Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 under 20: The Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection

Good day, readers!

Bringing you another vineyard chain today, much like previous posts on Cupcake and Oliver. The Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection wines can be found in just about any grocery store, so they should be super accessible for you to try! They will typically be mid-to-upper priced on my $20 scale.

My Mom introduced me to this label and thus far, I have been pleased with every bottle I have tried. Specifically and most recently, I have enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Pinot Noir, and the Pinot Grigio. On previous occasions, I have also appreciated the Merlot and the Malbec. I still have some tastings to do to cover all varietals in this collection, but today let’s focus on the three I am most familiar with.

The Ivory Label – Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99 at Publix last visit!)
One thing I learned in the last wine class I took was that for a wine to be labeled as a certain varietal, it must merely consist of 75% of that type of grape. For example, this cab! Though labeled as a Cabernet Sauvignon, this luscious wine is actually only 78% Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The remaining ingredients consist of 10% Segalin, 7% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc grapes. Though that may seem initially curious to come, a calculated combination of different grapes helps the winemaker create a broader spectrum of unique wines for you to consume!

For those that aren’t too familiar, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a hybrid of the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc plants (So cabs are basically a blend from the start, right ;)?)! The Cabernet Franc is a fragrant black grape that adds flavors of pepper and dark berries. The addition of that extra pinch of Cabernet Franc grapes may have been with the intention ever-so-slightly weight this wine in favor of those dark, smooth flavors.

This wine by Coppola’s winemaker Corey Beck is rich like velvet, bold, and spicy. It is aged in French Oak barrels, which accentuates its berry-filled fullness. Deep royal garnet in color, it is easy to feel sophisticated while drinking this wine. I’d highly recommend pairing wine with a well-seasoned steak, braised lamb, or spaghetti and meatballs.

The Silver Label – Pinot Noir ($16.99 at Publix last visit!)
This wine was gone almost instantly when served at our Christmas Day dinner! Unlike its Cab cousin, this wine is 100% of its namesake grape. The way this wine was prepared (grown in a region influenced by cooler bay-temperatures, picked in the early morning, and immediately cold-soaked) I think definitely plays a factor in this wine and is why I recommend you make sure it is chilled prior to consumption. This wine has a lovely nose filled with raspberries and cherries, and the French oak barrel aging comes through on the long finish (so you can enjoy it a little longer :)). This wine was exceptional with our turkey and ham Christmas dinner, but I also envision you would enjoy it with lamb burgers, quatro formaggio pizza, or eggplant parmesan. And now I’m hungry…

The Emerald Label – The Pinot Grigio ($11.99 at Publix last visit!)
This darling is 100% Pinot Grigio grape and professes a Northern Italian style. I am partial to the stainless steel barrel aging when it comes to white wines as I feel it lets the complexities of the grape play first fiddle in each sip, rather than the fiber of the barrel. Steel aging for this wine results in a clean, crisp taste like an Anjou pear or green apple. It is light, refreshing, and a perfect pairing for that scrumptious berry salad, white fish entree, or the alfredo pasta you’re having for dinner.

If you are looking for an accessible label that you can count on to provide you with variety, quality, and the right price…give the Francis Coppola Diamond Collection wines a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Cheers, readers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

12 under 20: Relax Riesling

12 under 20: Relax Riesling
I don’t know what it is with me…My “go-to’s” tend to be either bold, fruity reds or the sweetest of whites! I do know that a lot of my friends out there prefer white wines, so let me make a recommendation that you’re sure to enjoy.

Relax Riesling has, for years, been a solid go-to wine for me when I need something sweet, light, and fruity. I find this wine has the versatility to be enjoyed with melons and peaches on a warm summer day or with goat-cheese stuffed dates and sugar cookies on a cozy winter night (I know this because I enjoyed it with sugar cookies just last night!). Aside from desserts, sweet wines like this are also a wonderful complement to spicy Thai or Indian cuisine, fish entrees, and fruit-filled salads. Any way, you should definitely serve it chilled!

Like its clean, modern bottle, this wine is crisp and fresh. I would expect no less from a popular German Riesling! It is so easily sippable you will forget it’s even alcoholic (until you stand up, of course). This would be a great wine to drink while taking a bubble bath or reading a good book on the couch. And if you’re crafty, think of all the fun things you could do with the gorgeous cobalt blue bottle once you’ve enjoyed the contents!

Relax Riesling is a JOY and very accessible; I typically find this in the wine section at my local grocery store at or under $12. I now know that Relax has three other wines as well, so I know what I’m going to try to find next grocery trip!