Wines with a V

I am typically a red wine drinker. Since this past summer though, I have been drinking a lot more whites. Even in this cold, drizzly Seattle weather, sometimes a crisp white wine just sounds tasty. Lately, I have been gravitating towards wines that start with V… Strange huh? Does a wine that begins with V ring a bell for you?

The white wines most wine novices typically gravitate towards are Chardonnay’s, Sauvignon Blanc’s and Pinot Gris/Grigio’s. But not me. Because of you, my friends, I am a risk taker who is down with the V’s. Which means you should check them out next time you are at your local wine merchant. These wines will say to your guests, host or friends that you are adventurous, daring and wine knowledgeable…. (Trust me; they will be impressed with your picks)

These are my 4 varietal, go -to favorites lately

 

Verdejo (Verdelho) – Ola! This is bright and fairly medium bodied Spanish (and Portuguese) white wine (although, I have an Australian Verdejo last night from Mollydooker and it was a lot of fun). Being this is typically a Spanish wine, it pairs well with most fish/seafood dishes, pastas (esp. with pesto) and vegetarian dishes. This is also a wine that will go nicely with an Indian dinner or something with a lot of spice. It has a well balanced flavor with many foods!

Vermentino – I have been on a Vermentino kick lately. This is another medium bodied wine that often has hints of mineral and citrus (lemon and pear in my opinion). Vermentino is typically from Sardinia and Liguria, but can often be found grown along the Mediterranean coast. Simple fish dishes are what I would pair this with. I love the flavor of Vermentino, so I wouldn’t have it with a dish that would take away from its simple, yet elegant flavor. A nice tossed salad would also pair nicely with this wine

Vinho Verde– This fun Portuguese, semi-sparkling white wine is inexpensive and goes well with spicy foods. This wine, in general, does not have a whole lot of flavor, but I feel it blends nicely with spicy foods (I had one with empanadas and it tasted brilliantly together). It would also be a fantastic wine to drink with fish tacos, seafood stews and crab cakes. You usually can find this wine under $10. What a steal!

Viognier- This is a French (WA, CA, OR, and Australia as well) dry, florally, full bodied white wine. Now, my issue with Viognier is that the floral nose and taste can be overpowering (I prefer subtle wines). However, if you find the right balanced Viognier, it is heaven in your mouth. You do have to play around with them to find your perfect Viognier though. Once you find that perfect wine, it will go nicely with Asian dishes, Chicken, dishes with cream sauces, lobster and pork. Viognier is one of those wines that will blend nicely with a variety of cheeses…

Alright, just one more V wine…

Valpolicella – This is not a white wine, but I wanted to add in as a favorite red wine of mine. Valpolicella is an Italian, light-bodied dry red wine from the Veneto region. Like with Viognier, I have had some bad Valpolicella that tasted thin and had the flavor of dried cherries and stale licorice. I am REALLY picky about my Valpolicella. Finding the right one can take work, but again high risk means high rewards. Once you find the right Valpolicella (look for Valpolicella Classico Superiore) it will be smooth, well rounded. This wine is great to start your dinner party off with. Pairs well with Italia dishes (pizza, pasta, etc), Risotto, grilled/roasted chicken and sausage.

Go ahead and show off your adventurous wine side to your friends. Bringing one of these V wines to your next party will impress your other wine novice friends. And it’s just nice to break out of the norm.

Put down that Chardonnay and pick up a Vermentino!

Cheers and Happy February friends….

 

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Grocery Store Challenge 1

Alright, it has been a couple of months since I decided to take the “Grocery Store Wine Challenge”  and I now have my first chain grocery store finding.  This was hard for me… since I am so partial to my local stores. So as I stopped by Safeway, with a sleeping baby, I decided to use my time wisely and peruse the wine section. I went in to this, with a sour attitude,  but to my surprise the wine section  at Safeway wasn’t horrific (meaning, there was more than just Carlo Rossi boxed wine!). So, to my fellow novices who are unable to hit West Seattle Cellars, Picnic on Greenwoood, Esquin wine merchant, and/or Vino Verite on Capital Hill (or any other wine shop in your neighborhood), there are decent options at your local grocery store. Here are some of the wines I found at Safeway on Roosevelt (and 75th). I am sure that each store (especially in a different state) has different wine selections, but take a look at these wines the next time you pop by Safeway.

*** I also have a wine tasting tonight, so take a look below!

Grocery Store recommendations – Safeway

Just a little information – if you purchase 6 or more bottles, you receive a %10 discount – with their Safeway Club card

L’ecole 2006 Caberent Sauvignon  $26.94- A Walla Walla red. I have only had L’ecole once, but loved it. For the most part Walla Walla wines are smooth and full of flavor. This wine is worth the investment. You can also find this wine in local wine shops as well.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Columbia Valley

Kestral – Lady in Red  $14.99 – Prosser WA – another great wine. I have been to this winery twice and have always enjoyed their wines. Great everyday drinking wine.

Gascon Malbec – Argentina  $11.49.  I have had this wine once. Not my favorite Malbec but has a nice, light flavor. Good wine to take to a party.

Red Bicyclette Syrah – France  $8.99. A can’t beat price. I purchased a glass of this wine in a restaurant once and had a nice flavor – a hint of pepper if I remember correctly.  

Powers Cabernet Sauvignon 2007  – Tri-Cities, WA $10.84. I met one of their wine makers about a year ago. Very nice gentleman and his wines do not disappoint. They also own Badger Mountain Vineyards as well. Once fact about Powers, is that all their wines are organic. Exceptional price.. pick up a bottle.

If in doubt and need a wine in a hurry – Bogle Vineyards  in CA make inexpensive wines that hold their own. Make sure to drink this wine last. Always start with your more expensive, hard to find wine first – then end with the cheap stuff. Bogle wines are around $10.00 and I have seen them at most major supermarkets.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Tre Donne – D’Arc 2006 Italy ($15.00 West Seattle Cellars):

This wine is a blend of 40% Barbera D’Alba, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Dolcetto D’Alba, and 10% Freisa.

We opened this wine with our dinner – which was vegetarian Chili. Wow!! That is pretty much all I have to say.  A smooth, vibrant and intense wine, I was more than impressed.  I was planning on having just a glass with dinner, but I have a feeling this bottle may be gone by the end of the night. If you can find this (and it won’t be at Safeway) – please grab a bottle. They say this wine goes perfectly with pork, but I beg to differ. It goes great with a vegetarian meal. Take my suggestion, grab this wine while you can.

I hope you have a great time searching for tonight’s tasting or grabbing a Safeway wine!

New Holiday on February 14

I am not a fan of Valentines day. I actually find it the most pointless day. It is a throw-it-in-your face day if you are single or an I am disapointed in you day if you are married/dating. We all know this is just a Hallmark holiday, yet we still fall for this need to be romantic, buy a gift, pass out candy (that we don’t need) day. I would like to change this day. My challenge to you, fellow novices, is not to fall for this silly holiday by purchasing a gift for your loved one, but treat them to a FABULOUS bottle of wine. Or for all the single ladies or men, no need to stress over this pointless day – treat yourself to a wonderful bottle of wine. I am turning February 14th into Wine Day – anyone else in on this with me??

I would like to recommend some of my most favorite wines that will leave you feeling happy. I will have a wine in almost every price range. Take notes, grab a bottle (or two) and enjoy!

DeLille Cellars D2 (Columbia Valley) – around $32.00 – you can find this at local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Ballard Market, Greenwood Market and most local wine shops.  This wine is worth the price, hands down. If you feel the need to splurge on this day, splurge on this wine!!

Wineglass Cellars Zinfandel 2007 (Yakima Valley) around $22.00 – if you are out of WA state, this will be a challenge for you to find For those in WA,  check your local wine shops, however I have seen it in Whole Foods, Ballard Market and QFC. Check Winecellars website, it tells you the places where their wines are sold. www.wineglasscellars.com This Zin is dark, rich, chocolately and heavenly. If you can find it, grab as many bottles as you can find. It is amazing!

FYI to my out-of-state novices, if you are looking to join a wine club for WA wines, Wineglass Cellars will not let you down. I belong to their wine club and I have NEVER been disappointed with any of their wines.

Stump Jump Vintage 2008 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre (South Australian)  around $11.00- I have mentioned this wine on many occasions, but I have talked about their pure Shiraz. This blend is also a very nice wine – and a little fruitier. For the price, you cannot beat this wine!! It tastes delicious. This wine is pretty easy to find – Costco, Whole Foods, many large grocery store chains and local wine stores.

Rigoloccio Rosato (Italian – Tuscan region)- $9.75. This Rose is refreshing and romantic. A Rose doesn’t have to be saved for summer time. This wine is perfect for any occasion. I have only seen it at West Seattle cellars, but take the name into your favorite wine store and I am sure they can find it for you.

Guenoc – 2007 Petite Sirah (California). Is around $8.00- good wine for a “can’t beat” price. I have seen it at Trader Joes, West Seattle Cellars and a few chain grocery stores.

 

My recommendation list could go on for days, I have so many favorites… however these 5 wines I think are perfect for this Wine Day holiday. They will compliment almost any meal you cook and will taste divine with chocolate. Please don’t look at February 14th as another annoying, stupid, marketing holiday. Look at it as a day to explore and try new wines. Remember this is now Wine Day!

Happy Wine Day!!

It is a matter of opinion

Tonight was a date night, well sort of. Sort of in the fact that our 4 1/5 year-old was at grandma’s (thank you mom!) and baby was with us. Graciously, she slept the entire time we were at dinner.

I am not usually a fan of chain restaurants. I find the food lacking luster, appeal and taste. However, in the Puget Sound region, there is a local chain that I adore. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar…. Their food actually has uniqueness and flavor; and their wine menu is diverse yet supports local wineries.

Ian and I decided to try the newly opened Purple in Bellevue (I usually avoid Bellevue, I tend to be particular and love my local  Seattle vibe)  As the little one slept soundly, we enjoyed wine tastings (Flights are nice – you really feel like you are taking a trip through wine country). Ian and I debated about some wines; reiterating that wine is all a matter of opinion. Here are the wines we sampled – what I enjoyed the most (and will buy in the future) and what Ian enjoyed (which I probably won’t buy – sorry Ian).

Tonight’s Tastings: (FYI these were tastings, we did not drink whole bottles)

Saviah “The Jack” 2007 Columbia Valley

At first smell, I could smell a blend of earth and cherry. It tasted close to the way it smelled, however it lacked a little flavor. It is a somewhat dry wine. I feel this wine could have potential, if  tasted alone and not with other wines. I will try “The Jack” again, before I give my full opinion. I have a bottle of this in my collection, so I will keep you updated. The price is around $18.00

Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Walla Walla , WA- 91 Wine Enthusiast

This is very rich Cab. It has an earthy taste with a hint of berry and chocolate. This Amavi Cab was not my favorite. However, this was Ian’s favorite of the evening and  he even ordered a glass of it  after our tasting. I found it too rich and dry – but that is what Ian loved about it. At this moment, Cabernet’s are not my favorite – but if you love a dry, rich and bold Cab, you would enjoy a glass of this. A bottle of this is around $28.00; a little pricey but if you are a Cabernet fan, you will be happy with this wine.

Corvidae “Lenore’ Syrah 2006 Columbia Valley

I have become particular to Syrah’s lately, but  this was not my favorite. Way to dry for a Syrah. The smell of berries, cherries and potpourri fools you. The taste is very dry and bland. Other Syrah’s catch my attention and pay check. I will not  purchase this again. Price is around $13.00 for a bottle.

Produttori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe  2006- Italy

Holy Smokes!!! This could be on my top 10 list of favorites! This wine is smooth and it goes down way to easy. It has a floral taste with a mix of cherry. This wine would be perfect any time of the day, any season with any meal. I highly recommend this wine. It is around $16.00 – a very nice price for a very smooth wine.

I will be in Woodinville, WA this weekend for some wine tastings, so keep posted for some new recommendations.

Happy Wine Weekend!