Monday, January 31, 2011

Burgans Albariño 2009

Finally found a second Albarino to enjoy.  The first was a Martin Codax 2008 which I posted in December.  This second one is also produced by  Bodegas Martin Codax from the Rias Baixas region of Spain, The Burgans Albarino 2009. ($14)
I found the Burgans to be much different than the Martin Codax. A little more complex, more body and a bit sweeter.
Aromas were green apple, wild flowers and peach with a little citrus.  In the mouth there was lots of apple, some lemon and honey. The finish wasn't really dry, but not that sweet and not too long.  Sort of like a tart green apple with a few drops of honey.
Paired really nice with a broiled salmon steak, brown rice and steamed veggies.
Another nice wine I am going to have to add to my list of favorites. I just wish Albarino wines would be easier to find. Certainly worth the hunt and often the find is worth the hunt.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finger Lakes Wine and Cheese

I am beginning to think that the widening of my wine palate is beginning to affect my taste for other foods that were always on my avoidance list. One in particular was my total disdain for Feta cheese and also for Goat cheese.
This past autumn Shirley, Pam and I did a cheese tour of farms on the Finger Lakes.  One farm in particular was not one I really desired to visit. They made 'Goat Cheese," one of  the most disgusting cheeses I have ever tasted. While there Pam insisted that I try a Feta cheese. Feta is just below Limburger as far as one of the most disgusting cheeses ever made. At least that is how I saw it.  I did taste the Feta and was mildly surprised at the sharp but soft flavor. Nothing like any Goat cheese I have ever tasted.
More impressive was the farm with its variety of goats, which all have names and are members of the family.  You can visit the farm with the kids and let them pet the animals. The farm is the Lively Run Goat Dairy.
One of the first commercial goat dairy operations in New York State, beginning production in 1982 and located in Interlaken. Chevre, made in the traditional French style, Feta, and a goat blue cheese are available and all varieties were excellent.
Tonight I was a tad hungry when arriving home from work and the little bit of Feta that was left looked appetizing enough to satisfy the hunger.  I just need to open a nice wine and sitting on the table was a 2007 Cabernet Franc I picked up yesterday at a local Mom and Pop liquor store. The wine was also from the Finger Lakes and the Rooster Hill Vineyards located on Keuka Lake in Finger Lakes Wine Country.
Very cherry aromas with a little damp forest soil and some tobacco and even a little musk were somewhat suspect at first, but the more evident cherry aromas were alluring.  In the mouth, lots of fruity black cherry, some oak with soft tannins with a nice long dry finish.
I really loved this wine.  Finished the bottle in one night.  Something I don't usually do, but along with the Feta cheese, I just could not stop. When you are a novice in wine appreciation and especially in pairing wine and food, you kinda bust a few buttons when you get one this right.
Great wine, great cheese!  Now, I'll just have to do it again, and soon!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Treat from Gettysburg.

Two months ago my wife (Shirley) and daughter (Pam) spent a few days in Gettysburg PA.  Pam was there on business and Shirley tagged along so she could spend some time in her favorite Pennsylvania location.  While there Shirley toured the battlefield for about the umpteenth time and both did the famous Gettysburg ghost tour along with some fine dining and shopping. Shirley was also kind enough to bring home some Adams County wines she found at a downtown wine shop.
I really was not too anxious to open any of them until this past week. I came home from work at the usual time (10:15pm) and just needed a nice wine to sip while watching a late night basketball game on ESPN.  The first one I came to was a white table wine from the Hauser Estate Winery.
This wine was perfect for what I wanted.
A blend of Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris named after Jennie Wade.
Jennie Wade was the only civilian casualty of the battle of Gettysburg.  Her childhood friend and fiance Corp. Johnston H. Skelly also died just nine days later in a Confederate hospital from wounds he received in the battle of Winchester VA.
Lots of honeysuckle aromas with some peach and a hint of tangerine on the nose.  In the mouth was still all the honeysuckle.  Reminded me a bit of a time long ago, when we use to pluck the honeysuckle flowers off the vine and suck the juice out of them.  There was also some green apple and peach and some honey.  The finish was very thick and syrupy with a some floral and honey feel. Wine is listed as a semi-dry, but this is much sweeter than the semi-dry wines I've tasted.  Perfect for sipping in a nice warm family room on a 10°C night.
I saved some for the next night and with some spicy chicken stir-fry. That pairing did not work that well.  Next time I'll try broiled white fish or maybe a shrimp stir-fry and not as spicy.
We are heading back to Gettysburg in April.  It is on our short list of places we would like to retire to, so we will be looking at some property along with visiting the local wineries and trying more Adams County wines.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swedish Hill Dry Riesling 2009

When I wrote my Year In Review, I named the Atwater Estates Riesling 2008 as my best white wine for 2010. That choice was not easy when you consider all the fantastic Finger Lakes Riesling tasted during the past year.  I don't think it's fair to say many of the others were also-rans or runner-ups when they just as well could have been named my best. One of these is the 2009 Dry Riesling from the Swedish Hill Winery on the Cayuga Lake wine trail..
Early this past autumn I tasted a dry Riesling from Swedish Hill and felt at the time that this was maybe one of the best I have ever had.  Tonight I opened the 2009 Dry Riesling ($16) and have to say again, this is one of the best Finger Lakes Rieslings I've tasted since I started enjoying Rieslings.
Shirley did a nice chicken tonight made with a sauce of capers, sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest over fried breast and served with roasted potatoes and requested a nice dry white wine.  The Swedish Hill fit the bill nicely.
Aromas were floral, some honeysuckle and apple blossom with a little peach an light citrus.  The mouth was melon and honey with a little of the honeysuckle. Nice dry and pleasant finish.  This is a fabulous wine that will pair well with chicken, spicy Chinese and  one of my favorites, broiled scallops.

Family-owned and operated by Dick and Cindy Peterson, Swedish Hill is one of the largest wineries in the region. After 20 years of growing and selling grapes to area wineries, the Petersons crushed their first grapes in 1985 and opened Swedish Hill Winery in 1986. Just 1,300 cases were produced that year; this year they produced over 60,000 cases of award-winning wines and sparkling wines. Swedish Hill is recognized as one of the top award-winning wineries in New York State, having won state, national and international acclaim.
Swedish Hill Winery Riesling Cuvee from the Finger Lakes won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2010 New York Wine & Food Classic competition.
The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all 850 entries in the Classic, known as “The Oscars” of New York wine.
I have to confess that this is one of only a few Finger Lakes wineries I have yet to visit.  Can't wait till spring to visit, but sure to uncork a few more Swedish Hill wines till then.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Year In Review

Time to look back on what was an eventful year, personally and with the blog and my exploration into the world of wine. Here at home, I guess eventful would be saying it a tad mildly.
The first quarter saw the death of my father-in-law and a bout with an intestinal disease.  Both happening during the snowiest part of the year.  It got a little bit worse, you might say, in late spring when the chest pains got pass the point of making excuses and denying there was anything really wrong.  By-pass surgery and 12 weeks of recuperation were not on my list of goals for 2010.  The last four months saw cardio-rehab, big change in diet and even worse a cut back in wine consumption.  But, I'm here, I'm better, I'm feeling great and looking very much forward to retirement.
The blog of course suffered a little during the recuperation and recently has taken a bit of a slide as I got kinda hooked on computer games, fantasy sports (NASCAR) and earlier bed times.  Some of the blog goals were not met, so now I will have to give more attention to my goal setting objectives and take them more seriously.  One item I want to spend time on is going pro with the blog.  I've been getting a lot of good info on that issue from Joe Roberts (1WineDude) and his video postings on going pro.  That was never an intent of Why Wine Blog, but it may turn out to be an very interesting goal as part of my retirement planning.  When I say 'going pro,' I am not suggesting taking classes on wine or becoming a sommelier or even a connoisseur, but how I develop and write articles and how I use paid advertising on the blog.  I enjoy writing articles and reviews from the perceptive of an amateur and that's how it will always be.
Last year I chose four wines that I needed to learn more about to continue my wine education.  I think the biggest eye opener was the fact that these were very good wines that for many years I just refused to believe in.  One, the Carmenere, has been disappointing, but the Zinfandel, Syrah and the Peitie Sirah have joined the list of my favorites. Still undecided as far as what wines I should be trying in '11.  What I would like to do is find and try wines from as many States as I can possibly find. I also have become more interested in the wines of France.  I understand they do make wine there and have heard they're pretty good!!!  Still have to put together that list.
Now for my best of 2010.  More difficult to do this year.  I actually had very few that I would not consider.  I guess in that sense, it was a very good year.
My best Rosé - Heron Hill Cabernet Franc Dry Rosé 2006. - Opened my last bottle with spicy grilled chicken and a summer salad.  One of only two Rosé wines tried this year, but still would have been hard to beat.
Best White wine - Atwater Estate Vineyards Riesling 2008. -  How can I choose anything other than a Finger Lakes Riesling.  Tasted more Riesling this past year than I have had in my entire life. All but three were Finger Lakes.  The 2008 Atwater was what I brought to our Thanksgiving dinner. I just didn't bring enough.
Best Red wine - Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva  2006. - I know, I know, I love Italian wines, but this one I think is special.  A $40 wine opened last winter with Shirley's Lasagna was absolutely eloquent. If not for the price I would have posted a review.
Biggest Surprise - Here I have to list a few.
1. Standing Stone Vineyards Pinnacle 2007. - Although known primarily for white wines, the Finger Lakes does very well with Cab Franc and Lemberger and their red blends.  The Pinnacle is a classic Bordeaux style blend.  I'm usually wary when wineries give their wines a funky or even classical type name instead of just labeling it 'meritage.'  On the recommendation of my favorite bartender, who knows absolutely nothing about wine, I purchased the Pinnacle at the recent New York Food Festival.  This wine was in competition for my best red of 2010.  Marvelous Wine!  Much better than your favorite Bolla, Mike!!!
2. Maison de La Colline La Craie Sancerre 2009. - This French Sauvignon Blanc was delightful.  My fault for always believing the only descent white wines from France were Chardonnay and Champagne.
3. Glen Ellen Proprietor's Reserve Petite Sirah 2007. -  What can I say.  This year I fell in love with Petite Sirah.  The Glen Ellen was among the best I had.  But more remarkable was the price on this wine. Labeled as a value wine, or let's just say 'cheap wine,' this Petite Sirah is the best deal anybody shopping for good wine will find.
4. Anyela's Vineyards, on Skaneateles Lake.  WoW!  Great Finger Lakes wines and not on Keuka, Cayuga or Seneca Lake.  Stay tuned to Why Wine Blog.  More to come about Anyela's!
Now a new year has begun and new goals must be set.
Personally, I have to exercise more, watch diet and drink only good wine.
The blog has to become more fun, add some advertising and just maybe taken a little more seriously by me.
As far as wine exploration: No plan of attack yet. Have some Adams County PA wines in the fridge and just maybe look to the "Other 46."  Gonna be a good year, Let's Get Started.