What to Look For In June

Valle Secreto First Edition Carmenere 2013In June, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four enjoyable, highly acclaimed wines.  Valle Secreto’s sophisticated 2013 First Edition Valle de Cachapoal Carmenère leads the way.  The wine’s charming, extroverted personality and amplifying black fruit aromas bound from the glass.  To complement its seductive aroma, the 2013 Valle Secreto First Edition Carmenère follows up with smooth, rich palate appeal.

Standing alongside First Edition are two superb wines from Casas del Bosque: the 2015 Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc Reserva and the 2014 Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, both world class offerings from International Wine and Spirits’ Chilean Winery of the Year.

Completing this month’s Premier Series is the outstanding 2014 Domaine Gilles Noblet Mâcon-Fuissé, a classic Mâcon Chardonnay with a savory bouquet of acacia flowers and apple blossoms and plenty of pure fruit flavors that please the palate.  Enjoy!

Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three exceptional wines in June.  The 2012 Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano begins this month’s wine odyssey.  The 2012 Dei Vino Nobile carries the deep, telltale color of Vino Nobile’s Prugnolo Gentile grape and offers a beguiling aroma of red and black fruits infused with hints of rose petal and violet.  On the palate, this elegant wine comes across as seamless, with well-integrated fruit, purity of flavor, superb texture, and supreme balance, all of which account for the numerous 90+ point ratings the 2012 Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has received.

Paired with Caterina Dei and Nicolò d’Aflitto’s benchmark Vino Nobile is the 2015 Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones Sauvignon Blanc or the 2014 Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones Syrah.  Both wines are extremely limited productions of the finest wines from Casas del Bosque, the multi-year recipient of the International Wine and Spirit’s award for Chilean Winery of the Year.  The 2015 Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones Sauvignon Blanc provides more than a match for France’s finest Sancerre, the benchmark for 100% Sauvignon Blanc wines around the world.

From the moment it is poured, Casas del Bosque’s tiny-production Sauvignon Blanc offers broad, delicious, seamless draughts that are wrought with flavor and finesse.  Endowed with supreme balance, texture and vivacity, the 2015 Pequeñas Producciones Sauvignon Blanc offers a mélange of herbal fruit, white peach, melon, and Meyer lemon flavors, along with an explosive finish.  The 2014 Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones Syrah is equally impressive, offering a rich aroma of crushed strawberry, bramble, and violet.  In the mouth, polished black fruits, spicy cinnamon notes, and hints of cedar, cherry, and white pepper delight the palate, while well-integrated oak tones backed by abundant, round tannins add backbone and superb length to this quintessential Syrah.  Enjoy!

Salud!
Don

Steamed Mussels with Tomato and Chorizo Broth

Steamed Mussels with Tomato and Chorizo BrothIngredients:

  • 2 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, casing removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 4 thick slices country-style bread, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or parsley

Preparation:

Heat chorizo and 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chorizo begins to brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer; season with pepper. Cook until reduced by three-quarters, 6–8 minutes.

Add mussels. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, 6–8 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Drizzle toast with oil. Serve mussels topped with tarragon with toast alongside.

Recipe by Chris Morocco courtesy of www.epicurious.com.

Carmenère: The Best Red Wine for Under $25.00

Carmenere GrapesAlthough one person’s passion may indeed be another’s poison, few red wine lovers today would refute that Carmenère, Chile’s emblematic red grape variety, almost always over-delivers in every sense.  A good Carmenère (and many fine examples abound) not only offers amplifying aromatics and tremendous flavor, its ripe, fine-grained tannic structure allows for early consumption, yet Carmenère is a wine that can age gracefully for 5-7 years or more.  Carmenère’s vibrant purple color with flashes of rich ruby captivates the eye, while the wine’s aroma evokes a whole set of savory aromas from deep woodsy scents and wild blackberry to dark chocolate and roasted coffee tones. Authentic Carmenère never lacks for flavor, which makes it the ideal accompaniment to an enormous variety of foods and cuisines, such as grilled barbecued chicken, flank steak, and zucchini parmigiana.

I love everything about a good Carmenère, not the least of which is that I don’t have to take out a bank loan or tap my line of credit to enjoy one.  When made from physiologically ripe grapes, it rarely fails to provide a rich and rewarding experience.  It drinks well young, needs very little breathing time, and consistently delivers more flavors for the money than almost any other grape varietal.  The best examples are great on their own and are equally compelling in the company of simple dishes as well as grand cuisine.

Alas, all Carmenères are not created equal, as one can find underperformers in every wine category.  Nonetheless, the following producers can be counted on to furnish consistently fine Carmenères that offer pleasure: Carmen, Casa Silva, Casas del Bosque, and Valle Secreto are certainly four of the finest producers of Carmenère.  Carmen re-discovered Carmenère and pioneered organic viticulture in Chile with the varietal, while Casa Silva’s oenologist, Mario Geise, has been dubbed the King of Carmenère for his outstanding work with Carmenère and bringing Chile’s Colchagua Valley to the forefront of viticultural excellence.

Meanwhile, Casas del Bosque holds the distinction of being named Chilean Winery of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London for two years in a row (2013 and 2014), while Valle Secreto’s very limited production First Edition Carmenère has upped the ante on this varietal by adding another layer of richness and sophistication to Chile’s special grape.  For between $15 and $25 a bottle, one can enjoy great Carmenère.  Few other varietals could consistently entertain that claim.

Salud!
Don

Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

Seared Tuna with Mango SalsaIngredients:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for searing
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and small diced
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, to taste (1 pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tuna steaks

Directions:

Saute the olive oil, onions, and ginger in a large saute pan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mangos, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and jalapeno; cook for 10 more minutes, until orange juice is reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the mint. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Heat a saute pan over high heat for 5 minutes until very hot. Season the tuna liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add a drizzle of olive oil and then the tuna steaks. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the outside is browned, but the inside is very rare.

Serve the tuna on top of the mango salsa.

Recipe from Ina Garten courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Braised Short RibsIngredients:

  • 4 English cut beef short ribs, trimmed (roughly 8 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 bottle full bodied red wine, such as Cabernet
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate, then add the garlic and stir until softened but not brown, about 1 minute. Carefully pour in the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. Add the ribs and any juices they have released back to the pot along with the stock. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven, to braise, until the meat easily falls off the bone, about 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer the liquid, skimming fat as necessary, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving dish and serve.

Recipe from Claire Robinson courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com