Faustini Wines Blog
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Malbec, the deep skinned varietal. You may think that most Malbec’s can only come from Argentina but today you will find many plantings grown all over the beautiful state of California. Not as often as consumed with its blending cousins Cabernet and Merlot, Malbec is a grape that’s not to be missed when drank on its own.
A little history about this amazing varietal. It’s often thought that Malbec originated in Argentina where it is widely grown but did you know Malbec actually comes from France? Many people associate Malbec with Argentina when in fact the grapes were born in the Bordeaux region of France. The main reason Malbec didn’t rise in stature in France was its susceptibility to disease and rot. In the mid-19th century, Argentinians went to France to find a grape that would bring up the quality of their wines. They came back with Malbec which has flourished in the Mendoza region of Argentina. For almost 100 years, Malbec remained an Argentinian wine. In the late 1990’s, Malbec began to be planted in parts of California and Washington State. Due to the long, arid growing season, cool nights and abundant sunshine, the Malbec’s of California are full of bright flavor and color.
Almost from the first harvests, California grape growers and winemakers discovered that Malbec could yield particularly stunning results. A typical Malbec is fruit-forward with flavors of dark purple fruit akin to blackberry, black cherry and huckleberry.
Nestled from the prized Mueller vineyard in Carneros district of Napa Valley, the 2016 Faustini Malbec is made like no other. The grapes are harvested at the end of the growing season in late September. The grapes were hand sorted and went through a cold soak at 55 degrees to retain freshness. After a 10 day fermentation period the wine was moved to French Oak Barrels. 50 % new (for intense flavor) and 50 % neutral (for more moderate flavor). The wine aged in these barrels for 20 months prior to bottling. With a deep garnet purple hue the 2016 Malbec brims with black plum, boysenberry and warm clove on the nose. The palate is smooth and medium bodied with lush supple tannins and bright acidity. Secondary flavors of black currant and dark chocolate dominate the palate followed by lingering notes of black pepper and all-spice.
What do I want to eat with this? Fire up the grill because this wine has me in the mood for a juicy burger! The burger I’m going to make actually calls for a little bit of the wine put into the meat mixture for a little extra flavor. Wait, did you say wine IN the burger? Yes I did, you’ll thank me later :). Atop the burger with some aged cheddar and braised onions, we have ourselves a trip to a steakhouse in our very own home. YUMM! Check out recipes page to see how I’ll be making this coveted wine burger, or should I say Malbec burger. Till next time oenophiles, cheers!
-Shannon Hurley, Certified Sommelier
Although every season is a good for pairing food and wine, summer, with its lighter food offerings seems to be perfect for pairing refreshing crisp white or rosé wines. In summer, we tend to eat lighter and simpler -- fresh garden salads, grilled vegetables, fresh fruit, and simple cheese platters. A crisp cool wine offers a refreshing option for these lighter foods. There is nothing better than the look of condensation on an elegant wine glass, and savoring that first cool sip of wine. Add in a comfortable patio chair, on a boat or at the beach I think we can agree that nothing could be more relaxing!
White wines tend to have a crisper finish than reds, which leaves our palates feeling more refreshed. When we eat a food, our palate is coated with the flavors of that food. The crisp finish on a white light bodied wine washes over our palate and intermixes with the food, creating a unique food and wine pairing experience. If a wine is too heavy, it can overpower the flavors of the food. So for lighter foods, a lighter wine offers that perfect combination of flavor and body. For Summer white wine drinking we recommend pairing our 2012 Beach House # 34 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Play Date Chardonnay and of course our Velvet & Vinyl Brut Sparkling. The Sauvignon Blanc is the lightest, perfect for any kind of grilled fish or vegetable, followed by the Chardonnay, unoaked in style it’s a great match for most light sauces and pasta dishes, last is the bubbly which is of course great anytime but also excellent with any raw bar items or sushi.
If you crave a wine with a little more fruit quality but the same crispness and food pairing quality of a white, rosés are also a great summer option. Rosés are once again becoming a popular wine style and the offerings are far more expansive. The Play Date Syrah Rosé is crisp and dry (almost like a light Pinot Noir in a way) and can definitely suit either a white or red drinker’s palate. Nowadays if you browse the Rose section of a wine shop will find that rosés that come from many different regions and are made from a wide variety of grapes. Summer is a great time to explore your taste buds and try different styles of lighter wines.
With the warm weather in full bloom it’s time to take a break from those heartier pairings and lighten up with a refreshing take. We’re talking Rosé!
The development of Rosé wine dates back to the 1700’s with the popularity of “Claret” meaning clear or light-colored wine. This was a popular style of red Bordeaux during the 1700′s. Back then, the British were the ones who favored pale style wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Of course these days Bordeaux wines have become gallant and darker, and the lovely rosé has received a category of its very own.
Today rosé has a variety of names depending on its origin. Whether you call it “Rosé” in France or America, “Rosado” in Spain, “Rosato” in Italy or simply “blush" – they all refer to some seriously pink business. The wines can typically range from a light salmon subtle hue to a vibrant magenta pink, depending on the grape used and how long the skins were in contact with the juice. Rosés can be made in three different styles off-dry, sweet, or dry the most popular style produced around the world today. There are two different ways to make Rosé. First we have “Saignee” this is the practice of “bleeding off” lightly tinted grape juice after a brief maceration process (soaking of grape skins). Since wine’s color actually comes from the skins, the longer the skins, pips and seeds remain in contact with the grape, the darker and more tannic the rosé gets. The second less common way is to simply blend white wine with a red to make it appear pink.
Think Pink, Drink Pink!
Our rosés are the perfect pairing for spring and summer, since they are served chilled and can be a refreshing garnish to any warm day. They are also extremely versatile wines and pair well with a number of different dishes.
It’s not too often that you’ll find a Malbec Rosé coming out of Napa. Although this grape has some Argentinian roots, this crisp wine is often compared to a Provence style rosé.
Aroma: Ripe cherry & peach flesh with hints of strawberry
Palate: Pink grapefruit & tart red currant flavors linger softly on the fresh finish
Food Pairing: Grilled Mahi-Mahi with bell pepper salad
This full bodied rose is beautifully layered with ripe fruit from the Coomsville AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Napa, with the overall balance to pair with just about anything.
Aroma: Cranberry, fresh watermelon & rose petal
Palate: Pomegranate & ripe black cherry with subtle cinnamon notes
Food Pairing: Sirloin burger with maple bacon, blue cheese & sweet potato fries
So wine lovers, if you are opting to try something outside of your wine box don’t be afraid! Rosé is on the rise and many people have discovered the truth behind the myth that all rosés are “sweet and girly”. Come stop by our tasting room on Broad Street in Red Bank today for a flight with our featured rosés. Till next time, Cheers!
Enjoy Father's Day next week with a great recipe from Faustini Wines.
3/4 Cup Chopped Pancetta
3/4 Cup Chopped Roma Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
2 dozen Fresh Little Neck Clams
4 cloves Chopped Garlic
3 Tablespoon Un-Salted Butter
1 Tablespoon Chopped Itailan Parsley
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Teaspoon Grey Salt
Pinch Crushed Red Pepper flakes (optional)
1 Lemon (Juice of)
In sauté pan, add olive oil and pancetta and render it down. Then add onion and cook until almost transparent, then add garlic. Add mixture into a roasting pan along with butter, lemon juice, grey salt, wine, clams, and red pepper flakes (optional).
Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and place inside oven pre-heated at 425 degrees (you can also place on an outdoor grill). Allow 10-15 minutes cook time. As the first clam opens, add chopped tomatoes and cover for another 2-5 minutes. Once all of the clams open, remove from oven/grill place into large bowl and add chopped parsley. Enjoy
Also, great over linguine