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 MST.
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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; Jay Steen
This week WineGuyMike™ received some great questions and the two that I’m going to address come from Jay Steen and Jo Jorgenson.
Q. Jay Steen asks; life is busy-running kids, volunteering, sneaking in some work, catching Wine Guy Mike on The Ranch when I can, perusing the blog when I can, never scheduling time for a wine tasting…and I find myself zipping into Walmart or Albertson’s and there I am in the wine row wondering which red I can just grab off the shelf and go with….that will basically match whatever may end up on the table for dinner. I know not a responsible wine connoisseur. Anyway I’ve tried an award-winning one and, well, I didn’t concur. Tried some a little expensive, some less expensive, and some less expensive than that. I just want a sure bet when there isn’t time to figure it out on my own. Can you help? I’d love some brand names if you are so willing.mart, or Albertsons, or…, and there I am in wine row wondering which red wine I can just grab off the shelf and go with…that will basically match whatever may end up on the table for dinner. I know, not a responsible wine connoisseur. Anyway, I’ve tried an award-winning one and, well, I didn’t concur. Tried some a little expensive, some less expensive, and some less expensive then that. I just want a sure bet when there isn’t the time to figure it out on my own. Can you help? I’d love some brand names, if you are so willing. 😉
A. WineGuyMike’s™ answer; Jay I went wine shopping a couple of times after receiving your question. I really appreciate your question and comments and am sympathetic to your hectic schedule; I too keep a crazy schedule. I’m sure there are many moms out there that can totally identify with your with your dilemma.
Let’s start off with an explanation of how the wine aisles are set. A decade ago when you approached a wine aisle all wines were grouped together by brand name. Gallo decided it was not beneficial for their brand to be set on the shelf that way. They went to the major retailers and literally had all shelves reset by wine type or varietal. This is why you’ll find all the Cabernet’s, Pinot Noir’s, or Chardonnay’s together on a shelf. The only exceptions are the foreign wines which are grouped together by country. This is due to the fact that many French wines for example are blended wines or Spain’s and Italy’s varietals are typically different than what is grown here in the United States.
Price of wines dictates where the wines are set within their particular wine type or varietal section. The lowest price wines are near the floor of your favorite grocery store and the highest priced bottles are on the top shelf. The only caveat to this is the infamous aisle end cap, if you want to move product this is where you want to be. This is the space from which vendors showcase their sale items, special value wines, or new items.
I find that I usually do not my select my wine finds from the end cap, that doesn’t mean that I don’t scan those end caps because sometimes there is a great value wine set there. It seems that I end up, in the grocery store that is, purchasing from the second or third shelf from the top. I’ll bet that this is very consistent amongst most consumers; you don’t have to reach or bend while selecting a wine.
What I really recommend Jay as time permits check in on WineGuyMike’s™ blog as I will be focusing more on Terrior. I want to share with my Fans about the wine types or varietals they enjoy from all the regions around the world. If you understand nuances of wine types, and you have knowledge of Terrior you will then understand what you should be able to expect from wines from your favorite regions around the world.
I hope you find this helpful the next time you go wine shopping. When I shop for wines I find that I’m driven by wine type and price, so here are a few inexpensive “all purpose” wines that you might have around. The brand I’m going to recommend for you Jay is from Beringer Vineyards, the Founders’ Estate label of wines. Beringer produces a solid line up of wines within this label. The wines within this label are true to the wine type, in other words these wines represent the varietal very well. These wines are on sale at Albertson’s right now and normally sell for $11.99 and are on sale now for $8.49, a tremendous value for the quality of wine at this price point.
For an all around go to red wine I’m going to recommend the Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir. I am also going to recommend a white wine from the same label too, the Founders’ Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Both of these wine types are balanced with their fruit and acid which means they are food friendly and will pair well with a wide variety of foods.
Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir
Beringer Founders’ Estate offers handcrafted wines that are food-friendly and immediately enjoyable. Each varietal in the wide range of offerings is true to its classic characteristics, with a consistently smooth and fruit forward profile. Each varietal achieves a delicate balance of fruit and acidity, to ensure successful pairing with a variety of foods.
The Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards in the Languedoc region of France. The Mediterranean Sea running along the plains of Languedoc impart cooling maritime influences that are perfect for growing the often finicky Pinot Noir grape.
Gentle winemaking techniques were used to protect the delicate qualities of the Pinot Noir grapes in order to preserve the grapes’ lush color and bright fruit flavors once the grapes were crushed. A small portion of Syrah grapes were added to provide depth and additional structure to the wine. The majority of the wine saw three to four months in French oak to highlight the wine’s toasty, brown spice qualities.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
The Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir is bright ruby in color and displays ripe currant flavors rounded out by aromas of cedar and spice. This wine has immediate fruit-forward flavors that balances well with the toasty smokiness of the oak
Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker Mary Sullivan took great care to maintain the varietal’s bright fruit character in the Beringer Founders’ Estate Sauvignon Blanc. After each lot of grapes is harvested Mary uses cool fermentations in stainless steel for the majority of the juice to protect the bright aromas and crisp acidity. Mary ages a small portion of the wine in old oak barrels to lend it additional layers of complexity and fullness. The wine has characteristic Sauvignon Blanc aromas of bright citrus and flavors of ripe stone fruit, with a hint of tropical flavors at the very clean finish.
This Sauvignon Blanc is one Mary’s favorites as it is immediately quaffable and charming. There is a wonderfully refreshing grapefruit flavor along with a clean grassy note that makes it an ideal for many meals and enjoying anytime the sun is out or you’re just craving some!
Q. Jo Jorgenson asks how Why are there some wines (US) that I can find in some places(areas not stores) and not in others?
A. WineGuyMike’s™ response; Jo in one word it is allocation. Depending on how much of a particular wine a winery has produced determines how the wine is sold. Small vineyards may only sell directly to visitors at their winery. Smaller wineries that produce more than boutique wineries may sell at the winery and into local grocery stores too.
Each state that a wine is sold in the wine has been authorized by that state. As an example a vineyard like Adelsheim Vineyard located in the Willamette Valley produces about 40,000 cases of wine each year. They are big enough producers that they determine a case allocation for Montana and their wines that are sold here have been authorized by the state. Adelsheim wines may not be available on the east coast. They are not a large producer and therefore have to focus their wine portfolio utilizing a regional marketing strategy.
A vineyard’s marketing plan is driven by case production and the availability of a solid distribution network. Existing sales channels that are established relationships that distribution has in place with retailers also plays a very large role in a vineyards allocation decisions within any given state. I could go on and on Jo but this is the snap shot of why you see wine in some areas but not others. Thank you for asking.
Lunch at Ciao Mambo
This week WineGuyMike™ recommends a great Cesare salad for lunch paired with a nice glass of Hogue Riesling. Ciao Mambo has a killer Cesare salad with nice thin slices of mushroom complemented by black olives. That and a basket of their delicious bread and a glass of this nice Riesling from Hogue make for a perfect lunch.
Hogue Riesling 2008
During the grape growing season, Eastern Washington boasts warm summer days followed by cool nights, ensuring that grapes ripen fully while retaining ample natural acidity. Even ripening gives Washington Riesling its trademark apricot and tangerine flavors. The Hogue Riesling has fragrant aromas of apricot, peach, melon, lemon-lime, and a drizzle of honey. The flavors are a delicate blend of apricot and tangerine, with a pleasing mineral edge and crisp, refreshing acidity. Slightly sweet, this is the wine to serve with fresh spring rolls, spicy ahi curries or grilled halibut. Unlike many white wines, Rieslings can evolve and develop complexity with age. This vintage will continue to delight for three to five years if carefully cellared.
As Brett says “Eat Like You Mean It”, Ciao Mambo on the Hip Strip in Missoula. Check this out Ciao Mambo is open at 11:30 for lunches daily now too.
This wine and food combo receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©.
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