My first experience with Chilean wine was back around 1995, when my children’s nanny — a wonderful Chilean woman — brought me a bottle. I’m thinking, Chile? … how good can this wine be? I will be the first to say, this “pseudo wine snob,” was really cut down to size! I have continued buying wine from Chile ever since.
So when the DeMartino Vinyards offered to send the Green Divas samples of its Certified Organic wines, I jumped at the chance to savor the “Estate Organic” wines.
Without reading any of the background information, descriptions, etc., sent with the bottles, I served each wine at a dinner I prepared for … hmm … ??? how should I say this …. my daughter’s more than likely in-laws. So there were six of us sampling and commenting.
One of my favorites. Cabernet Sauvignon is often called the “King of Red Wine Grapes.” The grape originates in Bordeaux, France but has also taken over in California. Having made it’s way “south of the border” into Chile is no surprise as the vine loves the warmer climate.
Its journey was well worth it. The beauty of DeMartino’s Estate Cabernet (this site is in Spanish) is it’s also organic! Cabs are full-bodied wines and a perfect complement to red meats, hearty red pasta sauces, lamb, strong cheese, and chocolates (especially dark). That said, I served my guests a butterflied leg of lamb, seasoned with rosemary, sage, garlic and pepper cooked over hot coals. SO YUM! … and the wine was absolutely perfect!
This wine, which I had never tasted previously, absolutely BLEW MY SOCKS off! What an absolutely wonderfully light and fruity wine … just light enough with just a hint of sweet. Love it! I’m not an expert so I can’t throw out all the buzz-words used by wine connoisseurs and reviews … all I can do is tell you what I think as someone who has enjoyed red wine from when she was a young girl at her family’s dinner table – way back when!
The Carnenere is outstanding … I can’t tell you enough how much I loved it. I will say this, I was really, really sad when the last few drops fell out of the bottle. An aside here, my dad — as you may know we called him Bushi (boo-shee) — would take every bottle of wine and hold it upside down as if to “ring-out” the very last drop of wine out.
We called it … and still do … “Bushi-ing the Bottle.”
Then I read the literature about the Carnenere. Here — in brief — is what it says:
Head Wine Maker – Marcelo Retamal: At 44 years of age Marcelo is considered by many to be one of the most highly regarded and distinguished winemakers of his generation. He and his team are responsible for the first ever wine to be produced, labeled and exported as Carmenère. The Single Vineyard Carmenère has been chosen as Chile’s best 2 years in a row in the Chilean Wine Guide.
And with good reason … it is one terrific wine … WOW! I just love it.
Concannon Conservancy Crimson and Clover
As far as this Green Diva call tell you … another winner! First, upon seeing the bottle I couldn’t quite figure our what “crimson and clover” was all about. Well DUH! … read the label silly!
This wine is a blend of 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and 10% Zinfandel and was created as a tribute to the “Father of America’s First Petite Sirah,” Jim Concannon, by his son John. “Crimson & Clover” reflects their Irish heritage; the clover symbolizing Ireland’s prosperity and crimson honoring the bright, deep red of the blend. My husband Antonio was raised in Rome, Italy. He grew-up learning about and really appreciating red wine. One of the first things he told me about wine is that blends — that is blending different grape varieties — results in really good wine.
He’s right and this Crimson & Clover is no exception.
The Slow Wine app for your smart phone is literally that – a guide to the best Italian wines. This app is written by Slow Food editors and has everything you need to know about the story behind the wine producers, their vineyards, and Italy’s wine-producing regions.
It’s amazing how much info can be stored into one little app … including pictures and where you can find it to buy it. Pretty cool. Getting used to going to my smart phone is another story. I’m getting there and while I REFUSE to use the term, “Hard to teach an old dog new tricks” … I will say, the learning curve is a bit steeper than I would like … but that’s a nice challenge; we are after all, talking about finding the right wine for the right occasion!
Upcycled Wine Bottle Lantern: Easy Tutorial
With the amount of wine we enjoy, bottles — all shapes and sizes — really do accumulate. Most make their way into the recycle bin but with a little thought and creativity, there’s lots to do with them. How about a hanging, outdoor luminarie?
1. wine or any bottle with a long neck
2. cotton string – DO NOT use nylon or any nylon blend. It simply will not work.
3. nail polish remover or lighter fluid
5. a pot of ice water – enough to cover the base of the bottle
6. sand paper or fine files
7. length of chain, small enough to fit through the neck of the bottle
8. wire – 16 gauge is apretty good size
9. key ring, a large washer or what-have-you
10. votive candle holder, a heat resistant glass, the bottom of a small can – whatever you have that can hold a candle.
First you’ll have to cut off the bottom of the bottle. If you have a glass cutter, go for it. I don’t so I used a tried and true methode, using things I had around the house. It can be a little trick to do it this way and, as always, when working with glass – be careful.
Here’s What You Do:
1. Prepare the ice water and set aside … not too far away.
2. Tie the string securely onto the base of the bottle.
3. Remove the string and saturate it with either the polish remover or lighter fluid. I tend to be a little messy when I work which in this case is not necessarily a good idea as, working with matches and flammable liquids. This is my way of saying, “Be careful”.
4. Replace the now soaked string onto the bottle and prepare to light.
5. As soon as the the flame has burned thought the cotton and begins to wane, dunk the base of the bottle directly into the ice water. Do this quickly. If it’s done correctly, you’ll hear the glass snap … not shatter. Remove the bottle — careful — it’s glass.
6. Gently sand the edges of the bottle until it’s smooth and there are no longer any nicks. I’ve also soaked off the labels.
7. Cut a piece of wire about 24″ long and begin coiling a “swirl” large enough to cover the bottom of the votive holder. Once you’ve got the right diameter, wrap the wire around the votive until reaching the top edge.
Drop in the votive holder and twist the wire around to create a snug fit. If the wire is long enough, make a loop at the end without cutting. That is – if you have 3-4 inches left, it’s long enough. If not, bend the wire toward the center and make a loop. If that’s the case, add another 3-4 inches to the loop. I have a lot of beads hanging around and now looking at these pictures, it occurs to me that a couple of colorful beads along the wire would look very pretty.
8. Attach a key ring to the top loop and again to one end of the chain. Feed the opposite end of the chain through the neck of the bottle, starting from the bottom.
9. Add a votive candle, hang outdoors and wait for the sun to set … oh, and don’t forget … a bottle of red wine and 2 glasses!