and now for something completely different…

Austrian Dry Red Table Wine. Yes, I said Austrian and dry and red in the same sentence. This is the 2013 Berger Zweigelt. Zweigelt is the grape variety and probably not many people have ever heard of it much less tasted it. This grape is the result of a crossing of St Laurent and Blaufrankisch. Gesundheit! This crossing was performed by Dr Zweigelt (there’s a theme here) in 1922. Now in all seriousness, this is a delightful wine. It’s berries in a glass. As Terry Theise says, “The wine is raspberries and bacon; racy and “sweet,” the tangiest face of Zweigelt, the point where it just heaps a bucket of berries into your glass while bacon sizzles in the next room.” I don’t know about you but I love raspberries. And bacon. When I  taste this I think to myself this little beauty also has hints of cinnamon, loads of ripe tart cherry, violets and black pepper. The tannins are light and easy. Zweigelt is the perfect wine for grilling meats like pork, steaks, fish, poultry and it’s great with cheeses and some lighter fare as well. So skip the Pinot Noir, Barbera and Beaujolais aisles..head over to the Austrian aisle and take a step out your comfort zone.  Throw a slight chill on it, give it a swirl and enjoy something completely different.

2013 Berger Zweigelt, Austria
2013 Berger Zweigelt, Austria

Verdicchio….the answer to bad Pinot Grigio

so..it’s hot right? It’s summertime..halfway through July and we are seeing temps reach 100+. Can’t wait for August. I have found a gorgeous white wine to get us through the next 2 scorching months. It’s what I consider to be THE alternative to the ever present Pinot Grigio. I know… I can feel the hate mail coming… I can see it on the horizon, but trust me here for just one minute…and then trust me through the next case of this wine you are going to buy. From the Adriatic coast comes Santa Barbara Vedicchio, a wonderfully crisp clean wine, bright acidity with round full mouth flavor and extremely food friendly. Grill some fish, shuck some oysters, sear and roast some half chickens on the grill with rosemary and oregano..whatever you desire, but open this beauty up and enjoy it. Thank you Kermit Lynch… and you folks can thank me now or thank me later, but either way.. you’re welcome.

..when they say Pinot Grigio, this is what they are really looking for. THE alternative
..when they say Pinot Grigio, this is what they are really looking for. THE alternative

easy drinking Italians…

These two wines are just plain fun. 2014 Squadra Bianco and Rosso. The Bianco, which is a blend of 70% Catarratto and 30% Grillo, sets one up for a head scratcher..First of all, what are those grapes? Did you know the Italian countryside has hundreds upon hundreds of grape varietals they use to make wine? Not many people have heard of these specific grapes, right?  These grapes are indigenous to Sicily, the small volcanic island off the toe of the boot. Sicily is famous for  a couple of things…Mount Etna(volcano) and the Mafioso.. Well, this refreshing white is going to do it’s part to gain some of the notoriety that Sicily is known for. The Catarratto gives the wine body and mouth feel, weighty almost like a Chardonnay for comparison, but has bright lemony flavors. The Grillo imparts white flowers and some bright acidity to the mix, just a hint enough to make the inside of your cheeks tingle. It also has just a hint of salinity, that only island life can add. Great balance. This wine is unoaked, so the fresh lively flavors shine through without any winemaker over-manipulation. This is what I would call a Session Wine..sitting on the porch on a warm summer evening.. cold Squadra Bianco in a glass, fresh seafood on the grill, crisp salad with a lemony thyme vinaigrette and a few friends.  Summer life..

The Rosso..they used more conventional, or International varietals for this one, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Merlot. What I like about this one is the upfront fruit and herbaceous qualities it’s throwing. The Cab is sending vibes of dark cherry and cassis while the Syrah provides the herbaceous, anise hints and the Merlot softens with its plummy soft fruits. Not a big tannin bomb, and the finish has a slight salinity that really opens the palate for the full flavors of this lighter than you think red. The nose on this really isn’t something to write home about, but the brightness and body of this is a jewel. Pair this with some grilled pork tenderloin, grilled fresh garden veggies and you’re ready for a great pairing.  For wines like this, keep the meal simple..no need to overcomplicate matters…As with the Bianco, this wine sees no oak, only stainless and sealed concrete fermentations. I think this really lets the typicity of the grapes show. Overall these wines are something all could enjoy.

Squadra Rosso and Bianco
Squadra Rosso and Bianco

Hold my beer and watch this….

Welcome to my world..the world of wine, beer and spirits…. as I see it, smell it, taste it and pair it. This isn’t going to be your normal blog..blah blah blah..we are going to have some fun in here so get ready!

A little about me.. a classically trained Chef of 30 years… 30 years of front and back of the house experience, Boca Raton to Martha’s Vineyard… This year I placed in the Top 10 in the U.S. in the Wines of South Africa’s Sommelier Cup and was awarded a Wine Spectator Award for my wine list as Beverage Director for Foundations Restaurant at Platt College. I have a degrees in Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Management and Food and Beverage Management from Johnson & Wales University. I know a little bit about food and wine…and I am excited to share some things with you.

My first beverage reviews and pics will be coming very soon. Stick with me. Hold my beer and watch this… #wine #tulsasomm #tulsasommelier