Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks for Terrific French Reds

Potluck Thanksgiving meals are always a treat for me, with everyone bringing something unique to the holiday table. As host this year I was in charge of the turkey, which I basted in appled juice and stuffed with apples, cranberries, and fresh rosemary.
I paired our appetizers of cranberry goat cheese and smoked chedder with a '10 Le Bout du Monde, an earthy red with flavors of prune and tobacco. Deep purple in color, this wine has concentrated fruit, spice, and a hint of white pepper that melded well with the cheeses.

For our main meal, I opened an '08 Chateau Simian, an addictive Chateauneuf Du Pape full of dark cherries and reminiscent of an adult Jolly Rancher, and a '10 Domaine Coston, an inky Grenache-based blend from the Langeudoc with faint aromas of pine that instantly reminded me of childhood trips to the Christmas tree farm.
Both wines were rich, full bodied, and held up well against the heft of the succulent turkey, apple stuffing, cranberry sauce, zucchini casserole, and decadent truffle mashed potatoes.
 Just add a terrific group of food and wine loving friends to the mix, and give thanks!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

#Languedoc Day a Social Media Sensation

Thursday, November 10, 2011 is now known in social media circles as Languedoc Day. Wine writers spent the day blogging about the tasty, about-to-be-famous juice that comes from this up-and-coming region in  Southeastern France, many of us Tweeting with the hashtag #LanguedocDay.
I'm an avowed nut for Languedoc's older sister Chateauneuf du Pape, who lives just north of her, so this was an easy assignment. I experimented with the 2009 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut from vaunted Rhone producer M. Chapoutier.
This is a gorgeous bottle of wine, made from Grenache, Syrah, and old vine Carignan. Simply put...I love this stuff and found it really inky, warm, and full of Cherry Coke, chocolate, and holiday spices.

I enjoyed a glass with flavorful maple pork tenderloin, mashed yams, and broccolini.
I think this Languedoc gem would be a great choice for the Thanksgiving table, a perfect companion for  juicy turkey in cranberry thyme gravy.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Johnny Costa's Offering Tasty New Selections This Season

In addition to a great happy hour menu, Johnny Costa's Ristorante in downtown Palm Springs has some tasty new vino to accompany an array of flavorful small plates and homestyle Italian dishes.
In terms of whites, I enjoyed the 2010 Sortesele Pinot Grigio from one of Italy's most storied producers, Santi Winery. This seafood-friendly wine is slightly floral and lacks the predictable bite that characterizes many examples of this varietal. Instead, there is a smooth, almost buttery-like finish on the palate that I really enjoyed. For $6 per glass, there is true value here, and while this selection hasn't made it to the full menu yet, it will soon.
I also tasted the Barco Reale di Carmignano Cappezzana, a hearty Sangiovese-Cab blend that really needs food! This wine is quite rustic, with a lot of tannin to be tamed, ideally with a rich bolognese or hearty veal dish. At $9 per glass,I would also drink it with one of the restaurant's tasty wood-fired pizzas.
Special thanks to:
Johnny Costa's Ristorante
440 South Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs
(760) 325-4556