Story, photo and video courtesy by Steve Mirsky
Don’t let school calendars or the date dictate when summer ends – favorite picnic and hit road! The crowds filled with screaming children and college partiers have vaporized, beaches are wide open offering free admission, and swimming is now actually the warmest ever after soaking in all of the sun’s longest summer rays.
OK, so now you have followed my advice, perhaps packing your favorite fried chicken or BBQ along with sugar baby watermelon and home-baked chocolate chip cookies. All that’s missing is your favorite wine…but packing a bottle means bringing along a cork screw, cushioning the bottle, and making sure it doesn’t break under foot. Boxed wines eliminate these inconveniences making top vintages infinitely more portable. Here are several I tried courtesy of Frederick Wildman:
Falling Star Malbec 2010
One of many value-priced wine from Argentina’s Cuyo region , Falling Star is made from all hand-picked fruit that’s thermo-macerated. This means it’s fermented at high temperatures over a short period while the remaining half undergoes traditional fermentation and maceration. Malolactic fermentation follows before blending, stabilization, and bottling. The result is easy-drinking red berry flavors and soft tannins. I experienced a deep blackberry bouquet, fiery spice at the front of tongue intensifying toward the back of the palate. With a sweet initial mouth feel, it was also a playful hard-hitting accompaniment to the cayenne and cinnamon in the rub mix that coated the tipsy-cooker whole chicken I paired this with. No boredom for the mouth guaranteed…my tongue was zapped in every direction. I got initial big spice but swallowed slowly, letting linger on the tongue where punchy blackberry and hints of tobacco reigned.
Falling Star Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
It’s been awhile since my last tasting and I forgot how rich this wine is! Semisweet chocolate and rich berry on the palate make steaks and rich desserts de rigeaur pairings. But it seems like considering this vintage as a dessert wine isn’t so far fetched. On its own, a bracing full-bodied cab.
Here are the results of pairing with 2 of my favorite cheeses:
Gruyere Reserve Wheel Raw Milk (Aged over 60 days) – accentuates the Gruyere’s subtle nuttiness stripping it back to its dairy essence.
Gouda Goat – brings out the creaminess. A swirl of more mature curd reveals itself throughout the mouth. Sweet cream dissolves exposing the aged curd flavors. Sweet and salty elevated to new flavorful heights. Can make any steak, particularly fatty and over-charred, taste like heaven.
Falling Star Chardonnay 2009
This light-to-medium bodied wine with a distinct yellow hue pairs nicely with poultry, seafood, pork, and spicy vegetarian dishes. Citrus and apple aromas lightly poke through the lighter edged vivacious Chard. Smooth honey with fragrant blossoms at first taste. Pepperiness pulls through on the palate along with a silky effervescence. Light floral to roof of mouth…smooth to the finish. Very neutral bouquet, easy drinking…as far away from acrid biting Chards as you can get. An unmistakably citrusy finish effectively cleanses the palate between sips.