Wine Tasting April 19th & 21st
Thursday 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM,
Saturday 12 PM – 5:00 PM
Greetings to all Wine Steward friends,
We hoped that everyone who attended last Saturday's tasting enjoyed the wine and food pairing as much as we enjoyed hosting it. The tasting was well attended and everyone who came with their appetite seemed to enjoy the food as we went through 180 meatballs and 160 sausages.
Special thanks to my wife, Nancy, who made the gravy; special thanks also to Chef Flora, who helped make the meatballs on Friday night when my back decided it was time to sit, and last but not least, a special thanks to Marianna and Amy for cleaning up the aftermath.
This we we have a great selection of wines that are sure to add some fun to any
summer gathering. The tasting starts with a new crisp young white wine
from Austria, followed by a softer style South African white with a smooth
finish. We begin the reds with a new Californian made from a unique grape
similar to Beaujolais which is a great summer wine and can be served
chilled. From there we move onto a Merlot from the Wente family winery,
just North of San Francisco, followed by a blend from the northeast region of
Spain, and finishing with an easy drinking Californian Cab that pairs well with
Weingut Steininger Young 2011
Origin: Kamptal, Austria
Varietal: A complex blend of 70% Grüner Veltliner, 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muskateller.
Tasting Notes: The Grüner Veltliner adds green apple and white pepper. The citrus and grapefruit are from the Sauvignon Blanc while the Muskateller dominates the finish with a floral bouquet. Inviting aroma, fresh and fruity, lively on the palate, balance of fruit and spiciness and animating acidity on the finish.
Food Pairing: Outstanding with almost any food. Perfect with fish, seafood,
chicken, pork, ham, sausages, and highly recommended for spicy foods (Asian,
Arabella Chenin Blanc 2009
Origin: Western Cape, South Africa. The vineyards are planted on the floor of what was, many millions of years ago, a great inland lake. Evidence of this lake can be seen in the massive water washed boulders. As the rainfall declined the lake dried up leaving a deposit of calcareous silt many meters thick.
Varietal: 100% Chenin Blanc. The Chenin Blanc grape is the most prolific in South Africa. This is due mainly because of the warm summer days that allow the sugar levels to rise in the early part of the growing season and the cool fall weather that allows the grapes flavors to develop at a slow moderate pace.
Tasting Notes: Yellow, lime green color. Guava with hints of fresh straw on nose. Rich, racy and full on middle palate with great finish.
Food Pairing: This wine, served well chilled, is a perfect aperitif. It also is a nice accompaniment to sushi, grilled or broiled seafood, chicken dishes or salads.
J. Lohr Valdigue 2010
Origin: Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey, California
Varietal: 100% Valdiguié. “Our Valdiguié is grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. Originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais wine growing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France. Regardless of its origin and identity, Valdiguié grown in the windy, cold Arroyo Seco produces a wine reminiscent of the “Crus” of Beaujolais - Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-a-Vent.”
Tasting Notes: A lively, fruity wine with bright aromas of boysenberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and banana. Luscious flavors of boysenberry and raspberry carry through to a soft, smooth finish. Delicious now, but can be cellared for up to 5 years. Serve lightly chilled.
Food Pairing: This wine is ideal as an aperitif or paired with grilled
salmon, chicken, pork and ham. It is a perfect summer sipper in a chilled
Wente Sandstone Merlot 2009
Origin: Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, California
Varietal: 100% Merlot. (86% Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, 14% Arroyo Seco, Monterey) The grapes for our Sandstone Merlot come from a gently sloping formation of hills running along the southeastern corner of the historic Livermore Valley. With warm days, cool nights, well-drained sandstone soils, and incoming breezes from the San Francisco Bay, the Wente family’s hillside vineyard is an ideal place to grow outstanding Merlot.
Tasting Notes: “Our 2009 Sandstone Merlot exhibits aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with hints of black tea and toasted oak. A smooth mouthfeel and inviting tannins lead to a long, fruity finish." This wine was aged for 16 months in American, French, Eastern European, and neutral oak.
Food Pairing: The wine pairs beautifully with any red meat, salmon, pork,
poultry and yes even Pasta with Marinara sauce.
Origin: The vineyards are located a few miles south and west of Priorat, within the Terra Alta DO in Catalunya’s Tarragona province in northeastern Spain. In this remote region, the winemaking tradition dates back to the Romans, around the 2nd or 3rd Century. The winery and vineyards are in the town of Batea, situated at 356 meters (1,168 ft.) elevation.
Varietal: 40% Garnacha, 15% Tempranillo, 15% Cariñena, 20% Syrah and 10% Merlot.
Tasting Notes: Ludovicus is a wine made in a style that appeals to both new world and old world palates. People who like Cab, Syrah, Malbec and Zinfandel love Ludovicus. Organically grown grapes are produced by the renowned fourth generation Piñol family estate. The wine is aged for 3-4 months in 300-liter French and American oak barrels. Ludovicus offers a glass-coating deep crimson hue with an expressive nose of cherry, blueberry, and blackberry. Mouthfilling, succulent, and flavorful, this tasty effort is a sensational value for drinking over the next 1-2 years.
Food Pairing: This ripe, juicy, vibrantly big-fruited red wine is a real crowd pleaser, and Ludovicus’s easy drinking nature makes it a versatile wine, either with meat and pork main courses or with more casual tapas or small plates. Of course, this wine is also a great sipper on its own.
Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Origin: California (62% Mendocino, 32% Sonoma/ Dry Creek Valey, 4% Napa, 2% Other)
Varietal: 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Syrah
Tasting Notes: In the nose, the wine opens up to bright, dark, red cherry, cocoa, and a hint of toast. The balance in the mouth is exceptional from front to finish. Gorgeous strawberry, blueberry, and red apple dipped in dark chocolate, all spice, and a soft layer of toasted oak. Tannins are structured, but not overwhelming. The acidity is well balanced. I tend to be very critical of my winemaking, but t this wine is really beautiful on all fronts – great flavors, layers of complexity, amazing texture, and Cannonball's signature smooth, long finish. “Mother Nature did much of the work for us that year, both in terms of quality and quantity. I wish every vintage was like 2009. A large harvest, with optimum quality, resulted in a truly great wine. Half of the blend saw 9 months of American oak, while the other 50% saw 11 months of French. This is maybe the best Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon vintage yet.”
Food Pairing: You can't go wrong with enjoying Cannonball with a big piece of quality red meat, a great burger, short ribs, and barbeque. It is also great with a thin crust pizza.