Ruhlmann Gewurztraminer – And I Paired it with Asparagus

Ruhlmann Gewurztraminer – And I Paired it with AsparagusI’ve been wanting to do a Gewurztraminer review here for a while and I’m finally getting around to one today.  And at the same time I’m wading into what might be the most debated wine pairing topic: Asparagus.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time debating which wines go best with asparagus, I’ll just share this experience.  Fellow wine blogger Neil at Brooklynguy’s Food and Wine Blog wrote a post about pairing wine with asparagus just a link weeks ago, so you can check out his post if you’re interested.  I agree with Neil’s position that the challenge of pairing wine with asparagus is exaggerated.  And I also agree with his choice, Gewurztraminer—although the one he selected is drier than the one I had.
I will note that I didn’t pair this wine with straight asparagus, but rather with a shrimp and asparagus risotto.  The strength of the asparagus flavor is a bit diluted in this dish, which probably makes pairing a wine with it even simpler.  I found the original recipe here, but altered it a bit to suit my tastes.  Here’s what I did:
Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto
5 ounces of Arborio rice
4 ounces of asparagus, cut in one-inch pieces
4 ounces of boiled shrimp
4 cups of shrimp stock
½ cup of Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of chopped shallot
1 ½ teaspoons of chopped parsley
1 cup of dry colorless wine
Instructions Read more

Les Deux Rives Corbières Rouge

Les Deux Rives Corbières RougeI’m excited to be reviewing another French wine today as so often I’ve found that French wines are stylistically aligned to my taste preferences.  This wine comes from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon province in Southern France.  This is along the Mediterranean Coast, south of the Cotes du Rhone province, where I’ve found many fantastic value wines.  Corbières is one of the largest wine appellations in France. Read more

FAT bastard Merlot – Full and Approachable

FAT bastard Merlot – Full and ApproachableWhen I see a wine named “Stout Bastard” I don’t know what to expect.  My first impression is that wine is all about marketing shtick and has no real substance.  But then I reckon that perhaps the winemaker just has a excellent sense of humor.  There’s no real way to know without giving it an objective tasting.
Stout Bastard is even more odd for a name of a French wine, given how traditional and majestic the names and marks are on most French wines.  I mean, I could see this appearance from Australia, but France???  There’s something I like about the elegance of the traditional marketing of French wines, but it can also be intimidating to those who are new to it.  I remember a time when I avoided the French aisle due to that.  So, I have to give the producers of Stout Bastard credit for building a French wine more approachable from a marketing perspective.
According to the tale they tell, the name comes from a joke between winemaker Thierry Boudinaud and wine industrialist Guy Anderson.  One day when when they were tasting wine samples Thierry commented that a wine tasted like a stout bastard, and the name stuck.
As a brand, Stout Bastard offers seven different varieties of wine, all from the Languedoc province in Southern France.  And all of their wines are priced for budget-conscious consumers. Read more

Roncier Red Wine – Pinot Noir Revisited

Roncier Red Wine – Pinot Noir RevisitedSeveral months ago we did a series on inexpensive Pinot Noir and since then I’ve gotten a number of recommendations for some “I need to try.”  I chose to revisit the theme with a few of those recommendations.  I’m not going to do another full series right now, just a handful over the next few posts.
The first one is a Burgundy, obviously from France.  This one comes from Maison L Tramier & Fils, a family run winery started by Louis Tramier in 1842.  They produce several different marks and started the Roncier mark in the 1960′s.  If you go looking for Roncier, you probably won’t find it in the Pinot Noir section, but may find it in the French section.  And although you won’t see the words “Pinot Noir” anywhere on the mark, that’s what this is.
The additional thing you won’t see on the mark is a year.  This is a non-vintage wine.  They claim that the wine is consistent from one year to the next, but I’ve stated previous to that I prefer to have vintages told.  Of course this is labeled as a “Vin de Table,” the lowest designation for a French wine, so the argument could be made that vintages are irrelevant as you should only expect an average, drinkable wine—which is exactly what I found with this one.
Despite getting a glowing recommendation from a friend for this wine, I found it to be average.  It was decent, but not extraordinary.  The aromas were nice, but it seemed to fall off on the palate. Read more

La Font du Vent – Les Promesses Côtes du Rhône

La Font du Vent – Les Promesses Côtes du RhôneAs we continue our tour of wines from the Côtes du Rhône province, we try this one produced by Jean and Michel Gonnet.  Gonnet is most well known for producing Chateauneuf du Pape from the Font de Michelle estate, which was established in 1950.  In 2002 the family bought additional vineyards in the Gard province, west of Orange, and started producing Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages wine below the Font du Vent name. Read more

Louis Bernard Côtes du Rhône

Louis Bernard Côtes du RhôneAt first glance, the name “Louis Bernard” has a very regal appeal to it.  It conjures up images of an ancient world wine producing family that has passed down the estate and wine-building knowledge for several generations. Ah, but how a name can be deceiving.
Louis Bernard was in fact established in 1976 as a cooperative of over 40 estates, centered around Orange, France.  They brought together the expertise and labor of numerous producers below a single mark.  In 1990 the mark was bought Boisset Family Estates, a conglomerate of different marks—mostly French.
Currently, Boisset produces several different styles of wine from the Rhone valley below the Louis Bernard name, which are subdue produced as a cooperative of numerous producers.  Built-in below the Louis Bernard name you’ll find Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Luberon, Vacqueyras, and Côtes du Rhône to name a few. Read more

Domaine Brusset Laurent B. Côtes du Rhône

Domaine Brusset Laurent B. Côtes du RhôneDomaine Brusset was established in 1947 by André Brusset and is currently run by his son and grandson.  They produce a number of different wines from the Côtes du Rhône province, and in particular they have a number of wines from Cairanne which is one of the best regarded areas with the Côtes du Rhône Villages designation.  They also produce a link wines from Gigondas, a Côtes du Ventoux and this Côtes du Rhône. Read more

Chante Cigale Cuvée de la Génestière

Chante Cigale Cuvée de la GénestièreAlthough this wine is technically a Vin de Table, I’m calling it a Côtes du Rhône.  Vin de Table is considered the low end of French wines, but Chante Cigale Cuvée de la Génestière is a wine of excellent quality despite this categorization.  It technically doesn’t qualify to be a Côtes du Rhône because the wine producer used Tempranillo in this blend, a grape that isn’t allowed in Côtes du Rhône wine.  In fact, there is quite a lot in this blend: 50% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Marselan, 10% Tempranillo, 5% Carignan, 5% Counoise, and 5% Terret Noir. I believe that Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, is also not permitted as a Côtes du Rhône grape variety. Read more