Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boston Wine Week

I just heard about this awesome event going on Sept. 20-26th..... Boston Wine Week!  According to the website:
"The first annual Boston Wine Week kicks off a week-long celebration of handcrafted wines by winemakers and growers from around the world, served by the glass or bottle at some of Boston’s top restaurants. Proving that great wine doesn’t have to be a great expense, all wines (some of which retail up to $90/bottle) will be offered at $9/glass and $32/bottle.  Participating restaurants will offer a minimum of six wines, available at a substantial discount."
How cool does that sound???

Here's a list of some of the participating restaurants:

c'mon, you know you want to.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blind Taste Test

This month we did a "Blind Taste Test" where we all brought wine and Lindsay organized them, put them in paper bags, and assigned each wine a letter, A-G.  We each tried a few sips then rated them on appearance and taste, then tried to guess what the major flavor notes and aromas were.  Ultimately, we attempted to guess the wine.  This was much easier earlier in the night when our palates were fresh, but still, it was a great exercise.

Our scoring sheet, created by Lindsay

The Whites:

Most of the girls guessed the Sauvignon Blancs (Chateau Ste. Michelle & Harbor Town), and I'd like to believe it's because of our "Sexy Sauv's"-themed wine club meeting back in March.

The Riesling and Chardonnay were slightly trickier, but a couple girls were able to pick them out as well.

The Reds:

The reds were much more difficult for people to pick out, but I was pleasantly surprised that at least 3 girls guess the 2005 Campo Viejo Tempranillo correctly. Hilariously, I brought the Concannon Petite Sirah, which I've drank many many times before (see here), yet, I got this one wrong!  Too funny.

The Food:

Lindsay, Master of Ceremonies

Once the coals were nice and hot Lindsay cooked up some delicious veggie kabobs with goodies from her own garden, along with some jerk-marinated chicken.  We also had some delicious bread and dipping oil, a variety of cheeses (Gouda, Gorgonzola, Chevre, and Brie), and some tasty deviled eggs.  To finish things off, Katie made an awesome vegan chocolate pie.

I had a great time this month and I think we all learned a lot!  I'd like to try and do more focused blind tastes tests throughout the year, as I'm sure they will improve our palates and force us to really think about the flavors and aromas that we sometimes take for granted.

Good job Girls!  Next month.... Rose' tasting maybe?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Great Article on Wine Accessories

Ten @ 10: Wine stuff you don't need. Really.

Posted by Bill Daley Wine1

"A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and thou," that old Persian poet Omar Khayyam had the right idea. You don't need a lot of fussing and fidgeting to throw a memorable party, whether for 200 or 2.
Wine drinkers out there could be forgiven for not knowing this considering the wide assortment of the oenological paraphernalia on the market. All promise to make you a better host, a more savvy connoisseur. Some of these devices and gadgets are handy and can make entertaining easier. But you can get along without them – even a corkscrew.

The Stew staff joined me in thinking up all the wine "thingies" aspiring hosts can live without. Really, you can.

1. Wine bucket. You can chill bottles in a large pitcher or vase, even a wok piled high with ice (the wok works particularly well with those fat bottles of sparkling wine).

.....Click to Continue Reading at The Stew!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wine Name Win

Just a little something to make you guys laugh.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Domaine St Peyre Syrah Rose

I keep hearing more and more about the return of the Rose'.  I hear it is the best summertime wine, and I should not compare it to other "pink" wines.  So, at my last trip to the Wine Press, I decided to pick up a bottle.

Saint-Peyre Syrah Rose (France) - good price, tart, not sweet at all, slight nose of strawberry jam and a great finish.  For my first Rose in as long as I can remember, this one was a fantastic starter.  It was a great beat-the-heat wine and with every sip I enjoyed it more and more.  Had this with dinner the other night and it was a great complement to my Gingered Risotto and Scallops.

I might be a convert....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Showdown: California vs Argentina

This month we kinda borrowed an idea from The Second Glass and did our own "Wine Showdown" pitting California versus Argentina in a Battle Royale.  We came, we drank, we judged, we drank, we drank some more, and more, and.....

....and it was awesome!


Round 1: Crios Torrantes (Arg) v. Dancing Bull Savignon Blanc (Cali)

Winner: Not a terribly close race, Argentina won 4-2

Round 2: Murphy-Goode Savignon Blanc (Cali) v Byron Chardonnay (Cali)
Unfortunately this is the only place where we didn't have an Argentinian wine to compete with the Californian... so we just compared the two anyway.

Winner: Not surprisingly, but California won :)  Specifically, the Byron Chardonnay!  See, Chard doesn't have to be feared.


Round 3: Llama Malbec (Arg) v Five Rivers Merlot (Cali)
Winner:  Argentina won with a score of 5-3.  Everyone just loves a Malbec.

Round 4: Domaine Jean Bousquet Cabernet Savignon (Arg) v 90+ Merlot (Cali)
Winner: In a similar battle, Argentina pulled through here with a score of 5-3

Hmm... This is a tough call to make, I'll have to think on it.  Should I include the food pairings in the decision?


California-inspired salad of arugula, beets, walnuts, avocado & goat cheese in frico (Parmesan cheese cups), for recipe click here:

Hummus and chips
Antipasti (peppers, marinated artichokes, olives, etc)
Broccoli & Cheese bites
Asian Veggie Dumplings
Fruit (pineapple, strawberries, melon, etc)
Cheese (Queso Fresco, Manchego, and 2 others that I can't remember the names of....)

And for dessert, adorable little cupcakes:

All in all, it was a great night and I can say that after some deliberation, I'm ready to declare a winner:

Happy drinking!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm feeling so Fuso...

Last night for dinner I made some angel hair pasta with puttenesca sauce.... straight up whore pasta!  Yeah baby!  With it, Boyfriend and I drank a 2008 FUSO Barbera from Colli Tortonesi Vineyard.  I picked this one because I like that Barbera's aren't "big reds" but hold up well to the acid in tomato sauces.   

Daily drinking wine in Italy is called sfuso, which is usually reserved for the locals (or, sadly, sold off to co-ops and mixed with all kinds of inferior wine; sort of like the Italian version of $2-chuck).

The back label does a good job explaining the sfuso / fuso pun :

"Fuso: play on words for an authentic daily drinker: from the Italian sfuso, which is the everyday drinking wine, and the Italian word fuso, which is used to describe a person feeling “out of it,” or, “out of sorts.”"

This wine was vinified in steel and had a classic fruity-ness (cranberry / raspberry). It was pretty delicious and I thought it paired nicely with dinner.  Interestingly, once dinner was over.... my next glass seemed less tasty.  Ahhhh, maybe I'm finally discovering the secret to good pairings!

Friday, May 28, 2010

May: Earth-Friendly Wines

This month's theme was "Earth-Friendly" so we tested wines that were from organic or sustainable vineyards, or had earth-friendly packaging. 

The Whites:
We started with the Candoni Pinot Grigio (Italy) - certified organic and no added sulfites.  We all liked this wine, it was citrus-y and crisp - a great summer choice.

Next we tried the 2009 Jelu Torrontes (Argentina) - We were divided on this wine (I liked it though).  It has a thicker mouthfeel than the Pinot Grigio and was very aromatic.  I got apples on the nose, but the reviews say white peach, orange and lemon.  Eh, everybody's different, right?

The Reds:
We started the reds with a 2008 Green Truck Organic Petite Sirah, which I'm pretty sure we liked (but that I failed to take notes on, duh).

Next was the Frey Natural Red Table Wine (Cali) - Organic, no sulfites detected.... horrible.  This either needed to be decanted for hours or needed a steak along with it.  It seemed young, harsh, and alcoholic.... like any good teenager :)  We didn't like this at all, in fact, most of us dumped it out.  Weird seeing as it has won quite a few medals and accolades... maybe we got a bad bottle?  It sat in the hot sun for days before we got it?  Who knows, it was worth a try, but I won't be buying it that's for sure.

The 2007 La Fortuna Malbec (Chile) was next up - This organic wine was a very typical Malbec. Plummy, and smelled of tobacco and leather.  It was the strip-club of wines.  And I loved it. 

Our final red was the 2007 Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red (Cali) - Fruity and leathery.  Maybe that leather was leftover from the Malbec, but I swear I got leather on this one too... perhaps psychosomatic since "Wrangler" was in the name?  But then wouldn't I also smell bad denim and Walmart? Hmmmm.....

We didn't make it to my personal favorite daily wine, the Old Vine Zinfandel Bota Box.  4 bottles worth of wine that takes weeks to go bad (not that we ever have a box around that long).

The Food:
We started with an appetizer of Caprese Salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette).

We had a baguette and multigrain crackers to go with our various cheeses - Parmesan, La Fur (?) a super creamy goat and cow's milk cheese that I MUST find again, Maine Salsa Jack (local, hormone & antibiotic free), and a Vermont Cheddar.  The local fruit scene is still dormant up here, but we enjoyed some Vermont apples with our wines (especially good with the whites).

For dessert I made "Dirt Cake", which is basically crushed up mint Newman-O's layered with vanilla pudding to look like dirt.  I put them in flower pots with mint and cilantro to make them look like real plants.  So cute!  I had a lot of fun making these :)

All in all, a wonderful night.  We saved the earth, one bottle of wine at a time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Girls with Good Glasses

Hey everyone. Here's an interesting article on wine glasses from Salon. Savor it while I work on the post for the most recent wine club -- it's full of pictures and links!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CHUNK #1: Good 'ol U-S-of-A wines

California/Washington - oops, it seems that we missed the New England wineries....

Mendocino Wine Co. - tasted the 2006 Parducci Sustainable Red ($12), the 2008 Parducci Sustainable White ($12) and the 2006 Paul Dolan Pinot Noir ($20). Personally, the only one I wrote anything about was the Pinot Noir, which I've had before. Bummer, I was hoping that the "sustainable" would somehow mean "awesome".

** note: the Sustainable Red pairs nicely with Upper Crust's Vegetable Pizza**

Vantage Point - 2007 Stonecap Riesling ($10) and the 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo ($16). Really like both of these wines oddly, especially since they are on completely opposite sides of the wine spectrum. The Riesling was not too sweet (yay) and the Primitivo might be my new favorite wine varietal. Very big, dry and smokey... just how I love 'em!

Inman Family Wines - these people were very fun to talk with, i.e. the girl pouring my wine was the daughter of the woman who runs/owns the winery. Girl Power! Tried the 2007 Inman Family Pinot Noir ($30)... liked it, didn't love it.

Triumvir - WOW... wow... unexpectedly delicious.  They were unique in that they only poured 2 varietals (Syrah and Pinot Noir) but from 2 different years (2006 & 2007).  I liked this because you could really tell the difference between, say, Pinot from 2006 versus 2007.  I liked the 2006 Triumvir Syrah ($38) and 2007 Triumvir Pinot Noir ($44) best.

Underdog Wine Merchants - Reed really like the 2007 Brophy Clark GSM ($20) and the 2007 Brophy Clark Pinot Noir ($32). 

Hess Group - LOVED the Hess table.  All of their wines were so so good and the guy working the booth was incredibly knowledgable.  He'd been working for Hess for like 15 years.  It was a nice change from some of the other tables where they just had volunteers working the booths who had never even tasted any of the wines that they were pouring.  My favorites from Hess were the 2008 Bodega colome Amalaya ($15), the 2006 Hess Collection Cabernet ($45) and the 2007 Sequana Vineyards Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir ($45). 

** also important to note: the 2007 Hess Mt. Veeder Chardonnay pairs excellently with New England Clam Chowder (Legal Seafood was there).**

Gilbert Distributors - I inherently don't trust wines with catchy names and labels.  It's like they're trying to trick you or something...  These guys had bottles with names like, "Vivacious Vicky White" and "Women of the Vine Cabernet".  I refused to go over there.  Reed tried the 2008 Vivacious Vicky Rose (obviously)... the look on his face was clearly, "meh".  The look on mine was, "I told you so" :)

Wine Nose at Vineyard Road - These guys win for the most awesome labels (I know, I know, refer to what I wrote above).  But they were all Edgar Allen Poe-type references... very dark and noir.  We tried the 2007 Corvidae "Lenore" Syrah ($15), and 2008 O'Reilly's Pinot Gris ($15) and the 2008 Owen Roe Sinister Hand Grenache/Syrah ($30).  They were ok... I preferred the labels to the wines.

Charles Smith - Really liked the 2007 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon ($20), but at this point I'm pretty sure I was starting to max out on West-Coast reds.

OK, that's all for now folks!  My next post will be on "Wine Riot Chunk 2: Australia, New Zealand, and Japan"

we came, we saw, we RIOTED!

We tasted so much wine on Saturday, it was amazing!  Flipping through my notes indicates at least 41 glasses (tastes) of wine between the 2 of us.  And who knows how many I just forgot to write down....

Since there is a ridiculous amount of information to report on the Riot, I'm going to break this up into chunks and cover it all in a few days.

Also, I took a video but have NO IDEA how to possibly embed it into the blog (read: cry for help from my blogger friends).

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Blog

Check out my new food blog!

Food and wine!

Wine and food!

We do it all here folks! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to Sabrage a Champagne Bottle

Step 1:
*Remove the foil and muselet covering the cork.
*Align the blunt end of a moderately heavy knife with teh seam of the bottle.

Step 2:
*Forcefully slide the knife along the seam, striking the lip of the bottle (the weakest point)
*Make sure to follow through while yelling loudly


~from the back of the Wine Riot's business card

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Anything But Chardonnay"

I found it! I found my tasting list and notes from the Bin Ends tasting on Sunday! One very important note - all of these wines are under $15!

Martinshof Gruner Veltliner (Austria) 2008
- tasty, light, a little spicy and easy to drink... best yet, it comes in a 1L bottle with a beer-style cap instead of a cork!

Indaba Chenin Blanc (South Africa) 2009
- floral, tropical fruits and citrus, good acidity and structure

Woop Woop Verdelho (Australia) 2007
- fresh and fruit-driven, crisp, nicely fragrant

I Stefanini "Il Selese" Soave (Veneto, Italy) 2008
- so apparently Soave used to be Italy's crap wine that only the locals drank. Good thing they started revamping it because it turns out to be a seriously tasty summer wine. Soft, medium bodied with melon, faint citrus fruits, and a distinctly fruity aroma.

Chateau Campuget, Rose' of Syrah/Grenache (Costieres de Nimes, France) 2009
- this was an early Rose' (just harvested Sept '09), and I got a clearly "watermelon Jolly Rancher" taste - not in an unpleasant way... just... yeah... let's just say Rose' and I have some work to do in our relationship

Callia Alta Torrontes (Argentina) 2009
- suprisingly good! Oranges and richly floral (not in the awful perfume-y way), well-balanced on the tounge with moderate acidity. Interestingly, it had a slightly greenish-tint....

McManis Family Vineyards Viognier (California) 2008
- Viognier used to be one of my favorite white wines (Horton Vineyards Viognier in C'ville, VA to be exact). Honey and apricot mix with serious minerality and grapefruit. Long, rich finish... mmmm.

and last but not least...

Lanzos Blanco Sauvignon Blanc/Viura (Spain) 2008
- dry, fresh white wine, with grapefruit, nectarine, and tropical fruit. I'd guess it to be a great salad/appetizers wine.

Now that summer is peeking her head around the corner, it's time to try something other than the usual Sauvignon Blanc! I plan to do some Soave testing in the upcoming months :)

Got Tickets to Wine Riot!!

I'm proud to admit that I am the new owner of 2 tickets to this weekend's Wine Riot brought to us by The Second Glass. They will be pouring over 250 wines, have a DJ, a photo booth, crash course seminars, and food pairings. I'M SO EXCITED! I'm forcing Reed to go with me (yeah, I really had to twist his arm on this one...) So, between the two of us I think we should be able to taste all 250 wines.... CHALLENGE!!

we might not remember any of them... but that's neither here nor there

Check out this video from last year's Wine Riot.
I promise we'll take lots of pics and maybe I'll try my hand at a video of our own!

And how did I get these tickets, you may ask? I went to a pre-Riot tasting down at Bin Ends in Braintree on Sunday and got 'em there. Let me tell you... that place is AMAZING!! Great selection, low prices, and really knowledgeable, friendly staff. I was able to pick up an exciting Chilean Syrah for G&G on Thursday while I was there, too (3 birds - 1 stone!). More on that in the days to come.

** Oh, and remember that whole "I lost my camera" thing... yeah, one week after the new one comes in the mail I FIND IT! Where? In my golf bag of all places!! Now I have a "party" camera and a "real" camera :)

Friday, April 9, 2010


Sorry I haven't updated the blog in a thousand years, but I lost my camera and for some reason felt like "no pictures = no blog post"


I just got my new camera in the mail so expect updates soon.... yes, that's right... I saved a lot of the bottles that we've been drinking (what a dork!)

I'll also try to scrounge up the details from the March G&G meeting (theme: Savvy Sauves). I had to miss it unfortunately but I heard it was a LOT of fun.

So, the moral of the story is: Check back soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wine Clubiversary!

Greetings Boston Wine Clubbers! Katie here to bring you an update from our 1 year anniversary meeting at Lindsay's. We didn't quite have a quorum, but we did have a visitor from London and had a great time sipping bubbly.

Here's a nice group shot.

Here are the wines we drank. We liked most of them, particularly the two in the back with similar labels, and of course the real champagne with the blue label that several GnG women chipped in for.

I brought the desserty red one. A bit too sweet; I'd been hoping to bring the sparkling shiraz they always used to have at Best Cellars. Oh well.

Oh, and don't forget: Brad still sucks.

PS - the recipe for that guy is here, and it's fabulous. Laura, add information as you see fit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Katie's Wines

The infamous boytoy was in town this week, and we enjoyed a couple of tasty tempranillos. The 2007 Ercavoio Tempranillo Roble is on the left, and the LaGranja 2006 is on the right, as you can clearly see. I recommend both -- the left one is available at the Wine Press on Beacon Street in Brookline, and you can pick up the other one at Trader Joe's, plus it has a twist cap, woo. I got it before the big snowstorm when I walked to Cambridge for some groceries, so it's definitely at that TJ's, but probably at the other ones, too.

Cheers and Happy Twenty-Ten, Boston oenophiles!