What can I say? Crazy times... Watch this video and have a glass of what the fuck ever. If you don't like this video we can't be friends. RJ
Hello everybody, some news at Wine Republic. We'd like to remember Carolyn Berg, Patti's mom who passed away this morning. She was quietly intelligent, a fierce cribbage player and as you can guess a fine wine lover. Her character was awesome on many levels and she will be missed. Also her passing helps remind us to keep even closer your family and friends. Take care.
Holy carnivore diet. Even the Pans were cancelled. I was so ready. But you know what, I'm grateful that I got to train and prepare. Plus now I can drink a little more vino. So if you're stuck in the house we can send you some tasty organic wine. Take care.
The thing with training with me is that I am neurotic about how many of this I'm eating and how many of that. Are my macros in line? I'm always juggling a loose version of keto, paleo, carnivore but I always account for some carbs because, wine. After training I'll choose 2 glasses of a cold weather varietal like a trocken riesling, guwurtz or gruner veltliner. I'm competing in the 168 lb division and let me tell you it's no bueno sometimes when you're not currently 168. That's why typically only the two. Plus, after a day of working out you need to replenish the carbs you did burn, whether in your muscles or liver. Then maybe just 2 more reds later on with diner. Don't judge. Check out our wine dinner video with Vann.
One thing about wine and jiu jitsu is that they both keep you humble. You think you know everything about wine then one pops up that knocks your socks off and you are clueless about it. In jiu jitsu it's a little more obvious because if you're not up to snuff you're gonna get tapped out (made to submit). This is easier said than done because we're human. And the daily struggle seems to be always to keep yourself in check so you can learn a lesson whether it be vitis vinifera or perfecting and arm bar, both being extremely beautiful. It's funny too because while I can talk about jiu jitsu to wine people I can't do it to them, at least most of the time. It is frowned upon to just slap a Rear Naked Choke on a wine customer because he or she is behaving in a shoddy manner. Though I'd like to. For instance let's say a douchebag customer comes in with his toxic attitude (we'll call him AK) and is rubbing you the wrong way. Practicing patience is valuable so you can try to add kindness and value to his day by exposing him to incredible wine even though inside my mantra is that "as soon as this person is no longer a customer I'm going to rip his head off." Can you see why patience is a great virtue? By going the extra mile one can put out joy to the world and make a living. But even though wine is fantastic sometimes people are not, myself included. So let's practice some patience in wine, giving ourselves time to understand how botany, soil chemistry and the art of winemaking give us so much joy and additionally patience with others so we don't have to slap on the Rear Naked Choke. I'm talking to you AK. Peace.
. Hey everybody, hope your February is going well. We at Wine Republic are having a great time and looking forward to the rest of the year but specifically coming up is the dinner with Vann. This guy Erik Skaar is skilled. At first glance this guy might have just rolled out of a Mixed Martial Arts gym. My type of guy already! And this man can cook. Even beyond that is his wine policy. Now I'm not the biggest fan of corkage fees at restaurants but I get it. Not this guy, Erik says that if you bring a wine in and share a glass with the owner and head wine person there is no fee. Now this may seem like not much but this to me shows an establishment that is constantly about aquiring knowledge. And when I'm talking about knowledge I'm talking about four courses starting out with a little Cremant de Limoux (What?!, don't know what Cremant is? Think Methode Champenoise except not from Champagne), Smoked Sturgeon with Chenin Blanc, Scallops and black truffle with Penedes (Spanish!) vino, Dry aged duck with green apple rolling with Alsatian Pinot Noir then winding down with Milk Chocolate cremeaux (I don't even know what this is!) with mountain huckleberry and caramel, paired with Dulce Monastrell. Is your mouth watering? Mine is. So join us here. Also we're editing our 2nd video for Jiu Jitsu wine clips of past matches and interviews with winemakers at original and talent as Erik Skaar. We look forward to seeing you soon. Peace.
So I've been talking smack about Jiu Jitsu Wine for so long it was time to put up or shut up. And today is the day that I posted my first video on Jiu Jitsu Wine channel on Youtube. It premiers this afternoon at 4pm on my channel. It's only 2 minutes and some change but the next ones will be longer when I figure out the shooting schedule. You can watch it here. Also our Red tasting is coming up drinking up some lovely vino from Italy and Spain. Organic wine at Wine Republic. Stay tuned!
Today is our intern's last day. She's been great and I'm sure will go on to do incredible things. Out with a bang. Viognier and Gewurztraminer.
Varietal Overview: Viognier
History and Cultivation
This white grape varietal has celebrity status in the Condrieu wine region of the Rhone Valley in France, as it is the only grape that is permitted to grow there. However important this grape may be today for Condrieu, its past happens to be relatively obscure as compared to other varietals. There is speculation that Viognier originated in Dalmatia, which is present day Croatia, and was brought over by the Romans to the Rhone Valley in 281 AD. However, a separate school of thought puts Viognier’s origin in the Rhone under much different circumstances. In this theory, Viognier grapevines were packaged along with Syrah vines that were en route to Beaujolais in France. However, a group of local outlaws intercepted the vessel and took the cargo near Condrieu, where Viognier grapes then were cultivated. Surprisingly, this theory has been backed up by DNA evidence in the recent years that shows a genetic relatedness between Viognier and Syrah grapes; a surprisingly linkage, since these two varietals produce much different grapes, and much much different wines. Even more surprising is that in recent years, winemakers who like to take a risk have been known to blend Viognier with Syrah red wine…An odd combination, but hey, apparently people have been drinking it.
Viognier may be the staple grape of Condrieu, but its acreage is by no means limited just to this region. Currently, Viognier grapes are being grown in the United States, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and even Israel. Although this varietal has been successful in a number of regions, it takes a skilled vintner to understand how to grow and harvest these grapes. Viognier vines are picky in that they must be harvested at just the right time in order to produce wine that is worth drinking. Harvest too early, and the grapes will have little-to-no aromatic qualities and minimal flavor. Harvest too late, and the wine produced tends to be too oily and again lack palatable aromas. In addition, these grapes are particularly susceptible to the vintner’s nightmare of powdery mildew fungus. This being said, much care must be taken in cultivating Viognier vines and harvesting the grapes at the appropriate time.
Tasting Profile and Pairing
Like most good wine with a relatively long history, Viognier has its Old World and New World differences. However, scientists have actually identified that Viognier vines in Condrieu are actually distinct from Viognier vines grown in the New World. The Old World strain is what one would typically associate with traditional Condrieu Viognier. Old World Viognier has an in-your-face floral aroma, and is often used in white blends such as with Chardonnay, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc. These blends tend to have a softer, lighter style than Viognier wine alone, which has intense fruit flavors, predominately of apricot, but also including ripe peach. Viognier alone produces wines that are moderate in acidity, and fairly dry. French Viognier will pair beautifully with a wide variety of seafood, shellfish, and roasted chicken, as many whites often do. In addition, this wine will work wonders with vegetable-dominated dishes and salad.
New World Viognier can bring forward some tropical fruit flavors in addition to the rich fruit bouquet that the varietal already has. It is not uncommon to find a hint of pineapple mixed in with lychee fruit in warmer-climate Viogniers from the New World regions. In addition, it is more common in New World production of Viognier to introduce oak-aging to add complexity to the wine and flavors of vanilla and baking spice, and these wines tend to take on a slightly more creamy feel with a distinctive oiliness that is present but not overwhelming. The slightly heavier weight of New World Viognier makes it a great candidate for slightly richer dishes, such as chicken tagine with apricots and almonds.
Try this Recipe with a Glass of California Viognier
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4-in-thickslices
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons honey
2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins
1/2 cup Greek cracked green olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Zest the lemon. Combine 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with 1 minced garlic clove; set aside. Season both sides of chicken pieces with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown the chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned at the edges but still retain their shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water now and then if the pan gets too dark). Add the remaining minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spices and flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, honey, remaining lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the chicken (with any accumulated juices) back in, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the carrots, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the olives, reserved lemon zest-garlic mixture, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve with couscous.
Varietal Overview: Gewürztraminer
History and Cultivation
With a name as obviously German as Gewurztraminer, there is no doubt that this varietal would trace its origins to Germany…except it doesn’t. In fact, Gewurztraminer grapes were thought to have originated as a wine-producing varietal in France, particularly in the Alsace region. With a further dive into the history of this varietal, however, researchers found that this grape actually comes from the town of Tramin at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. Why the German connection? This region of Italy is historically German-speaking, and therefore this solves the mystery of where this varietal got its name. Gewurz is German for “spicy”, and obviously the latter part of the name refers to the originating town of Tramin. Put this together, and we have “Spicy Traminer”, or a way to denote a spicier varietal of grape coming from the town of Tramin.
There are more than one Tramin-born grape varietal, however, an all are somewhat genetically related to the green-skinned varietal Sauvignin Blanc (not to be mistaken with Sauvignon Blanc). Eventual mutations in either the original Sauvignin Blanc or one of the Traminer grapes led to a red-skinned variety which eventually became Gewurztraminer (which still produces white wine, however). Somewhere along this genetic journey, the grapes were transported over to Alsace from Italy. It is unclear, however, whether the Gewurztraminer grapes we know today were already around before this journey took place, or after arrival in Alsace.
Today, Gewurztraminer grapes are still growing happily in their hometown of Tramin in Italy, predominately via a pergola system. In addition, these grapes are currently being cultivated in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States. Although these vines are known to be vigorous in the field, they are fairly fussy when it comes to soil and climate. For this reason, the Germans have been attempting to cross-breed to create a Gewurztraminer clone which is easier to grow and care for. As it is now, Gewurztraminer grapes prefer a moderate climate that does not get too hot, but warm enough and dry enough in the summer to limit yield and add more balance to the grapes. If the summer gets too hot, the naturally-high sugar in these grapes becomes overwhelming and throws off the flavor profile of the wine. The vines are early to bud, but tend to come to ripeness unevenly. Therefore, vintners must keep careful watch over Gewurztraminer vines to ensure that the grapes are harvested at the right time; late enough that the valuable aromas have developed, but early enough that the grapes are not filled with too much sugar.
Tasting Profile and Pairing
Fierce and distinct aroma and flavor is the name of the game with this white wine. Lychee fruit is no doubt the main component in any good Gewurztraminer, followed by grapefruit, pineapple, peach, apricot, and orange as well. This wine often has a distinctive floral aroma of rose, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and honey, giving the wine its distinguishing “spicy” nature. Gewurztraminer typically falls on the sweeter end of the spectrum, but can also be made into a drier wine or off-sweet wine as well. Many people like to call Gewurztraminer “grown up Moscato”, since it is spicier an stronger on the palate, but has a similar flavor profile and ability to be made into a sweet wine. Old World production of Gewurztraminer is no exception, as French winemakers will make Gewurztraminer grapes into wine that falls on all ends of the sweetness spectrum, even as far as the sweetest dessert wines made from grapes with noble rot. Because of the tendency for sweetness and low acidity, Gewurztraminer is a home-run with spicier Asian cuisine such as spicy pad thai, middle eastern dishes or even spiced Moroccan dishes as well. Dishes that use ginger will bring out the ginger aroma in spicy Gewurztraminer and work exceptionally well.
New World winemakers must be careful not to plant Gewurztraminer in areas that get too hot in the summer. Because of this, some New World Gewurztraminer bottles have been criticized for being overly-sweet and not balanced (as opposed to the sweetness in dessert wine). However, of those that have perfected cultivation of these grapes, the wines have been wonderful. Mild oak-aging is typically used here, and brings a richness of vanilla that complements the sweet and spicy nature of this aromatic wine. Spicier cuisine is also a safe bet for New World Gewurztraminer.
Try this Recipe with a Glass of Gewurztraminer
Pad Thai with Ginger Peanut Dressing
1 pound udon noodles or linguine pasta
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Thai chiles, halved lengthwise, and seeds removed
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 orange, rind removed, flesh segmented
2 Thai chiles diced, seeds removed
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions for al dente. Drain the noodles, then transfer to a large bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Set the noodles aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and chiles. Add the cubed chicken to the marinade, toss gently to coat the chicken. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the dressing: In a small saucepan, whisk together the peanut butter, ginger, garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chile oil, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Pour the warm dressing over the cooked noodles, and toss to coat evenly. Set the noodles aside until ready to serve. In a heavy skillet, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat, when the skillet just begins to smoke, add the chicken cubes and sear on all sides until they are browned. Saute the chicken cubes over medium heat until they are fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
Thread the chicken pieces and orange segments alternately on the skewers.
To serve the skewers, toss the noodles with the diced chile peppers and chopped cilantro. Sprinkle the chicken skewers with the sliced green onions. Serve the noodles with the chicken skewers and enjoy hot or cold!
Cru Beaujalois, it's beautiful. And it's Gamay.
Varietal Overview: Gamay
History and Cultivation
The first mention of the Gamay grape varietal dates back to the 15th century, however it is thought that these grapes actually originated much earlier. Many have postulated that the origin of the Gamay grape comes from the city of its namesake, Gamay, just south of the French wine region of Burgundy. Unlike many other grape varietals, however, this varietal was not greeted with open arms initially. In fact, in 1395, the Duke of Burgundy Phillippe the Bold issued a law that banned cultivation of Gamay grapes in French wine country. Why, you may ask, did he do this? Phillippe the Bold had it out for Gamay but was at the same time in love with Pinot Noir, which he thought to be the much superior choice of grape to grow. Therefore, he did not want this “lesser grape” clogging up all the useful land space.
Oddly enough, Phillippe wasn’t the only one who had it out for Gamay initially. Along came Phillippe’s grandson, Phillipe the Good (or not so good), who renewed his grandfather’s ban on Gamay grapes in Burgundy. His reasoning was quite similar, as he cited Burgundy’s high-quality reputation as a wine capital and feared that Gamay grapes did not produce quality red wines.
One small region of France was able to escape the ordinance and continue growing Gamay grapes, however. Just at the south of Burgundy, the region of Beaujolais was able to hold on to Gamay grapes. For years these grapes flew under the radar, and have remained in cultivation in Beaujolais to this day. In fact, Gamay finally got its day in the sun when it was recognized and popularized in the 1900s. Over time, grape growers have taken these grapes on in the United States, Canada, and Australia, where they have successfully taken root.
Gamay grapes can easily overtake a vineyard, as it has a tendency to be highly vigorous. When grown in alkaline soil, Gamay vines tend not to form deep roots but rather spread out, which leads to water stress that can cause highly acidic grapes to form, even more acidic than the grapes usually are. Planting on acidic soils, therefore, helps to soften this acidity in the grapes. For soils that do have a more alkaline base, carbonic maceration (carbon dioxide-rich fermentation prior to crushing of grapes) can help to soften the acidity of the grapes.
Tasting Profile and Pairing
Gamay wine is typically lighter-bodied for a red, with an emphasis on bright fruity flavors such as strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. This wine also is characterized by a distinctive bitter note on the end, which distinguishes it from Pinot Noir. Old World production of Gamay in France typically is done with carbonic maceration, as mentioned before. This process helps to preserve the delicate fruit aromas and flavors in the wine and keep it nicely light-bodied. A mouth-watering acidity is also distinctive in Old World Gamay, but is slightly toned-down by the maceration process. A great option when pairing food with Gamay wine is to incorporate Herbs de Province into a dish, such as on roasted chicken. This wine can also be paired with slightly richer meat too such as pork sausage, but not too rich since this has the potential to overpower the wine.
New World Gamay often times is oak-aged to deepen the flavor profile and add more body to the wine. Gamay ages beautifully, and when done correctly, the resulting wine will have darker fruit flavors, a spicy and earthy aroma, and a distinctive hint of black pepper. If there was a choice between Old World and New World Gamay for richer food, choose New World, as it can stand up to slightly richer flavors. Duck with plum sauce is one good option, as is meatloaf.
Try this Recipe with a Glass of French Gamay
Roasted Chicken with Herbs de Provence
1 whole roaster chicken 5 to 7 pounds, giblets removed, rinsed and dried well
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon onion finely minced
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning optional
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place the dried chicken in a large roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently slide a spoon between the breast meat and the skin to separate the two. Do this on each side. Then using about 1 or 2 teaspoons per side, put some of the mixture under the breast skin and rub it around. Use the remaining mixture to rub all over the rest of the bird. Tuck the wings under the bird so that the tips don’t burn and tie up the legs with some kitchen twine to cook more evenly. Put the chicken in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Cook about 20 minutes per pound. For a 6 to 6.5 pound chicken, roast for about 2 hours. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Apple, hawthorn and honey notes. Albarino.
Varietal Overview: Albarino
History and Cultivation
Spanish vino blanco. If you ask a wine-loving Spaniard to name their country’s quintessential white wine varietal, they would most likely answer with Albarino. The name Albarino stems from the root words Albus (Latin), albar (Galician), and alvar (Portuguese), all meaning “white”. Also known as Alvarinho, this white wine was thought to have been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula in Spain sometime in the 12th century by French Cluny monks. Many believe that this white varietal is actually a clone from a Riesling vine from the Alsace region of France. However, this claim is highly speculative, as the earliest known mention of a Riesling wine came from the 15th century, well after the first known documentation on Albarino.
Currently, Albarino is grown most heavily in the Rias Baixas wine region in the western Galician coastline of northwest Spain. However, this white varietal is also being cultivated in neighboring Portugal, most commonly in the Vinho Verde region. Although these grapes are highly revered and are used to produce well-loved white wines, they have not been one to travel far-and-wide geographically, as many grape varietals often do. However, Albarino has made its way over to the United States, where it is currently being cultivated in California, Oregon, and Washington state, and even to a lesser extend in Australia.
Albarino is often grown with a unique method that can distinguish it from other grapes in the field. In Spain, Albarino vines are grown in pergolas above the ground. Vines will typically be spaced far apart, which ensure that each section of each vine has enough exposure to the sun and elements, ensuring even ripening. This practice was preceded by hundreds of years of these vines growing naturally and happily along the trunks of overhead poplar trees in Spain. Albarino grapes have been found to respond well to heat and humidity and often flourish. However, like many other varietals, vintners often use water stress in order to limit yield and instead maximize flavor in each grape. During harvest time, Spanish vintners must take meticulous care to quickly transfer the harvested grapes over to a temperature-controlled environment, as they are prone to quick oxidation. After this, fermentation is almost always exclusively carried out in highly controlled stainless steel chambers.
Tasting Profile and Pairing
Traditional Albarino from Spain is crisp and refreshing, with a distinctive botanical aroma of light flowers. This, therefore, is the perfect wine to drink on a hot summer day (but also is just as great year-round when paired correctly with food). This is one wine that should not be waited on. It is best to drink Albarino while its young, as it is not a wine that holds up well in the bottle. When fresh and at its best, this wine is delicate with citrus fruit flavors, hints of melon, peach, and nectarine, and a detectible hint of lees as well. It is high in acidity, and often has a lingering finish with a slight bitter note at the end due to the thickness of the grape skins. However, if left much longer than 16 months in the bottle, Albarino wine can taste stale and wheaty, so drink early! The best food pairing for this wine is undeniably in the seafood category. This makes sense, as the best Albarino grapes are grown in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Flaky white fish such as cod or tilapia is the perfect pairing for Albarino, as are seared sea scallops, grilled shellfish, lobster, or king crab.
Albarino produced outside of its native Spanish land has been made to appeal to the palates of those in Europe and America, which leads to wines that have noticeably riper fruit flavors, and are overall richer and slightly heavier in body. However, this is not to say that Albarino outside of Spain would not pair well with light fish, as it still very much is a match made in heaven. However, richer Albarino bottles can pair with slightly heavier fish dishes such as a swordfish steak.
Try this Recipe with a Crisp, Refreshing Glass of Albarino
Lemon Garlic Grilled Sea Scallops
Salt and Pepper
In a medium sized bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Salt and pepper the scallops and add to the bowl and toss in marinade to coat. Let marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Place the scallops on a grill over medium high heat. Let cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until cooked throughout and slightly charred.