Sunday, August 31, 2008

1998 Chateau De Saint Cosme Gigondas "Valbelle"

Wow. This wine was amazing. Really gave me a sense of terroir. Huge dense nose of licorice, earth, coffee, smoke, blackberries and plums. Tons of iron. Sweet fruit spreads across the palate with a huge refined finish. It's tough to believe this wine was only 50$ at Madison Cellars considering the current releases are more...and this is 10 years old. What a steal. The best wine I've had his year besides 1982 Chateau Margaux Pavillon Rouge (their second wine). A++

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2003 Sierra Contabria Rioja

Had this at Quinn's in Seattle. Nice Rioja flavors of earth, cherries, and a hint of tobacco. Rich and dense. Not bad for a 45 dollar bottle of wine in a restaurant. B-

2006 Anselmi IGT San Vicenzo

I guess that this is actually a de-classified Soave. According to Jay Mcinernys' "A Hedonist in the Cellar," the Anselmi family is so frustrated with the laws for producing Soave that they have elected to forgo the designation in favor of the less prestigious IGT status. So they're sort of trying to pull of the Super-Tuscan thing with Soave in Northern Italy, except that most people think most of the Soave is pretty bad. I can't say that I've ever had a really memorable bottle.

Mainly Garganega. Clean unoaked flavors. Not the least bit austere with lots of minerally, citrus driven fruit. Filled with crisp acidity that leads to an almost peachy mouthfeel. Pretty good. B From Madison Cellars

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chateau du Tertre 1997 Margaux


This wine has a refined bouquet of herbs, earth, plums, and blackberries. Very tasty and well balanced. Kind of expensive, but this wine reminds me why people age wine. The wine was probably a lot more blunt and tannin-driven in it's early years, but has softened with 10+ years of age, and is so easy to drink it's shocking. A

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2006 "Hocus Pocus" Santa Barbara Syrah


This Syrah is from Black Sheep Finds and is from Lompoc, California. Most of the time I'm not that into California. This wine is pretty good, and reminds me a lot of the Rhone. Blackberries/blueberries hints of cocoa, leather, pepper, bacon, and lavender. A little dusty, with a lot of structure and sweet fruit. I actually like it a lot. Not too expensive--18$ A-

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2006 "Clef de Sol" Domaine La Grange Tiphaine


This wine is from Montlouis (the Loire) and comes from Damien Delecheneau. It's a sec wine, so it's lightly sweet. I don't quite know how to characterize this wine. It's strange and interesting. It has a lot of acid that creates structure, and it's extraordinarily minerally. There's lots of candied citrus, ginger (?) and maybe apples depending on your perspective. Like I said, it's a strange wine. Sort of sweet, but balanced by all the acids. Good. I don't know if I'd really seek it out again, but who knows--maybe it needs 5 years of bottle age. It's certainly got the structure. No grade. Not sure how I feel about this wine. Obviously it's well made, I'm just not sure if I like it. I was interested by it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cameron Hughes Lot 46 Hunter Valley Shiraz


Another good Cameron Hughes wine. Decidedly new world in style. Pepper, plums/blueberries, cocoa and violets from the 5% viognier. Plush. B

Friday, August 22, 2008

2006 Loimer Gruner Veltliner

This is a beguiling and delicious wine. Aromas of stones, limes, and citrus lead to snappy, scintillating (yeah it's a wine cliché--so what) citrus and stone flavors with a long citrusy, peachy finish. This wine is refined and delicious. A

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Domaine Begude 2007 Vin de Pays D'Oc

Made from Pinot Noir. This is a tasty rose with strawberries, cherries and minerals. Lots of flesh and structure in this wine; great for hot August. A little more than I'd normally spend on rose (12$), but pretty tasty. B+

Other Wines I've had this week...

I've had some other wines this week, but because they were with friends, I didn't really take notes on them. Had a 2005 Peter Franus Napa Zinfandel at Friends of the Vine. It was certainly plush and fruity, something like 15.9% alcohol. Yikes! It had enough fruit and structure to offset it with classic Zin markers of pepper to go along with the gobs of fruit. Not my style of wine really, but not bad. B

2005 L'Aventure Paso Robles Optimus I was already on the drunk side, but I didn't have the same impressions that Parker and Tanzer had of this wine. This wine had a ton of fruit, and was clearly well made, but I wasn't really digging it. It was one-dimensional. Maybe this wine shouldn't have been opened this early in it's life. Maybe it needed another 2-3 years of bottle age to tame all of the fruit and bring some secondary characteristics to it.

2005 Tikal Jubilo from Argentina Okay, this wine was after the L'aventure, so all bets are off. For some reason I remember it better. Initially when the cork was pulled got a huge whiff of sulphur. This wine had a massive amount of structure and had a lot of aromas of oak, smoke, and other stuff going on. We probably were being rather criminal with this wine, because we started drinking it right after we opened it. Oops...it probably needed to be decanted to open up for at least a couple of hours. I'm sure that there was some fruit in there, but I didn't find it because everything was overwhelmed by smoke, toasty oak, and other savory flavors. I would like to try this wine after letting it open up for a few hours and first in the evening. I might buy a bottle to sit in the cellar for a few years because this wine was clearly built for aging.

2006 Cameron Hughes Lot 66 Pinot Grigio


I love Cameron Hughes wines, they are always a great deal and are frequently interesting. Basically, he buys up lots of wine that are high quality, from reputable producers that he never reveals, and then sells the lots of around 10$. This was fairly nice Pinot Grigio with IGT status from Italy. Lots of apples, lemons and tart fruit were backed up with a minerally finish and plenty of acid. Well balanced and refreshing. Not too complex though. Perfect for a hot summer day. 10$ B

2006 Casa Santos Lima Quinta des Bons-Ventos


This wine is from Portugal and mostly from Castelao. Dense, plush, and fruity, but with lots of acidity to back it up. Lots of red and black fruit character, mainly plums and berries. 11$, which was a steal. B+

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dry Aged Rib Eye and Potatoes


I've decided to write about food too, as I love cooking. This is sort of inspired by the fact that I really like Professor Bainbridge's blog. He writes a lot about food too, often including recipes. He and I have different tastes, but I still enjoy his blog.

A steak is my guilty pleasure...I don't normally eat red-meat, but when I do, I go for the best.

1. Find some dried mushrooms--I like porcini. Grind them up into a fine powder. Mix with 1/3 pepper, and 1/3 salt.
2. Get a dry-aged rib eye (try Whole Foods). Nothing else will do. Rub it all over with the mushroom, salt pepper mixture. Let it come to room temperature. Cut some Yukon Gold potatoes in half and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to 425F. Also heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) with olive oil.
4. When the olive oil is smoking, sear the steak about 2-3 minutes each side or until there's a crust.
5. Toss in the oven for about 10 minutes. Pull the steak out and let it rest covered with some foil.
6. Take the pan from the steak and put it back on the burner. Put all the potatoes in.
7. Fry until they have a crust on both sides.
8. Finish off in the oven. Sprinkle with salt.
9. Serve with the steak.

This steak was pretty damn killer with the 2001 Coufran.

2001 Chateau Coufran


This is a Cru Bourgeouis from the Haut Medoc. Once it opens up its an elegant well balanced wine. There are aromas of plums, cherries, and earth. There's also a faint herbal character. This wine is 85% merlot and 15% cabernet sauvignon. Even after 7 years, it's still got some chewy tannins at the end. I much prefer this to Napa. You can't get wine out of California that's this good for this cheap. Yeah, maybe it's a little on the rustic side, but come on. For 20$? Sure it's not Cos D'Estournal or Lafite, but it's also about 10 times less expensive. B+

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2007 Sancerre Cherrier & Fils

Killer wine. Piquant, with classic Sauvignon Blanc characteristics of gooseberries, citrus, minerals and flint. This wine is racy, scintillating, and lush with great balance. It also has one hell of a finish.

K Vitners 2006 Wahluke Slope Milbrandt Vinyard Syrah


There's a cool place in the Sea-Tac airport (its in other airports too
apparently) called Vino Volo. They've got a lot of local wines that you can take on the plane and also wines by the glass. Is it expensive? Yeah, but it's miles ahead of the other garbage at the airport. K Vitners is pretty rad (try their Viognier sometime), and this wine is awesome too. Intense nose of blackberries with pepper and maybe even an olive note to finish it off. Smooth and lush. The finish lasts for a minute plus. This is a seriously good wine. A

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wild Horse 2006 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Not sure how I feel about this wine...I have a tendency to get kind of bored with California. Bad price to value ratio, and a lot of the wines that are sort of reasonable in price suck compared to other parts of the world. This wine isn't bad--it's pretty good, but it really lacks a sense of place and grip. Like I said it tastes good, but it's generic. Blackberries, spice, and dusty cocoa. A total fruit bomb. Not much complexity either. I wouldn't seek this out, but I wouldn't refuse it either. C