Tag Archives: viura

Wine and food pairings 10: Lemon rosemary roasted turkey thighs

turkey thighsThe Wine Curmudgeon pairs wine with some of his favorite recipes in this occasional feature. This edition: three wines with lemon rosemary roasted turkey thighs.

The Wine Curmudgeon’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, which is uniquely American. How lucky are we, in the history of the world, to have what we have? And, given my appreciation of the holiday, I’ve never been able to figure out why we save turkey for one dinner a year.

Turkey is also uniquely American. In this, it’s plentiful, almost always inexpensive, is versatile, and is delicious when it’s cooked properly (something my mom mastered early on, which helped me appreciate turkey that much more). This recipe fits all the categories — it costs maybe $6 for three or four four adult-sized servings; the lemon and rosemary complement the thighs’ gaminess; and it’s a welcome respite from chicken.

Click here to download or print a PDF of the recipe. This is lemony and herbal white wine food (even rose, if it’s not too fruity). These three suggestions will get you started:

• Granbazan Etiqueta Verde Albarino 2018 ($20, purchased, 13.5%): This Spanish white is more nuanced than the albarino I prefer, the ones that are savory, practically salty, and taste almost lemony tart. The lemon fruit is still there, but it’s softer and much less savory. Having said that, it’s very well done and a fair price given the tariff and how much so many ordinary albarinos cost. Imported by Europvin

• CVNE Monopole 2019 ($11, purchased, 13%): Spain’s Rioja region is best known for red wine, but quality has improved considerably for its whites, often made with viura. The Monopole is a wine to buy, drink, buy again, and drink again. This vintage isn’t as quite as tart and lemony, but remains a  tremendous value. Imported by Arano LLC

•  Kruger-Rumpf Pinot Noir Rosé Dry 2019 ($13, purchased, 12%): This German rose may be difficult to find, but it’s intriguing: A bit of fizz, bright berry fruit, and refreshing acidity. Imported by Skurnik Wines

Blog associate editor Churro contributed to this post

Full disclosure: Once again, I forgot to take a picture of the dish; the one accompanying the post is from the Life Jolie blog. Imagine a little rosemary and lemon garnishing the turkey thighs.

More about wine and food pairings:
Wine and food pairings 9: Mushroom ragu
• Wine and food pairings 8: Not quite ramen soup
• Wine and food pairings 7: Classic roast chicken

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

Mini-reviews 122: Albarino, Chianti, Viura, Eberle Cotes-du-Robles

Eberle Cotes-du-RoblesReviews 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.

Lagar de Cervera Albarino 2017 ($15, purchased, 12.5%): This Spanish white offers $12 worth of value, and it’s not especially albarino like. It’s a little soft wiithout the citrus zip, not all that savory, and not especially fresh. Very disappointing. Imported by Golden State Wine Co.

Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina 2018 ($15, sample, 13%): Very ordinary Italian red, made in a soft, fruity, less tart New World style so that it lacks all of the things that make Chianti interesting. Meh. Imported by HB Wine Merchants

Azul y Garanza Viura 2017 ($10/1-liter, purchased, 12.5%): Spanish white missing the lemony snap and crackle that viura should have. The same producer’s tempranillo is much more interesting. Having said that, the viura is more than drinkable and the price is terrific. Imported by Valkyrie Selections

Eberle Cotes-du-Robles Rouge 2017 ($34, sample, 14.1%): You get exactly what you pay for — rich, full and well-made Paso Robles red blend that has structure and restraint. But since it’s Paso, that means very ripe black fruit that keeps coming and coming.

Wine of the week: Bodegas Virgen del Aguila Las Valles 2015

Las VallesWhat’s the best way to use Spanish chardonnay? As a blending grape, as in the $10 Hall of Fame worthy Les Valles

Spanish chardonnay is wine’s version of an oxymoron, the terms like military intelligence and Microsoft Works that are contradictions in themselves. So what’s the Les Valles – made with Spanish chardonnay – doing as the wine of the week?

It’s because the Les Valles ($10, purchased, 12%) uses chardonnay as a blending grape, which is about the only way Spanish chardonnay should be used. In this white wine, a little chardonnay is combined with viura, a traditional Spanish grape, to make a wine that is better than it would be as either of the two varietals.

The chardonnay softens the viura, which can be a very lemony grape, and makes the wine richer and more about white fruit than if it was just made with viura. But the viura lends its crispness and a floral aroma, and the combination is one of those great cheap wines that are my reason for being.

Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame. Drink this chilled on its own or with roasted chicken or turkey.

Imported by Hand Picked Selections

Wine of the week: Conde Pinel Viura-Verdejo 2015

Conde Pinel Viura-VerdejoThe Conde Pinel Viura-Verdejo is a $9 wine worthy of the 2017 $10 Hall of Fame.

What do you get when you blend two Spanish white grapes that make great cheap wine? You get the Conde Pinel Viura-Verdejo, a $9 wine that is worthy of the 2017 $10 Hall of Fame.

The Conde Pinel Viura-Verdejo ($9, purchased, 13%) demonstrates again why Spanish wine is the best value in the world. This isn’t some focus-grouped wine with lots of sweet fruit and a cute label devised by a marketing company – quite the opposite, in fact. It comes from Castilla in central Spain, where the real estate is much less expensive and the grapes, viura and verdejo, are little known elsewhere in the world.

Which is fortunate for us. Look for tart green apple fruit, a smidge of tropical something or other in the middle, and a fresh, surprisingly long finish. How this wine can be this delicious at this price is one of those questions that not enough producers are able to answer.

Chill this, and drink it on its own (yes, a porch wine), or with grilled or roast chicken, as well as anything with garlic, herbs, and olive oil.

Spanish wine

Spanish wine may offer the best value in the world — part II

Spanish wine reviewsThis is the second of two parts discussing why Spanish wine may be the best value in the world today. Part I, an overview of why Spain offers so much value, is here.

If wine drinkers know Spanish wine, it’s tempranillo from Rijoa or Ribera del Duero. Older wine drinker might know Spanish sherry, while the hipsters know garnacha and the Winestream Media-hyped wines from the Priorat. In this, it’s as if nothing has happened in Spain over the past 20 years.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Spanish wine — red, white, pink, and bubbly — is better than ever. Cava, the Spanish sparkling, has received most of the attention, but it’s not alone in the Spanish wine renaissance. The whites, including viura, verdejo, and albarino, can be spectacular for as little as $10. The reds, always excellent from the best regions, have improved dramatically regardless of where they’re from. Aldi’s $5 Vina Decana tempranillo (which, sadly, appears to be gone) is from Utiel-Requena, about as little known as a Spanish wine region gets.

These wines, tasted over the past six months, will get you started in understanding what’s going on in Spain. But they’re just a sample, and I could have listed a dozen more. The lesson? Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own. It will be hard to go wrong.

Muga Rosado 2013 ($10, purchased, 13%): One of the best roses in the world, always fresh and delicious. This vintage has tart strawberry fruit. As one CellarTracker user wrote: “My fifth bottle this summer,” which seems about as good a recommendation as possible.

deAlto Amo Blanco 2012 ($10, purchased, 13%): My tasting notes for this white, made mostly with viura, quibble about crispness and whether it’s too floral. How much have the Spanish spoiled me that I’m looking for things to complain about ?

Columna R as Baixas 2011 ($10, purchased, 12.5%): This white, made with albarino, is another excellent example of the quality wine that Ole Imports brings to the U.S. Still fresh, despite being an older vintage, with a really interesting, almost baking spice middle.

Cune Crianza 2010 ($15, purchased, 13.5%): Yes, this red from Rioja, a tempranillo blend, is three times better than the Decana, which means it’s close to spectacular. Deep, rich cherry fruit, a hint of bitter orange, layered oak, and a full, complete finish. Highly recommended.

Evodia 2013 ($10, sample, 14.5%): This red, made with garnacha, is a hipster wine that the rest of us can enjoy. The last time I tasted it, it was 15 percent alcohol and still drinkable; this vintage, with lots of cherry fruit, good weight, and some black pepper, is even better. I’m always surprised I like it as much as I do.

Val de Vid Verdejo 2010 ($10, purchased, 12.5%): Yes, the vintage is correct, and how a white wine that costs $10 and is this old can be this delicious is beyond me. Has white pepper and a sort of pear fruit that could also be lime without the citrus, plus a longish finish.

Wine of the week: Cune Rioja Blanco 2010

Cune Rioja BlancoHow much did I like this wine? I bought another white from the same producer that cost a couple of bucks more, and I didn ?t even have to think twice about it. Just picked it up and put it in the cart. That doesn ?t happen very often; if a wine costs more than $10, I ?m often seen mumbling to myself in front of the shelf.

Even more impressive is that white wines from the Rioja region of Spain have traditionally been pretty awful ? badly made and even oxidized.

None of that is the case here. The Cune ($10, purchased, 12.8%), made with viura, has enough white fruit to be noticeable, maybe some lemon peel, and is amazingly fresh and clean ? very impressive given the track record for white Rioja. Chill this, drink it in the summer on its own or with salads or seafood. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

And yes, even though the company name is CVNE, the wine is called Cune.