Discover a new wine this week with our recommendation for something different, something surprising, something romantic!

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Do You Know the Wines of Vacqueyras?–fall in love with Chateau des Tours

The Wine of the Week: Chateau des Tours Vacqueyras

by Annette Tomei

2009 Chateau des Tours Vacqueyras Rouge, Rhône, FranceChateau des Tours--one of the great wines of Vacqueyras | EatSomethingSexy.com

The Vacqueyras is located in the southern Rhone region of France. Once part of the Cote du Rhone Villages, it was awarded its own AOC designation in 1990 because the region produces consistently distinct wines of good quality. The wines of Vacquyras are considered to be similar in character to those of its neighbors, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, though a bit less refined (but no less delicious!).

By law, the red wines of the Vacqueyras must include a minimum of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah or Mourvedre and 10% of any typical Rhone red grape except Carignan. This particular blend is 80% Grenache with 20% Syrah.

Chateau des Tours is owned by Chateau Rayas (known for its exceptional – and exceptionally expensive – Chateauneuf-du-Pape). This property was acquired in the mid-1930s to diversify in terroir and style, as well as to provide a legacy for the next generation of the Reynaud family. It has been under the care of Emmanuel Reynaud since 1978. Today he operates all of the Chateau Rayas and Chateau des Tours properties.

About this Wine

A perfect way to step gently into autumn. Aromas of ripe black plum and raspberry jam are followed by a hint of black pepper and smokey meatiness (characteristic of my favorite Rhone Syrahs). As it opens, more floral aromas emerge. On the palate, blueberries and maple bacon. As my tasting guide, Kate put it, “Breakfast wine!” (wish I had said it myself!) – so true. This is a medium bodied wine with fine tannins and bright acidity as a backbone for all the red juicy flavors.

I enjoyed this wine with fresh figs, syrupy aged balsamic, and homemade ricotta on crostini. I’d also recommend it with seared duck breast, roasted leg of lamb, grilled bison, or other simple but flavorful meats. For the vegetarians, think hearty fall grain bowls and roasted winter squashes (natural sweetness only).

The Verdict

At at least $55/bottle retail, and worth every cent, this is a wine I will definitely hold for a special weekend dinner with someone I love. I enjoyed this wine at my favorite wine bar in NYC, Corkbuzz (there are two, I went to the one in Chelsea Market). When you want to taste wines that are out of your price range for a full bottle, but you still MUST try – make friends with the somm at a reputable friendly wine bar or scout LocalWineEvents.com for tastings in your area so you can try before you buy.

 

My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

Annette is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com. She can be found at ChefAnnetteTomei.com

 

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My New Favorite Extra Brut Champagne? Jeeper Cuvee Naturelle

The Wine of the Week: Jeeper

by Annette Tomei

NV Maison Jeeper, Grande Cuvée Naturelle Extra Brut, Champagne, FranceNV Maison Jeeper, Grande Cuvée Naturelle Extra Brut

Great Story, Better Wine

Maison Jeeper was founded in 1949, just after World War II by Armand Gourtobe. M. Gourtobe came from a a family of high-quality Champagne producers. Read more

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White Wine on Tap–Bota Box Sauvignon Blanc

The Wine of the Week: Bota Box Sauvignon Blanc

by Annette Tomei

2016 Bota Box Sauvignon Blanc (3L), Chilegreat white wine on tap from Bota Box | EatSomethingSexy.com

Box wine – aka bag-in-a-box, cardbordeaux, chateauneuf du box, goon (if in Australia). Whatever you call it, the bad rap is totally unfounded (but you knew that already, right?).

Basically, the bag-in-the-box is the most reliable and economical way to preserve the integrity of wine from transport, to storage, to service.  And, as the market for “premium” boxed wines grows, Bota Box is one of the top-rated products on the market.

So, I had to give it a taste.

Guilt-free Convenience

I, like the majority of city-dwellers, live alone. I also believe in being as environmentally conscious as a city-dweller can be. Let’s add that I am quite fond of having a glass of wine at the end of a long day (with a delicious healthy meal!). I am on a tight budget, and hate to waste good wine. Hence, my long-held esteem for the bag in the box.

The great news – with Bota Box (and a few others) those bags are now BPA-free plastic, and 100% recyclable, as are the boxes. A 3-liter box contains the equivalent of four 750-ml bottles, and it weighs significantly less. The box takes up much less space in my too-full refrigerator, and it keeps my daily pour fresh (no damage from light or air) for at least a month.

But, more importantly, how does it taste?

About this Wine

At first approach, aromas of ripe pear and melon were accompanied by the fresh pungent green of chopped cilantro. These faded to basic, but pleasant, aromas of zesty citrus. On the palate, there is more body than I expected – full and round juiciness, with flavors of astringent grapefruit, ripe honeydew melon, and a touch of minerality.

I recommend you pour small amounts directly from the fridge so it stays cold in your glass – this wine is most enjoyable ice cold. Once it warms it loses some of its liveliness, but remains enjoyable.

Though perfectly good on its own, this wine is a good match for hummus and veggies, falafel sandwiches, grilled chicken fajitas, and similar fare.

The Verdict

I’d rate this as a $8-$9/bottle wine. For approximately $25 for 3-liters (the equivalent of 4 bottles), it’s like buying three and getting one free – a great deal. Bota Box also makes four other whites, eight reds (varietal and blends), and a dry rosé. I’ve heard good things about the Riesling, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Merlot, though I’ve not tried them personally. The rest are not as highly recommended.

 

My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

Annette is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com. She can be found at ChefAnnetteTomei.com

 

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Macari Syrah – a Rare Find on the North Fork of Long Island

The Wine of the Week: Macari Syrah

by Annette Tomei

2014 Macari Syrah, North Fork AVA, Mattituck, NY, USA

Syrah – a Rare Find on Long Island

The Syrah grape, also known as Shiraz, is most common in the Rhone Valley of France and eastern Australia. It thrives in the most challenging soil conditions and climates, and requires hot weather to ripen evenly. Read more

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Tintero Rosato – Pink from the Land of Barolo

The Wine of the Week: Tintero Rosato

by Annette Tomei

NV Cantine Elvio Tintero Rosato, Piedmont, ItalyTintero Rosato for a refreshing, summer drink | EatSomethingSexy.com

If you are keeping track, you’ll see that I’ve been a little caught up on the wines of Italy lately… three of the past four posts, but who’s counting? There’s no particular reason for this beyond my personal affinity to all things Italian. That, and the fact that there are so very many different grapes and styles to choose from! Read more