Today marks one of the best reasons to celebrate – World Chardonnay Day….an entire day devoted to the luscious Burgundian grape that has transformed the way people drink wine throughout the world, as Chardonnay is the most popular white in the US and one of the most planted throughout the globe. Over 800 different types of California Chardonnay alone is available to the wine loving consumer. Though many vintners grow the gorgeous grape, as its popularity often leads to profit, not every winemaker knows how to finesse the variety (or not) to have it reach taste perfection. Here are a some that do. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
There are few things as great as a good glass of Chablis. Steely, stone and mineral filled with hints of wild flowers, citrus and stone fruit. Domaine Gerard Tremblay adds layers of quince and lemon to this flavor profile with balance, acidity and a bone dry profile. I love this style, though it is not the typical Chardonnay, especially one from California, but that is what makes Burgundian Chardonnay so special as you can really taste the terroir in many French selections.
Another great Chablis comes from Joseph Drouhin with the Vaudon Chablis. A balanced, fresh and intriguing wine filled with green herbs, mineral notes and citrus leading to juicy apple and pear with a touch of salinity. Domaine Drouhin, in Willamette Valley, OR, created their Arthur Chardonnay to mimic the great whites of Burgundy, mainly those from Chablis and Meursault., filled with layers of mineral, white flowers and fresh lemon.3 Comments »
We love good wine here in Texas. We love it even more when made by one of our own, though the debate is still heated on where the grapes come from and who is making it…mainly, I just want it to be good whether it is made in Napa Valley, Sonoma, Willamette, or Hill Country or made from grapes grown in throughout the state or in other parts of the country. Dallas residents and Texas natives Dr. Clay and Brenda Cockerell fell in love with the wines of Bordeaux, driving them to find a vineyard in the northernmost part of Napa Valley where they are growing stellar Bordeaux style, oak and stainless steel aged Sauvignon Blanc, calling the wine Coquerel, taking the French spelling of their name. They also grow a few other varieties on their property and source fruit from other vineyards around Napa for their Petit Sirah, Merlot, Verdelo and Chardonnay.
Their winemaker, Christine Barbe, was recently in town with Brenda and Clay and I had a chance to visit with her a but before they headed to Abilene (Brenda and Clay’s hometown) for the Buffalo Gap food and wine festival. I was thrilled to have a chance to sit down with Christine and Brenda before they headed out of town. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Coquerel Family Wine with Winemaker Christine Barbe"Be The First To Comment
This weekend was ideal for country music and spirits lovers as the Kenny Chesney 2013 No Shoes Nation concert Saturday night also featured the launch of his new rum inspired by sitting in the sunshine in the Caribbean islands sipping rum without anywhere to go or anything to do. After much thought and research he finally settled on creating his Blue Chair Bay Rum at a small distillery in Barbados just a few feet away from the beach, partnering with Savvy Drinks to create his lifestyle of the islands in a bottle.
Having spent a little time in the Caribbean, I can easily understand how the lifestyle of living on a white sandy beach, listening to music, sipping clean island rum and doing nothing is infectious, if you can bottle that I am immediately there! And he did. The White Rum, Coconut Rum and Coconut Spiced Rum are all true to their island inspired name, filled with sweet vanilla, tropical fruit and spice. I was unable to attend the launch but had a chance to try a sample of all three and a few cocktails, given to me by the producers, before the event. I particularly liked the coconut spiced rum filled with a luscious combination of toasted coconut, warm baking spices like cinnamon and cloves and sweet vanilla. Delicate and smooth, ideal for sipping on their own or mixing into your favorite cocktail. I liked it just mixed with club soda and a sprig of fresh mint.
The product is just now launching and will be available throughout Dallas shortly, each retailing for less than $20 a bottle. Follow the jump for recipes. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Blue Chair Bay Rum with Kenny Chesney"3 Comments »
If you are still in need of a gift for Mom here are some fun ideas. In addition to a nice brunch or dinner out, toasting her with any of the below are sure to please your mom on her day. Though a few are available online only, having it arrive a few days late is worth it as each item below are as special as she is. I talked about a few of these this morning on D: The Broadcast. A few selections below were sent for editorial consideration.
When I think California Chardonnay Jordan easily comes to mind as one of the best, and always rich, layered, classic. From their estate fruit grown in Sonoma County, filled with green apple, tropical fruit and toasted cream. Always memorable and consistently delicious, any Chardonnay loving mom will be pleased with this bottle from Jordan, and a great deal at Spec’s for $27.88 a bottle. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Wine for Mom and Gift Ideas"1 Comment »
We are not lacking in great places to buy wine in Dallas….from Veritas to Spec’s to Stoney’s to Sigel’s…even your neighborhood grocery stores have stocked their shelves with tasty selections from all over the world. (Have you been to the wine bar at Whole Foods in Lakewood?) However, being a wine lover and always interested in a great deal on an unusual selection I have found WTSO.com – Wines Til Sold Out. WTSO.com is an online wine store that sends emails out to their subscribers with the wine of the day, or the hour, or the half hour as it sometimes goes and you have a chance to buy it at a reduced price until they have sold out of their stock. When they sell out, they send another email with the next wine that is available until sold out. Yes, it can add up to many emails, but if you are looking for an interesting selection it is worth it. And, usually, if you buy 4 bottles shipping will be for free. Another reason I like them is because they often find a way to give back, and buying wine for a cause is always a good thing. Tomorrow, May 7, WTSO.com will partner with Music 4 More, a 501c3 that provides resources to sustain and foster under-funded music programs in schools and communities across the United States. Started in 2009, to date Music 4 More has donated 400+ music instruments to kids across the country and continues to partner with various other groups to help with veteran music therapy and awareness concerts, all to bring a brighter, music filled future to our society. Tuesday WTSO.com will give a portion of sales to Music 4 More in support of their efforts.11 Comments »
I like having an entire weekend to celebrate with Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo back to back..having them on the same day last year just about did me in, so this Saturday/Sunday combo allows for a little spacing out of your tequila and whiskey cocktails. If you need a little inspiration consider one of these for toasting this weekend. A few spirit samples and recipes were sent for editorial consideration.
Blood Orange Margarita
1½ parts Tequila Avión
¾ part Cointreau
1 part Blood Orange Juice
½ part Fresh Sour Mix
Directions: In a cocktail shaker add all ingredients with ice. Shake and strain; best served over fresh ice and garnish with an orange twist. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Derby Day/Cinco de Mayo – Get Ready For A Fun Weekend!"
I am so tired of the back and forth weather we are seeing this year. Just as I put my sweaters away and load my fridge with light, refreshing wines ideal for enjoying on the patio, we see another shift to a thirty or forty degree day. Well, I am determined to enjoy spring before summer is really here, and the best way I know how is with one of those refreshing wines. Here are a few easy drinking, affordable suggestions to put you in the mood for warmer weather, a few of which were sent for editorial consideration.
As everyday is a day for bubbles and Zardetto Prosecco, the family owned winery led by third generation winemaker Fabio Zardetto, is a great go to for an affordable price (usually around $10 a bottle) and lively, racy palate, with lemon, honeydew and stone fruit flavors, great served on its own as an aperitif, or after dinner in a Sgroppino.
2 ounces Zardetto Prosecco
2 ounces Vodka
Directions – Fill flute with vodka, then add a scoop of sorbet, top with Zardetto and a sprig of mint.
This would also be delicious with grapefruit sorbet and a sprig of rosemary or thyme. Continue reading "What to Drink Now: Wine to Help Get Spring Started"
If you are in the mood for a healthy (yes, healthy) take on Mexican/Tex-Mex inspired fare, Ocho Kitchen and Bar may be the spot for you. Chef Joel Harloff tweaks typical Mexican favorites to create a lively menu filled with fresh flavors that are both heart healthy and many, gluten free, like his Cilantro-Caper Salmon Ceviche and The Benjamin grilled chicken fajitas. Last night Chef Harloff invited a handful of local media folks out to his 8Bar upstairs for a tasting of a few of his new menu offerings, paired with seasonal cocktails. Healthy eating and tasty spirits? I had to attend and taste as his guest.
Jump for more and a look at Ariel Gonzalez’s beautiful photos. Continue reading "Ocho Kitchen and Bar Celebrates Spring With New Dishes and Cocktails"
Classic style, impeccable taste, elegance and grace – many iconic brands could fall into this category… Chanel, Aston Martin, Cartier, Chateau Margaux, and for the bubbly lovers, Moet & Chandon. Since 1743 the Champagne house has been producing its rich, robust, layered and lovely Champagne in its Epernay, France home including their Imperial Brut, Imperial Brut Rose and, in very special years, their vintage designate sparklers. This year marks two special occasions for Moet, both the recent release of their 2004 Grand Vintage Brut Champagne and involvement with a classic, releasing in theaters this May, The Great Gatsby. Moet is the featured sparkler in the beloved and tragic Fitzgerald story staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. As much as I am eagerly anticipating the release, tasting the 2004 a few weeks ago with Moet winemaker Elise Losfelt proved to have immense immediate satisfaction. I had a chance to visit and taste with Elise at The Crescent Club while she was visiting town a few weeks ago. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2004"1 Comment »
I was on with the ladies of D: The Broadcast yesterday talking Green Wines….there are so many it was hard to get all the details out on air and really talk about all the great wines that are being made in a very green way these days. It is still a relatively new idea in the whole world of wine to focus on being Green, but we’ll also find many Old World wineries that have been farming their vines for generations organically. Though the process is better for Mother Earth and for you, the real reason a lot wineries have turned to a Green way of making wine is because producing a clean wine means you’ll produce a very vineyard driven wine, the key idea many winemakers gravitate toward these days. For us, it means delicious juice! A few selections were sent for editorial consideration, most selections can be found around town at our various wine stores like Goody-Goody or Spec’s, or directly through their websites.
2010 Clif Family Climber Bordeaux Blend – $28, Based in Napa from the family that brought us the Clif Bar. The winery was certified organic in 2009 and are currently moving towards being sustainable with processes in place like reducing carbon footprint by creating a green shipping program, they have a CSA (community supported agriculture) for their Napa neighbors, and steps in place that help both the wildlife and water preservation around their vineyards. This wine is a limited release blend of predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon from 5 vineyards including their prestigious Howell Mountain Cab vineyard. The juice sees18 months in oak creating a wine very old world inspired wine with ripe red cherry, plum tart and licorice notes, great for pairing with grilled beef and Colorado lamb. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Earth Day Wines"1 Comment »
An aperitif is the perfect way to start any evening….reason enough to toast the beginning of a night of delicious wine, tasty food and conversation. Whether yours is in the form of a martini, refreshing cocktail or glass of bubbly, the options for starting an evening center around one basic theme, sip something that will awaken the palate and prepare you for an enjoyable evening of food and wine. I often start with a bubbly, my sweetie enjoys a martini, and we both universally agree on the beauty of a Lillet, though he likes his with a twist of orange and I enjoy grapefruit. Here are a few tasty ideas to consider when starting your next evening out. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Lillet Blanc - The floral and fragrant fortified wine from the Bordeaux region of France created in 1872 by blending Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle with macerated orange liqueur made mainly from the orange peels then aging for a year in oak to create a citrus fruit, vanilla, honey and spice filled aperitif with light notes of white flowers and a slight hint of bitterness from the peel, helping really wake up the palate. Delicious served well chilled, on its own, on the rocks with a twist, or in a Champagne cocktail with 1 ounce of Lillet to 4 or 5 ounces of your favorite sparkler. Lillet Rouge goes through a similar process with a base of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot creating Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Aperitifs"3 Comments »
Lots of opportunities for the wine lover to get out and about around town to sip and savor, here are a few that look especially tasty.
This Friday and Sunday Veuve Clicquot Champagne rolls into town with their decked out Clicquot Airbus for a bubbly celebration of spring at Saint Ann on Friday from 3pm-8pm and Hotel Za Za on Sunday from noon-6pm with a sparkling pool party. The Airbus is rolling through the country bringing Champagne wishes to guests coast to coast raising flutes of Yellow Label Veuve at each stop along the way. Both events are open to the public with flutes available for sale throughout the days. Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunities To Taste"
Winemaker Janet Myers is a busy woman. Not only does she oversee the 300,000+ case production for Franciscan Estates Winery in Napa Valley, but also the 30,000 case production for their sister winery Mount Veeder, started in 1973 before the area had become a designated AVA and purchased by Franciscan in 1989. You would think that with that much wine to manage things would get a little muddled and indistinct. Lucky for both Janet and us, the consumer, they don’t as both wineries are known for producing quality wines from grapes grown on their estate vineyards as well as sourced fruit grown to their rigorous specifications. I had a chance to visit with Janet this week as her guest at a small trade lunch. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Franciscan and Mount Veeder"2 Comments »
Gershwin filled the air as Dallas wine lovers, dressed to the hilt in black tie and glitz, took a turn back to the 20′s to celebrate the 22nd annual Cotes du Coeur. The ballroom of the Hilton Anatole was transformed into a glamorous setting filled with lavish red roses in crystal vases sharing space with hundreds of bottles of stunning wine from around the world. The tempting aromas wafted from the room, rising from the dozen chef stations situated throughout the ballroom, each paired with two award-winning wine selections. I had a chance to attend as a guest of The American Heart Association Dallas Chapter. Continue reading "22nd Annual Cotes Du Coeur Celebrated the Heart 1920′s Style"2 Comments »
In addition to all the wonderful things spring brings, it also brings the start of baseball season…joyous for this Ranger fan, with opening day at The Ballpark happening in just hours, along with the end of college basketball for the year. If you can’t make it out to opening day, or had your basketball bracket blow up and need a distraction from the games this weekend, consider mixing up one of these tasty cocktails.
The Ballpark Diamond
1 1/2 parts Maker’s Mark
Cold Ginger Beer
Directions: In tall glass, add cubed ice, mix 1 1/2 parts of Maker’s Mark and fill to top with Ginger Beer.
The Red Thread
1 1/4 parts Maker’s Mark
Splash Cranberry Juice
Directions: Fill rocks glass with cubed ice, add Maker’s Mark, soda water and a splash of cranberry juice and garnish with a lime wedge. Continue reading "DIFF, The Rangers and The Final Four Give Us Reasons To Toast this Weekend"
Once upon a time, many years ago in the faraway neighborhood of Henderson Avenue, I went to work at La Cave Wine Warehouse. Owners Sam Stuart and Francois Chandou opened the first wine bar in Dallas. After the restaurant/winebar/wine retail shop closed, Chandou and his wife, Anne, has kept the business of selling and storing wine alive for 36 years. Today he’s tossing in his cork screw. He’s sold the business to Kirk and Rhonda Chandler. His letter to his loyal customers is below.
(Way to go, Frank!) Enjoy retirement.
The Design District is quickly becoming prime real estate area. If I had more money, I’d buy a slice. Great, now I’m off topic. Anyways, The Wine Poste just opened yesterday at 2001 Irving Blvd., Ste. 145. It’s 4,500 sq. ft. of wine racks “spanning from hard-to-find varietals to popular favorites. In addition to its extensive wine selection, The Wine Poste also provides ample event space. The Lounge, the Library, and the private Banquet Room will host in-store tastings, winemaker and celebrity chef dinners, and each space may be rented by consumers for a variety of private events.”
For those of you too lazy to make it over to the Design District, online shopping is also an option. Browse here.
When we think of California wine country our minds immediately take us to Napa…it is the premier and truly the place that put California, if not all of American wine, on the international map. However, Livermore County, just 45 minutes outside of San Francisco and a 20 minute drive from Napa, was one of the most influential regions for all of wine due to Wente Vineyards and their plantings of Chardonnay cuttings, brought over by hand by in 1912 from delicate clippings obtained at Montpellier University in the south of France.
When we think of wine we think of the place it comes from, and within each region, is the terroir. Terroir includes the soil, the sun, the climate, the slope of the land, etc. that will influence how a grape grows and the various flavors that it will have. However, just as important in this process is the actual grape and no two grapes are a like. There isn’t just one Cabernet grape or one Chardonnay, there are dozens and dozens of different clones that may have all started out as one single domesticated vine 8000 years ago in Turkey or Iran, but over the years these vines have morphed into a large variety of different clones.
Over the years the clones of this Wente Chardonnay, and its children including Hyde-Wente, 04, 09, 67, 79 and many more, has become one of the most planted clones throughout the Northwest, especially in California where there are over 100,000 acres of Chardonnay vines planted. From Santa Barbara to Yakima, Wente clone Chardonnay has been used to make award winning wines for the likes of Hanzell, Stony Hill, Kistler, Ramey, Byron, Donum, Sangiacomo, and was the main clone used in the quite famous Paris Tasting 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Wente Clone Chardonnay"4 Comments »
I do love this time of year, both because spring in Dallas is always so beautiful and watching trees and flowers begin to pop just brings a smile to your face, and it is down time for many wineries so their top brass can travel to wine loving cities, like ours, bringing their tasty juice with them while hosting various wine dinners and tasting opportunities around town. Here are a few coming up in the next few weeks.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet do so now for Cotes du Coeur International Fine Wine Auction and Celebrity Chef Dinner. The annual event, the largest gala fundraiser for The American Heart Association, takes place Saturday night, April 6th, and features not only many of our favorite chefs in town, including Chef Chair Richard Chamberlain along with many of his buddies, like Jim “Sevy” Severson, Dean Fearing, Kent Rathbun and David Holben, but a gathering of incredible winemakers and wineries, including Adelsheim, Ehler’s Estate, Siduri, Hall, Merry Edwards and Revana. Ticket information and additional details here. Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunities To Taste"
Easter not only launches the season where we can officially wear white, it is also the real launch of spring. If you are looking for a pastel pink, mint green or baby blue cocktail to enjoy with your Easter brunch this weekend consider one of these tasty treats. Though not as good as a chocolate bunny…what is? These are a great way to leisurely enjoy a warm spring afternoon.
Easter Bunny Cocktail
1 scoop raspberry sorbet or 1 scoop lemon sorbet
2 or 3 blueberries
Directions – Add raspberry or lemon sorbet to a chilled champagne flute and fill with MARTINI® Prosecco. Garnish with blueberries. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Easter Cocktails"