NOLA.com included swirl in this quick video at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience last weekend! Check it out!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Rolling green hills, the fresh smell of the countryside, Renaissance history, art, and architecture, the incredible food, the even more incredible wine.... what's not to like about Tuscany? I was fortunate enough to visit Italy's primary wine producing region last summer, and it was one of the best vacations of my life. Tuscany truly embodies everything I love about food and wine - natural, earth-driven delights, such as Bistecca Fiorentina with a nice Brunello, born from a land that overflows with cultural wealth and has an unparalleled appreciation for all things epicurean. There's truly no other wine region like it on the planet.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Tuscany on three different occasions. It wasn’t until my third trip when I was able to submerge myself in the more laid back Italian life style. I was fortunate enough to become good friends with a local in Florence that showed me how day to day life is living in the Tuscan capital. What I enjoyed most about Tuscany was the welcoming locals and fantastic food and wine scene. To me there is nothing better than sitting in a quaint square while sipping on local wines and indulging in a simplistic meal that is elevated with outstanding olive oil that was produced just miles away. Forget about planning your trip based on tours and set schedules. Talk to the locals and find out what they do on there down time then submerge yourself in the fantastic Tuscan life style.
And for me? My personal love affair with wine started in Tuscany... I'd been your typical wine enthusiast until 2004 when I arranged a trip for a group of 10 friends to one of the most gorgeous wine regions in the world. In the year before the trip I became completely obsessed with learning everything I could about Tuscan wine and local food traditions and the more I learned, the deeper I dove. The trip itself had a profound impact on me as I experienced first hand the passion that Italians have for wine and food, the emphasis they put on family and tradition, the dedication to preserving their history and culture - it became a major turning point in my life. Not just about how I wanted to make a living, but about how I wanted to live my life.
We're excited to share our love of all things Tuscan this Wednesday as we pour the four amazing wines. And of course there will be Italian themed cheese and meat plates available to pair with the wines. Flites are $15 for 4-2oz pours of delicious wine! Here's a little preview on the wines we'll be serving.
2011 Mazzoni Bianco - The perfect Italian summer white blend from the Tuscan coast. Beautiful with the local Pecorino Toscano cheese (which we'll be serving this evening) and light seafood dishes, this is a blend of Vermentino (75%) and Chardonnay (25%) all fermented in stainless steel tanks and allowed to settle for 5 months on the lees to intensify the complexity of the flavors. On the palate it is fine, elegant, savory, with the right acidity and the structure that recalls its Tuscan origin. $14.99
2012 La Spinetta il Rose' di Casanova - A delicate, yet complex pale-salmon colored rose' made from a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugnolo Gentile (the clone of Sangiovese used to make the famed Vino Nobile of Montepulciano) from gently sloping Tuscan hillsides that enjoy cool Mediterranean breezes. Elegant rose petal aromas followed by a hint of pomegranate and sour cherry on the palate. Perfect with garden salads, mild cheeses and light, delicate fish like trout and the local branzino. $18.99
2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva - Nothing says Tuscany like
2010 Aia Vecchia Lagone - Aia Vecchia is located deep in the Tuscan countryside between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci. This is the land of Super Tuscan, where a favorable microclimate and soils produce very high quality wines from the French Bordeaux varietals of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The Lagone is 60% Merlot , 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cab Franc that is aged one year in barrique and six months in bottle. There is an elegance and defined structure to this wine that makes it seem more expensive than its very modest price. ST 90pts., WE 91pts.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Imagine this scenario. You are sitting in your neighbors backyard under a big umbrella, beads of perspiration accumulating on your forehead from the Saturday afternoon heat. An overflowing platter of grilled steaks, burgers and Terranova sausages arrives at the table surrounded by traditional picnic fare. Ready to dig in, all you need is a good glass of wine to wash it all down and you notice a bottle on the table. Warm from the summer heat, out of the bottle pours a fumy, headachey, hot glass of a big red wine and you suddenly find yourself searching for the cooler full of cold beer instead...
While there is nothing wrong with this scenario for some, for many of us it's just too much to drink big reds in the hot summer months especially if you are outside. But thankfully for red wine lovers there are great alternatives that are delicious with a slight chill and can hold up to your most of your grilled fare. Here are four great summer reds that we'll be featuring these at our Wednesday Nite Flites this week - a few very unique, hard to find wines and some traditional favorites that are all perfect for our climate and your picnics!
2012 Clos Cibonne Cuvée Spéciale Tibouren - Obscurity and drinkability from the South of France, this wine was a huge hit in our Provence tasting last week as we sold every bottle we had in stock! The Roux family of Clos Cibonne are great fans of Tibouren, a native varietal and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of André Roux’s revitalization in the 1930s he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. The estate’s vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the Mediterranean Sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes. A truly unique wine, The Cuvée Spéciale Tibouren is made from 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache with a fairly rich layer of deeply savory notes and perfumed red fruits all backed by core of acidity and velvety tannins. This is very good and you should try it before it is all gone...$24
2012 Ameztoi Stimatum - You've seen both the Ameztoi Rose' and white in the store and we've just brought in the brand new to the market red! From the Basque region of Spain, just five minutes down the coast from San Sebastian, Ameztoi’s vineyards overlook the Bay of Biscay. The Ameztoi family has been making txakolina in Getaria for seven generations, and in 2013 the estate introduced a new project: Ameztoi Stimatum. Made from 100% Hondarribi Beltza, this is red txakolina, sourced from their highest elevation vinyards and fermented with indigenous yeasts, the Stimatum shows bright and juicy flavors of boysenberry and other wild fruits with a refreshing acidity that holds it all together. $18
2008 J. Daan Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - There are very wines from this infamous vintage in Oregon still available so this is another that you should scoop up while you still can! Justin and Megan Van Zanten own this small winery in the Yamhill County town of Carlton. J Daan Wine Cellars, currently housed at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, is the effort of Justin and Megan Van Zanten. Justin's "day job" is as assistant winemaker to Andrew Rich, and he worked previously at major Oregon wineries, including Adelsheim and Chehalem. The wine is produced from the Croft-Williamson Vineyard and Apolloni Vineyard grapes. This vintage shows off the best of Willamette Valley Pinot-- lush flavors of raspberry and cherry with an elegant finish and silky mouthfeel. $24
You can taste all of these with Kimi and Walter at our Wednesday Nite Flites this week, $15 for four amazing wines and no reservations required!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Just saying the word brings visions of lazy seaside lunches, enjoying fresh seafood under a dazzlingly blue sky and of course, glasses of cool, delicious salmon colored wine. Known as the birthplace of rosé this area of southern France is one of the world's oldest wine regions and offers many distinct styles of red, white and rosé making it a source of intrigue for wine professionals an enthusiasts around the globe.
Provence is blessed with perfect climate: sunny, dry days, with just enough rainfall, and the famous "Mistral" winds, blowing down from the north, drying out the grapes and protecting them from rot and other diseases while sea breezes temper the hot rays of the sun. The quintessential Mediterranean climate!
While rosé is king here, reds and whites are hugely popular as well. Provençal reds feature Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, and Carignane. They are usually boldly flavored, solidly built, medium-bodied wines, with moderate to pronounced tannic structure. The reds pair well with the assertively flavored meat and game dishes of the region, especially lamb and venison.
White wines from Provence are made from Ugni Blanc, Rolle, Semillon and the Rhone varieties Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Clairette with Viognier and Roussanne making inroads lately as well. They are an excellent match with the seafood-based cuisine of the Mediterranean coast, as well as with the spices and herbs used so liberally in Provençal cuisine.
And then there Provençal rosé, the perfect summer wine with its typical floral- and berry-infused bouquet, savory minerality and a dry, high-acid finish. The typical grapes are Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah
and Tibouren with Cabernet making it into a few of the blends. Perfect for quaffing, delicious with seafood, cheese, and spicy, light dishes; for me the quintessential summer wine. I always anxiously await the new vintages and producers in the spring and you will always find many Provence options in our rosé section.
Sommelier Kimi Kiviranna just finished an extensive course on the region and is anxious to share her new found knowledge with you! We'll feature 3 rosés, 2 reds and a hard to find white from the area and we've invited Casey Foote from St. James Cheese to join us with some delicious pate and French formage to pair with the wines. $30 - Reservations and prepayment required. Thursday, May 16, 6:30pm @ Swirl. We have spots for 5 more lucky people! Call 504.304.0635.