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

Riesling is My New Cabernet

Riesling

Well, maybe.

If you ask me what my favorite wine is, I’ll always answer Napa Valley Cabernet. Give it to me big, full and juicy and I’m a happy camper. Some argue that there are better wines in the world, and I’m not about to disagree, but everyone’s palate is different. I’m still exploring and figuring mine out, and if I’m in a pinch and just want some good wine, I’m usually not steered wrong with one of my favorite Napa fruit bombs.

That being said, since my real goal is to always experience different wines,[1] I’ve encountered a fair number of Rieslings in the last year that have been impeccable. They work as stand-alone drinkers, and pair exceptionally well with food as well[2]. Now, I’m not going for the super fruity sweet Rieslings that were popular with all my friends in college, but rather the more subdued, not so sugary varieties that have real body and character.

A few weeks ago[3] our Sommelier Wine Friend[4] brought over a bottle of 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett.

Riesling
2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett

The sparkle hits you right away. Petrol and peach on the nose; amazingly silky mouthfeel with notes of peach, pineapple and green grass. Simply gorgeous. We served this as an appetizer, sans food, before Husband’s incredible dinner of braised short ribs[5] and duck fat potatoes[6].

Riesling
Riesling and Gourds … the perfect combination

So even though I’m still a huge fruit bomb fan, I’m seriously open to exploring more and more Rieslings, and this one was a winner. It retails throughout the country for around $26-30, and let me tell you, it’s well worth it.

J.J. Prüm is a seriously well-respected wine house. In 1911, Johann Josef Prüm began the estate and his son Sebastian joined him in 1920 when the first bottlings were released. JJ and Sebastian’s ancestors continue at the helm today; it is currently run by Sebastian’s son Dr. Manfred Prüm, and his granddaughter, Dr. Katharina Prüm. With an exclusive focus on Riesling, their 33.5 acres of vineyards produce some of Germany’s finest, and they have a long history of aging well. Their harvest tends to be late which gives the wine the ability to stand the test of time.

The wines are grown in Wehlen, a tiny village of about 1,300 residents in the heart of Mosel, one of Germany’s 13 wine regions, and perhaps its most prestigious. The Prüm vineyards are nestled along the Middle Mosselle, the central section of the Moselle River which runs through France, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Riesling Wine Cork
Cork Shot #forthewin

The sundial on the Prüm labels is a nod to the real life sundial which graces the face of their Sonnenuhr vineyard.

JJ's Sundial. Photo (c) courtesy of pop & pour
JJ’s Sundial. Photo (c) courtesy of pop & pour

New, crisp and interesting Rieslings will always be a hit, so this would be the perfect thing to bring to an intimate dinner party as an apertif or give as a gift. After all, #tistheseason.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes

[1] We are, after all, here for a limited period of time, and the wine selection possibilities are endless.
[2] See, i.e., Riesling is a Viable OptionHey, Can We BYOB?, and Indian & Riesling: Wining & Dining 101.
[3] Jeeze, time flies, huh?
[4] If you don’t have one of these wine friends, I’d highly recommend finding one. #WineFriendsForTheWin
[5] Which we paired with a big Napa fruit bomb. Obviously.
[6] #DietStartsMonday

Wistfully Remembering Sauvignon Blanc Weather

We’ve officially transitioned to fall in the Northeast. The cold weather is coming. As this new reality sets in, I find myself wanting bottles of rich red wine, not white[1]. Looking back, I realized that this summer was full of new white wine experiences, and what a summer it was! I received a few bottles from Nimble Vineyards earlier this year and had the opportunity to crack open a bottle of their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc just before the chill in the air appeared.

Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
Summer Sipping

The last of the warm weather lends itself to a refreshing pick-me-up and I know that when the cold sets in, I’ll find myself wanting heavier reds[2]. So today, with the temps pushing 86, even with a breeze, I’m glistening just a bit, and the chilled 2014 Nimble Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc was just what the doctor ordered.

Though the nose isn’t overly fragrant, there’s a bouquet of fresh wild flowers lingering in the back, the kind you’d pick from your garden[3]. Perfectly light and crisp, with pleasant touches of acidity and minerality. When I take I sip I spy some pineapple juice with a long grapefruit finish. The acidic grapefruit cuts any sweetness that the pineapple flavor hinted at, making this a delightful aperitif wine to get you salivating[4]. We paired it with some apple slices and cheddar cheese, but mostly just sipped it on its own.

Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
Keepin’ it Chilled

Nimble Vineyards has been growing grapes for more than 15 years, but at first only sold what they made to wine makers. As I learn more about winemakers and vineyards, selling grapes to other producers appears to be a very common practice throughout the world, something the general public may not realize. It also seems like more and more, these vintners are deciding to keep at least a portion of their crop to make their own wine. Nimble recently began having a go at winemaking themselves, and it seems to have worked out very well.

At 70 cases made of this Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll be lucky if you can find a bottle[5], but if you can, grab all that you see. It’s an excellent example of a perfectly balanced wine. And it’s a good drinker for warm sunny days. What more can you ask for?

Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
The rear end of the Nimble hog …

Their wine labels feature the rear end of a wild hog, inspired by the wild hogs roaming their vineyards, enjoying their grapes. This is apparently a problem in Sonoma County, so much so that the state authorizes unlimited hunting of them, and several businesses have sprung up that will organize a hunting party for you and your closest meat-eating friends[6].

The Sauvignon Blanc varietal originated in the Bordeaux region of France, though I think popular culture now tends to associate it with New Zealand. It turns out that California is producing some amazing wine out of Sauvignon Blanc grapes as well, so don’t be afraid to give them a try!

Until the next glass, Cheers!

White Wine Sauvignon Blanc
Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, we’re only in the second week of chilly weather, which I love. But I am going to miss my summer of #whitewineallthetime!
[2] How insightful of me, and it’s coming true already.
[3] That is, if you had a garden with wild flowers that survived the elements.
[4] Husband made homemade sauce so we’re waiting for that to finish up. I’m guessing we’ll be going with a red for that…
[5] No distribution yet and no online sales. Give them a call to arrange a visit at 707.433.9844, OR shoot an email to hello@nimblevineyards.com and they can ship you some!
[6] I can see it now: Bachelorette Party Gon’ Wild! First you taste the wine, then you hunt the hogs….Just kidding! #liabilityproblems #lawyerlife

Knock It Off

Wine and Sunset

As a trademark attorney[1], one of my primary job functions is to tell my clients whether their trademark is confusingly similar to other marks in the marketplace for their particular goods and services. For example, if they’re trying to break out with a new brand of dark, sugary cola and they want to name it Poke, or Sepsi, then I’m gonna tell them they need to start the creative process again[2]. If they’re looking to call it Wowza, however, then they may be good to go[3].

When I came across[4] Replica Wines, I found it ironic that the wine brand’s foundation is based on duplication. At first it seemed antithetical to my trademark lawyer background, but once I read more, I found I liked it. There is, after all, no prohibition against reverse engineering, and that it precisely what Replica does. They take an exceptional wine and recreate the flavor profile. And when a high quality product is sold for a good price, everybody wins.

Replica Wine
(c) Replica Wine

I decided to do some blind taste testing to determine if I could figure out which wine was the “knockoff” and which was the “real thing”[5]. I took a bottle of $35+ Chardonnay[6] and my bottle of Knockoff, which retails for less than $12 throughout the country, and put them to the test. Robing each bottle in my fancy shmancy wine tasting party bags, Husband and I took sips of each to see what we thought.

Blind Wine Tasting
Oh, you fancy, huh?!

To be honest, I really couldn’t tell which was the knockoff because they were both excellent wines. I figured I’d be able to taste something “cheap” with the Replica bottle, but to the contrary, I actually preferred the taste of it to the Big Money Chard.

Bottle One was the color of pale straw; it didn’t have much of a nose, but it had a great silky full mouthfeel[7]. Really a luxurious coating of the mouth. Some green apple on the slightly tart finish and a hint of pineapple as well. Nothing oaky about this Chardonnay; with it’s touch of acidity, I could see it pairing extremely well with some scallops or oysters.

Bottle Two was more of a bright golden hue. It had quite a big nose, more pineapple with a touch more sweetness, almost like a jolly rancher. Sweeter than the first, this had a much longer finish and it was extremely well balanced; full of flavor from start to finish. Unlike your typical Chard, I didn’t get any oak on this one either. This one would be excellent with a light cheese pasta or some simple crudité. A really lovely wine.

Like I said, both wines were excellent, I simply got more enjoyment out of Bottle Two, which turned out to be Replica’s Knockoff. I’d never have known it was a $12 bottle! Definitely a keeper.

Wine and Sunset
Wine and Sunset #ForTheWin

Blind tasting is fun, and it’s even better when all the wines you try are delicious! Give it a try at your next cocktail party and let me know how it goes!

Until the next glass, cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Yes, I do still moonlight as a lawyer. #lawyerlife
[2] Because, hello, those are confusingly similar to Coke® and Pepsi®.
[3] Note: A trademark search for WOWZA in association for cola beverages has not been conducted. This blog post does not constitute legal advice.

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.

[4] Full Disclosure: I received two bottles of wine from Replica Wine. The opinions contained herein are my own. This blog is not a paid or sponsored post.
[5] I’m using quotations because I appreciate the fact that a great deal of effort went in to the creation of both bottles; it’s not like it was fake wine!
[6] We’ll call this one “Big Money Chard.”
[7] It probably could have benefited from some time to open up, but ain’t nobody got time for dat!