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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What grape is that.....?

Rondinella is a red grape found in the northern part of Italy, in the Veneto region. It's usually blended with the Corvina grape. It is used to make Valpolicella and Bardolino wines.

Pedro Ximinez (PX) is a white grape found in Spain and is used to make sweet, dessert style Sherry. It's also found in Chile and Argentina where it's the most widely white grape there. It's also grown in Australia where it's used to make fortified wines. Originally found in the Canary Islands it was brought to Spain by a soldier named... Pedro Ximinez.


Tannat is a red grape found in the southwest part of France and it's also the most widely planted grape in Uruguay. It's also found in other countries in South America and experimented with in Virginia and is seeing increased plantings in California. In France it's usually blended with fuller bodied wines to soften it up and make it more drinkable. Tannat has raspberry overtones and can age well. In Uruguay it has more blackberry overtones and softer tannins with more elegance.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Debuts Small Plates New Healthy Dishes for Lighter Dining and Sharing


Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar continues to set the standard in steakhouse dining with its introduction of seven Small Plates to its menu this fall. These lighter, healthier dishes represent a whole new way to dine at Fleming’s – to be enjoyed anytime with a glass of wine, shared with friends, or as a starting course to a meal. They can even be an alternative to a large entrée.
Fleming’s Small Plates are reminiscent of a Mediterranean style of dining and dishes like the Sliced Filet Mignon with Shiitake Risotto blend Asian influences with European flavors. Others like the Lobster Tempura are a variation on a Fleming’s favorite.
“One of my favorites is the Lobster Tempura,” says Russell Skall, Fleming’s Executive Chef. “We took a guest favorite that was an indulgent, high-calorie appetizer, and recreated it. You still have the succulent lobster and dipping sauce only now it’s paired with a salad and has only half the calories.”
Skall began creating and testing Small Plate combinations nearly two years ago. What started with close to 100 original dishes was paired down to 25, then 10, and finally the best seven that joined the Fleming’s menu on September 21.
The seven new Small Plates include: Sliced Filet Mignon on shiitake risotto, chili oil,
drizzled with porcini butter; Jumbo Shrimp Scampi Skewers with chimichurri dipping sauce and avocado citrus salad; New Zealand Petite Lamb Chops with pistachio-mint pesto, “F-17” sauce, and polenta fries; Ahi Tuna Skewers with wasabi aioli, sweet tomato vinaigrette, and homemade wonton chips; New Bedford Scallops with meyer lemon-honey glaze, baby carrots, green beans, and asparagus; Filet Mignon Skewers with gorgonzola-bacon fondue, mozzarella and sweet tomato salad; and Fleming’s Lobster Tempura with soy-ginger dipping sauce, arugula, jicama and apple salad.
“Small Plates let our guests customize their meal and their dining experience,” says Skall. “They are a direct response to requests we’ve received for more choice in portion size, light options and items to share.”
Fleming’s Small Plates range in price from $15.50 – $22.95. As with the majority of Fleming’s menu, they can be modified to be gluten free upon request. Guests also will find a contemporary new look and feel to Fleming’s menu designed to be lighter and easier to read and including original artwork from noted artist Thomas Arvid.
And don't forget fall is Fleming’s newest “5 for $6 ‘til 7” bar menu with five wines from the new Fleming’s 100, Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (available 2 for $6), and the Stiletto – a 99-Calorie cocktail in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The wines of Pierce Ranch Vineyards

The southern part of Monterey County is where you will find the 30 acres of vineyards of Pierce Ranch Vineyards, where it's planted to such grapes of Petite Sirah, Grenache, Syrah and Spain and Portugal influenced Tempranillo and Touriga amongst others. These wines and others produced are very limited with some bottling as little as 60 cases. The vineyards are 1,000 ft. above sea level and are in one of California's newest AVA's of San Antonio Valley and are situated 14 miles from the Pacific. With very little wine produced, they are only available through the winery. I recently had the chance to taste a few of their wines and these are my thoughts. www.piercevineyards.com

2007 Tempranillo is a medium bodied wine with good fruit of cherries and plums and is well balanced. Aged for 18 months in American, French and Hungarian oak there are only 160 cases of this wine produced.

The 2007 Touriga is a blend of 70% Touriga Nacional and 30% Touriga Francesa  and has good tannins, medium body and good complexity. Black currant and spices are just some of the flavors you will find in this wine along with a long finish. Aged for 18 months in oak, some that are new, this 125 case production is an interesting take on the Portugese grapes.

2007 Petite Sirah see's 18 months in French oak and is a full bodied wine that is soft and spicy and gets bigger on the mid palate. Dark fruits and hints of black and white pepper are present nuances. A long finish is had from this 275 case wine.

The 2007 Tourbillon is a blend of 43% Grenache, 37% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah that is dry and soft with cherry, lavender and sage notes. It's medium bodied and has medium tannins from being aged for 18 months in French oak. This is a good balanced wine with a nice finish. With 460 cases produced it is one of the more widely produced wines.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hops Meets Chevre at HB Hanratty’s Pub Beer + Cheese Pairing Celebrates American Cheese Month

This sounds like a good time, I'll be there.


Beer + Cheese Pairing Celebrates American Cheese Month


Calendar Listing
South by Northwest: When Arizona Beer Meets Oregon Cheese
Friday, October 14, 2011
6 – 9 pm
$25 – buy tickets at the bar

HB Hanratty’s Pub
537 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ

RSVP: facebook.com/hbhanrattys


On Friday, October 14, people can learn the art of pairing beer and cheese in the best way possible – by tasting some of the best of both. HB Hanratty’s Pub and the Cheese Chick are hosting South by Northwest to celebrate American Cheese Month. Guests will get hearty samples of Oregon cheeses paired with Arizona beers for $20.

When the Cheese Chick reminded the esteemed Mr. HB Hanratty that October was American Cheese Month, an event to celebrate was inevitable. The gentleman is known for being a bit on the cheesy side himself, but that aside, his long-standing bar at 7th Street and Camelback is better known as a place to sample some of the fine Arizona craft beers being brewed in the state.

At the event, guests will get to sample four Oregon cheeses new to the Arizona market from Oregon Farmstead & Artisan Cheeses, Rivers Edge Chevre, Rogue Creamery, Tumalo Farms and Willamette Valley Cheese. They will be paired with beers from San Tan Brewery, Sonoran Brewery and Sleepy Dog.

The $20 ticket includes generous portions of cheese paired with gourmet crackers and cheese-friendly condiments, 4 tasters of beer and a pint of your favorite.

To RSVP, visit HB Hanratty on Facebook and respond to the event posting. www.facebook.com/hbhanrattys. One ticket per person will be held with each RSVP until 7pm. After 7pm, those tickets will be made available for walk ins. All payment made at the door.

Twitter Links:@hbhanrattys
@cheesechick1
#SXNW

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Hills of Lake County

North of the Napa Valley is Lake County where farms, fields and vineyards roll through the rural countryside. This is where in 1999 Mitch and Tracey Hawkins and David Boises started growing grapes & started producing wine in 2004. 18 acres planted to mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Hawk and Horse Vineyards is certified organic(CCOF) and serves as a ranch in addition to vineyards and  is located in the Red Hills AVA of lake County.

Making 2 wines under the guidance of well respected winemakers Dick Peterson and Scott Harvey, Hawk and Horse show off how good Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon can be.

The 2007 Cabernet is the 3rd release and is a burst of dried currants and cocoa. Aged for 18 months in French oak this wine is medium bodied and offers nice tannins with a long, lingering finish. With only 430 cases produced this wine is a great example of what a well balanced wine should be and should sell out at $65 so get yours soon.

As much as we loved the CS with our rib eyes, we almost went bonkers over their 2006 Latigo dessert wine. This delicious, amber wine is made with CS grapes and then fortified with brandy. The wine is aged for 26 months and when ready to drink is a mouthful of cherries, raisins and cranberries that is medium in body and consistency. Only 200 cases were made and is perfect for the upcoming fall and holiday season. Approx. $45 http://hawkandhorsevineyards.com/



Monday, October 3, 2011

SMASHBURGER ROLLS OUT POPULAR ‘WINDY CITY BURGER’ TO PHOENIX Local Chicago burger to be available for a limited time

Smashburger, the nation’s fastest growing “better burger” concept, is pleased to announce it is bringing its Chicago-inspired Windy City burger to the Phoenix area for a limited time from September 26 through October 30. Starting today, SmashFans in Phoenix and across the country can enjoy a taste of Chicago’s favorite flavors captured in the Windy City burger, a juicy, smashed-to-order burger that’s made with fresh, never frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef, topped with layers of melted cheddar cheese, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato, and Gulden’s® spicy mustard on a hand-cut pretzel roll. Smashburger specializes in creating localized menu offerings by combining regional taste profiles with the brand’s unique “smashing” technique that creates a juicy burger you can taste in every bite. Until now, the Windy City burger was only found on Smashburger menus in Chicago, but consumer interest in local recipes from other cities inspired Smashburger to take the burger national. In conjunction with this delicious limited time offering, Smashburger is pleased to announce the launch of its ‘Win a Taste Bud Tour of Chicago’ sweepstakes in which Smashburger guests can enter to win a free trip to the hometown of the Windy City burger, Chicago, Illinois. The prize package includes airfare for two, a two-night stay in a luxury hotel and $1,000 in spending cash to explore the tastes and flavors of Chicago. To enter, Smashfans can make a purchase at any Smashburger nationwide from September 26 through October 30, 2011 and simply enter the validation code found on the bottom of their dining receipt at Smashburger.com/Chicago. From the registered entries, one lucky winner will be selected. During each week of the Windy City burger’s stay, participants will also be entered to win Smashburger coupons and one SmashFan will be chosen to receive FREE Smashburger for a year! “In every market we enter, we take the time to create a unique burger experience for that city that incorporates local taste preferences and our Windy City burger has been particularly successful in its hometown of Chicago,” said Tom Ryan, founder and chief concept officer of Smashburger. “We received great feedback from our guests after rolling out our Sin City burger as a national limited time offer last spring, and we’re eager to give them another chance to enjoy a local favorite from another city.” Smashburger also serves a variety of marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled and split hot dogs, entrée salads, and a variety of signature sides like hand-tossed rosemary and garlic-seasoned Smashfries, sweet potato Smashfries, crispy haystack onions, and veggie frites. Smashburger guests can pair their meals with handspun Häagen-Dazs® shakes, malts and floats and an array of local craft bottled beers and wine.