Albet i Noya Brut Rose Reserva 2017, Penedes 19.99
Stone fruit and red apple aromas set up a punchy, fresh and citric palate. This bright Penedès sparkler tastes of pink grapefruit and peach, while the finish is fresh and forward.
Your "Official Holiday Red Wines"
Casadei, Tuscany, Italy
"A Lighter Red"
A blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre. This wine is powerful, yet supple and elegant. The nose opens with intense berry and cassis fruit, highlighted by notes of dark chocolate and tobacco. Firm and silky upon entry, the palate is equally intense with chewy and sweet tannins and a very persistent finish with dark berries and sweet spices.
$26.99 at Ace online, $22.98 at Vintage online, $20.99 at wine.com Back on Planet Earth, $18.99 @MetroWines
A rich and vibrant dark purple. Black forest fruits, chocolate, vanilla on the nose. The palate consists of flavors of plum and berries, chocolate and has a spice finish. Full bodied, rich; a classic Barossa Shiraz.
Wine & Spirits, 91 Points The Ashmead family farms 3 shiraz parcels in Barossa, most vines date to the 1940s. 2016 is typical of a powerful shiraz, a dense wine, thick up-front concentration, lasting through an expansive finish, where detail in the tannins keeps yielding flavor, from floral notes to salty edgesand tangy, tarry, cool freshness.
James Suckling, 91 Points An impressive hearty Barossa shiraz with blackberry anddark-cherry aromas, feeing into a succulent, long palate. Plenty of hearty flavor here. Drink or hold.
$22.97 at Wine Chateau $21 @MetroWines
"Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet’" Review: Beautiful Contradictions The Swiss artist is a study in opposites: bourgeois yet radical; affecting yet chilly; straightforward yet mercurial."
I am having trouble deciphering this review but it brings up a good point: Things, people, ideas, stations in life, etc. that seem like they won't work together, sometimes do! Same is true in the wine world. Sure, we are good with the Bordeaux Five but after that we start saying whaaaaaa? Think of varietals more as interlocking than intersecting!
We asked Brett Watson of The Asheville School of Wine to translate the theory of this painting into wine.
"Chateau Musar is one of the most revered and well respected winemakers Europe. Producing some of the most age-worthy wines from the base of Mount Lebanon in Bekaa valley of Lebanon certified organic since 2006 and minimal sulphur added only at bottling. Gaston Hochar's (winemaker) wines are so unique because he uses the traditional French grape of Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux for structure and backbone. Then Musar blends floral and perfumed grapes such as Cinsault and Carignan from the Southern Rhone to round out the gorgeous bouquet. Extremely old vines lend themselves to producing incredible vibrancy of fruit for 30+ years of bottle age.
The premium red bottling is under the classic "Chateau Musar" label. Current vintage is 2006 which is showing incredible right now and couldalso sit for 10 more years and get even prettier. Fermented in cement, aged in old french oak. Unfined and unfiltered. Finished wines are released 7 years after harvest. 2006 in store for $60. Back vintages available upon request.
The more "drink now" and for the table bottling is under the"Musar Jeune" label comes from younger vines of Cabernet, Syrah and Cinsault. They are blended together and fermented in steel and see no oak whatsoever. Aging happens in cement lined vats to showcase it's youthful minerality. Unfined and unfiltered. Current vintage is 2017, an extraordinary showcasing of Musar & Bekaa Valley for only $24."
In summary, Brett says: "Bordeaux mixed with Southern Rhone has never worked and tasted so delicious."
********************************** Art Update: Yesterday morning, I was surprised to see this painting in Wall Street Journal with the title "The Hunt for Red December" pairing a flower arrangement by Lindsey Taylor with the work. You would find the link here but WSJ is notorious for not posting these arrangements! I will do the best I can to summarize.
Lindsey is not concerned with theory or contradictions but rather, in this case, mostly color. She selected a deep brown earthenware vessel to match the brown wood of the chair. The reds of the dress were represented by amaryllis, full roses, carnations and a slightly pinker Heptacodium bracts. WOW. Whatever. Lindsey then adds a sprig of light blue Larkspur with its black centered flowers highlighting the painting one the fireplace weaving in a little green to pick up the subject's sash. And to complete the picture, literally, Lindsey places seasonally appropriate sprigs of evergreen sequoia and a playful pink carnation to represent the little girl's dress. You get the idea! So there you have the paining, the wine and the floral arrangement.
"Sparkling Rose Tasting"
Saturday, December 28th from 10am to 7pm @MetroWines and, as always, on the house!
Forbes Magazine Says: "Step up to sparklers. You get the same advantages, since these wines are served chilled, and in many cases they pair even better with food, rosé champagnes are one of the world’s great food wines. Well, when it comes to celebrating, there is no more time-honored beverage choice than sparkling wine. Best of all, you don’t have to stop when summer ends, as sparkling wines are well suited for many other occasions, holidays, brunches, and year-round enjoyment."
Midnight in Santorini
"Because when it's 6pm @MetroWines, it's already Midnight in Santorini"
James Beard Award-winning founder of Serious Eats, Ed Levine, finally tells the mouthwatering and heartstopping story of building and, almost losing, one of the most acclaimed and beloved food sites in the world.
In 2005, Ed Levine was a freelance food writer with an unlikely dream: to control his own fate and create a different kind of food publication: the world's best bagels, best burgers, best hot dogs--the best everything edible. To build something for people like him who took everything edible seriously, from the tasting menu at Per Se and omakase feasts at Nobu down to mass-market candy, fast food burgers, and instant ramen.
This is the moving story of making a glorious, weird, and wonderful dream come true. It's the story of one food obsessive who followed a passion to terrifying, thrilling, and mouthwatering places--and all the serious eats along the way.
Your Read it With Bottle:
Our 2017 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir reflects the diversity of our namesake AVA. The variety of soil types across this region provide depth and complexity to this approachable wine. Aromatics of blue and red fruits, with a touch of brambly earth and spice. The palate shows ripe red fruit, which is complemented by soft, silky tannins and a crisp finish.
James Suckling Says 92 Points This has quite ripe, creamed cherry and spice aromas with a very smooth, supple and fleshy palate that offers good drinking right away.
To the extent we can, we will work with importers and distributors to share the extra costs. Beware of online shippers. Many rely on "phantom inventory." This means the .coms do not and never did actually have the bottle. The .coms order it when you do putting them smack under the tariff effect. We have been preparing and have a good European inventory bought and shipped before the onset of tariffs.
Nevertheless, this is a good time to expand your wine horizons and try wines from countries excluded from tariffs. Consider wines from South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, Slovenia, Lebanon (see Chateau Musar above!) and, of course, this country. Finger Lakes?
From "The Wine Related News Department" @MetroWines Winery Owner Agustin Huneeus is in the slammer for 5 months for his part in the college admissions scandal, dubbed Varisty Blues" actions brought by the US Attorney.
Who is Agustin Huneeus?
Huneeus Vintners was founded by the elder Huneeus and his wife, Valeria. Agustin C. built the Chilean winery Concha y Toro into an international success before immigrating to the United States during political unrest and creating a small empire around Franciscan Winery.
After his father sold Franciscan to Constellation Brands in 1999, Agustin F. stayed on the Board eventually becoming chief executive of Constellation's fine-wine division before joining his father at the new family company. The family had held onto Quintessa Estate, the foundation of Huneeus Vintners.
Today the company also owns Faust, Flowers Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma and Benton Lane in Oregon. Their biggest splash came when they bought The Prisoner from Dave Phinney in 2010, expanded it, and then sold it in 2016to Constellation for $285 million.
Meanwhile, Agustin F. bought his daughter"s way into USC. The Justice Department presented evidence, including wiretapped phone calls, that Huneeus paid $50,000 to Singer to have a proctor improve his daughter's SAT score by correcting some of her answers. Huneeus also agreed to pay both Singer's foundation and a coach at USC a total of $250,000 to secure his daughter a spot on the school's water polo team, even though she was not a top athlete and with the understanding she would not have to play.
** BIG WHITE of THE WEEK ** Lis Neris Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Friuli
At Lis Neris, while the winery offers excellent red wine, the focus is on white wines. And well it should be as the conditions at the winery are perfect for white wines. John Kerr of The Asheville School of Wine says: Grapes grow in gravel beds 150 feet deep covered in breezes off the Mediterranean and glacial waters that roll down the mountains.
*** Teaching Moment *** Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The wines produced here in Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. $25
*** CRUNCH TIME *** Last Minute Perfect Gift: Luggage!
Wall Street Journal says: "Buying luggage used to be about as sexy as acquiring a refrigerator." But we have entered into the "snap-suitcase culture"
Floyd’s hard shell suitcases will excite even the most experienced travelers with their supreme quality, clever packaging solutions and high attention to detail. Perfect travel companion for people who haven’t given up on their inner teenager and their enthusiasm for good, honest, optimistic and authentic design. $420.
This looks Sturdy, Functional and Stylish Pair it with a Powerful yet Elegant Wine
WHIPLASH 2017 Zinfandel, Lodi "Like the powerful horse for which they are named, Whiplash wines are commanding and elegant. Our winery and its California wines celebrate the unbridled spirit of this hole and pay homage to the invaluable horses that settled the once untamed American West. Our Whiplash Lodi Zinfandel is full-bodied with a graceful touch of oak. Dynamic fruit including dark cherry, plum and blueberry combine with captivating hints of spice leading to a delightful finish. This wine is the perfect dinner companion.
"Christopher Moore has a doctorate in physics from MIT and has worked on projects ranging from tracking the world's oil supply to searching for new cancer drugs. His latest gig is turning out to be the hardest: helping shippers find the correct size in clothing."
Bag the jeans. No reason to add more stress to your life. So, unless you know the size for sure, don't even try.