Tag Archives: Pinot Noir

Mysterious Ways with Phantom Gourmet & 90+ Cellars

20 Dec

Since I am spending the holidays in Boston, I figured it would be ‘tastefully’ appropriate to blog about a great wine I stumbled upon at a wine tasting last night at my hometown’s local grocery store! 90+ Cellars was the tasting brand for the night, offering a lovely selection of reds and whites (great addition to simple grocery shopping)!  However, before going ahead I would suggest reading up on the background behind this remarkable concept 90+ Cellars {here}! You can also see what stores carry this brand in Boston!

Now, onto the good stuff.  One particular bottle that overpowered the rest was a 2010 bottle of Phantom Gourmet 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.   Not only is it named after the famed NE restaurant critic, but with it’s great taste and value ($14.99) this Pinot intrigued me in mysterious ways, in a good way!  This Pinot Noir rolls across your taste buds smoothly and is a slightly sweeter and heavier Pinot Noir than other’s I’ve tried, which was perfect to warm up with in this 35 degree weather! It had bits of sour cherry bursts that complimented the sweeter tastes nicely! And icing on the cake? It even pairs well with a Fenway Frank … No brainer!

On the Bottle

Story: 90 Cellars has teamed up with New England’s #1 restaurant critic to bring you this Pinot Noir whose origin is as mysterious as the Phantom himself. Together, we searched every hill and valley of Sonoma to unearth this Pinot Noir that’s got more swagger than Jagger. Handpicked from hillside vineyards and aged for 10 months in new oak barrels, this is Pinot for pondering and partying.

Taste: Radiant purple in color with layered aromas of cherry and pomegranate along with a dose of sweet wood spice. You could say it’s like eating cherry pie next to a blazing campfire. Perfectly unpretentious, this wine will pair equally as well with a Fenway Frank as it will with Filet Mignon. Food, fun and now wine, that’s all the Phantom serves.

So there you have it.  Will you be slipping this into Fenway Park to try it out with the infamous Fenway Frank?  If you do, let me know!


TREND: Pair Wine and Music!

3 Nov

Who said it couldn’t be done!  Hey, if I could pair wine and running together (here), I can certainly pair music and wine.. and so can you!  It’s all about the mood the music and the wine puts you in.  Here are some great tune and wine pairings that can get you in the mood for just about any season and occasion!  Leave a comment if you have other favorites!

Led Zepplin – I Can’t Quit You Baby PAIRED WITH Cabernet Sauvignon 
A deep blues-y song with a deep pensive wine
RECO: Clos Du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Sonoma County

Van Morrison – Moondance Album PAIRED WITH Chardonnay, Merlot
An easy drinking wine to match carefree songs that entice you to get up and dance under the moonlight!!
RECO: J Vineyards Chardonnay; Jacuzzi Merlot Rossi Di Sette Fratelli

James Taylor – Mexico PAIRED WITH Rose
JT gives you that summer vibe so why not pair it with a lovely and summery rose!  Gets you in that heart of summer mood in the middle of July!
RECO: Swanson Vineyards Rosato, Napa Valley

Toto – Africa PAIRED WITH Sauvignon Blanc
An uplifting song full of brightness to be matched with a zesty, crisp, and bright white wine!
RECO: 2010 Neil Ellis “Sincerely” Sauvignon Blanc

Frank Sinatra PAIRED WITH Barolo
Barolo and Sinatra sound like the perfect match together, don’t they! Classy, elegant, and GOOD! The ‘King Of Wines” meets the “King of Big Band/Jazz”
RECO: Terre di Bo Barolo 2007

Whitney Houston – I Wanna to Dance With Somebody PAIRED WITH Shiraz
Gimme some spice and dancing with this pairing! Woohoo!
RECO: Xavier Flouret Waroo Shiraz 2009, Western Australia 

Bruce Springsteen – The River PAIRED WITH Pinot Noir
A heavy yet soothing song (everything with The Boss’ voice is soothing) with an extremely smooth Pinot Noir. Perfection!
RECO: De Loach Pinot Noir 2007, Single Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain

And for a more modern spin…

Katy Perry – Last Friday Night PAIRED WITH Rioja
A bit of Katy’s sugar with a bit of Rioja’s spice makes for a perfect pair! You feel a sudden spunk to your step when pairing these!
RECO: Cortijo Rioja Rosado 2010

I mean the list could go on! 

Some more fun reading on the world of Music and Wine pairings below!

Time – http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/11/02/pairing-wine-with-food-consider-the-soundtrack-too/

Telegraph (UK) – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8862520/Music-makes-wine-taste-better.html

Transitional Wines For Autumn

6 Oct

It’s that time of time of year!
To rejoin with friends from the summer and celebrate with cheer!

And what wine to drink?
Is the question to think!

The start of fall, although is confused with whites and reds
Finding that perfect transitional is where we are with our heads

So take a gander at the Autumn wines below
And enjoy these wines while embracing their halo

The Malbec is an excellent way of passage, as you will see
But there are many other varietals for the colder fall nights that are key!

Now try it and enjoy, please you tell me!

Harry Chamberlain Photography

The Malbec – Medium bodied reds that are for easy drinking and are filled with a bit of SPICE to perfectly match your Autumn fare!

  • 2010 Colores Del Sol Reserva Malbec, Mendoza,Argentina ($12): Alive with pepper and spice, finishes with full bodied fruits specifically dark cherry, well balanced
  • 2008 Urraca Mendoza Malbec ($19.99): A rich wine filled with ripe fruits with a very well balanced finish. A bit more sophisticated than the Colores Del Sol so perfect for your first fall feast with guests!
  • Bodegas Santa Ana Casa de Campo Reserva Malbec/Shiraz 2007 ($15.99): A fruitful burst w/ a bit of spice!  Perfect to pair with a brie with baked apples and cinnamon! What a lovely Fall treat!

**For more info and other great reco’s on Malbecs see: Malbec – The King of WINE (in Argentina) 

Pinot Noir – For the borderline fall/wintery nights when you just don’t want to leave and are tempted to start a fire.

  • 2009 DeLoach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($22): Ripe in cherry fruits, with a bunch of brown spices with very smooth tannins that are a bit romnatic

Shiraz – Spice overload with black pepper and fruit and anchoring tannins

  • R Wines Strong Arms Shiraz 2006, South Australia ($10):  Fruit bomb that is edged with spice and chocolate!  Cozy up with this spice box!

Ports – For those special post meal delights 

  • Duck Walk Blueberry Port ($13): A local fan favorite from the Hamptons and a great post meal conversation starter.  Try this bursting blueberry with a dark chocolate dessert!  Quack, quack!

Work and Wine… Can You Pair? Not Anymore…

1 Aug

Back in the days when Ad Agency and Wall Street types indulged in the ‘3-martini lunch’ (among other things – whiskey, bourbon etc..) during business meetings and lunch hours, were times when it was the norm to partake in a business cocktail with lunches.  From the God Father to Wall Street to the more recently historical flashback to Mad Men, are examples that wine (at the least) was enjoyed during working hours and at business meetings to its fullest! Nowadays, I rarely see this and there is usually no wine ordering when out to a work lunch.  So what has changed? Why now are workers hesitant to order a glass of wine to compliment their lunch? Why is it inappropriate to have a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir with clients? Is it an etiquette thing or is it just over time the act has been ‘time capsuled’ into the past where we will be forever indebted to movies and our father’s stories.  These are the questions I’m dying to find out as I was out to lunch the other day and got to thinking, what would happen if I ordered a glass of wine with lunch during the work week…???

So, I’ve turned to the experts far and wide in NYC. Fashion Stylists, Marketing Managers at prestige fashion houses and media companies, VP’s of financial companies etc… and they all seem to have similar perspectives…. IT’S NOT APPROPRIATE AND UNPRODUCTIVE DURING LUNCH MEETINGS…

“Absolutely not. I would never do that. Too risky and also could make you look like you’re not focused or working hard. I work at a media agency and when you are in a service based industry, your clients need to always think you are working for them and working hard.”

Shocking, even finance types are being careful adding drinks to lunch… “Rarely. If I have anything alcoholic at lunch it would be a beer. However, I have co-workers that order wine at lunch maybe 1-3 times a month when we go to a good restaurant. For example, recently lunch at Mialino and BLT fish called for wine.” Boy times have certainly changed… And although they do think it’s fine in moderation… “Fridays especially are fine because afternoons tend to be slower.” Seems like now there is a time and a place…

From the perspective of someone who grew up in ‘3-martini lunch’ period and is still working…”Times have changed so much in my industry. I think it really all started when DWI went into effect. But in the old days I remember taking out one particular customer and he would have 3 Martini’s before lunch, 2 glasses of wine during lunch and an after ‘lunch’ drink. Then go back to his office and write a $30,000 order. This was typical in the old days.” – Wow. That is just madness; I would be done for the week!

It also seems that happy hours/dinners/after work drink meetings are the norm now vs. drinks with lunch meetings…

“Sober lunches lead to a more powerful “let’s get after it” happy hour.”

So in closing, when is it appropriate to drink at lunch meetings??  “IF I LIVED IN FRANCE-YES THEN IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE!!!!”

So there you have it and although I 100% agree with the above comments and feel that the portrayal of wine consistently paired with business lunches will not show light anytime soon, I’m wondering if just like fashion trends and branding, this ‘act’ will resurrect itself in the future and even bring about a new era of the  ‘3-wine lunch’.  A girl can dream…. 😉

Running and Wine… A Perfect Pair

20 Jun

It’s that time of year again – training for the NYC Marathon – Fall 2011.

Like a fine wine, running and training for a marathon is one in the same – complex, aggressive, well balanced, and perfectly paired.  Training for a marathon is as strategic and process oriented as in wine making and fermenting.  A good training partner and plan is just as a steak and a full bodied Pinot Noir are enjoyed together– the perfect match with the best end result.  You get the picture.  Along with wine, running is also a big passion of mine and believe it or not is a part of my training process.  I try to pair my running schedule with a red/white, rose, and/or bubbly with the amount of miles I run and how my body is feeling to keep me motivated and ready for my next move.. Here’s how!

  • Short Run (0-6 miles): Usually after a shorter run I feel frisky and light on my feet waiting for more and getting anxious and excited for the next day’s run.  When I feel like this I usually crave a nice light Rose, Pinot Grigio, or sparkling wine to go with a light summer dinner either alone or with a few others.
  • Medium Run (7-12 miles): Here is where your body starts to really feel you pounding on the pavement.  You will need to rest a bit and recover with all the right sports drinks and go into a heavier dinner with wines with a little more kick and zest to pick you up when you may be in need of a recharge.  I prefer a great Sauvignon Blanc, a Sancerre or even a nice spicy Shiraz paired with a protein filled dinner. After these long runs it’s great to enjoy your wine with a bunch of friends around you!  They will support you and cheers to you every step of the way!
  • Long run (13-19 miles):  All runs need preparation however; these long runs specifically, need 110% of your mind, body and soul for a satisfied run and feeling.  Marathon training endures a large amount of stress on the body so it is important that after you recharge with your ‘champion’ breakfast, to relax and enjoy a long dinner with lots of laughs and many “clink clinks” so you are able to associate your long runs with happiness and joy to stay motivated for the next.  With dinner, after these long runs I usually enjoy a fruit filled Pinot Noir, Montepulciano, or Cabernet Sauvignon.  They have lots of fruit and will replenish and put the warmth back into your body which in turn ensures you are relaxed.
  • 20 mile run: Since I have been advised only to do one of these 20 miler’s while training to make sure you are tip top for the actual marathon (w/o pushing it), I usually enjoy an OJ w/ calcium and champagne filled Mimosa to take the edge off with a late brunch.  Then with dinner would probably have a heartier wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon to again get that warmth back in my body and cheers to it almost being marathon day!
  • Marathon – Post Marathon Celebration – Veuve Clicquot of course.. You deserve it! 

So there you have it.  A few tips on how to incorporate a few squashed grapes and maybe even some antioxidants into you marathon training.  It helps keep your eye on the finish and lets you feel fresh, excited and motivated while doing it!

Also, here are a few suggestions from the Elites from Runner’s Magazine (July 2011)

Bernard Lagat (American two-mile record holder (8:10.07): “On off days, I relax with my wife over a glass of 2007 Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.  It’s dry with a hint of spice – my son calls it Daddy Juice”

Sage Canady (Eighth American at 2010 Chicago Marathon in 2:19:18): “Willamette Valley Vineyard’s Pinot Noir (2007) – its hearty taste is perfect after long runs.  Plus, it’s full of healthy antioxidants!”

Andrew Lemoncello (Eighth at 2010 London Marathon in 2:13:40): “Postrace, I relax with a softer wine like Chateau St Michelle’s Merlot (2007).  It’s great with steak. If I have a Zinfandel, it helps put me to sleep.”

And finally, if you are feeling really ambitious, try this half marathon in Oregon and enjoy a nice glass of wine from the Willamette Valley at the finish – http://www.fueledbyfinewine.com/event_information/

Happy running and wine drinking!

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