Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arca Nova Loureiro 2010

It was hotter than heck in my house when I got home from antiquing this afternoon, and I couldn’t wait to dive in to my chilled-to-perfection bottle of Arca Nova Loureiro. I've never tried a Portuguese wine before, and I was intrigued by the “Vinho Verde” on the label. I supposed maybe that it referred to the color; it’s a very light yellow with a hint of green to it—but through careful research (google), I discovered that Vinho Verde wines originated in the Minho province of Portugal, and basically it means “new” wine. This one’s a 2010, and a good example of the style.

Besides the unique color, the first thing you’ll notice is the fantastic smell. It’s very clean (I want to scrub my bathtub with it), light and orchardy (sure, that’s a word). When I closed my eyes I pictured myself walking on crushed apples and blossoms, the aromas wafting up from underfoot.

I can totally taste
Caesar's headgear in there...
At first sip the Loureiro is tingly on the tongue; it’s not precisely fizzy or carbonated, but it makes your tongue feel alive. It’s crisp, light and surprisingly not as dry as I imagined it would be. 

I’m having a really hard time picking out specific flavors to describe it though. The bottle says there are “aromas of laurel, linden and acacia.” That makes sense, ‘cause I have no idea what any of those things taste like and I had to look up what linden and acacia are. My interpretation: the Loureiro has a light herbal and/or floral flavor, like if you made a wine from a cup of herbal tea.

The Loureiro starts out strong and finishes slow. It’s bright and it lingers, taking a while for the aroma to leave your mouth after you sip, so go ahead and savor it. I had it with cold pizza and it’s not a combination I’d recommend. I wound up putting it down and drinking more once I’d finished eating. It's flavorful enough to enjoy on its own, but it would also be a great addition to a chicken dish, shellfish, or cream-based pasta dish. Enjoy!

My antique finds: Guides from 1911 and 1953 for talking
to your children about "the birds and the bees".
I think Freud would have a field day
with the design on the right...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Casa V Pinot Grigio Rosé (Fizzy)

it looks just like me!
It’s probably my own fault for insisting that this week I try a wine that matches my personality (since you asked: bubbly and pink…spot on, no?), but I don't have a ton to say about Casa V Pinot Grigio Rose (which I hereby dub "the Fizzy P"). I mean, it's not a bad little wine, but there are many others I would prefer to drink.

To start with, I’m not a Pinot Grigio fan. I don’t know why; I’m just not (and that’s OKAY). I also generally don’t like rosés. Before I start to sound like a finicky ass-hat, let me tell you what I DID like about this wine:

It’s a gorgeous color. I mean look at it—bright pink, with just enough effervescence to make it interesting.  It’s lightly-flavored and carbonated (bubbles almost always get a thumbs up in my book) and definitely meant to be served cool and in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a fun wine, so don’t feel the slightest bit guilty if you sip with your pinky down or from a red Solo cup. Really, it’s your call. 

The Fizzy P practically screams "drink-me-in-a-rocking-chair-in-the-shade-on-your-back-porch-whilst-relaxing-with-a-good-book." And who can't deal with a wine that has demands like THAT?

For the life of me I could not pull any specific aromas from tasting the Fizzy P; all I can tell you is that it tasted like wine. No berries, no weird aromas of dandelions or igneous rocks— though I have read reviews stating that berry flavors are in there. Maybe there was a vague bit of citrus (perhaps lemon?) going on. 

It could have been that the wine is subtle and my pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw and corn on the cob were overpowering its elusive flavor; but before I knew it, the bottle was empty and I did not have the opportunity to give it another go after dinner. I happily moved on to Riondo Prosecco (an old favorite) instead.

I do all my own stunts.
SO…a nice, light sipper, I recommend the Fizzy P sans accompaniment; if corn on the cob can overpower it, stay away from eating and drinking at the same time—this one’s meant to fly solo (pun intended).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sassy Bitch Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Don't judge.

Sometimes (or if you’re like me, all-of-the-times) drinking wine is about having fun.  So if you’re drinking a wine called Sassy Bitch, merriment is bound to ensue.

I had a glass or three of Sassy Bitch Sauvignon Blanc (from here on out to be referred to as “Sassy Sauv” because I am too lazy to keep typing that all out) over the weekend at a last-minute barbeque at our house. The weather was nice, the company was lively, and the burgers were juicy. A few cold glasses were all I needed to top off a lovely evening.

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan.  I tend to like my whites sugary— and while Sauvignon Blancs differ greatly depending on the region where the grapes were grown (the Sassy is Chilean), none are particularly known for their sweetness.

That fact aside, the Sassy Sauv does have a lot to offer. If you give it a whiff before you dive in, you’ll smell spring-time, light and lovely. There’s grass and a hint of flowers in the aroma. It’s very light in color, as are most Sauvs. If you’ve chilled it sufficiently it will feel delightful on your tongue; cool followed by a bit tingly. Then it hits the back of the palate with that acidic tweak that often accompanies dry wines (you know, in that spot right under the hinge of your jaw. It happens to me sometimes when I drink wine. And OJ). The tingly-tweak is followed up with a nice citrus-peel quality; perhaps grapefruit zest is what I’m going for here. It’s simple and refreshing; a wine meant to accompany, not dominate.

The Sassy Sauv is a straightforward wine that is best enjoyed with a meal. I had garlic and herb grilled chicken, a cheeseburger, and pasta salad—probably not an ideal grouping, but I’ll drink any varietal with just about any meal. However for best flavor, I’d recommend this served chilled with a light, flaky fish—baked, broiled, sautéed, Long John Silvers, whatever. Now I’m hungry again.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dreaming Tree Crush 2009

I’ve never been that in to DMB musically, but I am quickly becoming a fan of Dave Matthews’ wine. Unlike a lot of celebs who lend names to libations, Dave is really involved in the creation and production of Dreaming Tree along with vineyard veteran and wine world rock-star Steve Reeder, who has spent time working for Simi and Kendall Jackson.  For more on Steve and Dave’s partnership, check out the Dreaming Tree website.

Yeah folks, it's that good.
For this week’s tasting I sampled Crush, Dreaming Tree’s red blend. I’m going to come right out here and tell you it was DE-LISH. Like Dave’s music, the wine is both smooth and jammy (just play along with my lame metaphor here) in the best way possible.

It starts out in the glass with tones of dark, vivid purple and red, and smells sweeter and lighter than most reds. This is not to say that it’s sugary or spread too thin—it’s just right (smmoooooth and jammy)!

Other reviewers have mentioned a smoky quality, but I’m not tasting that tonight (could be the lovely spiced chicken tikka masala I had for dinner). What I do get from this wine is a fairly straightforward berry taste; the raspberry jam punches you right in the roof of the mouth. The aftertaste stays true; it doesn’t linger too long after you sip and the flavor doesn’t change on you. This makes it great with a meal.

Steve and Dave say they want their wines to be fun and accessible. They got it spot on. I really enjoyed drinking Crush this evening as a complement to my Indian cuisine. You might try it with other foods too: barbeque, pizza or steak wouldn’t do you wrong. Hell, I’d probably enjoy this wine with an accompanying bowl of Raisin Bran.

Okay so that's a bowl of Corn Flakes,
but you get the idea...

*Side note: While researching the winery, I discovered that Steve Reeder has a degree in Fermentation Sciences. How cool is that!?!