All Stories in "spain"
You read that correctly: Michael Jordan! But not the hall-of-fame NBA legend who was arguably one of the best to ever pick up a ball. This Michael Jordan is a legend in wine and arguably one the best sommeliers to ever pick up a glass. Jordan is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators and a Master Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers -- one of only 15 people in the world to hold both diplomas! Thus, when he recommends wines, we take notes! Question: Michael, if you were to advise young wine drinkers - who are open to trying new wines - what 3 would you recommend? Answer: For those newer to wine that are eager to try and discover new things I am going to stay with soft, easy drinking AND DELICIOUS, rather than super complex, tannic or dry. Let's stay on the affordable side of things too. The following wines are all just good wines that will make lunch and dinner taste better, or be enjoyed on their own without any food. Rosé: Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir - made at Carmel Road in Monterey County. Strawberries and cherries – it’s like liquid love. Definitely foreplay! This is not just her name slapped on “shiners” (meaning, it's not just 'whitelabeled') but Drew actually is making the wine with winemaker Kris Kato, choosing the vineyard blocks, blending and deciding the final wines. Remarkably pretty…soft and delicate. Available for $15. Cenyth, Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Sonoma County has a very different flavor profile, more plummy and cherry with almost a tangerine freshness. Available for $23. BUY Domaine des Carteresses, Tavel is step up in intensity, color (and a trip to South of France) for an excellent Dry Rosé from the Tavel AOC in the Southern Rhône – an AOC that produces only Rosé wines! White Wines: For those that have already discovered how well the “fresh lemon zest” in a light Italian Pinot Grigio refreshes you and goes with antipasto and crispy fried calamari, the new world version is a great discovery. Pieropan, Soave, Veneto, Italy Soft and bright apples and citrus made from Garganega grapes from close to the romantic town of Verona…‘nuff said. Available for $35, BUY Paco & Lola, Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain Albariño grapes create a white wine with stone fruit flavors of nectarine, peach and sometimes apricot along with apple and tangerine. Great for anything from the sea with fins or shells. Available for $19. BUY Tangent, Albariño, Edna Valley, California is a California version with those same peach and apple flavors. Delicious! Available for $14, BUY WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon is a fun and delicious wine with plusher texture than the Italians and has not only crisp flavors of citrus and apples, but a layer of Rainier cherry – and I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like that flavor! Available for $20, BUY New logo tee for her! BUY! Red Wines: I am a true devotee of the seductive Pinot Noir grape; it's truly the most sexy grape ever fermented. Grenache/Garnacha and Tempranillo are also delicious grapes when made into plush and fruity wines. WillaKenzie Estate, Gisèle Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon is one of the most pretty and light-styled Pinot Noirs from the west coast. The “Gisèle” is a soft and light bouquet of roses and fresh raspberries – a delight! They also make three or four more Pinot Noirs with varying degrees of intensity and tannin. Available for $28, BUY Beronia, Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain Tempranillo is the primary grape in the blend of the Rioja region, aged and softened in barrel until the vanilla-laden cherry and plum flavors dance together! These wines are quite good values also when you consider the amount of aging required by Spanish law. (A "Gran Reserva" means that the wine was aged at least five years, with a minimum of two years in oak. Gran Reserva wines are typically only made in outstanding vintages/years.) Available for $30, a steal! BUY Radio Boca, Tempranillo, Valencia, Spain is a super affordable and soft version of this grape's plush appeal from the South Eastern region of Spain . They also make a Garnacha that’s more intense but just as smooth, and the winery’s website is quite creative and fun. “GSM” Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends from Côtes-du-Rhône in the Southern Rhône Valley are very approachable and plush with rich texture and rich red and black fruit while being ultimately soft and smooth. These are great for everyday dishes like pizza and burgers or more extravagant pairings like rack of lamb and pork chops. Also great with vegetarian stews and roasted mushrooms and veggies! Perrin, Réserve, Côtes-du-Rhône, France All the bells and whistles, everything you expect from a classic GSM blend with the addition of Carignan grapes. BUY E. Guigal (available for $15, BUY), Delas (available for $12, BUY), Chapoutier (available for $15, BUY) and Mont-Redon are all good producers of classic and inexpensive Côtes-du-Rhône Well, this list should keep you busy for the at least a few weeks! We thank Michael for his time and for sharing his wisdom with us. Michael is serial restaurateur, beverage consultant, and Director of Global Accounts for Jackson Family Wines. If you have any questions you'd like to ask a Sommelier, just send us an email cheers AT ilikethisgrape.com, or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
We all know and adore Taco Tuesday. It's that day where our local cantina serves up deals on some amazing Mole Poblano or Tinga de Pollo. Even a basic, quality-made tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese and sauce will often do the trick. In any event, we stuff our face accordingly. All of that spicy excellence will definitely need a beverage. Instead of a Mexican cerveza or margarita, how about switching it up with some wine? And not just any vino. You're getting suggestions from someone who has, literally, been voted the best sommelier in America: André Hueston Mack. André Hueston Mack Let's see what Mack has to say on the matter: Taco Tuesday is one of my favorite nights of the week! Growing up in Texas has made me very fond of Mexican food and my go-to wines have always been from the region of Alsace! Their rich, opulent whites tend to have lower alcohol that defuse spicy flavors and marry well with the diversity of spices found in Mexican cuisine. I like 2014 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 'Zind' which is a blend of Chardonnay and Auxerrois grapes from one of the domaine's top vineyards, Clos Windsbuhl. Aromatic with great acidity and structure, which bodes well with tacos with just a slight kiss of sweetness to foil spiciness.Rioja is a very hot region and tends to make very alcoholic wine that can amplify the spiciness found in food. I'm a big fan of contrast so for something like a casual Taco Tuesday I would opt for an lofty old Rioja maybe from the 80's or 70's where time has allowed the wine to mature. My favorite is 1975 Bodegas Riojanas 'Monte Real' Grand Reserva. Bonus After uncovering some solid taco wines, Mack started waxing poetic about other pairing scenarios as well. Like any superb sommelier, Mack also knows his spirits. So we posed another hypothetical: what would you bring to a friend's birthday when she's really into wine, scotch and cigars? Sounds like my type of woman! It's her birthday so I would go all out - but not on all three items. I would only select one and drill down. My mother always told me that, when shopping for a birthday gift for someone who has similar interest, buy something that would make you jealous.So, hands-down I would opt for Scotch. And not just any Scotch... Enter Silvano Samaroli, founder of Italian bottler and importer of Scotch whisky, Samaroli, which are some of the most sought after whiskeys in the world. Although I'm a huge fan of all of his cask strength whiskys, I would select the 1983 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky for the birthday girl to ensure one of the best birthday experiences ever! André Hueston Mack is an ardent wine educator who has hosted seminars and lead panel discussions at top industry gatherings across the United States, including Aspen Food & Wine Classic and Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival. Mack was the first African-American to be named Best Young Sommelier in America by Chaine des Rotisseurs. He was a sommelier at Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry before helping open Chef Keller’s three-Michelin-starred Per Se as head sommelier. Mack now produces wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley under his own label, Mouton Noir, sold all over the world. Sean Davis via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND
Go to your local bar, grocery store, or liquor shop, and ask for a bottle of cider. More likely than not, you’re gonna be offered something that tastes like apple-flavored beer. These sugary-sweet suds still work when consumed out of Red Solo cups on a college campus, but are hardly worth pairing with your dinner. But there’s hope for fermented apples. Beyond the plonk plastered with humanized apple trees on the bottle, there’s a deeply traditional style of European cider. The old-world approach is catching on amongst beer nerds and hipster sommeliers alike. The geography Nestled in the Cantabrian Mountain Range along the Bay of Biscay is the fiercely autonomous Basque Region. Spanning across the Northeastern quadrant of Spain, and spilling into the French Pyrenees, is El País Vasco. The area is known for its vast heritage, extending back to the late Paleolithic period. Some of the oldest recorded cave paintings have come from this part of Europe. Running parallel to these advances in cognition came the alcoholic revolution. This region of France and Spain is the origin for grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon. Grape geneticists have traced the heritage of some of today’s most well-known varieties to this region burrowed between the French and Spanish border. Traditional cider pouring from a porron pitcher The wines from the Basque region are extraordinary: look no further than the affable white wine called Txakoli from the coastal region of Getaria. But the most unique beverage from this region is the cider made from the apples grown planted along the rolling foothills of the region. The indigenous apple varieties rank in the hundreds, and often producers (called sagardotegis) will blend upwards of 20 different varieties together to make their cider. Making the juice The ancestral method of breaking down sugar means that yeast ferments the apple juice into alcoholic cider. Natural yeast fermentation exists at breweries like Belgian O.G., Cantillon, and naturally-driven wineries like LaPierre in Beaujolais. By not suffocating the juice and letting a slow, more natural fermentation take place, the resulting cider has a vivacity and sense of place. This kind of output is not typically found in sterile, modern facilities. Also, Basque cider traditionally is unfiltered, so all those byproducts of fermentation are kept inside the cider, imparting even more flavor in your mouth. Comparing the aromatics and flavor of a naturally fermented, unfiltered cider to something saturated and completely strained is like comparing Tang to pulpy, fresh-squeezed Orange Juice. Isastegi's apple orchards The other major difference is the lack of carbonation. These ciders are fermented in large wooden casks called kupelas. This low and slow fermentation can take months to fully mature. The small amount of residual CO2 from fermentation is bottled in with the cider, resulting in a faint fizziness, about as much as you’d get in a bottle of kombucha. Reaping the rewards Since fermentation takes months to finish, sagardotegis will typically celebrate the start of cider season with a large party in late January. These producers will open their doors and turn their fermentation rooms into bars, where guests can drink directly from the barrel, a time-honored ritual called Txotx. Txotx Season continues through the winter and spring. All throughout the French and Spanish Basque Country, you can find ciderhouses serving up a traditional Txotx menu of Bacalao (salt cod) and steak. Like any high acid beverage, these ciders can cut through marbled beef or frame the briny qualities of seafood. When picking a Basque Cider, there’s a couple of things to look for. Hold the bottle to the light: if the cider is flecked with floating chunks, you’re on the right track! Is it under a screwcap or cork rather than a traditional crown cap? If all else fails, look for Isastegi, Txopinondo, or Shacksbury’s Basque Collaboration. Basque Cider isn’t for everyone. It’s more tart than sweet, more funky that fruity. But when you’re looking for something complex that can offer an alternative pairing to your dinner, bust out a bottle of Isastegi. Chris Poldoian is a certified sommelier and a member of the Houston Sommelier Association. In his position at Camerata, he brings experience in the Houston market and a vast understanding for the hospitality industry. After spending a harvest in Jerez and Rioja, wine experts and novices can expect small producers in Spain – from the traditional to the avant-garde – to grace Camerata's menu.
You know rosé is hot when movie stars start making it. That’s what’s behind the incredible popularity of Miraval, the Provencal rosé whose price has suddenly gone from “I can afford that” to “wait, what?” Cheapest we can find is $22 per bottle; at most places it’s in the mid to high 20s. (That’s not as expensive as some Provencal rosé, but we predict it soon will be if this inflation continues.) Here’s the background: In 2012, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie paid $60 million for Château Miraval, a 1,200-acre estate in the village of Correns, France. It’s sweet: pine forests, olive groves, terraced hillsides, working vineyards, a private lake and a moat to keep out stalkers. Brangelina tied the knot there in 2014 and call it home. (A little too ostentatious, you say? Hey, Johnny Depp bought a whole French village.) Over the years Château Miraval has served many purposes. It’s been used as a recording studio (Pink Floyd recorded parts of “The Wall” there). In 1992 it became a winery: American winemaker Tom Bove bought it and made it into one of France’s best producers of organic wine. Pitt and Jolie enjoyed the idea of living in a winery. They launched Miraval wines on Valentine’s Day 2013, collaborating with the famous Perrin family (they’re behind Chateau de Beaucastel and they helped found Tablas Creek on California’s Central Coast). The Pitt-Jolie label was catnip to the public. They sold out their first 6,000 bottles of rosé in just five hours. Here’s the problem: traditionally, rosé was dirt cheap. (Next week, Alex, our #SommNextDoor, will explain how it’s made, why it tastes the way it does, and why it’s not supposed to be a big-buck wine.) But Brangelina and their damned celebrity are turning every Frenchman’s inexpensive summer sipper into a pricey pink princess with its nose held as high as its sticker price. That’s just wrong, people. Okay, so Miraval is pretty tasty. But there’s plenty of other great rosé out there that’s in the same quality ballpark at a fraction of the cost. We threw a tasting party last week with a bunch of friends to determine the best of the lot (and there are a LOT – every two-bit winemaker in America has hopped onto the rosé bandwagon in the last few years). Here’s our list of faves with some notes on the best of the best. Prices are lowest available online: France Café du Midi 2015 Grenache Rosé (Vin de France) $10: Watermelon and red cherry nose. Pale-pink color. Ripe red-fruit flavors. Chateau de Campuget (Rhone) $9.99: Pale colored. Very light. Hint of wet stone. Chateau Sainte Eulalie (Minervois) $9.99 Esprit Gassier (Cotes du Provence) $11.99 Juliette La Sangliere (Provence) $9.99 La Manarine (Cotes du Rhone) $10.99 Les Violettes (Cotes du Rhone) $12.99 Triennes (Mediteranee) $13.99: Very similar to Miraval. Its baby sister. Same pale blush color. But it’s not as expensive! Spain Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado Txakolina 2015 (made in Getaria, Basque country near San Sebastian) $19.98: Fruity bouquet, very peachy. Finish is dry. Light bubbles. Interesting! Ostatu 2015 (Rioja) $13.49 Bodegas Viñátigo Listan negro 2015 (Tenerife, Canary Islands) $20 U.S.A. Alta Colina 2015 Rosé Chronic Rosé of Grenache and Syrah $12.99: Woo hoo! Bold! Slightly sweet in the finish. Not French style, but a crowd favorite.
Rock Cotton Suits and Sangria this Summer During the coming months ladies will begin to slip into their fist sun dresses and barely-there bikinis. Summer’s growing list of side effects will most definitely include constant head turning and spontaneous heart palpitations for many. However, as women have a myriad of garment choices for the season, what do men employ for summer style? Stay away from the territory of “frat boy” tank tops and cartoonish board shorts and take a play out of Detectives Crockett and Tubbs Miami Vice playbook and invest in functional and stylish cotton/linen suit while you listen to Action Bronson's wine soaked rap lyrics in your Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Take this crafty JCREW Ludlow suit for instance. Fine Italian cotton and a subtle stone color will ensure coolheaded-ness and will keep you from blinding onlookers from the type of ray ban shattering glare a chalk white suit would have (although Jude Law may disagree). This cotton suit takes traditional year long attire and by minor changes in material and color, transforms it into the uniform of the coolest cops ever to take the small screen. [caption id="attachment_3310" align="aligncenter" width="492"] p/c: JCrew[/caption] Additionally, our choices in wine also evolve from textured and layered Malbecs and Cabs to the more playful and devilish sangria. This Spanish (and Portuguese) beverage builds upon a foundation of wine and lets it out of its entitled cage with additions of fruit and brandy. We happened to stumble upon a very unique “fireball” Sangria recipe to courtesy of DELISH magazine below. Check it out and let us know if you have any secret-sauce ingredients for your Sangria on Twitter or Facebook - feel free to include a picture and we may post it up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzE0ok0NRMA