Showing posts with label citrus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label citrus. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vitiano Verdicchio Vermentino 2008

The Rolling Stones gave us some very good advice once, about getting what we need in the event the thing we want is unavailable.  I almost never ask a restaurant to sell me a wine by the glass when their wine list clearly shows it to be offered by the bottle only.  This once, I made an exception.  I didn't see what I wanted, and I ended up getting exactly what I needed.

A recent Sunday lunch took us to a reliable old standby, Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills.  They have a pretty fine assortment of wines on their list, and I felt the moment called for a glass of a nice Italian white.  What better place for that?  I was hoping to find a Vermentino.  I don't know if it's a standard look, but their wine list had only one Italian white offered by the glass.  A Pinot Grigio.  It simply wasn't what I wanted.  I went to the bartender - who was holding an already opened bottle of wine in his hands - and told him I was hoping for a glass of an Italian white with a little more appeal.  He said, "How about this one?," holding the bottle up in front of him.  He even poured me a taste.  I was sold.

Vitiano's 50/50 Umbrian blend of Verdicchio and Vermentino was an excellent choice, even though I can't take credit for choosing it.  I can't even give the bartender credit - he was just trying to sell another glass of the wine he was already holding in his hands.  However it transpired, it was alright with me.

Its beautiful golden color is a perfect complement to a sunny Sunday lunch.  There's a wonderful nose laden with minerals, citrus and honeyed pears.  The taste is lush and mouth-filling, like pear juice.  A fresh minerality comes through, too, which offers the enjoyable situation of drinking a wine that's both crisp and soft.  So you can actually, sometimes, get what you want and what you need.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

KONO Sauvignon Blanc

Not very often does a waiter recommend a particular wine to me unsolicited.  I suppose I'm fairly decisive when asking for a wine, so they figure they don't need to chip in with their two cents worth.  I certainly would not have expected that sort of offering from a waiter at The Daily Grill, but that's exactly what I got at the Studio City location.

Chain restaurants generally have lackluster wine lists to begin with, and the help doesn't usually seem to care too much about your order anyway.  So when our waiter hesitated on my request for Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc, and instead suggested a New Zealand brand, he had my attention.  It was only $8, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I'm glad I did.

KONO, it turns out, is a New Zealand company that sells both seafood and wine primarily to importers, wholesalers and the hospitality trade.  The weather was nice out in Southern California and I was really feeling the springtime.  This Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc played its role perfectly.

Giving a greenish-gold glow in the glass, the nose is grassy with a bit of melon rind in the background.  There is a scent of citrus, but not overwhelmingly so.  On the palate the citrus is a bit stronger.  I taste citrus orange zest and again a slight melon rind comes into play.  It's not so tart as to make the mouth pucker, yet the acidity makes this wine a natural for a food pairing.  I loved it with my BLT sandwich and the cole slaw that came on the side.  It's a very smooth quaff, perfect for a nice spring or summer day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chateau Boyrein Blanc Graves 2008

We were a little early for a show recently and decided to have a bite before, rather than after.  We were rather looking forward to the salute to Noel Coward, hosted by Stephen Fry, and maybe the evening's card had us feeling a bit continental.  We elected to drop in at Michel Richard on Robertson.

It had been quite a while since my wife had been there, and I was a newcomer.  Inside it appeared somewhat different to her, and not at all what I expected.  It looked a little down at the heels, actually.  We found that Richard no longer owns the place, although his name is still on it.

It is still a French restaurant and pastry shop, though, and my quiche was very good.  Denise just sort of pushed her food around on the plate with her fork.  The prices were a real surprise to me, and not a bad one.  Portions were large, but the prices were at least three or four dollars cheaper than I expected.  That doesn't happen too often.  And my wine was only $5.50 per glass.  That hardly ever happens.

To top it off, the wine list was pretty decent.  I selected a white Bordeaux, simply because I hardly ever see them offered in restaurants.  The Chateau Boyrein Blanc Graves was not sweet like a Sauternes, but dry as a bone.  In Graves, the whites are typically made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.  Sure enough, the nose featured a very fresh grassiness and the "wet rocks" scent of minerals.  There was citrus on the palate, which had a rich and creamy element to it as well.  The wine was extremely aromatic and deliciously satisfying, especially in its pairing with the quiche.

The dinner cost about $12 less that it might have in another eatery, and it was delicious.  Mine was, at least.  Thankfully, the wife's evening was saved by the show.  Stephen Fry to the rescue.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Naiades Bodegas Naia 2005

Spanish wines always seem to amaze me.  I see images of smallish vines growing out of clumps of dusty rocks set about 10 feet apart from each other so there will be enough water for them all.  It seems a miracle that they grow at all, let alone produce fruit from which such wonderful wine is made.  I purchased this wine at a Spanish wine tasting event at Santa Clarita's All Corked Up some time ago.  I ran across my notes and thought I'd post it here because I loved it so much.

The bottle is a relatively big and clunky Burgundy-style container.  The label tells us the wine is from the Rueda region in northwest Spain.   It's 100% Verdejo from vines that are 90 years old, and sold at this event for $23, although it usually runs a bit more in stores.

Naiades has a golden-green tint in the glass, it's really a beautiful wine.  The citrus on the nose is a mixed plate of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit.  There is a strong scent of minerals in there, too.

On the palate, it's mainly a grapefruit show, but not in an overpowering way.  That's good for me, as I'm not a huge fan of grapefruit.  There's enough peach, pear and even honeysuckle coming through to make it a lively and varied taste, and the minerality keeps things crisp and fresh.  It's not a favorite wine of mine for sipping, but pair this with a woven wheat cracker and some of that strong Danish Castella cheese from Trader Joe's, and it absolutely rocks.  I'm sure seafood of all sorts would find this a good mate, too.

Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author at a discounted price during a tasting event. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gallegas Destino Blanco

 As I researched Destino Blanco, I found that it was extremely hard to find out anything about the wine.  Even the website for Vinos y Bodegas Gallegas, the producer, has no information about it that I could find.  Hence, the informational aspect of this entry may seem a little skimpy.  I apologize for that, and I invite you to leave any comments which may shed some light on this lovely and affordable wine.

There are a few bits of knowledge I was able to come across.  It's produced in Galicia, on Spain's northwestern coast.  It's 11% abv and it costs a paltry $7.  Also, it is not to be confused with the Napa Valley boutique winery called Destino.  The Gallegas export manager, Hay Sprunken, informs me the wine is 100% Airén, a popular grape in Spain, although I understand the acreage devoted to it is dwindling in favor of other grapes like Tempranillo.

First you'll notice the pale golden color.  Then the aromatics.  The nose sports a floral component mixed with wet rocks.  There are a lot of minerals apparent in the aroma, and they carry over onto the palate.

There is no oak influence, so I would assume this to be a wine fermented in stainless steel.  The taste is a bit tart, but very clean and refreshing.  Citrus notes mix with the minerals and produce a satisfying flavor profile which is backed up by a nice acidity.  A slight floral sense is present and lingers in the finish.

Destino Blanco may be a trifle hard to find, but if you do find it, snap up some for the summer months ahead.  I found mine at Wine Expo in Santa Monica.   It may become a standard at your place, like it has at mine.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rotari Brut Talento Trento NV

We definitely did not drink enough sparkling wine in my household over the holidays, as here I am dragging another bottle out and blowing off the dust for another weekend bubblefest.  Come to think of it, this is a pretty good way to celebrate Saturday.  At this rate, we may not have enough left to celebrate Texas Independence Day!

Rotari Brut is a sparkling wine hailing from the Adige Valley in Italy's Talento region.  It's Italian, but it's not Prosecco.  This festive wine is produced in the Metodo Classico, meaning it's fermented a second time in the bottle.

Rather clean and fruity on the nose, this pale yellow sparkler is dry and crisp, with pears and citrus notes on the palate.  A strong streak on minerals is also present.  It does not have the extremely yeasty aroma or taste that Methode Champenoise wines often have.  Of course, you may not count that in the "plus" column.  I rather like a bit of funk on my sparkling wine.

Winemaker:  Rotari Talento Trento D.O.C.
Variety:  90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero
Appellation:  Italy > Trentino > Trento
Vintage:  NV
Alcohol Level:  12.5%
Price:  $12
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author

Monday, November 9, 2009

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 3

Tres Pinos Tierra Blanca is a San Luis Obispo County wine, but that's just where the grapes come from. The winery which makes it, San Antonio Winery, is actually in downtown Los Angeles. It's something of a historical landmark. This wine was bottled specifically to be marketed at Trader Joe's as a bottom-shelf $5 wine. That's the history lesson, now let's see how good this recession-busting tastes today.

The Bottle: Tres Pinos is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Chardonnay. The alcohol level is relatively low at 13.5% abv. The label promises "bright and crisp with aromas of citrus and wildflowers."

The Nose: If they say it's citrus and wildflowers I'm smelling, so be it. I detect a floral presence along with a tropical note - perhaps guava. But there is something else in there that I cannot quite pin down. Not an unpleasant nose, but nothing to go out of your way for.

The Taste: At $5, you may ask, "what did you expect?" Well, not much, to be truthful. Frankly I think I got my money's worth. That, considering the price, is both good and bad. I detect the Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier, but the Gewurz and the Chard are pretty much lost on me. It's actually not terrible, and I might sit on the porch and down a couple of glasses without realizing it. There's not much acidity, so we'll skip the food pairing portion of the program. There's also a medium-length finish that you may wish wasn't so lengthy. If I haven't mentioned it already, serve this wine chilled. No, refrigerated. You really don't want it warming up as you drink it.

I don't write too many unfavorable tasting notes, and it doesn't sit well with me when I do. I like wine, and I enjoy liking it. This one simply does not hit me in the right place. If all you have is $5, and you need to spend it on white wine, I suppose it would be considered a value play for you, if it weren't for the fact that Clay Station's Viognier is about the same price at TJ's and it's actually good. I wish I had opened that wine today. Maybe I will in the coming weeks.

Disclaimer: I paid for the wine I wrote about.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Napa Rose - In The Lounge

A recent visit to Napa Rose at the Disneyland/California Adventure complex was quite enjoyable, despite the fact that we came without a reservation and had to sit in the lounge area. It turned out to be perfect, as we really weren't all that hungry anyway. In the lounge you can order any of the salads or appetizers from the menu. Perfect, since that's what we wanted. The wines, as expected, were outstanding. I tried a pair.

Domaine Tempier Blanc, Bandol, France 2007 This is a very nice wine! The white wines of Bandol take such a backseat to the reds, they are practically in the trunk. Only about 5% of the grapes in Bandol are white wine grapes. Pale golden in the glass, the nose has tons of minerals along with citrus and grassy aromas. It feels full in the mouth with a great acidity. Some pear and citrus come across on the palate, but it it dominated by the minerality. Enjoy a nice, long finish. It's an interesting blend of 58% Clairette, 19% Ugni Blanc, 19% Bourboulenc, 4% Marsanne. Excellent with seared scallops.

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2007 From an area where they really know how to make a great white wine, this namesake winery in Dry Creek Valley does a great job with Chenin Blanc. Aromas of honeysuckle and tropical fruit capture the nose. The pale wine is crisp and refreshing, with flavors of tart apple and melon. The acidity is great, perfect for food, and the finish is pleasing.

My wife and I enjoy the appetizers-in-the-lounge experience so much, that's where we've been found on our last few visits to Napa Rose. If you are really hungry, though, you should opt for the dining area where you can order entrees.