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Mar 18

WBW #55: North v South

My friend Remy, at the Wine Case, was the host of this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday: North v South. I tried to get creative with this, but it didn't really work out the way I planned.

My grape? I chose the French-American hybrid Chambourcin, which seemed perfect considering where are wines are from.

Joseph's Estate 2004 Chambourcin
(Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada)

Arrington Vineyards 2006 Encore


The winner? None, because I ended up tricking myself.

You see, we started out trying this blind so I couldn't be partial to one or the other. Turns out, there was such as stark difference between the two that I had to run back to the bottles to find out why. The Encore is actually a Chambourcin dessert wine. I had no idea. Who packages 19% AbV wine in 750 ml bottles? Those are generally half bottles!  And the dessert wine classification? It was itty bitty in the lower left corner. Kevin and I both completely missed it.

When it comes down to it, we actually enjoyed both wines and since I was taken by surprise by the Arrington, we really can't compare to the two equally.

Full reviews of each wine are after the jump.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:37 pm in Tastings, WBW | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 19

A Passion for Piedmont, Part 2: Once Upon a Time

Alright, so the second half of my belated Wine Blogging Wednesday post on grapes from the Piedmont region of Italy.  This is the wine I'm truly excited about. You see, Piedmont is known for its reds, but I'm going to be a little different and review a white – a wine made from the Cortese di Gavi grape, from the town of Gavi (or Gavia).

I also love fairy tales, and I think that's part of why I'm so enamoured with this wine. I like to believe that every glass of wine tells a story, from grape to glass to the memories created when drinking it. Principessa Gavia comes with a special story of its own.


2007 Vigne Regali (Banfi) Principessa Gavia
(Cork and Bottle, $14.99)

Once upon a time, there was a princess named Gavia, daughter of King Clovis. Our fair princess fell in love with a lowly soldier. As their love was forbidden, Gavia and the soldier ran away, fleeing to a small town on the other side of the alps. They managed to elude the king's men for a while.

But one night, the soldier had too much of the local white wine (made from 100% Cortese grapes) and accidentally confided his story to the local innkeeper. Our innkeeper promptly sent word to King Clovis and collected a reward. (Why are innkeepers often the bad guys?)

Gavia and her soldier were rounded up and delivered back to the king for punishment. By the time they arrived back at the palace, word of their situation had spread across the land. Queen Alamansunta, Queen of the Goths, interceded on Gavia's behalf. Because this is somewhat of a fairy tale, the king took one look at his daughter, so obviously in love, and blessed the marriage. As a wedding gift, he gave them the small town to which they had fled and named the town Gavi, in honor of his daughter.

Today it is said that the romance of the Princess and the soldier lives on in each glass of the white wine from the town of Gavi.

I was trying this wine over the summer at a Cork and Bottle tasting when I read the back of the bottle, which gives a small synopsis of that story. I was sold. I admit it. The thing is, it's a fun wine – even without the accompanying tale.

This wine is 100% Cortese and is a pale blonde in color (perhaps like the hair of the Princess?). It has a lot of crisp minerals and lemony-freshness on the nose. In the mouth, it reminds me of sorbet. Sorbet cleanses your palate between courses and the Principessa Gavia had that effect on me. There was a lemon-lime flavor, and a lot of cleanness, like a flat rock overrun by a stream. In fact, it's a bit tart, and reminded me of a lemon tart pastry.

The wine tastes cleansing and fresh. I think it is a bit deceptive, as it tastes so light, but it does a nice job of coating your mouth. That said, I think it's more of a $12-13 wine than $15, but who am I to quibble with $2? The truth is, Kevin and I both found this wine to be light, refreshing, and enjoyable. It was an easy easy wine to drink – we powered through the bottle. At a lower price, I'd buy a case.

Our rating:

Thanks to McDuff's Food & Wine Trail for hosting this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday!

Part 1: Beni di Batasiolo Barbera d'Alba (Recession Wine!)

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Posted by Michelle at 11:59 pm in Tastings, WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 19

A Passion for Piedmont, Part 1 (Recession Wine!)

This post is a little late, but for Wine Blogging Wednesday the theme was Passionate Piedmont – wines from the Piedmont area of Italy. This is the first of two entries. (The other will go up rather late this evening.)

Beni di Batasiolo 2006 Barbera d'Alba

We started out with a Barbera, a very common grape in Piedmont. The Beni di Batasiolo is a 100% Barbera wine from the Alba area in Piedmont. I think I paid $8.99 (on sale from $9.99) for this bottle at Liqour Direct. For an $8.99 bottle, it's our Recession Wine of the week.

The color is a nice dark ruby. On the nose, we got a lot of blackberry. Kevin also got cedar, and I agree. I also got some cinnamon on there. These scents carried through on the tongue too. There was a lot of wood – but not really oak: more cedar and hickory. Those woody flavors were intermingled with dark berries, including a bit of sour blackberry on the finish. (That tastes better than it sounds.) I also found a lot of fun spices, first some cinnamon, but then a bit of oriental-style spices as well. Finally, there were nice, gentle tannins and as the wine opened up a bit, I even got a bit of chocolate in there.

For less than $10, this is a nice full red – I'd call it a steal.

Our rating:

Thanks to McDuff's Food & Wine Trail for hosting this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday!

Part 2: Once Upon a Time (Principessa Gavia Gavi)

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Posted by Michelle at 5:24 pm in Recession Wine, Tastings, WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jan 14

Breakfast for Dinner, or, Battle of the Blue Bottles

It's time for Wine Blogging Wednesday and this time around (#53), it's hosted by El Jefe from El Bloggo Torcido / Twisted Oak Winery. Jeff requested that we pair wine with breakfast food. So we jumped on the Breakfast for Dinner (Brinner) bandwagon.


Now breakfast food is perhaps my favorite food in the world, but Jeff requested that we stay away from dessert wines, sweet wines, and sparklers. Kevin and I failed, sort of, but failed happily.

As we mulled this one over, we somehow landed on apple pancakes. Kevin found a fantastic recipe for Baked Apple Pancakes, which I'll publish after the jump. These things are yummy!

From the beginning, I had wanted to try a Riesling with breakfast. Kevin, however, is a fan of Moscato and wanted to go with that, even though it involved breaking the rules a bit. In the end, we went with both, and coincidentally, both were in blue bottles.

Bartenura 2007 Moscato, Party Town, $15: This paired the best with our "brinner." Of course it did – it's sweet. The wine itself really seemed to bring out the apples in the dish. It coats your mouth, and it feels thicker on the tongue, almost like honey. It had a tiny bit of carbonation but wasn't a true sparkler. The nose had honey, lemon, and pear and the taste had a lot of refreshing minerality. Kevin loved it, and I enjoyed it with the food. On it's own, it was a bit too sweet and heavy for me.

Paired: (Kevin & Shel)
Standalone: (Kevin)  (Shel)

Guntrum Riesling 2005, retails for $11: (I should first mention I recieved this wine as a sample from Destination Riesling. Who am I to turn away free wine?) This wine did not pair well with our brinner, proving once again that I am terrible at food and wine pairing. Love wine, love food, incapable of putting them together. This was a dry Riesling, and within that was a lot of dry apple. It would have paired beautifully with spicy foods, but no – I had to have it with our brinner.  However, I really enjoyed it on its own. I found it to be flowery with subtle citrusy notes, such as lemon and pear. Kevin picked up a bit of an oiliness he didn't care for.

Paired: (Kevin and Shel)
Standalone: (Kevin) (Shel)

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Posted by Michelle at 1:31 pm in Tastings, WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Dec 11

WBW #52: Chilean Wines Under $20

WBWI'm behind. We've been so busy that the last two or three editions of our monthly virtual tasting have flown right by me. This time, I vowed to find the time. After all, it's hosted by my friend and fellow Cincinnatian, Tim of CheapWineRatings.com. Still, I'm running behind. Usually, I taste a Wine Blogging Wednesday bottle way before Wednesday, with my post ready to go on Wednesday morning. Not so, this edition. So, here is your Wine Blogging Wednesday post – on Thursday.

When I realized, belatedly, that yesterday was Wine Blogging Wednesday, I checked our cellar. Nothing we have at home fits Tim's criteria for this edition: Chilean wine under $20, preferably under $10. We didn't even have a Chilean wine handy. So when we were out in the Turfway area last night, we picked up a bottle of Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, 2006, for $9.99 at Party Town.

I chose the Veramonte because of Tim. On Election Night, Tim & his lovely wife invited us to a celebration gathering. Tim had a Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc that he'd received as a sample. We rather liked it and it stuck with me. So it was an easy choice to pick up the Veramonte Cab.

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Posted by Michelle at 1:29 pm in WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (3)

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