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Showing posts from January, 2011

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.

Domaine de la Voute des Crozes 2009 Cote de Brouilly

Bought at on a recommendation from the Wine House in Costa Mesa. Cost $10-$15. Gobs of fruit, like blackberry and cherry, and earth, lots of dusty earth, and more fruit. I wasn't a fan at first I actually dumped out my glass and opened another bottle. But I came back to it on day two and liked it. Appreciate it for what it is: a very fruity, earthy French red.

Jenica Peak 2008 Coastal Series Sauvignon Blanc

Half price at Albertson's and no wonder, it's not very good. My first poor impression was the funk under the cork.  My second was the funk in my mouth when I took a SIP.  There is too much yeast, too much oak, and none of that citrus or tropical fruit that I like in a Sav. Too bad, because it was cheap. 

Fess Parker 2008 Pinot Noir

Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2008 Cost: $15 I read Fess Parker has been making some good wines lately so I picked this up at the local grocery store. Cost about $15. Not my favorite - not bad but can do better at this price point. I find some wines better on day two, this one was undrinkable.

Bridlewood 2006 Zinfandel

What a great Zinfandel. This has a couple of years to have the edge taken off but not enough to dull it out. There are big raspberry flavors and just a hint of black pepper and clove to round things out. I don't remember what we paid for this but it would be worth $20 or more easily (and I'm a cheapskate.)

Picton Bay 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

This was a cheap grab at Trader Joe's. At 12.5% alcohol, this is food friendly and quite drinkable. I would grab this again. It paired perfectly with a cauliflower soup.

Henry Fessy 2009 Moulin a Vent

Henry Fessy Cru du Beaujolais Moulin a Vent 2009 Cost: $15 I am a new wine collector. My goal is not to have the best collection on the block nor to make money, but solely to be a smarter wine connoisseur by drinking age-appropriate wines. As most of my collection matures, I've focused on wines that can be drank in their youth. Beaujolais fit the bill and this one is a fine example. I bought this one at the recommendation of Hi Times in Costa Mesa; it was the favorite of a recent Beaujolais tasting. Blackberries and plum on the nose, refined French earth on the palate, and mellow (low tannins) and short on the finish. Serve it chilled. This wine will make most people happy and is dangerously easy to drink. Darker in color than most Beaujolais wines–apparently this is a characteristic of the Moulin a Vent cru. This is a very subtle wine that is easily paired with most food. There are better choices for steaks or lamb, but this would work with most chicken or pork dishes and m

Ariel Brut Cuvee Premium Dealcoholized Sparkling Wine

For the pregnant one in the group to celebrate New Years. This bubbly has a distinct grape flavor although it is quite dry. The second most dominant flavor is yeast. It really tastes like a Champagne that has had all the alcohol removed, go figure. If I were ever pregnant, besides going on Oprah, I could see myself popping one for a special occasion.

Chateau Grands Marechaux 2008 Cotes de Blaye

Chateau Grands Marechaux Cotes de Blaye 2008 Cost: $12 Cotes de Blaye is in the northernmost part of Bordeaux. This wine is mostly Merlot with just 3% Cabernet. I bought a case at the recommendation of Wine Exchange in Tustin - it was their wine of the month and they came in a cool wood crate. I was looking for a good mid-week drinker but so far I've been unimpressed. The tannins are a bit harsh; hopefully, it just needs a few years of age. This wine was unrated as far as I can tell but the 2009 futures received an impressive 89-92 range from WS.

Castillo de Monseran 2009 Garnacha

Castillo de Monseran Grenache Carinena Spain 2009 Cost: $7 Better than expected from a $7 wine but not much better. Fine with a meal with non-wine drinking friends or as an everyday table wine. I'd serve it slight more chilled than cellar temp. Tried to use it for a red wine reduction sauce that failed miserably - probably execution rather than the wine.

La Malialina 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva

La Maialina Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 Cost: $17 Typical Italian Sangiovese character (chiantis have to be at least 80% Sangiovese grapes) - fruity and earthy - yet more mellow, more refined, and softer tannins than most Chiantis. Pour it with a bowl of spaghetti bolognese and you'll be in Italian heaven. Rating: 92pts RP

Calera 2009 Viognier

Calera Viognier Mt. Harlan Vineyard 2009 Cost: $26 I'm not a big Viognier drinker but this is a solid white wine. Had it with some crab legs on Christmas eve and it seemed well paired. I learned about Calera because of their Pinots but had to try this wine; who can pass up a wine described as "fruit loops"! Rated 94pts. Bouquet of tropical fruit, has the minerality expected from a limestone vineyard. Not much in my experience to compare it to but me likey.

CLEB 2007 Syrah

CLEB Wines Syrah Santa Barbara County Colson Canyon Vineyard 2007 Cost: $15 Bought a case at the recommendation of The Wine House. Stoked I did! This is a big, fruity, crowd pleaser. Just as good a day after opening. Even though it comes from the same vineyard as Tensley's flagship, this wine, made by the protégé of Joey Tensley, is more drinkable now than the Tensley from the same vintage. I bet it will get better with age but I can't stop drinking it.

Comparison: Rosenblum Cellars 2005 Reserve Syrah & Tensley 2007 Red

Rosenblum Cellars Reserve Syrah Sonoma County Kick Ranch 2005 Cost: $39 Tensley Syrah Santa Barbara County Colson Canyon Vineyard 2007 Cost: $45 The Kick Ranch kicks ass! I'd buy it again just for the name. We had it with lamb shank on Christmas eve in a direct taste test with the Tensley Syrah 2007 Colson Canyon. Similarly priced and rated: $40ish and 94 pts. The Rosenblum Kick Ranch was the hands down winner. Perhaps the extra bottle aging, perhaps better aeration (we only had one decanter!), but it was the clear winner. Both were big, bold, fruity, dark, concentrated, with high alcohol (more apparent in the Tensley). The Rosenblum had mellowed where the Tensley was still a raging bull. Both were great but the Tensley definitely needs more time to show its true colors.

Terrazas de los Andes 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a really nice, drinkable cabernet sauvignon. It comes from the Mendoza region of Argentina and has 13.5 percent alcohol.