Monday, December 28, 2009

Creek of the Week: Steingarten Riesling

This week's Creek of the Week is the Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling is an exceptional wine of incredible balance and genuine quality. The 2007 shows its youth in its coloring: pale lemon with light lime-green flashes.

Typical of dry Riesling, this wine has intense citrus aromas with floral undertones of lemon blossom and light musk. On the palate, the wine gives a hint of lime upfront leading to a minerally palate enhanced by more citrus flavors of grapefruit and lime. With incredible acid and length, this wine would pair well with a variety of cheese.

Jacob's Creek suggests mild goat cheeses, double or triple cremes or bloomy rind cheeses.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vinturi : Essential Wine Aerator Review

Today I decided to test the Vinturi; claimed to be one of the best aerators in the world.

The box boasts, "The same bottle of wine treated with Vinturi was higher in overall flavor intensity and mouthfeel... higher in red color intensity and overall aroma intensity... more true to type and of higher quality."

I decided to test this gadget on the Johann Shiraz Cabernet (this weeks Creek of the Week) since it was open and suggests decanting before tasting as some of the sediment tends to settle.

I already found the Johann Shiraz Cabernet to be enjoyable so my expectations were not high for the Vinturi. I was a bit skeptical to say the least and thus pleasantly surprised when I found it to be a valid product.

While I can't claim that I saw a vibrant color change, I did notice a variety of particles in glass number one that I didn't pick up on the first time I tasted the wine.

The nose was undoubtedly cleaner. Black cherries shown through with less influence of the oak and more spice. The mouthfeel was still medium-full but with an airy feeling. The fruit is forward but evenly balanced by spice and oak.

I conclude that the wine quality, overall, did improve. However, I can not definitively say that this will stand true for all wines.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Creek of the Week: Johann Shiraz Cabernet

This week's Creek of the Week is the Johann Shiraz Cabernet 2001.

Upon opening the wine, I discovered a thick, inky residue on the bottom of the cork, showing it's age. The Jacob's Creek Johann Shiraz Cabernet is said to be the icon of the entire Jacob's Creek range, named after founder, Johann Gramp. It definitely stood up to this classification.

Deep jammy, black currant and plum aromas with undertones of cedar and spice.
On the palate the wine shows development. Black ripe fruit is intertwined charred oak making this a perfect wine for the holiday season a cold winter evening.

The wine was bottled in March of 2003 after being carefully aged at the Jacob's Creek winery. Although this bottle has been resting for six years, another couple years of aging could potentially enhance the complexity of this already savoury wine.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Creek of the Week: 2004 St. Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon

Today's Creek of the Week is the St. Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra Australia. An inky garnet in color, this wine has pronounced mint and deep blackberry notes on the nose which stay true on the palate accompanied by soft tannins and hints of oak.

This wine is recommended for cellaring up to ten years, and it is our opinion that another 1-2 will make this wine to die for. However, this wine is also quite enjoyable now.

Jacob's Creek suggests pairing the St. Hugo with long aged cheddars and mild washed rind cheeses (“stinky”)

"Try the Idiazabal, Great Britain Spain, Sheep Milk. From the Basque region in Spain, the wheels are smoked over beech wood, giving it a smoky quality. Similar to Manchego, Roncal or Zamorano."

For the holidays, try this perfectly paired dish:

Filet Mignon Au Poivre


Coarsely cracked pepper

1/3 Cup Brandy or Cognac

Four 2-inch thick steaks

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 Tbsp Butter

1 Minced Shallot


Season both sides of steak with pepper and salt

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat

Saute the shallot until translucent, about 1 minutes

Add steaks, cook 3-4 minutes for medium rare

Transfer steaks to platter and add brandy to hot skillet

Quickly scrape sides and bottom of pan

Reduce heat and add heavy cream.

Pour over steaks and serve with your favorite sides

Monday, December 7, 2009

Creek of the Week: Jacob's Creek Centenary Hill Shiraz 2005

Two words: Absolutely delicious.
This wine excited my palate on this dreary Monday afternoon to a point I did not foresee.

A deep, inky purple with a garnet room, the aroma of this wine is dominated by vanilla oak aromas with hints of black pepper spice and jammy plum. On the palate, this wine stays true to the nose with flavours of vanilla, black cherries and a hint of spice. Soft tannins are elegantly balanced by the generous acid of the wine with a lingering finish of black olive.

To be fair, I love Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. Syrah in general is one of my favorite grapes and this regions is known for their characteristically deep, fruity flavours that I love so much.

The Centenary Hill Shiraz got it's named for the fig tree Fred Gramp, grandson of Johann Gramp, planted in 1947 in honor of the first 100 years of the Jacob's Creek Vineyard.

Jacob's Creek recommends decanting this wine as some sediment may be present in the bottle. It is also recommended that this wine be cellared for ten years. If it's this good now, imagine what is to come!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Creek of the Week: Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Classic 2006

The Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Classic is a true value wine. This wine retails at $6-$8 a bottle and never ceases to amaze consumers. This inky red wine has profound eucalyptus notes combined with mint and black cherries and subtle undertones of oak.

Full bodied in the mouth, the eucalyptus and mint follow through with notes of plum in the finish with an almost jammy characteristic. The wine is definitely fruit driven incorporating soft tannins and high acidity for an easily approachable wine, crafted to be drunk young.

This Cabernet Sauvignon would pair well with red sauce and pastas, lightly braised meats and sharp cheeses.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Did you know?... Jacob's Creek Random Fact #1

Did you know Jacob's Creek winery was founded in 1847 by a Bavarian named Johann Gramps? Today his original cellar is still standing as testament for his enduring passion for wine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Food Pairing and the Creek of the Week

Unfortunately, Chardonnay has gained a bad rap in the past few years because of its vast popularity and, perhaps, inconsistent stylistic differences that lead most consumers to believe all Chardonnays taste like you're sipping on a stick of butter.

Fortunately, there are still those Chardonnays out there that defy this cliche. Let us not forget that one of the most highly respected types of wine in the world, white Burgundy, is made entirely of this elusive grape.

The Reeves Point Chardonnay can also be put in the category or impressive, tasteful Chardonnay and can be a great go-to for pleasing all palates this Thursday (Thanksgiving.)

The Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay works great for all aspects a the day from the appetizer to the dessert and the best part is that the foods aren't complicated at all!

For appetizers, try a simple cheese and cracked platter, using mild cheddar cheese and light herb crackers, also consider incorporating smoked salmon. Other great appetizers are crab cakes or mushrooms stuffed with crab meat and herbs.

For the main event, focus on the sides. Green bean casserole and Chardonnay can pair delightfully as well as with baked carrots (especially if they are baked in Chardonnay!)

For dessert, although the table may be littered with heavy cream pies, it's important to remember that not all of your guests are looking to gain a few pounds from one meal. Chardonnay pairs great with fresh fruit options such as pineapple, mango and honeydew melon.

The Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay is a special treat for the occasion while simultaneously working as great addition to the meal.

Creek of the Week: Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay, 2005

This weeks wine of the week is the Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay 2005.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought it was appropriate to select from the highest quality of Jacob's Creek wines: the Heritage Collection.

The Jacob's Creek Reeve's Point Chardonnay shows incredible aging potential of up to ten years, which almost makes me want to cellar the wine instead of cracking it open, but alas, SOMEONE has to tell you what it tastes like.

The Reeves Point Chardonnay is from southern Australia and is named after the landing site on Kangaroo Island that Jacob's Creek's founder, Johann Gramp, landed in 1837 when he came from Bavaria.

The Chardonnay was aged in selected one and two year old French Oak barrels which comes through to the nose with a slightly nutty characteristic, but this does not inhibit the fresh, buttery lemon-citrus quality of the grape. Due to the oak, the wine is a deep lemon color that has begun to show some aging, despite it is only four years old.

On the palate, the wine melts in the mouth. The full-body is enhanced by buttery toasted oak characteristics, but still the lemony undertones of the Chardonnay come forth to balance out the wine leading to a tangy finish with impressive length and incredible balance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jacob's Creek Riesling Reserve 2008 named #73!

Wine Spectators Top 100 List of 2009 was officially released, in its entirety, today.

Coming in at number 73 is the Jacob's Creek Riesling Reserve 2008 and it's no wonder. If you remember, the Reserve Riesling was last week's creek of the week.

This was the only Australian Riesling to make the list -- and at $12.99/bottle, you simply can't go wrong!

It has refreshing acidity with fresh hints of lime and floral undertones. The wine provides an impressive length across the palate, infused with green apple and lime flavors. To see the official tasting sheet, look here.

As you've probably heard, this Riesling pairs well with oysters, shrimp and salmon as well as soft cheeses such as Brie, cream cheeses and Camembert. I don't know what it's like in every household at Thanksgiving, but our appetizer table is always full of cheese and crackers, shrimp, fresh oysters and sometimes, scallops wrapped in bacon -- I think the Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling will be a perfect aperitif to match.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pinot Noir and Ahi Tuna

We've all heard of the perfect pairing of Salmon and Pinot Noir, but what's even better? Ahi Tuna and Pinot Noir.

Something you should learn about me right now is that Ahi Tuna steak is my absolute favorite food. Call me spoiled, but I have Ahi Tuna at least once a week - sometimes two or three if I'm really lucky so it's no wonder I've had a lot of experience with finding a wine to pair with it.

I'm pretty basic in my tastes and thus, my cooking habits. I'm a big fan of natural flavors and often even avoid using salt. To be completely fair, salt is one of my least favorite additives (call it a childhood complex) so I generally bring the flavor in from other outlets such as seeds and nuts, unsalted of course.

My favorite recipe is Rare Yellowfin Tuna Steak encrusted with sesame seeds, which just so happens to have been Sunday night's dinner.

It's pretty simple to make. I just cover my tuna steaks completely with a combination of black and regular sesame seeds and freshly ground black pepper, preheat a skillet to medium heat, and cook each steak on each side for four minutes.

On the side of the steaks, I prepared a simple salad with balsamic vinegar and alfalfa sprouts on top and an orzo salad that consisted of almonds, green peas, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and crunchy sprouts with a light mustard and balsamic dressing.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I paired this meal with this week's Creek of the Week: the Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinot Noir. I was pleasantly surprised as I thought my cuisine choices may be too light for the Pinot, but alas, it was a great choice.

Don't take my word for it though, try it yourself!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creek of the Week: Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2007

2007 was a tricky year for Pinot Noir in the Adelaide Hills. Low yields of rainfall and high temperatures resulted in a small, but high quality crop of Pinot Noir grapes. Fortunately, that led to an intensely aromatic, fruit driven and balanced wine.

Medium red in color, the 2007 Pinot Noir has characteristic aromas and flavors of red fruits, particularly cherries, with a hint of herbs. Unlike some Australian Pinot Noir, there is no sign of an overpowering and unappetizing Eucalyptus to inhibit the fresh flavors of strawberry and rhubarb with sweet cherries.

Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with traditional spices of the season: clove, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme and nutmeg and also the earthy flavors of peppercorn, mushroom and coriander. As a result, the Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinot Noir is a great match for this time of year.

So grab a bottle, cozy up by a warm fire with your favorite seasonal comfort food and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spit & Twit at City Winery Recap

Sunday's Spit & Twit held at the City Winery, hosted by Wine Twits, was a great success- great wines, great people, great atmosphere- what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
In case you haven't heard Spit & Twit was based upon a unique platform. A special portion of the Twitterverse was set aside for attendees to tweet their thoughts on the given wines tasted that day. Monitors were set up throughout the venue to show the posts and comments participants were tweeting in real time.

Overall the crowd was full of budding wine enthusiasts, most attendees had little to no wine experience at all. A few industry insiders filtrated the crowd, but the majority of the audience was simply there to learn something about wine and have a great time - it's amazing how social media can bring every thing together!.

I was there representing Pernod Ricard wines:

Jacob's Creek of Australia: Reserve Shiraz 2006 and Reserve Riesling 2008

tt Wines of New Zealand: Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2008;

Graffigna Wines
of Argentina: Centenario Malbec 2006

Campo Viejo
: Rioja Reserva 2005

All of the wines received a great response - admittedly, Campo Viejo was a crowd favorite (See photo to the left), many coming to the table with the intention of retasting the wine they so adore!

Jacob's Creek was another crowd pleaser, the dry character of the Riesling was a real treat to tasters and the Shiraz was compared to that of a French Syrah, definite structure, but approachable.

The Graffigna Malbec and the Brancott Wines Sauvignon Blanc stayed true to the characteristics of their varietals and regions, each giving off perfect expression of what one might expect.

Though the Wine Twits do not have any similar events planned as of yet, we look forward to seeing what they'll come up with in the future!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Creek of the Week: Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2006

This week's Creek of the Week is Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz, one of the two Jacob's Creek wines featured at the Spit & Twit yesterday held at City Winery in NYC.

The Reserve Shiraz is similar to that of a French Syrah - approachable, but with significant structure. Light black fruits and peppered spices are enhanced by the full body of this wine, leading to a balanced complexity across the palate with integrated, smooth oak tannins.

The Jacob's Creek Shiraz has won 26 awards internationally and continues to impress consumers year after year.

Enjoy this wine now or allow it to age for up to 10 years. The wine is perfect when paired with game, red meats and cheeses and is also perfect company for stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and of course, Turkey!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Creek of the Week - Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling

The award-winning Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling had generous, appealing flavors of floral and citrus with hints of green apple. Perfectly balanced with outstanding length, this wine is the perfect choice for fall gatherings. The vibrant green of the 2008 vintage shows the youth of the wine, but this Riesling is ready to drink now.

If aging is your thing, the screw cap enclosure allows the flavor profile of the wine to develop to show honey and toast characteristics without the affect on color natural cork may have; believe me I've tried some older vintages they are delicious!

As the fall weather takes hold and Thanksgiving approaches, consider the Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling for your gatherings. Used as an aperitif and paired with appetizers such as crab cakes or soft cheeses.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perrier Jouet Tasting at Bryant Park Hotel, Loft Space

This past Friday's happy hour was not spent at the local bar offering $4.00 margaritas. Instead, industry insiders spent their afternoon sipping on the champagne that comprises the Perrier-Jouët portfolio and socializing with the Perrier-Jouët cellar master (a.k.a. Chef de Cave)Hervé Deschamps at the Bryant Park Hotel, Loft Space.

Hervé Deschamps is only the 7th Chef de Cave of Perrier-Jouët in the past 200 years. Hervé Deschamps succeeded André Bavaret in 1993, after 10 years of apprenticeship, and has since followed the traditions that Perrier-Jouët has used since the 1800s. Hervé Deschamps describes the philosophy, “I go straight to the blending stage, rather like an artist, trusting in an inexplicable fusion of intuition, sensitivity and skill.”

Hervé Spent last week in New York City, meeting various press relations, hosting luncheons, you name is. As a result, it must have been relaxing that the Friday evening tasting was very informal and attendees tasted the various champagnes at their leisure as Hervé Deschamps graciously answered each question.

The tasting spanned the Perrier-Jouët portfolio, beginning with the Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV. The wine, made of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meuniur and 20% Chardonnay, blended with 10%-20% Reserve wine to create the final cruveé displayed the distinct character of Perrier-Jouët; elegant, complex and crisp, well balanced with a fine, persistent mouthfeel lingering on the palate with tons of apples and lemon.

Next was the Perrier-Jouët 2000 Fleur de Champagne made up of 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. Despite the disconcerting weather of 2000, the year turned out to be great for vintage champagne.

Third in the lineup was the Perrier-Jouët 2000 Fleur de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, which is creation of Hervé Deschamps’ himself. This champagne is made of 100% Chardonnay and is only created in the best years. Suggested food pairing of caviar only enhances the high profile and elegance of the wine.

For the fourth and fifth champagnes, the tasting moved to rosé champagne. The Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé NV was first to be tasted, comprised of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay. 20% of the blend is comprised of reserve wines made of grapes sourced from several grand cru regions.

Finally, the Perrier-Jouët 2002 Fleur de Champagne Rosé. Composed of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay sourced from grand cru vineyards, this champagne is only aged four to five years instead of the typical six to seven to preserve the, “airy elegance of the rosé.”

Overall, the event was a great success. Participants were able to ask questions and taste wines at their own pace without feeling the pressure one may sometimes feel in a guided tasting. At about 6pm, the event wrapped up and Hervé Deschamps’ was whisked to JFK to catch an evening flight back to France. He hopes to return to the United States in March.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spit & Twit

On November 8th, Wine Twits (of will be hosting Spit & Twit at City Winery in New York City from 2-6p.m.

Pernod Ricard Wines USA is participating and yours truly will be pouring some fabulous wines.

On the list we have:

Jacob's Creek
of Australia: Reserve range

Brancott Wines
of New Zealand: Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2008; Classic Pinot Noir (2007); Classic Pinot Grigio 2008; Brancott "B" Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Graffigna Wines
of Argentina: Centenario Malbec; Centenario Cabernet Sauvignon; Centenario Pinot Grigio

"City Winery, Manhattan’s first functioning winery in over 40 years teams up with WineTwits, WIRED, Riedel and Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit to create the first ever online fully interactive wine tasting. Focused on creating a twitter-powered community bringing together wine and tech enthusiasts in an immersive environment, Spit & Twit will require guests to have a Twitter account and mobile device in order to participate.

Spit & Twit will be the first event of its kind blending together the traditional world of wine tastings with new media and technology. The room will be set up like a traditional tasting, with stations featuring wines from around the globe, from Italy to Argentina, Napa to New York. Representatives from major wine labels will be on hand to educate and inform.

Whereas a typical tasting involves attendees busily scribbling in notebooks, Spit & Twit participants will be able to ‘tweet’ their tasting notes and thoughts as they walk around the room. The tweet-feed will be simultaneously broadcast locally to plasma screens around the room and globally to the online community utilizing the technology of our partner WineTwits.

The live feed will encourage interaction between the participants as the collective public discussion evolves on the screens throughout the space allowing for some fun interaction between guests. City Winery will also debut some innovative methodology to allow followers outside of the event to capture the spirit of the tasting, with unique hash tags to be created for all wines.

In addition wines that garner the most positive feedback will be considered for pouring by the glass on City Winery’s menu. These elements are designed to encourage the fertile cross-pollination of technology and wine in a way never seen before.

Spit & Twit is set to create a vibrant and unique user generated experience that seamlessly melds the traditions of a walk around tasting with the immediacy of collaborative online discussion. With over 100 wines from producers from around the world, Spit & Twit will provide wine fans around the world a unique opportunity to experience the evolution of a unique tasting.

Part proceeds will be donated to to help fund their programs to bring computers and computing skills to public schools."

I hope to see you there!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tailgating with the Aussies

As a recent college grad of the University of Connecticut (class of 2008) and a current Connecticut resident, there is no way I can miss UConn's Homecoming Football game this year on October 17.

In case you haven't heard, Connecticut is lacking in professional sports teams, so UConn sports are a major focus. UConn's hometurf is built in East Hartford, CT at Rentschler Field, which not only permits tailgating, but it encourages it. Despite the fact the game starts at 12:30pm, we hope to make it to the field (Weather permitting) by 9:30am at the latest, fire up the grill and have some good drinks, food and fun before we watch the Huskies dominate Louisville.

Anyway, the point is that drinking early in the morning can be rough on a person if they choose the wrong beverage. Normally at breakfast occasions, one may think of Mimosas and Bloody Marys, but when you're gearing up for an intense football game, we skip the light cocktails and go straight for the good stuff.

I've thought good and long about this since I bought my ticket back in August and finally decided that for a cool October day filled with a plethora of tailgating food, the best option is a deep, meaty Shiraz. What Shiraz do you ask? Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz. At around $13 a bottle it fits a price point that you don't necessaily mind opening it in a field and won't give you a hangover by 4pm. Not to mention the screw cap makes it ideal for easy opening!

The JC Reserve Shiraz is described as a full bodied wine, displaying rich fruit flavors or dark berries and plums and velvety tannins. Lovely acid balance and integration of flavors resulting in a supple and engaging wine with a lingering finish of spice, chocolate and mocha. Pairs well with meats, game and cheese." Mmmm can't wait until I sink my teeth into a delicious home prepared cheeseburger, fresh off the grill, followed by this wine (served, of course, in a classy, stemless wine glass...we may be roughing it in the tailgating field, but there is no way I'm drinking out of a solo cup!)

Tomorrow can't come soon enough! Go Huskies!

Friday, October 9, 2009


So here's the deal.

I love wine. I spend as much time as I can reading about wine, tasting wine, talking about wine, learning about wine, sharing wine, pairing wine with food... you get the idea. So imagine my delight when I was offered my dream job working with some highly respectable brands like Jacob's Creek and Perrier Jouet Champagne.

You've probably heard of the event that happened at the Australian in NYC back in September by now, but I've got the inside scoop on events like that and others coming up so stay tuned!