Saturday, May 17, 2008

Niman Ranch Chipotle Cheddar Sausages

I just tried for the first time, Niman Ranch pork Chipotle Cheddar sausages.  We bought them at the Super Target on 15-501/Southsquare and grilled them for dinner.  Wow!  I was expecting the usual sort of dry, mild/bland sausage we usually get and these were seriously flavored, incredibly juicy with squirt in your mouth fat in the most beautiful way.  I did a double take when I took my first bite.  This is a real sausage that brings the flavor in a big way and is not afraid of fat for a moist, juicy experience.  You gotta try these. And incidentally I had an open bottle of Don Rodolfo Torrontes 2007 to go with the sausage and the wine held up to the flavor marvelously.  I was surprised.  -Salamanzar

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Real Pinot Please Stand Up

Just tasted the 2006 Alma Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.  Thank you Thekla and Richard for coming back to winemaking (former owners of Sanford winery but since sold to a big corporation) and for making such a great wine that is true to the grape.  I for one am exhausted by so many Pinot Noirs I taste which are juiced up on Syrah, Cab and who knows what else.  This actually shows elegance and refinement, smokey ham (Craig nailed that one) with cherries and strawberry.  
And one more thing interesting note. The bottle from Alma Rosa can no longer carry the appellation "Santa Rita Hills" because the Santa Rita winery in Chile threatened all the Santa Rita Hills winemakers with legal action for using their name!  So now all the Santa Rita California producers have to abbreviate their appellation to "Sta." so as not to be confused with Santa Rita winery in Chile's great wines [insert sarcasm here]. -Salamanzar

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Old World tasting

I am not sure the average winedrinker gets what Old World wines are about.  These are the wines from countries that have a history of winemaking going back hundreds or more years.  Countries like Spain, Italy and France developed wine for the dinner table.  Long ago, drinking water was potentially deadly, so wine was the beverage on the table.  As a result the wines are best with food.  They don't fight with the food, and complement the meal like an ingredient or side dish.  My trouble is that most of the time, these types of wines do not show well in an open tasting format without food.  It's difficult to get someone to taste an old world wine and have an immediate affinity.  Whenever I sample new world wines, i.e. fruit forward, and more cocktail like, they easily sell as compared to the old world wines. Hmmm.  - Salamanzar