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Nov 22

Wine Review: 2009 Arizona Stronghold Dayden Rosé

I love rosé. Partially, I love it because it’s pink, but I also love it because so many people undervalue it. I recommended a rose to a guy the other day and he said, um, I’d rather have a white, not pink. I launched into a quick defense of pink, but he wouldn’t be swayed. Some guys (and gals, for that matter) simply refuse to find their inner pink.

Let me make two things clear about rosé:

  • Just because it’s pink, that doesn’t mean it’s sweet.
  • Just because it’s pink, that doesn’t mean it’s white zinfandel.

In the past few years, I’ve grown to love rosé because it can embrace so many different characteristics. It can be made from a multitude of different grapes and often has the heft of a red with the chill of white.

Usually in October, I’ll drink pink all month and promote the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This year, I was both on the road for the almost the entire month and I was sick with a horrible case of bronchitis. Needless to say, I didn’t drink pink. The nice folks at Arizona Stronghold Winery, however, sent me this bottle as a sample, just in case I could. In October, some of the proceeds from sales of this bottle were donated to the BCRF. I’m a little late. Late is alright though, as rosé is a great wine to drink with turkey.

The 2009 Arizona Stronghold Dayden Cochise County Rosé is a blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc from three different vineyard locations in Chochise County, Arizona.  They chose to make this rosé in the saignée style. Saignée is a method of rosé production that involves bleeding off the juice after limited contact with the skins. The juice only takes on a little of the color of the grape skins, due to the short time in which they had contact, leading to the pink color. The color is a nice medium-dark pink, nothing so peppy that you’ll be embarrassed to hold your glass in public. You can tell immediately that the wine has some heft.

The first thing we noticed was the rose petal nose. I hate saying that a rosé smells like roses, as it seems rather cliche, but there’s no denying that Kevin & I both got a floral aroma. The flavors are full of fruits and flowers, with some light strawberries wrapped in with some sour cherries and crushed flower petals. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but trust me. At only 11.9% AbV, this wine goes down fast and we powered through our bottle. It’s very balanced – you’re not overwhelmed by any one specific flavor or characteristic, and instead enjoy the entire delicate blend of flavors.

The Dayden has structure and heft – it’s not just a back-porch summertime rosé. The winery recommends pairing it with grilled vegetables, cold meats, and salads. I think we may have overchilled it, so that’s something you really need to watch with this one. While we enjoyed it right out of the fridge, it had a much sweeter finish when it was cold. As it warmed up a bit, it had a fuller, less sweet finish and we liked it even better. Definitely chill this wine, but you might want to pull it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you drink it, just to get it up to optimum temperature.

I was hoping this wine might go well with Thanksgiving dinner, and while it might pair nicely with the cranberry portion, I don’t know about the rest. However, it is probably the perfect wine to pull out when you’re having a cold turkey sandwich on Black Friday, after a long day of shopping in the crazy local mall.

You’re probably thinking I just reviewed a wine you need to fly to Arizona to get your hands on. Not true. Recently the good folks at Dep’s Fine Wines have started carrying Arizona Stronghold, so head over there and pick up a bottle for around $12.99.

Our score:

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Posted by Michelle at 8:35 am in Drink Pink! (BCRF), Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (1)
Oct 28

Epcot: Beer!

This year we were far more impressed by the beer than by the wine. I think we tried every beer available at the various booths, particularly Germany’s biergarten and the special 15 Beers for 15 Years booth. At both booths, you could order beer flights, so trying every beer (in a much smaller pour)  probably isn’t as much of an accomplishment as it sounds. The video below is Kevin with two of the tasty selection, this time from the Sam Adams-focused booth in Epcot’s “USA”.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:14 am in Disney, Florida, Tastings, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 27

Epcot: Dessert & Champagne

My favorite booth at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival is the Dessert and Champagne booth. It always has Moet & Chandon bubbly and some interesting desserts. This year, they offered a dessert trio, meaning I didn’t have to choose between the pastries.

(Video embedded below.)

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Posted by Michelle at 12:13 pm in Disney, Florida, Tastings, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 23

Epcot Tasting: Achaval Ferrer Winery

We kicked off our Epcot Food & Wine Festival adventures with a special wine tasting given by Achaval Ferrer Winery of Mendoza, Argentina.

Achaval Ferrer produces low-yield wines, consistently rated in the 90+ in both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. They produce around 15,000 cases per year, 85% of which is exported (25% of that to the U.S.). The winery was launched 10 years ago by 5 friends and they purchased land near the Andes mountains with vines that average around 80 years old.

The winemaker takes an interesting tactic, spending more time with the wood in the barrels and in the field than worrying about the actual blends. In fact, the wine ferments in extremely warm temperatures in concrete vats for 5-6 days – other wineries take months, not days, before moving to the barrel.

We tried three wines at this tasting. Prices listed are what I call “Disney prices,” so in many cases you’ll want to drop $5-$10 from the cost of the bottle.

2009 Malbec Mendoza ($29.95):  The winery specializes in Malbec. This one has a lot of big fruit on the nose, as well as violets. There are also a lot of big fruits up front on the palette. I found this wine to be a little hot, and the presenters mentioned that while it is drinkable now, it is a little young. Lay it down for at least a year, I think, and some of that alcohol hotness will burn off (14.5% abv). My rating:

2008 Quimera ($54.95): This blend is named for the mythical beast Chimera, which is a blend of different animals. This wine includes 40% malbec, 22% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 14% cabernet franc, and 4% petit verdot. Interestingly, the winemaker chose to blend this wine right after picking – no fermenting first. The petit verdot and the cabernet sauvignon lended a lot of structure to this wine, as well as a long finish. The middle of the palate though was all malbec. This wasn’t my kind of wine – the fruit was just too big and I still felt like it was a little too hot for me. But if you love the big fruit monsters, you’ll enjoy the Quimera. My rating:

2007 Finca Mirador ($142.95): The Finca Mirador is one of three separate single vineyard wines produced by Achaval Ferrer. Each one of these showcases malbec from a specific elevation, really emphasizing altitude, terroir, and soil. The Finca Mirador Malbec is grown at 2400 feet, and the other two single vineyard wines are grown at even higher elevations. This wine is pricey, but it tastes like it. I loved it. There was a lot of “dirt” in this wine, with dried cherries and dried fruits.  There was a lot of complexity and structure to this wine, reminding me of a really wonderful bordeaux. My rating:

Achaval Ferrer is imported by TGIC. The rep was pretty sure you can pick it up at either The Party Source or Cork n Bottle.

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Posted by Michelle at 9:45 am in Disney, Florida, Tastings, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)
Oct 06

Not Your Average Grapes: Come Join Me at Dilly Cafe!

This Saturday, I’m playing hostess for a wine tasting at the Dilly Cafe. First the key information: this Saturday, Oct 9, 1-4 pm, 50 cents per pour. If the weather cooperates, we’ll be enjoying a gorgeous fall day on the patio.

Now, the wines. I originally wanted to do a Breast Cancer themed tasting (okay, I walked in and said, “I think my theme is boobs.”) But I ended up with one red, one white, and four rosés. Now, I know people get all strange about rosé, and some people only want red or only want white at tastings, so I was feeling a little uncomfortable with my theme. Then I was staring at a particular wine and realized that I wanted to throw in some “weird” grapes.

Really, these grapes aren’t all that unusual – but my hope is that at least one of these grapes will be new to you. They’re fun to try and come from all across the globe.

1. A nice sparkling Brachetto (Italy)

2. Vinum Cellars White Elephant (Rhone blend, California winery, Chenin Blanc / Roussanne / Viognier blend)

3. Hirsch Gruner #1 (Austria, Grüner Veltliner)

4. Enotria Cortese (California winery, Italian grape – also called Gavi)

5. Turn Me Red (Austria, Zwiegelt)

6. Chandon Pinot Meunier (California winery, originally a French grape) << One of my favorite wines!

Well, that’s what is picked out right now, but keep in mind these are subject to change based on distributor availability.

I hope to see everyone there!

Dilly Cafe
6818 Wooster Pike
Mariemont, OH
1-4 pm – drop by anytime

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