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Wednesday, 25 October 2017 10:50

When is a Wine “Kosher” ?

By Steven Tincher

When is a Wine “Kosher,” and What Does That Mean?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 18:33

December 16, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

2014 DCV Estate Block10 Chardonnay Picmonkey

2015 DCV Estate Block 10 Chardonnay

 

Dry Creek Vineyard

Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $32

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 13:48

Korbel Toasts Friendship of Five Military Friends

Korbel Girlfriends Picmonkey Adrienne Dennis, Emilia Fernandez, Shannon Wilson, Rhonda Anderson and Kawryne "Tilly" Tillman

TASTE News Service September 17, 2014 – American soldiers recently celebrated their friendship at Korbel Champagne Cellars in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. Korbel has been a part of life’s celebrations for more than 132 years and on this occasion they were hosting a celebration for the winners of a Girls Getaway contest.

Across the country, women submitted toasts about their friendships and explained why their group of friends should be chosen to win the getaway.

Major Shannon Wilson, from Countryside, Ill., shared a toast about the special bond she has with her fellow soldiers and how deployment of a year together built their enduring friendships. She tells how being thrown into the very hectic and different situations of deployment can bond friends so easily just like with her group of now lifelong companions.

"My girlfriends and I toast life every day – and we have much for which to be thankful. I am thankful myself just to have them,” said Wilson. “Finally, a year is up, driving up to our Armory in Chicago while the Fire Department hoses our bus down to welcome us home and we are crying, laughing and hugging. We exit the bus and find three bottles of Korbel Rouge waiting for us! With our special Rouge, we toast to friends and life!”

Wilson and four of her fellow soldiers and girlfriends – Kawryne “Tilly” Tillman, Emilia Fernandez, Rhonda Anderson and Adrienne Dennis – received four days of VIP treatment at the Korbel Winery. The trip included airfare and accommodations along with behind-the-scenes winery tours, working the crush with the winemakers, and gourmet meals prepared by the winery chefs, as well as poolside spa treatments at the winery.

“This year is special because not only did we get to toast five great friends but three American soldiers whose service and dedication to our country makes us so grateful,” commented Gary Heck, owner and president of Korbel Champagne Cellars.  “Korbel is raising a glass to the special relationships women share with one another and the celebrations they share whether large or small.”

Friday, 18 July 2014 13:47

July 18, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

Sanctuary Chardonnay bottle Picmonkey

2012 Chardonnay

 

Sanctuary

Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 14.2%

Suggested Retail: $30

 

“High quality fruit and solid winemaking practices provide an unbeatable combination in this Sanctuary Chardonnay. Grapes were sourced from the Heintz and Dutton vineyards in the cooler Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County. With only 30% malolactic fermentation followed by sur lie ageing there's an attractive combination of good acidity, yet creamy fullness.

“Pear and peach aromas precede full and rich feeling in the mouth. Those pear and peach aromas evolve to flavors of apple, vanilla and crème caramel.”

Food Affinity: “There's enough acidity to make it a versatile food-pairer and not so much oak as to overwhelm delicate dishes. Lightly-sautéed abalone. Chicken with morels. Roasted pork prepared with apples.”

Friday, 21 March 2014 17:55

March 21, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

 

Ferrari-Carano 2012 PN Picmonkey

2012 Pinot Noir

 

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Anderson Valley

Alcohol: 14.3%

Suggested Retail: $38

 

“Prominent aromas of raspberry and cola, followed by subtler aspects of cinnamon and nutmeg, currently referred to as 'brown spices' in many reviews. Dark cherry and cranberry fruit show on the palate in this powerful Pinot from one of California's best growing regions for the variety. As with most examples of high-quality Pinot Noir, be they from California or Burgundy, there are layered subtleties. We found an elusive herbal quality (sage?), that came and went, as did a bit of dark chocolate. Moderately-long finish in the thoroughly satisfying wine.”

Food Affinity: “Salmon is the hip pairing often suggested for Pinot Noir, but we feel that at 14.3% alcohol, this wine is too big for all but the boldest of salmon preparations. If we could pull a mallard out of the freezer to roast, we'd go in that direction (domestic ducks or geese would also work, especially if prepared with a sauce or marinade including red fruit). Two more accessible ideas might be pan roasted pork chops in some brown sauce incorporating sage and thyme or grilled Portobello mushrooms that have been marinated in a vinaigrette with garlic and parsley for an hour or so.”

Sunday, 01 December 2013 16:04

November 29, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

 

J Cuvee-20-Brut-NV Picmonkey

J Cuvée 20 Brut (N/V)

 

Producer: J Vineyards & Winery

Appellation: Sonoma County

Alcohol: 12.5%

Suggested Retail: $28

 

“Mostly Chardonnay (54%), the balance from the red varieties Pinot Noir (44%) and Pinot Meunier (2%) in this cuvée sourced from Russian River Valley fruit. Freshness and elegance here as citrus and green apple characteristics appear in a bright, sparkly package. There's a nice creamy background to complement the zingy acidity. A high quality exemplar of the California style of sparkling wine.”

Food Affinity: “Would work with any of the traditional pairings at this time of year—caviar, smoked salmon, salted nuts, etc. We'd love it with deviled Dungeness crab on toast points.”

 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 17:32

March 15, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

Dry Creek V 2010 chardonnay rrv btl xlg Picmonkey

 

2010 Foggy Oaks Chardonnay

 

Producer: Dry Creek Vineyard

Appellation: Russian River Valley (Sonoma County)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail $20

 

“Several of our staff liked this one. Sourced from the cool (and often foggy) Russian River Valley in the western part of Sonoma County, this Chardonnay delivers a lot of character for $20. There's plenty of fullness/richness from mostly malolactic fermentation (85%) and oak aging, but it doesn't stint on the freshness of the fruit. Appealing citrus and pear aromas, followed by flavors citrus, pineapple and a bit more pear. This Foggy Oaks wine is in the full California Chardonnay style, but still exhibited aspects of cool-climate acidity and restraint.”

Food Affinity: We found that the Foggy Oaks Chardonnay held up well when we poured it to accompany a spicy Peruvian roast chicken dish.

Friday, 01 February 2013 16:55

January 25, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

J Brut Rose Picmonkey

J Brut Rosé (N/V)

 

Producer: J Vineyards & Winery

 Appellation: Russian River Valley

 Alcohol: 12.5%

 Suggested Retail: $38

 

“Attractive packaging—clear glass bottle adorned by the simple scripted J, shows off the wine's pink/coral hue. Predominantly Pinot Noir (64%), this rosé is lighter and more sophisticated than most. There's another 2% of red juice from Pinot Meunier, the other traditional red variety in Champagne, but the Chardonnay component (34%) may be what gives such elegance to this wine.”

“Aromas of strawberry, peach and maybe a little green apple. Crisp flavors of raspberry and strawberry follow with a hint of fresh lemon zest. There's a subtle yeasty presence which evokes more France than California.”

Food Affinity: Champagne and good sparkling wines are more versatile and food-friendly than many realize. This rosé could accompany anything from filet of sole through poultry dishes and even many veal preparations. Of course, oysters are always a good idea and if you can find a restaurant serving Lobster Newberg, that classic from a bygone era, the J rosé would be a wonderful accompaniment.

Friday, 25 January 2013 22:24

January 18, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

tudal-pinot Picmonkey

 

2009 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir

 

Producer: Tudal Winery

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $42

 

“The winery calls this 'Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.' While we don't agree with their characterization, we think it's a high quality representative of this varietal as grown in one of California's premier Pinot Noir regions. It's big—maybe even powerful, but not overpowering. Lots of black cherry fruit, but has some of that earthiness that is the hallmark of Burgundy and, at times, good California and Oregon Pinot Noirs.

Food Affinity: “Pair with something rich and flavorful. Maybe slow-roasted lamb shanks or a rolled pork loin stuffed with fresh sage and toasted walnuts.”

Friday, 25 January 2013 17:58

December 7, 2012 Wine Pick of the Week

2012 Nouveau image Picmonkey

 

2012 Nouveau

Rosé of Pinot Noir

 

Producer: River Road Vineyards

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 12.5%

Suggested Retail: $14.95

 

“This wine is a riff on a French tradition. Each year at the third week of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is released. It's a red wine made from Gamay grapes that were still on the vine a couple of months earlier. Supposedly an early indicator of quality of the vintage, it's also something of a marketing triumph. The fervor has quieted these days, but plenty of Gallic hype used to go into the race to see which cafes and bistros in Paris could have the product available on the first day it was legal to sell (until a couple of unfortunate accidents happened in the pursuit of this November dash). Not intended as a 'serious' wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is actually a pleasant drink—light and full of fruit. And it's a killer pairing with roast turkey.

“Our Wine Pick of this Week is the 2012 Nouveau from Russian River Road Vineyards and Winery. Unlike the aforementioned Gamay Beaujolais, it's not a red wine but is a rosé—and a pale one, at that. What it does share with it's French cousin is a fresh and easy-to-drink style. We found it had subtle aromas and flavors of watermelon and strawberries. The wine was thoroughly chilled when we first tasted it and we were initially a little disappointed, thinking there just wasn't enough personality there. However, returning to the bottle when it might have been described as 'cool' rather than 'chilled,' made quite a difference. The Nouveau's charms, still more subtle than forward, began to show. Strawberry aromas could be detected and a nice round feel in the mouth showed itself.

“At $14.95 it's a little steep when you consider that there are many nice French (and Spanish and Italian) rosés for less, but it's a style—and a tradition—that should be encouraged in California. Winemaker Joe Freeman plans to make a Nouveau for release the first week of every December.”

Food Affinity: The wine was tasted on its own and later paired with a fettucine and poached salmon dish, served in a light creamy sauce. It worked well.

 

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