Posts Tagged ‘French’

Napa Fun Time 1.1: In The Cave, Man

October 16, 2012

This past weekend, Kara and I took a trip up to Napa Valley in celebration of ten years together…

If you’re keeping track, that means we were dating for eight years before we got married.

If you’re wondering what took me so long to pop the question, you’ve got to know that I’m not the brightest crayon in the box.

Anyways…

We had such a great time on Saturday, I don’t think there is any way that I could fit all of the awesomeness into one post.

So…

I present to you…

Napa Fun Time 1.1: In the Cave, Man:

Our first stop on Saturday was the Del Dotto Historic Winery and Caves on Atlas Peak Road in Napa.

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From the outside, the Del Dotto tasting room is very unassuming…

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Once inside the tasting room, it’s easy to see that this is a classy joint. Upon check-in, we were served a tasty pour of the Del Dotto 2010 Cinghiale Vineyard Chardonnay. Class in a glass.

Our host explained to us at the beginning of our tour that Del Dotto likes to focus not just on showcasing the vineyards which grow the wines, but also the oak in which the wine was aged.

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Here he is showing off the different toast levels of a wine barrel.

Next, we took a stroll into the cave to do some barrel tasting.

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Into the cave…

Our host did a great job of showcasing the types of wines that were popular among members of the tour.  We mainly focussed on Cabernet Sauvignon in both American and French Oak barrels.

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The Wine Thief. I’ve gotta get me one of those.

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Here’s a cool looking oak barrel with hecka grooves carved in to add more layers of flavor to the wine. Our hoast called this one a “barrel on steroids”.

The wine was fantastic, but the highlight has to be the fact that you get to throw your wine up against the wall of the cave when you’re done.

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Hey wall. Meet my wine.

The Del Dotto tour is one of the funnest, and most informative, tours I’ve ever experienced in Napa.

This was definitely a great way to start the day.

You’ve gotta visit the cave, man.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Be sure to tune in to the next installment of Napa Fun Time, when Jeff and Kara visit the tasting room of Cornerstone Cellars in downtown Yountville.

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Burgers, Beer, the Bachelorette, and Wine: L’Authentique Barbecue

June 14, 2011

Inspiration abounds when ground beef and Tecate Light are in the mix.

KaraIsRad, my wife, was to be back from the gym in about 15 minutes.  The clock inside my brain told me it was time to start prepping.

80/20 ground beef?  Check!

Veggie Patties (For her, dude!)?  Check!

Grill on?  Fa’ sho!

Tecate Light?  No doubt!

Let it be said that I do love hoppy craft beers.  Love ’em!  Make them so hoppy it tastes like I just bit a rose bud off of a 5 year old bush.  Flowers for days.  Love me some micro-brew!

But…

When a grill is involved, you have to bring out the canned lager.  The macro-brew, if you will.  Something cold with a tinny (aluminum) kick.

I’m a Coors Lite fan.  Not that I think it is any better than Bud or Pabst or Modelo.  It’s not even different.  I like the Coors Lite because of the can.  There’s only one can that can tell you it’s cold using blue mountains.  One!  That’s the Silver Bullet, baby.

I had some Tecate Light on hand, because I’ve been on a taco kick lately.  Again… there is no (okay… a little) difference in taste here.  If you’re making tacos on the grill, however, your canned lager MUST be Mexican.  I don’t make the rules, holmes.  I just stick to ’em.

Now…

I was deep in it.  Getting my mise en place for the ultimate Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, when I thought to myself,

“You know what would go great with this burger?  WINE!”

I dropped my Tecate Light like it was cold, and grabbed me this sucker…

The L'Authentique la Caumette NV and my dope ass Nokia (Phone Book) leaning against a turtle lamp.

When I picked up this $4.99 bottle of L’Authentique la Caumette NV Red Table Wine at Trader Joe’s, I swear the elderly stock clerk gave me the same look that Bastian got from that dude at the book store in Never Ending Story.  His eyes said to me, “You can’t handle this!”  I started to shake just before he ripped the bottle out of my hands…

I was shocked to hear him speak in such a calming tone  “Nice.  This is an EXCELLENT bottle of wine,” he told me in a gentle French accent.  “This wine has good fruit, nice acidity, and for the price… it cannot be beat.”

This Non-Vintage French table wine does not list the grape varietals being used, but the word on the street is that it’s a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and carignan.  The back label, showing a map of France with a little dot near the Southern Rhone, leads me to believe that the aforementioned blend is entirely possible.

I poured two glasses.  One for me and one for KaraIsRad.  Then, it was back to the barbecue…

Pre-Heat to Hell Fire... ALWAYS!

80/20 ground beef w/ egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dill. Shape like a deformed heart, and lay it down!

Always oil up the grates to get sear marks. Only flip it once. Man Code!

Time to eat… I mean… taste the wine.

Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, Arugula Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta (by KaraIsRad), and L'Authentique in a big glass. Not L'Fake!

Color:  This wine is as red as red can get without being black.  I’m talking BLACK!  It’s what I would envision the back alley of Fangtasia from True Blood to look like.

Nose:  My fist thought is of orange zest.  Very ripe, but acidic in nature.  There is a chalky feel to this nose.  I love chalk.  Throughout it all, there is a red raspberry fruit that balances everything out.

Hey…

The Bachelorette is on!

Told you!

Look… I’m not a huge fan of the show, but it is a great conversation starter:

“Who names their kid Constantine?  Or West?  Or Ames?”

“What’s up with that guy’s face?”

“Why does she wear so many belly shirts?”

“How come that dude is always squinting?”

“Is that dude missing his lower set of teeth?”

“That dude runs like a girl.  What’s his problem?”

Oh yeah…

Back to the wine!

Taste:  On the initial attack, there are these extremely dry, mouth-filling tannins.  They are lasting 30+ seconds, easily.  Dee-lish!

There is that same orange zest component that I smelled earlier, but it is rounded out with hints of lemon and lime.  There is this not-so-ripe strawberry flavor that is really nice.  Great acidity!

I just took my first bite of the burger…

"These burgers are crazy!" - The Moldy Peaches

It is F-ing Amazing!

The beefiness of the burger, paired with the lactic notes of the blue cheese and tanginess of the aioli bring out some chocolaty tones from the wine.  It gives my entire mouth a rich milky feel.

KaraIsRad made a fresh arugula salad with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and a red wine vinaigrette.  This highlights the flavors of orange blossoms and chalk.

You have to respect this wine for what it is.  A red table wine.  What do we put on our tables?

Food.

By itself, the wine is a solid 88.  With food?  Give it a 90.  This is the perfect wine for a weeknight meal with the wife.  And a steal at 5 bucks.

Pair it with Pizza, Pasta, Burgers, the Bachelorette, and possibly the Bad Girls Club.  This wine is THAT versatile!

Have you ever seen a wine bottle this full?

Stay Rad,
Jeff

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