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The Passionate Foodie: 2018: Favorite Wine

Time:2018-12-17 10:38wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine Favorite Foodie 2018 Passionate

The Passionate Foodie: 2018: Favorite Wine

What were some of my favorite wine related items of the past year?

Let me continue the lists of my best recommendations and favorites of 2018. I have already posted my Top Ten Wines Under $15Top Ten Wines Over $15 (But Under $50) and Top Wines Over $50 lists. This post will now concentrate on some of my Favorite Wine-Related Items, which are not specific wine recommendations. This is certainly not a complete list but it is more a sampling of compelling and memorable matters I have experienced and posted about over the past year.

This is also a purely subjective list, based on my own preferences, and makes no claims about being the "best" of anything. But all of the items here have earned my strong recommendations and I hope you will enjoy them as well. For more wine related items, you can just search my blog posts for the past year.

Analysis Of Top Ten Wines: In my three prior Top Wine lists of 2018, I mentioned a total of 36 wines, which included wines from 9 different countries and regions, four less than last year. In first place was Portugal, with 10 wines, and I'll note that last year, Portugal and Georgia were tied for first place, each with 6 wines. France came in second with 6 wines, including 3 from Alsace. Spain and Italy tied for third place with 5 wines each. Uruguay and California each had 3 wines, while Germany had 2 wines. Rounding out the lists, Turkey and Australia each had 1 wine. As for wine types, the lists are also broken down into 4 Sparkling, 3 White, 4 Rosé, 18 Red, 6 Fortified and 1 Aromatized Wine. 

Favorite Discount Wine Stores: Consumers always want bargains, excellent value wines which won't stretch their wallets. You can buy the cheap, mass-produced commercial wines which can be found in almost any wine store or instead, you can seek out excellent, value wines which put to shame those cheap wines. Certain discount wine stores provide not only excellent prices but also an interesting selection and good service. I want to highlight three such stores which continue to do an especially good job, places where I go to seek bargains: Bin Ends in Braintree & Needham, Wine Connextion in North Andover, and Rapid Liquors in Stoneham. Shop at any of those stores and you won't be disappointed.
Favorite Wine Stores: This is a small list of wine stores which consistently impress me with their selection and service. Each shop is worthy of your patronage and wine lovers should make the effort to visit these places if you have not done so yet.
Lower Falls Wine Company in Newton Lower Falls
Wine-Sense in Andover
Wine Bottega in Boston's North End
Central Bottle Wine & Provisions in Cambridge
Wine Press in Brookline and Wine Press now in the Fenway
Streetcar Wines in Jamaica Plain

Favorite Private Wine Dinner: The wines of Uruguay are still new to many but they deserve your attention. I had the opportunity to taste several Uruguayan wines from the portfolio of Bodega Garzón: Uruguayan Treasures, From Albarino to Tannat, finding plenty of treasures, from Albarino to Tannat, Cabernet Franc to the high-end Balasto. Three of their wines ended up on my Top Wine lists this year. And we got to enjoy this wines while dining at the compelling La Bodega By Salts, savoring some Uruguayan cuisine. Such delicious food, paired with excellent wines, combined to elevate the evening.

Runner-Up Favorite Private Wine Dinner: When you're savoring a dish of Escargot en Cocotte, snails in garlic butter, at Brasserie Jo, you probably crave some French wine. I had an enjoyable and fascinating lunch there with Romain Teyteau, the North America Export Director for Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, which led me to write about The Beauty Of Beaujolais. We had plenty of stimulating conversation, while tasting some delicious wines, including some killer Beaujolais. A couple of those wines even ended up on my Top Wine lists.

Favorite Public Wine Dinner: This was an easy decision as Il Casale in Belmont thoroughly impressed me with their San Felice Wine Dinner. They sold out the entire restaurant, indicative of the popularity of their wine dinners, and I understood the reasons. The food was superb, the wines were amazing, and service was professional. They made it seem easy to serve around 100 guests the same multi-course dinner. A couple of the Italian wines from this dinner ended up on my Top Wine lists. Plus, I was stunned by one of their incredible dishes, the Fusilli fatti in casa con ragù "bianco" di carne e salamino di cinghiale (Handmade fusilli with "white" meat ragù and diced wild boar salami). It was one of the best dishes I ate in 2018. I also attended a wine dinner, dedicated to Olio Taibi & Olive Oil, at their Lexington location, which was just as well done. I give my strongest recommendation that you attend an Il Casale wine dinner.

Favorite Regional Wine Tasting: With a fascinating and delicious portfolio of nine, family-owned Greek wineries, from all across Greece, An Odyssey Greek Wine Tasting with Cava Spiliadis was a stellar tasting event, one that was open to the public. I've long been an advocate for Greek wines and it is tasting like this that can be so persuasive to consumers. The wines were diverse, a myriad of styles and flavor profiles, as well as approachable and food-friendly. Every wine I tasted had its merits and I loved learning more about the indigenous grapes of Greece as well as its terroir. Plus, Post 390 presented plenty of tasty food to accompany all of the wines. You need to Drink More Greek Wine!
Runner-Up Favorite Regional Wine Tasting: Puritan & Co. hosted an informative and fun tasting of Georgian wines, which I wrote about in two parts: Georgian Wine: All About Context (Part 1) and Georgian Wine: All About Context (Part 2). Georgian wines are another passion of mine and I take almost every possible opportunity to taste their wines. With 8,000 years of vinous history, over 500 indigenous grapes, and a tradition of the qvevri, Georgia has plenty to offer a wine lover. There was even an intriguing discussion about skin contact wines that raised some compelling issues. You need to Drink More Goergian Wine!

Favorite Formal Wine Seminar: At the City Winery, I attended an educational seminar about the wines of the Italian region of Alto Adige - Südtirol, which were once known as Rhaetian Wines, Favorites of the Ancients. We did some comparison tastings of wines from various grapes, including Pinot Bianco, Schiava, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero, Lagrein and Gewurtztraminer. I was particularly taken with the Schiava wines and want to find more of them to sample. Overall, the wines were delicious, food friendly and compelling, sure to please any wine lover.

Favorite Informal Wine Seminar: This year, Sommelier Theresa Paopao created a Wine School At Asta, an afternoon wine lounge inspired by New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov’s monthly column. I visited the restaurant during the month she showcases the Fiano grape, offering seven Fiano wines from the Campania region of Italy. They were all available by the glass as well as in flights of three wines. Theresa explained all about the grape and the various wines, evidencing her passion and knowledge. Plus, you could pair the wines with various special and delicious dishes created by the restaurant. Excellent food and drink in a fun and informative atmosphere make this a compelling event and hopefully they will continue their Wine School in 2019.

Favorite Restaurant Wine List Change: At Committee, one of my favorite Greek restaurants, Wine Director Lauren Friel instituted significant changes to their wine list, compiling an All Greek, All Natural Wine Program. The list is diverse, exciting, reasonably priced and has plenty of delicious options. And this past summer, they held a Natural Wine Pop-Up on their patio on Wednesday nights, helping to promote their new list. The wines pair very well with the various Greek dishes and every wine lover will find something to excite their palate. Lauren has done a great job with this new list and I will repeat, You need to Drink More Greek Wine!

Favorite New Wine List: Though The Table at Season To Taste has been open since 2016, I only just dined there recently. And I look forward to dining there again very soon. Besides their excellent food, they have an intriguing wine list, curated by Jesse Eslin, their Wine Director, which changes on regular basis with their changing food menu. The wine list has plenty of intriguing and small production wines, the type of wines that excite an adventurous wine lover. The evening began well with a German sparkling wine made from the rare Elbling grape, and continued on that same level throughout the dinner. If you love wine, you need to make a trip to The Table at Season To Taste.

Favorite Wine Pairing: Last New Year's Day, I chose to celebrate with a large pot of Lobsters, paired with two different bottles of Crémant d'Alsace. Sparkling wine is a versatile food wine and often pairs very well with seafood. With the sweetness and rich of lobster, especially dipped in drawn butter, it helps to have a wine with good acidity and these Crémant wines possessed that trait. Plus, their tiny bubbles helped to cleanse the palate between bites. The complex flavors of the two Crémant wines also complemented the delicious lobster. It was a killer pairing, well appreciated by everyone at the table. And such a hedonistic way to begin the New Year.

Favorite Wine Travel Event: This past October, I visited Portugal, touring Porto and the Douro region. It was an amazing trip, filled with so much fun and excitement, great food and wine, intriguing museums and historical sites, and much more. A number of the wines from this trip ended up on my Top Wine lists this year. And I'll be mentioning some of the culinary highlights in other Favorite lists next week. Check out my page of Collected Links, which will lead you to all of my 20 articles about the trip to Portugal. And I'll likely add a couple more articles next month.

What were some of your favorite wine-related items this year?


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