Posts Tagged 'wine'

Valentine’s Day Wine Tasting

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Call your grandmother.

To help you pick a bottle to celebrate your loved ones today, I had a wine tasting this weekend.  Experimental Setup:  About a dozen people, five bottles of wine (to taste- there were some warm-ups), in my apartment, with a wine aroma guide to help us narrow down the smells and tastes.   I’ve managed to find most of the tasting notes my wonderful tasters left behind, and I’ve compiled them (at least the printable ones- descriptions got a bit creative) for you.

These were the wines.  Four of them are made from organic grapes, and the Bus Stop White is certified Fair Trade.  I got the Bonterra Syrah and Orleans Hill Cote Zero (no idea what grape combo that is- bottle has no clues) at the Harris Teeter near Foxchase.  They had a decent selection of organic wine, but hidden in with the normal wines, so you have to hunt.  The Vida Organica and Fairhills came from Whole Foods in Old Town.  The Badger Mountain is from a Trader Joe’s.  None of the bottles cost more than $16, and most were under $10.

In the order we tasted, then:

FairHills Bus Stop White, 2009.  Fair Trade Certified.  Like “getting punched in the face by a grapefruit”.  Lots of citrus fruits, and some people mentioned notes of grass and haystraw.  Best for sipping on a warmer day on a sunnier porch.  I can never think of anything to pair these citrusy whites with myself, but one taster suggested food in cream sauces.

Badger Mountain Chardonnay, 2008.  Organic Vineyard. Smelled of “crazybutter” (yes one word) with some sort of nut undertones (someone said cashews, but I’m pretty sure they were joking).  Nice creamy finish on the taste.  I think drinking it with a meal would pull out some other nice flavors, and it would pair well with spicy foods.

A note on the reds:  I should have let them breathe more.  All three were strong and spicy, and a few minutes of air or decanting would have mellowed them and brought out more flavors.  Note-taking had also, totally understandably, lost its novelty by this point in the evening.

Orleans Hill Cote Zero, 2008.  Organic.  Smelled strongly of alcohol, with various bits of cloves, pepper, tobacco, and raspberries (“like eating a cigarette while snorting a raspberry”).  Would go pretty well with a pizza or other garlic-y tomato-y things.

Bonterra Syrah, 2005.  Organically grown grapes.  We got lots of prunes, raisins, plums, and a bit of pepper here.  The finish was dry.  Seemed like a serious red for a meal of meats.

Vida Organica Malbec, 2009.  Organic grapes.  This is one of my favorites, but it divided the tasting community (at least the ones still paying attention).  Several of us who tend to like malbecs liked it, and others found it completely unappetizing.  More time to breathe would have helped, but we smelled lots of alcohol initially, and some noted green tea taste on the ending- a little dryness.  After plenty of swirling, the raspberry and other dark berry flavors came out, plus the spice on the finish.  The pro-malbec contingent advises you to pair it with anything delicious, since we remember it being really great, but we weren’t really getting very specific at that juncture.

Voila.  Hope it helps!  Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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Organic Wine and Chocolate Tasting

These notes are compiled over several evenings of eating.  V and a great friend (she comments as “hater”, because she is very sweet) helped me out with the tastings- no, mom, I did not drink four bottles of wine myself this week, it’s cool.  Here is:

Wines

Red Truck Petite Syrah, 2006 (CA, $10.99) at Whole Foods)- Spicy and fruity, nicely drinkable on it’s own.

Yellow and Blue Malbec Mendoza, 2007 (Argentina, 11.99 for a liter at Whole Foods, as opposed to normal 750ml bottle)- Fairly typical red wine. Clean berryish flavor, but nothing too exciting.  Better with food. Comes in a Tetra Pack.

Natura Carmenere, 2007 (Chile, $10ish at Shoppers in Potomac Yard)- Dark and deep and Plummy, and spicy at the end.  “Unassuming”, according to my second tasting partner- it’s not overtly fancy, but it is quality.  “Would probably go well with chocolate…oh wait…” she continued.

Orleans Hill Cote Zero, 2007 (CA, $10ish at Shopper in Potomac Yard)- Blegh.  Unsatisfying mouthful, sharp aftertaste.  Perhaps this bottle has been skunked already?  But it doesn’t taste musty or completely wrong, just sour.  Suitable for mulling, perhaps.

Of those, the Natura Carmenere is the classiest, and the Red Truck was the spiciest.  Off the top of my head, the Vida Organica Malbec at Whole Foods is pretty good, and the Rabbit something Cabernet Sauvignon in a Tetra Pack at MOM’s on Mt. Vernon is quite solid.

Chocolate

Divine 70% Dark (Fair Trade): Very creamy with a slightly chocolate powder finish.  Brings out the cherry flavor in the Natura Camenere.  Definitely our favorite.

Green and Black’s 70% Dark (organic) : Slightly oily, bitter.  It’s not bad, per say.  Maybe we shouldn’t have had the one we really liked first.

Equal Exchange 71% Dark (Fair Trade and Organic AND Kosher)- Unannounced raspberryesque taste.  I would have appreciated it if I had been expecting it.  Without a warning, it was disturbing.  Slightly oily, powdery finish.

Whole Food 365 Brand Organic- Tasted a lot like the Equal Exchange, but creamier and sweet, with a little, entirely pleasing raspberry at the end, wand less oil in the finish.  So, like the EE, but a lot better.  Top 3, depending on how you like surprise raspberry.

Vivani 72% Dark (Organic)-  Good.  Very balanced.  Not exquisite.  Top 3, though.

If you’d like some other V-day advice, try the post I wrote last year– I re-read it, and I still heartily agree with it.

Much Love, call your grandma, and have a great weekend!

A New Addition

Last night, the Gentleman Friend and I began a taste-test of organic wines and chocolates.  Difficult work, true, but next week I’ll post our impressions and recommendations, to make your Valentine’s Day picks easier.  

As if that weren’t exciting enough enough, the Gentleman Friend was convinced to sign up as a contributor here after a bottle of Red Truck.  Now we can switch his clunky euphemistic title to his handle Vaialos, and he can tell you for himself how he really feels about my composter.  Welcome, V!

Surplus English Wine

That’s what Prince Charles’ Aston Martin runs on.

Two things:  England has wine?  And, there is such a thing as extra wine?

via Huffpost.

Huffington Post Green Section

The Huffington Post is an online newsmagazine that’s just added a Green section- right up there with “Business” and “Politics”. They’ve got an interesting line-up of opinion articles, including a commentary on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act being debated this week in the Senate. The author notes that Bush will be vetoing the already-weak Bill even if it gets out of Congress, but considers the effort a turning point (without a big enough turn).

And that’s what’s revealing about the Senate debate. Sadly, most of the debate will still be about which energy-producing regions and industries get the edge. The Senate still acts as if energy policy were fundamentally about producing fuel — coal, oil, gas, nuclear — instead of recognizing that most American companies consume energy services, rather than produce fuel. Most American jobs are driven by how effectively we transform energy into useful services, not by how much stuff we can dig out of the ground. And the biggest leadership challenge for the next president will be to transform how the Congress thinks, and acts, about energy.

Along with Op-Eds, they’ve collected links from articles around the web, including a report on vintners switching from bottles to boxes, to save energy. Bottle supporters argue that while boxes are less energy-intensive to make and ship, glass can be recycled indefinitely. Decisions, decisions!

Spread the Earth Day Love

I’m back, and I’ve got a few changes coming here for you soon.  Photo Albums!  And such!  But today, it’s Earth Day, and there’s some love to be sharing.

My plans for Earth Day were mostly to trick people into drinking some organic wine and watching The Day After Tomorrow (still the best climate change movie ever produced, ever, sorry, Gore.)  Well, some aspects of that would have involved more necessary trickery than others.  I’m having a hard time finding anyone who finds that movie to be as much of a work of genius as I do.  But given school and work, film and wine will need to happen later on.  I’ll definitly pet my sprouts, though.  That should be plenty earthy.

For a small celebration, though, I want to share a few links to blogs I’ve been reading and enjoying.

A More Perfect Market had a recent post on the problems of landholders cashing in on their forests- the ‘greenies’ and government are making it harder for them, and who’s it helping?

Bean Sprouts has a recipe for Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetable pasta.  It’s part of her eating-vegetarian challenge.  Since goat cheese is delicious, how challenging can this be?

At Climate Progress, the talk is usually wonky and political, but for Earth Day they’ve posted a discussion of why we shouldn’t focus on saving the planet, but instead on saving ourselves (massive weather changes being way more damaging to people than the huge spinning ball of molten rock we’re allegedly concerned with).

Crunchy Chicken is doing a lot of good work, all the time, but the one that catches my eye is her series on highly attractive men on the environmental movement. This time, it’s Guillermo from LocalHarvest, a website dedicated to local farming. Good pic(k).

Eco Samurai is brewing beer at home for all the environmental, and delicious, reasons.

Eco Warrior collected some interesting ideas for making planters from things that aren’t planters.

Garden Punks has a great series of instructions and photos from their most recent garden design. Rather inspiring, but I’ll have to be content with rearranging my planters in attractive groupings for now.

No Impact Man gave a wise commentary on the recent and possibly counterproductive debates between some climate policy types (including Nordhaus and Shellenberger, who wrote “BreakThrough”) on Climate Progress.

People and Nature has collected a list of things to do outside, especially with kids. Makes me want to find a child to make go outside. In the legal-est way possible.

There’s plenty of Earth Love in these parts- well over 24 hours worth.  Fortunately, when you’re a sustainability blogger, every day is Earth Day (cheesy grin).

 

 


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