Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Weekday Burgundy

Argument:  The wines of Burgundy are the best in the world.
Response:  Most folks can't afford them.
Reality:  There are some that "normal people" can enjoy and treasure.
 
In a perfect world we could enjoy 1er Cru Burgundy on a Wednesday night and not concern ourselves with the price tag.  But these days...
Enter the elegant Bourgogne of Liger-Belair.  Seventh generation Louis-Michel Liger-Belair has taken up the gauntlet of crazy Burgundy inheritance laws, reclaimed property that belonged to his family long, long ago, and is crafting wines of finesse and beauty.  Yes, some are quite pricey and arguably worth it.  But the regional wine is a thing of beauty.  The price tends toward the $25 range, which may not be your idea of Wednesday.  However it's worth denying yourself Thursday to give this a shot. And by the way, they're biodynamic.

Louis-Michel makes "drinking wines not tasting wines."  This one absolutely honors that ethos.  Gossamer tannin, bright Bing cherry, and a backdrop of that delicate crust off the top of a crème brulée..okay, okay caramelized sugar...make this wine delectable.
  On this occasion it was served with a spinach artichoke tart and fresh chopped tomatoes and basil from the garden.  Yes, artichokes are difficult for wine pairing. The point being this Pinot Noir goes with so many dishes.  Just go for it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

It's getting late.  You've been working/traveling/laboring...you get the idea.  Dinner needs to be dealt with right away.  What do many people do these days?  Breakfast for dinner.  What wine goes with scrambled eggs? Well, that depends.
 
If you're adding a daring sauté of shishitos (Japanese peppers) and roasted red peppers with a side of spicy sausage, try a savory Grenache-Syrah blend from the Rhône Valley.  There are countless delicious, affordable Côte-du-Rhône Villages to choose from.  Or if you're willing to notch-it-up, open a savory Côte-Rôtie for a blast of bacony goodness.  Add crusty baguette and this is the perfect quick dinner anytime.

For summer out-on-the-porch dining, lighter fare is in order.  A recent post-travel meal included creamy slow-scrambled eggs with goat cheese, 9-Grain toast, and slices of tomato picked fresh from the garden.  The wine?  A translucent ruby gem called Pink Fiddle.  This rosé of Pinot Noir is by winemaker Kathy Joseph, owner of Fiddlehead Cellars. Kathy makes gorgeous Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.  Lucky for us she also makes a little bit of rosé each year.
It's completely dry, but so packed with luscious fruit it explodes with flavors of ripe strawberry and cherry.  With the creamy eggs and vibrant tomato it is a perfect trio of taste. Look for Pink Fiddle at your local wine shop.  The supply is very limited and usually runs out by summer's end.  But it's worth searching for.


 


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hot Wines in Hot Weather with Hot Food

These days we're eating salads and chilled soups, grilling out, occasionally barely eating at all.  Record temperatures all over the U.S. have people shaking their heads in disbelief.  What's a hot and bothered wine lover to do?  Leave the country.  Figuratively.  Try some of the crisp, tangy white wine from Portugal, Vinho Verde. There are many different brands to choose from and all are very affordable.  Think of it as adult lemonade. 
The lacy blue label of Aveleda's Casal Garcia is one that you'll find in many groceries and wine stores.   Their Vinho Verde pairs beautifully with those chilled summer meals.  It's a blend of the uniquely Portugese grapes Trajadura, Loureiro, Arinto and Azal.  Aromas are delicate citrus and white flowers.  It has crystalline acidity and freshness. 

A recent pairing matched it with lettuce wraps - probably the best possible use of iceberg lettuce, a quick stir-fry, Sriracha and a soy-ginger-sesame marinade. It's cool, crunchy food you roll up and eat with your hands while drinking adult lemonade. Summer redeemed.