Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Recipe Wednesday: Thanksgiving Time

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker
Last week, we explored the idea of bucking tradition and serving something other than turkey as the centerpiece meal this Thanksgiving. From stuffed veal breast to Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie from Minimalist Baker, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re sticking with the tried and true, or venturing outside your comfort zone this year, there’s always room to liven things up with something unconventional in the glass.

That’s why we’re turning to the Lulu BB1, a fun blend of Chardonnay and native grape Savagnin, to add some personality in our glasses. Not only will it delight your guests, but its strong mineral characteristics and rich round orchard fruit notes will pair remarkably well with everything on your Thanksgiving plate.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Wine of the Week - Lulu Côtes du Jura 'BB1'

This week's featured wine brings a little something different to the table. Thanksgiving dinner is a meal that encourages a wide variety of wines to try, so we've chosen one of our favorite oddballs to highlight. Lulu Vigneron operates out of the Jura, a tiny region in the east of France. The BB1 is a blend of Chardonnay and local grape Savagnin that shows the uniqueness of Jura. Hints of menthol and acacia flowers on the nose, dried and stewed citrus fruits with a strong mineral impression on the palate with an iodine and saline twist, then gentle bitters on the finish. Liven up your holiday feast with this personality-filled white!

The owners of Lulu Vigneron, Ludwig Bindernagel and Nathalie Eigenschenck, purchased the Domaine in 2000. Their first vintage came shortly after in 2002. Their motto of “the wine is made in the vineyard” is exemplified by the fact Ludwig works with the vines every day. The strict attention to detail and quality helps create very complex wines with depth and layers that reflect the individuality of Jura.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Turkey Day Alternative

Photo Credit: Food Republic
Are you looking for something different to serve other than traditional Thanksgiving turkey this year? You wouldn’t be the only one. In fact, in a recent poll of 2,000 Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving, 26 percent said they’d like to see turkey alternatives this year. If you’re looking to simplify and cut down on prep and cooking time, but you still want to dazzle guests, then we suggest an elegant Corsican Stuffed Veal Breast, recipe courtesy of Food Republic.

This meaty centerpiece checks all the boxes, but won’t have you hovering in the kitchen all day. This is a pop-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-it-dish, but do note that it takes 12 hours to cook, so be sure to get things started early so it’s done by dinnertime. Serve alongside a bottle of Clos Ornasca Ajaccio Rouge -- the indigenous varietals in this red wine sing in harmony with the slow roasted veal, caramelized vegetables and warm spices.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wine of the Week - Clos Ornasca Ajaccio Rouge

This week's featured wine is another new addition to our portfolio, this time from the island of Corsica. Clos Ornasca was founded in 1995 by Vincent Tola, a native Corsican who had relocated to mainland France, but always harbored a dream of working the land in his home country. His daughter Laetitia shared his vision and after staging in Burgundy and Australia, made her home in Ajaccio and, after her father's death, has taken over winemaking duties.

At a small 12 hectares, the vineyards are currently planted to Sciaccarellu, Nielluccio, Vermentino and Muscat (as well as Minustellu, a native varietal which she recently planted and/or grafted over a few rows). The Clos Ornasca (which translates to "born of gold" in Corsican) is aged in 100% stainless steel in order to preserve the varietal characteristics of the native grapes. Laetitia's husband, Jean-Antoine Manenti, now works the vineyards, helping this winery maintain strict quality control.

Laetitia has recently purchased a neighboring plot of 20 hectares that she's been waiting for 20 years to buy! She looks forward to expanding production in the near future.

Hope will be pouring tonight at the Dead or Alive Bar in Palm Springs. Come meet your Thanksgiving lineup: Benoît Mérias, Montluis-sur-Loire Brut La Methodé Traditionelle Non Dosé (NV) Lulu Vigneron, Côtes du Jura Savagnin (2014) Le Roc, Fronton Ninette Rosé (2018) Bertrand Galbrun, Grolleau Antidote (2018) Virna Borgogno, Barolo (2015) #deadoralivebar #palmsprings #thanksgivingwine #benoitmerias #luluvigneron #leroc #ninette #bertrandgalbrun #virnaborgogno #blog

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Thanksgiving Starters

Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, but it’s certainly not too early to start thinking about the wines you’ll serve not only with the meal, but also when guests arrive. Something sparkling is always a good way to whet the appetite, but it’s also nice to have an option for those who prefer to kick things off with a glass of red. Enter the Filippo Grasso 'Ripiddu' Etna Rosato, a scrumptious Sicilian wine made with Nerello Mascalese. This light red is excellent served chilled and pairs well with with a number of starters. 

The best tuna meatballs (Le migliori polpette di tonno)
Photo Credit: Jamie Oliver

We recommend serving the ‘Ripiddu’ with a classic Sicilian dish, Polpettine di Tonno, or fried tuna croquettes. Jamie Oliver’s version stays true to the traditional recipe using fresh fish and is subtly seasoned with Sicilian herbs and spices. Because of Nerello’s balanced tannin and fruitiness, it pairs exceptionally well with fish.

Jean-Louis Chave Covers Wine Spectator

Renowned Rhône producer Jean-Louis Chave is the cover story for the November 30, 2019 issue of Wine Spectator. Senior editor James Molesworth draws on years of interactions with Chave to paint a picture of the estate as it is now, moving from strength to strength. Molesworth highlights Jean-Louis' commitment to Saint-Joseph, an appellation that doesn't receive the same acclaim as neighboring Hermitage, but that nonetheless has boundless potential. A major part of Chave's innovation as the 16th generation of his family's storied estates is to deliver a Saint-Joseph that rivals the best of the Northern Rhône. As Molesworth writes:
"I've been stopping in here regularly for over 15 years and it's been amazing to watch Chave's project on the hillsides above the town itself. Chave has been resurrecting abandoned terraces, planting Syrah bit by bit, for his St.-Joseph. Young vines go into the négociant label, Jean-Louis Chave Sélection. When the parcels come of age and/or the quality rises to the requisite level for Chave, the fruit then goes into the estate bottling. In many respects, Chave seems more focused on this project than on his Hermitage, though the latter has hardly been forsaken. But the St.-Joseph project has taken up much of Chave's time. And he can finally see the end. Though time here is relative. 'I should be done with the planting in another 10, maybe 15 years,' says Chave with his customary air of modesty. He's been saying that for a while now."

The November issue is on newsstands now, and contains a wealth of information about the estate, as well as reviews of the most recent vintages. Congratulations to Jean-Louis!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Wine of the Week - FIlippo Grasso 'Ripiddu' Etna Rosato

This week's featured wine comes from one of our newest producers - Filippo Grasso from Sicily. They are a small family owned winery on the north side of Mount Etna in Sicily. The current generation is the 4th generation of winemakers and they have been bottling their own wine since 2006. The 'Ripiddu' Etna Rosato is made from 100% Nerello Mascalese and shows a deeper pink color, floral flavor, and is pleasantly dry, harmonious, very versatile. Serve cold to accompany aperitifs or fish dishes. This wine also goes well with cheeses and charcuterie.

Filippo Grasso is located on the Contrada Caladera, and have six hectares planted to indigenous Etna grapes, such as Carricante, Catarratto, Minella, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Mantelato (aka Cappuccio). In addition to the vineyards, they grow and produce olive oil from 100 century-old, olive trees on the property and also have a variety of fruit and nut trees, indigenous herbs and wild vegetables, all of which promote biodiversity, creating a healthy and balanced ecosystem for the vines.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Autumn Lobster and Saint-Aubin 1er Cru

Photo Credit: Savory Simple
A great way to set the tone for autumn and the holidays ahead is an elegant dinner chock full of autumn goodies, such as decadent lobster and warm butternut squash. Fall is one of the best times of year to buy good, hard-shelled lobsters, and there’s no shortage of winter squash this season. As the temperatures start to drop, a warm bowl of Butternut Lobster Bisque is just the ticket for a cozy dinner at home.

Once you’re ready to saddle up with your bowl of warming bisque, pour a glass of Jean-Charles Saint-Aubin 1er Cru. This smooth Chardonnay is bright and minerally, just the right combination to complement the lobster bisque.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Wine of the Week - Jean-Charles Saint-Aubin 1er Cru

Today's featured wine is from one of our favorite value Burgundy producers - Jean-Charles. The Saint-Aubin 1er Cru is a bright, minerally white wine that's a great example of this appellation. William Kelley, writing for the Wine Advocate says of the 2017 vintage:
"The 2017 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru is showing well, offering up notes of green apple, crisp peach, pastry cream and hazelnuts. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, glossy and succulent with a charming, open-knit profile."

The Fagot family has been located in the small village of Corpeau since 1860. Just outside Chassagne-Montrachet, it is located near some of the most prestigious vineyards in the Cote de Beaune, so it would be fair to say that wine is in the family’s blood. Jean-Charles is part of the 5th generation of Fagots in the area and the third generation to own vineyard acreage in Chassagne-Montrachet. On his estate vineyards, Jean-Charles employs lutte raisonée, a method of growing in which chemical intervention is employed only when necessary. The wines are vinified traditionally and naturally, utilizing oak foudres and 12-14 month long aging periods in the Fagot cellars.

Friday, November 1, 2019

James Suckling Reviews Jean-Louis Chave

The reviews for Jean-Louis Chave continue to roll in, with James Suckling the latest to add his opinions of the latest bottlings. With reviews ranging up to 98 points, the Chave estate maintains its place among the Rhône Valley's elite - and we would expect no less!

The Chave family is based in a small village on the northern right bank of the Rhone. There have been Chaves growing vines on the famous Hermitage hill since 1481. Gerard Chave took over from his father in 1970 and rapidly achieved megastar status due to the extraordinary quality of his wines and has since passed on the winemaking responsibilities to his son Jean-Louis. The Chave’s methods for all their winemaking are traditional farming, super low yields, full ripeness, and minimal manipulation. Their unmatched meticulousness continues through five centuries to render venerable expressions of the purest of Rhône terroir.