Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Wine Pairing "Clunker"!

Stir fry last night.
Judy makes a good stir fry - lot's of Asian spices with a dash of cayenne pepper for a little heat.
I was looking forward to it.
As I was getting ready to leave The Market, I had this overwhelming craving for Champagne, so I bought a bottle of Mumm Napa Brut Rose' (okay, technically not Champagne, but a very good sparkler for only $20).
A few bites and sips into the meal Judy asks: "do you think this wine goes with the meal"?
Not only does it not go, it downright clashes with the meal. The sweet/spicy sauce in the stir fry made the wine taste sour.
What would have gone better? Probably a wine with less acid, and a little spice of its own like a Viognier or Gewurztraminer. You could even go with a fruity California Pinot Noir.
Sometimes my love of Champagne gets the better of me and I do silly things like this. I really do know better.
Oh well - can't win them all. The wine tasted great all by itself later.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

An epidemic of corked wine!

Doesn't it seem that things often come in bunches - both good and bad things?
It's been months since I had a corked wine, but, in the last week I've opened 5 bottles that were corked. 5 CORKED WINES IN A WEEK!
Three of the bottles were at The Market, and 2 were from my collection. One of those 2 was particularly painful.
We were having a nice Filet Mignon dinner this Tuesday, and I thought, what the heck, let's pop something special.
So I grabbed my last bottle of the 96 point 2003 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon.
I suspected no good as soon as I popped the cork.
But, just to make sure, I poured some into the glass and sniffed.
I felt like I'd been slapped in the face. It was so bad. The smell of wet, moldy newspaper just reeked into my nostrils and throat.
Since the wine was so old, and the store I bought it from was no longer in business, I had no recourse but to spill it down the drain.
I popped a 2005 Don Melchor which was excellent. Dinner was wonderful. The evening was saved,
And we enjoyed the Don with Wednesday's dinner too.
Let's hope for bunches of "good things" for next week.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are You Aging Your Wine Too Long?

It feels good to be validated.
I'll get back to that opening comment in a bit.
I've written in other blogs about how I seldom age my wine for over 5 years. I prefer my wines young, and I really don't think most wines evolve that much after 5 years - maximum 10. I am also, I would say, "hyper" sensitive to oxidation - a process that occurs in all wines as they age. I just don't like it.
Young wines were not always so drinkable. Only in the past 20 years or so did you find this phenomenon with young wine, especially reds.
One of the main reasons for this is a process called "green harvesting". This practice has been in place since the 1980's, but did not become common practice until the 90's.
Green harvesting is the removal of immature grape bunches from the vine, typically for the purpose of decreasing yield. What this seemingly simple process does for wine, however, is magical.
Removing the immature grapes while they are still green induces the vines to put all their energy into developing the remaining grapes. This results in wines that are more ripe and well rounded with softer, silkier tannins. Also, the "greenness" that can occur with underdeveloped grapes is significantly reduced.
The ultimate outcome is the production of wines that don't need to age as long as in the past.
Tannins are softer, and wines are multi-dimensional and complex, often right out of the bottle.
Wine countries all over the world have adopted this process, so you will even find young Bordeaux and  Barolos that are more approachable in their youth.
Wine Spectator editor, Matt Kramer, wrote an interesting article titled: "Is It Worth It to Age Wines Anymore?"
So that's why I feel validated. An "expert" agrees with me.
What I didn't realize, was that there are legitimate reasons for my preferences in wine drinking.
That's what I love about wine. I learn something new every day.
I've copied the link to the Kramer article if you want to read more.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Great Wine and Sloppy Joes?

My good buddy, Cory, celebrated a birthday this Sunday.
What did he want to do?
How about a sloppy joe cook off?
Cory judged about 7 different recipes, selected his top 3 favorites, passed out awards to the winners and we proceeded to drink and watch football ..... at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Just what I needed.
What do you drink with sloppy joes and football? My first guess would be beer.
Not this group. Check out some of these wines:
2010 Herman Story Tomboy
2009 Proyecto Grenache
2009 Ravenswood Zinfandel Barricia Vineyard
2001 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (Seriously)
We also had an Amarone, Lohre Cabernet, Ridge Zinfandel and a Bordeaux. I forgot the vintages on these.
We had to leave early, before the "serious" drinking started - probably a good thing!
It's  been at least 30 years since I had a sloppy joe, and I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed trying the different recipes.
My favorite wines with the joes were the Grenache and the Zins.
Maybe the great wines elevated the humble sloppy joe to "fine dining" for a day.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Falling Sinks, Wine and a Restaurant

Happy New Year!
I took about 10 or so days off from blogging due to being brain dead from holiday craziness.
I'm still a little brain dead. This may actually be a permanent condition, but I'm going to start blogging again anyway.
On Monday this week at about 10:30 AM, my wife, Judy, texts me one word:  "catastrophe"!
Shortly thereafter, I get this text: "the kitchen sink fell"!
Do I have your attention yet?
I can assure you, she had mine.
We have a high gauge stainless steel undermount sink that's fastened to a granite countertop. Clearly, it wasn't fastened very well, because the epoxy holding the two pieces together weakened to the point where the sink separated from the granite and just fell down.
The house is 9 years old, and I guess stuff happens, but geez - falling sinks?!
So what does one do with a fallen kitchen sink that eliminates use of the garbage disposal, dishwasher and any running water in the kitchen?
Here's what we did. Judy scheduled the granite guys and the plumber guy to fix this mess, and I grabbed a bottle of wine and we went to one of our favorite restaurants: Paul Manno's. The food, as always, was fantastic. But the wine was the star.
2006 Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape got a 94 point rating from Wine Spectator, and it sure was a deserving score this night.
So, our first adventure of the New Year has happened. It's a pain, and it's going to cost us. But we rationalized having a great bottle of wine and going out to dinner. As they say, you can rationalize anything.