Wine of the Week: Jacuzzi Barbera

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Vintage: 2011

Region: Rancho Victoria - Sierras

Style: Barbera

Country: USA

Winery: Jacuzzi

Tasting Notes: Very indicative of the varietal with cherry and strawberry on the tongue. Bright, light, and tasty.

Rating: 🍷🍷🍷

Thoughts: Here’s an Italian grape presented in the hills of Sonoma County, California. We discovered Jacuzzi after a not great experience with another, will-remain-unnamed vineyard drove us away. (Hint—women do drink red wine…). Jacuzzi was open, welcoming, and had some intriguing Italian-based wines, so we had to give them a try. We brought this bottle home and just cracked it open last week, and boy, did it stand up well to a few years of cellaring. I wouldn’t let this vintage go too much more, but it was very good.

Pairings: This Barbera is on the lighter side of reds, so this is a perfect wine with lemon chicken or grilled fish.



Wine of the Week: Ledson Legend Red

Vintage: 2006

Region: Sonoma Valley

Style: Blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon

Country: USA

Winery: Ledson

Tasting Notes: Spicy and bold, with a blend of jammy merlot and rich cabernet grapes, this drinks like a Bordeaux and looks like a Pinot.

Rating: 🍷🍷🍷🍷

Thoughts: Several years ago, on a birthday trip to Napa and Sonoma, we saw a cool château off the Sonoma Valley main highway. Thinking perhaps we could snag a last minute tasting, we stopped in, and it was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. You’re going to see a few wines from Ledson on The Wine Vixen, because we joined their wine club that day. I’m always impressed by the quality of their wines. If you’re interested in a club, this is the best one out there. They welcomed us with open arms, have customized cases for us, are always open and willing to see us if we want to stop by, and make DAMN. GOOD. WINE.

Pairings: Steak, steak, steak.

My Vivino

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.