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Friday, October 19, 2012

Wine Broad "Andy" Stover with Fall Wines

Broadminded with Chiefwino, Andrew Stover Sommelier from OYA Restaurant, www.oyadc.com, SEI Restaurant, www.seirestaurant.com and the NEW SAX Restaurant & Lounge, www.saxwdc.com. Founder of Vino50 Selections, www.vino50.com and Chiefwino wine blog, www.chiefwino.com BIG REDS!! The weather is a changing. Leaves are falling. That can only mean one thing…. Time to get out the BIG REDS! Reds for heartier fall/winter fare and curling up next to the fire . Montepulciano from Italy I love weird grapes and not that Montepulciano is weird per se, the grape has not quite hit the mainstream like Merlot and Malbec. Cultivated in central Italy to the west of Rome, Montepulciano makes a BIG red that reminds me of Merlot or Malbec with its soft and supple texture but often with a freshness and minerality not found in the other 2 types of wine. Pair with some roast game meat or even game foul. Partridge anyone? Taste: San Lorenzo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy SRP $11.99 Find: http://www.siemawines.com/product-portfolio/italy/abruzzi/san-lorenzo/ Merlot Ever since the hit movie Sideways, Merlot sales have been in the toilet for better or for worse. I don’t get it. Here is a grape that produces a big red that is also soft and supple. I cringe when someone says to me “I HATE Merlot.” I always assume they’ve had some bad Merlot from somewhere as there are certainly less than stellar bottlings floating about but this is true of almost any type of wine. There’s even BAD Champagne on the market. GASP! For a change, try and get your hands on some Merlot from Virginia. The grape does well in some vineyards and tastes more like a French wine that a big California fruit bomb. If you like the Merlot based blends from the right bank of Bordeaux (Like St. Emilion or Pomerol), these wines are for you. Good examples can be found from Breaux Vineyards, Boxwood Winery, Barboursville Vineyards and King Family Vineyards. Taste: Boxwood ‘Trellis’ Merlot Blend, Middleburg, Virginia SRP $20 Find: http://www.boxwoodwinery.com MALBEC I probably don’t even need to mention Malbec but the popularity of this big red seems unstoppable. With the help of the favorable exchange rate with the Argentine Peso and assistance in promoting from the Argentine Government, Malbec has become an international superstar among the red wine drinking crowd. But buyer beware, there is much not so amazing Malbec on the market, often in those really inexpensive bottles lurking under $10 a bottle. I tend to find the $12-20 range usually gets you a good example of Malbec with enough fruit to balance the often heavy use of oak and I don’t mean barrels; think wood chips kids. Taste: Ruca Malen Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina SRP $18 AND Chateau Saint Didier Parnac ‘Prieure de Cenac’, Cahors, France SRP $25 Find: http://opiciwines.com/wine/ruca-malen/malbec-reserva/2008/ Find: http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalog/chateau-saint-didier-parnac-2009-prieure-de-cenac-malbec-cahors Tip: Malbec isn’t native to Argentina but rather the southwest of France. It found its way to northern Italy and THEN to Argentina by way of Italian immigrants. CABERNET SAUVIGNON This big daddy grape probably does not need much introduction or explanation but let’s just say if BIG RED is your game, then Cabernet Sauvignon is your match. I’ve been exploring the Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State recently and find they are ever more impressive than comparable wines from California, especially in the mid-price range. I tend to enjoy the slightly more refined style found from Washington State, especially the texture. Many are often super soft and supple and perfectly enjoyed on their own but better when paired to a grilled steak. Taste: Six Prong Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington SRP $23.99 Find: http://www.washingtonwine.org/wineries/six-prong/wines/six-prong-cabernet-sauvignon/