Malbec

Holiday Wine Picks for 2013 - How to look like a Wine Superstar!

Just in time for the holidays are my top wine picks! So if you’re going to or hosting a holiday party, I recommend these four bottles of wine. I chose 3 reds and 1 white. I actually hosted a little party and these were the wines that I served.

Watch my video below, or scroll down a bit and you’ll see what I have to say about them as well. (Heck, you should live a little and do both….watch the video AND read my blog…then when you’re done you mine as well share this with all your friends and family too!!!) 

The white wine that I thought would be a great ‘winter holiday white’ is actually a wine I featured in a video awhile back. It’s Astrolabe’s Sauvignon Blanc, you can click here to view that video if you would like: http://youtu.be/CJHcr-nf_lI . In my previous video, I feature the 2011 vintage. This holiday video features the 2012 vintage. I found this particular vintage to have more peachy notes and less mineralaity than the previous year. Still reminds me of summer though and its oooohhhhhh so delicious! I’ve had several other Astrolabe wines and have been impressed by all of them. So if you choose another one from this winery instead, you likely will still be quite happy with your selection and so will your guests. I also think that featuring a New Zealand white wine from the Marlborough region is something a little bit different because I do think there are a lot of people who aren’t really aware of how fabulous these wines are – so you’re likely to impress a few folks too (and lets be honest, who doesn’t like impressing others!?). You will be the Wine Superstar at the party in no time!

For the reds, I selected Belle Glos 2012 Meiome, which is a Pinot Noir from California. Now, I know that some of you are thinking…OMG I HATE Pinot’s…but I urge you to try this one and then tell me if you still hate Pinot’s. I do like Pinot’s, but like many, a good Pinot hard to find at times. This one took me about 2 years to find since the previous Pinot I thought was amazing and noteworthy, so with that alone – this is a MUST TRY wine! It’s elegant and traditionally French/Old world in style (I believe it’s also aged in French oak), so it’s got more earthy, spicy notes rather than some of the other fruiter Pinot’s you might find out there.

The second red I chose is the 2012 Felino Malbec by Vina Cabos. This is from Mendoza, Argentina and I chose this one because it seems like EVERYONE these days are into their Malbec’s. Before it was Shiraz, now it’s Malbec’s, so you definitely need at least one Malbec on hand this holiday season and I think this is a great one. Nicely balanced on the palate and not to tannic, so it’s quite friendly for a variety of wine drinkers over the holidays.

Last but not least, I threw in a little 2011 Freakshow – by Michael David Winery. This winery is the same winery that produces 7 Deadly Zins. I’m only pointing that out because it’s a popular wine out there and sometimes we like to know where things are coming from and support what we may already like. Freakshow is Cabernet Sauvignon with some Petite Syrah blended in. I purely chose this wine because of the label and the name. Being the holiday season…sometimes family get together’s can be a little ‘nutty’ to say the least, so I thought a wine named Freakshow might just be appropriate to throw in the mix this holiday season. Turns out that when I tried it, I loved it! So I don’t think you will go wrong with this wine either. It’s a great medium bodied wine that has nice complexity and structure. The bottle of this wine is likely also going to be a conversation piece because it has a lot going on in the label. I would probably leave this bottle out on display for others to view and let your guest’s converse away. Might be a good bottle to help get over any awkward silences around the dinner table, or help fill any brief gaps in discussions with the in-laws. And on side note, if your in-laws don’t like you, you could perhaps point out one of the ‘freaks’ on the bottle and reassure them, that’s not you so you’re not sure what their hang up is. NO, I’m just kidding DON’T say that because that will most definitely be followed by another (and much longer) awkward silence….

With that said, these are the wines I would recommend this holiday season. If you’re looking for another white wine to feature, Joie’s Noble Blend is good. So is Blasted Church’s Hatfield’s Fuse. Or perhaps a Pinot Gris would be a nice alternative option from the Astrolabe’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Whatever wines you do chose, be sure to have lots of fun and laughter this holiday season and DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!! Be save everyone and Happy Holiday’s!

 

x.h

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Diary Entry #38 - When "Leftovers" are a good thing...

It’s sure nice to be back in Vancouver! Back to sleeping in my own bed, home cooked meals and of course…partying with my friends again! In fact, I threw a birthday party for my boyfriend just this past weekend and my very awesome friends brought over more booze than they could drink, therefore, leaving some leftover wine for yours truly, me, to enjoy!

So because of my oh so generous and fabulous friends, I’ve decided to vlog some of the leftover wine from the party! We don’t want to anger the wine gods (they are real and not just a figment of my imagination), so this leftover wine must be consumed and not poured down the sink. And what do I often do when I drink wine at home….film it for all to see :-)

THANK YOU for watching and please subscribe to my YouTube channel, like me on Facebook and while you’re at it, follow me on twitter!!

Sending my love to all you beautiful people and may the beauty you love, be what you do <3

x.h

Diary Entry #28 - Giant pink balloons & Urban Uco 2011 Malbec Tempranillo

The special guest of the evening is Urban Uco. It’s a 50/50 blend of malbec and tempranillo grapes. This wine is from the Uco Valley in Argentina. The Uco Valley is one of the sub-regions in the Mendoza region. In fact, I just learnt that the Uco Valley is home to some very outstanding wines and is becoming a well known region by it's own rights. It has a very distinct growing climate and is home to some of the top producers. 

The Uco sits at a higher altitude located at the base of the Andes. Because of this higher altitude, the grapes are exposed to high daytime temperatures and much cooler evening/night time temperatures. This causes the grapes to produce balanced sugars and acidity that you wouldn’t get in other regions.

The colour of this wine is a nice bright ruby cherry colour. On the nose I get blueberries, violet. I really enjoyed the palate of this wine and found it surprisingly chewy. And my chewy I mean that it's got a lot of depth and complexity to it. There are medium tannins that I can feel gripping on my gums and tongue (kind of like what happens when you drink straight black tea). The flavour of this wine lingers extremely long (you will hear wino's refer to this as the 'length' of the wine - this wine has great length!). The flavour of this wine is full of blueberries and blackberries.

When I was doing a bit of research on this wine, I found that the labels I found online were different than on the bottle I had, even though it was the same vintage. So it turns out this vintage has 2 different labels. The one that you see that I have in the video is what you will see here in BC. In the USA and perhaps other countries, you might see the other label - which I did put a picture of in my video. This other label is a picture of a girl in an art gallery looking at some paintings on the wall. Immediately this other label reminded me of one of the most cool experiences I've ever had.

About a year and a half ago, I went to this art show. I had no idea what to really expect, but it sounded like a fun event so my friend and I went. It was held at a private art gallery here in Vancouver. The first part of the exhibit was the cool part. You had to walk through a room of floor to ceiling giant pink balloons. There was no way around this, it was the only way to access the rest of the gallery. So my friend and I entered into this room with all these giant balloons and couldn't see where we were going. At one point we even lost each other because there were so many balloons. We had to make our way to a staircase that was on the other end of the room and emerge out of the balloon room that way. It was by far the coolest experience I've had in a long time and I wish there was always a room with giant pink balloons that I could walk through whenever I wanted to. I felt like a little kid again and I think that was what made it so wonderful. 

I've included a clip of this balloon experience at the very end of the wine video so you can get a bit of an idea of what it was like.

What have been some of the coolest and most memorable experiences that you have had? I would love to hear about them.  

Thanks for watching and stay tuned for another video in 2 weeks!

x.h

~May the beauty you love be what you do~

Diary Entry #27 - Stemless Wine Glasses SUCK & Catena Malbec 2010 ROCKS!

This wine is 100% Malbec grape and it comes from a region in Argentina called Mendoza. Mendoza is a very well known region and is know for producing good quality Malbec’s. Often times when I’m craving a Malbec, I will choose one from the Mendoza region because it is so well known. So that could be a good dinner party tip for you – Malbec’s from Mendoza are a good bet!

This wine has a nice bright cherry red color, it's very vibrant and lively color to it. On the nose I get a lot of black cherries, prunes and I know this will sounds odd but I get this soda pop type smell, like a strawberry soda pop image in my head. It kind of reminds me of being a kid and eating candies. I don't care if that sounds totally unprofessional or random of me, that's what I get and I'm a firm believer in staying true to whatever senses wine inspires you to have. 

Before I carry on, I must say...if you haven't already noticed but I am using a stemless wine glass, and I HATE stemless wine glasses. Why you ask? Well, a couple reasons. Firstly, wine glasses have a stem for a very good reason. That reason is because you are suppose to hold on to the wine from the stem and not the glass, this is to ensure that your body heat does not affect the wine temperature. The temperature of wine is very important to the taste of the wine. So holding the wine glass by the glass portion instead of the stem, will not be helpful in maintaining the proper temperature for tasting the wine. Does this sound a bit 'wine snob' of me? Perhaps a bit, but if I'm going to spend some decent money on a good bottle of wine, I want to enjoy it at the ideal temperature. Secondly, if you hold it by the glass you're going to get nasty finger prints all over the glass, which are gross and look awful after awhile. For some reason, wine glasses show more finger prints on them then say a highball glass...and when they do, I find it rather unsightly and find it takes away from the delicate wine experinece and I think just looks dirty (and not the good kind of 'dirty' - yes there can be a good kind!). Ok, yes, I know...wine snob. But that's pretty much as 'wine snob' as I get. Aside from calling all sparking wine 'champagne' when it's not (another pet peeve of mine). That's (at this point anyways) as 'snobby' as I'll get. 

Ok, now that I've had my 'I hate stemless wine glasses' rant, we can carry on with the tasting of the wine and move on to the swirl and sip. You don't have to swirl the wine before sipping but it's something that I like to do anyways. Since half of tasting is the smell, I still like to open up (release all the aromoas and subtleties) the wine by swirling it prior to sipping. 

This is a nice medium bodied wine, vibrant cherries that explode in my mouth. Very flavorful, elegant and smooth. There are not a lot fo tannins (that grippy feeling you can get in your mouth and gums). It's very soft and silky.

For over 4 generations, the Catena family has passed on their wine making skills from father to son and now from father to daughter. This is actually an Italian family that came to Argentina in 1898. The forefather, Nicola Catena believed Mendoza to be the promise land and planted the first Malbec vines in 1902.

It really is hard to tell a family’s story that spans over 100 years in a few minutes but in a very small nutshell The Catena Family story is truly one of taking risks, having faith and inspiration. As well, I believe it’s a story of not being afraid to do something that’s never been done before because of believing in the possibility of achieving something great. In the 1980’s others called Nicolas crazy because he was seeking new areas to plant the Malbec grape up high in the mountains (I believe up to 5000 feet elevation). He did this because he felt that the only way to make a leap in quality would be by pushing the limits of vine cultivation, by taking risks. Even his vineyard manager told him that the vines wouldn’t ripen, but they did. And they produced fabulous wines. Like this bottle right here!

I think there is great wine artistry that has gone into the wines produced by this family, great faith when no one else believed and great results from staying true to their vision, and the vision of their ancestors.

If you’re interested in the full story, please click here http://bit.ly/VOHnA1

So if you’re stuck with what bottle of wine to grab for your valentines day tomorrow, this could be a good one.

I believe that great things can happen when you believe in something and you take a risk and you do something different. It could even be something that hasn't been done before but if you have a passion, belief, imagination and inspiration to make it happen, something amazing can unfold from that. So I encourage you to go for it!

So with that I wanted to leave you with a question – where are you taking risks in your life because you believe in something? I personally want to tell you that I believe in you and your dreams & visions. And I encourage you to share them with me because I am genuinely interested. So please share with me: Where do you make those bold choices in your life because you have a vision?

Thanks for watching, please subscribe and….

May the Beauty you LOVE be what you DO.

x.h

Diary Entry #20 - Craggy Range Te Kahu 2010

Summer has been busy and I've been a bit M.I.A. on my vlog. But I'm happy to announce that I'm BACK! :-) 

This vlog is on Craggy Range's 2010 Te Kahu Proprietary Red blend. It's a blend of 80% merlot, 8% cabernet franc, 8% cabernet sauvignon and 4% malbec. Craggy Range is located in the Hawkes Bay wine region in New Zealand. This particualr wine comes from their Gimblett Gravels Vineyard - which is a special terrior located in Hawkes Bay. This area is known to produce very good bordeaux style wines. 

Craggy Range is a family owned winery specializing their production in single vineyard wines. TE KAHU means the 'cloak' and refers to the mist that covers the hills around Craggy Range's Giants winery. The Maori people believe this 'cloak' covered the mythical maidan when she visited her lover Te Meta (fallen giant). 

What I think is another cool thing about this winery is that it has to stay in the family. Terry Peabody started Craggy Range to carry the legacy of his family. I wish my dad owned a winery!!! I think that's pretty cool! 

Anyways, here is the video! Hope you enjoy it :-)

Diary Entry #1 - Cheap Malbec vs. Cheap Cheap Malbec

Yayyy this is my first entry! Thanks so much for checking it out! For my first video blog I decided that I would do a Malbec tasting with my friend Cubby! Some of you may know Cubby from his fragrance blog (FragranceTalk.com). If you don't know Cubby, then you need to check out his website because he's awesome and so is his site!

The grape variatal that wins "My first ever video wine review" is....MALBEC!!! I decided to taste a couple of Malbec's because I've had a few people lately asking me for a good Malbec recommendation. So, I thought I would try 2 different Malbec's that I've never had before.

The first one I selected was the Dona Paula - Los Cardos 2010 Malbec which retails for $12.99 at BC Liquor Stores. This one I choose because it was a 'cheaper' bottle of wine and it's a easy to find brand. I wanted to see if it was any good because we all like a good bottle of wine that is also friendly to our pocket books!

DonaPaula Los Cardos Front.jpg

The second bottle of wine I chose was Valle - Las Acequias 2006 Malbec which retails for $21.99 at BC Liquor stores. Which is still totally affordable, but just a bit more money than the Dona Paula. 

Valle_LasAcequias Front.jpg

We tasted the Dona Paula - Los Cardos first. This wine is young as it's a 2010 vintage and I thought that it might be a little crappy because as we all know, wine gets better with age! But surprisingly it was a bit better than I thought it was going to be. It is pretty smooth and easy drinking. It's got some heat on the finish which I wasn't a total fan of and that's probably the only thing I didn't like about it. But I have had worse! So for a $12.99 bottle of wine, I think it was good value! I found the nose on this wine to be darker berries, like black current (Cubby could smell the grapes...lol). 

After I drank this wine, I looked at the back label on the bottle. It says and I quote "Los Cardos means The Thistle, flowers know by their intense and surprising vivid colour as well as by their sharp thorns" I thought this description was extremely accurate because of the deep purple colour of the wine, the sweet ripe/dark berry smell aromas and then the smooth palate with the acidic finish. I found I liked the wine better because of this accurate description...I don't know why or if that makes any sense at all...but that's just kind of how I felt.

We then tasted the Valle Las Acequias 2006 Malbec. On the nose this one was much much softer. We both got lots of intense strawberry smells and soft floral aromas too. The strawberry smell reminded me of being in the garden when I was a kid amongst all the rows of strawberries. The colour of this wine was lighter than the Los Cardos - maybe because it's a 2006...but I'm not sure if 5 years would lighten it THAT much. But I just wanted to note that the colour was lighter. Cubby could smell the oak in this wine. This wine was aged in French oak for 6 months. We found this one a lot smoother and easier to drink than the Los Cardos. The flavours also rolled more on the palate than the Los Cardos.

Both of us felt that the winner of this taste test was definitely the Valle Las Acequias! It was definitely worth $21.99! But with that being said, both wines are worth checking out and I hope you do and give me your feedback! 

Ok, THAT's the first wine review! More will be coming soon! Thanks for checking it out!

enjoy :-)

holly

p.s. I said I wasn't going to really write in my blogs...but it turns out I will be after all as apparently it will help increase my google ranking and it will help the 'robots' find my site (lol)....sure hope so! Oh and I also want to be friendly to those who are readers out there in wine lover world ;-)