ALERT: CHEAP MALBEC!!

6 Oct

Hi Drinkers,

Sorry for another delay in posts.  Finishing two degrees in one year is making it difficult for me to post (and drink) as often as I would like.  However, the benefit of still being in school is that you get to do things like SKIP CLASS.

Last night, my Public Health School besties and I decided that wine and Thai food were way more fun than environmental health sciences.  The winning bottle of the night?  Montes Malbec from 2008 (thanks to Katie for bringing it to my attention!!)

Katie and yummy Malbec!

Malbecs are deep red wines, found all over the world, though this particular Malbec is from Chile ( I also have recently been enjoying a lot of Malbecs from Argentina).  Spicy, while also fruity (lots of berries), it paired perfectly with our Thai dinner!

In keeping with one of the predominant themes of Gimme the Grapes, not only is Montes 2008 Malbec absolutely delicious, but it can be purchased for a whopping $8!  (http://www.crownwineandspirits.com/p-1799-montes-malbec-colchagua-valley-2008.aspx?vid=2089)

You’ve gotta try this one!

NEW RED TO TRY!

17 Sep

Hi Drinkers!

Sorry for the delay in posts…a new school year has begun, which means my drinking has slowed (sort of).

I walked into my neighborhood wine store last night and asked my pal who works there to suggest a fun, new red under $20.  His suggestion? Apothic Red (http://www.apothic.com/wine.html).

A blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot, Apothic Red is a very interesting wine that my friend Mike described as “sweet, but not annoyingly sweet.”  There were certainly hints of berry in it, but it also had a dryness to it that made it truly unique.  In fact, I can’t say I’ve ever tasted anything quite like it!   Laura, the host of the evening, said “I can taste the tannins, but at the same time it’s very smooth!”  I would have to admit that sushi was NOT the best choice of cuisine to pair with this wine, although as my friend Jess said last night, “I’m so hungry I could eat anything with this wine!”  Under other circumstances, I might choose to pair this wine with something like Thai food, which would really accentuate the spice of the Zinfandel component.

Jess and Laura LOVING this wine!

Needless to say, my “wine guy” gave a FANTASTIC suggestion.  At $14 (ish), I highly recommend this wine!

ANCIEN

27 Aug

About a year ago, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon an amazing tasting room in Napa called the Vintner’s Collective (http://www.vintnerscollective.com).  After tasting (far too many) incredible wines that we had never heard of before, we decided to join one of the tasting room’s wine clubs.

The Vintner’s Collective is incredibly unique, in that it only features wineries that do not have their own tasting rooms.  These wineries tend to be very small and unheard of by those of us out on the east cost.  Joining their wine club gave us the opportunity to receive shipments from these wineries five times during the year, and subsequently order wines from those wineries we found truly special.

The winery that has really stuck out is called Ancien (http://www.ancienwines.com).  Last night, we opened a bottle of their 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

This Pinot has the PERFECT balance of fruit and earth tones.  We could taste cherries, blackberries, and cinnamon and according to my boyfriend, “it has sort of a violet flavor to it” (????…he’s learning).  For us, this was a bottle we enjoyed during two taped episodes of Top Chef, but I can imagine it pairing very well with steak or a pasta and meat sauce.  I can also see myself enjoying this wine as the weather starts to get colder because it had that quality of warming you up from the inside (or maybe that was because I drank half of the bottle).  Needless to say, Ancien has not failed to provide us with FABULOUS wines and what I love most about them is that you can’t really find them here in New York (which makes me feel special).

That said, for those of you considering joining a wine club, I HIGHLY recommend joining a Vintner’s Collective club… it has truly expanded my tasting palette and lead to me to try some wines I most likely would not have tasted otherwise.  You can also order bottles of Ancien wines directly from their website (posted above).

AFFORDABLE CALI WINES!

16 Aug

Hi readers!  So sorry for the delay in posting!  I have been traveling in Europe for the past 10 days, drinking some unbelievable wines (of course). A post on a MUST TRY Sancerre will be coming shortly, but in the mean time, check out this fabulous article (posted below) sent to me by my dear friend Heather.  I plan on checking out some of these wines, many of which are quite affordable!  I’ll report back with my impressions.  ENJOY!

Review by Ryan Flinn
Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) — Spending an afternoon in a Sonoma
Valley vineyard sipping from a heavenly $450 bottle of Verite
2007 La Joie is hard to beat. Shelling out a tenth of that for
something just as memorable is even better.
I recently sampled some of California’s most sought-after –
– and priciest — cult wines. Among the highlights were a 2006
Cardinale Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($250) and the La Joie,
both of which received perfect scores from Wine Enthusiast
magazine and uber-critic Robert Parker.
All were delicious — and unaffordable to the average wine
drinker.
To find bottles that could stand in for their pricier
counterparts, I asked sommeliers, vintners and fellow
connoisseurs for recommendations. The wines had to be limited
production, made with grapes from the same farms that cult
producers use, or have a famous winemaker attached to the
project. Plus, cost as close to $50 as possible.
Petra Polakovicova, wine director at San Francisco’s Epic
Roasthouse, offered me several excellent choices. She first
poured me a 2007 Fisticuffs Napa Cabernet ($25), made by highly
regarded winemaker Jeff Smith, who’s better known for his
Hourglass label ($125).
Fisticuffs sells for $65 at the restaurant, and less than
half of that in shops.
“It’s very well balanced, velvety on the palate and
doesn’t overpower you,” Polakovicova said.

Coffee Flavor

Another wine she recommended was the 2006 B Cellars
Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) from Kirk Venge. This bottle
presented ripe raspberries, sharp tannins, nice acidity and a
roasted coffee flavor on the finish. A bigger pour was a 2005
Bridesmaid Proprietary Red ($45), which displayed black fruit,
smokiness and a tight structure with ample tannins.
“These are nice, lower priced wines, and people really buy
them,” Polakovicova said.
Smith said Napa vintners have generally ignored lower-
priced quality wines. For instance, he said, cabernet sauvignons
costing less than $30 is a “wide-open” category.
After identifying several more bottles that met my
criteria, I persuaded a friend to organize a dinner of game
meats to showcase these wines. The three-course meal was a
perfect setting for the big, lush, fruity wines I was seeking.

Blueberry Pie

For a first course of rabbit ragu, we tried Sol Rouge’s
2006 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($50), whose grapes come from the
same farms that supply cult wines at triple the price. The
sauvignon displayed flavors of blueberry pie, new leather and
dark chocolate.
Another star from the first course was Newton Vineyards
2006 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon ($60). During an initial
tasting, this bottle didn’t immediately stand out among its
lusher, more tannic competitors. When paired with food, however,
the wine shines. Many at the table said its wonderful acidity
and earthiness provided a great match for the dish.
The 2006 Hoopes Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) received
a “yum” from one taster, and others noted its dense red fruit,
ripe plums and dusty flavors mellowed as the night wore on.
For a second course of duck a l’orange, we tasted the Hall
Napa Valley 2006 Kathryn Hall ($75), a wine that received 96 of
100 points from Wine Spectator magazine. It showed a tightly
wound core of red and black fruit, with cocoa notes on the
finish. Nicely balanced and complex, it also comes from the
first California winery to receive the industry’s top
environmental rating.

Screaming Eagle

The Jones Family Vineyards 2006 The Sisters Napa cab ($60)
blend also impressed the party with its bright tannins, milk
chocolate notes, dried blackberries and hint of beef jerky on
the finish. The wine was made by the grand dame of Napa
winemaking, Heidi Peterson Barrett, who used to make the cult
cab Screaming Eagle.
For a final course of grill-fired bison, sliced and served
atop asparagus, we poured a Mirror 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
from winemaker Rob Lawson. The wine’s muscular tannins stood up
to the beef, while flavors of blackberries and raspberries
finished out the bottle.
Lawson also made another selection we paired with the last
course, the Ghost Block 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
($50). This wine was a dense mixture of black fruits and sea
salt, with a strong tannic backbone.
Here’s the best part: Most of these wines are available
with a little searching and are ready to drink now, unlike their
more expensive competition.

Some wines mentioned in the story can only be purchased
through the wineries. Others can be bought at online sites,
including:
http://www.cultwinecentral.com,
http://www.klwines.com, http://www.napacabs.com and
http://www.wines.com

INTRODUCING KEN!

26 Jul

GIMME THE GRAPES has a new mascot!

Ken is crazy AND fun and he loves Pinot Noir!

For more information on Ken’s creator, check out http://moretimethanyou.com/

NYC Cheat Sheet

25 Jul

My friend Danielle sent me an amazing website that I had to share with you all!

http://winechap.com/

WineChap is an absolutely incredible site that basically breaks down and explains the wine lists at many NYC restaurants!  Each wine list is rated in terms of its range of wines, its personality, and its value for money.  The Chap then offers suggestions for wines by the glass, value options, first date bottles, “fancy” bottles, crowd pleasers etc.!

My personal favorite page on the site is for Becco, one of my favorite italian restaurants in the theater district (think three different homemade pastas brought to you in unlimited portions and served out of a scalding copper pot).  Becco has an incredible wine list and the best part about it is that all of the wines are priced at $25! (http://winechap.com/winelist/restaurants/detail/244).

winechap.com has the potential to make you a wine expert in no time!  Be sure to check it out before you make your next dinner reservation in NYC!

No Corkscrew? WTF?!

19 Jul

Ever been stuck with a really great bottle of wine and no corkscrew??  I HAVE.  But from this day on it aint no thang!

Courtesy of dear friend Barbara, we now have a fool proof way of solving this problem:

http://www.wimp.com/wineshoe

“Wineblogger! This video is in French!” you say.

“Yes but you do not need to understand French…just watch!” says I.  (But for those of you who would like the English version which I dont find nearly as entertaining, see below)

http://gothamist.com/2010/07/14/video_pat_kiernan.php