Friday, October 9, 2009
John Phillip Passantino, age 48, died suddenly at home in Bergenfeld, NJ, on October 4, 2009.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, www.ucp.org/ucpgeneral.cfm/1/5.
I have also created a Memorial Blog for John at: http://johnpassantino.blogspot.com/
We miss you John.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Kiona 2006 Zinfandel
This time of year, SE Washington has pleasantly warm days with enchanting cool evenings. The perfect time of year for enjoying wine. Take in a desert sunset with friends and wine. A real treat.
Lucky me, I was gifted with a bottle of Kiona 2006 Zinfandel. I've been a fan of their Lemberger for two decades, so I was intrigued by this Zin. Of note on the bottle: the fruit is harvested from the top of Red Moutain! Certainly news to me. Kiona is one of the oldest wineries on Red Mountain.
Nose: Bright garnet color, very clear. Ripe blackberry nose, with subtle pepper a hint of violets - and a whiff of cellery.
Taste: In the mouth good feel, cooked fruit, tar, bright.
Finish: With 13.5% alcohol it does not have the heat of other Washington reds - so you can
savor the fruit. Good acidity moderated with the perfect amount of medium tanin, and a
savor the fruit. Good acidity moderated with the perfect amount of medium tanin, and a
This wine is immediately approachable. While it won't knock your socks off, it is
pleasant, easy to drink, balanced and went very well with my, oh so tender grilled
(I'm back in Washington - so I hope to make a trip up to the Kiona winery soon).
Monday, August 17, 2009
A delicious sparkler from down under.
Ah, I enjoy my sparkling wines. Love the little bubbles exploding in my mouth and tickling my nose. I've become especially fond of dry rose wines. I don't wear pink, but I will drink it.
Jacob's Creek has a real winner with their Sparkling Rose - it is vintaged from Australian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. I enjoy it with company and food. It is pleasingly crisp, refreshing, with bright delicate fruit that does not intrude on the finish. This is not an expensive wine, but it does have class. I don't know how widely distributed this wine is, I can find it in this part of the world, but not the other part.
If you are planning a wedding - this bottle of bubbly should be mandatory at the reception. Summer and late summer parties would be incomplete without the pink from Jacob's Creek.
I like it and suggest you try some if you can find it where you live.
Alcohol: 11.5 %
Total Acid: 6.1 g/L
Friday, June 5, 2009
100% Tempranillo Goodness
It's enjoyable to purchase a bottle of wine with the language of origin intact. Fortunately I read and speak Spanish. Celeste is from the Ribera del Duero, in the heart of the Duero Valley in Spain. This wine is 100% tinto fino (Tempranillo). According to the label the winery is located at an altitude of 895 meters. This is Torres' second wine from the Ribera del Duero appelation. More details at the bottom.
Here it is, I like this wine. I like this wine a lot. I like this wine a lot on the second day. When I first opened this bottle yesterday, it was quite thin. The mid palette was pale and uninteresting. Only the finish yielded some promise and a hint of what day two would reveal.
Day two, ah yes, a much improved wine, dark color, dark fruit, plum nose with oak, a full feel in the mouth, dry, peppery, smokey, with cherry and currant in the finish. This wine should pair well with crusty bread, olive oil and some aged cheddar (add some sliced prosciutto and you're golden).
Wine Paired with Lamb Chops
I enjoyed the 2005 Celeste with Lambs Chops I cooked at home. Inspired by Jamie Oliver, I broke five cloves of peeled garlic by hand and placed on an oven tray, I liberally sprinkled the garlic with dry oregano (in my head I always hear Nigella Lawson pronounce it "oh-ray-gone-oh" you can tell what kind of TV I watch) then sprinkled salt over the oregano (oh-ray-gone-oh).
I had four lamb chops, which I pressed into the garlic/oregano/salt mixture, turned the Lamb Chops over and pressed the other side into the remaining garlic/oregano/salt mixture. I moved the Lamb Chops around so that there was a little gap between them and placed pieces of chopped tomato and red onion in the gaps between the Lamb. A good drizzle of olive oil over the onion and tomato, and a final sprinkle of salt.
Into the oven at 210 celsius and cooked both sides of the lamb until done (just slightly crispy). A little rice, some salad, a glass of 2005 Celeste and the Lamb Chops were perfection. Oops, I enjoyed dinner and wine so much I neglected to grab a picture.
If you like your red wine thin, open and drink on day one. If you like your wine with some body and character, open it and drink it later. There's plenty of life in this bottling - suitable to cellar for a few years more (buy several bottles and open over the next few years to find out). Reasonably priced.
Miguel Torres S.A. Winery
D.O. Ribera del Duero
Crianza - 12 months in oak.
U.S. Importer: Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
Importer's Phone: 212-818-0770
Thursday, May 21, 2009
An Australian sparkler which is sure to please.
I've posted on my Washington wine blog and on my Facebook group, that I've been unable to find any Jacobs Creek sparkling wine in South Eastern Washington. By chance, I purchased a bottle on clearance several years ago in Pasco, Washington. It was quite good. Naturally, I went looking for more.
I never found another bottle in town. Jacobs Creek distributes their value-priced wines well, red and white, but not the sparkler. I've spoken with several distributors and Googled distributors. But no Jacobs Creek sparkling wine. Where did it go? It is advertised on their Website and listed as a current product. Maybe there's too much competition in the regional market?
Guess what? I found some in the Abu Dhabi Duty Free store last month. That's where some of it went. note: We stopped at Spinney's liquor store down the street yesterday, and found more. If you don't want to pay for Champagne, this Australian sparkling wine is a great option.
Was the wine as good as remembered?
We finally cracked open that Jacobs Creek sparkling wine. The bottle was well chilled, fridge to freezer, back to fridge (who can drink warm bubbly?). It had soft bubbles, but plenty of them, maybe it was me that night, but I tasted gobs of honey and citrusy ginger - nice and crisp. I liked.
Jacobs Creek Sparkling Chardonnay - Pinot Noir, NV
Found in Abu Dhabi, UAE (you're on your own finding it elsewhere)
Serve well chilled for maximum enjoyment
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday evening I had a most enjoyable time with new friends. A short elevator ride to the 11th floor and I was graciously welcomed in. My hosts were originally from Australia and did have some lovely Australian wine to share.
Those familiar with my Washington wine blog, know that I am partial to Syrah. Quite fond of in fact, I was pleasantly surprised when a bottle of Australian Shiraz Viognier was opened and shared. This is my third week living in the United Arab Emirates. My consumption of alcohol here has been minimal, and my intake of wine has been non-existant, until Friday night.
I am not an expert on Australian wines. Back home, only the basic bulk Australian reds are usually available (certainly not the best examples of what Australia produces). I was quite intrigued by the bottle of Yering Station 2005 Shiraz Viognier my host presented. Intrigued? Anxious, eager and salivating with anticipation is more like it. It had been almost a month without any Syrah/Shiraz! I was not disappointed.
We were instantly greeted by enticing fruit and a whif of earth, a touch of taragon gently expressed itself the longer the wine was open. Not that the wine was open for long. The bottle went faster than usual, I could barely restrain myself. While not a formal tasting, and the pace was a bit faster than usual, I have to admit that I really liked this wine. I did a little research and found a link to the tasting notes for this vintage, see following link:
I have no idea what this wine costs here. I can't even purchase a bottle of wine at the liquor store yet. But when I can, I'm going hunting for the Yering Station Shiraz Viognier. Recommended!
*note: We also opened a bottle of Chilean Malbec (no I don't remember which one) and it was also very good (I remember mocha in the mid-palette) I'll look out for that one again and write about it when I find it.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
April 4 and 5 Seattle, Washington
If you are in the Seattle area, or can get there easily, then Taste Washington Seattle is a not to be missed event. Last year, I was a volunteer at the Washington Wine Ambassador booth, during The Grand Tasting on Sunday.
What can I say? It was an amazing experience. Details follow this link: http://www.tastewashington.org/seattle/
Hope you can make it.
My review from last years Taste Washington Seattle follows, http://wild4washingtonwine.blogspot.com/2008/04/back-from-taste-washington-seattle.html