Mornings With Gina Birch

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Spanish Wine and Alabama beer for Wine Wednesday may seem like a strange combo. However, the duo was delightful at a tasting event I attended last week with Master Sommelier Emmanuel Remiji. He is the 12th master sommelier in the United States and the first one to make wine.

Muira is his first brand. He makes mostly pinot noir from some of the best vineyard sites in Sonoma and the Central Coast of California. Clos Pissarra is Emmanuel’s Spanish project in the Priorat region. The majority of these wines are grenache or have grenache them. All are small production.

The Spanish Wines

For our tasting, we uncorked three reds and two whites, beginning with Arrels Albarino. It’s a fragrant, dry white wine that screams for seafood.  We also tried an acidic white grenache. I love a good white grenache but they are not the easiest to find. My favorite of the night was Clos Pissarra El Ramon Priorat. It’s full, rustic, with great fruit, a blend of grenache, cabernet sauvignon, carignan and syrah. A 91 point wine, only 580 cases were made.

Alabama beer

Emmanuel loves the history of wine and loves to educate others. Part of his long and distiguished resume includes teaching gigs at Auburn University.  A couple of his students started Red Clay Brewery in nearby Opelika, Alabama. The wine maker was so impressed with what they were doing, he teamed up for a Muira line of beer.

The first one we tried came in a large, perhaps 750ml, bottle. Muira La Royale Lambic was sour, but not overly so. It had tart cherries, and it was actually a great palate cleanser. Fun fact, Emmanuel used an old wine barrel and grapes from the famed Pisoni vineyard to start the fermentation of this ale.

The Dark Cape Coffee Stout was great in place of espresso. Everyone raved about it. It was slightly bitter with great coffee flavors. Mmmmm, I love coffee. Emmanuel also gave a select few of us a first taste of his newest Dutch Courage Pilsner. Just released, this one was much lighter than the coffee brew, it got two thumbs up from all of us.

To match Emmanuel’s wines and new brews Chef Gloria Jordan put together creative tasting boards full of flavors and textures to match what we were sipping. She is the owner of the amazing La Trattoria Cafe Napoli in Fort Myers and always such a great hostess. Here are some photos from our Spanish Wine and Alabama beer for Wine Wednesday.

*Always drink responsibly

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