Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel

A nice surprise on last Wednesday was a wine that will turn out to be a new favorite ~ Gnarly Head Old Vine Vin 2006. It paired well with a variety of hors d’oeuvres and a robust (!) Carrot Cake. Gnarly Head web site describes it as -

The 2006 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel is crafted from grapes from 35 to 80 year old vines. Robust berry flavors and exotic spice notes from the small grape clusters are balanced with French, American and Hungarian oak, which creates heady layers of vanilla and chocolate and a lingering finish.

The 2006 vintage will be remembered for rain – abundant, continuous rain, which flooded many vineyards in Northern California. However, the wet spring gave way to an ideal growing season with moderate that allowed the grapes to mature evenly and slowly. A heat spike during the summer concentrated the flavors in the grapes. The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested in August 2006.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Black Russian Red Bash

Some of the WoW friends had another fun outing to Mcgregor Winery on the shore of Keuka Lake. We tasted a hearty fare of Beef Wellington hors d'oeuvre, Fig & Blue Cheese Crostini, Chorizo stuffed Mushrooms, Beet & Shaved Fennel with Toasted Walnuts and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Crystallized Ginger .

We tasted wines ranging in price from $50 to $9.99 and each had our favorites.

2006 Black Russian Red $ 49.99
2006 Merlot $ 26.99
2006 Rob Roy Red $ 39.99
2007 Cabernet Franc $ 17.99
2006 Pinot Noir $27.99
Non-vintage Highlands Red $9.99
2007 Dry Gew├╝rztraminer $ 19.99

Can you guess which wine we bought a case of - - - yes, the $9.99 the non-vintage Highlands Red (a semi-dry Baco Noir and Chancellor blend that leaves a black-pepper tingle on the palate) . We are into the second bottle and enjoying it almost as much as the 1998 library vintage of Black Russian Red at $100.

Monday, March 9, 2009

25 Random Things About Wine

"Wild About Wine" Columnist Holly Howell recently published 25 random things about wine in the March 3, 2009 Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. I found some of this random information to be interesting, some useful and some... just plain quirky. Enjoy reading this with a glass of your favorite red, white or pink (see #4).

  1. Syrah and Shiraz are the exact same grape. This grape grows all over the world. But it is the Aussies that are particular to the Shiraz name. Just because.
  2. Red wine can go with fish (e.g. Pinot Noir with grilled tuna).
  3. White wine can go with meat (e.g. German Riesling and sauerbraten).
  4. Very few people know that rose wine (the pink one), goes with just about anything.
  5. Extra dry Champagne is actually a bit sweet. It's the Brut Chanpagnes that are the dry ones. Go figure.
  6. Most of the world's vineyards fall between the 30 degree and the 50 degree parallels. Under 30 is too close to the Equator and too hot. Over 50 is too close to the Arctic poles and too cold. Forty is just right.
  7. One 750 milliliter bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes, chemically reconstructed.
  8. An adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood was withdrawn from a recommended reading list by the school board in Culver City, California, because the heroine had a bottle of wine in the basket she brought to her grandmother. Oops. Little Red had a little red.
  9. The longest recorded Champagne cork flight was 177 feet and 9 inches, 4 feet from level ground at Woodbury Vineyards in New York state, on June 5, 1988.
  10. White wine gets darker as it ages, while red wine gets lighter.
  11. According to scientist Bill Lembeck, there are about 49 million bubbles in every bottle of Champagne. Give or take a few...
  12. The largest cork in the world is known as The Whistler Tree. This tree is located in the Alentejo region of Portugal and averages more than one ton of raw cork per harvest. That is enough cork for 100,000 bottles of wine!
  13. A case of 1982 Le Pin (Bordeaux red) cost $327 upon release. Years later, at a Hong Kong auction, a case was sold for $106,000.
  14. America's oldest Zinfandel vineyard is believed to be the Grandfather vineyard in Amador County, California. It was planted in the 1850's and consists of 20 acres of very wise vines.
  15. The corkscrew was invented in 1860.
  16. Bag-in-the-box wines were invented in 1960.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Country Cottage

The W-o-Wers look forward to another outing on July 8th. We will be headed to the "Country Cottage" for a private country luncheon. Our meal will be prepared by Chef Bruce Tyrrell. It will begin with lemonade and hors d'oeuvres, followed by some of his favorite recipes and concluding with a dessert similar to his famous apple dumplings. We will gather at 11:30 at the Country Cottage in Darien and lunch will be served at 12:30. The cost will be $15.95 per person which will include everything (tax and tip). We are very fortunate to secure a date for this summer as the bookings open up March 1st and usually fill up by March 2nd!