October 2010 Archives

World Series Wines Part II: Player/Pairing Mashup!

| | Comments (1)
By Courtney Cochran

We simply couldn't help ourselves in pulling together wine pairings around our fav Giants players.  And why shouldn't we?  We know that you're almost as into watching our local team in the World Series as you are into quaffing the good stuff.  So with no further ado: The original San Francisco Giants Player/Wine Pairing Mashup!  

(Shout out: Thanks to my friends on Facebook whose tips helped make this piece possible!)

Tim Lincecum: Oregon Pinot Noir
Unless you're a hard-core ball fan, you don't often hear the phrase "perfect pitch" outside of a musical reference.  But thanks to Lincecum's near-perfect form on the mound, we're beginning to hear a lot more buzz about the phenomenon.  Still, the guy's known almost as well for being undersized as he is accomplished, which is why we've selected Oregon Pinot as his pairing.  Fiercely talented but often overlooked and underappreciated, Oregon Pinot is making news these days as pros (critics) and fans (consumers) alike catch on to its talents.  To wit, look for silky tannins that recall - if we may - the waves in Tim's famously long locks.

Buster Posey: Beaujolais Nouveau
As one of the youngest Giants, catcher Posey charms audiences with his youthful (dare we say "baby faced"??) visage, which means we're looking to seriously young wines to pair with this player.  With the annual release of France's Beaujolais Nouveau less than a month away, it seems only natural to pair the 2010 vintage of this popular wine with the youthful athlete.  Released every year on the third Thursday in November just weeks after it's been harvested and fermented, Beaujolais Nouveau is the definition of a "young" wine.    

World Series Wines

| | Comments (1)
What to Quaff With What to Eat While Tuning In
By Courtney Cochran

drinkingWine.jpgAT&T Park - home to SF's National-League-topping Giants - is renowned for its fancy game fare (Gilroy garlic fries, anyone?), though beer usually trumps wine as game-viewing-beverage-of-choice at the LEED-certified park.  Still, we know that vinous-inclined ball fans watching from home will no doubt reach for the corkscrew come this evening's World Series kickoff game.  Accordingly, we've put together a few suggested food and wine pairings for those of you who prefer the likes of Zin while taking in our team's next win.

Peanuts
Where would a true ball fan be without this classic game viewing staple?  When tucking into 'nuts, there's nothing more fitting with which to pair them than a crisp sparkling wine.  Why? Its acidity will deftly offset all the salt in this treat, while its bubbly profile and creamy mousse recall beer (though we know bubbly is better!).

*Make 'em gourmet: Upgrade your traditional basic nut to fancy Virginia versions.

Hot Dogs
We can't imagine a ball game without 'dogs.  Accordingly, uncork a fruity, medium-bodied red like Pinot Noir or Cru Beaujolais (for the latter, we like versions from Morgon and Brouilly) when tucking into this meaty treat.  These wines' mellow tannins will stand up to dogs' chewy texture, while their fruity flavor profiles make great foils to the savory taste of this choice game fare.

*Make 'em gourmet: Opt for Polish sausage franks for a richer, beefier taste.

Grab a Slice, Pour the Wine & Celebrate National Pizza Month

|
pizzawine.jpgSubmitted by Kenwood Vineyards

October is National Pizza Month, though Americans don't need a special month to indulge in this lunch and dinnertime favorite. An astonishing 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, and every man, woman and child in the country eats an average of 46 slices of pizza per year. Pizza and a glass of wine are a natural pairing, yet few food and wine matchmakers have ever tried this tasty combination - pizza and Sauvignon Blanc.

Pairing pizza and Sauvignon Blanc makes perfect, palate-pleasing sense. While toppings can range from almost nothing to almost everything, tomato sauce and cheese lie at the heart of pizza's scrumptious flavors, and Sauvignon Blanc complements both. Sauvignon Blanc's forward fruit/herb character enhances the herb-infused flavors of tomato sauce, while its crisp acidity serves as a foil to the richness of the cheese.

A Winemaking Stroll Down Bennett Lane

|
By Robert P. Farmer

bennettLaneWinery3.jpgAlthough it was the birthplace of Wine Country as we know it today, Calistoga is often overlooked among the visiting public. Or, more accurately, it's not overlooked so much as it is not quite reached. Snuggled into the northernmost region of the Napa Valley, Calistoga frequently proves just a bit too far up along the lengthy, easily sidetracked winery trail of the Valley. Too bad. Because some of Napa's true gems await the tenacious traveler with the stamina - or planning foresight - to alight upon Calistoga.

One such gem is Bennett Lane, situated near the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains. Bennett Lane is not one of the household names associated with Napa Valley, but the still-young winery has quickly garnered a reputation as serious producer - earning especially high recognition for its cabernet sauvignon and for its tasty everyday varietal appropriately called Maximus. The vision of owners Randy and Lisa Lynch, Bennett Lane typifies the potential for high-caliber cab grown in the northern stretches of the valley - where warm summer sun and volcanic soil give the fruit a compelling intensity. Bennett Lane's winemaker, Grant Hermann, grew up in the area and learned at an early age the importance of sourcing local fruit and attention to detail when aiming for the sort of quality that he has achieved at Bennett Lane. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. In less than half a decade, more than a dozen Bennett Lane wines have earned 90-point scores from Wine Spectator, and the publication has twice given the Maximus Vintage its "outstanding value" recognition.

At the Calistoga Wine Stop

|
calistogaWineStop.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - At Calistoga Wine Stop, you aren't just another wine taster among a sea of others. Here, you receive personalized wine service and recommendations. Need a wine pairing suggestion for dinner tonight? Want a wine for everyday consumption? Not sure what wine to get for a special occasion? Whatever your wine needs - Calistoga Wine Shop has you covered!

The Pelter family has owned this shop for over 20 years; they have worked in the wine industry and have a wealth of knowledge to share with you. Through personal relationships, Tom and Tammy Pelter have sought out wines you most likely could not book a tasting with at the winery,  let alone find on grocery store shelves. These hand-selected wines from Napa and Sonoma producers off the beaten path with limited production are something special.

Wine Tasting in Calistoga, CA

| | Comments (1)
All "four" one and one "four" all. We've got four winery recommendation stops for your wine tasting itinerary in Calistoga! All boast gorgeous views and grounds, some really good wines, and will make for one memorable visit to Napa Valley Wine Country.

bennettLaneWinery2.jpgBennett Lane Winery
If you haven't heard of or tried Maximus, here's your chance to. Bennett Lane made a splash on the wine scene a few years back with this varietal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Not only does it taste great, it's priced at only $35 a bottle - quite a steal! Stop by their tasting room for a taste and glimpse into the world of wine-making. Tasting fees are only $10 per person.  Bennett Lane also offers offer a more hands-on experience with their "Varietals Fruit Flavor" program where one you learn will learn in more depth the wine-making process, an aromatics lesson, and a custom blending session. See the site for more details.

castelloDiAmorosa.jpgCastello di Amorosa
It's become one of the most popular attractions in the valley. One is sure to fall in love with this 13th century Tuscan style castle with the "romance of Italy and the wines of Napa". Guests and visitors agree - a tour is not to be missed. They include a tour led by a Castle guide, a barrel tasting, and complimentary tasting of current releases and range from $31 - $41/per person. Tastings alone range from $16 to $26 per person. Advance reservations are highly encouraged as the winery can get quite crowded throughout the day. And who wouldn't want to attend a party, gala, or other festivities at such an amazing winery. Be sure to check out their calendar for events held year round.

Kendall Jackson

|

No Wine Over $25

|
calistogaWineGarage.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - Who ever said wines (including Napa Valley wines) are expensive should visit the Wine Garage located in Calistoga. They have a great philosophy that every wine buyer can raise a glass to:

  • No wine is over $25!
  • Everything must taste great before it goes on the shelf
  • No wine snob attitudes
  • Impeccable and personal customer service
  • No wine questions go unanswered, or are deemed insignificant
  • Have fun - it's only fermented grape juice!
It's quite the funky little shop - a former gas station/tire shop to be exact. They have over 200 wines available from wine regions throughout California. You may be visiting Napa Valley when you step into the shop, but leaving with limited production wines from Lodi, Paso Robles, Amador and Mendocino. These aren't run of the mill wines. The owners personally scout for small hand-crafted wines and labels you won't typically see anywhere else!


Exceptional 2010 Vintage Prevails Over Challenging Summer Growing Season

NAPA, Calif. (October 14, 2010) - Napa Valley Grapegrowers report that the 2010 vintage is shaping up to be of exceptional quality, despite the unruly weather that the region received.  The cooler than average summer temperatures followed by several heat spells have not distressed the grapes as predicated by some.  In fact, the long growing season is resulting in winegrapes of well-developed flavors and more balance.  The later- than-normal harvest is proving to be a quality vintage the Napa Valley Grapegrowers are proud to stand behind.

"This was, by many accounts, the most challenging growing season we've experienced in a long time, but what I am seeing has made me extremely optimistic about the flavors and quality of this year's vintage," said Ann Vawter, winemaker and proprietor at Red Mare Wines and a member of Napa Valley Grapegrowers. "These last few heat waves are helping to produce mature grapes that will help to distinguish this as a premier year for Napa Valley wines."

Starbucks to Serve Wine & Cheese?

|
starbucksCup1.jpgStarbucks announced today that it is reopening their Olive Way coffee shop in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood and will start serving wine, beer, and an extended food menu. Apparently, it wants to meet the demands of customers who have commented they want "more options for relaxing in our stores in the afternoon and evenings."  Apparently, the Olive Way location is known as the "learning lab" to test the waters of this new idea.

What do you think? Good idea or should Starbucks stop trying to reinvent itself and stick to coffee?

Read the full article from CNN Money.



Wine Country Exclusive: Domaine Carneros' Eileen Crane

| | Comments (1)
eileencranedccredit1.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Champagne Taittinger's American outpost is helmed by a dynamic woman bent on improving opportunities for women in wine and putting Napa on the worldwide sparkling wine map.  Part of the founding team that literally built Domaine Carneros from the ground up, CEO/Winemaker Eileen Crane is one of Wine Country's brightest stars.    

Herein, her responses to our most pressing questions.

Categories

Archives