Tag Archives: US wines

Wines for 4th July

Standard

 I’m pleased to say that, over the past year, Bristol Wine Blog has attracted a whole host of new readers; in fact numbers have more than doubled compared to earlier times.  Welcome to all of you!  Interestingly, most of the newcomers are from the United States and so, as we’re closing in on the 4th of July, I thought I’d give you one Brit’s take on the wines you send over to us, starting with a delicious bottle we opened last night:

Clos du Bois PNClos du Bois Pinot Noir (Majestic, £14.99) had all the lovely silky smoothness I expect from this quality grape along with plenty of red cherry fruit and an attractive smokiness.  And, with only 13.5% alcohol, it wasn’t too heavy and proved really food-friendly with pan fried duck breast strips with a tomato and mushroom sauce.  It also brought back happy memories – it was a wine we used to sell at Harveys when I worked there way back before they closed their Bristol base.

But, sadly, it’s not often I can find such a gem;  although we import more wine from the USA than from any other country except Australia, the vast majority is simple stuff from the major mass-market brands (Barefoot, Echo Falls and the like) at pretty much bargain basement prices.  Now, clearly those please a lot of people and sell very well so I’m not knocking them, but, let’s be honest, when it comes to true wine lovers, there really isn’t much in these bottles to get excited about – or to blog about.

Yet, I know the US produces some wonderful wines.  The problem is that the choice of good ones here is quite limited and the prices sky high: typically £25 to £60 – way above what most UK customers are prepared to pay.  I’d just love to find something attractive at a more affordable ticket, but I struggle.

So, please, dear American readers (and others!): think about the wines you enjoy in your own home or in your favourite local restaurant.  Are any of these from US producers who would like to sell something interesting and appealing in the UK and can get it on the shelves here around £15 to £20?  If so, then do urge them to take the plunge.  There are a lot of UK wine lovers who would happily pay that sort of money and so celebrate the 4th of July with an appropriate bottle!

 

 

Advertisements

Wine with Lobster and Beef

Standard

“Drink with lobster risotto or rare prime rib”.  Winemakers often put advice on their labels concerning possible food matches but, I must say, this one really surprised me.  Why?  Because, in my mind, I can’t imagine a single wine that might pair successfully with these 2 dishes; indeed, in many ways, I’d be looking at almost diametrically opposite wines. 

The richness of the lobster and the creaminess of a good risotto would point me towards a big rich white – something from Burgundy or the Rhône, perhaps, or a full-bodied Californian or Australian Chardonnay. And, although I’m not someone who subscribes blindly to the ‘white with fish, red with meat’ theory, for me, a rare prime rib is definitely red wine territory with a wide range to choose from.

So, what was this miracle wine that the winemaker thought might pair with either dish? 

Cline SyrahCline Cool Climate Syrah from California’s Sonoma Coast region (Majestic, £13).  Delightfully full and rich with intense red fruit flavours and just a hint of the kind of spicy, peppery flavours that many good Rhône Syrahs display, this is undoubtedly a big wine (14% alcohol), yet everything is so beautifully in balance that you’d never feel overwhelmed – or think that you’d have to stop after a single glass.

We drank it with some orange and molasses sugar marinated venison steaks and it went really well – the fruitiness in the wine matching the sweetness in the marinade and the pepperiness going with the gamey flavours of the meat.

But, personally, I still can’t see the wine going with either lobster or risotto.  But that is the wonder of food and wine pairing – everyone’s sense of taste is unique to them and different from everyone else.  And so it should be; without that, we’d lose the very diversity of food and wines that make this such a fascinating subject.