These days it’s not uncommon to hear about a golfer (Greg Norman), musician (Dave Matthews) or actress (Drew Barrymore) getting behind a wine label. The most recent celeb-studded example is from that hunk of a chef Tyler Florence, the Food Network host who is, most recently, with “Tyler’s Ultimate.” He partnered with the Michael Mondavi Family to produce wines (Tyler Florence Wines and TF Limited-Production Wines) that were recently released. (While not sold in Wisconsin, you can order online at tylerflorencewines.com with a flat $5 shipping-fee.)
Now, you figure that since these wines are shepherded by a chef, they ought to be good, right? I had a chance to try three of them; here are my reviews.
2010 TF Pinot Noir (Carneros, Napa Valley, California, $40) features a woodsy bouquet that leads into bright cherry notes and a clean finish, against a silky backbone.
2009 TF Zinfandel (Lake County, California, $40) expresses black-fruit character, as well as raspberries, with notes of cocoa emerging near the finish along with cracked pepper. This would be a nice pairing with a pizza.
2008 TF Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, California, $25) has notes of cassis and currants preceded by a toasted-vanilla nose before wrapping up in a finish with prominent tannins.
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
Waterford Wine Company unleashed a lion of a deal earlier this week. Normally $13, the wine shop is selling bottles of 2011 Altes Herencia Grenache (Spain) for $7.99. This wine earned 91 points from Wine Advocate. Robert Parker calls it “utterly delicious.” To grab a bottle, or a few, contact Waterford Wine Company at 414-289-9463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
Most people head to Delta Center (Say what? Don’t worry: This is the new name for the former Frontier Airlines Center and Midwest Airlines Center at 400 W. Wisconsin Ave.) for a conference or business function. This week you can lay those worries to rest. Wine & Dine Wisconsin is a two-day annual event on Saturday and Sunday where you absolutely must bring your appetite (50 artisanal cheeses, plus restaurants ranging from Blue’s Egg to Rumpus Room) and penchant for fabulous wines (about 200 will be poured). The event kicks off at 11 a.m. on both days and wraps up at 5 p.m. Tickets ($45) are sold online through Friday at noon; after that they can only be bought at the door and cost $55. A weekend pass is $75. On top of the tasting opportunities there are six seminars ($10 each), including one called “Shining Stars of Washington State” at 1:30 p.m. each day, with wines from Powers Winery and Dusted Valley.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Let’s be honest. Most – okay, maybe 99 percent – of Moscato d’Asti wines are syrupy sweet, which might suffice for an after-dinner wine or a rabid sweet tooth, but not for all palates or occasions. The 2010 Batasiolo Moscato d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy, $16) demonstrates the sweetness normally present in Moscato d’Asti but with a nice balance and delicate notes of orange and honeysuckle that linger on the palate. In drinking this wine I didn’t feel like I was hit over the head with the sweet factor. I’d still sip this as you would a dessert wine (after dinner, and with a dessert or wedge of artisan cheese). (www.batasiolo.com)