Having missed an opportunity to attend a wine event in the city last night because of a hectic schedule, my plan was to embrace the evening with a nice meal and a movie. However, a friend decided that his company would be far more entertaining than a movie. He was correct. So, I went into “chef” mode.
I threw together a great meal that was served with the rest of the Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon that I reviewed yesterday. The wine paired beautifully with both courses.
We started with a quick & simple version of Pasta Fagioli soup. Made with vegetable broth, I added more carrots and celery than beans, creating a lighter soup. A small amount of shaved Parmesan cheese topped it off.
The main course was fresh shrimp sautéed in shallots, garlic and red peppers. Al dente vegetable linguini was added to the pan at the last moment for a quick stir. As a side dish I served sautéed broccoli rabe with olive oil and garlic. Voila! Dinner!
The wine, dinner and company all complemented each other!
I seem to keep finding my way back to exploring Chilean wines and rightly so. The wines have become more focused with many producers concentrating on bio dynamic, organic and sustainable agriculture in addition to producing unique and delicious wines. Chilean wines have earned significant recognition among wine critics and connoisseurs.
I recently received two bottles of wine from Concha y Toro’s flagship brand, Casillero del Diablo Devil’s collection.
With Halloween just a few weeks away, the story behind the collection is perfect for telling while serving up a glass! Don Melchor Concha y Tora founded the vineyard in 1883. Legend has it that more than 130 years ago a ship set sail from Bordeaux carrying a cargo of precious vines. The ship landed in Chile where the grapes were turned into a mysterious wine. The wines were locked up, but continually disappeared from the cellar. So in order to stop the theft of the wines, he spread a rumor that the devil lived in the cellar. Everyone became terrified and some people claimed to have seen the devil. No one was ever able to solve the mystery and Don Melchor Concha y Toro continued to enjoy his wines. To this day, it is known as the “devils cellar”.
Casillero del Diablo means “devils locker” in Spanish. The cellar is located in Pirque, close to Santiago.
Casillero del Diablo Reserva 2016 Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Casablanca Valley region. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a light bodied wine filled with aromas of fresh citrus and pear. The palate offers grapefruit, green apple and has a zesty mouth-feel. This a refreshing wine that is well balanced and would complement light fare such as seafood, light pasta dishes, cheese and fruit.
Price: Approximately $11
Casillero del Diablo Reserva 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Central Valley region. It is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Syrah, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Petit Syrah. The color is dark ruby bordering on purple. Aromas of dark berries, plum, cherry and spice set the stage. Cherry and plum dominate the palate with a touch of berry and hints of oak and vanilla on the finish. This is a juicy wine that is nicely balanced with smooth tannins and will pair well with hearty stews and soup, pasta, game and meats.
Price: Approximately $11
The Casillero del Diablo wines are “best-value” wines that don’t disappoint the palate. Pick up a few bottles and enjoy these wines before they “mysteriously” disappear from the shelves!
Wines of Chile Visits Whole Foods Markets
Over the past few months, I have written several posts pertaining to Chilean wines. I have described the land, talked to wine producers and reviewed some amazing wines. For a better understanding of Chile, its regions and grapes, please go to http://thewineknitter.com/1/post/2016/06/day-482.html.
Recently, Wines of Chile sent me nine bottles of wine to taste and review. These wines representing eight regions throughout Chile will be available in Whole Foods Markets nationwide for the “Country of Origin In-Store Program” from August 24th through October 26th, 2016.
Odfjell 2016 Armador, Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley
Odfjell Winery is located in a small corner of the Maipo Valley. Started 25 years ago by Norwegian born ship owner, Dan Odfjell, it is a family run business carried on today by his sons Laurence and Dan Jr. Odfjell Winery prides itself in producing unique wines with an emphasis on sustainability.
Armador, which is the Spanish word for “ship owner”, is 100% Sauvignon Blanc harvested from their vineyard in Casablanca Valley. The color is soft yellow with a green tinge to it. A floral bouquet with citrus and pear continues onto the palate with light fruit and citrus notes. This is a crisp wine that would make a great aperitif or served with light meals.
Viña Errazuriz 2015 Max, Chardonnay, Aconcagua Costa
Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded Viña Errazuriz in 1870. It is a fifth generation family owned winery. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is president of Viña Errazuriz and a descendent of the winery’s founder. Errazuriz was the first estate to plant vines and cultivate the coastal area of Aconcagua Valley and also one of the first wineries to be granted the Certification of Sustainability.
The Viña Errazuriz 2015 Max Chardonnay Reserva is 100% Chardonnay. The color is straw with citrus, tropical fruit and pear on the nose. The palate is layered with citrus, lush fruit and a creamy mouthfeel. Lemon and flowers are persistent on a long crisp finish. This is a refreshing wine that would pair well with most meals.
Autoritas 2014 Pinot Noir, Valle Central
Autoritas wines are produced by Luis Felipe Edwards in the Valle Central region. The name Autoritas is derived from the Latin word Auctoritas that means respect and prestige.
The 2015 Autoritas is 100% Pinot Noir. The color is dark cherry with aromas of berries, spice and pepper. The palate offers cherry, plum and spice with almost no tannins to speak of. This is a very clean and uncomplicated wine. You can’t beat the price!
Boya 2014 Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley (San Antonio Valley)
Boya Winery is a boutique estate winery located just five miles from the ocean. Matias Garces Silva is founder of Boya Winery and pioneered winemaking in Leyda, a sub-region of the San Antonio Valley in the coastal zone. Fittingly, Boya means, “buoy” in Spanish.
Boya 2014 Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir with a dark ruby color. The wine has intense aromas of fresh fruit, strawberry, tea rose and a hint of spice. The palate is nicely balanced with ripe fruit and spice. Soft tannins with a little pepper on a medium finish add to the character of this wine.
Criterion 2014 Carménère, Colchagua Valley
Criterion Cellars is located in the southernmost region of Chile. Colchagua is the southernmost portion of the Rapel Valley and one of Chile’s best-known wine regions. It is noted for the Carménère grape. This is a dark skinned grape that was originally planted in the vineyards of Bordeaux and has found its home in Chile.
The 2014 Criterion Carménère is 100% Carménère. The color is deep crimson, bordering on purple. The nose offers black fruits, spice and a hint of earth. The palate is layered with dark cherries, blackberries, pepper, cocoa, coffee and soft tannins. The finish is medium to short, but has all the elements for an enjoyable wine.
Mayu 2014 Carménère-Syrah, Elqui Valley
Mayu Winery located in the Elqui Valley at the northern edge of Chile, was founded in 2005 by Mauro Olivier. The focus of Mayu winery is “only the production of Premium wines originated in the Elqui Valley with unique style and personality.” The arid desert climate and cold nights are ideal for growing grapes, leading to more concentrated aromas, deep color and developed tannins. Mayu is the Incas word for “river of stars in the Milky Way”.
The 2014 MAYU Carménère-Syrah Reserva is a blend of 55% Carménère and 44% Syrah. The color is deep ruby with purple hues. It is an interesting combination of aromas, from ripe fruit to earth and spice. The palate offers dark cherry, plum, spice and hints of vanilla lingering on a medium finish. It has depth, but yet light enough to serve in the warm days still ahead.
Erasmo 2010 Reserva de Caliboro, Maule Valley
In 1995 Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, owner of the Col d'Orcia estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, brought his expertise and knowledge to "Riserva di Caliboro" in the Maule Valle of Chile to produce high quality wines from grape clones imported from France.
The 2010 Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro is a single vineyard handcrafted wine. The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The color is deep ruby with aromas of dark berries, earth and a hint of floral. This is a full-bodied wine with a beautiful richness to it. Layers of blackberry, cherry, candy apple, licorice and pine give way to soft tannins and a long velvety finish. This is a wine to drink now and right through winter.
De Martino 2014 Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley
De Martino winery was established in 1934 when the De Martino family moved to Maipo from Italy. The winery is now run by the family’s third and fourth generation and is one of the leading organic producers in Chile. They have vineyards in seven regions throughout Chile.
The 2014 Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color of the wine is ruby with subtle aromas of cherry, red and black fruit with a hint of mushrooms. The palate offers lush fruit with traces of tobacco, earth and lingering spice on the finish. Medium-bodied with mild tannins. Very nice!
Casa Silva 2014 Los Lingues Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley
Viña Casa Silva is a family owned winery that was established in 1997 and is located in Colchagua Valley. Although recently under a new name, the family’s passion for winemaking began in 1892, when Emilio Bouchon arrived from France. The fourth and fifth generation decided to make wines under their own label, creating a new family winery, Viña Casa Silva.
The 2014 Los Lingues Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is deep garnet with lovely aromas of dark fruit, strawberries, anise and pepper. The palate is lush with juicy red fruit, hints of tobacco, and soft tannins. The finish is medium with a touch of pepper lingering. This wine would pair well with a hearty meal!
With all the above wines costing below $20.00, this is a great opportunity to “visit” Chile at Whole Foods Market and experience some wonderful wines. There is a wine for everyone and every occasion!
It was a great weekend, even though it was incredibly hot outside. We cooled off in the nearest body of water as often as possible and stayed hydrated with water during the day.
However, we treated ourselves to aperitifs and wine with dinner at night. By the way, the strawberry was scrumptiously infused with the Lillet and heavenly to eat! I reviewed this wine a few days ago. http://thewineknitter.com/1/post/2016/07/day-489.html
The other evening I opened a bottle of 2011 D'Isanto & D'Isanto I Balzini Black Label Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT. I have written about this wine on more than one occasion on my blog. My last review of it was this past November. “Made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this bold wine was the color of deep purple. Aromas of dark berries, spice and cocoa were present. A quick sip and swirl upon opening, told me this was going to be a treat. The wine had a rich mouthfeel with concentrated berries, dark cherry, plum, licorice and dark chocolate on the palate. As the wine opened over the course of the evening the flavors became more intense. The tannins were soft and the finish was long with cherry and pepper lingering.” This vintage is very consistent, having had a few bottles of the 2011 over the course of 2 years. You can read more about their White and Red Label on previous posts: Day 347 9/22/15 and Day 230 3/19/15. http://www.ibalzini.it
It’s time to head outdoors and enjoy a swim!
Enjoy your Sunday!
Today is World Chocolate Day. This is an observance that takes place globally every year on July 7th. Although I can’t confirm it, supposedly today marks 466 years since chocolate was first introduced to Europe. I certainly don’t need an excuse to indulge myself in chocolate. I am a confirmed chocoholic and proud of it!
If you’re thinking of sipping wine while nibbling on chocolate, you might want to consider what wine to open. Full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel pair well with dark chocolate. Port, Rosé and Madeira complement creamier chocolate such as milk and white chocolates. Of course my all time favorite pairing is Teuscher’s champagne truffles and Cristal!
The other evening while at a friend’s home, I tasted 2010 Nadia Cabernet Sauvignon, Highlands Vineyard, Santa Barbara County produced by Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. This Cabernet would have paired well with a rich dark chocolate dessert. Made with 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc & 3% Merlot, it was a rich garnet color. The aromas were intoxicating and filled with berries, licorice, pepper and a touch of mocha. The palate offered lush berries, lots of pepper and spice. It was beautifully balanced, with silky tannins and a long finish. It’s too bad that I didn’t have any chocolate to go with it! Alcohol: 14.2%
Happy Chocolate Day!
Barefoot Wines, based in Modesta, CA, recently sent me a sampling of four wines from their very extensive collection.
Intrigued by their whimsical name and label, I learned that California winemaker Davis Bynum created Barefoot Bynum Burgundy in his garage in the year 1965. Bynum used the old fashioned way of crushing grapes…barefoot. By 1986 Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan took over and so began Barefoot Cellars and the footprint label. In 1995, with only four wines being produced, winemaker Jen Wall joined the team helping to expand the wine collection to what it is today, over 30 wines.
Let me begin my take on the following wines with a quote from Barefoot Wines. “Our wines are non-vintage because age is just a number! We believe in providing the same great, consistent taste year after year!”
So, with that in mind…
The Barefoot Riesling is blended with Gewürztraminer & Malvasia Bianca. The color was pale straw. Citrus, pineapple, grapefruit and a hint of herbs greeted the nose. As the bottle states, it is sweet. The palate offered pear, peach, honey, vanilla and grapefruit. The flavors were nicely balanced with a surprisingly long finish. If you enjoy sweet wine, this is a good choice and it would do well as an aperitif or dessert wine. Alcohol: 8.0 % http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/white-wine/riesling
The Barefoot White Zinfandel from Lodi is blended with Symphony. It is a medium sweet wine with a pretty pink salmon color. It had aromas of citrus, strawberry and nectarine. The palate offered fresh and juicy fruit with pineapple and melon on the finish. It was refreshing even though it was a bit sweet. Alcohol: 9.0% http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/pink-wine/white-zinfandel
The Barefoot Red Zinfandel, also from Lodi, is blended with Petit Sirah, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The deep ruby color gave way to an aroma of spices that leapt out of the glass along with red fruits. The flavors did not live up to what the nose offered, but there was a sufficient amount of red fruit, plum and a hint of spice on the palate. It was light to medium-bodied and very soft. Alcohol: 13.5% http://www.barefootwine.com/our-wine/red-wine/zinfandel
The Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon is from Argentina and is 100% Cabernet. The color was dark ruby bordering on purple with blackberry jam and dark berries on the nose. The palate offered dark berries, pepper and a touch of earth. Light tannins and a soft mouth-feel make this an easy wine to pair with a variety of foods. Alcohol: 13.5%
The average bottle of Barefoot wine costs about $6 to $11. Barefoot has a large distribution in the U.S. and their wines can be found in most wine stores. You can’t go wrong with these wines and especially at this price. It’s worth picking up a few bottles from their collection and seeing what speaks to you! http://www.barefootwine.com
It was a busy Thursday that ended on a gentle note with dinner and a movie. I escaped the “green food” being offered throughout the day in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and welcomed normal fare and a nice bottle of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mercer Estates Winery.
Mercer Estates is located in the heart of Yakima Valley in Columbia Valley, Washington. It is a family owned winery run by brothers, Rob and Will Mercer. In September 2015, I reviewed their 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which was very good. And, I was just as impressed with the bottle we opened last night.
The grapes for the 2013 Cabernet come from Mercer’s estate vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills and is a blend of 75% Cabernet, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot. The aromas of lush fruity, spice and a hint of vanilla greeted me. The palate was layered with dark berries, plum and spice. The wine was balanced and rich with a very smooth and long finish. It was a definite thumbs up!
Spring officially begins this Sunday with the possibility of a major snowstorm. Winter does not want to go away! I would like to put my snowshoes away and slip into my summer sandals!
Have a great start to the weekend! Happy Friday!
Sunshine and warm temperatures…now that’s what I’m talking about! I feel inspired to fire up the grill later and open up one of the rosés chilling in my refrigerator.
As I mentioned in my last post, while dining at The Continental in Naples, FL, we enjoyed a bottle of 2012 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles region of CA. The composition is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. The color was bordering on royal purple with wonderful plum, dark fruit and floral aromas. The palate was richly layered with plum and dark berries that segued into hints of dark cocoa, oak and spices. It was full-bodied with a long smooth finish of berries lingering on the palate. I have tasted and reviewed many J. Lohr wines, but I think this is my favorite so far! http://www.jlohr.com
I’m off to embrace this beautiful day!
Sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch are the fundamental senses that allow us to experience and express our perception of the world around us.
We rely on our sight, taste and smell to communicate impressions of wine and food. Donnafugata, a family owned winery situated in western Sicily, has taken the “sensorial experience” to a whole new level!
On Wednesday, I had lunch with the delightful Josè Rallo, one of the family members of Donnafugata. I tasted elegant wines and learned all about this magical family and winery, as we dined on local, artisanal food in a private room at Black Barn Restaurant in NYC.
The Rallo family began their trek into the world of wine in 1851. In 1983, Josè’s parents, Giacomo and Gabriella created Donnafugata. The name means “woman in flight” and refers to a story from a piece of literature called “Il Gattopardo”. Most of the Donnafugata labels and names of wines, which are very whimsical, pay homage to various works of art and literature. In 1990, their children, Josè and Antonio joined them with Josè as head of management control & communication and Antonio as a dedicated agronomist, wine maker and head of the Consorzio Sicilia DOC. Together, the Rallo family has dedicated themselves to eco-sustainable management, biodiversity and paying special attention to their carbon footprint.
Contessa Entellina, Donnafugata’s wine estate, is comprised of 667 acres and seven vineyards. They cultivate 17 varieties of grape, both indigenous varieties and Italian and international vine varieties. The Donnafugata vineyards are spread throughout 10 districts, each having uniqueness in soil, altitude, exposure and micro-climatic conditions.
In addition, Donnafugata has a winery and vineyard on Pantelleria, a volcanic island situated between Africa and Sicily. Zibibbo (Moscato d’Alessandria) is the wine variety grown on their 168-acre vineyards, located in 12 different areas of the island. Some of the plants are more than 100 years old! The vines are cultivated by hand, planted in a basin and trained to grow low and horizontally. This system of planting allows the vines to withstand the wind on the island. The winery is located in the Khamma district of the island.
Wines produced at Contessa Entellina and Pantelleria are brought to the Marsala Aging Winery, Donnafugata’s production facility, for refinement and bottling.
And now, back to my lunch with Josè!
As we nibbled on appetizers, Josè introduced us to SurSur 2014, a 100% Grillo grape, that is an ancient indigenous variety from Sicily. The color was pale straw with lovely aromas of green apple, peach and grapefruit. The palate offered a perfect balance of citrus and floral. At an average price of $19.00, this is a great wine to keep stocked in the refrigerator, especially with the warmer months on the way.
We continued to drink the SurSur as we ate a delicious Kale Salad. Josè, who is also an accomplished singer with a beautiful voice, sang us a song that she felt paired the wine with the music, giving us the ultimate “multi-sensory” experience! In fact, she sang a song with every wine poured, sending us on an incredible sensory journey each time.
Before the main course arrived, a bottle of 2011 Tancredi Sicilia and 2010 Mille e Una Notte Sicilia were opened. The Tancredi is made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Nero d’Avola. The aromas of dark fruit, light oak, spices and herbs gave way to earthy flavors, rich berries, licorice, spice and soft tannins. The average price of this wine is about $36.00.
The Mille e Una Notte is made with Nero d’Avola, Petit Verdot, Syrah and other grapes. Deep red in color, the aromas were heady and intense with dark fruit and spices. The palate was layered with plum, cherry, pepper and a hint of cocoa. Soft tannins accompanied a long finish. This is one of Donnafugata's more expensive wines, with a price tag averaging around $60.00 a bottle, but well worth it!
As we got ready for dessert, a bottle of 2013 Ben Ryé was opened. It was exquisite! This naturally sweet wine is made with 100% Zibibbo grown on the island of Pantelleria. The color was brilliant amber with intoxicating aromas of apricot and floral that segued onto the palate and lingered. The wine was concentrated and intense, but beautifully balanced. Although I would have been quite happy drinking this as my “dessert”, it complemented the Chocolate Cremeux passion fruit gelee, nougaline. I found the average price to be around $45.00 a bottle.
Donnafugata wine is distributed in 60 countries and can be found in most wine shops, online and in many restaurants. To learn more about this innovative winery, visit their website at: http://www.donnafugata.it/pagine/Homepage.aspx
Josè’s exuberance and passion for her wines, music and life was the sweet pearl that I took with me when I left. It was a very enjoyable afternoon!
Oh my…it’s Friday and I’m finally sitting down to write a post. The days are going by so quickly and I can’t seem to get caught up with everything. However, an unexpected little snowstorm is keeping me inside this morning, so let me begin.
I met with a few friends midweek for tapas and a glass of Albariño wine. This green-skinned grape is grown in Galicia, located in northwest Spain. Albariño is the Galician name for this grape whereas in Portugal it is referred to as Alvarinho. Albariño wine is noted for its floral and soft fruity bouquet extending to the palate with common notes of peach and citrus. I found it to be light and quite complementary to the variety of tapas dishes. It is a lovely wine to keep in mind for the warmer months and also makes for a great aperitif.
Last night I opened a bottle of 2009 D’Isanto & D’Isanto I Balzini Red Label to serve with a hearty homemade vegetable and bean soup. I reviewed this Tuscan wine about a year ago. Most of what I experienced back then, remained consistent. Made with Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese, the aromas were rich in dark fruit and spice. The palate offered black cherry, plum and earth as it did before. However, this time the finish was stronger, with spice and anise lingering for a longer finish. The wine opened up much faster as well. My guest will attest that it was good to the last drop! http://www.ibalzini.it/index.php/en
The snow is beginning to taper off and I’m getting ready for the weekend and Super Bowl!