Go Organic 2019: Argentina’s Santa Julia, Domaine Bousquet #WinePW

Organic Wines from Argentina’s Santa Julia and Domaine Bousquet

This month’s Wine Pairing weekend takes a select group of bloggers to Argentina with host Jeff Burrows.

I decided, in keeping with my New Year’s Resolution to focus on organic and biodynamic wines to do just that and feature two Argentinean wineries that are organic: Santa Julia and Domaine Bousquet paired with Sue’s homemade empanadas and a black bean chimichurri salad with dulce de leche from the instant pot for dessert. We also decided to pair up similar wines: two chardonnay, two malbec, and two Sauvignon blanc but form two wines in two locations at two price points.  On a subsequent night, I paired the two chardonnay with lobster with ravioli and nasturtium pesto and the reds with nine hour lamb made in the instant pot. All wines are samples for my review consideration and all opinions are my own without monetary compensation. Continue reading

You say it’s your birthday! Hoppy Birthday to You! We’re gonna have a good time with Hop Henge, Ruination

We’re gonna have a good time!

It’s my birthday too yeah!

To celebrate my Hoppy Birthday, I’m popping bottles of a different sort than you might expect for a WINE PREDATOR. Instead of Champagne, I’m heading to “Hop Henge” and I swear it won’t be my “Ruination.” (Well, all right, I will be popping some corks too!)

Continue reading

Happy Birthday Elvis Presley! Lot 18 Elvis 2016 Cab paired with Bison/Beef/BBQ/Bacon Meatloaf

Happy 84th Birthday, Elvis!

One of the most important musicians of the 20th century, Elvis Presley was born on this day, January 8, in 1935 (coincidentally, another very important musician, David Bowie, was also born on this day in 1947! (Read a tribute to Bowie here).

The best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music made hits in rockabilly, pop, country, blues, and gospel, was awarded four Grammys including  aGrammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and was been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

And I’ve got the perfect wine to celebrate! Continue reading

4 Montepulciano Paired with Osso Bucco Warms Up Winter Italian Style plus #ItalianWFT plans for 2019

Last month we asked — how do you celebrate the holiday season French style?

This month we ask, following the lead of our host Camilla Mann, “How do you warm up the winter Italian Style?”

Our answer came in the form of beef shanks I found on sale which led us to beef osso bucco and an exploration of four different Montepulciano from Italy (samples provided for my review consideration; opinions are my own and I was not paid).

While where I live in southern coastal California is frequently sunny and warm in the winter (more so in the winer than in the summer!), we do get our share of cold days, driving rainstorms, and freezing nights.

And when those days come, this is a meal to warm your insides. Even better, two of the wines fit a midweek budget (as does this dish you make it at home in an Instant Pot!!) and two of the wines are wonderful weekend wines.

  • Stella Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC SRP $10
  • CITRA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 SRP $10
  • FERZO Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016 SRP $26
  • Talamonti Kudos Abruzzo Colline Pescaresi IGP 2013 Kudos SRP $28

Sue prepared a cheese plate, and while the osso bucco cooked in the instant pot, we tasted the wines. We served the osso bucco over polenta along with roasted vegetables. This is one of our favorite meals, and it is so easy and fast and delicious in the instant pot and goes with so many wines — including Montepulciano! For another take on Montepuliciano, read about this one from AUS.

Stella Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC SRP $10 – 12.5%
sample for my review consideration

This 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is made from red grapes grown near Italy’s Adriatic Coast, and offers an easy going wine which the winery says is “due in part to the sandy soil of the region’s vineyards.” They explain that the pergola trained vines “can be a more expansive way of growing the grapes, but it produces good wine! Grapes undergo fermentation in stainless steel, pump-overs and malolactic fermentation. Aging is nine months (five in tank, four in bottle).”

Color: Rich garnet with a beautiful violet ring

Nose: Cherry, earth, violet, sage, oak, vanilla, spice, a little woody

Palate: Bright tart red fruit, bright light

Pairing: Would be a great pizza wine, red meat sauce on spaghetti, great with the sundried tomato basil dipping sauce that was on the cheese plate, I even felt that it liked the pâté.

Salty, savory, rich, acidic foods are friends with this wine.

How did this wine work with the Osso Bucco? The nose opened up nicely as it warmed. It had a nice tartness that worked with meal nicely, but we kept thinking it would be nicer with a pizza or lasagne meal. It did like the roast carrots

CITRA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 SRP $10 – 13.0%
sample for my review consideration

Color: Deep purple red with a rose color ring. Think of the inside of a plum.

Nose: At first there is a lot of mushroom earthy funk. As the wine opens up Sue kept thinking of maraschino cherries, while I felt it was red stone fruit with mint.

Palate: Tart red stone fruit, bramble fruit, minerals, mint on the finish. just a hint of sweet vanilla.

Pairing: I liked it with the pâté, Sue did not agree; the peppered salami on the other hand was a perfect companion, it also went so well with the salt cured olives, making us believe that this is another great pizza wine, it loves salty savory foods. These flavors bring out the lovely fruit in the wines.

And with the Osso Buscco? This wine loved the rosemary in the sauce. It worked with the rich creaminess of the polenta. fine with the meat, but again, not out of this world, this wine wants red sauce, pizza, spaghetti, pesto and sundried tomatoes.

FERZO Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016 SRP $26 – 13.5%
sample for my review consideration

Color: Maroon with a ruby ring, very dense wine, It matched our tablecloth as it was being g swirled in the glass.

Nose: Mint, sage, and fresh blueberries; there is also an earthy funkiness to the wine. We were able to draw out characteristics in the wine, but it was still quite closed in. We felt that this wine would become much more expressive after a few years.

Palate: “Pretty tangy” were the first words out of my mouth. This is a young wine and either needs to lay down to become a sipper, or give it something rich to become companions with.

Pairing: We both agreed that the pâté worked well with this wine.So good with the sundried tomato basil dip. It really liked the licorice notes of the basil. Good with the smoked gouda.

The Osso Bucco totally brings out the fruit in the wine and makes the carrots super sweet. Sue was enjoying it with the polenta and the meaty gravy, the wine was able to cut through the richness of the meal beautifully.

Talamonti Kudos Abruzzo Colline Pescaresi IGP 2013 Kudos SRP $28 – 14.0%
sample for my review consideration

70% Montepulciano, 30% Merlot

The presentation is nicely done on this bottle, beautiful shoulders and a deep punt. Unlike the others, this is a blend and I really like the Merlot in it.

Color: Super ripe plum, rich purple fruit with a lovely ruby ring.

Nose: Ripe fruit, rich red cherries, raspberry preserves, plum pie, menthol, sage, and bee pollen — and i t made Sue sneeze!  We both found a woody characteristic to the wine, almost a port like characteristic

Palate: Smooth with a bright fruit kick on the finish. This wine taste completely different than it does on the nose. It is fruit forward and there is fruit available, but it is not jammy, and very nicely balanced. Lots of menthol.

Pairing: Great with the salami, just ok with the olives. Sue felt is was wonderful with the polenta and the herbs in the gravy.

This wine is rosemary’s friend.

I did not feel it was great with the meat, but Sue felt that it was a great pair with the polenta, roasted carrots and herbal gravy.

So what other pairings did others find? Join us at 8am Pacific for a twitter chat on this topic by following the hashtag #ITalianWFT. Here’s what to expect:

And what does 2019 offer us?
  • January: Camilla M. Mann Italian Wines for Cold Winter Nights
  • February: Jeff Burrows Umbria, with a focus on Sagrantino
  • March 2: I’m hosting Biodynamic Wines
  • April: Jason Or Jill Barth Island Wines of Italy
  • May: Lynn Gowdy Marche and the Pecorino grape
  • June: Katarina Andersson Lambrusco? or other
  • July: Camilla M. Mann – Lazio Wines
  • August: Kevin Gagnon Whites of Northeastern Italy
  • September – Jennifer Gentile Martin Passito Wines
  • October – David Crowley Abruzzo
  • November: Wendy Klik Outside the Norm of Chianti in Tuscany (Montecucco, Bolgheri, Maremma, Valdarno di Sopra)
  • December: Susannah Gold Lesser Known Wine Regions of Italy (Molise, Basilicata, etc)