2008 Mondavi Solaire Pinot Noir

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.

A Bond, James Bond, Vodka Trick

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:

M shrugged his shoulders. ‘You’ve got a head like a rock, James,’ he said. Drink as much as you like if it’s going to help. Ah, here’s the vodka.’ When M poured him three fingers from the frosted carafe Bond took a pinch of black pepper and dropped it on the surface of the vodka. The pepper slowly settled to the bottom of the glass leaving a few grains on the surface which Bond dabbed up with the tip of a finger. Then he tossed the cold liquor well to the back of his throat and put his glass, with the dregs of the pepper at the bottom, back on the table. M gave him a glance of rather ironical inquiry. ‘It’s a trick the Russians taught me that time you attached me to the Embassy in Moscow,’ apologized Bond. ‘There’s often quite a lot of fusel oil on the surface of this stuff—at least there used to be when it was badly distilled. Poisonous. In Russia, where you get a lot of bath-tub liquor, it’s an understood thing to sprinkle a little pepper in your glass. It takes the fusel oil to the bottom. I got to like the taste and now it’s a habit. But I shouldn’t have insulted the club Wolfschmidt,’ he added with a grin. M grunted. ‘So long as you don’t put pepper in Basildon’s favourite champagne,’ he said drily.
[Fleming, Ian (2008-06-03). Moonraker (pp. 47–48). Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. Kindle Edition.]

I tried this last night, and I couldn't really taste the pepper [I was using good quality pre-ground stuff.]  Freshly ground pepper would no doubt work better, and your vodka has to be ice cold, of course.  I like vodka [in small quantities] and I like pepper, so I may adopt this Bond affectation.

Evodia Spanish Red

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.

2005 Luigi Bosca Reserva Pinot Noir

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 Maipรบ 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.

2007 Yarden Pinot Noir

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.