Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cabernet franc’

What better time to get up to speed on what wines you like, love and covet than when you are preparing for upcoming festivities with family and friends? There are a million ways to start brushing up on your skills: Head to your local supermarket/wine shop and ask lots of questions (many times they will have tastings available while you browse – just ask), Attend a tasting (lots of places offer tastings – speciality shops, wine shops, liquor stores, etc. Keep your eyes peeled), Talk to your friends (many people have a favorite bottle of wine that they use as their ‘go to’ tipple for any celebration. Ask people you know for suggestions and you may just discover a new gem!).
For my part, I will be hosting, attending and conversing about all things wine in the next two months (have a look at what I’m up to here and sign up if you’re interested). As always, if you want to swap ideas – pull up a chair and let’s chat.

Essentials for any successful holiday: 
Brandy – my favourite is Hennessy VSOP. Top it with a bit of ginger ale for a spritzy buzz or some spicy eggnog for a classic holiday treat
Sparkling wine – the holiday favourite in my household is Prosecco because of its light body, balanced flavour and general yummy-ness (plus it can be enjoyed at any time of day…)
Good, full bodied red wine – this is the absolute must have. I love picking a few favourites each year to share with my family. I am still in the discovery phase for this year’s celebrations and will be using my upcoming tastings to explore a few pre-selected Malbecs, Petit Syrahs, Bordeauxs and Tannats. Stay tuned…

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ahhh the day of love…or just another day to try an extra special wine??  Whatever it means to you, have a look at some ideas to mark the occasion with someone special (i.e. yourself!).
Here are some ideas to spark the LOVE….

A Valentines day MUST – BUBBLES!!
Grab a bottle of Prosecco. Honestly – it doesn’t much matter which one. Spend no more than 10 quid on it, make sure its chilled and pour for your loved ones at the beginning of the evening. If you don’t have champagne flutes – buy them. It is worth it. Never, never, never, NEVER serve a loved one a glass of anything bubbly in a regular wine glass. That is the definition of taboo. Plus – Sainsburys sells 4x flutes for 4 quid – don’t be a cheapskate…
For an example: This one is on sale! 

Want to upgrade and get a little bit fancy? Look for Blanc de Blancs. 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine. Yummy, special and sure to impress. My favorite is Argyle from Oregon (argylewinery.com)

If you would like to have another wine with food, here are a few sure to impress stunners:

LOVE: Petalos Bierzo, Castilla y Leon, 2009 Descendientes de J. Palacios
Ridiculously tasty red wine from a little known region in Spain. I have had three bottles of this in my house – the last was opened last night. Red Cherries galore with a strong acidity that will stand up to some really gorgeous cheese. I had a humble meal of garlic/onion soft cheese and dense sunflower rye bread made extra special by this fantastic wine…Read the reviews on Majestic’s site for more info (and more professional reviews!)

ONE TO TRY: Chateau Grand Faurie Larose, 2006 St-Emilion, Grand Cru
Never had it before but judging by the region and its Grand Cru rating, I would test out this yummy merlot based Bordeaux. Good price point for a classy wine – grab some cheeses, bit of cured meat and you are away!

ONE FOR DESSERT: Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2009
Honestly, you can’t get much more impressive than Royal Tokaji. Have it on its own or with some gooey, stinky blue cheese.

Read Full Post »

My dad turned 70 this year. He’s still incredible – lots of energy, if only a bit slower moving. As I live in London and my parents are in my hometown of Seattle, I wasn’t able to do anything for his birthday (other than send him a lame card…which even still I never ended up doing. I had it labeled and ready but I really am that big of an oaf that it never made its way to the postal box). In exchange for my complete failure as a daughter, I decided to put on a wine-tasting for him while I was home over the Christmas break. My soon-to-be-in-laws were in town as well so we had a party of 6, making for the perfect social evening! Also my dad loves wine…maybe not as much as I do but he was my initial inspiration for learning more about wine. He knows his Washington reds very well and takes pride in the quality of wine the WA vineyards are creating. I hoped to showcase this for him but also show him a few other examples.
To set the stage, I picked out my dad’s favorite wines – Cabernet (from WA), Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot and to a lesser extent Malbec. I didn’t know the winemakers very well so left it up to chance. Some were huge successes – others were complete failures.
I opened the tasting with the WSET approved method for tasting wine (showing off my wine knowledge just a bit…). Look, Smell, Taste and Rate. I talked them through what to look for and told them some basics around the different varietals that we would be tasting.
Overall it was a huge success – though I had to temper my soon-to-be-father-in-law who insists on slugging every tasting measure and can’t help but poke fun at anything and everything…but that is actually a huge part of what made this such a great celebration for my dad. He loves people and loves laughter – mix that with a whole lot of yummy wine and he’s in heaven.
Below are the wines that we tried, listed by our opinion of them (made easy – Love, Like, Nope). Prices range from $8USD – $20USD per bottle at the supermarket.
Love:
Parkers Estate Old Vine Street 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Like:
Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Crest 2009
Renwood Syrah 2008
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2009
Nope:
Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Villages 2009
Espuela del Gaucho Malbec, Limited Edition Reserve 2010

Read Full Post »

Today our little party train jet off to Leavenworth, WA for a few days of respite…and wine tasting!!!
Leavenworth has an incredible little strip of kitschy shops and restaurants (following the Bavarian theme that the town is famous for) as well as some great local wineries – all neatly stacked together on the 1/2 mile strip just off the highway. We like going there for the Christmas set-up (gorgeous) and the relaxation that only a few nights in the mountains can give you.

The wines themselves have never been much to write home about – though I have found a few standouts. 2003 Cabernet Franc from Icicle Ridge Winery. I could only afford one bottle at the time and it is still in my little make-shift cellar ( i.e. a box in my parents’ basement that maintains a perfect 50 degrees F year round – amazing!!) but the resounding flavor when I tasted it was LEATHER – like a big old leather strap. One day I will bring myself to open it and tell you all about it. For now, I will have to see if there are any other beauties up in the mountains that I can bring home.

Enjoy the last week of relaxation before the new year!

Read Full Post »

I’m hoping to gather a list of good wine courses that are available in Sydney. Can you help? I’m looking for an introductory course on tasting, varietals, global wine regions, viticulture, etc. If you have been on a good course, please let me know.

Thanks!

Read Full Post »

I adore a glass of beefy, intense red wine. The best type of wine to have at the end of a long day at work. One of my new favorites:

Garlands “Saros”, Mt Barker, WA, Australia ($23 AUD)
– With 80% Cab Franc, what is there not to love about this intense, oaky wine? Add in another 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and you have a blend made in heaven. I bought this wine down at the Odyssey Wine Bar in Sydney (the Rocks) and saved it for a few months before opening. The first taste was calm and gentle. The second glass was much more intense. Fascinating that a wine would build that way?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: