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Sweet and Sassy in a Glass: 2011 Frisk Prickly Riesling

With the studying portion of my wine adventures finally done (for now at least), I can get back to the really IMPORTANT part of wine education…THE DRINKING! I can not begin to tell you how happy I am to be back to the glass after a very long sabbatical. I’m feeling refreshed and rowdy…which reminds me very much of my latest find from Australia in my Around the Wine World for Under $20 tour.

I stumbled across the 2011 Frisk Prickly Riesling and was immediately taken by the name. I admit, it’s not necessarily the most orthodox way to pick a wine, but let’s face it, most frisky, prickly things are anything but boring, so I figured it should also apply to wine.

This is a low alcohol Riesling, at 9.8% alcohol, so I figured it was going to be a sweet one. Being that it’s from the cooler growing region of Victoria, Australia, I was hoping it would have enough acid in it to balance it out nicely so it wouldn’t taste like a big glass of sugar water. I was not disappointed…in fact, it came with a few VERY pleasant surprises.

This little darling is intoxicating perfume on the nose. Floral notes, green apple, pear. The scent alone takes you to springtime fields. The absolutely fun surprise for me was the ‘fizz’. As the name ‘Prickly’ implies, it’s slightly frizzante, and the gentle sparkle tickles the tongue before hitting you with a sassy BANG of flavor. Bright lemon and citrus with notes of exotic lychee march out first, delivering a delicate, almost mocato-like sweetness, but then the sweetness gives way to a hint of smoke and lovely structure and balance. It finishes dry, with a crisp acidity and minerality that is wonderfully refreshing.

This little number has something for everyone and is about as versatile as they come. This would pair up perfectly with both sweet and spicy dishes, as well as being insanely good on its own. I’m seeing this one as a MUST HAVE in my ‘summer sippers.’

This is a killer bargain too! Found it for under $11. Don’t walk, run to stock up on this one. You’ll find yourself reaching for it time and time again for nearly every occasion.

~CC

 
 

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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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Summer Cheap Wine Tour: 2007 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc

POURED: about 1 month ago

2007 E. Guigal Blanc White Rhone Blend (Cotes du Rhone, France)

2007 E. Guigal Blanc White Rhone Blend

You don’t have to be French to enjoy this one! If you’ve ever woken up on a crisp, spring morning and smelled freshly blooming flowers, than you’ll be able to appreciate this floral shop in a glass. White flowers on the nose, then delicious apricots on the tongue with a nice minerality.  Medium bodied, crisp acidity, and a nice fresh finish with a few herbal notes.

 

Beautiful blend of 50% Viognier (I’m becoming a HUGE fan of Viognier blends) with the rest made up from Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette, and Bourboulenc grapes.  I’d pair this up with some curry dishes usually, but for summer purposes out on the back deck, I’d pour it with grilled pork or scallops.  You can find this one for between $12-14 dollars.

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Summer Cheap Wine Tour

 

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Corked Cowgirl’s Summer Cheap Wine Tour

Summer is in full swing.  Most of my redneck friends will be cracking open a cheap, American beer and complaining that it’s warm and doesn’t really have much flavor, but it’s cold and does the trick after being out in the heat all day.  My other friends will think they are being a bit more refined and will pour a ‘lovely’ glass of something from a box in shades of cotton candy pink with a rancid smell and an equally bad flavor.  The common theme with all of them as they swill what I consider to be a step up from arsenic is that it is cheap and easy.

Really?  That’s IT?  That’s the only criteria for making a selection that affects nearly all of your senses?  Is your self-esteem so low that you don’t want BETTER for yourself?  You didn’t pick out your spouse or significant other SOLELY because they were cheap and easy, did you? (I suggest you answer with a resounding NO if you want to stay out of the doghouse).  Then why should your choice of beverage be any different.

And so, my friends, thus began the Corked Cowgirl’s mission to save my friends and family from themselves, and prove that you don’t have to give up QUALITY to get a cheap and easy slice of satisfaction.  My goal is to break the ‘boxed wine’ addiction, one sipper at a time, and prove that ANYone and EVERYone can and SHOULD be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine in any setting or situation.

We begin with the Summer Cheap Wine Tour.  Call it a primer of finding great, refreshing, wines to pair up with your relaxed party atmosphere.  Wines you don’t have to overthink. Wines that make you feel good.  Most importantly…wines you can find yourself for under $20.  You, (yes even YOU) can pick out a wine to impress friends, please the masses (and most importantly their taste buds), and do it without breaking the bank or being a Master Sommelier…and I can help you do it.  Nothing snooty or complicated here.  Just good old fashioned summer enjoyment…in a bottle.

So kick back, put your feet up, and hold up your glass…it’s time to get pouring.

Cheers!Get your Summer on!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Summer Cheap Wine Tour

 

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