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Boony Doon Vineyard
It would seem to be a cold day in climate changèd Santa Cruz that a Merlot would pass the portals of Bonny Doon Vineyard. And yet… one must (as painful a proposition as this might be) remain open to the possibility that the The Cépage That Dare Not Speak Its Name might (gasp) be somehow not just bearable, but in fact, utterly delicious - soft, luscious and plush (not not in a slatternly way), wellstructured, and even, dare I say, reasonably complex. You may well be looking at us, uhh - sideways - for saying it, but I will be drinking some $%&*#! Merlot.
nextSectionMedium ruby color, with a lovely dusty aroma of fraise de bois, and licorice and gingerbread, with the subtlest suggestion of garrigue de Provence. (I suspect that’s the Cabernet Franc.) The aromatics continue to build as the wine evolves in the glass. Seemingly light on the palate when first opened, the wine builds in amplitude in the glass with more air. The Merlot has wonderful natural acidity (go figure!), medium tannins and great persistence.
nextSectionThis would be an absolutely perfect wine with lamb and rosemary. Other ideas include pizza with Italian sausage, grilled steak with Merlot reduction, grilled vegetables.
nextSectionA light to medium bodied dry red wine displaying vibrant cherry and raspberry flavours with hints of mint and spice leading to fine tannins and lingering finish.
nextSectionPinot Noir is a catch-all food pairing wine. Pinot Noir is light enough for salmon but complex enough to hold up to some richer meat including duck. In a pinch, when everyone orders a vastly different entree at a restaurant, you can usually win by picking Pinot Noir; it will make everyone happy.
Armas de Guerra
nextSectionSmoke-accented aromas of blueberry, blackberry and dark chocolate. Displays bitter cherry and dark chocolate flavors and a hint of candied flowers. Building tannins come on late and add grip to the finish, with the blueberry and floral notes echoing. Mencia is grown in Spain's northwestern Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras, regions known for seriously old vines and slate and granite soils that give the wines balance and minerality.
nextSectionPair with lighter red meats, fowl, chicken and shellfish especially when cooked in wine or with a wine or tomato sauce. Predominantly sweet or fruity dishes should be avoided.
Ipsum Rueda is a wine made by Bodegas Hermanos del Villar in the Rueda DO region. Ipsum means ‘itself’ in Latin. By design, Ipsum is always un-oaked to emphasize the natural flavors of the grapes. As winemaker and proprietor Pablo del Villar explains, one sixth of Rueda’s vineyards are considered the best quality terroir; all of his vineyards are within this area. At Hermanos del Villar, the focus of the wine growing and winemaking is the personality of the place rather than the personality of the winemaker. The winemaking philosophy is to let the vineyards find direct expression, showing vibrant fruit, purity and a mineral identity. You could call Pablo’s wines “crushed liquid stones.” In English, Rueda means ‘wheel,’ similar to the big wheel on the label.
nextSectionLight yellow-gold. Pear, nectarine and melon on the fragrant nose, with notes of anise and honey adding complexity. Smooth and gently spicy palate of fresh orchard fruit flavors and a hint of herbs. Turns spicier with air, finishing with solid punch and a hint of tarragon
nextSectionPair Verdejo with food much in the same way you might a Sauvignon Blanc. Verdejo is excellent with greens dressed in vinaigrette and other sharp ingredients such as tomatoes and olives. Fish and shellfish are also natural partners.
During a tour of the Balvenie distillery about a decade ago, I innocently posed a question to the host about the viscosity of single malt scotch. Fully expecting the standard lecture about the angel’s share, I was taken aback when he directed an associate to go grab the bottle of the brand’s 50 year old product that he had stored…under his desk. Continue reading...
You’ve swilled Negronis and sipped Fernet with the best of them, but there is more to amari than meets the aperitif. The European herbal liqueurs that span centuries of (dubious) health claims are as varied as the continent itself. Read on to find some bitter truths!
In “not very hard to believe” news, Russian President Vladimir Putin—he of shirtless horseback riding fame—did something shocking and internationally insensitive. Along with Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (no stranger to controversy himself), Putin helped himself to a 240 year-old bottle of Spanish wine belonging to a Crimean winery. Continue Reading...
As a new generation of wine drinkers emerges in the U.S., the world of wine has begun to adapt to their preferences, with some regions coming along quicker than others. In Bordeaux, some have dragged their feet in evolving with the times.
In fact, Bordeaux has slowly fallen out of favor with Americans in general. Where it was once ABC, Anything But Cabernet, it’s become ABB, Anything But Bordeaux. Continue Reading...