Sunday, May 31, 2009

2006 Côteaux du Languedoc La Clape Château de la Negly "La Côte"

Picked this wine up at K&L in Hollywood. It's absolutely delicious and a steal at 15$. This is a wine that I liked so much upon first sip, I didn't even really want to think about it that much. Sometimes all this tasting stuff seems ridiculous to me. It an intellectual excercise, and what it really boils down to is that wine is either good, or it's bad. Of course, individual tastes vary, but at its' heart all this "gooseberry here," "unctuous ripe hedonistic fruit," stuff is really just someone with a more inventive vocabulary elaborating on a fruit salad. This bottle really made me think that it wasn't really worth thinking/consuming it like that. So I didn't think about it to much and drank the damn thing (with a roast chicken, and a risotto that morels and peas in it). Sarah and I both enjoyed this wine immensely (plus she didn't have to listen to my wino babble).

40% Carignan, 40% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. Initially, I thought that this wine must be mostly Syrah, but I was wrong. Blackberries, herbs, plums, violets, iron and licorice. Just the right amount of acidity to support the fruit. Awesome wine. A

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2007 Bodegas Luzon Jumilla Spain

This wine is $6.89 right now at Costco and is imported by Jorge Ordonez. 65% Monastrell and 35% Syrah. It got named Wine Enthusiasts #1 Top Value wine of 2008. This wine has a great nose. Lots of cherry, mint, leaves, and plum. Juicy. Thin and soft once it hits your mouth. Definitely new world. Not enough acid to support the fruit--it's too plush. Coca-Cola wine. As far as values goes, I'm going to have to disagree with the Wine Advocate on this one. I still like the Perrin Cotes du Rhone better. Not only is the Cotes du Rhone more structured, but it's a more balanced wine. That being said, this isn't bad by any means, and for 7$, it's probably cheaper than just about everything at this quality level from California. A for the nose/B overall

Monday, May 25, 2009

2007 Pablo Menguante Garnacha Cariñena, Spain

Another fantastic sub-15$ Garnacha from Spain. Perhaps a little on the confused side (the wine had definite character, but it was tough for me to define it), but insanely enjoyable. These cheap garnaches are some of my favorites--a lot of the time I find them as enjoyable or better than Cotes du Rhone. This particular wine is made from 80 year old vines and had a natural fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Sour cherries, minerals, at times pepper, earthiness, and herbal notes. Intellectually stimulating and fun to drink. Nothing fake or artificial about this wine. B+/A-

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2007 Adega Ponte de Lima "Adamado" Vinho Verde

I opened this in response to that nasty Chardonnay below (which went back in the fridge), because I needed something to drink with my roasted vegetable pasta. This is low in alcohol at 10%, and slightly fizzy. The sweetness in this wine kind of reminds me of a Kabinet Riesling. It's a little peachy. Citrus (maybe it's the green label, but lime) and stones. This is simple and uncomplicated, but refreshing and went great with that pasta. B-

2007 Kenwood Sonoma County Chardonnay

Sarah's Mom left this here; apparently Sarah's Aunt likes this wine. I am not so enthusiastic. About 10$ online. Nose of citrus, oak, vanilla and caramel. Once this hits your mouth its got that vanillin/artificial vanilla characteristic that I'm not exactly enamored with. Oak influence is apparent. I suppose that I expected to open this wine and hate it; it's not as bad as I expected, but it's not my favorite. Drinkable, but just barely. Blech. D

2006 Tenuta Scilio Valle Galfina Etna Rosso

13$ from K&L's Italian Wine Club. This wine is from Mount Etna, which is an active volcano on Sicily. 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio--both grapes that I have never had before. This wine is a great surprise. I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this wine, but when I pulled the cork I was stoked. A whole melange of spice, red fruits (berries, cherries, plums) and hints of chocolate. Easy drinking, just the right amount of structure, and spicy. Sort of reminds me of Rioja in a way. This wine is the shit! I'm sure that this wine is inexpensive because it's not Cabernet or whatever, and people therefore don't gravitate to it, and it typically doesn't get imported to the US. That keeps the price down when someone does...which is yet another argument for finding a good wine shop to broaden your horizons instead of all the mass market crap in the grocery stores that tastes exactly the same. A

Friday, May 15, 2009

M. Chevallier Brut Cava

This is 5$ from TJ's. Way better than the other 5$ Cavas we've picked up from TJ's. Green apples and citrus peel. Ginger too. Finish is all bitter grapefruit or citrus peel. This is great at the price although it's not too complex. For 5$, this is a great deal. A (cheap, but great at the price)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2005 Vin de Pays Vaucluse 50% Merlot/50% Carignan

Like last nights wine, this is from the negociant Du Peloux. It's 4$
at TJ's. It sucks. This is the worst wine I've had from TJ's in a long
time. You can definitely find better stuff for the price. Just goes to
show its a good idea to avoid the big varietals in cheap wine. D-/F

Monday, May 11, 2009

2007 Pont du Rhone Prestige Cotes du Rhone

The French are clearly trying to deal with their wine glut and the whole animal wine thing by making wines like this. Yes, it's a Cotes du Rhone, but it's also "branded," which is very un-French. 20$ says that they don't sell any of this wine in France, and it's all for export. I guess the 07 vintage has made this possible since it's such a monster of a vintage. Even the plonk tastes good. A couple of other strange things about this dangerous wine: 1. It's in a plastic bottle. 2. It's a liter. Even though this is a liter it weighs about half what a normal bottle of wine weighs. It also looks like a normal bottle. Dangerous. Easy to drink the whole thing, and not realize. Oops! It's a full liter. None of this puny 750mL stuff.

This is 5.99$ at TJ's, which makes it the cheapest Cotes du Rhone in the building. The winery is Du Peloux. It's actually good. I thought the plastic bottle would make it taste funky, but I can't tell the difference. Typical aromas of plums, candied cherry, and pepper. Good balance of tannin and acidity. The finish isn't anything to write home about, but for the price, it's awfully hard to beat. I'm still digging the Perrin Reserve in the under 10$ category, but I think for the price this is a close second. If I was worried about money, this might be first. B+/A-

Had a second bottle 6.08.09; same thoughts, but this time the bottle had been open for a day, and I noticed licorice and tar notes as well as more pronounced plums. This wine is definitely a great deal at 5.99$ per liter (4.49 per normal liter bottle).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2008 Hugl Weine Gruner Veltiner/Joe's Restaurant Venice Beach

Today Sarah took her Mom to Joe's Restaurant in Venice. I think she liked it. Sarah and I have been there one other time, and it was a great meal. This time was no different. Three course prixe fixe. First, I had an asparagus salad with arugula, crispy pork belly and a citrusy dressing.

Next, I had some blini's with smoked salmon, fennel, creme fraiche, and caviar. Sarah had a shrimp and crab etoufee with a grits cake. Both were tasty. Sarah's Mom had a breakfast burrito made with turkey. Go figure. Everything else was so refined, and it seemed like it was out of left field, but she really liked it. I saw a lot of other people order it too!

Lastly, there was dessert; a torte with blackberries and an olive oil sorbet. Sarah and her mom both had a dense chocolate thing with some hazelnut ice cream. Rich and definitely tasty.

Also today, it's starting to get to be summer, and that means that drinking red wine can be a chore. This particular gruner is a little on the simple side, but has nice citrus aromas, stones, and green, melon, grapefruit flavors. Nice acidity, and in a liter size, so it's perfect when you have some guests over. Tasty little wine for 10$. B+

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2005 Ermacora Schioppettino

The first time I had this was at Il Tajut in Rome. Thankfully K&L is the only US importer of Ermacora, so we snap their stuff up when we see it. This wine is full of pepper and berries. Great acidity and poise. Has settled down considerably since the last time I had it over a year ago. A-

2003 Castello di Monastero Chianti Classico Riserva Lionello Marchesi

From K&L's Italian Wine Club. About 20$. This wine is awesome. Cherries, vanilla, spice (cinnamon), leather. Drinking great right now. Had this with a pork loin (porchetta-style) that I jacked from Mario Batali and cooked for Sarah's parents. A

Friday, May 8, 2009

2007 Bonny Doon Syrah "Le Possuer"

Had this at Fords Filling Station. I had a pork belly that was pretty good with Sarah and her parents. Also had some charcuterie and an octopus salad. This wine was served way too warm (a particular pet peeve--second time this has happened at Ford's Filling Station. Next time I go there, I'm not ordering red wine. It's just not worth the aggravation, which is too bad because they seem to have gone out of their way to have a lot of tasty, cheap options.)...but it turned out to be fairly tasty. Blueberry, plum, chocolate--typical new world syrah. Good balance. B-. Picture didn't come out.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2005 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume

I picked this wine up at Costco for 18$. I would categorize it as a bit on the austere side. Pure, ripe pears, green apples, and wet stones dominate. In the mouth, this wine is rich, but has racy acidity. The finish is all pears and green apples, supported by wet stones. Textbook Chablis. I like this wine, but it really takes a while to show itself off. I'm sure that it could age for a few more years; maybe in that case it wouldn't be quite so austere. I see why wines like this make certain people like California so much--this wine is appealing and tasty, but it's the opposite of in your face. And for a society weaned on McDonald's and Coke, it's no wonder why subtlety isn't a commodity in high demand...B+

Hungry Cat...and a Mint Julep

I go to K&L every couple of months to pick up my wine club and stock up on wine. K&L is a block away from the Hungry Cat. Sarah and I had wanted to try out the Hungry Cat for a while because Susan Goine's husband, David Lentz, owns the place and is the chef. Today was also the Kentucky Derby. So I had a great mint julep at the Hungry Cat. It's been a long time since I've had a cocktail other than a gin and tonic. I might have to have these more often. We had a seafood platter which rocked. Some of the best raw seafood I've had in Los Angeles. We had a chocolate bread pudding which was good too...especially since we basically never eat dessert.

Friday, May 1, 2009

2006 Pazo Senorans Albarino Rias Baixas

It's funny what you find when you Google what you drink. I had no idea that this was yet another LA Times wine of the week when I bought it a couple weeks ago because this wine is imported by Eric Solomon, who is freaking awesome. 18$ at Costco. This is a crisp, mouth-watering wine (gee, let's see how many cliches I can use). There are floral aromas, with some lime and lots of stony mineral notes. At times I also get some really ripe pears or maybe even stone fruit in the mouth. The finish is fairly long and nuanced with minerals and more of the lime. I liked this wine; it's well made. Went great with a roasted vegetable, shrimp pasta. B+