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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. The North Fork of Long Island typically has more in common with the climate of Bordeaux than the steep slopes of the Northern Rhone. Still, this may be a situation in which the adventurous North Fork growers see their risks pay off, once again.

Pindar Vineyards was the first to plant Syrah on Long Island, and produced their first vintage in 1995. Still, only a scant handful of the over 50 wineries grow Syrah, and only in small quantities. Macari Vineyards has only 3 acres of Syrah, nearly all of which goes into this 100% varietal wine.

Macari Vineyards was founded in 1995 by Joseph Macari, Jr. along with his wife and adult children, all of whom are actively involved in the business. Each plays multiples roles, from mixing the special blend of compost, to assisting with wine making duties, and consumer education and marketing. The Macaris are dedicated to biodynamic practices in the fields, and carrying that dedication into the cellar with the award-winning winemaking of Kelly Urbanik Koch.

About this Wine

For fans of Syrah, you can expect this wine to be more “Old World style”, medium bodied, at only 13.2% ABV (read: not Australian Shiraz). In the glass, the sheer ruby red clarity is your first hint to expect something delicate and elegant. On the nose, violets, earthy wild berries, figs, and a hint of smoked meat. On the palate, this wine is juicy with red fruits, tea, plums, and black currants. The tannins are silky and well-integrated. There is a hint of smokiness on the finish – something I typically associate with the Old World style.

The Verdict

Macari Syrah is probably not something most of you will be able to find in a local wine shop, but it’s available online through the Macari Vineyard website. At $45/bottle it is not in my “everyday” category, but it’s well worth the splurge – especially since it will certainly age well for at least 5-10 years or more (which means you’ll need two or more bottles, one for now, more for later). While you’re there, check out their many other offerings – each with a distinct character and just plain delicious!

If you find yourself in the NYC area and can make the trip out to the North Fork – absolutely do! In addition to beautiful wineries, there is still a strong agricultural community and road side stands punctuating the roadways. And don’t forget, this is also an island… the North Fork has the Great Peconic Bay and the Long Island Sound. The South Fork (aka The Hamptons) has the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a great bunch of wineries of their own.

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

 

Wild Hibiscus Dresses Up Cocktails

Wild Hibiscus Champagne CocktailWild Hibiscus is a gourmet food producer steeped in seduction. Their products ooze beauty, sensuality and subtle aphrodisiac notes. Their edible hibiscus flowers in syrup have long been a favorite of ours for dressing up cocktails. These sexy flowers, so simple and all-natural, are perfect for dropping into the bottom of a Champagne glass. Just fill your flute with your favorite Brut bubbly. That’s all you need to have an elegant cocktail perfect for a party or a night of seduction. The syrup in which the flowers are packed is great for adding a hint of floral sweetness to cocktails. But it works well in salad dressings and to flavor desserts. Of course, it should go without saying that hibiscus is an aphrodisiac.  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! There are over 2,000 grape varieties grown in Italy alone – there’s always something I’ve never tasted before.

The Land Better Known for Barolo

When wine geeks think Piedmont (or Piemonte), they usually think big, expensive Barolo. They certainly do not think of refreshing, price-perfect pink wines. And they certainly do not think of the obscure grape Favorita (one of three in this blend). Piedmont is located in the northwestern portion of Italy. Here, the grape Nebbiolo is king – and from it, the world-renowned wines Barolo and Barbaresco. The grapes Barbera and Dolcetto are also common here. This is also the land of the sparkling wine Asti Spumante and its primary grape, Moscato (Moscato d’Asti). The vineyards of Cantine Elvio Tintero are located in the area best known for its Moscato.

About this Wine

It was a lovely surprise to find this wine is actually a bit frizzante (those tiny bubbles!). In doing a little bit of research, I discovered that the production method is quite unique (and very new to me). This wine is a blend of Barbera, Moscato, and Favorita. The Barbera (a red wine grape) is vinified on its own first. The juices of the other two (white) grapes are added to create a second fermentation (that’s where the bubbles come from). Then, before bottling (unfiltered) a touch more Barbera is added for color and a touch of sparkling Moscato is added for softness. The result – deliciousness!

The nose of this wine was tutti frutti and earthy all at once. On the palate, juicy tangerine, apricot, and ripe strawberry aromas and flavors take the lead. Of course, there’s the tingle of the fresh tiny bubbles, along with mouthwatering tartness, and the silky mouthfeel of just a touch of residual sugar. This is followed by delicate aromas of jasmine and a mineral stoniness. The berry and apricot aromas are what linger on the finish, begging for another sip. 

Italian wines are naturals with food – no surprise here. I can recommend from experience that it is delicious with grilled chicken, simply seasoned with lemon, garlic, and rosemary (or roasted chicken, if you prefer). It’s also great with antipasti of roasted red peppers, salumi, olives, and such. I’d personally avoid sweet desserts with this wine. Instead, go the European route of assorted mild-medium intensity cheeses with fresh seasonal fruit.

The Verdict

The short verdict: find yourself some of this wine and enjoy it before this summer ends.

Please note that this wine is not labeled NV because it is a blend of vintages (it is made from one year’s harvest). Italian wine labeling laws can be obscure, and this is an example… this wine is made from a blend of grapes that come from different places, therefore a vintage is not named. Another note – this time, of appreciation… I love buying and writing about wines from Kermit Lynch because they are always a taste discovery for me, and because he provides such lovely stories and great technical details about each. I learn something new with every bottle!

 

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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Want a popsicle that won’t start dripping dye down your arm? We’ve found the the frozen dessert that will let you look sexy while you lick–better yet, you’ll feel sexy when you indulge in these pure and natural pops. Read more

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2015 Cantina Cinque Terre Bianco – The Italian Riviera in Your Glass

The Wine of the Week: Cinque Terre Bianco

by Annette Tomei

2015 Cantina Cinque Terre Bianco (Dry White Wine), Cinque Terre DOC, Italy

Cinque Terre is a collection of five little seaside villages along the Ligurian coast – the Italian Riviera. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are colorful jewels on the rugged coastline. They are connected by pathways, not highways – the entire area is nearly inaccessible by car. This beautiful destination, south of Genoa, north of Tuscany, is popular with tourists from around the world – more so with the growing interest in the region’s wines.

The Italian Riviera In a Glass

Though winemaking in Liguria dates back over 700 years, there are only a few DOC designated wine regions. This is mostly due to its steep, rocky hillsides and rugged coastline. Crisp, light white wines make up most of the local production.

Cinque Terra’s white wines are made from Bosco and Albarola, two grapes that are only found on the craggy steep slopes of this small region. The more popular grape, Vermentino, is also blended in the local wines. The most popular wine produced in Cinque Terre, however, is Sciacchetrà, a honey-like dessert wine. Locals, and tourists alike, are also fond of the locally made limoncello and grappa.

Cantina Cinque Terre is the wine of the Cooperativa Agricoltura – the local growers cooperative. The Cooperativo has produced wines for over 100 years. In 1982 they built a new facility and adopted modern technology to make the best wines possible from the extremely limited, hand-harvested grape production of this tiny region.

About this Wine

This is a deliciously aromatic wine. From the first sip, aromas of ripe melon and citrus blossoms bring images of the warm Italian sun on the steep terraced hillsides. On the palate this wine is lush and refreshingly tart. The juicy melon flavors linger with the aromas of white flowers, but the flavor is intensified by the rocky mineral notes and hint of salinity – or was that just a memory of the sea air? Obviously, it carried me away!

I enjoyed this wine with fresh-from-the-garden lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, and a buffalo milk burrata. I also enjoyed it with homemade linguine with clams. The fullness of the wine balanced well with the creaminess of the burrata and the buttery garlicky sauce on the pasta. Also try this wine with crispy fritto misto, arancini, or a simple grilled fish with fresh herbs.

The Verdict

At approximately $24/bottle this is on the high end of my price range for weekday white wines, but it is well worth a small splurge to enjoy a wine with so much character and sense of place. It was like a little side trip to the Italian Riviera in the middle of the work week! Also note, the Sciacchetrà (passito-style dessert wine) from Cantina Cinque Terre is considered their superstar wine – I’m looking forward to trying that one some day (you can read about it here when I do!).

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