Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hangin 'Em Up, Time To Say Good-Bye. Why Wine Blog's Final Post

After five years plus, I am deciding it's is time to remove Why Wine Blog from the Web.  I can come up with a few phony excuses, but in reality I am just getting bored with trying to find a routine that will allow me to do more activities in my retirement years.  I would like to say that I just can't find anything new to say, but I haven't said anything new in the last three years.  If I am just going to give my take on a wine I like, there's not a whole lot of new descriptors or pairings (with my limited diet) to come up with.
The blog has lasted much longer than I thought it would.  It was very successful for what I was looking to do.

Sometimes decisions that have to be made can be very difficult, for a variety of reasons.  The above paragraph was drafted in June, 2013.  At that time, I still was just toying with the idea of wrapping up Why Wine Blog.  There were a few reasons I thought would be in my best interest to retire the blog.
One, it would give me more time to enjoy my retirement outside the house and off the PC.  It seems every time I logged on to write a new post, I would spend more hours on social media sites, games and music (mostly Doo-Wop).
Two, I felt that I had run out of things to say about any wine.  Often I would write a draft on a wine I tasted and find what I was saying about the wine was almost word for word with a past post.  That really dd not do well for the psyche.
Three, and most important was my health.  Since mid August I have had no desire to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage.  I thought at first, that this was a psycological issue that would eventually go away, but now I am aware that it may be more of a medical issue and I just don't want to fool around with it.  I still drink wine on occasion.  Usually when I am eating out at a restaurant with a decent wine list,  but never at home. My wine fridge is almost empty and I have no desire to add to it..  I just hope that this will help me loose the 35 lbs I added since I retired.

I will keep the blog on-line until December when my URL comes up for renewal.  By then I will know if I can take the blog in another direction. If I decide to delete the blog, I will delete my Facebook Why Wine Blog Page, Twitter and any other account I used strictly for blog promotion.  I could never understand when checking a wine blog and finding it has not been updated in a few years, but still shows up on search engines as an active web-site. I will be keeping my personal Facebook account and would still like to remain in contact and friends with many of the people that I met or got to know because of Why Wine Blog and I will still be following many of their wine blogs. I will still do a few wine tours, if not for wine, but to visit the beautiful country that is 1000 Islands, Finger Lakes and hopefully the Hudson Valley.  Only now I will make sure the fishing rods and accessories are in the car for the trip.

So, unless I can come up with a reason, other than wine tasting, to keep Why Wine Blog open, this will be my last post.  Thank you to all those that followed and read the blog. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling 2012

Finally talked my daughter into opening one of her Keuka Spring Rieslings, but had to order another half case, from the winery, to allow me to open her last bottle later that evening. It was one of those warm and very humid Saturday's and the girls decided not to slave over a hot stove preparing dinner.  Instead, they were willing to allow Dad to slave over the grill.  In the morning, they spent some time looking up new recipes that would satisfy all our taste and came up with what may be the biggest hit of the season, a grilled shrimp salad.  Skewers of shrimp grilled along side a veggie selection of onion, green pepper and okra and then mixed with red and yellow grape tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette would be the main course. On the side, I served some clams and toasted Italian bread.  Of course, the wine was the 2013 winner of the New York Wine & Food Classic Governor's Cup.  Or to simplify, The Best In New York.
For over 25 years Keuka Spring has been consistently recognized for excellence. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff looks forward to guiding you through a tasting of their award winning wines. Their wine list include wines for every taste, handcrafted from vineyard to bottle.  They have one of the best selections of red and white wines in the Finger Lakes.
Keuka Spring Vineyards is located at 243 State Route 54, East Lake Road, just outside of Penn Yan, on the east side of Keuka Lake.  Owners Len and Judy Wiltberger have been committed to producing premium wines since they founded the winery in 1985.  In 2013 Keuka Spring won their second Governor's Cup.  The first was awarded in 1998.

The 2012 Riesling is a perfect example of not only the white wines of Keuka Sping Vineyards, but also of Finger Lakes Riesling.   Aromas were, as my daughter says, very peachy with white flower and honeysuckle and a nice hint of pineapple and lemon.  Very smooth and delicate mouthfeel with excellent acidity and flavors of peach and citrus.  The finish was medium to long, some citrus and a bit of sweetness.   The pairing was out of this world with the shrimp salad and clams.  You can also enjoy with grilled chicken, salmon or trout, crab and even cheeses like cheddar and gouda.  On it's own, the wine stands out.  Better have an extra bottle if planning on an evening on the deck just sipping away.  
Keuka Spring Riesling 2012 can be purchased at the winery for $17 or on-line shops as well as many local outlets for $14.  Very Highly Recommended

Friday, August 30, 2013

Millbrandt Vineyards Traditions Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Made a decision for Cabernet Day this year (Aug.29) to open an East Coast and West Coast value wine for a little battle.  Unfortunately, the battle was over after the first sip of my New York Cabernet.  Standing alone for the evening was a Washington State Columbia Valley wine from Milbrandt Vineyards.  I just picked this wine up, on sale, at a local wine shop.  The wine was chosen because the shelf-talker showed it as a 90 pt wine and the price was only $13. ($2 discount).  We had just returned from a night out at our favorite seafood restaurant, so only chocolate wafers were paired with the wine.

Color was a dark red with aromas of red cherry licorice, chocolate, black currant with a little smoke, vanilla and hints of burnt coconut. Flavors were the same with some added blackberry, spice and herbs. Finish was lengthy with spice, some herbal and a little wood, more cedar than oak.  The wine was probably opened a little too soon.  Still young and can use more time on the rack. Will pair nicely with grilled meats. Recommended

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Maryland Hard Shell Crabs And New York Wine

At least once each year, we make a trip to Harvre de Grace, Maryland to pick up a bushel of Maryland crabs.  For many years our destination took us to Gablers Crab House in Aberdeen until their surprising and shocking closing in 2002 after 62 years in business.  Thus began a search for not just a Maryland crab, but a Gabler crab.  That search brought us to Price's Seafood Restaurant in Havre de Grace.  Since then, a year has not passed that we did not make our annual pilgrimage to Price's for a bushel of their crabs.  This year we may make two trips....
For those readers who have never experienced a Maryland crab boiled in red and black pepper with loads of Old Bay seasoning.....I feel sorry,  you have no idea how a hard shell crab should taste.  For my friends in Maryland, I envy you.  You live just too damn close to this delicacy.  For many years, the drink of choice has always been a good local bottled beer.  The bottle was also used to crack the claw shells (when needed) on the crab. It became a custom as well as a perfect pairing with crab meat.  This year, I broke away from that custom and in lieu of beer, I paired with Finger Lakes white wine.  I will never go back to beer!!!

First night of crabs I was looking for something a little bit on the sweet side, so I opened up a Glenora Wine Cellars Riesling 2012.($13) Not sweet enough!!  Can you believe that I am saying "not sweet enough?"  Well this was more of a semi-sweet wine, but after a few sips with the crabs, I was thinking that a very sweet (like late harvest Riesling) would have paired better.  After a few exchanges of crab and wine I changed my opinion.  Yes, a nice sweet and maybe Sparkling wine may have paired better, but the Glenora Riesling was falling right in place with the spicy crab.  Now, would a drier white wine also fair well with these spicy crabs?

Second evening I opened a Heron Hill Eclipse White 2011($14), a blend of  Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grape varietals. A little drier, but still a very nice pairing.  This blend is very versatile in terms of food pairing, from shellfish, grilled fish, poultry and spicy Maryland crabs.  The wine is also a perfect patio wine for just sipping on it's own.
We are heading back to South Carolina in October and planning to stop at Price's on our way home to New York.   Another bushel of crabs and a few more Finger Lakes wines.   

P.S. Finished crabs on third night with a Hazlitt Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2012.  Just keeps getting better.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012

Whenever I travel into the city of Syracuse, NY,  I make a point to stop by one of my favorite small wine shops. Vinomania is a small shop with what I consider having the best selection of wines in the county.  75% of all wines cannot be found too easily at other area shops, if found at all.
This past weekend, Shirley and I paid a visit with intentions of only stopping in, find a bottle or two and say Hi to shop owner Gary Decker.  Unfortunately, Gary was out of town, but that did not stop us from a little shopping.  I choose a few and Shirley picked a few wines she thought looked interesting.  One of her picks was a Tuscan Sangiovese produced in Siena by Donna Laura srl. 

Shirley is not a big wine drinker, so I have no idea how she can walk into a wine shop and choose inexpensive wines that never let you down.  Always red and usually always Italian. I refuse to believe that it is her Italian heritage that has bestowed that gift on her, but she does this all the time. On this night I was stuck with leftover pasta and Shirley's Italian meatless red tomato sauce,  so I opened up her cheap Italian wine. A Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012 ($11)  Did I say Cheap?  I can find this wine on-line as low as $8.  I'll have to talk to Gary about that. Low in price, but oh so high on quality.

Color is ruby red, clear and bright.  Aromas were full of raspberry, strawberry and red cherries with red plums and a touch of smoke. Very smooth mouthfeel with some tannin and some acidity.  Very nice balance. Finish was medium length with nice fruit and very smooth.  Excellent pairing with the pasta.  Should also do well with veal, cheese pizza and veggie lasagna and my favorite, Chicken Parmesan.  Also, very nice on it's own and with small bites of sharp cheddar cheese.  I do love my Tuscan wines and this 100% Sangiovese wine is why.  Donna Laura Ali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2012 is widely available and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Keuka Spring Vineyards Vignoles 2012

Before I begin this post, I would like to congratulate Keuka Spring Vinyards and their 2012 Riesling on their recent Governors Cup trophy.  The Governor's Cup, recognizes the "Best of Show" or top prize of all 875 entries in the wine classic, known as "The Oscars" of New York wine.  Alas, I have two of these wines in my wine fridge, but both belong to my daughter Pam and under penalty of great bodily harm, I can not open without her permission. So, I did the next best thing by opening another of the fantastic white wines produced by Keuka Spring.

My introduction to Keuka Spring Vineyards was during the Keuka in Bloom tour in May.  As I mentioned in that post, Keuka Spring was the highlight of the day.  I brought home quite a few of their white wines and two of their Ros├ę's. The wines did not last long during the June heat wave, so I had to re-stock at the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Watkins Glen.  One of the wines purchased was the Keuka Spring Vineyards Vignoles 2012. ($13)

This wine was opened on what may have been the most gorgeous evening of the summer.  On the grill (perfectly done, I must say) were chicken ka-bobs, grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob.  I was very much in the mood for something a little sweet and the Keuka Spring Vignoles did the job.
Color was a very bright light straw that shined in the evening sun. Aromas were loaded with tropical fruits, light floral with sugar plums and hints of tangerine.  Just the right amount of sweetness, with hints of melon and citrus on a long semi-dry finish.  

I can't answer for Keuka Spring red wines, as I am too much into all of the white wines I have tasted so far.  The Gew├╝rztraminer, Seyval Chardonnay, two Rieslings and their Riesling-Vidal Blanc blend Celebrate along with the 2012 Vignoles are all world class and Very Highly Recommended.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coyote Moon Winery La Crescent NV

In my last post I mentioned that one of the benefits I received from wine blogging is learning about many new grape varieties that I otherwise would have never knew.  This one was a complete surprise.  When I tasted this wine at the recent Finger Lakes Wine Festival, I had no idea that the name of the wine was actually a variety of grape.(La Crescent). It was only researching what exactly was the blend used to produce this wine that I learned of this grape.  The grape is very new,  developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 2002.  Since then, La Crescent propagation has increased rapidly in many of the Northern States. La Crescent is a very cold hearty grape with very high levels of natural sugars and acidity, and therefore lends itself to be finished as an off-dry or semi-sweet wine. Very reminiscent of Riesling.

As mentioned, my first taste of this wine was in July, when I stopped by the Coyote Moon Vineyards booth at the Wine Festival.  The Coyote Moon Vineyards is located in Northern New York near the St. Lawrence River and is a member of the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail.   
*A special source of pride, pleasure and distinction comes from the cold hardy or Northern Climate grapevines.  Marquette, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, La Crescent and Brianna are Northern Climate grapes created by the University of Minnesota to grow in the colder climates.  Coyote Moon’s Northern Climate wines have been very well-received and garnered accolades across the country.  These wines are on the cutting edge of the wine world and opening taste buds, and wine drinkers, all over the world to a whole new type of wine.  The grapes themselves can survive -40 degrees Fahrenheit and harsh conditions making them perfectly suited for thriving in the Thousand Islands.  Northern Climate grapes combined with Coyote Moon’s terroir produce wines that cannot be tasted elsewhere. *Coyote Moon web site

I opened the Coyote Moon La Crescent NV ($15) for a light dinner of Italian subs. (heros, hoagies, po boys, grinders, torpedoes, depending on where you live). Color was a very light yellow with aromas of peach, apricot and magnolia. Found a little honey in the mouth with lemon, peach, pear and some violet like floral. Medium length semi-sweet finish with some citrus and hints of peach and apricot.. Wine held up nicely with the subs, but I think I would have rather had a beer. After the sandwiches, I relaxed watching the movie "42" and sipped on the La Crescent with a few light cheddar cheese bites. Very enjoyable and a wine that will pair very well with salmon, chicken or oriental. Unfortunately, you may be only able to find this wine at select shops in New York, between Albany and Rochester or on-line at the winery. It will be worth the search. Highly Recommended.