Beaujolais After Baby

wine and dine

Gamay, Beaujolais Nouveau and Wine Tasting Adventures

First, let me start by saying that being Wine Esquire and having a baby are not always so compatible. Little baby fingers like to grab things they shouldn’t;[1] and little baby lungs like to cry as soon as you sit down to type/sleep/drink wine/fold laundry/eat/shower, etc. I’m writing now with a baby on my lap. This is a first and he’s suddenly discovered that his life’s burning desire is to type! But we’re working through it, slowly but surely. One glass at a time.

wine baby laptop
But Mom, I wanna type too!

I’ve also noticed that my palate is totally different post-Baby. Going wine-free for 9ish months[2] clearly had an impact. My favorite big, smoky Cabs now find me smacking my lips and looking for a glass of sparkling water to cleanse my palate. Instead, I’m now gravitating toward lighter grapes like Pinot Noir, Gamay and Pinotage.

This evening’s glass[3] is a lovely French Gamay; an easy drinker, perfect for my new sensitive palate.

Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans

Slight traces of sweet raspberries on the soft pretty nose make way for a soft, silky and jammy sip of wine with a touch of sparkle on the finish. Now this is what I’m talking about!

Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans

… fast forward one week and I’ve finally gotten the chance to get my computer open again…[4]

The bottle was the 2015 Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans[5], 100% Gamay grown on the grounds of a 19th-century castle in the heart of the AOC Cru Juliénas, on a tiny plot of land known as Les Capitans. Juliénas is a village named after Julius Caesar; local vintners believe this area was home to the first vines planted in Beaujolais by the Romans during their conquest of Gaul.

Unbeknownst to me when I opened last weekend’s bottle of Gamay, it

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 photo courtesy of Quintessential Wines
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 photo courtesy of Quintessential Wines

was Beaujolais Nouveau release week! Never heard of Beaujolais Nouveau?[6] On the third Thursday of November, the winemakers of Beaujolais, France[7] release the product of their most recent vintage. The wine, having just been picked weeks before, is fresh, new and ready to drink right away[8]. Georges Duboeuf essentially introduced the Beaujolais Nouveau holiday in the US in 1982, and quickly gained recognition with his iconic, colorful wine labels. He is perhapss the most well-known producer from the region, and he’s not just a fly by night marketing genius, his family’s history of wine making spans four centuries.

 

Beaujolais Day happens to arrive just in time for Thanksgiving every year… coincidence? I think not! Light, fruity Gamay is PERFECT to pair with turkey and all the fixins[9].

Given that it was a wine celebration week, I continued on the Beaujolais path and attended a fabulous tasting at Max’s Oyster Bar. This was my first wine event since Baby Wine Esquire and I have to admit, I was a bit rusty,[10] but it was a great reintroduction to the wine world, confirming that I’m ready to be back.

wine and dine
The 2017 Terres Dorées L’Ancien by Jean-Paul Brun

The tasting started with the 2017 release of Terres Dorées L’Ancien by Jean-Paul Brun, paired with an excellent pate de foie gras. The wine was super juicy and screamed of bright cherries. Jean-Paul Brun ha been a staple in Beaujolais since the late 1970s, producing 400,000 bottles per year from grapes planted on his 40 acres throughout the region.

As the tasting moved on, with a delectable Soufflé au Homard[11], Bourride Pyramidale[12] and Poulet en Fricassee Louhaannise[13], so did the ages of the Beaujolais. It’s important to remember that not all wine grown in Beaujolais is the unaged nouveau release; Gamay ages quite beautifully. The next selections were all beautiful wines, but the rusty WineySquire forgot to take home her notes. I’ll be better next time. Promise.

Bourride Pyramidale aka Fish Stew #fancy

The important takeaway here is that Gamay from Beaujolais is a serious winner, with lots of stunners for less than $25. So if you haven’t shopped for Turkey Day yet, head out and try some Beaujolais!

Cheers![14]

Lawyer Footnotes

[1]My fellow bloggers know how difficult it is to get something published as it is; now with a little bundle of joy bopping around, it’s been proving even more difficult.
[2] It was 9 “ish” because this baby took 41 weeks to make his world debut and by the end, he was fully cooked, and a little bit of wine did us both a lotta good.
[3] And by “this evening” I mean last Sunday. #winebloggerproblems
[4] Baby Wine Esquire is currently amusing himself by trying to eat his crinkly and squishy Very Hungry Caterpillar Book … #teething
[5] A sample I received from Quintessential Wines. Merci!
[6] If that’s the case, then you probably live under a rock!
[7] Beaujolais is a region, not a type of grape. Roughly pronounced Beau-ju-lay.
[8] Similar to Bordeaux’s En Primeur concept, only this wine is very drinkable right after harvest.
[9] Speaking of which, I’m so excited for all the fixins. #sweetpotatoparsnsipsandgreenbeansohmy
[10] So much so that I left the menu with my notes on the table. #amateur
[11] Lobster Soufflé
[12] Fish Stew
[13] Braised Chicken
[14] BTW, during the course of finishing this blog, Baby Wine Esquire became completely disinterested in his crinkly book, got super fussy and is now napping. #thankgodmybabylovestosleep

Summer Standards

Summer is the time for chilled whites, light reds, and of course bubbles. You all know I like variety and mixing it up, but Dry Creek Vineyard’s Chenin Blanc is one I keep going back to. I always have a bottle or six of this one handy. It’s perfect for sipping on the beach, on the porch, in your air conditioning, or in your hot as hades non-air-conditioned space.

My essential summer staples also include plastic wine glasses #beachlife

It would go well with a handful of nuts[1], or with an exquisitely prepared Chicken Piccata, with fresh lemons, a handful of capers, garnished with a sprinkle of garden-grown parsley[2].

The folks over at Dry Creek Vineyard sure know how to tug on my Loire-Valley loving heart strings. Their website tells the back story for this bottle:

“If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dry Creek Vineyard extends praise to our original source of inspiration in the small French village of Vouvray in the Loire Valley. It was in Vouvray, that our love affair with Chenin Blanc began.”

Once I discovered the Loire Valley and Chenin Blanc, there was no turning back. Kudos to Dry Creek for having been able to replicate[3] the subtly sweet and delicious crispness indicative of their French inspiration.

I get notes of floral and stone fruit, peaches perhaps, with a touch of minerality behind the scenes. The mouthfeel is perfection; great body with a silky swirl finish. At $12.99 a bottle, you seriously can’t go wrong[4].

AND let’s not forget that summer doesn’t end until September 22 this year. That’s FOUR MORE DAYS OF SUMMER PEOPLE! Savor your favorite summer staple while you still can. I know I will be.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Tonight’s dinner. #momlife

[2] What I wish I was eating for dinner.

[3] My favorite kind of replication, however, will always be the RepliKate.

[4] And Wine.Com ALWAYS has amazing coupon codes to get this for even less! #extremecouponing

Let’s Wine For an Hour

As I’m getting’ back in the swing of things, one glass at a time, I participated in last week’s #WiningHourChat. If you don’t know about the Wining Hour Chat, it’s a lot of fun. A fab trio of ladies hosts every Tuesday at 9 EST[1]. Sometimes a specific wine is on the menu, other times it’s just about what’s in your glass. The featured winery last week was Pedroncelli Winery out of Geyserville, California in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley[2].

I do love a good coat of arms #labelart

This family operation began in 1927 when Giovanni and Julia Pedroncelli purchased a small vineyard of approximately 25 acres in Dry Creek Valley. They were one of the few wineries to survive Prohibition, staying afloat by selling grapes to home winemakers. Lawyer Fact[3]: Prohibition’s Vosltead Act provided a loophole allowing wine to be made at home. An October 1920 Treasury Department memo instructed federal agents not to pursue individuals making their own wine. The memo stated that “the head of a family who has properly registered may make 200 gallons exclusively for family use without payment of tax thereon.”[4]

Now, in its 90th year, the fourth generation of Pedroncelli’s continue the family business with more than 100 acres of vines. From Sauvignon Blanc to Chardonnay, Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon, their impressive lineup is available online and quite reasonably priced from $17 to $36 a bottle.

I sampled their Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel and both were excellent[5]. The Cabernet Sauvignon had a big, bright, fruity Cab nose[6]. Notes of leather and dark berry, perhaps black courant. A nice light mouthfeel but with fairly big tannins. The finish was smooth and silky. The Zinfandel was full of spice on the nose and black pepper on the finish. A perfect pairing with my quick meal of leftover chicken kebabs.[7]

This 2015 Zin came from Pedroncelli’s Mother Clone vineyard which has been planted with Zinfandel vines since 1904[8]. The majority of the grapes used in this vintage come from the vines re-planted in the 1980s from the clone of the original “Mother” vines, but a bit of the grapes from the remaining 100+ year old vines made their way into the bottle as well.

I hope you join in for this week’s #WiningHourChat, tonight (Tuesday) at 9 EST. The lovely Wining Hour ladies will be chatting about whatever’s in your glass this evening. My plan is to be there, perhaps with a glass of Rosé[9]. We’ll see if Baby Wine Esquire likes that plan or not J

TTFN[10]

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] During pregnancy this was WAY past my bedtime, so I couldn’t even pretend to participate. Last week’s was a bit dicey as Baby Wine Esquire decided to wake up and want to feed PRECISELY at 9 p.m. But we made it work.
[2] Dry Creek Valley, which is apparently not dry at all, is an approximately 9,000 acre AVA known primarily for its Zinfandel grapes.
[3] I guess I have to get back into the swing of lawyering soon too … #everydayissaturdayonmaternityleave
[4] 200 gallons equates to 757,082 milliliters, which yields approximately 1,009 standard 750 ml bottles (according to the smart people at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). That gives you about 2.7 bottles per household, per day. Not too shabby, considering it was Prohibition. Interestingly, the 200 gallon limitation is still the law, but it only applies to a household of two or more adults. If you’re single you can only make 100 gallons per year. #SinglismIsReal
[5] Baby Wine Esquire got a bit fussy, so the Chardonnay will have to wait for another day.
[6] You know the kind I mean.
[7] My love of leftovers has increased tenfold since Baby arrived. #feedmequick
[8] #OldVineZin
[9] Because it’s still #RoséSeason ya’ll!
[10] Ta Ta For Now.

Baby, I’m Back

wine baby Sauska

As I mentioned in my previous post, and perhaps you’ve noticed, I’ve been MIA for a while. Approximately nine months I’d say, give or take a few weeks. It was the fastest nine months of my life, and I was pretty damn busy. Or at least my body was[1]. Can you guess what I did during those nine months? You guessed it, I had a baby[2]!

wine baby Chateau Montelena
Baby Wine Esquire has good taste in wine already!

Now during said nine months, I obviously wasn’t drinking wine[3]. I thought that this would be difficult for me, but it turns out that it wasn’t. At all. For a brief period even the smell of Husband’s wine made me a bit ill[4]. In fact, I got to the point where I thought I’d just give up wine for good, even after Baby came[5]. The wine FOMO[6] could have been bad, so me not being interested was probably internal self-preservation. Which explains why I’ve been MIA.

But, Baby, I’m back![7]

Baby Wine Esquire joined us on July 5, 2017. Ten days overdue, he was 8 pounds, one ounce and 21 inches of pure love and joy.

wine baby Sauska
Isn’t he the cutest?

Getting used to life with Baby has been incredible; we are forever changed, but we’re getting back into our daily routine, and that includes the re-emergence of Wine Esquire. Albeit, on a smaller scale, for now[8]. At this point, the thing Husband and I yearn for most is a delectable foodie experience in a small, quiet restaurant where Baby isn’t welcome[9]. We’ll get there. Someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later for our sake[10].

I’m still limited in the amount of wine I can enjoy for now, which makes each glass even more precious. So send me some recommendations! What have I missed in the past 41 weeks? What are your favorite go-to’s of the moment? I’m truly looking forward to reconnecting with everyone again!

wine baby
My new glass of choice 🙂

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] I’ll spare you the photographic evidence of my epically swollen feet. Thankfully they’ve returned to normal. #hadtobuynewshoes
[2] The whole “nine months” thing is actually a big lie. Babies take 40 weeks to develop and in my case, 41. That’s 10.25 months, not 9. #TheBigLie
[3] Well, at least I wasn’t drinking a LOT of wine. A sip here and there wasn’t gonna hurt nobody. #dontjudge
[4] Because obviously Husband did not give up wine in solidarity with me. He just drank my share too!
[5] Thankfully this cockamamie idea did not stick.
[6] About six months ago I had to Google FOMO. It means “fear of missing out” in case you didn’t know. I also just discovered Despacito. Apparently it’s been THE song of the summer. I’ve been living under a rock, clearly. I continue to play it on repeat as much as possible. I’m also trying to learn the lyrics. Baby loves Despacito. And in case you’re wondering, I prefer the REAL version, not the Beiber overlay. My inner 21 year old REALLY wants to go the club and rock out to this. #wheremygirlsat
[7] Or at least I’m trying very hard to be!
[8] Time is precious, especially when Baby wants to eat ALL. THE. TIME.
[9] No offense, Baby.
[10] Mommy gets hungry too! #hangry

Epic photos of Baby Wine Esquire were taken by Jenn of
Photography by Jennifer Lynn.