Monthly Archives: June 2013

Life Through Rosé Colored Glasses – Vinho Verde Rosé? Rioja Rosé?

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Looking at the world through Rosé colored glasses helped ease the stress of a joint Fathers Day and Birthday dinner party for seven this last Sunday.  The pressure was on.  What to cook was on my mind all week up to the last-minute.

My much appreciated epiphany arrived by way of sampling stations at Whole Foods Market North Miami.  Our cold Sunday supper summer menu was quite the hit. So much so that I really got to enjoy it myself. Even after realizing I had not cooked any of the items myself as I had originally planned.  Their may be something to be said about catering or buying prepared foods for dinner parties 🙂

Our menu started with cheeses from: buffalo milk, a goat blue, goat and cow’s milk combined soft cheese from Vermont Creamery and a Gouda from Holland with cumin seeds. Although all cheeses were a hit the Vermont Creamery Cremont blew everyone away. I recently sampled the Cremont to customers in our Whole Foods Specialty department and we sold out in what felt like minutes!

Our feast continued with: Bison roast beef , key lime and cilantro shrimp, loaded potato salad and a kale salad with almonds, dried apples and cran-raisins. Luckily room was left for dessert. Chocolate layer cake with butter cream strawberry icing. The one item actually cooked in our house. Baked by my better half who has become quite the dessert maker!

Thinking summer and a cold surf and turf supper lead me to rosé wines I had eyed with interest.  A Rosé green wine? Vinho Verde by Casal Garcia and a Rosé Rioja [?] by El Coto. Two varieties of Rosé I had never come across before.

Casal Garcia comes from winemakers Quinta de Aveleda.  A family tradition: making wine since 1671. In my research I found that Portugal has exported its wine since the 14th century and is Europe’s fourth-largest wine-producing region.  A statistic that quite honestly surprised me.

I could swear the screw top popped like a cork as I was opening it! Beautiful intense rose color reminding me of watermelon candy pink on this 85 point Wine Spectator rated wine.  Dry with a rich fruit mid palate. Lingering finish. A very passable summer sipper at a great price of under $10.00 U.S.

3,000 cases made.

Spains Rioja region does not usually cry out ¡Rosé! to me but this could just be ignorance on my part.  Made from equal parts Tempranillo and Garnacha [Grenache] this wine comes to us from the area of Rioja Alavesa and its lime and clay soils. As per the  El Coto winemaker it is made with short cold maceration in contact with the skins to extract the colour, and fermentation. From grapes grown on their 500 hectare vineyard.

I found the Coto Rioja rosé to be herbal,  earthy and spicy on the nose with notes of raspberry and strawberry.  Dry on the nose.
Again a beautiful bright and rich rosé color. Caramelly on the palate making me think if wine spent any time in wood, with also sour tart berries a bit green not in a bad way,  and a lingering finish.  Minerality and fruit enhanced as it opened or warmed in the glass. Price $12.99 at Whole Foods Market.
So there we have it. Both wines were very well received. The Vinho Verde a bit lighter and the Rioja with more body and fruit flavor. Both refreshing and perfectly priced for the summer.  I think both these rosé wines gained fans over our Fathers Day Birthday weekend.  ¡SALUD!
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Now and Zin at Whole Foods Market North Miami

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This past weekend in addition to our T.G.I.F. / Thank God It’s Fermented Fridays wine tastings and our casual Saturday afternoon wine tastings it was time for Now and Zin: a Guide to California’s Old-Vine Zinfandels class!

The event was held outdoors under our covered patio [thank you to the weather Gods!] and attended by about a dozen people who pre-registered for the class.

As the photo’s will show the Zinfandel’s paired beautifully with dark chocolate, sausage pizza and various cheeses including: Nancy’s Camembert, an American Artisan cheese from Hudson River Valley NY. A blend of cow and sheep’s milk topped with spicy plum chutney. All of course from Whole Foods Market North Miami.

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We got to enjoy about seven different Zinfandel’s and I must stress the word “enjoy”.  Luckily we didn’t have a bad one among the bunch. Although I must admit favorites were discussed throughout the class and even afterwards as we just had to go back for more and make sure.

I’ll list all the wines below. If we had one clear winner I would have to say it was the SALDO from Orin Swift. A close second would have been the Seghesio with Earthquake and Predator all close too. But as I said all our Zin’s had their fans,  and the fans had their ZIN’s!  ¡SALUD!

WineClass3   Four Vines Truant:  It is blended from vineyards around the state, but it is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese. On the nose there are dark berry notes and spicy notes from oak aging. The wine drinks of juicy blackberry, ripe plums and a touch of blueberry. Generous in fruit flavors, plenty of structure and a velvety finish. 


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The Lodi appellation PREDATOR Zinfandel is sourced from 50+ year old vines. Aromas of chocolate espresso bean, smoked bacon [yes it’s true!], and baked berries. Medium to full body.

JOEL GOTT100% ZIN The largest component of our blend for this vintage is old vine Zinfandel from Lodi.  With fruit from Sonoma, Mendocino and the Shenandoah Valley in Amador. 

Decoy Zinfandel – This Sonoma County wine offers raspberry jam aromas, as well as hints of vanilla, clove and white pepper. Like a fresh-baked berry tart, the raspberry notes continue on the palate where they are supported by sweet oak and spice flavors that carry through to the finish. This is a lovely Zinfandel expressing both richness and balance.

SALDO – The 2011 Saldo has an intense ruby color and bold aromas of dark berry fruit, blueberry pie, cardamom and baking spice. The entry is rich and full, and leads into a broad mid palate with concentration and density, backed by lively acidity. The texture is soft and velvety, with polished tannins. The finish is long with persistent notes of chocolate, roasted coffee bean and vanilla spice.

Seghesio Vineyards Winemaker Notes:
Spicy, lush black fruit of Alexander Valley
Briary and raspberry flavors, along with structure, of cooler Dry Creek Valley
Characteristic synergy of components – balanced and elegantly structured
Earthquake –  Over the top and shattering to the veins, all varietals under the Earthquake label are Michael David’s reserve level wines.  These wines possess major concentration and daring flavor with only a limited production offered each year.  The original is the Earthquake Zin that comes from an old Lodi vineyard planted around the time of San Francisco’s great Earthquake in 1906.  While mulling over a label name in the vineyard, Michael Phillips thought it only seemed fitting to relate this intense wine with the historical quake.  With over 15% alcohol and bold tannins, these dark and voluminous will definitely leave your senses quivering.