Archive for April, 2011

Forget the bunny. I want wine in my basket!

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Easter Brunch Pairings Chocolate eggs are lovely, but a three hour wine-paired brunch in the backyard sun? I’m there. 

There’s something elegantly lazy but brilliant about a stretched table across the back lawn filled with traditional Easter dishes and a chilled brigade of wine. This year on our table is a new line-up of classics gleaming in the sun, ready for their paired debut. What’s on our menu? Why we thought you’d never ask.

Deviled Eggs & Salmon Crustinis
Pairing: Gruet Brut Sparkling

A brunch just wouldn’t be the same without at least one egg dish, and this year we’re kicking things off with some curried deviled eggs and some salmon custinis. Our recommendation for any egg dish this year is Gruet Brut Sparkling. Gruet Brut’s crisp, full-bodied wine offers an apple and citrus palate, toasty finish and ultra-fine bubbles perfect for getting the meal started with a kick.

Grilled Pear Salad with Roquefort & Bacon Vinaigrette & Grilled Trout
Pairing: Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer

It might be Easter, but we still fire up the grill. This year we follow up our apps with my mother’s famous grilled pear salad with Roquefort and bacon vinaigrette and a site of grilled trout. Keeping things light and balanced, we’re pairing our salad course with Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer. A perfect pairing for salad and fish courses, Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer brings a rose nose, a rich full-mouth feel of tropical fruit and exotic spices on the palate, and a long finish that balances vinaigrettes yet compliments the subtle flavor of the fish.

Ham with Crackling Spiced Brown Sugar Glaze
Pairing (white): Bodegas Botani Moscatel
Pairing (rose): Derby 07 Mosaic Rose
Pairing (red)
: Roar 09 Pinot Noir SLH

Of course we can’t forget the king of the table, the ham with its crackling goodness. This year we’re going a little sweet and a little spicy with our spiced brown sugar glaze to satisfy everyone’s tastes at the table. We could have gone the traditional Riesling route, but instead we invited three of our favorites to the table to please the pickiest of palates.

For our white lovers, we’re pairing our new favorite (right off the crate and onto the shelf): Bodegas Botani Moscatel. Sourced from organically farmed 70 year old Moscatel de Alejandria vines (Malaga, Spain), the Botani displays a sweet nose of mineral, spring flowers and tropical aromas, but delivers a refreshingly dry but very fruity palate that pairs nicely with ham.

For our Rose lovers, we’re pairing our ham with the Derby 07 Mosaic Rose. It might be a new kid to the table, but between its fruit and bright mouth feel Rose we think it’ll hold its own against the Easter ham.

For our red lovers (yes red, why not?), we’re pairing Roar’s 09 Pinot Noir SLH. This Pinot’s ripe black raspberry and blackberry notes with subtle smoke and truffle characteristics offers a nice complement to the spice and sweet of any ham.

Yum. Bring on the Easter bunny! What’s on your table this year?

Happy Easter!

Davina DaVino

Sipping and Grilling – Orin Swift Palermo

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

BBQ Pizza & WineThere’s no doubt. It’s good living in Santa Barbara County. Not only are we nestled with an ocean view in the mecca of some of the best vineyards and winemakers in the world, but we’ve got perfect BBQ weather practically all year long. Great grilling and good wine…how can you possibly beat that?

Yeah, you can’t.

Getting our Wine Grilling on - Palermo

Which is why, as an admitted BBQ addict, I’m constantly on the hunt for great grilling wines. One-course, flash-in-the-pans need not apply. I’m looking for a wine that sips pleasantly round the fire pit for cocktail conversation and yet holds its own when the hot topics get fired up at dinner. We’re talking that rare garnet gem of goodness that brings a balance between easy drinking for easy living and a bold attitude ready to stand up with something to say. It might just be Tuesday, but my grill is hot and I’m lining up the bottles for the weekend.

Orin Swift PalermoTop of my BBQ list this week goes to Orin Swift’s new 2009 Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot). If you’ve tasted Orin Switft’s The Prisoner , Saldo and Papillon, you know Palermo roars in with an impeccable pedigree and doesn’t disappoint. Gathered from Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, and Spring Mountain grapes and aged 16 months in French Oak, Palermo brings to the table blend of the best for a full mouth coat and long finish. It pours dark garnet with a ruby rim and beautiful legs, and unfolds into a bold cherry nose, a perfect complement to a smoking Q. Inside the drink is a complex but silky balance of black raspberries, aged tobacco, and dark chocolate palate with aged oak undertones that blend beautifully with balsamic chicken or stand up to a steak. It lingers on the finish, and packs a punch with 15.5% ALC.

It might only be Tuesday, but I’ve got my Palermo on order and a tri tip in the fridge. Who says BBQing is just for the weekend?

Ready to do some grilling of your own? Swing by The Wine Closet for our Thursday Night Sippin’ and Grillin’ 5-wine flight, and get a taste of Orin Swift’s Palermo.

Cheers!

Davina DaVino

Bottled Passion – Bodega de Edgar

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Bodega de Edgar

What makes a good wine great and a great wine unforgettable? Passion. It might not be heading the tasting notes, but you taste it on the palate and you feel it on finish. It’s the culmination of every decision – from soil selection to aging – being driven by the winemaker’s unyielding commitment to pour every ounce of themselves, their experience, and their journey into bottled perfection. It’s both undeniable and unexplainable, but it’s present in the best. And there are few that it’s more present than in local winemaker Edgar Torres’ Bodega de Edgar wines.

Edgar Torres’ wines are handcrafted masterpieces. No surprise really, as Edgar started his journey surrounded by amazing wines as a waiter at the famous Villa Creek Restaurant, and developed from cellar rat to winemaker under the tutelage of McPrice Myers (McPrice Myers Wines) and Russell From (Herman Story Wines), two outstanding winemakers in their own rite. What Edgar pours into every vintage is his love of the art and of the land culminating in a passion for and commitment to small production, natural wines. Sourcing the same grapes as Meyers and From, Bodega de Edgar’s wines undergo natural fermentation (no yeast added), where the natural heat of Paso Robles and the yeast within the grape skin initiate fermentation, allowing the varietal and vineyard designate to pronounce itself from nose to finish.

Bodega de Edgar - BottlingAs with most masterpieces, they’re few in number and hard to come by. Bodega de Edgar’s lots are small and purposely so focusing on quality over quantity. Edgar’s Grenache/Syrah blend, E2, for example, has only 45 cases produced. His Garnacha? A select 100 cases. And his Albarino? 310 cases. But we’ve got all three, and we’re the only shop in the area that does.

This Thursday night (4/7) we’re pouring all three (E2, Garnacha, and Albarino) limited releases plus Bodega de Edgar’s newly bottled ’09 Tempranillo and ’07 Syrah. Come by and taste the passion!

Cheers!

Davina DaVino