Tag Archives: chardonnay

Wine Enthusiast’s Delight: The Coravin Wine Preserver

I can’t say how many times I’ve made dinner and wanted to have just one glass of wine, but I knew that I wouldn’t finish the bottle so I didn’t open one. Seriously disappointing if your dinner would go perfectly with a glass from that great bottle sitting in your wine fridge… but I finally found something that solves the problem perfectly!

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a major department store doing what I love to do when I have a little extra time – wandering the housewares/kitchen electronics department when I came across the best thing ever. It’s called Coravin and it’s a wine enthusiast’s delight.

Greg Lambrecht, who grew up in California and went to MIT invented it and you can find his story on YouTube.  In fact, there’s a two-part interview with Robert Parker done in 2013 (before the product was launched) in which Robert Parker is so effusive about this product, it’s crazy.

coravin-wine-preserverThe way this works is that you can access the wine through a medical grade hollow needle (device and needle invented by Lambrecht). It is inserted straight through the collar of the bottle (that’s the metal cap over the cork).  The device replaces the poured wine with Argon gas so that NO oxygen ever touches the wine.  Parker went nuts over the whole thing.  You need to watch it!

Fast forward to now and the device is all over the market, including Amazon where it has 4.5 stars out of 5 from 75 interviews.  Per Lambrecht and several reviewers, each Argon capsule should last for about 20 glasses.

I bought one for myself, one for a housewarming gift for a girlfriend and one for a Christmas gift for another.  It’s perfect for get-togethers small and large.  Everyone gets to drink what they want with no worries about finishing the whole bottle.

The fact is, the Coravin isn’t just for wine enthusiasts; it’s for anyone who simply wants a good pour from the bottle without oxidization. Have a wine tasting party with no worries about waste.  What an excellent idea!!

Recipe for Personal Dining: Wine Blends

wine and wine blends

Back to Wine Basics with “Blends”

All of my friends know that my wine of choice always includes bubbles – pink ones if I’m to be completely honest about it. But, having said that, I just love a good bottle, white or red, just not sweet and chewy – ever! Something that not everyone knows, however, is that just because a bottle has a specific grape name on the label (Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon) that bottle may not and often is not the only grape in that bottle.

Wine makers often add in other grapes to create the flavor profile they want to create in that bottle. The law actually allows up to 25% other grapes in the bottle for blending. So, very often the grape name on the label is only 75% of what is actually in the bottle. Having said all of that, I think that the blending makes wines way more interesting. So, just because a wine isn’t 100% of a specific grape doesn’t mean it’s still not a great wine.

Silver Oak Winery

Silver Oak Winery makes an amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, it’s the only varietal that they do make! They also use small amounts of other varietals in their Napa blend- Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. I don’t really care what they use, their Napa Valley Cabernet is always so velvety smooth and delicious! It’s a little pricey but I’m never sorry I spent the extra dollars on this one.

Long Meadow Ranch Winery Cab

Last Saturday, I got to do one of my favorite things – An impromptu casual dinner with a girlfriend. We just made some pasta and salad but I had a 2008 Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon that we shared. It was a real treat. I let it breathe for about 20-30 minutes and it was amazing! This cabernet is one of the “blends” that I mentioned that has more than 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grape, it’s 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc (a common blending grape). Besides making wonderful Cabernets, the Winery is California Certified Organic! How cool is that?

Chateau Montelena

One of the perks of being a restaurant owner is that I get to visit some fabulous wineries and drink wine with some very interesting people. One of these is Chateau Montelena. This is the winery that produced the Chardonnay that beat out all of the French entries in the 1976 Paris competition, which was immortalized in the 2008 movie, Bottle Shock. But, the wine that they make that I really enjoy is their Cabernet Sauvignon, and fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying several of their vintages. They have, in fact, several wine clubs specifically for their Cabernet Sauvignons. What a great way to make sure that you don’t miss a great vintage.