Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Age White Wine..What's the Skinny?

What is the #1 selling Argentine white wine? It's from a winery that has been family owned and operated for 3 generations, is sustainably farmed, estate grown and bottled and it is a great addition to any fruit based cocktail.

I'm talking about New Age White Wine. A blend of 90% Torrontes and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. New Age White Wine is a great aperitif or dessert. It also pairs well with spicy Thai, Indian, Chinese or Japanese cuisine.

So what is all the fuss about? I've never seen a wine so widely accepted as the perfect patio sipper. Most people describe it as crisp, fruity, floral, semi sweet, but I just say quaffable. It's very common to have this wine in a high ball glass poured over ice with a bit of lime. The lime cuts the sweetness and creates a very refreshing drink. When served this way the wine is called a Tincho and if you are looking for skinny drinks, this may be the wine for you. A Tincho made with 5 oz of New Age, and a twist of lime has just 121 calories. Other Skinny Drinks made with New Age are:

Tincho Grande 154 Calories
4 oz New Age White
1 oz Citrus Vodka
Twist of lime

Pink Grapefruit Splash 175 Calories
4 oz New Age White
1 oz Pink Grapefruit Vodka
1 Splash of Pink Grapefruit Juice
Shake over Ice and pour in a glass over Muddled Mint, garnish with a sprig of mint

White Sangria about 150 Calories
5 oz New Age
2 Slices of Orange
2 Strawberries sliced
3 Slices of Lime
Diced pineapple

Super Sonic Cherry Limeade 191 Calories
4 oz New Age
1 oz Cherry Vodka
2 Lime slices
Dash of Grenadine

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Uncle Dick and The Ball Buster

Now that the rain has chased me off of the new patio at The Happy Grape I'm inside, drinking my wine and reliving fond memories of one of my favorite uncles. Running in from the rain reminds me of my uncle Don and his famous water balloon attacks that left me looking more like an orphaned cat in the rain than like the boy that had the charmed life my family provided but what can this have to do with wine?

Most of what I love of wine comes from the memories that it seems to stir up. Of all the sensory triggers, smell seems to be the strongest. Each sense, including sound, smell and vision, has a primary and a secondary sensory cortex area in the brain. The primary cortex sends sensory information to the secondary cortex, which then connects to emotional and memory areas of the brain [Science News]. So it comes as no surprise to me that after running in from the rain I sit with fond memories of the times spent with my uncle having water balloon fights on a hot summer afternoon. The combination of the smell of rain and the scent of plums coming from my shiraz take me back to those days sitting on my uncles porch drying off after the fight and having fresh fruit.

All this brings me full circle to my current life, running a wine bar and having just found Bleasdale Vineyards Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz. In addition to the awesome picture of Uncle Dick on the label. It has the distinction of being one of the few moderately priced non – vintage sparkling shiraz on the market.

This Shiraz has a deep ruby color with smokey blackberry and blueberry aromas and soft flesh dark berry flavors topped off with subtle spicy notes and a lingering finish. It is the perfect wine to have with cheesecake at the end of a meal or as an aperitif.

Also new to “The Grape” this week is Tait “The Ball Buster”. A blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, The Ball Buster has a whopping 15.5% Alcohol. The grapes that make up the Ball Buster come from different vineyard locations throughout Barossa that do not exceed cropping levels beyond 3.5 tons an acre with typically clay soils. The wine has intense aromas of black current, stewed plums, cherry and chocolate. The pallet is full bodied with plenty of berry flavor and a sweet long finish. The grainy tannins in this wine beg for meat or strong cheese. Drink this wine with caution. The 15.5% alcohol can take over quickly making for a boisterous party.

Friday, May 27, 2011

X Winery Red X, Rhone blend with a kicker

Sitting at the wine bar today eating lunch with a friend I had one of those moments that beg for a specific wine. The trouble with working in the wine business is that more often than not, when you crave a particular bottle you have access to it. So I fall into the pitfall of yet another lunch over a bottle of wine. Don’t concern yourself over me, I’ll make up for it by writing this article and justifying the experience as a “working” lunch.

So what wine has me so worked up on a Friday afternoon? X Winery’s Red X Winemaker’s Blend. This wine is a twist on the typical SMG blend. They add a touch of zinfandel to spice it up. I agree with Rober Parker, who wrote in The Wine Advocate “The most obvious question with respect to X Winery and proprietor Reed Renaudin is how can these wines be this good at these prices? Everyone is looking for good values today, and here are some exceptional bargains.”

Red X is a blend of 52% Syrah, 19% Mourvedre, 17% Zinfandel, and 12% Grenache. Dark ruby in color with a nose full of wild cherry, cinnamon toast, cashew cranberry and a hint of blueberry. The tannins are soft and supple with good astringency. This bottle is perfect with barbeque, pizza and burgers. I have to admit it held up to dark chocolate pretty well, not that I’m having an overly indulgent afternoon but I may also test it against a cigar.

I guess my weekend grilling plans are no secret after this. Let me know what bottle you plan on opening up this weekend, or stop by and pick up a bottle of Red X. 14.99 carry out, 5.99 per glass at the bar, or 20.99 by the bottle in the bar.