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Tag Archives: red wines

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Global Zinfandel Day with 2009 OZV

Today is November 19th…unless it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or you’ve suddenly discovered you are the long lost love child of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey and you’re inheriting EVERYTHING, you might not find the date terribly memorable nor exciting. For me, it was a day of typical gray hair causing activities focused around work, errands, pets, kids, and preparing for the entire family to convene on my household for the holiday. Stressful, exhausting…not normally a cause for celebration…

…until I realized it was Global Zinfandel Day.

YES! Zinfandel is perhaps my FAVORITE varietal of all time (shhh…don’t tell the other children…I hate to play favorites with the ‘kids’). I’m not talking about the pretty little pink version of WHITE Zinfandel (although if you like it, knock yourselves out…I’m not going to discriminate…after all, it’s still Zin), but I’m talking about the luscious, red, jammy, ‘lover in a glass’ Zinfandels.

How to describe Zinfandel? Hmmm…let’s compare varietals to a rock band. Cabernet Sauvignon is your big and bold lead singer. Merlot would be the sensual lead guitar player. Malbec would be the rock solid base player. Pinot Noir, the moody, sensitive keyboardist. And the drummer? The sexy, wild, showman that is personality plus, complicated in its rhythms, but able to hold everything together? THAT my friends is ZINFANDEL.

There are as many different styles of Zinfandel as there are drummers, but all have the wonderful red berry fruit that makes it perfect for barbecues during the summer, the perfect wine to sip by the fire pit in the fall, and a surprisingly good wine to serve with cranberries and smoked turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner.

The wine I’m drinking this evening is the perfect example of why you should celebrate Zinfandel. I’ve selected the 2009 OZV Zinfandel out of Lodi, California. Lodi has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in all of California, and this wine boasts fruit from 50-100 year vines, making the flavors that much more concentrated and intense. Raspberry, red licorice, and milk chocolate on the nose (yeah…it’s like rich candy heaven). Raspberry, blackberry, milk chocolate, and a slight hint of pepper on the finish as you sip…and sip…and sip. The tannins are light, the mouth feel doesn’t feel like a wool sweater on your tongue…it is VERY approachable. If you are looking for a red wine to help you make the transition from whites, this would be a perfect wine to try.

This wine would be excellent with smoked meats of all type, tomato based pastas (heck yeah, cousin LeAnn…this would work with your ‘Christmas Spaghetti’), even grilled tuna!

Zinfandel is the perfect choice for every occasion, and OZV from Oak Ridge Wineries is the perfect choice, especially when you can find it on average around $13.

So grab yourself a bottle…or a case…and celebrate November 19th like a rock star!

Cheers!

~CC

 

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Serving Up National Cabernet Sauvignon Day With 2010 MollyDooker Maitre d’

Today has been a day of juggling…schedules, activities, and events. Wine selection for the day was no less of a balancing act. I woke up today to see on the calendar that it was National Cabernet Sauvignon Day. A day to celebrate in my book as I LOVE the ‘bad boy’ of the wine world. However, I also woke to a weather report discussing 95+ degree weather and the need to prepare for a flurry of grilling and bar-b-q over the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. The art of finding a Cabernet Sauvignon that was true to its name, but would not be too heavy during the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ and would pair nicely with the savory goodness of smoked meats and picnic treats. I also wanted to make sure it was a value…most great Cabernet Sauvignons require you to sell your first born to enjoy them.

Fortunately, I found a solution from an unlikely source….Australia.

Mollydooker Vineyards is one of my favorites, producing some of the most incredible Shiraz offerings and red blends you can imagine. Many come with a sizable price tag (albeit worth the price), but they offer a Cabernet Sauvignon that I think anyone and everyone could enjoy.

The 2010 Maitre d’ Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t your typical muscly, bold Napa-styled Cab. It’s more like a Prom King…charming, personable, easily approachable, and one that most people will enjoy. Deep purple in the glass, the nose is full of big red berries, cassis, cherry, spice, and maybe even slightly like smoked meat. It’s the taste that’s going to blow you away…quite literally. It is like an explosion of fruit the second it hits your tastebuds, but then it takes you on a ride with anise, black pepper, toasty oak vanilla, and a finish…a wonderfully long finish with dark chocolate and espresso….two of my favorite things. There are enough acids in it to cut through the cheeseburgers I paired it up with, and nice, delicate tannins to give it a great mouth feel without being too heavy for the late summer heat.

Those that love a big Cab will be able to enjoy having an old friend during a time you normally wouldn’t drink a big red. Those that like something lighter will love the approachable fruit. Bar-b-q lovers will rejoice because this one will pair with ribs, burnt ends, and pulled pork just as easily as a Zinfandel, and value hunters will celebrate knowing this one won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. This one is priced just under $30. Compared to paying $80 or more for a lot of other killer Cabs, this is a steal and easy to enjoy on a regular basis.

If only National Cabernet Day could come on a regular basis as well. Perhaps this wine could be a reason to celebrate it more often.

Cheers!

~CC

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Countdown to Canforrales!: a Candid Interview with Bodegas Canforrales Senior Winemaker, Jose Hidalgo

Waiting for something new, exciting, vibrant, and fun! The wait is almost over! I had the good fortune of meeting with Van Potts of Preston-Layne & Partners, Ashley Olbrys of Magnum Wines International, and Senior Winemaker, Jose Hidalgo of Bodegas Canforralles near Madrid, Spain. This Tempranillo will be introduced to the U.S. in the VERY near future. Check out the video interview, then be on the lookout for more info regarding the Official Release Party here at CorkedCowgirl.com or on my Facebook page and Twiiter account!

Thanks to Robust Wine Bar in St. Louis for hosting the tasting event!

~CC

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Oh What A Difference A Day Makes: 2007 Casillero del Diablo Carmenere

I love the fall and winter for one reason and one reason only….BOLD RED WINES. It is the ONLY reason I can think of to enjoy cold, blustery, frozen weather. A glass of that red, liquid jewel in my glass as I don enough clothing to overwhelm an eskimo and huddle next to the fireplace, pretending I’m off in some tropical locale.

Fortunately for me, Chile provides me with that exotic escape in the form of the Casillero del Diablo winery. It’s the ‘little mischievous brother’ winery owned by Concha y Toro, the powerhouse winery that puts out the top rated Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, but at a fraction of the price. This bottle ran me a whopping $9…how could I pass it up?

2007 was considered a historic year for the Carmenere grape, and quite frankly, I was feeling rather historic myself…or perhaps the proper word was ancient…the kids have been taking a toll on me lately, so I could’t wait to open up the bottle and sip my first ‘history lesson.’

For those of you who have no clue what Carmenere is, think of it as a grape that falls somewhere between a nice, silky Merlot and a big, bad Cabernet Sauvignon. All the rich flavor, but smoother tannins so you don’t get the dry mouth effect, but you also don’t have the thin ‘grape juice’ effect you sometimes get with the other two grapes. It was one of the original six grapes of Bordeaux, but the French pretty much chucked it, and, like the celebrated pawn stars of reality tv, the Chileans took it and turned it into treasure, making it the country’s rock star wine grape.

Okay, enough history, let’s taste it.

In the glass, this ‘devil’ is as dark and brooding as you’d expect. Dark, crimson red, looking almost black, much like the color of a Syrah/Shiraz.

On the nose, you get a whole care package of currants, dark plum, chocolate, spice, cigars, and bell pepper.

Knowing how much I love both Casillero del Diablo and Concha y Toro wines, I rushed in for the taste…

…I should have sauntered in slowly.

I was immediately overpowered by the bell peppers to the point where I nearly couldn’t finish the glass.

Now, before jumping to the conclusion that this was a bad wine, I had to remind myself that I gave the opened bottle NO time whatsoever to breathe. I’m an impatient, impetuous woman at times. I have needs, dammit, and I needed that glass of wine STAT. I decided maybe I just needed to give it a little time to adjust to its new home. After all, who wants to rush the charms of a Latin lover, right? So I decanted it and counted the hours until the next day.

And OH what a difference a day made!

Instead of the bell pepper, my tastebuds were greeted with flavors of plum, blackberry, and blueberry…maybe even a hit of cranberry on the initial sip. As it glided across my tongue, dark chocolate and spice took over. The finish serenaded me with hints of coffee, toffee, slivers of vanilla, and that smoky goodness of toasted American Oak.

Yes, that is what I was dreaming of…and it was most DEFINITELY worth the wait.

Casillero del Diablo/Concha y Toro never fails to titillate and seduce my palate. It’s why it’s been in my favorites list for so long.

All of the complexities, all of that amazing goodness, all in a bottle price around $10.

This 2007 Carmenere demands to be paired with steak and mushroom dishes, perhaps serve it with prime rib at your holiday gatherings. It can subdue it like a matador at a bullfight. Keep it handy always for those ‘fireplace’ kind of nights. At this price, you’ll wish winter would never end.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Carmenere, Chilean Wines, Red Wines

 

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This Bird is of a Different Feather: 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir

The only good thing about this week is that I have a wine glass full of the sweet, alcoholic nectar made by my newest, bestest friends in the entire world…the winemakers.

Yes, I realize it’s only Monday, but it already feels like an ETERNITY of Mondays have slipped the proverbial doom and gloom noose around my neck and are threatening to let me drop at any moment.

I figured the best way to make the world go away was to uncork the bottle and empty it, one delicious glass at a time. It certainly beats throwing in a full box of Calgon bubble bath and screaming, “Take me away, dammit!!!” (Do they even MAKE Calgon anymore? Did I just inadvertently date myself and will need to drink more to forget my blunder?)

At any rate, I wanted cheap and easy…and cute…but I didn’t want the trouble of a ‘date’, so I grabbed a $4.99 bottle of 2010 Little Penguin Pinot Noir from SouthEastern Australia. Australia isn’t exactly known for their Pinots…they’re known for big, jammy Shiraz, but I thought, ‘What the heck? We’re getting close to the holidays, I need to find a lovely little Pinot to go with turkey and cranberries, plus, my family will be celebrating with me…I need mass quantities of cheap wine that will not taste like the swill my mother pours out of the box.”

It’s a little darker in the glass than I would have expected from a Pinot Noir- dark garnet in color- which is a little concerning, but the nose is pretty heavenly. Strawberries…not necessarily like fresh strawberries…something sweeter, but definitely profuse aromas of strawberry. Okay, the smell definitely balanced out the questionable dark color of the wine. I could smell this glass all day long.

The taste left me a little flat, however.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad taste. It’s just not the taste of a Pinot Noir. It’s also not anything terribly special to take me away to that far away, exotic place I was longing for in my mind after being bombarded by the slave drivers I affectionately call my family all day long.

Upon first sip, you drown in fruit. That same sweet strawberry you couldn’t get enough of on the nose is there putting a death grip on your tongue. There might be the slightest hint of vanilla in there, but it gets body slammed by more strawberry. Fruit bomb…that’s what I would call this. None of the nuances or complexity you’d look for in a Pinot Noir. On the finish, it goes from sweet to almost a little sour. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take away from the wine. Everything is balanced and all…no pucker factor, no oversweet cloying effect. It’s balanced…it’s just…lacking something. The finish doesn’t last long. You get that quick hint of sour, and then everything just sort of disappears. No lingering finish whatsoever.

Definitely not a favorite Pinot Noir.

With that said though, it’s not a bad little wine, ESPECIALLY when you’re picking it up under $5. It’s an easy sipper, perfect to stock up on and serve when you just want something quick and easy sitting on the deck, or hanging out for movie night. If you’re going to pair it with food, I’d recommend pairing it with the same types of stuff you’d pair with a Shiraz. Don’t pair it with salmon or fish or any of the stuff you’d match up with a Pinot Noir. Think bbq sauce with this one..or even venison…something to offset the big fruit in this wine.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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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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