Monday, January 24, 2011

Pahlmeyer Winery

I'm attending a Pahlmeyer wine dinner tomorrow night at Silvestro's in Cocoa Beach. Erin Green, the winemaker, will be at this dinner! I thought as a prelude to this event I should do some research on the winery and its wines.

In 1972 Jayson Pahlmeyer was finishing law school and working on developing wine. He made many trips to France with his friend John Caldwell. They brought back Bordeaux cuttings to use in their wine making process. The friends planted their vines in the Coombsville area. It took them six years to produce their first commercial harvest.

Another friend, Randy Dunn, became the winemaker until 1993. Robert Parker gave the 1986 vintage 94 points. (This was the Pahlmeyer Red Table Wine)

Bob Levy, the current winemaker at Harlan Estate, produced the first Pahlmeyer Chardonnay. The Pahlmeyer 1991 Chardonnay was even featured in the movie "Disclosure" with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore.

Helen Turley took over as winemaker after Dunn left. She has become a force in the winemaking industry and opened many doors to women.

When low yields were happening Jayson Pahlmeyer knew he needed to plant an estate vineyard. This lead to the opening of Pahlmeyer's Waters Ranch and Wayfarer Farm.

In 1999 Jayson promoted Erin Green to Winemaker. She learned many of her talents from Helen Turley but has been familiar with Pahlmeyer's fruit since 1993. Robert Parker has called Erin Green an "exuberant winemaker."

Michel Rolland travels three times a year from France to work with Erin on making the best Pahlmeyer blends.

This history, short as it may be, shows why Pahlmeyer has succeeded and will continue to be a force in the wine industry for years to come.

The Wines:
There are the Jayson Wines and Pahlmeyer Wines. I will be tasting the wines in bold.

Jayson Chardonnay
Jayson Pinot Noir
Jayson Red.

Chardonnay Napa Valley
Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Merlot Napa Valley
Proprietary Red Napa Valley

If you wish to read more about the winery and its wines CLICK HERE.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bucket List

I know most people have some sort of bucket list written down or in their head. Mine doesn't involve jumping off buildings or riding in fast cars. My list consists of taking vacations to different countries, hotels, restaurants and vineyards. It would also involve trying some incredible wine along the way!! :)

This is the beginning of my list for future places I want to visit. When I do visit somewhere on this list, I'll definitely be blogging about it.

ASHFORD CASTLE in Cong Mayo Ireland
Picture from Ashford Castle website

History: This castle dates back to 1228 when the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family built this castle in the province. The castle changed hands a few times and in 1852 Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness extends the estate to 26,000 acres. In 1970 the castle is bought by John A. Mulcahy who restores the grounds and continues to expand the grounds. In 1985 a group of Irish American investors purchase Ashford. This castle is now rated among the best hotels in Europe.

Travel and Leisure magazine ranked this hotel as the 9th best resort in Europe for 2010. The grounds look absolutely stunning. Some of the estate activities include: lake cruising, fishing, falconry, and equestrian and archery centers.

If you would like to know more about this hotel, then click HERE.

Wine-Oh Wine Quotes

"Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water."
-- Benjamin Franklin
"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria."
-- Benjamin Franklin

"No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers."
-- Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pahlmeyer Wine Dinner

I am very excited to announce that I'll be attending this wine dinner next week. Below is a list of the menu with paired wines. I am very excited! I love Pahlmeyer wines and will post more about this next week.

Wine Tasting Dinner Featuring Erin Green Of Pahlmeyer Wines

Course #1

Clear tomato consomm

Wine Selection: Pahlmeyer Chardonnay

Course #2

Beef Carpaccio with shaved Reggiano parmesan and Meyer lemon drizzle

Wine Selection: Pahlmeyer Pinot Noir

Course #3

Pancetta wrapped tiger prawns with asparagus,

shaved truffle and micro-greens

Wine Selection: Pahlmeyer Merlot

Course #4

Braised lamb risotto over a red wine demi-glaze,

topped with a petit lamb porterhouse

Wine Selection: Pahlmeyer Jason Red

Course #5

Red Chile-encrusted veal loin with roasted cumin corn cake

Wine Selection: Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red

Course #6

Black Cherry Chocolate-Chocolate

Wine Selection: Marcel Martin Sparkling Wine

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Butting Heads Shiraz

Last night I had a bit of the 2005 Butting Heads Shiraz from Barossa Valley in Australia. My mom bought the bottle and shared it with me. In Florida I have seen it sold for around $23-$26. The Wine Barn in Orlando says its retail price is supposed to be around $65.00. Fewer than 200 cases of this wine was produced. I do get a lot of spice and espresso from this wine. I like it for the price. I don't think I would pay $65 for this, but at around $25-$30 it is a great buy.

Robert Parker gave this wine 90 plus points saying:
"Butting Heads is a negociant label owned by importer Jane Delaney. Her first Barossa Shiraz, sourced from a single vineyard at Krondorf, is a success. The 2005 Shiraz is opaque purple/black. It has a fragrant bouquet of pain grille, spice box, espresso, pepper, and blueberry. This is followed by a full-bodied, dense, structured wine with excellent concentration. At present the wine is monolithic, but 5-6 years in the cellar may result in additional complexity. It will drink well through 2025."

Friday, January 14, 2011

I have always thought that wine is bottled poetry. It is an art form ever changing. I am a fan of poetry and would like to start including some of my favorite poems on this blog. Poetry is meant to be read with passion as wine is to be made with passion.

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.
-- "A Drinking Song" by William Butler Yeats

I hid the love within my heart,
And lit the laughter in my eyes,
That when we meet he may not know
My love that never dies.

But sometimes when he dreams at night
Of fragrant forests green and dim,
It may be that my love crept out
And brought the dream to him.

And sometimes when his heart is sick
And suddenly grows well again,
It may be that my love was there
To free his life of pain.

-- "Hidden Love" by Sara Teasdale

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wine-Oh Wine Quotes

"Prohibition ? HA ! They tried that in the movies and it didn't work." - Homer Simpson.

"We didn't break free from that pantsy country England by voting! We did it by throwing their stinkin' tea in our American harbour! And why? Because Americans don't like tea. We like coffee. And Americans don't like wine. We like beer. Ice cold. Ice-cold-best-in-a-bottle-but-fine-any-way-you-can-get-it." - Al Bundy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wine Review: 2006 Folie á Deux Zinfandel

Today I am reviewing the 2006 Folie á Deux Amador County Zinfandel. I will first post what the winery says about the wine and then my thoughts.

A bit about the winery: The winery that makes the Folie á Deux wines also produces the Ménage á Trois wines. The French term Folie á Deux means "shared fantasies," and Folie á Deux winery crafts Zinfandels from old vines in Amador County.

I tasted the 2006 vintage. The winery tasting notes are as follows:
" Soft and smooth, this Zinfandel offers aromas of plum and cherry with just a hint of pepper and spice. The wine is an ideal pour with almost any meant entree, from haute cuisine to barbeque."

My Thoughts: The color of the wine was a lighter red/purple. The clarity of the wine seemed a bit dull and there was no sediment. Zinfandels are not usually meant to be stored for long periods of time so I felt it was better to drink this now rather than store it longer.

The nose had hints of clove and spices. I actually picked up a gingerbread smell. The taste of the wine was rounded with a bit of tannins. (I think the tannins would have been less if consumed earlier)

The wine had a medium body with a lingering taste of spice. I love when there is some spice to a Zinfandel. It gives it an edge and sexy vibe.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Outside Vienna

At one point in the 1800's, North American vines were sent across the seas to Europe. Just as humans can carry diseases, so can plants. These North American vines carried small insects. The American vines had immunity to the insects, but the European vines did not. The insects were called Phylloxera vastratix. They look like ticks or bed bugs.

These insects spread onto many European vines and killed them off. These insects live on the root system of the vines. The bug sucks from the vine and injects their waste back into the root. This waste kills the vines and they die within a couple of years.

Grafting and the use of hybridization became a popular way to stop the phylloxera. There must be breeding of the European Vitis Vinifera with resistant species, North American vines.

What is Vitis Vinifera? It is the species of vines native to the European region. They have a different taste from vines and grapes from North America.

So to have healthy and safe vines but yet still use the vines of Europe, scientists learned to graft the fruit character of the Vitis Vinifera onto the phylloxera resistant American root. This way these insects will no longer kill vines.
This is how we now have phylloxera resistant vines. This tradition still continues today.

There is much more to know about the process of Grafting and the history of Phylloxera. If you wish to read more please purchase the book Exploring Wine by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, and Michael A. Weiss.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vines Grille & Wine Bar in Orlando

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Vines Grille & Wine Bar in Orlando, FL. My wine buff friend Sam said that I should check it out.

The bar is very chic with tons of great wines. Vines also has a full menu with a stylish dining room.
I happened to visit during the happy hour special. All the wines by the glass and appetizers were half off. I was impressed by some of the wines listed that were sold by the glass. Vines had the Seghesio Zinfandel and Forefront Pinot Noir by the glass.
I was totally impressed with the free bacon on the bar. I have never paired cold bacon with red wine, but is amazing. If I was Oprah, it would become one of my favorite things.
The appetizers were really great. I had the Steakhouse flatbread and the cheese platter. I loved their cheese platter.

There is live jazz every night at Vines. I stayed and enjoyed the music for a bit.
I will be back for another night of happy hour and jazz!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wine in literature

I am reading the book "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England" by Ian Mortimer and it talks about the daily life of people living in 14th century England.

One of my interests is reading about English history....i'm a sucker for it.

I am really enjoying this book and wanted to share a few passages with you concerning wine in the 1300's of England.

" Most red wine drunk in England is from Gascony, the area around Bordeaux (although it is not yet called claret)."

"Twice as expensive is Rhenish wine, from the Rhine..."

"The wines of Rochelle and Spain -- such as Lepe, a strong Spanish white wine, or Osey, another Spanish white-- are comparable in price to that of Bordeaux."

"Cheapest of all is English wine, which is only ever white and normally half the price of Gascon wine. It is scarce, however. Most wine production in England is carried out by the nobility and clergy for their own use. It rarely appears in taverns. As taverns generally sell wine, not ale, they tend to be quite upmarket establishments. Given their numbers -- there are 354 of them in London in 1309 -- it is not surprising that they vary in quality. Their wine similarly varies. Establishments which sell poor wine tend to attract the rougher sort and are regularly closed down by the authorities."

"The wine itself is stored in a cellar, in its casks, and carried through to you at your table. In case you have any concerns about what you are drinking, ask to see the barrel. The taverner should keep his cellar door open at all times during opening hours and allow you to check the marks on the barrels. In London, prices are fixed by the authorities, so if you think you have been sold cheap wine in place of the best Rhenish vintages, you should be able to check and take the matter further. If guilty, the taverner will probably back down, knowing that if he is caught misselling his wine, he is liable to be fined or closed down, as well as being drawn to the stocks and having his own supply of wine poured over his head."

I kind of like the medieval justice system. I think if more towns had stocks and the frauds/liers were placed in them for a few hours...the embarrassment might stop the practice. I highly recommend this book if you are a history buff or interested in learning about Medieval practices.