15 Years of Argentina’s Finest Malbec

malbec.grapes.jpg There was a time early in my wine drinking life that I did not care for Argentine Malbec. I frankly didn't understand the fuss. I had bought several from my local gourmet grocery store over the years, and one or two from proper wine stores (never paying more than $15 or so). This sense, however, like so many early impressions of wine, was shattered one day by a single bottle of wine, from a producer of which I had never heard, and whose name I could not readily pronounce. My first taste of Achaval Ferrer's Finca Altamira showed me the true possibilities that existed for Malbec in Argentina, and introduced me to what would end up being my favorite producer in the region. No matter how many Malbecs I drink, I keep coming back to Achaval Ferrer every time. I believe that first bottle I tried was the 2002 vintage, ...

Jamie Kutch and the Refinement of California Pinot Noir

IMG_8890.JPG "I was always a hobby person as a kid, but I I would push them beyond where anyone would normally go," chuckles winemaker Jamie Kutch. The last real hobby I had was DJing. We're not just talking about playing music, we're talking turntables, mixing, blending, scratching and shredding. This was an era when I was going to college in the Bronx, smoking a little pot and watching my roommate play with his turntables. He had been DJing for six or seven years at that point. I decided it was something I wanted to do, and within six months I was better than him. I spent literally hundreds of hours with my gear. It wasn't great for my education, but that's who I am. It's where I come from. My dad is workhorse. I remember growing up, he would spend eight or ten hours a day fixing boats, and then come ...
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Beef Brisket Sliders for Father’s Day!

Why not celebrate Father’s Day with preparing Beef Brisket Sliders, a recipe from Ferrari-Carano in California? This brisket recipe calls for red wine.

Beef Brisket Sliders

Serves 6-8 Ingredients for the Rub 1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1 4-lb beef brisket
Olive Oil
1 onion cut into chunks
1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks Ingredients for Brisket 1/2 c cherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 c red wine
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup prunes, lightly macerated in the red wine
3 star anise
1 tsp espresso powder
1 cup brown sugar
4 fresh rosemary stems
4 fresh thyme sprigs Directions for the Rub
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add salt, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, fennel seeds and garlic to a mortar and pestle and grind. ...

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Le Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a bottle of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare Volant Reserve 2011. Translated Le Cigare Volant means Flying Cigar. The wine was a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The protocols for producing Le Cigare Volant included oak and 20 months in glass carboys sur lie. According to the back wine bottle label, “Our Flying Cigar is based on the traditional Southern style encépagement.” It is also interesting to note that the bottle is labeled with the ingredients, “INGREDIENTS: Grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide. In the winemaking process, the following were utilized: Indigenous yeast, yeast nutrients, and French oak chips.” Bonny Doon is one of the few wineries that lists ingredients that were used to make a wine. The wine was an opaque dark ruby color. It offered notes of black fruits including black raspberries, ...

A Look at 2014 Napa Cabernet: Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley

pnv16-3.jpg Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners Association pulls out all the stops to host its annual fundraising event known as Premiere Napa Valley. Not to be confused with its star-studded charity auction in the spring (known as Auction Napa Valley), Premiere Napa Valley is a more focused event. It is a barrel tasting and auction, in which the wines on offer are all unique creations made specifically and only for this event, offering purchasers the opportunity to own an incredibly rare wine that often represents the very pinnacle of the winemaker's efforts in that vintage. All the invited bidders are ostensibly in the wine trade (retailers, distributors, etc.), while other attendees include the media and winery staff. The proceeds from the auction of 225 unique lots of wine go to help fund the Vintners Association itself. The auction action at Premiere always serves as something of a barometer for ...

Zurracapote Riojano: Wine Cocktails beyond Sangria

Zurracapote RiojanoRed wine rarely comes to mind when summer temperatures reach scorching heights; yet Iberians across the Peninsula have always devised ingenious ways to add it to every drink! Let’s take Spain as an example… Anyone who’s visited Spain – and wanted to go deeper into the culture than the superficial “Sangria, Playa and Paella” experience – has probably heard of the most basic of these mixes, the Tinto de Verano. This “Summer Red” (a mix of 1/3 red wine – locals use younger and fruitier styles like “vino del año” or “cosechero”- 2/3 sweet soda water, served in a tall glass filled to the brim with ice cubes) has multiple regional variants: “Rebujito” a Fino Sherry and 7-up mix popular in Andalucía; “Pitilingorri” (basque for “a little red”) a mix of rosé wine and orange soda preferred in Alava, La Rioja and Navarra; or “Calimocho”, a mix of red wine and ...
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