skip to Main Content

Here’s the “Tell” on Patel!

I’m a Right Bank kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong. I love the power and elegance of a great Cabernet Sauvignon and the wines of the Left Bank. There’s some reason, however, that I’ve always had a soft spot for the Right Bank. Is it because I can enjoy them earlier? Perhaps! I love the soft tannins and big fruit of Merlot. Plus, I seem to love to root for the underdog! And the Right Bank and their New World versions do indeed seem to be, for the most part, the underdog!

This Right Bank Bordeaux blend from Patel Winery in Napa Valley is right up my alley.  The blend is 80% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  The nose screams cherry, cherry cherry! Okay, it’s not just cherry! There’s some subtle oak, a touch of leather and some big time floral aromas as well. The velvety palate has black cherry and some other dark fruit, along with some spice and good acidity. This is a great food wine (I want to try this with some Swiss fondue!), but I also enjoyed a glass (or three!) sitting on my deck with a nice breeze, some great tunes, and my hubby and dogs!

Check out Patel Winery here:  http://www.patelwinery.com

 

 

With What Wine do YOU Decorate?

I’m a little crazy about Christmas. My husband and I absolutely love the holidays and we decorate our house from top to bottom. We love to relish in the festivities of December and the holiday season.

After bringing up all of the boxes of decorations, we pick out a gem of a wine to enjoy while beginning the long (but fun!) process of turning our Florida home into a winter wonderland.

This year we chose a bottle of 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Perigee, which we bought at the winery almost six years ago.

Just outside of Walla Walla, Washington is a small town called Lowden, and this is where L’Ecole No. 41 is located. The winery is housed in an adorable French schoolhouse, with the tasting room in a former classroom. The wines being offered for tasting each day are cleverly displayed on an old-fashioned chalkboard.

The ’07 Perigee consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc … and it’s drinking beautifully right now. The nose has raspberry, mocha and violets. The palate is very complex and well balanced, with both red and black fruit, a touch of vanilla and clove, some baking spices and lush, soft tannins. The finish goes on and on and on. I’m in love with this wine!!!

The 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Perigee was a great way to START our holidays! I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store for us!

 http://www.lecole.com

Gramercy Cellars’ “The Third Man” Is a Winner

I love the state of Washington, and I also love their wines.

A few years back my husband and I made a 10-day journey throughout the state’s wine regions.  We started in Woodinville at the many tasting rooms scattered around the cute suburb of Seattle. Next we headed to Leavenworth, a wonderful little Bavarian town set in the Cascade Mountains, also full of tasting rooms. From there we ventured to Yakima and then finally on to Walla Walla. We obviously tasted a lot of wines along the way and I fell in love with many of them.

I’ve been back to the land of Washington wines quite a few times since that visit and have discovered some new gems, one of them being Gramercy Cellars.

Founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife Pam, Gramercy Cellars focuses on wines made in the Rhone and Bordeaux styles. France’s Rhone Valley is perhaps my favorite wine region of all, and who doesn’t love Bordeaux? Washington is great for both, and I’ve never had a Gramercy Cellar wine that I didn’t like!

The other night my husband and I opened a 2009 “The Third Man” from Gramercy. A blend of 50% Grenache, 28% Syrah and 22% Mourvedre, (all varietals that perform very well in Washington) this is a fabulous wine! On the nose are lavender, tobacco, garrigue, mocha and dark fruit. The palate has loads of lush fruit, and yet is oh so complex. There’s also tomato, spice, soft tannins and the finish goes on and on and on. I sure do wish we had some more of the ’09 in our cellar.

I’ve tasted with Greg a few times now. He’s full of lots of knowledge, yet humble as can be! So … with wine this great and a nice guy to boot, I can’t recommend these wines enough.

Check out Gramercy Cellars here: http://gramercycellars.com

A Breakfast Beer??? Yes!!!

I may be a wine educator, but I’m also a lover of good beer. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so it’s pretty much a given that beer runs through my blood. While growing up there was always a plethora of beer flowing at most social functions to quench the thirst of me and my fellow Wisconsinites!

I have some favorite craft breweries from my homeland, but there are so many great beers being brewed in all parts of the USA. Colorado is one of the hot spots and is ranked third in the nation for number of craft breweries located there. My husband was raised in Denver, so we visit quite a bit and are always sure to try some of their fine brews while there.

One of my favorites in Colorado (Denver, in fact) is Great Divide Brewing Company. While watching NFL football today I cracked open a bottle of their Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. Wow. Pouring it into the glass it looks black in color with a dark brown foamy head. On the nose is lots of strong coffee, some dark chocolate and cocoa, vanilla and roasted barley. The palate has burnt coffee, chocolate, oaky vanilla and some caramel notes. The alcohol is 9.5%, but it’s nice and smooth and I certainly couldn’t tell! This is one darned good beer! In fact, I’d call it excellent!

The brewery suggests pairing this ale with cinnamon donuts with crème anglaise. OH MY!!!!!! That sounds truly heavenly! Another pairing they suggest is Chorizo breakfast burrito! I agree with them when they say “you can now have Yeti with breakfast”!

So … if you need to cleanse your wine palate with a beer break, or if you just love great beer, try Great Divide Brewing Company. You can check out this stout and all of their beers here:  http://greatdivide.com

Pair a Pinot With a Fall Salad!

One of my favorite things about wine is pairing it with the right dish. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not one of those “Pairing Police” who freaks out when someone wants to drink their favorite Merlot and they’ve ordered fish! I am a true believer in drinking and eating what one wants, whether it’s an “acceptable pairing” or not.

I do, however, appreciate that some wines taste better with certain dishes and vice versa! Plus, it’s really fun to try different wines with different foods.

Last night for dinner I made a wonderful vegetarian Cobb salad with Gala apple, crispy mushrooms, pecans, avocado and a creamy chive dressing. I paired it with the 2012 Weatherborne Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills AVA, and it was a great match!

This Pinot is bright and fruity with snappy Bing cherry, fresh raspberry and plum, and pairs well with the wine-friendly Gala apple. Along with the fruitiness of the wine is also some great Old World-like earthiness, a perfect match with the oyster mushrooms. Roasted with smoked paprika and smoked Maldon sea salt, the mushrooms also compliment a smoky quality in the wine.

The wine itself is lovely and certainly doesn’t NEED food! I can definitely see myself sipping a glass of this on an upcoming fall evening while hanging out with friends by a fire. It would also be the perfect wine with Thanksgiving dinner!

Weatherborne Wine Corp is the child of Cris Carter who originally followed in his father, uncle and grandfather’s footsteps and planned to be a pilot. While studying at UC Davis his love of chemistry and his interest in wine ultimately prepared him for a life in wine! His 2012 Pinot Noir is his winery’s inaugural release, and the ’13 and ’14 are now available on his website!

Be sure to check out this winery, and stock up for Thanksgiving!

http://www.weatherborne.com

Back To Top