There she was sipping bubbles and talking about her latest recipe project – bone marrow stuffed ravioli with a lemon Beurre Blanc. My brain exploded at the thought of combining my favorite food groups – noodles and flavourful gras. I was immediately transported to Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, where my first order of bone marrow in public was presented on a plate with a spoon and three tall bones standing upright. That memory is never far from my mind, neither is the meeting of this fabulous foodie and newest wine gal – Alison Kent. Check out Alison Kent Home Kitchen.
What’s so sassy about Spanish Red Wine?
Barney Stinson is the king of sass. He was a comedic force on the sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother". Spain could be characterized as sassy especially when it comes to wine. Spain is a wine force. With over three million acres of vineyard planted, it is the largest areas under vine in the world. It is also the third largest producer of wine after France and Italy. Does Spain get the respect it deserves given the stats? Not really. Many think of Spain as a great region to shop for cheap wine. Yet Rioja put Spain on the high quality wine making map. Why? Because Rioja set itself apart with a focus on Spain’s most famous grape Tempranillo, the use of American oak for ageing, and ageing wine so that when it goes to market, it is ready to drink.
City gal makes wine country home
From modeling in Europe to teaching fashion in the city, plus a decade in food marketing and now wine design - here's a wine gal that's done it all. She loves to talk about wine, shop for wine, plan winery visits, read interesting wine books, share social posts by cool wine peeps and be in the loop on new wine releases. Hanging out with Nicole means road trips to private wine tastings, traipsing through vineyards with a camera, making time for beach adventures and eating well. She knows how to make a difference and contributing to the wine industry is her latest project. Did I mention she's the gal who amplified our branding with that super awesome logo? Thanks Nicole for contributing to Good Wine Gal's community. For more about Nicole keep reading.
Viña San Pedro, Limited Edition Syrah 2016 - $35
Although considered a ‘New World’ wine producing country, Chile has a long history of growing grapes and making wine dating as far back as the 16th century. However, today’s global recognized grapes didn’t make an appearance in the vineyard until the latter half of the 19th century with what we might consider today as quality wines only emerging another 100 or so years after that. In the late 20th century, Chile has been a reliable source for many wine drinkers of cheep and cheerful quaffers but since the start of the 21st century, more and more Chilean producers have been focusing their efforts on crafting wines that faithfully reflect the many uniquely Chilean terroirs.
There may be no set of twins more similar yet different than these two – Syrah and Shiraz. In the 1988 movie “Twins’ it seemed unlikely that Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger were related. Yet the of the ending of the movie revealed they were. Oh mama!
Same But Different
Twins share the same DNA but can express themselves and appear so differently. This is the case with Syrah and Shiraz. If you love big bold red wines with mouth filling richness and flavour – look no further than Shiraz. Blackberry, black cherry, with licorice or black pepper spice aromas and flavours are classic tasting notes for Shiraz. It can be a friendly sipper because it has supple tannin and less acidity than Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, this style is so appealing that it put Australia on the map in the early 90’s and reigned supreme for a decade. To understand Shiraz, is to understand Syrah. In fact, before the movement to protect European names came into effect in the 80’s, Shiraz was known as Hermitage in Oz. Hermitage is perhaps France’s the most iconic appellation for Syrah from the Northern Rhône Valley.
Orofino Vineyards, 2018 Hensbee Vineyards, Riesling Clone 239 from Similkameen Valley, BC
Can you say passion? This is a wine gal who loves life and its full expression in food, wine and people. If we are talking food then Empanadas will be in the discussion. If we are talking home then Argentina will be in the mix. If we are talking people its family and friends who matter most. There is excitement in her voice as she shares her passion for flavour, discovery and adventure! This is a world traveler and a wine lover who has found a way to live her dream working with Catena Zapata – arguably Argentina’s top quality wine producers here in Vancouver.
A Reason for Riesling
Wine is complicated, right? How do you navigate the retail wine store or the restaurant wine list today? So much wine - so little time - has never been truer. Consider Riesling. Sommeliers love Riesling because it’s so versatile. There are a multitude of styles, and a multitude of regions that are growing and making Riesling wine from dry to sweet and everything in between. If you are not a working wine professional however, how do you keep up with Riesling Revolution and styles that you prefer? Where Riesling was once primarily associated with Germany and considered a sweet table wine, today this is not the case. There is a plethora of wineries around the globe producing high quality, complex and age worthy styles of Riesling in both the old and new world of wine.
It takes a special personality to reach out and offer assistance without causing insult. Steve and Annette did just that back in March of 2020. If not for their 9 am phone conference call on a Saturday morning encouraging me to buy Zoom Pro and teaching me how to use it to its full potential – none of this Good Wine Gal Thursday Wine sessions with Mark Shipway would have happened. This was followed on with Steve showing up to our red wine sessions and Annette attending our white wine sessions with both of them attending those early day “happy hour” calls where we sipped and talked our way through the first lockdown. Here is a little tribute to Steve and Annette for their continued support of Good Wine Gal and our online wine sessions. Thank you both for your generosity and kindness.
Merlot has been a much maligned grape in recent times; maybe it’s typical soft, seductive profile simply fails to resonate with a generation of wine drinkers searching for ever more edgier, sharp edged sips; or maybe it’s just a case of preconceived notions of a comforting yet uninspiring taste experience. Whatever the reason, it is high time to revisit this variety and discover exactly what makes wines from Merlot both instantly delicious and objectively great. Looking for those benchmark bottles at affordable prices can be challenging and the tip is here, as it so often is when it comes to wine buying, rewards come to those who chose to look further than the usual well-beaten path. In the case of Merlot, one of the finest of those fields afar can be found on a gently rolling Tuscan hillside where tradition, technique, soil and climate conspire to create that grape’s signature hedonistic quality with a uniquely Italian twist.
It hangs on the wall, just covering up the old thermostat that is no longer in use. It says, “You had me at Merlot.” It’s a play on the famous line from “Jerry McGuire” where Rene Zellweger admits that she’s loved him from the first moment they met. Ah, love! Whether or not you feel that way about Merlot, for many it’s the tag line that sticks. The first love, the first encounter, the first sip, Merlot made it easy to love. No rough edges, round smooth texture and mouth filling richness. If you didn’t know what to sip, Merlot was a good choice.
Bernard Defaix Saint Bris Sauvignon 2018
The appellation of Saint Bris is surely an oddball in the Burgundian vineyard, albeit a very welcome one; a white wine crafted from the crisply aromatic Sauvignon Blanc grape rather than its more subtlety complex and distinctly more signature variety, Chardonnay. Saint Bris is a tiny northern French wine-growing zone of barely 250 acres planted on slopes surrounding the eponymous village of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux (itself located just 15 km south-west of the altogether more famous town of Chablis). The reasons for Sauvignon Blanc being planted here are not entirely clear, with the history of this grape tied to place being relatively recent in Burgundian terms, suggesting perhaps a more market driven impetus behind this current synergy. Even though there are significant similarities in terms of climate and soil between Saint Bris and the Loire Valley’s more globally famous Sancerre, the styles of wine produced show marked differences, the former expressing a touch of varietal exuberance and later being a more classical model of restraint.
I'm Good Wine Gal.
I blog about "good wine" and how to find it!
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