Wine Update

valintine's nightSpring is finally here and the snow and cold stayed north of the border for much of the winter.

This blog will take a look at:

  • What minerality means.  Can we really taste minerals from the soil in our wine or is it a myth.
  • Parmigianto-Reggiano – yes cheese – a short discussion on how to buy a really good Parmigiano. The real deal.
  • Alternatives to expensive French Wines


What does minerality mean in wine.

When I am cooking certain foods they work best with a wine showing minerality.  When I think of minerality I think in terms of certain European white wines vs our California chardonnays.  When I sip the wine it makes me think of what a mineral might taste like and really enhances shell fish.  This was discussed in a  recent article in the WineSpectator by Matt Kramer.

Scientist object to the term minerality in wine as the vines do not absorb the minerals scientifically.  I ask what about terroir of a wine.  The soil composition surely changes the taste of wine do not the minerals in the soil change the composition of the soil.  I will leave it to the scientists to engage on a long discussion.

Kramer discusses our senses and how we interpret what we smell, taste and feel in our mouths.  We communicate those senses to others and here in lies the truth.

Minerality might  not be scientifically correct but in my book it is a great way to communicate what my senses are telling me.


Parmagiano-Reggiano –

You know when you taste a really good Parmagiano-Reggiano from Italy.  While our days of eating a lot of pasta and using a lot of Parmagiano are behind us we try and find a good cheese at a good price.  As with many things in Italy the production is highly regulated by 350 producers.

Parmagiano-Reggiano is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.  This region lies north of Florence. This region is known to Italians as the best food in Italy.  I know most of us think of Tuscany but the real Italians prefer Emila with some of the richest soils in Italy and fresh raised / grown food.

Buying the cheese – finding the best.

While Parmagiano-Reggiano is produced in wheels weighing upward of 80lbs and we buy pieces off the wheel you may wish to inquire or dertermine the following especially at $25 to $50 per lb.

  • Parmagiano-Reggiano should be aged 24 months.
  • It is important to note the date of production
  • Age and seasonality are both important.  Some folks avoid cheese made in the summer months as the milk has lover protein content.
  • Look for cheeses produced in the fall and spring.

A good overall Parmagiano-Reggiano can be found at:

Whole Foods  called “Hombre” at $25 per lb.

Costco also sells a 24 month old – entire 72 lb wheel is $900.  Check your local store for pieces at reasonable price.

Your favorite cheese shop.

Alternatives to French wine:

France has had a string of challenges as Mother Nature has not cooperated.  If you are looking for a French alternative you may wish to buy these alternatives.


Columbia Crest – Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills H3 – Washington

Rated 91 points around $15

Nice wine – personal note and we buy frequently – nice plum and sage flavors with a nice finish

MontGras – Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley Chile

Rated 91 points around $19

Have not tried this wine for a few years

Chateau Ste Michelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – Washington

Rated 90 points around $15

A balanced wine with cherry and raspberry flavors with a hint of pepper

Chablis –

Produced in Northern France in Burgundy from the Chardonnay grape.  Chardonnay without all the oak and butter.

Chateau Ste Michelle – Chardonnay – Washington

Rated 89 points around $11

On the lighter side with a lemon and spice

Charles Smith Chardonnay –  Washington

Rated 89 points around $12

Apple pear flavors with a nice finish

Kunde Estate – Chardonnay – Sonoma Valley

Rated 88 points around $18

Tangerine and nectarine with nice acidity with a touch of apple and peach on finish

A to Z Wineworks – Chardonnay Oregon

Rated 87 points around $14

Crisp with pear and citrus flavors

Berzinger Chardonnay – Sonoma

Rated 87 points around $16

Add a little zing with grapefruit and tangerine flavors – nice finish


Made from Pinot Noir and considered one of the best wines in the world.  Usually contain lovely cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors with complexity and spice.

New Zealand makes some lovely Pinot and good prices but since I seldom see them on my shopping trips I will not be discussing them in this blog.

Castle Rock – Pinot Noir – Oregon

Rated 89 points around $14

We like this wine  – it has cherry and spice nice tannins

Duck Pond – Pinot Noir –  Oregon

Rated 89 points around $20

Dark berry and plum flavors with a nice structure

Earth – Pinot Noir Oregon

Rated 89 points around $19

The tannins will show in this wine featuring blackberry and cream flavors.

By | 2017-03-06T12:04:49-04:00 April 1st, 2016|wine|0 Comments

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