Monday, July 30, 2012

Next Post Wednesday

Today is my last full day in California for a while, and I must move back to Ohio tomorrow evening. This makes it a little difficult to put up a new post. However, you need not worry, there will be a wonderful post this Wednesday night to celebrate "Wine Wednesday." Stay tuned! :)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

“Glass Rating”

One thing that I thought would be helpful if I was to have a rating system for the wines I try, but what to do…. Points? Overly done…. Stars? since when does wine have stars…. then it hit me!

Each normal 750ml bottle contains 4 glasses of wine, perfect! Starting with my previous post I will be adding a glass rating to each wine I try. This rating system goes from zero glasses to four glasses, with four glasses meaning that the wine is absolutely outstanding, and zero meaning I will not suggest the wine.

I want to recognize the fact that, like any other rating system, this rating is based on my personal tastes. However, I want you to know that I have been tasting lots of different wines, and I take every aspect of with wine (except price) into consideration when providing you a rating. The reason I do not take the price into consideration of the rating, is because of the fact that I want you to enjoy a wine by what’s in the bottle. Do not be scared of the price point, I am working hard to find you wines that you will enjoy regardless of price. The more open you are to expanding your possibilities, the more opportunity you have to find some hidden wine gems, but rejoice in the fact that there are some delicious wines at extremely cost effective prices. J

Moreover, I am open to suggestions on wines that you would like me to try, and gladly welcome your comments of your thoughts on the wines I’ve tried. Wine can, and should be enjoyed with others, so let’s ThinkWine together!


Williamson Wines 2010 - "Frolic" Viognier

While visiting the California wine region, my brother & sister-in-law took be into this fun little boutique tasting room that according to my brother “knows how to sell some wine.” Boy was he right! Every single wine at Williamson was paired with food that was selected because it would enhance the experience. It was fantastic! This Viognier, unlike the other wines was paired with a curry encrusted cashew nut, something extremely unique, and I needed to pick up a bottle to see what it was like on its own.

Similar to some of my other wine choices, Viognier is a different style wine that has its unique role to play. For this wine, I recommend enjoying it with spicy food, and it will bring out the sultry flavors enhancing your experience with your food.

North Coast of California

Pale yellow, with a gold tint

This wine starts with strong hints of cantaloupe. Then it evolves into aromas of pine, rosemary, and honeysuckle.

Upon first sip, I tasted sharp pear with an oaky finish. This left a slight bite on the tip of my tongue, leaving me a little parched. Finally, overtime this wine Viognier opened up to be smoother with a soft fruit finish.

Glass Rating:
2.5 Glasses

$32 (In Tasting Room)

Monday, July 16, 2012

To Screw, or Not To Screw?

More and more when you go into the wine aisle you will notice screw tops on the bottles! Upon seeing these bottles I know I thought to myself was “does screw that this is a cheaper wine?...does the sine of a screw top mean it is of a lesser quality?” and “does buying this wine make me look like a lush?” In doing some research on the use of this type of closure I have seen the same, or similar questions from many others.

The reality about screw tops may surprise you. However, before I reveal the result, I need to first inform you about the different types of ways used to seal wines.

Wine can have one of three different types of closures:
1.       Traditional Cork
2.       Synthetic Cork
3.       Screw Top

The oldest method of sealing a bottle of wine was to use a cork, which comes from the bark of a cork oak tree. There is a level of nostalgia that comes from removing a cork to open up the wine for your special occasion. However, many do not realize that those wines using a traditional cork are playing the cork lottery. The cork lottery is in reference to the potential of your bottle of wine being “corked,” a flat wine with a musty smell. A trait that comes from TCA, a substance used to sanitize corks. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 1/10 bottles of wine with a cork are plagued with this issue. :(

After over a century of using traditional corks, scientists developed the means to produce synthetic corks, those made with plastic. These newer corks are not subjected to the issue of creating a “corked” wine. HOWEVER, these corks have had a noticeably hard time controlling the oxidation of the wine. Oxygen is essential to developing, and aging great wine, but too much can create a horrible experience.

Finally, there is the creation and implementation of the screw top. The screw top has risen to the issues presented by the older methods, and conquered them. Yes, these wine closures have removed some of the mysticism around opening that bottle of wine with a cork screw. BUT, one should not let this fact alone prevent you from purchasing a wine that you may seriously enjoy during your next event.

So the next time you are in the store, do not turn a blind eye to the screw top, give it an honest chance, because you never know if you will like it till you try it. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Delicious Oven Filelt Mignon

Fillet Mignon with Red Wine Balsamic, and Bleu Cheese Butter (without a grill)

Last week I wanted to make something special for the fourth of July, a day of celebration that I usually find myself enjoying beverages, and delicious grilled food. However, this year was a challenge. I did not have a grill, and am 1,500 miles away from those whom I would normally celebrate with. So the challenge was to make a delicious meal with no grill that could be made to serve one. Inspiration set in for Fillet Mignon, and I just had to learn how to cook this wonderful meal without a grill. I spent time searching around online, and eventually found several helpful websites. I then combined their information, created my own recipe,  and was happy with the result! Below I have listed out the recipe I created, and steps so that you can make this mouthwatering dish yourself, so that you can enjoy it with a savory wine (or two).

·         Fillets (about  1-2 inches thick)
·         EVOO Olive Oil
·         Balsamic Vinaigrette
·         Red Wine (I used the one that I was going to be drinking)
·         Bleu Cheese
·         Butter
·         Ground Sea Salt
·         Ground Black Pepper

1.       (1.5 hours before) Remove butter from fridge, place in small bowl, and let warm to room temperature. Once at room temperature add Bleu Cheese to the butter, mix thoroughly, place back in fridge.
2.       (20 min before) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove Fillets from fridge and let them warm up to room temperature, once at room temperature place EVOO all over each Fillet, and then grind up sea salt and black pepper onto each side.
3.       Place a skillet on the stove, and heat up to a Medium-High heat. Once heated place Fillet on the skillet, let it cook for 3 minutes. FLIP ONCE and let it cook the other side for 3 minutes, this is to char the outside of the fillet so that you will have a greater flavor.
4.       After cooking on each side, remove the fillet from the pan, and place it in the pre-heated oven for 6 minutes for your fillet to be a perfect medium rare. Return the skillet to a low temperature.
5.       Once you place the fillet in the oven pour the balsamic vinaigrette and some red wine into the low temperature skillet to make your sauce, use your own preference in amounts (you cannot go wrong). Make sure to stir them so that your balsamic vinaigrette doesn’t separate out of solution.
6.       Once your fillet has cooked, remove it from the oven, place on a plate, pour the sauce over top of the fillet (slowly, to allow the juices to soak in), and remove your pre-made bleu cheese butter place a dollop atop your fillet. Once complete, cover your plate/fillet with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to soak into your fillet, the bleu cheese butter to melt and cascade flavor atop your perfectly cooked meat.
7.       Uncover, and place your fillet on the plate it will be served on. It is recommended that you already have your sides on the plate so that your fillet will be served warm.
8.       Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine (I recommend a well-aged Napa Cabernet Sauvignon), and enjoy.

I hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Please let me know your thoughts. Cheers!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Folie a Deux 2008 – Cabernet Sauvignon

While with family I have enjoyed this company’s Ménage et Trios wine, which is a combination of three grapes. So while passing through Napa I saw their vineyard and decided to pick up a bottle when I returned home.

This Cabernet is a simplistic, easy to enjoy cab that is not overpowered with tannins. It has aged well, to appropriately balance out to be a drink that accents the fruit, while presenting some of that stereotypical Cab tastes. The wine tastes like it is a blend of Cabernet (80%), Merlot (15-20%), which may surprise some, but actually a wine can be labeled a certain varietal from Napa if it contains at least 75% of a particular grape variety. This combination makes this wine have a medium body that can go well with cheese, and non spicy foods.

Napa, California

Deep purple.

While taking in this wine I enjoyed the scents of blackberry, raspberry, and black pepper.

Like many wines, this one opens up over time. It started out with the intense flavor of blackberry, plum, and raspberry. Then it will turn into black currant, and spices. Finally resulting in a soft finish that has hints of spice. 

I made a Fillet Mignon (pan/oven) that was served medium rare, over a balsamic vinaigrette red wine sauce, and topped with bleu cheese butter. (Recipe to be posted soon)

$24 ($13 with store discount)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dutton Goldfield 2011 – Gewürztraminer

Recently my brother (Jason), and my sister-in-law (Logan) took me on my first trip out to Napa & Sonoma. When they left, they gave me this bottle of Dutton Goldfield to enjoy on a nice summer day while living out in California for the summer. I am grateful for the experience, and the wine. Love you both!

Gewürztraminer is a unique experience to begin with, and Dutton Goldfield’s takes me on a journey back to when I lived in NY. For many years my family would go out apple picking, and this wine is like taking a bite out a succulent piece of fruit that comes right off the tree. The kind you have to close your eyes while eating in order to take it all in. It will then finish like a bouquet of flowers that has shown up at your doorstep to welcome you into summer.

Sonoma, California - Russian River Valley

Pale yellow, almost golden.

Seductive scent of a fresh pear that transforms into that of fresh cut flowers, apple-hookah, and asparagus.

The taste starts out like biting into a sweet pear in the middle of a fresh cut bouquet of flowers. You are then left with the fresh taste of a first bite into a granny smith apple on the tip of your tongue. Luckily, after your sip the wine will continue to leave this fresh taste for just over a minute.

Chilled in the fridge.

I do not always pair my wine, but I happened to have some roasted pistachio & almonds tossed with rosemary, and it was a delightful combination.

Approximately $30 (this was a gift)

Why ThinkWine?

Wine can be scary, and buying wine can be an overwhelming process! Think about the last time you went to your local store:

You probably asked yourself whether you should buy a red or white wine (if you’re even going to pick up wine at all). Then you make a decision on red v. white, well guess what there is a myriad of types of reds (Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, etc.) likewise for whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Moscato, Gewurztminer, etc.). Let alone the fact of then having to understand the different wine regions of the world, and how the “terroir” will grow grapes that with the addition of sugar & yeast will produce a product that tastes nothing like how it started.

After knowing going through all this, the next impact will be the one on the wallet. Wine can start out at the low price point of $3 a bottle (for Charles Shaw, Beringer, Sutter Home, and others), and even surpass $210 a bottle for wine’s like Opus One.

So my intention is that by you joining this journey I can assist you by doing some of the ground work to make your wine shopping experience simpler. This way you can enjoy your wine, as you should because wine is fun!

Please join me, comment, share experiences, have fun, and ThinkWine!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seaglass 2010 - Sauvignon Blanc

To celebrate the 4th of July, it is important to be as patriotic as possible. As such I purchased three bottles of wine. Each of which represents part of the American flag, and all are from the United States. Seaglass’ Sauvignon Blanc serves as my “white” (label & type) wine for this celebration of America. Plus as we all know it is relaxing to enjoy by the beach/pool.

Seaglass’ 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is a wine to be enjoyed outside on the beach, or by the pool. Chill it to cool you off during the hot summer day. This wine is a simple wine that will be enjoyed for the low cost of $11.99 per bottle at your local store. The aroma will provide a slight shock of tropical fruit scents, and the finish will keep you wanting to pour just a little more.

Santa Barbara County, California

Pale yellow with a slight tint of green

From the very start the aroma will fill your glass like a tidal wave that will consume your entire nose, and swiftly vanish. You will be hit with the strong scents of apple, pineapple, and other tropical fruits including slight hints of passion fruit. While leaving you with hints of asparagus, and fresh cut grass.

Initially you are able to pull out the flavors of a soft pear, apple, and grapefruit. It is almost as if the wine leapfrogs the front of your pallet, and then goes back to add in a zest of a lime with a slight tart feeling. Then, just as quickly as these flavors appeared, they vanish once swallowed. There will be nothing left except the lingering sense of sea salt that will garner the urge to take yet another sip.

$11.99 (local wholesale store)