Starting the Fall with Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah

Now that fall is here, for the cool and cold seasons (hopefully) over the next 6 months I'm going to drink pinot noirs and petite sirahs.  Now, I'm not sure I've ever drunk petite sirah in my life so this will be entirely new territory.  I'm excited.

I started with pinot noir last fall but didn't get very far, just a half dozen bottles or so before my blog petered out for a while.  I just didn't like it.  But since it's so popular I decided I should give it a second chance.  I'm guessing that one issue last year was I should have been spending a little more for better pinots, so this year I'm setting a lower price bound of about $15.

I started with a Cloudline 2007 pinot noir hailing from Oregon that ran me roughly $15.  I don't think it's fair to review it since it was my first pinot of the season and I have to get my taste buds readjusted from drinking rieslings all spring and summer.

I will say that I didn't like the first glass at all, I almost poured it out.  However, despite the fact that I'd aerated it, I think I just needed to give it more time to open up.  The second glass was a little better.  The rest of the bottle has sat here for 2 or 3 days and I haven't gotten back to it, so it's going towards cooking; no fair commenting on how it tastes now.  The second glass wasn't bad, not my favorite red, but someone with more pinot experience would probably like it.

OK, I know, not much of a review, except to say that I've learnt I need to give these more time to breathe before I drink them.

Next up in a few days: my first petite sirah.

2010 Chateau Ste Michelle-Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling

My last riesling for the year is a 2010 Chateau Ste Michelle-Dr. Loosen Eroica riesling from Washington's Columbia Valley.  It ran me almost $20.  I've reviewed Ste Michelle and Dr. Loosen rieslings earlier this year.

This is one of my favorite rieslings that I've drunk this year.  Lots of body.  Medium dry with the acidity on your tongue rather than the back of your throat.  Fruity:  both grapefruit and apple-pear.

The label describes it as "aromatic, fresh and crisp with mineral notes and intense citrus and stone fruit." A very nice riesling, even for people who don't think they like riesling, and I can see it pairing well with lots of fine dining as well as party foods.

I looked back through my reviews the last 6 months or so, and these were my favorite rieslings:

  • 2010 Milbrandt
  • 2009 Carmel Road
  • 2007 Vertikal Kabinett
  • 2010 Konstantin Frank

If I had to pick a favorite, I'd probably say the Konstantin Frank.  I'm not sure I'd drink riesling as my go-to wine, but I've certainly grown to like it, especially those on the drier end of the spectrum.

3 Rieslings

I got caught up with an illness of my mom's the last 3 weeks (and my sister going crazy) (crazier) so I got behind again.  Here are summaries of 3 rieslings, no pictures so I'll get this whipped off.

First is a 2009 Hogue Late Harvest riesling that ran me $11.50.  The label says these are late-season grapes and claims the wine tastes of orange peel, honeyed lemon (first time I've seen this), and apricot.

This wine has more acidity; I felt it at the back of my throat.  I got spice and a fruitiness, pear maybe.  This is on the sweet end of the riesling spectrum.  OK, but not my favorite riesling, though you, faithful reader, will know I'm not crazy about sweet wines.

(Note: I just noticed I drank this riesling back in April.  Couldn't prove it by me.  I liked that bottle better than this one.)

Second is a 2008 Brandborg riesling, which set me back $14.  Brandborg is located in Oregon's Umpqua Valley.  And where is that?  Entirely within Douglas County in southern Oregon.

The wine growers describe this riesling as "nearly dry" and tasting like "green apple, honeysuckle, lime blossom, apricots and toasted almonds."  I wish my palate was that sophisticated.  And knew what a lime blossom tastes like.

I jotted down that this one is sweet, not "nearly dry"  though more back of the throat acidity.  I wrote down that it doesn't have much subtlety of flavor, not the label's laundry list.  It would be good with cheese or dessert, but not a main meal.

Last, and best, is a 2007 Trinchero from Monterey County costing about $10.  I like this more than most of the other recent rieslings.  It didn't jump out of the glass and slap me in the face like a couple of the rieslings earlier this summer, but it had a good balance to it and wasn't too sweet or too dry.

The label is simplicity: "floral and citrus aromas," a "crisp palate and a hint of sweetness."  I agree 100%, plus their suggested pairing with seafood or spicy food.  A nice riesling.