Thursday, August 28, 2014

S'More Sauvignon Blancs to Sip and Savor this Summer!

Sauvignon Blanc

I came across several more Sauvignon Blancs that I have tasted this year and wanted to share them before summer is gone (not that it's coming anytime soon according to the heat in Texas). Think you can't find a bottle of wine for under $3? Think again! Ever heard of "Two Buck Chuck"? That's how much it is in California-other places it's called "Three Buck Chuck"! Several years ago Trader Joe's teamed up with Frank Franzia to sell a wine under the label Charles Shaw. Most of these wines I've heard are good.

2012 Oak Leaf Vineyards ($3) So Wal-Mart does pretty much the same thing with Oak Leaf Vineyard and sells this wine and others for cheap! This one and their Cabernet Sauvignon are the best. This Sauvignon Blanc tastes like a toned down version of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It has a slight grassiness and adding a cube of ice enhances it crisp, pleasant taste.

2012 Sterling Vineyards Central Coast ($14) Cafe' Express in Dallas has this wine all the time and I order it every time we go in for a meal. It's lean, crisp and light-bodied with zesty lemon and grapefruit flavors.

2013 Nobilo ($10) from New Zealand is very good for the price. It's pale yellow with hints of green. Aromas of jalape├▒o, citrus fruits and tropical fruit. Crisp, clean and complex.

More to come in the next week! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last of Sauvignon Blancs to Share

There's a list as long as I am tall of Sauvignon Blancs to choose from around the world including over 150 from California alone! So the nineteen I've tried is just a drop in the barrel!

This spring Don and I went to Savor Dallas at the Dallas Convention Center. I have blogged about that evening, but not all the wine we tasted. Here are a couple of the SB's we tried.

2012 Provenance ($23) is produced in Rutherford, CA. It was exceptionally juicy with ripe tropical flavors and citrus. Wonderful aromas of pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, honeydew and orange blossom. Hints of French oak spices, with a silky palate and a tangy mango finish.

2013 Fall Creek ($12) from Tow, Texas. I've never blogged about Texas wines or tasted them that I know of. It just doesn't seem right to have wine come from Texas! Anyway, I guess I'd have to say it was okay. It was the first Texas wine to receive a "Best Buy" from Wine Spectator magazine!

2012 Natura Emiliana from Casablanca Valley, Chile. Transparent yellow, hints of lime and grapefruit on the nose, citrus and herb on the palate, a fresh bright pleasing wine.

2012 Ladera ($26) from Napa Valley on Howell Mountain."The 2012 Ladera Sauvignon Blanc expresses refreshing aromas of passion fruit, honeydew melon and spiced pear with underlying notes of lemongrass and citrus zest that add to the wines appeal. The palate is pure and focused with a lively underlying acidity leading to a long and persistent finish." It was excellent! 

Well, that is all of the Sauvignon Blancs I've tasted. Next time I will be sharing Chardonnays!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pinot Gris' That Always Please!

Maybe you already know that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are one in the same. Although they are the same grape, there is a difference in the taste because of the different countries and terroir in which they are grown and produced.  Whatever you want to call it, it's famous for it refreshing citrus flavor and zesty acidity. The flavors in this wine are lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and apple. Pinot Grigio often tastes less sweet than Chardonnay because of the acidity, except for cheap supermarket versions.

Here are some Pinot Grigio's or Pinot Gris we have had:

2012 Graffigna Centenario ($12) This is an Argentinian wine, bright clear gold, with hints of jasmine and notes of white fruits like peach and apricot. Very nice!

2012 Seghesio Pinot Grigio ($22) Don took me to this tasting room in Healdsburg because he wanted me to taste their wines. They are fabulous! Click on the name for tasting notes. It's worth the trip and the price.

2012 Maso Canali Pinot Grigio ($17) This Italian wine is one Don and I picked up at our local Eat Zi's one evening for dinner. We love to walk over there, pick up dinner, and take it home or eat out on their patio. This Pinot has a nose of peach and a hint of honey. Flavors of lemon and fresh apple, with floral notes. Nice dinner wine.

2011 Childress Vineyards Pinot Gris ($19) I tried this in North Carolina when I visited my friend Linda this past April. We really loved it! Very refreshing, crisp and clean with flavors of Bartlett pears and mild spice.

2012 Coppola Pinot Grigio ($15) I had this one with my daughter in Bakersfield before she moved to STL. Intense floral aromas with cool melon and tropical fruit. A light crisp mouthful.

That's all for Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Other Whites That Delight!

It's hot in Dallas and with that comes the need for a supply of crisp white wines on hand. Not just two or three bottles, but a case or two for those spur of the moment barbecues, family dropping by, or as gifts to dinner parties. Whatever your need, it's always a good idea to have a case or two on hand instead of having to run to the store. No one likes to wait for wine to chill the way white wine needs to be chilled.

There are many to choose from and don't be afraid to come out of your comfort zone and try something new. Ask your local wine store to suggest some whites for the summer. It may be crisp to dry, or fruity to sweet and aromatic, or off-dry. 

Here are a few Don and I have tried:

2010 Jean-Luc Colombo La Redonne Cotes du Rhone  ($17). We had this lovely French wine at the Broadmoor Hotel & Resort in Colorado Springs this past January for our one year wedding anniversary. It is a blend of 70% Viognier and 30% Roussanne. A light gold color, with exotic flavors of mango and apricots balanced by a nice acidity. Full notes of honey and peach with a creamy finish.

Also at the Broadmoor we had a 2010 Jean-Luc Colombo Viognier La Violette ($16). This French wine is an elegant dry wine with flavors of acaia flowers, white peaches and exotic fruits. Texturally similar to Chardonnay with a long finish.

2011 Gaetano d'Aquino Soave ($?) I had this wine in California at one of my daughter's friends home. This Italian wine is a light golden yellow, dry, harmonious, velvety with a light almond flavor. 

Valoroso Toscano ($7) is a wine that is served at Macaroni Grills. I don't know if you can buy it other than there. It was okay.

There are always Pinot Grigios for a great summer wine! I'll get to those next time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not Tied to Chardonnay? Try These Whites!

Winemakers have been noticing a shift in the white wine market concerning alternative whites coming on strong and with summer in it's highest heat these days, light crisp wines are coming into their own.

These wines share moderate alcohol levels, no oak or neutral oak and mouthwatering acidity. Malolactic fermentation is avoided by many winemakers to preserve acid that make these wine zingy and refreshing.

Stainless steel tanks are used for fermentation with resting on lees to give these wines creamy notes and complexity. These wines are bottled in late winter or spring to preserve freshness.

Remember the ABC _"Anything but Chardonnay"? America has proved that they have a taste for more than Chardonnays. Here are some "other whites" we've had:

2012 Scholium Project Naucratis ($22) made of 100% Verdelho, a white wine grape grown throughout Portugal. This is a California wine fermented in stainless steel tanks-crisp, clear, and direct. Thank you Aaron Benson for introducing us to this wine!

2010 Chateau Carbonnieux Cru Classe' de Graves Pessac-Leognan ($41) is a French wine made of 70% Sauvignon and 30% Semillon. Don, Meredith and I had this at DCC one evening. We loved it!

Other whites you might want to search for include Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Gew├╝rztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Vermentino.

Here's a 2012 Qupe' ($20) Viognier/Chardonnay blend we recently had at Shinsei in Dallas. It has a distinct floral and peach flavor from the Viognier and a citrus and green pear character from the Chardonnay. It is more Chardonnay than Viognier though. It was quite lovely! I would buy this again!

Enjoy either of these "other whites".

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Sauvignon Blancs to Savor and Sip!

Sauvignon Blanc is usually associated with descriptions such as  aromatic, dry, pungent aroma, crisp, and slightly tart. It is sometimes blended with Semillon and Chenin Blanc. Chardonnay plantings outnumber Sauvignon Blanc by four to one and is sometimes called the "Poor Man's Chardonnay". Some significant growing countries and regions include Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and South America, and most notedly Washington and California. This green skinned grape originated in the Bordeaux region of France and was one of the earliest wines to be bottles with a screw top. It is usually consumed young and is known to pair well with sushi.

Some of the great Sauvignon Blancs that my husband and I have had are:

2011 Nice Sauvignon Blanc ($22). The two guys that crafter this wine are certified sommeliers, wine educators, and Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs. I met them at the Wolf-Sub Zero Showroom this spring. This wine is from Mendoza, Argentina. You can order it online.

2012 Veramonte ($11) This is a Chilean wine is grown along the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean in the Casablanca Valley. A light straw color, bright, fresh and balanced.

2012 Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut ($21) Don and I had been to Savor Dallas, which was so much fun trying all the wines and foods in the convention center downtown. This wine is from the Alexander Valley in California.

2012 Chilean Chequen Sauvignon Blanc ($15) We tasted this at the American Heart Association Grand Tasting in March. All of their wines were very good.

Well, that's it for more Sauvignon Blancs! There are still more to come!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sauvignon Blancs Thrive in France

This dry white wine grape offers flavors of citrus fruit, melon, fig, herb, and sometimes grassiness. It can also give creamy and vanilla flavors when introduced to oak. Sancerre and Pouilly Fume' from the Loire are perhaps the most well-known Sauvignon Blancs, but it's also produced in many vineyards around the world. New Zealand has produced some fine examples. Sauvignon Blancs are designed to be drunk young. They are intense and aromatic.

Here are four that I've had recently. 

2010 Angel's Secret ($18) from Napa Valley. Crisp acidity, pungent aromas, flavors of pear, citrus and honeydew melon. It's what a California Sauvignon Blanc should be.

2013 Fire Road ($12) from New Zealand. Aromas of passion fruit, white peach and kiwi fruit with fresh herbal and mineral notes. Light-bodied and refreshing. Don chose this for me one evening at H.G. Sply on Greenville. It received 90 pts. from Wine Enthusiast.

2011 Kunde Magnolia Lane from Sonoma Valley  ($16) Aromas of mango and guava, with subtle flavors of white peach and grapefruit.  

2011 Cade Estate Sauvignon Blanc "Oakville" in Napa Valley ($24). We had this at the Dallas Country Club one evening during a Tour of Napa by Aaron Benson, the on-staff sommelier. A pale bright yellow, with aromas of cantaloupe, honeydew, Asian pear, and white pepper. Hints of cucumber and kiwi, fresh and bright.

More to come of Sauvignon Blancs in the next post!