Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Chardonnay 2013

by Amy

I have to tell you something. And you have to promise that you won't think less of me, ok?

I don't really like Chardonnay that much.


*cue the crickets*

Oh, I know, I know—I like this one. But most of the time, if I see Chardonnay on a wine list, I'm going to skip it. 

I feel like there's something I'm missing, like with truffle oil. Everybody goes ga-ga over truffle oil, practically melting with giddiness anytime it's on a menu. And then there's me:

What's all the fuss about??

I dunno. I wonder if my palate is broken, like the owner of a local eatery told me once. I had inquired if his tarragon chicken salad was actually supposed to taste "that way"—which, I didn't say aloud, "that way" tasted like a rotting corpse (apparently, it was). Oops.

Anyway. After a tasting hosted by the awesome Dan Hutchinson of local wine haven The Wine Shoppe of Green Hills, I had a revelation:
 

💡 I Don't hate all Chardonnays—
I just dislike oaky Chardonnays. 💡
 

That, my friends, was a game-changer. Given my affinity for lighter whites, it all makes sense. So now I can go about my merry way and find some lightly-oaked to non-oaked Chardonnays and be pleased with my purchase.

Like with today's recommendation:
Francis Ford Coppola
Votre Santé Chardonnay 2013
.
 

Tasting Notes

Light, buttery, and slightly oaky with a lovely pale-gold color, this wine's got a little minerality to it, along with lemon and vanilla notes. Medium-high alcohol content will make this a good accompaniment for rich meals—it lingers a bit on the tongue.

Price Point

Coppola wines give you a lot of bang for your buck. This one clocks in at $15.99.

Pairing Suggestions

Something with a bit of richness or creaminess, like curry, carbonara, or salmon with a buttery sauce.

Kenwood 2011 Yulupa Zinfandel (with two bonus recipes!)

By Amy

I promise I'm not shirking my white wine duties.

But. 

I really couldn't let you go another day without hearing about this zinfandel. And what I paired with it.

As for the wine, Kenwood's 2011 Yulupa Zinfandel is just delightful. Fruit-forward and balanced, with a nice touch of acidity and mild tannins, this zin was a refreshing to drink while I prepared dinner. And the price isn't bad, either; it was about $15 at my local wine shop. 

But I daresay this wine was even better when I paired it with pan-seared red snapper and mango-avocado salsa. 

Oh. Yeah.

I owe you an apology: I don't have any photos of this dish. I know, I know, that's a cardinal sin in the food blog world. But Boyfriend and I scarfed it down too quickly to snap photos (fish gets cold fast, you guys), so you're just gonna have to trust me on this, ok?

You need to make this fish.

I don't even like fish that much, but I'm trying to justify when it's ok for me to make it again (answer: this weekend).

That is how much you need to make this fish. Ok?


Pan-Seared Red Snapper

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or your favorite high-heat-compliant oil: olive, canola, etc.)
  • Two 6-oz. red snapper fillets (keep the skin on, if you'd like a little crispy texture—it looks weird, but tastes so good) 
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin—for dusting the fish


Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium-high, until melted and rippling.
     
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with spices (a light dusting will do—you don't want to go overboard, you've got a salsa to eat with it!).
     
  3. Place the fish in the pan, flesh-side first, cooking for 5 minutes per side. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
     
  4. Top with mango-avocado salsa, and serve alongside a light salad, or green beans with cilantro pesto (want this recipe? tell me in the comments).


Mango-Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 mango, diced into ½-inch pieces (Don't know how to cut a mango? Click here.)
  • 2 avocados, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ one medium red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or a light-tasting olive oil)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions

In a big ol' bowl, mix all the ingredients. Feel free to make this before the fish, so the flavors can meld together in the fridge while you're prepping the snapper.

*FYI: this makes about a quart of salsa, and it's perfectly acceptable to eat this with a spoon. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience. 

Joel Gott Zinfandel 2013

by Amy

Looking for a lighter red under $20?

I think I may have something for you.

Joel Gott Zinfandel's 2013 vintage is a bit earthy on the nose, with hints of sage, rosemary, and plum—a bit fruity without being too jammy, thanks to some leather and tobacco notes. A little acid and silky tannins round out a nice, long finish. 

If you're looking for a lighter red this spring (maybe to go with some aromatic Cinco de Mayo fare?), this one's a good buy at $18.99.

Cycles Gladiator Syrah 2010

by J.T.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We've all had a long week. Today is Friday, the day we long to cut through the clutter, tidy our inboxes, wrangle the week's remaining cats, and go home and watch Netflix.

I'm all for that. Especially today.

So without further ado, I give you today's wine:

the delicious Cycles Gladiator Syrah 2010.

This Californian syrah's got some nice fruity, earthy notes with soft, mild tannins. On the nose, I picked up plum, raspberry, leather, and topsoil. These notes transferred nicely to the palate filled with earth, plummy berries, and black pepper. I'd say the alcohol level is pretty middling, but the wine does have a nice zing that lingers on the back of your tongue, a tantalizing tease that says, See? You know you want some more . . . 

I'll bet this would taste pretty fine next to a spring dish laden with strawberries—savory or sweet (some crostini with goat cheese, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and basil, perhaps?). And, because I always think ahead, this syrah would pair spectacularly with flavors of fall: apples, sage, sweet potatoes.

You can't go wrong with a perennial pairing, y'all.

I think this one's a steal at $9.99.

Go forth, and get thee some wine and Netflix. You deserve it! 

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2014

by Amy

hi, we're back!

Well, hello there!

Long time no see! 

I promise we're not dead. We've been a wee bit busy with the book part of our world, launching a new book you might've heard us mention one or twice.

Or a million times. 

But we're finally back in the wine saddle, thank goodness! 

A couple things you might wanna know:

1. We're going to be posting new wine every Friday, just in time for you to hop over to your favorite wine shop and stock up for your weekend!

2. We're on Instagram! And by "on Instagram," I mean we'll be posting via J.T.'s account using #thewinevixen on all our wine posts. Use that hashtag to follow the fun.

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming!


Ahh, it's springtime!

Longer days, warmer nights, lots of budding trees and the return of the color green.

'Tis the season for white wine!

Today I've brought you a value wine that's got some bang for its buck. You'll want to pair this one with your spring dishes: anything with chicken, asparagus, mild cheeses, or something light and fresh.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2014 is a medium-dry Riesling—it's not too sweet, lending itself as a delicious apéritif (but it drinks well by itself, too!). It's lightly floral, tasting of apple blossoms, peach, and lime, and offset by slight minerality, giving the wine a nice balance.

And guess what?

It's only $9.