December 3, 2009

Chocolate and Brownie Tasting

The Wines:

Sparkling:

DeForville Moscato d'Asti (Italy) $19.99
- This family-run estate (the Brothers Anfosso, Paolo and Walter) has managed this property since 1860 (they are Belgian). Paolo Anfosso married a DeForville. Wonderfully bubbly! Very aromatic - nectarines & white peaches. Well-balanced acidity. Fresh, clean & crisp finish that is moderately sweet. Sparkly! This farm has been in the Morando family since the early 1800's. Food pairing - Drinks great on its own as a lighter cocktail wine. Try it with fruit tarts, dense, rich cheesecake. Do as the Italians do and pour it over fresh peaches or pears for brunch. Wonderful with hot and spicy foods!

Whites:

Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataignier “Blanc” Côtes du Lubéron 2008 (France) $15.99 - Wonderful white from Southern France! Light-to-medium bodied. This has a soft, lush texture that’s almost creamy. Flavors of pears and tropical fruit. Clean finish. 80% Clairette, 10% Grenache, 5% Ugni Blanc and 5% Rolle (Vermentino). Hand-harvested and sorted grapes. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. Aged “sur lee” with regular stirring – this adds weight and softens the texture. Sustainable Agriculture. Food pairing – Perfect with lighter meals or as a cocktail! Drinks well without food!

Gustav Schmitt Niersteiner Spatlese Riesling 2007 (Germany) $12.99 – This is rich and smooth with a nice long finish. A little sweetness! Aromas and flavors of pears and apples. Medium bodied. Food pairing - This versatile wine goes well with spicy cuisine, blue cheeses and sweet desserts. May be sipped in lieu of dessert. Serve well chilled.

Reds:

Petraio Primitivo di Puglia 2007 (Italy) $9.99
– The Primitivo grape is grown in Puglia and is a close relative of Zinfandel. Both Primitivo and Zinfandel are related to the Croatian grape Crljenak. Zinfandel is identical to Crljenak, while Primitivo is a clone of Crljenak. Primitivos are generally lighter than Zinfandels and lower in alcohol, which, in my opinion is a good thing and helps the wine better pair with food! Aromas and flavors of raspberries, chalk, blackberries, a little spice and earth. This has soft tannins. Food pairing - pasta with red sauce or pizza.

Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataignier “Rouge” Côtes du Lubéron 2007 (France) $15.99 - Great tasting and a huge value! Medium-to-full bodied. Crisp with lots of berry fruit! This has a little “drying” minerality midway. Finishes clean and crisp. 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan and 10% Cinsault. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration (the grapes are thrown into the vat in whole clusters and the fermentation starts inside each individual grape) – this adds more fruit flavor to the Carignan. Food pairing – spicy dishes, grilled chicken or vegetables, lasagna, pasta! Drinks well without food!

Wall Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) $14.99 – If you’ve thought really good Napa Cabernet prices have gone crazy, you are mostly right! Try this – it’s a steal! This has all of the classic Napa Cab aromas and flavors! Black cherry, blackberries, vanilla, smoke, herbs and more! The tannins are smooth and the finish is peppery. This is more restrained and nuanced than many Napa Cabs – and that is a good thing! Food pairing – steak, lamb, grilled meats, etc. Drinks great without food as well!

Écluse Blind Dog Midnight Run Cuvee (Paso Rables, California) $18.99 – Steve and Pam Lock founded this winery in 1997. The name is French for lock, the locks that are in canals. An eclectic blend of some of the best Paso Robles reds, Blind Dog Midnight Run Cuvee is delicious, approachable and affordable! This is a big, robust wine. Not for the faint of heart. Barrel aged from 14 to 30 months, this complex wine is a perfect "companion" with meals. Blend of Merlot. Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A portion of the sales of this wine go to support “Dogs for the Deaf.”

Dessert Wine:

Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port 2000 (Portugal) $28.99
– This small, family-owned Port house makes great wines! Tim Bergvist reopened this winery in 1988 when the regulations surrounding Port were changed to allow small producers to sell their wines directly rather than having to sell to the Vila Nova de Gaia near Oporto. Bregvist’s mother was given these vineyards in 1906 as a Christening present. Everything is grown, made and bottled on the estate, making Quinta de la Rosa one of the few true “single quintas.” The wine is a “ruby” Port, not a tawny, so this has aromas and flavors of wild berries. It has a long finish. Food pairing – Stilton and other blue cheese, dried fruit, figs, dishes with game, ham, dark chocolate.

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