Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wine Review: 2012 J Vineyards Pinot Gris

J 2012 Pinot Gris

This wine is a pale straw color. The nose is aromatic, with aromas of apricot, citrus, and some tropical fruit notes. The palate has the same beautiful fruit flavors which were noted in the nose, along with a bit of honeysuckle and lime on the palate. I also noted some lemon zest on the finish, which enhanced the minerality of this wine. There is a nice amount of acidity which makes this wine great to pair with food. This wine is crisp, yet the mouth feel has a roundness, which was quite a feat to me in terms of wine making. Usually you only note a wine being crisp or rounded on the palate.  The finish is nice, and it makes you want another glass. So you get the best of both worlds in a glass. I think Pinot Gris will be the "pork of wine" , pork being  "the other white meat."  As you can see, even a television commercial for pork, can help a wine writer do her thing. I am always thinking as Chef Anne Burrell says on the Food Network. I mentioned cooking, because when reviewing wine, you have to match the flavor profile of the wine, with foods that you know would pair well with the wine. Wine and food are like a couple to me; they just go together, and hopefully they will marry. So you can see I am all about wine and food pairings! Meaning Pinot Gris will be "the other white wine." And I say this in a good way. I think wine drinkers, especially new wine drinkers will have another white to add to their go to wines for spring and summer. I say this because wine appreciation is a journey; you learn more and more as you taste different varietals of wine. So you know what you like or dislike in a wine. Many will find this wine is a "keeper!"

This wine would pair so well with seafood like shrimp, crab, especially a crab cake, grilled chicken skewers or pork skewers with a sweet orange glaze, and a host of light appetizers. I also think this wine would pair with grilled pineapple as an easy and simple dessert for summer. This wine was a sample provide by J Vineyards & Winery SRP $14.00

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Look at Paul Cheneau: Spanish Bubbly With A French Twist

Lady of Spain
I have to admit these wonderful Spanish sparkling wines known as cava by Paul Cheneau were a great surprise. The last name of the cava, "Cheneau" was a hint of what style of wine was inside the bottle. I just never realized how a Spanish sparkling wine could be made like a french style sparkling wine at this price point. I have to admit that is is "genius", and "scandalous" (in a good way) at the same time. This Spanish Sparkling wine is called the Lady of Spain. The wine is a light gold color. The nose is filled with hints of bread, with notes of fresh fruit. Apples and a bit of pear along with tiny bubbles that tickle your nose. I was so surprised how tight the bubbles were and how long they lasted. That is why this cava reminds you a lot of a nice sparkling wine from France, those tiny, tight ongoing bubbles. The palate had those same fruit flavors on the palate along with a bit of lemon on the finish. This added some acidity to this wine and rounded out the fruit flavors to make a sparkling wine that everyone could enjoy. Also, this is a wine that can be enjoyed alone or paired with a meal. This wine would pair well with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of french bread, light appetizers, grilled chicken, anything with ham or prosciutto on it, and seafood. I think it would be delightful with a crab cake due to the natural sweetness of crab meat. This wine, and the following wines were samples provided by Pasternak Wine Imports  for my review. SRP $13.99

This Brut cava was also a delight. The wine is a pale straw color. The bubbles are tight and ongoing. The nose has notes of apple and french bread. The palate has flavors of apple and lemon. This cava is dry, but not too dry. It has that right balance that makes it be a great wine to sip alone or a great wine to pair with food. This cava is a hands down winner as an alternative to sparkling wine or champagne. This cava pairs well with fresh goat cheese, light appetizers, seafood, and roast chicken. SRP $13.99
As noted on the labels, the Paul Cheneau wines are made in the French Method. This cava has a beautiful, festive, pink salmon color. The bubbles are tight and ongoing. The nose has aromas of strawberries, rose petals and toast. The palate has the same flavors as noted in the nose; a combination of red fruit, rose petals (which adds an herbal note) on the mid palate, along with toast or bread notes. This wine would pair well with Purple Haze fresh goat cheese, salmon, poultry, and even fried chicken for a southern style pairing, SRP $13.99

This cava is a light straw color. The nose is filled with candied apples and toast. The bubbles are tight and ongoing. I want to note that I had this wine stored in the fridge for a few days sealed with a stopper made for sparkling wine. The bubbles were still there after a couple of days; I loved that about this cava. The palate had those same candied apple and toast flavors. This is a cava that would be great to serve to people who like a sweeter wine. I also think this makes a great dessert wine. I would pair this with with an apple gallette. SRP $13.99
In closing, I really feel that these Spanish sparklers made with a French twist are what I call "bang for the buck" wines. Don't wait for a special occasion to enjoy them. Celebrate life everyday!