Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antonio's Italy, A Wine and Cultural Tour of Tuscany

Antonio’s Italy
July 16th-23rd, 2011

Join us in July 2011 as Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist and a native of Tuscany, takes us on a very special wine and cultural tour of his homeland.  We’ll be living like locals, spending a week in a villa in Cortona and visiting Antonio’s favorite wineries, restaurants, hill towns and wine bars. With its centralized location, Cortona is the perfect base from which to explore both Umbria and Tuscany, allowing easy access to Assisi, Montepulciano, Chianti, Montalcino, Florence, Lake Trasimeno and more.

Sorry, This Trip is Full!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Annual Thanksgiving Hit List

Those of you who shop with us know that we just love food and wine pairing so helping to make your selections for holiday meals is a real treat. What should you drink with all of those sides and mounds of turkey? There are so many answers to that question that sometimes the best choice would be to open a bubbly, white, red and rose, put them on the table and let people chose for themselves because it’s all about personal preference!

Here are a few pairing tips and recommendations from our selection. We’ve picked traditional options at different price points so there is something for every wallet. And for those of you feeling a bit more adventurous, I've thrown in a few non-traditional choice as well, which is more along the lines of what we'll be drinking on turkey day! The wines will have a special “holiday pick” tag on the shelves and if you purchase any four of these wines for your celebration, we’ll give you a 10% discount. And we’ll be featuring 5 of these wines in our Tuesday Night Holiday Wines Tasting, so come in and try to see what will best suit your menu!

For the wide array of flavors on the Thanksgiving table, sparkling wines are a no-brainer. Bright acidity, fruit and yeasty undertones make bubbly extremely food-friendly. Especially good are Brut rosé and Blanc de Noir, which can take you from the lox or chevre hors d'oeuvre to the vinaigrette salad right through the turkey and potatoes and onto the pie. The Pinot Noir grapes in these wines provide body, some tannin for texture, red-fruit character, complexity and acid balance. And in general, the bubbles from natural carbonation from the yeast, in concert with the wine's acidity, help cleanse the palate for the next course.

Our Pick: Pierre Sparr Cremant de Alsace Rosé, $18.99; Schramsberg Rosé, $32.99 or Taittinger Cuvee Francais, $44.99

White wines with lively fruit and acidity and little to no oak are also versatile. With its aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and pear and zippy acidity plus herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc pairs with everything from butternut-squash soup to green salad to turkey with a dressing made of briny oysters and herbs. Even notoriously tough-to-pair Brussels sprouts will sing with Sauvignon Blanc. Alsatian and German whites like Rieslings, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris with their tropical fruit, citrus, green-apple, pear and mineral notes combined with thirst quenching acidity, work with almost any Thanksgiving dish except the cranberry sauce.

Our Pick: Drytown Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99; Sineann Pinot Gris, $18.99; Pierre Sparr Riesling, $14.99, Vino Noceto Pinot Grigio, $16.99, Caseglio Arneis, $16.99

"Serious" dry rosés made from Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah or Mourvedre grapes or blended proprietary rosés have acidity to balance the citrus, red and stone fruits and usually sport structure and a long finish but light tannins.

Our Pick: Houchart Rosé de Provence, $14.99; Terre Nere Rosato, $17.99

Fruity reds like Beaujolais are a favorite "go-to" pick for Thanksgiving. They brings soft, easy drinking affordability to the table that's perfect for the cornucopia of flavors and large group setting that Thanksgiving entails. With their bright fruit flavors, they can perk up the milder dishes and enough have structure to hold their own with the more robust courses made with sausage and herbs. As an alternative, a good Dolcetto or lighter style Barbera can offer similar characteristics and are real crowd pleasers.

Our Pick: Pierre Chermette Beaujolais, $15.99, Paitin Dolcetto, $15.99, Castello Poggio Barbera, $15.50

Syrah and Zinfandel have the spice, dark fruit and berries to bring out the best in cranberry sauces as long as the wine has soft tannins and ripe, forward fruit and the sauce is balanced -- moderately tart and not too sweet.

Our Pick: Drytown Red on Red, $12.99; Driven Primativo, $26.99; Nicholson Ranch Syrah, $19.99; Runquist 1448, $16.50.

The best single wine to choose for Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir. This versatile varietal has tangy red fruit of strawberry and cherry, with nice acidity to balance and low levels of tannin. With elegance and a touch of earthiness to lend complexity, Pinot Noir will subtly support most things on the Thanksgiving table without overpowering them. Cranberry sauce and dessert are exceptions again, with the sauce too tart and the dessert too sweet. Something a little more adventurous, but with a similar profile could be an Etna Rosso or a Sicilian Cerasuolo.

Our Pick: Ramspeck Pinot Noir, $15.99, Surh Luchtel Russian River Pinot Noir, $24.99; Moises Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir, $39.99; Paul Garaudet Monthelie, $27.99
Planeta Cerasuolo, $23.99,  Frank Cornelissen Contadino Etna Blend, $28.99

So there you have it! But remember the most important thing is to drink wines that make you happy with people that make you smile, because that is what it's all about!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Support Your Local Small Business on November 27th

Shop at Swirl and other small businesses on American Express' "Small Business Saturday" and receive a $25 credit on your AMEX.  Click on the link for more info and to register your card!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuscan Style Steak

Chianina Cattle, Tuscany

For Kerry's birthday this weekend we took off to the beach with a few friends to eat, drink and be merry.  The birthday girl wanted steak and champagne so we popped a vintage Taittinger, a bottle of 2004 Tignanello (which was still a mere baby) and threw some ribeyes on the charcoal grill.

My version of bistecca fiorentina, the first time we made this was with freshly cut Chianina beef (photo above) steaks over an open fire in a villa in Tuscany with 8 of our close friends. Although we'll never be able to recreate that special experience, it is still one of my favorite preparations and it always take me back to that magical night.

Grill some fresh t-bones or ribeyes rubbed in olive oil, salt and pepper, they should be pretty rare. While the steaks are cooking, fry a big handful of fresh sage and some rosemary in a good amount of olive oil until the sage leaves are crispy.

When the steaks are done, put them on a cutting board and thinly (1/4") slice the meat of the bone. Put the meat on a serving dish and pour the hot olive oil and herb mixture over to finish cooking and seal in the juicy flavor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Legendary Wines of La Spinetta Poured a Mano

Kerry and I are heading to our favorite New Orleans Italian restaurant on November 17, 2010 at 7 pm for a very special wine dinner at a Mano with winemaker Giorgio Rivetti of the famed La Spinetta winery of Piedmont (and now Tuscany as well). We are really excited to take the night off from the shop and spend it with Chef Josh, Giorgio, our friends from Lirette Selections and the wonderful staff at a Mano. So if great food paired with exciting wines in the company of a famous Italian winemaker sounds like as much fun to you as it does to us, join us!

The paired dinner, featuring classic and modern Piemontese dishes prepared by Chef Joshua Smith and his diligent staff, is $95 excluding tax & tip. Reservations are essential and seating is limited. Call 208.9280 today. Check out the menu and pairings below.

Grilled octopus, potato, and caperberry spiedino
Paired with: 2009 Vermentino Toscana

Due Crostini: Truffled toast points with Piemontese beef crudo; Grilled polenta with porcini mushroom ragu and Castelmagno cheese
Paired with: 2004 Barbera d'Alba "Gallina" & 2007 PIN Monferrato Rosso

Risotto al Vin Cotto with veal marrow butter
Paired with: 2006 Barbaresco "Bordini" & 2006 Barbaresco "Starderi"

Brasato al Nebbiolo:
Nebbiolo-braised Piemontese beef
Paired with: 2005 Barolo "Campe"

Gianduia torte with hazelnut torrone
Paired with: 2003 Moscato Passito Oro

About La Spinetta:

The Rivetti family story begins in the 1890s, when Giovanni Rivetti, grandfather of the three Rivetti brothers, Carlo, Bruno and Giorgio, left Piedmont for Argentina. Like many Italians of that time, he dreamed of returning rich and a powerful man, perhaps even one day able to make a great wine in his homeland.
He never did, though his son, Giuseppe (nicknamed Pin) did. Pin married Lidia, bought vineyards and began to make wine. In 1977 the family took up residence at LA SPINETTA (top of the hill) in Castagnole Lanze. It was the heart of the Moscato d'Asti country, home of a rather light and simple dessert wine. But the Rivettis believed that Moscato had the potential for greatness and set out to prove it by making Moscato Bricco Quaglia and Biancospino.

Eventually though the family's vision became even grander. In 1985 LA SPINETTA made its first red wine, Barbera Cà di Pian. After this many great reds followed: In 1989 the Rivettis dedicated their red blend Pin to their father. In 1995 they started to make their first Barbaresco, Gallina. In 1996 and 1997 the Barbarescos Starderi, Barbera d'Alba Gallina and Barbaresco Valeirano follow. In 1998 premiered the Barbera d'Asti Superiore.
In 2000 the family's ambition of also making a Barolo became reality. The Rivettis acquired vineyards in Grinzane Cavour and built a state of the art cellar, Barolo Campè. Since 2003 visitors are welcomed to visit also Campè, outside the town of Grinzane Cavour.

In 2001 LA SPINETTA expanded over the borders of Piedmont and acquired 65 hectares of vineyards in Tuscany, between Pisa and Volterra, to make three different 100% Sangiovese wines, as Sangiovese to La Spinetta is the true ambassador of the Tuscan terrain.
La Spinetta's Tuscan Line


Related Posts with Thumbnails