After a short holiday hangover the first week of January, 2018 starts quickly on the Phoenix food and wine scene. The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s is hosting its first wine dinner of 2018 Wednesday January 10th as it pairs with Hall Wines from Napa and Sonoma Counties at the Arcadia Lite neighborhood restaurant.
Hall Wines & pairings
The 6-course family style meal will be paired with 5 wines from Hall Wines and its Sonoma partner Walt Wines.
The first 3 courses paired will be paired with Walt Wines chardonnay & pinot noirs from Sonoma with the bigger reds saved for the last 2 courses from Hall Wines in St. Helena.
Walt Chardonnay Seared Diver scallop with a citrus beurre blanc, blood orange, crispy shallots and chive oil with corn nut dust
Walt Pinot Noir Blue Jay Pan-seared breast of canard duck with sweet potato fondant drizzled with a balsamic cherry reduction topped with kale crisp
Walt Pinot Noir la Brisa Pappardelle pasta with porcini mushroom crème and dehydrated prosciutto, Cherve and oregano leaves
Hall Merlot Coq au vin prepared with pearl onions, baby root vegetables and lardon in classic presentation
Hall Cabernet Tri-colored peppercorns and flakey salt crusted rib eye with wilted greens and potato crème and Chef’s red wine reduction
Sweet Chocolate shortbread cookie with macerated berries and dark
This classic pairing dinner starts at 6:30 the evening of the 10th. $85 per person.
RSVP to 602-626-5050. The Market is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018. http://themarketphx.com/
Some of the most exciting new wines coming to the United States are the delicious and racy wines from Eastern European countries such as Croatia & Slovenia. Situated on the north and eastern side of the Adriatic Sea and across from Italy both countries have centuries of wine making tradition that has only recently become evident in the U.S. Making both wines from grapes only found in their respected countries and grapes that are internationally known, both Croatia and Slovenia wines are being widely accepted by great retailers and restaurants around the country. Many are practicing natural methods of wine making using only grapes and natural yeast, which allows for the terroir to speak through the wine. So don’t be surprised to see some of these wines at your local wine shop or restaurant. And more importantly give them a try.
Coronica Malvasia is a crisp, acidic white wine that offers good fruit, minerality and is a well balanced food wine. Grown in nutrient rich soil & near the sea, it benefits from the Mediterranean climate found in the Istrian region of northern Croatia. This wine would go great with both fish and lighter fare foods. Retails for about $20.
Kabaj Sivi Pinot is known as pinot grigio outside of Slovenia and is made by Frenchman Jean Michel Morel and his wife Katja Kabaj at there western Slovenian winery, not far from Collio Italy. The Kabaj family has been selling grapes for generations and only started making wine in the 1993 after Slovenia disbanded from Yugoslavia. With vineyards near the Italian border, Kabaj makes wine in a very old world style using clay vats (called “Qveri amphora”) for fermenting and aging in some of their wines.
This full bodied pinot is crisp, lively and dry also shows good fruit and complexity rarely found in pinot grigio’s. It is aged for a year in oak and held back 3 years prior to release. It would go well with shellfish, cheese’s and fruits. Retail is about $20.
On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Paradise Valley, Arizona over 30 of Paso Robles 200 wineries were in attendance showcasing their wines as part of the Paso Robles Winery Alliance Tour.
Paso Robles is situated half way between Los Angeles & San Francisco. Although it’s not far from the Pacific Ocean, Paso does not get the cooling oceans breezes that many other coastal areas get, therefore the days are hot & nights cool down. Those conditions make for some big, lush Cabernets Sauvignons, Syrahs & Zinfandels. Though those grapes are the main attraction from Paso Robles you also see Viognier, Chardonnay and other lesser planted varietals, can you say Touriga Nacional or Verdelho just to name a few. Still with a small town atmosphere Paso grower & producers work together, trading secrets, buying & selling of grapes for the over all good of promoting Paso as a wine destination for wine producing and visiting. The most commonly asked question in Paso is “Are you on the West side or East side” as Highway 101 runs right through the town and wineries and vineyards are each side and both sides have micro climates that will affect grape growing.
Many great wines were tasted and even greater people including several owners and wine makers were in attendance to talk about their passion for wine. Some delicious Chardonnay’s & Zins were present from Sextant Wines, Robert Hall was in the house pouring his line up of whites & reds as was brewer turned winemaker & winery owner Sherman Thatcher of his namesake winery. Thatcher Winery makes only 1,800-2,000 cases and does a great job with 2004 being his 1st vintage. Former Wild Horse owner & founder Kenneth Volk was talking up his his newest wines from his latest label(he sold Wild Horse a few years back). Halter Ranch Vineyards who grows grapes for a lot of Paso producers also makes some wine themselves and gets a little crazy with their Cotes de Paso blends using rarely drank Picpoul Blanc & Grenache Blanc in the whites & tiny bits of Counoise & Cinsault in the reds. It was good to re visit the wines of Eberle winery with Marcy & Gary Eberle as it was the 1st time since I spent a birthday at their winery tasting wine & toasting the sunset. One of my final stops was at Justin Winery’s table to taste some recent offerings and wonder if the wines will be the same now that Justin just sold the winery to the Fiji Water Co.
It was great to see some of the newbies of Paso Robles wine scene and some of the veterans who have blazed a trail to put Paso on the wine map. Big & bold wines seem to be the reputation for Paso wines, but I’m glad to report that there is also an elegant side to many of the wines tasted, showing some well balanced wines. Cheers! www.pasowine.com
Organic wines have been available for quite some time and it’s only recently that people have become more aware of them. Organic wines need to be certified “organic” by USDA to be labeled organic. Organic in a nutshell means that the grapes used are not treated with pesticides, fertilizers. 100% Organic means ” that all grapes used are certified organic & no sulfites added”. Organic means “95% of ingredients are certified organic & may a little sufites added”. Made with organic grapes means “at least 70% of grapes are certified organic & may contain sulfites”. Some organic wines are even vegan. Organic is not be confused with Eco friendly(although most organic producers are) or sustainable. Eco friendly can be used when using recycled glass for bottle, paper for labels, no run off into streams that may hurt environment & solar power. Most retailers have organic wines but Whole Foods seems to have the best selection. Some names to look for when buying organic wines…..
Organic Vinters (Vegan)
Stellar Organics (Vegan)
As the holiday season starts one of the hardest decisions people are going to make is “What wine should we drink with…..”. This post will give you a quick ides of what to look for at your favorite wine retailer.
Pinot Noirs is a versatile grape that will go well with turkey, ham and and all the fixings. Oregon, California or the Burgundy region of France are the ones to look for. You’ll want a well balanced Pinot that can stand up to all you will be enjoying them with. Expect to pay about $20 for a good, solid Pinot Noir.
Beaujolais is another red wine that works well with holiday meals. Made from the Gamay grape from the Burgundy region of France, Beaujolais is lighter and fruitier than Pinot Noir. Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the 3rd Thursday of November and is from the most recent harvest and is a celebration of the harvest. Beaujolais should run less than $20 and Nouveau should be less than $12.
For the white wine drinkers at the table a Riesling works well. A Riesling from Australia, California or Germany would drink well. The crisp acidity & the mild fruit offer a great combination and should compliment your meal. Again find one that is well balanced. You can find a good Riesling for less than $18
Does the change in color of the leaves and temperatures mean you should be changing your wine preferences? I’ve never entirely believed in that rule, as there really are no rules with wine drinking. “Drink what you like, when you like is” my motto and as the holidays approach & temps. take a dive is it time to start drinking big reds & put away the whites wine? No I say. I’ve always keep an open mind to wine drinking(and so should you!) but if I drink wine I usually will let the food dictate my wine selection, not the weather. People usually think of pinot noirs as a common pairing for holiday fixings, but a riesling from Australia or Alsace will compliment the meal also. Why wait for New Years Eve for the bubbles, the cool, crisp bubbles still taste really good watching the kids trick or treating on Halloween. What goes better with apple or pumpkin pie, than a late harvest riesling or dessert wine. So as we change seasons twice a year, don’t feel as if you have to change your drinking habits or play “by the rules”. Remember the motto “Drink what you like, when you like”