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Showing posts from 2011

Bartholomew 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley

This was crazy good and paired with a braised lamb like peanut butter and jelly. We popped this for a second Thanksgiving dinner and it hit the spot just as everyone got seated. There are big fruits here with plenty of oak, and 10 years seemed to be just the right amount of time for this one. Since we've been dipping into out cellar lately, I think we've been doing a fine job of timing. This could have gone a few more years possibly but last night was a great opportunity.

Carhartt 2007 Sangiovese, Santa Ynez Valley

This was wonderful and although it didn't have that musky Tuscan nuance to it, I love me a good California Sangiovese. This was just the right ago too I think, the tannins were mellowed and the fruit had an opportunity to shine. It is a shame we don't produce more Sangiovese here, the Italians have been making wine for thousands of years and they seem to have stuck with it. It is a great, we'll balanced grape when done with care.

Ridge 2006 Carmichael Zinfandel

Like adult candy, I love a jammy zin as long as it has a backbone. This satisfies like a Snickers. This Sonoma County gem has 4% Petite Syrah that likely helps hold up much of the fruit and keeps it from being a complete bomb. In any case, it packs 14.2 percent alcohol too but it isn't hot or overbearing at all. Many people complain about California wines getting out of control with their tannins and booziness but this is a great example of how far you can take it and still keep it approachable. And classy. Keep it classy Ridge.

San Clodio 2005 Ribeirto

Yes, yes. Another Grocery Outlet grab; this may have been my $10 white wine splurge. Amy didn't like this much, she's way into Marlboro Sav Blancs right now, so who's to fault her? Regardless, this has some musk, that I enjoy, because it is 6 years old; and this has held up well for a white. Although I'm going to try new and different things, I'm better acquainted with the wacky world of Spanish Whites, which is a feat unto itself. Hello Ribeirto. Goodbye Ribeirto.

Silver Stone 2005 Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir

At 14.9%, this lighter Pinot Noir should have a mouthfeel much hotter than it does. Although a little cloudy, this has great cherry and stone fruit notes and was a great grab, again, from the Grocery Outlet.

J 2002 Nicole's Vineyard Pinot Noir

This is a bold Pinot. J does such a great job with their Pinots but I've only found their Russian River Valley Pinot outside of the tasting room. We were members for years with them so that we could cellar a bottle like this. What an amazing bottle to celebrate our anniversary.

Jaffurs 2009 Grenache Blanc

You don't see too many Grenache Blancs and if they are all like this, that's a shame. This hails from the world famous Thompson Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. At 14.4% alcohol, this is also a whopper of a wine especially for a white. I don't have any other Grenache Blancs to compare it to but I really like this one. The next time you are in Santa Barbara, stop by Jaffurs, they are downtown, just a few blocks from State Street.

Croad 2008 Paso Robles Grenache

Thisvis a great example of Grenache, good acidity,  good spice, a wonderful drinking wine. We paired this with some strawberry shortcake and although it wasn't the best pairing, it dis well.

Tablas Creek Vineyard 2010 Vermentino

From the vineyard in Paso Robles that some friends picked up. This has some great fruit because they don't use any oak to dumb it down. In Rhone they call Vermentino Rolle, although I've never seen Rolle on a label before.  I dig this.

The White Viognier 2010

I didn't know that Viognier could be anything but white. This hails from South Australia via the Grocery Outlet and was a steal at $4. There were nice stone fruit notes and it was perfect for the long hot weekend.

Jean Luc Colombo, Cote Bleue 2006 Rose

I liked this but the misses didn't at all, she made me drink her glass as a matter of fact. I wonder if it being a 5 year old rose had anything to do with it. There is a little mustiness, fact, but that may be due to it being French and not so much its age. They don't put deorderant on their rose over there. I don't mind it at all. I kind of like the mushroom nuance to it, it makes it seem more like an adult beverage.

Birichino 2009 Malvasia Bianca, Monterey

$15 at Fog City Deli, I'm not too up on my Italian whites but this was fantastic. It was sharp and crisp and had a brilliant green apple nuance that I love. We've been in a Sauvignon Blanc kick lately and this fit right in the mix.

Curtis 2006 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

Wha wha wee wah! We've been sitting on this for a while now and we're sure glad we waited. This has all the small berry fruit of a cab and all the peppery spice from a well thought out syrah. Although this blend of Rhone and Bordeaux is rarely found outside of Australia, it is a wonderful expression of what these two can form. Like Voltron, they can be much more powerful than the sum of their individual parts.  Lindeman's be damned. 

Spruce Goose 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir

This was my "splurge" at the Grocery Outlet at $10. Being from Long Beach, I grew up with the Spruce Goose under the huge white dome near the port but it has since moved to Oregon. I had to buy this. Evergreen Vineyards makes this Pinot and they chose the Spruce Goose because their tasting room is underneath the wing of the historic airplane. This isn't jammy and overbearing at all and has subtle hints of cedar and clove. It would play nice with a wide variety of foods.  This is another schwing grab for only $10, I'd do it all over again with pasta Marinara like we did tonight. 

Rainbow Creek

Another Grocery Outlet grab, jeez they aught to start paying me.  This was around the $5 mark and for a Lincoln, quite the bargain.  It has some great stone fruit notes and is still light enough to be food-friendly. We paired it with some penne in Marinara. Fantastico. I'd buy this again like I was walking the dog.

Sauvignon Republic 2009 Marlboro New Zealand

Trader Joe's pluck here, and for only a Hamilton. Hamilton is on a 10 dollar bill right? This is food-friendly and we paired it with some tofu curry. It has some nice green apple notes and knows which fork is the salad fork. I'd pluck this again.

Kono 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

A $5 grab from Grocery Outlet. Great buy. This could be a staple in our home soon.

2009 Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay

$12 grab at Bristol Farms (already chilled). Not overly oaked or buttery, really the opposite of that. 12.5% alcohol. Some sour green apple, dry, crisp, good acidic zip. A good chardonnay for people who have tried Cali chardonnay's and been turn off. Had with stuffed salmon. I liked it a lot (both the wine and the salmon). Gonna explore some more cheap French wine.

South Sound 2008 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Holy cherry bomb, I like. There is touch of oak to balance out the stone fruit but this is what I expected. This was another grab from the Grocery Outlet for about $6. We paired it with spaghetti and meatballs and it might have been a little too jammy, it might have gone better with something spicy or something with a fruit sauce. I would buy this again.

2009 Poet's Leap Riesling

Johannesburg Rieslings from Germany were my parents' favorite wines because they were cheap and sweet. With this ingrained in my head I had little hope for this wine, despite being a WS top 10 pick and well less than $20.... but it was fantastic! Crisp. Not overly sweet. Nice acid. A+

2007 Littorai Pinot Noir Les Larmes

I found out about this winery while trying to figure out how to get some Sea Smoke wines. A bit pricey but oh so good! A beautiful, medium-bodied Pinot with a nice nose of fruit and a light easy palate. Overmatched and appearing a bit thin compared to the full-bodied, concentrated, and fantastic '07 Chasseur Umino Pinot we tasted it with, but the Les Larmes really was never meant to stack up. It did however offer a more feminine style that was great in its own right.

2008 Walter Hansel Winery Chardonnay The North Slope Vineyard

Great Chard. Apple, pear flavors. Toasted oak but not overdone. Lingering finish, good minerality. Lovely bottle.

2007 Chasseur Pinot Noir Umino Vineyard

Utterly fantastic. Among the best Pinots I've ever had. A full-bodied, concentrated, powerful pinot that is well balanced with all the right components but nothing overpowering. Lovely nose. I can definitely see this improving with age but it is drinking very well right now.

2000 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut

My mom got brought this to our reunion. Advertised as better then Dom Perignon for half the price. Taste like a yeasty (good thing) martinelli's sparkling cider (bad thing). To sweet for me to handle. I'm sure there are things better than the Dom at half the price, but in my book this is not it!

2009 Foxen 7200 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard

Got this as part of my short-lived membership to Foxen's Compass Club. I canceled after I realized I could get most of the wines at the grocery store for cheaper than I was paying. I digress... More body than your typical SB. Sour apple, toasty. Hints of guava but less tropical fruits than my preference. Not overly dry or crisp. Ripe. Solid, enjoyable, but not sure I'd buy again at this price. Papawow is doing better with his southern hemisphere finds.

2007 Calera Pinot Noir Mount Harlan Cuvee

I nice balanced Pinot. Ruby-red color. Cherry, cola, herbaceousness, bodaceousness. A bit of zest, spice. Earthy, caulk nuances. Some heat. A toasty, oaky, spicy, long finish. Good tannic structure. A little more bodaceousness. Love the glass "cork"!

2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon

Fantastic, young cab. Opened the bottle a few hours before dinner but didn't decant. The wine opened surprisingly well and quickly. Had next to a '95 Bordeaux. This showed the power of napa cab. Well balanced all-around but concentrated and rich. Appeared alcoholic next to the 12.5% Bordeaux but not over board. A bit sweet all-around (especially on the finish) to suit my tastes, but it is a lovely napa cab that is drinking well now but will continue to age gracefully (it should really be drunken in at least a few year time but we wanted a stark comparison to a Bordeaux in its prime). Expect good things out of Napa's 2008 vintage.

1995 Château d'Armailhac

OK, I don't normally roll like this but had a bit of a family reunion and it involved some fantastic wine. I'm a Bordeaux novice, but this was a lovely wine and I am now a believer. Drank next to a 2008 Caymus cab. Most but not all preferred the d'Armailhac. Is was more restrained and balanced had fantastic earth tones and subtle fruit flavors. Could have had a bit more concentration but still a nice medium length finish. Popped and poured. A bit funky at first but didn't take long to open up. Seems to have life ahead but hard to imagine much improvement. And check out the dancing Frenchie on the label!

Socks 2010 Semillion, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc

Throw another shrimp on the barbie! Australian wines are such a great value right now because there's so much crap out there. This $5 gem; however, hails from the Grocery Outlet and outshines its brethren. Semillion is such a cool varietal that is relatively ignored in the states. Too bad. I'd grab this again, no problem. 

Nobilo 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

This hails from New Zealand and we grabbed it from the supermarket for about $9. I like the crispness and the hint of pineapple and mango. It paired well with taco night so that may give it some street cred for its food friendliness.

Lasseter 2006 Sonoma County

This is a Bordeaux style blend from Sonoma County that is 40 percent Merlot,  30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 percent Malbec, and 4 percent Cabernet Franc. This has a deep basement of flavor. It is a great example of why the French have blended these varietals together for so long. It is only too bad that these are not done as often in California. This is a tasty wine. It was brought over to our house to pair with some Chicken Parmesan, unfortunately I don't know where to go get some more.

2005 Renwood Zinfandel Grandmere

A great zin. Bought the Grandmere (French for Grandma) for $13 from The Wine House in LA. Decanted for about 2 hours, perhaps a mistake–the wine was open but lacked the strong fruit I expect from a cali zin. Nevertheless, the wine was well balanced with some fruit flavors, pepper, spicy, nice finish with a bit of heat but not overpowering. Paired well with pulled pork and BBQ fixins. How can you not love Grandma! Renwood has a cool history. Chek it out HERE .

2008 Meiomi Belle Glos Pinot Noir

Nice fruit driven Pinot. Won't offend anyone but won't WOW anyone either. It was paired perfectly with that relaxing moment after putting the kids to bed. Available everywhere. Not a steal at $18, but you could do much worse.

2003 Arrowood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

A 2003 Cali Cab rated at 93pts for $18 sounded to good to be true...and it was. A very good wine but no steal for for the price and rated too high IMO. Time has mellowed this wine: not a lot of fruit but a well-integrated full-bodied Cab with mellow tannins and a relatively short finish. Had it with bacon-wrapped beef filet, baked sweet potatoes, and a side salad. Meat & potatoes need a Cab, right?

2009 Chateau des Jacques Moulin-A-Vent

I'm really digging Beaujolais. This is from Louis Jadot which is a mega Burgundy producer. The Moulin-A-Vent cru wines supposedly have more body and substance than other Beaujolais crus. This has bright, fresh cherry, strawberry. Sweet flavors but a dry wine. Ruby color. Medium bodied. Subtle chalky, earth tones. Pinot-esqe (but 100% Gamey grapes). 2009 is supposed to be a great Beaujolais vintage. I haven't had other vintages that I remember but I've had several from 2009 and they are all awesome, this one included. At $16, this is serious bang for your buck.

Sacred Hill 2007 Pinot Noir

This juicy Pinot hails from Central Otago in New Zealand, I hope they haven't been hit too bad by the recent earthquake in Christchurch. This was another grab from The Grocery Outlet for about $6. There are tasty jammy fruits of red ripe goodness. There is some oak too. Drink up cowboy.

Clos Du Bois 2008 Rosé, Sonoma County

We pick up this four dollar Rosé at  the Grocery Outlet, marked down from $12 or so. I has almost no oak on at all which allows the fruit and a subtle floral note to come out and play.  This paired well with some Thai food, balancing a little heat and the saltyness well. This was a steal at $4, we should be in detention right now.

Gran Fuedo 2007 Rosé

This rosé a comes from a Spain and is a border a France, the bodega's been in the family since a 1647. It is 100% Grenache and has a nice drinkable crispness. We paired this with some halibut and it was perfect. We grabbed this at the Grocery Outlet in Oceanside and we should be arrested because it was only $2.99 (though marked down from $25).  I would grab some of this yourself if you see it. Santé!

Rotari Talento Metodo Classico Trento Brut Rosé

Happy Valentines Day folks! This pink bubbly was appropriate for the occasion and although I'm not expert in Italian sparkling wines (I'm not even an expert in peanut butter) this one is good. It isn't very dry, which I think is a good thing because it seems to show more fruit than if it were barren.

Bridlewood 2009 Blend 175

This Central Coast red table wine is a complete "suck it" to tradition; blending Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.  This would likely be illegal in France.  It has a profile unlike anything I have had before and thus it took half a glass to get my bearings. I like it though and would buy some more. We are big fans of Bridlewood and they pages out a solid with this one.

Kono 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

This is a clean, crisp example of that grassy Marlborough Sav Blanc that I love. Nabbed at Trader Joe's for $8 or so and it is so worth it. What strikes me is the nearly complete lack of color. This is clear like water but it tastes like heaven, well close anyways. Good grab. I would get this again.

Foley & Johnson, Santa Ynez Valley 2009 Dry Rosé Wine

What a treat. We grabbed this at the Lincourt tasting room in Los Olivos and it is a great example of a Central Coast rosé. There's enough body to hold your fork upright but there's enough fruit to make you feel like you're walking through a mango orchard. This is done in the style typical of the south of France, now where's my boarding pass? 

Brewer - Clifton 2007 & 2008 Pinot Noir

We had a taste test between the 2007 and 2008 Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinots. These are the entry level appellation designated pinots (although at $35 they are not entry level priced) from BC, which is more known for their vineyard specific pinots. SURPRISE, they tasted very similar. Both were tasty, medium-bodied wines with good, but not overpowering fruit. It was probably a few years early to drink them both; the 2008 seemed especially young. We went back and forth on which one we preferred - the ratings would suggest the 2007 is the better bottle, but one would be happy with either. We served them with coq au vin; the pairing seemed appropriate.

Blankiet 2003 Merlot

We had this Napa Valley merlot with a British-style, Sunday prime rib roast. It was awesome, but I think I prefer a cab or a big syrah with roasted red meat. At $90, it is a special occasion wine. The wine smells meaty, chocolaty, espresso-y, dark, someone in our group thought cassis (whatever that is). In the mouth it is concentrated and layered, yet refined with a long finish. Inky legs took almost a minute to dribble down the glass. SMOOTH. A good choice if you are a merlot fan, if not, it probably won't convert you, but you'll enjoy it anyway. 96 pts, made by Helen Turley.