Thursday, 31. December 2009
2009 has been a busy year with all of the ups and downs of any typical year. In 2009 Wine Trail Traveler visited 150 wineries discovering new wine regions in Texas, California, Wisconsin and Kentucky as well as returning to previously visited areas to visit other undiscovered wineries.
Along the way, we met many wonderful people both winery staff and visitors. Visiting a winery is an unparalleled experience. As our daughter who recently visited a winery that was working to produce a blueberry wine, said afterwards, “The people are just so great.” So perhaps she is beginning to understand why we enjoy our work on the Wine Trail Traveler website.
We wish all of winery friends we have met along the way a prosperous and wonderful 2010 and look forward to meeting many more while discovering the wonders of the wine world.
Wednesday, 30. December 2009
I haven’t discovered many recipes that use champagne as an ingredient. However, if you are planning a New Year’s party check out this recipe. The recipe, Ginger and Peach Tart calls for 2/3 cup of Champagne so you can enjoy the rest of the bottle with your friends. You can find the recipe at http://winetrailtraveler.com/recipes/dessert23.php .
This recipe was provided to Wine Trail Traveler by Steve Pickell, Executive Chef Café Champagne at Thornton Winery, Temecula, California.
Tuesday, 29. December 2009
I am somewhat reluctant taking a hybrid grape wine to a family gathering. When the majority of wine drinkers drink Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Malbec and a Chianti introducing an east coast Chambourcin was a gamble. However, I had a 1997 Chambourcin by Naylor Wine Cellars called Seductivo that I was curious about drinking with fellow wine enthusiasts. So we opened it up. It had a deep red translucent color, red fruit aroma and fruity taste. The tannins were mild and the acid was noticable, but not over whelming. The finish was balanced. Everyone liked this twelve-year old Pennsylvanian Chambourcin.
Chambourcin does well along the east coast and many wineries use it for at least one of the wines in their portfolio. Although usually drunk young, the ‘97 aged well and shows that this French American hybrid can benefit from a decade of aging. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution should include picking up a bottle of Chambourcin and putting it away until 2020.
Monday, 28. December 2009
How are you ringing in the New Year? Are you planning on celebrating with a delightful glass of Champagne or perhaps a sparkling wine and hopes for a brighter 2010?
According to the EU, only wine from the Champagne may be labeled “Champagne.” Some wineries have been grandfathered in and thus able to use “Champagne.” Visitors to some US wineries will note that the word Champagne or sparkling wine may be used.
Does it make a difference to a consumer whether they are drinking Champagne or a sparkling wine? I suppose the perception of drinking Champagne is one of expense but is there a difference in quality between Champagne and sparkling wine? I enjoy a good sparkling wine as much as good Champagne. To me the difference is between what grapes are used as well as the skill of the winemaker.
What will you be celebrating the New Year with? A sparkling wine, Champagne or another type of wine?
Wednesday, 23. December 2009
Are you looking for an unusual recipe for Christmas morning breakfast or brunch? Chateau Chantal in Michigan provided this recipe to add to the Wine Trail Traveler online recipes. Tipsy Fruit Pancakes can be made with four cups of fresh peaches or fresh cherries. The recipe also calls for 2 Cups Chateau Chantal Pear Brandy (Eau de Vie) (OR 1 500 ml bottle of Chateau Chantal Cerise). The fruit soaks in the liquor overnight.
Chateau Chantal is located on Mission Peninsula and overlooks Grand Traverse Bay. It is a beautiful location to visit. The winery also offers cooking classes and wine seminars. Visit the Wine Trail Traveler website to view an article about Chateau Chantal.
Monday, 21. December 2009
We spent Thursday and Friday wondering if relatives and friends would make be able to make it to a special family event this past weekend. We called family to tell them of the impending snowstorm. One family’s members in Massachusetts were able to leave early Friday night and made it safely to our home at about 5am. Another family member arrived at the airport on Thursday and others arrived Thursday. Others who were hoping to make it to the “ engagement party” were unable due to the weather. Some were from Pennsylvania, New York City and Virginia. We’re sorry they missed this wonderful event but hope to see them all soon.
Needless to say they missed the wonderful Mulled Wine that my son prepared. He is an excellent cook and I wish I had his talents. He knows what spices to add to anything and isn’t afraid to experiment. He tastes a little and adjusts the mix by adding a little more of this or that. In the case of mulled wine he added a few more spices. He reminds me of my grandmother and mother-in-law, both of who were able to cook without measuring ingredients and ended with sumptuous dishes.
For anyone wondering about the ingredients for this weekend’s mulled wine, the ingredients included two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, sugar, orange pieces with rind, orange juice, cinnamon, apricot brandy, and whole cloves. Heat the ingredients for a couple of hours and its ready!
Are you creative? Try a mulled wine “from scratch.”
Thursday, 17. December 2009
Here is a recipe that may be the perfect holiday solution to a pickup snack for when guests arrive. Only three ingredients are needed: port, pecans and sugar. Port Pecan Halves may be also be a perfect gift to give a friend or neighbor. Craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann’s have holiday gift containers that are easy to fill. Grocery stores have easy to use plastic storage containers. Add a red bow and the gift will be delightful. The recipe is available on the Wine Trail Traveler website at http://winetrailtraveler.com/recipes/appetizer10.php .
While at the moment I don’t have pecans in the kitchen, I have a large bag of almonds. Hmm…wondering if I can substitute almonds for pecans.
Happy Holiday Cooking with wine!
Wednesday, 16. December 2009
Recently while visiting family and friends out of state, we had the opportunity to enjoy a wine from Napa Valley. Our host chose a wine from Regusci Winery. This was a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Angelo’s Vineyard. The sommelier commented that this wine was in limited production. Only 794 cases were produced.
I usually enjoy a Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner especially beef. This particular wine was wonderful. The wine was a deep, opaque purple color. It offered a bouquet of dark fruit nuances with chocolate. The taste was silky with tannins. The wine paired well with the sliced prime beef and mashed potatoes that were also excellent. We decided that the wine was so good that one could enjoy it without food.
As my friends know, I enjoy reading the back labels of wine bottles. Sometimes one sees unique comments, pairing and on this bottle of wine there is a tribute to the owner’s father. “The vineyard is named in honor of my father Angelo, who over the last thirty-five years has taught me extraordinary lessons in both grape growing and in life.”
What a wonderful tribute to a father!
Tuesday, 15. December 2009
For those who enjoy Champagne, there is good news. In addition to the light effervescent taste of Champagne, according to an article in the Telegraph online newspaper, “Champagne is as Good for the Heart as Cocoa – But More Fun, Scientists Find,” there may also be health benefits.
At Reading University in England, Dr. Jeremy Spencer, head of a team of researchers, discovered that Champagne has some of the health benefits that red wines have been discovered to have.
The Telegraph newspaper article quoted Dr. Spencer, “We have found that a couple of glasses a day has a beneficial effect on the walls of blood vessels – which suggests champagne has the potential to reduce strokes and heart disease.”
Does the Champagne need to be “Champagne?” According to the article Cava and Prosecco also provide the health benefits.
The article mentions Champagnes produced with red and white grapes. Here in the US, sparkling wines are also produced with single varietal grapes including Riesling and several other varieties. Will the research show that sparkling wine produced as a single varietal with Riesling be as healthful? I imagine that this will begin another research study.
For the holidays enjoy a glass of Champagne and delight in the fact that research is showing that it may have the health benefits of red wine.
Monday, 14. December 2009
Yesterday we had a delightful Christmas and Holiday celebration with family and friends. It was great seeing and talking to family and friends we haven’t seen in ages. The ages ranged from an almost one year old to our grand dame of 92. She is now a great great grandmother!
There were numerous goodies to choose between. I noticed that the teens and millenials really enjoyed the pizza. Others offerings included tender barbecue ribs and fried chicken. Delightful salads were available including a green salad with blackberries and strawberries adding color. A party mix to nibble on was made with pretzels and Chex cereal. It was sweet and one could nibble it for hours. I really need to get that recipe as well as the recipe for the chocolate and marshmallow bars. Yum!
Several wines were also available. I had a small glass of a dry red wine. It was smooth and very nice. Then I spied the Champagne and opted for that. It was light and palate cleansing and seemed to be the perfect wine to have with such an array of foods.
Terry had a Cabernet Sauvignon that was dry and smooth. A bottle of Tannat from Virginia was also available. He decided to see what blending a Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat would do to the nuances of the wine. After tasting the blend, he announced that it was very good.
We hope you are enjoying the holiday spirit as much as we are.