My Photo

search the juice

January 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    


  • Food & Drink Blog Top Sites

18 December 2007

Gutenberg Would be Proud: The Juice in Print

If you happen to dwell in the land of hard copy, check out the current issue of Salt Lake Magazine.  Whilst neglecting Basic Juice in cyberspace, I have been nurturing it in the world of print.  Alas, I am still struggling to multitask.

For those who eschew paper, have a look at the extended, 'Author's Cut' of the article below the fold.

Continue reading "Gutenberg Would be Proud: The Juice in Print" »

22 November 2007

Not Good with Turkey

This time of year the wine lover is inundated with T-day wine recommendations..."German Riesling is perfect with turkey"...."A Beaujolais is a sure bet on Thanksgiving"...."Burgundy, both red and white are ideal on your Thanksgiving".....etc. etc.

I for one am tired of staid poultry & stuffing wine pairing suggestions. 

How about something different to eat and drink on Friday - the day after turkey day?  May I suggest a Vermentino, not from the sardinian coast, but from Lodi, California.  Who knew the California version of this hefty-spicy-herby-citrusy grape could be so true to its Italian roots?  After racking up mo' mo' credit card debt on Friday, take the edge of with a plate of turkey enchiladas paired to Uvaggio Vermentino 2006 ($10).   It will be the best wine-food match you will sample all week.

19 October 2007

Hey, NZ! Hold Everything.

New_zealand_map I've often wondered why New Zealand was anointed/anointed itself as the land of Sauvignon Blanc.  To be sure, NZ SB has been quite successful as an import to the US wine market (and certainly names like 'Monkey Bay' don't hurt its mass appeal to the garanimal-wine-loving crowd).  However, I think this success has come at a price.  Kiwi Blanc has overshadowed every other grape variety.  And this is a very sad thing.

Think about it.  When was the last time you sampled a New Zealand Riesling or Gewurztraminer?  These grapes have found a very cozy home on the Islands way down under.  In fact, while I find most New Zealand Sauvi Blanc, easy-to-enjoy, I also find it a tad bit uni-dimensional (see here for a great descriptor of NZ SB).  I have discovered extraordinarily sublime Riesling and intoxicating (in the figurative sense of the word) Gewurz.  Think I'm nuts.  Take this little NZ non-SB challenge:

Huia Gewurztraminer 2006 - A chewy, thick wine, which echos the Alsatian style but with a bit less earth

Villa Maria Riesling 2005 - A remarkable feat of a wine.  This Riesling stews together new world heft with teutonic crispness.

Am I alone in thinking the OenoKiwis might want to diversify their white wine portfolio?

16 September 2007

Paging Dr. Frank. Rkatsiteli, Stat!

2006_rkatsiteli Dr. Frank, Can I call you Konstantin?  How about, "Big K?"  I want to congratulate you on producing such a fine, compelling white wine from an unheard-of Georgian (as in Eastern Europe) grape variety.  Your Rkatsiteli is zesty, in the Jungwein/Vino Joven style.  It's a mouthful of spritz, fresh peach & pear and a hint of greenness (in the running-across-an-alpine-meadow sense).  Huzzah to you, sir.
Get it: Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli, 2006 ($25).

Champagne_ad However, Doc, you've got some splainin' to do.  When I hit your 'Wine Facts' page to have a gander of all the oeno-goodies you produce, I see something that is a mite bit disturbing.  I see something called, "Chateau Frank Champagnes."  Unless I've missed something (i.e. did you recently purchase a patch of vines in the Aube of Seine-et-Marne?), your "champagne" is produced in upstate NY from grapes grown near the Finger Lakes, no?  Well then, please Kahuna Konstantin, drop the champagne moniker and use the less confusing label of, "New York Sparkling Wine."  Hell, follow the Spanish (see: Cava) example and come up with a name for your bubbly.  How about, "Frank's Fizz" or "Dom Konstantin"? Anything, just do away with bogarting the Champagne title.  Merci!

20 August 2007


For the wine-imbiber who travels, there often seems to be 'that one bottle', which surprises - not only for how tasty it is, but also for the grape varietal used.  During my recent trip to lovely Vancouver, BC, I discovered something new and very tasty from the Okanagan Valley.  I might add this discovery was pure luck - as it involves the Chenin Blanc grape, which only occupies ~20 hectares in Okanagan vineyardom.

Goldenmilechenin06 Golden Mile Cellars Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2006 ($15-$20) - This CB is textbook CB - a la Vouvray.  It possesses intense floral-fruity scents underscored by an aroma that can only be described as, "slightly earthy" and perhaps a little bit naughty (picture naked grapes frolicking in the mud after a rainstorm).  This wine's body is notably more stout than old world Chenin-based wines.  A big-boned structure, coupled with the high-volume scents translates to an initial impression of Golden Mile Chenin Blanc being sweet.  But wait!  This wine is in fact dry with enough zippy acidity to balance out its high-ish alcohol content and seemingly sugar-full nose. 

I fell in love with this wine for the fact that it's fairly rare (I doubt it's available in any US retail ship) and entirely unique.  That's the bad news - you won't be able to find it.  The good news is that this calls for an air/road-trip to BC!

Sip GM C.Blanc solo, or with, naa, sip it solo - no need for food to muck up this wonderfully tasty wine.

Read another review on this BC CB from App. America's John Schreiner.

Question:  What big wine surprise have you discovered on a recent trip?

21 July 2007

Weekend Hits/Misses

Ipodding iTunes Hits
The Long Blondes - Someone to drive you home: Edgy pop with a slightly gruff but bouncy alto lead singer.

Spoon - Ga ga ga (etc.):  Imagine if the Rolling Stones drank 100 pints from the Fountain of Youth, quit most mind altering substances and moved to Austin.

Wine Hits
Laurenz und Sophie Singing Gruner Veltliner 2005: I have yet to find inexpensive white wine that is consistently as good and character-full as cheerful chuggers from Austria.  Set aside Laurenz + Sophie's silly "singing" moniker for this wine, twist off the cap and be prepared for zip! sproing! and fresh!

iTunes Misses
Crowded House - Time on Earth:  "Don't Dream it's Over" is one of the greatest pop songs of all time.  Unfortunately, our gang of Kiwis squeezed for living space has graduated to the "Adult Alternative" category.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Discover any iTunes/Wine hits recently?

17 April 2007

non sequitur Tuesday

Br23 Blonde Redhead
Something of an airy, stripped down, more melodic Portishead (note I am obviously not a music critic).  Listen here

German Pinot Gris
Were I to ask you what countries are known for their Pinot Gris/Grigio, Germany would likely be utterly absent from your list, or perhaps, registering somewhere in the 40s - after Argentina. Heger Pinot Gris 'Sonett' 2004 ($20-ish), imported by Rudi W, brings German PG one step closer to notoriety by not using the German name for this gray mutant Pinot Clone - Grauburgunderwerdenwienerwaldseinworden (sp?).  As with most P.Gris, Heger is more about texture than flavor.  This German offers a nifty viscous mouthfeel accented by light flavors of fresh pineapple and orange.

Great Service in SLC
Salt Lake City is not known to be one of the great dining cities of the world (unless one counts salt water taffy).  However, this reputation is undeservered as there are many restaurants offering very good, innovative dishes.  Unfortunately, service is a concept all too often absent from most establishments.  Example 1: "Can I reserve one of the tables by the fireplace?" "No."....(dead air, and yes this actually happened).  Example 2: "Excuse me, our entrees are cold." "I'm terribly sorry." (takes entrees, returns 5 minutes later with same cold entrees on warm plates! - again, this actually happened).  The one and only restaurant, at which I can guarantee unfailingly good service is SLC's high end, posh spot, The Metropolitan.  Now, if I can only get them to eighty-6 a few of the $18+ by-the-glass wine offerings...

13 April 2007

V. Various Vinho Verde Vacts

Loureiro I.  The Vinho Verde DOC (appellation) is Portugal's largest wine region.

II.  Due to cramped vineyard space and regular rain, VV vines are traditionally co-planted with other crops, and trained above ground on granite pergolas.

III.  With the exception of Alvarhino/Albarino-based (fairly rare) Vinho Verde, these wines may not exceed 11.5% ABV.

IV.  There is actually such a thing as red Vinho Verde.  This isn't typically exported.  Red VV is also quite acidic and low in alcohol.

V.  Vinho Verde's signature petillance is actually the result of CO2-spritz before bottling.

Bonus question:  Although VV is typically drunk without any aging, shouldn't its Xtra-hi acidity enable this wine to be age-worthy?

A VV to try:  Quinta do Ameal 'Loureiro' Vinho Verde 2005 (~$12) - Imported by European Cellars.  This wine, from the VV sub-region of Lima, is made from the Loureiro grape variety.  Q. do Ameal is a bit more kraftig than most V. Verde.  It is also a vintage bottling, whereas other VV's are NV offerings.  While this wine is rather acidic, it feels rather smooth and viscous in the mouth.  In addition to the expected mineral flavors, Quinta do Ameal slides in some ripe red pear flavor.  Give it a try with a side of potato salad and be happy.

Learn everything and anything about the double-V here.

11 April 2007

From The Annals of Unfortunate Adjectivery

Or how to describe the color of Vina Gravonia

I poured a glass of 1995 Vina Gravonia blanco, marveled at its intense deep gold-yellow color and asked the missus, "Hey, how would you describe the color of this wine?"

Her response? Very sophisticated...

"It looks just like morning pee"

Never let it be said that mi amiga aint brimming with class.

Vgravonia1995 The Skinny
R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Crianza 1995 (~$24)

  • Imported from Rioja, Spain by USA Wine Imports
  • 100% Viura (AKA Macabeo) aged in wood for 4 years (R. Lopez takes Rioja aging to the extreme - for example, its Gran Reserva red is aged 6 years in wood)
  • Vina Gravonia offers scents of caramel, wood, citrus and earth.  At nearly 12 years old, you won't find many snappy fruit scents in this senior citizen-in-a-bottle
  • The wine, surprisingly, is full of crisp acidity mated to subdued flavors.  It will shine with cream-based sauces or soft, funky cheeses.

Try it for something entirely different in the white wine world.  But please, find another adjective to describe its color.

06 April 2007

An Ode to the Double-V

Spring has sprung
Hear the singing birdie
Time for Vinho Verde!

Though overlooked by many 'serious' wine lovers, VV is hands down one of the best, if not the best, value in the white wine universe.  Why?  Let me count the ways..

  1. VV is usually in the $8-$10 range
  2. V.Verde offers a dose of zing (acidity), some petillance and tasty lemon-lime-pear flavor
  3. Vinho Verde pairs with almost any springtime picnic basket food - crusty bread and cheese, ma's potato salad, fried chicken, deviled eggs, &c
  4. At 8-11% alcohol b.v., VV won't turn brunch into a prelude to a mental fog-filled day
  5. Did I mention it is cheap?

Learn more about NW Portugal's cheerful, slightly spritzy gem here.

Vinho_verde_3 Broadbent Vinho Verde NV ($10) - a blend of 3 traditional VV grapes (notice the absence of Albarino/Alvarinho, which is actually not a traditional V.Verde grape): Loureiro, Trajadura and Pederna.  This wine is bracingly crisp, with surprisingly fresh fruit flavors of citrus and pear.  It's light, simple and easily loved.  Give it a try with your first brunch or picnic of spring.

site sponsors

Vino Voyeur