VARIETAL: 85% Verdejo 10% Viura 5% Sauvignon Blanc
REGION: Rueda, Spain
Sometimes good wines, like friends, come and go. But if you're lucky you can find a few that stand the test of time. The Basa is one wine that has always been there for me. we were first acquainted about 8 years ago, and since then, the Basa has been consistently on my tried-and-true list -- though I only recently learned it is a product of sustainable viticulture practices. And though the ratio of the blend may vary from year to year, the Basa is always lip-smackingly delicious. Bright and wonderfully fresh, this light white is bursting with bosc pear, golden apple and grapefruit blossom. Not to fear, it isn't all soft fruit and floral aromas. You get a punch of zesty citrus and a clean mineral finish. Perfect for summer, but why wait?
Basa Rueda 2007
Noël Wallace Permalink
This might be the perfect gift for me... if I ever dared to purchase a houseplant again. I can't say that I have a black thumb because I've never really put forth the required effort to keep a plant alive. There is a reason I live in the desert... and my yard is filled with desert plants. Anyhoo, this nifty little terra cotta spike--along with your empty merlot bottle from last night's dinner--will keep your precious houseplants happy as long as you periodically remember to refill the bottle. Check it out:
Wine Bottle Plant Nanny Stakes
The Plant Nanny is a specially-engineered ceramic stake that waters your plant easily and beneficially. Inserted into moist soil near the root base, the Nanny will release water as the soil begins to dry, so it won't under-water or over-water your plants. A recycled wine bottle serves as the water reservoir and adds a decorative flair to the plant. The water level can be seen through the glass so that you know when it is time to refill the bottle. Each set of four is attractively label-wrapped for gift-giving. $45.95 for 3 packs of 4 stakes (via Amazon)
Noël Wallace Permalink
The number of empty wine bottles we produce in my small household is obscene. So I am constantly looking for new ways to reuse our bottles, corks and other vinous waste. In honor of Earth Day, I'll be spending the next week sharing some cool ideas and products that will make use of our tasting trash... And I suppose I'll sample a few organic and biodynamically farmed wines. Feel free to chime in if you find a good one too.
Photo of the Earth taken from Apollo 17 from Wikipedia
Noël Wallace Permalink
Growing up in my large extended family, easter meant not just ham, but 2 hams, mountains of scalloped potatoes, fresh spring beans and my grandmother's hot cross buns. Whether your holiday meal is brunch, dinner, or an open house/free-for-all, we have some suggestions for easy wine pairings that complement most traditional Easter fare.
If your Easter meal is all about the egg dishes, I would keep it simple and offer Mimosas and Bellinis. Choose a cava, prosecco or other sparkler that is tasty on its own, but inexpensive enough to use as a mixer.
Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico $15
Soft and fruity... an absolutely perfect prosecco on its own and an ideal base for bellinis.
Cremant de Limoux, Antech "Cuvee Eugenie" $14
So rich and toasty... if you didn't know it wasn't from Champagne, you'd swear this was the real deal.
Segura Viudas Aria Brut NV $10
A bright and crisp cava that shines on its own, but is well suited for mixing.
Ham still seems to be the centerpiece of most Easter feasts. Be it the honey-baked, spiral cut, cola glazed smoked variety, or the lesser known FRESH (non-pink) version, ham is a protein that pairs well with both reds and whites. But since both fresh and smoked varieties are usually bathed in a sticky glaze, it is important to find a wine that has a little fruit. I think the conventional wisdom is that a fruity but dry riesling is the best match... but if the thought of riesling conjures images of Blue Nun, then by all means go with an alternative. But if you're feeling a little adventurous, I think you'd be surprised at how many great dry rieslings are out there.
Leeuwin Estate Riesling 'Art Series' 2006 $20
I know this one pushes our limit on cheap, but it is certainly fun and I think worth every penny. The Leeuwin is a crisp and refreshing riesling with succulent, ripe stone fruit flavors balanced by refreshing citrus.
Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris 2007 $14
Subtly floral and slightly smoky, this pinot gris is a great alternative for riesling-phobes. Soft fruit feels round and ripe on your palate but this wine finishes super clean.
Fleurie 2006 Chateau des Bachelards, Georges Duboeuf $15
This single vineyard Beaujolais is rich and ripe with layers of black cherry and earthy spice... much more akin to the burgundies of the north than the young, sourced wines of Beaujolais. Medium bodied with the perfect punch of fruit for ham.
d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2007 $19
You might be thinking that a shiraz/viognier blend must be a typo--or at the very least an error in judgement. But I am here to tell you that if you can find this wine, you must try it. You get remarkable floral and ripe stone fruit notes from the viognier, which marry surprisingly well with the dried fruit and herbal components from the shiraz.
If spring lamb is more your speed, you have a lot of flexibility in wine selection. Pick a cab, a merlot, a malbec-- or any number of blends that are red-meat friendly. I chose two that I think are interesting and a fine match for racks or legs that are rubbed with garlic and fresh spring herbs.
2006 Bodegas Hijos de Juan Gil Monastrell $14
This mourvedre from Spain is inky and intense... lots of jammy fruit layered with leather and smoke and spice. I think this pairs slightly better with the richness and gaminess of a leg of lamb, but it is so good I'd drink it with almost anything.
MontGras Quatro 2007 $15
30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 25% Syrah and 15% Carmenere
This Chilean chilean blend is full and rich with lovely currant and plummy notes. It is a little dusty and spicy and a beautiful match for lamb.
I know for some, Easter is all about the chocolate. For you chocolate bunny and egg hounds, I'd recommend a good port. Of course, depending on your chocolate preference (white, milk or dark) you do have other options, but for flexibility and sheer yumminess, I'd go with a tawny port
R. L. Buller & Son Tawny Victoria NV $11
Delicate, yet layered and rich, the Buller is a great value tawny port. Toasty caramel notes mingle with spice and honey for a truly intoxicating blend. Aromatherapy at its finest.
Easter egg image via Poem4Today.com
Noël Wallace Permalink
I know it is April already, but March Madness is still going on at My Wines Direct. They have a great, albeit limited, selection of wines that they select BY TASTE (you'd be surprised at the number of retailers who skip this crucial aspect of the buying process) and they offer them at great prices. The catch is, you must order in quantities of six, but shipping is FREE. My last order was a mixed pack of six which set me back $82 (about $13/bottle). But they always have specials for packs in the $75 range.
Check out these March Madness specials in the $70-$175 range (please note there is a pack of 12 included):
Chardonnay Selections - 6 Whites $69.95
This impressive collection of whites showcases the different styles of Chardonnay. Do you prefer the styles of California or Chile? Sample and see which you like best! Chardonnay is the #1 white varietal in the US; you can never have enough. Five oak-aged picks in this collection plus 1 Semillon Chardonnay for a little variety. My Wines Direct's Final Four - Chardonnay Selections, now only $69.95 + FREE Shipping. Limited time offer valid 03-24 to 4-6. Shop today!
Royal Reds - 6 Reds $79.95
These royal reds are the best of their lands, with full, rich flavors. You'll love the zesty Australian Merlot, the bold Spanish Rioja, the smooth Argentinian Syrah, plus 3 more stately reds. You can enjoy these reds with so many hearty meals or pour a few glasses for a quiet night in. My Wines Direct's Final Four - Royal Reds, now only $79.95 + FREE Shipping. Limited time offer valid 03-24 to 4-6. Shop today!
Tour the World of Wine - Mixed $84.95
Take a taste tour-de-force through small vineyards around the globe. Try a Pouilly-Fuisse from France, a classic Chardonnay from California or a Semillon-Chardonnay blend from Australia. Move on to reds and enjoy a Rioja from Spain, Syrah from Argentina and Cab from California. My Wines Direct's Final Four - Foreign Finds, now only $84.95 + FREE Shipping. Limited time offer valid 03-24 to 4-6. Buy now!
Better By the Dozen - Mixed $174.95
This pack includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mencia Roble, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rioja and 6 more versatile wines - you'll find a wine to pair perfectly with each dish and to suit all tastes. This pack also includes our special 10 year aged Napa Cabernet - a velvety, rich wine, aged to perfection, ten years in the making. My Wines Direct's Final Four - Better by the Dozen, now only $174.95 + FREE Shipping. Limited time offer valid 03-24 to 4-6. Shop today!
And if you want a really great pack of interesting wines, check out the
3 Whites, 3 Reds $72.94
The ref has made the final call - this truly is a winning line up. Three rich reds, three cool whites plus $23 in savings AND $0 Shipping. Easy sipping and easy savings with this international mix - reds and whites from Spain, California and Chile. No matter what your bracket shows, you'll get a winning wine each time with these six wines. Don't let the clock run out on this deal. Beat the buzzer - savings end April 6!!
What I really love about My Wines Direct, aside from the great prices and free shipping, is the selection of wines I've never heard of--and they're all guaranteed. My first order arrived with tasting notes, tips and a special offer to use on my next order.
Noël Wallace Permalink