Wine Girl Gone Wild Quickie: Chardonnay Throw Down

If everything remained the same, my life would be a lot easier, right?  I wouldn’t need to explain myself, stress about the unknown, come up with a plan that may fail, come up with the cover up plan, and re-do all of this next week. So, why can’t the same grape taste the same way, even if it is grown in a different place?  Just give me what I want – why must I think so hard!

Well, so many reasons and so much to discuss with such a simple statement. However, this is a quickie, so check out below what happened when I tasted two chardonnay wines from two different regions.  My opinion is just that – a conclusion from a girl that was tired, not feeling great, absorbed in flirtatious texts, and arguing about the state of the world. Yeah, typical Sunday night dinner at home amongst friends…

Char Lyric and St Veran



Eat This: Dinner at South and Pine With A Little Pinot Noir

Categorizing an area for restaurant reviews on my website, and calling that category “Eat This”, should just happen. Mood noted.

I don’t go to Morristown for two reasons; (1) I have a destructive ex, in the industry, that trolls the land, and (2) I never think of Morristown as a qualitative “foodie” place.  Great bars, young pretentious hipsters, younger girls vomiting in the corners of bars around 2 AM…

Not judging, but I totally am.  Last night, I found South and Pine in Morristown – changed my mind on what I thought was going on in this busting at the seams town.  Where there is a bar/restaurant/meeting place on every corner, I dare you to search for an eclectic and direct outline of someone else’s vision of true culinary art-forms.  Cookie cutter “lets get drunk”, “how weird can I make the wine list”, and “I’m so trendy” cocktail locations have dominated and sickened the overly ambitious crowds.  Time to take a breathe, realize we are mature human beings and not animals ready to choke on cheap booze, and relish in a true, clean expression of “farm to table’ and in the moment design of a restaurant.

And yes, it’s a BYOB.  Glory BE!  When I go out to eat I want the server to run the show, make me feel like the queen I am, and tell me I am a genius wine goddess for owning such beautiful specimens I have brought to the table.

But I screwed up.  The wine I brought sucked.  Just sucked.  Thank goodness my dining partner thought deeper into the menu and what wines made sense; he saved the day. (whew, that could have been a tragedy!)

What do I mean by this?  As noted, the menu is consistently changing to match foods that are seasonly appropriate.  Right now, you will find pumpkin soup, pork belly, lamb sirloin, and just wait… Braised Bison.  You heard it, and I cannot lie, this made me loose my mind.  One of the BEST grapes for the Fall, and for this menu, is Pinot Noir – hands down.  This grape shows an abundant cranberry fruit, fall sweet spice, and a structure to hold up to a cornucopia of autumn flavors.  Our Pinot Noir choice, and this may be a surprise to you: Celine et Vincent Dureuil, Rully 1er Cru ,”Vauvry”.  Yes, your wine girl is drinking Pinot Noir AND a Frenchy; two things I’m not a fan of.  Let’s break this down and tell you why it worked:

  • Fruit for this wine is sourced from a Premier Cru Vineyard (pretty freaking good) located at the top of a hill.  Lots of sunshine giving this wine a plumpness and bountiful fruit expression without being over the top in candied flavors.
  • Aged 18 months in French Oak, picked from 40 year old vines, and one of the best producers in this region. The oak gives this wine oomph to the structure, and the older vines add a complexity to the fruit composition.  Basically, making everything I hate about Pinot Noir sing a different song.
  • Rully is a village in the larger area of Burgundy, France called Cote Chalonnaise.  Not a lot is written about this area of Burgundy, mostly because they are not known for wines of an elegant nature. I am not elegant in nature, so we have something in common.  Instead, you will get a rustic wine approach with earthy tones, black pepper and spice; and maybe not the best focus.  However, these wines are affordable, have a sound framework, and pair generously with the season.

Recap; go pick some apples, drink a few Octoberfest beers, and finish your day at South and Pine with a bowl of steaming Mussels.  Let the staff smile and wipe your chin, watch through the open kitchen all the hustling and bustling, and bring a bottle of Pinot Noir with you.  Ignore the 20 somethings passing by the window, but do flirt with your dining companion. (and maybe the cutie floor manager!)

Side note; surprise starter was a split bottle of Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne.  Just the right amount and just the right bubble to clean your palate for the fatty flavors of Fall.  Check out this review/sales pitch from my friends  @ Drizzly if you need some more info!

Drink This! Frenching All Day

I can’t stop drinking French wine.

Six months ago I made the decision to “brush up” on my Frenchy wine facts.  Been a while since I needed to put a buyer in a comfort mode, and get them ready to accept European wines.  That is the switch you need to turn on in your brain.  YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THIS AND ENJOY IT AT THE SAME TIME.  I have seen the shift in my friends that read this blog; they are risky now with wine, open to a different palette experience, and wanting information.  I don’t buy a car without a review or knowing and liking the maker, so why is this different.  By the way, I know nothing about cars.

This blog is not sponsored by my own wines; I went and purchased this lovely with my own dollars.  I wanted chardonnay; I love the stuff.  I was going to eat sushi, relax, and celebrate a friend’s birthday.  I wanted light citrus flavors, roundness at the end, and structural acidity.

This Saint Veran, Domaine Delaye Alain,  “Les Pierres Grises” got to me, and even more than that.  A little review…

  • Saint Veran is the area that this wine is from in Burgundy.  Burgundy is a wine viticultural area in France.  Saint Veran ONLY makes chardonnay – so what does that tell you.  Focus!  Focus on making the best damn chardonnay you can get.
  • Who is this guy Alain?Domaine Delaye Alain is the producer.  Remember; the producer is the guy you are going to get hooked on.  European wines are about the place, and the people who make them.  This is a tiny little family estate going back to the 18th century.  They are known in this area as authentic, traditional, with an eye on modernization.  I’m looking for a man like this…
  • “Les Pierres Grises” – the vineyard name.  A little cooler of an area – Pouilly Fuisse is right around the corner and much warmer.  This vineyard will give you richness, but retains a pretty minerality.  This wine does not see oak, yet rounds itself out in the end.  Brightness will give you some tingles, but the grape itself will supply weight to the palette and balance to the entire wine.

Where do you get this stuff – I picked up this bottle at Angelbeck’s in Upper Montclair.  I grabbed it right out of the cold box; I love that.  Ask for Ann; she bought this store a few years back and has some nice, out of the way selections.  Her whole family is there including the sons – love that too.

  • Angel beck’s Fine Wines Spirits, and Beer– 621 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ
    • Side note; if you are a beer freak GO HERE!  Ann’s son is a wiz…

What should you have in your purse – Around $15 to $17 dollars.  I think I paid $17.  Saint Veran is always a bargain.  Can’t go wrong; this viticultural area will always over deliver.

What do I do with it – Drink it on it’s own.  A friend is looking for her “Get me out of my Sauvignon Blanc” rut.  Here you go Mama G!  I paired it with sashimi – but not to fatty.  This wine is just enough to sing the solo.