Saturday, December 7, 2013

November Wines of Note


bottles of Bordeaux wine and their corks

I enjoy reading Matt and Annie's post on their Hoot N Annie blog about their top 3 wines of the month on a regular basis, and have been meaning to do something similar for awhile. It's fun to see what other wine savvy friends are enjoying, and to track what I've enjoyed. Posting some of my favorites monthly will also help me get back into doing an annual "Wines of the Year" column, which I haven't gotten to in recent years. The final nudge getting me going on this post is that I'm embracing the concept of creating "mini-habits" to help achieve goals, and my first one is to write 50 words every day. Now that I have that commitment to do some very consistent writing, a monthly post on wines of note is a natural. (oh my, just did a word count on this paragraph, more than double the goal write there!)

Now, I like Matt and Annie's style of picking 3 wines each every month, but just looking at my November wine sampling, keeping it a bit more open-ended is going to make more sense for me. I've got more detail on wines we had at home, but I had some great wine out and about, too. For instance, a few of us shared a great bottle of Italian red after our board meeting earlier in the month. It probably tops some that I've got here, but I couldn't tell you much more about it other than it being Italian and red! OK, enough preliminaries, on to my "Wines of Note" for the month.

bottle of 2009 Ruché Di Castagnole Monferrato from the Piedmont region of Italy.
2009 Ruché Di Castagnole Monferrato This Italian red wine from the Piedmont region has a lot of depth and layers of complexity. This paired nicely with some rigatoni with meat sauce. Ruché is an Italian red grape varietal, pretty uncommon at least in the US.

2010 Pont de Gassac Pays de Hérault This white blend from a great Languedoc winemaker features Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon if my notes are correct. Bright fruit, had the body to stand up to my Festive Fall Fettuccine.

2010 CasalVegri Valpolicella If you like Valpolicellas at all, definitely give this one a try if you can, it's top notch! We enjoyed with some roasted chicken and mushroom risotto.

Value department: The three wines mentioned above were in the $20ish range, not bad at all given their quality. But if like me your always on the lookout for enjoyable "every day" wines for closer to $10, you definitely need to get acquainted with wines from Portugal! In November, I enjoyed the 2009 Quinta da Casaboa Tintaboa, red blend of native Portuguese grapes Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alicante Bouschet.
Ray Schaefer preparing for Bordeaux Wine Seminar

Now, I've covered my highlights of wines we enjoyed here with our meals. But my number one wine highlight for November was definitely the Pairings Wine and Food Bordeaux Seminar, part of a fun wine club series they host. Unfortunately, I seemed to have misplaced my notes, though they weren't especially detailed as I was more focused on enjoying the wine and conversation. Some that stick in my mind as being especially good from that event are the 2005 Chateau la Croix de Gay from Pomerol (predominantly Merlot), the 2006 Chateau Pedesclaux from Paulliac on the Left Bank, and the 2005 Chateau Coutet Sauternes-Barsac Cru. Again, with out the notes, I'll just say "Yum!" to all 3, and any of them would make wonderful Christmas gifts to any serious wine person on your list!

This is probably a good time to mention that all of the wines I've mentioned this month were found at Pairings Wine and Food in Winchester, MA. If you like wine and you are somewhere in the Boston area, definitely check out the shop...particularly on Saturdays when they have 6 wines with food pairings from 4 to 7, every week.

I realize I've written all this about November wines without mentioning Thanksgiving or anything from the U.S. Let me set that straight before signing off! We brought and enjoyed a Hahn Pinot Noir and a Deep Sea Pinot Noir, both from California. My sister brought a Mumm sparkling rosé, which was a nice way to get things started!

Now, I anticipate future monthly wines of note posts will be much shorter. But between Thanksgiving and a wine club gathering, there was an abundance of very good wine to sample and share about! Stay tuned for Decembers wines of note, and please let me know if you've come across noteworthy wines I ought to try!