California Red Wine Blend, aged for 60 days in Whiskey Barrels: Set your TasteBuds ENFUEGO
You know when you’re at the checkout counter and you throw a candy bar in your basket just because? Well, my total impulse buy happened in the wine aisle at TJ’s last weekend. Fire-laden label aside, I read the words “aged in whiskey barrels,” and was immediately intrigued. Now I know this isn’t a totally new concept — even Robert Mondavi has a reserve red aged in bourbon barrels. But, like I said, I was there, this was there: Monkey see, Monkey sip.
I’m not going to lie, I kind of stocked up on St. Francis Winery wines when I was at the shop one day. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic? It’s one of the wineries I remember most last time I was up in wine country. Beautiful estate, quirky server, and bad-ass bold wines — the eclectic mix overwhelms the senses, making memories you’re sure to look back on with a smile.
I kept this Pinot in the cellar until the opportune food pairing presented itself. I was more than excited to uncork this wine, anticipating the intensity and density not often found in the soft, aerated Pinots of Sonoma County. Behold: A different Pinot perspective.
This is another case of “Sonoma-envy,” in that it’s a winery I’ve heard about (all amazing things), but haven’t actually visited (yet). And, of course, in context of the rave winery reviews, I’ve heard mouth-watering descriptions of their wines. To be honest, I didn’t know that Benziger Family Winery would have bottles available at a local grocery store. But, as I’ve said in other posts, I’ve learned to search all shelves in the wine aisle — my friends, I’m telling you: gaze your eyes upwards, kneel down towards the floor and you’ll find wine gems like Benziger Family Winery Merlot.
As far as California wines go, Pinot Noir is most notably at home in the Sonoma Coast where, even with its varying microclimates, produces Pinots that garner descriptors such as “plush,” “cherry-driven,” “light and bright.” But, alas, we are not in Sonoma any longer, my Totos. We’ve traversed the terrains of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Is it wrong to be scared of a wine? Because I totally was when I walked out of the store with Wente Riverbank Riesling. But, like my partner in wine crime said, “If you’re going to take a chance, it might as well be with a Wente.”
I’m not a fan of sweet wines, sweet-ish wines, or wines that are close neighbors with the word sweet. But I had a dish in mind — a spicy dish — and new in my heart of hearts a Riesling would be my answer. Up until this post, there was only ever one Riesling that I officially enjoyed (Kung Fu Girl) because most other are just so cloyingly sweet. Now, to be fare, this is based on grocery store available Rieslings and (maybe) sweet wines are popular. So there I was, Kung Fu Girl in one hand, Wente Riverbank Riesling in the other — and I opted for the devil I didn’t know…