Keep Your Eyes open for these upcoming Events

Check out what is happening October 27th! It's a field trip!
More Info to Come, just starting to gather info now. Plan is to rent a van and have it tote us around, stopping at Tequesta Brewing Company, Bx Beer Depot, World of Beers, Due South and do tastings at each location. Like I say, I am just starting to do the legwork now, so just save the date state.
Let me know as soon as you know you are interested so I can plan accordingly
the cost of this event will be in the range of $30-$35. Purchasing beer at the stops will not be included so that you can budget your flights or single pints for yourself. Your price will include a delicious "lining your bellies" lunch at the Serenity Garden Tea House and your transportation for the day. Timeline and More to come

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yeah for Chardonnay or Guess what we had in July?

Click on the image to see all the shots from this event
On a sultry Sunday afternoon with heavy clouds hanging low in a hot summer sky gulpers gathered from across South Florida in Andy's perfect party place, (the great room of his house) and made much of the grapey goodness called Chardonnay.
Among the familiar faces of Bridgette, Andy, Coreen, Lebeau, Deb, Michelly, Dorothy, Adriel, Joy and me were some lovely new faces.

Welcome new Gulpers: Patty, Sara, Meredith, Pete, Pam, Vince and Jaime.  You were a welcome addition to the party!

Before I go any further I HAVE to give a huge round of applause to our adorable Gulp Founder, Coreen!  Your food pairings were over the top!
Brava My Friend!  (click here for her recipes)

Okay, I am now really going to talk about the pairings:

1st pairing:
The Crossings Chardonnay from New Zealand matched flavors with a kiwi and avocado salsa and spicy wonton chips.  This cool climate, unoaked chard was pale straw in color with almost no aroma.  I got a very mineral-y flavor and Andy tasted unripe peach.  It clashed a bit with the kiwi but the avocado really tempered the acid and brought out more of the peach .  It was quite refreshing and the salsa with hints of cilantro and bits of black cherry was a great twist on the ever popular salsa.  Yum!

2nd pairing:
I cannot lie.  The best part of this pairing between the Chablis Premier Cru Reserve and Coreen's Tuna Niciosse Canape was the canape. In fact this was my favorite course of the day! You might be asking why has a chablis been invited to a Chardonnay party?  Well I have the answer.  It is made with Chardonnay grapes...tricky, eh.  This chablis hails from the Burgundy region of France.  It is another unoaked wine with almost no aroma.  It is high acid and as Meredith said, "Tarty and refreshing."  I noted a lot of mineral and grass.  It doesn't get much more crisp than this.  I didn't think it would pair well with the canape but boy was I wrong.  The creaminess from the capers and black olive mayo and potato really chilled out the acidity.  Then the smoky flavor from the soy sauce and olive tapenade marinated tuna really brought out a creaminess to the wine that I couldn't believe was real but Coreen agreed.  Those canapes, I could have eaten all day long with or without wine!

Blind Tasting:
Lebeau brought out the foil covered bottle and began the investigative process.  Since we had several new faces he demonstrated how to check the color by using white paper, checking the legs to get an idea of how much alcohol might be in it, looking for the miniscus to help figure out the possible age of it.  I reminded everyone to really get their sniffers in the glass and smell it.  Does it smell fruity?  spicy?  like dirt?  Then Andy talked about taste. He noted spiciness and cherries.  Then everyone took a drink and started their own evaluation.  The winner was Andy with his determination of Boujolais and he got it on the aroma!  It was a Georges Duboeuf Boujolais.   I know, I know it wasn't a Chardonnay but that would have been too easy.  BTW, this boujolais is awesome with spicy pizza, spaghetti or tacos.

3rd pairing:
With this pairing we move to the more familiar style of chardonay.  The Bramito Del Cervo Chardonnay was a medium bodied wine, light gold in color.  The aroma was of ripple yellow apple, pineapple and a hint of clay. Pairing it with the decadent mac and cheese oozing with cheddar and bleu cheeses was really smart.  The creaminess of the food brought down the Chard's acidity and brought out the oaked wine's own buttery flavor.  This one was delicious.  In fact, if anyone is interested Andy would go in on a case of this.

4th pairing:
I know, I know you can't believe there is more but there is!  This next pairing put pizza and Chardonnay together and it was a match made in California!  Cuvaison Carnerro's Chardonnay doesn't get any yummier.  The perfumy nose if full of spice, fruit and a little smoke.  The taste doesn't dissapoint either.  I got butter, vanilla, light toast, and mango.  This medium body wine has moderate acidity that completely mellows out with the flatbread pizza of chicken & apple sausage, chardonnay carmelized onions, and italian cheeses.  The sausage enhanced the spiciness of the wine while the cheese and onions brought out the tropical fruit sweetness.  Again, kudos Coreen for the dish itself and the pairing with the wine.

5th pairing:
We are at the end of this awesome event but we can't be really done without a little dessert.  Now, normally one doesn't think of Chardonnay as a dessert wine.  It is too crisp and too much acid for most sweet items but I gotta say this one was an exception.  La Playa Chardonnay is a delightfully fruity without sweetness beverage.  The nose is like an orchard in fall, full of pears and apples.  This wine is aged in stainless steel so it is all fruit all day.
I think that is why it played so nicely with the Chilean Alfajores.  These were sugar cookies with condensed milk carmel sandwiched between them.  Oh, lord they were gorging delicious!  The other little gem was a peach paradise cream in a phyllo tartlet with toasted coconut on top.  A perfect ending to a delicious Gulp Pairing event!

So until next time my fellow Gulpers, be happy and drink wine a lot!  Next month we are featuring the Pacific Northwest.  Save the date for August 28th.  You don't want to miss what Coreen and LeBeau will have come up with next!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We are ahead of the Trend

Given our recent pairing featuring Rose' the following New York Times Article Charles sent me shows us to be a cutting edge group of gulpers:

Check it out:  (note: at the end of the article there is a great list of Rose's to give a try)

Roses of a Different Color
New York Times, The (NY) - Wednesday, July 6, 2011
THE weather is hot, and, yes indeed, the wine is pink. If you have even the slightest doubt, let me assure you: rose madness continues.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to what the wine professionals say, both retail and restaurant.

"We can't keep it in the store," said Kerin Auth, an owner of Tinto Fino, a Spanish wine shop in the East Village.

Victoria Levin, general manager of the Tangled Vine, a wine bar on the Upper West Side, said she continually needed to replenish her rose supply.

"I can't stop," she said. "I have six on the list and I'm always running out. People are going insane!"

The occasion for our conversation was a recent tasting of roses -- make that rosados -- from Spain. Kerin and Victoria joined Florence Fabricant and me to sample 20 bottles from all around Spain. But before we even began tasting, the discussion turned to the continuing American love affair with pink-hued wines.

In a way, an element of insanity, or at least irrationality, has shaped the craze. A decade ago, wine professionals were determined to persuade American consumers to overcome a shared belief that rose was the Full Cleveland of wine, as declasse as a sedan on blocks in the front yard. They did their job so effectively that an intervention may now be in order to rein consumers back from their conviction that rose equals great.

Far be it from me to discourage people from drinking rose. That's not at all my intention. I love rose, but some discrimination is in order. We had the evidence right there in front of us, in the 20 rosados in hues far darker than the familiar pale salmon common in Provencal roses.

These rosados were as inconsistent as any group of wines I've recently come across, maybe even more so. As many of the wines as we did like, we found just as many that we did not, a higher proportion than ordinary in our wine panel tastings.

What was the problem? Perhaps it was a question of expectations. We reflexively expect roses to be light, dry and fresh, not inconsequential but lithe and agile enough for lunchtime drinking. Instead, we found too many wines that were chunky with powerful fruit flavors, residual sugar or high alcohol; that lacked energy; and that, on a terrace in the noonday sun, would essentially go down like a fat splat of overripe fruit thudding onto concrete.

That was the bad news. But there were a fair number of zesty, tangy wines that may not conform to the Provencal ideal but are fascinating enough to deserve recalibrating one's expectations.

For one thing, these wines are often great values. Only two of our favorites cost $20 or more (more on those later). Of the other eight, only two cost as much as $15, while two were less than $10. Our No. 1 bottle, in fact, the snappy, refreshing 2010 Ros de Pacs from Pares Balta, was also our best value at the exceptionally low price of $11. This, my friends, is a good deal.

The wine is from the Penedes region, west and slightly south of Barcelona, where Pares Balta has grown grapes for more than two centuries. Clearly, though, the composition of this Rosado, from international grapes like syrah, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, comes from a relatively recent planting. As with many of these rosados, this one had a touch of residual sugar, but the sweetness was so well balanced by the acidity that the overall effect was greatly refreshing.

No. 2 was the 2010 Garnacha Rosado from Campos de Enanzo in Navarra, dark but steely, tangy and earthy. It's made out of garnacha (or grenache, as the French say), a grape that can easily yield the sort of big, powerful roses that we didn't care for, but when grown and made carefully, a garnacha rose like this one can be awfully attractive.

Our No. 3 bottle was the outlier in this tasting, the 2000 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia, a wine that I love and that was instantly recognizable in the blind tasting. For one thing, how many roses are not even released until they have been aged a decade or so? Very, very few. Most roses are best when they are at their freshest. But Lopez de Heredia clings, almost alone, to the traditional Rioja practice of aging the wines before releasing them.

The result is thoroughly distinctive, a coppery orange wine with a captivating texture and flavors of coconuts and minerals. Despite some discussion that the 2000 was not the best vintage for this wine, it's a steal at $24, expensive perhaps compared with the others in the tasting, but not for a serious 11-year-old bottle.

Almost all the wines in the tasting were from northeastern Spain, with two exceptions, which both made our top 10. Our No. 4 bottle, the 2009 Los Bermejos, was from Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands, less than 70 miles from Africa. This has to be one of the most unusual places on earth to grow grapes. The vines hug the ground in hollows scooped out of black volcanic soil. Half-moon stone walls are constructed on the windward sides of the hollows to protect the vines from the constant blowing.

The wine itself, made entirely from the listan negro grape, is stonily dry and very refreshing, with floral aromas and rocky mineral flavors that make you feel as if you can hear the sea, a wonderful quality in a rose. This was the $20 wine, a price that seems understandable given the cost of labor and shipping.

The other wine from outside the northeast was our No. 7 bottle, the 2010 Olivares from Jumilla, in southeastern Spain, made largely of monastrell, or mourvedre. It was big and juicy and almost the color of maraschino cherries, yet pleasantly tangy.

As part of recalibrating one's expectations, it would probably be wise to think about what to eat with these rosados, which are bigger and fruitier than the norm. "Maybe not with shrimp or a salad," Victoria said, "but maybe with richer food, like burgers on a grill."

Why not? The market is already saturated with light, flirty roses. These rosados are for committed red-wine drinkers.

Tasting Report


Par--[COPYRIGHT]s Balt---- Pened--(R)s, $11, *** '--

Ros de Pacs 2010

Snappy and refreshing with an aroma of strawberries and stony mineral flavors. (Broadbent Selections, San Francisco)

Campos de Enanzo Navarra, $12, ***

Garnacha Rosado 2010

Cherry red color, dry and steely with tangy, earthy flavors. (C.&.P Wines, New York)

L----pez de Heredia Rioja, $24, ***

Vi--$(1$)a Tondonia Rosado 2000

Serious and age-worthy with coconut, nut and mineral flavors; an unmistakable classic. (Think Global Wines, Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Los Bermejos, $20, ***

Lanzarote Rosado 2009

Coppery red with floral, earthy aromas and fresh, stony flavors. (Jos--[COPYRIGHT] Pastor Selections/Vi--$(1$)os & Gourmet)

Borsao, $8, ** '--

Campo de Borja 2010

Delicate pink, with light fruit aromas and lingering flavors of cherries and earth. (Jorge Ordonez/Tempranillo, New Rochelle, N.Y.)

Castellroig Pened--(R)s Rosat, $15, ** '--

Vi de Terrer 2010

Dry and full-bodied, with light fruit flavors. (C.&.P Wines)

Olivares, $12, **

Jumilla Rosado 2010

Juicy, ripe and tangy, with earthy fruit flavors. (The Rare Wine Company, Vineburg, Calif.)

CUNE, $15, **

Rioja Rosado 2009

Earthy and floral with flavors of nuts and herbs; slightly hot from alcohol. (Europvin U.S.A., Van Nuys, Calif.)

Julian Chivite Navarra, $12, **

Gran Feudo Rosado 2010

Light, dry and refreshing with subtle fruit flavors. (Spanish Wine Collection, Congers, N.Y.)

Nekeas Navarra, $9, **

Vega Sindoa Rosado 2010

A trifle dense and heavy, but with attractive chalky flavors. (Jorge Ordo--$(1$)ez/Tempranillo) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Rose' by Any Other Name is Still Delicious!

Rose's are Red
Strawberries are Sweet
June's Gulp Meeting was really neat!!!

I know I am pretty cheesy but I can't help be nostalgic about the last gathering.  On a stormy Sunday afternoon over 20 fellow winos got together to see what Rose's were all about.  The cool thing about this group was the number of new faces in the group.  Welcome everyone, especially Bridgette who provided extra wine expertise. You made the tasting all the sweeter for your input!
click on Bridgette for more pictures
The usual suspects must be acknowledged for providing food, wine, location and fun facts...Thanks Coreen, LeBeau and Andy, you guys rock!

Onto the pairings:
(note:  We had some troubles with the camera on Sunday so some items we lovingly styled did not make it on this post.  They are in the gallery in all their slightly fuzzy glory!)
First up was a brie and Mango Cutney quesadilla with poblanos and cashews and a honey drizzle.  Holy sweet heat Batman!  This was delicious!  The Houchart Cotes de Provence 2010 was a lovely salmon pink.  There was very little nose but the taste was lovely with raspberries and I think rose water.  It had a nice balance between acid and sweet which really brought out the flavors in Charle's awesome chutney...yum!

Next on the table was a pairing between an heirloom tomato caprese bruscheta and a Sauvion Rose' D' Anjou.  The bright freshness of the basil and tomato paired well with the light crisp wine.  Again, not much on the nose, and someone mentioned that it isn't unusual for rose' not to have a lot of nose but don't let the lack of aroma fool you.  This rose' had a lot of kiwi, strawberry and peach flavor.  The mozzarella mellowed out the little acid in the wine making for a wonderful sweet savory match.

Following the caprese was Deb's food offering of  a sausage-potato quiche and a sausage-cheddar cheese biscuit.  It was paired with Cat and Jeffrey's offering of Sangue di Giuda .  This sweet Italian red wine was bursting with the aroma of jam.  With a slight effervescence blackberries, plum, and blueberries filled the mouth.  The finish was a little spicy that nicely matched the spice in the suasage of Deb's food. 

The next two wines were not paired with anything specific.  A Planeta Rose' followed the di Giuda and I think that was a little too bad.  This old world wine is from Sicily.  Mineral, grapefruit and strawberries create a refreshing dry very drinkable wine.  Following the previous wine brought out a little bitterness that disappeared after cleansing my palate with a piece of bread.  I tried some of the caprese and thought the light bright flavors played nicely together.  My actual quote Sunday was "mmmm, Me likey."

Then came the blind tasting.  I am proud to say I finally have developed my tasting skills enough to figure this one out.  Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio is a light straw colored wine that's light on the nose and flavor too.  Light green grass and pineapple taste with a minerally finish. I have to be honest I was not a fan of this wine.

The food pairing returned with kabobs.  Coreen took chicken, marinated in pineapple and strawberry juices then put them on skewers with the same fruit chunks and grilled them.  I think there was a little onion include on the skewers too.  This is a perfect summer picnic dish and paired with the Angoves Nine Vines Rose' from Australia kicked it up another notch.  First let me say I loved the bottle for this wine.  With the neon pink label and the raspberry colored wine it was a party all by itself!  The floral nose and light sweet strawberry flavor brought it all together for me.

Okay this next wine was another special inclusion thanks to Cat
and Jeffrey.  Vin Gris of Pinot Noir from Robert Sinskey  makes me happy and sad all at the same time!  I am ecstatic over the opportunity to share in another delicious bottle of wine from Mr. Sinskey.  This salmon colored wine smells like a basket of berries and roses.  It tastes like strawberries and pomegranate.  It is made with organic and biodynamic grown grapes and fermented in stainless steel fermenters so all you are getting is the flavor of the grapes.  It is a really lovely wine.  Now for the sad part....this was probably Cat and Jeffrey's last Gulp pairing event.  Their lives have taken a turn.  Cat is turning West and Jeffrey to the East.  When the summer ends they will be together again but who knows where they will end up.?Suffice it to say they don't think it will be back to West Palm......dang it!!!  I know this isn't goodbye but so long for now.  Who knows if they land back in California we will have a bigger excuse for a wine trip!!!  This blogger is going to miss her friends and I know I speak for the Gulp community when I say WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

Enough of the mushy stuff!  Here is the last pairing and it is a doozy!  Coreen made a sweet perfect bite with a strawberry in a phyllo cup with a little dollop of whipped cream on top.  It was paired with a Mumms Napa Brut Sparkling Rose that was happy birthday pink in color, light berry on the nose and, oh yeah, black cherry and raspberries on the tongue.  Add bubbles and Coreen's desert for a very happy ending to a terrific day!

Next month's pairing will feature Chardonnay.  Believe it or not we haven't done those as a one style pairing event.  So mark your calendar for July 17th @ Andy's and join us for Chardonnays Around the World!