Natty Spanish Wine and Hotdish ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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We have reached peak November in Kansas City meaning the leaves are all red, orange and yellow, it’s getting dark before 5:00 p.m. and I’ve transitioned into wearing nothing but cozy sweaters and clogs (with socks). It’s usually around this time of year that I dive head first into bottles of Zinfandel and Syrah like nobody's business because to me, a good Zin or Syrah tastes like the wine equivalent of a cozy sweater. However, I’ve been sticking to the lighter bodied reds for the most part, which has been surprising especially to me.

Last Thursday I went to a Spanish natty wine tasting at Underdog where they were pouring wines from importer, Jose Pastor. The way that Jose Pastor was first described to me was that he is the Jenny and Francois of Spain. How could you go wrong with a description like that? The wines were absolutely incredible. I’ve had a few Jose Pastor Selections bottles (I wrote about the orange one here) but I’d been aching to try more. I ended up purchasing three bottles from JP, one of which I knew I had to review. It is the Vidueño de Santiago del Teide by Chingao & Envínate. An interesting fact about this wine is that it is made with 50% white grapes and 50% red. Santiago del Teide is a small town situated on Tenerife, Canary Islands with super volcanic soil. Google it, it looks amazing.

The first thing you notice about this wine is the aroma. It is super funky to say the least and almost has a barnyard quality to it. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t translate to the palate where it is super herbal and floral-- the qualities of the Listan Blanco (the white grape) shine through though it still has some body from the Listan Prieto (the red grape). I decided to chill this, since I wasn’t really sure what else to do with a wine that is half white. It ended up being a good idea although I may have overchilled it. This has been sitting in my fridge for like 5 days and I should have let it chill (ha, but not literally) on the counter for a bit before I opened it. Oh well.

So what do I do when the season hits peak November? I’m glad you asked. I basically hibernate as much as possible, only leaving the house for essential things like work and Target runs. I also make a lot of comfort food. It was suggested that you pair this wine with roasted meat or a full flavored seafood dish and I am doing neither. I am actually pairing this with the most comforting of comfort foods, hotdish. Do you know what hotdish is? I had only heard of it in passing until I started religiously reading Molly Yeh’s food blog www.mynameisyeh.com. She is a North Dakota transplant who cooks dishes that fuse her Jewish, Chinese and now upper Midwest roots.I made her famous Chicken Pot Tater Tot hotdish from her cookbook, Molly on the Range (but you can also find it here). Oddly enough, the wine works with this dish.The hotdish is so rich that you need some acidity from the wine to cut through the creaminess of it.I never really thought of pairing a funky light-bodied wine like this with a casserole until I happened to have both on hand and it worked.

Well, it’s almost 5:00 and basically dark so I’m probably going to curl up in a blanket and watch bad TV (I’ve been rewatching The City, which is the spinoff of The Hills and it’ pretty entertaining). I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying this season, eating good food and most importantly, drinking good wine.

Fall For Orange Wine

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I love orange wines, but tbh, I’m getting a little oranged out. Don’t get me wrong, I think that orange wines fun are funky and I will always love them. However, it seems like KC finally got on the orange wine train and I can’t get away from them even if I try (a problem I never thought I’d have). However, I also feel like I need to taste everything, so when I see orange wine at a shop or on a menu, I usually try it. I first tried this wine at my birthday tasting at my favorite wine shop, Underdog. I bought a bottle and meant to review it but instead I opened it one night when I was already a little tipsy (which is no easy feat since the top is covered in wax) and crushed it. So here we are, nearly a month later and kind of feeling over orange wine for the season, but it matches the leaves so perfectly and like what did you think I was going to review for the fall, pumpkin spice lattes? No.

The Lovamor is made exclusively from Albillo Real grapes from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain situated in the central north. Albillo Real is grown widely throughout this region as well as in Madrid. Lovamor is organic, unfined and unfiltered (just the way I like it). The grapes see six days of skin contact, leading to an amber/golden hue. The winemaker who produces Lovamor is Alfredo Maestro, whose mantra is “Wine made with only grapes, well-kept vineyards, and healthy land.” Maestro employs natural and organic winemaking techniques, using old vines and neglected land. Maestro’s wines are imported by Jose Pastor Selections, which has been described to me as the Jenny & Francois of Spain. When I heard this, I knew I would love it.

The bouquet of the Lovamor is light but floral, smelling of lilies and honeysuckle. There’s a sweetness to it, but I’ve learned this is often deceiving when it comes to orange wines where the bouquet and the palate can be 100% different. The floral notes come through on the palate in such a nice way! It reminds me of the first orange wine I tried on a trip to L.A. It was a Georgian orange wine and was so light and floral, but still had a bit of body from the skin contact. It tastes like orange blossoms (don’t sue me for comparing an orange wine to actual oranges, I know they aren’t made from oranges) and there’s a grittiness to it in the best possible way, which could be due to it being unfined and unfiltered.

This would be the perfect wine for drinking outside on a cool fall day while listening to old-ish Radiohead, which is what I’m doing. Today I read that some dude on Fox News called Radiohead the poor man’s Coldplay. When I was able to pick my jaw up off of the floor I immediately burst into laughter. Radiohead is hands down my favorite band and has been for 10+ years. Since reading that, I’ve been alternating between listening to The Daily Mail/Staircase single and the Knives Out EP-- two of my favorites. The weather is pretty perfect, it is in the high sixties and sunny. If I had my way, I would do nothing but drink this wine outside while listening to Radiohead for the duration of fall. In reality I need to go inside and cook dinner. However, if you have some free time this week, I’d highly recommend picking up some Lovamor, taking it outside and turning on Radiohead. Oh, and I should mention that I stole the title of this post from a window display at a wine shop in Chicago. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯