This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Understanding Italian Wine Labels Part 1


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 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; Understanding the Italian Wine Label Part 1 http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/09/09/wine-guy-mike-for-september-9/

YouTube preview of Understanding an Italian wine label Part 1; http://youtu.be/e3CU7v5LXmk

Recent podcast; What You Need To Know About Wine  http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/15/wine-guy-mike-for-july-15/

Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/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

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to have many terrific guests on the show.  This morning though it is time to get back to what we love most and that is wine.

Today we are going to talk about Italian Red wine and how to better understand what’s on the label.  For many wine lovers this is one of those areas of the world that can be a bit daunting to understand, and that’s where I come in.  It’s my job to help you better understand challenging wine topics so you can enjoy the wine that we talk about here on the show.

Okay let’s get started; Italy has been producing wine for 3,000 years.  It is said that Italy is not a country, just a gigantic vineyard from North to South.  There are over 2 thousand labels of wine in Italy, that’s a lot of bottles to know about.  Did you know that since 2008 Italy reins as the largest producer of wine in the world?

We are not going to tackle all of Italy in one week.  When it comes to red Italian wine there are three main regions to concentrate on first, Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Veneto regions.

There are literally hundreds of indigenous grape varietals planted throughout Italy, many which we have not ever heard of in America.  The main grapes that a person needs to know about to get started with Italian wines from these three regions are; In Tuscany the Italians grow Sangiovese, in Piedmont they grow Nebbiolo, and in the Veneto region a grape known as Corvina is what is grown.

Many grape growers in Italy now are growing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  Many American viticulture areas of America likewise are growing Italian varietals of grapes too.  Just to name a couple; In the Napa Valley some grape farmers are growing Barbara grapes, in Walla Walla some farmers grow Sangiovese grapes.  Grape varietals know no boundaries; the worlds grape farmers now better understand ideal geography, weather, and soil composition that grape varietals thrive in.

Let’s take a look at how the Italian wine laws dictate what ends up in your Italian bottle of wine.  Just like there are three Red wine regions to pay attention to first begin to understand Italian wines there are three Italian wine law designations one should understand as well.

Grape growers are governed by Italian law or what is known as the DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata and DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.  You will see this printed on the label of Italian wines.  There are many Italian wines that do not adhere to wine specifications within particular regions and these wines will be designated on their label as IGT – Indicazione Geografica. 

IGT Label

IGT Label

DOC designations on a win bottle are much like that of French AOC wine laws, you will also see this designation on bottles of French wines.  The biggest difference between the DOC and AOC is that the Italian DOC has aging requirements.

The DOC governs:

  • Geographical limits of each region
  • Grapes varieties allowed in wines
  • The percentage of each grape used (Classico must be 80% Sangiovese) If the varietal is specified it must contain 85% of varietal
  • The amount of grapes that can be grown and harvested per acre
  • The minimum percentage of alcohol in a wine
  • Minimum aging requirements.  How much time a wine is aged in barrels or bottles
  • These wine laws became effective in 1963 in Italy

The difference between the DOC and DOCG is that the G in DOCG indicates that a wine is stylistically guaranteed to meet the standards set forth in Italian wine laws for specific regions.

DOCG Label

DOCG Label

Currently there are 35 DOCG wines in Italy, 7 from the Tuscany region and 9 from the Piedmont region.  There are over 300 DOC wines from Italy and many more wines that are designated IGT which just means they do not adhere to the standards set forth for a given region in which they are grown.  There are many great examples of all of these wines and you typically pay for the guarantee.  There are great IGT wines that do not adhere to the wine laws in the region or area in which they are grown, you just have to know what you are buying, but hey that’s why you keep me around.  

Arrivederci for now wine friends, enjoy these great wine selections especially priced at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

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

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

Valentine’s Day Wine Selections from WineGuyMike™ and the NBC Montana Today Team


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; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/02/12/wine-guy-mike-for-february-12/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Valentine’s Day wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30455384/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

Sponsors      

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 nearly Valentine’s Day and the pressure is on, what to do.  There are two choices, dining out or staying at home for a nice evening.  No matter what your decision is Valentine’s Day involves three things, Food, Wine, and dessert.

Special occasions, in this case, Valentine’s Day is one time when you want the evening to be perfect so it is important to think about what wine you are going to enjoy with your meal.  I have a few easy suggestions on how to approach this decision making process.

Choosing a wine for your romantic Valentine’s dinner can be difficult in the sense of what wine will you and your dinner guest both enjoy.  If you are dining out I recommend choosing a restaurant, like Ciao Mambo in Missoula, that has a nice wine list and offers many selections of both red and white wines by the glass.  If your are like my wife and I she typically enjoys a dinner that pairs well with a white wine while I tend to enjoy dinners that dictate red wine.

For today’s special occasion I’m recommending seven wines today that are fabulous and inexpensive.  The red and white wines are super wines and are well rounded and forgiving enough to pair with a myriad of Valentine dinners.  The Rose´ is a very food friendly wine that will pair with any entree you may be serving.

When I think about wine and food recommendations I always consider Old World wines that are made to enjoy with food or New World wines that are made in an Old World style.

It’s important to remember to pace yourself so that you enjoy this special evening.  All of the Old World  wines selections I’m recommending today are lower in alcohol content.  This allows the wines not to be too big or bold as not to compete with your meal.  In other words these wines are great companions for tonight’s dinner.

The Wine List

Chateau Coustaut Graves Blanc $13.99 A blend of 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle.  A great white Bordeaux wine.

Nose – grapefruit tones with notes of kiwi and ripe gooseberries

Palate – grassy flavors with nice acidity

Finish – long elegant finish, nice mineral 

L’Ecole No 41 – $10.99 Fresh, tart, crisp, with nice fruit from the New World of Walla Walla.  This is a great food friendly white wine.

Nose – perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas

Palate – flavors of apple, apricot, grapefruit, and crisp minerality

Finish – slight spiciness, hint of honey, slight fruitiness

Anselmi San Vincenzo

In the annals of winemaking, Roberto Anselmi is a legend, a charismatic motorbike-riding rebel whose uncompromising quality-over-quantity approach has helped redefine the image of north Italian white wines.

Since taking over management of his family’s winery in the Soave district of northeast Italy’s Veneto region two decades ago, Anselmi has been motivated by an emotional and professional commitment to tapping the unrealized potential of the wines he grew up with. This has entailed a significant parting of ways with traditional vineyard and winemaking practices that have historically characterized the Soave district, and given birth to a new generation of north Italian white wines of unprecedented quality, character and finesse.

Anselmi San Vincenzo$11.99 The Anselmi San Vincenzo is 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.

Nose – scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples

Palate – honeydew melon, pear, yellow flowers, citrus, dry, lush

Finish – nice lingering finish of fruit and citrus

Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes Tradition Rose 2010 – $9.99 Syrah 70%, Grenache Noir 30%.  The wine’s color is an intense peony pink.

Nose – scents of small red fruits such as raspberries or blackcurrants

Palate – perfect balance of acidity and fruit

Finish – nice finish, a little strawberry and raspberry

E Guigal Cotes du Rhone Red – $15.99 This is a beautiful wine shimmers in the glass and is inexpensive.  50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre. 

Nose – red- and blackcurrant, cherry, dried flowers and tobacco, with powerful spice and black olive accents

Palate – ample, not to full, nice berry,spice, earth, great tannin

Finish – long finish, fruit and white pepper

Delas Cotes du Ventoux $9.99 The color is a deep ruby red, 80%Grenache 20% Syrah. With it’s predominately berry-fruit bouquet, this wine shows the full aromatic power of these two fine grape varieties.

Nose – red and black berries, fresh fruit, and just a hint of spice

Palate – medium body, bountiful fruit

Finish – long finish, fruit

Saracco Moscato D’Asti

Saracco Moscato D’Asti $15.99 This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal, incredibly light and floral sparkling wine

Nose – Perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers

Palate – light effervescence, great balance of fruit and acid, not too sweet

Finish – elegant finish with a hint of candied fruit

Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape.  A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing.

The original Saracco logo had a portrait of a wolf because Luigi Saracco was known in the village of Castiglione Tinella as il Lupo or, The Wolf.  He got the name when he was a young man.  He would come home hungry after a hard day of work in the vineyards.  If dinner wasn’t ready as soon has he arrived, he would walk around outside the house.  He couldn’t stand being inside the house smelling the aromas and not be able to eat and he was too hungry to socialize. When the other villagers saw him pacing around smelling the air, they said “Look, there’s Saracco, the wolf.”

Every Saracco after Luigi has been known as “Lupetto” or son of the wolf.  Paolo decided to change his labels to reflect the delicate quality of his wines, but in his heart, and in his village, he is still known as “Lupetto”.

Check out Liquid Planet for today’s wine recommendations, this will give you a great head start for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.  From my table to yours Happy Valentine’s Day, I’ll see you on the radio.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

A Simple Approach to Valentine’s Day Wine Selections This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/02/12/wine-guy-mike-for-february-12/

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

Sponsors      

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.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike show.  It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and the pressure is on, what to do.  There are two choices, dining out or staying at home for a nice evening.  No matter what your decision is Valentine’s Day involves three things, Food, Wine, and dessert.

Special occasions, in this case, Valentine’s Day is one time when you want the evening to be perfect so it is important to think about what wine you are going to enjoy with your meal.  This week I have a few easy suggestions on how to approach this decision making process.

Choosing a wine for your romantic Valentine’s dinner can be difficult in the sense of what wine will you and your dinner guest both enjoy.  If you are dining out I recommend choosing a restaurant, like Ciao Mambo in Missoula, that has a nice wine list and offers many selections of both red and white wines by the glass.  If your are like my wife and I she typically enjoys a dinner that pairs well with a white wine while I tend to enjoy dinners that dictate red wine.

If you are dining in and planning a nice dinner at home consider the menu, this way you can purchase your wine ahead of time.  Retail shelves get decimated on Valentine’s Day so by planning ahead you won’t need to be one of the last minute frantic wine shoppers.

On special occasions it is normal to step up the price you are willing to pay for wine.  I’m going to recommend three wines today that are fabulous.  The red and white wines are super wines and are well rounded and forgiving enough to pair with a myriad of Valentine dinners.

When I think about wine and food recommendations I always consider Old World wines that are made to enjoy with food or New World wines that are made in an Old World style.

Guigal is synonymous with the Côte-Rôtie area, for bringing this great wine region to prominence.  Guigal vinifies 1/3 of the total appellation, and unquestionably holding the finest sites in this tiny, special area.  The incredible Syrah from this area, co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, has tremendously balanced concentration, depth and finesse. 

Côte-Rôtie is situated in the northernmost region of the Rhône Valley.  The Syrah (96%) vine is planted on steep terraced hillsides which catch and focus the sun’s heat, giving the region its reputation and name: “roasted slope.” A small percentage of Viognier (4%) is interplanted with the Syrah, and the two are harvested and fermented together, giving the wine more elegance and lightness.

The wines are red, made with Syrah grapes and up to 20% Viognier, a white grape used for its aroma.  According to appellation rules, Syrah and Viognier must be fermented at the same time, a process known as cofermentation.  Côte-Rôtie wine typically exhibits an almost paradoxical combination of meat aromas (including bacon) and floral aromas.  However, even Côte-Rôtie from 100% Syrah can smell floral.

Marcel Guigal purchases grapes from small growers to supplement his own vineyards, harvesting late to achieve perfect ripeness. He ages each vintage in barrique (20% new barrels) for 24-30 months, and bottles the wines without fining or filtration.  The Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal refers to the fact that grapes from the two areas of Côte-Rôtie are used, from the Côte Brune and the Côte Blonde.  The historical legend is that long ago a lord deeded the Côte Brune to his dark-haired daughter and the Côte Blonde to his blond daughter.  The soils of the Côte Brune are indeed darker, containing more iron and some clay, and the paler Côte Blonde soils have more sand and limestone. 

Guigal’s Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde is a wine of finesse and complexity that ages beautifully, developing aromas and flavors of black pepper, spice, licorice, and game.  The color of this wine is a beautiful deep ruby. This youthfully clenched, focused wine really stains the palate and has a long firm finish of mineral, candied flowers and blackberry.  It is one of the great wines of the world.

Anselmi San Vincenzo

In the annals of winemaking, Roberto Anselmi is a legend, a charismatic motorbike-riding rebel whose uncompromising quality-over-quantity approach has helped redefine the image of north Italian white wines.

Since taking over management of his family’s winery in the Soave district of northeast Italy’s Veneto region two decades ago, Anselmi has been motivated by an emotional and professional commitment to tapping the unrealized potential of the wines he grew up with. This has entailed a significant parting of ways with traditional vineyard and winemaking practices that have historically characterized the Soave district, and given birth to a new generation of north Italian white wines of unprecedented quality, character and finesse.

The Anselmi San Vincenzo is 80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Sauvignon Blanc.  In the glass the color is light straw while the bouquet of this Northern Italian gem is crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.  On the palate the mouthfeel is medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit.  This is a delightful white wine selection from the Soave region.

Saracco Moscato D’Asti

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.

Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape.  A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing.

The original Saracco logo had a portrait of a wolf because Luigi Saracco was known in the village of Castiglione Tinella as il Lupo or, The Wolf.  He got the name when he was a young man.  He would come home hungry after a hard day of work in the vineyards.  If dinner wasn’t ready as soon has he arrived, he would walk around outside the house.  He couldn’t stand being inside the house smelling the aromas and not be able to eat and he was too hungry to socialize. When the other villagers saw him pacing around smelling the air, they said “Look, there’s Saracco, the wolf.”

Every Saracco after Luigi has been known as “Lupetto” or son of the wolf.  Paolo decided to change his labels to reflect the delicate quality of his wines, but in his heart, and in his village, he is still known as “Lupetto”.

Check out Liquid Planet for today’s wine recommendations, this will give you a great head start for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.  From my table to yours Happy Valentine’s Day, I’ll see you on the radio.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

What’s Your Wine Style? This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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;  will be posted as soon as it is available, thank you.

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

Sponsors      

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.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  It’s 2012 and I’m ready to rock this year’s vintage with you.  Together we are going to take a new approach and a new look at great wines that I can’t wait to share with you.

Pick up your empty glass and hold it up to the sky as you look out the window.  Imagine the beautiful color of your favorite wine adorning the glass, bend your elbow and pull the glass close and tip your nose deep into the glass.  Breathe deeply and imagine the wildest exotic aromas of your favorite wine rising from the juice in your glass.  Lower the glass to your lips, tilt your head gently back and take an imaginary sip of the finest wine you have ever tasted.  Swish the wine all about as it invigorates your palate.  Swallow the liquid nectar and imagine The Trail that it has left behind, the finish of the best wine you have ever tasted.  It lingers on your palate just like a song you hear on the radio and then it is stuck in your head.  You play it over and over, on your palate and in your mind.

That’s right this I’m going to take you on a new virtual wine journey week after week in 2012.  We are going to meet interesting new people from the vast world of wine.  Virtually traveling to new places we have yet to visit, experiencing wine in a way you and I have never imagined.  

Welcome to 2012.  Today I’m going to talk about style, your wine style preference is what I’m referring to.  So far this winter Western Montana has been a little bit strange.  Why you ask, well it has in the high 30’s to low 50’s and the last time I checked it is early January.  As memory serves me it is usually about zeroish this time of year in the Rocky Mountains.  This is more than a little disconcerting, it is just downright unusual.

Did you know that all throughout the decade of the 60’s that grape farmers in Burgundy, France harvested their grapes on average at the end of September?  In the first few years of the millennium that harvest took place in the first week of September.  I don’t begin to know what that means but it is a huge change.  When I think about having Spring in the middle of Winter in the Rocky Mountains and major climate changes in wine country around the world it is one of those circumstances that make me go hmm……………..

Old World, New World, what’s your style?  Let’s take a closer look and see if we can define this.  First of all let’s consider these terms; Old World wine, Old World winemaking, New World wine, and New World winemaking.  What do these terms mean and why are they relevant?

When I think about terminology that best describes Old World vs. New World these are a few thoughts that come to mind.

Old World; Ancient, Europe, tried, apprenticeships, craftsman, details, tradition, experience, patience, aged, practical, these are my thoughts when I think of Old World.

New World; Young, new, melting pot, now, in the moment, technology, science, instant gratification, excess, impatient, brash, learn as I go, these are a few terms that come to mind when I think of New World.

I’m not suggesting that one is better that the other, what I am suggesting is that when it comes to wine, these are styles.  Styles should be considered for the situation, perhaps a style to suite your mood, or your frame of mind.

For me Old World vs. New World could be compared to the difference between those who cook with feel and experience and those who cook with recipes.  Old World draws on centuries of experience thus allowing for intuitive multi-dimensional winemaking.   New World has decades of experience, it may still be developing its formula, striving to become more dimensional.  Experience enables chef’s to create and cook with intuition; the same can be said for winemakers as well.

Winemakers from the Old World are very much in the background.  Current winemakers are a result of many years of understudy and apprenticeship with the winemaker who made wines at that particular Chateau or Estate. Rarely do you know the name of a famous Old World winemaker, but it is common to be aware of a famous Chateau or Estate that produces excellent wine.  This is because European wine laws typically dictate what grapes can be grown, how much of them can be grown, harvested, and dictate how the wines are made.  Wine regions of the Old World have be growing grapes and making wine for centuries.  The New World does not yet have this type of experience to draw from.  The Old World quite literally has this down to a formula and they understand their terroir, or sense of place.

Let’s remember that Old World wine is made by design, it is made to complement foods that are indigenous to that particular region.  These wines are blends of grapes that are smooth and easy to drink and are easily enjoyed with foods they are designed to pair with.  Old World wines exude restraint but express subtle nuances of sense of place, are understated yet complex, these are sophisticated wines that present as simple.

Wine in the New World in the most historic sense may only be a century old.  Cavalier vineyard owners and young winemakers are still discovering new places to grow grapes as they understand terrior.  Historic floods, fossils, seismic activities, and cataclysmic eruptions up and down the west coasts of North and South America are now the home of multitudes of renowned vineyards with serious potential.

If you look closely at the pedigrees of New World winemakers almost all have wine related degrees of Enology or Viticulture from UC Davis or Oregon State.  What does this mean for you and me?  Most new young winemakers have these degrees prior to having the opportunity to utilize their specialties at a wine estate. This is unlike the Old World that is steeped in the tradition of apprenticeship.  New World winemaking comes at wine from a very different direction than Old World in some respects and I believe it is reflected in the wine, not that this is bad, it is just different. 

New World wines are not made as a result of foods indigenous to regions.  These wines are driven by science and now are also by an understanding of the terroir.  Vineyard owners and winemakers understand terroir now in a way the Old World has for centuries.  So how are the wines different, well to start with most New World wines are single varietal wines, although many winemakers that are beginning to blend wines well.  Most New World wine has a much higher percentage of alcohol than Old World wine.  This presents wines that are much bigger, much bolder than their European counterparts.  In general most New World wines are designed to drink and not necessarily made with a food pairing purpose in mind.  That is not to say New World wines do not pair well with food, they are not made to complement food localized to a region.

I find that New World wines have a much sturdier frame or structure, are much more pronounced visually, aromatically, and certainly on the palate.  This is the New World style of wine, is this better, less than, no they really cannot be compared because they are simply different.   As for me it really comes down to what is the circumstance and what kind of mood I’m in.  Do you want wine to enjoy dinner with or do I want to sip on wine to be social, a lot to consider.  New World and Old World alike both produce wonderful wines, but perhaps with a different focus.

2009 “In the Rocks” Syrah from Reynvaan Family Vineyards

This is an example of an Old World style of wine made by Matt Reynvaan who last year was noted as one of the top 30 winemakers under 30 years of age in the world.  Nobody does wine better that Reynvaan Vineyards from Walla Walla in the Columbia Valley AVA.

The 2009 “In The Rocks” is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  Terroir driven wine that is outstanding, you don’t want to miss this.  Check this wine out at Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

2009 Truchard Vineyards Syrah from Carneros Napa Valley

The 2009 vintage produced fruity wines with intense flavors, great texture, and beautiful balance.  This terrific example of a New World style of wine from the Carneros area in the Napa Valley has aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry; highlighted with vanilla, earth, and white pepper.  On the palate this wine is fills your mouth with rich flavors of cassis and black cherry; followed by mineral and cracked black pepper.  Ripe tannins provide an opulent, long finish of fruit and spice.  This wine is well made and a beautiful wine to drink.

*Both of these wines are upscale wines that represent the Old World vs. New World styles reffered to in today’s blog.  There will be selections of both styles available at  your favorite place to shop for affordable wines too.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

“A Good Friend And A Glass Of Bubbly” this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/01/01/wine-guy-mike-for-1112/

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

Sponsors      

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.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© special fan of 2012, my Granddaughter Elle Marie

Happy New Years and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Out with the old and in with the new, that’s today’s agenda and with that I had the pleasure of sitting down with a special friend who has been a pioneer throughout his career.   Earl Sherron founder of Earl’s Distributing in Missoula, Montana joined me this week on the radio show to share his insight about Champagne and Sparkling wine. 

Earl Sherron

Earl Sherron

Earl is a man of integrity, wisdom, and experience and he gave me the opportunity to become involved in the wine industry some fifteen years ago.  He has been a mentor, an inspiration and source of encouragement every since.

A little bit about Earl Sherron:

Earl Sherron was the youngest beverage distributor in the state of Montana when he created Earl’s distributing in Missoula in 1968.

 At the time the company only represented two brands of beer–Great Falls Select and the Olympia brewing company. Earl’s continued to grow as it acquired many more brands of beer throughout the years.

The state of Montana controlled the sale of wine until 1979. After this time distributors were able to make wine more accessible to the public by offering placement in grocery and convenience stores.

During this time Earl’s was the only member in the state belonging to the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.  The WSWA is a national trade organization representing the wholesale branch of the wine industry.

By cultivating relationships with vintners, the company was able to grow its portfolio of domestic and imported brands of wine.

Earl had a commitment to the industry by promoting wine as part of a gracious lifestyle.  The culture and education of wine was available to the consumer through popular wine festivals.  The most important component of these events was not only experiencing a variety of wines, but giving back to the community as all events sponsored a local non-profit organization.

After 38 years in the business the company had 100% market share of domestic & imported wine for the western Montana territory.

Earl’s philosophy of striving to deliver positive results to the community and its employees was the core system of the company.  The tradition of sharing wine and champagne makes every day events a celebration.

I want to thank my featured guest and special person who has meant more in my life than he realizes.  Thank you Earl, and Happy New Year’s to you and all of your family.

Champagne and Sparkling wines are drinks of celebration, so it is important to understand what’s out there, and more importantly how they are different. 

The Champagne region of France produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world.  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 the “cuvee”. 

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins which create its beautiful color.  Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne; it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.

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 grown in 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.  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 identify your Champagne

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

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 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.   Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the Italian province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8 percent.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  

Suggestions:

$$$(20.00 & up) = Expensive, complex, sophisticated selections

$$(14.00 -20.00) = Excellent quality, some of the nuance and complexity of $$$

$(under 14.00) = Simple, fun, value

Gosset Champagne $$$

This champagne presents in the glass as crystal clear, pale golden hue with persistent fine, lively bubbles.  The bouquet of this Champagne is intense, elegant and inviting on the nose.  Fresh floral notes reminiscent of honeysuckle, wisteria and white jasmine seamlessly give way to exotic aromas of pineapple, guava and mango with hints of caramel, gingerbread and cinnamon.  A trace of pear liqueur completes the harmonious finish.

The taste of this invigoratingly fresh and refined champagne is characterized by rich density and volume.  On the palate, delicate floral notes give way to flavors of sweet peaches and nectarines over subtle notes of spices like cardamom and green pepper.  The finish is delicate and smooth, with irresistible and deliciously sensual flavors of candied fruit, cinnamon and licorice.

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.

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.

Roederer Estate Brut NV $$

Roederer Estate Brut, the first California sparkling wine produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, builds upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking that has made Roederer Champagne among the most sought-after in the world.

The Roederer Estate Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Gruet Brut Rose $

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2010 $$

Straw color, frizzante, peach, rose petal, ginger, sweet & delicate on the palate. Good balance of fruit and acidity, complex, apricots on the finish.

Lamberti Prosecco $

This non-vintage Prosecco Extra Dry offers lovely balance in a perfumed, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices.  The finish is long and polished.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $

This fine Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine’s bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut – Extra Dry $

Slightly off-dry, it offers fresh pear and apple aromas and rich citrus, peach and green apple flavors. A subtle yeasty tone and a refreshing, elegant finish.

2008 Argyle Brut $$$

63% Oregon Pinot Noir, 37% Oregon Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

In the glass this wine presents a soft straw color with tight tiny streams of bubbles.  On the nose you get full aromas of creamy vanilla poached pear and fresh sour dough starter.  The first impression on the palate is of how well balanced this wine is, playing the purity of fruit off of the fresh acidity while showcasing the wine’s natural mineral notes.  There are notes of ripe guava, red Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, and lightly toasted brioche, finishing with notes of honeysuckle and lemon curd.  A great vintage of sparkling wine from Argyle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux $

 This sparkler 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.

This Cremant 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.

Rotari Talento Brut $

Rotari was born in the heart of the Dolomites.  The mountain climate, the special care of the vineyards, the dedication of our winemakers in the manual selection and harvest of the grapes give life to the fresh and fragrant bubbles that are both complex and enjoyable reflections of the characteristics of the region.  The Metodo Classico, its history, and its long aging process on its yeast bestow upon Rotari unique and unrepeatable characteristics.

Produced with Chardonnay grapes that are selected and harvested by hand and originate exclusively from the best vineyards in the hills of Trentino.  At the foot of the Dolomites, where the Chardonnay expresses best its fresh and fruity character, the Rotari Brut is fragrant, intense and elegant.

I would like to offer a New Year’s toast to all of you, may your New Year be filled with health, happiness, and prosperity.  I thank each and everyone of my audience for making my year what it has been. 

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Champagne and Sparkling Wines Suggestions From WineGuyMike™


The following recommendations were featured on NBC’s Montana Today Show this morning.  I will be featuring additional recommendations over the next 48 hours so stay tuned.

Champagne and Sparkling wines are drinks of celebration, so it is important to understand what’s out there, and more importantly how they are different. 

The Champagne region of France produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world.  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 the “cuvee”. 

Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins which create its beautiful color.  Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne; it is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape.

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 grown in 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.  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 identify your Champagne

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

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 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.   Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.

Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence.  It is produced in the Italian province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape.  Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8 percent.  Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and more refined than the Asti Spumante.

Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century.  Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet).  

Suggestions:

$$$(20.00 & up) = Expensive, complex sophisticated selections

$$(14.00 -20.00) = Excellent quality, some of the nuance and complexity of $$$

$(under 14.00) = Simple, fun, value

Gosset Champagne $$$

A crystal clear, pale golden hue with persistent fine, lively bubbles.  The bouquet of this Champagne is intense, elegant and inviting on the nose. Fresh floral notes reminiscent of honeysuckle, wisteria and white jasmine seamlessly give way to exotic aromas of pineapple, guava and mango with hints of caramel, gingerbread and cinnamon.  A trace of pear liqueur completes the harmonious finish.

The taste of this invigoratingly fresh and refined champagne is characterized by rich density and volume.  On the palate, delicate floral notes give way to flavors of sweet peaches and nectarines over subtle notes of spices like cardamom and green pepper.  The finish is delicate and smooth, with irresistible and deliciously sensual flavors of candied fruit, cinnamon and licorice.

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.

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.

Roederer Estate Brut NV $$

Roederer Estate Brut, the first California sparkling wine produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, builds upon a 200-year tradition of fine winemaking that has made Roederer Champagne among the most sought-after in the world.

The Roederer Estate Brut is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Gruet Brut Rose $

This nearly garnet Rose, like all our non-vintage sparkling wines, is aged 24 months en tirage. It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive, but production is limited to 5000 cases per year, so don’t miss out!

Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2010 $$

Straw color, frizzante, peach, rose petal, ginger, sweet & delicate on the palate. Good balance of fruit and acidity, complex, apricots on the finish.

Lamberti Prosecco $

This non-vintage Prosecco Extra Dry offers lovely balance in a perfumed, crisp style defined by green apples, flowers and sweet spices.  The finish is long and polished.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $

This fine Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine’s bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, beautiful citrus, green apple and mineral flavors, supple, lively mouth-feel, and clean, crisp finish make it the ultimate celebratory wine.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut – Extra Dry $

Slightly off-dry, it offers fresh pear and apple aromas and rich citrus, peach and green apple flavors. A subtle yeasty tone and a refreshing, elegant finish.

2008 Argyle Brut $$$

63% Oregon Pinot Noir, 37% Oregon Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine

In the glass this wine presents a soft straw color with tight tiny streams of bubbles.  On the nose you get full aromas of creamy vanilla poached pear and fresh sour dough starter.  The first impression on the palate is of how well balanced this wine is, playing the purity of fruit off of the fresh acidity while showcasing the wine’s natural mineral notes.  There are notes of ripe guava, red Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, and lightly toasted brioche, finishing with notes of honeysuckle and lemon curd.  A great vintage sparkling wine from Argyle in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux $$

 This sparkler 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.

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.

ROTARI TALENTO BRUT $

Rotari was born in the heart of the Dolomites.  The mountain climate, the special care of the vineyards, the dedication of our winemakers in the manual selection and harvest of the grapes give life to the fresh and fragrant bubbles that are both complex and enjoyable reflections of the characteristics of the region.  The Metodo Classico, its history, and its long aging process on its yeast bestow upon Rotari unique and unrepeatable characteristics.

 Produced with Chardonnay grapes that are selected and harvested by hand and originate exclusively from the best vineyards in the hills of Trentino.  At the foot of the Dolomites, where the Chardonnay expresses best its fresh and fruity character, the Rotari Brut is fragrant, intense and elegant.

 

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

"from my table to yours", Happy New Years

 

Special Affordable Wines For Your Christmas Dinner This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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 MDT.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/12/25/wine-guy-mike-for-1225/

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

Sponsors      

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.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Merry Christmas and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Today I have chosen a number of wines that are affordable, most are $10.00 to $16.00.  These selections are very good wines that will pair well and enhance the meal you will be serving at your Christmas dinner. 

A couple of the wines I share with you today are made from the Chenin Blanc grape varietal, this wine is seeing a slight trend.  French winemakers are masters when it comes to producing beautiful wine with the Chenin Blanc grape.  In France this wine is known as Vouvray and the two Chenin Blanc wines I’m recommending today will pair beautifully with the ham and turkey dinners you may be preparing for your family and friends today.

First a little background on Chenin Blanc and Vouvray:

What is Vouvray? Vouvray (voo vray) is a town located near the city of Tours in one of the most recognized wine growing areas of France, the Loire Valley.  This specific area we are discussing, Vouvray, is located in the central Loire Valley.

A snapshot of the Loire Valley:

The Loire Valley runs across the Northwest region of France following the Loire River from Central France in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.  This northern region of France is cool and produces lighter bodied wines.

  *Wine in this region will be chosen by a style and best years*

Vouvray is produced in three different styles; dry (Sec), medium-dry (Demi-Sec), sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh), or as a sparkling wine.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape that is produced as a standalone varietal or as a blending grape, typically with Chardonnay.  It is dry, very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied. Nuances of slight spiciness, hints of honey, slight fruitiness.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.  It is known as the “chameleon”.

The Marc Bredif Vouvray I have recommended is dry yet sophisticated while the Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay is crisp yet creamy from the Chardonnay blend.  These two wines are a true companions for your Christmas dinner.

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

Saracco Moscato D´ Asti ($15.00’ish)

Wine with the 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.

Gruet Rose Brut ($10.59)

The Gruet can be enjoyed before and during dinner.  Rose is a diverse wine that pairs well with most foods so don’t be afarid to enjoy this selection during your dinner.  This is a delightful wine that really delivers.

This nearly garnet Rose, like all of Gruet’s non-vintage sparkling wines, it is aged 24 months en tirage.  It has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry.  On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style.  The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.  This sparkler is lots of fun and very festive.

A-Z Pinot Gris ($10.49)

The Willamette Valley produces very good wine and this selection from A-Z will not disappoint.  I recommend this wine with Vegetarian dishes, Turkey or Ham dinners.  You’ll love this wine it is with your dinner.

The 2010 A to Z Pinot Gris leads with bright aromas of tropical fruits (lemon, lime, lychee, mango, passion fruit and kiwi) as well as melon, ginger, lemongrass and wet stone.  Succulent and juicy on the attack, the mid-palate is drenched with peach, spiced pear, baked apple, quince, hibiscus, white flower and mineral flavors.  On the finish, the acidity wraps up the wine with a clean, fresh palate and lasting impression of a wine with great purity and typicity balanced by some richness and depth.

Anselmi San Vincenzo ($12.25)

Turkey, Ham, or a Pork Roast is my recommendation for this lush and sophisticated wine.  This wine paired with a glazed pork tenderloin roast would be incredible for your Christmas dinner.

80% Garganega, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc

Color – Light straw

Bouquet – Crisp and pure, with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples.

Taste – Medium-bodied, dry and fresh, with notes of citrus fruit

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

Chenin Blanc at its finest with this dry Vouvray.  Vouvray can be made in a dry to sweet style and the French do it best.  This holiday wine selection I have chosen for you is more expensive than most Vouvray’s, but when you take one sip you will understand why.  This selection will go well Vegetarian dishes, white meats, Ham, and most seafood dishes.

The color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

Turkey, Ham or even just a wonderful wine to drink.  This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin’s minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Fresh, bold and full of flavour at entry with underlying notes of ripe grapes, followed by suave complexity.  Faintly floral shades of vanilla vie for position with lingering traces of toffee, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasantly surprising finish.

Wallace Brook 2009 Pinot Noir ($15.99)

Good Pinot Noir is hard to find at this price point but this wine is made by one of my favorite Willamette Valley winery’s, Adelsheim Vineyard.  This wine pairs fantastic with lamb, salmon, pork, or turkey.  An excellent choice for your Christmas dinner.

This Pinot Noir offers a complex nose of red fruits and vanilla.  The supple mouth feel layers raspberry and red cherry fruit, and is complemented by balanced oak and well-integrated tannins.

Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva (Under $11.22)

This wine is Old World and rustic in nature.  The Cannonau is native to Sardinia and is unique in aroma and on the palate.  I don’t recommend drinking this wine without a food accompaniment.  With food this will be one of the best food wines you will ever taste.  I recommend this a prime rib, roast beef, stew, and heavy appetizers.  An amazing food wine.

Bright ruby color, with purple hues, the aromas project ripe red berry, including strawberry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, coffee, spices and herbs, including an aroma of violets, plummy fruit flavours and aristocratic oak overtone. Full, round, fruit forward, consumer friendly taste profile. Oak aged for two years in large Slavonian casks with several additional months in the bottle.

Le Clos ($11.99)

A terrific companion to accompany a duck terrine laced with olives, a roast rack of lamb, roasted beef or pork roast with fines herbes, as well as pheasant with wild mushrooms or boeuf bourguignon.

45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon

It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.”

This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet.  Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits.  Refined oak fragrance(very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco.  Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance.  It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($16.99)

I love to drink this wine from Paul Hobbs who makes wine in Napa and Sonoma during our summer months.  His wines fetch prices north of $100.00 in the U.S.  But in Argentina he makes wine that is sophisticated and complex yet inexpensive.  Sit down to dinner with any beef dish and you will think you are in heaven with this selection.

Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you just don’t want to end.

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all

"from my table to yours", Merry Christmas to all