Check out the radio show on The Ranch 107.1FM or 97.9FM in The Bitterroot Valley. How about a live stream feed at www.107theranch.com. The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch airs weekly on Wednesday mornings at 8:20AM MDT.
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The Lolo Creek Steak House, “Rare yet Well Done”, located in Lolo, MT. Find them online at www.lolocreeksteakhouse.com
This week’s winners are; Ken Munson and Daniel Gallacher, thanks for your great questions to WineGuyMike™.
This week WineGuyMike is going to be talking about no rules wine, terrior, and a follow up on 11th annual Table Talk Event Benefit for The St. Patrick House in Missoula, MT.
Okay on to our Fans fantastic questions this week; Ken asks I have never been a person to drink alcohol until my wife started getting into your program. We have now shared a few bottles of wine together and I find myself liking a sweet wine, probably pretty typical. The one I have really enjoyed is Huck with huckleberry flavoring by Huck Wines of Walla Walla, WA. Can you recommend another kind of wine that is sweet that we may enjoy? I am your typical Montana boy who loves steak.. so anything that goes well with steak would be wonderful too!
Fruit wines have traditionally been popular with home winemakers and in areas with cool northern climates. Most fruits and berries have the potential to produce wine. Grapes are one of the few foods that produce a natural balance of sugar, acid, tannin, and nutritive salts that promote proper fermentation. With that in mind Fruit based wines are enriched in the wine making process. Fermentable sugars are too low to produced wines with a correct alcohol level and rely on a supplementation process called chaptalization. This enrichment process of adding sugar to unfermented grape must to increase the alcohol level after fermentation is a technique that is named for its developer, the French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal. This does not make the wine sweeter but aides the yeast to further ferment and raise alcohol levels to result in a proper finished wine. Fruit wines with high acid levels may have sucrose added to help balance those levels. Fruit wines do not improve with age and should be consumed within a year of bottling.
Now Ken for your recommendations that are all available from WineGuyMike sponsor Grizzly Liquor; Ken I want to also preface these recommendations of wines by pointing out the one rule we have on The WineGuyMike Show, there are no rules. What’s my point you might ask, if you like a good dessert wine with your steak by all means enjoy it. I mean really as a kid growing up didn’t you really want to have dessert before your dinner, well Ken here is your chance and WineGuyMike says go for it. Salute to you Ken.
Cherry Blossom $19.50 – A sweet blend of cherry, pear, and zinfandel makes a lighter, juicier alternative to port. Versatile and complex, Cherry Blossom pairs with a wide array of foods from lamb and couscous to cheese, nuts, and chocolate—always good by the fire.
GLACIER WILD HUCKLEBERRY WINE (The only wine made with 100% wild huckleberries) $21.55
Flathead Lake Winery is a small, family-owned, craft winery that specializes in small-batch wines made from Montana fruit. They make wine from fruit that was either grown in Montana or picked wild in Montana. Flathead Lake Winery was the 6th winery licensed in Montana and began operations in 2003. At Flathead Lake Winery they hand make, hand fill, hand cork, and hand label each and every bottle. This is the only winery to use 100% Montana grown fruit.
This is the original huckleberry wine and the only wine made of 100% wild huckleberries. There are those out there who try to flavor their grape wine with huckleberries. Don’t be fooled. Get the real thing. While using 100% wild huckleberries is much more costly, they believe it is worth it and believe you will agree. They know you will be able to taste the difference. They use approximately 2 lbs ($12) of huckleberries in each bottle.
Frisk Prickly (83% Riesling, 17% Muscat Gordo) $9.75
Nestled into the Northern foothills of the Victorian Alps, the Alpine Valleys harbor a handful of dogged grape growers whose ancestors arrived in the 1850s after a less-than-comfortable boat trip from Italy. With lofty slopes climbing to 2000 feet, vineyards are snow clad in winter and punch through clouds to nab a slice of sunshine during summer. Made by a team of maverick winemakers, Frisk is crafted by seasoned hands. Harvested in the chilly eve and delivered to the winery in pristine condition, prized free-run Riesling juice is fermented with canny yeasts that ensure the wine is sporting plenty of aromatic verve along with a low 8% alcohol. And the prickle? A gentle spritz produced by those clever yeasts, captured to deliver a tickle that will rouse your palate. It’s downright Frisky.
It’s a mouth-revving Riesling with a bite that sings with mountain-stream purity. Its flavors dart all over, quartz-like acidity coming right at you, bold and unapologetic. You may see notes of lemon sorbet, bath salts and white lilies layered with spices from your favorite childhood pie shop…guess that depends on your childhood. But you can’t deny its raciness and versatility, sidling up suggestively to food that’s both sweet and spicy. Its intensity will slap you in the face.
Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2008 D.O.C.G. $16.20
Perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers. A gentle sparkle brightens the fruit and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits.
This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal.
Saracco has perfected the balance of acid and residual sugar to make an incredibly light and floral sparkling wine keeps the natural effervescence in the wine. The Saracco Moscato d’Asti wine is made by fermenting the juice in sealed, pressurized and temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This method of fermentation pressurized tanks for 60 days, then filtered repeatedly to stop fermentation. The tank method allows the naturally sparkling wine to be kept fresh until it is ordered, only then is it bottled to ensure the best possible wine in the glass. Moscato d’ Asti is highly aromatic with notes of fruit and white flowers, Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape. A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing.
Question #2 from Daniel Gallacher, Daniel asks what are your thoughts on the Missoula valley as a wine producing area?
In Missoula’s rich agricultural past The Garden City grew and provided fruit and vegetables for many neighboring cities. During the Ice Age glaciers formed in our mountains, creating peaks and valleys from the Precambrian quartzites and argillites. Geologists believe the reformation of Lake Missoula reoccurred 41 times each time leaving behind a deep layer of argillite.
The geologic past of The Missoula Valley left behind very good soil conditions for grape growing. With regard to our various zonal growing areas in the greater Missoula Valley grape growers are limited to certain grape varietals that will resist sometimes harsh growing conditions over time. Here are a few examples of varietals grown here and are tough enough to withstand our sometimes severe weather conditions; Maréchal Foch, Frontenac, Leon Millot, Swenson Red and St. Croix (reds), and St. Pepin, a white grape.
In the North we have an advantage of long days in spite of a shorter growing season. Grapes require enough growing days with an ambient temperature over 50 degrees Farenheit, we do meet that grape growing requirement in The Missoula Valley.
Overall Daniel for my money it is a tough go but I’m glad we have winery owners who have the skill and tenacity to make it happen here. We quite literally enjoy the fruits of their labor.
I recommend everyone visit our own Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery, it is a beautiful property.
Table Talk is an annual event that is one of five major fund raising events hosted by St. Patrick Hospital and Health Foundation. The Table Talk Event is an evening of great conversation, dining, learning, and sharing by a group of 250 people who will come together to benefit The St. Patrick House. This event takes place at The Double Tree Hotel on Saturday October 16th in Missoula, MT at 5:30 PM. There are 25 tables and each table is hosted by a celebrity or a significant person of interest. All the proceeds of this event directly benefit The St. Patrick House located one block away from St. Patrick Hospital.
Tickets for The Table Talk Event Benefit are available through the St. Patrick Hospital and Health Foundation offices for $75.00 per ticket. You may call 406-327-3052 to purchase your tickets for this event, remember tickets go fast and if you want to select your particular table of interest call to get your ticket today.
Table Talk Event wine flight
Bigi Vipra Bianca
Heron Pinot Noir
The picturesque town of Olite was historically significant during the Roman Empire and was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarra during the Middle Ages. Bodegas Ochoa has documents dated 1370 A.D. confirming that the bodega was the personal winemakers for the king of Navarra and his royal court, which continued for about another 400 years. The bodega was located within the walled portion of the city, but its growth during the past century caused the bodega to be relocated outside the walls.
Bodegas Ochoa is still family owned and operated with Javier Ochoa at the helm for the past 35 years. Adriana, Javier?s daughter, was trained in Bordeaux and continued her wine education in Australia is following Javier?s footsteps. Adriana is assuming more of the winemaking responsibilities of the bodega under her father’s guidance.
All of the grapes used to make Ochoa?s wines are estate grown in their 143 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are located in the higher elevations of Navarra, which lend additional structure and character to the grapes.
General Winery Bodegas Ochoa
Town of production Olite
Varietal Tempranillo 70%, Garnacha 30%
Total production of the wine 80,000 liters
Name of winemaker Adriana Ochoa
Vineyard Age of vines used to produce wine 11 years
Yield 7,500 kg / hectare
Size of vineyard, hectares Tempranillo 55 hectares, Garnacha 20 hectares
Elevation above sea level 410 meters
Inclination of vineyard south
Soil composition clay and limestone
Irrigation yes, drip irrigation
Harvest method machine
Date of harvest third week of September, 2008
Fermentation Alcoholic fermentation, type in stainless steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation, duration 10 days
Alcoholic fermentation, temperature 22 degrees C
Malolactic fermentation, type in stainless steel tanks
Malolactic fermentation, duration 10 days
Malolactic fermentation, temperature 20 degrees C
Aging Time in bottle before release 2 months
Bottling Cold stabilized yes
Bigi Vipra Bianca
Bigi was founded by Luigi Bigi in 1880. Today it is the leading winery in Orvieto. Located just beneath the lofty walls of ancient Orvieto, Bigi is one of Italy’s busiest cellars. The winery and cellars, redesigned and modernized by renowned oenologist Giacomo Tachis, draw thousands of visitors each year. Bigi is the leading brand of Orvieto with a thirty percent share of the total output of the zone. Equally important is the outstanding vineyard work done by Bigi. They own or manage almost 200 hectares (nearly 500 acres), notably Torricella, Orzalume, Viavalle and Il Poggio. Bigi thus controls the quality of its wines from vine to bottle under the direction of dynamic enologist Francesco Bardi, who is considered one of Umbria’s most innovative winemakers.
Vipra Bianca 2009
Grape(s): 60% Grechetto, 40% Chardonnay
Type: Dry Still White
Region: Umbria, Italy
The name Vipra — local dialect for “viper” — was inspired by one of the most powerful noble families of the Middle Ages: Monaldeschi della Vipera.
Scattered throughout the town of Orvieto and its neighboring communities, the vineyards were planted in the late 1990s. Using the spurred cordon and guyot training methods at a density of 3500-4000 vines/hectare, both indigenous and international varieties of grapes thrive in this poor, pebbly soil. Altitudes average 300 meters above sea level and all vineyards have southwestern exposures.
• pH: 3.31
• Residual Sugar: 2.50 grams/liter
• Acidity: 4.50 grams/liter
• Dry Extract: 17.10 grams/liter
Harvest took place in early October. Prior to fermentation, the grapes underwent a criomaceration for 8-9 hours, followed by static decanting of the musts for 24 hours in stainless steel tanks at 12-18°C. Fermentation occurred in stainless steel tanks as well, at temperatures of 14-16°C over 20 days. The wine was aged for 2 months before being filtered, fined, refrigerated, and bottled.
On the nose, this wine expresses hints of fresh almonds, acacia, and citrus. It is rich, yet fresh with a savory, elegant flavor. Best when drunk young.
Mas Que Vinos is the brainchild of a group of friends, Margarita Madrigal, Gonzalo Rodriguez, and Alexandra Schmedes. Having renovated an old family winery which dates to 1851, the three sought to preserve as much as they could from the original property, including the old tinajas (clay amphors) which are still used today for the malolactic fermentation.
La Mancha is one of the few areas of Spain that benefits from one single climate instead of two or three such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero. This Continental climate favors the extremes, with very cold winters and very hot summers. In the summer, and because of the altitude (often over 700 meters), the nights are quite cool which is perfect for an grape maturation. Soils in the zone are usually clay and limestone, with small patches of granite.
Mas Que Vinos works with two varietals with which many American buyers may not be familiar. Cencibel, a red varietal, is simply another name for Tempranillo when grown in certain areas of Central and Southern Spain. Arien, equally as unknown, is Spain’s most widely planted white varietal. Bunches are large and very tightly packed and alcohol levels tend to be between 13% and 14%. Often it is added to a blend for texture, but as it tends to be lower in alcohol in the area near Mas Que Vinos and the aromatics quite interesting, the property has decided to make it the centerpiece of their white wine.
Primarily made from the white varietal Airen and a small percentage of Sauvignon Blanc. Ercavio Blanco is young, fresh and fruity–and ideal aperitif or accompaniment to seafood and lighter fare.
Domaine Sainte Eugénie is positioned within the district of Fontfroide, the sweet spot of Corbières, with an 800 year history of viticulture. The estate is located within the foothills of the Pyrénées along the Mediterranean coast. Clay and chalk soils dominate here. The dry weather, sunny and warm climate combine to create an optimal growing environment. This new wine, just released, is the latest addition to Domaine Sainte Eugénie. It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.” This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet. Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits. Refined oak fragrance with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco. It is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity. Le Clos shows a wonderful balance. It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins. It will perfectly accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, barbecued beef or pork chops with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.
Domaine: Domaine Sainte Eugénie
Producer: Gantier, Ratero and Brignoli
Variety: 45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Heron Pinot Noir
This 2009 Pinot Noir hails from California and marks my return after 4 years of making French Pinot Noir. The decision to produce a French Pinot Noir was driven by grape quality and grape prices, and the decision to return to California is the same. Four years ago they could buy higher quality grapes at a better price in France; today, the better grapes and prices are in California. They sourced grapes from Paso Robles (Westside with cool ocean temperatures), Monterey and the Russian River Valley. The wine is generous on the palate with nice forward fruit and well-balanced oak — in a word, elegant.
Spring — Cool into April. Summer — Moderate then warm in late Summer, large canopies. Fall – Cool in September, wet in October, and dry into November. Harvest started early in with cool temperatures which delayed maturation and allowed for the development of ripe luscious flavors. Berries were smaller than usual and had lower sugar levels, higher acid and lower Ph. Lack of rain in the preceding winter made for lower than average yields due to small berries.
A pre-fermentation cold-soak at 50% initiates rich fruit and color extraction; followed by closed stainless steel fermentation, minimizing oxygen exposure and emphasizing fruitiness. 25% of the wine is drawn off to finish fermentation in oak to enrich the mouth-feel and gain greater fruit/oak cohesion. The wine is aged for about another nine months in new, one and two year old French oak barrels with medium-toast. Alcohol: 13.0% — refreshingly balanced in today’s world of high-alcohol wines.
This handcrafted Pinot Noir is an elegant composition of sustainably farmed grapes from several of California’s cool, marine influenced micro-climates. Ripe red berry and black cherry fruit balance its delicate spiciness. Join Heron in celebrating 15 years of making wines in California, France and Spain! The wine is generous on the palate with nice forward fruit and well-balanced oak — in a word, elegant.
The wines in this flight receive The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©
Now let’s get on with tasting the wine. Here is a simple process for basic wine tasting I call the 5 sssss’s:
- Swirl – with your glass on the table or in your hand move the glass so the wine moves in a circular motion in your glass
- Smell – stick your nose in the glass and think about the different aromas’ that you are able to discern
- Sight – hold the wine up toward light, what does it look like, color, viscosity, what do the individual streams of wine dribbling down the side of the glass look like
- Swill – take a small sip, pucker your lips and gently breath in
- Spit or Swallow – if you have a bucket spit, if not swallow
- What is your sense of the wine in your mouth
- What does the wine taste like
- What does the wine feel like in your mouth
- How does your mouth perceive the wine, all up front, in the middle, more in the back of your mouth
- Is there a lingering after taste
- This is where the brain, mouth, and eyes come together as one
- Your description of what your nose, mouth, and eyes just experienced
- How would you describe this, remember there is no right or wrong description this is your subjective experience
- Try the cheese now and think about how you would now describe the wine
WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo
This week’s new wine term is; Terroir is a French term for the notion that the complex combination of soil, climate, exposition and local tradition define the style of wine, a taste of the earth.
Astringent – This refers to a drying sensation in the mouth that may make you pucker. It is common in young full bodied red wines such as a Cabernet or a Zinfandel. This is caused by high tannin content in the wine. Tannin is a tactile sensation, not a taste.
Balance – this term is one that would refer to a harmony of fruit, tannin, acid, and alcohol. There may be a nuance of fruit in a wine but it would not be so overwhelming that it would be out of balance or harmony when considering the other characteristics of a wine.
Cheesemonger – this term refers to someone who sells cheese, in this case a specialist or purveyor of artisanal cheeses.
Crisp – Fresh, Bright, Young, and Slightly Acidic. Wine Types are Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and Chablis
Grassy – Refers to Herbal Characteristics often associated with Sauvignon Blanc
Meritage – pronounced just like “Heritage”, is a proprietary term used to denote red and white Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the Bordeaux region’s legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers must license the Meritage trademark from its owner, the California-based Meritage Alliance. Member wineries are found principally in the United States, though increasingly elsewhere.
Oaky – A reference to a nuance in a wine resulting from wooden oak barrels that wines are aged in. This term is common to Chardonnay’s and Cabernet wines.
Rose′ - “pinkish”(French). Depending on the grapes and winemakers style the wines can be colored from vivid orange to nearly a purple hue.
Velvety – This term characterizes a wines texture. This term would be used with a wine that has a rich and supple mouth feel.
Wine Tasting Flight is a term used by wine tasters to describe a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison.
Match the words that you think make sense; these words are descriptors for wine:
Bright = Flinty an epiphany in your mouth
Rich = Subtle mellow, smooth, decadent, just easy and fulfilling
Lively = Crisp the wine is refreshing, a zing, literally comes to life in your mouth
Intense = Juicy big, bold, forward just tastes like fruit you could bite into
Velvety = Aromatic sexy, goes down like silk, fills the room with its aroma