Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jezebel Pinot Noir 2008, Oregon - $19

Let me just say that dinner tonight at Uchi was magnificent, and this wine was a winner with all of the seafood we had! This Oregon Pinot Noir by Daedalus was $14 per glass and $55 per bottle at the restaurant, but it can be found online for around $18 - $20.

Aroma - red fruit, light spice, celery (according to D)
Taste - red fruit (cherry, according to D), light spice, soft tannins, tobacco at the end

We had this wine with the shun no kaki (pacific kushi oysters٠fresh wasabi٠tiger’s milk٠avocado), uchiviche (salmon, striped bass, vine-ripened tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, garlic and cilantro - pictured below), scallop hot rock (with orange oil and san baizu - pictured below), and the freshest rolls ever (spicy tuna, spider, and California with fresh snow crab).

I'd definitely buy this wine again, both at the restaurant and at the store!

Update - Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2008 - Mendoza , Argentina - $12

Had this wine last night at Red Hot & Soul 2010. See this wine's main tasting page for the update!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Girls in the Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Red Hills Lake County, CA - $17.50

I had to buy this wine when I saw the name - it's absolutely perfect! The "girls" referred to on the label are the vines themselves, and I have to say that the text on the back label really sold this wine for me. I purchased it for $17.50 at the Austin Wine Merchant.

Aroma - dark fruit, dark chocolate
Taste - dark fruit, dark dark chocolate, moderate tannins

This California Cab doesn't knock my socks off, but I would totally buy this again. It's a well-made wine, easy to drink, and just plain fun!

Rosemary's Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, La Grange, TX - $17

Took a short business trip to rural Texas, and picked up this wine at a small town convenient store in Fayetteville, Texas for $17. As hard as I looked I could not find a vintage listed on the bottle.

Aroma - sweet, plummy/pruny, ketchup (according to one of my colleagues)
Taste - slightly effervescent, strong tannins, robust

We caught a glimpse of the winery as we drove by on our way home today, and I have to say that it looks like a very small operation. I doubt that I would have actually purchased the wine if I had seen the winery first - almost looked like a little shack!

I wouldn't purchase this wine again. I'm not a huge fan of Central Texas wines made from Texas-grown grapes. I don't think the weather here supports the type of grapes that make the wines that I do prefer. I always like to try them, though - you never know - one might surprise me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wine Library TV recommendation - Barolo

Haven't tasted a Barolo recently, so I thought I should take notes from Gary V's Barolo tasting.

Germano Ettore Barolo 2004, Cerretta - $50
Stephen Tanzer and Gary V rated it 90 points, and Robert Parker 92
Tight nose, but flavors of strawberry and cinnamon

Camerano Barolo 2004, Cannubi San Lorenzo - $60
Gary V rated it 92+ points
Great nose, young, should age 7 - 10 years

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2007, Calatayud, Spain - $10

Still searching for lighter red wine options, and am finding a lot! I purchased this Garnacha (Grenache) at Western Beverages for $10. It was rated 90 points by Wine Advocate.

Aroma - spice, light fruit
Taste - red bright fruit, a little spice

I served chips and salsa with this wine tonight during our LOST viewing. We also had some Hershey's kisses and some Oreos later on. Tasted good with all of it. Will definitely buy again!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Maipo Valley, Chile - $11

This Chilean Cab by Odjfell was rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast. I purchased it for $11 at Western Beverages.

Aroma - deep dark fruit, some licorice, dark chocolate
Taste - dark plum and blackberries, soft tannins, easy to drink

This wine went great with the Coq Au Vin (Barefoot Contessa's recipe). I LOVE THIS WINE!!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Update - Navarro-Lopez1904 Old Vines Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2001, Spain - $11

See the update about this wine on its main tasting notes page!

Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot-Cabernet 2006, Washington State - $6

I bought this very reasonably-priced wine at Western Beverages (next to Costco) because it had been rated 85 points by Wine Spectator, and I wanted a decent but inexpensive wine to use for Coq Au Vin. It was only $6 for the bottle. It is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Interesting, as the percentage of CF is usually much lower and the percentage of CS is usually much higher in red blends.

Aroma - dark fruit, dark chocolate, a little hot
Taste - dark chocolate, black tea, moderate tannins, bitter on the back end

I used most of this wine for the recipe, but tried some of it with a brownie bite and it was a very nice pairing!

Update - Château Haut-Canteloup Cru Bourgeois 2005, Médoc - $13

See this wine's main page for the update!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda 2006, Mendoza, Argentina - $10

As you know, Bonarda is one of my new favorite lighter-bodied red wines. I find that the price points for Bonarda are much lower than Pinot Noir, and they go just as well with fish and lighter foods, which is what I was looking for in a red. This wine is made by Altos Las Hormigas and I purchased it at Austin Wine Merchant for $10.

Aroma - red fruit, a little spicy, a little hot
Taste - light-bodied, red bright fruit, very soft tannins

I really am loving Bonarda from Argentina! Just a note - this wine has TONS of sediment at the bottom, so be careful when you pour it!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

J. Lohr Merlot 2005, Paso Robles, CA - $14

This California Merlot is a blend of 81% Merlot, 6% Petite Sirah 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. It was the last of 13 wines that I tasted at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party tonight, and can be found for around $14.

Aroma - red fruit, chocolate
Taste - chocolate, black tea, no tannins

Merlot is an easy-drinking wine, and although I don't prefer the varietal, this would be a good inexpensive choice if you absolutely need to purchase a Merlot.

The Goatfather 2005, South Africa - $10

This South African red wine blend by Goats do Roam includes Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera and Primitivo, and was rated 85 points by Wine Spectator. This was the twelfth of 13 wines we tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party.

Aroma - barnyard
Taste - musty, old world, strong tannins

This wine is apparently made in the French tradition, and includes Italian grape varietals. Very old world, and if you like this flavor profile, you'll love this wine. Most people I know don't love this particular type of wine. But at this price point, and with such a fun label, it wouldn't be a bad choice if you like old world style.

Lindemans Bin 99 Pinot Noir 2009, Australia - $8

This South Eastern Australian Pinot Noir is priced between $5 and $10 online. It was the eleventh of 13 wines we tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party.

Aroma - tart fruit, bitter
Taste - bitter, acidic

I'll pass on this wine next time.

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Washington - $12

This Washington State Cab was the tenth of 13 wines I tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party, and is a blend of 78 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 4% other premium red varieties. It is listed at $12 on the winery's website.

Aroma - red fruit, tobacco
Taste - dark fruit, chocolate, moderate tannins

I would absolutely purchase this again! In fact, I just saw that it's available at Whole Foods - excellent!

Update - May 10, 2010
Tasted this wine today at Whole Foods, where it's $12.99 a bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, tobacco, soft to moderate tannins

Again, I really like this wine and would totally buy it!

Ludovicus 2008, Terra Alta, Spain - $12

This red wine by Celler Piñol is a blend of 35% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, 25% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and was the ninth of 13 wines we tasted at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party tonight. It was rated 90 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and can be purchased online for $10 to $14.

Aroma - tight nose, red fruit
Taste - red tart fruit, moderate tannins, well-rounded

I would absolutely have this wine again!

Semler Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Saddle Rock, Malibu, CA - $27

I believe that this is my first Malibu wine! It's also the eighth of 13 wines I tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party! The price on the official winery website is $27.

Aroma - hot, plastic
Taste - plastic

I have to say that I wasn't necessarily impressed with this wine. I probably won't try it again at this price point.

Foris Pinot Noir 2007, Rogue Valley, Oregon - $14

This Rogue Valley (not kidding - cool name!) Pinot was the seventh wine of 13 that I tasted at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party tonight.

Aroma - sour tart cherry
Taste - tart, black tea, moderate tannins

Not loving this wine, but I might try it again sometime.

Bitch Grenache 2006, South Australia - $9

Robert Parker rated this wine 90 points. SP brought it to the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party, and it was the sixth of 13 wines I tasted tonight. It is listed online for $9.

Aroma - light red fruit
Taste - light red fruit, light beer?

I can't recall having an Australian Grenache before. It's not quite what I was expecting, since I do drink a fair amount of Spanish Grenache. I might try this wine again at this price point.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Columbia Valley, Washington - $14

This was the fifth of 13 wines I tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party! Wine Enthusiast 87 points, and the winery's website lists it at $15. This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 2% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec.

Aroma - hot, chocolate, dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, chocolate, moderate tannins

I would purchase this wine again!

Cuvee des 3 Messes Basses 2007, Les Vignerons du Mont Ventoux - $10

This French wine is from the Bedoin area of Provence - looks like a beautiful place to visit! This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 20% Syrah, and was the fourth of 13 wines I tasted tonight at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting Party!

Aroma - light red fruit
Taste - light red fruit

I would definitely buy it for myself to try again!

Marqués de Riscal Reserva Rioja 2005, Spain - $16

This was the third of 13 wines that I tasted tonight. It is sold on a lot of UK wine sites, and previous vintages have been rated in the high 80s. It's a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano and/or Mazuelo (also known as Carignan).

Aroma - old world, musty
Taste - old world, musty, chocolate/tobacco, soft tannins

Will definitely purchase it for myself! Great with the roast beef!

Goodnight Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Central Coast, CA - $13

This was the second of 13 wines I tasted tonight. CMS brought it to the wine tasting and was so sweet to make sure that I got a sip of it before it was gone!

Aroma - red fruit
Taste - red fruit, soft tannins

I had this with chocolate-covered bacon, and it was really nice! Much lighter than most California Cabs, so I think it'll be approachable even for those who don't usually prefer full-bodied wines.

Montecillo Reserva 2003, Rioja, Spain - $18

This was the first of MANY wines I tasted tonight at Mel and SP's Wine and Chocolate Tasting. There were 25 wines total, but I only tasted 13 of them.

I LOVE Tempranillo, and this wine is no exception. It was rated 90 points by Wine News and 87 points by Wine Enthusiast.

Aroma - earthy, tobacco, leather
Taste - soft tannins, old world, good with beef

I'd definitely purchase this wine to try again!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Secreto Malbec 2008, Valle de Colchagua, Chile - $13

This Chilean Malbec from the Viu Mament Winery is so interesting! I purchased it on a whim at Whole Foods on sale for $10, although it's regularly $13.

Aroma - fruit, cedar
Taste - black tea, fruit, astringent

I would love to try this wine again!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Santa Cristina Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy - $11

This blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot was the final wine I tasted tonight at RC2's. It is sold online for $9 - $13 a bottle.

Aroma - spice
Taste - moderate tannins, fruit

I'd definitely like to try this wine again!

Heron Pinot Noir 2008, France - $15

This Pinot Noir is categorized as Vin de Pays de la Mediteranée, which means that it's a product of France. MS and SD brought it to RC2's tonight for snack night. It won the silver medal at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Aroma - tart cherries
Taste - soft tannins, mild, tart cherries

It went well with all of the gourmet pizzas and snacks that we had tonight! Really nice - I would absolutely buy this one again!

A quick note - this image is borrowed from the 2006 vintage - couldn't find an image of the 2008 vintage.

Rosemount Estate Shiraz 2007, Australia - $10

I love the design of the new Rosemount bottles! The wine inside is still fairly basic Australian Shiraz. This wine can usually be purchased for around $10 a bottle.

Aroma - smoky, dark fruit
Taste - smoky, dark fruit

Shiraz isn't my favorite varietal, and I usually only purchase it as part of a blend. But if you're going to purchase an Australian Shiraz, this is a consistent everyday value.

Update - Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Chile - $10

Please see this wine's main page for an update - how did it pair with Thai food?!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

La Posta Bonarda 2007, Mendoza, Argentina - $15

This wine is 100% Bonarda made on the Estela Armando Vineyard in Buena Nueva, Guaymallen (Mendoza). I purchased it for $15 at Spec's. Wine Spectator rated this wine at 89 points.

Aroma - red fruit, some spice
Taste - red fruit, black tea, soft tannins

Bonarda for me is a nice alternative to Pinot Noir. They are light enough to have with seafood, and are priced for everyday drinking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oxford Landing GSM 2007, South Australia - $10

This wine is a GSM blend consisting of 68% Grenache, 19% Shiraz, and 13% Mourvèdre. I purchased it on sale at Whole Foods for $7, but it's usually $10 a bottle. It does have a screw cap, as many Australian wines do nowadays. Past vintages have been rated 90 points by Wine News.

I had this wine with Thai chicken pizza from Z Pizza, and it was a nice pairing. I'll have to try it again with my notebook handy to actually take aroma and tasting notes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Domaine Carneros Brut 2005, Carneros, CA - $26

The 2005 cuvée is composed of 64% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, and 2% Pinot Blanc. Mel had this sparkling wine at III Forks tonight. It was rated 92 points by Wine Spectator, and was named best US sparkling wine by Food and Wine Magazine.

Aroma - green apples, dry
Taste - green apples, dry

I'd definitely purchase this wine again. Love the Carneros region!

Double T Red 2006, Napa Valley, CA - $20

This California red blend by Trefethen was yet another wine we tasted at III Forks tonight, where it costs $11 per glass. I found it online for $20 a bottle. It includes various amounts of five classic red Bordeaux varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon augmented by smaller amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

Aroma - fruit, chocolate
Taste - fruit, chocolate, soft tannins

We had this wine with onion rings and potato chips smothered in blue cheese - yum! I'd like to try this wine at home.

Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2007, Sonoma County, CA - $20

This California Zin was $10 a glass at III Forks in downtown Austin, but it can be purchased online for around $20 a bottle. Past vintages have rated well (high 80s and up) with Wine News, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, and Connoisseurs' Guide.

Aroma - spicy and hot
Taste - inky, raisins, lots of layers, complex, chocolate

This was one of the many wines we tasted tonight, and we had it with onion rings and handmade potato chips with blue cheese. I'd like to purchase a bottle of it to try at home.