Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 140: Chianti Rufina and a Burger

August 16, 2014

In this episode, Jeff pairs this Chianti Rufina sample with his guacamole burger…

Wine Tasted:

IMG_8291.JPG

Nipozzano 2010 Chianti Rufina Riserva

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite Chianti Rufina? How did it compare to other Chianti and Chianti Classicos you’ve tried? Leave a comment and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 139: Brown Baggin’ It

August 9, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries to pinpoint the wine in this brown bag…

Stay Rad,

Jeff

#FLXWine to the fullest! or… Is it too soon to hashtag #WBC15? or… Sometimes Wine + Blogging Does = Wine Blogging

July 17, 2014

One week ago, I sat down to review one of several wines samples sent to me from Villa Bellangelo Winery.  In particular, I sat down to review this wine…

20140717-124946-46186781.jpg

Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer

Now…

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that it really doesn’t take that long for me to assess and come to a conclusion about wine.  In my video reviews, you’ll see me talk about a particular wine from anywhere from five to twenty minutes… But really… It only takes me a minute or two of that tasting to form my opinion.

“So, Jeff…” you may be wondering, “Why have you been struggling with putting together this wine review?  I mean… Seriously?  You’ve been working on this post for over a week?  You’re only 147 words into this thing… And that includes this made-up dialogue.  What gives?”

Well…

There’s a couple of different things going on here.

1. I don’t do nearly as many written reviews on this blog as I used to. Go ahead and take a peek at the last ten posts.  I’ll wait…  Do you see that?  Nine of the last ten reviews I did on this site were of the video variety!

The reality is, aside from the technical aspects, video wine reviews are easier… for me anyway.  That’s one of the major reasons why I do them.

2. When I do a written piece on this site, I want there to be a theme that ties everything together.  The problem that I’ve been having with this review is that there are too many themes that I wish to include. Every time I started to write about this wine from one particular angle, a new theme would surface, and stuff would start to get all confusing.

So…

Maybe I should just lay out some important things to consider about this wine, and see if I can piece this together somehow…

A. Chris Missick of Villa Bellangelo approached me about reviewing some of his wines near the end of June.

B. Six samples from Villa Bellangelo arrived at my doorstep at the beginning of July.

20140717-125026-46226504.jpg

C. Hella Villa Bellangelo Samples now inhabit my refrigerator.

D. As you can see from the photo above, Villa Bellangelo specializes in cool-climate Riesling and Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes AVA of upstate New York.

E. While I’ve been very much aware of the style of the Finger Lakes region, I’ve never had any wines from this area.  My experience as a Californian has been that one must really search to find these wines around here.

F. Days after the samples arrived, Kara and I drove down to Santa Barbara County to attend the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.  We had a blast!

G. I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference that the expression “We had a blast!” is mad cliché, and should never be used.

H. On the final night of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the announcement was made that next year’s conference will be held in the Finger Lakes.

I. Since returning to from #WBC14, I’ve been attempting write a post which makes a connection between my experiences at the conference with the wines of Villa Bellangelo (and all the other #FLXWine).

So…

Let’s give this a go.

On the opening day of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the keynote speech was delivered by Corbett Barr of Fizzle.  While not an expert at wine blogging, specifically, Corbett has made a very good living for himself as a blogger and podcaster.  I truly appreciated his take on the state of wine blogging.

Corbett is a fantastic storyteller.  One of the most memorable bits that I took away from his speech was when he talked about doing research on wine blogging.  Corbett talked the time he took a bottle of wine down to a park, drank it, and tried to blog.  He summed up his experience with the following equation.

Wine + Blogging ≠ Wine Blogging

Now…

I totally get what Corbett was saying here.  There is a whole lot more to this art form (That’s right!  I went there!).  You can’t just throw some booze in your glass and fake it… though some may try.

But…

Sometimes you get stuck.  Seriously… It’s been 720 words in this post so far, and I still haven’t gotten to reviewing this Gewürztraminer.

So…

To aid in reviewing the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer, I’ve opened up this sample…

20140724-131538-47738352.jpg

Bellangelo 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling + Blogging

In some ways, I feel like the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is a better wine to start with, if wanted to explore the wines of the Finger Lakes.

As wine drinkers, we should all be familiar with Riesling.  Now… whereas many wine lovers will geek out over all things Riesling, the typical wine drinker may stay away from it.  Many complain that Riesling is too sweet.  This may be due to the typical, almost dessert-like, domestic Riesling.  In such cases, these Rieslings are too sweet because they are grown in the wrong place, or just made poorly.

When one explores the killer, cool-climate Rieslings of Alsace, France or Germany, one can really get a firm grasp of all that Riesling really has to offer.  High acid.  A touch of residual sugar.  Balance.  They’re hecka tasty.

My hope is that the Finger Lakes show more like European Riesling versus their domestic contemporaries.

So…

Let’s try the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling!

Color: Light golden-yellow.  One swirl of the wine in the glass not only highlights the typical color, but also fades to this beautiful slow sloshing of the juice, highlighting its viscosity.

Nose: I love the typical oily notes that can be found in good Riesling. This wine is no exception.  I am also noticing a touch of lemon and savory herbs.

Palate: Nice tart lemon on the front of the palate are rounded out by those oily notes.  There is a touch of residual sugar (1.8%), but the 7.95 g/L of titratable acidity provides the balance that Riesling needs. You would never characterize this wine as being too sweet.

Score: The 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the Finger Lakes.  I’m excited to see how this wine stacks up against some of the single-vineyard offerings from Villa Bellangelo.  This is a fresh and balanced number.  The perfect wine for a summer day when you’re in a blogging rut.  90 points!

Okay…

Now let’s get back to the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer that I tasted last week!

Color: Pale golden-yellow.  Very similar to the Riesling (minus the sloshiness of the swirl, of course).

Nose: Honey and lemon zest dominate this nose, but there is an oiliness here (reminiscent of the Riesling).

Palate: This wine has weight.  There is a very viscous, oily palate. Good notes of honeysuckle.  There is a hint of sweetness (1% residual sugar) here.  This Gewürztraminer is Riesling-like, but with much less of an acidic backbone (5.4 g/L TA).

Score: This wine is pretty.  While easy-drinking, there is a nice floral complexity to this.  This wine was also grown from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the same year as the Riesling.  It’s nice to see how similar these two varieties can be when one strips away virtually all the other variables that could exist from one bottle to the next. This is a tasty 89er.

Food Pairing:

20140724-142830-52110695.jpg

The Gewürztraminer was paired with Kara’s Pasta Salad of Fusilli with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

I’m a big fan of both of these wines from Villa Bellangelo.  The acid (more so from the Riesling) provides a versatility in food pairings. The sugar gives them both a pleasant sweetness, without making them overly goopy.  Try them with any food you like… I really don’t think you could go wrong with anything here.

This is #FLXWine to the fullest!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite wine from the Finger Lakes?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

Remember Los Alamos

July 14, 2014

Kara and I spent this past weekend in Buellton, California for the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Needless to say, after three days of tasting all of the wine that Santa Barbara County has to offer, wine has been the last thing on my mind…

Then, I started making dinner…

20140714-204412-74652563.jpg

It all started when I marinated some salmon filets and broccolini with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

While preheating the grill, I looked in the fridge for something to drink.

I really wasn’t in the mood for beer.  I’m not a soda kind of guy. Water wasn’t gonna do the trick.

Almond milk?  Nah!

There was really only one thing in the fridge that was going to work…

20140714-204436-74676172.jpg

Bianchi 2012 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Grigio

At the end of the first Live Wine Blogging session at the Wine Bloggers Conference (which I’ll get into in more detail another day), there were a bunch of leftover bottles that were given to the participants.  Lucky for me, I got sent home with the Bianchi 2012 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Grigio…

Los Alamos…

I remember Los Alamos…

Santa Barbara County is broken up into two major AVA’s.  The Santa Ynez Valley to the south, and the Santa Maria Valley to the north.

On Friday night, as part of the Wine Bloggers Conference, participants got to explore different areas of Santa Barbara County. Of course, I’ll get a little deeper into this excursion on another day, but the short story is that my group got to visit Bien Nacido Vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley.

20140715-085710-32230017.jpg

The setting sun over Bien Nacido Vineyards.

Now…

While riding the bus north on the 101 from Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley to Bien Nacido Vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, we drove through Los Alamos… an up-and-coming wine-growing region within Santa Barbara County.  Much like Santa Maria, and the western end of Santa Ynez, there is a strong coastal influence to Los Alamos, making this a perfect place for beautiful cool-climate wines of distinction.

Now, let’s get into this wine in particular…

Color: Typical of most Pinot Grigios you’re bound to encounter, the Bianchi is rocking the straw yellow.

Nose: Pretty notes of honeysuckle with lime accents, all rounded out with a variety of river rocks.

Taste: Fresh.  This wine is fresh.  There’s a real good freshness to this.  There is a good petrol characteristic up front, surrounded by a saline solution of lemons, limes, and grapefruit pith.  Did I mention that this was fresh?

Score: Pinot Grigio typically gets a bad rap.  Most of the mass-produced grocery store swill comes across as watered-down Gatorade to me… which makes it great for a hot day, but doesn’t really bring anything else to the table.  The Bianchi, on the other hand, has a great balance of freshness (yeah, I said it) and complexity that promotes the true versatility of this wine.  Hot day? Light food?  Good friends and conversation?  This is the wine for you. 89+

Oh yeah…

Back to the salmon!

20140715-092035-33635514.jpg

The salmon, while a bit overcooked, brought the richness that you would expect from a fatty fish. The broccolini, while slightly scorched at the tips, was hecka tasty.

So…

The next time you’re in the mood for fresh and lively wine on a hot day, which is heads-and-shoulders above the typical housewife swill…

Remember Los Alamos.

Take it away, Pee-Wee…

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite domestic Pinot Grigio?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 138: Cremant d’Alsace for #AlsaceRocks

June 24, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tastes through four Cremant d’Alsace for the #AlsaceRocks Twitter Tasting.

Wines Tasted:

20140624-052633-19593587.jpg

Lucien Albrecht Blanc de Blancs Cremant d’Alsace, Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace, Dopff et Irion Brut Rose Cremant d’Alsace, and Domaine Charles Baur Rose Cremant d’Alsace

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Which of these four Cremant d’Alsace are up your ally.  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 137: It’s in the Bag

June 21, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries to figure out what’s in that brown bag.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

If you were playing along at home, what wine did you think this was?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 136: We Be Clubbin’

June 21, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries two samples from The International Wine of the Month Club

Wines Tasted:

20140621-083956-31196599.jpg

Domaine Marc Colin 2011 Saint-Aubin La Fontenotte

20140621-084023-31223886.jpg

Bellingham 2011 The Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite White Burgundy or South African wine?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 135: A Blind Wine and Food Pairing

June 13, 2014

In this episode, Jeff pairs a blind wine with his lunch and dinner.

Food and Wine Pairing:

20140613-151409-54849850.jpg

The wine had some really nice acidity, accompanied by red and dark fruit notes. I paired it with a Grass-Fed Beef Sirloin topped with Onions, Mushrooms, and Garlic Sauteed in Stagecoach Vineyard Olive Oil and a bit of Danish Blue Cheese. The Salad is Romaine Hearts with a Simple Vinaigrette and Parmesan Cheese. The food and wine together provided an overall richness that would be lacking if they were consumed separately.

Wine Tasted:

20140613-151449-54889884.jpg

What I originally picked to be an 8 – 10 dollar Chilean Carmenere, turned out to be the 2012 Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What flavor profiles do you look for when pairing food and wine?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 134: Hello Brunello

June 5, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries two Brunello di Montalcino samples from Piccini.

Wines Tasted:

20140605-170141-61301426.jpg

Piccini 2009 Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino

20140605-170141-61301743.jpg

Piccini 2008 Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite Brunello di Montalcino?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 133: Extra! Extra!

May 8, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries a wine from a paper bottle. What’s the worst that could happen?

Wine Tasted:

20140508-195408.jpg

Paperboy Winery 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your take on wines in alternative packaging?  Leave a comment, and let us know.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,397 other followers

%d bloggers like this: