Cooking with Wine

…which doesn’t mean it’s going IN the food. Opened a fridge chilled bottle of Texas wine, Grape Creek 2015 Rendezvous. A Texas Rhine… how cool is that?! Even cold it had potential, but as it warmed the complexity of flavors became far more distinguished. Dark cherry, red cherry, licorice, sandelwood spice. Light in color, but medium bodied. A delightful surprise to keep me company while I prep the steaks and cauliflower mashies. Happy Saturday! I’m on the San Bernard Beach…I mean River. Harvey left lots of sand for us. #Grapecreek. https://everydaycabrene.com/2017/10/14/cooking-with-wine

Give me the Grüner!

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Count Karolyi Grüner Veltliner 2015

Reaching into fridge on a Sunday afternoon, I find this lonely bottle, leftover from some riverside gathering, just waiting to be opened and enjoyed… and enjoyed it was.  It is a perfect transition  from lean, citrus, acidic whites of summer to the fuller, spicier (and often red), wines of September, or in Texas, October.

This Count Karolyi 2015 Grüner Veltliner hails from Hungary.  Hungary has been making wines since the Roman times and their wines (think Tokaji Aszu) were held in very high regard for several hundred years, up until World War II.  Following Soviet occupation, fine wine production was discarded.  For fifty years,  cheap, sweet, bulk made, state-run, red wines with no discerning qualities were enjoyed by practically no one.  Fortunately, at the end of the Cold War, the Soviets withdrew from Hungary and the Hungarian wine culture has been undergoing a renaissance ever since.  Grüner Veltliner is a bit player in Hungary, but its cool climate nature, crisp acidity, and ability to reflect its terroir, make it an interesting up and comer.  This particular Grüner, from the Pannon wine region, is crisp, bursting with ripe pear and nectarine and is perfect for light summer foods and white meat dishes… or just a hot, fall day in Texas.   Continue reading “Give me the Grüner!”

Thai Food, Rosé & Barry Manilow

Eating at our favorite local Thai spot. Vieng Thai is pretty hip tonight. We've got our usual Eggplant Salad, Pad Thai and Spicy Clams, but tonight….tonight we have Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra being sung by a hipster Asian guy. Frankly, who cares about the wine?? But since you asked, we are chilling with Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonies de Gascogne 2016 Rosé picked up at #MemorialWineCellar Maybe a little dry for the fire that's about to be served, but it's a lively and lovely aperitif. Mouthwatering watermelon and kiwi. We will make it work. Along with the Willie Nelson being sung in the background. #ViengThai #Pellehaut #rose

National Rosé Day Pre-Gaming!!

Everyone shows up for Rosé pre-game. Dragonflies especially. This Domaine Loubegac Willamette Rosé hits all the right notes–and lots of them.  Cling peaches, apricot, ripe yellow Apple and strawberry with a bouquet of yellow and white flowers.  Gorgeous. Thank you Beth Ogden for the introduction. #Rosé #Willamette #NationalRoséDay #BethOgden

Featured

Riesling- It Lights Me Up!

When it comes to Riesling, the wine market has a split personality.   You have the people who enjoy sweet wines and love drinking sweet Riesling.  Then, you have the people who hate sweet wine and, therefore, won’t drink Riesling.  But if you are in-the-know… You can fall in love with dry but fruity, racy but voluptuous, bold but elegant,  Riesling.  The trick is standing in the aisle and figuring out which Riesling is which.

img_5801Albert Mann Riesling Cuvee Albert 2014.   Vin D’Alsace.  I bought a case of this wine un-tried and un-tasted.  Most Alsatian Rieslings are on the dry side of the spectrum, so I felt comfortable with my purchase.  Once, I opened it and took my first sip, I had this insane desire to hug the bottle to my chest and shout “Mine!!!!”  However, since I am in the business of selling wine and always love to share my good deals (clothes, shoes and good lawn care, included), I instead started pouring this wine for everyone to try.  It was universally enjoyed because this Alsatian Riesling has something for everyone.

The aromas of Albert Cuvee leap out of the glass and perform a pirouette.  There is that first whiff of diesel gasoline that whirls with the fragrance of white and yellow flowers and candied ginger.  People often call that smell Petrol, but I haven’t pumped enough European gas to know the difference.  What I do know is that the aroma is iconic to several terroirs of Riesling, particularly when aged.  Moving on to the first sip… This Riesling trumpets flavors of ripe, sweet lemon, lime, tart green apple skins, ginger.  It coats the tongue with a little lanolin and then washes the coating away  with bursting, citrus acidity like lemonade.  Who doesn’t like lemonade?  Particularly on a hot day!  The mouth-watering flavors linger for a nice, long finish.  Wow.  I enjoyed just re-living the memory of it!!  The alcohol by volume (ABV) is 12.5%… typical for Alsatian Rieslings.   They have long, dry, beautiful summer days making gorgeously ripe grapes.

So, how do you capimageture this sublime moment?  First off,  you probably won’t want to look for this type of quality wine at your average grocery story.   What you want to do vist an upscale local wine store or big box liquor store.  Often, they  will have a specific Riesling section.

Some wineries may include  the term “Dry”, on their label.  Dry can be a relative term as it is not legally defined.  Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling from the  Finger Lakes region of New York is dry  with bright flavors of lemon-lime, grapefruit and honey.  Notice the 12.5% ABV.

Some Riesling labels will have a sweet to dry scale on the back label, which is a nice idea, because the average person hasn’t memorized the Kabinett, Spatlase, Auslase, Trockenbeerenauslese of German labeling and most Riesling regions have not come up with a wine labeling plan for sweetness levels.  Dr. Loosen’s Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett  one example of  a Riesling showing  a sweetness level scale.  (I’ve included a few other examples, as well.)  Dr. Loosen  balances on the scale at Medium Sweet.  The ABV is 7.5%  The label also recommends this wine with spicy foods which is spot on for sweeter Rieslings.  Nothing quenches the fire of hot and spicy Thai curry like a sweet to medium dry Riesling.

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All the above noted ABV’s point to another tip  for making a Dry/Sweet determination.   Look at the alcohol on the label.  A 12.5% ABV can indicate that all the sugar in the ripe grapes was converted to alcohol during fermentation, so there isn’t a lot of sweetness left in the juice.  Therefore, wines with a higher ABV are usually dryer.  A 7.5% ABV generally reflects that there is still sugar remaining in the wine that has not been converted to alcohol.  Definitely sweeter.   That is a general rule.  IMG_5835

If you are new to Riesling, on a budget or just serving a bunch of your friends during a hot summer day, Clean Slate Riesling from Mosel,Germany  (ABV 11.0%) is a fun starter wine from one of the lower shelves. $8-ish.  Medium-dry and tasting of lime and stone fruit, this very inexpensive Riesling still shows some of its regional minerality.  Not remotely as complex and gorgeous as the Albert Cuvee, but I’ve shared it with friends over some everyday Asian cuisine and on theIMG_5839 patio in the summer –everyone smiled.

Another fine example is Famille Hugel Classic Riesling 2014 from Alsace.  In the $20 range, this Riesling is dry and flavorful with lime, peaches and ginger.  (ABV 12.7%)  This wine is elegant and I would love it with some grilled white fish, seafood or even sashimi.

Just to keep it interesting, I have to mention this Ulrich Langguth Riesling Trocken 2014 Deutcher Seckt.  A sparkling German Riesling from the Mosel region.  It makes a nice aperitif .  $13-ish in price.  Easy to drink and delightfully dry (ABV 12.0%).   Trocken means dry in German, so that helps.   Sekt refers to the fact it is sparkling.   Try this instead of Prosecco or Cava.  Your guests will be excited to experience a  different sparkling wine.

Well, this was fun!!  Enjoy your day!

What Was in THAT Glass!?

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Rose tasting for the trade, along with a master class on Rose led by Master Sommelier, Gillian Banlace.  I won a lunch with Gillian and other guests the following day.  While waiting for a table, I ordered Rose. The waitress suggested a Brut Rose.  We never discussed which one.  She just brought me a glass and I drank about half before the group arrived and we moved onto other wines…great wines, I must add.  But the flavor, texture, and freshness of this Rose lingered long after lunch was done…well into this week.  So, I’m back at Brasserie 19 for the reveal. Veuve Cliquot Brut Rose (NV) with  enticing flavors of watermelon, cherry and cotton candy.  Almond toast finish. Dry, but luscious at the same time.  I am feeling very indulged.  

The Cliquot Champagne house was founded in 1772 by Philippe Cliquot.  It is believed to be the first Champagne house to produce Rose Champagne (Pinot Noir).   Fine Rose champagne has since always been the Cliquot house trademark.  Barbe-Nichole Ponsardin, an educated young woman, married Philippe’s son, Francois, in 1798.  She was  left a widow in 1805.   Because she had been included in Francois’ passion for and the running of his winery, the widow Cliquot (Veuve means widow) was able to take over the champagne house.   Very unique for a woman in that day in time.   Additionally, she went on to make revolutionary changes in the production of fine Champagne that are still used today.  Fine being the key word.  Veuve Cliquot has always been about making  quality Champagne.   Thank you, Madame Cliquot.  I raise a toast to you.