Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Making of A Spanish Superstar: 2011 Gaznata Joven-Blending Project Pt. 1

Just a few days ago, I accepted the challenge of pairing foods and wines to find the ‘perfect fall flavors.’ One of the wines I mentioned is near and dear to my heart for many different reasons. It is the 2011 Gaznata Joven Garnacha made by genius winemaker Daniel Ramos at Don Juan de Aguila in the municipality of El Barraco, Spain. It is made with 100% Garnacha (you might know it as Grenache) and it may very well be the perfect red wine for all tastes. If you think you don’t like red wine, I know you have not tasted this wine. It is light, it is fresh, it is flavorful…in fact it EXPLODES with flavors of berries and herbs. Laid back and easy with pizza or burgers, or if you want to go with the flavors of the land, pair it up with Paella and be ready to have your eyeballs roll back into your head in ecstasy.

Magnum Wines, International Import Manager, Ashley Olbrys, recently gave a little bit of the history of the wine and her review of the wine here:

I was incredibly fortunate to join Ashley last May on a trip to Spain to take part in the blending of this particular wine. It’s one thing to drink and enjoy the wine, but you REALLY begin to appreciate the wines more when you discover what it takes to make that perfect wine. Ashley and I joined Wendy Vallaster of New Spain Wines and Winemaker Daniel Ramos to see what goes into the making of the Gaznata Joven. Fortunately, as you’ll see in my video below, they explain it so even a simple wine drinking Cowgirl such as myself can understand and appreciate the process.

This is Step One of the process of bringing the 2011 Gaznata Joven from the fermentation tanks to your glass at fireside. Enjoy!


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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Flavors of Fall: NFL Football, Friends Around a Fire, and the Wines of Preston-Layne/Magnum Wines Intl.

As I watched (in horror, might I add) the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks debacle, I turned my attention to the IMPORTANT things that define fall for me: fire pits, good friends, and great wines. Ironically at that time, my friend and ‘head honcho’ of Preston-Layne, & Partners, Van Potts, wrote a new blog offering some WONDERFUL fall recipes and challenging readers to decide which wine they would pair with those recipes. His offerings included a brined and hickory wood grilled whole chicken, along with a Hubbard squash soup. All ingredients were from local markets (I love supporting local). If you’re interested in the particulars, you can read the blog post here:

Being up for a good challenge, I tried to decide which wines from their portfolio I would pair up with the chicken/soup combination…and it was a tough choice, but I think I came up with a few that are sure to become favorites.

On the imported wine side, I went straight to Alsace. Cave de Turckheim puts out some of the most incredible wines I have ever had the privilege of tasting. For this particular meal, I would choose their 2008 Grand Cru Riesling hands down! Crisp acidity, citrus fruits, and a minerality that would cut through the richness of the soup, but make the flavors of the chicken come alive.

Domestically, I would choose the Foris 2010 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, with tastes of apples and baking spices that would be AMAZING with the ingredients of the soup.

But why stop with whites? It’s fall for goodness sake- give me a rich beef stew or a hearty chili, or even a good old fashioned pot roast! What to pair with those choices? Well, for a heavy pot roast with all of the fixin’s, domestically I wouldn’t even think twice: Robert Keenan Winery’s 2008 Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District. Cab Franc is one of the three main wines of Bordeaux, and usually hangs in the shadow of Cabernet Sauvignon, but this Napa beauty is pure magic! Dark, rich, luscious plum and blackberry, cedar, spice, and dense tannins hold up easily to a roast with potatoes and gravy. For a hearty stew or chili, I’d be reaching for one of my absolute favorite reds: Anderson’s Conn Valley 2009 “Right Bank Red” (sitting in my cellar as I write). Deep, ‘smoky’, amazing flavors of cassis, and ‘woodsy’ notes…bay leaf? Yes. It envelopes you like a favorite sweater on a cool night.

Of course, nothing beats my Spanish darling from winemaker Daniel Ramos. Don Juan del Aguila’s 2011 Gaznata Joven. All I can say is the man is a genius, the area is Garnacha heaven, and this red IS fall. Blackberries, dark cherries, and warm spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It is easy, laid-back, and perfect for pairing or just sipping by the fire. I am PARTICULARLY fond of this wine because I was fortunate enough to be present for the final blending. Import Manager Ashley Olbrys allowed me to join her during her trip to Madrid, and, although this wine is definitely her ‘child’, I feel like a proud, weird ‘aunt’. Forget the distant family members…love the wine!

And you WILL love these wines…all incredible values on wines of exceptional quality. Give them a try yourself, and then tell me what YOUR fall pair ups would be.

In the meantime, I need to pour another glass to drown out the memories of poor calls by the football referees.




Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Last Flirty Fling of Summer: 2011 Be. Flirty Pink Moscato

Labor Day has come and gone, the kids are back in school, but I’m not ready to give up the lazy hazy days of summer. How I long to trade in hours of 4th grade spelling lists and the never-ending activities and drama of a high school student for mornings of sleeping in, catching some rays on the lake, afternoon barbeques, and sultry evenings of mischief out with the girls while sharing laughs over a sweet summer sipper. Summer is light, easy, fun, and flirty…and so is this wine.

The 2011 Be. Flirty Pink Moscato can be described with just one word…FUN! Cotton Candy pink in the glass, an explosive blast of ripe strawberries,raspberries, and pineapple on the nose, but this isn’t your usual syrupy sweet moscato. It’s light, crisp, and sweet, but so well balanced it almost leaves a dry finish on the palate. Flavors of mandarin orange hit first, followed by sweet grapefruit, and what tastes like roses on the finish. Kind of reminds me of those floral infused waters you get at the spa…which will launch you into summer pampering all unto itself.

Where does this delightful, dreamy wine come from? California of course (which is appropriate since September is California Wine month). Beringer Vineyards of Napa Valley, one of the first vineyards in Napa and home to a host of award winning wines is also responsible for this playful imp of a wine. That quality winemaking is very apparent in this value wine.

You’ll find this wine will pair perfectly with spicy Thai food or spicy gossip with the girls. Hot wings during the football games on Sunday, or a hot night of dancing and dining. It will provide as many smiles with food as it will with good company. At around $8.00 per bottle, you can afford to smile every day and keep summer at your fingertips all year long.



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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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