Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva Rioja 2004

Grabbed this at Costco for $20. I really like Rioja as a general rule of thumb and I was fresh off reading Eric Asimov's column on Gran Reserva Rioja's in the NY Times. Anyway, glad I picked up a bottle of this. Nose evolved over the evening--at one point pretty intense cinnamon, at another point intense mint--but always with spicy, mildly chocolate, vanilla-flecked cherry berry fruit and earthy notes. Gradually got smoother after an initial flub where I just thought that the texture was too creamy. This wine was really quite delicious, although it didn't intrigue me enough to pick up another bottle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chateau Potensac Medoc 1997

Grabbed this at K&L for $27. It's pretty cool that you can get well aged Bordeaux at K&L for less than you can buy the majority of new release California wines. And actually, for what it's worth, less than the current release 2009 of the same wine. Really, it's insane. In this particular instance, I wasn't that enamored with the wine. Certainly good, just not the fireworks that I was expecting. Frankly, the other 1997 Bordeaux we've recently had from K&L was a lot better, and cheaper too. Maybe this was a shitty bottle? Anyway, Chateau Potensac is owned by the Delon family, who are the same people that own Chateau Leoville-Las Cases. This particular wine took a bit to open up, before revealing mature Bordeaux aromas, spices, lead and red fruit along the lines of raspberry. Went great with the grass-fed strip steak with a red wine reduction (you can buy them in the freezer case at TJ's where they're $10 a pound...they're awesome), sauteed spinach, and quinoa with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Landing Place Sonoma County Chardonnay 2009

$2.99 wines generally suck. $2.99 Chardonnay normally sucks even harder. Took a flyer on this wine because TJ's had a sign that said this wine was normally $13. Had good luck with the Earthstone, and figured what the hell--"I'm feeling lucky." This is a buck cheaper, and better. Also from Rodney Strong. Anyway, I like the lemony character of this wine with just a touch of oak. Good balance, good acidity, and not too sweet either. Really, this is actually pretty damn good for $2.99. Good enough that after the first bottle I bought another 6. And I am not really what you would call a chardonnay drinker. This went fabulously with roasted snapper with a saffron beurre blanc, coconut saffron jasmine rice and sauteed green beans with ginger, shallots and garlic. I would grab it while you can--the Earthstone is long gone. If you can get the Earthstone, I would grab that too. Rodney Strong must be sitting on too much inventory or something--I wonder what's coming up next? I hope it's something good...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Anselmi Pignolo Superiore 2009

Thanks to Steve Greer at K&L for pointing me towards this one...$15. For a guy that likes the Loire and Italy, this was right up my alley. Lots of berries and black pepper, with lots of acidity and some tannin on the back end. Really well made, and totally delicious. Fun too, since I don't recall having Pignolo more than one other time. Went great with rare tuna coated with an herb-olive oil dressing, rice with sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives, and green beans with a warm mustard vinaigrette. 
This was also a Steve Greer selection...also quite delicious for $14. Lots of sour cherry, some more earthy notes. Sarah says lots of pithy grapefruit notes. Well balanced, and just fleshy enough to be really interesting. Definitely put the $10 Bourgogne that we had for the wedding to shame (should have just bought a shitload of this instead...) This sure isn't like the last Burgundy we had...but we also could have had an entire case of this wine for the price of the last Burgundy that we had...so this is well worth picking up again in my book.