Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva Rioja 2004

Grabbed this at Costco for $20. I really like Rioja as a general rule of thumb and I was fresh off reading Eric Asimov's column on Gran Reserva Rioja's in the NY Times. Anyway, glad I picked up a bottle of this. Nose evolved over the evening--at one point pretty intense cinnamon, at another point intense mint--but always with spicy, mildly chocolate, vanilla-flecked cherry berry fruit and earthy notes. Gradually got smoother after an initial flub where I just thought that the texture was too creamy. This wine was really quite delicious, although it didn't intrigue me enough to pick up another bottle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chateau Potensac Medoc 1997

Grabbed this at K&L for $27. It's pretty cool that you can get well aged Bordeaux at K&L for less than you can buy the majority of new release California wines. And actually, for what it's worth, less than the current release 2009 of the same wine. Really, it's insane. In this particular instance, I wasn't that enamored with the wine. Certainly good, just not the fireworks that I was expecting. Frankly, the other 1997 Bordeaux we've recently had from K&L was a lot better, and cheaper too. Maybe this was a shitty bottle? Anyway, Chateau Potensac is owned by the Delon family, who are the same people that own Chateau Leoville-Las Cases. This particular wine took a bit to open up, before revealing mature Bordeaux aromas, spices, lead and red fruit along the lines of raspberry. Went great with the grass-fed strip steak with a red wine reduction (you can buy them in the freezer case at TJ's where they're $10 a pound...they're awesome), sauteed spinach, and quinoa with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Landing Place Sonoma County Chardonnay 2009

$2.99 wines generally suck. $2.99 Chardonnay normally sucks even harder. Took a flyer on this wine because TJ's had a sign that said this wine was normally $13. Had good luck with the Earthstone, and figured what the hell--"I'm feeling lucky." This is a buck cheaper, and better. Also from Rodney Strong. Anyway, I like the lemony character of this wine with just a touch of oak. Good balance, good acidity, and not too sweet either. Really, this is actually pretty damn good for $2.99. Good enough that after the first bottle I bought another 6. And I am not really what you would call a chardonnay drinker. This went fabulously with roasted snapper with a saffron beurre blanc, coconut saffron jasmine rice and sauteed green beans with ginger, shallots and garlic. I would grab it while you can--the Earthstone is long gone. If you can get the Earthstone, I would grab that too. Rodney Strong must be sitting on too much inventory or something--I wonder what's coming up next? I hope it's something good...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Anselmi Pignolo Superiore 2009

Thanks to Steve Greer at K&L for pointing me towards this one...$15. For a guy that likes the Loire and Italy, this was right up my alley. Lots of berries and black pepper, with lots of acidity and some tannin on the back end. Really well made, and totally delicious. Fun too, since I don't recall having Pignolo more than one other time. Went great with rare tuna coated with an herb-olive oil dressing, rice with sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives, and green beans with a warm mustard vinaigrette. 
This was also a Steve Greer selection...also quite delicious for $14. Lots of sour cherry, some more earthy notes. Sarah says lots of pithy grapefruit notes. Well balanced, and just fleshy enough to be really interesting. Definitely put the $10 Bourgogne that we had for the wedding to shame (should have just bought a shitload of this instead...) This sure isn't like the last Burgundy we had...but we also could have had an entire case of this wine for the price of the last Burgundy that we had...so this is well worth picking up again in my book. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Louis Roederer Champagne NV

Drank this wine the other night--thought it was pretty great. Well made, balanced, lots of poise, and not too bready or toasty. I think this may be may favorite NV Champagne ever? Definitely would buy this again. I think it was $30 at Costco.
Also grabbed this Julienas from Costco for $12. Great deal--lots of acidity, some berryish fruit. Liked it quite a bit. Would grab another bottle.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs

Sarah and I got married, which was really fun. Anyway, my little brother gave us this bottle as part of a "Honeymoon in a box." Sarah and I are going to India in March instead of going right after the wedding (we want to see Holi), and my little brother felt like we needed a honeymoon. So anyway, we got a huge bag of chips, some chocolate covered almonds, a nice hotel room, and of course this bottle of Champagne. Andy informed me that Australians love Ruinart--I've never had it before. It was delicious--a very rich, toasty style of Champagne. Probably should not have drank this bottle at 2AM, given the amount of consumption that went on prior to this bottle, but I'm pretty damn sure that I'm only going to get married one time. And therefore, I guess that makes it acceptable.

Other wine related musings from the wedding: our planner insisted that we have at least half of the wine at the wedding be red wine--despite the fact it was hot. Guess what Sarah and I ended up taking home? Almost 3 whole cases of red wine. 2 bottles of white wine, no rose, and half a keg of Scrimshaw. That means that our guests drank 60 bottles of white wine, a case of rose, and only 10 bottles of red wine. Oh, and a 5 gallon keg of Dog Fish Head 90 Minute IPA. The 15 gallon keg of Scrimshaw Pilsner we got only got half drunk. I think we might have had a bit too much booze for the 100 or so people that were there. The wedding was really fun, more people danced than I would have expected, the food was great (thanks Cool Haus and Olio Restaurant), and now we're finally hitched after 11 years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Earthstone Chardonnay 2009

Who normally hates California Chardonnay? This guy. Who likes a $3.99 bottle of Chardonnay piled up on an endcap at Trader Joe's? Generally not this guy. I would normally say stay far the fuck away. But this is actually really good. Not too oaky. Lots of lush fruit, some barrel notes, good balance, a little voluptuous. Really, pretty goddamn good. Get it while it lasts. This is a Rodney Strong wine--nice job Rodney Strong and nice job Trader Joe's.
This was pretty awesome for $10 at LA Wine Company. Peppery, rustic, a little dusty. Delicious. Liked this better than the $40 white CdP from Domaine de Cristia. Perfect summer wine. 

And holy shit--how have I never listened to the Gaslight Anthem? What's wrong with me--they are insanely fucking good. Definitely worth checking out "Handwritten." Just a really great rock album.