Posts Tagged ‘Pee Wee Herman’

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…

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Two wines. Two days. Can you dig it?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes, you decant a Trader Joe’s 2010 Grower’s Reserve Zinfandel for 3 hours.

Sometimes, that’s a bad idea.

Sometimes, you use the word “sometimes” at the beginning of a sentence, to set a mood.

Trader Joe's 2010 Grower's Reserve Zinfandel. Sometimes, you just gotta.

Look.  We got this Paso Robles zinfandel on Sunday afternoon for $4.99.  Kara asked if she should decant it.  I was like, “Sure”.  She popped it and poured it into the decanter.  Then I looked at my watch.

It was 2 o’clock.

We weren’t planning on having dinner until 5 at the earliest.

Listen.  I know that it never hurts to decant a wine.  It always helps.  Many times I’ll leave a bottle open overnight, and see improvement the next day.

But if you don’t know the wine…  It’s structure…  How it changes….  If you’re not sure about how it will last…  I would never go longer than an hour.

Eventually, all wines will fall apart.  The better the wine, the longer it takes for that to happen.

Do you feel me?

After making a T-Joe’s type of dinner, I sat down to try the wine.

BBQ pulled chicken w/ dijon broccoli slaw. Montel Jordan would be all, "Shadadada dap dabadahhhh. This is how we do it!"

Color:  This wine was straight purple.  When pouring it into the glass, I noticed that it was almost a light pink.

Nose:  Dusty strawberries and wood.  Hmmmmm.

Taste:  Jammy fruit.  There were these mouth-coating smooth tannins, a sharp cranberry, and a touch of cherry fruit roll-up.  Not bad.

But then…

I started diving into the food…

The dish I made was quite sweat in nature.  A Texas style, if you will.  After going back to the wine, the sweetness of the BBQ wiped out the jammy fruit.  What was left of the wine was this unpleasant acidity.  I figured that maybe it was just a bad food pairing, but after the meal, I went back to the wine and all I could taste was that same hollow gross acidity.

Score:  I was gonna give it an 86, but had to change it to an 84.

Sometimes, decanting is a good thing.

Sometimes, food and wine go together.

Sometimes, a wine falls apart on you.

Sometimes, food reveals flaws.

Shall we move on?

Today, Kara whipped together a really neat looking and tasting dinner…

Tabouleh cucumber romaine split and a simple salad w/ goat cheese. Pee Wee Herman would be all, "Mmmmmmm. Vegetably."

With it, she served up the Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains.  This wine was a gift from Thevegetarians for Kara’s birthday, so I didn’t bother looking up the price (that’s rude).  I’m sure you can find out how much it was by clicking the link on the wine.

Bruzzone 2009 Estate Chardonnay next to some balls.

Color:  Light gold.  This wine looks like chardonnay.

Nose:  Pear.  Apple.  Petrol.  Toast.  Not bad.

Taste:  The first thing I noticed was the mouthfeel.  This wine is THICK!  Very viscous.  It’s almost oily.  Also… this wine is a spicy oak bomb.  There are nice notes of apple and peach.  Like the zin from yesterday, I’m also noticing a fruit roll-up flavor in there.  There is a little custard on this wine.

This is a BIG chardonnay.  Almost too big, but not.

It did not pair well with the tabouleh.  I would love to try it with some vanilla ice cream.

Score:  I’m not going to give this wine a score, since it was a gift.  I did like it, however.  If I were going to score it, I’d give it an 87.

So there you have it.

Two wines in two days.

Sometimes, that’s how I roll.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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