August 3, 2013
The Chianti region is large, and while the wines from the Classico region are the best known, for price and quality, look to the lesser-known Chianti Rufina, a small area in the northeastern corner of Chianti proper. Selvapiana is one of the best estates in Rufina, turning out first-rate Sangiovese-based reds. I've been buying its Chianti for years, keeping it on hand for pasta nights and grilled skirt steak or chops. A deep ruby in color, the 2010 Selvapiana tastes of bright cherries and plums, but a touch of earth gives it some weight.
November 23, 2013 |
This is an elegant Napa Valley Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, very much still in the style that won the famous Paris Tasting of 1976 and launched California Chardonnay onto the world wine scene. Silky on the palate, the 2011 has aromas of pear, citrus and honeysuckle. A bright acidity and a discrete touch of oak give the ripe fruit flavors a lift. A wine to savor. This would be a great bottle to take to a holiday dinner with people who would appreciate its finesse. It shows best with shellfish or fish in sauce -- coquilles St. Jacques, lobster with drawn butter or Dungeness crab, but also a simple roast chicken.
February 17, 2011
Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta in Piedmont started out as a Moscato d'Asti producer but dreamed of making a serious red wine. First he got into Barbera with his extraordinary Cà di Pian. Next he took on Barbaresco and Barolo and became a powerhouse in the region. And now at La Spinetta's estate in Tuscany, he's producing this stunning Vermentino. Crisp and golden, it tastes of grapefruit rind and ripe pears. It has a wonderful freshness and minerality coupled with a lush texture and a long finish.
May 12, 2011 |
What a lovely expression of Pinot Noir from New Zealand's Mountford estate. Elegant and smooth, this New World Pinot carries the taste of Santa Rosa plums and sweet Asian spices. The scent jumps right out of the glass — sandalwood, and something leafy and delicate. In this weather, chill it just a bit and serve with roast chicken, sweetbreads or roast leg of lamb. Region: Waipara Valley, New Zealand Price: $29 to $35 Style: Rich and full-bodied What it goes with: Roast chicken or leg of lamb Where to find it: Flask Fine Wines in Studio City, (818)
May 6, 2009 |
Such a pretty Gewurztraminer from Alsace -- aromatic, scented with spices and flowers, it has the faintest touch of sweetness married with a lively acidity, so it's never cloying. Helfrich's 2007 Gewurztraminer excels as a match for Asian foods -- Thai, Vietnamese and spicy Chinese dishes. But it would be wonderful, too, with a fresh pea soup or risotto, or a spring minestrone and a simple roast chicken.
February 10, 1999 |
Chimichangas--crisp-fried tortilla bundles of tender chicken with cheese and sour cream--are ridiculously easy to make when you have leftover roast chicken. Kids love them, grown-ups love them and, if you feel like rewarding yourself for making dinner on a hectic weeknight, they are terrific with margaritas.
October 20, 2011 |
When I invited a new friend to dinner last week and asked her to bring a wine, she asked about the menu. And evidently she listened, because she came up with the most brilliant match for the Hungarian goulash: this St. Laurent, a close relative of Pinot Noir, from one of Austria's best wine estates. Soft and earthy, with a brilliant cherry color and just the slightest hint of strawberries and plums in the nose, it held its own against the smoky paprika in the sauce. It's hard to find a red this subtle and evolved anywhere for less than $25. But not many wine drinkers are curious enough to try a red from Austria.
May 6, 2010 |
2007 Quinta do Vallado Douro Vinho Tinto Dry red wines from the Douro Valley in Portugal, the traditional source for Port grapes, are the new story in this gorgeous wine region to the north of Lisbon. Top Douro wines command high prices, but here's a beauty that's priced for the everyday table. The 2007 Vallado Douro is easy-drinking and delicious. Bursting with fruit, bright with the tastes of blueberry, cherries and plums, it is smooth going, as versatile a wine as a cru Beaujolais or a top-notch Chianti, say. It's perfect with pizza, a simple roast chicken or a grilled skirt steak.
December 8, 2012 |
Always on the lookout for a juicy California Pinot, one with some character and grit, I think I've found it in the 2011 from August West. The label is a collaboration between Ed Kurtzman and growers Howard Graham and Gary Franscioni. The grapes - a tiny crop this year - came from the vineyards Rosella's, Sierra Mar and Sberanes. Tasting of black cherry, plums and earth, this latest vintage of Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands, their fourth, has gorgeous fruit and ripe tannins.