Monday, September 21, 2009

2007 Chinook Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley


40$ at the Palace Kitchen. Impeccably poised, with lots of berry (blackberry), floral (violet), mineral character, and maybe just a bit of smoke. This is beautifully balanced and fresh, with ripe fruit, great acid, and loads of depth. This is an interesting counterpoint to the Loire and Napa. Those areas are extremes in some ways and this wine is stylistically in the middle, but draws on the strengths of both. Perhaps it is a bit lacking in the complexity department, but it makes up for that by being delicious and great with food. This would make a good introduction to Cab Franc for someone that doesn't like all the vegetal or leafy elements that are often present. This went well with their fucking rad Alaskan King Salmon with sweet corn grits, chanterelles, tomatoes and parsley oil. A-

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2007 Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone "Belleruche"

12$. The nose is really tight on this wine; not showing a lot, even after a couple of hours. There's some pepper/earthy/tar notes, a range of red fruits, and some licorice. I don't like this nearly as much as last nights 07 Cotes du Rhone, even though Chapoutier is a well regarded producer. Perhaps this needs some time to settle down, but it doesn't seem to be a particulalry good value. Certainly adequate, but not exciting. C+/B-

2007 Caves de Rasteau Cotes du Rhone

This is 11$ in Washington. 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan, and 10% Cinsault. Lots of dark cherries and berries on the nose, with a touch of chocolate or coffee, a bit of funk, and a subtle hint of vanilla. Raspberry in the mouth with plush tannins. Definitely a riper, more modern style, but still tasteful and not over the top. Day two, this turns medicinal and herbal, along with some tarry notes. B/B+

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Villages

Around 15$ in Seattle, who knows in California? This is definitely pretty good and has lots of structure. Blackberries, pepper, and some herbs in the background. Poised with good balance; maybe just a bit one-dimensional. B+/A-

Friday, September 18, 2009

2006 Cassis Blanc Clos Sainte Magdeleine



I picked this up at K&L for around 22$ on the recommendation of one of the women that works there. It's always interesting to have someone with a different palate recommend some things to you. Anyways, everything that she recommended from that trip has been spot on, including this wine. This is a Kermit Lynch wine, so it's not like it's really off the wall or anything. Pretty much anything that he imports is good, at least in my experience.

Cassis is a town in Southeastern France, just a little East of Marseille--so Provence. This wine has a lot of Marsanne in it, which is the main white grape in Hermitage in the Northern Rhone. This wine is different in a good way. The nose is all green apples, pine (Sarah's suggestion...), and white flowers. Once it's in the mouth, you get some apple, honey, and as beguiling as it sounds, a saline quality. At first I was going to write the whole saline thing off as minerals, because it was something that was a little different and I couldn't place my finger on what was different about it. Salt is a mineral...but this was a different sensation than the whole "wet stone" thing. So I went to the internet, and in a real time example of someone influencing what I was thinking about what I was drinking, I came across a review of this wine, where the guy (Jacques Moreira) points out that the wine is actually salty, which made total sense. The wine is lush, rich and has tons of texture and body along with nice acidity. Overall a really nice white, but maybe a little bit expensive. I daresay that you might get more bang for your buck with a Riesling...but this is a much different animal. B/B+

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vivalawino.com

Well, I must admit that I feel kinda like an idiot...I've had this domain for almost a year now, but I just haven't bothered to figure out how to set it up. Let me just say...I'm no idiot, but all the instructions for pointing something from Blogger to a website suck ass. Whatever...at least I finally fucking figured it out. So now Vivalawino.com is a live beast.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2006 Torres "Celeste" Ribera del Duero


I picked this up thinking that I would serve it to my friend Richard and his wife Celeste, but they thwarted me by bringing wine. He likes a lot of Malbec and generally, in your face type of reds, so I figured that this was right up his alley without being too expensive--about 16$. Fast forward a couple of weeks to me opening this bottle. I was more than a little surprised. I was expecting this to be exactly what I said--an in your face type of oak/fruit bomb--but it isn't. This wine is much more middle of the road than expected. 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), and while certainly not emulating Rioja (it's much richer), this wine is actually quite nice. Initially, the nose starts off with raspberries and spice (Somewhat undefined, but definitely spice like. Cumin maybe?). After further reflection, it also contains licorice, currants, cherries, and lots of pepper. The mouth contains a healthy dose of somewhat medicinal cherries and pepper framed by ample tannin and rich fruit. Not Rioja, but certainly not bad either. The finish seems to be a little bit lacking, but overall, this wine isn't going to disappoint, especially since it's middle of the road in terms of style. It's rich, but not verging into ridiculous levels of alcohol, oak, etc, so it maintains it's balance. Actually reminds me a lot of some of the wine coming out of Washington and Oregon. A lot of them are a good combination of old world/new world elements, as is this wine. B

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2007 Owen Roe "Sinister Hand"


Owen Roe is one of my favorite wine-makers because a. They're from the Northwest, and b. they're a great middle ground between old-world and new-world styles. There is a very nice series of posts from RJ's Wineblog detailing many of the Owen Roe Wines. Definitely worth a look and interesting because there are not many wine blogs that detail so many wines from one producer. After Monday's Sainte Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, I got all fired up and decided that I wanted to try something a little more modern just as a point of comparison while the magnificent Saint Cosme was still fresh in my mind.

Sinister Hand is around 24$, and is a blend of 62% Grenache, 21% Syrah, and 16% Mouvedre. Sinister Hand immediately reaches out and grabs you with it's bright cherry and raspberry notes--typical of grenache. There are also supporting notes of pepper, some herbaceous qualities, which I'm going to call mint, and something else that's lurking in the background that's kind of earthy. This wine is all about the fresh fruit qualities, but still maintains it's balance. The texture is silky, smooth, and almost a little creamy. This is definitely a new-world wine, but one with poise. Still, there's not a chance that I would prefer this to the Saint Cosme. Sinister Hand is good, the label is amusingly sinister (maybe I should have saved this for Halloween??), but it's just not as interesting or complex. B/B+

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2004 Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape


I haven't had much new wine to drink recently because my friend and his wife were visiting and they're not particularly into wine, so we drank a bunch of stuff that was great but relatively inexpensive. Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, Hecula, and a few other things, including a bottle of Fonseca Bin 27 Port. Anyways...so I figured that we'd drink something fun to help ring in Fall. Now don't get the wrong idea, it's still hot here, and let's face it, 75 and sunny is summer for most of the country, but at least mentally, it's the end of summer for me. I also bought a new bike this weekend and I wanted to celebrate the fact that it's pretty awesome (a Cannondale Six Carbon if that means anything to anyone. Much nicer than the CAAD 9 that I bought a year ago).

So I saw this at Costco in Culver City, and I just had to grab it at 29$. 29$ is fairly cheap for CDP...and Louis Barruol is one of my favorite wine-makers. This is one of his negociant wines and not from his estate. 04 wasn't nearly as good a vintage as '05 or '07, so I imagine that there are a lot of distributors that still have inventory of the '04's out there. Add in all the economic stuff, and the fact that you can easily get three different vintages of CDP on the market right now, and you have a recipe for some great bargains. Just because a vintage isn't as good doesn't mean that there aren't some great wines...

This wine is awesome. 50% Mouvedre and 50% Grenache. A bit restrained at first, then a whole cavalcade of Rhone wine scents: plums, cherries and cream (what's a good word for that? Kirsch? Really seemed like a cherry custard with cream on it or something), meat, pepper, licorice, lavender, herbs, and a little earth thrown in the mix. This wine has one of those noses that is endlessly interesting, shifting, complex, and compelling. Once it's in your mouth, there's good weight and intensity, with cherry and earth flavors. The finish seems endless...it just keeps going. The price at Costco was a great deal--seems to be around 45$ online. I am in love with this wine...A+

One other random musing that I had while I was drinking this wine: the scents of lavender, vanilla, and licorice are nor really all that far apart from each other. Might sound weird, but this is a shifty wine, and I think that there is a similarity between all of these scents...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2008 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera

This is the third vintage in a row that I've had of this wine. The style is consistent. Still 10$ at Costco. This is perhaps a tad richer than 07, and 06. Quite oaky initially. This needs to be decanted for an hour or so. Lots of chocolate and plums. Not really a typical Barbera--this is fairly new world--but certainly a great deal for 10$. B+/A-