What the heck is…Zweigelt?

Posted in What's the Deal With...?, Wine Review with tags on August 10, 2010 by winechef

Only my new favorite inexpensive red that you can start drinking first thing in the morning! Well, maybe you should at least wait until lunch time…but that’s not the point! This unpretentious red is light, low in alcohol, and generally pretty damn affordable! Picture a juicy Zinfandel masquerading as a Pinot. The first time I bought a bottle I was going for something eccentric, something new that I didn’t hold much stock in. It came in a liter bottle with a bottle cap. Really, how good could it be? About half way though the bottle I decided. This is farking delicious!

So what is it? A cross between Blaufrankisch and St Laurent, Austria’s other two shining reds. It’s light, often refreshing and has flavors of cherries in varying degrees of ripeness.

What should you eat with it? Pure picnic wine. With its lightness, fun fruit, and nice acidity this wine will go with everything from pizza to BBQ chicken. I’d even dare to say that it would go well with some Chinese dishes, or at least pork fried rice.

Here’s a few:

2008 Martinshof Zweigelt 1L

2007 Walter Glatzer Zweigelt Riedencuvée

2008 Umathum Zweigelt

What the heck is…Blaufrankisch?

Posted in What's the Deal With...?, Wine Review with tags on August 10, 2010 by winechef

Besides being fun to say, Blaufrankisch is a red wine most commonly exported from Austria. Spicy like a Syrah, (minus the roast beef and pastrami flavors that have been making me gag), and light like a Pinot noir. It’s also grown in Croatia, Washington state, and Germany, where it is known as Lemburger. For more on that click here but for now, let’s concentrate on what it is, where it’s available and what it pairs with.
Similarities abound between a killer gamay and German pinots. Cherry and pepper with a nice acid backbone make this for an ideal food wine. The tannins are supple and the alcohol is relatively low. As long as you avoid the overly oaked Blaufrankish’s when they’re young, you shouldn’t have any problem picking one off the shelf of a reputable wine shop to have with dinner tonight.

Here are my picks:

2008 J. Heinrich Blaufränkisch

Another light, unfussed with Blaufrankisch that could easily become your go to Summer red at $13.99 a bottle.

2006 Wenzel Blaufränkisch

Beautiful, light, elegant, and a great price at $17.99 a bottle for  a pure expression of Blaufrankisch

2007 Moric Blaufränkisch

An ageable Powerhouse from a killer vintage. This one will go with your over the top meat dishes.

And for something closer to home try Washington’s Steel “Blue Franc.”

The lighter versions can pair nicely with lighter meat dishes and takes nicely to a slight chill. Burgers off the grill with pepper Jack, and smoked paprika aioli would be a perfect pairing for a cellar temperature Blaufrankisch, where as an older age able Blaufrankisch would pair better with medium-rare lamb chops and a mint and red pepper vinaigrette with roasted potatoes.

Catching up

Posted in Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, New Product, Personal, Podcast, Sommelier with tags , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by winechef

Lots of catching up to do. I can see by the numbers that you’re still reading, so I feel like an ass for not posting for so long and for neglecting my original readers, I am so sorry. But maybe some of you have been following me and my more current endeavors: the SF WineChef podcast, getting the Inked Rogue Chefs proposal out there, the iPhone App for wine pronunciation Enotria Guide, and working full time as a Wine and Spirits Consultant for the most kick ass wine and spirits store in existence, K&L Wine Merchants. One other thing, I passed my Certified Sake Professional exam. But that’s no excuse. Well, maybe it’s a reason…
Ether way! I’m back! Or at least I’m going to try to throw in a few more posts about some of the more esoteric wine topics that I’m into. First ones that come to mind are Blaufrankish, Spatsburgunder, Zweigelt, and Gruner Veltliner. My position at K&L also includes liaison to the buyer for Germany, Alsace, Austria, Loire, and Eastern Europe. It was kind of a perfect match for someone into the esoteric. I have continued to hod my title of Turley Girl and into all things Cult. Dunn being my latest love. Then there’s the urban wineries, and of course the ridiculously complicated world of sake.

Sub Sub Par Dining Experience

Posted in Product Review, Restaurant Review on July 18, 2009 by winechef

Okay, I started having a Carrie Bradshaw moment during dinner at a neighborhood “fine dining” establishment with my parents. I do everything I  can to keep my mouth shut about the food at restaurants like that but it seems every time that I go out to dinner with either my parents or the inlaws there is something HORRIBLY wrong with the food.

Last time the snapper special was SO awful I couldn’t have more than half a bite, over salted, Sysco prestuffed with god knows, and not the description on the menu. The sauce wasn’t the same, etc. It was obvious, and fortunately or not, that I couldn’t force myself through it, so it became obvious that there was something wrong. A few more things happened that night, but I digress.

Tonight, different restaurant, different set of parents, same situation. The wine was hot, not just alcohol hot but you could litterally feel heat eminating from the glass. The “charcuterie” platter was slabs of meat with dill pickle slices from a jar, and then my hangar steak, which was ordered Mid Rare, was done done done. Murdered. I told them I’d hang onto the plate so that I could snack on the asparagus and fries (I was offered ketsup) and had them take the meat back as proof. I did this sheepishly after our server asked for it. I’m also the type of person that understands that sometimes a hair will inevitably make it onto a plate. It could be the farmer’s in a bed of greens or it could be an Emo kid in the back with no self regard. Tonight it was the latter and it happened twice. The first time resulted in me smacking a fry out of my husbands mouth and then him smacking a slice of the newly cooked hangar out of mine. Really?!

When I asked for an ice bucket for the RED wine the lady asked the busser loudly to get me one, like I was the most eccentric person to ever walk through the door. It still took close to 15 minutes to get it just under room temperature.

Desserts were right on par withthe rest of the experience, except worse. The boxed Bisquik mix on top of “cherries” that was doctored with an explosive amount of cinnamon, had my husband asking what the chemical taste was.

So. Obviously I didn’t agree to the dinner out of excitement and anticipation for the food, although I had heard really good things. I am very honest about my expectations. I have the same level of standards for McDonalds as I do for the French Laundry. I don’t expect boxed couscous with flavor packets, I don’t expect the chef to improperly cook a piece of sub par meat, I don’t expect attitude form the server. I was so distracted by the blatant falsification of the food I couldn’t stay in any of the conversations. I was ashamed, I felt guilty, and then it made me angry. How can you charge for food like that? How can you take short cuts like that? How when you pick up a bottle of wine do you not notice it’s the same temperature as your morning latte? I’m upset with myself for writing this, I’m worried that my dinner company might read it. I don’t want to have to order things from the menu that I know will be “safe.” Why should I suffer because I can’t necessarily distinguish whether they are using marjoram or oregano, but I can sure as hell taste sodium dyglyceride?

What I really wanted to do was march in the kitchen, show the chef how to temper a steak, then how to mark and finish it, slice it AGAINST the grain, and then plate it with the components that are actually listed on the menu. I wanted to pull a Gordon Ramsey with the desserts, throwing them against the back wall and yelling that they’re F ing Rubbish! Then turn to the Emokid and shout and point “And you!” as I pull his hair to the cutting board. I wanted to leave my card and suggest wine training. But most of all I wanted to enjoy the company, sip a decent wine, and eat dinner. I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass because everything was sub subpar.

Tell me, what would you do?

From Cork Taint to Coke Taint

Posted in Wine News on July 17, 2009 by winechef

wine-cokeAccording to Decanter, 714 liters of liquid cocaine were discovered under the guise of bottles of Bolivian Bodegas Kohlberg, but not until they arrived in Bulgaria where they were confiscated by customs officers. Of the 1,020 bottles, only 68 actually contained wine.

Apparently this has happened before.

Revolutionary Water Bottle

Posted in Podcast, Product Review on July 16, 2009 by winechef


The impact that plastic water bottles have on the planet, not to mention our bodies and our wallets, is catastrophic.

Last year I discovered Sigg after hearing about an independent test conducted on the influence (or lack there of) from aluminum and the lining deposits, fell and love, and bought one for lots of friends and family. Made from a single piece of aluminum, it’s ultra-lightweight yet rugged and crack-resistant. To minimize unwanted tastes and scents, the inside is lined with a water-based, non-toxic epoxy resin that exceeds FDA leaching requirements. After becoming my primary mode of transporting drinkables (great for a lemon drop on the go) I started to realize how many water bottles it had replaced, and everything that goes along with them. To put it mildly I was floored. I could literally picture the mound of disposed bottles I had avoided. Needless to say I have become an advocate for water bottle alternatives (while still avoiding main stream plastic and don’t even think about Aluminum!)

Now I have a new fixation and I have yet to get my hands on one.

Introducing Kor One

A lightweight plastic bottle, featuring a sleek transparent design, and a convenient pop top with an ergonomic spout that is large enough to consume ice cubes. Kor One bottles are free of hazardous, plastic based, BPA’s, which are thought to contribute to certain cancers and physical abnormalities.

For a quick synopsis on BPA’s check out the article posted by Treehugger. Then place your order for your Kor here.

Update: I was sent a sample bottle and absolutely love it! Listen to the SF WineChef podcast for a listener promocode.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by winechef

Julie Julia – Film Trailer

And the countdown to August 7th begins!

944 San Francisco: The Dissident Chef Article

Posted in Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book on June 30, 2009 by winechef

944 Article

What I’m Reading: The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

Posted in Book Review on June 30, 2009 by winechef

billionairesvinegarThe Mystery of The World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine.

An absolutely mind-blowing read.The story unravels like a murder mystery. Or was there ever a murder? Did the wine ever exist? This story of wine counterfeiters, bottles auctioned for over $30,000, tampered corks, bottles, labels had me on the edge of my seat from the get go, trying to keep up with the names, the wines, the regions, the auctions, the tastings…the research put into this book was astounding. From Thomas Jefferson’s records to tracking the culprit across the world, following up with auctioneers, billionaires, and wine professionals. The sales, the tasting, and the accusations continued for nearly two decades when lab research began to confirm suspicions; while the findings are inconclusive, Wallace is able to portray every side of the story, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. This book is equivocal to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and is a must read for everyone with even the faintest interest in wine.

Also available abridged on Audible.

What I’m Reading: Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob

Posted in Book Review on June 30, 2009 by winechef

Will Write for Food coverIn preparation for an upcoming class at the Writing Salon with fellow Baker’s Dozen member Dianne Jacob I have taken WWFF off of the shelf and have committed to rereading it by the July 11th class date. This will be the final step before submitting the proposal for Inked Rogue Chefs directly to Ten Speed Press and the Chronicle.

In addition to that I will be getting back on the blogging band wagon and writing more than ever. I’m also starting the Bay Area Winechef podcast by the end of the week, which will cover local farmer’s markets, Bay Area chefs, industry writers, and interviews with some of the most amazing people in the industry.

Then who knows, hopefully this will be the begining of something extraordinary!