CV, the Wine Guy, Talks Turkey: A Review

For the last two weeks, CV has been giving us the scoop on unique, interesting, undoubtedly drinkable white wines for your Thanksgiving table. Next week, we’ll start on a thorough review of gift-worthy reds for December. Until then, here’s the complete list of CV’s Turkey Wines:

Happy Thanksgiving, dear Co-opers!

CV the Wine Guy_Turkey Whites 2Cune — Monopole Rioja 2013
Region / Country: Rioja, Spain
Varietal: Viura
Price: $12.99
This is 100% high-altitude Viura from the Rioja Alta subzone, in North-Central Spain. It’s going to be dry, with marvelous notes of white peach, Meyer lemon, and mineral accents. The texture is quite rich, but crisp, citrusy acid keeps it lively. This bottle of wine is perfect for someone who knows wine, someone who wants to have something really fun on their Thanksgiving table.

Tomero — Torrontes 2012
Region / Country:
Varietal: Torrontes Riojano
Price: $11.99
Torrontes Riojano is very aromatic — a lot of floral aromas will come off the nose. This is a supple, fruity white, with flavors of pineapple and pear. The flavors of Torrontes should be a perfect, unusual pick for Thanksgiving.

Montinore Estate — Borealis White Table Wine 2013
Region / State: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietals: 39% Gewurztraminer, 37% Muller-Thurgau, 19% Riesling, 5% Pinot Gris
Price: $13.99
BIODYNAMIC! This is a lovely blend of Gewurztraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. What a wonderful and unique blend: each of these individual wines would make for a great turkey wine. Together, it will be delightful. With notes of peach, yellow apple, pineapple and bright citrus, it has the acidity to balance out and contrast with the fruitiness.

Albet i Noya — Xarel·lo 2013
Region / Country: Catalonia, Spain
Varietal: Xarel·lo
Price: $13.99
ORGANIC! This is a fun, unusual wine. Xarel·lo produces highly textural wines, with a lemon-like acidity and stonefruit flavors. This is less fruit-forward than the other wines we’re featuring this week, but features a well-balanced, crisp minerality that will add some refreshment to your Thanksgiving table.

Skagit Valley Food Coop_CV_Rose for TurkeyChâteau Grande Cassagne — 2011 Costières de Nimes Rosé
Region / Country:
Rhone, France
Varietals:
45% Grenache, 45% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.
Price:
$9.99
This is a lovely Rosé — flavors of raspberry, watermelon, rose petals, which are classic flavors and aromas of a well-made Rose. The electric pink color of this wine is really quite fantastic. You can easily imagine how great this bottle of wine will look on your holiday table. It would sparkle next to the turkey.

 

Skagit Valley Food Coop_CV_Gilbert CellarsGilbert Cellars — 2013 The Grower
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
Varietals: 61% Chardonnay & 39% Riesling
Price: $14.99
This bottle of wine was built to go with turkey. It has that bit of sweetness that goes well with turkey, but in a classier style. It’s a style of wine that will suit a number of palettes. People who drink (good) wine will recognize the weight of the Chardonnay and the creaminess that comes with it, and the beautiful lift that comes off of a Riesling.

Skagit Valley Food Coop_CV_White Wines for TurkeyForis Vineyards — 2012 Moscato
Region / Country: Rogue Valley, Oregon / United States
Varietal:
Moscato
Price: $11.99
This Moscato has been a Co-op favorite for a long time. In a frizzante (instead of fully sparkling) style, this wine is lightly effervescent, with tiny bubbles that balance out the juicy sweetness of the grape. Peachy-floral aromas with a light and lively palette.

Bouza — Albariño 2012
Region / Country: Montevideo, Uruguay
Price: $17.99
This is a very sophisticated, special bottle of wine. This is a really fun wine. It is full of minerals, full of expression. It is made by a terrific winery that is getting much-deserved accolades and attention.

Klostor Pinot Grigio 2013
Region / Country:
Rheinhessen, Germany
Varietal:
Pinot Grigio
Price: $8.99
With strong flavors of citrus and minerals, this tangy wine will go perfectly with turkey for people who want a traditional food wine. This wine comes in once a year, and then it’s gone. Try it while we have it!

+Red Blends for Thanksgiving
And, to wrap things up, two turkey-worthy reds for you:

Gilbert Cellars’ Uncle Cragg’s — 2012 The Pilgrim, $14.99
Red blend from Columbia Valley, Washington.

Skagit Valley Food Coop__CV_LaPetiteFontaineMaison Richard Côtes du Rhône — 2010 La Petite Fontaine, $9.99
Red blend from Rhone, France.
Part of the Chateau la Nerthe family of wines, which has been producing wine throughout the southern Rhone Valle for 800 years. And is famous for it. A friendly, everyday, earthy wine with notes of black cherry and raspberry. It finishes clean, with a highlight of cedar and spice. All-in-all, perfect.

 

CV, the Wine Guy, talks Syrah

Skagit Valley Food Coop_CV the Wine Guy_Syrah_10.27.14Syrah #1 : Barnard Griffin Syrah 2012
Appellation: Columbia Valley, Washington
Alcohol by Volume: 13.9%
Price: $14.99
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 90 points
CV Says: Some people would arguably say that Syrah is the best varietal for Washington — it does very well here. Barnard Griffin was established in 1983. The vineyard is in the Columbia Valley, and the winery in Redmond. The tulip label featured on the Syrah is being retired — Barnard Griffin also uses (and increases to use) a newer label with a gold griffin. I think the first Barnard Griffin tulip label was for the Tulip festival here in Mount Vernon. I’m not certain of that, but it is a nice, familiar look to those of us in the Valley.

Syrah from this state of ours is very well known and liked. Syrahs has varying levels of intensity — this one is approachable, but it has a lot of luster. This is a serious wine. Syrahs in general are serious wines. They’re full of fruit, but they’re also full of leather, and the denseness the grape has to offer. This is a wine that would be good for fall meals; it would be wonderful with lamb. It would be fine with steak, or other cuts of beef. It would stand up well to anything that had a bit of spice, or heat, to it. The Barnard Griffin Syrah has the flavors of cassis, and ripe, dark fruit, such as plum or cherry.

Syrah #2: Alvarez Nölting Fedriani Laffitte
Appellation: Valencia, Spain (Eastern Mediterranean Coast)
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price: $9.99
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 93 points
CV Says: This Syrah is … BAM! Full of flavor. It has a lovely hit: it’s not like a hit over the head, but it will get your attention. This is a bona fide, obscure classic Spanish Syrah. For this wine, it’s all about the extraction. If it’s in the grape, they’ll get it into the wine, and the color of the wine is testament to that committed extraction: it’s inky and opaque. The Fedriani Faffitte is a dense, thick wine. While CV and I (Rachael, his interviewer and scribe) were chatting about Syrahs, we were joined by our Kitchen Manager, Lisa (a fantastic cook in her own right)m who was looking for a wine to serve with a bone marrow appetizer. This was the wine of choice. Its suppleness makes it a surprisingly adaptable food wine: it would pair well with hard cheeses; dark, nutty chocolate; or lamb. Or, of course, you could go the route CV and I both did independently, and enjoy it with “it”.

Style wise, the Barnard Griffin is a light Syrah; the Fedriani Laffitte is BIG. The former actually has a higher alcohol content, but due to the style of the Spanish Syrah (and its extraction process) it’s a much bigger, heftier wine.

The Bounty of Bulk: Use Your Noodles

Skagit Valley Food Coop_Bounty of Bulk_Oct 27Welcome to our latest segment focusing on the wondrous world of bulk: pasta. Buying in bulk is great for saving money on these pantry essentials, from couscous to spaghetti to shaped pasta. The Co-op stocks a dozen different types of noodles and pasta, including gluten-free quinoa and corn rotelle.

Accessorize your noodles with some garlic, onions, and leeks (local from Ralph’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon, WA) and you’ve got a great base for many meals. Choose hearty and healthy whole grain pastas, and add seasonal vegetables, cheese, tofu, or your preferred cut of meat. Here are a few choice recipes from our customers and staff:

Seasonal Vegetable Orzo Salad Recipe

Orzo - “orzo” is the Italian word for barley. However, orzo pasta is made from semolina durum wheat, not from barley. It’s a versatile, rice-shaped pasta. A classic for cold vegetable salads and comfort meals, use orzo to add texture to soups. It’s a great deal in bulk — only $1.79 per pound!

Make a delightful, yet simple orzo salad: Read more The Bounty of Bulk: Use Your Noodles …

CV, the Wine Guy, talks Yalumba & Lumo

photoRed Wine: Old Bush Vine Grenache
Producer: Yalumba
Varietal: Grenache
Geographic Region: Barossa, Australia
Year: 2012
Price: $17.99
CV Says: After 165 years of winemaking in the Barossa region of Australia (it’s the ‘down under’ version of Napa Valley), Yalumba has great strength as a company, and produces spectacular wines.  Yalumba’s bush vines are these these low-yielding, really gnarly looking creatures of vines. They come out of the earth and hang on there forever and ever; the grapes grown on bush vines are really intense. Yalumba is fortunate to have some of the oldest Grenache vines in the Barossa, with fruit for this wine being sourced from vines planted in 1898, and nurtured by the wine-making family since.

The wine maker, Jane Ferrari, is an absolute kick. I know her personally, and she’s just this burly Australian with that wonderful Australian humor. She has a huge passion for the wine that she’s making.

A granche has dark ripe fruit flavors — when we say dark, we mean plum. It’s a rich, bold wine with a tannic back. It’s going to open up, and then open up, and open up, and open up even further. And then when you have the last sip, you’ll say, “Oh man, I should have waited, because this wine is really coming on right now.” This is truly a bottle of wine where the next day, it will be a completely different bottle than when you first open it up. It’s that power-packed. These vines are 35-70 years old, so that’s really going to make a difference.

You should absolutely open the bottle and let it sit and get some air for an hour or two before pouring. It’s got the modern Stelvin closure (twist top). This is the new way to close all wines — good or bad. The Stelvin closure is a terrific way to close the bottle: you don’t have to worry about corked* wines. Some wine drinkers equate twist-top bottles with cheap wine, but that isn’t the case. Seeing a twist-top bottle of wine is no indication of what’s inside. (And, then, of course, you get the added convenience of not needing to carry around a corkscrew.)

(Fun fact: This wine is vegan. Not all wines are — typically, egg whites are used for filtration. In this case, they’re not using any animal products whatsoever.)

White Wine: Lumo
Producer: Colterenzio
Varietal: Pinot Grigio
Geographic Region: Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy (this area is at the very northern part of Italy)
Year: 2012
Price: $9.99
CV Says: We’ve had Lumo for a while, and it’s turned out to be a wonderful, well-accepted bottle of Pinot Grigio. This is easy-drinking wine — paired especially well with salads and light meats. This is the real thing: it’s got the flavor profile of an authentic Italian Pinot Grigio. You’ll taste crisp fruits, citrus, stone fruit, maybe a little apple. It will have a bit of tartness to it, and mineral (stone) flavor). A good Italian Pinot Grigio will be different from those we get from Oregon. It’s going to be leaner in style,  and with that light, apertif-esque mineral taste. A classic European white wine — all for only 10 bucks!

* (from the Grenache entry) Corked means that a wine has been contaminated, not just by a cork taste, but by the presence of a chemical compound called TCA (2,4,6 – trichloroanisole). TCA is formed when natural fungi (of which many reside in cork) come in contact with certain chlorides found in bleaches and other winery sanitation / sterilization products. Since the discovery (only as recent as the early 1990’s) of the cause of cork taint, most wineries have totally eliminated the use of chlorine based clearing products. While unpleasant to taste, cork taint is not in any way harmful to humans. Corked wines smell and taste of damp, soggy, wet or rotten cardboard. Cork taint dulls the fruit in a wine, renders it lackluster and cuts the finish. (Description used from The Kitchn.)

CV, the Wine Guy, talks Biodynamic Wines from Oregon

SVFC_CV Wine Guy_BiodynamicBiodynamic: adj. — a spiritual-ethicial-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition.

Biodynamic wines take the concentrated notice of terroir (the geography, geology, and climate of a wine region) to a whole new level. When grapes are grown biodynamically, the wine maker sees the vineyard as an ecosystem: not just the vines, but the soil beneath them — an organism in its own right — the air and water quality, flora and fauna in the area, the cosmos — all of these are growing together interdependently.

There is also the notion that farming can (should?) be attuned to the spiritual element of the cosmos, perhaps linking planting or harvesting in time with lunar cycles or planetary positions.

The immense and careful attention biodynamic growers pay to their vines can’t be anything but good, or, at the very least, interesting. If a wine is biodynamic, it is also organic (but still contains sulfites). Biodynamic wines are the best of the best. This week, we’re going to focus on biodynamic wines from Oregon. The two main varietals for Oregon are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We talked last week about the flavor profiles and structure of Pinot Noir (and how well it pairs with salmon); let’s focus on Pinot Gris this week.

Read more CV, the Wine Guy, talks Biodynamic Wines from Oregon …