Try These $15 Sauvignon Blancs from Touraine, France

Vineyard_in_the_Loire_Valley Getting ready for tomorrow’s Vouvray twitter tasting with Snooth.com (Weds Aug 6 2014 (5:30pm PST; we’ll be trying two dry wines and two sparkling wines  and learning how Chenin Blanc thrives in the region, and the effects of that terroir) made me recall how many great wines from the Loire Valley in France I’ve had the pleasure to meet in the past year or two.

When it comes to white wines of the Loire Valley, people may think of Muscadet which grows along the river closer to the coast or Vouvray’s Chenin Blanc which is further up river.

The Loire River demarcates France’s weather between the northern climate and the south, adding a few degrees of temperature.  Spring is cool with frost while during grape harvest months it may have rain. Hot summers are moderated by the Atlantic breezes.

The Loire’s Sauvignon Blanc grows in the Touraine region even further up the Loire Valley.  There, under conditions too harsh for other white grapes with high winds and freezing temperatures,  its late bud break and early ripening allows it to flourish in the region’s limestone soils.

Last fall, we gathered at Que Syrah Sue’s and tasted five Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley in France with the TasteLive crew at a twitter event, and what impressed us most about the group was the range of expression in the wines and the great value , with most of them $15 or less.

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#ArrogantFrog New Releases: Plenty on the Lily Pad for $10

Arrogant Frog $10 French Wine

Arrogant Frog $10 French Wine

I admit that I always have the best of intentions to do a blog post (or two or three) following each twitter tasting I do (and I do 1-4 a month or thirty or more a year), but more often than not, even though I usually have one person dedicated to taking notes, and we usually have some great images of the wines and the food we paired them with from posting them on twitter, too often that’s all it is–best intentions for a dedicated post although I often sneak in a reference or a review into another blog post. I figure I did my “job” of tweeting and I better move on to other writing projects (on this or another of my blogs or poetry or essays or?)

I know of at least one blogger and prolific tweeter, Marcy Gordon, who is cutting back to only six twitter tastings a year so she can focus more on other activities. I know for me sometimes I wonder if my time that I spend on a twitter tasting would be better spent on writing.

However, at this point, I will continue to say yes when I am invited to participate because I always learn something–maybe something new about the region or wine making, or, in the case of the #Arrogantfrog twitter tasting, about the farming and the sustainable practices of the Paul Mas brand which you can watch here on this ustream link: .

We tasted these four wines which all retail for a remarkable $10 a bottle:

  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Chardonnay
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2013 Arrogant Frog Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot

Notes and other details follow. Continue reading

#VerdejoDay Thursday June 12

verdejoday2014ver021What’s the most popular white wine in Spain?

Chardonnay? NO! Sauvignon Blanc? NO! Reisling? NO! Alabarino? NO!

Verdejo? SI!

According to Rueda.com, VERDEJO is Spain’s favorite white wine and yet it’s  one that most Americans don’t know,  may never have tasted, and don’t know how to pronounce.

And yes, the folks at Rueda are probably a bit prejudiced because Verdejo is the indigenous grape to that region of Spain.

Just in time for summer patio parties, Thursday June 12 is ideal for an introduction to this crisp, food friendly, minerally white wine from Spain because it is the first Verdejo Day.

I pride myself on having a little bit of everything in my cellar but I have to admit this while I have Portugal’s popular vinho verde in the house,  I will have to find a store that has some Verdejo in order to taste, toast and tweet about it.

Or I could attend one of these fun events–and one is even conveniently located about an hour away in LA! Here’s a link to a 40% coupon to attend #VerdejoDay in LA (no that’s not an affiliate link–not making a cent and not even been offered a ticket!)

What do you know Verdejo? What will you be drinking for #VerdejoDay on Thursday?

 

 

 

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

Birthday Bubbles: NV Veuve Clicquot Rose

As a follow-up to bubbles off the beaten path: What would you do if you came across this bottle of Champagne?

Would you buy a bottle of bubbles with the foil like this, the cage open, the cork escaping?

What if you could get this Champagne for $35 when the regular price is $80?

What if your birthday was coming up? And you wanted some nice bubbles to celebrate your birthday?

This is what happened to me: I was snooping around Continue reading

Grateful for Exciting Sparkling Wine From Franciacorta Italy

Today is the second Franciacorta twitter tasting that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in, thanks to Balzac Communications.

Before September, I don’t think I’d ever tasted this sparkling wine from Italy that rivals Champagne in quality, but is much lesser known. You’d be amazed at the quality that you can get for the money–I know I was!

Tune in to twitter #Franciacorta to see what we think about today’s line-up. Post to follow soon with more tasting notes.1474638_10151785497985924_997366342_n

I’m also planning on spending some time with that massive map they sent to learn more about this region that I hope to visit one day soon!

PS And no, I am NOT going to let my son saber the bottles with his new Minecraft sword because Rusty Ginger fought him off!