Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A New Napa Cuisine

A New Napa Cuisine

A short while ago, I checked out Christopher Kostow's book, A New Napa Cuisine. It's a very tactile book, with serious heft, a pleasantly rough cover, and slick pages inside (also, nothing like that new book smell, right?). His writing, connecting what he does as Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley with his surroundings, is impassioned and inspiring. The photography makes me want to move to wine country sooner rather than later, though neither is likely. Surprisingly, the recipes, while numerous, seem unimportant to one's journey. Even though it showcases his creativity and his use of local artisans, I found it actually detracted from the experience of reading this book - I thumbed through the recipes pretty quickly, more interested in reading what he had to say next rather than seeing what I was missing at the restaurant. I'm sure, given more time, I'd appreciate the recipes more, but the writing and photography alone are enough to recommend this book.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Artisan Collection

The Artisan Collection  is an importer of family made wines, centered on preserving and promoting wine traditions and authenticity. To preserve the quality of the wines from vine to bottle to sale, they use only expedient and 100% refrigerated storage and shipping. They sent a few sample bottles to try out from their broad portfolio some time ago, just found my notes again. :)

Artisan Collection

Tasting Notes:
Bodegas Ramon Ramos Monte Toro Roble 2009: Tinto de Toro grapes hand harvested from 30-year-old vines; fermented in small concrete tanks, plot by plot; only native yeasts used; aged 6 months in French and American Oak; bottled without fining or filtration, direct into the bottle from the casks; dark, almost opaque ruby color with lighter edges; cassis, dark cherry, herb and earthy aromas; bright red fruit, rhubarb, and herb flavors; lighter bodied than expected; lots of acidity; 14.5% ABV; natural cork closure; SRP $15 (depending on location).
Las Lilas Vinho Verde White 2013: Estate grown Louriero and Treixadura from vines that are 25+ years old; yellow color with greenish tinge; white floral, pear, and subtle starfruit aromas; green melon, pear, and tangerine flavors; light bodied with slight effervescence; tart and acidic, refreshing to drink; 10% ABV; twist-off closure; SRP $10 (depending on location).
2 more varietals for my Wine Century Club list - up to 133!

Wine received for tasting purposes – all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wines of Garnacha

I really enjoyed the samples of Garnacha wines I received for the Wines of Garnacha campaign. Garnacha (better known by its French name, Grenache) is one of the world’s most popular wine grapes. The aim of the campaign is to differentiate the products and raise the profiles of Garnacha wines produced in the five Protected Designations of Origin located in the area where Garnacha originated (Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano and Terra Alta). Garnacha originated in the region of what is now eastern Spain. Garnacha thrived in the hot, dry Mediterranean climate, and soon spread to the south and east, first to Catalonia and then to other places where the Crown of Aragón expanded throughout the 12th-17th centuries. We tasted the wines over a period of several weeks, enjoying them with a variety of foods.

Garnacha of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano and Terra Alta

Tasting Notes:
Bodega Pagos del Moncayo Garnacha 2012: grapes hand-picked; macerated in open vats for a week before being crushed by foot; aged 10 months in oak; vibrant red color; dark fruit, berry, vanilla and coffee aromas; berry, spice, and earth flavors; 14% ABV; cork closure.
Castillo de Monseran Garnacha 2011: grapes from bush vines; ruby red color; berry, plum and herb aromas; red berry, plum, and dark berry flavors and vanilla flavors; 12.5% ABV; cork closure.
Agoston Garnacha and Syrah 2013: 50% Garnacha, 50% Syrah; fermented with skins for 10 days in stainless steel tanks; malolactic fermentation in American and French oak barrels; aged two months in wood, then stabilized, filtered, and bottled; light ruby or garnet color; red berry, floral and spice aromas; bright red fruit, dark fruit, spice and cocoa flavors; 13.5% ABV; twist-off closure.
Viñas Del Vero La Miranda de Secastilla 2009: grapes hand-picked; aged 8 months in new French Allier oak; no fining, light filtration before bottling; deep ruby color; blackberry, earth, and vanilla aromas; cherry, plum, and spice flavors; 14% ABV; cork closure.
Bodegas y Viñedos del Jalón Alto Las Pizarras 2009: grapes hand-picked; cold macerated, then fermented in stainless controlled temperature tanks; aged 11 months in new French Oak; spice, dark fruit, and coffee aromas; cherry, dark fruit, spice and vanilla flavors; 14% ABV; cork closure; 50,000 bottles produced.
Punto Y Seguido Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2009: grapes hand-picked from 40+ year old vines; fermented in stainless controlled temperature tanks after 4 day cold soak; aged 9 months in French Oak; cherry red color; floral, red berry, spice, and grass aromas; cherry, spice, and dark fruit flavors; 14% ABV; cork closure; 150,000 bottles produced.
Discover the wonderful Land of Garnacha Video

Nice variety amongst the wines, with all being food-friendly, drinkable now, and a pleasure to taste!

Wines received for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vintage 2015: a Year in American Wine


In 2014, Wil Fernandez and a team of team of photographers, videographers, writers and artists were out in the vineyards from bud break to harvest, documenting the vintage via films, photographs and art on a simple project website that is now a complete timeline of the 2014 vintage in Santa Barbara County, California. Will is now looking to fund a real-time archive of the 2015 vintage - this project will bring together farmers, winemakers and creative people from across the United States. If funded, an interactive web destination will collect stories from vineyards and wineries across the nation through words, photographs and videos; this will help overcome geographic constraints in order to create an archive of the 2015 vintage across the United States. Follow your favorite wines from dirt to glass via local correspondents, or become a local correspondent yourself.

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