Champagne for New Year's Eve | Which one is right for me?

Just one more day left in 2011 and this is certainly the time to buy and drink good bubbles. 
I mean, NYE and Champagne go together like salt and pepper, right?  I personally don't leave a chance behind to drink a sparkling wine, prosecco, cava, sekt or champagne period.  But if that is not you and you only drink it for the special occasion such as your wedding anniversary or new year’s eve, that is ok as well.
But which bubbles are right for you?  Does it have to be Champagne?  If so, which price range should you shop in?  There are sooooo many offers out there these days, from the "giftwrapped" champagne with "free" champagne flutes, which you pay for anyways, to who knows what. 
If you have people coming over for New Year’s Eve or you are going to somebodies house and want to impress them, buy real champagne!  However, if they are wine lovers and ”in the know”, you may want to explore your options and try to find a unique alternative just to have something to talk about.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Champagne, but one of my personal favorite is actually a Sekt called Schlumberger and is from Austria.  The produce different styles, but the Brut is absolutely great stuff and can easily win a standoff against a Veuve Clicquot yellow label or a Moet Chandon Imperial (used be called white star)! 
If on the other hand, it is just you and your significant other, I would properly go for a nice cava or prosecco.  With the extra savings you may want to buy an extra bottles instead or simply match a view small Spanish or Italian "nipples aka tapas" with that and have a great romantic evening for two. 
Rather want to stick to the traditional or you are afraid that you get in trouble if it isn’t real champagne, you might as well go big and set yourself apart from the rest.  Not trying to badmouth Veuve Clicqout nor Moet Chandon Imperial (I actually like the Veuve Clicqout yellow label), but if you want to impress, go for Bollinger (used in James Bond movie) or Pol Roger. Really impressing for a deeper reach into your wallet, you can get Dom Perignon or Louis Roederer Cristal.  For the ultimate Champagne experience, go to a specialty wine shop and buy a bottle of Clos du Mesnil from the Champagne house Krug! 
In my humble opinion, it doesn't get any better than that!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

The revolution of wine | David vs Goliath

Earlier this week, I had the great opportunity to taste some grape varietals that I either had a long time ago while I visited Italy or never had at all.  I have to admit, some of them, I never even heard off before.  As we tasted thru the first flight of eight wines, I couldn't help myself but to notice that what is happening in the wine world, especially in "old world" wine countries, is the same what is happening here in the United States with beer.  All these Micro-brews from all over the country and more and more people finally turning their back to the Budweiser and Miller lite’s of this world! By the way - Bravo!!!

But back to the wine - isn't it interesting how things always come back at you?  I mean, first we rip all the old indigenous grape varietals out of the ground, so that we can replace it with

Wine for the holidays | What wine pairs best with your traditional dishes?

Before we get into the holiday wine pairing, I would like to apologize for not posting another blog earlier.  Believe or not, I actually was on vacation and got to eat plenty of good food and drank my share of great wine.  Now - back to the holidays, which are, by the way, just around the corner!
Thanksgiving pairing was easy, as the good, old "gooble, gooble" rules that festivity!  This one, not so much.  Every family, every different culture has their own approach; their own family dishes and with that a need for different wines to go with such dishes and traditions. Some people would say, don't worry about it, put a red and a white wine on the table, have some beer in the fridge and call it the day.

Grape Vines | Part 1

Did you ever wonder why people "in the know" get excited when they talk about old vines?  No, this isn't a spelling error.  Talking about old vines, not old wines! Old wines are certainly a very exciting topic to talk about, but I leave that for a different day, different blog.  Today I want to tell you a bit more about vines, why age matters, the different clones, water, soil et cetera.  The subject can certainly be a very lengthy one, but as you know me, I am not planning on that. 
So, first things first.  Age!  Vine and age is actually pretty interesting, almost funny.  And here is why.  Vines were planted in California with the arrivals of European immigrants and wine was started to be enjoyed until the prohibition period.  With restrictions and the difficulty to export, most vintners at that time switched to tougher grape varietals for better shipping. 

Thanksgiving Wine | Which wine goes best with turkey?

Which wine should I pair with my turkey for Thanksgiving?  That is always an interesting question and in my eyes, people make it way to complicated.  Isn't cooking all this food enough work as it is?  Couldn't you use the extra 30+ minutes you spend at the wine store for something better?  I could!
While a few wines are a good fit for the thanksgiving feast, Beaujolais nouveau is by far the best.  It is light, fruity and easily liked by many people.  AND - You can pick that up at your local grocery store when you get all the other things for thanksgiving.  Bingo! 
Shall that doesn't work for you because you don't like red wine or simply need something more extravagant; try a nice Pinot Noir or Riesling.  I would go to Oregon for the Pinot Noir, as it offers a great balance between fruit aromas and earthiness.  For the Riesling, I would go with a German (I am German, so that might have an influence :) ) Kabinet or Spaetlese.  Shall your selection be more limited, go with a nice Riesling from Washington State, such as Chateau St. Michelle.
Other white wines that work well with your turkey dinner are Gewuerztraminer, California Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Viognier.  Alternate red wines are Australian Shiraz and ripe California Zinfandel such as Klinker Brick Zinfandel.

Let me know what you are doing with those extra 30+ minutes!

Embarrassing restaurant moments | How to avoid them

Could it get much worse when the waiter corrects your wine order???  I mean the pronunciation or when say “Actually 2001 was a much better vintage”.  I don’t think so, especially when on a date or with business partners.  Anyways, first things first.  Attention all waiters, servers or as I prefer to call them service professionals - DON'T do that! 
It is simply an unnecessary thing to do, unless they request you to tell them the proper pronouncing of the white wine or the red wine in question. 
Ok, since my audience isn't quite that big yet, and not all professional restaurant staff is reading my blog, let me assist you with some alternate ways to avoid such embarrassing moments

Drinking wine lowers risk of cancer

It wasn't really to any surprise that winespectator published a health news flash about cancer and wine, on the heel of the breast cancer awareness month.  Clever.  As I had written about before, there are certainly correlations between wine (alcohol in general) consumption and the positive impact on health.  The question that always remains - How much is true?!  Some say, drink in moderation, the recent article posted in wine spectator listed only having 1 glass has a positive reflection.  See, they all have different studies and results. Enjoying 2 glasses of wine equaled the results of not drinking at all (so might as well have two glasses) and enjoying more than 2 glasses had a negative impact.  I can't speak to others, but since the listed reduction is only around 13%, I might as well stay on my two glasses of wine per evening and have a happy life.

For the complete story on wine spectator, please visit:

Learning wine | One sip of wine at the time

All of us wine lovers know what it means to take one sip at the time and how the wine is evolving in the glass and keeps on changing its aromas et cetera.  That is, if you have the right glassware to start with.  But I will talk about that another day.  Back to the sipping of wine, the ongoing change of a wine in the glass is not what I want to share with you today neither, although I could go on and on with that subject.  Trust me!
Anyways, I want to talk about the people that start out buying a wine cooler or are having a glass of white zinfandel and actually liking it.  I know a few people who drink beautiful big reds today, but about 5-7 years ago, wouldn’t have none of it.  No, I am not making this up.  They proudly arrived to evening gatherings with their little 6 packs of wine coolers in the hand, enjoyed drinking them, even calling that actually wine!  But before I lose your interest in reading further, let me switch gears here.

Bucket List - Do you have one for wine?

I have been living in the US now for quite some time, but it wasn't until earlier this year when the word "bucket list" first crossed my path.  It was the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  By the way - good movie.  Anyways, after watching that movie, I thought to myself, what a great idea. 
And while I could certainly fill my "want to" see and /or do bucket with ease, I took that a bit further and put some thought to what wines would I want to have tried!?
Of course, your first growth Bordeaux and grand cru burgundy’s, come quickly to mind but what other kind of wines are a must have.  As example, is Screaming Eagle really that good, that you would want to add that to your bucket list?  What if you could only pick 5-10 wines, what would those be?
And which vintage of those wines?  See, creating a wine bucket list is not as easy as it may sound at first.

I am still working on mine, but what would your bucket list of wine look like?

Cabernet - King of California?

Cabernet Sauvignon has been enjoying being the number one, the so called King of California, for a long time.  And who else could it or should it be anyways?  After all, it was Cabernet that put California or more specific, Napa Valley, on the map in the first place when it won multiple medals at the 1988 World fair in Paris and later in 1976 won awards at the blind tasting against some of France’s finest wines. 
But with today’s offerings of different grapes, such as big powerful Syrah’s, bold Zinfandel’s and many others that are being grown all throughout California, is Cabernet still King?  Based on various articles, certainly so.  I say, no! 

Wine Label - How to read them: Bordeaux

Wine Label - How to read a Bordeaux wine label

Wine Label: Courtesy of Chateau Margaux
First Growth Bordeaux

Wine Label - How to read them: California

Wine Label - How to read a wine label
Wine Label - How to read a wine label
Label: Courtesy of Talbott Kali Hart
Great Chardonnay from Monterey County

Wine labels – Do you know how to read them?

It is a pretty straight forward when you look at a new world wine label.  As example, either it says Merlot or Chardonnay on the label, and therefore lets you know what you are about to buy and drink.  On an old world label, that is a bit more tricky and leaves people wondering what a certain wine might be.  My goal is to shed some light on this subject, so that on your next trip to the wine store, you don’t have to sneak passed the French or Italian sections.  Location plays the major role in old world wine labels.  In Burgundy they use mainly two grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Therefore when you are dealing with a French white wine from the Burgundy region, you most likely are enjoying a Chardonnay.

New world wines – What does that mean?

Have you ever read an article about wine (maybe even one of mine) and wondered what exactly they are referring to when talking about old world or new world wines?  No, us wine geeks haven’t found new land, but we call it “new world wine” as wine making in the US or Australia as example, is relatively new in comparison to Greece or Italy.   Therefore most of Europe and some other Mediterranean regions make up what is called the old world wines.  Some of these countries include France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Greece.  For a complete listing, visit the Wikipedia link below.  All other wine producing countries therefore “new world wines”!

Wine legs | Wine Tears

Have you ever been to a wine tasting?  If so, you properly saw people swirl the wine glass and then hold the glass sideways against a white background.  If not, sorry to break the bad news to you, but haven’t really been to a wine tasting.  Anyways, there actually is a real reason as to why we look at the legs of a wine.  It offers a clear hint about the wine; however it DOES NOT tell you

My wine got legs

Wine legs

Do you know if there is any telling about the wine, just by looking at it?
More in my next blog...

The wine glass – odor free?

Do you ever inspect or smell the wine glass when you sit down in a nice restaurant?  Or do you take it for grant that those would clean and free of any odor?  I used to believe the latter of the two until about 4-5 years ago when my wife and I ordered a nice bottle of wine with dinner, however despite my initial tasting and approval of the wine, my wife disliked the taste of her wine!  I first didn’t want to believe her and thought she might have eaten something that triggered that, but when I smelled her glass,

Wine Temperature

What temperature should my Pinot Noir be served at?  Read below…
If you would ask my wife or one of my friends who works in the wine industry she would properly tell you that I am hard to please when it comes to going out to a restaurant because I have certain expectations which some say are too high.  I agree that there are a few things that really get me upset.  One is a small wine by the glass selection (see previous blog) and wine served at the wrong temperature!   You might say, oh come on!  Now you are really being picky, but I am not talking about proper wine temperature in such detail that my Chianti needs to be at 59 degrees and my Bordeaux at 64 degrees.  I am talking about when your red wine is so darn warm that you think it just walked of the beach or your white

Organic wines - Are they really better for you?

Earlier this month I wrote a blog about natural wine (see link below) and gave it my two cents.  I just finished reading an article about organic wines, or as some people say, green wines/wine making and figured I might as well put my two cents in it while we are at it.
The article didn’t provide any true meat to the matter, as to facts or statistics et cetera, but due to that, it certainly got some people stirred up and a nice discussion was started.  As I am reading thru the article and comments, I find myself nodding in agreement a few times as well as shaking my head in disagreement on some other comments.  What is irritating to me is that some people like to write something just to write something.  What is the point?  I don’t know J
Ok – so back to our wonderful, green world of wine.  Organic, biodynamic or sustainability is really nothing new; it used to be the norm about 50-60 years ago.  Back then, they just didn’t label it as such, because they didn’t have too.  Most of it was a natural production process, but since we don’t like the brown spot on the apples or the romaine lettuce wasn’t big enough, we started to interfere. 

What is Marsala wine?

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking Marsala, is a nice veal scallopini.  But to be perfectly honest, cheap cooking wine comes to mind as well.  That might be driven because of the me working the restaurant industry, but anyways.  Marsala is certainly more than that.
First and foremost, Marsala is a place, to be exact, it is a city in the western part of Sicily.  On this beautiful island south of Italy, Marsala wine is made.  It is made in a fortified style, similar to port wines.  It is relatively high in alcohol and is produced in an amber, gold or ruby version.  And while most of us know the sweet version of Marsala, it also produced dry and semi-dry.
So, see if your local wine store has some nice Marsala, it is really a nice alternative to Port.

What is a Magnum bottle?

Ever heard anybody talking about a Magnum bottle?  If yes, it was most likely a bottle of Magnum Champagne.  Magnum is a size descriptor for bottles of wine.  Just like there are splits aka half bottles of wine or piccolo’s for tiny 187ml bottle, there are names for the bigger wine bottles as well.  See below for a full list of

Who is the god of wine?

Not that I want to start a religious discussion here, or take powers away from the pope, but during the early Greek and Roman times, there actually was a defined god for wine.  I mean, who would not want to be the god of wine?  I certainly wouldn't mind, adding that to my resume :)
But back to the god of wine; some people may say, I know the answer - Bacchus!  But that is just the more known, roman god of wine, not the only one ever holding this great title.  The Greeks say, the true god of wine was Dionysus.  Dionysus was also known to be the god of agriculture and theater.  Legend has it, that he assisted men in freeing themselves from themselves.  How?  Thru the consumption of wine :)


How many calories are in a glass of wine?

It depends on the size of the pour.  But if we use the standard 5oz pour, with most bottles of wines you will be around 120 calories per glass.  Not bad at all, even if you drink a whole bottle of wine, that is only 600 calories versus your BicMac and medium fries at 920 calories!!!  You may rather want to walk versus driving after the burger to get rid of the calories, defiantly don’t drink and drive after the bottle of wine!
See the link below to see a detailed listing:

How do I remove red wine carpet stains?

Soda Water  works great and even salt can help in getting the stain out.  If you are a “just in case” person and want to be prepared, you can even by a product actually called “wine away”, hence the name it removes wine J
But I am going to tell you a secret that works better than all of the above.  White wine.  Yes indeed.  And I have to give credit to my Irish friend, Niamh, for that.  She was the one who gave me a show and tell, after spilling red wine over my light colored carpet a few years back.  Next thing I see her pouring white wine on top of the red wine, and with a little scrubbing – gone.  Thanks Niamh!

how long does an open wine bottle lasts?

So, I started typing this morning and was all ready to deliver part 2 of the cellar edition from yesterday’s blog.  But, I thought to myself, there are more interesting “getting in the know” of wine topics to cover.  Nobody wants to read a lengthy blog about collecting and investing in wine.  Or at least not yet, right?
Instead, I am going to cover a brief series of blogs with some additional questions that arise.  Today, I am going to talk about an open bottle of wine and how long is the juice actually still good?
Once you open the bottle, oxygen will mix with the wine and eventually will spoil your wine within the same day at times.  However,

Cellaring wine! Where to start...

I had a friend ask me the other day what he needed to do, if he wanted to start collecting wine.  I said, mmhhh that is a question with many answers, some of them similar, but some may vary on what you are looking to collect, what you are collecting for et cetera.
So, let’s assume that you just got tired of running to the wine store each time you had friends/guests coming over for dinner.  In that case, a regular wine rack, holding about 20 bottles or so, will do.  Whatever you do, PLEASE do not use

The Wine List

So, what should a wine list look like?  Especially the wines by the glass...
Most importantly the wines offered need to mirror a balanced selection.  Not only by price point and also by offering a variety of different sparkling wines, white, red or rose wines. 
A good wine list should have all of them for you and not like most places, only offering the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet by the glass and the rest in the bottle! 
No, different wines such as dry style rose, Torrontes, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Malbec, red wine blends et cetera, all should be available by the glass for your enjoyment.  And while you add it, offer a cheese and/or chocolate plate to compliment the wine! 

Wine Bars

If you walk into a wine bar, either free standing or as part of a restaurant, wouldn’t you expect a good selection of wines by the glass?  I certainly did, but found myself short about 15-20 wines! 
But not only that, the selection was a “play safe” basic offering.  In other words it had your sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot,

Cooking with Wine - what about kids?

So what about when I want to cook a nice meal for the whole family, but the recipe calls for red wine or brandy etc?
Does it all cook off?
That question is certainly not only pertaining for children but also for women that are pregnant or for people who don't drink alcohol for religious reasons or so.
Fact is that alcohol evaporates at 178° F and water at 212° F.

Cooking with wine

Cooking with wine is certainly a fun way of spending time in the kitchen preparing a meal; just don’t forget to keep some wine for the actual cooking.  Just kidding, but let’s get started.
Beef Bourguignon, as example, is one of my favorite dishes and properly known by most people from either watching Julia Child in the earlier years on television or because of the recent movie called Julia and Juliet.  But that is not the only use for wine in cooking.  And as my 5 year old daughter would say – “I know that”, you are properly thinking the same.  Anyways, I use red wine often to either marinate pork tenderloins or skirt steaks

Natural Wine

Yesterday evening I read an interesting article about natural wine.  I had heard about it a little bit, but never really bothered reading up on it until yesterday.  As I was reading this article, I asked myself, what are they trying to point out here?  Are they saying, what we identify as a Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t really a Cabernet Sauvignon?  What we claim to be some of the best Bordeaux or Burgundy wines aren’t really what the grape

Football tailgating wines

With the football season in full swing, the weekend activities have shifted from nice weekends at the beach and evenings filled with fun, laughter and a glass of wine on the patio to bold, hearty food and American football.  Wait a minute?  This is supposed to be a wine blog!  It is, don’t you worry, it wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t try to squeeze a glass of wine into this American traditional feast!
So, let’s begin with listing some typical tailgating foods and some wine pairings.  First, the appetizers such as Chili, buffalo chicken or even a spinach dip.
For the Chili, I am going to Chile and would suggest a Chilean Carmenere.  The wine

Wine with a twist? Natural cork versus stelvin closure

After posting yesterday’s blog about red wine and its relationship to health, I thought to myself what am I attacking next.  Wine and health benefits certainly can fire off some excitement amongst people, but what really gets a wine lover fired up? 
I got it – Screwcaps!  Yes indeed, I said it!  The constant debates if screw cap closures should be used on wine or not, still hasn’t found its rest.  And in my personal opinion,

Does the kind and size of glass matter? Part 2

Not to make things in the simple wine education blog complicated, I will try my best to streamline the difference between various white wine glasses and red wine glasses.  For the most part, white wine glasses tend to be smaller than their red wine counterparts.  Why?  Simply because most red wines need more aeration to fully show their beauty

Does the proper wine glass matter?

When I grew up, it certainly didn’t matter to me!  I cared less,  if I had my beer, mixed drink or wine out of the can, bottle, glass or despite the so called “proper” glass.  But growing up and the ongoing gain of experience, do to working in the restaurant and hotel industry, have change that a bit. 
At my house, I pride myself of having the glass categories covered, and I truly dislike when I spend a good amount of money at a restaurant, and they don’t even offer the proper glassware.   Ok, but this hasn’t really cut into the subject of “does it matter”!  I say “IT DOES!” And here are some reason as to why it matters

red wine making

The path of redwine making
Instead of me writing another lenghtly blog, I thought to myself, it might be better to keep to short "sticky" notes.  That will simplefy the otherwise lenghtly and complicated approach to red wine making.

White wine made simple

Hope everybody got well thru Labor Day weekend and had the chance to grill outdoors with family and friends.  Honestly speaking, I drank more beer than wine this past weekend, but when you grill brats, ribs, et cetera that often comes natural.
Anyways, as I mentioned on Sunday, I will try giving you an easy overview as to how white wine is made.
We will not talk about what kind of grape clones to use, nor what kind of soil is important for which grape.  We will simply grab the bull by its horns and talk about pick, press, barrel and most favorable, drink!
In North America and Europe, grapes are being picked

"Clearly" grapejuice

Good Morning.  Isn't it amazing how we all take certain things for granted?  I mean, because we know the answer, we believe that everybody should know the answer as well.  Oh well, I had one of those scenarios just the other day.  Somehow I started talking about white Merlot and I could see the eyes of that person had gotten bigger and confusion took over his facial impressions.

White Zinfandel Syndrome

Summer is almost over, but here in Florida it is still pretty hot, it is Labor Day weekend and the question that simmered in my mind all summer long was of course - what kind of wine should I drink?
Before I get really started here in a minute, I must warn you that I am very passionate about dry style rose wines in the summer and hate the fact that most restaurants don't carry any because of the white zinfandel syndrome!  

Decanting Wine | Yes or No? When and Why?

As a known wine lover and sommelier, people often ask me, should I decant this wine or not.  My first answer is always - "that depends".  I know that this is not really helpful to answer their question, but in my opinion that question doesn't really have a straight forward answer neither.
If you are unsure yourself, don't feel bad.  Lots of people are not sure when or when not to decant a wine.  Not only that, but even amongst wine lovers and experts there are split opinions as to what wines to decant and which shouldn't be decanted. 
But I am already getting myself again ahead of myself.  Let's first take a step back and talk about why we would decant a wine to begin with. 

Indulgence | Wine | Chocolate | Heaven

As promised yesterday, we will dip a bit deeper into the chocolates today.  Since you are reading this blog, you must have a passion for chocolate and with that love chocolate soufflés.  I mean who doesn't like that warm, melting in your mouth, chocolate cake deliciousness?  Add a raspberry sauce and now marry that soufflé with nice late-harvest sauvignon blanc such as a Sauternes  and you will know what a “match in heaven” is all about.  Sauternes is very famous for its sweet dessert style white wines and is situated in the Bordeaux region of France.  California also produces some great late harvest wines, Hall and Honig winery to name a couple of examples.
For everybody that likes sparkling wine with chocolate, try a sweet,

Wine and Chocolate Pairing - Any wine, any chocolate?

First of all, this "research" certainly was great fun, however thanks to this blog, I gained about 4 to 5 pounds do to all the sampling of different chocolates and wines.   Very joyful task, I have to admit :)
But enough of that, let me dive into chocolate and red wine.  Very important to know is that not every kind of chocolate goes with every style of wine.  So when you hear somebody talking about a chocolate and wine pairing, don't think of immediate satisfaction, as the wrong chocolate will make your wine taste awful!  So what do I need to know?   

Is steak and red wine a good food and wine pairing? It's a good start, but...

Red wine and food is similar to the white wine and food.  Lighter style wines such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Gamay, go better with meats that are often less fatty and are lighter in texture. 
For your pork and veal dishes, stay with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay (Beaujolais) or Barbera.  For the red meats you would want to pair Zinfandel (NO - not white zinfandel!), Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and for gamey meats use Barolo, Sangiovese made as Brunello de Montalcino, Pinot Noir and Mourvedre.

White wine pairing simplefied

When you have light dishes such as seared scallops, a crisp white wine will be your best bet.  I would suggest a nice Sauvignon Blanc from either New Zealand for its grassy, citrus like flavors or a French version from the Loire Valley for its more mineral, herbal notes. 
If you have a dish with a creamy sauce such as a pasta Alfredo you can either compliment the richness of the dish by enjoying a nice glass of California Chardonnay or by “cutting” the richness of the sauce with a bone dry Riesling or a Gewuerztraminer.  Both are known for their high acidity and I would look for to the Alsace for some great examples of these grape varietals.   Besides the kind of meat or Fish you have, sauces play a great role in selection of the proper wine selection.  Below is a guideline for things to

What is the truth behind white wine with fish and red wine with steaks?

Since I work in the restaurant industry for some time now, there are certain questions that keep reoccurring.  One of them is the ultimate question “Should I have a white wine or a red wine with my dinner”.  I hear lots of guests still holding on to an old rule of white wine with fish and red wine with red meat, but is that rule actually still valid?  Not really!  That rule is called a traditional pairing of food and wine.  However this would mean that you shouldn’t have a nice Pinot Noir with a broiled Salmon although this a beautiful pairing, just as it is nice to have a Chardonnay with Veal.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  As mentioned above, there are certainly wines which compliment a dish better than others, but at the end of the day, drink what you like! 

Traditional pairing or bearing?

Just found this online.  It fits with our subject and was just to funny not to post here.
Thanks to Dr. Pike who seems to be the artist behind this picture.

Food and Wine

Starting with this wine blog, we will cover the Top 10 frequent asked questions about wine, wine pairings and food and wine. 
Some of them will be short and to the point while others, by nature of the subject, will be longer.  If you have a question, or would like to add to the subject, please do so.  General comments or feedback are welcome as well.
The idea for this blog to offer wine education while having fun at the same time, so I hope you will join for this journey.  Tomorrow I will write about the first FAQ about wine.

Tipos, if any, are intentional :) 

2010 Honig Sauvignon Blanc

I had the great pleasure of meeting Stephanie Honig for a tasting and meet and greet while I was working in Jupiter, Florida either late 2008 or at the beginning of 2009.  Anyways, I had just added the Honig Sauvignon Blanc on our wine list 3 weeks prior to that after tasting it for the first time and was very impressed with the wine.  When I moved up to Jacksonville, I knew that I wanted to place this great wine back on my list.  I haven't had a vintage yet, that either had a bad bottle or didn't taste as good as the last.

The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc displays great aromas of orange blossom, some stone fruits and grapefruit, giving it that citrusy, refreshing taste what we are looking for in new world sauvignon blancs.  However, it is not over the top as the sauvignon blancs from New Zealand and has a medium body that offers a nice, lingering finish. 
Since they only use stainless steel and used neutral oak, the wine displays itself true to california sauvignon blanc at its finest.

So, during your next visit at our beautiful 619 Ocean View, start your evening with a refreshing glass of Honig Sauvignon Blanc!  Perfect for the warm summer days ahead of us.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet one of the Honig family members, make sure to take advantage of that.  They are very nice and humble!  And they know how to make good wine.  For more info, visit their website at:
Honig Winery

2008 Burgundy - Domaine de Montille

If you follow wine closely or got your new wine spectator in the mail already, some of this may no news to you.  However, I am actually adding a personal touch to my burgundy wine coverage.
For all that don't know:
2008 was looking to be a disaster vintage, as the summer unloaded to much rain and cool weather for a great year in burgundy.  But by the second week of September, wind from the north helped drying the grapes and the climate turned favorable warm.  This change in weather saved the vintage, but yields were smaller than usual.
Back to the wine:  My first try of the 2008 vintage was actually with a great Burgundian wine maker and owner, who sat right across my table, at a wine luncheon.  His name is Etienne de Montille and he owns Domaine de Montille, which produces world class pinot noirs and chardonnays from the Cote de Beaune.
The wine that I am adding to our wine list, is the 2008 Bourgogne Rouge.  It was well rounded, pure burgundy style (terror driven) pinot noir at its finest.  And that at a very reasonalble price point for a great pinot noir from Burgundy.

Other Domaine de Montille wines that I got to taste that day (all of them where great):
The first wine I tried was a Chardonnay and it was very good!  The 2007 Beaune Blanc 1er Cru Les Aigrots was amazingly well balanced with a very fresh and pure nose of white flowers, peaches and citrus notes, which complemented the raciness and minerality of the wine.  Long finish!

- 2008 Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies:  ruby colored, with notes of floral and soft, slow ripening fruit on medium plus body.
- 2007 Volnay 1er Cru Les Brouillards: This full cluster fermentated pinot showed notes of rose pedals, raspberry and intense minerality on the palate.
- 2008 Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles: The Pezerolles was a bigger pinot in my eyes than the last two.  It showed more dominant red fruit (plum, red current) and only some softer floral notes. Also full cluster fermentation.
- 2008 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens: great, refined, perfect balanced wine. The fruit aromas, the floral notes and the minerality and terror make you want to drink more.

Aging Cellar at their winery in Volnay, Burgundy
Cheers until next week.

Steelhead Sauvignon Blanc

The Steelhead Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that is produced by Steelhead Vineyards.  The wine itself is a great representative for California Sauvignon Blanc and its story behind it, makes it even better.  This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County was founded thru a unique project partnership between trout unlimited and steelhead.  The project started to give tribute to the steelhead and coho salmon as well as the restoration of their habitats in northern california waterways.
The wine shows great aromas of meyer-lemons, light floral notes, honeysuckle and apricote.  The wine displays crisp minerality and has high acidity with a lingering citrus finish. 
With only 13.5% volume, this wine is very refreshing and I would suggest our sea scallops, brie dumplings, and flounder with such wine. 


Cayalla RTW

The Cayalla RTW is a wine produced by Firesteed Cellars.  2004 was the first produced vintage of this great red wine blend and the grapes come from top sourced sites in the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley appellations out of Oregon and Washington state. 
The Cayalla name was derived from the Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes in the eastern part of Washington and Oregon. 
We currently still offer the 2004 vintage on our list, which is a blend from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.  The wine shows notes of berries, vanilla bean and some pleasant herbal notes.  On the pallate, chocolate and dark cherry notes linger along a good balance of earth & minerals and a touch of acidity.  This wine is a steal and a must try for Pacific North-East wine lovers.  Anybody who had other wines from Howard Rossbach's Firesteed Cellars, knows that this must be a a great wine.
On our list under interesting reds at $8/glass or $32/bottle.
Martin Diehr

Florida Whiskey

Who would have thought?  Certainly not me!  Not that I am a whiskey snob or so, but Florida Whiskey?!
It certainly got my attention when I met the owners and producers Dick and Marti of Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey a couple of month ago.
Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey is truly a handmade, micro batched Florida whiskey.  And it is very good!
The whiskey only ages for about 1 year in 3 gallon wood barrels, but it is smooth with great notes of oak and some hint of caramel from the ageing.  The whiskey is hand bottled, labeled, etc. after that.
Look up their website for more in depth information if you like whiskey or got curious!
Or come to 619 Ocean View for dinner and try a sip.  You will be surprised how great whiskey from our own backyard can be!
Palm Ridge Reserve

Ambiance, Great Food and stunning wines

At our 619 Ocean View Restaurant, we have a great menu.  Some of our signature dishes include our Parma Scallop appetizer and the Roasted Grouper (see picture below).
Our wine list is put together by placing a great focus on wines that not everybody knows and a large, by the glass, wine selections of 40 selections strong.  I continue to seek out wines that are off the beaten path or are simply not a wine that lots of people would know about.
Why would I want to have a list that doesn't crown itself with only Wine Spectator or Robert Parker top rated wines?
It is simple.  Every other restaurant does that already and not enough people try to educate guests on all these other great wines out there.  And that is where my personal desire and mission comes in.
In this blog, we will focus on wines that meet this criteria & food recipes that match our Mediterranean touch.
Any great menu suggestions and especially stories about wines you found that not many people know, but is seriously great wine, please share with us.

Our mediterranean, seafood inspired restaurant is located right on the Atlantic Ocean in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.