Sparkling

Wines to Pair with the NBA Finals: 2018 Edition

NBA Finals Oakland. One of my favorite versions of the bustling metropolis, the ever-evolving, the rapidly extravagant city that (as of now) hosts the 5 time Champion Golden State Warriors. Even Ice Cube was at the Lake Chalet in Oakland this morning, signaling that everyone wants a piece of this amazing city and that Today will in fact, be a Good Day. Now without further ado…

Wines to Pair with the 2018 NBA Finals.

China Klay

I’ve heard it said, the most dependable, possibly the best player on the Warriors squad is “China Klay.” After letting it all hang out over his two week stint China this summer, Klay Thompson taught the world what it’s like to ‘do you’, and absolutely slay. And while I hope Klay refrains from the Dim Sum over the next few weeks, I feel perfectly comfortable watching the Finals with a batch of soup dumplings and a bottle of Celler La Salada ‘Roig Boig.’ Roig Boig is a hodge podge of indigenous, nearly extinct varieties from the Penedès region of Spain. Farmed and vinified organically, made in the Petillant style and so delicious with dumplings I’m surprised China Klay wasn’t spraying it all over the Rockets Locker room.

The Steph Shimmy

I named our sherry flight at Bellota after Steph Curry, so it only makes sense to drink the sherry while we watch our boy do the shimmy. For a delicious bottle of briny Manzanilla, look to Alexander Jules ‘8/41.’ Alexander Russan is an importer, a winemaker and an extremely proficient sherry barrel selector. He scours the Sherry Triangle for exceptional sherry barrels, buys them from the sherry house solera and bottles them for my (and your) consumption. (Should any of these words confuse you, reread my previous Sherry blog.) We have this wine by the glass at Bellota so be sure to quaff some down bar-side before a game.

The Hamptons 5

I have high hopes for Iguadala’s return, so when the Hampton’s Five takes the court this Finals, let’s all get fancy. I myself have never been to the Hamptons, but were I to go to this popular seaside celeb hangout, I’d take a delicious bottle of Envínate ‘Palo Blanco.’ The Palo Blanco is made from 100 year old vine Listan Blanco, grown of the steep hillsides of Tenerife, Las Canarias. It’s a relatively rare wine, more thoughtful than most celebrity types and such a great example of terruño you may not even notice Kanye West walking past you. Rumor has it, it may even be the wine they drank when seducing Durant into playing with us. We may never know.

The LeBron Show

Fine fine, LeBron James is kind of an anomaly. And after four finals and a number of Christmases together, he knows how to show off for the Warriors. When its time to sit back and watch him get crazy, I’ll be sipping on a grippy, muscular glass of 2013 Clos Martinet from the Priorat. Dark fruit, tobacco and slate to answer back LeBron’s uncanny ability to put up so many points. Hopefully my dad will have grilled up a steak and my dog will have readied her earmuffs.

The Big Win

Whether LeBron gets crazy or not, I’ve got to count on another Oakland win. For this year’s festivities, I’m drinking a bottle of Clos Lentiscus ‘Xarel.lo Xpressió.’ Winemaker, Manel Avinyó adds rosemary honey from the estate’s Bee Farm to start the secondary fermentation- giving the wine a creamy, bees-waxy flavor and texture. White flowers, jasmine, rocky terruño, herbs and a delicious nuttiness make up the flavor components of this champagne style sparkler. Last year I was in Spain when we won, silently crying and yelling from my wonderful accommodations with my friends at Succés Vinícola. This year, I plan on popping the top off this sucker right here in Oakland- just as soon as I see Steph kissing that Larry O’Brien Trophy. GO DUBS!!!

 

PS- All of these wines are on the wine list at Bellota, which is where I work now, which I swear we’ll talk about as soon as I get time. I’ve missed you.

 

Blogged At: Bellota SF

Soundtrack: (Spotify Radio)- Flow with it (You Got Me Feeling Like)

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Clos Lentiscus, Wild Thoughts

Last week’s Catalonian travels took me to Penedès, the land of Cava for a vineyard tour, an aura reading and a tasting at Clos Lentiscus. Clos Lentiscus is a biodynamic operation run by brothers Manel and Joan Aviño. They produce both still and sparkling wines made from an assortment of indigenous varietals.

The Bodega and vineyards of Clos Lentiscus are historic, wild and energetic. They sit in the Protected Parc Natural of the Garraf Massif- a coastal mountain range south of Barcelona, between the towns of Castelldefels and Sitges*. The vineyards are surrounded by forest and planted around the 1,000 year old Mastic tree (Pistacia Lentiscus) that has become their trademark. Coastal marine wind is a major component in the freshness of the wines here. It blows through the vines, combats the summer heat and regulates temperature and acidity. They are Bio-D to the fullest extent. Poop cones, moon cycles, quartz crystals and dowsing rods are just a few tools that are used to find minerals, water and energy in the vineyards. The vineyards are trimmed as needed by local sheep and the Bodega’s horse, Ringo (a favorite Beatle of mine.) They farm their own colony of honey bees, both to pollinate the vineyards and to make honey for dosage in some of their wines. Fennel and wildflowers grow throughout the vineyards. Water basins are left out for the wild boars, a calculated solution to prevent them from eating the grapes. The wines are natural- no herbicides or pesticides, no chemicals, no added sulfur- and every one of them is on point.

Winemaker, Manel Aviño drove me through the vineyards and the nature park, taking me to high elevations to experience the wind that blows up from the Mediterranean and to look over the various landscapes of the Penedès. The Bodega itself is lined with amazing antiques- shelves of old stemware, an armoire for which my mom would murder, a tiny room full of ancient amphorae. The wine cellar is dark and capacious, a place for the wines to hibernate before they are hit with dosage and smacked back to life again. Before tasting the wines, Manel even used the dowsing rods to check my aura, something I’ve never had done. I was thoroughly frightened for the public inner beast reveal, but he simply told me I read “strong woman”- so we’ll leave it at that.

The wines benefit from radiant aura of their own. From the still xarel.lo to the vintage dated sparkling samsó (cariñena) they are lively and enthusiastic. A couple favorites were the Greco de Suber Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature- a método tradicional sparkler made from malvasia de sitges, the local variety of malvasia. Dry, refreshing and focused with a hint of fruit and white flower. Also the Sumoll Reserva Familia, a sparkling monovarietal Blanc de Noir made from the indigenous sumoll grape. A little more savor, a little more pensiveness, still knows how to party. Whichever bottle of Clos Lentiscus draws you in, grab your crystals, get your boots on and pop a flower in your hair. You are about to have a wild good time.

 

*Pro Tip: Sitges has a pretty fly beach. It’s a little touristy, but there’s a bar that serves a nice Aperol Spritz and manages not to interfere with the overall atmosphere. The train will take you right there, but I parked easily in the surrounding neighborhood. Great for swimming and chilling the F out.

Blogged at: Miriam’s flat, Gràcia, Barcelona

Soundtrack: DJ Khaled, Rihanna- Wild Thoughts (possibly on repeat)

 

Wines to Pair with the NBA Finals

Redemption is drawing nigh. The tragic Game 7 loss to the Cav’s in last year’s NBA Finals remains heavy on everyone’s heart. But finally, a year later, we are ready for battle. The streets of Oakland are lined with people in Warriors gear, banners are hung with pride around Lake Merritt and “Authentic Warriors Fans” signs are posted in the windows of every small business in town. This is War. The NBA Finals are upon us and I for one am jumping out of my skin excited.

In addition to the (Steph) curry dishes and the chicken wings, we are going to need to stock up on some wine. Here’s what to drink during the myriad of events and emotions we will face in the 2017 NBA Finals. (more…)

Conca de Barberà

The Conca de Barberà is an energetic, spunky little wine region that sits respectfully amongst some of Catalunya’s more prominent players. The surrounding superstar regions of Penedés, Priorat, Costers de Segre and the Montsant get most of the credit, but the wines coming out of Conca de Barberà are proving major contenders. Very little wine actually leaves the region, as most of the grapes are sold to the bigger guys or used make Cava, but the wines that do make their way to the great USA are consistently on point and are often natural or biodynamic. (more…)

Txakoli! And Other Confusing Words

Spring has sprung- at least in the baseball universe. Ken Korach’s lulling voice is vibrating through my radio, the A’s have beaten the Giants twice already and I can almost smell the scent of kettle corn that wafts optimistically through the left field bleachers. The sounds and smells of summer are slowly approaching, and with that comes the super light, slightly effervescent little patio pounder, Txakolina. (more…)

¡Cava!

As a sommelier and wine geek there are wines I frequently find myself defending, and to be sure, Cava is one of them. People are scared of it, and rightfully so, I suppose. Diners have been burned by the substandard, cloyingly sweet sparklers restaurants have been willing to put on their list as a cheap alternative to Champagne. And to be real, the Cava DO hasn’t exactly been known to favor quality. Many Cava producers are looking to make a dollar on volume, rather than focusing on the terruño or the wine’s potential for depth and character. But, in the words Steph Curry, “let’s make that old”. (more…)