Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving wine: "the aftermath"

So you know what I recommended for Thanksgiving, here's what we drank :) We had some Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (which was quite nice this year; actually very lively and not at all like 'cough syrup', which has been the lingering aftertaste in some vintages); then some Mumm Champagne (yum!). The Mumm was a gift-pack closeout from BJ's Wholesale club (found in Woodstock, not sure of other locations). The bottle + 2 glasses was only $32--for 'full-French' champagne (esp. a well-known name) that was a deal! My sister brought some Acacia Pinot Noir which was very yummy with the turkey! It's funny-my Mom had some IceWine that I tossed in the fridge to go with the desserts but we were all too full to have any that night (wine OR dessert!). Over the weekend we drank a good amount of good old Red Zinfandel (yes, I still have to qualify it by putting the "Red" in front of Zinfandel, lest someone think I like pink and sweet! I do enjoy pink vino, but more of the dry variety for sure (think Rosato or Rose blush wines, dry and not sweet at all). What did YOU drink for Thanksgiving? Have a wonderful week!

One note about BJ's and wine sales in general--while BJ's has some good prices on vino, they don't have a huge selection (which is fine). They do have one coveted bottle for sale--Roderer "Cristal", one of the top champagnes in the world, usually over $200 per bottle in a 'normal' store. They have a bottle or two for a lot less and a few bottles of Dom. However, they have it displayed in a glass cabinet with lights in it. What does that matter? Well, these lights shine down onto the bottle which MUST be cooking it slowly over time. I guess my message is to pay attention where you buy your wine--it's not solely about the price as I would venture a guess that the sub-$200 Cristal would not turn out to be the deal you'd expect as it may not be as amazing as it should be (or even turn out to be bad)! Food for thought! Cheers, Bo

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Wine!

Let's talk turkey! It's time to plan NOW for your Thanksgiving wine and food fest. I know that having a group over to your home can be overwhelming enough but trying to choose a 'one-size fits all' wine for dinner is pretty much impossible! Earthy flavors like turkey and dressing plus sweet flavors like sweet potato casserole (I'm getting hungry) and top that off with slightly bitter cranberry relish and you've got a taste 'mash-up' that can truly confound you! What's the solution? Have several wines! One wine (one that I don't normally 'push') that holds up well to so many flavors is Chardonnay-go for a Carneros (Napa) or Russian River (Sonoma) from California, and try to avoid super 'oaked' wines. One splurge is Au Bon Climat, which is more of a central coast choice but worth it. Another white that will pair well with such varied flavors is a dry Riesling (a phenomenal choice is Chateau Ste. Michelle's "Eroica", around $20 but yummy). As for reds, my old friend Zinfandel (I stole a quote I read-try the "3 R's": Ravenswood, Ridge or Rosenblum) is a great catch-all but you may want to choose something lighter like a Pinot Noir (From CA, look for Acacia, Chalone, Schuug or go for Oregon, Foris, Witness Tree or Erath) . A fun choice is always Beaujolais Nouveau, which is always released on the 3rd Thursday of November (a/k/a TODAY). Always light and fruity it can be a fun addition to your celebration. Finally, an option that is always appropriate is Champagne. From a Spanish Cava (usu. around $10) to a sparkling wine from the USA (Gruet from New Mexico is awesome, around $14, Chandon from Napa (also $14) or Ch. Ste. Michelle from Washington) to a "fully French" selection (Moet White Star-$35, Veuve Clicquot-$40)--you can't go wrong with bubbly. The final thing to note-get to your local wine shop early as they won't have time to help you find hidden gems as they will be SLAMMED like Hartsfield airport as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Sure, they can point you in a general direction but for more 'hands on' help you need to get there sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Day After...

This was a posting about the day AFTER our wedding anniversary dinner at Aria restaurant. I basically emailed them noting a price I had in mind and that I wanted wine and food paired. THAT'S IT. I had NO CLUE what we were to have that evening, and I couldn't be more pleased! Here's the article from my newsletter that was originally supposed to come out 9/24 (but was going to be updated to come out 9/28). Hope you like it!

This month's email subject line said "The Day After"--I'm sure at some point you thought to yourself, "The Day After WHAT?". Well, whether you cared about that line or not, Wednesday marked our third wedding anniversary (if you're curious, the traditional anniversary gift is leather and no I didn't buy her a whip--I'm contentedly whipped enough already : ) I took her to a favorite restaurant of ours, Aria, in Buckhead. I'll let you in on a secret--if you call in advance, you may be able to book the wine cellar for up to 4 people. Tiny steps lead you into the basement with no more than 1 token light hanging over your table, and you're surrounded by wine and candles. I didn't need to bring a corkscrew as a week earlier I had contacted Andres Loaiza (manager and wine guru) and asked if he and chef Gerry Klaskala would be able to put together a tasting menu with food and wine pairings. Basically, I knew where we were going but had no clue what we would be enjoying for dinner. I must tell you that this is such a fun experience but you must be open minded! I will note-their menu has a $39 3-course prix-fixe nightly that has some enticing choices; I'm sure they would pair wines if asked! As for our meal, we had 8 courses of incredible foods and the wines they chose were perfect to go along with our meal! You really need to step out of your box and try something new--it's so much fun!