Archive for New Discoveries
Cheryle & I had a sampling of some interesting Greek wines at the starchefs.com’s “Chef’s Congress” last October, which really perked our interest. Finally…..some are making their way to our Islands. Here are a few of the highlights we tasted today.
2011 Domaine Douloufakis Dafnios
Produced exclusively from the Vidiano grape variety, which is organically farmed on the southern Isle of Crete at roughly 1800 feet elevation. Very pretty, well made, fascinating perfume, good balance with lots of life & vigor. This wine has an innate bitterness in the finish, so one needs to be thoughtful on what foods to pair with it.
What is currently in fashion, wine wise, is BIG, lavish, opulent, much more forward, red, bordering inkywines…..AND the media spends quite a bit of attention & copy in their publications accordingly. If you think about it, that’s what really sells copy, after all, which is the real intent.
Even when we do winetastings at VINO, it is the “Big Red” tastings which draw the most attention & therefore attendance.
Well, as much time as we may spend ooohing & awe-ing over the 96 pointers, we need to spend even more time finding & featuring well made, interesting, lighter, much more delicious, food friendly styles of wines. Here are 5.
As a consumer, it is so easy to get lost in the world of Burgundy wines. Unlike the Californian single vineyard model which most of today’s wine enthusiasts are more familar with, Burgundy can get quite confusing because of the extreme vineyard/parcel fragmentation over the centuries, mainly due to the country’s inheritance laws.
Even for the wine professional……..keeping track of who owns what….or who it is share cropped with/for (metayage)….or who the grapes were purchased from….is a daunting task. AND, with every generation of the family, this complex matrix inevitably changes.
There is NO easy, quick fix answer.
Because of our VINO restaurant, we are always searching for tasty, interesting, food friendly Mediterranean white wines which will work with our foods. Easier said than done. Here are 4 of our recent “finds”.
This is Vermentino grown in the rugged, unhospitable, remote terrain of Cap Corse on the isle of Corsica. Cap Corse, a largely isolated and thinly populated peninsula at the top of Corsica, sits like a finger pointing up at Genova, its former colonial ruler. The Genovese landed on the Cap in the 14th century and from there soon conquered the entire island. Little has changed at the domaine since it began, and it is still Michel who works the vines and makes the wines on his own as he has done for nearly six decades.
Why was I so excited about James being here & doing a tasting with him?
First of all, James works for several top caliber sites in the Central Coast of California….such as Bien Nacido, Solomon Hills, & French Camp vineyards, as well as overseeing his very own vineyard—Rancho Ontiveros. He is therefore a wealth of knowledge on what’s happening in vineyards & with clones & farming.
Secondly, James & his winemaking partner, Paul Wilkins, have THREE top caliber wine labels together….Alta Maria, Native9 & Autonom. Each is some of the very best out of California today.
Yesterday we had an unreal opportunity to try some VERY interesting beers at a tasting held at Pint & Jigger, hosted by Grant Curlow & Erin Suzuki. There was a wide range of fabulous beers the two of them had brought back from their trip to Colorado & the American Brew Fest. It was a REAL treat. Let me begin by saying…..I am by NO means a beer professional nor am I knowledgeable. Hopefully, though, my commentary on these beers will inspire you to go out & try some inetersting craft beers yourself. You will see it will open a whole new door for learning.
Without a doubt, winemaker extraordinaire Paul Fuerst is producing some of the finest DRY wines out of Germany. His wines deftly showcase amazing purity, class, terroir, nuance with breathtaking elegance, precision, refinement & balance whether he is working with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muller Thurgau or Pinot Noir.
My wife Cheryle & I recently went to visit Paul at his home & winery on the western most edge of Franconia, Germany.
It was an added bonus that they had started harvesting grapes.
One of our favorite Californian winemakers is Van Williamson. Over the years we have had a bevy of terrific Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Petite Sirah & Zinfandel he produced while at Edmeades. Each have been some of the very best we have had out of Calfornia for their respective grape variety. They were not fruit forward, flashy or fashionable…..but were instead honest, artisan, handcrafted, often wild & wooly wines which were very personal to him. Furthermore they even got better with bottle age.
We were greatly saddened when the Kendall Jackson group (owners of Edmeades) let him go. For me, it was the end of an era.
Just as with wines, there is also a real connoisseur level to coffee. Undoubtedly one of the most unique, gourmet coffees of the world comes from Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
There just has not been enough correct and detailed information available to the average Joe to better & fully understand the differences between all of the coffees labeled as Kona, and therefore appreciate how special (or not) some of these can be.
Business entrepreneur Peter Knez purchased two key vineyards in theAndersonValley, Cerise in 2007 & Demuth in 2008. Both vineyards are planted on the hillsides of the eastern hills of the valley, (fractured sandstone, shale & schist) both above the 800 feet elevation fogline.
Cerise is roughly 38 acres planted (1995 to 98), with at least 12 different Pinot Noir clones, 700 to 1100 feet elevation with 10 to 30% slope.
Demuth is a much smaller vineyard, 15 acres at 1400 to 1700 feet elevation, planted in the late 1970’s to 8 acres Chardonnay (Wente clone) & 7 acres to 2 Pinot Noir clones—Vadenswill & Pommard.