Friday, December 30, 2011 at 9:58 AM Posted by David
Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM Posted by David
No pictures today, just trying to get a couple more bottles written up.
First is a 2008 Rothschild Vin de Pays d'Oc pinot noir that hails from the south of France. The label touts morello cherry, black currant, and violet. I don't have how much I paid for it, but I'm guessing in the low teens.
I aerate my reds instead of decanting them. My notes say I could taste the black currant, but I might have been getting the morello cherry. This was a sweeter pinot than many that I've drunk this season. Less tannin maybe. I don't tend to like sweeter wines, but this is my favorite pinot to date.
Second is a 2009 MacMurray pinot from the Central Coast of California. This was property owned by actor Fred MacMurray (Double Indemnity, My Three Sons). This one ran me just under $15 at Sam's Club. The label of this one claims flavors of red cherry, cola, briar, and vanilla. OK, what exactly does briar taste like, and who goes around chewing a piece to find out?
This one seemed to have what I describe as a slight "vinegary" taste to it. Maybe the bottle was already past its prime. Also slightly sweeter than other pinots. I caught a note in it that I couldn't put my finger on, maybe the elusive briar. Like the Rothschild, a nice wine. If you're looking for a pinot for dinner with friends or for wine and cheese, either of these would go well.
Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM Posted by David
A friend who works at the local Liquee Mart recommended this 2008 Robert Mondavi Solaire pinot noir, which was on sale for about $8, usually $13-something.
This pinot hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands [nothing else of note on the label about the wine], which is an AVA in Monterey County [i.e., the central coast of California]. This AVA has about 2,300 acres, some as high as 1,200 feet above sea level in the Santa Lucia Mountains, and half of them are planted with pinot.
Frankly, this didn't do it for me, and I both aerated it and drank a glass with food [brie]. It should be obvious, I suppose, but I'm discovering that food [esp. something relatively mild tasting like brie] really does bring out the flavors in some wines. You get completely different notes drinking a glass from a freshly opened bottle from drinking a glass with a snack or a meal.
This pinot just seemed thin without a lot of flavor. I may have gotten a bad bottle. After a night in the fridge, it did taste a little fruitier but I still wasn't crazy about it.
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM Posted by David
Everyone knows that Agent 007 likes his martinis shaken, not stirred, and the film adaptation of Casino Royale familiarized people who hadn't read the book with Bond's Vesper Martini.
But Bond in Ian Fleming's books has another favorite cocktail trick, here in Moonraker:
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM Posted by David
This week I've been drinking a no-year Spanish red with the Evodia label. It ran me in the lower teens.
This red is made from 100% garnacha grapes. I wasn't familiar with garnacha. Lo and behold, it's just plain ol' grenache.
The label says these grapes are grown in high-altitude (2400-3000 ft) vineyards near the village of Atea in the Calatayud wine region in the NE-central part of Spain.
I liked this wine, as I tend to like other Spanish wines I've tried. The first glass was strikingly fruity, more so than just about any other red I've drunk recently, specifically cherry. It would really go well with a roast or even burgers.
Interestingly, though, the wine didn't hold up that well overnight: the second day it had lost most of that fruit burst. A nice wine if you can down it all in one sitting; I recommend it.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 7:19 PM Posted by David
My second [or am I up to three?] pinot noir of the season is a 2005 Luigi Bosca Reserva pinot.
This wine comes from the Maipú area of Mendoza in Argentina and was casked in oak for 8 months. I got it on sale for about $12.
The label is very flowery on the wine's attributes: "Brilliant cherry red, clean, fresh, fruity and velvety"; "Aromas of red fruit, strawberries, violets and chocolates."
Unfortunately my reaction was along the lines of meh. I didn't find it to have much subtlety of flavor, even after aerating it. The label said it can be laid down for 5 to 8 years, so it wasn't over the hill [or over the Andes]. After a night on the fridge, I drank some with brie, and I liked it a little more; it tasted more mellow and slightly sweeter.
Not a bad wine; it might work well with chops or a roast for dinner. Just not my first choice.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 9:31 PM Posted by David
Sharing pictures from the phone doesn't seem to be working tonight, so no picture of this wine. [Oops; I lied, just AT&T taking their time:]
I tried a 2007 Yarden pinot noir from the Galilee in Israel, in particular the Golan Heights. The label says this was aged for 16 months in oak.
I hate to say it, but I didn't care for this wine. There was a sharpness to it. I aerated it, which didn't help, and even going back to it the next night, it hadn't improved. It had the usual pinot notes.
I drank less than half, but I can use the rest for cooking. Maybe I just got a bad bottle.
Friday, October 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM Posted by David
Moving on to another red from Sancerre, not known for their reds, I tried a 2010 Michel Girard pinot noir.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 5:49 PM Posted by David
Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM Posted by David
Transitioning here from the last chablis of the summer into my fall and winter reds.
First off is a 2009 Christian Moreau chablis. The label says the family has been making wines for 200 years, and reminds American drinkers that it should be served cool, not cold. Like another chablis I drank this summer, it says that this wine would be good as an aperitif.
This bottle ran me in the lower $20s. This chablis was OK but it seemed a little flat without a lot of subtlety of flavor. I jotted down that maybe I got the "minerality" that you find in chablis [chablises]. It was slightly sweeter than other chablis and had a slight kick of acidity.
On the whole, OK, not my favorite white, but I've said that about all the chablis I've drunk this summer.
Moving into fall is a kosher red from Spain made by "Makor of ELVIwines." This wine is 14% by volume and I believe ran me in the lower teens.
This red if 85% bobal and 15% cabarnet sauvignon. I had no idea what bobal is [a grape; no kidding], so I looked it up. Wikipedia says it's a variety of Vitis vinifera and native to Valencia, where this wine is from. It's the third-most planted grape in Spain, after tempranillo (numero uno) and airen (never heard of that one either). Further, "The wines produced tend to be fruity, low in alcohol content (around 11°) [not this one] and high in acidity (5.5 to 6.5 tartaric acid)."
The acidity is probably what turned me off about it. I used an aerator for my first glass, but I didn't care for the taste. It was too sharp and lacking in subtleties. Frankly I let the bottle sit too many nights before my second glass so I shouldn't comment on old wine, but it hadn't improved over time, as some wines do.
Maybe this wine is at a disadvantage by being the first of my move into reds this fall after a spring and summer of whites. I'll try a few more wines made with bobal over the winter and see if I change my opinion.
Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 12:06 PM Posted by David
Running a bit behind again, but my choice of white wines this summer hasn't been the best to get me writing about them.
It's now fall [by 2 days] and I'm wrapping up my summer whites. I have one more chablis to go and then a higher-end Sancerre that won't get here till mid-October. Lot18 apparently thinks it stays hot in the Midwest until mid-October.
This 2008 Jean-Marc Brocard chabils ran me in the mid-$20 range and is 12.5% alcohol with a straw color. It has a screw cap, if you have strong feelings about those. My colleague at http://vinopelz.blogspot.com/2009/12/2007-jean-marc-brocard-chablis-domaine.html describes this as "the perfect everyday Chablis" [if you drink Chabils everyday] and I'm inclined to agree.
I liked this a lot better than the first chablis I reviewed a couple weeks ago, which was far too austere even for my dry white-preferring tastes. I had a cold while I was drinking this, so I can't really comment on the nose (of which I couldn't smell much] or any subtlety of flavor.
It seemed a bit sweeter than the last chablis. In general I don't like sweet wines, but anything sweeter than the other one is a good thing. The acidity was fairly subdued and more subtle than a lot of whites, it didn't pack a kick. In general a nice chablis at a good price. It would go well with seafood or a seafood pasta.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM Posted by David
Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 5:12 PM Posted by David
Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 10:55 AM Posted by David
My next-to-last Sancerre review of the summer; I have one coming that I bought from Hops and Grapes. After that, I have 3 chablis to drink before fall officially begins.
This bottle was a 2010 Domaine La Croix Saint-Laurent. The label describes the wine as "dry, fruity and has the aroma of white flowers and exotic fruits," which I agree with [not sure about the white flowers--that covers a pretty wide spectrum].
This has been sitting around for 10 days since I finished the bottle so my memory of it is faded, but my notes say it has a Sauvignon Blanc nose and is fruity and slightly acidic.
The label says it would be good as an aperitif or with fish or shellfish, which I'd agree with. A nice wine for the price [about $25].
Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM Posted by David
Somehow I've fallen behind on reviews again and the wine bottles are stacking up.
First up is a generic Mediterranean white made by Rene Barbier that ran me $6.00. With my limited knowledge of Romance languages, it's apparently Spanish, in spite of the French maker's name.
This is an OK, everyday wine. My notes from 3 weeks ago say that the nose was a little SB-ish, but the flavor wasn't. It's citrusy and light with mild acidity, none of the strong hit of acidity on the finish that you get with some whites. I used an aerator for the first time with this wine, and I think it really helped to open it up.
Next, I decided to try some Sancerres since I don't think I've ever drunk one. Sancerres, of course, are made from the Sauvignon blanc grape.
First up is a 2008 Sancerre from La Poussie that I think ran me in the $25 range. Sancerre is in the north-central part of the country, almost exact center, on the Loire.
This was ok, a little minerally, not that I walk around with gravel in my mouth so I know what it tastes like, more complex than most whites, slightly acidic, and it doesn't taste like a SB even though it's made from the same grape.
Second was was a 2008 Lucien Crochet, also in the $20-25 range. This has a slightly higher alcohol content (13% vs. 12.5%) than the first one
I liked this one better than the La Poussie: it was slightly sweeter, less acidic, definitely more of a SB nose. It doesn't go great with Havarti cheese though.
I used a new wine aerator with all three wines, and my impression is that really does help to open up the flavor if you drink straight away after opening the bottle. The Lucien Crochet got forgotten in the fridge for a few days, and it definitely lost a lot of its nice subtlety of flavor sitting in there. Next gadget to use: my new wine pump.
Both Sancerres would make for a great dinner wine to go with a variety of courses.
Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM Posted by David
Over a couple evenings I drank a 2006 Montecillo blanco from Rioja. This was made with viura grapes using cold fermentation.
I'd never heard of viura grapes; they're also known as macabeo or macabeu. This is what wikipedia says about them: "The grape is used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. It is often the main grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in unoaked and oaked versions. It was introduced in Rioja after the phylloxera epidemic, where it largely replaced Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca, partially because of the ability of its wines to better withstand oxidation."
I got this on sale for under $5, and I'm guessing it was marked down because it was getting a bit long in the grape tooth. I found it pretty acidic the first night; I could have poured it over scallops and made a nice ceviche. After a night in the fridge the acidity mellowed, and it was more drinkable, though no great subtlety of nose or flavor.
In short, aeration might help. Drinkable if you like a wine that's got more of a bite, and it would go well with fish.
Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 11:01 PM Posted by David
The last couple nights I've enjoyed a 2008 Haut-Lieu sec vouvray. This wine is one of the more expensive I've drunk, running about $32.
This is one of the finest wines I've drunk in quite a while. My glass wasn't right to get as much of the nose as I should have gotten, but the wine has wonderful subtlety of flavor. I was trying to identify what a predominant note was, I was thinking butterscotch, but I read that these wines often have honey notes, and I think that was it. Maybe a little vanilla too. It had a mild acidity that hit the back of the throat and a good finish.
Wikipedia says of these wines, almost all made from the chenin blanc grape, "Most of the vineyards are planted on a plateau with a southern aspect facing towards the river. Viticulture and wine production in the region is dictated almost completely by the climate characteristics of a particular vintage with cooler climate years shifting productions towards dry and sparkling wines while warmer vintages seeing increased production of sweet and even botrytized wines. The harvest in Vouvray is often the last in France to be completed, potentially lasting until November. When sweet and botrytized wine are being produced, the harvest is often very labor-intensive, involving successive tries or passages through the vineyards with harvesters hand-picking only the ripest berries."
As far as the 'sec' designation goes, "[This is] the driest level with 0-0.4% (less than 4 grams per liter) residual sugar. Sometimes producers will specify their bone dry wines as Sec-Sec or 'dry dry' and their slightly less dry wines as Sec-tendres or 'gently dry.'"
The entry says that vouvrays age well and begin to really show their stuff in about 4 years, so I may have drunk this a year or two too early. A 1947 vouvray from this domaine was #6 in a 2005 listing of the "100 greatest wines."
Although I liked this wine, I wouldn't put it in the top 5 or maybe even 10 wines I've drunk. To give one example, and perhaps comparing apples and oranges, the Spanish syrah I drank earlier this year was better. There was just something about this (the immaturity maybe) that made me think it left something (still) to be desired.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 10:04 AM Posted by David
I've been drinking an $8 Naire verdejo that hails from around Zamora, which is not too far northwest of Madrid and directly north of Salamanca in central Spain.
I looked up verdejo grapes to refresh my memory, and wikipedia says they're often harvested at night, resulting in a wine that's "aromatic, often soft and full-bodied."
I would agree with the soft for this bottle, if my definition of a 'soft' wine is the same as the writer of that article. Full-bodied not so much. I found this Naire to be on the thin side. It had more flavor drunk with food, but it seemed to get more acidic after a night in the fridge [it has a screw cap], a little too much so for my taste.
Not a bad wine for the price, but I've drunk other verdejos that I preferred.
Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 7:49 PM Posted by David
I tried a 2007 Casa Silva Reserva viognier that I found on sale for under $10. This was produced by one of the oldest estates in Chile's Colchagua Valley.
Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 8:02 PM Posted by David
I couldn't find any French or Spanish whites locally, so I picked up a couple viogniers to fill the gap.
The first bottle I drank is a 2006 Kunde Estates from Sonoma. The label describes the wine as "aromatherapy in a glass. Thick with the scent of jasmine and orange marmalade and accented by exotic spice."
I didn't think the wine lived up to its billing. I liked it least of any whites I've drunk lately and didn't think it had any subtleties of nose or flavor. Wikipedia says "Viogniers more than three years old tend to lose many of the floral aromas that make this wine unique. Aging these wines will often yield a very crisp drinking wine which is almost completely flat in the nose" so this might have been part of the problem, it was past its prime. It was on sale for a reason. Actually, I liked it better after a day in the fridge; it has a screw cap.
Probably in general Kunde is a better wine than this bottle.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM Posted by David
Monday, June 20, 2011 at 8:11 PM Posted by David
An international pair of whites today, a vouvray and a soave. I saw the soave mentioned on a cooking show so I decided to try it.
The Amano soave ran me about $13. It hails from Gioia, which according to the map I pulled up is in the central part of the country east of Rome.
The soave had about the least acidity of any white I've drunk lately, nice fruity notes [the label says pears], maybe vanilla, slightly sweet. It would be good with a light summer supper, maybe with a lighter meat like veal.
The vouvray ran me $18, and frankly wasn't worth the money. It was drinkable, but you're paying for the import status, I think: no nose to speak of or subtleties of flavor. I've drunk better vouvrays.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 8:20 PM Posted by David
Changing my Spanish whites slightly, I've been drinking a 2007 Marqués de Cáceres dry white from the Rioja region of Spain. This is in the north central part of the country, not too far from the Pyrenees.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 11:37 AM Posted by David
I've let this blog slip the last month. I've drunk a few Spanish wines but haven't gotten around to writing them up.
Two ruedas today. The first is a $9 2009 Emina Verdjo. This is from a 'green' winery where they use a lot of recycled materials etc. Hopefully not grapes. They describe the wine as 'fresh and zingy like a great Sauvignon Blanc, but deep and expressive like a white wine grown in a high-plains dessert.'
Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 6:32 PM Posted by David
Three very quick write-ups--hopefully the pictures will say 1000 words--to get some empty bottles out of here.
Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 11:30 AM Posted by David
To wrap up my fall-winter syrahs and chiantis, I tried a shiraz-viognier blend from Australia (which ran me about $20) and a classic Ruffino chianti (about $14).
My favorite chiantis were the very inexpensive Candoni chianti and the much more expensive ($30) Querceto from my last posting, although this Ruffino was almost as good as the Querceto at half the price.
Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 5:37 PM Posted by David
I'm falling farther behind again on my reviews, so I'll whip through these 3 bottles of vino drunk over the last 3 weeks, 2 syrahs and a chianti (the whipping witnessed by the rather slapdash quality of my photos of these).
The first is a 2007 Red Bicyclette syrah. I'd heard good press on Red Bicyclette, but I didn't like it. I thought the flavor was pretty thin and not much nose. I don't think I even finished the bottle, though I can say that about 9 out of 10 syrahs I've drunk this winter.
Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 6:53 PM Posted by David
At the end of the month I'm switching to whites for the summer, and it'll be none too soon. I still haven't found my perfect syrah or chiantis.
No chianti to report on this time, but a pinotage, which I don't think I've drunk before.
This 2008 pinotage comes from Stellenbosch, South Africa, which is about 30 miles east of Cape Town.
Pinotage was first developed in 1927 from a cross between pinot noir and cinsaut [also known as Hermitage thus the name of the grape]. The wikipedia entry says: "It typically produces deep red varietal wines with smoky, bramble and earthy flavors, sometimes with notes of bananas and tropical fruit, but has been criticized for sometimes smelling of acetone. Pinotage is often blended, and also made into fortified wine and even red sparkling wine." It's mainly produced in South Africa, though it's not a huge part even of their production.
I liked it. I also liked the South African syarh that I had a couple months back; that one had a pronounced smoky note. My friend at the local Liquee Mart says she and the owner don't care for South African wines, I don't remember what her reason was, but I've liked the 2 I've had.
The label says this is made in oak barrels and has notes of cloves, vanilla, and berries with a distinctive finish; that's pretty much what I got from it. It would be great with a nice steak.
The other wine comes from closer to home, a 2005 Sonoma County Rosenblum Cellars syrah.
My tasting notes for this [I drank it a couple weeks ago so don't remember much about it now] say it's lighter than other syrahs I've drunk this winter, not as sharp, definitely fruity and maybe even some caramel notes.
I liked this wine and finished the bottle. This would be a nice addition to a dinner party. I didn't jot down the price of either of these, but neither one was more than $20.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 5:59 PM Posted by David
I'm catching up on a couple weeks of drinking syrahs in this review.
The first is a 2007 Big Tattoo Red, which is a blend of half syrah and half cabernet sauvignon, from Chile's Colchagua Valley. This winery donates 50 cents of every bottle sold to the local community in memory of the owners' mother, who died of cancer.
This bottle ran me about $12. I found a slightly offputting note to it, maybe more tannins. It has slightly different notes, which I couldn't identify [I'm working on that], than other syrahs I've drunk recently. The label boasts its fruitiness, but I noticed the oaky notes. I didn't finish the bottle.
Next is a Spanish shiraz from the La Mancha region, a 2007 Rojo Mojo. This one ran me $10.50; the label boasts the usual fruits, as well as cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves.
Last is a 2008 Michael & David Phillips syrah; they're based in Graton, California. Graton was the farthest that Russian settlers moved into North America, and they planted the first grapes.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 6:41 PM Posted by David
A week ago I tried a 2008 McWilliam's syrah from southeastern Australia; it ran me in the $10 range.
Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 6:03 PM Posted by David
I've been too busy with work and haven't posted in a couple weeks but I haven't stopped drinking. With all the work I've needed it.
First off is probably the best syrah I've drunk all fall and winter, a 2003 Marques de Grinon [with a curly thing over the n] syrah from Spain. I didn't even know Spain produced Syrahs; this is from the Dominio de Valdepusa estate. This wine is aged in oak for a year and ran me in the mid-$20 range.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 6:44 PM Posted by David
2011 begins with me still searching for a syrah/shiraz and a chianti that I really like. Haven't found one yet.
However, a 2008 Greg Norman shiraz-cabernet sauvignon blend that ran me in the mid- to high teens went down a lot more smoothly than most of the syrahs I've tried.
Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 9:24 AM Posted by David
I stumbled across this Greek syrah from the Atalanti Valley at Kahn's on the east side of Indianapolis; I didn't know that Greece produced syrahs. I looked up the Atalanti Valley, and assuming it's near the town of the same name, this wine is from the east central part of the country.