Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A few worldy wine tips...

1. Altos Las Hormiagas Malbec
Here is an Argentinan wine, whose charms are irresistible. Nice, vivid boisenberry and plum fruit, with dark chocolate and toasty notes enveloping the finish. Ripe and solid - a great value for an Argentinian Malbec! Deep ruby colored, this wine approaches the "fruit bomb" category without going over the edge. A rich, full-bodied red wine from the Mendoza region of Argentina, this Malbec has flavors of plum and black currant with a hint of dark chocolate. A steak wine for sure, but also great for sharp cheese.

2. Michael Sullberg Cabernet
Great "entry level" red wine! This is a medium bodied and balanced wine that has a berry, chocolate and vanilla-wood flavor. Its relatively fruit forward with a lingering finish. Certainly worthy of cellaring but very enjoyable now. This would be excellent with red sauce pasta dishes, and clearly would go nicely with steak and beef dishes

3. Feudi-Saraceni Montelpulciano:
Ready to drink now –but able to be aged for another 4-5 years, this is a quintessential Italian red, capturing the intense aromas and rich, robust characteristics typical of the region. It is distinguised by its violet color with raspberry/currant fruit and spicy, licorice notes with a hint of tobacco and a slight acidity. A classic "all-rounder" suitable for hearty Italian cooking like your sainted grandmother made on Sunday afternoons or enjoying on its own. Great with pizza, veal, steak -- or roasted chicken.

4. Giesen Sauvignon Blanc
Light straw color with a glint of gold, this wine is exceptionally aromatic. Ripe peaches come up first, followed by juicy lemon-lime and a whiff of the "green chile pepper" scent that's often found in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Ripe and full, juicy fruit flavors are so intense that the wine almost seems sweet; but a snappy citric tang brings it into balance, clean and lingering. The wine's "in-your-face" flavors make it a challenging food match, but asparagus - here in a farfalle pasta dish with ham and a saffron-tinted cheese sauce - stands up to the herbaceous chile-pepper flavors in the wine.

5. Henri Bouregois Petite Bourgeois
This is an elegant, vibrant and crisp wine from one of France’s Loire Valley’s top producers (Henri Bourgeois). This wine is made 100% of Sauvignon Blanc, and is smooth, with a slightly creamy taste with generous ripe fruit and a spinal cord of acidity. If one is a fan of New Zealand type Sauvignon Blancs, then this will be a nice French alternative; not quite as crisp – as it’s been aged in oak - yet full and fruity. This wine would be the perfect counterbalance with foods ranging from Chinese chicken salad, to roast duck to grilled salmon w/mango salsa – fantastic with goat cheese!

6. Helderberg Steen (Chenin Blanc)

Steen is the South African name for the Chenin Blanc grape, the most widely planted white wine grape in South Africa. Give this one time to open, and serve just moderately chilled. Medium-bodied dry white wine; medium straw. Aromas of pear and honey, with the taste of honey (not its sweetness) shaping the ripe fruit flavors. Touch of banana, and other tropical fruits. Mineral accents. Seamless integration of flavors. Excellent value.

Food Pairings: Mild curried chicken salad; South African "pan" dishes, a combination of shellfish, calamari, prawns and yellow rice (Famous Fish Co., Peachtree City); chicken pot pie, seafood or chicken-filled crđ║pes; sundry vegetable dishes (squash casserole, stuffed baked Vidalia onion, macaroni and cheese, cannellini beans), grilled or baked salmon; crab, crawfish or salmon cakes; spinach ravioli with chicken and Thai seasonings; satay

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