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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Study: Abstaining from alcohol significantly shortens life | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Just in time for National Wine Drinking Day tomorrow. ¬†Uncork your favorite bottle and dive into your favorite ‘fountain of youth.’

 

Study: Abstaining from alcohol significantly shortens life | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Interesting Tidbits

 

Around the Wine World for $20 and Under: Welcome to Australia, Pt. 2

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to the wonderful world of Australian wine with some incredible white wines that are a STEAL when you consider the quality. St. Hallett Winery in the Barossa Valley has some of the most delicious and versatile whites I’ve tried at a value that won’t put a whooping on your wallet.

Their reds are every bit as amazing. Valentine’s Day will come every single time you pour one of these wonderful wines…I guarantee, ‘liquid love.’

The first red on the list is the ‘Gamekeeper’s Reserve’. As senior winemaker Stewart Blackwell informed me, ‘if you’re going to have a Poacher (wonderful white blend), then you NEED to have a gamekeeper.’ And trust me, you NEED this red on hand ALWAYS.

This is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and a splash of Touriga Nacional, which is a traditional Portuguese variety. A color I like to refer to as ‘Lover Red’ splashes into the glass on the pour, with a slightly smoky, slightly cherry, and definitely rosy perfume on the nose. If you’re a fan of French wines, let me just say, this one is ‘Cote du Rhone on speed!’

Mouthwatering, juicy, strawberries and raspberries seduce the tongue with just a slight smoky taste on the finish. This one is a light one with very few tannins, so you don’t have to worry about that ‘sweater on the tongue’ feeling. Pinot Noir lovers will want to hug this sweetheart of a wine, and those that are shy about trying red wines will want to make this one their first. You could even chill this one like a rose and drink it during the summer months. Pair it up with a good bacon cheeseburger, roasted chicken, or even a steak. This is truly an every day wine! At $12.00, you’ll most DEFINITELY want to drink it every day!

Next on the list is the Gamekeeper’s Shiraz, made from 100% Shiraz grapes. This one sort of took me by surprise. Deep, inky, red color was pretty, but I took a whiff, and the only thing I could think of was that it smelled like a West Texas dust storm. There was a little hint of cocoa, but that dusty smell was a powerhouse. I was hesitant to take that sip, but when I did, GOOD GOD THAT’S GOT AWESOME FRUIT! I didn’t see it coming. It has the most amazing cherry, plum, and raspberry flavor with ribbons of smooth vanilla dancing in your mouth. This wine is like your Grandma’s homemade berry pie in liquid form. This may very well be my new favorite BBQ wine. The two together are most definitely soul mates. This wine could be paired with most anything, but I’m telling you right now, this is the wine to go to for burnt ends and short ribs. At $15.00, I’m going to be doing barbecuing a WHOLE lot more.

Finally, I jumped into the St Hallett Faith Shiraz, another wine made of 100% Shiraz grapes, but a whole different personality than the Gamekeeper’s Shiraz. Referred to by Stewart as a ‘young’ Shiraz (from 50 year old vines), it looks like a jewel in the glass with its purplish-garnet color.

I almost couldn’t take my nose out of the glass, it smelled like heaven. The most intoxicating aromas of cocoa and raspberry were almost hypnotic…yes, it’s THAT good…and the taste lives up to the reviews from your nose, with the most delicious cocoa streak running over a sea of raspberry and a cherry slide into the finish.

This wine would be perfect with pizza or pasta….in fact it would be GREAT on spaghetti night, but I say grab your favorite chocolate and indulge yourself. It’s okay, at $15.00 you can definitely pamper yourself.

Again, a big thank you to Stewart Blackwell for the delightful conversation and the most delicious introduction to the wines of St Hallett. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more…and at this value, you’ll be enjoying them for a long time to come as well.

Cheers!

CC

 

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Around the Wine World for $20 and Less: Welcome to Australia!

As promised, I am kicking off my ‘world tour’ in finding wonderfully inexpensive deals on REALLY good wine. Our first stop is Australia, where I will drown you in a whole host of tastes from down under…all without breaking the bank.

When you think of Australia, most often you’ll think of those big, fruity Shiraz blends, as there are a ton of them being produced. The hard part is to know which ones to pick. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find some really good white wines and dessert wines there as well.

I managed to stumble quite luckily on to a winery that happens to make some INCREDIBLE reds AND whites…and they’re a BARGAIN!

So, let’s introduce you to Australia with a trip to Barossa in South Australia with the wines of St Hallett Winery.

I had the good fortune of meeting Stuart Blackwell, senior winemaker at St Hallett at my favorite ‘wine haunt’ in the Kansas City area: Wine Flights in Leawood, KS. Stuart was promoting the ‘old vine’ Shiraz grown in Barossa Valley that has earned the winery some serious acclaim, as well as the delicious whites from just up the road in Eden Valley.

The first wine was a ‘whimsical’ white called “Poacher’s Blend”, a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Reisling, that got it’s name because Stuart originally STOLE THE GRAPES! Stuart is a bit of a heathen…and a bit of a kindred spirit.

Back to the wine: this one is the perfect party wine! Doesn’t matter if you’ve got friends that like sweet wines and friends that like dry whites…they will ALL love this semi-dry darling. Pale straw color, tropical fruit on the nose, and luscious melon, lime, ripe mango, and pineapple on the tongue. It’s not a thick, heavy wine. It’s light, refreshing, and low in alcohol so you can drink this one all night long! If you decide not to just drink the whole thing by itself, and NEED to eat something, I’d pair it up with seafood…crab in particular…but any light fish or shrimp would be good. Actually, I’d probably pair it up with spicy Thai food. The sweet, light taste would balance out the fire of the spice. Best part of this wine? It’ll only set you back $11-12. Stock up!

The second white I tried was the 2009 Eden Valley Riesling. Let me warn you right now…this is NOT a SWEET Riesling like you’d find out of Germany. It’s drier, but wonderfully refreshing and unlike any other Riesling you will ever try. This one has a pale straw color as well, but the nose is going to knock you for a loop. Strong scent of lime and…well, rocks. Wet rocks. And it’s the same thing when you take that first sip…shocking minerality and a HUGE punch of lime. It’s like putting a rock in one cheek and half a fresh lime in the other, and mixing it up. I know that doesn’t sound terribly good, but for whatever reason, it’s FANTASTIC! Pair it up with fresh oysters or, much like the other, with shellfish or even Pad Thai. This would totally rock with Pad Thai! Also like the ‘Poacher’s Blend’, this one won’t break the bank either. Expect to pay around $15.

For more info on Poacher’s Blend, check out Stuart in this video: http://thecellarkey.com/sthallett/poachers/

Or, for a more laid-back, Corked Cowgirl type of approach, watch my interview with Stuart himself on my YouTube channel:

Next up: the Amazing Reds of St Hallett as we continue our ‘walkabout’ in Australia for $20 and under.

Cheers!

CC

 
 

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