Monday, August 30, 2010

2007 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay-Atalayas Vineyard

After a weekend of heavy reds (both meat & wine), I made grilled chicken with linguini alfredo and a caesar salad for dinner tonight. I opted to serve it with a bottle of 2007 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay.

My husband is not a Chardonnay fan. He always expects California wood-chewing chardonnay circa 1990 even though he has been exposed to numerous ones that he finds "surprisingly good". He extolled the virtues of the dinner and wine and even poured himself a second glass with a second helping of pasta (although he had plans to hit the gym shortly thereafter and usually does not partake on those days).

With the first sniff of this lemon-colored wine, you could tell it had some exposure to oak-aging but not overwhelmingly so. The fresh-squeezed lemon scent was dominant. The second inhalation was full of butterscotch notes. With the next swirl and sniff, it was pure lemon-butter. It invited you to take a sip, so I did. It had enough acidity to cut right through the alfredo sauce. On the palate, it was honey-covered toast that ended in a lingering creamy lemon-butter finish that made you want to look at your plate to check to see what you were eating. Delightful!

This wine is from the Casablanca Valley in Chile which is known for producing exceptional white wines. The winemakers choose to grow their grapes organically and bio-dynamically. The crisp freshness and natural flavors are very pervasive in their final product. At approximately $20 a bottle, this is a great wine at a good price.

Friday, August 27, 2010

2007 Luna Sangiovese Reserve

     Last night, we went to Corelli's, a little Italian restaurant, where the food is good, their suga rosa is fantastically fresh, but the wine list could be better. Every summer, they do a promotion allowing you to bring your own wine with no corkage fee. We love to take advantage of this!
     We ordered some traditional meals, my husband had the veal Parmesan and I had the manicotti to which I added grilled shrimp, and the waiter opened the bottle of 2007 Luna Sangiovese Reserve that we brought with us. It was a rich garnet with aromas of raspberries and lavender. The taste was juicy cherries and black tea leaves. The tannins were velvety firm and it finished with a deep pomegranate flavor. Heaven in a glass!
     We first learned about Luna Vineyards at a local wine bar. We liked every one of their wines that we tried, so on a trip to Napa Valley it was a "must see" for us. We enjoyed everything about our visit to Luna; they had such a laid back, casual and fun spirit and the wines were fabulous. We sat up in the tower drinking a glass of our favorite from the tasting and we became "Luna-tics". We joined their wine club and have enjoyed every shipment that we have received for the last three years.
     I have found that I enjoy the entire Luna line from the value priced Pinot Grigio I purchase at my local liquor store to the high-end Cabernets available only to club members.

The view of Luna Vineyards from the tower:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Catena Wine Dinner at Americas Restaurant

Last night, I went to a wine dinner at Americas on Post Oak in Houston, Tx. It featured Catena Wines from Mendoza, Argentina. I always love attending this type of event. Being able to enjoy a menu that has been carefully thought out and designed to pair with selected wines always makes for a more special dining experience. The wines were fantastic with the meal and most (w/ the exception of #3) are readily available.
The menu:
  1. Catena Chardonnay '08 / Plantain Crusted Shrimp w/ cilantro slaw
  2. Catena Alta Chardonnay '07 / Iceberg wedge salad w/ blue cheese dressing, avocado, bacon and grape tomatos
  3. Catena Angelica Zapata Malbec '04 / Smoked lamb lollichops w/ anticucho marinade & yuca fries
  4. Catena Alta Malbec '06 / Aged beef tenderloin, chimichurri, yuca, pickled onion, bearnaise
  5. Alma Negra Sparkling Rose of Malbec '09 / Tres Leche
The Catena family has owned and operated vineyards in Mendoza since 1902 and the winery has remained under their control for 3 generations now. In 1992, they helped set new standards for quality for Argentine wine with the Catena Alta wines. They received outstanding reviews then and continue to do so today.
I plan on adding the sparkling malbec to my cellar. That was new to me and I really enjoyed it. Raspberry/strawberry aromas with hints of rose petals mixed with a smooth acidity. It will be a fun, new alternative patio sipper in the Texas heat which will continue for awhile and at aproximately $16 a bottle, it won't break the bank.