Memories…..WBW #31

I have to admit that I am scared of boxed wines. Really, quite terrified. It simply resurrects the image of pink Franzia, or Dr. Franz as we used to call it. Sickeningly sweet, disgusting plonk. So it was with great trepidation that I opened my box for the theme of WBW #31, Wines in Alternative Packaging.

My local wine shop didn’t have any boxed wines at all. So I turned to our discount supermarket, Shopper’s, which had about 15 different varieties of boxed wine. Now, I’m trying to be budget conscious these days, but I also wanted to get something that wasn’t reminiscent of sugar water with cough syrup mixed in.

With that in mind, I chose a 2005 Delicato Shiraz. On its package it proclaimed that it had won gold medals in the early 2000s, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The 3L (so 4 bottles or about 20 glasses) box cost $17.89 and is 13.5% alcohol. It has a little tap as you can see where the wine comes out, which is actually pretty sturdily constructed. And I have to say, that it’s much harder to judge how much you are drinking out of a box than it is out of a bottle.

On the nose, I get an overwhelming sweet, dark fruit scent. So blackberries, but more in their candied forms. And sugar plums, rather than fresh plums. My first impression is that this is going to be a sweet wine. As it sits in my glass I get an underlying chocolate aroma. In the mouth, there is dark fruit and a little bit of spice. It’s not as sweet as I expected it to be, which is a relief. I can’t seem to distinguish which dark fruits are coming through. It’s smooth and easy to drink and I have to keep in mind that averaging it out, it costs less than $5 a bottle. The wine is not complex, but I wouldn’t really expect that at the price point.

It certainly is better than Dr. Franz. And it’s probably equivalent to an $7-$8 a bottle Shiraz. I’m glad I tried a box wine, and many thanks to Box Wines for hosting and getting me to step out of the box (or, I guess into it in this case). I don’t know that this is something I would seek out again. Maybe if I could get it in a smaller box and I really did only drink a glass a night. But 4 bottles is a lot of one wine. I know it will last for many weeks, but at the same time, I open a new and different bottle of wine almost every night. I wouldn’t wrinkle up my nose if I saw this at a party and I could definitely see how the concept of boxed wines would be economical and efficient for a party situation.

I served the wine with homemade pepperoni pizza with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. It worked fairly well, though was a little sweet to be a pizza wine in my opinion.

WBW #30 Announced (Already!)

And it’s soon, so get cracking on this assignment! Though I think it will be much easier this month to find a wine that fits!

WBW will be hosted by Tim of Wine Cast this month. You can find all the details over on Wine Cast in this post. The date is February 7th. That’s soon! Our assignment is to drink and review a bottle of New World Syrah/Shiraz….so really, from anywhere in the United States, Australia, South America, etc……there are definetly a lot of bottles to choose from. But still, only about 2 weeks to get on this one. Same deal as always, drink your wine and send your review to Tim on February 7th.

I’m pretty sure we have a few (cough, cough, I have a very loose definition of “a few”) bottles of Syrah hanging around from our trip. In fact, we drank a fabulous one from Quivira just the other night. It was the star of the wines of our dinner party and I’ll be happy to try one of our other Syrahs for this WBW. Thanks to Tim for hosting!

Butterfield 9 Food and Wine

First, some general comments about the restaurant. It was a little tough to find as the signs sort of fade into the windows! There was a nice bar area to wait in until your tabel is ready with plenty of places to sit. I liked where we were seated in the restaurant, at a comfy corner table in an off the main path room. I would not have liked to be seated at some of the tables as they were so close to the enterance. Overall, the wine list was fairly impressive. They had well over a hundred wines to choose from, all arranged by country of origin. Also, I noticed a selection of about 30 different wines by the glass plus about 10 half bottles of wine. However, the least expensive bottle was $30. Two final observations before we get to the food and wine. The servers did not bring the wine promptly. We ordered the wine pairing and we had our first course easily five or more minutes before we got the first wine, same with the following courses. And, they fed us too fast. We had barely had our first course dishes removed and we certainly hadn’t finished the first wine before the next course was on the table (without the next wine). It felt really rushed.

Both of us chose the soup of the day, a clam and lobster bisque for our first course. It came nicely presented, with 2 clames in the center and lighter color soup swirling out from them. Excellent texture and flavor, this was very thin bisque with a hint of chili pepper. The wine pairing was a 2005 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It’s available online for $9.99 and is 13% alcohol by volume. I was struck by the tropical fruits on the nose, especially pineapple. In the mouth there was pineapple and I think guava. I wrote that it had a perfect structure and acidity. It was an okay match with the soup, but was a little overpowering. I really liked the wine though.

For the second course, Matt had the roasted pork tenderloin with creamed barley and mustard greens. I had the boneless braised beef short ribs with cheese grits, mixed veggies and truffle oil. Both entrees were excellent, though I didn’t try Matt’s. My beef was a little fattier than I normally like it but worked well with the bbq sauce. With this course the wine was a 2005 Shoo Fly Aussie Salute Grenache Shiraz from Australia. I got chocolate, spices ad raisins on the nose of this one. In the mouth, I got pepper to start. I could tell this wine hadn’t been opened in advance. It was thin in the mouth to start, but opened up over the course of dinner opened up with a nice spice, cedar and berry mix. This really would have benefitted from being decanted and will probably get better with age. A decent pairing, Matt really liked this one.

Finally, dessert. I had the Vanilla Creme Brulee and Matt had the Chocolate Almond Mocha Cheesecake. The brulee was fabulous. Easily the lightest, fluffiest brulee I have every had (usually I’m not a fan because it’s too much of a thick custard for me, the texture weirds me out) so I was pleasantly surprised by this. Paired with dessert was a Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D’Asti from Italy. This was the smallest pour of wine I have every seen, ever. It came in a cordial glass and wasn’t even a mouthful of wine! However, I thought this was the best wine of the night and the best pairing. But correct me if I’m wrong, Moscato D’Asti is supposed to be frizzante, right? This had no bubbles. It had a very aromatic bouquet. Floral and light on the nose. In the mouth I got mandarin orange and apricots. Overall, a delicious little wine and very afforable, online for $11.99! It had good structure and great acidity and was served at a perfect temperature.

2001 Brothers in Arms Shiraz

My Mother-in-law received this bottle as a gift last Christmas and brought it out to Oklahoma for all of us to enjoy this year. Vital stats: 14.5% alcohol by volume, real cork, produced in South Australia, probably cost around $34. You can read about the winery here and can find it for about $40 here.

Vanilla on the nose of this one. Dark berries in the mouth, with a slight roasted meat flavor. Earthy with a touch of oak. Very full in the mouth, long finish, very smooth. Good falvors and well balanced. I’d say drink it soon if you have this bottle.

It’s sparkling and red!

I am still in search of a wine to review for WBW. As such, I’ve been perusing the local wine shops trying to find something interesting. I thought I had found it at the Curious Grape, which may be my new favorite wine store by the way, but again, my hopes are dashed. I came home proudly bearing a bottle of Peter Rumball Sparkling Shiraz, only to find that the Culinary Fool had already displayed the same bottle in her Preparing for WBW series. And alas, I really wanted to find something different so it’s on to something else.

Well, I did come across a bottle of sparkling eiswein (yes, really, it exists) but at $70 for a small bottle, Matt was very happy that I did not bring that beauty home.

But the Rumball Sparkling Shiraz still deserves a review! What a fun wine to drink. Matt and I enjoyed it last night over the last (finally!) of the turkey soup and it actually made a fantastic pairing. My soup was more of a stew with potatoes and carrots and such, so it was a hearty meal. I really liked how this sweet, but surprisingly crisp bottle of wine paired with the turkey. I would seriously consider serving this at Thanksgiving next year (or perhaps bringing a bottle to OK for Christmas?). Lots of berry flavors, a bit of plum. Nice tiny bubbles, crisp and refreshing.

If I don’t get some of this for Christmas, I think it will for sure make its presence known again in our house over New Year’s. For $25 a bottle, it was a really fun sparkler and I think it’ll make a nice change for the midnight toast on New Year’s. At least it will be different!