Thursday, December 19, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Roasted Duck Holiday Feast

The movie, A Christmas Story, teaches us a lot of things -- one lesson being that if a pack of dogs runs off with your Holiday turkey, then go get a roast duck from your local Chinese restaurant. Roving dogs aside, if you find yourself in need of a turkey backup this year, then save yourself a trip to a restaurant and cook a homemade roast duck instead. Food & Wine’s Roast Duck with Citrus Pan Sauce is a great alternative to turkey and surprisingly easy to make. 

Photo Credit: Food & Wine / Quentin Bacon
Serve this beautiful culinary centerpiece alongside an equally elegant bottle of J.L. Chave Selection's Saint-Joseph “Offerus.” The sweet, dark berry notes on this wine combined with the rich, caramelized citrus pan sauce on the roasted duck make a brilliant combination for any festive holiday feast.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wine of the Week - J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph “Offerus”

Today's featured wine is a pedigreed Northern Rhône Syrah at an accessible price. The vineyards for J.L. Chave Selection's Saint-Joseph “Offerus” are located in two distinct St. Joseph areas. The communities of Mauves, Tournon, and St. Jean de Muzols yield over 80% of the blend and are owned by Jean-Louis. These southern vineyard sites express tightly wound tannins, spice, and power. They add structure and depth to complete the harmony of Offerus. The remaining vineyards are located in more northerly communities around Serrières, and even these are farmed mainly by Jean-Louis, though he doesn’t own the vineyards. This soil produces wines which are more elegant with incredible purity, definition, and focus. Josh Raynolds, writing for Vinous, gives the 2016 vintage 92 points, saying:
"Brilliant magenta. Expansive scents of fresh blackberry and boysenberry are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper, olive and pungent flowers. Sappy, appealingly sweet dark berry preserve and cherry flavors show sharp delineation and spice and mineral qualities that build with air. Finishes with strong, energetic cut, well-knit tannins and lingering sweetness." 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Mussels and Frühroter Veltliner

On the eve of a sumptuous holiday feast, something effortless yet elegant will be calling your name, such as Fine Cooking’s Steamed Mussels with Garlic, Parsley and Wine. Festive and light, these steamed mussels are fancy enough for a party and come together very quickly. Don’t forget to serve them with a warm loaf of crusty baguette to sop up the delicious juices.

Photo Credit: Fine Cooking / Scott Phillips
This meal begs for a wine that is light and refreshing. Surprise guests with the charm of the Diwald Frühroter Veltliner, a rare varietal with notes of ripe apple and citrus zest. This lovely white wine has just the right weight and minerality with a punch of herbaceousness to accompany the briny mussels.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wine of the Week - Winegut Diwald Frühroter Veltliner

Frühroter what? Dynamic young winemaker Martin Diwald is really diving into the past, vinifying this rare variety (it currently accounts for less than 1% of all vineyard plantings in Austria) and bringing it to his customers. And it's delicious! Wine Enthusiast awards the current 2018 vintage 92 points, saying:
"Notes of ripe red apple and green pear waft from the glass. The palate swings with ripe apple and a lovely pithy texture that unites citrus pith and zest in a lovely, concentrated fashion. Wonderful expression with tons of freshness. (AK)"
David Schildknecht for Vinous writes of the variety:
“‘I’m very concerned that this traditional, un-modern variety survives’ says Diwald of Frühroter Veltliner, and the present example helps make his case for that grape (whose parents are Sylvaner and Roter Veltliner)...’Frühroter Veltliner likes cool years,’ explains Diwald – which one hopes won’t be part of its undoing – and he shakes his head at the fact that he felt forced to pick his Frühroter Veltliner on the first of September in 2017, a week before we met to taste this 2016. I presume that the authorities will let this wine’s delightful name – which means ‘Thief’s Nest’ – stand as a bit of ‘fantasy’ rather than viewing it as an unregistered, illegitimate vineyard designate."

Paula and Hans Diwald pioneered their winery’s conversion to completely organic viticulture during a time when chemicals and additives were prominent in winemaking. In 1980, the Diwalds converted their 4 hectare farm into a vineyard. After some trial and error with chemical fertilizers, the two made the decision to farm organically in order to improve the quality of their fruit. Today Martin Diwald leads the second generation of the family’s commitment to producing wine that reflects Wagram’s environment, resources, and land.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Recipe Thursday: Brettljause

While a holiday ski trip to the Alps may or may not be in the cards this season, you can always bring the Alps home to you by way of its scrumptious food and wine. One dish you’ll find many ski-goers enjoying after a long day on the slopes is Brettljause, a hearty snack served on a wooden board made up of a variety of cold cuts, cheeses, spreads, pickled vegetables and a lovely bread basket. Following the traditional recipe at Strudel & Schnitzel, it can easily be replicated at home.

Photo Credit: Strudel and Schnitzel

An indispensable part of the Tyrolean culinary culture, this versatile snack platter begs for a Tyrolean wine that is light and full of flavor. Enter the Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol, a fresh and elegant red wine that is an ideal companion for a variety of dishes. Its harmonious balance between tannins and acidity for finger foods and light antipasti.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jean-Louis Chave ‘Mon Coeur’ Named Top Value

Hot on the heels of Wine Spectator featuring famed Rhône producer Jean-Louis Chave on its December cover, the magazine has now named one of his wines as a Best Value pick for 2019. How can a producer this illustrious produce a value wine? It comes courtesy of his Sélection portfolio, bottlings that come from grapes not grown on the Chave estate (though he does have long-standing contracts with all his growers and oversees every bit of the viticultural process as closely as they were his own vines). Enter the 2017 Chave Sélection Côtes-du-Rhône "Mon Coeur," as a 90-point red that retails for under $25. As reviewer James Molesworth writes:
"Bold dark cherry compote flavors are liberally laced with violet, savory and singed anise notes, showing a nice flash of warm earth through the finish."

Congratulations to Chave for their continued success!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Wine of the Week - Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol

As we approach the darkest day of the year, let us offer you a little something to brighten your spirits. Hailing from the South Tyrol region of Italy, the Erbhof Unterganzner St. Magdalener Sudtirol brings a little bit of flair to the table. Composed of mainly Schiava, with a splash of Lagrein for color and body, this is a lighter red that still contains a ton of personality. As Josephus Mayr from the Tenuta
Chairman of the Consortium for the protection of St. Magdalener wine says: “The St. Magdalener is a real all-rounder. Many people prefer to enjoy the wine with a meal but it is also popular as a wine to be drunk with a group of friends.” And just your luck, we happen to import Mayr's St. Magdalener. Pop a bottle and lighten up your day!


Erbhof Unterganzner was purchased by Simon Mayr in 1629 and the dedication and devotion of winemaking has been passed down for over ten generations. It is located 285 meters above sea level near the Isarco River in the predominantly German-speaking region of Trentino-Alto Adige in the north of Italy. The higher altitude of the vineyard provides excellent air circulation, which optimizes vine and grape health. Loose alluvial soil gives ideal drainage, as well as warming quickly in the spring, promoting flowering and fruit set. These conditions combine for advantageous vineyard siting, and the location is ideal for growing the traditional grapes of the area.