Riesling wines are often known as the "grape of Germany" because this wonderful varietal is grown in the cool regions of Mosel and Rheingau of Germany where a literal boom in the planting of the vine was established in the 19th century. Of course, I drink many wine varietals and blends, most of which are totally enjoyable, calling my taste buds back to purchase more of the same. But, without a doubt, like the beautiful red hair that adorns my wife's head, riesling keeps my attention focused because of the many qualitative attributes it has.
Unless you are a militant dieter, we are all guilty of giving in to last week's bounty of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc., as well as the wonderful wines that accompanied every morsel we consumed. Now that the belt is a little tighter, and the vows to cut back between now and the end of the year fall on unbelieving ears, there is 'one small step' mankind can take in the right direction to help alleviate the remorse from over-consumption.
The tsunami of food offerings (aka 'temptations') facing us between now and the end of the year is beyond comprehension. When guests are coming for an evening of food and wine celebrations, what is appropriate to offer? Guests arriving at this chilly time of year might welcome a Rob Roy drink to snuff out the cold. Speaking from direct experience, it works!
Why is it no matter where the genetic tree traces our ancestry to, we love Italian food and wine so much? I believe it is because the two evolved together, and the enjoyment of one complements the taste of the other.
Writing about wine at this time of year is built around what would pair well with a typical — if there is such a thing — Thanksgiving dinner celebration. Keeping in mind this meal is celebrated around turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberries, the wines over the next two weeks will be suggestions based on my tasting experiences, and what food/wine experts contend will pair well with just about anything that shows up on the holiday table. The first wine, from Italy — in a beautiful bottle — Terre de la Custodia Montefalco Rosso DOC ($19-$25) is an ingenious combination of 60 percent sangiovese, 15 percent sagrantino and 25 percent montepulciano grapes. Upon pouring it into the glass, I was immediately struck by the deep ruby-red clear color filling the glass.
Got a bottle of bubbly your taste buds are aching to experience? Go ahead and break it out, and make a peanut butter sandwich or get the popcorn out, because no matter what you eat with it, I can assure you the sparkling wine will complement the food. According to a recent Nielsen report on sparkling wine, in 2015, sales grew for both prosecco and Champagne in America, with prosecco jumping a whopping 36 percent.
A loud cork pop can indicate that you are about to consume some of the most enjoyable wine ever to please your palate. With three wines I tasted recently, the expectations were more than adequately met. I had the honor of tasting three wines from the Michael Mondavi Family Estate — 2012 Animo M cabernet sauvignon, the 2014 Animo Heritage sauvignon blanc and the 2013 Emblem cabernet sauvignon.
A recent wine-tasting get-together in Fargo involved all sparkling wines, three of which I was privileged to include in the participation. My contributions to the event included Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Spumante Brut (Italy, suggested retail price $15), Vilarnau Brut Reserva D.O. Cava (Spain, SRP $20) and Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve (France, SRP $60). At a gathering like this involving several people of varying wine-tasting sophistication, comments on the wines ran the entire gamut: fantastic or mediocre, definitely a food-friendly wine — there was plenty of food on hand — or one that would definitely become a part of their celebratory routine.
Life for professional football players after retirement does exist for some. According to a July Sports Illustrated article, many NFL players have traded their playbooks to be guided through the fermentation process and discovered more relaxing and less injurious, but equally demanding, lives among the grapes. Such a shift in action has worked well for Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer, former quarterbacks in the NFL. Longtime friends from predraft days, they vacationed together in Napa Valley with their wives and started exchanging bottles of wine.
A little Rodney Dangerfield to start off: "When I played in the sandbox, the cat kept covering me up ..." Dangerfield has many more quips too risqué for this column, but let me ask, from the following list, which state would you say gets "no respect" for its wines? North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota or New Jersey? None of the first four listed, simply because they get respect for the challenges they have to overcome to get a toehold in the commercial wine industry. That leaves New Jersey as the state that typically no one thinks of when it comes to considering purchasing wine.