April 2016 Wine & Cheese Club

Wine & Cheese Club April 2016
It has been an eventful week, and frankly we’re kind of amazed that Wine Club is ready on schedule. A major water leak in the apartment above the store meant that part of Easter weekend and Tuesday was spent mopping floors, assessing damage, and praying the original tin ceiling didn’t collapse (it didn’t…whew!). In the end, it was nothing a good bottle of wine and a mop couldn’t take care of.

Chocolate Walk is sold out, but don’t forget the other special events taking place this month:

  • Stars Over Valpo, Sunday, April 3rd at 6:00pm. Tickets still available at OWM! Megan and Chris will perform on the first set of this line-up of the best musical talent in the region.
  • OWM Wine Tasting, Saturday, April 30th from 11:00-3:00. Free, with about 15 wines in the tasting tent and food samples inside the store. It’s a great time, rain or shine!

Everyone gets: Spellbound Petite Sirah 2013
Petite Sirah is known as an exceptionally dark monster of a wine. The smaller berries mean much less juice in comparison to the color and tannin-producing skins.  However, this particular Petite Sirah uses a slightly different process to make a very lush and drinkable version. They used a shorter than average fermentation time and skin contact time (to keep all those pesky tannins from leaching out too excessively). As a result, Spellbound is only 13.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), which is quite restrained when you consider that we have seen this big ripe grape create giants that push 17% ABV!

This pet project of Rob Mondavi, Jr., and it is a good wine to compare to the Zinfandel-based blend Ghostrider Ungrafted Red from last month. While different in its composition, a large part of the grapes come from Lodi (like the Ghostrider), and Zin and Petit Sirah both create big, fruit-forward wines.

This wine retails for $12.99, a bit lower than usual for wine club selections. It packs a punch for the price though, and makes a great everyday bottle- it is a particularly great “burger wine” in our opinion. The lower price point on this wine allowed us to bring you an extra-special wine for your other selection this month…read on!

Cheese Pairing: Kickapoo, Ludwig Farmstead Creamery, Illinois
Named after the Kickapoo State Park which is near the creamery, this cheese begins with a German Butterkase recipe.  We tweaked the recipe mixing in special cultures and we age this cheese 8 months to create a Ludwig original.  The result is a semi-hard, raw milk cheese with fresh, buttery flavors and a sharper finish.

Red Only: Château Barreyre Bordeaux Supérieur 2011
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

Château Barreyre is evidence of just how fine many of Bordeaux’s smaller, lesser known estates, called petits châteaux, can be- it’s value a result of ideal location combined with attentive viticulture.  Château Barreyre actually lies within the Médoc, quite close to Margaux (one of the most renowned parts of Bordeaux, a Premiere Cru). Yet, on account of its proximity to the Gironde  (the river that runs through Bordeaux), it is only entitled to the designation “Bordeaux Supérieur” – great news for those of us looking for bona fide Bordeaux at a more affordable price.

The vineyard practices used for this particular wine also deserve mention. These vines are cultivated to produce extremely low yields. Low yields generally produce more intensity in flavor, but this practice limits the amount of wine that can be produced per acre, thus driving up the price. However, although its yield per hectare is considerably less than that of many of Bordeaux’s classified growths, this wine easily costs a third of the price (again, due to the fact it is only next to more esteemed regions, rather than in them).

Bordeaux is really at its best when paired with food- meats, roast chicken, and other hearty but simply prepared dishes.

White Wine: Bott Geyl Pinot d’Alsace “Metiss”
40% Pinot Blanc, 40% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Pinot Gris, and 10% Pinot Noir (vinified white)

On the opposite side of France from Bordeaux, on the Swiss border, lies Alsace- perhaps the most stunning region for white wines. Jean-Christophe Bott is an up-and-coming star of the new generation in Alsace, taking a renewed pride in the terroir and committed to the best in biodynamic viticulture.

The Points Cardinaux is a new label for the wine previously known as Pinot d’Alsace. Legally, they can no longer call this wine Pinot d’Alsace, as it’s a blend. The new name hints at the four pinots in the wine – P – O – I – N – T – S, could be shuffled to spell P – I – N – O – T – S. And Cardinaux refers to the four directions of the compass, “cardinal points”, suggesting the four Pinots in the blend.

Bordeaux and Alsace Cheese Pairing: Saint André
Saint André is traditionally crafted in the coastal pastures of Coutances, in the Normandy region of northwestern France. Its satiny white edible rind contains a salty tang from the ocean air blowing through the region’s grazing lands. It has a high fat (75%) content because it is further enhanced with heavy cream, making it dense, buttery and rich. The flavors of the satiny, edible rind are tangy perfectly complementing the rich, slightly salty and decadent center.

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