Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Villa Carlotti Prosecco Marco Trevigiana IGT

Picked this up at TJ's for 5$. It's kind of funny that there isn't a cage on this wine, just a normal cork. On the nose, I get some peaches/apple/citrus. Although the wine is not dry (10.5% alcohol), it's fairly tart, with grape-fruity mid-palate flavors. Maybe it strays a little into peach/apple or lemon territory, but really, it's fairly tart. There is a lingering softness to the wine, that makes it come off as fairly juicy. This wine sort of reminds me of Fresca. It's all right, but not even close to as good as the Zonin Prosecco that's 1$ more. C-

Sunday, March 29, 2009

2007 Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone "Reserve"

I've been buying this wine for several years now--I think the first vintage that I had of it was the 2004. The whole reason I bought it the first time was the realization that this wine was a. 4.99$ (and I was broke) and b. the Perrin brothers from Chateau Beaucastel make this wine. It quickly became a favorite, and I've probably consumed 3-4 dozen bottles of this wine. The wine is now 6.99$ at TJ's (probably because of the exchange rate...).It sports a screwcap...unlike the Coudoulet de Beaucastel, which is, admittedly, more complex. But this wine is also 11$ less. Trader Joe's by me just ran out of the '06, and I was excited to try this vintage, because '07 was a great vintage in the Rhone. Better than '05? We'll see...I have a lot of '05 Rhone wines kicking around in my cellar...'05 Beaucastel, a bunch of other Chateauneuf-du-Pape's...anyways...

This wine shows lots of fruit on the nose, with blackberries and cassis notes that are in your face. I also get a bit of licorice, some garrique, and some pepper. It's a little watery, but has lots of fruit in the mouth and a peppery finish. A great value, super tasty to drink, and cheap. Definitely an awesome deal at 7$. A

I drank this wine with a ridiculous chicken. As in ridiculously good. Basically, you take a chicken (about 4 pounds), season it with salt all over, stuff it with a half pound of pancetta and a half pound of sausage, stick it in a tight-fitting pot, cover it with 2 cups of stock, put a lid on the pot (some foil too to make sure that nothing escapes), and then stick it in a 200F oven for 6 hours. Wow. The meat literally falls off the bone, and since nothing escapes, you have 2 cups of chicken stock flavored with pork fat that you can reduce to make a sauce. In my case, I covered the chicken with foil, and then let the juice reduce for about 25 minutes before whisking in some flour, and about a quarter pound of butter! This leaves you with an intensely chickeny white sauce (think gravy), but hell, you could do just about anything to this and it would taste amazing. Next time you're bored and sitting around the house for six hours, this would make a nice use of your time...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2006 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru, Vergelesses, Domaine Fèry

We had the "Ez Connardises," back in November; our neighbor brought over some of the 1er cru for us to try. It's definitely more complex aromatically. There are asian spices, pine, and sappy red fruit notes that are quite prominent. Taste wise, it's cranberries and stones, and has more tannin and structure than the "Ez Connardises." Long minerally finish that lingers. This wine is 33$...it's very interesting. I don't drink much Burgundy mainly because it's so expensive, so I don't know too much about it. I like this wine though...and every time I have a bottle like this, I want to learn more about Burgundy. The problem is, that for 200$, I can get an entire case of rocking wine, or I can get 4 bottles of good Burgundy. Maybe 6. Maybe I'll have to start throwing in a bottle of Burgundy here and there so that I can learn more about it. B+

Monday, March 16, 2009

2005 Pierre et Catherine Breton Chinon "Beaumont"

This wine is imported by Kermit Lynch. If you ever get the chance, visit his store in Berkely--it's bad ass. This winery is completely bio-dynamic; Alice Feiring likes a lot of the wines from this Domaine. So does the LA Times snarky restaurant critic, S. Irene Virbila.

Beguiling. I know, it's a cliche, but that's what this wine is. It's elusive. Shifty. Has some different personality to it. The nose is savory with olives, hauntingly pure cherries, and a whole mess of earthiness. The wine at times seems almost watery, but then surprises with grippy tannins. Violets, minerals and cherries lead into a long, mineral-tinged finish. I like this wine intellectually. It's surprising and interesting to drink. Tough to put a grade on it, because if you asked me to compare it to last nights Tanca Farra, I would prefer the Tanca Farra in a void. It's more accessible. But this wine is great fun to drink. It's sort of like the Dillinger Escape Plan. Hard to listen to, but once you get it, holy shit! A

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2003 Sella e Mosca Alghero DOC "Tanca Farra"

Around 20$ or so from K&L's Italian Wine Club. The winery (Sella e Mosca), which was founded in 1899, features prominently in the section on Sardinia in Vino Italiano, by Joseph Bastianich. I wasn't intending to get an education in Sardinian wine, but Argiolas also features prominently in the book. After my experience with these two wines, I'm definitely going to have to hunt down some more wines from Sardinia. Apparently, these two wineries are the biggest on the island; in the case of Sella e Mosca, it's one of the largest privately held wineries in Italy. I bet some of the other producers are making some really interesting stuff.

Unlike the Argiolas "Costera" from a couple of weeks ago, this is 50% Cannonau and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. It isn't nearly as dense as the "Costera," but is much more perfumed. I don't normally pay too much attention to color, but this wine looks a lot older than it really is, with a lot of bricking at the rim for a wine that's a little over 5 years old. There's a ton of licorice, earth and berries in the nose. There are layers of blackberries, licorice, and herbs in the mouth. The finish is lingering, with minty berries at the forefront. This wine rocks. A

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2007 Blason Franconia

From K&L's wine club. Franconia is an obscure Italian grape. Peppery and herbal with berry flavors. Lots of acidity. Went very well with porchetta. I wasn't as enamored with this wine by itself. Good food wine, and cheap. C

I also had a 2006 Stefano Farina Nebbiolo at my neighbors. Easy drinking, but a bit rough. Aromatically, complex, with lots of roses and candied fruit. C+

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2007 Spreitzer Riesling Trocken

20$; from importer Terry Thiese. This is a full liter--which is always nice. At first, this wine smelled a little off. I think it's because it was maybe a little too cold and confused. Definitely not corked, but still a little weird. The nose has a lot of depth, with that scent that you get when you smell those expensive hard candies that are coated with powdered sugar and you can get at Harrod's, or other ridiculously expensive department stores. On further reflection, I kind of think it smells like flowers mixed with chalk. In the mouth, I get definite juicy pears, and scintillating acidity. I'm still a little put off by my initial response to this wine, but it turned out pretty good. B

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NV Domaine Ste Michelle Brut

About 7$; available tons of places. Gingery and lemony. Tasty for the price; not a deep wine, or particularly interesting, but cheap. C+

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2006 Tenuta Coppadoro Pescorosso

K&L wine club selection. Under 10$. Cherries, strawberries, and pepper. Reminds me of Zinfandel, probably because of the high primitivo content. A good wine to drink when you want something decent to drink but don't want to break the bank and aren't looking for subtlety. C+/B-

Monday, March 9, 2009

2005 Corbières Domaine Ste-Eugénie

I like to try wines from places that are outside of the ordinary or that are made from strange grapes. I believe this is the first wine that I've had from Corbieres, which is part of the Languedoc-Roussillon, which is located in the Southeast portion of France. This particular wine was 13$. Composed of 60% old-vine carignan, grenache, and syrah--so similar to a Cotes-du-Rhone. Aromatically, it's got plums, cherries, tar-like aromas (sounds weird, but wet paint), lavender, and the slightest hint of baking spices. The mouth is all about cherries and plums, with the finish being particularly plummy. This wine shifts and evolves the longer it's open--which makes it intriguing to drink. Not profound, but a fun wine to drink. I will seek out more wines from Corbieres. The second wine that I've had in the last seven days from somewhere in the Languedoc that was great to drink. B+

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2006 Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret, "Cecile Chassagne"

About 14$. 70% Grenache, 15% mourvèdre and 15% syrah. Slightly hot on the nose. Initially, raspberries in a big way out of the decanter. After a while, the wine turns much more savory, with pepper and herbs supported by raspberries. The finish is filled with minerals. I don't like this wine nearly as much as some of the other wines that I've had recently, but it's still good. B-

Saturday, March 7, 2009

2000 du Moulin a Vent, Graves

This wine was made the year I graduated from High School...it always trips me out to drink a wine that was made when I wasn't legal! 17$ from K&L. It's so cheap because Graves is the value area of Bordeaux. It's not the Haut-Medoc or Medoc...This wine was made from all organically farmed grapes. It's mostly Merlot, with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of herbs, plums, and pepper. The tannins have melted into the background on this wine, but are still subtlety there. An enjoyable wine to drink, and well-rounded. Went great with rack of lamb. Not a blockbuster, but more of a great companion to food. I bet this wine wasn't that great in 2003. Perhaps this wine tasted like a lot of the 2006 Bordeaux currently available? B

2007 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

#40 in the Wine Spectator Top 100. This wine is exactly what I expect in a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. I don't like this wine as much as the Sancerre that I had last week. There's something about the minerality and chalkiness of Sancerre that I just love. This wine is still great though--lots of green, grassy aromas, mixed with more tropical fruits. Lots of acidity that's balanced by ripe fruit. At 13$, it's pretty tasty. B+

Friday, March 6, 2009

2005 Coteaux du Languedoc, Mas Belles Eaux "Les Coteaux"

This was 18$ at K&L. From the Languedoc. Immediately on pulling the cork, this wine reminded me of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape (only cheaper). I would imagine that this is because the wine is composed of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvedre. The wine is initially savory on the nose, with garriguey aromas, some berry fruit and the slightest hint of cinnamon in the background. After a while, it reveals more herby notes. In the mouth, there are tart berries (raspberries), and more herby notes. Maybe some cherries too. I like this wine because it reminds me of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but it's 18$ instead of the requisite 40$+. Although this isn't why I purchased the wine, I found out looking it up that it also scored 91 points and got a Best Buy recommendation from the Wine Spectator. A-

Thursday, March 5, 2009

2006 "Costera" Isola dei Nuraghi Argiolas IGT Sardinia

Imported by Leonardo LoCascio. About 14$ at Costco. 100% Cannonau, otherwise known as grenache. This wine reminds me of a highly structured, ripe, Cotes du Rhone. Aromas of licorice, berries, and pepper. Maybe some mineral characteristics. In the mouth, the ripe fruit is supported by ample tannin and acidity. The finish is slightly bitter, with herbal notes coming out at the end. This wine is satisfying and is in great balance. Interestingly from my perspective, is that Sardinia's hot weather seems to have been kept in check and created a wine that isn't over the top in a ridiculous way, but rather, balanced and interesting. I will go and buy a couple more bottles of this wine--I liked it a lot. A-

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2006 Cambria "Julia's Vineyard" Santa Maria Pinot Noir

This wine got a 93 from the Wine Enthusiast and is definitely a great value in a California wine. I picked this up at Costco for $16.99. There are a lot of cherries, spice, and some pinot funk. The finish is long--at least 30 seconds. This is one of those wines that makes me realize that California got popular for a reason, and that there are, in fact, good wines that come out of California that can be had for less than the price of Screaming Eagle. Drinks great; it lacks a certain punch and intensity, but it's still excellent for an under 20$ Pinot. It's also a lot better than the Papillon, and ironically (this is from California you know), it's less new-world and actually tastes like Pinot! B+/A-

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2006 "Papillon" Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

The only reason that I picked up this wine is because my parents got empty-nester syndrome when my little brother graduated from college and they got not a lab like we had growing up, not another cat...but the yippiest most insane dog you could buy, a papillon named Olive. So of course when I saw this I had to grab it because the dog on the label (Daisy) looks a lot like Olive. I guess that this wine is picked by the dog. Yes, you read that right. Picked by Daisy--which is cool. I hope my parents will feed Olive some wine next time I go visit--she might calm down some (she's a nice little dog, just more hyper than you'd expect).

The Cherry Hill Winery is relatively new, and is from the Willamette Valley--prime new-world Pinot ground, but certainly more Burgundian than Californian. The Papillon is 13$ at TJ's--a price point that makes me dubious about almost any Pinot Noir, and especially anything with a gimmick. It's new world in style--ripe and fruity, certainly not elegant. More plush than I like in a Pinot. There are a lot of cherries and chocolate. I also got some whiffs of strawberry and tea, but mainly, this smells like a chocolate covered Chukar cherry...which is something that factored strongly in my childhood. I like this wine--it drinks well, and if you're not expecting Burgundy or anything profound (let's be honest--a papillon named Daisy picked this wine!), then it's a plenty good deal. I've had lots worse from California for a lot more, and this is a fairly good Pinot deal at 13$. B-