The Nobles: Fin

Soooo, I took some time off. Got a new job, stopped hating life… what more could a girl want? If you’re response is “The rest of the blogs about the Noble Grapes,” then it’s time to get excited because this is it – the last one!

Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah is, quite simply, amaze-balls. This grape calls some of the most prestigious and expensive vineyards in the world home. In the Old World, it’s grown in the Rhone Valley of France (which, disclaimer, is where most of my all time favorite wines come from), as well as in both Italy and Spain. In the New World it’s found in both Australia and South Africa, where it is known as Shiraz. (Side-note: I hate the word Shiraz. I know it’s totally unjustified, but I really don’t like how it sounds. ) Washington is also making some amazing Syrah that span the gap between New World and Old World styles.

Syrah tends to be darker, richer, and fuller bodied than a lot of red wines.  In the color spectrum of reds, its on the polar opposite end from Pinot Noir. Syrah, while a beautiful wine on it’s own, can tend to be front heavy and fruit forward. In many places it’s blended with others grapes, most commonly Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grapes give the wine some earthiness, and a little heft in the mid palette. Remember the couch example I talked about in the Cab/Merlot post? Same basic thing with Grenache and Syrah – like every good relationship, they balance each other.

the taste of syrah wine compared to other red wine

In the Rhone Valley, you’ll find Syrah planted most everywhere, as it’s a main component in the wines throughout the entire region. In the North, the wines are almost exclusively Syrah, while in the South, Grenache is blended with Syrah and Mourvedre to make most of the wines throughout the Southern Rhone, as well as one of the World’s most famous wines: Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Between 1309 and 1378, the Pope resided in Avignon instead of the Vatican due to a conflict between the Papacy and the French Crown. Pope John the XXII who reigned from 1316 to 1334, built a new home for the French Papacy which is where the region got it’s name: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, “The Pope’s New Castle.” During their reign, the French Popes were instrumental in promoting wine and viticulture, as well as consuming a hefty amount of the regional specialty on their own. For many years these wines were considered “rustic,” until the infamous famous Robert Parker began singing their praises. Now he is an honorary citizen of the village Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Go figure, maybe I should sing the praises of wine from the Caribbean…

In the New World, Syrah is planted pretty much everywhere. My personal favorites come from Oregon and Washington (specifically Walla Walla), but you can also get good Syrah from California, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and, of course, Australia. Really, Shiraz just makes me angry. I don’t even want to talk about it.

So, let’s take a moment to talk about what I’m drinking right this very moment: zweigelt. Eric Asimov wrote a whole article called “The Unspeakable Delights of Zweigelt.” He’s the man. And never wrong, so you know it’s good! Zweigelt is a cross of St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch and is planted primarily in Austria. Really similar to Pinot Noir… but not really? Maybe if you crossed Pinot and a southern Cotes du Rhone? Like a really spicy pinot with amazing acidity and minerality. Served with a slight chill. And preferably some cheese. You usually find it in litre bottles next to the Gruner Veltliner which is also delish. Really, just get a bottle of each and share ’em with a few friends. It’ll be a great night. Horrible morning, but great night!

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The Nobles: Part Trois

Pinot Noir. All ya’ll think that’s synonymous with Oregon wine country, don’t you? Like Oregon is the one special place on earth that can grow this fickle, temperamental piece of fruit. Well, you’re wrong… mostly.

If Cabernet Sauvignon is the King of Grapes, then Pinot Noir is the princess. The whiney, delicate, easily bruised, but unbelievably tasty princess. Pinot Noir is a thin skinned grape, so it’s not as hardy as grapes like Cab or Syrah. This means if the weather becomes even remotely “extreme” (too warm, cold, rainy, or windy) the grapes could not ripen, could become damaged or waterlogged, and would be completely ruined. That would be a lot of work and expense for nothing! As a result, fewer regions grow Pinot than grapes like Cab and Syrah.

Pinot Noir’s home is Burgundy, France. The continental climate of Burgundy means hot summers and cold winters, but Burgundy also tends to have incredibly unpredictable weather ranging from crazy hail storms, frost, wind, and flooding, and all tend to hit around harvest time… so obviously it’s super easy to A) grow grapes at all, and B) tell what kind of harvest you’re going to get and if you’ll be able to feed your family for the next year. Sarcasm. It’s really, really hard. Weather is one of the main reasons that wine from Burgundy is so dang expensive. The other reason is where Burgundy is located: on a range of hills called the Plateau de Langres. All the best vineyards are located on east-facing slopes for maximum sun exposure and minimum ease of harvest. All the grapes have to be handpicked (and must be handpicked, according to French law) which means it costs more. Even in a poor vintage you’re not necessarily going to be able to get a bottle at an affordable price because it’s so labor intensive to get the stupid grapes in the first place. Ugh! Basically, Pinot Noir is a total pain in the rear. But it’s delicious, so it’s worth it.

French Wine Regions, for context.

Pinot Noir can also be found in Italy (called Pinot Nero or Pignola) and Germany (called Spatburgunder or Blauburgunder – German words are so fun!), but its main Old World home is France. In the New World, you can find Pinot Noir mainly in Oregon, California, and New Zealand. Being an Oregonian, I’m obviously partial to my state’s Pinots. The Willamette Valley falls on the same longitudinal line as Burgundy, which is pretty much God’s way of saying “Plant Pinot Noir here, it’ll be good. I promise.” I listen when God promises something – Dude generally doesn’t go back on his word. In New Zealand, some of the best Pinot Noir comes from Central Otago. Fun Fact: Central Otago lies on the 45th parallel and is the southernmost wine region in the world. Also, Central Otago has a continental climate… even though it’s an island. Weird. New Zealand wines are inherently some of the most expensive around, simply because it’s an island. The cost to get supplies to the island, and then to get the wine off the island affects the price tremendously, not to mention that it’s persnickety Pinot Noir so it’s expensive anyway.

Mini rant: It’s really funny to me when people order Pinot Noir and then don’t like it because it’s too light bodied and/or too acidic and “not what they wanted.” Guess what idiots: Pinot Noir is a light bodied, high acid red wine. That’s what you ordered. It’s not a Cab or a Syrah, the closest you might come to a wine that resembles a Pinot Noir would be a Tempranillo, but it’s still totally different. You obviously know nothing about wine, you just wanna look cool… too bad you don’t. End rant.

Yesterday was a CrossFit rest day, and I was mentioning to a friend how my greatest fear is a running WOD. So what did I walk into this morning? A running WOD. FML. So there I was, at 6:30 in the morning running. Outside. It was like 30 degrees. It totally sucked. But the weird thing? As I was driving away I thought to myself “That wasn’t too bad. I mean, I still hate running, but that could have been worse.” Also, I felt cheated. I did a million squats on Tuesday, and zero today. I felt like I should have at least done a hundred thousand, I mean seriously, it might as well be called “SquatFit.” So what did I do on my break? Squats. This is who I’ve become, the girl who wants to do squats. Send help.

The Nobles: Part Deux

As you probably know from my “About Me” page, my diet is about 95% paleo (5% cheese). I just started CrossFit, and it’s pretty amazing. By pretty amazing, I mean AMAZING. I have never in my life enjoyed working out, but I can honestly say that I actually look forward to going to the gym… even at 6am. It’s insanity. It’s totally addicting and kind of takes over your life. I just read a Time article that said CrossFitters are the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the exercise world… looks like I just joined a cult. It’s cool though, the Leader says I like it. I have, however been afraid to drink because it might affect my performance – I’m happy to say that it doesn’t! Well, not at my unbelievably low level anyway. One glass is fine, more than that probably not. And only as long as you get 8 hours of sleep. The leader says that recovery is key! Last night I had a glass of Inama Soave, with my Pork Chop, pureed cauliflower, and roasted broccoli. It was delish, and paired super well. I know this is supposed to be about Cab and Merlot, but I can’t say Soave and not tell you what it is, right? Right. Soave is a dry, high acid, low alcohol white wine from the Veneto region of Italy.The grape is 100% Garganega, and according to Inama, the tasting notes are as follows: “Light yellow colour. Elegant nose of sweet field flowers: camomile, elder flower, iris. Mineral on the palate with sweet almond on the finish.” I mostly got that – I would say more fruit though (lemon/citrus), not as much floral, but definitely minerality which is why I love it so! This soave is fermented in stainless steel so it still got that steely, almost Chablis like acid and minerality. Inama says it pairs well with risotto, white fish, salads, and pureed cauliflower. I’ll let you guess which one of those options I added.

Okay, here we go with reds… a pretty big subject. I think the best place to start is with the dynamic duo: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They’re like Anthony & Cleopatra, Sonny & Cher, Mork & Mindy – best buds that balance each other. But unlike Anthony & Cleopatra and Sonny & Cher, this pairing doesn’t end tragically… unless it’s produced by Yellow Tail.

Cabernet Sauvignon

You may remember the word Sauvignon from last week, and indeed these grapes are related. Sauvignon Blanc hooked up with Carmènere sometime during the 1700’s, and Cabernet Sauvignon is their delicious love child. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc share the characteristic bell pepper aroma/flavor that, for some, can be overwhelming. Not me though. I like it. Anyway, Cab is pretty much the king of grapes; according to a study just released from the University of Adelaide, Cabernet Sauvignon took over the top spots for both total wine growing area, and wine production. The previous champ was Airen, a mass produced white grape from Spain, primarily used for bulk wine. Airen sounds like a White Supremacist grape, so I say lets end its reign of terror!

In the old world its home is the famed Bordeaux region in France. In Bordeaux, Cab is always paired with Merlot, and sometimes a little Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and/or Carmènere. You can also find some Cabernet in Italy, usually from Tuscany (In Super Tuscans. They’re super!). Outside of the Old World, you can find wonderful examples of both single varietal Cab, as well as blends, in California, Australia, and South America. The typical flavor characteristics of Cab are black fruit, black currant, pepper, leather, and tobacco.

Merlot

This one is hard for me, but I’ve never lied to you, my dedicated audience, and I’m not going to start now: I don’t like Merlot. Or, to be more specific, I don’t like single varietal wines made from Merlot. I’ve had “good” Merlots, and been blind tasted on them so I didn’t know they were Merlot, but no matter what, I just don’t like ‘em. So please excuse my lack of enthusiasm on this topic.

Merlot is the dominant grape in some of the most prestigious and high priced wines in the word. If you’ve ever seen Sideways, you know that the main character Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) won’t drink any effing Merlot, and that his most prized bottle of wine is a 1961 Château Cheval – one of the most famous bottles of red Bordeaux in history. Here’s the ironic twist: it’s a Merlot blend! And that bottle goes for about $3,100.00, so it’s fair to say it’s pretty good. But to me, that’s the key: blending. Merlot on its own can be kind of soft – it’s got lots of plum and red berry flavors (as well as cedar, leather, and mocha), but only moderate acid and tannin.

Drinking his 1961 Château Cheval Blanc out of a styrofoam cup. That’s the classy way to drink a $3,000 bottle of wine.

For me, Merlot generally lacks structure, which is why Cabernet and Merlot blend together beautifully. The Amazing Mimi Martin once explained it like this: Cab and Merlot are like a couch. Cabernet Sauvignon is the frame; it has the structure that it needs to be, well, a couch. Merlot is the cushion and stuffing. One without the other doesn’t make much sense: you’ve got a bench and a bean bag chair, neither of which are comfortable for very long. For all you Nick-at-Night fans, this is also where the Mork and Mindy reference comes into play. Mindy is Type-A, rigid, uptight, and loveable in the end. Mork is annoying. Those are pretty much my exact thoughts on Cabernet and Merlot.

The Nobles

Well, it’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? I know you’ve been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, because, well, I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important. So obviously you’ve been dying since June for an update. Well, here ya go! For the past 7 months my life has revolved around one thing and one thing only: wine. Since June, I’ve done nothing but think about wine, read about wine, and drink (and spit out) wine…and I’ve loved every second of it! I’ve taken both the intermediate and advanced WSET courses and tests with the amazing Mimi Martin at the Wine and Spirit Archive. To be honest, I can’t believe she put up with me for that long – I’m submitting her for sainthood. So now I’m certified. Certifiable? Anyway, I have pieces of paper that say I know things, and what better way for me to use that knowledge than to share it!

After a very scientific Facebook poll, I think the place to start is with grapes… I mean when it comes to wine, that’s literally where it all begins, right?  This can be a huge topic – there are what, a bazillion different varietals at last count? (I may have rounded…) Yeah, so let’s start small and go with the Noble grape varieties. Yes, they’re Noble, which I guess makes these the elitist grapes that think they’re better than everyone. I mean, they’re kinda right. Noble grapes are varietals that are grown internationally, but generally each has a home where they best express their individual characteristics. There are 7, but I believe there are a few others that deserve an honorable mention. Like, they married into the family so they’re not true nobility, but you still have to invite them to the family reunions.

The 7 noble grape varietals are as follows: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Quick digression: you may note that I said black grapes and not red. That’s because the grapes are in fact black, the wine they produce is red. It’s insanity. It’s also confusing because white grapes aren’t white… sooo double standard. Dumb.

We’ll begin with the white grapes. For those of you who “only drink red,” it’s time to broaden your horizons! You’ve probably only had Kendall-Jackson, 14 Hands, Yellow Tail, or 2 Buck Chuck whites – those low quality, mass-produced monstrosities would turn anyone off of wine, so it’s time to try something a little better. Also, stop doing all your wine shopping at Albertsons, Grocery Outlet, or Target. It’s time to be a grown up and go into a wine shop!

Chardonnay

File:Chardonnay.jpg

The King of Grapes! The most planted grape in the world, Chardonnay is so versatile that it’s grown in every wine growing region on earth. When in doubt, plant Chardonnay – it’ll grow, and people will always drink it. Chardonnay’s home is in France: in Burgundy, where it’s called Bourgogne Blanc (White Burgundy), and in Champagne, where it’s one of only three grapes permitted to make the delicious, sparkly nectar of the Gods. Premium quality Chardonnay also comes from Australia, New Zealand, and California.

Chardonnay flavor characteristics will vary greatly depending on their climate: warm climate Chard is dominated by tropical fruit characteristics (pineapple, mango, guava), while cool climate Chard will have more bright citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) and green apple notes. Other factors that greatly influence the flavor profile of chardonnay included the dreaded Oak Monster (duh duh duuuuuhhhhhhhh!) and Malolactic Fermentation (ML). Oak is such a divisive topic: people either love it or hate it and I feel the only way to do the topic of oak justice is to talk about it later; otherwise this is going to get long. But for now, know that oak can be amazing or terrible, and the only way to know what you like is to taste! Malolactic Fermentation (ML) is the conversion of malic acid (the acid that naturally occurs in grape juice) into lactic acid. All red wines go through ML, but it’s up to the winemaker whether or not whites will go through this process. Once ML has occurred, the wine will have a buttery, cheese, creamy characteristic that can be quite lovely!

In summation, take everything you thought you knew about chardonnay and forget it – it’s an extremely versatile grape, and I guarantee there’s one for everyone!

Some of my favs:

Chehalem INOX Chardonnay (OR)

Tamarack Chardonnay (WA)

Gabrial d’Ardhuy Bourgogne Blanc (FR)

Olivier Morin Chitry Constance Blanc (FR)

Sauvignon Blanc

File:Sauvignon blanc grapes.jpg

Sauvignon Blanc is an amazing grape that has a wonderful knack for pairing with impossible foods like salad and asparagus. It’s crisp and refreshing, and frankly just wonderful! (To paraphrase the unendingly annoying Anastasia Grey – after 3 books she still never managed to become a character that I didn’t want to punch in the face…) Sauv Blanc hails from a few places in France: In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is blended with Semillon and aged in oak to create a smooth, creamy, ageable wine with notes of lemon, honey, and beeswax. In the Central Vineyards region of the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc most famously comes from the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Here, the wine is traditionally fermented in stainless steel and has herbal and vegetal notes with an intense steely-minerality. These wines are meant to be drunk young, and pair well with some of the region’s delicious stinky cheeses. Finally, we have the New World – New Zealand and California. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is synonymous with cat pee – but in a good way! In the Marlborough region of NZ, Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t hold anything back… and I mean anything! It has bracing acidity and intense notes of grass, green bell pepper, jalapeño, gooseberry, passion fruit, grapefruit, and yeah, cat pee. One winery even changed the name on their label from “Sauvignon Blanc” to “Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush!” Doesn’t it make you want to rush out and buy a bottle? Yeah, me either – someone should have a discussion with their marketing department. Honestly, the aroma and flavor aren’t overly pungent (a lot of people don’t even pick up on it), and it shouldn’t hold you back from trying one – they’re pretty dang delicious. In California Sauvignon Blanc is produced in the Napa and Sonoma AVA’s, and can be made in either the French style or the New Zealand Style… or a mix of both. Copycats.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of those wines where, to me, you can really see the difference in style between New World and Old World. Just compare a Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and you’ll see. Both are 100% Sauv Blanc, but they’re completely different. The French versions are more reserved, they have finesse and show restraint. New Zealand Sauv Blanc doesn’t, it’s a totally in-your-face wine. Both styles are delicious, but I think this really demonstrates the versatility of the grape. Soooo go get some. And drink it. Immediately, if not sooner.

Some of my Favs:

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)

Cottat Sancerre (FR)

J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc (OR)

Riesling

File:Riesling grapes leaves.jpg

I’m not even going to hide how much I freaking love Riesling. It’s amazing. My first glass of wine was a Riesling… I regretfully admit it was from McMenamins, but hey, it got me on the right path so whateves. It’s always super fruity and delicious, and it’s made in every style from bone dry to sweet to dessert to sparking. It’s most at home in Germany, Austria and France, (Specifically Alsace, which used to be Germany, then France, then Germany, and is now France again.) but some truly amazing Rieslings are made in Australia, Washington, and New York. Riesling is also confusing to talk about – when I say a Riesling is bone dry, most people imagine a wine like a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling has so much fruit and floral character that it almost tastes like there’s residual sugar when there isn’t – it’s kind of sweet without being sweet, if ya get my drift. Rieslings also have amazing acidity and minerality which makes it one of the most ageable white wines on earth. Plus, for those who don’t like sweet wines, the acidity and minerality in Riesling balance out the residual sugar making “sweet” wines taste not-so-sweet. Riesling is a master of disguise – is it sweet? Is it not sweet? You may never know! (Unless you look at the back label where it usually tells you how much residual there is, but that’s no fun!) In Alsace, things get a little easier – the wines, for the most part, are dry with high acid and minerality. Here, hey are also labeled as Riesling, the only place in France where you’ll see the grape on the label rather than the location. Finally, they’re stinking amazing, probably some of my favorite wines in the world. Although, let me throw something crazy at you: Australian Riesling! So good – who knew? They come from Clare Valley and Eden Valley in Southern Australia, and they’re high in acidity and minerality, fruit forward, and dry. And off-dry. And delicious. In New York, Riesling grows especially well in the Finger Lakes region. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had any New York Rieslings, but I hear they’re great so if you have the chance to try one, go for it!

If you decide to go looking for a German or Austrian Riesling (which you should) you’ll probably run away as soon as you hit the German/Austian Wine section. Here are a few quick tips to get you through: Kabinett = dry, Spatlese = dry/off-dry, Auslese = off-dry-medium sweet. These are generalizations, but they’ll get you started. Rieslings pair well with almost everything, but they’re especially great with spicy cuisines like Asian and Mexican. And, they’re pretty affordable – you can get really decent wine for around 12 bucks.

Some of my favs:

Dr. Loosen Dr. L (GR)

Fritz Haag Riesling Kabinett (GR)

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling (AUS)

Domaine Schlumberger Riesling Prince Abbes (FR)

Okay, seeing as how this thing is longer than most of the papers that I wrote in college (I was a music major, leave me alone), I’ll go ahead and call it a day.  Besides, I gotta go to CrossFit so I can hate life – man, that ish is hard! So go drink some white wine because it’s amazing a delicious and it’s just the right thing to do! Don’tdrinkanddrive.

Best Cookies Ever

So, I’ll start by apologizing for not posting for a while… life’s been crazy! Scheduling with the new job, rehearsals, appointments, meetings… it’s all been a little much, so something had to give.

As you know, I love cooking, food, wine, basically everything that is good in the world. A few weeks ago I decided to start eating differently, and I’ll be honest, it’s rocking my world! Being on the run constantly meant I was eating on the run, and I wasn’t bringing anything with me, so that means eating out. I tried to eat well, but you can’t always do that, and it catches up with you.

My mom asked my to follow the newest Gospel of Jonny Bowden with her, and I agreed because he’s my hero. I love him! Basically you eat protein, veggies (minus corn and potatoes), and small amounts of fruit, but no dairy (eggs are okay) or starches. Looking through his menus though, and started see recipes that included almond and coconut flour which I’d never associated with “low-carb,” I guess because of the word “flour.”

As looked through recipes on the internet using almond and coconut flour, I realized that I was basically doing paleo, which just happens to be the way of eating that I’ve always agreed with. Our digestive systems haven’t changed in about 2 million years, but with the onset of agriculture, our diets changed immensely. That, combined with the “low-fat” craze that began in the 1950’s, are what have created the environment for chronic illness and obesity that is running rampant throughout our society. I know that whenever I pull processed carbs (gluten or not) out of my diet, I feel a million times better, so I knew I needed to keep doing this just to feel better.

Cranberry-Orange Pork Loin, Browned-Butter Green Beans, Pureed Cauliflower

My first intro into paleo nirvana was cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” and boy are they amazing! All you have to do is steam it and blend, it’s actually easier than mashed potatoes. A piece of advice: after trying the immersion blender, the regular blender, and the food processor, let me save you some time: just use the food processor, the others don’t really work. Interestingly, I’ve never been a huge fan of cauliflower, but throw a little butter (grass-fed preferably), salt, and pepper, and you’re good to go.  I want to try throwing in some roasted garlic sometime too, but right now it’s just so good by itself!

Last night, though, I made some truly blissful cookies that honestly shouldn’t have been as good as they are. I stumbled across the web-site PaleOMG, and found some recipes that look really good. These were the Giant Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies, though mine were not giant. I used a small ice cream scoop, and they didn’t spread. I tried both convection and conventional oven settings, and mine stayed in a small cookie form, which I think I prefer. The craziest thing is that these have the texture of cookies made with flour – I couldn’t believe it. I’ve tried so many gluten-free flour mixes, I’ve even made my own, but these were far better than anything I’ve come up with. Whether you’re a paleo gluten-free health nut or not, you’ll love these cookies. I’m really excited to keep experimenting with foods, and learning to cook food that is delicious AND healthy.

Giant Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (or nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup raw honey
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 vanilla bean stem, slit lengthwise, little baby beans removed with the edge of your knife
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½-1 cup Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks (or dark chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out a dollop of cookie mix and pour onto baking sheet. Space out so cookies do not form together when they bake (like mine did).
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, be careful not to overcook these.
  6. Let cool. Then eat up!
  7. My mix made 7 large cookies, but you could make them smaller!

Party in a Bottle!

Guelfo Verde

I first had Giocchino Garofoli’s Guelfo Verde a few years ago as one of the monthly specials at Liner and Elsen. Anything that sparkles under 10 bucks is always going to catch my eye, so I snatched a few up. This wine quickly became one of my favorites and I’ve continued to pick up this beauty on a regular basis ever since!

Marche Map 3094821

Guelfo Verde is from the Marche (mar-kay) region of Italy, which is bordered on the north by Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria to the north-west and West (respectively), Abruzzo and Lazio to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Shockingly, and despite thousands of years of wine-making history beginning with the Etruscans, Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible (which practically lives by my side) doesn’t mention the Marches region at all, so I had to find other sources for my information.

In the glass

The leading white varietals in Marches are Trebbiano and Verdicchio. Side note: Verdicchio de Castelli di Jesi is one of my favorite summertime wines not only because it is delicious, but also because it’s an amazing value (aka cheap)! This Guelfo Verde is 30% Verdicchio and 70% Trebbiano, so it’s quite typical of the region. In the glass it is a beautiful pale yellow, with flavors of pears and melon. It’s only slightly sparkling (frizzante) so it has a bottle cap instead of the caged champagne-style cork, but it is oh-so delicious!

I have good news and bad news. The bad news: it is WAY too easy to drink an entire bottle to yourself without even blinking an eye! The good news: it’s inexpensive enough that you can can have the bottle to yourself without having to sell your first-born.

You can purchase this wine at Liner and Elsen. If you don’t want to make the trip over they can have it sent to you, but I love to make a trip over there on Saturday mornings for their wine tastings!

For the record, I practice what I preach. I’ve got a bottle chilling in the fridge, and I’ll be drinking some (aka all) of it tonight. Stay tuned for the results!