Posts Tagged ‘ wine ’

Market Monday- No CorkScrew?

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For Your Entertainment…

PIWC Thought it would be fun to show this video on how people have found a way to open wine bottles with no corkscrew…

We do not recommend this, nor endorse this video or its persons- bottles are made of glass, can cut you, and can harm you if the cork hits you or others in the eye! ~ PIWC

Thirsty Thursday-White Rock Napa Claret 2004

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“Claret” is a conventional term that traditionally refers to red wine from the Bordeaux region of France, but it has no official, legal definition and is often used as a generic term to refer to dry red wines. It derives from “clairet,” the name for a certain type of light red wine that was exported from Bordeaux in the Middle Ages and became quite popular in England. The wine, because of its light color, was known as “vinum clarum,” “bin clar” or “clairet.” It bore little resemblance to the wines that are characteristic of Bordeaux today–but the name endures. (source: view)

Today, California claret is used as a generic label for any Bordeaux style wine. The French do not use the claret term. Most Californian claret’s showcase Cabernet Sauvignon and its blending partners; Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.  The wine has Bordeaux characteristics and can have “Old World charm ranging from smooth and complex with tight tannins to hints of chocolate, cedar and oak depending upon where it is made. California clarets can be complex and great drinking. If you prefer Old World Bordeaux style wines, California Clarets might suite your palette.
White Rock Vineyards–  A small family operated vineyard and winery located in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. I loved this wine. The bouquet was dark fruit. The tannins were subtle. The feel was “Old World”. What did I pair with this wine? My husband had a burger. That’s right a burger! Me, I had some Brie and strawberries. No meat for me (I try to avoid red meat). We were both in love with the wine as well as each other. Would I buy this wine again? Yes, but I might try to find it on sale. A $35 bottle of wine with a burger. Some may think that’s insane.

Some great Clarets to shop for (value to moderate price points):

  • Coppola Claret  $16
  • Ramey Claret 2006 90 points Int. Wine Cellar $25
  • St. Francis Claret  $20
  • Buoncristiani Napa Claret 2006 90 points Robert Parker $40
  • 2004 White Rock Vineyards Napa Claret $35 (pictured)-This is an astonishing Bordeaux-style wine from the Napa Valley. Supple and lush with loads of ripe fruit and undertones of leather and tobacco, it’s half-French, half- California in style. White Rock Vineyards was established as early as 1870 and brought back in the late ’70s by the Vandendriessche family. Made from a classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot, the 2004 Claret is a splendid wine for the price (winery).
  • Newton Claret 2007 $17
  • Cliff Creek Claret 2004  $25
  • Steltzner Vineyards Claret 2004
  • Atlas Peak Napa Claret 2004 $30

Cheers and Tweets, Adrienne, PIWC

More wine?

Wine Down Wednesday- Iron Horse Cuvee

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Normally in regards to food and wine pairing- I say throw convention out the window. My philosophy has not changed, but in regards to being given the challenge of pairing a very tasty Wedding and Russian Cuvee produced by a well regarded wine maker, Iron Horse Vineyards in California, well, I decided to keep a few things in check.

-Meats: Veal, Pork or Lamb, especially if served with creamy sauces
-Seafood: goes well with shrimp, lobster, raw oysters, sushi and just about any other seafood. Raw fish work especially well as appetizers with this beverage
-Salty: Try pairing a glass of Brut with prosciutto-wrapped appetizers, cocktail sausages, egg-based hors d’oeuvres, fried mushrooms or crab rangoon
Cheese: Salty cheeses like Parmesan work well with Champagne or Sparkling
-Fruit: consider doing dessert appetizers at the end of the meal, as they can be served with most desserts

Champagnes and Sparkling wines are often used, and great for breakfast and brunch (Mimosa’s), afternoon lunch with the girls (say, a nice Pinot Noir Rose), or any old excuse to open one up works for many who adore them. I do adore them. Easter is another good reason to open a nice bubbly up! With the weather warming up, because the sun has decided to peek out on a regular basis, I found firing up the grill and cooking outside worked with the menu I had in mind. The Iron Horse Cuvee pairings would make it even better.

Iron Horse Cuvee Menu:


Prosciutto and Pastry wrapped Asparagus /w Figtree’s Asparagus Pesto
Fresh Fruit Platter


Buffalo-Buffalo Sliders /w Asparagus Pesto and mushrooms
Grilled Asparagus

The missing element in this tasting was a cheese course. Hard salty cheeses such as Spanish Manchego, or the Italian classic Parmesan Reggiano compliment the sharpness of the sparkling wine like few others. Soft cheeses such as Camembert or baked Brie pair well due to their creaminess. If you are going to serve a sparkling wine for any occasion, don’t pass up the of the best and easiest food available – cheese.

I went with the creaminess of the Pesto to match the flavor of the buffalo meat. There was an added element of buffalo sauce as part of the slider seasoning, but the subtle heat did not clash with the bubbles as it would have with high tannic wines. Mushrooms were sauteed in the resting juices of the burgers, and then were added as a topping for the sliders.

The grill asparagus was simply dressed with EVO and a sea salt. Both bottles of Cuvee went well with the saltiness and finale fried exterior of the prosciutto and pastry wrapped asparagus cooked outside in a pan on the open flame to save me clean up on the stove inside.

Figtree’s brilliant ‘Asparagus Pesto’ was one of the killer ingredients in this menu! I try and cook many recipes I see on blogs when I can, but much of the time I tweek them if I have used them. Her recipe screamed to remain as it was, brilliant! I had the opportunity to meet her this past week and will post our get together at a later date.

Chef E Stelling

Check out more wine and food pairings from Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

PIWC Rates this wine a thumbs up!

Wine Down Wednesday-Momofuku-gasmic

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PIWC/Urban Food Dictionary– ‘Momofuk-gasmic’- food + porn + mouth sex/ or·gasm·ed, and more… food-gasmic, absolutely orgasmic on the taste buds, and the best damn pork buns you have ever lipped in your life.

One thing PIWC has noticed in the past month of traveling to and fro NYC via our home state New Jersey is how much we miss the great opportunities for Food, Wine, and Life, or should I say lots of interesting things to do and people to talk with!

Chef E- “In and out of New York City in the past week has allowed me to eat at a few really good restaurants. Momofuku, and Gina la Fornarina really made an impression on me! Lets just say one was ‘Momofuku-gasmic’“!

Evidently this is one place (David Chang’s main place- Momofuku),  that has been open for the past year; it is very hard to get reservations for if you do not made them the Tuesday before, 10 AM on the dot, for that following Saturday, if you are lucky. Milkbar is very approachable, with stand up eating, but food goes fast! Various cool bread, sweets, and even a Kimchi butter was available for my experimental cooking pleasures.

Momofuku (means ‘lucky peach’) has an alternative, and pretty much the same menu (if you want the ‘Fried Chicken Dinner’ you call ahead, lol, if you know me you understand). Momofuku Noodle House and Milkbar right next door, 207 2nd Avenue, East Village.

You just have to be at their door at 5 PM on the dot, because the line is long, and it stays packed. After a year? That must be good. We were first this past Saturday. As soon as the book fair was over we hopped on the subway and headed there.

The ‘open stadium’ seating gives you a chance to see the action going on in the kitchen as well as the modern wood artisan seating- people watching going on in the small packed place. New Yorkers know their food, and after a year, they must still feel like Momofuku still has it going on.

The one attraction to the place, Steamed ‘Pork Buns’. Something I have wanted to try for a while. I have seen food blogs write about the delicacy, and honestly they look tasty! I am all about some good pig and beef when it comes to BBQ. Smoked, grilled, or oven roasted- its all about the flavor and sauce.

Raw Bar- Shigoku Oysters (WA) /w kimchi
Steamed ‘Pork’ Buns- pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions (2)
Small Dishes- BBQ Rib Sandwich(es) (Newman’s Farm, MO) /w red onion slaw
Santa Barbara Uni- whipped tofu, black pearl tapioca, shrimp crackers
Seasonal- Fried Baby Artichokes /w pistachio, sunchokes, bottarga
(a hint of spiciness to all of this, but not overwhelming, just builds slowly, and a good thing for my taste buds!)
Offal- (Disclaimer- Hubby’s meal, I did not touch this!) Cavatelli- pigs head
Dessert- Queen Anne Stilton- pear sorbet, pickled pears, pumpkin ganache (to die for!)
Birch Beer- by the can

As long as Chef David Chang likes cooking great dishes like Steamed Pork Buns, then we will continue to have tasty meals coming from his three locations of Momofuku, Noodle Bar, and Millkbar in New York City, hopefully more.

Wine Pairing:
domaine barmés buecher, riesling tradition ‘07 (alsace, fr)
viña godeval, godello ‘08 (valdeorras, spain)
red hook winery, chardonnay ‘08 (long island, ny)
domaine guillot-broux, gamay ‘07 (mâcon-cruzille, fr)
les baux de provence, mas de gourgonnier ‘07 (provence, fr)
domaine st. pierre, syrah ‘07 (côtes du rhône villages, fr)
latitude 50, pinot noir, ‘07 (rheingau, ger)

The selection of wines are chosen to fit the menu, and menu changes if necessary. The Riesling goes well with the subtle spiciness of the kimchi sauce on the oysters and uni. The Gamay was a good pairing for the crispness of the artichokes and the pistachio sauce. Syrah and Pinot Noir work well for the pork buns and the rib sandwiches, but again a subtle tone of spiciness might over power your own taste buds. Definitely went well with the Cavatelli and its adornments.

Over all this meal was excellent- Service excellent- Wine selection, and tasting excellent!

Chef E Stelling– eats, wines, and writes her way around New Jersey, as well as writes about her tasting travels; if she gets a chance to make it into NYC…she will share those unique eating opportunities as well! Read more about her food and wine adventures at her Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! blog at

Sunday Calendar-

Ah yes, as Adrienne wrote- it seems as if Spring has arrived and I had a beautiful day in NYC to report! The Rainbow Book Fair was wonderful, and I had the chance to eat at an eatery that has been open for a year, but reservations are hard to come by! Momofuku in East Village are more accessible, and the experience was wonderful! The report will be up this week, with a wine pairing, along with other wonderful news! ~ Chef E Stelling


Weekly Calendar– PIWC will be posting weekly must haves, tasting notes, events, and happenings at the beginning of each week. Here you will find the hot new wine, food, beer, and spirit news PIWC can bring to our readers. ‘Corky’ is out on the streets doing his best investigative reporting on all subjects!

Sip and Twit Event, The Wine Loft, Long Branch, NJ- Event Details Are Still Available to read!

Market Monday

What is a ‘Mingle Plate’? …and why should you own one?

Tasting Tuesday-

Each week PIWC will feature Guest Writers, and Restaurant Reviews- either industry professionals or fantastic blogs we feel you need to discover!

This week Food Beer Blog Writer, Chef Fresco is going to share some thoughts on a beer of choice…

Wine Down Wednesday-

Chef E shares weekly food and wine pairings- ‘Momofuk-gasmic’ Momofuku: Noodle Bar & Milkbar

Thirsty Thursday-

Wine Enthusiast and writer Adrienne Turner will share bottle notes from her cellar down under…

Frugal Friday-

‘Corky’ will bring you a list of must have bargain wines…

Simply Saturday-

PIWC will present local food, wine, art, and other must attend related events for the upcoming week…

If readers have any questions or information they are seeking about related subject matter, please let us know. We will try to find out, and answer your questions from our own experience, or seek out other professionals we can refer you to!

Does The Glass Make The Wine? Glass Reviews

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We KNEW when we opened the Ravenscroft stemware boxes they were keepers. Light weight, slim and trim crystal that did not tip over easily when filled or otherwise. The Tinsele strength and yield seemed to be in good order.

Stemware Comparison:

* Ravenscroft Chardonnay- Great bouquet, room to swirl, light crystal, beautiful stemware- Wine: Newton Chardonnay
* Ravenscroft Bordeaux- Good bouquet, room to swirl, light crystal, beautiful stemware- Wine: Pinot Noir

The entire testing crew felt up against the Reidel, they were great- although the-

  • Riedel Vinum Extreme out weighed the Ravenscroft Bordeaux on all accounts, but apples to apples it was not contest.
  • Oregon Pinot Noir stemware were purchased in Oregon, purpose- New World Pinot Noir, no comparison!
  • For a beginner set of wine glasses, or if you do not want to spend the money for more expensive stemware available on the market, we give them a thumbs up!
  • Even compared to the restaurant quality stemware we own for catering and Stemless Riedel glasses we own, and the glasses offered (stemless) at the restaurant- thumbs up! The stemless glasses made the Chardonnay taste like water- no bouquet, mouth feel, or finish was comparable- like water?

You may purchase these glasses soon through our Partners In Wine Club on-line market, but if you would like to purchase a set now for a gift, email:, and I will set you up!

Visit Chef E @ Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! for more information on wines

  • The light weight feel of the Ravenscroft were more appealing to the heaviness/bulkiness of the other glasses
  • Some of those claims seem overstated, even to practiced palates. “It can be overdone,” says Robert Parker, who relies on one glass – the $23 Zinfandel glass in the Vinum line made by Riedel – to taste most reds, whites and even champagnes. Moreover, Parker said some of the fancy glasses, such as balloon-shaped vessels that can hold 37 ounces, are too big.

    “The proper air-to-wine ratio is 3-to-1,” said Parker. Some of those balloon glasses are so big, you have to pour most of a full bottle in the glass to get that ratio, he said.

    We want to hear what glass you find gives you the best tasting wine, because it basically comes down the what tools you use. We feel the biggest price tag does not make it a great experience, but the cheapest glasses may not give you room to swirl, sniff, and optimum tasting room if the bowls are too small- A good mid-range glass like Ravenscroft is worth a try.

    Our final vote on ‘Does The Glass Make The Wine’- Depending on what you are looking for in stemware for yourself or guests, take the test at home. There are differences in the way the wine bouquet leaves the glass as our noses enter the opening, the way the wine lands on our palates, and hits the back of the mouth in the drinking process. This can be an individual taste, but overall many agree if one plans to enjoy wine, then spend a few extra bucks and guzzle in style…yes I said guzzle in style!

    Disclaimer: The glasses were provided as a gift to try through CSN Stores

    Market Monday- Wine Preservation

    We all at one time or another, more often weekly found ourselves wanting to relax and open a bottle of wine. After one, or possibly two glasses and time for bed, or errands, we have a need to re-cork the bottle? So often and after years of seeing our parents doing the same thing, we just push the cork back in as deep as it will go leave it on the counter for the next evening. NO NO NO!

    There are two problems with this- after years of learning that leaving air inside the bottle to continue oxidation, and not properly chilling the contents we are creating vinegar. An off tasting glass of wine in the next few days will be a  put off to most taste buds (imagine offering this to your friends, possibly an enemy!). Returning to the joys of enjoying earths great juice, the gift of Bacchus, should be a good experience.

    Every well stocked bar needs a supply of bottle stoppers and pourers to extend the flavor of life of a good or not so great bottle of wine. There are many options of preserving wine, but our feelings are that if one has only a few ounces left- then why not spread the joy and split the last few ounces. That is unless you have over indulged, and exceeded the legal limits allowed to drive home. Half of a bottle left, or even two thirds then you should do what you can to preserve the luscious juice of the vine for the next day.

    Preserving wine was only intended for a day or so, but we have actually experienced a bottle of Repasso from a recent wine tasting that was still singing to your taste buds seven days later, that of course is rare. Finding the right solution to the problem of preserving wine if you are only wanting to indulge or share in a glass of wine does not have to be as daunting as one might think. Below we list a variety of preservation methods, and in the next few weeks will be sharing information on the history of wine preservation and way into the development of products/gadgets that help make our lives so much easier.

    We have contacted various industry pros and their companies, and will be bringing you wine industry news first hand!

    Options in Wine Preservation:

    • Re-corking the bottle- not a good choice for champagne/sparkling wine due to expansion of the cork from pressure, and sealing in air to continue oxidation
    • Decorative Bottle Stoppers– sold in most wine and regular markets- temporary and only bottle bling
    • Glass top decanter cork stoppers- temporary and designed in the packaging of spirits to keep air particles, moister and debris from spoiling contents; decanters are designed to temporarily hold aged reds for breathing purposes; until the wine is immediately consumed
    • Vacu Vin Wine Saver & Stoppers- removes the air the damages the wine by continuing  the oxidization, thus destroying any remaining wine. Sterile marbles were discovered, by adding them to a half bottle until it reaches the bottle neck, and then using the Vacu Vin to remove any remaining air, and placing in cool storage.
    • Half Bottle Method– This is the lowest tech, maybe even a traditional method. Pour wine into a half bottle, fill near the top, and cork it. (Pouring itself aerates and helps change the wine. Remember always to refrigerate. Cold preserves).
    • Gas- There are a variety of solutions in which gases, such as nitrogen are pumped into the wine to replace harmful oxygen. These work about as well as the methods above, more or less, but cost money and require replenishment of supplies. The consumer models don’t work as well as the big restaurant models.

    Next weeks ‘Market Monday- Wine Preservation’ will discuss ‘History of Wine, and the Development of Wine Preservation’, with additions of our own incites on the subject…

    Quick Facts About Cork

    . natural product
    . unique characteristics
    . unparalleled properties
    . environmentally friendly
    . renewable resource
    . steady supply

    . managed healthy forests …we will be sharing a big concern- ‘Is There A Cork Shortage’?