Wines of the Week: Wonderful Red Wines for Winter

Your favorite cashmere sweater. A cozy fleece blanket. A steaming hot bowl of savory Boeuf Bourguignon. These are definitely a few of my favorite Winter things and you know what makes them ALL even BETTER? A nice, BIG glass of RED WINE!

In my opinion Red Wine is the PERFECT Winter accessory and today’s episode of “Wines of the Week” features some of my favorites that are guaranteed to keep you warm and toasty during the chilliest time of year.


4 Wonderful Red Wines for Winter – 2 STEALS & 2 SPLURGES:
(Please watch full episode below for detailed tasting notes & MORE helpful advice)

1.) Leese-Fitch Firehouse Red, California, 2015 ($12)

2.) Alta Vista Premium Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2012 ($18)

3.) Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France, 2010 ($40)

4.) Lucia Soberanes Vineyard Syrah, Sta. Lucia Highlands, California, 2012 ($50)


Wine Atelier Podcast: Red Wine 101:

Quick Coq au Vin Recipe:

Our visit to Pisoni Vineyards in Sta. Lucia Highlands, California:

For ALL the details on this week’s Wonderful Winter Red 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 red wines you’re looking forward to enjoying this Winter – I’d LOVE to hear about them – Please let me know in the Comments section below.


The post Wines of the Week: Wonderful Red Wines for Winter appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

Wine of the Week: 2014 Failla Syrah Estate Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, California

I must say, California wine country is simply stunning in the Fall! During our recent visit to the legendary North Coast, which encompasses Napa and Sonoma counties among others, we encountered towering trees cloaked in their seasonal reddish, gold splendor, refreshingly chillsome evenings (we ARE from Florida after all!), as well as many amazing wines. While I look forward to sharing them with you over the coming weeks, I was especially inspired to feature one wine in particular as our latest Wine of the Week, the 2014 Failla Syrah Estate Vineyard.

While Failla primarily focuses on cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, owner and winemaker Ehren Jordan‘s eclectic winemaking experiences and sheer vinous talent allow him to work adeptly with many different grape varieties extremely well. As a fan of Syrah from the Northern Rhone, I was very impressed with his ability to craft a California wine that so closely approximates its French counterpart while allowing its terroir, and the character of the new Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, to shine through. Please read on to discover more about this very special wine that’s just perfect for enjoying during the chilly Winter months.


Who it’s from: Winemaker Ehren Jordan and his wife Anne-Marie founded Failla in 1998 and together they specialize in sourcing cool climate fruit from the extreme coastal areas of Sonoma County. Jordan draws inspiration from his time spent in France, namely a 2-year apprenticeship in Cornas in the Northern Rhone where he specialized in Syrah, which continues to inform his winemaking style. He also held positions in California, first at Neyers Vineyards and then at Turley Wine Cellars, where he spent almost 20 years crafting world class Zinfandel. Jordan is perhaps most passionate about producing balanced, elegant, food-friendly wines that are expressive of their terroir.


Where it’s from: This wine hails from Failla’s 14-acre Estate Vineyard located in the Fort Ross Seaview AVA, a sub-region of the vast Sonoma Coast AVA, which was officially approved in 2011. Vineyards here are situated in the steep coastal ridges above the fog line where most of the surrounding terrain is too steep to farm. Out of over 27,000 acres in the AVA, only 550 are actually usable! Only Failla and a few other esteemed vintners were willing to brave the uniquely challenging conditions including Flowers, Marcassin, Hirsch, Pahlmeyer, Martinelli, Del Dotto and Peter Michael to name a few. The region’s unusually rugged terrain, high elevations, cool maritime climate and marine soils create the perfect environment for growing exceptional cool climate grape varieties.

“To me ‘terroir’ is distilling a place down to its essence using grapes as the medium.” – Ehren Jordan

Originally planted in 1998, Failla’s Estate Vineyard is located only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and has been organically and dry farmed since the beginning. Jordan harvested the first grapes from the vineyard in 2001 and has increased production ever since. The special Estate Vineyard, located at approximately 1,400 ft. elevation, is currently planted to cool climate grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.


This Wine by the (geeky) Numbers:
Primary Fermentation: Native Yeast
Malolactic Fermentation: Native
Elevage: 11 months, aged Sur-Lie in French oak barrique, 25% new
Filtration: Unfined & Unfiltered
Grape variety: 100% Syrah, 20 yr. old vines
ABV: 13.9%
Production: 382 cases
Production notes: “Our 100% whole cluster “Estate Vineyard” Syrah was gently foot-tread, fermented with native yeasts, and basket pressed to barrel, where it competed a native ML conversion and rested on its lees until being bottled unfined and unfiltered.”


The Glamorous Gourmet’s Tasting Note: “From its lush, purplish-red hue to enticing aromas of spiced black fruit, savory herbs and a hint of lavender, this delightful expression of California Syrah simultaneously evokes the elegance of the Northern Rhone. On the palate, this stunner reveals savory layers of blackberry, plum, licorice and black pepper while demonstrating impressive complexity and richness without seeming heavy. All components harmoniously converge on the imminently satisfying, lengthy finish.”

Pair it with: Rosemary & Salt crusted Prime Rib, Roasted Rack of Lamb, Pasta with Wild Boar Ragu

Retail Price: $58 (for purchasing information, please e-mail stephanie [at] theglamorousgourmet [dot] com or simply call 561.317.6663)

Bon appétit,


The post Wine of the Week: 2014 Failla Syrah Estate Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, California appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

Fast & Fabulous: Provençal Pork Chops & a Delicious Rhône Red!

“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” – James Beard I am inclined to agree with the late James Beard so this installment of “Fast & Fabulous” features Provençal Pork Chops, a recipe which incorporates the delicious flavors of the... Read More

The post Fast & Fabulous: Provençal Pork Chops & a Delicious Rhône Red! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

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Fast & Fabulous: Provençal Pork Chops & a Delicious Rhône Red!

Provencal Pork Chops, rib chop, loin chop, boneless chop, cous cous, herbes de provence,

“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” – James Beard

I am inclined to agree with the late James Beard so this installment of “Fast & Fabulous” features Provençal Pork Chops, a recipe which incorporates the delicious flavors of the South of France and juicy, pan-seared pork chops. As with all of our Fast & Fabulous recipes, it can be prepared in well under an hour and we’ve also included a Sommelier-selected wine pairing to further enhance your enjoyment of the dish.

Pork Loin chops, Pork chops Provencal, Fast & Fabulous, Recipes, The Glamorous Gourmet

Which type of pork chop to use in this or any other recipe basically comes down to personal preference. Personally, I’m a fan of “bone-in” chops as opposed to “boneless” since meat cooked on the bone is practically guaranteed to be succulent and juicy while boneless cuts can dry out faster resulting in tougher meat. There are a variety of bone-in and boneless choices, for instance pork loin chops (pictured above) are cut from the center of the loin, the strip of meat that runs from the pig’s hip to shoulder, and consist of a small portion of the tenderloin separated from the loin by a T-shaped bone. Pork rib chops don’t contain any of the tenderloin and are taken from the area closest to the rib so the bone is off to one side. Boneless pork chops are cut from the area above the loin chops and the thickness of all of these types of chops ranges from about half an inch to two inches. Cooking time will depend on how thick they are and if they have a bone or not, bone-in takes longer. While this recipe calls for bone-in pork loin chops, feel free to use whichever type you prefer, keeping in mind boneless chops will cook faster.

Pork loin chops, pork chops provencal, Fast & Fabulous, The Glamorous Gourmet

This recipe also calls for Herbes de Provence, a delightfully fragrant and flavorful mixture of dried herbs indigenous to the eponymous historic province in southeast France. The mixture typically includes rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, savory and lavender and is often sold in traditional Provençal clay jars. Herbes de Provence makes an excellent seasoning for chicken, fish or pork and works deliciously well with the flavors in this dish. I like to serve the Provençal Pork Chops over a bed of cous cous to catch all the delicious sauce and pair it with the 2013 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône ($15, Wine Atelier), a medium-bodied Syrah from the Southern Rhône with plenty of personality at a very affordable price.





“Provençal Pork Chops”
Serves 4

4 Tbsp. good olive oil
4 1-inch thick bone-in center cut pork loin chops
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat. Pat the chops dry and season both sides with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the oil in the skillet is hot, add the chops to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the sliced onion to the same pan and sauté over medium heat until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices, Herbes de Provence, and red pepper flakes to the pan and stir well to combine. Cover the pan and simmer until the flavors have melded and the juice has thickened slightly about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return the pork chops to the pan with any accumulated juices and simmer until chops are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Wines of the Week: the Rhône Beauties of Tablas Creek Vineyard & Château de Beaucastel!

This week’s wines were inspired by a recent dinner at Thirty Two East, a favorite restaurant of ours here in Delray Beach, which featured the wines of two producers, one Old World, one New, who are dedicated to crafting world class wines from Rhône grape varieties. These two producers also happen to be related and represent a beautiful story of friendship that culminated in the production of some truly fabulous wines!

Corn & Basil Soup with Tomato Jam Bruschetta

Our tale of two wineries begins with Château de Beaucastel, located in France’s Rhône Valley known for producing wines that represent the best of what the Southern Rhône has to offer. While the focus of the Northern Rhone is primarily single varietal wines (whites are made from Viognier and reds from Syrah) the Southern Rhône is all about blends. Up to thirteen grapes are permitted in the signature red wine of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf du Pape, which is comprised predominantly of Grenache. Whites from this region are generally a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.

The Beaucastel family has inhabited this region since the middle of the sixteenth century and was among the most notable families of the small town of Courthezon. In 1909 Pierre Tramier bought the property and Beaucastel then passed to his son-in-law, Pierre Perrin, who considerably increased the vineyard holdings. His efforts were continued by his son Jacques until 1978. Today the estate is helmed by Jean Pierre and François Perrin, sons of Jacques, but Marc, Pierre, Thomas and Matthieu, who represent the fifth generation, are ready to pursue this fabulous family history.

Fast forward to 1985 at which time the friendship between the Perrin family and Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands, results in the creation of Tablas Creek Vineyard. Since the 1970s both families had recognized the potential of California’s climate as an ideal place for planting Rhône varietal grapes and in 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World.

In 1989 they purchased a 120-acre property in the hilly Las Tablas district of west Paso Robles for its similarities to Châteauneuf du Pape: limestone soils, a favorable climate, and rugged terrain. This is also where the winery ultimately derived its name. The partners imported the traditional varietals grown on the Perrins’ celebrated estate, including Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise for reds, and Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc for whites. These imported vines passed a rigorous 3-year USDA testing program, were propagated and grafted in the on-site nursery, and used to plant the organic estate vineyard. This nursery of clones from Beaucastel cuttings are now used widely throughout the Paso Robles region. The estate currently has approximately 105 acres under vine and works with indigenous yeasts and favors large, neutral oak barrels and casks for aging.

Tablas Creek National Sales Manager, Darren Delmore, joined us for the dinner and guided us through the tasting of these special wines. Sampling the wines of California’s Tablas Creek and the Rhône’s Château de Beaucastel together highlighted the similarities and differences of their respective terroirs. The wines were paired with the delicious cuisine of Chef Nick Morfogen which accentuated the nuances of each wine beautifully!

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Côtes de Tablas Blanc, Paso Robles, 2010
Like most wines of the Southern Rhône, this wine is a blend of white grape varieties which in this case are comprised of 54% Viognier, 30% Grenache Blanc, 8% Roussanne and 8% Marsanne.  All the fruit for this wine is estate grown and features the floral aromatics and stone fruit of Viognier, the crisp acidity and rich mouthfeel of Grenache Blanc, and the structure and minerality of Marsanne and Roussanne. This wine is perfect as an aperitif or paired with dishes such as Moules Marinières or Fish with Fennel. Drink now. Wine Advocate, 90 points.
Price: $25

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, Paso Robles, 2009
This wine a blend of three estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate. It is comprised of 62% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc and 12% Picpoul Blanc. Roussanne provides the core richness, minerality, and flavors of honey and spice, while Grenache Blanc adds green apple and anise flavors, a lush mouthfeel and bright acids. Picpoul Blanc completes the blend, adding a saline minerality and tropical notes. Drink: 2012-2016. Wine Advocate, 91 points; Wine Spectator, 89 points.
Price: $42

Château Beaucastel, Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, 2010
Comprised of 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache blanc this wine is fermented in 30% new oak barrels with the remaining 70% fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine displays beautiful notes of star fruit, acacia flower and peach which evolve into honey and tropical fruit with a hint of pie crust. The complexity is balanced by a lovely acidity and long, lingering finish. Drink over the next 4-5 years. Wine Advocate, 95 points; Wine Spectator, 93 points.
Price: $97

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Patelin de Tablas Rouge, Paso Robles, 2011
This wine a blend of four red Rhône varietals: 52% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre and 1% Counoise from several of the top Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles. Like many red wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the dark fruit, mineral and spice of Syrah, with the brightness and fresh acidity of Grenache, the structure and meatiness of Mourvèdre and a small addition of Counoise for complexity. Drink: 2012-2016. Wine Advocate, 89 points.
Price: $20

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge, Paso Robles, 2010
This wine is a blend of four estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate: 45% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 21% Syrah and 4% Counoise. The wine is based on the dark red fruit, earth, spice and mid-palate richness of Mourvèdre, with additions of Grenache for forward fruit, approachability and lushness, Syrah for mineral, aromatics, and back-palate tannins, and Counoise for brambly spice and acidity. Drink: 2015-2025. Wine Advocate, 93-95 points.
Price: $59

Château Beaucastel, Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge, Rhône Valley, 2010
This wine is structured and intense yet lean, thanks in part to the large percentage of Mourvedre (about 30%) in the final blend. Its tannic backbone and resistance to oxidation help Beaucastel age with grace. Grenache (30%) contributes a warming sensation of ripe fruit and a velvety feeling in the mouth. Syrah at 10%, and Muscardin and Vaccarese with around 5% each, add color and spicy aromas while increasing the wines aging potential. 5% of Cinsault is added for softness and its special bouquet. The remainder is made up of small quantities of the 7 other varieties allowed in Châteauneuf du Pape. They add that extra note of graceful complexity which makes Château de Beaucastel such an extraordinary wine. Drink: 2015-2045. Wine Advocate, 95 points.
Price: $99

To purchase these fabulous wines, please call 561-317-6663. Mention this post and receive an additional 10% discount off the purchase of a case!