One of the most popular beverages over the past 15 years, has been Prosecco. Virtually coming out of nowhere in the late 1990's, it is now so popular that there is constant pressure to expand the production zone, while maintaining vigilance on the use of the name. But what is and why so popular?
What does it taste like?
Food Pairing suggestions:
The Classic Prosecco Cocktail
Walk through any restaurant kitchen in the morning and you will inevitably see someone breaking down a salmon. They are smoked, baked, grilled, poached, souped, ceviche, crudo and pizza-ed. Occasionally we serve them on a bagel.
But what to offer for beverage suggestions?
Aside from a cup of coffee to go with the bagel, schmear and lox, there are any number of choices that can work really well with this versatile fish – a lot depends on how it is cooked and plated.
Salmon is a large fish, dwelling in the ocean except when it travels up fresh water rivers/streams to spawn. The part we eat is the muscle, and large fish such as this have much less connective tissue than land animals, as such there is less fat in the meat, and this means it can cook much quicker. It is also “lighter” when compared to beef and other meats. Therefore, when looking to pair with certain wines, it is important to consider what will work best with the various factors involved in the palate.
Important factors with salmon:
Salmon is a fish, and therefore the weight and fat content would almost always mean starting with something in the white wine category.
Texturally, though, it is medium in its overall weight on the palate (this may be obvious or not, but remind your guys that weight refers to the texture and feel in the mouth – not to actual pounds of fish).
Often grilled or cooked like a steak, so the smoke and char from the grill will allow it handle oak.
There has been a lot of interest in the Level 2 Wine Award for the next series, and I just wanted to remind all that this Monday (today essentially - Feb 3rd) is the cut-off for the next session which starts on February 17. I will be ordering the class materials on Tuesday morning, so please if you have not signed up, yet, take a minute and click on the button below. If you have any questions about the class or how it operates - feel free to reach out to Brain Mitchell - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full class details are available by clicking the 'CLASSES' button above and going to the L2 page.
Click below to buy ticket for
WSET Level 2 in Wine - ONLINE
February 17, 2020
March 22, 2020
Deadline to sign-up is February 3
Exam date will be set for March 28, 2020 - 11am.
Session cost is $599, and includes all materials and fees.
Not a ton of notable things came across my desk this week (sorry guys), but there were a couple items that I felt warranted a mention. Its hard, because I actually had the opportunity to taste quite a few things - some were OK, but as is often the case - a lot was not. So, just a short list this go round, which is probably just fine since most of you are watching or recovering from the Super Bowl (I am writing this Sunday afternoon, not game-time, quite yet).
The two best items I tasted were from France - the 2014 Jean-Paul Brun Terres Doree Moulin a Vent (aka Beaujolais pretty much at the top of the game), and the 2018 Yves Cuilleron Syrah Les Vignes d'a Cote (aka Syrah from the Northern Rhone).
The Moulin a Vent (which means windmill and is a reference to the windmill in Moulin a Vent, but also to the fact that the region happens to be quite windy) is just a superb example of Gamay. This is a Cru that has vineyards at elevation and on granitic soils - two perfect combinations for making elegant and delicious wine with deep concentration. I decanted, which was a good call, due to the fact that it is a little fuller and at first the nose is a bit closed. BUT, on the palate the wine is super elegant and smooth, lower alcohol and acidity make it simply glide across the palate. The bottle goes down quick so be careful
The Syrah is produced by Yves Cuilleron, who took over his family's domaine in 1988, and has lead the charge in the northern Rhone for Syrah-based wines for years. I actually had the pleasure of dining in a restaurant in Ampuis that is partly owned by Yves - while he was there for lunch - this was last March with my traveling companions to the Rhone and Burgundy (yeah, these two guys to the right - it was a lot of fun). This particular Syrah is basically the entry level of the range, but it is quite good - better than most in fact. Deep, and a little brooding - the Syrah opens to black fruits and some spice, but kind of holds its own as a bigger, blacker version of what would basically be Cotes du Rhone level/priced wines. There is an elegant streak of acidity through the middle that provides lift to the wine, and this is what makes it a great choice for meat, poultry and anything that has some fat and sauce.
In a completely different direction from the reds above, the other thing that hit my desk this week was a couple of new wines from Ted Diamantes - owner of Diamond Wine Imports. These are Assyrtiko, which is a beautiful and well regarded white wine, most often from Santorini in Greece. Both wines tasted were from the 2018 vintage, but the Alexakis is a Cretian wine, while the Santo Winery is from Santorini.
It is easy to see, when tasting side-by-side, why Santorini is the preferred region of origin. Not to take away from the Alexakis - it is a smooth and easy drinking wine with a complex approach and finish - but the Santorini wine shows higher tones of acidity and balance. Alexakis Assyrtiko was a bit broader in the middle and had weight similar to Chardonnay. The Santo Winery Assyrtiko glides across the palate with a balanced and fresh acid structure that carries the mineral / saline fruit, gracefully.
If you are not familiar with Assyrtiko or with Greek wine in general, now is a great time to check them out. Very good values (although prices are creeping up on Santorini wines), with more and more selections available each season. Lots of letters and a few challenging names - but the wines are worth seeking out - they work with food very well.
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With 30 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.