Steamboat Wine Festival Sipping Sotheby’s Style – Bordeaux vs Burgundy

Sotheby’s brought their world-class status to Steamboat Springs and entertained the lovers of the vine with a thing or two about Bordeaux and Burgundy. The gathering was held at Saddles where once again the food did not disappoint and the views are stunning. The hosts from Sotheby’s were Eli Rodriguez from New York and Mike Hoagland from California. Yes, it was an East Coast vs West Coast kind of deal which is kind of funny considering the East Bank vs West Bank of our wine tastings.

What do you think of when you think of Burgundy? Are you thinking it is a really pretty color? If yes, you might be on the wrong blog. burgundy colors
Rather, it is a region in France and it is known for producing really great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.  Now, California and Oregon create some very appealing Pinot Noirs, but this lighter red wine is elevated to a higher level when you drink one from this colorful region. The Pinot Noir grape is the only red varietal grown in the Burgundy region. See map below to acquaint yourself with the region.

Driving this point home was theburgundy_map spectacular sampling of Hudelot-Noellot Nuits St. Georges “Les Mergers” ler Cru 2010 (shown above left).  Using Sotheby’s description, “An outstanding vintage, this is a wonderful example of  the extraordinary quality of fruit in 2010. An enticing, mouth-watering nose gives way to mildly spicy, concentrated, earthy flavors in the mouth.  Juicy and delicious Pinot Noir.” I not only quote them because they are spot on, but because when you are sampling a bottle that is selling for a little over $100 you want to be exact. To learn more about Pinot Noir, check out the following link from Your Wine IQ, here.

Now, what do you think of when you hear Bordeaux? You would be on the right blog if you think a deeper red wine and associate the region of France with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Malbec. Now, this is my blog and I would think of the same things but I also think of my red husky aptly named Bordeaux.

So, making sure I give the proper respect and not accidentally misrepresent the stronger wines, I will again post the descriptions of the Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004  and the Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998 that Sotheby’s provided on their card.

Via Sothebys:
Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004: A blend of majority Merlot, with the rest of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Clinet is always impressive Pomerol.  Powerful, densely colored and big, balanced with freshness and precision.  One of Bordeaux’s great Right Bank estates.
Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998: As one of Bordeaux’s famed Second Growths, Gruaud Larose is textbook St. Julien: on the nose, a touch of cedar, cherry and blackberry, blended with balanced smoke, fruit and sweet tannin on the finish.  Benchmark Bordeaux, and always built to last.

Both of these wines were excellent. Dare I say, all of the wines presented by Sotheby’s were very good and honestly, better than expected. Yes, we paid for the presentation but they really elevated the experience.  Eli and Mike, look like brothers and finished each other’s sentences and made wine accessible to the masses.  As it should be, it has been around longer than you or I and thus we should experience the stories each glass tells.

Perhaps my favorite part of the experience, is I received some unsolicited validation. Wine is to be enjoyed and I often drink red wine with fish, I pair a wine with the weather, (see Hace Caliente) my goal is to enjoy the complexities of wine and also the simplicities of wine. When I heard these experts, and they are sommeliers and do intense study, lead off with drink what you like and have red wine with fish…I beamed.  I almost did a spit take and I can’t agree more.

You may notice Bordeaux giving the proper sniff to a bottle of red…well, it is actually a Zinfandel and the only grape that is actually native to California.  It is not, but probably more similar to a Burgundy but I couldn’t resist the picture. Besides, as I have said before and will say again,

We’re Screwed!

What did the nut say to the bolt? “Screw me”

 

 

bolt-nut-cartoon-belong-together-29340890
Found on Google.com credit to Dreamstime.com

I was drawn to the label, yes, I like good art.  This one insinuated travel and I was going to be watching Marco Polo on Netflix and he traveled, are you following me yet? I was perusing several bottles and this caught my eye but also the fact that they had a 90 rating. I got caught in the moment, yes, I was distracted by the allure of travel, the light, yet richness of a Pinot Noir that I missed…I missed…I missed the fact that this bottle was a (gulp) screw top. I am sure I should place some sort of disappointed emoji or an empathetic one, but I am over 21 and I am not going to do so, at least not yet.

Now, to not show that I am ignorant to the trend, I recognize the monetary savings that goes on in the production of wine and using cork. But, But, But…here’s the deal. Wine is not only enjoyed because it brings pleasure to your taste-buds and warms your body or relaxes your mind after a long day. No, wine is not only about linking yourself to history, even to Biblical times when this beverage that changes day by day enlightens your soul.  No, it is not only because they use wine to filter water to give your body sustenance should you be stranded in a desert or on an island and need water for life (yes, wine is a purifier to water and if you had to purify water through wine…I want to move to that island). This according to TurtleRunWinery.com fun facts about wine. [On a different note, I like their site, worth a visit while sipping.]

The fun fact states: Did you know that humans originally consumed wine for the express purpose of purifying water? Yep! Blend 10% to 25% wine with water and let it sit for 30 minutes and you can drink that creek water!

However I caution you, that just like skinny pants, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So, DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN...WAIT FOR FURTHER DOCUMENTATION, DO NOT EXPERIMENT ON YOUR OWN!  Remember, you are not Bear Grylls. and he squeezes elephant dung to make water.

Bear Grylls
To prove the point of Do Not Experiment on Your Own, He is (for the most part) a spectator sport. I will not squeeze poop to make water.

 I am a gadget girl, so I am not locked into the past. However, one of my favorite aspects of wine whether solo, couple, family/friends or grand gala…the anticipation of the bottle opening, watching it work its way to the top with a gasp for air…that adds excitement…that is Anticipation!  That is why, I normally refuse the purchase of a bottle that my wrist can turn to the left and without a gasp, is open. Okay, I know your thinking, why did this blonde link to Anticipation?  Because it was more than a Ketchup song…it is one of the key aspects of wine that makes us clink our glasses and celebrate the moment..yes, the moment! Click on the link, it is a really good song by Carly Simon.

So, whether you want to collect your corks to do something crafty, or not,  I have to tell you that there are times when you  may have to cross over and get screwed. I admit it, most times I would run, again out of principle.

Courtesy of Wine Folly and Simply the Best

Wait! I know what you are thinking! When we open a bottle of wine using a device, it is called a cork screw! Sigh, yes you are right. But, there is still satisfaction on going through the motions and determining whether any cork remains in the bottle.  I will not draw a clearer picture to you other than Eric Claption’s great song for the Color of MoneyIt’s in the Way that You Use It. 

So, what I am telling you, should you choose to accept this mission, trust your gut.  If you like the story, like the grape, like the company…step outside your comfort zone and give it a try. At worst you are out a few bucks, or need a palate changer. But, you will not be short an experience.

Tonight, I chose to unscrew this:

Left Coast Cellars, Cali’s Cuvee Pinot Noir from 2013. My husband said, you are not paying attention…but, it is not bad.  I mean it doesn’t suck and it is much better than expected from a pre-judgmental audience. It was good!  It had a multitude of flavors, it was smooth and true to the grape.  It is affordable and mostly, it forced me to step outside my comfort zone and taste.   I ask you, what is life if you don’t taste it? Friends, drink what you like and celebrate you!

 

 

 

Hace Caliente or It’s Hot!

Global warming or just that time of year called Summer, we are nearing the dog days and it is hot. We are beyond warm, or a little touched by the heat, we are in full flip-flop mode and portable fans.

Now, I don’t always think it necessary to pair wine with food. As I have said before, drink what you like and choose the guidelines if you wish. But, I do tend to make a deciding factor on what I drink based on the weather.  To me when it is hot, it is the time to keep the drink a little lighter and sometimes even a little sweeter.  Warning: If you make it too light and too sweet you may drink too fast due to dehydration, be careful.

One of my favorite drinks to cool down the heat, is Sangria. There are many kinds, but typically there are three version for you to choose from: a red, a white and a cava (sparkling wine). My favorite place for Sangria and Cuban/Spanish Cuisine is The Columbia in Ybor City, FL (Tampa).

 

 

This place is very much a destination place when you visit Tampa, in particular, Ybor City. Known for it’s “Cuban” Cigars, it is hard to get much more authentic than actually going to Cuba. This is a very eclectic neighborhood that is continuously improving and free roaming chickens.  Go see for yourselves, believe.

So, back to it being hot, this place alongside it’s great food is known for it’s sangria. The Columbia has packaged a mix to help you in the process and I have used it, and liked it. Now, I didn’t have all the fruit on hand to make it pretty but I can tell you, temps in the high 80s to low 90s and it was refreshing and on point. Pics below don’t do it justice, but the ones after will, I promise:

Due to the Spanish origins, I use a Rioja wine to make the red sangria. Again, we did not have much fruit, so we used limes and grapes. But, I highly suggest you try oranges in the mix. The Cerro Anon Rioja from 2009 was perfect for this blend that had me lounging on my deck admiring the grass that probably needs to be mowed, but it’s hot, so I tell my son, the lawn can wait till manana as I don’t want to hear the rumble of the push engine catching grass. Nor, do I want to hear him whine about mowing the yard, that would get in the way of the only whine I tolerate and that is wine, without an “h”.

Now, if for some reason, you are not experiencing the mercury rising in your neck of the woods, here are some songs that may put that feeling into play for you. In no particular order of heat index, here are some great songs to enjoy your Sangria: 

The Heat is On by Glenn Frey

Hot, Hot, Hot by Buster Poindexter

Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas

Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family Stone

When Your Hot Your Hot by Jerry Reed

Summertime Blues by The Who

In the Summertime by Mungo Cherry (1 Hit Wonder)

Some Like it Hot by Power Station

But if you don’t want songs that sing about being hot, or heat or summer, I believe this new song by Justin Timberlake, should be the 2016 song of Summer. What do you think?
Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

Now, back to the Sangria. My recent trip to The Columbia, we tried the Sangria Cava, which is Sangria using a Spanish sparkling wine. The pictures will show some of the process and I will attach the link and post recipe to the refreshing blend that made one forget for a brief second that all the temps said, 90+, it felt like over 100 on the thermometer.

This was so yummy! The recipe from their website is as follows:

Sangria de Cava (Sparkling Wine Sangria)
Columbia’s sparkling white sangria is great for a fancy brunch.
   Ingredients
1 375 ml bottle of Cava (or any sparkling wine)
¼ ounce Torres 5 Brandy (or any Spanish brandy)
¼ ounce Gran Torres Liqueur (or any orange liqueur)
Splash of lemon-lime soda
1 orange
1 lime
Cherries for garnish
Simple syrup*

Preparation
Cut orange and lime in half. Fill large pitcher with ice and combine the wine, brandy, liqueur, lemon-lime soda, the juice of half of an orange and the juice of half a lime. Stir. Add simple syrup to obtain desired sweetness. Slice remaining orange and lime into thin slices. Garnish glasses with orange, lime and cherry.

* To make simple syrup, combine one part water to one part sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Chill before use. Serves 4.

As I mentioned previously, you can purchase their mix to aid you in the assistance of your perfect Sangria. I suggest you stick to Spanish wines the Riojas, Cavas to make it as authentic and delicious as possible, but as I always say, drink what you like. So, experiment among yourselves. Let me know how it turns out.Click on The Columbia Gift Shop to purchase your mix.

Lastly, my last visit was timed with the timely return of my brother and his wife from Spain and Portugal.  My love of wine runs in the family and to let you know how they are using cork in the Mediterranean other than to top off a bottle, I give you the cork shoe.  Yes, I am now going to have to get a pair, but for now, here is a picture of cork shoes on my brother’s feet.  Salud!

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