Thursday, May 19, 2016



By Dwight Casimere


The Gascony region along the Atlantic coast of France is famous for its Armagnac and for its abundance of seafood, commonly called "fruits de mer," the fruits of the sea. Now comes a white wine blend from Gascony that is perfect with oysters, scallops, shrimp, lobster or langostino and fresh salmon or sea bass, that is not only delicious, but quite affordable; Domaine du Tariquet. At under 10 dollars a bottle, this classic blend of local grape varieties of 45% Ugni blanc, 35% Colombard, together with 10% Sauvignon and 10% Gros Manseng, brings forth all of the fresh citrus taste and bracing minerality so typical of wines of the region. The wine is packed with intense flavor that emphasizes its youth and vitality. This is a wine to be drunk right away, with no thought to aging, and served well chilled, making it perfect for summertime thirst quenching. One can almost imagine walking through the vineyards, dotted with the fragrance of wild flowers and the bracing aroma of the salty Atlantic sea air. There's great tropical fruit flavors along with an almost  slightly salty taste that comes from the combination of earthy minerals and the lingering wafts of sea salt in the air, coming from the coast. Have a glass just before dinner as you grill a salmon steak brushed with a handful of fresh thyme soaked in olive oil, or scallops doused in lemon butter cooked ever so lightly on the open flame. The Grassa family has been making wine at Tariquet for generations. The winery itself has a history dating back more than a hundred years. With that type of experience behind them, and a sincere love for the land and its complex soil which translates into herculean efforts to sustain and preserve the environment, its no wonder that this wine is so enjoyable. Domaine du Tariquet Classic is  a real thirst quencher with a light, well balanced flavor that puts the essence of summer in a glass. 

Below: Views of the vineyards in the Gascony, Bas Armagnac

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Rhone Valley blend is perfect with fish, veal or vegetable tarts and salads

by Dwight Casimere

"A good wine is a wine you want to taste again." That's the message from French wine legend Michel Chapoutier on the back label of his Marius Red, a blend of 54% Grenache and 44% Syrah from the warm climate and complex soils of the South of France. The wine is a reflection of the breezy, open air lifestyle that is so typical of the Rhone Valley wine region in the South of France. Unlike most reds, these wines are served lightly chilled, between 50-53 degrees F, and can be had with almost any of the dishes served at a summertime brunch or lunch served al fresco. That means the wine is equally at home with a grilled swordfish or salmon steak, steam lobster or mussels or lamb kebabs or beef carpaccio or a goat cheese tart or classic salad nicoise. The wine has a lovely deep purple color with flecks of garnet and a heady floral aroma of a bouquet of crushed red roses and a luscious flavor of ripe blueberries or black raspberries and a nice aftertaste of crumbled cinnamon stick and a hint of nutmeg. The finish is long and clean, more like that of a wine three times the price. Do yourself a favor and get a case to keep around for all occassions. Even those finicky wine drinkers who say they  don't normally like the red wine will go back for a second or third glass when they think no one is looking.

Some views of the Rhone Valley in the South of France

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


A Taste of Greece and 4,000 years of winemaking experience


by Dwight Casimere

The Greeks have been making wines for thousands of years. Kallisti Reserve Boutari ($28) is an exceptional opportunity to reap the benefits of that experience and savor a wine with one-of-a-kind distinction. Kallisti is a white wine of robust character. Its made from 100% Assyrtiko, an indigenous variety that is quite different than any other white wine. First of all, the wine comes from one of the most distinctive regions in the world. Santorini is one of only 33 Protected Designation of Origins (PDO) within Greece. The geography of Santorini was drastically changed over the years by the volcanic activity of Thera and the surrounding Aegean Sea. The wine is distinguished by grapes grown through the  ancient kouloura vine training system which guides un-grated vines to weave around in a circle to create a basket appearance which leaves the berries protected from the elements.  This specific topography and growing method combines to create a wine that is full-bodied. The wine displays rich citrus fruit aromas and flavors,  an intense minerality and bracing acidity. This is a well-balanced wine that  goes terrifically with the foods of summer. Try having it with a salmon fillet, cooked over the grill on a wood plank or over coals sprinkled with mesquite chips, or giant sea scallops, drizzled in fresh lemon juice or marinted shrimp kebabs and your in for a real flavor treat. The wine has a bright yellow color with complex aromas of wood, hazelnut and Tahitian vanilla. The harmonious blend is furthered by aromas of fresh sliced Golden apples or ripe peach. A slight tinge from the unique volcanic soil give the wine an elegant structure with a nice, round taste that lingers long in the mouth. This is a wine to savor through a meal eat Al fresco on the patio, the terrace or in the garden. Save a sip or two for dessert with lemon sorbet and freshly made apple crisp. Be sure to forward me an invitation for lunch or dinner!