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Showing posts from 2015

Pierre Péters Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Blanc de Blancs

Sparkling Wine of the Week: Pierre Péters Champagne Cuv é e de R é serve Blanc de Blancs  Always a favorite in our home , this sparkling wine was sourced from Grand Cru vineyards located in the commune of Le Mesnil sur Oger in the Cote des Blancs sub region of Champagne. The belemnite chalky soil of the area helps maintain acidity while adding a chalky mineral nuance to the wine.  A pale straw color in the glass, this wine has aromas of baked pear with citrus, it has a creamy texture with refreshing acidity. It is dry with crisp citrus flavors and a light toasted note with a long mineral finish.  A preferred choice with cold seafood platters but easily enjoyed anytime, approximately $60.

12 Wines for December

As originally seen in  the December edition of Galveston Monthly magazine

André Clouet Champagne Rosé No. 3 Grand Cru Brut

Sparkling Wine of the Week:  Andr é   Clouet Champagne Ros é   No. 3 Grand Cru Brut This wine was given to me by a friend that joined us for dinner over the holidays. I can assure you that  he was well-received  when I opened the door and saw the bottle. The Champagnes of  Andr é   Clouet are favorites at our home.  This high-quality small production sparkling wine comes from the Grand Cru village of Bouzy located in the Champagne region of France. It is made from 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the prime mid-slope section of the vineyard. A pretty pale pink color, this wine is dry and refreshing with aromas of raspberry and orange zest with a light floral note. It has similar flavors with a bit of yeast and gingerbread in the lingering mineral-laced finish. The wine is the perfect hostess gift, approximately $50.

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Sparkling Wine of the Week:  Mumm Napa Brut Prestige *   A b lend of mostly  Chardonnay and  Pinot Noir with some Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier made in the traditional method, this is Mumm Napa's signature sparkling wine.  Fruitier and a bit rounder  than most Champagne, this bottle of dry bubbles offers fresh apples and citrus  with a bit of yeast and a light toasty note with a lingering finish. This is the perfect wine with which to greet your holiday guests at the door , a pproximately $22.  *Media Sample

Thanksgiving with Wines of Alsace

Are you looking for a sparkling wine, white wine or dessert wine for your holiday meal? Wines of Alsace created a Thanksgiving wine pairing plan to make your day both easier and more delicious.  Check out their chart and my suggested wines before you head out to do your holiday wine shopping.  Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut NV  - Wine-Thoughts sparkling wine of the week. The grapes for this dry, sparkling wine were hand picked and the wine was produced in the traditional method with a minimum of 18 months aging on the lees. Crisp and refreshing with light notes of green apple and citrus; perfect for appetizers, the cheese course and beyond. I have enjoyed both this style and the ros é   version many times. This wine was a media sample. Suggested Retail Price: $21.99 2013 Frey Sohler  Reserve  Pinot Blanc Vin D' Alsace-  This dry white wine has light aromas of honeysuckle with fruity flavors of pear and melon. It is light, fresh and easy-drinking. Versatile wit

Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut

Sparkling Wine of the Week:  Desiderio Jeio Brut  Prosecco *   This non-vintage sparkling wine is produced by the Bisol family in northeastern Italy from 100% Glera grapes. The family has been producing wine in the Valdobbiadene region for over 400 years.  This DOC Prosecco wine is dry and refreshing with fruity aromas of peach and sweet citrus with a light floral note. It has flavors of green apple and melon with a soft lingering finish.  Perfect with weekend brunch at home,  approximately $15.  *Media Sample

"My Spain" A Seminar and Tasting with Karen MacNeil

Author of The Wine Bible,  Karen MacNeil, was in Houston this week to share some of her thoughts on the wines of Spain with local wine trade and media at a seminar and tasting held before the Spain's Great Match event. On the panel with Karen were Camarata at Paulie's wine bar owner, David Keck, and wine educator, Mark Rashap of The Iluminated Bottle . The Tasting: 2014 Bengoetxe Txakolina, Txakoli de Getaria (SRP $19)- Txakoli, pronounced sha-KO-lee, is from the Basque region in northern Spain and is made from an indigenous grape called Hondarribi Zuri. The wines of the region are typically bone dry and are defined by citrus, a briny minerality and what Karen describes as "a buzz of acidity". This dry white wine made from organically grown grapes had a smoky/savory character that Karen said was more unique to the producer, Bengoetxe, than the region. Fresh and food friendly-perfect with sheep cheeses and Serrano ham, versatile enough for poultry and s

2012 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs

Sparkling Wine of the Week: 2012 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs - This  north coast   California sparkling wine is made in the traditional method from Chardonnay grapes sourced from cool climate vineyards. It is partially fermented in barrel for added  complexity  and small lots undergo malolactic fermentation before blending for a creamier texture. This wine spends approximately two years aging on its lees before it is disgorged which helps the wine to maintain its fresh taste.  Crisp, dry, refreshing with classic aromas of green apple and lemon with honeysuckle hints and a clean, mineral-laced finish. Perfect with hot buttered popcorn on movie night at home, approximately $40.

Rodney Strong Vineyards

As originally seen in the November issue  of Galveston Monthly  magazine 

Tasting at Fall Creek Vineyards in Driftwood

Open less than a year, the second location of Fall Creek Vineyards now sits on the Driftwood Wine Trail . While in the area for a Texas Wine Month celebration dinner, my husband and I stopped in to check it out and enjoy a tasting.  The new facility is a renovated former private home surrounded by butterfly gardens and native Texas plants. The tasting room opens out onto a relaxing tasting patio complete with a water feature. Some food is available in the form of a small bites menu with options such as cheese trays, p â t é  and bread or a grilled cheese sandwich. Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the oldest and most respected wine producers in the state. This second location has allowed them to expand. The property sits on 17 acres by the Salt Lick Vineyards, the source of some of their single vineyard wines. They are planting vines across the front with more planned. We sat out under the covered portion of the patio and I tasted the premium series  for $15  which is a choic

Texas Fine Wine Dinner at Duchman Winery

The Texas Fine Wine Dinner was held at Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas on Friday evening. The group of four Hill Country wineries hosted this gathering to celebrate Texas Wine Month. The meal was served family-style with open seating and the atmosphere was festive. Guests were treated to a glass of the light and refreshing Duchman Trebbiano upon arrival which was served with passed baked gruyere cheese puffs while they mixed and mingled before choosing their seats. As each course was served, winery representatives shared the stories behind the wine being poured. Many of the guests were expecting to enjoy a full Texas culinary weekend with plans to attend the Fredricksburg Food and Wine Fest the following day. Table talk revolved around tales of Texas winery visits and comparisons on favorite Texas wines. The dinner: Lump crab salad with orange slices, crisp fennel and avocado served with the 2014 Brennan Vineyards Mourvedre Dry Rosé -  lighter bodied, fruity strawb

Una Serata Piemontese - A Piedmont Wine Dinner at Ciao Bello

On September 29, acclaimed restaurateur Tony Vallone and Houston Chronicle wine writer Dale Robertson hosted "Una Serata Piemontese", an evening featuring the wine and food of Piedmont at Ciao Bello on San Felipe. Well over a hundred guests filled the patio dining room to taste the northwestern Italian inspired menu along with the paired Piemonte wines while listening to two of Houston's taste gurus talk about one of their favorite wine regions and the culinary culture that comes from it. The dinner: Antipasti - Bagna Cauda, Ripiene di Ventresca, Grissini  Bollito Misto  di Mare - Melange of seafood with a salsa verde Tortellini Piemontese - Proscuitto & Mortadella, Grana Padano and sage. Nebbiolo Stained Risotto - topped with Tallegio Fonduta Controfilleto di Vitello - a center-cut veal sirloin with roasted autumn vegetables in a Barolo ristretto wine  Bonet Amaretto - Chocolate and espresso Budino with Dolcetto poached pear and biscotti Th

Parparoussis Dinner at Helen Greek Food and Wine

The exclusive Parparoussis Dinner at Helen Greek Food and Wine was held earlier this week. This was the first event of this type to be held at the restaurant which opened in Rice Village this past summer. Owner and sommelier Evan Turner invited Athanasios and Vasiliki Parparoussis to showcase their wines at this special dinner which he limited to 45 guests. The wines that were chosen for the meal are on his wine list and they are some of his favorites. He feels their expression of acidity and mineralty are the hallmark of Greek wine.  Winemaker, Athanasios Parparoussis trained in Dijon, France. He has recently stepped back from the day to day operations. The multi-generation family-run organic winery is now overseen by two of their daughters, Dimitra and Erifili. The winery is located in Patras in the Peloponnese. The dinner featured  wines produced from indigenous grapes of the region like the rare Sideritis variety, a pinkish skinned grape that had been used to create both

New Zealand Wines- Notes from A Seminar & Trade Tasting

The New Zealand Winegrowers were in Houston last month to host a trade tasting and seminar for local wine professionals at Pappas Bros Steakhouse. The association brought in an array of wines from several regions and vintages to showcase that, in addition to the great Sauvignon Blanc that the world has come to expect, there are many styles and varieties being produced that may surprise.  David Strada and Ranit Librach hosted the event that began with a class and tasting.  The island nation of New Zealand has a cool climate. Due to the geography of the country, all of the vineyards lie within 80 miles of the ocean so there is a strong ocean influence that affects the character of the wines. They typically enjoy mild and very sunny summer days with cool nighttime temperatures, this broad diurnal range allows for slow ripening and full flavor development.  The isolated country is famous for its pristine landscapes and its commitment to preserving the natural environment. This concept

Tasting Malbec with the Houston Chapter of the American Wine Society

I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Houston Chapter of the American Wine Society  at my home in September for a Malbec Tasting. This event was organized by my sister and her husband, a long time member of the organization. We opted to set up tasting stations throughout the house to allow guests to move through with greater ease.  My sister was recovering from a recent foot surgery so she primarily manned the kitchen while  I was on hand throughout the event to discuss fun facts about the wines.  Attendees are given any information about the wines in which they are interested such as scores, pricing, etc, before the "people's choice" style voting.  I shared my stories of meeting Bertrand Vigoroux here in Houston, he was the producer of two of the evening's wines, and my more recent introduction to Aurelio Montes of Kaiken at a wine event in New York. M y brother in law, who has traveled extensively throughout South America, shared his stories about the Argentine wi

Visiting Rodney Strong Vineyards

Our final winery visit was to  Rodney Strong Vineyards . Social media manager, Laura Perret and her husband met my husband and I for a Sunday morning tour and tasting.  We began in the winery. Our guide, Bill, started us off with a barrel sampling of the 2014 Symmetry and the 2013 Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon . He wanted to showcase both the terroir differences between the two and the different points in development between the two vintages.  We viewed more of the production facility and learned about  some innovations they have made to keep the wine more secure during earthquakes before heading out to the terrace to enjoy a tasting with a vineyard view.  Bill served us two rosé s to start, both from the 2014 vintage and both priced at $25, one made from Pinot Noir and the other from Malbec. The Pinot Noir's character was more raspberry and rose petals while the Malbec was more watermelon with a bit of vanilla and toast. Bill explained these were primarily sold at the winery fo

Visiting Quivira Vineyards

Reprinted from the October 2015 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine Pg 57-59 Quivira Vineyards and Winery, located in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, takes its name from the mythical seven cities of gold that explorers sought through out the sixteenth century. Upon visiting the estate in the late afternoon, one can easily see how the original owners could have chosen the name. The place seems to be bathed in a golden light. The vineyards are not only organic, but biodynamic; there is the sense of life happening wherever one looks. Sitting out on the tasting room patio with the grapes looking so close to ready on the nearby vines or strolling around to watch the bees working the garden, which includes over a hundred raised beds, a pond, a greenhouse and a chicken coop, all the while tasting the array of wines that are offered would unquestionably delight any visitor’s senses. In back, the grapes are coming in from other areas and more wine is being made adding just a