There's been quite the debate over who will win Super Bowl LII. Will Tom Brady and Bill Belichik lead the Patriots to yet another win? Or will the Philadelphia Eagles win their first championship since 1960?
One thing that won't be up for debate is the MVP of your Super Bowl Watch Party. Spoiler alert, it's wine!
PIGS IN A BLANKET: Few things disappear as quickly at a party as Pigs in a Blanket. The warm sausage and crisp pastry...we're getting hungry just thinking about it. These from Food & Wine are brushed with a tasty mix of honey, mustard, and fresh black pepper to kick things up a notch. Pair with a dry rosé, like La Vieille Ferme or Miraval (both made by the Perrin Family).
CHILI: How could we share recipes for the Super Bowl without including a recipe that is served in a bowl? Chili is the perfect antidote to cold weather and bonus- this one is made in a crockpot so you'll spend less time cooking and more time drinking! Try this crockpot chili with South African Ashbourne Pinotage, a Rhône Blend from Famille Perrin like Châteauneuf du Pape Les Sinards, or an Argentinian Malbec (you really can't go wrong with anything from TintoNegro).
NACHOS: These are nacho average chips and toppings. These sheet pan nachos are customizable for any taste, fast, and fun. So if the party eats them up (and they will!), you'll be able to pop another round in the oven. This Southern Living recipe is elevated when paired with Thibault Liger Belair Moulin à Vent Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais.
A few other tips for Super Bowl snack pairings:
Serving wings? With spicy dipping sauces or marinades you'll want to go with something semi-dry but a little sweet- like Pichot Vouvray.
Finally, the meatier the dish (maybe you add bacon and sausage and pepperoni to your pizza...), the heartier the wine. Borgo Scopeto makes a beautiful Chianti that can stand up to hearty meats.
As 2017 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on all the people, events, and especially wines, that made it such a momentous year.
At Vineyard Brands, we feel so fortunate to work with so many talented and and passionate winemakers. These people make wine because it is more than a job- it is their calling. The quality of their wines reflect that.
Red, White, Old World, New World, wines from across our portfolio earned accolades and made Top 100 lists from leading publications.
Two Vineyard Brands wines earned spots on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017.
#19 Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2012:
“Black cherry, currant and floral notes are expressive and alluring, balanced by loamy earth, tobacco and mineral elements that add a savory quality. Firm, well-integrated tannins give support to the polished texture, while orange peel acidity fuels the fresh finish. Drink now through 2027.” 93 points
#26 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2015:
“This vibrant and mouthwatering white shows green apple, Meyer lemon and dried pineapple flavors that are fresh and juicy. Lemon verbena and lime sherbet notes reverberate on the long, detailed finish. Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. Drink now.” 93 points
Famille Perrin’s Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 was recognized as one of James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of 2017.
"All 13 grapes. This has a dark fruited, blueberry and blue plum nose with wide swinging tannins. Some white peppery elements, violets, brooding dark spices, blue fruits and dark plums. Builds from the ground up. Dark stones. Impressive, powerful. wine. Drink from 2025." 97 points
Wine Enthusiast named wine from both Champagne Salon (with a perfect score of 100!) and Massolino to their Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2017.
#11 Champagne Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 2006:
"This new release from a great vintage for Chardonnay in Champagne in s perfect blanc de blancs, showing a wealth of intensity from the crisp, chalky, mineral tones to the perfumed apple notes. The aromas hint as developing tastiness that adds depth and complexity. The wine is still young and it will age for years. Drink from 2020." 100 points
#25 Massolino Barolo Parafada 2013:
"...The full-bodied palate shows great energy and intensity, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, ripe cranberry, white pepper and clove framed in youthfully assertive, refined tannins and bright acidity..." 97 points
Wine Enthusiast also named Les Frères Couillaud Château de la Ragotière Sélection Vieilles Vignes Sur Lie (Muscade Sèvre et Maine) as #72 on their Top 100 of 2017.
"Old vines, up to 60 years old, are the basis of this concentrated, ripe and intense wine. it is impressive and tightly wound, with layers of rich citrus fruit and a chalky texture. This is still a little young, so drink from 2018."
Decanter's list of the most exciting wines of 2017 included two wines from the Vineyard Brands portfolio, one from Warre's and one from Louis Michel & Fils.
#14 Warre's Bottle Aged Late Bottled Vintage Port 2004:
"Vivids damsons and blackcurrants with liniment and spice, giving a luxuriously sweet, soft mouthful. The rich chocolate notes are kept in check by ripe enveloping tannins, beautifully integrated wood and fresh acidity."
#44 Louis Michel & Fils Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2015:
"A delicate herbal and lemony style with crisp apple and a mineral mint character to the fore. Vibrant and vivid yet maintains a lean, restrained nature. Lots of persistence, so more complexity will come."
Some of our winemakers themselves were recognized for their tremendous work.
Berene Sauls & Tesselaarsdal Wines Pty Ltd won Top Female Entrepreneur in the Agro-processing category as well as the Ministral Award hosted by the Department of Agriculture Western Cape.
Finally, we were honored to be a nominee for Importer of the Year for the prestigious Wine Enthusiast 2017 Wine Star Awards.
...oh and the French national team celebrated earning their spot at the FIFA World Cup with a bottle of Champagne Delamotte.
2017 has been a year to remember. Thanks to all of you for making our wines a part of your life. We'll leave you with two toasts to the New Year and see you in 2018!
"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want."
"Here's a toast to the future, a toast to the past, and a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant, the past a bright dream; may our friend remain faithful and dear."
Early fall is the busiest and most important time of the year for wineries in the Northern Hemisphere- Harvest season. Long hours and intensive labor consume each and every member of the winemaking team.
There is so much that goes into a bottle of wine that the consumer never sees. Take a peek behind the curtain and explore harvest season at a few Vineyard Brands wineries around the world.
Domaine de Courcel: A 400 year old family owned winery, located in the village of Pommard on the Côte d'Or, about four kilometers south-east of Beaune.
Domaine Weinbach: Located at the foot of the majestic Schlossberg hill in Alsace, this family owned winery is run by Catherine Faller and her son, Théo.
Les Alexandrins: Located in the Northern Rhône Valley, Domaine & Maison Les Alexandrins is a collaboration among Nicolas Jaboulet, Guillaume Sorrel, and Alexandre Paso.
Clos Triguedina: Found in southwestern France, Clos Triguedina is currently led by Jean Luc Baldes.
Thibault Liger-Belair: Located in Nuits-St.-Georges, in the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy, the domaine has been in the Liger-Belair family for 250 years.
Massolino: Located in northern Italy in the Piedmont region, the Massolino estate was founded in 1896.
Gradis'ciutta: Driven by Robert Princic, Gradis'ciutta is located in northern Italy and before carrying the name Gradis’ciutta, this place was known as Monsvini, which in Latin means “Mount of Wine.”
August Kesseler: Situated in the Assmannshausen in the Rheingau region, the wine estate of August Kesseler consists of vineyard sites in Lorch (for Riesling and Silvaner wines), on the slopes of the hills around Rüdesheim and in the area called “Assmanshäuser Höllenberg.”
Like we've written about before, rosé has become a staple in wine racks and on wine lists across the world. One of the reasons it is so popular is its versatility. Rosé finds itself somewhere in the middle between red wine and white wine.
Mark Oldman said it best:
"To achieve rosé nirvana, follow my 'Rosé Rule of P': serve it with anyting pink–lobster, shrimp, ham, pork–or anything Provençal–such as bouillabaisse, salade Nicoise, or grilled sardines"
We've rounded up a few recipes for you- both pink and Provençal- and a few of our favorite rosés- also pink and (mostly) Provençal.
It’s hard to walk into your local wine shop or supermarket and not notice the stunning rows of jewel-hued rosés. And considering the boom in popularity that rosé has enjoyed the past several years, there’s a strong chance that these beauties ranging in color from the palest of pinks to outrageous magentas will be featured prominently. As we explored in a recent blog post, rosé has gone from being just another wine to a cultural phenomenon in a few short years. However, most people, even the most ardent fans, have little idea of rosé’s fascinating journey from grape to glass.
While researching this article, I was fortunate to speak with two winemakers very knowledgeable about rosé production, Chelsea Franchi of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA and Simon Batarseh of August Kesseler in the Rheingau region of Germany.
It is a common misconception that rosé is made by simply combining red and white wines together. While this technically can occur, it is quite rare when making quality rosé. Franchi, who oversees much of the rosé production at Tablas Creek, started our conversation speaking about the two most common methods of producing rosé: saignée and direct press.
The saignée method involves bleeding off juice from red wine tanks before it has had a chance to take on too much color from the red wine skins (this process is called maceration). This labor-intensive method is interesting and controversial because it is often used as a way to enhance and concentrate the remaining red wine. Many rosé advocates consider it an affront to rosé because it is the by-product of red wine production. However, both Franchi and Batarseh praised this method for contributing intensity of flavors and for the amount of input they have while utilizing it. At Tablas Creek, the juice sits on the skins for approximately 24-72 hours before about 20% is bled off and subjected to a cold fermention. Most of this wine then becomes their serious, darker colored rosé called Dianthus (named for the flowers commonly known as “pinks”). Dianthus is generally Mourvèdre-based, a nod to the rosés of Southern France, specifically the Bandol area. Franchi attributes this wine’s watermelon essence to the Mourvèdre used in the blend. At Kesseler about 20% of the juice from wonderful up to 80-year-old Pinot Noir vines is bled off then fermented. Batarseh leans on this wine to contribute color and tannins to the final blend.
The other common method of making rosé involves direct pressing of the grapes. This method is the most common and generally is considered the benchmark for crafting quality rosé. Both Franchi and Batarseh praised the fact that crop levels, sugar levels, acidities, and harvest dates can all be controlled in the vineyard and tailored to make the absolute best rosé. They both also press the juice off the grape skins without any maceration time resulting in a stunning pale pink color. Often you will see this wine labeled as vin gris. At Tablas Creek, this limpid direct press juice is destined to become their acclaimed Patelin de Tablas Rosé. Franchi said that they prefer to co-ferment their Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Syrah juice for this wine. This wine is definitely styled in the tradition of the great Provençal rosés with its dominant bright strawberry notes coming from the majority Grenache. At Kesseler the direct press juice is blended with the saignée juice for the final wine. Batarseh likes the interplay of qualities produced by using both methods, noting that the direct press juice brings a light, bright, acid-driven quality to the final wine.
I asked Franchi what her favorite grape is to work with in the production of rosé. After some thought she answered, “Grenache,” and referenced the absolutely heavenly, heady aroma released by the vats of fermenting Grenache in the cellar. Indeed, when studying many of the great rosé-producing areas of the world, Grenache often seems to pop up. It makes sense when considering that Grenache is a very thin-skinned grape and overall has less color-lending phenolic compounds than other red grapes. Franchi also referenced the little-known Rhone Valley grape Counoise as contributing a nice softness and darker red fruit flavors to their rosés as well as those produced in Southern France. Often Syrah is also added also its wonderful spicy character.
At Kesseler, Batarseh works exclusively with Pinot Noir for rosé production. Once again we find a grape with thin skin and low levels of phenolic compounds. It’s no surprise that in most of the world’s great Pinot Noir regions there is also usually concurrent rosé production (think Marsannay in Burgundy, Oregon, Germany, and the Loire Valley). Producers in these regions get the dual benefits of producing a gorgeous berry-scented rosé and intensifying the often light juice destined for their Pinot Noir bottlings. At Kesseler, considered one of Germany’s premier Pinot Noir specialists, their rosé shows beautiful berry and cherry notes while maintaining an elegant and exciting tension. It’s definitely refreshing but has the stuffing for year-round drinking.
Next time you’re buying a bottle of rosé for the lunch table, pool, or just a summer evening with friends, talk with the wine specialist or turn that bottle over and read the back label. Besides the important visual clues from the color, you’ll gain some great perspective on what’s in a bottle by simply knowing how it’s made. And don’t be embarrassed for buying it!
As Franchi told me, “The stigma is over. Rosé is one of the most delicious, versatile, and food friendly wines out there.” Think pink!!
August Kesseler 'R' Riesling General Information
August Kesseler's Riesling comes from the famous Palatinate (Pfalz) region, Mittelhardt. Here Riesling finds optimal ripening conditions on red stone formation. The mild climate and a long vegetation period let's the fruit ripen perfectly. The vineyards are situated on slight slopes facing south that have an average age of 30 years. The vineyards are pruned and strictly selected.
After being gently pressed, the Riesling is fermented and vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel vessels of various sizes. During this process it is most important to preserve the terroir until bottling and blending by strictly keeping the different lots separate.
Wine Maker's Notes: Our everyday sip wine is fruity, mineral and well balanced. Typical flavours of ripe fruits, aromatic apples & peaches. Well-structured and delightful as well. In the mouth, the interaction of mouth-watering fruits and minerals are positively shimmering – very delicate and refreshing on the palate.
The 2015 Vintage
I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon Batarseh to gather his thoughts on the 2015 'R' Riesling. Simon works passionately in the cellar and vineyard, while also being responsible for international development of the vineyard. He works with tremendous passion in the cellar and the vineyard, and he is also responsible for fostering the international development of the vineyard.He works with tremendous passion in the cellar and the vineyard, and he is also responsible for fostering the international development of the vineyard.Si, an
"In this campaign we managed to pick very early absolutely valuable grapes in exceptional healthy conditions! It is our most valued wine all over the world because it simply fits to such a huge amount of people’s palette.
A perfect vintage as we got wines with a decent body, a great balance between sweetness and acidity – all that due to the great weather conditions during maturation period and harvest time which has been “a present from nature”! Very fruity and crisp wines.
The 'R' Riesling 2003 was rated by the Wine Spectator as the best valued Riesling in the world – the 2004 vintage got 90 points by Robert Parker and also the following vintages had great ratings. The name became a brand and the wine our most successful one in the world."
The Riesling 'R" is easy to drink if thirsty for wine. It is ideal with light fish, salads and poultry dishes. Serve chilled and enjoy!