Monday, February 28, 2011

Les Chiens-Chiens Cabernet Franc 2007, Chinon, France - $17

This wine from Domaine de la Noblaie in the Loire Valley was rated 90 points by Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, and costs $17/bottle at the Austin Wine Merchant.

Aroma - black fruit, black olives
Taste - darkest fruit, black olives/vegetal, moderate tannins, very long finish

I loved the 2006 vintage of this wine. This one is a little more olive and less fruity than last year's. I've saved four bottles of this wine for future years - I think it'll age nicely.

Sausal Family Zinfandel 2007, Alexander Valley, CA - $17

My brother gave this wine to us for Christmas, and we finally got a chance to try it out! It is 100% Zinfandel from estate-grown grapes, and has 14.5% alcohol.

Aroma - darkest fruit, a little hot
Taste - darkest fruit, sweet tobacco, very soft tannins

I really like this wine - it's so good! I think I saw it at Costco the other day, so hopefully I'll be able to purchase it again sometime!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cascina Bruni Villa Lisa Barbera d'Asti 2009, Piedmont, Italy - $9/$33

Had this wine at Second Bar + Kitchen tonight. The menu listed the 2008 vintage, but when we got the bottle it was a 2009. It retails at 2nd for $9/glass and $33/bottle.

Aroma - bright red fruit
Taste - bright red tart fruit, soft tannins, young but good

This was a very food friendly wine. We paired it with buffalo fried pickles and Gorgonzola, goat cheese ravioli with green olives and wild arugula, garlic and chive potato gnocchi, and beef short rib pizza with burrata/carmelized onions/roasted garlic. Yum!!!

I'd love to try this vintage again in a few years.

Update - August 29, 2011
See how this wine tasted at another restaurant!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Healdsburg Ranches Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Sonoma County, CA - $10

This was the final wine we had tonight. It was on sale at Whole Foods for $10/bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, soft to moderate tannins, very smooth

A nice wine for only $10/bottle! And it went GREAT with the vegan brownies we had for dessert!

Tierra Noble Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina

MS brought this wine when he came over for dinner tonight. He purchased it from Whole Foods.

Aroma - blackberries, a little hot
Taste - blackberries, cocoa/black tea, moderate tannins

I like this wine! It went well with the dinner, which included Pasta Alla Formiana, devils on horseback, and marinated green and black olives.

Austin Wine Merchant Tasting - J. Christopher Wines

J. Christopher is actually Jay Christopher Somers, considered one of the best winemakers in Oregon. After tasting his wines today at the Austin Wine Merchant, I have to agree that he is an extremely talented and passionate winemaker.

J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $19.99
This wine is quite a nice surprise for an Oregon Sauvignon Blanc. It has the tropical fruit flavors of an SB that is grown in a much warmer location.

Aroma - tropical fruit, a tiny bit of saline
Taste - tropical fruit, slight salinity, good acid

A nice wine!

J. Christopher Pinot Noir 2008 Unfiltered, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $27.50
This Pinot Noir is very nice. It's bright and everything you'd expect from a good quality PN, but is a little more complex than many that are less expensive.

Aroma - bright cherries, a little spice, a really really nice bouquet!
Taste - bright cherries, a little spice, soft minerals, soft tannins

I really like this wine!

Update - November 19, 2011
Staff at AWM say that this is a more feminine style of winemaking than the next wine. Nice!

J. Christopher Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Cuvée 2008 Unfiltered, Oregon - $35
I liked this Pinot even more than the last one!

Aroma - bright cherries, Jolly Rancher, light spice
Taste - subtle red fruit, nice minerality and acid, really beautiful

I really, really liked this wine! It was just so beautiful!

Update - November 19, 2011
More masculine style than the wine above, more oak. Nice, definitely more wood. This time I like the previous one better!

J. Christopher Pinot Noir Sandra Adele 2008 Unfiltered, Dundee Hills, Oregon - $42.50
This wine was different than the last but just as good. The vineyard is named after Jay's mother - so sweet!

Aroma - bright cherries, a little spice
Taste - subtle fruit and minerals, very soft tannins, nice complexity, really beautiful

These last two wines were my absolute favorite of the tasting today. I'll definitely be purchasing them in the future!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hook & Ladder "The Tillerman" 2007, Russian River Valley, CA - $20

I had to borrow this image from the 2006 vintage. The 2007 vintage is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, and 10% Sangiovese. I tasted it at Whole Foods today, where it retails for $20/bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit, tobacco and wood
Taste - dark fruit, tobacco and wood, moderate tannins

This is a nice wine. I'd probably buy it again in the future.

Douglas Green Shiraz 2009, Western Cape, South Africa - $10

This South African red wine is 100% Shiraz and retails for $10/bottle at Whole Foods, where I tasted it today.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, smoky, slightly musty

It's an okay wine if you like that smoky taste.

Conquista de Argentina Malbec 2010, Mendoza, Argentina - $12

I tasted this Argentinian Malbec at Whole Foods today, where it retails for $12/bottle. It is a blend of 88% Malbec, 6% Bonardo, 3% Shiraz, and 3% Merlot.

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

A good wine for the price.

Castle Rock Pinot Noir 2009, Willamette Valley, OR - $13

I tasted this Oregon Pinot Noir today at Whole Foods, where it retails for $13/bottle.

Aroma - tart cherries
Taste - tart cherries, smoke, dry, soft tannins

There are more interesting Pinot Noirs out there, but this one is fine.

McPherson Cellars Tranquility White Wine 2010, Lubbock, TX - $12

I can't find any information about this wine on the internet or McPherson's website. It retails for $12/bottle at Whole Foods, where I tasted it this afternoon. Mike, the wine pourer today, said that it's a blend of Viognier, Sémillon, Chenin Blanc, and Muscat. It's McPherson's version of a white Rhône blend.

Aroma - tropical fruit, bananas, lemon zest
Taste - same as above

Not my favorite wine - don't like the scent of bananas in wine, and prefer my white wines very, very crisp.

McPherson Cellars American Sparkling Wine Extra Dry NV, Lubbock, TX - $12

This non-vintage white sparkling wine by Texas winery McPherson Cellars is a blend of 50% Chenin Blanc and 50% French Colombard. I tasted it at Whole Foods today, where it retails for $12/bottle.

Aroma - lemons
Taste - grapefruit, crisp

A nice wine, especially for Texas!

J Vineyards Cuvée 20, Russian River Valley, CA - $20

This sparkling wine is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir, and 2% Pinot Meunier. It retails for $20/bottle at Whole Foods where I tasted it today. It was rated 90 points by both Wine Enthusiast and Wine News.

Aroma - apples
Taste - apples, crisp

A good wine.

Clayhouse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Paso Robles, CA - $14

This Paso Robles Cab Sauv is actually a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.5% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec, 4.5% Syrah, and 2% Petite Sirah. I purchased it for $14/bottle at Whole Foods.

Aroma - deep dark berries/blackberries, dark chocolate
Taste - blackberries, dark cocoa, moderate to strong tannins, long dry finish

A nice wine for the price! Will definitely be purchasing it again!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anglim Cerise 2006, French Camp Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA - $24

This wine is a blend of 39% Mourvèdre, 32% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 4% Viognier and retails for $24 at Whole Foods, although it was on sale for $15.

Aroma - berries and a tiny bit of gunpowder
Taste - slight gunpowder, fruit, dry, soft to moderate tannins, long blueberry finish

The slight aroma and taste of gunpowder isn't unpleasant - it's a scent/flavor that I've noticed in other wines as well, and it must have something to do with the winemaking style or process.

All in all, a nice wine, and I would definitely buy it again, especially if I find it on sale for $15!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Cabernet Franc 2009, Bourgueil, France - $17.50

This Cabernet Franc is imported by Kermit Lynch, and I purchased it for $17.50 at Austin Wine Merchant.

Aroma - perfumy wood, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, a little perfumy, a little wood/cedar, dry, perfumy finish, moderate tannins

I don't prefer this weird perfumy scent - the taste is fine except for the perfumy thing going on. It's hard to describe it but you'll know it if you smell/taste it.

Not my favorite wine - this is a maybe. Not sure I'll purchase it again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Truchard Pinot Noir 2007, Carneros, CA - $29.99

I tasted this wine at Whole Foods the other day. It's a single-vineyard wine that is a blend of seven separate clonal selections of Pinot Noir from the Truchard Estate Vineyard. It retails at Whole Foods for $29.99/bottle.

Aroma - cherries, light
Taste - red cherries, black tea, little spice at end, soft tannins, a little sweet

Not my favorite Pinot Noir, but it's got some good complexity and it would be an okay choice. There are a few less expensive Pinots that I like better than this one.

Update - August 10, 2011
CC brought this wine to share on TV viewing night. He bought it at Royal Blue for $31.99/bottle.

Aroma - smoky fruit
Taste - cherries, light black tea, hint of dark cocoa, soft tannins, nice minerality

Different but nice.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Santa Barbara Wine Company Pinot Noir 2008, Santa Barbara, CA - $11/glass, $20/bottle

This Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2008 is a single-vineyard wine from the North Canyon Vineyard. We purchased it by the glass at Crú in the Domain for $11/glass, although it retails online for approximately $19/bottle.

Aroma - red cherries, bright spice
Taste - red cherries, bright spice, no tannins, fruity but dry, nice long finish

The wine paired nicely with the house salad (arugula, walnuts, cheese) and the steamed mussels. Yum!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cameron Hughes Lot 200 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley, CA - $25

According to the CHW rep at Costco, this wine under its original label would be valued at $200. A recent e-mail I received from CHW mentioned a roughly $100 price point. The bottle cost me $25 at Costco. This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Petite Sirah, and 1% Malbec.

Aroma - deep fruit and dark chocolate, a little hot, very rich
Taste - deep dark fruit, dark cocoa, dry, long cocoa finish, soft tannins

This wine is nice, although it's high in alcohol (14.5%), which would be fine except that you can definitely smell it. I love the finish and the soft tannins. It is a very nice wine, and I do think it's definitely worth the $25. I've had more expensive wines that I haven't liked as much.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kirkland Napa Valley Meritage 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $11

This California red wine is a blend of 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc. We grabbed it from my mom's wine rack so I didn't purchase it, but I found other postings that list the price at $11/bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, soft tannins, dry and slightly bitter finish

We paired this with Asian vegetarian entrees and one dish of chicken and duck - it went great with everything! A great way to celebrate the Lunar New Year!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Foppiano Vineyards Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2008, Russian River Valley, CA - $18

This Foppiano Vineyards Estate Bottled Petite Sirah 2008 is from Sonoma County's Russian River Valley retails for $18/bottle at the Austin Wine Merchant.

Aroma - blackberries, a little hot
Taste - blackberries, strong black tea, moderate tannins

Interesting - this wine doesn't have huge tannins - the tannins are actually soft to moderate, but seem stronger than they really are because of the strong black tea taste.

I like this wine generally and would probably purchase it again, but it does contain a very high amount of alcohol (15.2%), and there's probably a Petite Sirah that I like just as much without as much alcohol content.