Tuesday, March 30, 2010

H3 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Washington - $10



We brought this wine to LOST tonight - I purchased it for $10 at Costco. H3 stands for the vineyard Horse Heaven Hills. It was rated 90 points by Wine Spectator.

Again, no detailed tasting notes, but overall I thought the wine was fruity, oaky, and medium-bodied. AP liked it a lot. I think I'll buy it again at this price point. I'd like to decant it next time to let it open up a bit more. It's certainly an easily-accessible wine.

Red Mud Shiraz 2005, South Australia - $15.99



CC brought this wine to the LOST viewing party tonight - he purchased it at Royal Blue for $15.99. The winery that makes it is Nelwood Wines.

I didn't take specific tasting notes (as we were in the middle of the episode), but the wine was fruity and very smoky. CC didn't like it as much as the last Aussie Shiraz he brought to LOST, The Wishing Tree Shiraz 2007. I thought it was less interesting than Wishing Tree.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Domaine "La Guarrigue" Cuvée Romaine Côtes du Rhône 2006, France - $14



This Cotes du Rhone is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah and was rated 90 points by Robert Parker.

Aroma - dark fruit, cedar
Taste - dark fruit, tobacco, strong tannins

MS and SD brought this over for dinner tonight. We had it with Giada's Pasta alla Formiana for dinner - awesome! This wine seems to be a good value for the price. MS thought that it tasted a bit flat. It thought it had some interesting moments.

Friday, March 26, 2010

J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Columbia Valley, WA - $24


This Cab is actually a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 3% Syrah. It was rated 93 points by Wine Spectator, and I purchased it at Costco for $24.

Aroma - dark chocolate
Taste - dark chocolate, dark fruit, soft tannins, a very long finish

What an amazing wine! We had it with turkey white chili tonight. Yum!!! Will certainly buy again!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir 2008, Pays d’Oc, France - $10


MS brought this wine to our LOST viewing tonight. Online it's priced at around $10, but I think he purchased it at Whole Foods.

Aroma - cherries, raspberries
Taste - tart cherries, black tea, soft tannins

We had it with dark-chocolate Lacey cookies and pistachios. I have to say that I was surprised to find out it was a French wine. It's extremely good for its price point and for a value-priced Pinot, and doesn't have any of the musty smell or taste that I usually associate with French Pinots.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2005, Monterey, CA - $16



This was the third of three wines I tasted tonight at CG's. I found it online priced between $13 and $20.

Aroma - red fruit, musty
Taste - tobacco, moderate tannins

This Pinot had a bit more depth than most lower-priced CA Pinots tend to. Would love to try it again!

Pietra Santa Merlot 2005, Cienega Valley, CA - $15


This was the second wine I tried tonight at CG's get-together, and it is 100% Merlot. The area where it is from, the Cienega Valley AVA, is part of California's Central Coast wine region and sits directly on the San Andreas Fault. It costs $15 a bottle per the winery's website.

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

The tannins were surprising for a Merlot. I might purchase this wine again just because it's more interesting than a Merlot usually is!

Reds, A Wine for the People 2007, Lodi, CA - $9


This wine is a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 30% Carignan, and 10% Petite Syrah. CG purchased it at the Austin Wine Merchant and served it at a little get-together tonight. The winery's website lists it at $9 a bottle.

Aroma - jammy
Taste - red fruit, moderate tannins, black tea on the finish

A nice, drinkable wine! I had a little bite of Parmesan cheese with it, and they went nicely together. Also had shrimp later on and did not taste anything metallic - nice!

Alamos Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina - $9


This was the third of three wines we drank last night, and we had it while playing pool. I purchased it for $9 at Western Beverages. Wine Spectator rated it 90 points, and Jay Miller from the Wine Advocate rated it 87 points. It is a blend of 90% Malbec with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Bonarda.

Aroma - fruit, rust
Taste - moderate tannins, tobacco, "weird" according to OJC

I'm not absolutely crazy about this wine, especially as it smelled like rust when I first sniffed it. Not that appetizing! But, I might have to try it again to be sure - it's not looking good, though.

Borsao Crianza Seleccion 2006, D. O. Campo de Borja, Spain - $14



This was the second of three wines we drank last night after our little SXSW excursion. This Spanish red wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Tempranillo, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and OJC purchased it at Royal Blue. Stephen Tanzer gave it 90 points, Jay Miller from the Wine Advocate gave it 89 points, and Wine Enthusiast gave it 86 points. It ranges online from $11 to $16.

Aroma - fruit, musty, bark
Taste - red fruit, musty, tobacco

A very interesting wine - would love to have it again! We were still snacking on the truffle oil popcorn, pistachios, and dark choc pomegranate seeds.

Update - Terra Andina Carmenère 2008, Chile - $9


This was the first of three wines we had last night after our SXSW New York Export: Opus Jazz viewing. See the updated tasting notes on this wine's main page!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chateau Tour Prignac Cru Bourgeois 2005, Médoc, Bordeaux, France - $19.99



This was the fifth of five wines I tasted today at Whole Foods. The wine buyer says it's a great value for a French Bordeaux, and 2005 is supposed to be a great year for that region. This wine is a blend of equal amounts of Cab Sauv and Merlot, according to one internet blog- couldn't find any info about the blend on retail sites. Wine Spectator rated this wine at 87 points, and Wine Enthusiast rated it at 89. It ranges from $16 to $21 online, and can be purchased at Whole Foods for $20.

Aroma - red fruit, musty
Taste - musty, red fruit, strong tannins, smooth

I think I like this wine. The mustiness wasn't overwhelming.

Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, CA - $19.99



This was the fourth of five wines I tasted at Whole Foods today. The wine staff member added this one into the Australia tasting because she had opened the wines earlier in the day for the Wine 101 and had some left over. The price of this wine ranges from $18 to $25 online, and Whole Foods sells it for $20.

Aroma - tight, red fruit
Taste - simple, moderate tannins, black tea finish

I believe I've had some comparable wines at a lower price point. Might have to try a side-by-side tasting with another California Cab from this region.

Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Coonawarra, Australia - $17.99



This was the third of five wines I tasted at Whole Foods today during their focus on Australia. It is on sale for $17.99. The average price of this wine according to wine-searcher.com is $18.

Aroma - dark fruit, smoky, earthy
Taste - tobacco, cedar, moderate tannins

Not in love with it, but it's interesting and would go well with really rich foods and meats.

d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original Shiraz Grenache 2006, McLaren Vale, Australia - $14.99



This Australian red includes 50% Shiraz and 50% Grenache, and was the second of five wines I tasted at Whole Foods this afternoon. It was rated 91 points by James Halliday, apparently THE expert on Australian wines, 90 points by Wine Enthusiast, and 89 points by Robert Parker. It is currently priced at $14.99 at Whole Foods.

Aroma - earthy, pepper
Taste - meaty, oaky finish

This is a pretty big wine, so only get it if you like big reds!

Helfrich Gewurztraminer 2007, Vin d'Alsace, France - $12.99


I'm a newbie to Gewurztraminer, as this is the first one that I've made tasting notes on. this was the first of five wines I tasted today at Whole Foods, and it was on sale for $12.99 today. It was rated 92 by Robert Parker and 90 by Stephen Tanzer.

Aroma - honeyed, sweet
Taste - lychees, sweet, like a muscat dessert wine

Wow, I wasn't prepared for the taste of this wine. I really thought that if it were fully chilled, it would serve as a great dessert wine, as it would taste really similar to an ice wine. I'll definitely have to purchase this wine!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Viña Alicia Paso De Piedra Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina - $13



I purchased this Argentinian Cab at Costco for $13. It was rated at 90 points by Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.

Aroma - dark fruit, inky, cheese (in a good way), olives
Taste - dark, inky, cedar, strong tannins, long tobacco finish

This is a really, really big wine. I opened it tonight to go with our bison stew. I think it'll be great with foods that are equally as big and filling. It would overwhelm other foods, and I would only recommend it for drinking alone if you really love big reds!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2008, France - $13



KH brought this wine to our Girls' Happy Hour tonight. It was hard to find info about it online, but I think the average price is $13 a bottle, and it seems to be a blend of the most common Côtes du Rhône varietals - Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah.

Aroma - dark, inky, a little hot
Taste - smoky, meaty

Don't know if this wine tastes so meaty and smoky because I'm having it with kettle corn and dark chocolate-covered almonds. Interesting!

BTW - the other words on the label are:

Côtes du Rhône Contrôlée
Mis en bouteille à la Propriété
Terres d'Avignon - Vignerons Réunis à F. 84310

Frei Brothers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Russian River Valley, CA - $11



This Northern Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc earned 90 points from Robert Parker, and I purchased it for $11 at Western Beverages.

Aroma - lychees, rubber
Taste - grapefruit (with a slightly bitter finish), a little honey

I cooked lobster ravioli with this wine so we also drank this wine with dinner. The sauce for the ravioli also included fresh arugula and lemon juice. A great combo!

Viña Alarba Old Vines Grenache 2008, Calatayud, Spain - $9



All I can say about this wine is raisins and currants! I LOVE it! It's a great wine slightly chilled and is very food friendly. I had it tonight with dark chocolate-covered almonds and kettle corn. I purchased it at Austin Wine Merchant for $9.

See the tasting notes for the 2007 vintage here!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Angoves Nine Vines Shiraz Viognier 2008, South Australia - $12



MS and SD brought this wine over tonight for the LOST viewing party. MS said that Whole Foods is promoting Australian wines right now, and he purchased this wine there. I'm not sure how much it costs at Whole Foods, but I found it online for $12 a bottle.

This wine is really interesting because it's a blend of a red (94% Shiraz) and a white (6% Viognier). All I could smell and taste were fruits, but because of my allergies I really couldn't tell what kind! I'll have to update these notes when I have a chance to try this wine again!

Update - March 20, 2010
This was the first wine I tried today at Whole Foods' focus on Australia.

Aroma - tight, fruit
Taste - fruit, spice, acidic (b/c of the Viognier?), smoky, moderate tannins, black tea, clean finish

I really liked this wine despite having to taste it out of tiny little plastic cups smaller than Dixie cups! So glad I got the chance to try it again sans congestion!

The Wishing Tree Shiraz 2007, Western Australia - $15.50



CC brought this wine over tonight for our LOST viewing party - he purchased it at Royal Blue for $15.50, and Stephen Tanzer rated it 88 points. I have to admit that my nose was a bit stopped up from allergies, so these tasting notes should probably be revised when my palate is back to normal!

Aroma - matchsticks
Taste - stone, not fruity

Interesting, as I usually expect Shiraz to taste smoky. I will definitely need to update these tasting notes when my nose is clear!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Domaine des Coteaux des Travers Reserve Côtes du Rhône–Villages Rasteau, France - $13



This was the second wine we had at Crú tonight. It's a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.

Aroma - bright red fruit
Taste - slightly bitter, young and green, bright fruit, crisp, moderate tannins

This wine was quite green and had kind of a bite, especially compared to the Pinot Noir that we had just before it. We basically sipped this wine after dinner.

Hahn Estates Pinot Noir 2006, Monterey, CA - $11



This California Pinot Noir was rated 89 points by Wine News. It cost $36 a bottle at Crú, but I found it online for $11 a bottle.

Aroma - cherries
Taste - red fruit, soft tannins, smooth

We had it tonight with steamed mussels, Crú steak pizza, and potstickers. Excellent!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Alexander Valley, CA - $65



This was the fourth wine we had tonight at MS and SD's. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and Wine & Spirits rate it 90 points.

Aroma - dark chocolate
Taste - cocoa, strong tannins

This wine was excellent with our dark chocolate desserts! I would definitely have it again!

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, CA - $40



This was the third wine of the evening at MS and SD's place. It was chosen as a Washington Post staff pick and was rated 88 points by Wine News. It retails for $40 per bottle per the winery's website, and is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec.

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

We had it with spinach salad and tomato and asparagus pasta. YUMMY!!! Definitely a wine that I would try again!

Update - Belle Glos Pinot Noir 2007, Monterey - $50


See the tasting notes on this wine's main page!

Pascual Toso Malbec 2008, Argentina - $10



Had this wine before dinner tonight, so was drinking it sans food. I found it online for around $10 a bottle, but this particular wine in other vintages is usually around $12 at Whole Foods.

Aroma - black currant
Taste - soft tannins, tart fruit, slightly bitter end

Sometimes I don't mind a bitter end - don't know why some types of bitter are more pleasant than others.

Also see the tasting notes for the 2006 vintage of this wine!

Gary Farrell Pinot Noir 2006, Russian River Valley - $20/glass


I tasted this California Pinot Noir at III Forks tonight. This particular winery harvests from so many vineyards and produces so many different single-vineyard wines, I'll need to double-check with the restaurant's sommelier to be sure which one I actually tasted tonight.

Aroma - grassy at first, a little sour later, peppery
Taste - tart cherry, soft tannins

Again, had this wine without food. I usually choose Pinot Noir to go with lighter foods - it's not one of my first wines of choice to drink sans food. But I really wanted to taste it tonight without food. I'd probably purchase this wine again if I were to purchase a Pinot Noir.

Update - Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina - $9


See the updated tasting notes for this very popular Malbec!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Heartland Stickleback Red 2008, Australia - $11.50



This Australian blend consists of 61% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Dolcetto, and 5% Lagrein. It was the second of two wines we tasted tonight at Royal Blue and costs $11.50 there.

Aroma - red fruit
Taste - red fruit, soft tannins, extremely bitter

I've really lost my taste for Australian Shiraz in the past few years, and I think I'm not connecting with this wine because it includes a majority of that particular varietal. There are a lot of wines I prefer at this price point, so I probably wouldn't choose to purchase this one in the future.

Heartland Stickleback White 2007, Australia - $11.50



This Australian white blend includes 49% Semillon, 28% Chardonnay, and 20% Verdelho. It was the first of two wines we tasted at Royal Blue tonight. It costs $11.50 a bottle at Royal Blue.

Aroma - faint lychee or pear
Taste - citrus, just a tiny bit salty

This wine is a definite maybe. It's much better than an overly-oaked Chardonnay anyday as far as white wines are concerned (in my opinion), but of course that's completely subjective! An adequate wine at a very reasonable price.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Update - Vincent Saincrit Grand Vin de Bordeaux 2005 - $9



Click here to see the update about a food pairing with this wine!

Jean Milan Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc Brut Champagne - $45



This Champagne is made from 100% Chardonnay, and is non-vintage (N.V.). It is sold online for anywhere between $40 and $50.

Aroma - Mel said yeasty and minerally, but more yeast than mineral
Taste - nice and crisp

Mel and JS brought over this apéritif and it went great with the smoked salmon, chèvre, and whole wheat crackers that we had before dinner tonight.

Villa Pillo Toscana Borgoforte 2007, Tuscany, Italy - $9



This was the fourth of four wines we had with dinner tonight. It's a super-Tuscan blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is I think typical for a super-Tuscan. I purchased this wine for an incredible $9 at Costo!

Aroma - dark fruit, dark chocolate
Taste - dark dark extra cocoa chocolate, very bitter, soft tannins

So interesting - and bitter but not in a bad way. We had this wine at the end of the night, so I'll have to try it again tomorrow and update the tasting notes.

Da Vinci Chianti 2007, Italy - $14



This DOCG Chianti is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah, and was rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast. RC2 brought it over, and it was the third of four wines we had with dinner tonight. This wine is listed online at around $14 per bottle.

Aroma - red fruit, kind of hot, a little musty
Taste - red fruit, musty, tobacco, soft to moderate tannins

A nice wine, and went great with our Italian-inspired dinner!

Quattro Mani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008, Italy - $13.50



This was the second of four wines we had tonight at Eggplant Parmesan a la Cimino night! MS bought it for $13.50 at Royal Blue. It is 100% Montepulciano from the Abruzzo DOC of Italy.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, very smooth finish

Great with the main dish!

Update - Monte Antico 2006 Toscana, Italy - $9



This was the first of four Italian wines we had tonight with our Italian-inspired Oscar dinner (the Oscar part was incidental/unplanned). Read tonight's tasting notes on the wine's main page!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Twenty Bench Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $24.95



Went driveway drinking with some neighbors today - we settled down in front of Royal Blue to enjoy some wine and snacks. We polished off 3 bottles of this California Cab, which was $24.95 a bottle at Royal Blue.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, black tea finish

A nice wine - drank it with a turkey club sandwich, crackers, and chèvre. Would definitely purchase it!

Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de l'Hérault Red Table Wine 2008, France - $10.99



Chateau D'oupia makes this Carignan/Syrah blend, and I've tasted the 2007 version of it. This was the second wine I tasted tonight at Royal Blue's Thursday wine tasting. It is priced at $10.99.

Aroma - bright red fruit
Taste - red fruit, tobacco

This wine is a nice wine for the price, and I'd purchase it again. It would go great with French food!

Olivares Altos de la hoya Monastrell 2008, Jumilla, Spain - $13.95


This was the first wine I tasted tonight at Royal Blue. This Spanish Monastrell was rated 91 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. It costs $13.95 at Royal Blue.

Aroma - bright red fruit
Taste - fruit, black tea, soft tannins

This would be a good everyday drinking wine, especially at this price point.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mas Donis Barrica Old Vines 2005, Montsant, Spain - $9



This wine made by Celler de Capcanes from the Montsant region of Spain is a blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah. It was rated 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and I purchased it for $9 at Western Beverages.

Aroma - matchsticks, musty (Old World)
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, not as musty as it smelled

I brought this wine to the LOST viewing party because I thought it would be a lighter red, which is what SD prefers. But it turned out to be made in the French/Old World style, so I'm sure it wasn't his favorite.

The aroma and flavor in this wine are not what I look for when I purchase a Grenache/Syrah blend, especially if it's not French. This is a maybe because it's a good value if you like this style of wine-making.

Update - Paso a Paso Organic Tempranillo 2008, La Mancha, Spain - $10



See what tasted great with this wine in my updated tasting notes on this wine's main page.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cameron Hughes Lot 88 Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2006, Amador County, CA - $13

I purchased this California Zinfandel for $13 at Western Beverages. It's rated at 90 points in Wine Spectator, a Best Buy. It also received a gold medal from the Dallas Morning News.

Aroma - red fruit, pepper
Taste - red fruit, pepper, soft tannins, cocoa

This wine went great with our veggie burgers tonight - topped with spring mix, red onions, and tomatoes, with a mixed greens salad of feta cheese, raspberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. Dessert was a few Hershey's Kisses - the wine was so smooth with the milk chocolate!