2013 H&C Resolutions:
1. First of all I have to slap my own wrist and say my #1 resolution is to write more and post more since this NYE post has been floating around my head for nearly 20 days now and I am just finally getting it to type…
(Writers should renew this promise every year any who. At least that is what I tell myself!)
2. Now for the wine. This year I want to stick with the faves I came across at the tail end of 2012 and delve deeper into these preferred regions. Definitely going through a French phase - shocker, I know - but the Loire Valley has especially taken my heart with dynamic, funky whites and lush, delicately nuanced reds. Chenin Blanc seems to be a wine I can’t get away from even though early on it eluded me as to its purpose and taste. Cab Franc is also making several appearances these days as an alternative to Pinot Noir. Two of my personal faves are: Domaine Filliatreau Chateau Fouquet and Les Chais Saint Laurent Chinon Vignes en Veron. Both stunning food wines and built on layers of complexity I look forward to taking more notes on this varietal I traditionally looked at as a blending grape. That aside, the Loire Valley is just a beautiful place I would love to see and drink!
3. Also this year I will continue to attack Italian wines with vigor and unrelenting attention to detail since never have I ever come across a more confusing wine region. With all the local specific grapes and designations, Italy will take some time but one thing is for sure Montepulciano is a grape from Abruzzi and also a region in southern Tuscany. Gotta start somewhere!
4. I am going to start a cellar this year even if it means keeping a dusty box of wine in my closet for the time being…
5. And lastly to try new things, take more notes, and expand my palate!!!
Woot woot, Happy Post-New Year!!! et bonne nuit mes amis!
- Kit H.
p.s. Stumbled across this wine blog the other day and fell head over heels. Her flow charts are awesome! Link here: Wine Folly
The Winos of Potrero Hill
Alas, they get
from a small
The old Russian
sells them port
and passes no moral
judgment. They go
and sit under
the green bushes
that grow along
the wooden stairs.
They could almost
be exotic flowers,
they drink so
- Richard Brautigan 1968
My Top Ten List for Wines - 2012!!!
While there is no specific point system or order to the list, I must say these are the wines I remember tasting - vividly - and still have ever evolving ideas about. They are delicious and complex with compelling stories of how these bottles made it to the table. As my first year anniversary of working with wine draws closer (January!!!) I must say it has been an absolute pleasure to come across such a variety of stories, grapes and tastes.
So without further adieu, here is my Top Ten:
1. Becker 2010 Pinot Blanc - crisp, spicy, chewy and a fox on the label!!!
2. Domaine du Gros’Noré 2010 Rosé - strawberry notes with a tart acidity.
3. Steltzner 2009 Claret - cedar/vanilla nuances ignite this tasty Claret.
4. Tami (Occhipinti) Frappato 2011 - violet aromas sing in this dry red.
5. Abazzia di Novacella 2010 Kerner - bright minerality with citrus fruit, yum.
6. Jacky Preys et Fils 2010 Touraine - SB relative, well-defined fruit & earth.
7. Dehlinger (Russian River) 2009 Chard - oaky, banana peel delight!!!
8. Domaine Calot 2009 Morgon - ruby, ruby gamay fruit and light tannin.
9. Cade 2009 Napa Cuvee - toasted currants & delicate tannic structure.
10. Klee 2010 Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley lush, red fruit and OR love.
And while every wine on this list is close to my heart, there are so many others that just didn’t fit. Oh well, all the more reason for posts about those wines left unmentioned…
á bientôt maintenant mes amis! Bon soir!
- Kit H.
A little lesson on Piedmonte, Italy -
One of my favorite descriptions about this Langhe can be found in the Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy:
In the Langhe hills it’s the aromas - of truffles, mushrooms, hazelnuts, coffee, and above all else, Barolo and Barbaresco wine - that sweep people off their feet.
Barolo and Barbaresco wine are both made from Nebbiolo - a grape that thrives in foggy conditions and generally produces rich wine from medium to full bodied with cherry and licorice flavors as well as that earthy tar/leather/spice combo!
Another grape from the Piedmont area in Italy is Barbera. With its bright acidity and spicy red fruit this guy was originally used for table wine with its rustic and aromatic qualities pairing well, with lunch and dinner, sugar and spice and everything nice!
Although just hitting the surface on the red spectrum, Piedmonte is also home to the town where Nutella is made (Alba) and Gavi. Let’s just say I’ve never met a Gavi I didn’t like!!!
Or a batch of Nutella for that matter.
Daydreaming about going to Italy for the holidays as the sun sets in blustery ol’ Chicago is an absolutely delightful way to spend a lazy Tuesday if I say so myself…
Adieu mes vinophiles!
Reste au Chaud…
- Kit H.
Bam! It’s election day and I choose Pinot Blanc.
The first Pinot Blanc I ever tried was from Four Graces in Willamette Valley. This white wine was spicy but leaned heavily on stone fruits - like apricots and nectarines - to balance the acidity with a zingy sweetness that came through the chewy texture. Generally, I thought of white wine being thin and alcohol-heavy, too sweet and tart for my taste but the further I explored the more I came to love the lighter side of things, especially the varietal Pinot Blanc…
A genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, PB is grown all over but mainly comes out of Alsace in France, Germany, parts of California and sometimes the rare Oregonian will try their hand at it
(to be honest this wine is kind of all over but these seem to be the main regions I have encountered). Great food wines, Pinot Blancs pair super well with seafood like grilled scallops or crab. I would also drink it with pasta and broccoli in a cream sauce or a more rustic dish styled after its French heritage - like Choucroute and Flammekuchen that are traditional in places like Strasbourg in Alsace-Lorraine where I studied abroad and really should have started my wine adventure, alas to be sixteen again!
Recently I was able to try a PB from Robert Sinskey Vineyards coming out of Los Carneros. Being sold only in 375ml or magnums, Sinskey is marketing his PB as either an aperitif or party wine which in my opinion totally works since it is very versatile in style and drinkability. Reeking of peaches, with a zippy acidity and long, lingering finish that plays over your entire palate, the minerality and balance to this wine truly make it a treat. And since I am totally biased to this varietal, it was cool to try a California Biodynamic/Organic vineyards take on it. Absolument délicieux!!!
And just because I love it so, the Becker Pinot Blanc out of Pflaz, Germany is badass!!!
so badass in fact their site is entirely in German (duh) and just a hint Weißburgunder means Pinot Blanc…
Well that is my two cents on Pinot Blancs - at least until I get my hands on another!
- Kit H.
Sorry for the brief hiatus but I must say the weather in Chicago for the past few days has been worth getting caught up in. In no way is it normal to be near 80 in late October but I will take it for now. Get back to me when ice caps start melting and zombies crawl the earth… (a whole other blog entirely)
So I made it out to the ‘burbs in one piece after all. Although I did have one snafu where I was five cents short for an el ticket and both credit card machines were down so I did like any city girl does and panhandled for a quick minute. I wish I could say I sang or tap-danced but instead, I generally just approach from behind and startle someone into giving me an open palm of change while saying ‘take what you need’.
They are generally so glad it is little blonde girl and not a mugger that they could care less if I take all their quarters, score! But in this case I just took the nickel I needed, of course.
Needless to say, after I got back to Palatine where my mom picked me up, we popped the L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs Brut, after it had been quick chilled in the freezer, and watched some Sex and the City until my dad came home for dinner. My mother loves bubbly, generally drier, more tart styles so I thought we might try the Brut from western Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula since we’d never had it before and I had been hearing mixed reviews on it from customers, co-workers and restaurant foodies. With the whole farm-to-table movement making its way across the midwest, small regional wineries have been popping up in the Midwest. With craft beer, it seems the Midwest has hit their stride with breweries popping up everywhere but with wine, it is a little more tricky to get local, unless you live on the West Coast. That being said a handful of these wineries are garnering attention such L. Mawby and L. Lawrence (Mawby’s sister label).
Made primarily with Chardonnay grapes in the Traditional Method - meaning as close to the traditional style of Champagne as you can get without actually being in Champagne, the Blanc de Blancs has hearty apple crisp notes on the nose and even a hint of meyer lemon. There is weight to this wine and good mouthy texture that is reminiscent of yeast but only slightly. A bit on the sweeter side, this brut balances out the fruit with a light spice on the finish. I would say this sparkler is great as an aperitif before dinner or easy, light afternoon drinking. At a great value, this wine is well worth a try. While not my absolute favorite - the sweet stuff can get to me sometimes - my mom appreciated it and that is really all that matters on a birthday!
More to come! And happy Thursday mes amis!!!
- Kit H.