Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wine Wednesday; Tasting Violets

It's a special Wine Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve. As I sat in my living room drinking a glass of Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir (research for my next wine column for TOTI Media) My parents were thumbing through current TOTI editions, getting caught up on my stories.

My Dad, peering over the top of his glasses, looked at my mom and said, "I want you to listen to what your daughter wrote." For a split second I went into little girl mode….oh no what did I do?  Think fast; did I say something obscene, risqué ? It was published, can't be THAT bad, not like a blog or a Facebook post.

He read aloud what I wrote about the 2010 Unus from my wine tasting at Mendel in Mendoz, Argentina, "It has a toasty, creamy nose and flavors of violets." He pauses and adds, "Apparently your daughter has been grazing in a field of violets."

I suppose it does sound strange. No, I haven't been eating violets, smelling them yes. I tasted their smell, but that takes up too many words and valuable space to explain in print. Wine critiques and descriptions often sound strange and define things you might not normally want to taste, like leather and dirt. But in the big picture it works.

My story on travel to Mendoza is in the Times Of The Islands edition currently on the stands (Nov/Dec 2013, pages 34-39).

Dad finished up with, "I'm very impressed with your writing and ability to graze on flowering plants." Reading the article again, I had a deep yearning to return to Argentina. So I pulled up some photos, opened a bottle of BenMarco from winemaker Susana Balbo and Dominio del Plato, toasted an amazing trip and being with my wonderful family on Thanksgiving. Cheers! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wine Wednesday; Glassy Gimmicks

A question for wine lovers: How many wine gadgets and gifts have you collected over the years?

A question for friends of wine lovers: How many of these kind of gifts have you given over the years?

I attended a private function at the Shell Factory in Southwest Florida this week where I found a plethora of wine paraphenalia and found myself, momentarily, in a frenzy. It just so happens I have also been working on a Christmas shopping story for 10Best, so perfect timing.

There is a fine line between cool and crap when it comes to any theme related, specialty gift. That was the question I was faced with when looking at this wine glass. Coming off a week of helping to take care of my two nephews, I still had family on the brain, plus I know how much both Grandma's like their fermented libations.

Would it be cute to have them pose for Christmas photos holding the above glass, while the kids held their plastic sippy cups and bottles? Or would it be tacky. I had consumed the perfect amount of wine at that time to be painfully indecisive. Perhaps you are on either side of the threshold and can advise me properly??

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wine Wednesday: Bonarda

Have you ever had a bottle of Bonarda or Charbono? They are the same grape depending on wether you are in Argentina or France, respectively. I admit to generally discounting Bonarda as a blending grape; until this week.

Bonarda is another one of those French grapes that is flourishing in Argentina, similar to the superstar, Malbec. On a recent wine whirlwind in South America, I learned a lot  about Bonarda and how many producers are adding it to Malbec in higher percentages. Its the second most planted grape in Argentina and apparently it's the next big thing, or clever marketers are trying to make us believe it is.

And now Bonarda is the new "house wine" for my brother and sister-in-law. For wine Wednesday, we got geeky and did a blind test of two bottles from Mendoza, Argentina; Tercos and La Posta. Tercos smelled musty, tasted a bit leathery with dark fruit but didn't have much of a finish. The La Posta smelled lighter than it tasted with a bit of a cherry cola nose. This wine had more flavors of dark berries and a longer finish. Being a frequent buyer of Tercos, my brother said it generally tastes better after being open a day, as do many wines. It was a close contest, but La Posta won the taste test. Both are in the $15 range and both are good food wines.

Do you have a favorite Bonarda to recommend? Happy Wine Wednesday!