WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch 12/29/10


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.

Each week we will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

See this week’s show on YouTube  each week on Thursday morning, the day after the show.  Our YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Sponsors                                                                                                                     

The show is sponsored by Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”.   

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

This week’s winner is; Liz Livingston

This week WineGuyMike™ is going to be talking about bubbly for your party.   First off I’m going to be discussing what the differences are between Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Cava, Prosecco, and Spumante.  Then I will suggest what might be great for your New Year’s party and share a party planning tool that will help you plan your party.  Now let’s dig in and get to the bottom of all of this.

What is the difference between Champagne and Sparkling wine?  Well let’s take a look and find out.  Sparkling wines and champagne are still wines that have been infused with carbonation. True Champagne is made in France will be noted by the capital letter “C”on the label.  Other sparkling wines called Champagne will by designated as “champagne”, notice no capitalization. Three grapes are used in Champagne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.  It’s white because only the juice of the grapes is used.

There are four methods of Sparkling wine production:

1. Carbon Dioxide Injection – soft drinks and inexpensive sparkling wines are produced using this method.  It produces large bubbles that dissipate quickly.

2. Charmat Process – wine undergoes a second fermentation in large bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.  Prosecco and Asti are produced utilizing this method, smaller longer lasting bubbles result from this method.  Many Sparkling wines are made using this method.

3. Méthode Champenoise – this process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.  During the second fermentation the carbon dioxide stays in the bottle and this is where the bubbles come from.

4. Transfer Method – the cuvee is bottled for the second fermentation which adds complexity.  But the wine is then removed and stored in large tanks after it has spent the appropriate amount of time on yeast.

Champagne:

The Champagne region of France not only produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world, but some of the finest wines in the world too.  Typically there are three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.  Different vintages are used to create the blend or better known as the “Cuvee”.

Champagne is expensive due to the traditional method of how it is made, M´ethod Champenoise and techniques known as second fermentation.  This process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins, truly a delight.  M´ethode Champenoise is the true French fermentation process.  The wine is fermented twice, once in an oak barrel, and the second time the wine developes carbonation in the bottle while aging a minimum of one year.

 Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne, it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.  Blanc de Blancs fermented using the Methode Champenoise process, producing white Champagne.

Designations of quality:

Prestige cuvee:

This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities.  It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes from the highest rated villages, it is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.

Vintage Champagne:                                          

Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest.  The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.  Here are an example of a few companies who produce these Vintage Champagnes; Veuve Clicquot, Perrier-Jouet, Moet & Chandon, and Taittinger.

Remember a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.

Non-Vintage Champagne:

The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage.  These are a blend of wines aged for two years.

How to Select your Champagne

  • Brut is Dry
  • Extra Dry is Semidry 
  • Sec is Semisweet 
  • Demi-sec is Sweet 

Quality Champagne Cellars:

Ayala, Billecart-Salmon, J. Bollinger, Canard-Duchene, Deutz, Charles Heidsieck, Heid sieck Monopole, Henriot, Krug, Lanson, Lauret Perrier, Mercier, Moet & Chandon, Mumm Perrier-Jouet, Joseph Perrier, Piper Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Pommery, Louis Roederer, Ruinart, Salmon, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot

Other sparkling Wine Regions:

Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region.  The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.

Prosecco is an Italian wine, generally a dry sparkling wine, usually made from grape variety Glera, which is also known as Prosecco.  The Veneto region of Italy is where Glera/ Prosecco is grown and produced.

Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles.  Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style.  The various sparkling wines may contain some Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio wine.  Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle consequently the wine goes off or gets old quickly and should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within one year.

Prosecco is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine that is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume.  Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps.  Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun.  This Sparkling wine is aromatic and crisp, with nuances of yellow apple, citrus, pear, white peach, and apricot.  Today’s Proseccos tend to be  dry and very bubbly and typically will present itself as light, fresh, with an initial intense bouquet/aroma, but simple and straight forward compared to Champagne. 

Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine.  The Charmat method is a second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles.  The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine.  It is produced in the province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has a low alcohol content usually around 8% .  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and for my palette I find these wines to be more refined than the Asti Spumante. 

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Originally the wine was known as Champaña until Spanish producers officially adopted the term “Cava” (cellar) in 1970.  Cava wines are fermented and aged in the bottle in underground cellars.   Today 95% of Spain’s total Cava production is from Catalonia.

Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  Under Spanish Denominación de Origen laws, Cava can be produced in six wine regions and must be made according to the Traditional Method with second fermentation in the bottle.  The grapes used to produce Cava are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Malvasia.  The Chardonnay grape is a late comer to the scene despite being a traditional grape used to produce Champagne.  It was not introduced in the production of Cava until the 1980s.

In order for the wines to be called ‘Cava’, they must be made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise.  Wines made via the low-cost Charmat process may only be called ‘Spanish sparkling wine’.   A rosé style of Cava is also produced by adding in small amounts of red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell to the wine.

Cava made by the Champagne method, is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne.  Cava is usually made by the Coupage method, whereby must, a.k.a(grape juice) from different grape varieties is subjected to the first fermentation which is blended until it  is consistent with the wine that the winemaker wants to produce .  After the Coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added.  It is then cellared for the second fermentation and aging.

Crémant is produced in the Loire Valley of France and is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region.  Crémant has to be aged for at least one year and it is handpicked.  The producers are also limited as to how much can be harvested, this all according to the French A.O.C.

There are seven French appelations that carry the Crémant designation in their name:

  1. Crémant d’Alsace
  2. Crémant de Bordeaux
  3. Crémant de Bourgogne
  4. Crémant de Die
  5. Crémant du Jura
  6. Crémant de Limoux
  7. Crémant de Loire

Crémant de Loire’s are a blend of the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. In Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne, must be composed of at least thirty percent Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris while Aligoté is often used to complement the blend.  The Languedoc region in the south of France produces Crémant de Limoux.  This Sparkling wine is produced from the indigenous grape Mauzac, with Chenin blanc, and Chardonnay rounding out the wine in small amounts.

The Crémant Sparkling Wines are pressurized less than Champagne and therefore have a larger looser bubble as a result. 

California Sparkling Wines:

Sparkling wines from California use a few grape varietals such as Berger and Chenin Blanc to blend with the traditional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Producers to look for in California; Hacienda, Domain Lauier, Roederer Estate, Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon, Codorniu-Napa, Iron Horse, Jordan, Mumm-Cuvee Napa, and Schramsberg.

Remember the name “Champagne” can only be used in Europe on bottles that actually are produced in the Champagne region of France.

After all this your head is probably spinning and you haven’t even opened a bottle of sparkly yet, I know mine is.  So here we go with a few recommendations, but remember with the information WineGuyMike™ has provided you with you should now be able to approach the shelf as an empowered consumer.  You will be able to make the best purchase in your desired price range with this information.  Now for the Champagne and Sparkling Wine recommendations.

Recommendations

Champagnes and Sparkling Wines

 
 

Schramsberg 2007 Brut Rose

Schramsberg 2007 Brut Rose

 

Schramsberg 2007 Brut Rosé is flavorful, complex and dry, making it both versatile with food and delicious by itself as an apéritif.  The character of the wine is most strongly influenced by bright, flavorful Pinot Noir grown in Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma and Marin coastal areas. A few small lots of Pinot Noir are fermented in contact with their skins to add depth and subtle color to this unique sparkling wine. Chardonnay gives spice, structure and length on the palate.

Hand picking, careful handling and gentle pressing produce a wine of delicacy, free of skin and seed tannin.  Following the fall harvest and base winemaking period, an extensive process of blending trial and refinement is carried out in the spring.  The finished blend is aged on the yeast in the bottle for about two years, just enough to achieve refined effervescence and toastiness without diminishing its refreshing, vibrant appeal.

“Juicy strawberry jumps out of the glass, followed by raspberry and cherries.  The berry bouquet is complimented by mandarin orange and papaya.  The palate has exotic flavors of mango and cantaloupe, followed by mouthwatering citrus. A juicy viscosity leads to a long, lingering finish.”

– Winemakers Keith Hock and Hugh Davies

Enjoy this rich, delicious sparkler on almost any occasion: at your favorite restaurant, a special dinner at home, at a beach picnic or a backyard barbecue. A very versatile wine; try it with sushi, salmon, rock shrimp, pizza, roast chicken, BBQ ribs, burgers, chocolate raspberry tarts and creamy cheeses with summer fruits. 

L’ERMITAGE 2002 – ($45.00)

Roederer L'ERMITAGE 2002

Roederer L'ERMITAGE 2002

L’ERMITAGE is Roederer Estate’s special Tête de Cuvée, which has consistently been rated one of California’s top sparkling wines since its debut in 1989.  Taking a cue from owner Champagne Louis Roederer, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode champenoise and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend.  L’ERMITAGE is made only in exceptional years, of pre-selected grapes that come from the very best lots.

WINEMAKER NOTES

Fine tiny bubbles and a long lasting mousse are the usual footprints of the L’ERMITAGE cuvée.  This cuvée from the palindromic vintage 2002 is showing great notes of “tarte tatin”: baked apples and buttery crust, with notes of apricot and delicate vanilla bean.  The mouthfeel is creamy, expresses flavors of quince and bread crust, with a clean and crisp yet long finish.

VINTAGE SUMMARY

The 2002 vintage was typical of the Anderson Valley cool climate. A dry spring and summer, with very few days of frost or heat, led to a beautiful set of the crop.  The pinot had small berry size which led to some concentrated and very aromatic wines.  Harvest start dates were August 23rd for Pinot Noir and September 4th for the Chardonnay.

WINEMAKING

Roederer Estate wines are made with juice from just the cuvée pressing; no première or deuxième taille is used.  The concept of the vintage L’Ermitage is the same one that is used in Champagne: Only the best of the vintage is selected.  These are exceptional wines that create a “noble” (special) blend that allows for longer aging, which produces a fine wine with elegance and finesse.   Four members of the blending team include winemakers from Champagne Louis Roederer in France and Roederer Estate in California, together totaling over 130 years of experience.  The wine for the dosage added to the 2002 L’ERMITAGE was 2002 wine liquor aged for 5 years in a French oak cask.   Following disgorgement, L’ERMITAGE was aged an additional six months (minimum) on the cork prior to release.

Argyle 2006 Brut

Argyle 2006 Brut

·         Argyle 2007 Brut – 90 PT. Wine Spectator Rating, 63% Oregon Chardonnay, 37% Oregon Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine Knudsen Vineyards, Lone Star Vineyard Willamette Valley AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($25.00) Prepare to be fascinated by this alluring sparkling vintage.  The aromas are a weaving together of the best that fine sparkling wines deliver.  Look for vanilla spiced pear fruit with very floral citrus blossom scents.  A lovely yeastiness blends nicely with fresh baguette bouquet.  There’s a hint of Fresca-like citrus in there too.  The palate is VIBRANT and chock full of tiny bubbles.  Pear to red apple fruit folds nicely into vanilla spice.  The texture is creamy-plus, providing amazing richness while remaining zippy and citrusy.  The yeast flavor has evolved into filo dough right out of the oven.   These flavors go on and on after the wine is gone.  

SaintHilaire 2005 Brut

SaintHilaire 2005 Brut

 

  • Saint-Hilaire($12.99)Blanquette de Limoux is probably the oldest sparkling wine in the world. We know that in 1531, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire were already producing Blanquette de Limoux which certainly makes it France’s Oldest Sparkling Wine preceding Champagne by more than a century.

By 1794 Blanquette de Limoux was well known and appreciated throughout France.  About that time, it was discovered by a famous American, Thomas Jefferson.

Among his other talents, the third American President was an expert on French Wines and Blanquette de Limoux, one of his favorites, was an integral part of his wine cellar.  In fact, President Jefferson was probably the first person to bring the wine to America.

Today, Blanquette de Limoux has won the acclaim of knowledgeable wine enthusiasts throughout the world.

It is sold in the United States under the name SAINT-HILAIRE in honor of the monks who first created the wine more than 475 years ago. One taste of SAINT- HILAIRE quickly reveals why France’s Oldest Sparkling Wine is also its’ best.

The Limoux vineyards are located in Languedoc, in Southern France, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. The grapes are selected from clay-limestone plots that capture both the Oceanic and Mediterranean influences.

All of the grapes are picked by hand and the wine is produced using the Traditional Method of secondary fermentation in the bottle….the same method used for Champagne.  Minimum 12 months of horizontal aging in the bottle

Dry, toasty, smooth and clean SAINT-HILAIRE truly captivates with an attractive yeasty aroma and luscious creamy texture. The palate is light and crisp with citrus and apple flavors and the body is just hefty enough.

  • Crémant d’Alsace Brut Lucien Albrecht – Grape: Pinot Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc.

    Origin of the grapes: the vineyards on clay-chalky soil are all in the Orschwihr commune, a large vine-growing area in Southern Alsace which has an early micro climate.Analytical characteristics:
    – 12° proof
    – completely malolactic fermentationCrémant d’Alsace Brut Lucien Albrecht is only produced from the cuvée (only the first pressings from the press).Characteristics:
    – attractive sober color, flowery nose, fine and persistent head, very elegant and balanced mouth.
  • Banfi Rosa Regale – In 1979, John and Harry Mariani, family proprietors of Banfi Vintners, acquired a mid-18th century winery, known as Bruzzone, revitalized it and renamed the facility Vigne Regali.  Here, with the same detailed care as a century ago, our skilled winemakers produce “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui D.O.C.G.  This rare Brachetto, a semi-dry, red sparkling wine cherished by the courts of Europe over two centuries ago, owes its reincarnation to Banfi.

Rosa Regale is created in one of Italy’s smallest production zones, the Brachetto d’Acqui Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, commonly referred to as DOCG.  It is crafted from 100% Brachetto grapes grown exclusively at the La Rosa Vineyard in the town of Acqui Terme located in the Piedmont region of Italy.  The label features a single red rose, representing the wines origin from this single vineyard La Rosa estate.

Rosa Regale has a delicate bouquet of rose petals and offers sensuous flavors of fresh raspberries and strawberries. Its effervescence is softer than that of champagne, yet it yields a persistent and delicate pink froth.  Its lively garnet color makes other sparklers pale in comparison.  Served chilled and with a low alcohol content, it serves as the perfect partner throughout the entire meal, beginning as an elegant aperitif, moving to a savory appetizer and ending with a sweet dessert. No wine pairs better with chocolate than Rosa Regale.  The bright fresh berry flavors complement the sweet velvet of the chocolate.  Rosa Regale is a seductive red sparkler that turns any occasion into a celebration.

Rosa Regale is produced using the Charmat process.  This method forces the second fermentation to happen in large stainless steel tanks prior to bottling, rather than in the bottle like the traditional méthod champenoise.  This process is best used on sparkling wines that are meant to be enjoyed young and relatively fresh.

Cava, Prosecco, and Asti Spumante

 

Saracco Mocato d'Asti

Saracco Mocato d'Asti

 

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish) – 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.

Freixenet 

  • Cordon Negro Brut – 87 POINTS, BEST BUY(under $10.00)
    “This is your quintessential simple quaffamong brut cavas.lt’s clean, lime-tinged and soda-like on the nose, with a correct, no-issues palate that pushes zesty apple along with sweet papaya, mango and banana flavors.  It’s slightly sweet and tropical, but still it holds onto its crisp qualities and dryness. No complaints for the money.”
    Wine Enthusiast Magazine, December 15, 2010 
  • Cordon Negro Extra Dry  – 86 POINTS(under $10.00)
    “Clean and approachable, with lemon-lime aromas leading to an easy, mildly crisp palate with lemon, lime and honeydew flavors. Sweet in accordance with standard extra dry guidelines,and also good for aperitifs and sparkling cocktails.”
    Wine Enthusiast Magazine, December 15, 2010 
  • Brut Nature – 88 POINTS(under $15.00)
    “Crisp as it should be, with fit aromas of apple, fresh lettuce and honey.  The palate is crystal clear in its delivery of lemon, apple and green banana, while the finish is vivacious and runs the distance.  Quite satisfying and fairly serious given its under-$15 provenance.”
    Wine Enthusiast Magazine, December 15, 2008 

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva – ($5.99) Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, created from a blend of reserve and non-vintage wines, is clean and delicate, yet rich in flavor.  A cuvée of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes grown in the renowned Alt Penedès region of Spain, the wine is vinified according to méthode champenoise technique and is aged in the bottle for a minimum of three years.

This fine cuvée is fairly crisp with an interesting floral note and mouth-pleasing sensation of creaminess.

Cristalino

Cristalino Brut Rose Cava

Cristalino Brut Rose Cava

 

  • Brut Rose´ Cava – 60% Pinot Nior, 40% Trepat(under $10.00)

Beautiful scents of raspberry and cherry on the nose with fresh, clean strawberry and cherry flavors in the mouth and a consistent bead. The finish is clean and crisp and invites another sip.

Cristalino Brut Rose Cava is an excellent match for fried appetizers such as calamari or light desserts such as creme brulee. It is also excellent on its own or with fresh fruit.

Cristalino Brut Cava

Cristalino Brut Cava

  • Brut Cava($5.99) – Straw color, smooth and fresh aromas; fine and fruity palate with a dry aftertaste. Clean, dry and crisp with citrus and apple flavors.
     

WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo

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.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

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The right wines for your Christmas dinner from WineGuyMike


So you want to know what wines to have with your Christmas dinner well WineGuyMike™ has got you covered.  Below are links to various main entree’s you may be preparing especially for your family and friends.  I hope you’ll enjoy these recommendations I have paired for you to enjoy with your Christmas dinner.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families are very Merry Christmas or as we say in my house Buon Natale.
Turkey dinner for Christmas 2010

Turkey dinner for Christmas 2010

Christmas Ham and Turkey dinners paired with the right wines for you; http://bit.ly/hDeLc2
Wines that pair with wild game dinner for Christmas

Wines that pair with wild game dinner for Christmas

 Wild game Christmas dinner and wine recommendations and Mulled Wine/Cider recipes for you; http://bit.ly/hqiZdU
 

Here's are great guide to wines that go with your beef entree

Here's are great guide to wines that go with your beef entree

Are you having beef for your Christmas dinner, here is a great pairing guide with recommendations for you; http://bit.ly/dWEVNZ
"from my table to yours" Buon Natale

"from my table to yours" Buon Natale

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch 12/22/10


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.

Each week we will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

See this week’s show on YouTube  each week on Thursday morning, the day after the show.  Our YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Sponsors                                                                                                                     

The show is sponsored by Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”. 

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

This week’s winners are; Beth Hammock and Alan Aavedal

This week WineGuyMike™ received a number of great food and wine questions.   I would like to thank my fans,  please keep your questions coming.  As you may know if I select your question as a topic for the radio show you win a gift certificate from the show sponsors.  Remember all questions are good questions and thanks for asking.

Q. Beth Hammock asks; I’m looking for ideas on wine for my traditional Christmas Eve dinner, which is beef burgundy, and my Christmas turkey dinner. Help me out, please, Mike.

I guess I also should ask what the modern version of Burgundy wine is.  I think my recipe is kind of old-fashioned and maybe some more modern wine would be even better. The only burgundy I ever find is super cheap, like cooking wine.

A. WineGuyMike™ suggests; For Christmas Eve dinner I would recommend a Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Vineyard.  I would select the Elizabeth Reserve which is a little pricier than I usually recommend but worth it.  If you would like a white wine also I would recommend a French Chablis Grand Cru or a Meursault, both made from Chardonnay grapes, but these aren’t your momma’s Chardonnays. Have a Merry Christmas Beth from WineGuyMike.

Burgundy is a catch all name for inexpensive jug wine in the U.S. Real Burgundy wine is French Pinot Noir for the most part, although Beaujolais is produced in Burgundy as well which is made from the Gamay Beaujolais grape.

Wines for Beth’s Christmas Eve dinner:

Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

Composition: 100% Pinot noir
Alcohol: 13.5% by vol
pH: 3.54
Production: 3,084 6-bottle cases (750 ml)

Cellaring:                                        
Under optimum cellar conditions, this wine will certainly improve through 2020, perhaps through 2028.

“This complex and intriguing wine offers layered aromas of red and black raspberries,
fresh Oregon strawberries, brown spice and cedar. Its aromas are reflected on a palate
that speaks of purity and elegance, and is exceptionally balanced with firm tannins and
a persistent finish. This wine will pair beautifully with the Pinot noir classics – lamb, duck,
grilled salmon, and aged cheeses.”
Dave Paige, Winemaker

Chablis Grand Cru This is a white wine from Burgundy made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is a very refined wine that comes from the very best parcels of land in the area.  There are only seven vineyards allowed the Grand Cru designation.

Meursault This is a white wine from a region in Burgundy known as Cote De Beaune (coat duh Bone), located in the southern portion of Cote d’Or (coat DOOR).  The Coat d’Or is as an area in Burgundy that produces some of the finest wines in the world.  This wine is also made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and there are three different qualities of this wine, Villages, Premier Cru, and the Grand Cru. What differentiates one from another is the quality of the soil and the winemaking process with Grand Cru being the very best.

 WineGuyMike™ really prefers to keep things as simple as possible and in doing so let’s consider a few things before I recommend which wine types are best suited for your particular Christmas Day wine selections.

When one considers wine and food I like to think of balance.  Balancing wine and food is a good place to start when determining what wine works best with what food.  Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a wine too:

  • What wine do you like?
  • Food Texture, Heavy or Light?
  • How is the food prepared, Grilled, Baked, Sautéed, or in the case of Thanksgiving dinner roasted?
  • What about a Sauce, Gravy, Crème, Tomato.

In considering balance and in this case I’m referring to weight and texture of the main food entrée and the weight and texture of the wine you would choose to serve with your dinner.  How you are going to cook the Turkey, and today we will of course be using roasting a Turkey as an example.  You may also be using a sauce or gravy to garnish your entrée with.  There a couple of more things to think about before we go wine shopping too.

Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture.  Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with.  A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor.  Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony.  A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering your Christmas Day wine list.

Today I’m going to be recommending wines that pair well with your main entrée, which are Turkey and gravy.  So in contemplating these suggestions I will consider the fact that acid brings out flavors in food and helps to leave a lingering flavor on your palette.  I will also consider the fact that Turkey is mild and relatively light to medium textured and in doing so I will be suggesting wines with a bit of acidity and will be light to medium bodied.  Now we can talk about our wine type choices, or at least what types of wines match our criteria for the meal we are serving.

The wine types that I recommend will vary from light to full body:

Light Bodied Wine selections

  1. Chenin Blanc
  2. Viognier
  3. Beaujolais
  4. Pinot Grigio/Gris
  5. Pinot Noir

Medium Bodied Wine selections

  1. Fume´ Blanc
  2. Sauvignon Blanc
  3. Sancerre

Full Bodied Wine selections

  1. Chardonnay

These are the wine types I believe are best suited for your Christmas Day dinner.  I would recommend having one white and one red wine from the light bodied category, one wine from the medium bodied category, and one full bodied Chardonnay that is not oaked to complement your dinner.

Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008

Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008

Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008

Wine Enthusiast: 91 points, June 2010
Wine Spectator: 91 points, Mar. 2010

Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Production: 304 cases (750 ml)
Alcohol: 13.8% by vol
pH: 3.18

“This bottling shows artful layers of figs, Asian pears, apricots, apples, nutmeats and minerals.  Beautifully balanced by the acidity found in our Northern wine region, it features a long, polished finish.  Pair it with poached salmon, lobster, smoked meats and cheeses.”
Dave Paige, Winemaker

Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2008

 Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13.5% by vol
pH: 3.54
Production: 3,084 6-bottle cases (750 ml)

Cellaring:                                        
Under optimum cellar conditions, this wine will certainly improve through 2020, perhaps through 2028.

“This complex and intriguing wine offers layered aromas of red and black raspberries, fresh Oregon strawberries, brown spice and cedar. Its aromas are reflected on a palate that speaks of purity and elegance, and is exceptionally balanced with firm tannins and a persistent finish.  This wine will pair beautifully with the Pinot noir classics – lamb, duck, grilled salmon, and aged cheeses.”
Dave Paige, Winemaker

2009 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley

2009 PinotGris Willamette Valley

2009 PinotGris Willamette Valley

Technical Information
Alc: 13.8% by vol
pH: 3.11
Production: 11,052 cases (750 ml)
850 cases (375 ml)

“Crisp, bright flavors have always been the hallmark of Adelsheim Pinot gris. In this 2009, you’ll find hints of papaya, apples and pears.  It pulls off the difficult feat of providing a gentle creaminess that lends a rich, mouthfilling texture and long finish, yet still impressing as a wine that’s crisp and clean.  Try it with mildly spicy foods (such as ceviche),
not so mildly spicy Thai cuisine, rich fish entrees, and even classic oven-roasted fowl.”
Dave Paige, Winemaker

2008 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley

2008 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley

2008 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley

Gentle, whole-cluster pressing was used to separate the juice from the skins as quickly and as cleanly as possible for this Chardonnay.  The majority (85%) of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain fruit purity, flavor and aroma, we’ve found we can produce excitingly rich Chardonnay with very minimal influence from oak.  The remaining juice was fermented in neutral barrels to augment textural richness and create a more balanced and complex wine.  In order to preserve freshness and acidity, this wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation.

2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Wine Spectator:
90 points, March 2010

Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 13.3% by vol
pH: 3.56
Production: 10,212 cases (750 ml)
1,000 cases (375 ml)
186 bottles (1.5 L)

Cellaring: Under optimum cellar conditions, this wine will certainly improve through 2018, and perhaps through 2028.

“With its broad array of origins and clones, this wine displays both red and black fruit aromas (cherries and raspberries), on the nose and the palate. In addition, one finds a light touch of brown spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice).  True to our house style, it is elegantly textured with satiny, polished tannins showing in the finish.  Pair it with salmon or ahi, veal or
pork, poultry (think duck) or beef, or hearty vegetarian entrees.”
Dave Paige, Winemaker

Auxerrois Willamette Valley 2009

Auxerrois Willamette Valley 2009

Auxerrois Willamette Valley 2009

 WINE BACKGROUND

When two clones of Auxerrois (oak-sair-wah) were brought into Oregon from Alsace in 1977, we knew next to nothing about the variety.  Still, after tasting some test wines made at Oregon State University, our interest was piqued.

 DNA testing has shown that Auxerrois, like Chardonnay, Aligoté, Gamay and 10 other varieties, is a cross dating from medieval times between Pinot noir and an ignoble variety called Gouais Blanc.

 Auxerrois is also the name of a duchy surrounding the town of Auxerre near Chablis, but the variety has disappeared from that area and all other parts of Burgundy.  There are probably less than 500 acres of it planted in the world.

 Its early ripening has allowed it to flourish in Luxembourg (even achieving Premier Cru status), but in Alsace, the variety is now treated as a second-class citizen, consigned to blends often with Pinot Blanc.  In the U.S., we know of only two other producers.

 The wine was then completely tank fermented at a low temperature to retain fruit purity and aromatic freshness.  Malolactic fermentation was prevented in order to preserve the wine’s varietal character.

These wines receive The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

Q. Alan Aavedal asks; what is the best wine to pair with a Christmas ham dinner? Looking for a reasonably affordable suggestion ($15-$20), will need to not be too ‘specialty’ as many will try it.

A. Alan thank you for your question. There are a number of varietals or wine types that would pair well with the Ham you’re serving for your Christmas party. Let’s take a look at the varietals I will be recommending.

Light Bodied Wines

Riesling one of the prominent white wine grapes, a pure Riesling is complex yet delicate.  Some Rieslings are just pretenders made from inferior grapes, the Grey Rieslings, and Sylvaner Rieslings.  A Riesling will be light, medium dry, fruity, a mild citrus flavor, with a mellow floral aroma.

Gewurztraminer wine is spicy, fruity, floral, and herbal. This is a dry, earthy, aromatic wine that is genuinely refreshing.

Pinot Noir is the medium bodied grape variety of red burgundian wines; it can produce wines that are incredible.  When aged in oak, it should have sweetness reminiscent of raspberries, with undertones of vegetation and chocolate.  The wine can stand up to aging for many years.  Pinot Noir at its best will be smooth, full of flavor, and a beautiful bouquet.

Gamey Beaujolais a wine from France that is made to be drunk very young, right after bottling.  This is a light bodied red that has very little tannin and is low in alcohol content.  It is a fruity red wine that has berry overtones and is light bodied.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape.  It is very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied.  This grape exhibits slight spiciness, hint of honey, and slight fruitiness and is dry.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris as it is commonly referred to is a very dry wine.  Some characteristics of this wine are a slightly fruity and mild spiciness.

Viognier is a grape from the Rhone valley in France is also making a name for itself in California. Viognier is a very dry, delicate wine with floral aromas and apricot overtones.

Medium Bodied Wines

Sangiovese or Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines(at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds. This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.

Shiraz or Syrah is a big powerful full bodied wine, also known as Shiraz in Australia.  Supple, smooth, rich with well manered mellow tannins describes the syrah wines.  Flavor wise Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.

Merlot wine type or varietal is great to drink with or without food.  It tends to be soft, smooth, and very fruit forward.  Winemakers the world over are creating rich style merlots that are wines full of cherry and oak flavors.  This is a medium bodied wine.

Full Bodied Wine

Chardonnay is one of the most complex white wines, thanks to winemaking techniques, and the grapes ability to draw flavor from the nutrients and minerals in the soil.  Chardonnay is aged in new oak barrels, old oak barrels, and steel barrels, all producing varying nuances in the wines.  New barrels produce the strongest oaking, old barrels have a slight oak influence, while the steel has no oakiness.  This dry wine is rich, bold, and full of fruitiness, vanilla and a certain toastiness, just to name a few characteristics.  Complexity is the word that best suits Chardonnay.

WineGuyMike’s recommendations for your Christmas dinner:

Tariquet 2009 Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Blend

Tariquet 2009 Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Blend

  • Tariquet 2009 Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Blend – This wine marries the finesse of Chenin Blanc (75%) with the elegance and structure of Chardonnay (25%). This complex wine displays delicious floral notes, as well as exotic fruit and vanilla
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages

  • Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais – Villages – This Beaujolais-Villages displays a deep, luminous cherry color, red with bluish tints.  The bouquet offers ripe red fruit character, suggesting strawberry and black currant, with a touch of cinnamon.  Velvet-like in the mouth, with soft tannins, it is well-balanced and complete.  A wine which lends itself to all occasions, from the apéritif to the cheese board.

These wines receive The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

I hope that you find these suggestions helpful in putting together your Christmas Day wine list.  Thinking about this ahead of time will lead to a much better wine shopping experience, not to mention the time you will save not staring at too many wine bottles on a shelf.  After a few minutes all the bottles begin to look the same.  Having a wine focused Christmas Day dinner can make it a lot of fun and remember this list of slightly acidic wines are suggested because they will intensify all the wonderful flavors of your Christmas Day dinner.  It will also be fun to share with your family and friends all about the wines you have carefully selected with the dinner to pour for them, they will surely feel as special as they are.  Let’s not forget to take a moment to think about all that we are thankful for and that includes the very special people in our lives, because how much better is a nice bottle of wine when we a sharing a glass with someone.

If you have any specific questions about wines please message me by commenting on the WineGuyMike blog at; www.wineguymike.wordpress.com, or on my Facebook fan page; WineGuyMike and I will answer any questions you may have.

One last recommendation would be to stop in at my official sponsor Ciao Mambo, they have a great wine list with wines by the glass.  You can experience some of these wine types before you serve them with your Christmas Day dinner. 

Q. April asks; I was just wondering what type of red wine would work best in a mulled spice cider.

A. April I am suggesting a few different wine types or varietals for your mulled spice cider recipe.  I have made these particular recommendations specifically because these varietals all have a bit of spice to them which I think will compliment your recipe.  These wines also will either be a little on the drier side or be a have tannin that will also blend very nicely with your recipe.  I hope you’ll be sharing a tumbler full of this cheer with me, hint hint.  Thank you Autumn for your question and happy holidays to you.

Cabernet Sauvignon This varietal is a big, powerful red wine that is full in body, rich, and very flavorful.  Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that imparts flavors of fruits, berries, currants, and plums.  This wine may also exhibit slight spicy nuances.

Malbec One of Argentina’s finest!  This is a medium body fruit forward wine that can be described as a flamboyant red.  A spicy and tannic wine; at its best this wine can be outstanding.

Sangiovese One word Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines (at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds.  This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.

Cabernet Franc Spicier than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc has traditionally been used as blending wine. It now is gaining popularity as its own stand alone wine type or varietal.  This is a full bodied wine.

Brown Sugar Mulled Wine Recipe

2 bottles dry red wine
Peel of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick, broken into halves
8 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
orange slices

Pour wine in slow cooker.  Wrap orange peel, cinnamon stick halves, cloves, and nutmeg in cheesecloth. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 to 2.5 hours.  Discard spice bag; ladle into glasses. Garnish with orange slices.

Mulled Cider with Wine Recipe

4 cups apple cider

1 (750-ml) bottle red wine

1/4 cup honey

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, zested and juiced

4 whole cloves

3 star anise

4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

Directions

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo

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.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, thank you for making this year the best present a person could hope for.

Buon Natale,

WineGuyMike

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch 12/15/10


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.

Each week we will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

See this week’s show on YouTube  each week on Thursday morning, the day after the show.  Our YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Sponsors                                                                                                                     

The show is sponsored by Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”. 

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

This week’s winners are; Autumn Gillaerd and Jan Feddersen

This week WineGuyMike™ received a couple of really good questions.  Thanks to my fans and please keep your questions coming.  As you may know if I select your question as a topic for the radio show you wine a gift certificate from the show sponsors.  Remember all questions are good questions and thanks for asking.

Q. Autumn asks; I was just wondering what type of red wine would work best in a mulled spice cider.

A. Autumn I am suggesting a few different wine types or varietals for your mulled spice cider recipe.  I have made these particular recommendations specifically because these varietals all have a bit of spice to them which I think will compliment your recipe.  These wines also will either be a little on the drier side or be a have tannin that will also blend very nicely with your recipe.  I hope you’ll be sharing a tumbler full of this cheer with me, hint hint.  Thank you Autumn for your question and happy holidays to you.

Cabernet Sauvignon This varietal is a big, powerful red wine that is full in body, rich, and very flavorful.  Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that imparts flavors of fruits, berries, currants, and plums.  This wine may also exhibit slight spicy nuances.

Malbec One of Argentina’s finest!  This is a medium body fruit forward wine that can be described as a flamboyant red.  A spicy and tannic wine; at its best this wine can be outstanding.

Sangiovese One word Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines (at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds.  This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.

Cabernet Franc Spicier than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc has traditionally been used as blending wine. It now is gaining popularity as its own stand alone wine type or varietal.  This is a full bodied wine.

Brown Sugar Mulled Wine Recipe

2 bottles dry red wine
Peel of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick, broken into halves
8 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
orange slices

Pour wine in slow cooker.  Wrap orange peel, cinnamon stick halves, cloves, and nutmeg in cheesecloth. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 to 2.5 hours.  Discard spice bag; ladle into glasses. Garnish with orange slices.

Mulled Cider with Wine Recipe

4 cups apple cider

1 (750-ml) bottle red wine

1/4 cup honey

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, zested and juiced

4 whole cloves

3 star anise

4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

Directions

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

Q. Two questions for you.  I would like to give wine as a Christmas gift this year to a friend who shot his first elk with a bow and arrow.  He is very proud of the achievement.
#1. What wine would you suggest?
And/or
#2. Is there a winery with a theme or name that would honor his achievement as a hunter?

A. Jan what an interesting question, thank you for asking.  First we will look at the wine types or varietals that will pair or match well with your friend’s elk dinner, boy I’m hungry already just thinking about all the ways I could serve this dinner.

Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt Elk

Wines to pair with Elk; Jan I have suggested numerous wine types or varietals of wines in the following list but as you have requested I have suggested a particular bottle that will pair beautifully and honor your friends hunt.

The Roosevelt elk also known as Olympic elk is the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. They live in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest and were introduced to Alaska’s Afognak and Raspberry islands in 1928.

WineGuyMike™’s wine recommendation:

2008 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Roosevelt

2008 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Roosevelt

Elk Cove Vineyards is one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected wine producers.

Founded in 1974, by Pat and Joe Campbell, their focus has always been to produce hand crafted, Estate grown wines that can rival the best in the world.

Estate vineyards now cover over 220 acres on four separate sites in the Northern Willamette Valley.

Steep south facing slopes, of Willakenzie and Laurelwood soil types with excellent drainage, provide the perfect environment to grow the world class wine grapes that are the basis for creating Elk Cove wines.

Proper site selection and meticulous vine management along with harvesting at very low yields creates the concentration and depth of flavor that are hallmarks of Elk Cove wines.

2008 Pinot Noir Roosevelt

The Roosevelt Vineyard is a four-acre planting situated just south of the winery on Willakenzie soils. The south-facing hillside points to a steep precipice overlooking the magnificent Williams Canyon.  It is a high density planting with 2100 vines per acre spaced approximately one meter by two meters apart.  This is a premier Single Vineyard site with a steep hillside vineyard that undergoes extensive pruning and cluster thinning to limit yields and maximize ripening in order to concentrate the fruit.  This parcel is completely farmed organically.

Elk Cove 2008 Pinot Noir Roosevelt

Elk Cove 2008 Pinot Noir Roosevelt

Wine description; This wine is well structured with a firm backbone; it is bright ruby-red in color.  Hints of minerality, dark berry, cherry, followed with a smoky herbaceous nuance.  This pinot has a big complex finish that leaves the palette lingering for more.

This wine receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

Light bodied wines

  1. Pinot Noir;  is the medium bodied grape variety of red burgundian wines; it can produce wines that are incredible.  When aged in oak, it should have sweetness reminiscent of raspberries, with undertones of vegetation and chocolate.  The wine can stand up to aging for many years.  Pinot Noir at its best will be smooth, full of flavor, and a beautiful bouquet.
  2. Beaujolais; Gamey Beaujolais a wine from France that is made to be drunk very young, right after bottling.  This is a light bodied red that has very little tannin and is low in alcohol content.  It is a fruity red wine that has berry overtones and is light bodied.
  3. Valpolicella; Basic Valpolicella is a light, fragrant table wine.  These wines can be produced in a nouveau style, similar to Beaujolais Nouveau and released after only a few weeks after harvest.  Valpolicella Classico is made from grapes grown in the original Valpolicella production zone.  Valpolicella Superiore is aged at least one year and has an alcohol content of at least 12 percent
  4. Bardolino; Three main grapes are used to produce Bardolino and Valpolicella but the two wines are very different.  Bardolino contains less Corvina which adds body and structure and more Rondinella which has a relatively neutral flavor profile.  Bardolino Novello was first produced in the late 1980s in a style similar to Beaujolais Nouveau
  5. Chianti; Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines(at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds. This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.

Medium body wines

  1. Sangiovese; Sangiovese or Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines(at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds. This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.
  2. Shiraz; or Syrah is a big powerful full bodied wine, also known as Shiraz in Australia.  Supple, smooth, rich with well mannered mellow tannins describes the Syrah wines.  Flavor wise Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.
  3. Merlot; wine type or varietal is great to drink with or without food.  It tends to be soft, smooth, and very fruit forward.  Winemakers the world over are creating rich style merlots that are wines full of cherry and oak flavors.  This is a medium bodied wine.
  4. 4.      Chianti Classico; Chianti that is produced in the inner historic district of Chianti, a better quality than basic Chianti.

Bordeaux; has 57 wine regions but there are really 4 to focus on for red wines.  These regions are:

  1. Medoc
  2. Pomerol
  3. Graves/Pessac-Leognan
  4. St-Emilion

The red wines of Bordeaux are blended buy winemakers and contain Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.  When determining the quality of a Bordeaux wine you need to look at the wine label.  Pricing for Bordeaux wines is direct result of the quality and you will be able to determine this by looking at the wine label to see what information the label is providing you.

If the label indicates:

  1. Bordeaux = $
  2. Bordeaux plus the region = $$
  3. Bordeaux, the region, Plus the Chateau =$$$

Full body wines

  1. Chardonnay; is one of the most complex white wines, thanks to winemaking techniques, and the grapes ability to draw flavor from the nutrients and minerals in the soil.  Chardonnay is aged in new oak barrels, old oak barrels, and steel barrels, all producing varying nuances in the wines.  New barrels produce the strongest oaking, old barrels have a slight oak influence, while the steel has no oakiness.  This dry wine is rich, bold, and full of fruitiness, vanilla and a certain toastiness, just to name a few characteristics.  Complexity is the word that best suits Chardonnay.
  2. Chablis Grand Cru; A white wine from Burgundy made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is a very refined wine that comes from the very best parcels of land in the area.  There are only seven vineyards allowed the Grand Cru designation.
  3. Meursault; A white wine from a region in Burgundy known as Cote De Beaune (coat duh Bone), located in the southern portion of Cote d’Or (coat DOOR).  The Coat d’Or is as an area in Burgundy that produces some of the finest wines in the world.  This wine is also made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and there are three different qualities of this wine, Villages, Premier Cru, and the Grand Cru. What differentiates one from another is the quality of the soil and the winemaking process with Grand Cru being the very best.

WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo

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.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch 12/08/10


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.

Each week we will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

See this week’s show on YouTube  each week on Thursday morning, the day after the show.  Our YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Sponsors

The show is sponsored by Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”.   

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com 

                                      
This week’s winners are; Louise Economides and Alisha Smith

WineGuyMike™ received a food and wine pairing question, and a question about wine accessory ideas for gifts this week.  Thanks to my fans for thinking of topics that help us all learn about wine together.

Q. Louise asks; I’m preparing a leg of lamb prepared in a traditional Mediterranean style.  The Lamb will be seasoned and then served with diced tomatoes.  What wine shall I serve with my dinner?

A. This is a great question Louise as there are a couple of components in the main dish to consider, first the lamb itself but also the diced tomatoes.

Full Bodied Wines

Chardonnay is one of the most complex white wines, thanks to winemaking techniques, and the grapes ability to draw flavor from the nutrients and minerals in the soil.  Chardonnay is aged in new oak barrels, old oak barrels, and steel barrels, all producing varying nuances in the wines.  New barrels produce the strongest oaking, old barrels have a slight oak influence, while the steel has no oakiness.  This dry wine is rich, bold, and full of fruitiness, vanilla and a certain toastiness, just to name a few characteristics.  Complexity is the word that best suits Chardonnay.

Chablis Grand Cru This is a white wine from Burgundy made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is a very refined wine that comes from the very best parcels of land in the area.  There are only seven vineyards allowed the Grand Cru designation.

Meursault This is a white wine from a region in Burgundy known as Cote De Beaune (coat duh Bone), located in the southern portion of Cote d’Or (coat DOOR).  The Coat d’Or is as an area in Burgundy that produces some of the finest wines in the world.  This wine is also made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and there are three different qualities of this wine, Villages, Premier Cru, and the Grand Cru. What differentiates one from another is the quality of the soil and the winemaking process with Grand Cru being the very best.

Red Zinfandel This full bodied, fruit forward, and spicy wine is one of California’s favorites, and most plentiful. Zinfandel wines are very versatile and have notes of berries, cherries, tobacco, oak, and vanilla.

Cabernet Sauvignon This varietal is a big, powerful red wine that is full in body, rich, and very flavorful.  Cabernet sauvignon is a wine that imparts flavors of fruits, berries, currants, and plums.  This wine may also exhibit slight spicy nuances.

Nebbiolo This grape is a no nonsense contender from northern Italy.  California is also working with the Nebbiolo. This wine is best known for huge, robust, full bodied wines such as the Barbarescos’ and Barolos’ from the Piedmont area of Italy.  Piedmont is one of the great winegrowing regions in Italy.  It produces prestigious wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, from the Langhe near Alba, and the Moscato d’Asti (as well as the sparkling Asti Spumante) from the vineyards around Asti.  One of the indigenous grape varieties is the Nebbiolo varietal.   A big wine like the Nebbiolo may need a decade to mature properly.  These wines tend to be heavy on tannin and high in alcohol content so they need to be aged correctly.  If the Nebbiolo wine has been aged and cellared properly they can be delightfully chewy, with hints of berries, herbs, and slightly floral.

Chateautneuf-du-Pape is located in the southern region of the Rhone Valley.  Grenache and Syrah are the two main grape varietals grown in the Rhone Valley.  Chateaueuf-du-Pape producers  according to French Wine Law allowed to use up to thirteen grape varietals in their wine blend, but the best producers will use a larger percentage of Grenache and Syrah in their blend.  The name Chateaueuf-du-Pape  means “new castle of the Pope.”

Barbaresco please see Nebbiolo

Barolo please see Nebbiolo

Bordeaux has 57 wine regions but there are really 4 to focus on for red wines.  These regions are:

  1. Me´doc
  2. Pomerol
  3. Graves/Pessac-Le´ognan
  4. St-E′milion

The red wines of Bordeaux are blended buy winemakers and contain Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.  When determining the quality of a Bordeaux wine you need to look at the wine label.  Pricing for Bordeaux wines is direct result of the quality and you will be able to determine this by looking at the wine label to see what information the label is providing you.

If the label indicates:

  1. Bordeaux = $
  2. Bordeaux plus the region = $$
  3. Bordeaux, the region, Plus the Chateau =$$$

WineGuyMike’s recommendation for Louise and her wine and Lamb pairing question. If I were feeling flush and money was no object my recommendation would be to pair the Chateautneuf-du-Pape or the best Bordeaux Chateaux with my lamb dinner.  If I’m dining on a budget I’m recommending the 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend which offers an amazing value for the quality of this wine from Washington’s Columbia Valley.

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend

  • 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend
    • Generous aromas of ripe berries and dark stone fruits open this ruby-hued wine. Fleshy flavors of cherries and plum are met with soft and velvety tannins, finishing with a hint of mocha
    • An easy-drinking blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre and Viognier

 14 Hands is crafted from premium grapes in the heart of The Columbia Valley of  Washington, it is a special find.  The winery is named after the wild horses that once made their home on the land upon which 14 Hands grapes are grown.   These horses were small, measuring an average of “14 hands,” but they were some of the strongest and most tenacious horses in the world.  The wine retains the individual spirit of its namesake.

14 Hands winemaker Keith Kenison has been making wines in Washington state for over 15 years.  His interest in winemaking brought him to Washington, and in 1992 he joined the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates facility in Grandview as a cellar worker.  There, he had the opportunity to learn and observe firsthand the art of winemaking.  In 1997, Keith moved to Columbia Crest Winery, and was promoted first as a quality assurance technician, and then to an enologist.  His talents were quickly recognized, and he was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2002.  In addition to working on the Columbia Crest portfolio, Keith “took the reins” of 14 Hands starting with the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot — these wines were the first releases of the program.

Keith is continually walking the vineyards and tasting fruit, he hand crafts soft reds and fresh, crisp whites that capture the essence of the Horse Heaven Hills. “I take a practical approach to winemaking and let the fruit express itself,” Keith says, “I guide it to its final destination with as few manipulations as possible, making every decision by taste because, ultimately, that’s what matters to the person buying a bottle”.  I love making a style of wine that I enjoy and experience.

This wine receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

Now on to Alisha’s question about wine accessories for Christmas Gifts.  There are a million gadgets out there but here are a few I would love to receive as a gift.

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator – $29.99

  1. Aerate wine in seconds for better taste with the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator. The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator is clearly on the cutting edge of wine aerating. Mixing just the right amount of air with your wine at the precise moments, this see-through Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator allows your reds or whites to breath instantly.  The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator results are a better bouquet, enhanced flavor, and a smoother finish.  Perfect aeration in the time it takes to pour a glass. The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator couldn’t be easier.  The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator comes with a no-drip stand and a travel pouch. The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator and stand are dishwasher safe!  Travel pouch of the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator is machine washable.Better Bouquet
    Sample the nose, you’ll appreciate the subtle aromatic differences and the full aroma of the wine. Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator allows wine to display its intended aromas.Enhanced Flavors
    Go ahead, take a sip, Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator wine tastes better, it is more flavorful and has better mouthfeel.  It tastes like a richer, more expensive wine. It tastes like it was intended to and is more enjoyable.

    Smoother Finish
    Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator is very effective at softening tannins which results in a much more pleasant finish.  Any bitterness or bad aftertaste is reduced or eliminated.

Menu Winebreather Carafe – $69.99

This elegantly designed Menu Winebreather Carafe aerates your wine in one easy step. Simply press the Menu Winebreather Carafe onto the top of an opened bottle of wine and flip it over so that the wine pours into the decanter.  You can serve the wine from the Menu Winebreather Carafe, or flip it back over once it’s done and pour the aerated wine back into the bottle and serve from the original bottle.  Menu shortens wine aeration time down to 2 minutes with their new Wine Breather Carafe that you simply pop onto your favorite red, flip it upside down, and you’ve got a properly aerated bottle of vino that can be served in the decanter or in the original bottle.

Alisha thank you for this perfectly timed question as I’m being asked frequently about wine gift ideas and these are two of the better ones I’ve seen.  I hope my wife reads this blog post, honey I want the Menu Winebreather Carafe for my Christmas gift, lol.

How to “taste” your Christmas wines

Now let’s get on with tasting the wine.  Here is a simple process for basic wine tasting I call the 5 sssss’s:

  1. 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
  2. Smell – stick your nose in the glass and think about the different aromas’ that you are able to discern
  3. 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
  4. Swill – take a small sip, pucker your lips and gently breath in
  5. Spit or Swallow – if you have a bucket spit, if not swallow

Next step:

  1. What is your sense of the wine in your mouth
  2. What does the wine taste like
  3. What does the wine feel like in your mouth
  4. How does your mouth perceive the wine, all up front, in the middle, more in the back of your mouth
  5. Is there a lingering after taste

Last Step:

  1. This is where the brain, mouth, and eyes come together as one
  2. Your description of what your nose, mouth, and eyes just experienced
  3. How would you describe this, remember there is no right or wrong description this is your subjective experience
  4. Try the food now and think about how you would now describe the wine

WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo

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.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© with Scott and Paula on The Ranch 12/01/10


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.

Each week we will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

See this week’s show on YouTube  each week on Thursday morning, the day after the show.  Our YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Sponsors

The show is sponsored by Grizzly Liquor, “Missoula’s Best Choice”. 

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

This week’s winners are; Patti Earling, Jeremy Rhodes, and Jennifer we’ll have wine when you visit next time.

WineGuyMike™ received some very good questions this week, thanks to my fans for thinking of topics that help us to learn about wine together.

Jeremy Rhodes says I’ve got one! Q.Cellaring is one thing that I just don’t understand that much.  I’m looking to buy a bottle of wine for my sister’s 10 year anniversary.  I want to buy last years vintage (2009, the year she was married) and cellar it until her anniversary.  How do I know which wines would be amazing to drink in 9 years?  Prost!

A. Okay Jeremy let me take a realistic approach to this question, which is a great one by the way.  Today 90% of all wines made are crafted in such a way that they are meant to be consumed within one year.  There are most definitely certain wine types and vintages that are better choices for cellaring.  The producer of the wine is actually the best resource to consult when it comes to finding out the optimal length of cellaring for individual wines.

Here are a few things that do need to be considered for a wine that is worthy of being cellared:

Tannin – this is a natural substance that acts as a preservative in wines.  It comes from the grape stems, skins, and pips of the grape.  Wines that are aged in oak also have tannin infused into the wine, this not only imparts nuances of oak and a mild sweetness or vanilla into the wine it also allows for the wines to age properly.

The weather plays a very important role in the quality of wines from year to year or as we say in the wine world “vintage”.  The better the weather in a given year the more likely the wine from that vintage will be good.

The color and grape type are also significant when it comes to aging a wine.  Red wines have more natural tannin than a white grape, that is why you generally do not see white wines being laid down for any length of time.  A grape, like Cabernet Sauvignon, naturally has more tannin than other types, like Pinot Noir, will be a much better candidate for cellaring.

As I mentioned earlier a better vintage of wine will be well balanced in terms of fruit, acid, and tannin and as a result will age well.  Terrior, the complex combination of soil, climate, exposition and local tradition that define wines also contributes to a wines ability to age well.

Winemaking plays a huge role in wines ability to age.  How long was the wine in contact with its skins during fermentation?  Was the wine aged in oak which impart tannins that allow the wine to be cellared longer.  Proper storage conditions also play a significant role in allowing wine the opportunity to age well.

Maya and Miles in Sideways

Maya and Miles in Sideways

In summary I would like to quote Maya from the movie Sideways, one of my favorites.  “I like to think about the life of wine, how it is a living thing.  I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing.  How the sun was shining, if it rained.  I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes.  And if it is an old wine how many of them must be dead by now.  I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive.  And if it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity, that is until it peaks, like your’61.  And then it begins its steady inevitable decline.”

Sideways the movie 2004

Sideways the movie 2004

So at the end of the day what wines are a good bet to cellar and save for those extremely significant occasions:

Great producers of California Cabernets and great Chateaux of Bordeaux.

Jeremy would also like to know; what does WineGuyMike™ like to drink when the temperatures drop below freezing!  The answer Jeremy is great Cabernet from California at the hand of a master winemaker.  Thank you for asking, Cheers to you.

Q.  Jennifer Miler asks; I have heard this question a few times over the years – when someone has a baby giving a bottle of wine that the kid can open when they get older…21 (of course). What are some good wines to purchase to be held for a long time ?  One of my friends had a collection like this – each year on his birthday, he opened another bottle his parents friends gave him as a baby…it was really cool.

A. Jennifer please see the previous answer in response to Jeremy’s question as a great deal of that answer applies to your question as well.  The following information would consider the fact that the wines we are discussing came from the best producers of wine.

White wines:

California Chardonnay            3-8+ years

French White Burgundies       2-10+ years

German Riesling                     3-30+ years

French Sauternes                    3-30+ years

Red Wines:

Bordeaux Chateaux                5-30+ years

California Cabernet                3-15+ years

California Zinfandel                5-15+ years

California Merlot                    2-10+ years

California, Oregon Pinot Noirs 2-5+ years

Barolo and Barbaresco           5-25+ years

Brunello di Montalcino           3-15+ years

Chianti Classico Riservas                    3-10+ years

Argentine Malbec                   3-15+ years

Spainish Riojas Gran Riservas 5-20+ years

Hermitage Shiraz                    5-25+ years

French Red Burgundy             3-8+ years

Vintage Ports                          10-40+ years

Q. Patti Earling asks; we are hosting a Christmas party for 30 people; some avid wine drinkers some non-wine lovers.  Is there a moderately priced vino that compliments a traditional ham dinner and might appeal to both groups?

A. Patti thank you for your question.  There are a number of varietals or wine types that would pair well with the Ham you’re serving for your Christmas party.  Let’s take a look at the varietals I will be recommending.

Light Bodied Wines

Riesling one of the prominent white wine grapes, a pure Riesling is complex yet delicate.  Some Rieslings are just pretenders made from inferior grapes, the Grey Rieslings, and Sylvaner Rieslings.  A Riesling will be light, medium dry, fruity, a mild citrus flavor, with a mellow floral aroma.

Gewurztraminer wine is spicy, fruity, floral, and herbal. This is a dry, earthy, aromatic wine that is genuinely refreshing.

Pinot Noir is the medium bodied grape variety of red burgundian wines; it can produce wines that are incredible.  When aged in oak, it should have sweetness reminiscent of raspberries, with undertones of vegetation and chocolate.  The wine can stand up to aging for many years.  Pinot Noir at its best will be smooth, full of flavor, and a beautiful bouquet.

Gamey Beaujolais a wine from France that is made to be drunk very young, right after bottling.  This is a light bodied red that has very little tannin and is low in alcohol content.  It is a fruity red wine that has berry overtones and is light bodied.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape.  It is very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied.  This grape exhibits slight spiciness, hint of honey, and slight fruitiness and is dry.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris as it is commonly referred to is a very dry wine.  Some characteristics of this wine are a slightly fruity and mild spiciness.

Viognier is a grape from the Rhone valley in France is also making a name for itself in California. Viognier is a very dry, delicate wine with floral aromas and apricot overtones.

Medium Bodied Wines

Sangiovese or Chianti, probably the most well known of Italian wines(at least that holds true in the United States). This grape is also the major contributor for many other fantastic Italian reds. This spicy medium bodied red also exhibits cherry and raspberry flavors.

Shiraz or Syrah is a big powerful full bodied wine, also known as Shiraz in Australia.  Supple, smooth, rich with well manered mellow tannins describes the syrah wines.  Flavor wise Syrah can be slightly spicy, fruity like black cherries, or some may have a deep nutty flavoring.

Merlot wine type or varietal is great to drink with or without food.  It tends to be soft, smooth, and very fruit forward.  Winemakers the world over are creating rich style merlots that are wines full of cherry and oak flavors.  This is a medium bodied wine.

Full Bodied Wine

Chardonnay is one of the most complex white wines, thanks to winemaking techniques, and the grapes ability to draw flavor from the nutrients and minerals in the soil.  Chardonnay is aged in new oak barrels, old oak barrels, and steel barrels, all producing varying nuances in the wines.  New barrels produce the strongest oaking, old barrels have a slight oak influence, while the steel has no oakiness.  This dry wine is rich, bold, and full of fruitiness, vanilla and a certain toastiness, just to name a few characteristics.  Complexity is the word that best suits Chardonnay.

WineGuyMike’s recommendations for your party:

Tariquet 2009 Chenin Chardonnay

Tariquet 2009 Chenin Chardonnay

  • Tariquet 2009 Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Blend – This wine marries the finesse of Chenin Blanc (75%) with the elegance and structure of Chardonnay (25%). This complex wine displays delicious floral notes, as well as exotic fruit and vanilla
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2010 750ML

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2010 750ML

  • Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais – Villages – This Beaujolais-Villages displays a deep, luminous cherry color, red with bluish tints.  The bouquet offers ripe red fruit character, suggesting strawberry and black currant, with a touch of cinnamon.  Velvet-like in the mouth, with soft tannins, it is well-balanced and complete.  A wine which lends itself to all occasions, from the apéritif to the cheese board

This wine list receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©

How to “taste” your Christmas wines

Now let’s get on with tasting the wine.  Here is a simple process for basic wine tasting I call the 5 sssss’s:

  1. 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
  2. Smell – stick your nose in the glass and think about the different aromas’ that you are able to discern
  3. 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
  4. Swill – take a small sip, pucker your lips and gently breath in
  5. Spit or Swallow – if you have a bucket spit, if not swallow

Next step:

  1. What is your sense of the wine in your mouth
  2. What does the wine taste like
  3. What does the wine feel like in your mouth
  4. How does your mouth perceive the wine, all up front, in the middle, more in the back of your mouth
  5. Is there a lingering after taste

Last Step:

  1. This is where the brain, mouth, and eyes come together as one
  2. Your description of what your nose, mouth, and eyes just experienced
  3. How would you describe this, remember there is no right or wrong description this is your subjective experience
  4. Try the food now and think about how you would now describe the wine

WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo

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.

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.

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

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"