2010 Albert Bichot Secret de Famille pinot noir

To wrap up this pinot noir winter I drank a 2010 Albert Bichot Burgundy pinot that ran me $17 from invino.com

In a word: meh.  Ok but a typical pinot, it didn't blow me away at all or even make me want to finish the whole bottle.  No different subtleties of flavor.

The label says this would be good with grilled salmon, and I would agree with that, though the price might be a little high for a weeknight grilling out.  Not a bad wine but not a favorite.

I have one bottle of pinot noir left, but I'm going ahead and switching over to spring and summer pinot grigios/gris and Gewürztraminers.  To sum up my experience with pinot noirs this winter, again, in a word: meh.  If I never drink a pinot again I doubt if I'll miss them.  They're lightweight for my taste.  I just read an interview with Chris Noth, and he seems to agree with me; he said he thinks the pinot fad is overdone.  On the other hand, I really liked most of the petite sirahs I drank over the fall and winter.  They had more body and interesting flavors and were a lot more to my taste.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my tasting reports.

2006 Iron Horse Sangiovese Rosé

The last couple nights I was sipping a 2006 Iron Horse Vineyards sangiovese rosé that ran me about $11.

Iron Horse is in Sonoma County near Sebastopol.  (A nice web site at www.ironhorsevineyards.com.)

I was developing a taste for rosés with the pinot-based ones I've been drinking lately, but this one set me back.

It wasn't bad, but the fruitiness was on the cranberry end of the spectrum, a little too tart for my taste.  I did like the spice notes in it.

I mainly drank this without food.  I'm guessing it might pair well with a good tomato sauced pasta or a pizza with lots of tomato.

2009 Stickybeak Pinot Noir

Today I've got a 2009 Stickybeak pinot noir from Sonoma.  It ran me $12 at invino.com.

This one didn't bowl me over.  The first glass or two I wasn't crazy about it all.  No special subtleties of flavor.  However, when I finished up the bottle the next night I liked it better.  Maybe it just needed more time to open up?

Not my favorite pinot but not a bad one either for the price.

2011 Lyric Pinot Noir

Next up is a 2011 Lyric pinot noir from Santa Barbara.  It ran me $19 from invino.com.

As I said last time, maybe pinot is finally growing on me, but I liked this one too and finished most of it the first night.  I used some of it to cook some corned beef for St Patrick's Day (forgetting that it was $19 ...).

I caught notes of what I thought were violets when I poured the first glass.  In terms of drinkability, no special subtlety of flavor, but it hangs together well.

In general a nice wine, and I'm betting it would pair great with grilled chops.

2010 Cupcake and 2010 SeaGlass Pinot Noirs

Today I'm killing 2 bottles with 1 stone, both 2010 pinots from California, a Cupcake from around Livermore in the north and a SeaGlass from around Santa Barbara.

(The iPhone is going for fuzzy chic, as you can see; it's not your eyesight.)

Either pinots are finally growing on me towards the end of my pinot drinking season, or else I'm stumbling on some that I just like better.  I liked both of these with a slight edge to the Cupcake.

I was thinking I've had a Cupcake varietal in one of my past drinking seasons (Sauvignon blanc maybe?) and wasn't all that crazy about it.  The label describes it as very cherry with a spice edge to it.  It wasn't as cherryish as the one a few weeks ago, but this is certainly very fruity and went well with food.  The label suggests pairing it with a mushroom risotto (which seems to be the new hot food on wine labels to suggest pairing with), and I'd agree with that.

The SeaGlass also wasn't bad although I didn't like it quite as much as the Cupcake; it was more of a generic pinot.  The label claims "juicy cherry flavors ... [and] vibrant acidity".  I don't know about the acidity bit, which you don't tend to find on pinot labels, but it was certainly a nice wine.  I'll agree with their suggestion of a pairing with roast turkey.  Sounds good right now, actually.

Earthquake Petite Sirah

The last couple nights I drank a no date petite sirah from Lodi Vineyards in Grafton, CA, a suburb of Santa Barbara.  It ran me about $25 (mostly for the cut-out label and silly poem on the back, apparently; and the bottle weighs as much empty as most bottles weigh full).

Honestly, it was well worth the $25.  Maybe not the top petite sirah I've drunk this winter, but deep and rich with a note I couldn't quite put my taste buds on -- smokey maybe?  It was like drinking a fine balsamic vinegar.

As I was drinking it I was thinking this would go great with a London broil.  Nice wine; poem kind of lame.

2008 Rothschild Pinot Noir

The last couple nights I drank a 2008 Baron Philippe de Rothschild pinot noir from France's Pays d'Oc that ran me in the low teens.

I wanted to like it, but in general my reaction was meh.  The first sip or two right out of the bottle (aerated) tended towards the vinegar end of the scale.  After a few minutes it opened up and more sweetness came into the mix.  It wasn't bad with food.

The label claims notes of morello cherry (I don't know what those taste like), blackcurrant (sort of, dried ones), and violets (I've had violet liqueur), but in general this struck me as a pretty generic pinot noir.

On the second night I liked it less than the first and didn't finish the bottle.  I may have gotten stuck with a lemon bottle, but in general I'd recommend other pinots for the price.

Waterford, Part I

I've start acquiring Waterford pieces in the last 6 months or so, some from the Shop NBC Waterford shows with the debonair Jorge Pérez, others from ebay.  I'm not into matchy-matchy, so I've been buying 2 and 4 of a particular stem.  Waterford has so many interesting suites (as they call them) or patterns (as we tend to call them) that I'm trying to get as many different ones as I can without going overboard (which, for me, will be hard).

This stem is a port glass in the Lismore pattern, one of their most popular suites.  Everyone you know has port glasses, don't they?  This is one of the few that I have 4 stems in one pattern.  (I have a purchase of 4 champagne flutes in an unidentified pattern coming from an ebay seller, and I'm looking forward to figuring out what pattern those are in.)

So I'm going to start a series here on Waterford as related to wines and other alcoholic beverages, and I hope you find it interesting.  I'll start by throwing out a few random facts that I find interesting.

Marquis by Waterford:  Patterns like Brookside and Sheridan -- Jorge will never admit it on air, but this is Waterford for the masses.  I haven't confirmed what I suspect, that it's cut by machine, instead of by hand like many of the more expensive patterns.  I also wonder if it has a lesser lead content.  Now, that's not to say you should stick your nose up at it.  I bought some for everyday use, and it's great for that.  One of the cats knocked a glass off the counter and broke it, and at roughly $6 a stem, you don't mind that as much as you would a $50 a stem wine glass.  And, if you bought 12 (now 11) of a stem and you find you really don't like it, you don't hesitate to give it to a friend who does or sell it at a rummage sale (the Marquis Brookside iced beverage glasses; anybody want them?).

Lismore:  It's a very popular pattern/suite now celebrating its 60th anniversary, but I find it a little uninteresting compared to some of the older patterns.  Look at some of the more complex (and pricey) ones like Maeve or Hibernia or Castlemaine.  This port glass is in Lismore and it's a very nice glass.  I'm just saying, for your wine glasses or other larger pieces, look around at the older patterns too.

One final thing for today:  Competing crystal -- You have Riedel from Austria, which is very nice but doesn't tend to have cut patterns, Nachtmann from Germany (now owned by Riedel), Cristal d'Arques, the big French company; Tyrone, a now closed Irish manufacturer but you can still find their products secondhand; and others like Edinburgh (intricate thistle designs) and Rosenthal and of course Baccarat (which I find boring).  I bought some Cristal d'Arques flutes at about $15 a stem, and they definitely have much less heft than comparable Waterford flutes, which is not saying I don't like them or they're not worth the money.

Next time I'll go into the history of Waterford.  If you see a listing on eBay like I just did claiming a set of sherry glasses dates from the 1930s -- don't believe it.