Thursday, July 28, 2011

July Wines

My neighbor gave Sarah and I this for Christmas last year. He brought it back directly from the chateau and stored it in his cellar for over 10 years before he gifted it to us. It was pretty awesome, although Sarah didn't like it because it was too sweet for her. 100% Chenin Blanc--and it must have been a pretty big wine, because it had a lot of residual sugar even though the alcohol was 13.5%. Just killer and delicious with great balance, honey, more honey, and then some tangerine thrown in for good measure. Delicious with curried chicken and mango's over rice and some kale that I sauteed with sriracha (which was a killer pairing because of the sugar content). I brought this over for our neighbor to taste--he was pretty into it too--and he gave me a taste of 2001 Gran Reserva Marques du Murrietta Rioja (delicious and spicy), as well as Corrido Extra Anejo Tequila. Awesome tequila, with tons of cream and orange essence. In the morning, I kind of wished that I hadn't had the tequila...

Last night he came over and gave me a taste of the 2008 Evening Land Oregon Pinot Noir that is a joint venture of Dominique Lafon of Burgundy fame. Around 20$ or so and elegant with Pinot funk, great balance, and cinnamon. 

We've also had some other wines recently:

You can grab this at Costco right now for $12. It's delicious and juicy with lots of watermelon. Good enough that I purchased a second bottle. 

This is 10$ at Costco. A little flabby, but overall, a good value with lots of citrus pith notes. 

The ecovino is $9.99 at TJ's for the equivalent of 2 bottles. Sadly, it sucks balls. At least the packaging is cool. I'd stay far away from this. 

This is 7$ at TJ's, and I also don't think that it's very good. Perhaps it's because I'm not a fan of overly ripe whites and like more acidic wines? Whatever, if this is your thing, I didn't think it was that bad. Just not that compelling. You can get better whites at TJ for 7$ than this. Tropical with some floral elements and alcohol heat, but nothing to write home about. Just boring. I wouldn't purchase it again. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Graffigna Reserve Malbec 2008

I received this wine as a sample, and then I saw it at Costco in SoCal piled up on a pallet for $9. I think there is a theme--I tend to get cheap wines that are sold at Costco for samples. I guess maybe because people don't talk about buying wine at Costco much, but I do because I'm kind of lazy? This is about what I expect from a sub-$10 Malbec frankly. Deeply fruity, with some barrel notes. Altogether, a good value for fans of the fruit forward style. You might as well purchase this as opposed to something like a crappy California wine at the same price point. It's a solid and reliable value for the price, just nothing too exciting. 

I also picked up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc because, well it's summer. Screw-capped, $10, and "Sauvignon Blancy." That's another way of saying tropical fruit and cat piss, backed up by sharp acids. Good value. I particularly like Villa Maria as a producer. However, I am finding that more and more I am not enamored with the Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs. I prefer the more subtle and less aggressive wines like Sancerre these days. 

Lastly, I had to have one non-lazy wine, which happened to be another bottle of Coenobium Rusticum. This is an orange wine, and worth seeking out for its slightly oxidized, salty, tannic expression of humble white grapes from the Lazio region. Made by Cistercean nuns with the input of Paolo Bea. Absurdly good, different, and balanced. Probably not for everyone, but this is one of my favorite geek wines.   

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Bricco Ambrogio" Barolo Paolo Scavino 2005

I received this bottle as a sample from Wine Chateau. It was retailing for $37.97, although it's sold out now. It doesn't look like this wine is available anywhere else at the moment, as far as I can tell. This is a more modern style of Barolo, with more upfront fruit, but still definitely Barolo. Plums/berries, licorice, and mineral accents support a nuanced, balanced wine. I drank this with my neighbors; everyone was digging this wine because it was excellent. 

We also drank two Burgundies from North Berkeley Imports. Two totally different styles. The more modern wine, Frederic Magnien "La Perriere" Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2005, was more modern, with lots of pinot funk and strawberry notes. Really delicious. The other wine that we drank was a Domaine Anne Gros "Les Barreaux" Vosner-Romanee 1999. This wine was almost piney at first, but over the course of the night, developed into a truffly, berry, spicy wine. Also absurdly delicious. We drank all these wines with salmon, some cheese, and some pasta. 

I'm pretty lucky to a. get free Barolo, and even luckier to have neighbors willing to share such great wines. I have a sneaking suspicion that both of the Burgundies that we drank are far outside my normal price range. It's not everyday that I get to drink 12 year old Burgundy, right? 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wines from the last week.

Late last week, I roasted a pastured chicken and rubbed it with tons of jerk seasoning (you can see it in the foreground). It was a little spicy, so I opened up this Robert Eymael Riesling that I picked up for $16. Awesome and deliciously poised. Impeccable. 

I received this Pinot Grigio as a sample. It was pretty good too. Juicy, with citrus, stone fruit, and mineral overtones.

Lastly, I went up to Seattle for the 4th of July. I bought a bottle of this Owen Roe just because it was the only Owen Roe wine that QFC had. Well made. As amusing as this sounds, instead of drinking the whole bottle of this, my friends and I went and bought some Rainier in cans. I guess we were feeling nostalgic and wanted to be 16 all over again.

Lastly, I drank this wine with my parents after cooking them dinner (roasted cauliflower, pan-roasted chicken thighs, and fingerling potatoes roasted in chicken fat). Felt a little hollow and had a decent amount of tannins. Berries and pepper. Over time, it opened up and became more interesting, but still was a bit of a let down.