Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Feature: Sushi and Refreshing White Wine

Sushi is one of those age-old foods that everyone says you can't pair with wine.  Why?  Because there's a large savory characteristic with sushi, not to mention the overwhelming spice of wasabi.  These are things we would say "are not wine friendly."  But I say, "Who cares?!  Let them drink wine!"

I'm just going to call this the Adventure Roll
(Photo by author)

I've only attempted to make sushi once.  "Johnny Depp" and I bought a sushi making kit and we went out first thing Saturday morning to our fresh fish market while we were living in CA.  After talking to the fisherman, we felt like we were buying a product that was safe for raw consumption.  I don't recommend this unless you know what you are doing, know the risks of consuming raw fish, and know the quality of fish you are buying.  There is always a risk when consuming raw products.

That being said, lots of places, including many grocery stores like Trader Joes, Wegmans, Safeway, and Publix offer cooked sushi.  For those first time sushi goers, I suggest things like the tempura roll (it's crispy and cooked) or a cooked shrimp roll.  Yummy!

Wasabi Roll from Wegmans

Shrimp Tempura Roll
(Photos by author)

Wine Pairing: Crisp, White Wine with a Hint of Sweetness
How vague can I get, right?  Honestly, I think you can get a lot of things that will match "close enough" with sushi.  I'd have to say that I've never found a wine that enhances the sushi eating experience (which is supposed to be the purpose of drinking and pairing wine with food).  However, there are plenty of wines you can sip with your sushi and still enjoy both.  I'd look for something with crisp acidity, perhaps a touch of sweetness, and make sure it's chilled!  My suggestions:

(Photo by author)

Loved this bottle of Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc for $10 (found at Total Wine).  It was a real steal, a great wine, superior flavor, and it went nicely with some our high end sushi.  You can see my whole review here.

(Photo by author)

This 2007 Pinot Blanc from Alsace (France) would go wonderfully.  I believe this was a $12 bottle.  This wine was very creamy, grapey, perfumey with a hint of honey.  There appeared to be a small touch of sweetness in the finish, and it was overall very pleasant.  I see this as a good sushi wine.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wine Education 411: Learn Your Wine Sensory Taste Buds

In graduate school, we used a book for the undergraduate "Wines and Vines" course to teach kids sensory evaluation of wine.  It was called The University Wine Courseby Marian Baldy.  My advisor recommended the book to students, explaining that it was incredibly thorough and easy to read, but otherwise "a bit long winded."  (I'd actually have to agree.  Although the information is wonderful, Marian does like to write.)  Regardless, it's an incredible wine sensory reference.

The reason I point this book out is to emphasize how to teach yourself to identify the different taste components in wine: sweet, acidic/sour, astringency, bitter, and alcohol.  (Of course there is also body or volume, but that's a little more complicated to make up and taste.)  

Try out your taste buds!
(Photo from Google Images)

The purpose of such evaluations is to teach yourself what it is you are actually tasting.  It helps you identify what professionals use to describe wine.  You can find basic food items to manipulate such taste components and then add them to water.  The fact that water is relatively neutral will allow you to really see where such attributes fall on your palate. 
  • Sweetness --> Sugar (white granular sugar) in water
  • Sour/Acidic --> Lemon juice (either freshly squeezed or bought from a bottle) or Tartaric Acid in water
  • Astringency --> Alum in water or Lipton black tea soaked into a cup of water for several minutes (+10 minutes)
  • Bitter --> Black coffee (no cream or sugar) or Food Grade Caffeine in water
  • Alcohol --> Smirnoff Vodka (no flavors) or Gin (no flavors)
The bitter component is difficult to make.  I have actually found club soda to be slightly bitter, as well.  Most people struggle with the difference between sour, astringency, and bitterness.  This may have something to do with the fact that people have several different bitter receptors, so what is bitter for one person may not be bitter to your neighbor.

The only one of those that is not a true taste is astringency.  Astringency is a tactile sensation that makes your mouth dry.  You will literally feel like you need water!  This is especially noticeable when you make a cup of tea, leave the tea bag in the water, and when you finally get to the bottom of the cup, the solution is incredibly mouth-drying.  That is astringency.  (Seriously, try this with Earl Grey tea and while ignoring the aroma/flavor, there is a LOT of astringency there!)

Cup of Tea
(Photo from Google Images)

The sour/acidic attribute makes your mouth water.  If you pay attention, you can actually feel your mouth fill up with saliva.  The best example of this is eating Sour Patch Kids.  These candies area sour, but not astringent or bitter.  However, lemon juice will get the job done.  Lemon juice is sour, but it's not astringent or bitter.  And it should, after tasting it, make your mouth start to water itself.  Of course, you'll also have to blank out the lemon taste.

Lemon juice is sour
(Photo from Google Images)

Bitterness usually lingers after you swallow something.  I commonly taste bitter in the back of my palate or it lingers in my throat.  Typically, it has a very unappealing taste.  It's not pleasant.  It's usually what makes people dislike vegetables, coffee, or even some medicines.  Coffee is notorious for being bitter - try a little bit of Starbucks bold coffee, black.  That lingering taste is bitter (but try to ignore the burnt flavor).  Caffeine is also bitter in nature.  This is probably why sodas have so much sugar in them (to balance out the bitterness).  We also use milk (to cover up the astringency) and sugar (to cover up the bitterness) in tea and coffee.

Bitter, black coffee
(Photo from Google Images)

Sweetness is an easy one.  You can simply tell if something is sweet or not sweet.  Adding a sugar cube to a little bit of water makes it incredibly sweet.  What's interesting about sweetness is that over time you can ween yourself off sugar.  Take tea for example.  Most people may add about 2 teaspoons of sugar to a cup of tea.  Try slowly decreasing the amount of sugar.  It may be replusive at first, but you'll start to prefer the lower concentration of sugar.  Eventually, over a month's time, I'll bet you can get yourself off the sugar and add a hint of lemon or milk to the tea instead.  At that point, try going back to your 2 teaspoons of sugar.  You'll hate it!!!

(Photo from Google Images)

Alcohol, at higher levels, will cause a burning tactile sensation on the palate as well.  I find that many Americans are not aware of the higher alcohol sensation in wines.  In fact, many seem to prefer it without realizing how much of a blanding affect it can have on the wine's aroma and flavor.

(Photo from Google Images)

Wine, by definition, is not supposed to be greater than 17% alcohol, although we've continued to see higher alcohol wines became a trend in the U.S., especially in those hotter regions like California.  However, higher alcohol locks aromas and flavors, and it hinders your ability to taste these beautiful nuances.  Alcohol is also fatiguing.  By this I mean, after awhile, you can only taste the alcohol. 

By adding little quantities of alcohol from 40% vodka to a 12% wine (like box wine), you can actually start to taste the burning sensation from the increased concentration of alcohol.  (And to make matters more complicated, higher alcohol concentrations contribute to wine volume, sweetness in the finish, and bitterness!)  This simple exercise can help you discover where you are with your taste buds once you start paying attention.

What's the alcohol concentration?
(Photo from Google Images)

I challenge you to try these exercises at home or with friends in a tasting group.  After all, you have to start somewhere!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! 2008 Sparkling Teroldego by Red Tail Ridge Winery

Here's an Italian wine variety that you won't see very often, but man, what a grape!  I was lucky enough to try the still version of Teroldego produced by Red Tail Ridge Winery in the Finger Lakes, and was quite impressed.  It exhibited a lighter body than Cabernets, but had such a nice spicy, almond, red berry, oaky flavors.  It was quite interesting.  So I took a gamble and tried the sparkling version - which I was told is how the Italians traditionally produce this grape. 

Truthfully, the variety reminded me of a flat land, cool climate Syrah.  I was impressed to find that one of the parents of this variety, Dureza, is also a parent of Syrah.  The similarities were amazing!

This is literally the type of wine a red wine drinker gets to enjoy with the risque edge of sparkling bubbles!

Deep red color with bubbles!
(Photo by author)

Please remember that these reviews are meant to be informative and somewhat informal.  It's my overall opinion of the wine itself.  Points:
  • in the 90s mean I'll buy this wine over and over again; 
  • in the 80s mean that I'm glad I made the purchase, but probably won't be buying it as regularly as a 90-something wine; 
  • in the 70s means good one-time purchase (but probably not again), and 
  • anything below 70 means I'll probably never purchase that wine again unless someone convinces me!  :)  Enjoy!

2008 Sparkling Teroldego by Red Tail Ridge Winery

(Photos by author)

The D-2010 Scale 
2008 Sparkling Teroldego by Red Tail Ridge Winery (Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes NY, United States)
Appearance (10 points possible): deep ruby red color with red edges and long, everlasting bubbles; lots of color density - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Red fruits, almonds, toasty, oaky, spicy, and a bit earthy.  Refreshingly zippy with all the bubbles. - 17 points
Taste (10 points possible):  The bubbles really help bring out the red fruit character of this wine.  After you get over the fact that it's a red wine with bubbles, it's quite refreshing (make sure you serve chilled).  Very smooth, medium-bodied with that carbonation prickly feeling on the tongue.  Finish lingers with hints of toast, almonds, and red fruit. - 9 points
Balance (5 points possible): There's no real component that sticks out here.  The acidity is not quite as sharp or crisp as regular sparkling wines, but there's enough there to make this refreshing.  Can't really tell if there's a hint of sugar in the finish or not.  Regardless, very well balanced. - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible): Alluring red fruits, hints of spice, almonds, and toast.  May have slight residual sugar, but the finish lingers for a long time.  It's quite a pleasant food-friendly wine. - 5 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible):  I like the white Champagne bottle here - emphasizes the deep red color.  Topped with a Champagne cork and capsule.  Package is very well done.  - 5 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible):  Very traditional, classy label, which I think emphasizes the focus of the winery.  I enjoy how the label does not take up the entire space on the bottle.  It really keeps your eye focusing on the wine color instead of the label itself. - 8 points
Other (5 points possible):  No big extras on this one. - 3 points
Total Points: 92 points
Overall Thought: I really enjoyed this wine.  It was perfect for this time of year, too.  As we start to transition into the warmer months, the chilled nature of this sparkling red wine allow someone to enjoy a deeper, medium-bodied red wine even when it's a touch warm outside.  I probably also like this wine because it really reminded me of some Syrahs I've had, which is a variety I love.  Plus, the winery is LEED certified.  They are definitely working hard to be sustainable while producing high quality wine.  There is something to say for that!
Food Pairings:  I had this wine with a spicy Portobello mushroom sandwich and loved it.  The earthiness of the mushroom paired nicely with the slight dirtiness and toastiness of the Teroldego.  And the bubbles gave me a nice, refreshing palate after every sip!
Cost: $34.95
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 3... This gets into the higher end of wines I review, but I think this is a fun wine.  It's a talking point and a good change of pace compared to all the Cabs and Merlots people take.  It's an adventure wine for those that don't like to be very adventurous.  Definitely a wine that will be loved by red wine drinkers.  Make sure you chill it!!
Where to buy:  Check out Red Tail Ridge Winery for retail information

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recycle Your Wine Crates

Sometimes Pinterest has a host of good ideas.  (Remember, I'm on Pinterest - "Denise Gardner" and "Denise's Press Fractions" is one of my many boards.)  Recently, I found a picture of wine crates being recycled as shelves:

Wine Crate Shelves
(Photo from

This led me to check out the link and see what else I could find.  I can't believe how many people are out there with DIY projects involving wine crates.  Some of them are pretty neat!  Here are my favorites:

Bathroom Wine Crate Shelves... and General Bathroom Storage. How Awesome!
If I had a home, I would totally do this.
(Photo from

Wine Crate Garden Box
This is perfect to place on a deck and hold summer herbs
(Photo from

More examples of the wine crate garden:
So, so cute!  Can you see little tags of what these vegetables are in each of the boxes?
(Photo from Style-Files)

Beautiful spring set
(Photo from

Deck Garden
(Photo from

Perfect for magazine racks or kids' storage
(Photo from

For those that are creative and artistic, try these wine crate light boxes
(Photo from

Need some shelves?
(Photo from

A neat display for a wedding
(Photo from Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wine Education 411: Light- to Medium-Bodied Red Wines

Have you ever thought you couldn't handle red wines?  Do your friends drink Cabernet Sauvignon and you have a hard time consuming it?  Do red wines [from CA, maybe] give you headaches?  Then maybe you're the perfect candidate for light- or medium-bodied red wines!  

(Photo from Google Images)

Our journey of "Light- and Medium-Bodied Red Wines" includes several regions, styles, and grape varieties. I group these two "classes" together, as I think it is difficult to differentiate "light-bodied" vs. "medium-bodies" especially with reference to red wines.  The term "light" and "medium" again refer to the level of "body" or "mouthfeel" in the wine. 

Perhaps some of these wines never seemed like opportunities to you before, but I encourage you to give them a try.  You may be surprised at what you find:

Beaujolais and Beajolais Nouveau/Gamay and Grenache
Beaujolais Nouveau (pronounce "bow-joe-lay new-voe") is released in the U.S. on the third Thursday of November.  It is made in the Beaujolais region of France from the Gamay grapes that are fermented by a process known as carbonic maceration.  The fermentation process of carbonic maceration makes a very delicate, light, floral, pear-drop smelling red wine.  This style was made famous by Georges Duboeuf, a producer in Beaujolais.  These wines are packaged in highly colorful botttles, some are actually screw-capped now, and although they used to be fairly cheap, their price has increased steadily over the past 5 years to about $12 per bottle.  I encourage all to try Beaujolais Nouveau at least once in their lifetime!  [But only choose this wine when it comes out in November.  As it's light and delicate, it's not meant to age in your wine cellar for more than a few weeks.]  As with any wine, the vintage year is always hit or miss.  I have had years where this is a fabulous, light wine enjoyed by many.  And others where I'm quite disappointed in the product. 

Past vintage Beaujolais Nouveau Lables made by George Duboeuf (Pictures found on Google Images)

Unfortunately, the production of Beaujolais Nouveau, and the subsequent marketing of this style in the U.S., has taken away from the real beauty of Beaujolais wine.  Real Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes as well, however, fermented by traditional fermentation practices.  The Gamay grape is thin skinned and quite low in tannins, which essentially make up the astringency and "body" of wine.  Due to the grapes' light nature, the wines are therefore, also quite light- to medium-bodied.  Unlike its Nouveau counterpart, the wine is quite elegant, with more varietal characters (hints of spice and black cherries) from the fermentation and more "wine-like" (if you will).  Often, consumers are put off from trying a Beaujolais thinking that it will, in turn, be like the Nouveau.  But this is not the case.  The fermentation method alone (traditional vs. carbonic maceration) changes so much of the Gamay grape's characteristics, that the two wines end up being polar opposites. 

Rioja is a region in Spain with great French influence.  Although most wines are made in traditional Bordeaux style (meaning with typical French practices), many of the wines had a great oak influence using barriques (or barricas).  Today, the influence of oak is sometimes less aggressive, but the tradition exists.  Rioja is broken into 2 sub-regions: La Rioja Alta, which is the cooler area that producers lighter, more delicate wines, and La Rioja Baja, which is hotter, drier, and specializes in bigger/fuller, more alcoholic wines.  (Think: La Rioja Baja is the "California" of Spain.) 

Domeqc Winery in Rioja, Spain
Domeqc Winery, Rioja, Spain
(Photo by "Johnny Depp")

The most prevalent variety in Rioja is Tempranillo, followed by Grenache.  The other two varieties that are used minimally are Graciano and Mazuelo.  In today's stores, you may find wines labeled by the varietal name (Tempranillo/Grenache) or by region (Rioja).  Either way, you're getting the same thing!  Traditionally, two styles of Rioja exist: clarete (light bodied, 10 - 12% alcohol) or tinto (dark red in color, fuller-bodied, higher alcohol).  Such words on the label would help give the consumer information about what they are purchasing.  Additionally, oak is usually integrated into the wine, giving a characteristic vanilla flavor that is often noticed in Rioja's.  Oak aging is often implied on the bottle as well:
Sin Crianza (Cosecha) - no oak aging
Crianza - about 1 year in oak
Reserva - at least 1 year in oak, sold after 4 years from vintage
Gran Reserva - at least 2 years in oak, sold after 6 years from vintage

Some thrifty, light- to medium-bodied Rioja's include: Monte Clavijo (<$10, Tempranillo), Castillo Clavijo (<$10, Tempranillo), Marques de Caceres Crianza Rioja ($15, Tempranillo, Grenache, & Graciano), and Dominio de Eguren Protocolo (Tinto) Tempranillo (<$10).  My experience with Rioja's is a noticeable shift to make even light ones with high alcohol.  The actually ruins the wine for me, but others may find it most enjoyable. 

Burgundy/Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is one of the pickiest grapes and wines to grow and produce.  The grape lacks anthocyanins (red color pigments) so it may often be found as a slightly brickish/brownish wine.  This is not an indication of the wine quality!  The tannin levels are also low compared to other red European varieties, meaning that this wine does not appear heavy or astringent.  The delicacy of this grape makes it perfect for various production methods, and challenges the winemaker to make a wine art.  No two regions in the world make the same style of Pinot Noir.  Although it is tried, it is never fully accomplished, as it appears that the grape is greatly influenced by its growing environment and terroir.  Pinot Noir is one of my favorite varieties - it can be made very big and masculine with lots of oak influence, it can be made light-bodied; it can be gamey/spicy/dirty, or overly fruity.  A bottle of Pinot is always a surprise.

Burgundian Pinot Noir
(Photo by author)

Burgundy is well recognized as producing some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the world (minus the Beajolais region - a part of Burgundy, but produces Gamay).  The style within Burgundy ranges, but, again, generally speaking, Burgundian Pinots that are "thrifty" are going to be fruit forward, soft-tannins (round body), and red fruit flavors.  Often, these wines will be slightly "dirty" and exemplify flavors of soil or earth.  A higher end Pinot from Burgundy is going to be much more complex and elegant.  

From California, a Pinot is going to vary greatly on the style.  Carneros, Russian River, and Santa Barbara are widely recognized for their Pinots, and again range in style.  Most that I have had from these regions focus on some Burgundian style keeping some sort of gamey-ness and dirtiness to the grape, but with a lot more oak.  These Pinots are heavier bodied to me compared to most Burgundies I've had.  And many of them emphasize that "cherry" or "cough syrup" flavor.   

A Glass of Pinot Noir
(Photo by author)

The state of Oregon also specializes in producing Pinot Noir, trying to mimic the Burgundian styles.  These Pinots are a bit earthier, lighter, with some sort of cherry flavor.  Most of these Pinots are bottled with a screw cap and vary in price from $20 and more.

Roco Pinot Noir from Oregon
(Photo by author)

Other New World producers including Australia and New Zealand produce a highly fruity, light, very clean Pinot.     If you are looking for a light, floral, fruity Pinot with a hint of earth, I'd try a Pinot from the Finger Lakes!
A good introductory Pinot from the Finger Lakes - only about $18
(Photo by author)

I place Syrah here because it is, like Pinot, quite variable in its style.  But it doesn't bring the depth of a full-bodied wine like Cabernet (or so I believe...).  Syrah is another one of my favorite varieties because it is so versatile.  Selling wise, Syrah is not doing as well as it used to.  However, it is a marvelous grape that is often overlooked by consumers.

One of my favorite Syrah blends from South Africa
(Photo by author)

Syrah from the Rhone in France is often lightly spicy, chocolate-like, plum and black fruit flavors, medium-bodied, and quite smooth.  Traditionally, Viognier, a white wine variety, was blended or fermented with Syrah for extra fruitiness, acidity, and depth in the final wine.  A thrilling success of this varietal marriage can be found in Bridlewood's Arabesque.

Shiraz (which is the Australian word for "Syrah") has been marketed from Australia and appears to slightly dominate the Syrah market.  Australian Shiraz, in general, is slightly less-bodied than Syrah from California or the Rhone region in France.  It's also a bit spicier, yet fruitier, and has a noticeable addition of oak.

 Not one of my favorite Shiraz wines, but a cool label
(Photo by author)

Other "Light- to Medium-Bodied Reds"
1) Some Chiantis
2) Some Merlots
3) Mourvedre
4) Sangiovese
5) Grenache

Food Pairings with "Light- to Medium-Bodied Reds":
1) pastas
2) pizza
3) tuna, salmon, trout (for very light-bodied reds)
4) game animals (i.e. quail, venison)
5) veal
6) rabbit
7) pork (with Chianti)
8) lamb (with Pinot Noir)
9) hard cheeses (for all varieties)
10) cheddar (for Syrah, Burgundy Pinots)
11) creamy soft brie (with Burgundy)
12) smoked cheese (with Shiraz)
13) mushroom-based dishes or truffles (with Pinot)
14) barbeque dishes (with Syrah)
15) chicken (with Rioja, Grenache)
16) ham (with Beajolais)
17) turkey (with Beajolais)

Mushroom Soup with Pinot Noir - classic pairing!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Feature: Mac N Cheese with Chardonnay

You asked for it!  A cheesy, healthy-alternative to the traditional mac n' cheese!  I personally fell in love with this recipe a few years ago when I decided I should probably eat more veggies.  This recipe was perfect for a healthy start.  It added some vegetables and still gave me that great, home-made taste of traditional macaroni and cheese.  The real credit to this recipe is Ellie Krieger, although I've made a few changes (which means, I add extra cheese).  You can find her full recipe on the Food Network website as Macaroni and 4 Cheeses.  As you'll see, I've altered my recipe just a tad.  ;)

My favorite healthier macaroni and cheese (without the bread crumbs...)
(Photo by author)

This is definitely the best with bread crumbs.  Unfortunately, for this entry, I forgot to purchase bread crumbs with all the other ingredients.  Other than that, the recipe calls for frozen pureed squash.  This is the quick and easy way to add squash to the recipe, but you can also buy your favorite local squash, roast, and puree.  Then add it to the warmed milk.  When squash is not in season, I buy the frozen pureed squash, heat them up slightly in the microwave first, and then add to warming milk.  This makes the melting process go faster.  :)  I hope you enjoy!

(aka Pureed Squash Macaroni N' Cheese)

Cooking spray
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 bag of shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar
1 bag of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

4. Combine bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Wine Pairing: Chardonnay
2008 Chardonnay by Briar Valley Vineyard & Winery
(Photo by author)
My favorite pick for this meal goes to Briar Valley Vineyard and Winery in Pennsylvania.  Although mac and cheese can be paired with some heavy reds like Cabernet and Malbec, don't underestimate the power a good, slightly oaky to non-oaked Chardonnay.  For me, this is the one meal where I appreciate a good Chardonnay.  Briar Valley produces a medium bodied, oaky, and crisp Chardonnay with light citrus and toasty flavors.  It's perfect for this cheesy pasta dish as it has enough acid and green apple character to carry it with the rich cheese of the pasta.

Not up for a Pennsylvania wine?  A good second hitter for me is Clos du Bois Central Coast Chardonnay, which definitely exhibits a more buttery and oaky nose.  If I had to have a Chardonnay with those attributes, I'd probably pick up this one for less than $15.  The creamy flavors and viscous body should be rather chewy with such a rich and cheesy meal.  :)
(Photo from Google Images)

Need something with less oak and more crisp?  I'd try one of my personal favorites: Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay.  It's one of the few Napa Valley Chardonnays where I can feel the acid and taste the fresh floral, grass, apple, and citrus flavors.  With a refreshing mineralty and creamy sur lie character, I very much enjoy this wine as well.  It's a little pricier than the above two, but very enjoyable.
(Photo from Google Images)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Should You Drink With Your Girl Scout Cookies?

It IS Girl Scout Cookie season, and I'm sure after nibbling on one, you're thinking what I'm thinking... "What can I drink with this?"  Well someone figured out the perfect pairings!  I just couldn't help but share this valuable piece of information.  :)

This article was found at The Huffington Post, but I've pasted parts of it here for your convenience.  Grab some cookies, a glass, and enjoy!  Happy Thursday!

Girl Scout Cookie Wine Pairings

It's no secret that Girl Scout cookies aren't just for kids. One could argue that adults actually enjoy these treats more than children -- one's never too old for a sugar rush. To make Girl Scout cookies truly an adult treat, Kris Margerum, Wine Director at Napa Valley’s inn and Michelin-starred restaurant Auberge du Soleil, has provided wine pairings for each cookie.

"Even the simplest sweets can be paired with a fine wine," said Margerum. "I love pairing confections with exquisite vintages. They shape the flavor and take the simple experience of enjoying a cookie to an entirely new level of enjoyment."

Not sure what to drink while you're sneaking yet another Thin Mint? Check out the slideshow below.

2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine. The creamy richness of the shortbread is balanced by the fresh lively notes of the Sparkling Wine.

2010 Dr. Loosen "Bernkasteler Lay" Riesling-Kabinett. "The lemon notes and powder sugar create an amazing match with this off-dry, high- acid white wine," said Margerum.

2009 Schloss Gobelsburg Gobelsburger Zweigelt. The light bodied and fruity Zweigelt paired with the Do-Si-Dos brings home the flavors of peanut butter & jelly.

2006 Renwood "Grandmére" Zinfandel

2009 Romililly Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Graham's 20-Year Tawny Port

The Noval Vintage Ruby Reserve Port is rich enough to match the chocolate and mint flavors.

Margerum recommends the Rare Wine Company's "Imperial-Old Reserve" Malmsey Maderia, because, "Nothing goes better with sweet Maderias than chocolate and nuts."