Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tasting Easter and Passover Wines...

The Goddess of Wine is so lucky! I was able to show two different groups of students delicious wines to enhance their Spring festivities. Thanks to Fossil Wine Bar in Atascadero and Morro Bay Wine Seller in Morro Bay for their partnership and willingness to bring in wines for me and my acolytes! Cheers!

According to the Food Network, these are among the most popular Easter dinner foods:
·         Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
·         Honey-Glazed Carrots
·         Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta
·         Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
·         Classic Deviled Eggs
·         Macaroni and Cheese
·         Asparagus and Cheese Tart


Here are some foods you'll find at a traditional Passover celebration:
·         Gefilte Fish – a mixture of various white fishes, matzo meal (like bread crumbs), and seasonings, often served with freshly grated horseradish
·         Matzoh Ball Soup – chicken soup with dumplings made with matzo meal
·         Beef Brisket
·         Potato Kugel – similar to a savory bread pudding
·         Matzoh – unleavened wafer
·         Haroset – a mixture of apples, walnuts, and honey

Another heavy meal.

Let’s have some wines that will balance some of the heaviness of the meals while providing enhanced enjoyment.

Here are 12 wines that may make your glazed ham or roasted lamb or beef brisket, and all their tasty side dishes, tastier!

At Fossil Wine Bar

2015 Michel Olivier Crémant de Limoux Brut, Villelongue d’Aude, France – Produced from 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, and 10 % Pinot Noir, this delicately effervescent straw colored Crémant shows citrus and floral aromas, surprisingly full-bodied in the mouth, with a fine mousse. Drink as an aperitif to start the meal, or with dessert for a lighter finish.

2018 Paix sur Terre Clairette Blanche, Paper Street Vineyard, Willow Creek District, Paso Robles – Rose petals in the nose, lemon and sumac on the palate. I immediately thought of pairing this with dessert, specifically poached pears. From the website: Paix Sur Terre’s Clairette Blanche is one of only a few renditions of this ancient varietal, which is new to U.S. soils.  While Clairette Blanche has been cultivated in the southern Rhone Valley for nearly 2,000 years, it was released for use in the U.S. just seven years ago.  Tablas Creek made the first U.S.-grown Clairette in 2013, and plantings have slowly increased over the past few years.  This fruit comes from Paper Street Vineyard, a new vineyard right next to Glenrose Vineyard in the Willow Creek AVA, and is planted on pure fractured limestone. Clairette is characterized by lower acidity; accordingly, it yields a wine with a richer mouthfeel than our other whites, with flavors of pear, candied ginger, and crushed rocks.

2017 Joyce Dry Riesling, Alluvial Fan Monterey County – This wine is a blend of vineyards from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco AVAs of Monterey County. 50% Tondre Grapefield, Santa Lucia Highlands and 50% Zabala Vineyard, Arroyo Seco. All stainless steel. Typical petrol in the nose, with a very dry spicy, peppery finish. Great acidity makes it a terrific counterpoint to rich, fatty foods. Or chicken soup.

2018 Elevage ‘Engagement’ Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles – Hints of peaches and cream, great acidity. Another bright, lightweight wine to complement a heavy meal; robust enough to pair with roast lamb or braised brisket. I’d be happy to drink this with every course.

2016 Transmission Wine Company ‘dis-order’, Paso Robles – Winemaker Dave McDonald, the assistant winemaker at Giornata wines, has put together a tasty blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Aglianico to create a bright, acidic blend with cranberry and raspberry highlights. Light on the palate, with balanced minerality and tart fruit, this wine will go well with glazed ham and creamy side dishes.

2016 LXV ‘Secret Craving’ Red Blend, Paso Robles – 59% Bootjack Ranch Cabernet Franc, 36% Burbank Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Hearthstone Vineyard Petit Verdot. A rich, spicy blend, with notes of pipe tobacco, dark berries, cedar, and baking spices. Pair this wine with your heavier meat dishes. 

At Morro Bay Wine Seller

2018 Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Viognier, Barossa Valley, South Australia – Stainless steel fermentation, using ambient yeasts, and aging on the lees, creates a rich, creamy mouthfeel, with aromatic white flowers and honeysuckle. This could pair well with that brown sugar-glazed ham, or maybe an apple tart for dessert.

2017 Domaine de Saint Cosme “Les Deux Albion”, Principauté D’Orange IGP Vaucluse, Gigondas, France – 50%% Viognier/30% Picpoul Blanc/20% Marsanne. This is only the second vintage of this wine made using fruit from a vineyard located across from Gigondas.  The limestone concentration in the soil is among the highest in the region. These soils contribute to the wine being more floral and nutty than fruity. Aging on the lees and a judicious use of oak impart attractive body. Pair with roast chicken, but this wine has enough brio to go with rack of lamb.

2017 Pikes [Hills & Valleys] Dry Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia – Brilliant pale green with a fresh, vibrant nose displaying aromas of lemon, granny smith apple and some perfume and floral notes. Hills & Valley Riesling is fresh and crisp with a palate full of lemon, lime and apple flavors. The wine has a touch of sweetness balanced with nice acidity providing both length and structure to the soft finish. Pair this with your soup and salad, or save it for dessert. Coconut macaroons, anyone? Oh, and the notes say this wine is “vegan-friendly”. Whatever that means. Pairs well with tofu and veggies.

2016 Joseph Burrier Fleurie ‘Poncie’ Gamay, Chateau de Beauregard, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France – Gamay is a grape variety that is most famous for producing the light, fruit-driven red wines of Beaujolais. While the variety offers fresh, red-fruit and candied aromas, it typically delivers light, simple wines. Goes well with any of the meat selections, and has enough acidity to lighten the heavier side dishes.

2016 Chateau Grimard AOC Red, Bordeaux, France – A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Chateau Grimard is a small, three generation-old family estate located in the commune of Lugon, just outside the Fronsac region on the right-bank of Bordeaux. The vines have an average age of 25 years. Chateau Grimard is a classic Bordeaux, offering a deep red-purple color, a lush bouquet, and ripe plummy-cassis fruit with good structure. It is a wine with more definition and character than most other petite chateaux, which is in part due to the excellent location of the property, where the Merlot grape thrives in the area’s clay soils. Chateau Grimard is vinified and matured in stainless steel tanks, it is a versatile, food-friendly wine that can be enjoyed with fowl and red meat dishes.

2013 Zenato “Alanera” Rosso Veronese, Veneto IGT, Italy – With an unusual blend of 55% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, call it a “super-Valpolicella”. Not quite Amarone, and yet…Generous and silky on the palate with an Amarone-like bittersweet finish. Some figs, dark chocolate and black dates there. Pair with your meats. Imagine this with a sweet and salty ham, or a wine-braised brisket. 

Are you full yet? 

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