Wine… It pairs perfectly with Christmas (2014)

I absolutely adore these guys! If you love wine, you’ll love the WineWankers! Merry Christmas to all!

The Wine Wankers

wine wankers funny christmas wine image 1 It’s been almost a year since I posted the original “Wine… It pairs perfectly with Christmas” so after seeing loads of Christmas related wine and drinks images on our social media I thought I’d post a version for 2014. It’s a week out from the big day so it gives everyone a bit of time to absorb these images and to maybe get a smile or two out of them in the lead-up.

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Thorn Clarke – 2010 Shotfire Barossa Valley Quartage

NV_ThornClarke_Shotfire_Quartage3Some of you may already be acquainted with my love of rich, red wines.  You know the kind.  The kind that warm you up and wrap you in their deep aromas and flavors.  Perfect when the seasons start to change, and you’ve said your good-bye’s to summer’s Sauv Blancs, at least for now.  That’s the kind of wine that this evening begged for, even though the leaves haven’t changed yet.

I perused my wine rack to see what might hit the spot, and lo’ and behold, I came across this Australian lovely.  I already had a pot of thick bolognese on the stove, so (even though it’s not Italian) this would be perfect.  Perfect, but not without some effort.

Ok, a lot of effort.

After the foil wouldn’t let go for love or money, and the cork broke, and the ah-so failed to do its job, I did what any wannabe wine pro would do.  I grabbed an iced tea spoon and shoved the cork into the bottle.

So now that I’ve washed the kitchen down, and since my shirt has stopped dripping wine, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the wine.

In the glass this deep, opaque, leggy red was begging me to drink it.  As I turned the glass toward my nose, the rich aromas of cassis and dark currant rushed out of the glass.  I pulled my nose into the rim to discover violet and leather, with just a tiny bit of graphite swirling below.  A little cedar and eucalyptus were there, just around the edges.  The first sip was just wonderful.  Smooth and full, with black fruit and spice.  The acidity was perfect and lingering.  Just lovely.

This wine is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.  It has an alcohol of 14.5, but no real heat, which was a  pleasant surprise.

In retrospect, the effort was worth it.  Well worth it.

A Reason To Pop Some Champagne! …Hero of War of 1812 revealed in book written by Frederick man – The Frederick News-Post : Frederick

This is one post that you won’t be reading about whatever I think about this wine or that wine, or what might (or might not) pair with asparagus.  Rather, I wanted to share an article about something – someone – near and dear to my heart – my wonderful husband.  He just wrote a book (It’s on Amazon, and you can read more at SamSmithBook.com)!  His first one!  The local paper decided to do a feature article on him, so I’m sharing it with you.  I will tell you though, this is reason to celebrate!  And so as a celebration of Robert’s wonderful accomplishment, and a celebration of the 200th anniversary of America’s victory in its second war of independence, we will offer up a toast tonight!

Hero of War of 1812 revealed in book written by Frederick man – The Frederick News-Post : Frederick.

A toast!  To one man that I love very much! And to the blessings of liberty – may we never forget what it means, and may we always be willing to stand for it!  Cheers!  And God bless!

Wine Wonderings – Bubbles and All Things Briny

oysters-champagne2Sometimes you need to treat yourself to something special – just because.  And what could possibly make you feel more special than a glass of something bubbly?  Come on, you know what I mean.  You keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge in case something “special” happens, or an unexpected important guest shows up.  Don’t you?  And for many of us, that bottle sits there, day after day, week after week, and you keep telling yourself, “One day”, but you never let YOU be that special guest, and you never let TODAY be that “special” something.  Well, my friends, that needs to change!

Recently we had the chance to indulge our palates with an evening of Champagne & Oysters at one of our very favorite haunts, The Bavarian Inn, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  We’ve enjoyed some of the most wonderful wine and food pairings at The Bavarian Inn, and that evening, like so many others, was just fabulous.  On the menu was a selection of seven sparkling wines, and a variety of delicious dishes from the sea and land.dibon-cava-nv

We started our trip around the sparkling wine world with Bodegas Pinord Dibon Brut Reserve Cava, NV, from Spain.  The extra fine bubbles popped from this wine’s pale surface and released aromas that were filled with clean apple and just a hint of citrus.  This wine has a pleasant, reserved acidity, and the finish was short with a hint of mineral.  All in all, a very nice wine.  The citrus let this wine pair just wonderfully with curried deviled eggs.

masuretproseccoFrom Spain our wine experience took us to the Treviso hills of Italy.  We indulged in a glass of Marsuret Prosecco DOC Treviso, NV.  This wine gave us creamy feel and light apple and pear aromas that included just a hint of floral.  Oddly enough, there was a slight hint of Parmesan cheese on the nose as well.  As peculiar as that sounds, it worked very well.  This wine had a clean, short finish, and went very nicely with the sweetness of lightly friend scallops, and stood up to the herbed tartar sauce.

LSN570_NV_phMoving up into Germany, our next glass of bubbly was Loosen Brothers Dr. L. Riesling Sekt Mosel, NV.  This wine had quite a bit of pear on the fruity nose, which was so very nice.  The lingering acidity was particularly enjoyable, as was the modest finish.  The acidity made this wine a great accompaniment to the subtle saltiness of the oyster bisque.df-gruet-blanc-de-noirs_300

After spending time so many delicious European sparkling wines, it was time to try something a little closer to home.  Our hosts poured Gruet Winery Blanc de Noirs, NV, from New Mexico.  What?  New Mexico?  Really?  YES!  And it was just delightful!  This pale salmon sparkling wine is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, and exudes creamy pear and light berry aromas, accented by a slight bitter lemon.  This wine also lends a slight nuttiness to its earthy, modest finish.  This bubbly was just delicious with an olive and herb focaccia bread.  We since shared this find with friends, and they’ve loved it too.  It’s on our list of must-haves for parties, and is a tremendous value.

hugo_rose2009Heading back over to Europe, our trip around the sparkling wine world led us to Weingut Huber Hugo Sparkling Rose, NV, from Austria.  This wine is a lovely blend of Zweigelt and Pinot Noir, and offered up lovely strawberry and fresh raspberry aromas with just a tiny bit of floral accent.  The acidity was very nicely balanced, and counter-balanced with slight earthiness and minerality.  This wine had a modest and pleasant finish, and paired very nicely with caviar as well as fresh raw oysters.fitz-ritter-riesling-sekt

From Austria our trip took us back to Germany, with Fitz Ritter Extra Trocken Riesling Sekt, NV.  This wine comes from old vine Riesling, and offers up much of the fruitiness that we expect from an off-dry Riesling.  What was particularly intriguing, however was the distinct aroma of a creamy rice pudding that also mingled with the fruit.  It was unexpected, and delightful.  The acidity was very nice, and let this wine pair very well with fresh fruit and an assortment of cheeses.

degeorgisOur evening was quickly drawing to a close, and what would be more appropriate than to finish off with something sweet.  Our trip took us back to Italy for one final sparkling experience.  Our last wine was DeGiorgis Moscato d’Asti, 2012, from the Piedmont region.  This is a fruity and sweet wine with amazing aromas of guava and mango.  Despite its sweetness, it had a wonderful, persistent acidity that balanced the sweetness and let the flavors just shine.  This wine easily pairs with fruit and light custard, but you can enjoy it all by itself as a sweet end to a fabulous meal.

Every wine we tasted that wonderful evening was delicious in its own way, and every single one was reasonably priced, and within reach for those “special” occasions, like a Friday night after a long week, a Tuesday night after a tough day, when a friend stops by and wants to treat you to pizza, or went you want something fun to have when watch your favorite movie.  So open the fridge, grab that bubbly, and make today special.  You deserve it!

The Beach House – 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

BeachHouseMany of us think New Zealand when we think about Sauvignon Blanc, but believe it or not, Sauv Blanc is done well in other places.  South Africa is now one of those places.  This wine is pleasant, and quite a nice value.  This wine is a product of the Western Cape area of South Africa, and offers up some pleasant aromas, like lemongrass, citrus (lemon and bitter orange predominate), the tiniest bit of floral and melon.  This wine treads a little lightly, perhaps a little too lightly, on some of the traditional Sauv Blanc characteristics, like that herby grassiness that is often prevalent in a Marlborough Sauv Blanc.  Flavors are softly citrus with just a little spiciness, and the finish is short but clean.  This wine was a nice accompaniment to fresh crab steamed in Old Bay.

Chateau Greysac – 2009 Medoc

greysacSometimes getting your first choice of something is good.  Sometimes getting your second choice is even better.  I was out with friends the other night when our second choice turned out to be perfectly delicious.

This wine is a deep and rich Bordeaux blend, roughly half Merlot, and balanced out with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  On the nose were dark fruits with leathery undertones.  Slight hints of violet and char were also noticeable.  The flavors stayed fresh and juicy.  The tannins were fairly well structured and restrained, with nicely balanced acidity, resulting in a lush mouthfeel.  The flavors opened up a little more after a few minutes, so decanting is an option.  The finish had a light spice and was moderate in length.  With an alcohol level of 14%, the wine was enjoyable with no unpleasant alcohol heat.

This wine paired particularly well with grilled filet mignon and haricot verts.  This wine is a great value and worth exploring for yourself.