March Food and Wine Pairings

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Columbia Crest winery has found a home in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington for more than two decades. This region and winery combine to make some of Washington’s and maybe the world’s most affordable and best “every day” drinking wines. The soil deposits from the Missoula Floods during the Ice Age and the current climate help create a terroir there ideal for wine grapes like Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay & Riesling just to name a few. Continue reading “March Food and Wine Pairings”

5 Wines for Great Summer Grilling

Top 5 Wines for Great Summer Grilling. www.cobornsblog.com

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Now that the weather has finally changed to give us spring, my mind wanders toward grilling.  At my house grilling season is always coupled with wine to complement our meals.  For me there are really five wine staples we have on hand for nearly any food we would grill.

For me the biggest staple of all wine to have on hand for grilling season is Marietta Petite Sirah.  This may be a surprise to some as Cabernet is commonly thought of as the best grilling wine (worry not as it does make my list too).  For me this choice comes down to my favorite grilling experience – grilled fresh wild boar sausage with the Marietta Petite Sirah. The lush and mouth filling character of this wine with its pleasing tannins stand up beautifully to the spice and grilled flavor of the sausage.  Really this wine will stand up to any grilled rich pork or beef dish.

Sparkling wine is not usually part of the discussion with grilled foods.  For me when I’m standing over a hot grill I like a refreshing beverage and for me there is nothing more refreshing than sparkling wine.  In addition to using sparkling wine as refreshment, there are also grilled food pairings that it works well with.  Grilled Portobello mushrooms with sparkling wine are dynamite.  Food that is grilled with a generous amount of cheese like a three cheese cheeseburger or a nice steak smothered in blue cheese are some of my favorites with sparkling wine as well.  Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut is often our top choice for its complex aromatics with bright acidity both of which give it that refreshing quality while being utterly delicious.

Pinot Noir is always a very food friendly wine because of its make up of bright floral aromas, with cherry and oak flavors finishing with a bright pleasant acidity.  The Pedroncelli Russian River Pinot Noir is a great example of these characteristics without breaking the bank.  This wine is a fantastic choice with cedar plank grilled salmon but also pairs well with grilled dishes accented by mushrooms, onions and/or shallots.

This may strike you as odd but another staple for me when grilling is Sake.  Not just any Sake either but the Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo.  This Sake has explosive aromas of pineapple and tropical flowers carry throughout the palate and finish clean.  These qualities in the Sake make it the perfect complement to savory grilled chicken or fresh salmon.

Even though it is not my first choice, I would be remiss not to include Cabernet Sauvignon in this list.  The Great American Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon by Rosenblum Cellars is a great choice for grilling.  Its dark fruit notes with toasty oak spices and firm tannins make a big wine that will stand up to almost any grilled red meat.

If you don’t like my choices, here are a few final food pairing thoughts to come up with some combinations on your own.   Put savory foods with bold wines and protein and fats with wines having firm tannins.  Finely and precisely prepared food should be paired with fragrant wines.  Finally, if you like the food and you like the wine it’s hard to argue with that pairing.

Until next time – Cheers!
Mike
Coborn’s Liquor Division Assistant Manager

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Great stories begin with Charles Smith Wines

Great stories begin with Charles Smith Wines - www.cobornsblog.com

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Great stories often accompany wine brands and labels but only great wine will get me or anyone to have a second glass.  Charles Smith wines present the perfect marriage of story and quality.  In his youth Charles craved world travel and at his first opportunity he left California for Denmark.  For the next nine years he managed rock and concert tours throughout Europe where he developed a passion for wine.  Eventually he returned to the United States where he operated a wine shop near Seattle.  After a chance encounter with a winemaker while in Walla Walla he was convinced to make wine of his own.  In 2001 Charles released 330 cases of K Syrah, which was the beginning of this self-taught winemaker’s career in producing wine.

His K Vintners wines are excellent wines and are still available in limited quantities today.  However, in 2006 Charles was struck with the idea that the great majority of wine consumers drinks wine for today and has no intention of aging their wine.  He launched Charles Smith wines at this point with the idea of making wines true to their variety of grape, and ready to drink without delay.  Today he makes five Charles Smith wines that are readily available:  Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon, Eve Chardonnay, The Velvet Devil Merlot, Boom Boom! Syrah and Kung Fu Girl Riesling.   Speaking of stories, each of these wines’ names undoubtedly comes with their own tales; may I suggest grabbing a bottle and a glass and starting your own story?

Until next time – Cheers! 

– Mike
Coborn’s Liquor Division Assistant Manager

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Best wine for the Holidays

www.cobornsblog.com The Best wine for the Holidays

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

This time of the year I am often asked what kind of wine should I pair with appetizers, a holiday meal, dessert or sometimes all of the above.  This year I will answer any of these questions with the same response – Prosecco!  Prosecco is a soft, off-dry and slightly fizzy wine.  It has more fruit components and less crispness than champagne, making it a great partner with food.  Its food versatility is vast and it might be easier to list what I would not pair it with.  However, here are some of the things I will be using Prosecco with this holiday season – salty snacks, hors d’oeuvres, Mascarpone cheese, fried chicken (doesn’t fit the season but a personal favorite!), sushi, stuffed shrimp, ham, tiramisu and in sparkling alcoholic fruit punch.

Now that you’ve come this far the next question is, “which Prosecco?”  May I recommend, Risata Prosecco?   This Prosecco hails from the Treviso province in the Veneto region of North Eastern Italy, the presumed birthplace of Prosecco and tiramisu.  Great care in producing this wine is taken from the hand harvesting of all the grapes to the soft pressing of the fruit and gentle fermentation process.  The result is a wine with enticing peach & pear aromas.  As these aromas linger they lead to delicious flavors of Pink Lady apples, citrus and more peach finishing with delicate yet persistent bubbles.  Civilized Venetians consider this Prosecco an ombrette, or pick me up, and while we’re at it, it will also be my preferred wine of the holiday season.

Until next time – Cheers! 

– Mike
Assistant Liquor Division Manager
Coborn’s, Inc.

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Australian Wine is Back!

www.cobornsblog.com - The raise and fall and raise again of Australian Wine

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Mike

Had you asked me ten years ago what was trendy in the wine industry the easy answer would have been Australian wine. At that time Australian wine was known for its quality when compared to wines of other regions at similar price points. What has happened since then should be a cautionary tale to the industry about what not to do when a category or region becomes popular. Australian wine became over-planted, with diminished quality, catchy critter labeled wines were “created” and then there was a race in the industry to sell all this wine, setting up poor business practices.

While Moscato, Malbec and Red Blends are the rage today why, you may ask, am I bringing up Australian wine? Well my answer is simply that it appears Australian wine is poised to be back to the quality and value position it was once in. Some of what has got us to this point is unfortunate in that wineries went out of business either due to their business practices or a severe drought that crippled others but the industry is stronger and wiser too.

Here are some recent favorites of mine that demonstrate the quality that is back in Australian wine. Yalumba Y Series 2012 Shiraz is a classic example of this varietal with vibrant berry fruit and delightful hints of mocha, licorice and spices. Also from Yalumba is their 2012 Y Series Shiraz-Viognier blend which has much of their classic Shiraz notes only brightened and made more savory by the subtle presence of the Viognier. The Penley Estate 2010 Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon is a fantastically well balanced Cabernet with dark fruit and smoky oak. If you are looking for a white wine the Peter Lehmann Layers is a great blend with spicy aromas of citrus and peach and great depth and creaminess, making it a great pairing with food.

Until next time – Cheers!

– Mike
Assistant Liquor Division Manager
Coborn’s, Inc.

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