Showing posts with label peaches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peaches. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pennsylvania Wine: At The Casino

We put off the wine vacation in favor of seeing family. Sometimes, the family is taken better with a gulp or two of some emotional lubrication, but we didn't require too much on this trip. Anyway, I can make any vacation a wine vacation. There's always a way.

We had a vacation, the wife and I, and we spent it in lovely Pennsylvania. The mountains and forests in the northeastern part of the state - and other parts, too - are gorgeous, even if most of those living there don't know how good they have it. People, you can park in front of the business into which you need to go. Cherish that!

Crossing Vineyards has a tasting room in the Mohegan Sun Casino. If you think about it, it's a great place for good wine. You can't gamble all the time, although I know some people who would disagree with that. The Crossing Vineyards Wine and Cheese shop offers full tastings, which I have had before. this time I opted for a glass of something inviting.

The Chambourcin Reserve 2013 is billed as a "Zinfandel style red wine." It certainly features a savory nose full of spices and Pennsylvania dirt. The palate is dark and silky with a hint of cola and coffee. It reminds me more of a big California Pinot Noir than Zinfandel.

The Crossing Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rosě 2014 shows a deep red color and smells of sweet cherries with herbal hints. It's not as dry as advertised, but maybe for local tastes it is.

A young woman was at the bar with an entire entourage waiting on her to finish a glass of her beloved, sweet, peach wine. She was obviously "worth waiting for," even though no one else in her adoring group would join her in a glass of vino. She effused about her selection to me, and cheerily asked if I like sweet wine, too. "Tonight I do."


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Friday, May 7, 2010

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2009

Spring has already made its presence known in Southern California.  Really, it seems at times that summer is trying to crash the party.  There's no need to rush things along.  At my place, we have already begun the spring planting routine.  I use the word "we" loosely.  Denise has actually been doing most of the heavy lifting in that area while I take care of other springtime activities.  Taking a nap on the couch, for instance.  Taking a nap in the lawn chair on the deck.  There are lots of places that need to get napped in before spring gets away from us, and I'm working diligently to cover those places while Mrs. Green Jeans sees to it that we can get yellow corn this summer.  It sure is hard to find it anywhere else.

I expect my work load to get a little heavier after she reads this, so let's quickly find a nice white wine to refresh us after toting a hundred pounds of mulch up the hill.

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes will do nicely.  Balbo makes wine in the Mendoza region of Argentina. I'm told the word "crios" means "offspring," so she's letting us know right up front that she considers her wine to be more than a product.  But, just between you and me, it's a really good product.  And Torrontes is a favorite grape for me in the warmer months.

The wine is a pale golden color in the glass, with a nose of ripe apricots, peaches and pears bathed in honey.  There is a sort of oleander aroma, too.  It's such a lovely smell, it almost made me think I had opened a late harvest wine by mistake.

Sipping it at room temperature, a lively acidity is the first thing I notice.  Bracing and fresh, the flavor of peaches with orange peel takes over.  There is no oak in this wine, so the fruit is there in all its glory.  It fills the mouth well and has a rather creamy texture, especially when chilled.  That's how I'm going to have it - after I tote that mulch up the hill.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Champagne Brut


There was a bit of a cause for celebration at our place recently.  Oh, OK, I'll tell you.  We have an App for iPhone and iPodTouch in the iTunes App Store!  It's called Dr Insult, and you can click the link to find out more about him if you like.  If you'd rather read about the Champagne, that's what follows.

If you've been making Champagne since 1785, you must be doing something right.  Actually no longer owned by anyone related to Florens-Louis Heidsieck, Heidsieck & Co. makes what many consider to be one of the better Champagnes available at an affordable price.  The Monopole Blue Top is a non-vintage bubbly at 12% abv.  

The sparkler pours up a lush golden color in the glass, with plenty of tiny little bubbles.  The nose carries a yeasty scent, but it does not cover up the floral and fruit components.  The yeasty funk rides along as an equal partner in this bouquet.  I smell pears and candied apple, too.  The mouthfeel is just gorgeous - silky smooth and creamy, with not a trace of carbonation.  It's a full-bodied Champagne, too, offering plenty of heft along with some tantalizing flavors.  Heath bar and toast come to the forefront for me, with apples and a trace of citrus following.  A toasted candy profile lingers on the finish.

Variety:  70% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier
Appellation:  France > Champagne
Vintage:  NV
Alcohol Level:  12% abv
Price:  $16 (375ml bottle)
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author

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. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Chardonnay 2008


Edna Valley is one of my favorite wine areas to visit.  Do I say that too much?  This time I mean it.  From the rolling hills to the lovely vineyards to the zany, unofficial mayor of Edna Valley - and her eclectic restaurant - it's a place that reveals something new every time we go there.  Not that it's got any wild nightlife or exotic attractions - the wine and the wine people are enough to make us thirst for a return visit.  

Edna Valley Vineyard  is one of the "showier" places in Edna Valley.  Calling anything in Edna Valley "showy" may be a bit of a stretch, but Edna Valley Vineyard's facility - among a few others there - is definitely ready for visitors.

I wouldn't call their Paragon Chardonnay a wine that defines what Edna Valley is all about, but it certainly shows its address well.  A golden straw color in the glass, one would expect quite an influence from the oak in this wine.  The nose betrays some of that influence with a fairly good dash of spices.  There is also a nice whiff of pears and minerals.  The rocks are something I expect in any white wine from Edna Valley. 

The taste is pretty incredible.  I get the kind of sweet fruit flavor that's in a can of fruit, like pineapple, pears or peaches - that heavy juice in the can.  There's a good bit of citrus, lemon zest, too.  The wood comes through in healthy fashion, with strong notes of vanilla and traces of holiday spice.  This would be a great white on the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table.  But don't wait until then.

Variety:  Chardonnay
Appellation:  California > San Luis Obispo County > Edna Valley
Vineyard:  Paragon
Vintage:  2008
Alcohol Level:  13.9% abv
Price:  $11
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author at a wine store

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vallons des Glauges Rosé 2008


Salads can be one of the most boring food items on a restaurant menu.  But sometimes you find a place that makes them right.  Denise and I favor salads, but even as a fan of the leafy dish, sometimes they can be too, well, leafy.

We have found a place that does salads right.  Salades de Provence  makes salads that have eggplant and zucchini in them.  Their salads have haricots verts in them.  I know that's only French for green beans, but don't they taste better when they call them that?  Bacon's in there, Saint Marcelin cheese, smoked salmon and fresh fried potatoes!  Fresh fried potatoes!  How can you go wrong with a salad which has fresh fried potatoes in it?

They also do quiche, but there's no need to make a list of what's in them.  It's hard to screw up a quiche.  They even have a "quiche of the day."

They also have plenty of French wine which all seems to go great with their food.  Most of the offerings are not special, high-dollar wines, but everyday offerings of, mainly, Provence.

I had a quiche, with a side salad, and a wine that seemed to have been made for the occasion.  Vallons des Glauges rosé went hand in hand with my dinner, as all the other wines I've had here have gone with those light dinners.

The rosé had a tight nose - it was quite chilled - but a light fruitiness came through, peaches, or some such sweetness.  The taste, though, was dry and flavorful.  It was great with my quiche.    

Variety: Grenache, Syrah, Counoise 
Appellation: France > Provence > Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Vintage: 2008 
Acquisition disclaimer: Bought, by the glass, by the author
 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Summerland Winery Orange Muscat 2008

Summerland Winery, just east of Santa Barbara, is better known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay than Orange Muscat, but after tasting this one in their tasting room I had to bring a bottle home.  The tasting room is "seaside cute" on the outside, and "Santa Barbara rustic" on the inside.  Summerland Winery is the easternmost point on Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail, and is well worth a stop when you're passing by on your way to some other place.

The Orange Muscat's clear bottle has a label full of sunflowers, giving the look of a perfect invitation to summer.  The nose features apricots, or maybe a basket of overripe peaches.  It's lush, but not overly sweet.  Floral notes abound on the nose and the palate, with some honeysuckle and oleander. 

I know I'll be back in Summerland sometime during its namesake season, and I'll be looking for this great summer wine when I'm there.

Variety:  100% Orange Muscat
Appelation:  California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara County
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol Content:  12.5% abv
Price:  $17
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 12


Clay Station Viognier 2007

I discovered this wine at an Indian restaurant Denise and I frequent.  It was a restaurant that had traditionally offered only beer as an alcoholic beverage.  The proprietor - a young Indian man who is hip to the fact that wine has become seriously mainstream popular - decided to branch out.  I saw the wine list and expected, hoped, to find some treasures of the burgeoning Indian wine industry.  They were there, indeed.  But also calling my name was Lodi, California.

Anytime I see a wine from Lodi on a wine list, I am compelled to try it.  I love the mineral-laced wines made from grapes grown in that clay earth.  The whites from Lodi have a mineral profile that is hard to match.  The old stagecoach stop - Clay Station - is memorialized in the name on the bottle.  That dirt itself is even in the name.  It makes me think of that John Fogerty lyric, "stuck in Lodi again," and imagine that it may not be such an awful place to find oneself anymore.  At least if you've got four dollars for a bottle of Viognier.

Clay Station Viognier is one of those not-so-rare finds at the Trader Joe's grocery chain.  If you can only buy really inexpensive wine, buy it at Trader Joe's.  They have a store full of genuinely good wine at prices that are sometimes jaw-dropping.  And if you're trying to bust a recession, what better way to do it than with a $4 wine that's actually pretty good?

The nose is floral and aromatic, with a good sense of the minerals coming forth right away, too.  On the palate, the wine is viscous and fruity, but again the minerals act as a traveling companion.  Peaches is what the taste reminds me of, but not sweet, drippy peaches served in the summertime with homemade vanilla ice cream.  These peaches are a bit short of fully ripe, with just a hint of crunch to them.  The acidity is quite nice and the finish long.  It was great with Indian food, by the way.  At home, we paired it with cabbage and red onions sauteed in olive oil, and it made us glad we didn't go out to dinner. 

Variety:  100% Viognier
Vineyard:  Clay Station Vineyard
Appellation:  California > San Joaquin County > Lodi
Vintage:  2007
Alcohol Level:  13.5% abv
Price:  $4
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tasting Notes: Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d'Asti 2007

The Bottle: There's a lot of Italian on the label, but even with my limited multi-lingual abilities there's enough English to give me a pretty good idea what's going on. Moscato d'Asti wines come from Italy's Piedmont region, in the northwest near the town of Asti. They are low alcohol wines by law - 5.5% abv. I bought this little gem for $16 in a Glendale wine store my wife and I like to frequent, although far too infrequently. Rosso Wine Shop, 3459 1/2 N. Verdugo Road, has a great selection of Italian wines. Jeff Zimmitti has Spanish, French and Californian in there, too, but we always seem to linger in the Italian aisle. Jeff puts on a nice tasting, too, every weekend. Oh yeah, the wine was Cascinetta Vietti 2007.

The Nose: The aromas were a little hard for me to get, as the wine was cold. It seemed to be rather floral and peachy.

The Taste: The taste certainly didn't hide, though. It was sweet and fizzy - not a full-fledged sparkling wine, but with enough bubbles to make it worthy of a special occasion, or a special person. The feel is quite full in the mouth, and the fizziness seems to give it a bit of an edge. Honeyed apples and pears were in the forefront, and a rather nutty note made itself known in the pleasant finish. It was a lush delight, and a wonderful change-of-pace wine if you go in for such a thing. And why shouldn't you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tasting Room Notes: The Wine Cellar, the Rio, Las Vegas


Very dark and full of wood and leather, The Wine Cellar at the Rio on Tropicana in Las Vegas is cool in temperature - natch - and the jazz is pretty cool, too.  Easy bebop from the likes of Miles and Charlie Parker really set the mood for a good wine tasting experience.  There are two dozen flights on the menu at $12-$79. Yes, $79.  That does sound like a lot, doesn't it?  Each flight offers  two-or-three ounce tastes, three to a flight.  I had the Riesling flight, "Sweet and Smooth." Here are my tasting notes.

1. Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste 2007 Kabinett - Sweet nose like honeysuckle. Tastes like peaches, melons.

2. Monchhof Robert Eymael 2006. Urzig Wurtzgarten, Spatlese - Smokey nose, like something on fire. No, like lake water smells near an outboard motor! Taste seems quite grassy and the sweetness has to struggle out. Very peculiar taste. But I like it.

3. Fritz Haag 2003. Mosel-Saar-Ruwer - Similar funky grassiness on nose. Reminds me of cutting grass - the exhaust from the lawn mower. Taste not sweet at all. Rather flat and burnt. Not very appealing to my palate, I'm afraid, but sort of interesting. Lacking acidity.

This was one of the more interesting tasting sessions I've had, and one of the most enlightening. If you are tired of the casino floor, simply walk down the stairs into The Wine Cellar. The hustle bustle of the gambling is behind you as soon as you go below ground level. I highly recommend The Wine Cellar to all wine lovers who find themselves in Las Vegas, looking for a respite.