Sunday, April 29, 2012

2007 Kermit Lynch Bandol

Sarah and I ended up at our neighbors' house for an impromptu dinner on Friday night and we ended up having an impromptu 2007 Kermit Lynch imported Bandol tasting. My neighbor Claude had the 2007 Domaine du Gros Nord Bandol open, and asked me to bring over a bottle too. Imagine my surprise when I was able to bring over a second 2007 Bandol imported by Kermit Lynch (it's funny how stuff like that happens). Both of these wines are around $30--I paid $31.95 for the Domaine Tempier in 2009. The Gros Nore is a little fatter (and I guess that makes sense since my neighbor tells me it means "the Fat Farmer"in French), fruitier and riper at 15% ABV. More on the plum side of things. I definitely could sense that it was a bit on the hot side, especially in comparison to the Domaine Tempier. The Domaine Tempier has a listed range of 11-14%, and is more savory, spicy, and balanced. Lots of spiciness (what I'd expect from Mouvedre), licorice, and strawberries. Hands down, the Domaine Tempier was preferred, although the Gros Nore certainly has its' charms. It's just tough to go up against the reigning champ of Bandol--which is what Domaine Tempier is. 

Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon Chile 2008

I got this wine as a sample--and it was actually pretty great. Suggested retail price is $32, although I'm sure that you can find this wine for way less than that. I'm not a big Cab drinker just as a rule of thumb--you know me--I'm into quirky grapes. But this wine hit the spot. Sarah liked it too. Lots of dusty blueberry and plum notes, along with some more savory elements. Comes off as a little bit simple and on the fruity side, but there's definitely some structure and something interesting going on. Like I said, I liked this wine a fair amount. I don't know that I'd pay $32 for it, but I think that the $15-20 range would be fair, especially in comparison with what you can get out of California at that price point. This has a lot more going for it. If you see it in that range, I'd say it's worth a look. I also should mention that this is imported by Vineyard Brands--the same company that imports Chateau Beaucastel (and the whole family of Perrin wines), Delamotte Champagne, and Caparzo Brunello. I'd recommend them too. The Caparzo Brunello is pretty great, and so is everything the Perrin family does. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling's

Chateau Ste. Michelle was nice enough to send me some different Riesling's to sample. My favorite is the dry riesling, which is crisp, and stony with lots of lime. It was significantly better the second day. I believe that you can buy this wine for ~6$ at Trader Joe's in So Cal. It's a pretty good deal for what is a solid cheap wine. We drank all three wines with mango coconut rice and curried chicken. The wine that went the best with the dish was the riesling--which is a lot sweeter than it sounds, with peachy, citrusy notes. I couldn't drink this wine without food just because it's so sweet. The third wine, the Late Harvest Select Riesling, went well with the dish too, although it's significantly sweeter than the Riesling. I don't know why, but I don't really have a jones for the more Auslese or Spatlese styled wines--I love Riesling of all descriptions, but I generally am a fan of the less sweet ones. I think it has more to do with my overall palate generally not preferring sweet things and liking savory, salty things more. All three of these wines are good values, cheap and widely available, which is a plus in my book.  

Les Carteries Cheverny Blanc Christian Venier 2010

This wine is pretty ridiculously delicious, although perhaps a bit pricey at $22 from K&L. 11.5% alcohol--which is a nice change from typical 14%+. You wouldn't be able to tell though. This wine is fairly rich and lush with almost an almost pineapple, tangerine, apricot bent. Very stony too, with great acidity and balance. I would buy this again, just wish it wasn't $22. It's quite delicious. A weird blend of Sauvignon Gris and Chardonnay. K&L still has three bottles of this-I guess if you're interested, hurry. 

Big Sur

Sarah and I went up to Big Sur to celebrate our anniversary--11 years is a long time. We love Big Sur, and since that's where I proposed to her, we figured it was an appropriate destination. On the way up to Big Sur, we stopped at Los Olivos, which has a fun, funky little main street. Sarah proclaimed her love of Los Olivos and basically decided that she wants to move there permanently. I think it might be a bit sleepy, although the Los Olivos Wine Merchant was pretty good for lunch (not of the liquid variety--they have a restaurant). 

We stayed at the Glen Oaks in Big Sur, which is definitely the place to stay in Big Sur. You get your own little cabin in the forest, which is awesome. There's a fire-pit and wifi, which makes for some interesting juxtapositions between the forest and, well, the rest of the world. We had a great time and even discovered some new places. We thought we'd been to all of the cool parks in Big Sur, but it turns out we missed one. Inexplicably, we've missed Pfeiffer Beach each time we've been to Big Sur. I guess it's not surprising, since it's two miles off Highway 1, and isn't signed at all. The only way that we found it is I decided I wanted to go down a random road. We probably should have found Pfeiffer Beach previously, since it's just about the most iconic beach at Big Sur, but I guess that that doesn't mean much. 
We also ate at the Big Sur Bakery multiple times while we were there--there's just not really any other place we'd rather be. We ate dinner there for the first time (every time we've been in Big Sur previously they haven't been open for dinner--only lunch and breakfast) and it was delicious. We had a bottle of Thierry Thiese/Michael Skurnik Gruner Veltliner that was ~$40. Reasonable mark-up, and delicious wine with brisk acidity and its' citrusy flavors. We had some oysters--delicious--and also the trout and first of the season king salmon. And then we splurged on dessert, which was a lime tart thing, which was absurdly delicious. If you're up in Big Sur, make sure you go to the Big Sur Bakery. 

On the way back, we took in the view at Nepenthe and had lunch there. For lunch, the place is a total pass. Average food, extremely pricy (and I'm a jaded guy from LA!), and just not that good. Of course, the view is absolutely spectacular. That's what you're paying for, and the view is pretty spectacular. 

We are always bummed when we have to leave Big Sur, but we know we'll get a chance to go back soon. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Domaine Regnier Saumur-Champigny 2009

It was suggested to me recently that 2010 was a more classic vintage in the Loire than 2009, which was overly ripe...and if this wine in comparison to the 2010 Saumur-Champigny I had last week is any indication, that's right. This wine is good, but definitely lacks the same balance and poise that the 2010 Domaine Roche Neuves had. Just a bit flabby and blowsy in comparison. One good thing: this is cheaper--$13 instead of $20.

Lemon. Mineral. Acid. Delicious and perfect for around $9. 

Rustic, with lots of dried cherries and acidity. Not bad for around $10, and certainly Italian. 
Delicious with precise raspberry flavors and hints of spice. Definitely worth $13--delicious. From K&L. 

Chateau Terrey-Gros-Cailloux Cru Bourgeois St. Julien 1997

Wow. Delicious. Lots of depth to the nose. Hint of green. Cherries. Blackberry. Mint. Mature ish wine aroma tha I can't quite place. Maybe a bit thin, but polished, smooth, elegant, and well balanced. You can buy this from K&L for $20. If I wasn't super broke, I'd be running to buy a case of this! I guess get it while you can.