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.)

What’s Dipping in the Well: Nutty Butter Bursts

SVFCButterPThere’s something special that happens when you take pecans, butter, cream, vanilla, milk, and eggs: the Co-op’s own handmade Buttered Pecan ice cream. And it’s back in our Deli!

Rich and textured, this flavor is a staff favorite, even for those who are not fans of nuts. Our version is a twist on the old-fashioned nostalgic Butter Pecan, free of corn syrup, chemical additives, and artificial flavors. Plus, it’s gluten free and made with all organic ingredients.

Here’s an insight into our process: Co-op staffer Matt starts by melting butter in a large pan, and adds fresh raw pecans and pure vanilla extract. He stirs until the nuts are perfectly coated and lightly cooked, then adds them to a base of vanilla ice cream. The result is luscious, with chewy pecans and rich buttery ribbons. Enjoy Buttered Pecan ice cream in a cone or add a scoop to one of our baked desserts — it’s delightful!

The Cheese Whisperer: Back with Black Truffles

MontchevreTruffleTruffles have a mystique all their own. These gourmet mushrooms have a big reputation for their earthy flavor and ability to elevate foods to the next level. We have two new truffled goat cheeses in the Co-op’s cheese island.

Look for Montchevré’s Truffled Fresh Goat Chevre alongside our selection of other tasty plain and flavored fresh chevres, including Garlic and Herb and 3 Pepper. Add sophistication to any cheese board, salad, or meal with a smear of this elegant fresh soft cheese.

Montchevré Grande Truffiere Goat Brie is a soft-ripened 5 oz. wheel of delight. Slices of this brie reveal its oozy interior with a center of firm paste and flecks of whole black truffle. It has an enticing flavor, with the brightness and clean-taste of fresh goat cheese and a delicate balance of the mineral-like, spicy truffles. Pair this treat with a slightly sweet Sauvignon Blanc white wine or a crisp lager such as Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager.

These two cheeses from Montchevré bring an Old World-New World sensibility: the black truffles are imported from Provence, France, and are blended with fresh goat cheese made in Wisconsin. Both cheeses are made from pasteurized goat milk with vegetarian rennet.

Posted by Claire

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 …

Skagit Brew Corner: Ten Fidy Chili

SVFCTenFTrophyBeer has a long history of making good things better. And brews have been used to flavor sausages for many a moon.

The Co-op now offers our own award-winning Imperial Stout Chili Sausage in the Meat Department and you won’t want to miss it. For the month of October, it’s on sale in bulk (casing free) for $6.99 per lb.

Not only is our fresh, handmade Imperial Stout Chili Sausage hearty, smoky, spicy, and delicious, it also won 1st place at the 3rd Annual “Chili King of Lynnwood” cook-off earlier this year. Competing against 24 other breweries, Oskar Blues Brewery teamed up with our Co-op Meat Department staff and Meat & Seafood Manager Galen to create a massively flavorful sausage made from Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Beeler’s Pure Pork (hormone and antibiotic free, all vegetarian fed), and our proprietary blend of seasonings.

SVFCTenFChiliIn honor of the Meat Department’s most recent awesomeness, we’ve brought Ten Fidy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewing of Boulder, CO back to our beer aisle. A seasonal release, this mammoth stout busts out big flavors of caramel, chocolate, and roasted coffee beans. Loaded with 98 IBUs and a heady 10.5% alcohol by volume content, Ten Fidy benefits from enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, and hops that have to be hand-loaded into the mash tun. A truly boundary-stretching brew, pair it with a chocolate-rich dessert like chocolate truffles or brownies.

Posted by Claire