October 16, 2018
Happy Wednesday you awesome YOU! I must say, Fall is, definitely, in the air here in Baltimore. "Freezing" temps at night (yes, it is going to be in the 30's), cool, crisp air during the day, and, well, the feeling of October is finally upon us! Can't you just smell all things pumpkin spice and cinnamon?!?!
I am still coming off a West Coast high...and, by that, I mean the time change is really starting to take effect. It can be pretty hit or miss with me. I can jump back in, no problem, or, by the 2nd or 3rd day, I am wrecked. Needless to say, I am not faring as well this go around. Luckily, I was able to get a little more sleep last evening but I still feel like I am in a Santa Monica/San Francisco/Carmel hangover!
The good news, besides being in a California hangover (and I would do it all over again too), is that it is WEDNESDAY, and that means it's time to WINE down! :) During this past trip, besides sampling all of my favorite Cabernets - and some new ones too - I got to try a handful of delicious Italian reds. As I have referenced, my new "wine mission" is to get more well-versed in this regions varietals. My boyfriend knows a lot more about the Italian wines than I do, so I relied, heavily, on his guidance and expertise to help with picking the perfect bottles. What's funny, though, is the picture I chose to highlight the title of this blog are French wine corks. LOL! Did I mention I want to get knowledgeable with French wine too?
Without further ado, here are the bottles, and the glasses, that we tried out while away. There were a few glasses here and there where my boyfriend and I strayed - he went with an Italian and I went back to my Cabernet roots. I should have been a better girlfriend and took note (I think a Spanish Tempranillo was on the tab) but that will have to be for next time!
Real quick, I will tell you that if you are in San Francisco, go check out Blanc et Rouge - a fabulous, super hip, and the "place to be" (it was CROWDED for a Wednesday but, hey, it was WEDNESDAY) wine bar in San Francisco. With shades of rich, dark reds, accented with browns, blacks, wooden shelves, and wine barrel tables, this place is cozy and SO FUN. And, if you are not a wine fan, no problem! They have a selection of beers, ciders, and champagnes. Oh, and the food looked delicious too!
Alright, I deviated a bit but it is all relative! Okay, seriously, here are the bottles, and the "by the glass options" we tried:
Val Di Suga: Brunello Di Montalcino - I purchased this bottle at one of my favorite wine stores & restaurants in California (and I am so HAPPY they recently opened in Santa Monica) called Wally's. I had to share the picture from where I was sitting for lunch the other day, I was on a mission to find a really good bottle of red, in keeping with the "Italian" theme, and the staff did NOT steer me wrong! While money is a bit of an object (sure, you could spend hundreds on a bottle), I did give my price range, and also shared that my palette swings very much in the direction of big, bold Cabernet's. The gentleman who helped me recommended this particular bottle from Val Di Suga. It was FABULOUS! Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, it has an "elegant body that is both FULL and CRISP." While we consumed ours over a rousing game of "500 Rummy," and a yummy cheese board, I could, totally, see this pairing beautifully with a delicious piece of grilled or roasted meat.
Poliziano: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - We ordered this bottle with our 1st dinner in Carmel at a quaint and cozy French restaurant, La Bicyclette. In case you have not had a chance to read about my Carmel adventure, make sure to check it out HERE! Made from 85% Sangiovese grapes (also known as "prugnolo gentile") and a 15% blend of Italian grapes called Colorino & Canaiolo.
Ruffino: Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico - Although I would pair this with food verse as just a sipping wine, it did get a little "bolder" as we let it breathe. Chianti is made up of 80% Sangiovese grape and 20% Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Ruby red in color, with a firm acidity, I could, totally see this complementing a traditional Italian pasta or risotto dish.
La Fiera: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - When doing a little more research, this particular varietal is made/produced as an everyday drinking style wine. It is made from the Montepulciano grape; a grape grown in Italy more than ANY other grape! Since it is made to drink everyday - Isn't every wine an everyday drinking wine? - it's "easy" to consume, low in tannins and acidity, and bold & bright! While I paired mine with a fabulous short rib, roasted potato, and broccolini dish, my boyfriend went for the Italian pasta classic. You can read about where we dined HERE.
I know I showcased this picture on Monday's post, but this was the only picture I had of this glass! And that olive oil/mushroom dipping sauce was phenomenal (even if I tasted it with my fork sans bread). As you can see, I, also, lacked in snapping a pic of the Ruffino!
Here's to another HUMP DAY! Coming soon, I will be putting together a post of a variety of wines that are not only fabulous, and easy to drink, but do not have to empty your wallet either! Plus, as the Holiday season approaches, this will be a great go-to resource for you as well!
Cheers to Sipping & Swirling!