Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wine Wednesday, Puro Uno

At the winery in Argentina
I just made deadline on a story for TOTI Media about a recent trip I took to Mendoza, Argentina. I enjoyed so much, reliving the stories, the people and especially the food and wine.

So when I walked into a new wine store at Coconut Point in Estero, FL yesterday, the first thing I saw was the section labeled "Argentina". Top of the mind awareness I suppose. I was shocked and elated to see the Puro Uno label on the shelves. 

It's made by Frank Baroudi, he lives a few miles down the road in Naples, FL. Yes a local resident producing wine in Argentina. Puro Uno is actually bottled at another winery, Bodega Dolium, in Lujan de Cuyo; a premiere wine producing region in Mendoza. One of the most comprehensive, educational experiences I've ever had at a winery was at Dolium. I'll save that story for another time.

Until now, Baroudi's wines were only found in restaurants, like Cru in the Bell Tower Shops, Fort Myers. Even though The Grape Base is a retail store, the owners have a type of restaurant license that allows them to serve food.

At The Grape Base in Estero
So they can carry Puro Uno, not just the Malbec but also the sparkling wines. This makes me excited for many reasons. Although I enjoy dining at Cru, now I can have Puro Uno when I dine at home. I love having wines in my cellar that no one else has and wines with a good story to boot. Best of all, I'm always happy to support a local winemaker and most importantly a local wine retailer.  

Buy a bottle! It's good stuff! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wine Wednesday, Divalicious

A principal ingrained in me from childhood is not to judge a book by it's cover. And while most of the time I do pretty good when applying the concept to humans, I have to admit I still struggle with it in the wine world.

Case in point. I was given a bottle of the new Little Black Dress wine; Divalicious White.  It is a Pinot Grigio based blend with some Muscat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Riesling and Viognier to round it out.  And while the label totally appealed to all of my senses as a woman (the title, the font, the hanger, the red shoes), an alarm went off in my head blaring "gimmick".  

I judged it as a sweet party wine targeted to the wallets of female consumers who like anything diva-ish, not that this is a bad thing mind you. But in the case of wine I questioned just how much substance it had. While there was fruit, like melon and citrus, there were other layers of flavor; a little spice, quite nice.

I give it girlfriend approval. This time of year, Divalicious is a great beach wine. It goes with the standard, portable snacks of salty chips and juicy fruits. And in the $10 price range, I'm not going to get ticked off if it gets too hot and I have to dump it, just mildly annoyed. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wine Wednesday, Sultry

Jerome is an old mining town in the mountains of Arizona; an odd center of wine culture in a state most people don't typically think of as wine producing. Arizona is more than a vast dessert, there are beautiful mountains, high elevations, volcanic soils and cool evening temperatures; all good for growing grapes.

I tried a number of wines at tasting rooms in Jerome last week but today will stick with ones from Bitter Creek Winery.  I was surprised to see the variety of grapes grown by this winery from Barbera to Pinotage and Tempranillo to Syrah.

Some are named after Tarot Cards such as Queen of Cups and The Fool, with elaborate drawings on the label. The tasting room also pours from sister vineyard, Jerome Winery. These labels stand out with vintage looking photos of winemakers and workers.

One of my favorites of the tasting was Sultry Cellars All Wrapped Up. It is an equal parts blend of Primativo, Malbec, Merlot and Tempranillo. It smells a bit chalky, like the powder of KoolAid or Necco wafer candy. It has fresh flavors of raspberry and blackberry. While enjoyable, I thought it was a bit pricey at $40. Maybe because it is limited production?

Whole Foods carries some of these wines. If you like trying different things, give them a go. The tasting room has a beautiful view of the valley. It will cost you $10 for four pours. It's worth a pit stop if you are in the area.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wine Wednesday on Friday, Nickel & Nickel

So I didn't post my Wine Wednesday feature on Wednesday. Everyone gets a free pass on a holiday week right? I have been so blessed to spend the 4th of July holiday with dear friends; dear friends who also share a love and passion for wine. More specifically, a love for Nickel & Nickel from California.

I've always been a fan and have consumed lots of different vineyard selections so when I was told to "pick whatever you want", I think I squealed and jumped a little.

I stood in front of their amazing NEW wine wall and took a few deep breaths as I studied the labels that stretched from floor to ceiling in a neat row, all Nickel & Nickel; Martin Stellng, Ponzo, Bonfire, Dragonfly, Harris Vineyard, etc.

I  must of stood there much longer than I thought because there was a shout from the kitchen, "If you don't hurry up and pick one, I'm gonna do it for you." YIKES! So I reached in and grabbed a 2003 Regusci Vineyard Block 4, one that I have never seen before.

We gave it a little aeration and started tasting it. At first it was a bit perfume like, with lots of raspberries. As it opened, I got more dark fruit and tannins. It was nicely balanced and a pure delight to my taste buds. FANTASTIC! Even more of a delight was the company I was able to share it with. Thanks Ali and Jonathan, "I love you more than my luggage".

Nickel & Nickel in the middle!