Mixing it Up

    I thought it would be a good idea just to mix it up a little bit this week- no theme, no one type of wine; just some wines that are great tasting and great values any time of year.

    First, a wine from a country that’s just coming into its own here in the U.S. market, Hiedler Loss Gruner Veltliner 2016, ($23.99). Since 1856 the Hiedler winery has been turning out delicious wines which pay homage to the Niederosterreich territory in Austria. The Hiedler Loss Gruner Veltliner is no exception. Fish, seafood, chicken, and in particular, vegetable dishes will all pair beautifully with this juicy white and its stone fruit, bright acidity and beckoning personality. Enjoy the lovely aromas of you first glass neat, or with steamed artichokes with a lemon aioli on the side. The perfect first course is a salad of shredded kale and brussels sprouts with toasted, slivered almonds as a nod to the subtle earthiness of the wine. A classic Wiener Schnitzel with lemon wedges on the side is another terrific option, as is your favorite mildly spicy Asian fish or chicken dish. Fresh apple fruit backed by hints of herbs, subtle notes of orange zest. Juicy and elegant structure, crisp acidity, and a salty touch make this one a really versatile food companion.


    Switching gears to Tuscany, Caprili Brunello di Montalcino, 2013, ($43.99), is big. Open this bottle a couple of hours before you’re ready to pour. Warning: the aromas may conjure hallucinations of rolling hills and a patchwork of vineyards, wheat fields and olive orchards, all under the most beautiful Tuscan sun. In the meantime, you can check on your leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic as it roasts to a delicious doneness. Or, make a ragu of cinghiale (wild boar) to go with thick and hearty pappardelle. Set out some Marcona almonds to accompany your first glasses and the wonderful earthy side of this Caprili. Tuscan sausage with beans is a main dish which will go beautifully with that same earthy side. And if you’re not in a meaty mood, make it a portabella risotto; don’t skimp on the good Parmesan. Looking for a reason to have another glass after all that? A platter of aged Gouda and some dried fruit is your answer!


    The Sparr family have owned the same vineyards since 1732 and Jean-Paul Sparr, the current family scion, continues to please and even amaze his customers. Pierre Sparr Alsace One,2015, ($18.99) is a delicious Alsatian blend of Muscat, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Think floral and exotic, light fruit aromas, and the perfect combination of grip and minerality. Ideal as an aperitif, and with countless fish, chicken, pork, salad, pasta options and more. It does have Riesling in it, but this is a dry white with a fresh finish. Breaded, sautéed chicken cutlets with a brown butter caper sauce will pair beautifully with this Pierre Sparr. A dish of linguine tossed with shrimp, peas, and a splash of cream in a white wine sauce with freshly grated Parmesan works well too. Or make it a classic salad Nicoise. Italian tuna in oil over a bed of greens, with Nicoise olives, sauteed potatoes, cherry tomatoes, steamed haricots all dressed with a garlicky red wine vinaigrette. You’re going to love this One wine lovers!!


    Here’s one from a country and a grape type that don’t get enough good press in this country and more’s the pity. Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos, 2016, ($16.99) is a full-bodied Garnaca or, as we know it here, Grenache. Black cherry liqueur and peppery spice notes are at the heart of this formidable (and astoundingly affordable) Spanish red. It comes from older vines on the foothills of the Moncayo Mountains in Spain’s Campo de Borja region, from a local cooperative of 375 different wine growers.  Try a bottle with any of your favorite Tapas-you’ll be back for more!

    Talk to the wine guy at jdris8888@gmail.com