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Showing posts from 2020

December Gift Ideas from Galveston Monthly

 In the December 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, get gift ideas for the wine lover in your life.

Meet the Iron Sommelier 2020 Winners Link

There's a new king in town, Evan Turner swept the 2020 Iron Somm Competition.  Read all about it in my latest for Houston Food Finder.  https://houstonfoodfinder.com/bars/meet-the-iron-sommelier-houston-2020-winners/

A Time for Beaujolais

 As seen in the November 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine. Some thoughts on the Gamay based wines from the Beaujolias region of France along with Beaujolais recommendations that were found on the Island. 

Merry Edwards "Meredith Estate" Pinot Noir 2017

Merry Edwards "Meredith Estate" Pinot Noir 2017 - Robust, yet elegant, with fresh aromas of black raspberry, cherry, and cocoa with floral notes of violet and a slight hint of forest floor. The full bodied wine is dry and beautifully structured with smooth fully ripe tannins and bright acidity with juicy flavors that mirror the nose throughout the persistent white pepper laced finish. Lovely to drink alone and even better with food. 14.5% ABV. I served it with Moroccan braised lamb shanks, a recipe that came from the Merry Edwards website, this rich and savory meal was a perfect pairing for this beautifully layered wine. Find the recipe at MerryEdwards.com . This wine was sourced from a 24 acre vineyard site that Merry Edwards and her husband purchased in 1996. It is located on the southern edge of the Russian River Valley in a cooler area where summer fog covers the area until the afternoon. The vineyard was planted in 1998 with Dijon clones on Goldridge sandy loam soils an

Wente Wetmore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

This was one of the featured wines on last week's episode of the Somm Con Geographical Digest series. Aly Wente was on and spoke about the family’s five generations of winemaking in Livermore Valley, the region's coastal influences, and the Charles Wetmore Vineyard from where this wine was sourced. The Wente Wetmore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petite Sirah, 8% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. It is grown in the Charles Wetmore Vineyard which is n amed after one of Livermore’s most prominent early wine pioneers who is believed to have brought vine cuttings from many of Bordeaux’s top Châteaux to the Livermore Valley. It is located between the two major arroyo’s, or steep gullies, in the Valley Arroyo del Valle and Arroyo Mocho and ranges in elevation from 460 to 735 feet. This vineyard site was primarily planted to Cabernet Sauvignon because of its climate and gravel soils which allow for a later harvest and help the vines to fully ri

A Fine Wine Tasting

These wines were sent to me from the Texas Fine Wine Group as part of an online group blind wine tasting. They were bagged and taped to conceal their identity. My husband uncorked them for me so I did not see any branding prior to tasting. Tasting notes were written before the reveal. Afterwards, winery representatives discussed each via zoom. The Texas Fine Wine group is comprised of five well respected wineries who have set the goal of making high quality, benchmark wines from 100% Texas grown grapes. They make estate wines as well as source from some of the top growers in the state. All of the following wines are recommended and are excellent examples of the caliber of wines that Texas can produce. Bending Branch "Lost Pirogue Vineyard" Texas Hill Country Picpoul Blanc 2019 - Clean, fresh, and dry with notes of honeydew, pear, and lemon zest on the nose. The wine is medium bodied with medium+ acidity and flavors that echo the aromas with the addition of a grilled pineapp

Sangiovese Wines for Fall - from Galveston Monthly

In the October 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I talk about the Sangiovese grape, its home in Italy and some of the places that make magnificent wine from it. I also talk about how Sangiovese is doing in Texas. As seen in Galveston Monthly magazine - on the stands now.  

Spicewood Vineyards and Ron Yates Wines - From Galveston Monthly

 As seen in the September 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine This month, I talk to Ron Yates, owner of Spicewood Vineyards and Ron Yates Wines. He shares some thoughts on the 2020 Texas wine grape harvest and gives a few recommendations for wines to drink now and some that collectors may want to hold.

Summer Sips from Spain - from Galveston Monthly

  In this month's issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I write about a few of the wine growing regions of Spain along with some history and wine recommendations. Top picks include an Albariño from Rias Baixas, both a red and a rosado from Rioja, and a pair of Cavas.    Read the articles here as they appeared in the printed version or check at the on-line issue at  Galveston Monthly .

The Tastes of an Independent America - From Galveston Monthly

As seen in the July 2020 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine   This month, I wrote about the drinking habits of the Founding Fathers with suggestions on the imported wines that we know they enjoyed drinking from Bordeaux, Champagne, and Madeira. While no one should consume as much as they apparently did, we can all take tips on the best wines to enjoy on Independence Day, read the printed version below or follow the link to the online magazine spread.  Galveston Monthly - The Tastes of an Independent America

Recommended Rosé from Oregon for Summer

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended the "4th Annual Largest Blind Tasting of American True Rosé". This is an event hosted annually by wine writer/blogger, Jeff Kralik of The Drunken Cyclist . Texas had already begun to reopen after the Covid-19 Stay Home order had been lifted but this was my first day to go out since it had begun. In addition to Jeff and I, two other brave souls, also writer/bloggers ventured out to join us as well, Katrina René from The Corkscrew Concierge and Rebecca Castillo from My Vino Rules . Jeff defines a true rosé as an intentional rosé, a wine in which the grapes have been grown, harvested, and vinified with the plan of making a rosé versus the Saignée method which is bleeding off from a planned red wine and vinifying the juice as a white wine. He had accumulated seventy-four sample bottles of American-made rosé wine for this tasting. Virtually all were more than acceptable ranging in the very good category of an 88-89 score or the exc

Restocking Your Wine

As seen in the June 2020 issue of  Galveston Monthly magazine, on the stands now.   After the stay home orders depleted all supplies kept on hand, its time to restock and rethink what are the necessities really needed to stay home for a long time. For wine lovers, there are other pressing needs than just food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. As hurricane season arrives and you think about restocking freezers and pantries again, think about what wines you will enjoy most while staying at home.

Fall Creek Vineyards Celebrates 45 Years

Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the Texas wineries that I have visited the most, both at their Tow and Driftwood locations. This year the Aulers are celebrating their 45th anniversary in Texas wine. This month, I share some of their story in Galveston Monthly magazine, on the stands now. Ed and Susan Auler have proven that together they can do just about anything. In the early years of their marriage, Ed was practicing law while Susan was the ideal mother taking care of their children. As if that was not enough to keep a young family busy, the two also took over operations of Ed’s family cattle ranch... Read the on-line version at  Galveston Monthly.com

Pink Bubbles for Mother's Day

As seen in the Houston Chronicle My daughter and I were both delighted to be asked to recommend some wines this year for Mother's Day in the Houston Chronicle . Check out our selections of pink sparklers to enhance your family celebrations. https://www.houstonchronicle. com/life/food/article/Houston- mother-daughter-duo-offer- wine-15250654.php

Scarpa Freisa Secco 'La Selva di Moirano' Monferrato 2006

Jeremy Parzen gave me this bottle of Scarpa Freisa Secco 'La Selva di Moirano' Monferrato 2006 to review. He is a friend and also works with the winery. Since I had taken my daughter to a Scarpa tasting at a local wine bar last fall, I decided to include her in this tasting. Morgan has the WSET2 certification. I also thought it would be fun to share how we go over a bottle of wine at family meals. Please excuse any Italian misprounciations. Scarpa Freisa Secco 'La Selva di Moirano' Monferrato 2006 - This wine is very complex yet still somewhat youthful with notes of sour cherry, leather, sage, and black olive with a distinct savory element. It is beautifully structured, dry, with fresh acidity, fully resolved, smooth elegant tannins, and a lingering finish. It is very food friendly and quite easy to drink. As my daughter states in the video, "it's elegant with a rustic flair". Highly recommended. As we are both very curious about this grape no

Blaye - Côtes de Bordeaux

During my trip to the Côtes de Bordeaux last summer, I visited all five terroirs or sub-regions of the greater AOC.  Blaye is the largest of the five regions, it is located along the Gironde Estuary.  The fruit forward red wines produced here are accessible and easy drinking. Regarding tourism in the region, there is quite a bit to see and do. It has a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Citadel of Blaye, which was built in the 1600’s. This historic site houses not only an ancient fortress and a herd of goats, it also has a recently remodeled hotel with nearby cafes and shopping. I stayed at the Hôtel de la Citadelle Blaye for two nights. It had a nice restaurant with a excellent breakfast spread and it also had live entertainment on Friday night. The pool overlooks the water and the rooms are air-conditioned which is always important to my fellow Texas travelers. Our group participated in something more modern that you might not expect to find in such a historic region. In additi

Texas Wine on the Table

Texas Twitter Talk happens every Tuesday on social media. As the name would indicate, the main discussion is taking place on Twitter but Texas wine lovers also post and discuss their Texas wine choices on Facebook and Instagram as well. Some earlier picks were included in a weekly roundup of wines that I tasted during the first few weeks of the Stay Home order. I decided to separate them out a couple of weeks ago to make it easier for Texas wine lovers to find my notes on these home grown wines. This wine was selected when favorite Texas white wines was the theme of the talk. I consider Duchman to be one of the best wineries in the state. My favorites have typically been the Vermentino tasted here and their Aglianico, but they also make a good Trebbiano and Montepulciano. Duchman Family Winery  Vermentino 2016 - Grapes sourced from the Bingham Family Vineyard. Dry, smooth, medium body white wine with tropical aromas of white flower and pineapple with notes of lemon peel and a hint o

Malbec World Day Celebration

Malbec World Day is an annual celebration for wine lovers to drink their favorite  Malbec wine and share it online with other like-minded drinkers. It happens every year on April 17. I am a little late posting about it but I celebrated on time. The Malbec grape is originally from southwest France near the Pyrenees in Cahors and it is one of the approved red grapes for Bordeaux. It immigrated to Argentina in the 1800s and since 2011, it has been the main grape cultivated in its new homeland. Argentina has over 100,000 acres planted to the grape with 85% of that in Mendoza. Lujan de Cuyo is a subregion of Mendoza, it is located next to the Andes Mountains about 3,300 feet above sea level and has a hot, dry climate. There is good temperature variation from night to day allowing the grapes to fully ripen from the intense sun yet still maintain their natural acidity. I celebrated Malbec World Day with a bottle of Eolo from Trivento. 2015 was considered a more challenging vintage, it w

Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Rosé NV

During the stay home period, we have been drinking more bubbles than usual in my home. If you are going to watch Netflix for hours on end, it is always better with some sparkling wine and some popcorn. The Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Rosé got a spot at my dinner table with a curbside carryout meal from one of my top Houston restaurants, Nobie's . Their Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is a family favorite. We added some grilled carrots, pierogis with carrot sour cream for dipping, and their famous dilly bread to accompany it. Friend and fellow wine blogger, Jeff Kralik , introduced me to this Champagne house a few years ago. He is such a fan, he named their beloved family dog after it. I've been seeking it at restaurants and wine shops ever since and it has become a preferred brand in my home as well. Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Rosé - The grapes for this wine come from one of the seventeen Grand Cru villages in Champagne, this one located in the Montagne de Reims. This a

Casa Madero V Rosé 2018

Mexico is the oldest wine producing country in North America. Despite its long history with the grape and my frequents trips to Mexican resorts over the years, I was not familiar with the wines.  My brother-in-law introduced me to my first Mexican wine in 2012, an L.A. Cetto  Don Luis Seleccion Reservada Merlo t from the Valle de Guadalupe. He  had purchased a few different bottles during a trip to Mexico City to enjoy with our family when he returned.  Despite my eight years of interest, I still haven't tried that many different brands.  I have mostly enjoyed wines made by Casa Madero, Mexico's oldest winery, at local restaurants and wine events.  This brand seems to be more available than others in Houston. Casa Madero was established 1597. It is located in the Valle de Parras which is located in the southern part of the State of Coahuila, in the north-east region of Mexico. The area is situated at almost 5,000 feet above sea level . Winters are cold and summers are sun

A Visit to Château de Pitray

This photo was borrowed from Château Pitray's Facebook Page while the rest were taken by me during my visit. Jean de Boigne Château de Pitray rests on 250 acres of land in the Côtes de Cadillac sub-region of Bordeaux. The estate is divided between meadowland, forest, and the vineyard.  The Dining Room Château de Pitray, which looks like a storybook castle, has a long history. It is the oldest continuously family-owned château in Bordeaux. T he family has been there for six hundred years.  The manor house, located about ten miles from St-Émilion, was built in the 15th century. T he property is known now for its grape-growing and wine production but its record as a vineyard would not begin until the 18th century. Prior to that time, it was a more typical mixed-use farm.  The family would not only survive years of war at home in France but would also continue to flourish while some members even came to fight for American independence as well. The chronicle of

Two from Abruzzo

  I traveled to Abruzzo for the first time in 2018 and it was an eye opening experience for me. Throughout my time studying wine, both by myself reading various wine books at home before finally progressing on to certified courses in 2010, Abruzzo seemed to be an unimportant area to know. It was acknowledged primarily for the large amount of grapes grown for bulk producers rather than as a place from which one could seek interesting wines. The main concern from both books and instructors was that its main grape, Montepulciano, should not be confused with a place name in Tuscany.   On my first day there, I was struck by the expansive views of the Adriatic Sea which I could see from my hotel followed by the lush beauty of the countryside with the mountains in the background that I would see while visiting wine producers. Why was this place not on more American's radar as a travel destination, I wondered. To see to what I am referring, you can just look at the photo at the top of thi

Lodi Wines Masterclass - Zinfandel

  Two months ago, I attended a Lodi Wines Masterclass in Houston taught by wine educator, Elaine Chukan Brown with Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Stuart Spencer. I am breaking this seminar down into three posts starting with the Zinfandel wines. I have also added some additional terroir notes from my visit to Lodi last spring.   Lodi calls itself the "Zinfandel Capital of the World" because historically it has produced about 40% of California's Zinfandel grapes.   There are over 100,000 acres planted to wine grapes in Lodi with Zinfandel making up approximately 17,000 of those acres. About 2,000 acres are home to ungrafted, head-trained, old vines that date back to pre-Prohibition, most of the wines below belong to this category. The amount of Zinfandel being grown in Lodi has been on a lowering trend in the past few years due to the fact that less White Zinfandel is being produced. Yields from red Zinfandel vineyards are much lower than wha