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Ahhh pairing wines with food ...


When I was young, wife and I did a trip to France.  At Le Petit Nice in Marseille (look it up), I asked the Somm, to select a wine from their very long and distinguished menu ... red please to go with our all white sea food meal.  He is very kind and brought us a fantastic wine, which I completely gag on as it does down the old wind pipe... I am crying and saying it is FANTASTIC ! in my poor Canadian French.  The millionaires in the room were certainly enjoying the crazy Canuck.  Might have been the best meal and "hotel" I've stayed at.  They were so polite and wonderful and that is one heck of a restaurant!  So, when pairing wine with food, just don't put it down the old breathing tube.

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On 11/26/2018 at 1:17 PM, jimjimbo said:

I have some very small production Washington State wines that you may or may not have heard of, including Leonetti Vineyards and Figgins.  Would be very willing to trade either of those for some of the Ridge Lytton Springs Zin, probably one of my all time favorites....

Hello Jim,


When I get back home from my current business trip Ill check my ridge inventory. Very open to try some Washington state wines. If you like ridge zins, you should try Dashe Cellars. Mike Dashe was the assistant wine maker at Monte Bello and now has his own winery in Oakland. He makes wonderful Zins in addition to a few other varietals . It’s a real art to make lower alcohol zins. He does. He works with growers whose vineyards have the appropriate micro climate that allows grapes to fully ripen with a more reasonable sugar content - the result being really awesome zins. Being a nascent  grape grower,  I have found it to be a very very hard thing to achieve. My current vintage, that is in the barrel, was picked at 24 brix . The resulting wine will more than likely be close to 15% alcohol. Not that higher alcohol means a less enjoyable or less drinkable wine - only that producing a California Zin at 13.5% is really hard. 

You cannot judge if the grape is ready to pick based solely on the sugar content ( that’s what i thought when I started doing this). You really have to check the color of the seeds. If the seed have any green, the grape is not ready - regardless of the brix. If you pick with less than ripe grapes the wine will have a bitterness that is unavoidable. Using Burgundian wines as an example - the cooler climate and lower height of the vines contribute the ability to make fabulous Pinots at 12.5% alcohol - because the grapes ripen with lower sugar content. . It’s no secret that great Pinots come from Oregon. Oregon is at the same latitude as Burgundy. 


Anyway that’s a long winded endorsement of Mike Dashe and his wines. He also makes a Cabernet that is 13.5% - again that is rare. There a number of winemakers in Ca who have the skill and access to appropriate vineyards who make wine that is fabulous but with lower alcohol - providing very well structured , complex and drinkable wines. Another wine maker who excels at this is Steve Matthiasson. He has his own label and in addition is the contract winemaker for some of the very best of this new ( for California) style of wine. 

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1 hour ago, joshnich said:

When I get back home from my current business trip Ill check my ridge inventory.

Thanks for all of that info on Dashe.  I really do like the full throated high alcohol Zins, that's just me.  I'm all over the board with wine, not drinking much white anymore.  Really enjoying Spain and Portugal right now, since the dollar is strong and prices are good.   Big fan of Tempranillo.   Loving this one tonight with a boneless pork chop in a sherry mushroom sauce.


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