Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Off to Italy!

Well folks, Megan and I are off to Italy tomorrow for Megan's sister's wedding on Sunday. But before we head to Valenza for the ceremony, we will be staying a couple of days smack in the between Alba and Asti at a bed & breakfast. We are so excited to explore the Piemonte region, albeit for a short 2 days, but we will try to pack in as much Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto (plus all the other wines of the region) and truffles as we can.

Look for some good stories and pictures when we return next week.

Have a great weekend.


Friday June 29th Wine Tasting at the Wine Cellar in Midlothian


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Friday Night Tasting at The Wine Cellar

Hi Everyone - Here is the list of wines that will be tasted at the Wine Cellar in Midlothian this Friday from 5-8pm. FOR FREE






See ya there.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wine Education Series

Malolactic Fermentation (COOH-CHOH-CH2-COOH--->COOH-CHOH-CH3 + CO2)

You hear this term thrown around a lot in wineries and it is often a question I ask the tasting room staff or if lucky enough the winemaker if the process has been performed on certain white wines.

So what exactly is Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)? Well it is the conversion of malic acid which is naturally occurring in wine that has just been made into lactic acid and as a bi - product carbon dioxide is also produced. Now the misconception is that MLF is actually not a fermentation at all, even though carbon dioxide is generated during the process.

Now why would winemaker's feel the need to perform MLF on a wine. Well the main reason is the need to lower the total acidity of a wine. Lactic acid is much softer than Malic acid and therefore if a wine is too acidic after fermentation, MLF can be done to lower the acidity and soften the wine. If you have ever had a Chardonnay or other wine that had a buttery note or flavor to it, then that wine has gone through MLF, because the chemical diacetyl is also a bi product of MLF and this cause the buttery notes in wine.

Now over the years as "better" wine making practices have been developed MLF is done to prevent any possibility of it happening in the bottle, although this rarely happens any more with filtered wines that are filtered with a sterile filter.

For any more info on Malolactic Fermentation shoot me an email - I'd be happy to discuss.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend with some beautiful wine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekend of Wine Tasting

This past weekend Megan and I headed east on 64 to visit a couple of wineries and treat ourselves to a gourmet lunch. On tap for the day were Keswick, Horton and Barboursville followed by a 1:30 lunch at Palladio.

We started early arriving at Keswick around 11:00 and we pleased to find that we had the tasting room to ourselves. Our tasting room associate for the day was Nicole, who to our delight was very knowledgeable and well versed in all of Keswick's selections. Megan and I both opted for the reserve tasting which gave us 11 wines to try, they were: 2005 Rose, 2006 Les Vents d' Anges Viognier, 2005 Chardonnay, 2005 Viognier, 2005 Viognier Estate Reserve, Les Vents d' Anges Rives Red, 2006 Touriga, 2005 Consensus (members only), 2004 Heritage Estate Reserve, 2005 Norton, and the 2004 Nektar. Our favorites were the Rose (fruit forward strawberry, nice nose and quite full bodied for a Rose), the 2006 Les Vents d' Anges Viognier ( great peach, apricot aromas, slightly tart with a long finish, done in 100% stainless steel) on the white side. And on the red side our favorites were the 2006 Touriga (only in bottle 2 weeks, dark cherry, black raspberry, firm tannins that could use some softening, but excellent structure), the 2005 Consensus (this was a member blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Petite Verdot (great dark fruit, firm but smooth tannins and cherry coke flavor on the finish), and the 2004 Heritage Reserve (this was a great wine, silky smooth, nice green pepper, dill pickle, raspberry and cedar; lingering of chocolate and orange juice on the palate). We decided to take home two bottles of the Les Vents d Anges Viognier and one bottle of the Consensus. The Consensus is only for members of the Keswick wine club but Nicole hooked us up because we enjoyed it so much. The Heritage Reserve is an excellent wine, we just couldn't warrant the price point.

Our next stop was at Horton, we were wanted to make a short stop and taste a few of there wines. We had a few in mind already which is a good thing when confronted with the HUGE list of wines that Horton has for tasting. We were seeking out there new Viognier as well as their Petite Manseng. Both were very well done, but our favorite on the day was the Petite Manseng which is what we took home with us. Our stop was short because we wanted to get in our tasting at Barboursville before headed to lunch at Palladio.

At Barboursville we tasted quite a few wines. Barboursville has a great tasting room that reminds me of some I have visited in California. The staff at Barboursville is always knowledgeable about their wines and if they don't know an answer to your question they are eager to find out. We enjoyed all the white wines, but our favorite of the day would have to be the 2006 Reserve Chardonnay ( nice notes of granny smith apple, oak, almond extract, hay and lemon; all very well balanced) On the red side we had two favorites, the 2005 Cabernet Franc Reserve ( black raspberry, cinnamon, smooth ripe tannins and a pepper finish), and the 2005 Nebbiolo Reserve ( tobacco, plum, cherry, velvety tannins). The 3 mentioned here are the ones we took home for the day. Again all the wines were good, these were just our favorites.

After we finished our tasting we headed over to Palladio for our 1:30 lunch appointment. After being seated we were poured a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and a nice plate of olives to help warm our palate for all the great food to come. Megan and I both chose the four course meal with wine pairings, and even though we are vegetarian, except for the 3rd course we could each have a separate dish. Below are the dishes we chose for each course and the wines that were paired with it.

Course 1

Farinata Ligure
Classic Ligurian Chickpea Flat Bread topped with
House Made Mozzarella, Fresh Tomatoes & Basil Pesto
served with Baby Arugula & Balsamic Glaze

Carciofi Ripieni
Artichoke Bottoms stuffed with Caromont Goat Cheese,
Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts with Black Pepper Crackers & Lemon Vinaigrette

wine pairing - Barboursville Rosè 2006

Course 2

Pappardelle Carnevale
Arugula Pappardelle served with Fresh Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers,
Ricotta Salata in Lemon-Garlic Butter

Gnocchi di Patate con Funghi di Stagione
Potato Gnocchi served with Wild Summer Mushrooms
& Corn Puree garnished with Baby Mizuna

wine pairing - Barboursville Vineyards, Chardonnay Reserve 2006

Course 3

Tortino di Mais e Zucchine
Sweet Corn & Summer Squash Tart
served with Marinated Heirloom Tomato Salad,
Chickpea Croutons & Fresh Watercress

wine pairing - Barboursville Vineyards, Sangiovese Reserve 2005

Course 4

Crème Caramel al Caprino
Goat Cheese Crème Caramel served with Fresh Raspberries

Crostata di Fragole e Rabarbaro
Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart served
with Basil-Mascarpone Gelato & Strawberry Coulis

wine pairing - Barboursville Vineyards, Phileo n.v.

The entire meal was fabulous as well as our service, a complete 4 star dining experience. All the wines were masterfully paired with each course, and the timing of each dish was perfect. We can't wait to go back again.