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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Anti-Valentine Wine

Are you having an "anti-Valentine's Day" party?  
If so, these wines may just put you in the mood for love!

Bitch Bubbly
For lonely hearts, V'day haters and anyone who has been stood up, there is a Black Monday wine for you. With its tease of red fruit sweetness and tongue-tingling effervescence, this wine will wash away those blues. Tasty with both savories and sweets, pair it with a fat steak or serve with an entire meal of desserts from lemon pound cake to chocolate chip cookies. $10.00 

Boekenhoutskloof 2010 Chocolate Block 
One of South Africa's best-selling wines, it is a surprising blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier. Syrah dominates the flavor with raspberry, blackberry and almond notes with just a hint of pepper and spice. The wine will work with most poultry and red meat but it will also go well with, as the name implies, rich, dark chocolate. $30.00
Terra Valentine 2008 Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 
This big, sexy, serious wine offers chocolate, spice and everything nice. Up front, its flavors are fruit-driven but then its dark, earthy notes emerge toward the back of the palate and linger on the finish. A wine this masculine deserves manly foods like buffalo short ribs or rosemary-crusted lamb shank. $45.00

Jealous Bitch Cabernet Sauvignon
While winemaking is quite a civil profession, it can at times be "dog-eat-dog." A rating of 94 points or above can foster a great deal of jealousy in some of the most genteel wine people.

With our Jealous Bitch Cabernet, we endeavor to offer an outstanding red varietal wine with supple, structured tannins balanced by rich Cabernet fruit reminiscent of dark red berries and a whisper of chocolate.

Jealous Bitch Chardonnay 

With our Jealous Bitch Chardonnay, we endeavor to
offer an outstanding white varietal wine with distinctively rich Chardonnay fruit balanced by hints of butter and toasted wood.

Stone Brewing Company 
"Double Bastard" Strong Ale 
Give a bottle to someone you used to love.  $8

We found Valentine Vineyards:  a small family-run winery in Southern Mendocino County, just a quarter of a mile from the Alexander Valley appellation. The vineyard was planted in 1976 by Rodney Strong with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Between 1975 and 1985, the vineyard was operated by Sonoma Vineyards which produced wine from the vineyard under the designation “Haehl Ranch”.  In 1987, the vineyard was purchased by Bob Valentine and became Valentine Vineyards.

Since the purchase of Valentine Vineyards, Bob Valentine has been busy at work both selling his grapes to outside wineries and producing his own private, award generating wines comprised of 100% Valentine fruit. The gold medals collected in amateur wine competitions over the past decade are both numerous and impressive. Triple gold awards are not uncommon in Bob Valentine's repitoire of amateur wine awards.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Un Buen Vino

Grapes and Hops reviewed the Chozas Carrascal Winery in December 2011. After tasting both their red & white wines, we were compelled to refresh your memory of this tasteful & delicious Spanish Wine that every wino should experience!
Chozas is a family winery located in the area of Valencia, Spain, being their appellation D.O. Utiel-Requena. The production of wine is not very high, as Chozas is focused on two goals: Quality and Personality. 

The López family decided in 1989 to embark on a truly ambitious and exciting project to produce first‐class wines of the highest calibre to be enjoyed world‐wide. During more than 15 years the López family and it's team have dedicated all of their time and efforts to restructure the old vines, preserving the old Bobal vines while planting new grape varieties including Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah. The philosophy of the winery has been from the very first moment, betting on the conservation of the environment. It has taken some years to achieve it, but it was worth this wait given that from 2010 vintage, all their wines are labeled as organic. Chozas Carrascal wants to demonstrate that high quality wines can be produced while caring for the environment.

The concept Chozas Winery wanted for these wines is to be "easy drinking wines", being also present the character of this area.
The White Wine: Refreshing The Red Wine: Spicy
In this sense, the red contains 80% of Bobal, grape which only grows in their area. In our vineyard, the Bobal are 80 years old. It also contains 10% Tempranillo, the best known grape in Spain, and 10% Syrah.

In the case of the white, contains 11% Macabeo, a white grape which provides a very good acidity, resulting a wine with 89% Sauvignon Blanc, with the contribution and therefore distinction of the Macabeo, which is very present despite of the low percentage.

Both wines are ecological, and have been scored with 88 points in Peñin Guide getting the highest distinction for "Best Value Price".
Las Doces el Tinto Barrica
We paired the Tinto Barrica with homemade vegetable paella, with tomatoes, asparagus and peas. 
We grilled a chiorizo crusted rack of lamb. 
Paired nicely with the saffron in the paella and gave our dish a nice spicy kick!

Young red wine aged in oak.
Each variety is vinified separately. Fermentation takes place at a controlled
temperature of less than 25° C followed by a maceration period of two weeks for the
Tempranillo and three weeks for the Syrah. The cap is punched down (turbo-pigeage)
two times per day to ensure gentle extraction and the wine is racked and returned
(délestage) twice during maceration at one and two thirds of the fermentation
process. The free-run wine of each variety is then aged in two and three-year old French oak
barrels during five months. The blending of both varieties takes place just before bottling.

Grape varieties
80% Bobal, 10 % Tempranillo and 10% Syrah.
Crianza*aged five months in French oak barrels from the Allier forest.
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol content: 13.5 % by vol. – 750 ml.

Tasting notes
Appearance: Bright vibrant cherry red with a brilliant shiny violet rim highlighting the
wine’s youth.
Nose: Predominance of red fruit. Soft toasted aromas with subtle balsamic notes.
Palate: Fresh, smooth and intense, highlighting for fruit essence given by Bobal, and
underlined silky sensation of the Syrah and structure of Tempranillo.

To appreciate the full potential of this wine we recommend service it at a temperature
of around 13°C. The relatively short crianza/ageing process results in a youthful, meaty and fruity wine that will be perfect to enjoy it by itself, and matches very well to white meats, rices
and even blue fish or fatty fish with strong flavours complementing the structure and
body of such a young wine.

Food and wine matching
Ratatouille from Bilbao
Broad beans with chorizo
Bilbao-style piquillo peppers filled with meat
White beans with squid
Thistle with meat
Pasta with pork meat
Basque piperrada
Fried white tuna loin
Pasta bolognese
Bonito with red wine sauce
Marmitako of tuna or bonito
White tuna fat loin
Las Dosces el Blanco
We paired el Blanco with an asian dish to experience a variety of flavors. Easily one of our favorite white wines that we have tried!

Cold-skin maceration during 24 hours. The free-run juice is then separated from the
press and racked gently (débourtage) at a low temperature. Fermentation takes place
at a controlled temperature of 18 °C.

Grape varieties
89 % Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Macabeo.
Vintage: 2010
Alcohol content: 12.5 % by vol. – 750 ml.

Tasting notes
Appearance: Brilliant and clear straw yellow color with green highlights.
Nose: Predominance of aromas coming from the Sauvignon Blanc. Intense aromas
of white flowers and tropical fruit.
Palate: Balanced acidity resulting in this wine being fresh and intense. A well
structured silky wine with a long aromatic finish in the mouth.

To appreciate the full potential of this wine we recommend service it at a temperature
of around 8-9°C. This is a very aromatic wine with a strong expression of a Mediterranean Sauvignon Blanc. The aroma of this wine is clean, refreshing and very intense. The Macabeo
brings balanced acidity to this wine making it feel fresh and well structured in the
mouth. On the nose it is very aromatic and has a long and very pleasant finish.

Food and wine matching
An ideal wine to have as an aperitif or with light meals and dishes such as:
Light fish dishes
Sushi (Sauvignon Blanc is the only variety in the world that goes perfectly with sushi)
Rice with fish
Light rice dishes
White meats

For more information on Chozas Carrascal:


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