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Posts Tagged ‘Wines over $20’

Fuggedaboutit

“Labor Day could be a washout across parts of the East, but that may only be the beginning…” AccuWeather.com.

In New York City, showers have dampened the holiday festivities Monday morning, followed by overcast skies and more rain in the afternoon and into the night hours.”  TheWeatherChannel.com.

“The remnants of Isaac will slowly crawl towards the East Coast spoiling outdoor plans along its journey this weekend. Just the opposite will hold true in the West; a showery start will turn out sunny and pleasant by the end to the Labor Day holiday.”   WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman.

Yep, all those dismal weather forecasts were spot on.  It was nothing but grim darkness and showers, nearly the entire Labor Day weekend, for us East Coasters. 

But you know what?  I kind of loved it, in a strange way…

Nothing to do all weekend but lay around, listening to the rain smacking against the house,  flooding the gutters and washing  down the driveway into the grass and flowerbeds.  Nothing to do except hang out with the family, play some games, and curl up on the sofa to watch some “quality” TV with Mrs. WineLife365 and the kids.

Not a thing in the world to do, but soak up some quiet time and turn a Labor Day cookout into an impromptu cook-in.  You gotta keep up your energy when you’re doin’ nothing, right?!  :)

What to eat…what to eat?  How about a  little homemade (homemade by the local deli department) roasted vegetable and grain salad, lemon orzo w/pine nuts, and sesame noodle salad partnered with my indoor creation of grilled lemon-lime-nutmeg-Montreal-and-bbq seasoning rubbed chicken!  

While checking out the wine stash in my cellar (aka, closet with a rack in it):  I came across the perfect bottle to celebrate our impromptu east coast cook-in.

Producing 8,000 cases annually, Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, in the Dirty Jerz, is cranking out some terrific grade-A juice.  The 2009 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX (Sample, MSRP: $70 US) truly earns its “reserve” status:  only 119 cases of this Jerseylicious juice were made.  The ‘09 BDX  cuvée consists of 70% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months.  Notables on this red include:  black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, toasted oak…and it was the shit with the stovetop grilled chicken and  lemon orzo w/pine nuts.  What an extra special treat to end a long, rainy weekend on an exceptionally high note!!

With only 119 cases produced, it’s probably all gone by now.  But guess what?!  The 2010 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX ($70 US) is available now in the winery’s tasting room; and it ranked 3rd in the Judgment of Princeton*, just behind the 2004 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ($650 US) and 2004 Chateau Haut-Brion ($650 US)!

*The Judgment of Princeton, was a structured blind tasting of top New Jersey wines pitted against top French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy.  The event was based on the famous 1976 wine book, Judgment of Paris, and it took place at Princeton University on Friday, June 8, 2012.

The Kids Are Alright…Are We?

Once a year, our kids take a vacation to get away from us.

Well, that’s not entirely true…

You see, every year during the first week in July, since our sons were toddlers, my parents take them to the beach…without us!  Time on the beach, boat rides, water slides, bumper cars and junk food…the whole nine yards for one entire week. 

With all of the day-to-day commotion that takes place in our house – the kids, the dog, the laptops, television, video games and constant tomfoolery – it’s hard enough to hear what we’re saying to each other, let alone hearing yourself think.

It’s funny, though:  my wife and I start out excited to have some alone time, but by mid-week we miss them like crazy!  Nevertheless, Kristi and I do, in fact, get to spend some quality time together, which includes having more time to try new wines!  :)

One of the most intriguing wines that we sampled, when the kids were away, was the 2008 M Trignon White (MSRP: $23.99 US).  This wine is from Chateau Du Trignon, which is nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail in Gigondas, France.  The 2008 M Trignon White is made up of 100% Muscat, and it packs one heck of a concentrated sweet/dessert wine punch!  Right off the bat, you might think you’re drinking a French Sauterne. Fermented in stainless steel and cold stabilized to preserve freshness, this wine just oozes in sweet honey, honeysuckle, apricots, lemon and peach flavors.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 M Trignon White.  It’s crazy-syrupy-sweet, cheaper than most Sauternes, and it comes in a rather interesting, perfumey-looking bottle.  It’s perfect for those who would rather drink dessert than eat it.

Another wine, which was a bit off the beaten path for us, was the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé (Sample, MSRP: $12 US) from Domaine Houchart which is owned by the Quiot family from France’s famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  The thing that drew me to this wine was its interesting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault.  This summer sipper possesses a lot of nice acidity that makes it a pair well with many different food combinations.

I paired it with a thinly sliced spicy grilled chicken breast topped with fresh bruschetta and shaved parmesan cheese.  The soft strawberry, lavender and minerally finish paired nicely with this dish, however it wasn’t quite enough to give it 2 big thumbs up.

2 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé.  This Rosé definitely shows its best characteristics around foods with a little gusto and spice:  it’s a no-brainer with barbecue.

 

 

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!

25 Days of Christmas: Day 23

Check out our kosher wine section today.

After 23 days, how could I possibly resist not having any dessert?  After all, it is the best part of the meal!  Right!?  As in any fine establishment, you can choose between having something light or something that’s a bit more decadent to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Here are a few after-dinner nightcaps that take the cake, or even replace it! :)

  • If you’re one that enjoys the lighter side after dinner, full of healthy fresh fruits – then you can’t go wrong with the Dr. Konstantin Frank 2008 Bunch Select Late Harvest, Riesling from New York’s Finger Lakes (Sample, MSRP:  $69.99/375 ml).It oozes in sweet golden raisins, tangy pineapple and ultra-ripe apple flavors.  It’s pretty sensational, whether you want just a little or a whole lot!
  • How about an elegant sweet wine from the western region of France?   If the sound of crème brûlée whets your appetite, then a Sauterne swimming in creamy vanilla, dried apricot, peach and pineapple just might be calling your name.  Mark, Mark, Mark…look over here.  Well look at that, it’s true a 2005 Chateau Guiraud Sauterne ($69.99, half bottle) is calling for me right now! Gotta run! :)
  • How about a unique treat that’ll have you sailing away to the Greek island of Santorini? A super rich and seductive Greek dessert wine, called Vinsanto, comprised of hard to pronounce Greek grapes like Assyrtiko and Aidani is truly something special that you don’t come across very often here in the US.  This rare Greek dessert wine is a product of extensively ripened grapes, sun-dried for fifteen days and barrel aged to give it deep essences of sweet honey, dry figs, caramel and nuts; providing a sweet warm sensation in the back of your throat.  It’s the nectar of the Gods, I tell you!
  • Finally, if you envision a glass full of dark decadence, with a plate of fresh figs with mascarpone and warmed spiced honey, then you should try a classic, aged port wine.  Just the other night, my wife and I were in that dark hedonistic place with a delicious bottle of  Sandeman 10 Years Old Tawny Port (Portugal) (Sample, MSRP:  $30).It was oozing with caramel, coffee and nut flavors.  The caramel was like the burnt sugar coating on crème brûlée.  My wife, on the other hand, thought it tasted like one of her favorite cupcakes, French Toast!  This is a great entry into aged port wines @ $30.  I’d really love to see where this port will be in 20 or 30 years.  For now, it’s a crazy good way to close out a cold, late December evening.
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