubbles:  rich and toasty with notes of pear and ginger.  Absolutely delicious from start to finish!  Highly recommended with a little (or a lot) of my little caviar snack!  4 Stars out of 4 for the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs.

Our second sparkler was the Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV) (Sample, MSRP:  $20.99 US).

Unlike the rich, big mouthful style of the Blanc de Blancs, this bubbly is more of an easy-going deck wine to enjoy with family and friends.  Made with 100% estate grown Pinot Meunier grapes, it offers an orchard of raspberries and strawberries for those that prefer a sweeter style sparkler.  By the second glass, we were longing for a giant piece of pan-seared salmon to go with it!  3 out of 4 for Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV).

If only every weekend could start out this way!

I’m Hooked On You And I Got It Bad

If someone were to ask you, “What’s the best red wine under $20 that you’ve tasted so far this year?” – could you easily come up with a hands-down favorite without giving a second thought?  In my quest to uncover one of (my) life’s little mysteries, I asked myself this very same question…

While looking in the rearview mirror, I sure have tasted a hell of a lot of wine in the under $20 category during 2011 – most of which have been fairly good.  But if I had to pick only one extraordinary bottle of wine that without question has left a lasting impression on me and my taste buds since the very first sip, that wine would have to be the 2009 Domaine Saint-Amant Grangeneuve.

The 2009 Domaine Saint-Amant Grangeneuve (>$20 US) is a beautifully crafted blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 5% Viognier.  It’s suitable for everyday drinking, yet has the moxie to grace a white linen-covered table at the finest restaurants. 

The winemaker says, “the Grenache will release in your mouth silky, velvety plum and cocoa flavors.”  There’s really nothing to add to this description except the fact that this red wine from France’s Beaumes-de-Venise AOC (wine region) just flat out kicks serious ass at this price point!

A big THANK YOU to John Ryan at Ryan’s Wines & Spirits for sharing this magnificent discovery with me!

4 Stars out of 4 for the 2009 Domaine Saint-Amant Grangeneuve (>$20 US).  This wine is a winner:  scoop it up by the pallet until it runs out!

Add Your Own Summer Scenery

Summer Dream:  relaxing on the beach under an umbrella, while listening to the pounding waves with a cold drink in my hand.

Produced and bottled by Vavasour Wines, in Marlborough, New Zealand, the 2010 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from two different locations within the renowned Marlborough region.  This 100% Sauvignon Blanc (61% Awatere Valley, 39% Wairau Valley) explodes with a blend of tropical fruits and a mouthwatering racy acidity.  In your glass you’ll taste a massive avalanche of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and pineapple flavors.  It’s even better than that fruity, frozen concoction that you might otherwise be sipping on under your umbrella!

4 Stars out 4 for the 2010 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re looking for summer in a glass, look no further!

(Sample, MSRP: $10.99)

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