Category: Wines

Red Wines of the Veneto: A Vapolicella Tasting

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] [We are re-publishing this article based on a review by Lettie Teague in the Jan 27, 2018 Wall Street Journal which featured an Amarone/food pairing discussion.  Click HERE to see the Ms. Teague’s article – but you may need a subscription. We’ve tasted three of the five bottles of Amarone that were featured in Ms. Teague’s article, and love them all:  Zenato, Masi, and Tommasi.] You might be ignoring Valpolicella wines – most folks see them as light, fruity red wines with little character or finesse, a wine that you might find in checkered table cloth, red sauce only Italian restaurants.  We wanted you to re-think Valpolicella, so the Serious Foodie decided to dispel some of these myths and misconceptions with a wine tasting event featuring reds from the Veneto. It’s a pity that Valpolicella lost favor with the US market, mainly because of heavy advertising pressure from mass-produced versions (many of which are still light, fruity, and insipid).  Like other Italian wines, there has been winemaking renaissance in the region for Valpolicella, spurred by producers of the outstanding artisan Amarone wines such as Allegrini.  The Valpolicella wines are produced solely in the Veneto region, just west of Verona, […]

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Wine & Chocolate Pairings: Discover New Ways to Wow Your Valentine

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] It’s not too early to think about – and plan – for a great Valentine’s Day experience.  And what better way to start than with the universal elixir of love:  Chocolate. Wine & chocolate seems strange to some, but the right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing – magical, in fact.  There is so much exploration to do, since there are so many interesting taste combinations to discover – nuts, fruits, types of chocolates – it really is an endless experiment.  We’ll give you some pairing tips to keep in mind, then some fun wines to discover. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate Here are a few simple rules – not hard and fast, but more like guidelines:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] 1.  Chocolate is very complex – just like wine.  For pure chocolate, you’ll find some subtle flavors which are inherent to the region, the cocoa content, and the fat content.  It is best to do some experimenting to find the best wine and chocolate combinations for you. Try to detect some underlying flavors of the chocolate, then the wine separately.  Play with the matches.  If you have several types of chocolates, […]

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Super Football Party Wine Pairings

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][vc_column_text] Even though there is nothing like watching football with a great brew in hand, you don’t need to have a beer-only Super Football party.  But the Serious Foodies at your party may not be your average American football fan. So, let’s impress them with a nice glass of vino to go with all those great football party munchies. This article focuses on wine suggestions that would work with most foods you’ll have on hand during the big game(s). [/vc_column_text][vc_row][/vc_row][vc_column_text] Let’s start with the starters – chips & salsa, maybe some smoked salmon, or guacamole.   We think that the whites from Campania are magical with guacamole, like Greco di Tufo or Falanghina (try Taburno).  If you want a riper wine to cut through the spice, try Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau region (Hermann Moser, for example).  You want enough alcohol to match the weight and texture of the avocado, but enough acidity to match the lime.  These wines will also work well with shellfish & seafood (crab dip, shrimp, oysters). [/vc_column_text][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_separator color=”grey”][vc_column_text] If you are starting with something very spice, you can always go to a semi-dry Riesling.  It might be a wine-pairing cliche at this point, but these […]

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Spring Time is for White (Wine, That Is)

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] Lettie Teague did a  great service for people who love to drink Gruner Veltliner in her recent Wall Street Journal article – including the team at Serious Foodie.  It is a great Spring and Summer wine with “bright, lively acidity that pairs well with all kinds of spring food…” with “unusual flavors and aromas, which range from white pepper to citrus and herbs.”  It is also the only wine we know which you can pair with asparagus. While Gruner is one of our favorite white wines for spring food/wine pairing, we wanted to highlight four others that we love to pair with food and share with friends. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Gruner Veltliner” title_align=”separator_align_left” align=”align_left” color=”sandy_brown” style=”dashed”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”thumbnail” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” image=”4875″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text] Ms. Teague highlighted 3 wines in her article, all under $25:  Szigeti Gruner Veltliner nonvintage Brut ($20), Loimer Langenlois Gruner Veltliner Kamptal 2014 ($18), and Malat Gruner Veltliner Kremstal 2012 ($23).  The Malat sounds particularly intriguing, “…boldly structured with a powerful acidity…”  However, we love the Hermann Moser Karmeliterber Gruner Veltliner 2013 ($19).  The Wine Advocate (91 points) says “It shows total citrus focus, linearity and precision, fringed by green pear peel […]

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Revisiting Sangiovese

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] We were really happy to see one of our favorite wine writers – Lettie Teague from Wall Street Journal – give some love to one of our favorite food wines that has somehow gone out of style:  Chianti (click HERE to see the article).  As our readers know, we have a long standing love affair with the Sangiovese grape in all its wonderful forms and expressions (take a look at some of our previous articles: Sangiovese Round One and Round Two).  It might be the most food-friendly grape on the plant, as long as you pick up the right bottle.  Ms. Teague mentioned that she couldn’t recall the last time folks talked about Chianti – most likely because of all the bad stuff that had flooded the market.  We hope to reverse the trend a bit by first mentioning the wines from Ms. Teague’s article, then by talking about some of our favorite Sangiovese bottles. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator color=”grey” align=”align_center”][vc_column_text] The Chianti List Let’s start with Lettie Teague’s list, since there was quite a few familiar faces, all at reasonable prices: You won’t go wrong with any of these producers, especially if you can grab either the 2011 or […]

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25 Red Wines Under $25 to Try Now!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Every year we publish our compilation our report of quality red wines we’ve found that are under $25.  These wines are a result of various tasting events, restaurant experiences, and sommelier suggestions we’ve had this year.  Some usual suspects pop up, as well as interesting bargains from under-appreciated regions such as Lirac in Southern Rhone.   The Top 5 Value Wines for 2015 We have identified five special wines from this group of 25 that are exceptional values and really noteworthy:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4340″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text] Palazzo della Torre 2011 The Allegrini Family makes some seriously great wines at many price points.  This wine has always impressed us with its consistent quality and value, and it is easy to find.  Allegrini uses an innovative “ripasso” method that gives this wine a style similar to higher end Amarone wines.  Bursting with dark, dried cherries, blackberries, and hints of dates, this wine has a lasting finish bolstered with just enough tannin to make it interesting, and worthy of a few years in the cellar.  Pair with pasta, chicken, or mild sausage. Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese. (typically $17 to $20). [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4536″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text] Tua […]

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Avignonesi Cortona Desiderio

Avignonesi has been a winery on our radar screen for a long time.  While we have mostly focused on their Vino Nobile, we recently came across a few curious bottles at one of our local wine stores:  Grifi Toscana IGT (a blend of cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese) and  Desiderio (85% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon). The grapes come from one of the newer Italian appellations called Cortona.  Cortona DOC wines must contain a minimum of 85 percent of any one of several approved grape varieties: Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir for reds, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites. The other 15 percent can be a blend of any approved grapes, though the wines can be made entirely from a single grape variety.  This area in the southeastern corner of Tuscany (also encompassing a northwestern corner of Umbria) has an unusual micro-climate which always the grapes to ripen which giving enough cool breezes to avoid jammy fruit bombs. We opened a bottle of the 2006 Desiderio, and we were surprised by the power.  Wine Spectators notes:  “Aromas of blackberry, with hints of black olive. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a smoky berry aftertaste. Surprisingly forward.”  That about nails […]

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Gavi – a Great Spring & Summer White Wine

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] White wines from Italy are very often over-looked by the wine geeks, mostly because of the mass-produced, insipid versions of Pinot Grigio that appears on most low-end Italian restaurants.  HOWEVER…what we found over the years is that Italy produces wonderful white wines, if you are willing to experiment a bit – with many quality wines under $20 per bottle. We saw a great article by one of favorite wine writers, Lettie Teague, in the 4/11/15 issue of the Wall Street Journal.  Ms. Teague talks about her early love affair with Gavi – a popular wine from the Piedmont region.  In her words, “Gavi offered a more stylish alternative to other Italian whites such as Frascati and Orvieto, was almost as popular as Pinot Grigio (in the ’90’s) and it was just as easy to say (“Gah-vee”). But perhaps more important, it was the favorite wine of my boyfriend back then. (Love stories of wine often begin with love stories of a different kind.)” We have always loved Gavi, since our first trip to Italy in the ’80’s.  Gavi is a DOCG wine made from Cortese, which is found predominately in the province of Alessandria near the Ligurian boarder.  […]

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Spelletich Family Wine Company – A Review & Wine Pairing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Spelletich Family Wine Company is a relatively small family owned Napa winery, started about 20 years ago. While not well known outside of the region, it has a loyal following (check out their Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews). The husband wife team (Barbara and Timothy Spelletich) and their daughter Kristen are responsible for all aspects of the winemaking, marketing, sales and direction of the winery; Barbara has been the winemaker since their founding in 1994. They produce Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend called Bodog Red (which combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah). Their premium brand is the Spelletich Reserve collection, while their Spell Wine brand and 3 Spells brand are all under $25. Their fruit comes from Napa County as well as several other wine producing counties within California; winemaker Barbara focuses on a “natural” style that emphasizes the characteristics of the native fruit. The Serious Foodie team was able to visit the Spelletich winery recently, and we were impressed with their artisan and family-oriented approach to their business. Their tasting room felt more like walking into a friend’s family room, were a glass of wine and a friendly smile is always waiting for you. Here we report […]

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