James Wyatt Untamed Cuvee 2013
Red Wine of the Month - About $20
Guest Tasters: Colleen Cosgriff & Sean Murphy
For the past several years I have been cornering Colleen and Sean to have them try a wine of my choosing. In July, we sat down for another tasting.
This particular evening focused on a James Wyatt 2013, Untamed Cuvee, from Yakima Valley, Washinton. This is a red Rhone blend, meaning it contains
Grenach, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes. I can tell Colleen and Sear are a bit nervous about this wine because when I hand them the glasses they both comment on the volume. Often when reviewing a wine, it takes more than a sip. Take your time, concentrate on the wine, try it with different foods, and then come to a conclusion.
This wine is a deep, opaque purple, with aromas of raspberry and current, a little hint of floral. On the palate, it tastes fresh, a bit lighter than I anticipated, but is full-bodied, with an emphasis on fruit. This is a dry wine, with sturdy tannins and moderate acidity.
Both Colleen and Sean like it. They agree it has good balance, finesse, and
long length. They experiment with the wine and different types of cheese. "Stay away from spice with this wine," Colleen quickly points out. She is absolutely correct; spicy cheese will react poorly with the tannin.
This wine, fabulous on its own would go nicely with a steak. It has been aged for nine months in a 75% French oak/25% American oak barrel, making this a sturdy wine that will hold up to a strong protein.
Barone Fini 2016
White Wine of the Month
To say Barone Fini has been making quality wines for centuries is not in anyway an exaggeration. They were recognized by the Republic of Venice on October 24, 1479. For six centuries they have remained family owned, with winemaking secrets they share with no one. They pride themselves with little intervention in the grape growing process and their low impact to the environment.
This is a pale, straw-colored wine with pleasant aromas of honey and apple. On the palet, it has a light, crisp body, with mild acidity and minerality. It tastes of pear and honeysuckle, with a pleasing balance. This Pinot Grigio has a dry finish and reasonably long length; the perfect wine with shellfish and salads.
This wine would be wonderful for a picnic or to use it as an aperitif for dinner guests. On average, a bottle will cost $12.99. Certainly a bottle to keep on hand.
Cocktail of the Month - Tequila Sunrise - 9%
Tequila can be divided into two main categories of differing quality: Mixto and 100 percent blue agave. Mixto tequila is made from a blend of at least 51 percent blue agave, with the remaining sugar typically made up of molasses. Since the blue agave is diluted and blended, the result is a lower grade of tequila. The 100 percent blue agave tequila is more expensive and is not as popular in terms of sales, but tends to be much better in terms of quality and purity of flavor.
To tell the difference between these two styles, look for "100% Agave" on the label. Whenever a label is missing that phrase, the tequila is a Mixto.
Both styles of tequila can also be categorized by age. There are four different levels, depending on how long the spirit has been aged in oak barrels: Blanco/White or Plato/Silver: Receive little, if any aging; Oro/Gold: Receive little is any aging (mostly darkened with caramel); Reposado: Spanish for "rested;" aged for two months to a year in oak barrels; Anejo : Spanish for "aged;" aged for a minimum of one year in oak barrels. As it ages, it will become more complex, darken in color, and soften in harshness.
2 1/4 parts tequila
3/4 parts grenadine
4 1/2 parts orange juice
Fill collins glass (tall glass) with ice.
Pour 4 1/2 parts orange juice, 2 1/4 parts tequila into the glass.
Add 3/4 parts grenadine drop by drop.
Garnish with a cocktail cherry, orange wedge.
For Designated Drivers & Under 21
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 lime, plus wedges for serving
2 dried chiles de árbol, plus crushed for serving
3 cups fresh pineapple juice
½ cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
9 cups club soda, divided
Crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife. Remove zest from lime in wide strips with a vegetable peeler, leaving white pith behind. Place in a medium bowl. Add peppercorns, whole chiles de árbol, pineapple juice, sugar, and salt and stir until most of sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a 1-qt. jar or an airtight container. Cover and chill 8–12 hours. Strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve into another medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); discard solids. To make 1 drink, mix ¼ cup juice with ¾ cup club soda in a measuring glass; taste and add more juice if you want it sweeter. Pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and crushed chile de árbol. Do Ahead: Juice can be infused and strained 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.