Saturday, September 14, 2019

Celebrating Garden Harvest with Brazilian Wine #WinePW

This is my first time participating in #WinePW. It stands for Wine Pairing Weekend and the pairing this weekend is with wines from Brazil. I have to thank Susannah at Vigneto Communications for sending me a bottle of Brazilian wine because after 3 liquor stores and strange looks I came up with no wine.

Wine Pairing Weekend (#WinePW) takes place Saturday, September 14 at 11am ET. I hope you can join us on Twitter as we discover Brazilian Wine and the pairing that go with it. Just follow the hashtag #WinePW

As one harvest ends another begins as the seasons are reversed between the US and Brazil. I’m harvesting the last of my cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes and say goodbye to the 2019 growing season as Brazil begins to say hello to their 2020 growing season.

About Brazil

Brazil is the worlds fifth-largest country located on the continent of South America. There are 10 countries that share their land borders with Brazil, they are; Bolivia, Argentina, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru. It is the largest country in Latin America and the fifth-largest wine producer in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first vines were brought to Brazil in 1532 by Martim Alfonso de Souza from Portugal. They were planted in the Captaincy of São Vicente but the unfavorable conditions along with a mix of climate and soil were no favorable for the vines. It wasn’t until the Italian immigrant João Batista Orsi came to Brazil in 1824 and got the permission of Dom Pedro to cultivate European grapes. He became one of the pioneers in Brazil wine production.

Brazil Wine Regions

There are approximately 10,000 hectares of Vitis vinifera planted in six main wine regions: Serra Gaúcha, Serra do Sudeste, Campanha, Campos de Cima da Serra, Planalto Catarinense and the Vale do São Francisco in the northeastern part of the country.
  • Campanha is home to some of the oldest vineyards in Brazil and sits on the border of Uruguay.
  • Serra Do Sudeste was discovered in the 1970’s. There are very few wineries in the part as most of the grape production is transported to other regions of Rio Grande do Sul.
  • Serra Gaúcha is the largest wine-producing region in Brazil and is responsible for 85% of the national wine production. The region predominately produces red wine and more recently sparkling wines.
  • Campos de Cima da Serra is a cooler climate growing region. They produce good quality red wine and white wines rich in aromas.
  • Planalto Catarinese is a high altitude region between 900 and 1400 meters above sea level. It produces red, white and sparkling wine along with Icewine.
  • Vale do São is a region where the climate is tropical. It is possible with the proper scheduling to harvest all year long. This area produces grapes with high sugar content resulting in fruity wine.

The Wine - Alísios Seival Estate by Miolo 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

This wine is part of the Miolo family thats history dates back to 1897 when Giuseppe Miolo came to Brazil from Italy. He planted his first vineyard in the Vale dos Vinbedos. In 1989 the third generation founded Miolo Winery. Miolo is now the largest wine group in Brazil.
Their philosophy is to make terroir-based wines and sparkling wines that highlight each region. The Seivel Estate where this wine is produced is located in the Campanha Meridional region. There are 200 hectares that produce 1.3 million liters.
Alísios meaning trade winds is named after the cool winds that blow from the Atlantic Ocean into their Northeast vineyards. This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot that has spent 12 months in oak barrels.
Tasting Notes:  Deep black cherry in color. Very fruit-forward on the nose leads into a ripe fruity palate.  Lots of juicy blackberry, black cherry, black fruit and blueberry. Light tannis makes this a drink now wine. 

The Pairing
I think of steak when I think of Brazil so I took out a flat iron steak. Since it’s harvest here, I went out to my garden and collect what is left. I made a marinade that consisted of rosemary, sage, thyme, peppers, juice of one lemon and 1/2 cup of olive oil. I let the steak marinade for 24 hours. To accompany the steak I made a wonderful tomato salad with some cucumber, onion and feta cheese.
Not sure how this would pair with the fruitiness of the wine, I was amazed at how the food changed the wine.  This wine is definitely a food-friendly wine.  Both the steak and the tomato salad toned down the fruitiness of the wine and blended right into the flavors of the dish.

#WinePW Participants

Thank you to Susannah for arranging this months #WinePW and chat. Please visit my other fellow wine bloggers and see their pairings and wine. Join us Saturday September 14, at 11 am ET on twitter.

Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “A Brazilian Sparkler +Frango à Passarinho and Pao de Queijo”
Linda of My Full Wine Glass will be posting “Head to Southern Brazil for High-Quality Wine”
Cindy of Grape Experiences   writes “Wine and Dine Brazilian Style with Alma Brut White Sparkling Wine from Salton Winery and Fried Calamari”
Gwen at Wine Predator shares “A Poet Pairs Poetica Sparkling Rosé from Brazil”
David of Cooking Chat  will be pairing “Brazilian Beans, Greens and Bacon with Sparkling Wine”
Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings will be serving “Miolo Alisios Pinot Grigio/Riesling and Raw Ahi Tuna 3 Ways”
Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm will be adding “Enjoying Indian Summer with Alma Sparkling Brut from Brazil”
Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs will be sharing “Friends, Seafood, Bubbly and Chardonnay:Our Brazilian Wine Pairing Dinner”
Debbie of The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess writes ” Final Garden Harvest Accompanied by Brazilian Wine”
Sarah of The Curious Cuisiniere writes “Pastel de Queijo and Brazilian Sparkling Wine Pairing”
Jill of L’Occasion “Bubbles from Brazil: a Treat for Wine Lovers”
Jennifer of Vino Travels muses about "Brazilian Sparkling Wines with Salton Brut" while here at Avvinare , I'll post about "Miolo Merlot Paired with Brazilian Skirt Steak with Golden Garlic Butter."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hudson Valley Wine & Spirit Competition Results

For the past 12 years or so I have been the chairperson for the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition. When it first landed in my lap I began to volunteer at other wine competitions ( The NY Classic) to gain some insight on how other wine competitions run.  It is from the many years of experience volunteering that I made some changes to the Hudson Valley competition to make it what is it today.

 I have to say I have a wonderful pool of judges that I contact every year. I couldn't do it without my backroom staff or my friend Dawn who spent hours with me labeling all the sheets for the judging. I owe a big thank you to my sister and nephews who spent the day at Whitecliff with me labeling all the bottles. I think my nephews got a bit of an education on wine varieties.

 Results can also be found on the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association website at

 Here are the winners. Congratulations to all!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Le Blanc de Greysac 100% Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

When I think of a Bordeaux white wine I think of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend. Perhaps because I never had a straight Sauvignon Blanc from the region, as white wine produced in Bordeaux is usually a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Le Blanc de Greysac - 100% Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

Wait, there is a straight Sauvignon Blanc produced by Jean Guyon from Château Greysac - Le Blanc de Greysac. A very enjoyable Sauvignon Blanc! The grapes, hand selected by Jean Guyon, harvested during the night and fermented in stainless-steel tanks shows great expression of Sauvignon Blanc from the region.
Aromas of lemon, lime, wet stone with a hint of white grapefruit turns into a palate that is smooth and balanced with just enough acidity to make you smile. The soft white grapefruit and citrus flavors softly illuminate your mouth with a crispness to make you want another glass.
Very reasonably priced at $19.95 makes this Bordeaux White - 100% Sauvignon Blanc affordable for every day.

About Jean Guyon

Jean Guyon is an interior designer who has redecorated luxurious homes and palaces throughout the world. It was during a visit to Medoc that turned his passion for wine. He embarked on his winemaking journey to make nice wines for his friends. This has grown to Domaines Rollan de By where you will find his entire portfolio of wines from the Medoc region.
Jean Guyon’s mission: “In creating each of our wines, we want to offer the best interpretation of the quintessence of the Medoc, the singular expressions of four inseparable factors: our terroirs, our grape varieties, our environment and know-how.”

I think he did just that in his Sauvignon Blanc.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Winephabet Street Y is for Yarra Valley

Welcome to Winephabet Street Season 1 Episode 25 Y is Yarra Valley

Winephabet Street is a monthly series where Lori Budd of Draceana Wines and I work our way through the alphabet exploring wine and wine regions on letter at a time. The show is live on the third Monday at 8pm and is free, but you must register to attend. Put it on your calendar, pour yourself a glass of wine and hang out with us.

In this episode, Lori and I take you to the Yarra Valley located just outside Melbourne, Australia, and Victoria’s first wine-growing district. It’s known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and one of the leading cool climate grown regions of the world.

Learn more about the Yarra Valley by listening to the podcast or watch the webinar below.

For more episodes of Winephabet Street visit

Yarra Valley Wine Tasting

For this episode I got my hands on a 2016 Shoofly Pinot Noir. Shoofly was founded in 2003 by Ben Riggs. The fruit for this wine comes from the Yarra and King Valley regions in Victoria. There was no oak used. The wine matured on the lees for nine months and then was bottled.

The Pinot was plumish in color, a bit of acidity. Flavors of cherry and spicy notes especially on the finish. Not complex but enjoyable.

The Webinar

The Podcast

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Left Coast Estate Wines of Summer

Left Coast Estate has been producing wine in the Willamette Valley since 2004. Having no farming experience the family moved from Colorado to Oregon to start the vineyard. They purchased the property from someone who wanted to build a golf course on it. The first vineyard had 180 acres. At Left Coast they are very focused on terroir-based wine. Their vineyard site has a lot of microclimates that affect the vines differently.

Left Coast Wines of Summer

Left Coast Estate produces some really unique wines to quench your thirst, pair with your food and friends.

Left Coast Queen Bee Bubbly 2018 SRP $36
New to me this year is the Queen Bee Bubbly. They use honey that is produced on their farm by 8 different hives in this special wine. The wine is made with 100% Pinot Noir produced from the Wädenswil clone and aged in oak for 10 months.

What is different and unique about this wine is the honey serves to fee the encapsulated years that is visible at the bottom of the bottle. It looks like little beads. Think of it as pieces of good pollen that impart the wildflower honey aromas and honeysuckle into the wine.
The wine is a palish golden amber in color and you can smell that honey along with some floral notes and orchard fruit. With nice acidity balanced out with the honeysuckle notes, it finishes with notes of red apple.

Left Coast Rose 2018 SRP $24
This Rose is made with 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier aged in 100% neutral oak for 6 months. A beautiful pale salmon in color this wine brings flavors and aromas of fresh strawberries, orchard peach, with hints of watermelon and citrus.

Left Coast Orchard Pinot Gris 2017 SRP 18
Truth be known, I am not a huge Pinot Gris fan, but I really dig Oregon Pinot Gris and Left Coast is one of them. Made with 100% Pinot Gris with 95% fermented in stainless steel while 5% is aged in neutral French oak barrels for 6 months this wine is full of acidity. Notes of green apple and apricot with a hint of honeysuckle this wine is very food-friendly and paired well with the Crab Risotto at Kitchen 330

Left Coast White Pinot Noir 2018 SRP $24
This is the wine that intrigued me the most and introduced me to the brand a few years back. What began as an experiment when the Pinot Noir grapes weren’t their best and at the time they didn’t have experience in making sparkling wine, they went with a still wine made with Pinot Noir and didn’t allow any skin contact with the juice. The fruit is crushed at very cold temperatures to make sure there is minimal coloration from the skins. This is now by far their most popular wine.
Produced with 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Blanc this wine is fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged on the lees for 5 months. With a hint of minerality and stone fruit your palate will awaken to green melon, pear and nice acidity.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Left Coast Estate Dinner at Kitchen 330 - Getting Personal With Taylor Pfaff

I thought I’d make this a Left Coast week, from one left-hander to a family of them. (you’ll see what I’m talking about in the podcast) Today we hear from Taylor Pfaff, CEO of Left Coast Estate and next article will be their summer wine selections. Enjoy.

Last fall I hosted Taylor Pfaff from Left Coast Estate for a wine dinner at Kitchen 330 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Chef Gus prepared a fabulous menu that paired 5 Left Coast wines with some amazing dishes.

In this podcast Taylor, the youngest child in the family, currently the CEO talks about Left Coast, his family, the wines and the clones used in producing 3 different Pinot Noirs. At times he gets pretty geeky with the clones.
Learn about the name of the winery, the Pinot Noir clones, the Lewis and Clark Label, and Truffle Hill explained.
Grab a glass of Left Coast or any wine for that matter and listen to Taylor talk so passionately about Left Coast Estate and his family.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sauvignon Blanc Lovers TRY Albarino

So you love Sauvignon Blanc. That is the only wine you drink, preferably from New Zealand with its racy acidity and the grapefruit pith. Yes, I have a friend that only drinks this wine. It’s not that she turns her head to other white wines that we make her try, this is what her palate likes. She hasn’t tasted Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain.

If you are like my friend, you need to try Albarino from Rias Baixas, and here is why:

  • Albarino is pale golden yellow in color
    • Albarino is a dry white wine
    • Albarino should be drunk young
  • Albarino is full of mouthwatering racy acidity
    • Very aromatic
  • Albarino is a nice crisp white wine
  • Albarino has mineral overtones
  • You can smell the ocean breeze
  • You can taste the salinity of the ocean
  • Flavors and aromas of apple, citrus, stone fruit, some tropical fruit
  • Has a nice crisp finish

This summer the best place to drink your Albarino

  • By the pool (with friends of course)
  • On the boat
  • At the beach
  • Order it with your oysters

Albarino week is the first week of August, so get out of your comfort zone, keep your palate open and try a bottle.

I can suggest these two beautiful Albarino’s too get you started on your experience with this wonderful grape.

Paco & Lola Albarino, Rias Baixas SRP $21.99
A fairly new winery founded in 2005 is the initiative of a group of winemakers in the region of O Salnes. Their cooperative is called “Sociedad Cooperative Vitivinivola Arousana” and is comprised of over 430 members. They have 220 hectares in the Val do Salnes area.

The Albarino is produced from free run juice from grapes of their best vineyards. The soil composition the grapes are grown in are sandy loam, granitic and slightly acidic. The wine is fermented in stainless steel for 21 days remaining on its lees until bottling.
Once you open this wine it will have you wanting more. You can smell the floral notes and the fresh ocean breeze. Taste the salinity along with citrus and lime, leaves your mouth bursting with bright acidity and a smile on your face.

Bodegas Eidosela Albarino, Rias Baixas SRP $13
This winery also fairly young, founded in 2003 by a group of viticultural entrepreneurs. The name Eidosela is named after the area the winery is located in, Eidos and Sela in the County of do Tea.
The wine is straw yellow in color with greenish undertones. You can smell the salinity coming from the glass along with hints of fresh lemon zest. On the palate hints of stone fruit, peaches and apricot leave you with mouth-ripping acidity. A little hint, once this wine warms up a tad, the fruit and acidity shine.