Sunday, February 1, 2009

Big Game Day Libations

In an effort to not completely fill up on beer during the game tonight, I'm going to try to find some good wine to drink. Plus, that means there will be more room for wings & pizza dip!!

If you want some pre-game tips for drinking suggestions, check out the Crushed Grape Report.

Update 02/02/09 11:25pm: I drank a bottle of Tott's "California Champagne" at the start of the game. However, the bubbles were too big and it left a sacchrine after-taste -- exactly what I was NOT looking for. The amazing, delicious food that we ate (mostly homemade by my lovely friends) made me crave water as my only beverage. Hope everyone enjoyed the game, even if you didn't win any squares!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Alive After Five" Some Young Punks

Met up with my friend Dana down in Boston's Financial District at Brix on Broad for their weekly "Alive After Five" tasting. This week they featured four wines by Australian winemakers Some Young Punks -

First off, the artwork on the bottles was exquisite. I know you're not really supposed to choose a bottle by the label, but it sure doesn't hurt.

The best of the four wines was by far the Quickie! -- a mix of mostly Nebbiolo (85%) with some Shiraz (15%) grapes. It's a very light red, not jammy at all, which a really delicious almondy aftertaste. Definitely the kind of bottle you could drink all by yourself without realizing.

"We blame the booze. The whiff and the swill did us in and all that was left to do was to make more. In many ways the wines that weren’t worth the pull on the cork caused this as much as the wines that we will never have the pleasure of decorking again. This is Passion, a monster bigger than the three of us that leads us to soapbox, grandstand and sometimes pass out on the couch.

We wanted to do something that had been done before, to make exceptional wine with small estate charm.

The ethos is simple, self centred, and just a little arrogant - We make charismatic wines that are true to what we think ‘wine’ should be about. If someone doesn’t like the way we do it then they had better put the bottle down because there’s already not enough to go around."
-Some Young Punks Philosophy
These guys have a lot of fun with the wines, and that is definitely something I can support!

Curious about more tastings in Boston? Check out our Super Fun Things to Do in Boston calendar.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The (First) Grand Tasting

I took my mom to the Boston Wine Expo yesterday. I'm so thankful that we had a plan of attack or we would have been so overwhelmed (and drunk):
  1. Start with bubbles & whites, then move to reds
  2. Ask to try unusual grapes that are not mainstream (tip to Jonathon Alsop)
  3. Find a great region and explore it with depth (no two wines are exactly alike)
  4. When all else fails, find the friendliest server and just chat away!
Our mission was quite a success. The best regions overall were Italy and Portugal.
"I haven't met an Italian wine I didn't like!" -my mom
Listed below are our favorites (from what I have in my notes, more details next time - I promise!):

The Whites
  • Greece - Asprolithi (Roditis grapes) - really light & crisp white
  • Portugal - Vila Verde Vihno Verde 2007 - another light, crisp white, we learned that "Vihno Verde" means "young grape"
  • Portugal - Aveleda Alvarihno - this felt like a wine you could drink all day long in the summer
  • Italy - IL Prosecco and the Mionetto Prosecco Brut - tons and tons of little tiny bubbles!! delightful
  • Italy - Fumello Prosecco - fresh and fruity, the Italian version of champagne
  • Italy - Exclamation Point Verdicchio Classico Jesi D.O.C. - Italian DOCs mean that the wine's grapes all come from within a particular region
  • Italy - Casal di Serra Verdicchio Classico Superiore D.O.C. - same as the one above only it's from a single vineyard
  • Chile - Pacifico Sur Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2007 - I do not normally like roses (mostly from bad experiences with the infamous White Zin) but this was a refreshing fruity wine, with a little bit of spice
  • Argentina - Grazioso Chardonnay/Torrontes Blend 2007 - the Chardonnay really cuts the floral aspects of the Torrontes (which I personally find to taste like perfume)

The Reds
  • Italy - Umani Ronchi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo D.O.C. - this red is soo easy to drink, we discovered this grape actually a few months back at a small restaurant in the North End (another of my favorites is the Citra Montepulchiano d'Abruzzo)
  • Italy - San Rocco Dolcetto d'Alba D.O.C. - I kid you not, you can smell the voilets in this!
  • South Africa - Pinotage - a super jammy red
  • Chile - Pacifico Sur Carmenere - really really peppery, and a little too much tannins for me, but I really think my brother would love this with his mustard sauce on steak
  • Portugal - Herdade do Esporao Private Selection 2004 and 2005 Reserve - probably the most expensive bottle we tried, absolutely delicious (hat tip to Mark P. Vincent for suggesting this one!)
  • Italy - Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. - my favorite, and only partly due to the fact that it was the wine maker himself that insisted I try it on Saturday night

(All the artwork on the Castello Romitorio bottles is by an amazing artist - we tried to sneak some empty ones out, but they were confiscated!)
(c) Sandro Chia, Untitled 2000

I would like to also thank several of the friendliest servers, who actually looked us in the eye and made the day fun:
  • Neill Dahill (Sales Rep for Andes Imports Inc) was pouring the Pacifico Sur wines in Chile.
  • Gabriella Wirth (PR/Marketing for Mionetto USA) was pouring the IL and Mionetto labels in Italy.
I can't wait to go again next year and see how much I've learned!

Whetting the Palate

One of my 30 by 30 to-do list goals is to learn more about wine. I've been drinking wine since I've been legal to drink (and maybe slightly before that...), but haven't really understood what I was drinking. All I knew was: I like this, or I don't like that. And even then, there was little consistency.

This year, thanks to Twitter, I won tickets to the Boston Wine Expo from the Boston Globe's marketing department (@globeevents). This was the perfect springboard to start seriously learning about fermented grapes!

On Saturday, after the day 1 of the expo (which I did not attend), I went to a post-Expo part at Jonathon Alsop's Boston Wine School. The event was awesome. Delicious food, great wines, and best of all - a chance to meet some really interesting and inspiring people. There were several members of Boston Wine Writers, including Dale Cruse (@dalecruse) and Callie Crossley (who bonded with me over the delicious chicken meatballs), that helped me form a plan of attack for the Expo. Also, I got to sit down and chat with Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) of Wine Library TV (and the Expo's keynote speaker) - who is pretty cool even though he's a Jets fan.

All in all, Saturday was the perfect primer for Sunday's exploits.