21 November, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 Pairings -- 2008 Sobon Rousanne and 2006 Anglim Grenache

Amazing but true, Thanksgiving is upon us and that means it's time for another installation of Holiday Pairings with The 20DollarWineBlog.

The pairing of the traditional turkey day fare with wine is not necessarily a complicated proposition, but it's not quite as straight forward as you'd expect, either. Certainly, the wine of choice for the "day of the gobbler" is often, for many people, Pinot Noir. It's a common pick, and is one of my favorite varietals, for certain, but I'd urge you to try something different this year. For me, wine is very seasonal, and with Fall upon us, Rhone is my pick. Rhone styles evoke warm, earth tones and rich fall fruit aromas that, in my mind, are perfect compliments to rich turkey and gravy, sausage or bacon in savory stuffing and vegetables. It's not limited to pairing with savory dishes, though. These same aromas can pair well with sweet potatoes/yams, cheese dishes and other desserts. In fact, one of my favorite wines with pumpkin pie is a late harvest red rhone varietal.

Let's start with a white wine...

First is the 2008 Sobon Estate Roussanne.

Roussanne is a varietal from both the north and south regions of Rhone and is widely grown outside of France, both in Europe and in California and the new world. It's not an easy grape to grow and harvest, but rewards with it's subtle flavors and gentle structure. Winemaker Paul Sobon has done well with this 2008 vintage. It's nicely sharp on the front end ensuring it cuts thru richer foods, but is well balanced in the mid palate and has a moderate, but gentle finish. The nose of pear and minerals leads the sensory parade here and with enough acid to ensure it's not slow or lazy, yet not crisp that would lend more to hot summer days. He blends this with both Viognier and Grenache Blanc (one of my favorites!) for a bit of structure and silkiness, and accordingly, I think it does very well with most of the SuperThursday fare quite well.

2008 Sobon Estate Amador County Roussanne
Retail: $14
Grade: B+

Next is the 2006 Anglim Winery Grenache

Grenache is just a plain out delicious varietal that I think is the poster child for red Rhone wine in the fall. When done right, it just plays nicely with a very large variety of foods. It's planted in nearly all productive wine regions in the world where there are hot conditions which it needs to mature well.

Winemaker Steve Anglim puts forward a nice effort with his 2006 Grenache here. With fruit from Paso Robles, he's choosing from vineyards which are in a very warm climate, allowing the grapes to naturally ripen later and accordingly, develop mature flavor potentials, not just sugars.

The nose on this Grenache is plentiful with rich deep fruit including plums and bing cherries. It flows evenly across the mid-palate and finishes a bit peppery. Its lush, velvety mouthfeel provides a great deal of satisfaction for those who prefer the warmer, richer, dusky wines. As such, it will happily enhance the bold seasoning of the stuffing, the richness of mashed or roasted potatoes and the salty brine of the bird. It's a bit high in alcohol at 15.3%, so please take note of that if your palate works better below that concentration.

2006 Anglim Winery Paso Robles Grenache
Retail: $24
Grade: B+

So, there you have it. Thanksgiving 2009 is around the corner. Please head out to your LWS and seek out one or both of these bottles. They are both widely available. We think you'll be impressed with the pairing that each of these will provide to your Thursday spread! Enjoy the day and cherish your loved ones and friends. We each have much to be thankful for.

17 November, 2009

gELaT0 d0Wn! - 20dollarwineblog heads to the DirtySouthWine Popeye's Challenge

Well, were getting a bit not so serious here while we head to Dirty South Wine's Popeye's Fried Chicken Wine Pairing Challenge this week. First, it was the Salina gang getting down on the Jon Bonne selection, then the same big cojones team bringin' some MST 3K beat down on Alan Kroph from Mutineer Mag.

Blah, Blah, Blah!

We figured that while it's necessary and nice to have wine with spicy fried chicken from Popeye's, dessert is what everyone's really looking for and that's where we're goin' ALL IN!

So, bring it on.....

gELat0 d0Wn - 20DollarWine SWINGIN WIDE from C. Jason Mancebo on Vimeo.

Or as they say, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles....

And enjoy our new ad-campaign that will be running shortly..

14 November, 2009

Primal Napa -- Slideshow

One more quick vid - this time a slideshow of our Primal friends Chris Cosentino, Ryan Farr, Taylor Boetticher, Steffan Terje and others at play last weekend in St. Helena, CA. Check out Art of the Butcher for more info.

Primal Napa - Slideshow from C. Jason Mancebo on Vimeo.

08 November, 2009

Visit to Cortes de Cima Winery - Pre European Wine Blogger's Conference

On Thursday, 29 October, Hans and Carrie Jorgensen and their team, hosted a pre EWBC afternoon live tasting and blogging event at their winery, Cortes de Cima in Vidigueira, Portugal. Located in the Alantejo VR, the winery lies on 365 hectares (approx 900 acres) of land in the south of Portugal near the town of Vidigueira. It's planted to 130 acres of 7 varietals of wine grapes - 5 red and 2 white. Of the other land, 50 hectares are planted to olive trees, and 50 hectares are reforestation of cork and holm oak.

Cortes de Cima hosted me the evening before the event and I was fortunate enough to spend the night in the guest winemaker flat. My evening office on the patio of their tasting room was as good as it gets with wi-fi, electricity to charge the batteries, fresh bread and goat cheese, their excellent estate grown early harvest olive oil and an early sampling of some of their wines. The morning view over 350 hectares was breathtaking and is one of high points of the visit.

After a light lunch, the live blogging began. My post that was posted live from the event is here. Several of their wines were presented, and also of note: this was the first Portuguese live blogging event & in addition to the live blogging from the winery, we participated with several other attendees of the EWBC who remained in Lisbon at the Sala Ogival de Lisboa via a live video link. We all tasted the same wines simultaneously and shared our thoughts and opinions with each other. A short video of the event is on YouTube.

To the wines....We tasted one white, their Chaminè 
Branco and several reds. My choice of the lot was the Cortes de Cima 2005 Aragonez. If you're not familiar with the Portuguese varietal, synonyms for Aragonez are Tempranillo and Tinta Roriz

 Single varietals are an interesting concept in Portugal, where blends of three to many varietals are the norm. I liked this simple approach to presenting the Aragonez, grown in a very warm climate, as it likes, and crafted to drink now with rich meats and vegetables. Fall, with its rich harvest foods, is a great time for Aragonez. As I mentioned in the live blog, this is a peppery deep wine with good structure, rich blackberry fruit on the nose and a wide and long finish. Satisfying acidity brings balance and encourages pairing with salted red meat, pork, game meats and rich fowl such as duck.

We followed the tasting/live blogging event with a winery tour where winemaker Hamilton Reis showed several of the innovations the winery uses to further their craft. Of note is their use of simultaneous Malolactic and Alcoholic fermentation (careful!!!...technical paper for geeky folks). It's common here in California, but from what I can tell, they are the only winery employing the technique in Portugal. It's not unexpected. Cortes de Cima is seemingly the leader in the
progressive winery business in Portugal. First to blog, first to tweet, first to.....well, the list goes on with vinerard management.

Of interest is their use of the Smart-Dyson canopy trellis system in which vines are trained much higher, and trained only on the sun-facing side of the vine. It's a very interesting and simple approach that provides a more balanced growing climate for the fruit in some areas, particularly warm vineyards. By doing so, CdC uses nearly no chemicals owing to better air circulation & greater distance of the fruit from the warm soil. Additionally, the vine also proves to be easier to manage, once trained. Very interesting stuff, indeed.

Finally, the event wrapped up with a blending contest between 3 groups of bloggers. We each made a blend that was judged by our peers. The winning blend, given the moniker "Great Pumpkin Wine", was actually bottled by Hamilton and his crew, labeled and brought to the EWBC in Lisbon the following day. The event was great fun and the culmination to a rewarding day.

Our thanks again to everyone at Cortes de Cima for their hospitality!

Primal Napa !!

On Nov. 7th in St. Helena, CA, Taste Network presented “PRIMAL” an outdoor gathering of local butchers and chefs whom prepared a bounty of heritage meats from Hudson Ranch and Wooly Pigs over hardwood fires. Marko Karakasevic from Charbay Distillery was mixing cocktails and several wineries, including Murphy-Goode (hosted by our pal Hardy Wallace) & Frias Family poured their finest while some of the swankiest artisans like Chris Cosentino of Boccalone and Incanto, Taylor Boetticher of Fatted Calf, Ryan Farr of 4505  Meats, and Staffan Terje of Perbacco converged and kicked out some outstanding badassery!! 

PRIMAL Napa - November, 2009 from C. Jason Mancebo on Vimeo.