Tag Archives: white wine

Seriously Good Grigio

27 Sep

There are wines that Wine People dismiss. And when I say Wine People, dare I say wine snobs? I do dare, and confess I might be one just-a-little-bit. And I am guilty of overlooking today’s grape. Is it because I’ve noticed it is the go-to white wine for a lot of my friends who aren’t Wine People/Snobs? Maybe. Well, the more I think of it, the more I realize that that’s a silly reason to dismiss a wine–if it brings people happiness, maybe I should pay attention.

I’ll stop the preliminary banter. The wine I am speaking of is Pinot Grigio. There are SERIOUSLY good Pinot Grigio wines out there, especially once you learn you can get one of higher quality–more complexity, more balance, more beauty– by looking to a Pinot Grigio from a specific appellation.

The appellation in question today is the DOC Delle Venezie, which was created in 2016 to draw out the best of Pinot Grigio from the Triveneto, aka Tre Venezia. The Delle Venezie DOC includes a few different regions: the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia (never can I ever remember this region’s in full–somebody take my Diploma from me) and Trentino, all located in Northeast Italy.

I actually was just in one of those regions, the Veneto, in June, chilling out, the way wine people do, sucking down quite a bit of Pinot Grigio, from sunup to sundown, on the shores of Lake Garda. As one does. So Pinot Grigio was on my radar as something to rekindle my relationship with. And then I was lucky enough to be sent a couple of bottles of it from the DOC Delle Venezie, which solidified my feelings that I’d been neglecting the grape for too long.

A little terminology tutorial: DOC stands for “Denominazione d’Origine Controllata”, and is meant to ensure that if you drink a wine labeled as such-and-such DOC, that you know where it came from, what grapes it was made from, how it was made, and so on. But most of all, you can be assured that the quality of the bev in the bottle will be what you expect, what you wanted, in some situations what you NEEDED, and that you will not be disappointed because it’s a friggin’ DOC. And DOCs have STANDARDS.

DOC Delle Venezie is a standard bearer for the quality Pinot Grigio.

There are a bunch of reasons why three different regions (which in reality are not so far from each other) can lend one named denomination to the grape. In terms of climate, they all benefit from the protection of the Alps to the north. And then there are multiple rivers that flow through them. So there’s coolness to moderate sun which yayyyyy (if you are an acid-lover like me) usually means the wine will sport refreshing acidity. Flowing water also often means the terroir will be well-ventilated. Temperatures (especially when on hills) will vary from night to day leading to a long ripening span(yay ripe fruit) and acidity levels that never say die.

Now that you know a little more about the region, here’s a smidge more about the grape; let’s call it Pinot Grigio basics: The skin of the grape has a grey-pink tinge, leading to the wines having a coppery color, and in fact when more skin contact is allowed Pinot Grigio can be look like a rosé or sometimes even orange wine. Typical aromas include citrus, stone and orchard fruit. The acid tends to be elevated (see: porch pounder), and other fave pinot-tastic flavors include a certain beery-y nature as well as hints of peanuts. and sometimes flowers.

Within the Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie DOC one can be assured that yields are limited–an important part of quality control, as overcropped grapes=diminished quality. And in this DOC the wines actually undergo a tasting to make sure each bottling stands up to the regional standards. I myself tasted a couple of examples from the region and both made me happy to have Pinot Grigio in my glass.

NATALE VERGA PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE DOC

Tart n tangy! A lot of peach yogurt vibes and traditionally PG all day–bruised fruits, peanut shells and stale beer (in a good way, trust me). Look, here is the thing: Classic Pinot Grigio is like a baseball game beyond those last two tasting notes. It has peaks and lulls and you’ll come back for more.

ALLEGRINI CORTE GIARA PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE 2020

Lighter and fresher and fun. More citrus-y and less lees’y although there was a hint of shells and lactic quality to it, if that makes sense. But most of all, the acidity was clean and clear and I was drinking it with girlfriends on a hot hot day and we couldn’t get enough.

TAKE HOME MISSIVE

Learn how to find the good. Drink the good. Do good. Be you. And if you are a Pinot Grigio lover, this post was for you.

This post was sponsored.

A Rhône of Many Colors

6 Sep

Don’t make me pick a favorite wine. What I desire in my glass depends on a good deal of factors ranging from mood (goth nights call for red red wine) to weather (freezing days desire ice cold vodka martinis, don’t at me), to what I’m eating (French fries need sparkling rosé), to what my budget is, to what my drinking companion likes, and so on.

All that being said Tavel is a Favorite. If not THE favorite.

All THAT being said, I’m a huge proponent of the wines of the Rhône Valley. Beyond THAT (damn I need to get better at cutting to the chase) people tend to celebrate the reds of the Rhône, but there are some really delightful whites and rosés out of the area that you should at least have coffee with.

The Rhône Valley can be a bit confusing–there are big differences between the all the various appellations within it. What I’m gonna leave you with is that most Côtes du Rhône wines are from the Southern Rhône. And if it is a Côtes du Rhône Villages wine, that’s like you subscribed to Hulu without commercials–level up!

Oh! And then some Côtes du Rhône Villages can add the name of their actual village to it, such as the Séguret rosé you can read my review to at the end. I haven’t come up with a perfect streaming channel metaphor for that, but it’s like you don’t even share a login with anyone.

Join me in an indulgence of these wines. I want to drink them in situ someday, but taking them with me on Los Angeles adventures will have to do for now.

I took one of the whites to the Hollywood Bowl, where John Williams was conducting. He does this yearly, and all of us Star Wars nuts show up, many with light sabers (a goal of mine for next year) and people are always like “this may be his last year” but he told me, I mean us, I mean the Hollywood Bowl audience, that he may be 90, but he is doing this show til he’s 100. Beyond Star Wars themes these shows (this was my second, why do I not have a light saber yet) remind one of how many epic soundtracks he composed–Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, E.T., Jaws, Harry Potter…it goes on.

Crud I was writing about wine. Let me say that a rich and ripe juicy Marsanne based blend goes VERY well with sunsets and music:

Clos Bellane Côtes du Rhône Villages Blanc Valréas 2019

65% Marsanne/30% Viognier/ 5% Roussanne and yummm it is rich. When I first smelled it I thought “dried golden raisins” which is silly as raisins are always dried. It’s like when I recently heard someone reference “fresh prunes” like….plums right? Anyway. That’s what I though. Tastes like unsweet golden syrup and honeysuckle and tangerines too. It’s silky and mouth coating but has a salinity that keeps it going–even in the crazy heat (it was around 100 degrees that day) it was somehow a refresher.

ONWARDS

The grape known as Roussanne and I dear to each other (or at least Roussanne tolerates me) right? I barely tolerate myself, but Roussanne is always there for me.

Chateau du Trignon Côtes du Rhône 2021

100% Roussanne. Beguiling golden color, beguiling golden nose. Smells of apricots and beaches and blooms. Crisp at the same time as honeyed on the tongue with that certain dank incense zing. But then the finish is cooling, somehow, while up top the honey and marmalade notes would almost make you think of sweetness the finish is nearly herbal. DEEEEEELITEFUL.

AND NOW FOR A ROSÉ BECAUSE ROSÉ FOREVER

Domaine de Mourchon Loubié Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Rosé 2021

60% Grenache/40% Syrah-mineral and floral fun. So very light, if pale rosé is your jam, you are this wine’s jelly. All rose hips and river stones and I see the color ultramarine blue when I drink it. As time goes by you may notice herbal and peppery elements. A rosé that yes, you can swill ice cold and feel sophisticated but give it a little air and let it live a touch less cold than freezing and all sorts of fun elements will make their case.

COOL STORY

I don’t know why I titled this segment “cool story” but I needed a closer. Part of the cool story is that I had another Rhône rosé, but I used it in my jalapeño rosé experiments (that blog entry to come soon!) but then I was sad that I did because I liked that rosé better on it’s own. So shouts out to Château du Morgues du Grès Fleur d’Eglantine Rosé, you’re delicious, I swear I didn’t omit you because your name is so long (obvi because I just typed it), and I’m sorry I wasted half of you on jalapeño experiments and I swear I didn’t drink ALL of the rest of it straight out of the bottle.

I think the biggest take-home from this tasting lineup is that I want more whites and rosés of the Southern Rhône in my life. Obvi, I had my Tavel obsession already. And my ardent affair with the Roussanne grape. But when it came to wines labeled as Côtes du Rhône, there’s a generous spot for them in my life. Probably yours too. Branching out is good. It doesn’t mean I’ve forsaken my loves. But when it comes to wine I am definitely polyamorous.

Rich and hot

28 May

Certainly not a dating profile. This is the Warr-King Columbia Valley Roussanne 2015. It is indeed rich and the bottle is hot, but it doesn’t taste like handsome billionaire. Not that I’ve been licking that sort of man.

But this wine is the LA arts district artist you have theoretically been dating. And by you I mean me. I haven’t been dating artists. But go with me on this metaphor. There are things there that make you think they are sweet. They smell like honeysuckle and sweet orange. And they are good snugglers and kiss your neck in just the right way. But then they make meme art on the side that is kinky in ways that take you on a bit of a trip. Unusual this one. Not bad just…oh, my, so that is your hobby!

I’m pairing with Taco Bell by the way. Like one should all mentally invigorating dates. It works well with cheesy potatoes. There is enough acid to match (okay I dip my taters in the hot sauce) the body and complexity of cheesy potatoes. Potatoes are complex I tell you. Doubt not. And the not-sweet-but-full nature of this wine counteracts spiciness.

Speaking of, the spice on this golden-hued wine is frankincense and myrrh. So it is like dating a wise man who saw Jesus? Which neither you nor I know. Because that was like BCE right? Give or take a few days. SO! Let us eschew ephemeral wine notes.

WSET style notes: Dry, medium minus acid, I THOUGHT medium alcohol but this bae is 14.4 percent! So you may get oops! crunk! As opposed to “I need to kill my sorrow” drunk. Only crunk. Body is full, flavors are honey, frankincense and myrrh, white flowers of assorted sorts and clover blossoms. The finish screams floral vanilla. Holy cow just found out it was fermented in new French oak say what?!!! But it is working for this.

I’m working for this. Started two new wine writing jobs in the last month and starting the WSET Diploma program too and this is a sweet end-of-reading-night treat. And it goes well with spicy shit. DO IT.

omGODello i.e. A Whole New Wine!

10 Mar


WHOOAAS dudes have I EVER reviewed a white wine? 

Maybe…once? Oh wait twice if you don’t count a few bubblies. Bubbly Une. Bubbly Deux. Bubbly Trois.

And I don’t count bubblies in the same category as flat whites because they are made completely differently. And two of them came in cans for heaven’s sakes. And speaking of heaven, let me get punny and bring up GODello.

Godello. Not just a new thing to be writing on white wine but this is a whole new grape! From Spain! Omigosh.

Cool down kids, we will get through this. Stronger together.

Breath. In, out. 

Okay. Drink.

2014 Adras “Godello” Ribeira Sacra (13.91 from Garagiste)

Is this heavenly? Does it make me think of church?

Yes and yes for different reasons.

The church bit: Ya know the wet stone feel of an old church? If you don’t, hie thee to Europe. Or an old church or the St. Louis Art Museum–the old wing. But not to the church I grew up going to because we had grape juice at communion. And it was red. Although now that I think of it if I ran a church I would be forced to be punny and serve Godello. Because the more wretched the pun the better.

It runs in my family. Or should I say it puns in the…okay I’ll stop.

Oh right so there are a lot of wet stone notes in this wine hence the church remembrance. Yummm wet stone smell. And then in your mouth a bit of that chalky taste reminiscent of all the limestone that…okay probably wasn’t in your actual youth so much as my wine-addled mind’s imagination.

Heavenly? Well it is all full of lemons and meyer lemons (totes diff taste y’alls) and honeydew melon tastes. But then there is just a whiff of a finish of grass.

So imagine you are at, say, a church potluck. That for some reason is being held in the stone-smelling sanctuary. And someone brought a nice bright fruit salad with melon in it and it must have some lemon juice and maybe an orange slice or so in it. And while munching on the salad, breathing in the stony air you step out of doors for some reason. Maybe you’ve heard the lemonade-monger, that crazy kid! And it is a sunny grassy spring day. And there is a kid selling lemonade and you say yes and while chewing that salad you gulp some lemonade and breath in the church lawn. Got it?

That’s the combo of stone/fruit/herbaciousness you will get. In Godello.

No one said religion was simple.

No? Not working for the imagination? Well then find a bottle. Okay? Just say a little prayer of thanks for tasty wine.

And trying new things!

Novelty. Is sometimes the ticket to temporary brilliance.

Get ye some godello. Go with Godello!

I love you as much as she does,

 

GARAGISTE!

17 Feb

This is me waiting, desperately for the decant. Let me at it.

  
At long last I got my delivery. The wicked awesome Jon Rimmerman of the Garagiste goes about and finds wines like this biodynamic oner, and then emails wine lovahs (only if it is lovah with an “ah” not an “er”) with deals. JK re: “ahs”. Pretty sure anyone who signs up gets emailed. Sometimes wine you’re ordering is not even in the bottle yet. But Garagiste has tasted and knows what goodness is to come. There are DANG good deals. And the newsletter musings make amazing reading 1-2 times a day. Provided you are a wine lovah. Lover.

To my (initial) chagrin, they don’t send you your wine until A) you have at least 12 bottles that you’ve ordered, aka a full crate o’ wine amassed, (which takes time since sometimes the wine you order has not even been put in a bottle yet, much less made its way to Washington) and B) shipping conditions from Washington to wherever you are happen to be perfect. And finally I had both 12 wines and the weather was right and I got my first selection.

And much as you want to dive in this box o’ bottles, a maddening letter is placed atop your selection admonishing, downright ADMONISHING you to not drink for another couple of weeks because these babies have been jostling about during shipping the last day or so and they need to rest their tired souls. Let your wine rest. Or else! And you figure you’ve been patient enough so far, so may as well be patient just a wee bit longer.

And to make the waiting even more excruciating Garagiste says to most enjoy this particular bottle  it may need 30-60 minutes of decant time post pouring. BUT they say to sip along the way and so sip I friggin did. 

Ohhhhh shit and the official website for this wine says after all that initial waiting just for a sip or two, to cork the bottle and taste again and again over the next few journées (like, aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui and also demain and maaaaaaybe the day after but who the fuck are we kidding) to see how the wine develops and improves. So more bloody waiting. As in, don’t polish off the bottle in a night.

Oh right what we are drinking:

2011 Nicolas Joly Savennières “Les Vieux Clos”

Biodynamic.

From one of my favorite places to source vin. The Loire Valley. Savennières. Doy.

The grape is Chenin Blanc, m’dears.

The bottle itself advised “vigorous decanting”. I poured this golden elixir from some great heights observing the neck for sediment in some great lights. As one must to decant. With vigor.

Garagiste advised that Joly follows the tradition of German Riesling houses and over-fills, so not to be alarmed by damp cork. Good. Because that cork was funky. It looked kinda gross.

So many warnings. So many admonishments. By the time I got to sipping I was terrified. I sniffed long and hard at first. I got nettles, peaches and PINEAPPLE. I love pineapple. And an element of resin. In a way I assumed would be sweet.

It is not sweet! Happily surprisingly. It is full-bodied without being syrupy. Full without being thick. Dry without being bony.

A kumquat may be cooling his heels in there. Kumquats are welcome to cool whatever body part they want in my wine, incidentally. Fuck those who take the rind and discard the rest, I will take it all. Ahem.

There is underlying honey but the first hit says “pine tree” followed by pineapple. The back of your tongue says allspice. That’s happy. The finish burns out with all those elements, swirling about in your mouth. Then you are good to go.

It stands out to me that this wine starts as a jumble of tastes but by ten seconds post-swallow those jumbles knit together.

The Impressionist painting of wines. If Monet made wine, this would be it.

These are my “first fifteen minutes notes”. I’ll revise in about a half hour.

The decanting should be more…vigorized?

Okay time has passed, time for more notes. Post channeling-Courtney Love-circa-1993-ish. And documenting via selfies. Ugh me.

MORE spice has developed. The spices don’t fade, they get stronger by the minute.
The allspice gathers the most momentum, along with some orange zest. It gets sweeter but is that the temperature playing a part?

I dunno. I liked this wine five and a half times better than I thought I would.

I like it a lot.

Or else I wouldn’t share it, kittens.

24 hours later:

OH SHIT! 24 hours n that shit gets cray. The allspice increases tenfold. The acid mellows. The color still looks like unhealthy piss but so does a good juice or so so I will let it pass.. Heck.

Less resin (althpoug it is still there) and more honey. This time the allspice is IN THE FOREFRONT, IT IS. RESIN IS STILL THERE HARDCORE OH SHIT IS THAT MY CAPS LOCK ON? my bad

And now it is two nights past popping:
There is an emerging grassy minerality. The spices say “less allspice, more pepper”. Maybe even an arugula leaf or so. The resin is an afterthought, a smooth finish.

Three nights:
I’m down to the dregs. It is significantly sweeter. The honey is expressing itself more than resin. Think pineapple with allspice but it has been drizzled with honey. I think 1-2 days in was the prime, which does not surprise me.

So buy and if you are curious, eke it out. Otherwise go wild big spender. Buy several. Drink that mother down in a night or so. Then do it again.

Soviet Bubbly who knew?

28 Oct

I’m just emoting that’s all.

  
THIS IS A REASON TO BUY MOSCATO WHAAAAAT!? yes.

I adore this cocktail gleaned from the wisdom and stories of The CCCP Cook Book. Which rocks.

Thank you Emily Hilligoss for the suggestion.

Oh, and yes I know it only really is champagne if it comes from the region in France but let us just refer to it as champagne because it is like “ya know what I mean when I say champagne”. Unless I state otherwise, I mean sparkling wine.

I made this cocktail not because it sounded like something I’d want to drink. I made it as an excuse to get my hands on some Benedictine. Which I am now having fun employing in a new batch of cocktail experimentation. Even if I weren’t doing that I’d say it was worth the buy because I have now made this cocktail quite a few times. It’s a repeater, y’all!

By the way, I bought Fetzer moscato. At Rite Aid. That is my life. I am buying wine at Rite Aid.

How can I describe this…it is balanced. The sweet, the herbaceous nature of Benedictine, the bubbles of the sparkling wine smoothed by the dry white. My goodness.

Incidentally, the cookbook calls for Soviet champagne. If you have a bottle of champagne leftover from those ripping good days of the Soviet Union, crack er’ open. Otherwise some other such thing will work. It needn’t be fancy. The original recipe is for a lot of people but remember so was the Soviet Union. In theory. There are many theories that don’t work out so well though.

This cocktail is not one of them. It is totally working out for me. The cookbook gives proportions for six drinks. The best way I could reduce it for my measuring purposes was to make 1/5 of a drink so that is what I am giving you. Whee.

There is some fun history in the book about the Soviet team that invented the way to make champagne cheaply in tanks because the government mandated that there needed to be a way to make quick n’ cheap bubbly for the people. So they did okay on that, seeing as Moët & Chandon got the method licensed to them in 1975.

I made do with what I had on hand. I repeat: no need to get fancy. After all the subtitle to this recipe was “working class champagne”. As opposed to royalty champagne? Je ne sais pas.

Soviet Champagne Cocktail adapted from The CCCP Cook Book
60 ml Soviet Champagne (sparkling wine, y’all, in the spirit of thriftiness I say use whatever brand floats your budget boat)
60 ml dry white wine (I tried this with a couple different types and all were fine, use what ya got)
30 ml white muscat wine (I used Fetzer moscato)
15 ml Benedictine
15 ml cognac
15 ml tinned fruit (in the notes they suggest cherries–I didn’t have these canned but had some in the freezer)
30 ml ice
Mix all and add ice and fruit. Yea.

Octopuses

2 Sep

  
Hanging out with girls who try to make out with me has been a recurring theme to my late night LA drinking habit of late. Because apparently something in my demeanor says pansexual. I dunno. I mean I’m flattered but I digress because that has nothing to do with the wine I am talking about.

Oh! No I know why I was thinking sex thoughts. It is because I am reviewing another octopus wine and a friend of mine recently told me some rather lurid news. Did you know there was such a thing as tentacle porn? Holy shit there is. I have not looked because that thought rather terrifies me.
Let us move on. To the wine!

I give you The Argonaut, a sauvignon blanc by the same person (it is indeed one dude or so he says, hence the need for 8 arms) as The Tentacle.

Like me this wine is slightly rich and salty. Not that I am wealthy-rich, just sometimes full of it maybe? As for salty, well, see the “full of it” bit. Silly. But the wine is indeed rather rich for a white wine, and maybe it is the nautical influence, but I imagine the seas as I sip. It is brackish.

Golden, medium-bodied like my friend Leandra’s Corgi named Shipley (SHIPley!), and a bit fruity.

Like honey, if honey were in a salt mine and octopuses were in that mine with that wine. I fucking dig it. Ps the plural of octopus is indeed octopuses. Because it has Greek origins. It would have to be Latin to be “octopi”.

I smell overreach peach. I feel honeysuckle. I sense peach that has been macerated with some honey and salt, and that is good.

Medium bodied. Pears. Do pears blossom? If they do then this wine tastes of pear blossoms. I could drink the whole bottle but won’t. Wine is for sharing.