This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Biodynamic Grape Farming


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; Biodynamic grape farming; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-April-29-441372

Last week’s podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Green farming is a part of the “Green” movement we hear about every day.  The word “Green” is the politically correct buzzword that is attached it seems to every advertising and marketing campaign initiative in the world today.

When green farming is utilized in the viticulture and winemaking process there are real consumer benefits.  It is important as wine consumers to understand a little bit about all of this.

There are three levels of green farming; Certified Sustainable, Certified Organic, and Certified Biodynamic.  My focus of this article is Biodynamic Farming but first let’s understand all three green farming methods.

Certified Sustainable – This farming method employs farming techniques that are environmentally sound.  Biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are all techniques that are a part of this farming method.  This viticulture program results in the cultivation of grapes with better varietal character of flavors and aromas.  For the consumer this means more distinct wine products.

Certified Organic – This method of farming combines the Certified Sustainable practices with the organic grape growing techniques. Organic Farming permits no use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods of farming such as crop rotation, tillage and natural composting to maintain and promote healthy soil.  Natural techniques to control weeds, insects and other pest management are implemented.  Grape growers who utilize these farming methods can see the results in their vineyards and are inspired to continue their natural progression of green farming.

Certified Biodynamic – This method of farming developed as a result of instincts shared by philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924.  Biodynamic farming is the culmination of sustainable and organic farming methods and the incorporation of these harmonious philosophy developed by Steiner that he referred to as “Anthrophosophy” which in this case views a vineyard as a single organism.  Biodynamic farming incorporates biodiversity, independent nutrient system, homeopathic preparations, and a true spiritual connection with the land.  This farming method utilizes sheep to control weeds, cattle for manure and compost, chickens for pest control, and the instinct and intuitive trust of the viticulturist working with the land and vineyards in a harmonious way.

Biodynamic farming has the capability to combine with terroir, or sense of place, to produce individual grapes of distinct varietal character with robust flavor and aroma.  This is true value for the consumer, wines that are naturally healthy with enhanced flavors and aromas.

Biodynamic farming is an overall concept that is simple in theory, more difficult to implement.  Let’s use an analogy of the human race and Biodynamic farming to better understand this concept.  Every person is a unique individual who grows and develops and comes to a better understanding of who they are throughout the process.  Through this process of evolution, growth, and understanding we become better at accepting who we are as a person.  There is an understanding that allows an individual to work with their unique characteristics.  A person in concept becomes whole and healthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Each wine region, area, vineyard, and vineyard block is unique unto itself in all respects.  Biodynamic farming respects and understands this and approaches it as such.

There are some very interesting aspects of Biodynamic farming such as planting on the new moon and bottling wine on the waning moon and generally recognizing seasonal changes and effects.  Horns from cattle are collected and stuffed with manure and buried.  They are dug up in spring and the manure has been transformed into a rich hummus that is combined with water as a rich tincture treatment for the soil.  This promotes healthy soil and root systems.  Over summer months cow’s horns are packed with quartz and silica crystals and then buried.  They are then dug up in the fall and combined with water making a tincture that is used on the grape leaves aiding in photosynthesis and naturally enhancing the flavor of the grapes.

Plants are also used in the Biodynamic farming process; Fermented Yarrow is used to help breakdown compost, fermented Chamomile aides the composting process and also nourishes the soil and stabilizes the nitrogen within the soil, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark, Dandelion, and Valerion aid composting and enrich the nutrients in soil, Horsetail Plant is made into tea and sprayed on vines to prevent fungal disease. 

Conventional agricultural thinking views itself as a commodity while Biodynamic farming is focused on developing individuality.  The concept of Biodynamic farming is a perfect fit for the grape farming sector of agriculture.  The Biodynamic farming method has taken hold in the wine world as it is truly one area of agriculture that desires premium quality.  Throughout history there are special places in the world that produce wine of distinct character just as there are unique individuals who can discern these characteristics while blind tasting wines.  Few agricultural sectors in the world can match the ability of a unique vineyard for complete harmony of land, people, animals, plants, and environment.  This is Biodynamic farming and as farmers embrace ecology, sustainability, and energy this concept of farming will become prevalent.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Advertisements

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Justin Wylie of Va Piano Vineyards


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Walla Walla in Washington State is located in one of the world’s premier grape growing and wine producing areas of the world; this is also home to Justin Wylie owner and winemaker of Va Piano Vineyards.

Walla Walla is one of 11 different AVA’s within the great Columbia Valley AVA which was established in 1984.  This area was first settled by Italian immigrants in the 1850’s but in 1984 became an officially recognized AVA.

The farming community of Walla Walla has been transformed from an agriculture area that produced some of the best onions and wheat in the world to a special place that will be recognized as one of the significant wine producing areas of the world. 

There are now over 125 wineries in the Walla Walla area.  One of those wineries is Va Piano Vineyards.  This week on the WineGuyMike show owner and winemaker Justin Wylie took timeout to join me for a conversation and a tasting of the Va Piano wines.

Justin Wylie graduated from Gonzaga University but it was during his senior year in 1995 that he had a life changing experience.  The fourth generation Walla Wallan and spent the year in Florence, Italy studying humanities under the tutelage of Italian native, Bruno Segatta.

The plan for Wylie was to return to Walla Walla and join the family’s stone monument business, but something happened along the way.  As many have he fell in love with the culture and lifestyle of Italy, he was inspired to do something different.  Italians understand that great wines are made in the vineyard and the winemaker is the caretaker of the grapes once they have been harvested.  This became Wylie’s passion.

Father Bruno Segatta not only was a teacher he became a mentor for Wylie and inspired him to believe in himself and his dreams.  Chi va piano va sano y va lontano is a bit of wisdom that Segatta shared with Wylie: He who goes slowly goes safely and goes far.  This was imprinted within the heart of Wylie.

La Famiglia is the soul of Italy and was also very important to Wylie who is married with three children.  Wylie’s wife Liz is business partner and critical to the operations at Va Piano.  La Famiglia is everything at the vineyard, when you visit you are a part of the Va Piano family.  The wonderful theme of community transcends all of the Walla Walla wine collaborative with an attitude of; “One for all, and all for one”.

When you visit the Va Piano Vineyards property you have a sense of Old World charm as Liz and Justin have worked very hard to create an atmosphere of Italy.  Together they have built an Italian style home and winery with heart and soul, this is a winery you don’t want to miss when you visit Walla Walla.

Wylie spent five years in his garage making test lots, and a cult following formed around the Vino del Garage wines.  In order to hone his skills as a viticulturist and winemaker he traveled back and forth to UC Davis taking countless classes in the renowned department of viticulture and enology.

 His philosophy as a winemaker is rooted in the word balance: balance in the vineyard, balance in the wines, and balance in our lives. His goal is to showcase the wines with a sense of place and respect for the fruit, and always remember to be a grower first and winemaker second. 

Father Bruno still has a significant place in the Wylie families lives.  Segatta who is not only a humanitarian and scholar is also a gifted artist who is quite well known.  Va Piano’s tasting room is filled with his original oil paintings depicting iconic Florence architecture and Tuscan landscapes.  Justin and Liz created Bruno’s Blend, a multi-vintage red blend and white blend in his honor. A different original Bruno painting is used to create the label each vintage, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity of Bruno’s choice.

With over 125 wineries in Walla Walla and a little less than 2000 acres devoted to vineyards, the predominant varietals grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Sangiovese also grows very well in Walla Walla which is one reason why the Italians chose to settle this area.  There are a multitude of other red and white varietals being grown and developed in the area too.

The soil in this region is the result of layers of alluvial soil from the Lake Missoula floods and volcanic eruptions.  The Missoula Floods were a series of perhaps 35-40 geologic cataclysms that swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia Gorge at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.  These massive floods were a result of ruptures in the glacial ice dam that created Montana’s Glacial Lake Missoula.  The flood level reached 1200 feet at its greatest depth which resulted in layers of soil and deposits from volcanic eruptions.  This left behind a layer of bedrock that facilitates an incredible terrior that imparts itself into the grapes grown in this unique hamlet of the wine world.

Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano; He who goes slowly, goes safely and goes far. This old Italian saying sums up Va Piano Vineyards approach to winemaking, and to life.  Wylie’s winemaking philosophy; grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar. Va Piano wines display intense flavors, fine tannin structure and intense aromas.

Va Piano’s 20-acre estate property, located in the Southeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley, has been producing grapes since 1999.  Seventy percent of our grape production is used by our winery and the balance is sold to premium Walla Walla Valley wineries such as L’Ecole #41, Saviah Cellars and Dunham Cellars.

In December of 2005, Va Piano celebrated their grand opening by releasing their first vintages, a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Syrah which have been given outstanding reviews.

Wylie also sources grapes from a number of other vineyards in the region so that every Va Piano wine has the flavor profile he strives for in each of his wines.  Justin and I tasted three of his Va Piano Vineyards wines; the 2009 Brunos Blend, The 2008 Syrah, and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

As Old World tradition would have it all three of the Va Piano wines will be an exceptional complement to a correctly paired meal.  Bruno’s Blend is very forgiving and will pair with a wide array on meals as this was the lightest bodied of the three wines I tasted with Wylie.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were both varietally correct and very enjoyable to taste.  All three wines have very good balance of fruit and acidity, very nice structure.  Wylie has really struck a nice balance between the Old World and New World with these wines, I look forward to watching him grow as a winemaker.  He has talent and potential as a winemaker, two things that I love.

The Tasting Flight

2009 Brunos Blend

Nose – fruit, earth, smoke

Palate – easy, silky tannin, fruit to acid is great

Finish – nice finish to complement food and not get in the way of it

2008 Syrah

Nose – red fruits, raspberry and boysenberry, clean minerality

Palate – nice fruit and acidity, gaminess, and spice

Finish – lingering spice and fruit, delicious

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Nose – black cherry, underlying berry, chocolate, spice

Palate – just right tannin, restrained fruit, very slight sweet vanilla

Finish – long, smooth, luscious

The Va Piano Vineyards wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Features the Capstone Dinner Event in Missoula


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast  and full length conversation with Culinary Arts student Kacey Swanson http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/15/wine-guy-mike-for-april-15/

NBC Montana Today TV Easter wines with food pairing suggestions; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

I had the opportunity this week to feature an event many are unaware of.  Once you attend the Capstone Dinner Event you will make a point to never miss one.

This week I invited a representative from The University of Montana College of Technology Culinary Arts Department to join me on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.  Kacey Swanson who is a student in the program and I discussed the upcoming Capstone Dinner Event.

The Capstone Dinner will take place at The Holiday Inn Downtown in Missoula on Saturday April 28, 2012 from 5-10PM.  The Holiday Inn is located at 200 South Pattee, Missoula, Montana.  Ticket prices for this event are $85.00 each.  For information on how to obtain tickets please call 406-243-7870.

I became familiar with the culinary program at a local event that I attend each year where I met the Director of the COT Culinary Arts Program, Tom Campbell.  I sought Tom out at this event on purpose to let him know just how inspired I was as a result of my interaction with his students.  The presentation of the food from this culinary program was beautiful; the passion shared by the students who prepared the courses of food was contagious.  Oh yeah, the food it was amazing too.  I was introduced to an instructor, Chef Suzanne Noyd who also owns The Butler’s Pantry.  The Butler’s Pantry is a catering company providing exquisite fine food for special events.

With my interest piqued I sought out to learn more about this wonderful program located in Missoula and respected regionally throughout the Northwest.  The Capstone Dinner Event is a combination of fine dining, fine wine, and a silent auction in which all proceeds support the College of Technology Culinary Student Education Fund.  This fund also supports competitions, exhibits, and field trips for the students, conferences and the Capstone Dinner Event.

This years event theme presented by the students; “SAUSSURE” (saw-sure), Explore the Alps in Montana – A Culinary Tour of Alpine Cuisine. Horace-Benedict de Saussure led the first expedition through the Alpine Range, believed to have founded Alpinism or Mountaineering.  Translating cuisine from Lyon, France to Vienna, Austria to the shores of the Adriatic Sea and infusing these dishes with Montana seasonal ingredients.  The culinary students are proud to show their unity by showcasing the talents and knowledge they have acquired over the past two years.  Don’t miss this opportunity for a great night out to experience a multi-coursed fine dining experience paired with exceptional wines.  There will be an assortment of delectable silent auction items presented and available for your bid.

For more information about this event and how to get on the mailing list, please e-mail Chef Tom Campbell at Thomas.campbell@umontana.edu or Kacey Swanson at kacey.swanson@umontana.edu

Capstone Dinner Menu

SAUSSURE

Menu

Hor D’ Oeuvres – An Expedition through The Alps Buffet Assortment

Western Platter

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Terrine

Smoked Local Trout Mousse in Dill Barquette Garnished with Cavier

Caprese Salad featuring House-made Mozzarella & White Balsamic Reduction

Duck & Sage Sausage Links

Red Onion & Rhubarb Tartlet

Risotto Croquettes with Fontina & Red Pepper Coulis 

Central Platter

Beef Liver Pate

Venison Kielbasa, Ginger Sauerkraut and Hot Mustard on Pumpernickel Canape

Weisswurst Links & Headcheese

Beet & Carrot Latkes, House-made Quark and Pickled Red Onion Canape

Pastrami Cured Salmon on Rye Point with Beet Pesto

Eastern Platter

Mediterranean Style Seafood Terrine

Marinated Sardine Crostini with Salsa Verde & Fresh Fennel

Chevre Balls Rolled in Turkish Spices

Spring Porcini paired with House-made Ricotta & Braised Garlic Scapes

Croatian Flatbread crowned with Dry Cured Bacon, Fresh Cow Cheese and Assorted Vegetables

Turkish Sausage Links

Hot Cheese Fondue with Pretzels

Soup

House-brewed Schwauzbier Cheese in Bread Bowl 

Fish Entrée

Grilled Local Trout adorned with Eggplant, Cherry Compote on a bed of Angel Hair Pasta 

Intermezzo

Lemon Sorbet

Meat Entrée

Montana Bauernschmaus

Braised Venison, Montana Beef Bacon and Kielbasa accompanied with Fresh Cabbage Salad, Caramelized Root Vegetable Trio and Crostini 

*Paired with House-brewed Hefeweizen 

Dessert Assortment

OPERA – French Chocolate Coffee Cake made of Layered Dark Chocolate, Coffee Buttercream and Almond Sponge Cake

Huckleberry, Lavender and Apple Tarts

Spice Cookies

Cupavci – Croatian Sponge Cake filled with Pastry Cream

Chocolate Fondue accompanied by Gingerbread & Fruit

Bread Basket

Rye, Pumpernickel, Italian Crostini, Grissini, Pretzels

You can listen to the WineGuyMike Radio Show live each week on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features wines I have specially selected for you.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and   Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Donald Ziraldo the world authority of Ice-wines Part 2


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo

Part 1 Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

NBC Montana Today TV Easter wines with food pairing suggestions; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week the Iceman Donald Ziraldo joins WineGuyMike for week two for the final show in this series on Ice-wine.  Last week we tasted the Equifera Riesling Ice Wine and this week I’ll taste the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine with Donald.

If you missed last week’s show with Donald and I be sure to listen to it, the podcast link is; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/  Talking with Ziraldo is like sitting in on an intimate wine education course.

The Equifera Ice Wine was a treat for me to taste.  Tasting wine with Donald Ziraldo was a pleasure and an education, one of my stand-out featured guests I have had the opportunity to have on my show.  In addition to last week’s following blog post I have included my review from this week’s tasting of the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine.

Ice-wine is a wine of extremes. Donald Ziraldo who produces Equifera Icewine is a man of extreme passion.  This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk with Donald and learn about him, his life’s body of work, and the Ice-wine he is so passionate about.

Ice wine is a form of extreme winemaking that takes the excruciating circumstances of Mother Nature to an entirely new level.  Ice-wine or “liquid gold” as it is referred to by wine aficionados is a dessert, or aperitif wine.

The practice of making Eiswein in Germany dates back to the early 1700’s.  But it is in Canada where it has become a modern day art.  Canada is now recognized as the finest Ice-wine producing area in the world.  This is mainly due to the Herculean efforts of one man, Donald Ziraldo.

Ziraldo is known as the “Godfather” of Ice-wine throughout the world.  He is also readily acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on Ice-wine’s.  Ziraldo is the son of Italian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province of Ontario.  This is just across from Lake Ontario, one of the best known wine regions in the United States, the Finger Lakes region.

Ice-wine is a winemaking style wherein grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals. 

If the freeze does not come soon enough, the entire crop can be lost to rotting and if the freeze is too severe, it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  The results produce very special wines that express aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits such as mango, peach, and lychee.

Donald Ziraldo has a long and storied history of producing fine quality wines with winemaker Karl Kaiser.  Ziraldo and Kaiser are the forefathers of Canadian Ice-wine, together they founded Inniskillin Winery.  The Ice-wines of Inniskillin put Canadian Ice-wine of the map of the wine scene internationally.  Inniskillin produced many internationally renowned wines.

In 2006 Ziraldo and Kaiser left Inniskillin, although Kaiser remains as an emeritus consultant to Inniskillin.  Ziraldo has a new wine project in the Equifera Ice winery. 

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

 Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are some many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

Week Two wine tasting:

The Equifera Vidal Ice Wine is every bit as complex as the Riesling, the Equifera Ice Wines are tantalizing.  The quality of Donald’s wines is exceptional.  The Vidal varietal is a hybrid of Trebbiano and Ugni Blanc grapes.  The Vidal varietal is hardy and more resistant to the extreme cold than the Riesling.

The Vidal that Donald and I tasted this week is fuller in body than the Riesling Ice-wine.  The nose of the Vidal is beautifully aromatic with tropical fruits of pineapple, mangos, lychee and then notes of grapefruit.  When this wine hits the palate it just explodes filling your mouth with lush texture that clings to sides of you mouth.  The Vidal, like the Riesling from Equifera is so well structured and balanced with acidity that it cleanses the palate on the finish, but not without a lingering memory of rich tropical fruit and honey. Truly incredible wines from Ziraldo.

View this Cocktail Mixology video with Equifer Ice Wine with Donald; www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeJV_arD8P4

I would like to thank Donald for taking time to share his Equifera Ice Wine with the WineGuyMike audience; it was a memorable experience for all.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Ice-wine I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

Wines for Easter with WineGuyMike™ on KECI NBC Montana Today


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Current week’s Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

Part Three; Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tasting with Winemaster Randy Ullom and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/25/wine-guy-mike-for-march-25/

Part Two, Vintners Reserve Chardonnay and Riesling tasting with Randy and WineGuyMike; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/18/wine-guy-mike-for-march-18/

Part One Avant Chardonnay

 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/03/11/wine-guy-mike-for-march-11/

NBC Montana Today Show TV with Easter wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

It’s Good Friday and Easter Sunday is coming quickly.  You may be having guests for dinner or you might be a guest for Easter dinner, in any case you need a great wine to serve or share.  Here are a few wine and main entre pairing suggestions for you.  Happy Easter from WineGuyMike, from my table to yours.

L’Ecole N° 41  2010 Chenin Blanc – Columbia Valley ($10.99)

This second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.   Founded in 1983, they are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.  As a traditional brick and mortar winery they grow and make 100% of their wine.  The focus is on terroir-driven, distinctive, and expressive wines.  All of L’Ecole’s Walla Walla Valley wines are made from grapes which are certified sustainable.

This fresh, tart and delightfully fruity Chenin Blanc shows Asian pear, perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas with flavors of apple, apricot, and grapefruit on a crisp mineral, lightly sweet finish.

L’Ecole Nº 41 has produced this old vine, Vouvray style Chenin Blanc since 1987. Jean Ferguson, L’Ecole Nº 41’s founding winemaker, loved this wine and crafted her version of Vouvray through cold fermentation to enhance the fruity and floral esters.  This wine offers great value.

Food pairing; Ham, Cornish Hens, white variety of fish, shellfish.

Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay ($14.99)

The Avant Chardonnay is a beautifully crafted wine that is a great wine to start of the evening with.  There are three things that I share with you about the entire portfolio of Kendall-Jackson wines; the wines are made with finesse, the wines are elegant, and the wines are always consistent.

The Avant Chardonnay is pale yellow in the glass; it looks refreshing in your glass as it begs to be tasted.  It was fun to taste this new wine from Kendall-Jackson against the Vintners Reserve Chardonnay that has long been one of America’s favorite wines.

The Avant has only a slight nuance of oak, the fruit is bright on the nose and the palate.  What I found intriguing about this wine is that on the palate it was both light yet rich with fruit.  This wine has a perfect balance of fruit and acid, featuring mild tropical fruit of pineapple, tart apple, and my favorite Meyer lemon, the K-J Avant will pair nicely with shellfish, or any white variety of fish.  The K-J Avant really comes to life on the mid-palate as it is crisp, and delivers light fruit with nice gentle acidity.  The finish is delightfully crisp with subtle tropical fruit that lingers long, this is a very nice wine.

Food Pairing; Roast Chicken, Cornish Game Hen, white fish varieties, Salmon, shellfish

Equifera Ice Wine ($70.00)

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are so many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

Food Pairings; Stilton or Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, Baked goods, fresh fruit, Creme Brulee, it is also dessert in a glass and needs no accompaniment. 

Inniskillin Riesling Ice-wine ($70.00)

Riesling

One of the world’s greatest “noble” varieties, this cool weather grape with high acidy is a natural for the making of Icewine.  Classic Riesling qualities include elegant citrus flavors, ripe orchard fruit tones and a slight mineral edge.

Tasting Notes

This Riesling Icewine shows the elegance of tropical aromas and flavors of lemon and lime. The good acidity of Riesling allows for a refreshing mouth feel amid the many layers of flavors that unfold.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Great with lemon based desserts or tarts along with fresh fruit based desserts; rich cheeses accompanied by fresh or dried fruit or your favorite fruit compote. Delightful all on its own!

Icewine and Cheeses

The major difference between Icewine and other dessert wines is acidity.  While all dessert wines are sweet, only the best ones have balanced acidity as well.  This crucial element not only adds to the enjoyment of Icewine, but also to its natural compatibility with cheese.  Most of the cheese universe pairs brilliantly with Icewine because each cheese’s richness begs for that crucial acidity.  Cheeses are inherently savory and sometimes salty and when prepared with the honeyed sweetness of Icewine, it creates a lovely balance that makes for a perfect match.

Riesling based Icewine is renowned for its acidity and mineral notes.  Its vivid orange and citrus tones will combine with a rich range of creamy and decadent food textures and tastes, from foie gras to crème brulée.

2009 Russian River Pinot Noir ($28.99)

This dark, garnet colored Pinot Noir exhibits floral aromas of rose petals intertwined with spice components of ginger, dusty earth and a hint of vanilla. Fruit aromas of raspberry and cassis form the core of the wine, and in the mouth, create a long, delicious finish that can be tasted for several minutes.

The wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively.  It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder like tannins and a nice dose of astringency that lend additional grip and structure to this wine.  Overall, the wine has struck the fine balance between delicate and structured, and will improve with bottle aging during the next five years (or more).

With the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, they ferment each lot of grapes separately in three to six ton batches.  They do not add commercial yeast to the tanks and instead rely on the natural yeasts found on the grapes and throughout the winery to ferment the juice.  This process tends to increase the length of the fermentation and add an additional layer of complexity to the finished wine.  During fermentation and barrel aging, they treat the new wine as gently as possible in an effort to preserve its aroma.

Food Pairings; Leaner beef roasts, ham, pork roasts, Salmon, roasted chicken, Lamb dishes.

Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Merlot ($25.99)

All the wines that go into the Kendall-Jackson Bordeaux portfolio are treated with care and attention to detail; however, with Grand Reserve level fruit, they employ additional artisan techniques like hand sorting, small-batch fermentation and additional cold-soaking to coax the finest expression out of our fruit.

The wines are selected based on the potential they showed in the vineyard and during the final stages before draining off the skins. The wines are barrel-aged in French oak, usually seeing 35-40% new oak.  When the final selections are made the wines from each individual barrel are tasted to make sure it belongs in the blend. The result are fabulous Grand Reserve wines.

The Grand Reserve Merlot is rich with dark fruits of black plum, boysenberry and cherry.  The nose of this wine is beautifully subtle with notes of violet and rich dark fruit.  Silky tannins and nice firm structure greet your palate and the great balance of this wine makes it a superb food friendly wine. The palate delivers dark plum and berries followed with nice cherry.  The finish is an ever so subtle chocolate and cedar followed with a sense of light cleansing mineral, a real delight.

Food Pairings; Grilled meats, Beef roasts, Ham

2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  The grapes get a 3 to 4 day cold soak; 15 to 18 days total maceration and are fermented with selected and native yeasts.  This wine receives second native malolactic fermentation in barrel for 5 months and is then aged 9 months in American and French oak barrels, 20% of these are new oak.

This is a big wine, 14.5% alcohol, yet very refined in a way that it has not been over manipulated.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

Food Pairings; Lamb dishes, Beef Roasts(especially heavier marbled roasts), Prime Rib would be an exceptional pairing.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

To learn more about Kendall-Jackson and Equifera Ice wine you can visit http://www.corridormag.com/home/grapevine too read recent articles I’ve written on these topics and more.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features most of the wines I have shared today.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Donald Ziraldo the world authority of Ice-wines Part 1


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast  and full length conversation with the “Iceman” Donald Ziraldo http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/01/wine-guy-mike-for-april-1st/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Ice-wine is a wine of extremes. Donald Ziraldo who produces Equifera Icewine is a man of extreme passion.  This week on the WineGuyMike radio show I had the pleasure and opportunity to with Donald and learn about him, his life’s body of work, and the Ice-wine he is so passionate about.

Ice wine is a form of extreme winemaking that takes the excruciating circumstances of Mother Nature to an entirely new level.  Ice-wine or “liquid gold” as it is referred to by wine aficionados is a dessert, or aperitif wine.

The practice of making Eiswein in Germany dates back to the early 1700’s.  But it is in Canada where it has become a modern day art.  Canada is now recognized as the finest Ice-wine producing area in the world.  This is mainly due to the Herculean efforts of one man, Donald Ziraldo.

Ziraldo is known as the “Godfather” of Ice-wine throughout the world.  He is also readily acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on Ice-wine’s.  Ziraldo is the son of Italian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province of Ontario.  This is just across from Lake Ontario, one of the best known wine regions in the United States, the Finger Lakes region.

Ice-wine is a winemaking style wherein grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals. 

If the freeze does not come soon enough, the entire crop can be lost to rotting and if the freeze is too severe, it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  The results produce very special wines that express aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits such as mango, peach, and lychee.

Donald Ziraldo has a long and storied history of producing fine quality wines with winemaker Karl Kaiser.  Ziraldo and Kaiser are the forefathers of Canadian Ice-wine, together they founded Inniskillin Winery.  The Ice-wines of Inniskillin put Canadian Ice-wine of the map of the wine scene internationally.  Inniskillin produced many internationally renowned wines.

In 2006 Ziraldo and Kaiser left Inniskillin, although Kaiser remains as an emeritus consultant to Inniskillin.  Ziraldo has a new wine project in the Equifera Ice winery. 

The Equifera Ice Wines are grown and produced in Short Hills, a sub-appellation of the Niagara Peninsula.  The Equifera Estate Winery is the former home to champion race horses in the 1950’s and 60’s.

 Equifera produces Riesling, Vidal, and red Cabernet Franc Ice-wines. This week WineGuyMike had the opportunity to talk with Donald about the beautiful Equifera Ice-wines, we tasted them too.

The award winning Equifera Ice Wine is a special occasion in a glass.  When I taste great wine it occurs to me that you can taste the personality on the person behind the wine.  This is true of the Equifera Ice Wine, perhaps the best of Donald Ziraldo’s entire body of work in the world of wine.

The first wine that Donald and I tasted was the Riesling Ice-wine.  The Equifera Ice Wines strike the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  The Riesling is lighter in body and texture than the Equifera Vidal Ice Wine that Donald and I will taste next week on the show.  The structure and complexity of this magnificent ice-wine go hand-in-hand.  You would be hard pressed to find more complex wines in the world than the Equifera Ice Wines.  You could think of the Equifera wines as having multiple personalities as there are some many layers to them, you must try them.

Visually this Riesling ice-wine has a deep golden straw color that dances in your glass.  You are then greeted with the aroma of tropical fruit and a wonderful essence of stone fruit, and the nectar of honey.  On the mid-palate combine a wonderful tug of war between sweetness and acidity. The complexity of this wine is so deep that of the finish your palate is cleansed from the perfect acidity of the wine, but it does not end there.  The finish is an eternity of joyful bliss, just like a world class Sauterne you are left with the flavor of tart raisin.  This is one of the premier dessert or aperitif wines you will ever taste.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula features the wines I have tasted today.  Be sure to stop by the very best of beverage and see the Ice-wine I have selected for you.  Missoula’s premier wine shopping experience, Liquid Planet.

"from my table to yours"