Biodynamic agriculture has been one of the biggest trends in wine in recent years. Big name winemakers like Château Latour in Bordeaux, Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy, and Tablas Creek in Paso Robles have jumped on the Biodynamic train. Read on to learn more about this farming system that goes “beyond organic”.0 Read More
This month’s Winophiles theme is biodynamic wines of France. The full practice and rationale behind biodynamic is complex and worthy of a full post on its own. The quick version is that it is one of the oldest forms of sustainable organic agriculture. It was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s in response to a group of farmers who were disappointed by the new commercial farming methods. Steiner himself is a problematic character – he was, like many of his time, an open racist and anti-Semite and some of his writing about ideas of “purity” of the land are pretty uncomfortable to read today. However, his work has gained a wide following and as the consumer has developed an interest in putting their money where their values are these types of practices are becoming much more common and mainstream. (more…)7 Read More
Winter weather always has me craving rich red wines. Usually we reach for Southern French or Italian wines this time of year, so it was awesome to push outside our usual range and head for Argentina for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend. The instinctive pairing for these wines is meat and lots of it… but Dan and I just got back from a long road trip, a week in New Orleans and a cruise so we’re trying to eat a little healthier. We decided to try these wines with some warm and spicy all-veg meals. The pairings were great and the wines went really well with both a North African-inspired meal and some all-American bean chili.5 Read More
When my friends and fellow French Winophiles settled on “A French-Style Season” for December’s theme, my mind automatically wandered back to the fantastic holidays Dan and I have spent in Provence. From wandering through the old Papal palace in Avignon on Christmas Day (yes, it’s open!) to Christmas markets in Aix, Provence is a fantastic place to spend the holidays. France does the festive season very, very well. And they (of course!) eat and drink wonderfully over the season. Provence has a very special meal they do on Christmas Eve, so we recreated it at home so we could enjoy the memories. Sadly we don’t have any Christmas markets, but with a little creativity and a few bottles of good Provencal wine, we were able to conjure the sound of the mistral blowing against our shutters in Avignon or the sound of the surf and the feeling of the sand in Nice.12 Read More
I was really excited that this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend theme was Riesling. It’s a grape I really enjoy, but that I don’t drink often enough. It’s a great wine to pair with food because it is made in so many different styles, so don’t hesitate to try some, even if you normally don’t like sweet wines. My family has German ancestry, so I thought it would be fun to visit some of the foods of my childhood and remember my Grandmother at this time of year. The night we planned our dinner was also the first night of Chanukah, and when I was researching German holiday food traditions, I realized that the festive meals for both Christmas and Chanukah in Germany had a lot of overlap. So, what started out as a German Christmas became a fantastic way to honor both my and Dan’s heritage and a good excuse to open several bottles of tasty Riesling.10 Read More
The Charmat Method is a method of making sparkling wines. In Italy, it is called the Metodo Martinotti, and on New World wines it may be described as the “tank method”. This method was developed by Eugene Charmat in Western France, but its most famous wine is the Italian Prosecco. Developing bubbles in stainless steel tanks, instead of on the lees in a bottle like Champagne, gives a crisper and fruitier wine.0 Read More
I can’t believe that it’s December already. But the tree is up and the holiday parties have already started. There’s no better time to take a look at Italian sparkling wines. Italy makes some really awesome sparkling wines which, like Crémant are generally available at a fraction of the price of Champagne.
Italian sparklers come in a range of styles from very sweet to very dry. The Italian word for sparkling, Spumante, is sometimes used on labels. Don’t just think Asti Spumante, though! The word spumante just means sparkling, it doesn’t imply anything about sweetness, so not all wines labeled as spumante will be sweet – quite the opposite.
There are five main styles of sparkling wine made in Italy. They are: Prosecco, Lambrusco, Franciacorta, Metodo Classico and Asti Spumante.
This month, I was specifically looking at wines that will pair well with holiday party foods, so I only sampled dry wines. Two of the wines I tried were made in the traditional or classico method. The other wine was produced using the charmat method. (more…)12 Read More
Gavi is a white wine appellation in the Piedmont region of Italy. Gavi is made 100% from Cortese grapes and is sometimes called Cortese di Gavi. It is named after the commune of Gavi in the center of the appellation, and wines from the commune itself can be labeled Gavi di Gavi. The Gavi appellation was given DOC status in 1975, and DOCG – the top of the Italian pyramid – in 1998. It is often considered the Piedmont’s premier white wine.0 Read More
I want to thank everyone who participated this month. There are some fantastic posts up about Crémant and some recipe ideas that I’ve added to the list to try. Enjoy:
Jill Barth: A Festival of French Crémant
Susannah Gold: French Cremant – Perfect Sparklers for the Holiday Season
David Crowley: Best Food Pairings for Crémant d’Alsace
Martin Redmond: Elevating Weeknight Fare with Cremant d’Alsace #Winophiles
Jane Niemeyer: How to Pair Crémant d’Alsace and Food
Gwendolyn Alley: Crémant Rosé: 4 Affordable Food-Friendly Beauties for #winophiles
Rupal Shankar: Five Reasons to Drink Crémant d’Alsace this Holiday Season will be writing “Five Reasons to Drink Crémant d’Alsace this Holiday Season”
And of course, our post for the event is here0 Read More