Tag Archives: red wine

Sex Love and Barolo–playing FMK with my favorites

9 May

Oh wow. I’m not sure how, but I got to stay/work-Barolo/Barbaresco-cation. For the Barolo Barbaresco World Opening 2022. And I got to rate the latest vintages. Perhaps it is fate. Like, I am madly in love with Barolo and Barbaresco. Both are Nebbiolo, but Barolo is a little more brash, in terms of tannins, and aged longer than Barbaresco. It only makes sense I’d get to spend three days with them. Me, Barolo and Barbaresco–there’s a threesome dream team.

Granted there are different tiers of love. Barolo is a lover, Barbaresco I’d marry. I don’t know that there is a B in the Piemonte I’d kill. If I were playing Fuck Marry Kill with the region. Certainly not Barbera d’Asti.

Playing FMK with wine. How did I get there? Enough about me.

I don’t have ONE wine that made me realize wine was magic, but a Damilano Lecinquevignes was the first wine that made me go bonkers for a Nebbiolo–like I DID NOT KNOW THAT WINE DID THAT. I also didn’t know what to expect from an orgasm until I had one. The problem with great wine and sex is now I have expectations.

Sex, love, and Barolo. You really can’t take them apart.

If you are not familiar, they are wines made in Piedmont, in northern Italy. They are 100% Nebbiolo. It’s a finicky grape. It is high in everything–acid, tannins, alcohol–and that is perhaps what makes it so intoxicating on so many levels.

The morning after the casual welcome soirée on the 73rd floor of the Intercontinental, we walked into a room with 204 bottles of the recently released vintages of Barolo (2018) and Barbaresco (2019), and four hours to make our way through, in whatever order we wanted (they had a crew of somms to bring us whichever wine on the list we pleased)as many or as few of the bottles as we wished, and ultimately rate the vintages. I made it through about 50 wines.

I’ve realized that the more wine I sample, even when spitting, the more pithy, asshole-ish, and absurd my notes become. Not that I’m necessarily liking wines tasted later less–I just am a little less buttoned up in how I describe them.

Interestingly…and I’m just saying…some of my favorites, like top three faves, were favored producers from prior tastings and (hello I’m brain damaged, I don’t remember every favorite Nebbiolo without going through old notes and yes I keep notes on nearly everything) surprise surprise were loved again. And they were ones that turned up on the other’s top picks.

I could go on about the rest of the press tour and maybe I should. There was a party at Universal Studios. There was a master class. There was Fontina cheese (and there always should be cheese). There was a big walk around tasting for the trade. And then there was the walk around for the public that me and my new wine besties played hooky from because we got invited to a Cote de Rosés party with models in Hollywood where we greedily sucked down rosé like the water it was, after three days of Nebbiolo.

I digress.

I’ll be real. Barolo and Barbaresco are nearly always great, particularly when they’ve had some time to grow into their tannic noses. But it’s those top…let’s just say top ten, just to be controversial (probably more), that are the wines that make you go hmmm…a happy hmmm. If I’m being real (which I think I just said I was) there is no Kill in Barolo/Barbaresco FMK. It’s more like Fuck Marry Kiss.

I’ll start with a producer I was excited about at the morning tasting, Ettore Germano, and it wasn’t until I talked to the winemaker himself at the walk-around the next day that I thought hmmmm, there’s something familiar in his face. I later realized I’d had dinner next to him at a sparkling wine event four years ago. That time, he was pouring a sparkling Nebbiolo rosé that knocked my socks off. So I was happy that his solid reds were solid. Beyond solid really. That man’s wines are art.

My next pick, according to my tasting cohorts, is supes controversh for building a VERY modern winery that looks like wine boxes stacked on each other in Barolo. I feel like Italians do art and fashion so well and so progressively, so it’s interesting they object to a lil’ fun architecture but whatever. L’Astemia Pentita is the name of the wine and her Barolo from the Cannubi vineyard comes in purple glass bottles which I’m guessing is also not so popular with the locals. And it is GOOD. In my top five. Energetic, bracing, and then there’s notes of pastilles. Great fun. And maybe it’s wrong but I do love a troublemaker so long as their product is delish.

And then we come to my old friend ( I wish) G.D. Vajra. I cherish their wine. The bottling I had was from Barolo Bricco delle Viole. My notes read “smells like white chocolate laced w/ flowers, much fresher palate, alert tannins but not annoying -fernet-laced. Complex, fascinating, heady. I do love them.

Go on and get yourself some Barolo. Grab yourself a Barbaresco. Have some nibbles on hand and have a ball. I did.

I’m a sucker for wine recipes

21 Sep

I got this wine. It had a BBQ sauce recipe to go with it. The wine is aged in bourbon barrels. I love Bourbon, my dolls. I don’t know that this gave too many bourbon-y notes but the only time you’ll hear me say “it has notes of coconut” in positive light is when speaking of things aged in American oak. As Bourbon is.

The grapes? 30% Merlot, 20% Zinfandel, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Pinot Noir, 14% Petite Sirah.

Oh what’s the wine?

1000 Stories Gold Rush Red 2017

The wine and its accompanying recipe gave me a tempeh excuse. I mean a tempting excuse.

After all, the BBQ recipe was meant for ribs. But as a vegetarian I prefer to put meat ON my bones as opposed to sucking it from…okay this is getting graphic. But if you fatten my ribs, do it with red wine and BBQ tempeh.

And/or do it with bread and butter and/or fries but that’s a given.

What does a vegetarian put BBQ sauce on? Tempeh! And fortunately the recipe only uses a half cup of the wine so you and your dining companions can have the rest of the vino.

So I poured the wine, I made the sauce, I sautéed the tempeh, I set the table (lies I have no table) and tucked in.

The wine:

Looks deep but frivolous

On the nose I smelled purple raisins running in vanilla fields. It’s not paradise but it is a happy place.

On the tongue: medium acid med + tannin, high alcohol, full body, medium plus intensity…more prunes. Actually, dried fruits of every sort. But someone smashed them into a fresh plum mush

Dang that’s tasty.

I tossed BBQ sauce coated tempeh into my maw then took a swig and…for two seconds I thought eh it’s okay. I mean the wine IS less sweet than the sauce which is SUPPOSED to suck if the wine is less sweet but this held the floor.

I’m in.

For Zin.

For bbq tempeh.

For ribs. Mine.

oh ps I got this as a sample but I get a boatload of wines as samples. I only write about ones I find worthy.

Oh wait. The sauce:

GOLD RUSH RED BBQ SAUCE

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion (mine was more like diced whatevs)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated (mine were more like minced but dubs whatevs)
  • 1 tsp. cumin (used a smidge more)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchupsee-through-is

Heat the oil over medium. Sauté your onion and garlic until onion is see-through-ish. Add cumin and cayenne and stir. Add sugar and wine, stir until sugar dissolves. Add vinegar and ketchup and bring to low boil. Adjust heat to bring sauce to a vigorous simmer (don’t know what that mean but it was somewhere in the simmer-plus range). Keep doin’ it til thickened. At that point I added a packet of tempeh–8 oz I think–that I had chopped up into various sizes (I like bite variation not bit consistency). Then eat. I like using chopsticks but go with fingers forks tongs I don’t care. Neither does your wine. Enjoy it my darling.

 

What a beaut

13 Jun

Before I get into it remember that the first three letters of beautiful are Bea.

And I now present for your adulation Azienda Paolo Bea’s 2010 Umbria Rosso “San Valentino”, a 70% Sangiovese/15% Sagrantino/15% Montepulciano that I want to marry.

Bea is also the first three letters of Beau. This wine will be my lover. And my Valentine(o). Good god the wordplay is endless. I’ll try to restrain my verbal tendencies.

Why do I love this wine? The Rosso is sturdy and dark-souled, but elegant. I guess I want to court a regal beast.

Also don’t forget Bea switched up is Bae.

It is man enough to, well, manhandle me. Sturdy tannins for days.

But graceful enough to make it last. It is all tomato balsamic and earth and cola and more dirt but thats just flotsam in a dark berry river running down dry as fuck riverbeds. And me and my beau are rafting through on a float made of 50 year old vines.

Beautiful Bae, I want this Bea to be my beau.

I either need to drink more wine, or get laid, which is which. As it is I am writing this sober at home on a Tuesday. I’m going to eat some ice cream and dream of getting my greedy hands on more Bea.

You do you.

Gonna drink this Zin right outa my wine fridge…

30 Sep


I edited like justttttt close enough although why oh why is there not nipple freedom for all?

But back to the title of this post: forgetting. Fuck. Am I being too personal? I’m trying to get rid of the wines that remind me of love lost. Which right now is Zin. FML. In the future I plan to stop educating my romances in wine. If they become fond of my faves suddenly all those former faves make me sad.

So I thought “I’ll drink up all those and focus on learning new ones”.

But the problem is I stock exemplary er…examples of Zin. So I can’t get over the wine. But maybe the wine is gonna be so good I’ll get over the lost romance? Maybe life is not so bad?

SO FUCK IT WITH THIS BOTTLE I RECLAIM MY LOVE OF THIS WINE AS MY OWN!!!!!!!! And my life.

Or something. In other words I’m my own goddamned lady.

Let’s talk wine. The glorious thing of this example is that it encompasses all your senses, including emotions. And it surrounds you with voluptuous joy. So:

2015 Dutcher Crossing Proprietor’s Reserve Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

I discovered Dutcher Crossing from one of the wines my SF Wine Contest friend (he does their graphic design and such) brought back. It was good one year. Even better the next. So I bought some of my own.

Like I said it is a heady joy inducing wine. Like love you forget your woes in its presence. DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?!! Perhaps it is the tannic and aggressive aggressive 13% petite sirah that makes this wine give me wings.

In case you want tech notes I’ll get technical.

To your eyeholes: It is deep ruby with thick jambs. That’s legs sweet babies.

To the nostril-holes: It creeps out of the glass and assaults you with a kiss of dried cherries. There is more but that is the most important.

In your mouth hole/tastebuds/throat/nchest this is dry, medium plus acid, with medium tannins that have been to sex-ed, medium plus alcohol, and all the blueberries, blackberries, dried red cherries and super duper dried vanilla beans you could wish for which I am guessing are the love children of the 35% new american oak used.

Anyway this wine will take you for a ride. Dang it. My old love is no longer. Boys come and go.

Zinfandel is my life partner.

Regnié and a Red Hat

3 Jul


The name of this wine inspired me to put on a red cap of my own.

Apologies to Mets, Cubs and Giants fans in particular, but I’m a Cardinals girl. Okay now that that’s out of the way–

On this Beaujolais journey we have swilled on down:

Morgon

Chiroubles

Fleurie

Moulin-A-Vent

Chénas

Juliénas
And!
Saint-Amour

Okey dokey yea now we are on to Regnié. I talked about it once before.

But this one oh yes.

2012 Bonnet Rouge Regnié

Holy hell no sulfur! Normally I worry about that ending up stanky in a bad way but this is a natural phenomen. 

Thank god or I would think it unseemly… that this is…okay there is no polite way to say but cloudy.

Okay so also it is not penultimate in complexity. But it is more interesting than wines I’ve tasted three times the 10-ish dollar expense of this one.

If you hate: licorice, anise, or tarragon ye best run.

I LOVE this wine and probably would pay three times the amount it was (which would still be medium in price) because it is friggin’ RIFE with licorice-y taste deeeelite..but more than that anise? It makes me think of springerles–cookies my family makes around Christmas.

Which are the magic.

THE magic. This is an alcoholic springerle in a glass.

With just a bit more than a hint of the pastille I get in the Morgon. 

The Morgon has about as much pastille as I got in Chiroubles. This is a tiny region and hell now I want to open all three crus and do an anise-off between them. And I might chase that with some absinthe. Just so I can compare to the hardcore but jeez just all the anise/licorice/pastille etc ness. Y’all.

How does this compare? Oddly the further south I get the fresher the flavor I get. A phenomenon you see in say, Napa Velley but I don’t know it the type of wine (i.e. natural or not) has something to do with it. Still learning.

Anywho this has the delightful Gamay classic flavor of ALL sorts of cherries. Violets. And then that licorice and anise. The licorice and anise overwhelm my tastebuds but I FUCKING LOVE THEM. If you don’t this will undoubtedly be not good to you.

But fuck yah if I would not believe this bottle was 25-30. Not just under ten.

Bargain royalty.

And go Redbirds!! We need to win some more games so I can toast them with this red hat wine. 

Chiroubles: some would call it gender fluid. i call it fluid.

19 Jun


ONWARDDDD!!!!!

We have tackled Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-a-Vent, and Fleurie! So let us keep on. To Chiroubles!!

Specifically:

2015 Laurent Gauthier Chiroubles Chatenay “Vielles Vignes”

I got this sucker for about 14 bucks from guess………duh Garagiste.

Oh golly apparently these “old vines” were planted on a steep pink granitic arena. HELLZ YEAH THIS WINE IS A BEEFY WINE AND YET FROM PINK SOIL!

Pink pussy power y’all. Pink granite grit. Feel it. Vinified in whole clusters in concrete vats.

This shit is hardcore essence of pink granitic Gamay and I am into it. It is a delightfully balanced wine, essence-wise. The acid is balanced with ripe blueberry and cherry fruitiness (which so may confuse with sweetness). The light tannins are balanced with…well they are still light but have strong handshake. Wicked oaky tannins would detract from what I ADORE that is hard to find in say…well I don’t know but. Soil is a lady y’all.

What I am saying is this wine has light flowers and I love it. Violets. This wine is violets and I want to french kiss it. As for the finish this wine doesn’t last long or change which is fine. I mean there are the vinos whose finish is so complex and crazy you can’t believe it and want to dwell on it forever but day to day I am a working lady. Sometime I want a quickie.

This wine is tough on the outside but then…those violets. Tasty.

In terms of comparison this wine, as compared to the other crus of Beaujolais is not as tough as most but fuller than Fleurie. Which is full but lacks manliness.

Chiroubles is gender fluid wine. It is true. I hear you giggling at that. Stop making fun of me. It is funny because it is true.

So actually, go ahead and laugh. I own my silliness. I’m macho like that.

Gimme some fleurs 

11 Jun


Real quick: this week we had actress Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, anyone?) on the podcast. And get into how to talk about cat pee notes in New Zealand wine so…listen to it here!

And now.

Fleuries! Oh yes my dahhhhhlings having gotten through Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, AND those devilish windmills aka Moulin-A-Vent we are  moving on to our darling flowers: Fleurie.

2014 Chateau de Grand Pre Fleurie

The gorgeous thing about French wines is they SOUND like they taste.

Moulins tilt. Saint-Amour is complex as true love. Brouilly brews up trouble and Chénas? Well it chains you to Beaujolais😁. 

Fleurie stays true to its name in that it tends to be more aromatic of flowers like violets. And it can be light and delicate like a lovely rose blossom. Makes you wonder what influences what more–the name or the wine?

I am doing this series probably more for my own education than anyone else’s. 

Ugh okay for all the following add “plus flowers and a whiff bubble gum” to the description and you’ll get the more typical Fleurie I like. Not as flowery and jammy as Beaujolais noveau but Fleurie does have some of those delightful things from time to time. Because carbonic maceration.

This Fleurie appeals to hipsters who like raw and natural. Let’s get WSET-y:

Look: medium and muddy grape-purple colored and the tears are slow but medium.

Nose: Oh funk a hit of oils! But otherwise raw green pepper and cherries and mulberries. Hint of allspice.

On yer tongue: Dry as f and acid as almost f and alcohol also medium (oh let me check label says 13% abv yup medium) tannins medium minus, body medium minus (for red), intensity of flavor is perhaps medium maybe even medium plus.

I’d like some more Fleuries and I’d take some flowers too. But if forced to decide between I’d likely take the wine first. Just sayin’.

Cheers darlings. Pick a flower for me. 

Et tu, Beaujolais? Yup this Juliénas will kill

21 May


Firstly pretty please check out The Whine Situation, my new comedy n wine podcast on iTunes and  we just got added to Stitcher too yeaaaaaaaa. If you like it n wanna give us an iTunes subscribe or rating all the better. 

One more distraction before the next cru! I was a guest on The Delightful Table, a fantastic blog by my friend Scheherezade features sustainable cooking and seasonal veggies. We experimented pairing “difficult to pair” veggies with wines. Check out the artichoke madness here


And now. We are moving on down through the Beaujolais crus! From flippant Saint-Amour to rather stern Juliénas! A jerk face who is sinister and will beat your mouth up. In a good way, of course!

Named for Caesar. Shall we salad with this wine? Would a Caesar salad pair well? Huh, I feel like maybe not but it’s worth investigating. The wine in question:

2015 David-Beaupere Juliénas “Vayolette”

I got it for about 20 bucks from Garagiste, my favorite source for interesting wines at jolly prices.
Juliénas has a variety of terroirs but the unifying factor tends to be that they are bigger and rougher wines.

This wicked wine was grown in yards of volcanic blue stone, and was made organically. It is a unique devil.

Holy moly it’s high alcohol! 15 % abv. Holy heck it bashes your tongue with little blue pebbles and bramble cranberries! I don’t care if bramble cranberries are not a thing in case you were concerned. I taste violets are blooming in the pebbles to boot. What is this specimen? How is it conquering me with so many different sensations that don’t match yet go together?

And holy holy hell is this wine dark.

Purple as sin. Presuming sin’s true color when showing true colors is purple. The darkness is in flavor too: black pepper, a bit of…I dunno. This is a total snobby “I imagine” tasting note but I bet if those dark purple irises–ya know the flower I’m speaking of?–had a flavor it would be in this wine.

The biggest difference between this and our friend St. Love is the power and the depth. The similarity? The lack of tannins! Many times I taste a tannic wine and describe it as beating my mouth up but this tongue-beater does so without tannins.

Tricky tricky sly sly Caesar.

Now to make that salad (but sans anchovies in the dressing seeing as I’m a vegetarian).

Cheers and tongue-lashings! 

I Feel Amour. The Cycle begins!

15 May


I’ve been saying it for some time. That I was going to do a cycle going through all the lovely Beaujolais crus. Those are: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vènt, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié,  Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. I came up with a device to remember this: Saint Julian Called Many French Cheapo Madams Really Comely Broads.

And I’ve been feeling the…oh…feeling of spring so what better time to jump into Saint-Amour? The most northerly. We begin at zee beginning.

2015 Pascal Berthier “Esprit de Séduction” Saint-Amour

Beyond waiting for spring fever it took me fucking forever to find a Chenas and I wanted to have located all the crus before starting the dang cycle. But we are here now.

I am feeling love for this Saint-Amour, the most northern of the Beaujolais crus. Ah yes, the granite/clay/schist/limestone soils are on hillier regions than much of the Beaujolais area. Hills can be lovely for wine that wants warmth and sun. And Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, needs a whiff of both.

So far I love this wine and it is loving me back.

Blueberries, y’all. And more blueberries plus blackberries and friggin’ slate blackboard. Picture your childhood art teacher grabbing blue chalk and drawing blueberries and you lick the board and it actually tastes both like the board, the chalk, and the berries. Therrrrre you go. This is a classic gamay in its freshness, berry-ness, a hint of some sort of fortified wine so whaaaa—chamomile/herbs/quinine?—and just more love.

Love y’all back. Next week———–Julienas!

We are cycling together my people. Love you too. 

 

Wine-timidation

18 Apr

Oh no so there is that friend. She has her shit together. She is smarter, cooler, more–I dunno everything-er–than you, and you love her but worry about saying the wrong thing around her until the night gets going and you realize really her presence is actually calming.

She looks super deep, and also somehow pulls off the paisley/plaid/denim look like a boss. Like this wine pulls off combining varietals from Spain (the Tempranillo), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Northern Rhone (Syrah). And then this wine sports the one wacky grape like she rocks the random nonsensical jacket patches and it works! The grape in this oh-so-super metaphor is the Petit Verdot. Who the F grows that? It is a finicky and needs extra-special heat and is hardcore and normally used in tiny amounts except here where it is a full 25% of the beverage but hey! This wine has it! And makes it wicked awesome! Why does she have a wombat patch? That’s so odd! And cool now you wanna get to know some wombats even though she probably forgot she ever got that patch.

Oh right and before I forget there is hip minimalist intervention in the making of this vineyard to boot. So cool.

Also a friend of mine in the wine community sent this to me because he rocks and I do my best to give him educated wine feedback…

Here is the thing. This girl (wine) is good. And quality. And worth keeping in your wheelhouse. I might eat it with migas but don’t tell.

So this intimidating friend/wine…although at first glance too hip n cool for school, once you get to chatting (sipping) she is relatable. Do-able. Maybe even basic. Simpler than you surmised but still…upscale shall we say. Delectable.

And now I shall like a WSET advanced certified person I’ll judge for you this wine:

2012 Booker Vineyard “Remnant” 

35% Tempranillo, 25 % Petite Verdot, 23 % Syrah, 17 % Cabernet Sauvignon

Aged 24 months in French oak barrels. From Paso Robles (so near yet so far!).

Lemme give those of you who want a soundbite tasting note my thoughts: This is plush but has a bite. Fruity in a way some peeps will call sweet but really just fruity. With some spice. Balanced perfectly. If you want to know what to pair it with I would say walnuts. That’s my gut feeling. But you are not ordering that for dinner so I’d say anything with nuts. Oooooh a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich would be flippin’ wicked with this. Now I need a sandwich. Oh my.

All of which to say this is an approachable wine with an attitude. Like that girl who is so cool you hope she likes you too. She probably will.

Details, WSET-style:

To the eye: DARK!!! Which I love. Dark ruby/purple. Opaque even poured in small amounts. Medium thick slow tears gliding down the wineglass sides.

Nose: All sorts of blackberries, plums, allspice, red pears,and ginger.

Tongue: Dry but so fruit-forward you almost wanna call it sweet. Acid is medium. Tannins medium and may be from the petit verdot but clearly there is some influence from the oak. Sorta plush yet textured like that. Alcohol is medium (13.8% abv which technically is .3 over medium but what the heck evs). Body is for a red medium…almost plus> Strawberries blackberries cherries all the -ies, allspice as heck, a hint of that sorta sweet baby spinach…rightttt? Right. Flavor intensity is medium, Finish is medium plus. There is a moment you think “this is short-ish or maybe medium” then something spicy kicks you. In a Pleasant Kicking Way. Someone is into that right??

Okay. Thank you Paul for sending this my way. It is truly a delight.

Oh heck realized I have some peanut butter cup ice cream and a cherry ice cream and that may be the ideal pairing for this wine. Test it and tell me?