Perfect Patio Wine – KECI NBC Montana Today and WineGuyMike


This mornings KECI Montana Today Feature with Rob Hudson and WineGuyMike; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Special Father's and Special Wines


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

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent 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.

Today is Father’s Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pay homage to some of the men who are or were father’s, whom I have really respected and loved, and have made such an impression that they have impacted my life.  

President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966.  It was six years later, in 1972, when President Nixon made the day a permanent national holiday by signing it into law.

I thought it would be fun to share a little of my life with you, of course let us not forget this show is all about wine.  I put a great deal of thought into these men who have been important to me and thought about what wines that I have enjoyed recently that reminded me of these special men on Father’s Day.

First I’ll talk about my dad, his name is Frederick.  My dad grew up in a very poor family in Upstate New York, which is also where I grew up.  My Dad’s life growing up was not easy, he is a survivor who has had to scrap for everything in life, but my dad was a dreamer.  My dad went after his dreams and fought as hard as he could to live and achieve all that he could dream.  For my Dad I raise my glass and toast him with a great Syrah from Walla Walla in Washington State from Reynvann Vineyards.  For this toast I chose their Syrah “The Contender”, they make three great Syrah’s but this one that I think is one of the finest varietal examples seemed appropriate for my Dad.

My Father-in-law, Paul Wright who was one of the toughest men I have known, and not due to his physical strength.  He was tough enough to be a great man. Paul a recipient of the Purple Heart from the Korean War was hospitalized for nearly one year having been shot in the war, but he survived.  Paul was a Nuclear Engineer, the father of five children, foster father to over 2,000 children who needed emergency short term(Ha Ha) care.  These kids were raised alongside his own children wearing the same clothing, taking the same music lessons, and playing the same sports.  My Father-in-law just lost a long and hard fought battle to Pancreatic Cancer, he seemed to even beat that though, he lived nearly two years after diagnosis.  I raise a glass of Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards and Winery in the Russian River Valley.  This is a great Pinot Noir that expresses true and real terroir at the hands of winemaker Anthony Beckman, that is what my father-in-law was true, real, and an example of something to model oneself after.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Alfred Gates, was a survivor of World War II.  He spent his time in the war on destroyer escorts, the support team for the big battleships.  His boat survived the war and all the unbelievable storms at sea.  This man taught me self respect, how to treat others, how to be a leader of a family.  Al was loved by everyone who ever met him, and he enjoyed everyone he met.  He is a person I miss a lot and think about from time to time even though he has been gone for over thirty years.  I’m grateful for this man who always had a twinkle in his eye, for him I toast him with no other than a great sparkling wine, Gruet Brut Rose.

Last but not least by any means, my Grandfather Tornatore from Sicily.  My Grandfather came to this country with nothing through Ellis Island in New York.  He eventually settled in a tiny place in Upstate New York named Mexico, New York.  This man was a bull of a man, as wide as he was short, he was a pheasant who worked in a steel foundry and raised everything on his land to feed his family.  I am forever grateful to this man for instilling my love and passion of wine, my grandfather also loved wine.  As powerful a man as he was, his hand for the vine was gentle.  He was a master of grafting fruit trees and grapevines, I followed him and learned a love of the land, a love of the vine, and he instilled his amazing passion for the wine to me.  For this I’m eternally grateful, to him I raise a glass of Boroli Quattro Fratelli

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

These wonderful Father’s Day wine selections are available today 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"

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"

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© Steve McKenna from the TV Series Drinking Made Easy


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/2012/02/26/wine-guy-mike-for-february-26/

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.

All photo’s courtesy of HDNet.

Good Sunday morning and welcome back to the WineGuyMike show.  This week I decided to step away from the wine box for a minute or two and have a little fun.  About one month ago I received an email from HDNet a network production company that produces more original sports, music, news, and entertainment with attitude and independence than any other domestic network.

HDNet wondered if I would be interested in interviewing one of the hosts of a TV series, Drinking Made Easy.  This of course peeked my interest so I did a little discovery work to see what this show was all about.  I noticed as I went back and read the email that the show’s host was Zane Lamprey.   Zane’s name was very familiar to me as I was a frequent flyer with his previous series “Three Sheets”.

Zane is from Syracuse, New York in the real Upstate of New York, not the one that people who live in the city refer to as Upstate.  I needed to clarify (rant about)  that point as I too am from Upstate and all of a sudden in the last five years I hear incorrect references all the time about “Upstate”.  Zane majored in fine arts and minored in theater which has led him to a diverse career in the entertainment field.  Early on in Zane’s career he was involved in several projects for Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon.  He also did a stint as a cast member on MTV’s Damage Control and as host for VH1’s Motormouth, a reality show.

He is best known though for his show Three Sheets, originally featured on MOJO HD from 2006 through 2008, the Fine Living channel in 2009, most recently in 2010 on the Travel Channel.  Zane was also host to Have Fork, Will Travel, which previously ran on Food Network.

My guest this week on the WineGuyMike show is Zane’s co-host Steve McKenna.  Steve’s job titled beside co-host is “Stunt Drinker”, needles to say this stimulated my curiosity.  Zane claims that “Steve’s job, co-hosting ‘Drinking Made Easy’, is so easy, a monkey could do it”.  This comment is from the Three Sheets day’s when Zane at that time had tried to get the network to hire Steve.  Zane was in Greece prior to filming and Steve had asked where he was going in Greece.  Being the prankster that he is Zane knew Steve was not familiar with Greece so he told Steve that he was traveling to the island of Pleepeus.  He told Steve that the island was overrun with monkeys and Steve took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.  While filming this Three Sheets show in Greece Zane had a large stuffed monkey named Pleepeus on the set just to taunt his good friend Steve.  This is where Zane’s comment, “co-hosting ‘Drinking Made Easy’, is so easy, a monkey could do it”.

Steve appeared in 52 episodes of Three Sheets and developed a cult following as Zane’s stunt drinking side kick.  During the course of four seasons Steve became an integral part of the show and a drinking game developed as a result.  When Zane would mention his friend Steve, referred to as Rule #2, it’s a social and everyone would have a drink.

When one peruses the Drinking Made Easy dictionary there is a new official definition; Steve Mc-Kenn-a’d: inebriated to the point where one loses control of one’s actions. Examples include: drunk dialing, streaking, etc. “Sorry I hit on your mom last night, I was Steve McKenna’d”.

Steve and I had a great time on this week’s show, he was a great guest and put up with my silly questions.  The episode that was filmed in the Garden City, the place I call home in Missoula, Montana will be airing this week on Wednesday the 29th at 8PM Eastern.  In this episode stops into the Iron Horse Brew Pub to sample their “Montana Duck Fart” and their “Hop, Skip, and Go Naked,” sips on a “Dump Truck” at The Rhino, and samples the “Tapeworm Shot” at Bodega.  All that and a lot more on “Drinking Made Easy, Missoula.”  Watch this episode on DIRECTV Channel #306 and DISH Network Channel #362 in this area.  Check the local listings for your area so you don’t miss this whimsical show that is pure mindless fun.

This wouldn’t be the WineGuyMike show without a great wine recommendation, and do I have one for you this week.  This bottle of wine was so good it was almost wicked.  Honestly this bottle of wine that I tasted was one of the best I’ve had in a while, it was extremely well made and well structure.  This wine is young and a bit tight yet and would do well to be layed down for another two years.  To fully enjoy this wine you must decant the wine and let it open up for a couple of hours prior to drinking, I’ll be getting a few of these for the cellar.  Nuances of smoke, red fruit, and earth on the nose.  On the palate you know you have a perfectly balanced and well structured wine with wonderful mouthfeel.  Lush red fruit balanced with acidity and firm tannin.  This finish is long lasting and very desirable, you must sip more.

2008 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain

Flagship wine of the estate, the HFE Red Mountain consistently displays dense color, firm tannins, and well-defined acidity. Always a majority blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine is suitable for drinking upon release, but will reward those with the patience to age it. This wine represents all vineyard blocks farmed within the Hedges Family Estate vineyard portfolio. A true chateau-production bottling, the HFE Red Mountain is the epitome of classic style, and one that represents the Terroir of the Red Mountain AVA in a pure and elegant form.

This beautiful wine receives the WineGuyMike Seal of Approval®

Seek out new wines that suit your seasonal palate at Liquid Planet, the place for your ultimate wine shopping experience.  Liquid Planet offers you a diverse valued selection of fine wines.  With the Vino Trio you can purchase your weekday and weekend wine and then get 20% off that wine for a special occasion.  You may not be traveling right now but how about getting prepared with your Wine Passport from Liquid Planet.  Take a virtual trip around the wine world and get your passport stamped in 10 different countries and when you finish your world tour you will have a complementary 10 dollar gift card to use for a great bottle of wine at Liquid Planet.

Liquid Planet for your wine shopping experience in the heart of downtown Missoula, the very best of beverage.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Dessert and Aperitif Wines


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/2012/02/05/wine-guy-mike-for-february-5/

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© This week on the show I decided to discuss Dessert and Aperitifwines as a prelude to a special guest that will be joining me on the show in the coming weeks.  Donald Ziraldo ,co-founder of Inniskillin Wines Inc., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario and current President of Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Inc., Oliver, British Columbia, the world authority on Icewine. 

Stay tuned for this show it’s one you will not want to miss.  A friend of mine recently was asking about Dessert and Aperitif wines so I thought this would be an appropriate time to explore this area of wines that many are just not sure about.

My friend Aimee Ryan asked me; Mike I like to drink dry or crisp wines but I never seem to like aperitif or dessert wines.  Can you recommend how I might approach these types of wines?  Aimee thanks for asking, let’s take a moment to understand these wines types and styles a little bit better.

There are some naturally sweet grape varietals such as Muscat, Huxelrebe, and Ortega that are used to produce sweet wines.  The Sweetness of these particular varietals is enhanced by pruning techniques – eliminating bunches of grapes on the vines to concentrate sugar and flavor.

There are a few techniques that are used to produce sweet wines as well.  One winemaking technique that is used is Chaptalization.  This is when sugar or honey is added prior to fermentation process.  Süssreserve is a German technique of winemaking that adds grape juice to the wine after fermentation has been completed.

Today though we will be focusing on Icewine, a winemaking style where grapes are naturally frozen on the vine, harvested during the middle of the night or early morning and pressed in the extreme cold to separate the juice from the ice crystals.  The fermentation requires special yeast and many months of time.  This remarkable process concentrates the sugar and acids and intensifies the aroma and flavor of the grapes.  The result is very special wine that expresses aromatic flavors of white and tropical fruits.

Natural Icewine by wine regulations require a hard freeze; in Canada the temperature must drop to (-8C or 17°F) colder, and in Germany (−7 °C or 19 °F), this usually occurs months after a typical harvest.  If the freeze does not come soon enough the entire crop can be lost to rot and if the freeze is too severe it can prevent any juice from being extracted when the grapes are pressed.  Animals also love these sweet grapes and left to hang to long grapes will naturally drop from the vine.  This is a very tenuous circumstance waiting for the “perfect” climatic conditions.  Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines.  About 75 percent of ice wine in Canada comes from Ontario.

Late Harvest or Noble Rot wine is made from moldy grapes, a fungus known as Botrytis Cinerea.  This process occurs best in vineyards that experience heavy evening moisture with hot sunny days.  This fungus dehydrates the water from the grape and imparts nuances of Honey, and Apricot once the wines are made.  Sauternes from Bordeaux, Hungarian Tokaji, or  Germany’s Trockenbeerenauslese are some of the world’s finest examples of Late Harvest and Noble Rot wines.

In Austria, Germany, the United States, and Canada, the grapes must freeze naturally to be called ice wine.  Cryoextraction is yet another method (that is, mechanical freezing) used to simulate the effect of a frost.  The grapes are not left to hang for extended periods as is done with natural ice wines.  These non-traditional wines are sometimes referred to as “icebox wines”. 

Good Dessert and Aperitif wines are sweet but remain balanced due to balanced acidity.  These wines can be served alone or with foods less sweet than the wine.  Quite often, the wine itself can be a dessert, but bakery sweets can be a good pairing.

Whites Dessert or Aperitif wines should be served slightly chilled while the red wines should be served at room temperature or ever so slightly chilled.

A sweet or dessert wine that I really enjoy and recommend is the 2010 Deglace Dessert Wine from Adelsheim Vineyard.  This is a beautiful example of a very sophisticated dessert wine made in the Cryoextraction method.

Adelsheim Vineyard

Wine Background:

Dessert wines from red-skinned grapes – especially Pinot noir – are relatively rare in the world.  Adelsheim Vineyard produced their first Deglacé, almost as an experiment, in 2001.  Initially, the wine was created for use at the end of winery dinners.  Neither of the two ways in which dessert wine is traditionally produced – using grapes that have been desiccated by Botrytis Cinerea (“noble rot”), or pressing after the grapes had frozen on the vine – would work for us.  A Pinot noir producer would never want Botrytis in its vineyards (it ruins red wines), and they couldn’t remember a fall when a freeze came before the rains of winter.  That year, winemaker Dave Paige selected one block of grapes to take to a freezer instead of the winery, and then followed the traditional approach to producing an ice wine. (Well, not entirely traditional.  He didn’t have to do any of the work in the middle of the night which is when grapes for Ice Wine are traditionally harvested.)  Their Deglacé dessert wine has a soft pink color produced from contact with the Pinot noir skins.  The residual sugars are on the low end as compared to traditional ice wines, resulting in a consistently balanced wine.

The Wine

Even with this sweet wine, they have stayed true to their winery philosophy that a wine’s highest use is in pairing with meals.  That means retaining enough of the grapes’ natural acidity to ensure that the wine never becomes too cloying.  The Deglacé has amazing strawberry shortcake, citrus blossom, and nectarine aromas that meld with the viscous yet firm texture on the palate.  It should prove to be a perfect match with red berry tarts, pumpkin cheesecake, and a wide range of other desserts.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Appetizers and Wines for Superbowl XLVI This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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A preview to Superbowl Sunday appetizers and wines that make them score the touchdown, 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 match up, (football lingo), well with a few of my favorite football appetizers.

Next week’s Superbowl XLVI television audience will approach 110 million viewers but the the first Superbowl championship was contended in 1967.

Bowl games are not new to football, but the Super Bowl took the concept and elevated the idea to an entirely new level.  This was a way for the champions of the two existing football leagues at the time, the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL), and decide who was the best team.  The first Superbowl was born.

Superbowl I took place on January 15, 1967 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  This game determined the champion of the 1966 football season.  There were nearly 62,000 fans in the stadium to see Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers school the Kansas City Chiefs in a painful lesson about who was top dog, the final score was 35-10.  Millions of viewers witnessed this cool new Superbowl game on TV.  Superbowl Sunday 110 million people will watch the extravaganza this event has morphed into.

Where there is a Superbowl, there is a celebration and that means food and drinks.  I’m not talking about Beer and Soda, but they’re great too.  On today’s show I want to share some of my favorite Superbowl Sunday snacks, treats, and appetizers and what wine I’m going to matching up(that’s football terminology, so I’ll use that today rather than pairing, or wine terminology).

Superbowl Sunday is a fun day to enjoy but you really need to pace yourself.  Otherwise you can’t begin to enjoy this event throughout the entire day.  I’ll be posting a few recipes up on my blog at http://www.wineguymike.wordpress.com for you to use along with my Suberbowl wine recommendations.

I normally write about healthy eats but the following appetizers are real party pleasers.  These apps are so good with the wines I’ve paired them with you, your friends and family will love them.  Disclaimer; I’ll be omitting the nutritional information for the following recipes. 

Tim’s Cascade potato chips with blue cheese and bacon, we’ll call this recipe the “Triple Threat”

Servings; 1 if you’re a glutton, 6-8 if you share

Recipe Ingredients; One baking sheet, 1 large bag of Tim’s Cascade (plain) potato chips, and two wedges of inexpensive Blue Cheese.  Side note; if you really want to take it up a notch with this appetizer use 4-5 strips of pre-cooked bacon chopped into small pieces

Preparation:

Pre-heat heat broiler on low or if you only have one setting on your broiler lower the rack in the oven so it’s not to close to the broiler.  Remember we’re just melting cheese

Take a baking sheet and cover with foil

Spread chips out over the baking sheet, let them overlap one another

Take one wedge of the Blue Cheese and with a knife slice through the cheese until it’s crumbled into small to medium size chunks.  The second wedge is for the second batch of this appetizer, because you’ll just need more.

Distribute the Blue Cheese over the top of the chips and place the baking sheet of chips in the oven.  If you are adventurous feel like living large distribute the bacon over the blue cheese and chips before placing your appetizer sheet in the oven.

Watch the cheese and let it melt, usually around 3-5 minutes, then pull they sheet of chips out of the oven.  The Blue Cheese should be melted but not to the point of running off the chips.

 Velveeta Queso Dip with tortilla chips, okay this dip is just downright addictive.  That’s why you make an entire crockpot full of this gooey crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

1 lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 whole jar of Pace Picante Sauce, I prefer the hot Picante Sauce

1 lb. of lean ground beef that has been browned and drained

Optional for a spicier dip; Tabasco or a hot sauce to taste(consider your guests)

Directions

Combine Velveeta and Pace Picante Sauce in a crockpot and melt cheese.  When cheese is melted add browned ground beef and a little Tabasco or hot sauce and combine.

Serve

In a bowl as a dip or pour over your favorite tortilla chips.  This dip is delicious.

Wines to pair with these first two appetizers:

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 wineries, Adelsheim Vineyard.  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.

2009 Balletto Pinot Gris ($13.99)

This Pinot Gris is a complex, pale, straw-colored wine that opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones.  The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon. The aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating, and on the palate this wine is lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.

Tuck Beckstoffer’s 75 Sauvignon Blanc ($11.00)

This wine presents as a classic Graves-style Sauvignon Blanc.  The light straw color is reminiscent of classic left-bank Bordeaux Blanc, while the flavors are a perfect blend of old-world complexity and crisp North Coast fruit.  The nose is just right on this gem, neither to fruity or grassy, but a nice aromatic of grass and grapefruit. On the palate this wine offers bright fruit flavors of apple skin and pear balanced by undertones of cherimoya, fig and melon.

Little Smokies, now I have a special way I like to prepare these delectable little pork parts in a tube.  First you open the package and find a big sauté pan that will hold 2-3 packages of the smokies.  Take two bottles of dark beer and turn up the heat just high enough for a low boil to cook off the alcohol.  Drain the pan and dump them into a crock pot with a fresh bottle of dark beer, add two bottles of your favorite barbeque sauce and a few shots of Tabasco sauce.  Cover them up, start them on high to bring all that goodness together in the crock pot, stirring occasionally, and then turn the heat down enough to keep heat consistent. Yikes these things are just redneck delicious.

Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling

A beautiful French Riesling from the Alsace region of France.  This wine has a lovely nose that offers up both minerality and nice floral notes.  In the mouth this wine is both elegant and robust.  It has such great structure and being an Alsatian Riesling is beautifully dry and crisp.

2008 Balletto Gewurztraminer

The aroma of Lychee fruit, guava, red pear and granny smith apple aromas are ever present in this wine. Bright fruit and citrus flavors highlight the dominate aromas of this beautiful Gewurztraminer.  Once in your mouth tropical flavors from the nose translate to the palate and are accompanied by subtle tangerine and lemon.

The wine is lushly textured and light, balanced tannins and a delightful finish of toffee, lingering apple, and pear make this a perfect wine to compliment your thanksgiving turkey and all of the lovely side dishes.

2010 Hugel Gentil

The Hugel Gentil revives an ancient Alsace tradition that wines produced from a blend of noble varietals were called “Gentil”.

Hugel Gentil is a traditional Alsace blend of primarily Gewurztraminer paired with varying amounts of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner.

The Gentil blend of Noble grapes from Alsace region display a light youthful color in the glass and is ripe with floral, fruit and notes of spice.  This wine is rich, yet dry with a hint of lemon zest and mineral is the perfect complement for your dinner.  This is an outstanding Thanksgiving wine selection.

Burgers, I have you covered here.  I have recipes from Chef Bob Waggoner, host of PBS’ Ucook with Chef Bob.  Chef Bob was a guest on the show and I have the recipes he matched up, there is that football lingo again, with Beaujolais.  I’m making a few other wine suggestions for you to enjoy with these delicious burgers.

RECIPE #1- ANGUS BURGERS (For 2 people)

 INGREDIENTS:

· 2 regular sesame buns

· Angus ground beef – 160z

· Red heirloom tomato – 4 slices

· Vidalia onion – 4 slices

·Smoked bacon – 4 slices – diced finely

· Fresh rosemary -1 tablespoon

· Peeled shallots – 3 diced thinly

· Butter lettuce – half of a small head

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

· Aged white cheddar cheese – 2 oz diced into small cubes

DIRECTIONS:

In a small sauté pan cook the bacon until crisp.  Add the shallots and cook for 3 more minutes on low temperature.  Add the chopped rosemary and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove from pan and let sit at room temperature.

Form 4 thin patties of beef approximately 4 oz each.  Then place bacon, shallot and rosemary mix on top of 2 of the patties.  Add diced cheddar, salt and fresh ground pepper.  Cover with other patty.  Pinch the sides together to form one big burger.  Salt and pepper the top of the patty.  Preheat grill and grill burgers.  When the burgers are almost done, lightly grill the bun.  On the bottom bun place the burger, Vidalia onion rings, tomato rounds and lettuce.  If you like you may add mustard, mayo or ketchup.  Top with other bun.

RECIPE #2 – GRILLED PORTABELLA (BURGER) (For 2 people)

 INGREDIENTS:

· 2 large portabella mushrooms – Stems removed and gills scraped

· Fresh thyme – 2 tsp

· Green onions – 4 each

· Yellow tomato – 4 slices

· Large eggplant – 4 round slices

· 2 Kaiser Rolls

· “Beaujolais Wine” – 4 tbsp

· Olive oil – 4 tbsp

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Gently drizzle the olive oil over the sliced tomatoes, eggplant and green onions. Salt and pepper all.  Gently grill and set aside -1 1/ 2 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper portabella mushroom.  With a small paring knife make checkerboard cuts going halfway into the mushroom.  Drizzle 2 tbsp each of “GDwine” onto each mushroom and let it seep in for 2 min.  Add a tiny bit of olive oil on the mushrooms and grill for 2 1/ 2 minutes on each side.  Once pulled from grill sprinkle with fresh thyme.  Gently grill Kaiser Roll.  Stack portabella mushroom, tomato, green onions and eggplant on the Kaiser Roll.

RECIPE #3-TURKEY BURGER SLIDERS with SUNDRIED TOMATO&BASIL (For 2people)

INGREDIENTS:

· Ground turkey meat with 15% fat -1/2 pound

· Sundried tomato – 2 oz

· Shallots 3 each – sliced thinly

·Medium sized garlic cloves -3 each – sliced thinly

· Fresh basil- 8 large leaves – roughly chopped

· Olive oil – 2 tbsp

· Water – 11/ 2 cups

· Baby arugula – 1/2 cup

· Red onion – 4 slices

·1 ripe avocado

· Mini pita pockets – 4 – split in half

· Salt

· Fresh ground white pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a 10 inch saute pan, heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced shallots and cook for 1minute.  Add the sliced garlic and cook for another minute.   Add the sundried tomato.  Add 1tsp of salt, 3 cranks of fresh ground white pepper and 11/ 2 cups of water and let simmer until all water is evaporated.  Add chopped basil, remove from pan and set aside.  Leave at room temperature.  Form 4 small patties using 1/2 pound of turkey meat.  Salt and pepper both sides.  Gently grill for 11/ 2 – 2 minutes per side, depending on temperature of your grill.  Grill the red onion slices at the same time. Just before the burgers are done, lightly grill the pita pocket that you have split in half. When the burger is cooked, place a small amount of arugula in the bottom of the pita.  Top with a turkey patty and arrange your slider with the grilled red onions and the sundried tomato basil mixture.

Choose a couple of these wines for your burgers:

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 is so well made, wonderful tannin, this wine is lush and full of its beautiful berry self.  It is a wonderfully balanced wine that will be so food friendly due to its fruit and acid companionship.  It doesn’t stop there though this wine for me delivers a great little nuance of toast and butter too.  It’s like a great mildly toasted piece of bread with homemade raspberry and cherry jam; yes it’s a really great wine to complement the burger recipes.

The 2009 Brouilly has nice dark fruit, plum, and black cherry.  The palate displays silk like tannin, it’s chewy with a little tobacco, yet the texture of this confident wine is like that of  the very finest velvet.  This is a beautiful wine that those of us who enjoy a slightly fuller body to our wines will absolutely love, enjoy, and crave more.

2010 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This dark, garnet-colored Pinot Noir is floral with aromas of rose petals, spice, ginger, cassis and fruit aromas of raspberry.  There is a bit of dusty earth with just hint of vanilla too. This 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.  A long beautiful finish.

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.  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.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec ($16.99)

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 don’t want to end.

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 big juicy burger.  The wine blend is comprised of 45% Merlot, 20% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 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.

My Superbowl game prediction; Giants 21-Patriots 17, but I’m hoping I’m wrong.  I’m rooting for the Patriots, Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in football because he’s smart and he’s experienced. 

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"