Tag Archives: riesling

Wine and food pairings 12: Hot dogs (because everyone refuses to believe it can be done)

hot dogsThe Wine Curmudgeon pairs wine with some of his favorite recipes in this occasional feature. This edition: three wines with hot dogs — a fancy version, but hot dogs nonetheless.

The Wine Curmudgeon once hosted a weekend cookout where the main dish was hot dogs. To which one of the guests sneered: “I’d like to see that — drinking wine with hot dogs.”

Oh ye of little faith. Wine is not reserved for $100 dinners or dishes made with three sauces. Wine is for dinner — no matter what dinner is. Which, of course, has been the point of the blog for almost 14 years. Hence, wine with hot dogs, which is something I’ve wanted to write about since my Cordon Bleu teaching days. We did part of a class where the students paired wine with fast food, to show people learning haute cuisine that wine didn’t have to be haute.

This version, called Hot Dog Boats and adapted from the Tastemade/Tasty cooking hegemony, is much fancier than those 8 for 99 cent hot dogs served on the buns that fall apart as soon as you pick them up. A compound butter, and par-baking the buns even. But it’s well worth the effort — think of it as a chili cheese dog for people who want to take the hot dog to the next level.

Click here to download or print a PDF of the recipe. Pairing hot dogs isn’t as difficult or as goofy as it seems. It’s a sausage, after all, and the Germans and the French in Alsace have doing wine and sausages for centuries. These wines will get you started:

• Old Soul Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($12, sample, 13.7%): This is a simple, Lodi-style cab, so there’s lots of sweet berry fruit. But it’s more than just another sweet red wind, with a bit of heft in the back for balance. A fine value.

• Inazio Urruzola Rosado 2019 ($16, sample, 10.5%): Interesting Spanish rose from the Basque region that’s made with truly obscure grapes. It’s  lemony and savory, and not what most people expect. Imported by Winesellers, Ltd

• August Kesseler Riesling Kabinett 2018 ($13, purchased, 10.5%): Zippy, oily, and sweetish German riesling, with some lime and stone fruit. Because riesling with sausages. Highly recommended. Imported by Vineyard Brands

Blog associate editor Churro contributed to this post.

Full disclosure: One of these days, I’ll remember take a picture of the dish; the one accompanying the post is from Tasty.

More about wine and food pairings:
Wine and food pairings 11: Croque monsieur, turkey style
Wine and food pairings 10: Lemon rosemary roasted turkey thighs
Wine and food pairings 9: Mushroom ragu

Slider photo: “Rome Elite Event: wine, food and nice people” by Yelp.com is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Wine to drink during rolling power blackouts

power blackouts
The idea is to have cheap wine in the house so you don’t have to drive in this mess to buy cheap wine to drink during rolling power blackouts.

Three wines to drink during Texas’ rolling power blackouts — because that’s when you really need quality cheap wine

The weather in Dallas for the past 10 days has been exceptional – record, almost sub-zero cold and more snow in a couple of days than we usually get in a couple of years. As such, we’ve had rolling power blackouts thanks to the unprecedented electrical demand. Here at Wine Curmudgeon World Headquarters in Dallas, the power went off eight times between Sunday and Wednesday — and I was luckier than most, who didn’t have any power at all. And a friend in suburban Arlington lost water, and had to use snow to flush the toilet.

Fortunately, I have lots of sweaters, as well as flashlights positioned around the house. Churro, the blog’s associate editor, showed grace under pressure — he barely objected when I wiped his feet off after a trip outside.

The situation raises two questions: First, how did the state’s grid operator get in this mess, which isn’t really in the purview of the blog (though I have had long experience with Texas’ electricity ineptness). Second, what wine to drink during rolling power blackouts?

Fortunately, the WC has the second one covered:

Grunhaus Maximin Riesling 2017 ($15, purchased, 11%): One more very pleasant German riesling surprise – sort of sweet, lemony, almost sparkly. It’s not complicated, but it is German in style. Highly recommended. Imported by Loosen Bros. USA

Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 ($10, purchased, 13.5%): This vintage of an always dependable Italian red blend is a touch more interesting – a little earthier, more intriguing cherry fruit, and a little more complex. Just the thing for my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs, and especially when it’s snowing outside. Imported by Empson USA

Marquis de la Tour Brut NV ($10, purchased, 11%): This French bubbly from the Loire, made in the charmat style, is soft, a little sweet (honey?), with tight bubbles and lemon and apple fruit. Very nicely done, and especially for the price. Imported by Palm Bay International

More about wine and weather:
Porch wine for the long, hot summer
Wine to drink when the electricity goes out – yet again
Wine to drink when the air conditioner is replaced

Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News

Mini-reviews 138: German riesling, white Burgundy, godello, Rombauer

rieslingReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the fourth Friday of each month.

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Riesling 2018 ($13, purchased, 10%): This Total Wine private label is a German white that is honeyed and lemony.  It’s simple but enjoyable, and the “medium dry” sweetness doesn’t get in the way. Imported by Saranty Imports

Sauzet Bourgogne Blanc 2016 ($32, purchased, 12.5%): The Big Guy brought this white Burgundy, from our favorite Burgundy producer, to WC world headquarters for pandemic, socially-distanced, porch sipping. Sadly, thanks to the tariff and premiumization, this is no longer the “affordable” wine it used to be. It’s fine for what it is,  with some green apple and well-constructed oak. But it lacks the Sauzet verve and dash, and especially at this price. Imported by Vineyard Brands

Virxe de Galir Pagos del Galir 2018 ($18, sample, 13.5%): This Spanish white is made with godello, which the wine geeks compare to chardonnay (same green apple fruit, same mouth feel, though a bit more spice). Hence the problem: You can buy a nice albarino or a Basque Txakolina  for more or less the same price. Imported by Aaron LLC

Rombauer Sauvignon Blance 2019 ($25, sample, 14.2%): This California white is a terrific example of this style of pricey wine — and it’s the style that Rombauer made famous. It’s a little hot, and features some grassy notes but surprisingly muted citrus fruit. Plus, it has a much fuller mouth feel than other sauvignon blancs. In other words, $10 New Zealand it ain’t.

Photo: “Sunny Afternoon on the Roof” by winestyr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wine review: Six white wines from New York’s Fox Run

fox runThese six white wines are some of the reasons why New York has come so far in wine quality

One of the great successes in Drink Local over the past 15 years has been New York state, which has grown, thrived, and earned rare critical acclaim. In fact, one of my great regrets with Drink Local Wine is that we never held a conference in New York’s Finger Lakes, home to some of the world’s best rieslings.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to taste New York wine regularly since the blog started, and so have been able to follow the Finger Lakes’ success. One recent example: Six white wines from Fox Run Vineyards, which was founded in 1984. Winemaker Peter Bell and co-owner Scott Osborn have long been ardent supporters of Drink Local, and I used to judge with Peter at the old Eastern International in upstate New York. His rant while we were tasting supermarket zinfandels one year has stayed with me since.

Each of these six wines are worth drinking, and several are even better than that (and most of the prices aren’t bad, either):

• Fox Run Silvan Riesling 2018 ($25, sample, 12.5%): This riesling shows why the Finger Lakes has earned its reputation. It’s long, complex, and intriguing, but also terroir-driven. That means it’s rich and full, but without the petrol or honey of a similar German riesling. Instead, there is zesty lime fruit and lots of minerality. Sill very young and probably needs a couple of years to open up. Highly recommended.

• Fox Run Dry Riesling 2018 ($15, sample, 11.7%): Very New York in style – oh so crisp, an echo of sweetness, a little lemon, maybe some oiliness (or maybe not), very long, and very clean.

• Fox Run Semi-Dry Riesling ($13, sample, 11.4%): This is exactly what an off-dry riesling should taste like — the sweetness is part of the wine, and not glopped on. This might have been my favorite of the batch, and I don’t go out of my way to find off-dry wine. Look for a bit of petrol and a bit of lime, both of which balance the sweetness. Highly recommended.

• Fox Run Traminette 2018 ($15, sample, 11.2%): This is a well made traminette, something never easy to do with this particular hybrid grape. There’s some spice, some tropical fruit, and noticeable (but not annoying) sweetness.

• Fox Run Chardonnay 2018 ($15, sample, 12.4%): One of the best domestic chardonnays at this price I’ve tasted in years — crisp green apple, clean, no hint of sweetness or the cloying tropical fruit that so many similarly priced wines have. If there is any oak, it’s hiding in the background where it should be. Tremendous value and highly recommended.

• Fox Run Kaiser Chardonnay 2018 ($15, sample, 12.5%) This tastes like Peter Bell’s take on all those fake, over-oaked, $12 to $18 supermarket chardonnays that make me crazy. Which, of course, it didn’t. Yes, the oak is pronounced, but the vanilla is balanced against the pear and apple fruit. If you like this style of wine, this will make you very happy.

More regional wine reviews:
Michigan wine 2019
Beard award semifinalists: One more victory for regional wine
Regional wine update: Virginia, Texas, Lake Erie

Expensive wine 137: St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett 2016

St. Urbans-Hof Riesling KabinettSweet? Yes, but the St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett shows how gorgeous sweet wine can be

The Wine Curmudgeon’s campaign to increase U.S. riesling consumption continues with the St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett. This vintage isn’t necessarily a typical approach to German riesling, given how cold and wet the year was, but it is a delicious one.

The St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett 2016 ($25, sample, 8.5%) is sweet – make no mistake about it. But this is not sweet as we understand it from focus group supermarket wine, but sweetness that comes from beautiful candied lemon fruit and a fresh, honeyed sweetness. In this, the acidity and minerality balance the sweetness. The former, though not necessarily noticeable, keeps the wine from being syrupy, while the latter cleans the palate at the finish. Who am I to argue with the Wine Spectator’s assessment: “Elegant.”

Highly recommended. Drink now, but would probably improve with a couple of more years in in the bottle. It also needs food – and how often do you hear that about sweet wine? The St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett would pair more effectively with something like sausage and braised cabbage than anything spicy.

Imported by HB Wine Merchants

Wine review: Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling 2017

Dr. Loosen red slateGermany’s Dr. Loosen Red Slate riesling is one more reason why Americans should drink more riesling

Riesling is not that big a deal in the United States. There are many reasons for this, including the idea that real wine drinkers don’t drink sweet wine. Anther, also important reason, is that we don’t see a lot of quality riesling in the U.S., and especially if we don’t live on the East Coast.

Which is where the Dr. Loosen Red Slate riesling ($15, purchased, 12.5%) comes in. I bought it not because I knew the wine, but because we don’t drink enough riesling in the U.S. What did I know? That Dr. Loosen is one of Germany’s leading producers, and that it understands riesling’s perception problems in this country – hence, the word “dry” on the front label.

And I was not disappointed. The Dr. Loosen Red Slate riesling was all I could have hoped for – bone dry, a little petrol aroma, some lime, some zippiness, and a very clean back end. It’s not complex or especially subtle, and riesling aficionados might be a little disappointed that there isn’t more to the wine.

But it’s simple in the best sense, in that it’s made for everyday drinking without pandering to focus groups. The only real problem is the price, which is as high as $18 in some markets. That’s a combination of a couple of things, I think: the tariff, which adds 25 percent to the cost, and the weak U.S. dollar. The euro is at a two-year high vs. the dollar, and that might tack on another 10 percent.

Still, this is highly recommended if you can buy it for less than $15. Even at more than that, it’s still a better quality wine than much else at that price.

Imported by Loosen Bros.

barefoot wine

Barefoot wine review 2020: Rose and riesling

Barefoot wine review 2019

Barefoot wine (again): Value or just cheap?
Barefoot wine: Why it’s so popular

Barefoot wine review 2020: Get ready for a dose of sweetness with the rose and riesling — but at least the front labels let you know what’s coming

Call it knowing your audience: The Barefoot wine review 2020 bottles don’t pretend to be something they aren’t. Looking for a dry, tart, Provencal- style rose? Then don’t buy the Barefoot rose, which says “Delightfully sweet” on the front label. Want a nuanced, oily, off-dry riesling? Then don’t buy the Barefoot riesling, which says “Refreshingly sweet” on the front label.

Which, frankly, is a much welcome development in this, the blog’s 13th Barefoot review. Few things are more annoying than Big Wine — or smaller wine, for that matter — claiming a wine is dry when it tastes like sweet tea. Barefoot, the best-selling wine brand in the country (depending on whose statistics you believe) has the courage of its convictions. And good for it.

The Barefoot wine review 2020 features the non-vintage rose ($5, purchased, 10%) and the non-vintage riesling ($5, purchased, 8%). Both are California appellation. The sweetness is obvious, and especially in the riesling. In the rose, it tries to hide in the background — and then you swallow, and it hits you.

The rose tastes of strawberry fruit, and has lots of acidity in an attempt to balance the sweetness. Which doesn’t exactly work — just sort of offers a counterpoint. The riesling smells like oranges (perhaps some muscat in the blend?) and then the candied sweetness hits and covers up what little fruit flavor (apricot?) was there. A smidgen of acidity is around somewhere, sort of like the cool of a summer morning before it gets hot, and then the  like the coolishness, the wine gets sweet again.

In this, these wines deliver what the front labels promise, though the back labels are marketing hurly burly — “smooth, crisp finish” and “hint of jasmine and honey.” But if you want a $5 sweet wine that is cheap and sweet, then the rose and the riesling fill the bill.

Blog associate editor Churro contributed to this post

More Barefoot wine reviews:
Barefoot wine review 2019
Barefoot wine review 2018
Barefoot wine review 2017