Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Embocadero Tempranillo 2009

Oh my god, I'm so LATE!! The holiday season just caught up to me folks, and I've spent the day in a scramble of present wrapping, clothes laundering and fancy cheese buying. Which has all left me very little time for wine drinking. And so here it is, 4:30, and I'm just now cracking open a bottle to tell you about. On the plus side, this is the first Tasting Tuesday that hasn't started before noon in I'm-embarrassed-to-tell-you how long.

This week, I'm drinking the 2009 Embocadero Tempranillo*, a very flavorful Spanish red, and great sipper for this time of year.

In the glass the Embocadero Tempranillo is a deep red, nearly purple, and it does not cling to the side of the glass when swirled. When you first open the bottle, you'll notice a sweet, grapey smell that is a bit misleading. Let it air for a bit, and you'll get some floral scents in there, which are more accurate to the flavor.

The sip packs a punch of dark fruit and vanilla, with some oak, smoke and baking spices (think spice of the nutmeg/clove variety, not peppers). It's really nice to drink on its own, but I am considering pairing this with some of the hors d'oeuvres (I can NEVER spell that without google) I have planned for our holiday meal. I'm thinking prosciutto and smoked mozzarella would be happy companions to this wine.

just because my leg broke off
doesn't mean I'm not delicious.
For today, since I'm running so far behind, I had the Embocadero with...reject Christmas cookies. Other than that being a truly sorry excuse for an afternoon snack, I rather enjoyed the combination.

Price: $

My Rating: B+

*Spellcheck sez this should actually read: Embroider Temporary.

As a side note: Next Tuesday is Christmas, so I won't be posting a blog. Maybe if I'm feeling some particular gusto about whatever we have with our Christmas dinner I'll put something together for Wednesday or Thursday. More than likely though, I will return afresh in 2013. Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adventures in Mulling Wine

It's just about mid-December and a frigid 49.6 degrees outside. I know you're thinking: "S#it, I'm freezing! I wish I had something warm and alcoholic to drink. But I don't really want to go to the bar to get it, and my car is out of gas, so that's right out."
Friends, I aim to please. Over the weekend, I experimented with mulling wine, and I've got my hand-crafted (I made it up), time-tested (it was still good the next day) recipe for you!

This guy needs all the mulled
wine he can get...

But first, some info-tainment...
Mulled wine goes waaaaaay back to medieval times as a health drink (think Ensure for the peasantry). It's basically just red wine, spices and fruits served hot or warm. Since winters were cold and water disgusting, mulled wine got many a medieval peep through a long, hard winter. 

Mulling wine is pretty easy, and it's a great weekend activity for you and yours. Even if you don't want to drink it, it smells fantastic and will fill your house with holiday spirit(s).

Here are the simple instructions that I just now made up...

Casually Mulled Wine-

You will need:

And sugar. And brandy or cognac. Oh, and a crock pot. The happy, decorative star is optional.


1.) Buy 1.5 liters of cheap red wine. Or good red wine, if you want, but you're just going to add stuff to it, so it doesn't need to be top shelf. Dry is better for this venture. I chose Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. At $8.99 a bottle, it was a small dent to the wallet.

2.) Pour wine into the crock pot. Place on low heat.

3.) Incompetently shred one medium sized orange. Add to wine.

4.) While you're at it, throw in 10 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of ground allspice, and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

5.) Stir that bad boy up!

6.) Add 30 oz. of Crapple juice (cran-apple). This is best accomplished buy purchasing a 32 oz. bottle and "tasting" approximately two ounces of juice, then dumping the rest in.

7.) Add 4 oz. of cognac or brandy. If you have a truly awesome cognac that someone gave you as a gift, but you don't drink cognac so it just sits there, all the better. Use that one.

8.) Mix it up, cover, and leave it alone for at least 3.5 hours. 

You'll notice it starts to smell fantastic, and really, as long as it's heated through you are good to go. Garnish with an orange slice and/or cinnamon stick and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Capoccia Vineyards and Winery Noiret 2011

This picture is meant to show you
what a great local holiday gift a
bottle of Capoccia wine would be.
If you're like me and wanted to shop local for gifts this holiday season but haven't even started yet, here's a good tidbit for you-- this week's wine is a true local, and it's available (along with a couple of others from the same vineyard) at PWC.

Made in good ol' Nisky.
Capoccia Vineyards and Winery is located in Niskayuna, NY (which is just more than a stone's throw from my house...in fact I could probably even walk there without being knifed). There are so many reasons why I think this winery is cool. Firstly, it's the only one (that I know of) in Schenectady County. All grapes are either grown on site or shipped from growers in the Finger Lakes area. The family has been making wines for generations, so their dedication to quality is evident-- they are a chemical-free operation. Lastly, for a brand-spanking-new venture (they opened their doors this past July) their wines are quite good.

At PWC you can shop
AND drink local
For today's post I tried their Noiret, which is a pleasingly spicy red. You'll notice its deep red color and warm fragrance right away. I thought I detected a hint of chocolate when I inhaled, but I am still congested so maybe it's just me.

The sip is a little peppery, with some raisin and plum worked in there as well. The bottle says there is a mint aroma, and while I didn't necessarily detect the scent or flavor, my mouth felt oddly refreshed after I sipped*.

The folks at Capoccia Winery recommend that you serve the Noiret with beef, pasta or sharp cheeses. I agree that those all sound delicious. I had a glass with some chef-created ravioli in a light tomato sauce...

don't judge me.
Sorry to disappoint any of you who might have expected the culinary genius you usually find here on the Casual Wine Taster blog, but I'm a grad student and it's the end of the semester, so I don't have time to cook for a few weeks. Thank you, Mr. Boiardi.

*Seriously, if you come to PWC on Thursday for our free tasting, try taking a sip and then inhale deeply through your mouth. Totally wild!

Price: $

My Rating: B+