Monday, June 29, 2009

This Riesling's Drier Than My Sense of Humor

Up 'til now assessing the relative sweetness of a Riesling was as scientific as this post's headline.

When a producer says the wine is "Dry," how do you know what that really means? "A little spicy," to my palate could cause bullets of sweat to shoot forth from the foreheads of some of my compatriots, for instance.

Riding to the rescue is the International Riesling Foundation (the logo on their capes is IRF). This band of Rhine Rangers have designed a simple, ruler-like scale divided into four quarters, from dry to sweet. For each Riesling carrying this scale, an arrowhead marks the wine's relative sweetness.

Harry Peterson-Nedry (his real name), an IRF board member and owner of Oregon's Chelhalem Winery has already included the scale on their three 2008 Riesling cuvées.

Wine geeks already appreciate the fine range of Rieslings made in California, but this will help us take the message to those who still proclaim, "I don't like Rieslings, they're too sweet."

My two local favorite dry, excellent Rieslings come from Claiborne-Churchill and Wolff Vineyards, both in San Luis Obispo's Edna Valley. Fantastic with Thai food and just plain revitalizing as a quaffer on one of our numerous warm afternoons.

And Jekel Vineyards, our eno-neighbor to the north, will be the first California winery to incorporate the Riesling Ruler Scale on their labels.

Source – Santé Magazine, May.2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Think Locally, Drink Globally!

Tired of drinking wine straight from the bottle? That was rhetorical -- it never gets old. But N2Wine decided to make these Wine Globe systems anyways.

Kind of a GQS, Global Quenching System.
Wine globes are glass containers capable of holding 33 or 70 bottles of wine (depending on the size) that are specifically designed to thwart oxidization, the chemical reaction that ages wine, by preventing any air from entering the system.

Instead, the globes vino-filled spheres constantly topped off by "food-grade" nitrogen
(who knew this gas came in grades) when liquid levels deplete, essentially freezing wine's flavor in time.

The wine is also under constant water-cooled temperature regulation so that it's served perfectly every time and, obviously, the system can offer more wines by the glass than most restaurants currently offer.

Each globe costs about $1,000 but can be run in line off the same nitrogen tank. I'm not sure this pencils out, but let's hoist a glass and let someone back at the office make a PowerPoint presentation about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Live in Wine Country When....

... Another Albertson's Announces a Monthly Wine Tasting Event.

Whilst traveling about the States I often get stopped at Reality Checkpoints when, in mid-enosentence, it becomes clear that not even most New Yorkers, for instance, weave the vocabulary of vinifera into daily casual conversation.

Meanwhile, here on the Central Coast, a large grocery chain's store in Paso Robles has featured popular weekly wine tasting events for the past three years.

Now it's "Attention shoppers in Atascadero," as their local Albertson's launches a similar monthly wine event. You can stock up on groceries and have a great opportunity to learn more about our area's favorite agricultural product from winery representatives. Sometimes the wines will be paired with appetizers from North County restaurants.

“It’s not just tasting … It’s more of an educational process here,” explained event coordinator Linda Cooks.

She said the Paso Robles store was the only Albertsons in California to offer wine tasting with the nearby Atascadero store becoming the second.

The Atascadero Albertsons sells wines from 84 local wineries, including Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles, Wild Horse Vineyards in Templeton and Laetitia Vineyard and Winery in the Arroyo Grande Valley.

Red wine cleanup on isle 6!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chef Rick's Prime Orcutt's

We so often have the pleasure of tasting Chef Rick's marvelous morsels at events that he caters but seldom make it to his cozy bistro in Orcutt (just outside of Santa Maria, CA).
Any foodie with a half palate in this area is most likely to be an avid (sometimes rabid) fan of one of our area's all time favorite
Chef's with flair.

Besides wonderful food, Rick is an amazingly charming and witty guy. It must be that same Southern charm that infuses his cuisine, as well.
On this recent field trip to the shopping center Chef Rick calls home, we tried his Vegetarian Hero Sandwich and Ed's Blackened Shrimp Quesadilla.

I had to reign myself in to prevent spontaneous inhalation of the Quesadilla. I declare! Veggie Hero was mighty fresh, aromatic and satisfying. His special slaw was a delight.

Great wine list, too. We went with the Wild Horse Chardonnay and it was perfect for this meal.

As you can see, the interior of Chef Rick's is as colorful as the man himself!