Red and White Wine With a #RiojaBuzz

When you think of wine from Rioja, Spain, you think red, right? and then maybe tempranillo?

But there is more to Rioja than red wine or tempranillo (even if tempranillo is over 75% of the region’s planted grapes!)

220px-DOCa_Rioja_location.svgIn fact, this wine growing region in northern Spain boasts white wines–and some tasty affordable white wines at that!

A few weeks ago,  Que Syrah Sue and I participated in #riojabuzz where we tasted a $15 white wine from Rioja,  the 2013 Cune Monopole and a $25 bottle of red wine from Rioja, a 2004 Tempranillo Gran Reserva. Both were delightful and a good value. Still in the Rioja mood, a few days later, I opened the 2010 Cune Rioja Crianza. Continue reading

Join These October Twitter Tastings for Wine from FOUR Continents!

This October, I am VERY excited by invitations to four Twitter tastings to experience wine from FOUR continents: Columbia Crest in Washington State North America, various Bordeaux Chateaus from France Europe, Concha y Toro Chile South America, and Chateau Tanunda Barossa Austalia! Continue reading

#WBW76 Boomerang Roundup & #WBW77 Theme–Good Wines for Bad Days

According to the wrap-up on Wine Blogging Wednesday #76, it seems that a number of wine bloggers felt they’d “turned their backs” on the wines of Australia during the past few years and enjoyed rediscovering wines from “down under” that came in under $30. About a dozen bloggers participated in April’s event hosted by wine-zag.com. Thanks, Adam, for hosting!

May’s Wine Blogging Wednesday host is Alleigh from A Glass After Work who wants to know, what glass of wine do you want after a bad day at work.

In your post, include what wine you open, why you picked that wine to wash away your bad day, and the price (or suggested retail price) of the wine.  There are no restrictions on price, country, varietal, etc.  The sky is the limit.  You just need to give us all the details so we can find the wine for after our own bad day. Continue reading

Barossa or Queensland Australia? If it’s wine, I want to taste it!

Have you tried any wine from Queensland Australia? Did you even know there were almost 200 wineries there?

I’ve been on pins and needles waiting to see whether I am one of 10 bloggers selected to go to Queensland Australia for a 5 day blogging adventure with ProBlogger Darren Rowse. In my application I said:

I will enthusiastically use my social media “Klout” to share stories about rainforest and Great Barrier Reef biodiversity, artists and poets like Oodgeroo Noonuccal, efforts to be green, and cutting-edge cuisine. Discovering Queensland’s growing wine industry and opportunities for hiking, camping, and other family friendly adventures are also topics of great excitement to me. Continue reading

Boxed Wine Reviews & Pairings Part 1: Offerings from Octavin & Trader Joe’s

At 12:01am early Monday morning August 29, 2011, the gates to Black Rock City, home of the Burning Man Festival, will open, and some 50,000 people will pour in before the Festival ends on Monday September 5.

Which means that this weekend and in the coming week as people pack and prepare for camping on the playa , 40-50,000 people are buying copious amounts of alcoholic beverages.

Labor Day weekend is also a very popular time to go camping–it’s the last three day weekend of summer and summer weather!

To help my favorite winos with decisions about what to bring whether camping at Burning Man, mountains, lake or beach, I have 11 (that’s ELEVEN) boxed/bag in box/bag wines sitting on my counter which have tasted and I am ready and willing to share my expertise with you! From Octavin, I have a German riesling, a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, a red wine blend from Spain, and a Pinot Noir from France. From Carlo Rossi Founder’s Oak, I have a Merlot, a Cabernet, and a Chardonnay plus Chardonnays from Vella and Turning Leaf. Finally, from Trader Joe’s, I have a Chardonnay and an Australian shiraz.  And since boxed wine keeps for a month or more, I will be bringing these wines to Burning Man for you to taste too! I’ll also say a few words about Pepperwood Grove’s Big Green Box Wine.

I first realized how brilliant boxed wines are for outdoor adventures last November when I received four Big Green Box wines from  Pepperwood Grove and  I took the Old Vine Zin camping.

Boxed wines are really perfect for camping expeditions at Burning Man or elsewhere–they won’t break, you can use them for pillows, and when they’re empty they collapse down into nothing –or fill the bag inside with water, put it in the sun and then use the water for washing dishes or bathing!

In part one of this two part post, I’ll discuss the bag in box offerings from Octavin and Trader Joe’s; part 2 will include Big Green Box and Carlo Rossi Founder’s Oak.

And yes I am bringing these wines out to the playa so YOU can taste them! Check in at PLaya Info–we’ll be doing some tastings there most afternoons around 3-5pm. I’ll also post where and when we’ll be tasting.

Octavin R. Muller “Rabbit” Riesling from Germany

This “medium sweet” wine is best nice and cold (which will be a challenge on the playa!) It would pair well with a cheese plate before or after dinner or with various Asian or Indian spicy stir fries; it was great with a peanut satay sauce, chicken, and vegetables. Light, fresh and aromatic of fresh peaches and pears, it was fermented in stainless steel. Very pleasant, not too complex, slightly metallic finish. 3L box = 4 bottles of wine in the box for $24 or about $6 a bottle. A great value.

Octavin Silver Birch New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

I really think think this NZ Sauvignon Blanc is an exceptional value. I really like NZ sauvignon blanc in general and I would definitely buy this wine and keep it in the fridge for those lunches or dinners when I’m having a salad and just want a small glass of wine with it. Do not taste it after the riesling though–it brings out a little too much of the gooseberry! Lots of bright citrus–lime, grapefruit– and green apple with a hint of nectarine. Here’s another post about this NZ Sauv Blanc and me. At Burning Man or at home, I’d pair this with salads as well as pesto and pasta (and raw oysters!) $24 for 3L (4 bottles). Continue reading

Part 2: Global #Zinfandel Day–AUS Glaymond & Paso Robles Bianchi

To celebrate Global #Zinfandel Day, I decided to open something special, something unusual–something from Australia to toast the 47th birthday of my Australian friend and fellow blogger Paul Squires who had a heart attack and died July 28, two days before my mother died of heart failure.

Paul was one of my strongest supporters as a blogger, as a writer, and as a poet. He was my online buddy with whom I could plot and scheme and strategize. We shared links and ideas and gave each other feedback on many elements of social media and writing.

So when I realized that Global #Zinfandel was his birthday, I knew I’d be drinking one of the two Australian zinfandels in the cellar my grandfather built, wines that Grateful Palate founder Dan Phillips selected for me at one of his warehouse sales.

It was a toss-up between Continue reading