Thursday, August 13, 2020

Out of My Comfort Zone with Fun Wine

Every now and then you have to try something different and go out of your comfort zone. That includes with wine.

Back in June I received a press release for Fun Wine and they asked if they could send me their three award-winning flavors. They were Red Sangria, Strawberry Rose Moscato and Coconut Chardonnay. All three are low calorie, low-alcohol and reasonably priced. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this, but the packaging drew me in. Wine cocktails? Sure let’s give it a try. I only wish my daughter was home to share in this tasting, as I think she would have enjoyed it.

About Fun Wine

Fun wine is new, it launched in December 2019 in Miami. The company CEO and Founder, Joe Peleg created this brand because he wanted to make wine more accessible, visually appealing, low calorie, refreshing and fun. Especially for first-time wine drinkers.

The artist behind the labels is Miguel Paredes. Miguel was inspired by Miami’s distinct culture and graffiti art scene and the New York graffiti art, inspired the design for the bottles showing fun and unity.

Wine Cocktails

Fun Wine Coconut Chardonnay - We made Miguel’s Colada with this bottle of wine. Tasted on its own, it was overly coconut. But made into a Colada I was presently surprised. I got fresh cut pineapple and froze it for the drink. Added to the blender along with 2oz of Rum (per person) and eyeballed the Coconut Chardonnay pour. It doesn’t have all the calories of a Pina Colada, but it sure taste like one.

Fun Wine Strawberry Rose Moscato - This was my first try at a Negroni. We didn’t have the chocolate bitter required for the Chocolate Strawberry Negroni, so we just made a Strawberry Moscato. It was a tad on the sweet side, but refreshing.

Fun Wine Red Sangria- This was the sleeper of the bunch. Filled the glass with some fruit, poured in the sangria and 2oz of vodka. Pure winner.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Eden Cider

We switched it up this week as I brought in Eden Ciders from Vermont. I am not a big cider fan but was told by Paige at Boutique Wines Sprits & Cider Eden Ciders is made by the “Queen of Ciders - Eleanor Leger”
Eden works with traditional New England heirloom varieties of apples, local seedling varieties and Old-World varieties like the bittersweet cider varieties that cam from France and England. The apples come from their own orchard where they grow 35 varieties biodynamically and are also sourced from 8 local orchards.
After harvest the apples are pressed when the flavors, sugars and acids are at their peak. The juice is fermented like wine.
I don’t drink cider often, but would seek out Eden Ciders and enjoy another bottle or can again.

Eden Ciders
Eden Imperial 11 Rose - The Imperial Ciders are cold concentrated outdoors before fermentation takes place for increase flavor and alcohol. The apples were pressed in December and cold concentrated outdoors. The juice is infused with red currant juice. This gives the cider the color and hints of red berry on the palate. The cider was delightful, a tad off dry with nice acidity.

Eden Harvest Cider (in the can)- This cider is porduced from heirloom variety apple. The apples used in production of this cider are Dabinett, Mcintosh, Empire, Spartan and Esopus Spitzenberg. Light and refreshing. Perfect to pack for the beach.

Eden Dry Heritage Cider Brut Nature - This was my favorite cider out of the three. Lots of varieties of apples are used to produce this cider. Kingston Black, Roxbury Russet, Esopus Spitzenburg, McIntosh, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Calville Blanc, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Orleans Reinette, Empire, Black Oxford, Blue Pearmain, Rhode Island Greening and Baldwin. Stainless steel fermentation and aging. The second fermentation was in the bottle. The cider was dry and elegant with nice apple flavor and acidity.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Rosè Wines of Domaines Paul Mas Shine on the Terroirs of Langeudoc

Domaines Paul Mas wines are the ambassador to the wines of the Languedoc region. The Paul Mas family has 15 Chateaux and Domaines all located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and Jean Claude Mas is focused on pairing soils with the grape varieties to bring out the different terroirs.
It all begins in the vineyard. According to Jean-Claude Mas “Nature is generous, you need to know how to listen to best understand and accompany it.” With 20 years of winemaking and vineyard management under his belt, although not certified organic, the vineyards are managed under organic methods.
With the popularity of Rosè wine Jean Claude made an investment in these wines and puts his personal touch on them. His Rosè wines fermentations are performed between 14 and 17 degrees to extract the best grape aromas. With these practices in place, the Rosè wines have the aging potential for up to 5 years.
I had the opportunity to taste three Rosè wines in the Paul Mas family. Since Jean-Claude believes in everyday luxury and Cote Mas is an invitation to experience Rural Luxury, I took two of these brands boating. There is nothing like enjoying a nice bottle of Rosè wine on the ocean.

Domaine Lauriga Le Gris 2019 - Chateau Lauriga joined the Domaines Paul Mas family in 2016. The 43-year-old vineyards are located in the IGP Cotes Catalanes planted in pebbly clay and limestone soil at an elevation of 60 - 120 meters above sea level. The wine was beautiful light pink in color. Showed some pear and stone fruit. Very easy drinking with a zing of acidity on the finish. Very well balanced. This was our Kitchen Wine on a slow evening at the restaurant. Chef’s pairing suggestions:
Goat cheese and beet salad, strawberry or mixed berry salad with Boston Bibb lettuce. Strawberry and goat cheese salad and watermelon salad with feta and lime juice.
Interesting to note - according to French regulation, wines sourced from IGP’s can only be labeled as “Domaine” and not “Chateau.”

Cotè Mas Rosè Aurore 2019 - This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Syrah planted in clay and limestone soil. The vines age in range from 7 to 35 years at an elevation of 60 - 150 meters above sea level. Only free-run juice is used and the wine is aged on its lees for 40 days in cement vats. Nice pink in color with some floral aromas and red fruit. The palate is smooth and complex with red fruit notes throughout. Perfect boating wine.

Chateau Lauriga Rose 2019 - A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache from the AOP Cotes du Roussillon. The vineyards are between 13 and 25 years old planted in clay and limestone with gravel at an elevation of 80 - 150 meters above sea level. Nice pale pink in color. Fruity and white floral notes escape from the glass. Hints of red fruit dance on your palate. Perfect boating wine. There is something about the label that is just soft, elegant and romantic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Pagos del Galir Godello 2018

Godello isn’t a grape or wine your will automatically reach for in the wine store unless you are going in specifically for it. It’s a great wine and you shouldn’t overlook it. I especially like bringing in wines like this to taste with Chef because it’s a great learning experience for him too. He’s been in the business for over 25 years, like Paul and I are learning about food, food prep, methods and presentation, Chef is expanding his knowledge on wine.
Godello is a white wine grape grown in the Valdeorras region of Galicia, Spain. If you don’t care for Chardonnay but are looking for a white wine to pair with your seafood or chicken, this is the grape I would look for.
Pagos del Galir Godello 2018 spends 4 months aging on its lees in stainless steel tanks. It’s fresh and sliky, light bodied with medium to high acidity. You can taste a bit of the salinity along with lemon curd and a touch of creaminess on the mouth feel. That comes from the aging on the lees.
When we drank this wine, Chef had just brought some fish in, in anticipation of us opening up the dining room. While that didn’t happen, he test drove a piece of North Carolina Sea Trout and Georges Bank Scallops. He just seasoned it up and put it on a plate for me to try. Nothing fancy. OMG was it great with the wine!

This is what the dish looks like plated with clams over jasmine rice with poached leak and carrots in a tarragon miso fumet. Entree price $33, wine price $21. (dinner plated for my son who came in to visit)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Turbiana - The Grape & the Wine

Picture yourself on the shores of Lake Garda, in the Lugana appellation sipping on the mysterious and expressive Turbiana grape. Lugana is small, only 7 miles wide and 13 miles long. There is approximately 22 million bottles of wine produced in this small appellation every year and 70% of the wine is exported.
Turbiana, a grape grown in Lugana, also known as Trebbiano di Lugana and is related to its cousins Trebbiano di Soave and Verdicchio. Turbiana is a medium sized grape that grows in a compact bunch that is long pyramidal shape with berries spheroid in shape. The skins are thick and the pulp is loose and juicy.
The soil the grapes grow in a clays of morainic origin. They are mostly rich in mineral salts and the hillier terrain becomes sandy. The soil reflects in the wine giving the grape it’s unique characteristics and qualities. Clean with powerful aromas, white flowers, hints of almonds, citrus, salinity nice acidity and well balanced. An elegant white wine.
There are 5 styles of Lugana wine we’ll go a little more in-depth with.
Lugana Vintage - Stainless steel is used with no maturation of the grapes. The wine is usually released a few months after harvest. Some producers are experimenting with aging the wine on the lees and batonnage (stirring the lees back into the wine). Vintage Lugana wine characteristics are pale straw yellow in color. Floral aromas with a hint of almonds. The palate is fresh with citrus notes. Will age 2 - 3 years in cellar
Lugana Superiore - was introduced in 1998. There is some use of oak as well as a combination of oak and stainless steel. There is a trend to age “sur lie” which will give it a rounder complex mouth-feel. The tasting profile is a little more complex than the vintage version. The wine has to age for at least one year after harvest. Lugana Superiore wines have a more golden hue with aromas of wild herbs, apples and citrus fruits, especially orange. If wood is used you will find notes of hazelnuts or spices. Has the ability to age up to 10 years.
Lugana Riserva - The Riserva has to age for at least 24 months with 6 months just in the bottle. This wine has a brighter hue and is more evolved. You’ll find complex aromas with notes of flint, some smokiness and balsamic. You will find more mineral notes on the palate. This wine also, has the ability to age up to 10 years.
Lugana Spumante - Produced in the Charmat method (second fermentation in tank) that produces a crisp citrus infused profile or produced Metodo Classico where it’s more refined and complex, creamier with a more graceful perlage.
Lugana Vendemmia Tardiva - This is a very special and different wine. The grapes for this wine remain on the vine until late October, early November. They are stored until dried, then pressed. The grapes are richer and concentrated. The wine profile is softer and thicker but not excessively sweet. The sweetness is balanced by the acidity.

Wines- Should be noted that most Lugana wines are priced between $18 and $24. Makes them very affordable!

Marangona Lugana 2019 - The grapes were processed whole to preserve the aromas. Fermentation in stainless steel sur-lie for 3 to 4 months. A beautiful wine with aromas of lime, white flowers and orange blossom. You can smell the minerality. The palate is full of lemon rind, lime, wet stone, quinine and a wonderful burst o acidity on the finish.

Tenuta Roveglia Vigne di Catullo Lugana Riserva 2016 - The vienyards are located on the southern shore of Lake Garda. The wine is made from selected old vines. Fermentation 24 months in steel barrels. Lots of ripe fruit in this wine with minerality and salinity. Ripe melon, lemon stone fruit with a touch of sweetness and a tang of acidity. Paired with my daughter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Monopole 2019

Since it’s been so hot in the kitchen we’ve been drinking a lot of white wine. This Monopole 2019 is the oldest white wine brand in Spain and is made with 100% Viura grape. It’s a great wine to bring to a BYOB restaurant like Kitchen 330 in the summer. It’s reasonably priced at $13 and will pair with most of the seafood on the menu.
Aromas of white flowers and green apple lead to a medium-bodied palate with nice acidity and minerality combined with lime and stone fruit.
Chef said this is a great everyday wine and I think so too. I think we need to get him a case!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Kitchen Wine: Sidonio d Sousa

You have to have a little bubbles in your life. Fact is all of us in the kitchen love bubbles. Sometimes Debbie will even saber out the back door. This particular even we uncorked a bottle of bubbles from Portugal - NV Sidonio de Sousa Espumante Brut Nature “Special Cuvee” with a base wine from 2015. This was the first bottle of bubbles from Portugal for all of us.
The wine is a blend of Maria Gomes, Bical and Arinto. These three grapes are all indigenous to Portugal and contribute different aspects to the wine.
Fernao Pires or Maria Gomes as it’s known in the Tejo and Bairrada region contributes a spicy aromatic character to the wine and some exotic fruity notes.
Bical is produced in the Bairrada region and is a high acid grape used in sparkling wine production.
Arinto is a white wine grape planted in the Bucelas, Tejo and Vinho Verde regions. It also produces high acid wines with ints of lemon.
The NV Sidonio de Sousa Espumante Brut Nature “Special Cuvee” spends 18 months on the lees. It has no dosage, is nice and dry with lively acidity. Nice lemon, green apple, and toasty notes. A hint of tropical fruit and very well balanced.
Chef’s pairing raw oyster definitely! Crab cakes and even some fried chicken.
I highly recommend this sparkling wine from Portugal! Priced so reasonable at $13, make it your house bubbly