Tag Archives: Chardonnay

When #TasteMyTweet turns into #TweetMyDebautchery- a Twittelating tale…

Cost: Average price $12

Where buy now: Costco

Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot

Region: Australia

Vintage: 2009

A delayed post once again, but perhaps indicative of the recovery required from last week’s episode of #TasteMyTweet. So, what is this? “#TasteMyTweet” was originated by a few Twitter folks (“Tweeps” in Twitter world speech): Amanda: @sweetnsundefinednazzy, Zipp’s Liquors’ Jeff: @zippswine & Wine Geek TV, and a second Jeff: @WineGeekTV. A wine theme is chosen, everyone brings bottles and tastes each wine then tweets our on-the-spot reviews.

Seems fairly simple, right? Well, with a mixed bag of leg wrestling, bees, several more bottles of wine, more bees, electrocution and dumpsters, it may devolve into #TweetMyDebautchery.

Let me explain.

Last week, the plan for “#TMT” was to taste wines from Australia. There were no rules about price point, nor red/white preferences, just the wonderful instruction to “bring something you want to try and/or something you’re excited about”. Sounds wonderful- innocent, even.

We began with an Aussie white wine called, “The White One” it was 84% Arneis and 16% Chardonnay.

The White One

This $12 gem was purchased from Pairings in Eden Prairie, and was quite pleasant to drink alone. We also agreed that it tasted great with the Montamore cheese made by Sartori. It was medium bodied, yet crisp. Thought it would compliment roasted or grilled chicken with herbs such as rosemary & thyme.

The second wine wasn’t even from Australia so I’ll skip over it. [Fail.]

The third wine was Clancy’s, a Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot blend I found for $9.99 at Costco.

Clancy’s Shiraz Cabernet Merlot

This wine was a juicy, jammy number that we rather liked. It had that dark purplish hue and medium body to it. It was dry, yet fruit forward with tastes of plum, dark cherry and smoky wood. With the $10 price tag on this buy now/drink now Aussie, I’ll buy this again in a heartbeat, and was a highlight for Jeff #2 (sorry for the unfortunate nickname, Jeff).

This was the part of the evening when things began to go awry.  I say this because, well, if I hadn’t taken pictures of the wines, this blog entry would have to end here with a series of “Scene Missing” signs. What I do recall is that this was about when bees first entered the picture. You see, we were outside of Zipp’s, somewhat near the dumpsters. We were in a basically odorless patio but the bees found their way to our nectar. Thank goodness Jeff #1 [from Zipp’s], had this tennis racket thingy that electrocutes bees. This is how we started swatting.

Wine Geek TV Jeff #2

Next on the list was Yalumba Grenache from Barossa Valley. Urrrr, ummm, it was… good. Yep, that’s all I got.

Yalumba Grenache

Before long, the leg wrestling began. Jeff #1 and Amanda [aka “@SweetnSnazzy”] were on the ground, battling.

Zipps Jeff & SweetnSnazzy

If that wasn’t enough, somehow when they returned to the table, Jeff #1 managed to knick the tennis racket and electrocute himself. It appeared almost as painful, as it did hilarious for the rest of us. Unlike Jeff #2, Jeff #1 likes stanky-ass cheese so we opened the one that he brought. Amanda likened the taste to “a woman who’s been constantly tanning/smoking Virginia Slims for 50+ years”. Ringing endorsement. Following this interestingly detailed and bizarre description, sheer curiosity consumed me. I went in. Oh, I shouldn’t have. Ewww. Even after copious wine slurping, this was even too stank funky for a James Brown groove.

Okay (*breath*, refers to yourself in the third person), Savvy hits the next bottle. This one was the Heartland Stickleback Red, or so says the photo. Honestly, I… I got nothing. Like Mr. Reagan once testified, I don’t recall. I’m going to say I liked it because I don’t remember thinking that I didn’t like it. How’s that for reason and logic?

Heartland Stickleback Red’

Near the end of the Tweet session, a Zipp’s employee came out to the patio, and more leg wrestling ensued.

Taint Misbehavin’

All in all, the night was fun as hell. Again, this is my rendition of the evening, based on tweets and photos I re-assembled the next day. Perhaps Zipp’s Jeff #1, Amanda or WineGeekTV Jeff #2 would put a different spin on the evening, but, we all agreed we can’t wait for the next one. Hope I’m not involved in the electrocution.

Fritz Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Cost: Average price $23.99

Where buy now: Byerly’s Ridgedale

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

Region: Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California

Vintage: 2007

Fritz Chardonnay

The Fritz Chardonnay

Golden glowing in my glass

Lemony smooth love

This wine is so delightful that it made me write a haiku. Remember writing haikus in school? I loved it. What a great exercise to tell a story within a concise 5/7/5 phrasing. I believe the haiku once was the Japanese equivalent to Twitter.

I could wax on and on about this but instead, let me introduce you to one of my favorite wines. First, a disclosure: I’m not a huge Chardonnay drinker. Perhaps this is why I hold this special wine so near and dear to my heart. Second, I don’t know ONE person who doesn’t love this wine. I’d even go so far as to say that this wine was the impetus to start this whole Savvy Lush endeavor!

Flashback almost three years ago, I was perusing the St. Anthony Village Municipal’s (aka “The Muni” or “SAV”) aisles when I saw wine sale signs proclaiming, “Only store in Minnesota who has this wine!”. (Insert car tire screech sound effect.) Hmmmm… $14. Go out of my $10 comfort zone, and for what? A bottle of *gasp* Chardonnay? Hey, you gots to roll the dice sometimes, folks.

That night will forever go down in history as “The evening I fell in love with Fritz”.

What did I fall in love with? This is a superlatively balanced Chardonnay: not too citric, not too oaky, not too buttery, but a solid bit of all three! Aromas of lemon zest, hints of guava, and the a minor touch of vanilla keeps this wine smooth and supple whilst magic carpeting your ass to Happy. Where is “Happy”? I don’t know, but when you’re already floating on a magic carpet, and you’ve got Fritz in tow, it’s always around the bend. Oh, and it never hurts to throw Javier Bardem in there somewhere.

I rushed out the next day, bought another couple bottles, and took one to a dinner party that night. My friends loved it so much, the host called a week later asking about it. Not long after, I bought another bottle and took it to yet another dinner party. They fell similarly smitten, and called up the next day to ask where I purchased it. In fact, they loved it so much, they bought a whole damn case of it! The REAL coup de tat was with crab legs on my b-day. I have trouble discussing that experience without fits of nostalgic tears. Salty, buttery tears.

And so, this love affair continued for a few months, until one day, The SAV Muni sold out of it. I found out from the friends who bought a case, and who wisely bought the remaining bottles. Even though they brought us a bottle, it seemed like the end of an era. (BTW, that bottle sat in the fridge gathering ogling glances for almost two years! That is the longest a bottle has sat in my house.)

A wine this good surely would show up at some other fine spirit peddling establishment, right? But alas, I could never find it. Finally,curiosity and pure longing prompted me to contact the winery. They sent me to the distributor. The distributor told me about a couple restaurants that _may_ be serving it. Ugh, no. This is not working for me. So, I turned to the social media airwaves, calling upon the [cyber] Wine Gods for anyone local to please, please stock the Fritz Chardonnay! My pleading call to action was answered by Byerly’s in both Ridgedale and Eagan.

Three years later this wine runs for $23.99, but it is sooooo worth it. I’ve gathered that there’s going to be a slight shortage of premium California wines from this vintage. Rodney from Byerly’s Ridgedale made me privy to this article: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/46591/Wine Spectator

The evil trifecta of lackluster crops, depleted vines and increased consumption will likely result in increased prices. In the meantime, Byerly’s Ridgedale stocked up so there is Fritz Chardonnay for everyone to enjoy! Pick up a couple bottles. Enjoy one now and save one. Head down to Sea Salt Eatery in Minnehaha Falls Park with a bottle in tow. For a mere $5 corkage fee, sip it alongside some fish tacos and a crab cake sammie, or perhaps some salmon (the other pink meat).

Happy carpet riding, indeed.

Famiglia Meschini Premium White Blend

Cost: Average price $11.99

Where buy now: Byerly’s Wines & Spirits, Minnetonka- $11.99, Swirl in Afton – $11.99

Grapes: Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Vintage: 2011

Famiglia Meschini Premium White Wine Blend

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Eugenio & Teresa Meschini, co-owners of the winery Famiglia Meschini. They met at St. Thomas University, where he was a Chemistry major and she was a French and Business major. Guy meets girl, falls in love, marries, they have babies, yadda yadda yadda. A few years later, they invest in a vineyard being developed by a good friend near his hometown of Mendoza, Argentina. For me, THIS is where the magic begins.

Eugenio & Teresa

Early on in our visit, the Meschini’s came clean: they are not wine purists. They are atypically fearless with their blends, always brainstorming new combinations. Also, these folks are not afficianados in lab coats, J Crew khakis and dark rimmed glasses discussing the aromatic nuances of wet dog and feet (two ACTUAL terms used by wine critics- I cannot make this up). The Meschini’s come to the wine industry having been lovers of the grape and making what they enjoy. As Teresa put it, “We make wines, but not to impress. If no one else likes our wine, we’ll just have to drink them.” Amen, sister!

Eugenio then discussed the early 1990s wine-boom in Argentina. In the mid-20th Century, Argentine wines were “crap”- nothing but glorified church wine at best. He firmly believes, though many Argentines don’t want to admit it, that the French influence during the 1970s/early 80s was crucial. He said the French brought new techniques and standards, including the use of stainless steel tanks and coal, that advanced the local production of today.

Famiglia Meschini is located about 3200 ft above sea level right at the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, facing West. The vines get hot sun during the day and cool night breezes to maintain a balanced stress, which provides depth and character to the grapes. Meschini vineyards sell 90% of their grapes to other wineries. What they do with the other 10%, well, let’s find out.

Spring sippin’ on the patio

I tasted two from their line: a white blend and a Malbec-Syrah blend. For those die-hard Malbec lovers, I implore you to try the Malbec -Syrah. The white blend is like a white Bordeaux, but with a Latin kick from the influence of the lightly effervescent Torrontes. I poured a glass one sunny afternoon and sat back on my patio. “Ah, life is good,” I thought to myself. The sun glistened off the condensating glass of light golden nectar. The aroma of apple and citrus fruit are apparent, and upon first sip, these flavors swirl around your mouth. There is also an ever so slight hint of what I’d call vanilla oak. It’s soft and round, not super sweet nor syrupy, yet a little heavier than a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Torrontes due to the Chardonnay. The Ugni Blanc & Sauvignon Blanc keep the crisp acidic citrus and floral notes balanced while the Torrontes gives it that apricot Latin kick of fizz I was referring to earlier. (Whew! Time to grab my labcoat and glasses after that diatribe.)

This is a fun wine! Drink it minus food distractions and you’ll enjoy it. Or, I paired it with a combination of grilled cod, spicy Asian noodles and spinach salad. (I know- WTF? It was at the end of the month as was our grocery budget.) This wine would pair well with fish and salad but it would also pair well with spicy Asian fare. I had enough for one glass, and let a couple girlfriends sample it, instantly they asked where they could get it. That’s a ringing endorsement!

I implore you to support this great family vineyard. If you live in the Western Metro, you know I’m sending you to Byerly’s in Minnetonka (PS, their wine sale is happening right now.) If you live in the Eastern Metro or Western Wisconsin, check out Swirl in Afton. Live in the city? Sorella Wines, France 44, Solo Vino, Thomas Liquor, South Lyndale Liquors are a few as well.