Golden Globes Cheers!

Happy Awards Season!

Tonight’s 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards kicks off the season…sure to be entertaining with the wine and Champagne flowing. So what will be in stars’ glasses?

Moët & Chandon has been the official Champagne served at the Golden Globes for 24 years. This year they are pouring their 2004 Grand Vintage Brut Rosé. The Champagne is a combination of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier in a dry style with a mix of fine pinpoint bubbles, pomegranate, currant, subtle black cherry, green apple and a crisp acidity.

72nd Annual Golden Globes Menu | Golden Globes Awards

Over 600 full-sized bottles of wine and 400 Moët & Chandon magnums will be poured tonight, not to mention 1,500 Champagne Mini’s specially adapted to convert the bottle into a flute.

Moët & Chandon (@MoetUSA) | Twitter

This year’s official cocktail is the Moët Sunset Starlet…a blend of clementines and Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial. Food & Wine has all the details on how to make your own.

Moët & Chandon (@MoetUSA) | Twitter-1

For more on the menu being served at The Beverly Hilton, inspired by the fresh produce that grows on California farms, click here.

Cheers to the Golden Globes!

Celebrate International Tempranillo Day

It’s International Tempranillo Day! And while Tempranillo is the signature grape of Spain, with its finest expression in Rioja, Spain, I recently did a tasting of the grape variety from Lodi, California.

Lodi is one of California’s major wine growing region, located 100 miles east of San Francisco. It’s characterized by a rural atmosphere and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families working with new vintners who have brought fresh creative new things to the region. The region is known for it’s Zinfandel but over 75 varieties of grapes are grown in Lodi.

Lodi Vineyard. Photography by Goff Photography.

Over the past decade, intuitive Lodi vintners have begun to harness the exceptional quality and ideal conditions of Lodi’s terroir as they experiment with plantings of Spanish winegrape varieties. Netting over 900 tons in 2013, Tempranillo continues to be one of Lodi’s most popular and widely planted Spanish winegrape varieties. Other notable Spanish varieties grown in the Lodi region include Albariño, Garnacha Blanca, Verdejo, Graciano, Garnacha, and Monastrell.

Tempranillo’s name comes from the fact that it ripens early. The variety has more than 60 names for it around the world. It’s known as a growers grape because its usually consistent and produces a high tannin, fruit forward wine.

The Lodi wines we tasted were…

Lodi Tempranillo

  • 2012 Riaza Wines Hunter’s Oak Vineyard Tempranillo (SRP $26)
  • 2012 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo (SRP $23)
  • 2010 Harney Lane Winery Tempranillo (SRP $25)
  • 2012 McCay Cellars “Lot 13 Vineyard” Tempranillo (SRP $28)
  • 2012 m2 Wines Tormenta Tempranillo (SRP $22)

My two favorites from the tasting?

2012 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

  • Variety: 90% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano
  • Aroma: Plum, cinnamon, smokey cedar
  • Taste: Juicy combination of blackberry, cranberry and cinnamon
  • Price: $23
  • My thoughts: Love the addition of the Graciano here for wonderful color and fruit! This is their flagship red wine…”is reminiscent of a Rioja Alavesa, the northernmost region of the Rioja which is noted for its cooler climate and higher altitude.”

2010 Harney Lane Winery Tempranillo

  • Variety: 100% Tempranillo, Estate Grown
  • Aroma: Dark fruit and tobacco
  • Taste: Blueberry explosion with notes of camp fire and burnt sugar
  • Price: $25
  • My thoughts: Love the elegance of this big wine and it’s complexity! I can imagine drinking it among their vines like the evening below.

Vineyard Dinner at Harney Lane Winery. Photography by Randy Caparoso.

And if you’re looking for the perfect food pairing for Tempranillo, the overwhelming suggestion…any meat off the grill!

Cheers to Tempranillo!

Virginia Wine Country: Washington Post Travel Feature

Today’s Washington Post Travel section is all about Virginia Wine Country! What a treat to see, and about time in my opinion. If you still have the chance, grab it as the photos are beautiful and there’s lots of great info. If not, here’s a list of the articles with links to enjoy online.

The articles calls out many of the great ones, including some of my favorites…

And here’s a handy chart they included to help in your Virginia Wine Country exploring.

Cheers to all the great things Virginia Wine Country has to offer!

Rosé d’assiette: Perfect Summer Food Pairing Wines

Rosé has continued to be my favorite wine this summer. As it’s the last unofficial weekend of summer with lots of cookouts, I wanted to bring Rosés that would stand up nicely with bigger foods that were being served.

Often Rosé can be too light to pair well with food, but rosé d’assiette, or “plate” in French, are ones named for the their pairing ability. These are four great examples.

  • E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013, $
  • Jaboulet Parrallele 45 Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013, $12
  • Château Mourgues du Grès “Fleur d’Eglantine” Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2013, $11
  • Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel Rosé 2013, $30

The two favorites at the cookout?

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013

  • Variety: 35% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre
  • Aroma: Bright red fruit
  • Taste: Big strawberry, nice texture and structure
  • Price: $14.99
  • My thoughts: I always love E. Guigal wines. The estate dates back to 1946. This Rosé is no exception, and at a great price, but it’s already hard to find this year.

Jaboulet Parrallele 45 Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013

  • Variety: 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah
  • Aroma: Citrus, pink grapefruit
  • Taste: Crisp pink grapefruit with pomegranate, nice body and minerality
  • Price: $12
  • My thoughts: This wine has built the reputation of the Rhône producing great values in fine French wine. At $12 it can’t be beat as an aperitif and food pairing.

Santé to Rosé d’assiette!

So, You Don’t Like White Wine?

That’s the question we posed to the Fine Wine Divas for our August tasting night.

Most of the ladies are big red wine drinkers. As it’s summer, we thought we’d introduce them to a nice line up whites so they could certainly find something they like.

  • 2010 Argyle Brut (Willamette Valley, OR)
  • 2012 Reunion Torrontes (Salta, Argentina)
  • 2012 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc (Martinborough, New Zealand)
  • 2013 Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino (Sardinia, Italy)
  • 2012 Clos des Lunes “Lune Blanche” (Bordeaux, France)
  • 2013 Wolftrap White White (Stellenbosch, South Africa) 
  • 2012 Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands, California) 
  • 2011 Domaine Eric Forest Pouilly-Fuisse Les Crays (Burgundy, France)

There was indeed something for everyone. And the top two wines of the evening?

2013 Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino

  • Region: Sardinia, Italy
  • Variety: 100% Vermentino
  • Aroma: Citrus, tropical fruits
  • Taste: Rose, melon, spice with nice crispness and honey notes
  • Price: $15
  • My thoughts: This was the hit of the night…a lovely fuller bodied Italian, great pairing with food and great price point!

2013 Wolftrap White White

  • Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Variety:  60% Viognier, 21% Chenin Blanc, 19% Grenache Blanc
  • Aroma: White peach and spice
  • Taste: Rich floral and green apple
  • Price: $23
  • My thoughts: Interesting blend of grapes from The Cape winelands which are located in the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of six such plant kingdoms in the world.

It was a great evening and everyone walked away with a new wine to enjoy in these final weeks of summer!