As I mentioned in my last Facebook LIVE “Wines of the Week” show, I’m craaazy about sparkling wines for Spring! They’re bright, crisp and refreshing – pretty much the vinous equivalent of the season itself. So what better wine to feature in this month’s Glamorous Springtime Giveaway than something sparkling?
So this month I’m happy to feature a sparkler from one of my favorite producers, the 2013 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs Brut, North Coast, California (a $45 value)! If you’re a bubbly fan you really NEED to know about these wines. Acquired by Jack and Jamie Davies in 1965, Schramsberg produced the first ever California sparkling wines to match the quality and style of French Champagne. They also pioneered the Blanc de Noirs style in the United States, releasing the first such wine in 1967.
“Blanc de Noirs” means “white from black” and refers to a white sparkling wine made from red grapes. Schramsberg winemaker Keith Hock keeps the wine’s translucent, golden color by immediately separating the juice from the pigment-rich skins. So this delightful wine is predominantly Pinot Noir (85%) with a dollop of Chardonnay (15%) added for length on the palate.
I love how the wine’s clear glass bottle allows the gloriously golden liquid inside to show through, while the gold foil and elegantly embossed script on the label give it added allure. On the palate, the Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs displays heavenly notes of citrus, peach, caramel and lemongrass along with the hallmark bread dough and brioche deliciousness we love in Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines. You just can’t help but be smitten by this wine’s richness and charm!
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending Camp Schramsberg, an experience which immerses participants in the cycle of sparkling wine production. From harvesting grapes in the vineyard to intensive seminars on pairing sparkling wine with food, to honing your sabrage skills – it is a MUST for anyone who loves sparkling wine. My participation really enhanced my appreciation of what goes into making these very special wines (to read more, please click here).
To enter The Glamorous Springtime Giveaway for the 2013 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs, simply leave a comment at the end of this post sharing your favorite Spring dish or ingredient – OR – your favorite Spring cocktail or wine. Whatever lights YOUR culinary fire! Entering is as simple as that AND for additional chances to win, please go ahead and leave comments on other blog posts. Each additional comment left on a post here on my website will count as one additional chance to win.
This Glamorous Springtime Giveaway is open to anyone 21 years of age or older who lives in the continental United States. It starts TODAY, Wednesday March 14th and ends next Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 at 9:00pm EST when a winner will be randomly drawn. The lucky winner will be contacted immediately to arrange shipment/delivery – the cost of which is included as part of the contest!
Thank you in advance for your participation, best of luck and remember, you have to play to win so please leave your comments now. I’m looking forward to drawing a winner next #WineWednesday and I can’t wait to see your Spring-inspired Comments!
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With your New Year’s Eve hangover in the rear view mirror, here are 5 Fabulous Wine Resolutions to guide your vinous exploration in the New Year. From becoming a better taster to planning a trip to your favorite wine region, I’ve got ya covered:
1.) Mix It Up: Because the world of wine can be confusing it’s often easier to just stick with the same wine day in and day out – but how boring is that?!? To break out of your vinous rut, why not vow here and now to sample a different wine every week or at least every month. I’ll have plenty of great recommendations here on The Glamorous Gourmet as well as my weekly Facebook LIVE Show “Wines of the Week.” I also recommend finding a local retailer who can guide you towards selections based on your preferences. To sign up for my weekly newsletter with ALL the latest wine dish, please click here.
2.) Start a Wine Collection: If you’ve been drinking wine long enough to have a favorite wine region and/or producer why not sock a few bottles away for a later date? Aged wine can be a truly enjoyable revelation but collecting wine does NOT mean you have to commission a custom built, 15,000 bottle capacity cellar, in fact, far from it! All you’ll need is a small wine fridge and a few age-worthy bottles to put in it. This piece of equipment is VERY important since varying temperatures and humidity levels as well as any mechanical vibration (i.e. refrigerator, A/C unit) are the arch-enemies of wine. Also, if your budget allows, purchase a fridge with a little room to grow, wine lovers have a habit of outgrowing them faster then they think.
3.) Learn to Taste Wine: I know we all know how to physically “taste” wines, just take a sip, right? But to really learn about wine you need to taste it in a particular way, utilizing ALL of your senses including sight, smell AND taste. This sensory information provides valuable insight into a wine’s place of origin, grape variety and “terroir” which are all critical factors to learning about and understanding wine. So if becoming a better wine taster is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, please join me every Friday at 5pm EST for my brand new Facebook LIVE show “Wines of the Week” where you can taste four wines along with me EVERY week (click here to be taken there).
4.) Drink more sparkling wines: The focus on sparkling wine/Champagne consumption around special occasions like New Year’s Eve leaves the majority of the year unbearably bubbly-free. While Champagne’s price tag may limit it to more of a special occasion wine, there are many sparklers from around the globe that are priced for everyday consumption. Wines like Prosecco, Cava and Crémant (for some examples, please and here) are perfect for enjoying on a Tuesday night after work or when a friend stops by to visit. As an added bonus, sparkling wines also have less calories and alcohol than a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir – affordable, delicious AND figure-friendly – what’s not to love about that?
5.) Wine-related Travel: Next time you’re booking a getaway why not head to your favorite wine region? Whether you’ve collected wine for years or are new to it, nothing will give you a greater appreciation for what’s in your glass than standing in the vineyard where the grapes are grown and talking to the people who make the wine. Most wineries offer tours and tastings which you can sign up for via their website and they’re usually very happy to hear from you! Here’s a link to some of my travel-related articles.
I hope these suggestions inspire you to further embrace the world of wine in the New Year! If you have any other wine-related resolutions I’d love to hear about them, please let me know in the Comment section below.
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If you’ve ever stood with clammy hands looking up at the 10-foot tall “Wall of Wine” in the grocery store wondering how the heck you’re going to pick wines to pair with all the crazy flavors of the Thanksgiving meal, not to mention satisfy your crazy family members, this episode of “Wines of the Week” is for you! In it, I recommend wines that will alleviate your Wine Pairing Paralysis and pair beautifully with EVERYTHING and EVERYONE at your holiday table.
This week’s episode features 4 All-American Thanksgiving Wines from some of my favorite producers to pair with this most All-American holiday. These wines are all relatively easy to find, but if you can’t locate them, simply ask your local wine retailer to recommend a similar wine.
These wines are also crafted from grape varieties which are legendary for “playing nicely” with a wide variety of flavors. You definitely want to avoid wines with lots of oak or harsh, aggressive tannins that’ll clash with many of the flavors commonly found in a Thanksgiving meal.
4 Fabulous All-American Thanksgiving Wines
(Please watch full episode below for detailed tasting notes & MORE helpful advice):
1.) Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour, Carneros, California, NV ($42)
*SHOW NOTE: To read more about sparkling wine & Champagne production, please read my “Champagne 101” post by clicking here.
2.) King Estate Backbone Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2015 ($28)
*SHOW NOTE: This wine was aged “sur lie” a French term that means “on the lees” and to find out what the heck that means, simply click here.
3.) Résonance Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2015 ($45)
4.) Duckhorn Merlot, Napa Valley, California, 2014 ($50)
For ALL the details on this week’s All-American Thanksgiving Wines please watch the Facebook LIVE video above. To view previous episodes of “Wines of the Week” on Facebook LIVE, please click here. And if YOU have any favorite wines you’re looking forward to enjoying next week, I’d LOVE to hear about them! Please let me know in the Comments section below.
Wishing you a Happy & Delicious Thanksgiving,
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The term terroir refers to the way a region’s climate, soil and winemaking techniques converge to express themselves in your wine glass. Terroir-driven wines reflect a region’s unique characteristics, meaning even wines made from the same grape variety can look, smell and taste very different depending on where they’re from. While it’s one thing to explore this concept by reading wine magazines, books or your favorite blog, it’s another to have a world-renowned Sommelier and winemaker come to town and demonstrate it for you. Using his own wines.
Such was the case recently, when one of the world’s most celebrated Somms hosted a wine dinner for lucky wine lovers at one of our favorite local restaurants here in Delray Beach. The multi-course meal at 32 East featured two-time James Beard Award winner and author of Secrets of the Sommeliers, Rajat Parr, and wines from two of his latest vinous projects, Evening Land Vineyards and Domaine de la Côte, hailing from Oregon and California respectively.
The sold out dinner featured a selection of Parr’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs paired with the cuisine of 32 East Chef, John Thomas. During the course of the evening, Parr shared details of his own personal journey. Born and raised in Calcutta, Parr was first introduced to great wines at the age of 20 by his Uncle who lived in London. He later made his way to the United States and studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park campus to become a Chef. After graduation, however, his love of the cellar prevailed and he proceeded to learn from the best. Parr honed his vinous acumen and tasting skills under the tutelage of Master Sommelier Larry Stone at his iconic San Francisco restaurant, Rubicon.
Parr later joined forces with Chef Michael Mina as Wine Director of what would become The Mina Group’s eponymous culinary empire, consisting of over 20 restaurants across the country. During this time, Parr’s travels to European wine regions and work as a Somm gave rise to a curiosity about winemaking. He developed a particular affection for the wines of Burgundy and its hallmark grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Santa Barbara winemaker Sashi Moorman shared Parr’s love of balanced, food friendly wines and in 2011, the two partnered on their first of many winemaking ventures, Sandhi, which focused on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from select vineyards in California’s Sta. Rita Hills.
While the Sandhi wines were crafted from purchased grapes, in 2013 Parr debuted the wines of his new estate vineyard, Domaine de la Côte, located in California’s western Sta. Rita Hills. In 2014, he and Moorman also took control of the acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills. Riding on the momentum of these projects, and the desire to focus on making wine, Parr recently made two major life adjustments.
In March he quietly (and amicably) parted ways with the Mina Group, sharing, “I’m officially retired from the restaurant, but they know they can call me any time.” Parr is also winding down the trend-setting, controversial, non-profit wine group, In Pursuit of Balance he co-founded with Jasmine Hirsch in 2011. As set forth in their Manifesto of Balance, IPOB favors, “balanced, non-manipulated incarnations of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.” By eschewing the syrupy, high octane versions currently being marketed to US consumers, some acclaimed wine critics viewed the group as “elitist” which made some waves in the wine world. “We started it for fun and it was supposed to be a small intimate tasting but it became this big thing,” he reflected. “It’s just too much work now, but it definitely showed people the different styles of wine.” The group’s final tasting will take place in mid-November.
After being introduced by 32 East Manager John Bates, Parr began the evening by reiterating his preferred style of wine, “I prefer crisp, clean, fresh and energetic wines,” while acknowledging, “I know the style in California is not necessarily that, but we make wine in a more European style…that’s the path we follow.”
We started with Parr’s Oregonian wines, specifically the enchanting 2012 Evening Land Vineyard Seven Springs Chardonnay which was lithe and crisp with a bright acidity. “2012 was an epic vintage in Oregon, but we made very little Chardonnay,” Parr stated. “We took over while the 2012’s were still in barrel, 2014 is the first vintage we had full control.” Chef’s Oak Roasted D’Anjou Pear with Whipped Goat Cheese, Spiced Pecans, Lemon Honey and Upland Cresse complemented the Chard beautifully, harmonizing with layers of citrus, stone fruit and pineapple accentuated by a kiss of toasty oak. The lovely white continued to evolve in the glass over the course of the next hour when I begrudgingly took my last sip.
We continued with a duo of Evening Land Pinot Noirs from Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills which Parr described as, “A beautiful place with rolling hills that looks like the southern part of Burgundy.” We began with the ’13 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot paired with Coriander Spiced Yellowfin Tuna with Chickpea & Grilled Onion Salad, Tahini, Pomegranate and Basil. The wine was bright and lively with ebullient notes of ripe red cherry, pomegranate and spice. While it paired nicely with the spiced tuna, this wine’s versatile acidity and medium body made it an equally good pairing with the bright fruit flavors of the next dish as well.
The ’13 Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot was paired with Roasted Long Island Duck Breast with Parmesan Polenta, Pinot Noir Reduction, Poached Plum and Local Greens. The single vineyard Pinot was more angular than the previous wine, exhibiting more minerality and tannin structure accompanied by similarly lovely notes of ripe red fruit, cherry and raspberry. It stood up nicely to the richness of the duck while synergizing with its delightfully fruity flavors.
Next were the two Domaine de la Côte Pinots from California’s Sta. Rita Hills. “The name means ‘State of Slopes,'” Parr explained, “and we have five different vineyards planted on different soils in an amphitheater setting right on the coast of Santa Barbara, 8 miles from the ocean.” When it comes to making wine, Parr stays true to his belief of minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar, “We make the wines in a very traditional way, everything is fermented in whole clusters in large concrete tanks. The vines are all planted on virgin soils and grown organically with no additives.”
We enjoyed both Domaine de la Côte Pinots paired with Chef’s Grilled Filet Mignon with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Wilted Greens and Wild Mushroom Jus. The ’12 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot is a blend of different estate parcels, while the ’13 Bloom’s Field is a single vineyard offering. Parr explained, “2012 was a warmer vintage, while 2013 was cooler,” which was readily evident when tasting the wines. The warmer temperatures of 2012 resulted in a wine with more perfumed aromatics of black cherry, cola and cassis and riper fruit, while the cooler 2013 vintage Bloom’s Field single vineyard wine was more reserved with notes of spiced cherry, rose petal, earth and plum.
The opportunity to sample Parr’s wines from Oregon and California side by side revealed differences between the two terroirs, ‘The [Sta. Rita Hills] Pinots are lower in alcohol than the Oregon wines, yet they have more body, texture and aromatics. Oregon’s volcanic soils result in more jagged tannins with smokier flavors while the marine sedimentary soil of California’s Sta. Rita Hills results in wines that are velvety and fruity with notes of cola and Asian five spice that have lower tannins.”
When asked about aging these wines, he added, “The Sta. Rita Hills Pinots are probably best enjoyed when 5-7 years old, while Oregon Pinots are best 10-15 years old.”
Each wine we sampled during the course of the delightful evening, both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, revealed its own distinct terroir reflecting its unique place of origin. Lucky dinner guests also got to enjoy a guided tour of these wines full of wonderful details and insights straight from the Somm’s mouth.
For more information on Raj Parr’s wines, please visit the websites of Evening Land Vineyards and Domaine de la Côte.
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With our thoughts turning to all the delights of Fall, pumpkin spice lattes, butternut squash bisque and cozy cashmere sweaters (*swoon*), it is with great pleasure that I introduce our latest #WineWednesday Wine of the Week: the 2014 Masút Pinot Noir Eagle Peak Estate Vineyard from Mendocino, California.
Pinot Noir is undoubtedly the patron red grape of Fall. Its lighter body and savory, earthy fruit flavors provide a nice transition from the light whites and rosés of Summer. It also pairs incredibly well with many of your favorite Fall dishes – more on that later! While Burgundy, France is the birthplace of this revered grape, many of you may also be smitten with the plethora of delicious California Pinot Noir options available. If so, I think you will enjoy this delightful incarnation from Mendocino, located approximately 3 hours from San Francisco and about as far north in California wine country as you can get.
The 2014 Masút Pinot Noir hails from the estate vineyards of a well known winemaking family and offers oodles of Pinot Noir deliciousness including black and red cherry fruit flavors, a delightful earthiness and satisfying, food-friendly acidity which make it a fabulous companion at the table. Please read on for all the deets and I hope you enjoy this week’s selection. Also, feel free to share it on Twitter (don’t forget to add #WineWednesday) or save to your fave Pinterest board using the tags located in the upper left corner of each photo!
Who it’s from: The Masút Winery was founded in 2009 by Jake and Ben Fetzer, sons of the late Bobby Fetzer, one of Medocino’s best known winemakers. The brothers grew up in the vineyards of Mendocino following in their father’s footsteps. In 1994, Fetzer purchased a 1200 acre property in Mendocino and named it Masút, a Native American word meaning “dark, rich earth.” He was intrigued with the hillside site of fast draining soil, desirable sun exposure and marine influenced winds and his goal was to grow the finest Pinot Noir possible. Unfortunately, in 2006 Fetzer passed suddenly in a tragic rafting accident. Despite his untimely passing, the brothers forged onward in memory of their father to produce their “small batch” Masút Pinot Noir which debuted in 2011.
Where it’s from: Eagle Peak is located in the coastal mountains of Mendocino County. In October of 2014, the location was recognized as its own American Viticultural Area as Eagle Peak, Mendocino County. It is comprised of 26,260 acres which are marked by coastal afternoon breezes, elevations ranging from 800-3,000 feet and a cornucopia of microclimates. The Eagle Peak AVA also has substantial diurnal shifts, the variation between high and low temperatures occurring in a specific location during the same day, which are essential for producing prime Pinot Noir. It’s thin, well-drained soils are also ideal for growing the finicky Pinot Noir grape. These conditions allow the Fetzers to grow truly expressive and unique Pinot Noir grapes.
Wine by the (Geeky) Numbers:
Vineyard Blocks – 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
Pinot Noir clones – 115(50%), 23(33%), 777(17%)
Rootstock – 101-14MG, 44-53M
Yields – 2.9 tons/acre
Harvest Dates – Sept 4th-10th
Cooperage – French Oak (50% new)
Aging – 15 months Sur lie (click here for more info)
Bottling – Unfiltered (click here for more info)
Production – 1,800 cases
The Glamorous Gourmet’s Tasting Note: This medium-bodied, garnet red wine displays fragrant aromas of black and red fruit and earth. On the palate, flavors of raspberry pastille, spiced cherry and dusty earth accompany a bright, food friendly acidity. Youthful, chewy tannins are well balanced and follow through on the lengthy, mineral-tinged finish.
Pair it with: This delightful Pinot is incredibly versatile at the table and will pair beautifully with many of your Fall favorites such as succulent roast chicken and hearty soups and stews. Here on the blog, I highly recommend pairing this wine with some of our favorite recipes including: Quick Coq au Vin, Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions and Roasted Chicken, Sage, Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Salad.
MSRP: $45 (for purchasing information, please e-mail stephanie@theglamorousgourmet or call 561.317.6663)
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With Snowmageddon inflicting some pretty miserable weather on us this Winter, it seems like the perfect time to hunker down at home and enjoy some fabulous food and wine! Our “Perfect Pairings” segment explores the delicious depths of flavor and highlights combinations that synergize beautifully together. There’s nothing like discovering a “1+1=3” combination that really make your palate sing! And why should that experience only be enjoyed at a... Read More
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Our latest Fast & Fabulous recipe was inspired by the post-Thanksgiving nirvana of leftovers! Nothing’s better than leftovers, am I right? This recipe for Roasted Chicken, Sage, Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Salad can handle just about any leftover you have on hand: chicken or turkey, sage, mushrooms, cranberry, onions and even gravy if you’re feeling particularly decadent. Bring. it. on!!! As luck would have... Read More
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