I know, here I go again with beer tasting on a wine-blog. The thing is, that when I find a gluten-free beer that is this good, it would be a crime not to share the information.
We visited an Italian restaurant called Vesta, in Carlstadt New Jersey, Sunday afternoon, and I was talked into ignoring my dairy-free diet, and try their awesome pizza. It is one of those places where they make the wood fire, brick oven pizza’s, and they do make gluten-free pizza so I was ok on that account. And the pizza was great. My first pizza in a restaurant since I went gluten-free. I tried to make pizza at home once, that was both gluten and dairy free, but pizza without cheese is just not worth the time and effort in my book.

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The restaurant offered only one gluten-free beer that wasn’t a cider. It’s called Bard’s a sorghum malt beer, and I could not tell that it was gluten-free. Absolutely enjoyable and refreshing, for those moments when a glass of wine just won’t cut it.
A great way to end an awesome weekend! Cheers!

Yes, I’m finally exploring the world of “bold and beautiful” wines. This bottle of 2011 Hand Craft Petite Sirah had gotten 92 points, and I only paid $12 for it. What a steal!

This wine is practically bursting with flavors. It is full bodied, fruity, but very well-balanced with a lot of dept and softness. It was amazing on day one, but even better on day two. On the nose it was a little strange with aromas of plum and black pepper. On the palate I got blackberries, plum and black pepper.

This will definitely be one of my “go to wines” for the future. Happy Wine Wednesday! Cheers!

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Kiwi Wines To Remember!

April 1, 2014

I’ve been going through a “wine-drought” lately, and with no wine tasting, there is no blogging neither…but I’m back, and I must say we nailed it with the wines at this Sunday’s dinner-party. My friend was cooking up a feast worthy of Kings, at this party that was a going-away party for a girl she works with, and paired each dish with a different wine.

With appetizers (a mix of cheeses, and dips with crackers) we were sipping Yellow Tail Chardonnay, a very pleasant, easy to drink, unoaked wine.

The salad was quite spectacular, made with grapefruit and mixed greens, and it was also very perfectly matched with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a 2013 Kono from the Marlborough region. Fruity aromas of grapefruit stood out.  It was very smooth and refreshing on the palate, with flavors of grapefruit, melon and a soft citrus finish.

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I was in charge of wine for the main course wich was roasted lamb and chicken served with a chickpea salad, and the only instructions I got was; pick up a light red wine… I immediately thought Pinot Noir, but I really haven’t had a good one for quite some time, and didn’t trust myself to pick a good one now. As I’m in the store scanning trough the aisle with Pinot Noir, the lady that runs the store comes over and picks up a bottle and says; you should get this one, it is very good…..saved my day, and indeed it was good. Another Marlborough New Zealand wine, 2012 Matua. It had a medium light color in the glass, wonderful aromas of cherry, and flavors of cherry with just a hint of cinnamon. A very well-balanced wine with soft tannins.

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Desert was the only dish with no designated wine, but with all the good leftovers we had sitting there…we really didn’t need anything else. I would have never believed that gluten-free and dairy-free strawberry shortcake would be this good, but it was delicious and I will never eat it any other way again lol.

It was a great time with great friends, over a delicious meal with super wines! Cheers!

 

 

A friend of mine told me about this idea a couple of weeks ago; selling wine by the glass in the store…. To be honest I kind of laughed it off as a joke, saying something like; who would want just one glass? Well, then life went on…..and last Saturday I went to “The Stone Pony”, in Asbury Park New Jersey (home of The Boss) to see a Springsteen Tribute band called “Tramps Like Us”. Of course I was hoping for a surprise visit from the Boss himself, but got a little disappointed there. The “Tramps” were Ok, but they had some big shoes to fill.

Anyway, “The Stone Pony” is kind of a dump…sorry…. but there is nothing fancy about it, and I don’t really mean that it’s a bad thing. The place has great history, and lots of character. A lot of great music has been played between those walls. But it is not the place to go if all you want is a glass of good wine… I knew the wine selection wouldn’t be huge, so to make it simple, I ordered a glass of Cabernet…..and I got my own single serving goblet/glass, wich the bartender just removed the plastic cap, and peeled off the aluminum seal… OMG someone already thought of this! A glass of wine that could be sold in a store.

I was quite fascinated by my little goblet, but the wine in it was nothing to get excited over. Copa De Vino Cabernet Sauvignon was pretty bad. To dry, with no dept, and just cheap tasting. I wonder if these are getting sold in stores anywhere? It just might be a good idea after all. I would put a different wine in them thou. Cheers!

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Susana Balbo aka “Queen of Torrontes” or “Evita of Wine”, crafted these wines for 10 years, in honor of her two daughters. “Crios” is Argentine slang for offspring. Balbo is known throughout Argentina and the World for her incredible wine-making skills, experience and passion.  In 2011 one of the daughters took over the wine-making, and it shows that she is working hard to preserve the style of these wines. I have great experience with Argentinian wines so far, and was excited to get these two bottles for less than $10 a piece.

The 2012 Crios Malbec, had a nice dark, purple-like color in the glass. Bright aromas of dark fruits. This was a full-bodied fruity wine with a subtle dryness. I picked up flavors of dark berries and some minerals. Super wine for a great price.

The 2011 Crios Cabernet Sauvignon had more of a dark ruby color in the glass. The aromas were bright and fruity of cherry and black-currant. This was a very smooth and velvety full-bodied wine, with flavors of cherry, black-currant and vanilla.

Feel like I hit the jackpot with these two. Cheers!

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A Mid-Week Gem!

March 13, 2014

Finally got to get together with one of my girlfriends, that I don’t get to see as often as I like anymore. Our busy schedules don’t always coordinate, if you know what I mean. Last night we went to our favorite Italian restaurant, La Piazza, in Allentown. I haven’t been there since I went gluten-free, because I’ve been scared of all the temptations. They serve the best roles that you dip in an olive oil and spice mix, and their thin crust pizza is to die for. And don’t even think about their awesome tiramisu. Yea, it’s a real trap for someone who is gluten-free and dairy-free, but I finally worked up some courage, and faced the enemy. Actually I had no problems sticking to my diet. They serve gluten-free pasta, and I haven’t had bread in so long, that it doesn’t tempt me as it used to do.

The Restaurant is BYOB, so we brought a bottle wine, a 2010 Can Blau, wich is a Spanish blend of Syrah, Garnacha and Mazuelo. It had a dark color in the glass and aromas of dark fruits, the black-currant stood out. A full-bodied complex and bold wine, with flavors of ripe dark fruits, black-currant and dark cherries. What a delightful treat on a Wednesday night. Four stars from me. Cheers!

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If I spend more than $15 on a bottle, I need a special occasion to open it. When I have a $30 bottle of Barolo, it kind of gets hard to find an occasion that is good enough. But after hanging on to this wine for a while now ( I don’t have a cellar, and after 2 months I’m starting to worry that it has “aged” for to long lol), I thought its time to uncork this thing.

My first Barolo since I started my wine-adventures, and it has a lot of “pressure” to deliver… The occasion; my new special friend is coming for a nice evening with just the two of us, a home cooked Norwegian meal, a good DVD, and a bottle of Barolo. Ok, so he drinks beer, but hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my Barolo.
The wine; a 2009 Villadoria, Serralunga D’Alba Barolo. I picked this bottle because it had the best reviews of the ones in this price-range. The reviews are not outstanding, but the best I could find for $30.

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And did it deliver?…..kind of, but not on day one. Yes I was a little disappointed, it wasn’t bad, but not a wine I would pay $30 for. It had a medium light color in the glass. Bright red fruit on the nose. On the palate I got quite high acidity and medium tannins, with flavors of raspberry and blackberry. It did deliver a good finish, that was medium long, quite smooth, with the perfect dryness.

When I revisited the bottle on day 3, it had mellowed a little, and flavors of spice was emerging,  giving it the dept it needed. So overall I gave this bottle a 3.5.

I suppose I would need to go even higher in price to find a Barolo that would be able to impress (even me). So until I hit the lottery, I’ll stay in my current comfort-zone. Cheers!

Two Great Red Blends!

March 4, 2014

The wave of great cheap wines continue. These two wines are excellent by them selfs, or could easily be paired with food. I paired them both with a lamb dish prepared in the slow-cooker, and they both complemented the richness of lamb perfectly.
The first bottle, a Red Diamond Temperamental Red Blend, I paid the large sum of 8 dollars for. This is a full-bodied and smooth wine, with flavors of dark fruits and has a silky finish.

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Bottle number two was slightly more at 10 dollars, The Great American Wine Company 2012 Red Blend. Dark purple color, full-bodied wine. I got aromas of plum, and flavors of plum and blackberries with a silky vanilla finish.
Keep sipping, Happy Tuesday! Cheers!

Almost To Good For A Monday!

February 24, 2014

I’m on a pretty good wave with good cheap wines these days, and today was another hit. Getting ready to warm up my leftovers from yesterday (chicken and artichoke hearts in garlic sauce), I opened a bottle of wine that I would enjoy with my meal, and later on The Voice (my favorite show, and the best part is the blind auditions).

The wine is a 2011 Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel. A medium to full-bodied wine with aromas of plum, and flavors of plum and raspberry. Silky smooth and just very enjoyable, you really don’t need to pair this wine with anything. Enjoy as is! Cheers!

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Never Give Up On A Grape!

February 20, 2014

It’s funny how your taste buds change over time, and all of a sudden things you used to love is just…so so. When I first started drinking wine I drank white, wich I think a lot of people do. It is often fruitier and easier to drink for a non wine drinker, but like my new expression goes; “when you go red, you never go back”. Most people after the initial intimidation and fear of the unknown, when they find a red wine they like, they hardly ever drink white wine again. I try to have a white wine now and then, to keep learning about the white wines, but I absolutely prefer a red wine.

So, when I first started switching over to the reds, I fell in love with Pinot Noir. And just to make sure you know the wines I’m talking about, it’s the “10-15$ range. I guess I was lucky with my first couple of bottles, because I really have a hard time finding a good one these days. Or is it my taste buds that are changing again?

When I pick wines these days, I go for Zinfandel (my favorite), Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, or maybe a red blend. I definitely think my taste buds are changing, or maybe I’m just discovering another side of the wonderful World of Wine….

A grape that hadn’t impressed me much (until tonight) was Malbec. They often have it as the “house wine” at the local bars around here, and I have tasted it a couple of times. It just seemed a little to sharp and dry for me to enjoy, non the less pay for it… so I have stayed clear. The other day I picked up a bottle of red blend, 2012 Alamos Mendoza, wich was mostly made with Malbec. I actually enjoyed this bottle, it was full-bodied and quite bold, with flavors of blackberry, plum and spice. The finish was dry, but in a smooth and good way. And it made me want more… So I see this $13 bottle of Malbec got 92 points! I’m thinking; That’s the one I need to try.

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Best Malbec I’ve ever had!  Someone got that rating right! It was a 2012 Sottano Classico Mendoza Malbec, and it was so smooth and silky. Dark color and full-bodied with aromas and flavors of plum and raspberry. Just a lovely experience. And by the way, how often can you pick up a bottle of a 92 point wine for $13? Not often around here.

So the moral of this write-up….never ever give up on that grape, because you just might miss out! Cheers!