Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Unsung Hero: Viognier

First things first: we cooked a vegetarian meal this week and I must admit that I ENJOYED IT. Yes, I normally have some sort of meat/fish/fowl for dinner and I wasn't excited about having a vegetarian meal. It turned out to be WONDERFUL and it was enhanced by the wine choice: Viognier (vee-ohhn-yay). We had potato gnocchi with tomatoes, peppers, spinach and cheese--overall an "Italian" flavored meal. We also had a salad caprese (which is a 'salad' of slices of tomato and fresh mozzerella cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil). With the salad, I'd normally choose a Sauvignon Blanc (as the acidity would pair nicely with both the cheese and tomato) but since we had some rich flavors with the gnocchi I chose Viognier. Perhaps I could have chosen a chardonnay (preferably a French Chablis, as their chardonnay is light, not super oaky) but it may have overpowered the 2 dishes. Nope, I chose a grape typically found in the Rhône region of France or in and around Paso Robles, California (Central Coast). My selection was a lovely 2007 Justin Viognier (sorry, just learned it's sold out) which was nice and balanced with a crisp taste on the tongue (perfect for the salad) and a smooth finish with a nice mouthfeel and a hint of vanilla with the fruit (perfect for the gnocchi). I know, I know, I'm using "Snob speak" for this, but it was a perfect pairing and I was suitably geeked. (If you ever seek a good pairing or have a Q/want a better explanation, feel free to email me!). Give this 'different' varietal a chance-it may turn out to be your white of choice for the future! Goes well with spicy food as well... (Costco currently stocks Rosenblum for around $15 and one of the BEST viognier blends from Treana for over $20--SO worth it!). Cheers, Bo

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tales from the Darkside

No, I'm not chasing Kurtz in the jungle but I have made my own voyage to the dark side: I have purchased (and enjoyed!) a "box wine" (yes, a box wine, I'm not lying!). Please remember that I have always noted that wine is meant to be enjoyed, not merely some snobby thing to be enjoyed only by elitists. I think wines should be for everyone! Even wine is invading NASCAR--both Jeff Gordon and Richard Childress own vineyards and a race is run in Sonoma, CA just across the street from the vineyard where I worked. In fact, my box wine was produced about 2 miles from Infineon Racetrack in Sonoma, at Cline Vineyards. Have you seen "Red Truck" wines? A bottle costs around $9 at the local stores and is a lovely 'field blend' of syrah, petite sirah and zinfandel. I was in Sam's Club earlier this week and found that Cline produced a mini-barrel of Red Truck in a 3L size (that's 4 bottles!) for under $20! I couldn't resist and I have to say that it was just as good as if I had opened a bottle. The packaging says that it will last for 40 days (not likely in our household!) once opened and portions are recyclable. So you can save money, save the Earth and enjoy a yummy wine; what's not to love?

One other quickie--I am a true lover of rich, red Zinfandel wine. The ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) tour is FINALLY coming to ATL-Here's where to find info on tickets! I'll see you there!

Cheap wine of the day!

I know, I know, you can't really find a good, cheap Pinot Noir. However, Kroger has Lindeman's Pinot on sale for $5.98 that's actually pretty good! No, it's not going to compare to a fine Burgundy, but it's very drinkable and has a nice finish. Good fruit, good flavor, great price--what's not to love? Get some while it's still on sale (it was on sale for $7.98 the first time we bought it and we felt it was worth it even at that price).

Bonus wine--if they have any 2004 "Zen of Zin" by Ravenswood for $8.48, BUY IT. It's a steal--normally around $12.99!!!