August is Washington Wine Month, and to honor the wonderful wines made in Washington, as well as to celebrate National Red Wine Day (which is purported to be today August 28) and because we were dining with special friends, we opened a lovely red wine blend which we paired with charcuterie and then gourmet burgers with gorgonzola. The is a super enjoyable wine and a real crowd pleaser! Continue reading →
4 French Wine Finds $20 and under paired with Croque Monsieur and Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese and a simple summer salad
Many of us think of French wine and food as fussy and difficult and expensive. But that is definitely not true as you can tell from a visit to your nearby Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Bevmo where you can find a number of French wines under $20 as well as heat and eat food. However, with a little effort, you can have an amazing gourmet yet causal meal without spending a great deal on food or wine.
So! What do you get for $5 or $10 or $20 for a bottle of French wine?
Recently we tasted four wines in four glasses — all at $20 or under and we paired them with grilled cheese — French style two ways. Continue reading →
With the current wild proliferation and profusion of rose wine on today’s market, many people have discovered that the rose you find today is not at all like the sweet characterless wine you found in grandma’s glass a few years ago.
Even Brangelina and Drew Barrymore are on the rose train. In the video below, Drew explains how to taste wine and then…
But it’s not white zin that’s caught our fancy because white zin’s market share is dropping rapidly: instead we are in the pink with ones more similar to the rosé wines of Provence: while more expensive, these pink wines are sophisticated, dry, and crisp, they cut the heat to leave us refreshed, and they pair well with food.
Until October 2009, I had no idea there was so much more to wine in Portugal than Port: in fact I knew practically nothing about wine from Portugal except that I liked Port.
And then I was selected by Jo Diaz and Enoforum wine to attend the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon followed by travel throughout the Alentejo region to taste wine and experience the culture and countryside before returning to Lisbon where we saw a few sights and then flew home. During the conference I visited a cork forest and learned about the production of corks from tree to table, discovered how fabulous the cuisine of Portugal is, experienced the deep appreciation they have for the literary arts, explored castles and gazed on Roman aqueducts, and of course, developed a palate for wine from Portugal that is not Port.
And a whole lot more including a reasonable explanation for why we in the US are so unfamiliar with wine from Portugal: because they have always drank all of it themselves!
Until recently, the Portuguese drank up almost all of the wine they were able to produce. It is only recently that they have been able to make enough wine to export.
photo of Merano in the Italian Alps by Brittany Wallace
Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,
Mont Blanc appears—still, snowy, and serene—
Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between
Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps,
Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread
And wind among the accumulated steeps;
The red zone is 1000-2000 meters while the white part is 2000-4000 meters; Mt Whitney, the tallest point in the continental United States is 14,494′ — above 4,000′
When the two plates collided, for 300-400 million years, layers of rock of European, African and oceanic origins formed the mountains; for example, the Dolomites or Pale Mountains in northeastern Italy, are made of a type of limestone while to the south and west granite makes up the Mount Blanc Massif which straddles France and Italy. Glaciers scraped away layers leaving behind piles of stone or glacial moraines which created subalpine lakes and valleys as well as influencing the large verdant plain where the Po River flows from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea.
Home to humans for over 10,000 years, these mountains shape 14 million people and unite them with strong traditions in farming, forestry, woodworking, baking, sausage and cheesemaking; the region’s steep terrain secluded and protected them so that their culture and cuisine has barely changed since the medieval period and is similar no matter which side of the mountain you are on.
During the medieval period, the Romans built roads and developed monasteries, which in the 19th century, sheltered travelers, and became tourist destinations.
Which brings us to the subject of this blog post: the wine made in the northern-most monastery and one of the oldest in Italy– Abbazia di Novella— along with the cuisine from Alpine Italy to pair with it. Abbazia di Novella in Varna, Italy has been in operation for nearly 900 years; today the abbey houses 27 monks. We tasted two wines, Alto Adige Valle Isarco Kerner – 2014 and 2015 SRP $19.00 and Pinot Grigio 2014.