Saturday, April 30, 2011

Austin Wine Merchant Tasting - Clos Centeilles Tasting

All of these wines are from the Clos Centeilles Winery located in the Minervois la Livinière region of Languedoc, France. This winery's website was particularly helpful in my research, as these wines contain some rare varietals.

C de Centeilles Vin de Pays des Côtes du Brian 2009,
Minervois la Liviniere, France - $22.50
According to the winery's website, this white wine is a blend of 35% Araignan Blanc, 30% Reveirenc (or Riveyrenc) Gris, 30% Reveirenc (or Riveyrenc) Blanc, 5% Grenache Gris. These grapes are

Aroma - tropical fruits
Taste - almost like a Chardonnay

I don't like this wine much, but I also just brushed my teeth so I'll probably have to taste this again when the taste of my toothpaste isn't interfering with the wine.

Carignanissime de Centeilles 2008, Minervois la Liviniere, France - $14.99
This unoaked wine is 100% old vines (60 - 100 year old) Carignan, according to the winemaker. It contains no added yeast.

Aroma - dark fruit, musty
Taste - dark fruit, musty, moderate tannins, strong black tea, almost stinky finish

These grapes must have had quite a bit of natural yeast - I'm otherwise unsure about how it would have resulted in such a musty wine. It's okay - a little too stinky for me.

Clos Centeilles 2007, Minervois la Liviniere, France - $27.50
According to the winery's website, this wine is a blend of equal parts Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - rich dark fruit, black tea, moderate to strong tannins, acidic and fresh but heavier-bodied than the Campagne de Centeilles below, strong black tea finish

I liked this wine and would purchase it in the future.

Campagne de Centeilles 2007, Minervois la Liviniere, France - $17.50
This wine is 80 to 95% 50-year-old Cinsault according to the winery. Again, no wood is used in the winemaking process.

Aroma - red fruit, fresh
Taste - red fruit, fresh, black tea finish, moderate tannins

I liked this wine and plan to buy it in the future!

Update - September 13, 2011
See my updated tasting notes for the last wine, Campagne de Centeilles Minervois 2007.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Senda 66 Tempranillo 2008, La Mancha, Spain - $8

Served this Spanish Tempranillo during a little happy hour tonight at my condo. It was rated 90 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and retails for $8/bottle at Costco.

Aroma - red fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, sweet tobacco, a little spicy, moderate to strong tannins, ends in mineral

This wine does have 14% alcohol, which explains the heat on the nose. But, it's a nicely structured, dry red wine. It has more tannins than other Tempranillos that I've tried, but it's also quite food friendly with regards to Mediterranean appetizers (Spanikopita, marinated roasted olives), spiced nuts, goat cheese and crackers, and fruit/cheese. I really like this wine!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Château Labrande Malbec 2008, Cahors, France - $9

What a deal for a nice French Malbec - $9/bottle at Costco! Easy-drinking, food friendly - it's very accessible!

Aroma - red and dark fruit
Taste - red and dark fruit, a little acidic, black tea, a tiny bit of licorice/anise, moderate to strong tannins

Low in alcohol (only 12.5%!), this is definitely one of my new favorite everyday drinking wines - as long as it's in stock at Costco!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Domaine Filliatreau Chateau Fouquet Samur 2009, Loire, France - $16.25

This Loire Valley Cabernet Franc is a Louis/Dressner selection, and it's really nice and fresh! The folks at Austin Wine Merchant suggested it to me because I liked the Les Chien-Chien Chinon 2006 so much but they were out of it.

Aroma - red and dark fruit, a little cedar-vanilla
Taste - red and dark fruit, moderate tannins, acidic, black tea/cedar box finish

I like this wine, but not as much as I love Les Chien-Chien. But it's a nice choice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TerraNoble Gran Reserva Carmenère 2008, Maule Valley, Chile - $18

This Chilean Carmenère is SO NICE, and it was sent to us by some great friends of ours who are currently living in Chile! It's a blend of 96% Carmenère and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is from the Maule Valley instead of the much more common Maipo Valley. According to the winery's website, the Maule Valley has poor soil mixed with lots of rocks and earth, which lends the wine a nice minerality. It retails online for about $18/bottle and was rated 90 points by Robert Parker.

Aroma - black fruit, a little hot
Taste - black fruit, slight dark cocoa, soft tannins, very smooth, nice rich finish

Oh, I really like this wine! The 14% alcohol is probably the reason it smells a little hot, but you don't taste the high alcohol content at all! It's really a wonderful wine, and I would absolutely purchase it in the future! Thanks BE and AE!!!!! We love it!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Austin Wine Merchant Tasting - Margerum Wine Company

Doug Margerum from the Margerum Wine Company hosted this tasting at the AWM.

Margerum SYBARITE Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Santa Ynez Valley, CA - $18.75
The wine is a blend of 21% Grassini Vineyard, 7% McGinley Vineyards (AKA Westerly Vineyard), 10% Vogelzang Vineyard, and 2% Purisima Mountain Vineyard fruit.

Aroma - tropical fruit, clean
Taste - tropical fruit, clean, dry, good acid but not super-crisp

This wine is okay, but there are crisper Sauv Blancs (my preference) for a lower price. It is produced in the smallest and newest AVA in California - Happy Canyon.

Margerum M5 2008, Santa Barbara County, CA - $22.50
This wine is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style blend using five grape varieties from 12 of the highest quality vineyards in Santa Barbara County - 48% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 2% Counoise, and 2% Cinsault. Also included is 6% Genesis of M5 (a co-fermentation of everything but Syrah) and 1% UBER Syrah (a co-fermentation of all of the single vineyard Syrah). The name of the wine is apparently inspired by BMW.

Aroma - bright red fruit, a little smoky
Taste - red fruit, a little tobacco, moderate tannins

This wine is okay - there are bottles at around the same price that I prefer to this one.

Margerum Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah 2007, Santa Barbara County, CA - $37.50
This Syrah is a a blend of equal parts clone 7 and clone 877, and was aged for 20 months in barriques.

Aroma - dark, dark fruit
Taste - very dark fruit/blackberries, moderate tobacco, moderate to strong tannins, long tobacco finish

I like this wine.

Margerum ÜBER Syrah 2007, Santa Barbara County, CA - $50
This wine is a co-fermentation all of the top Santa Barbara County Syrah vineyards Margerum Wine Company works with, including Alonda de los Prados, Great Oaks Ranch, Black Oak, Vogelzang, Colson Canyon, Purisima Mountain, and Alisos.

Aroma - purple fruit
Taste - dark fruit, black tea and tobacco, soft tannins

Doug Margerum told me that this wine is made in all new wood, and that it drinks like a mature wine that is better for restaurants (softer tannins, more food-friendly).

A nice wine - would be very food-friendly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wrongo Dongo Monastrell 2009, Jumilla, Spain - $6.50/$26

Went to Malaga Tapas Bar for a goodbye dinner tonight and had this 100% Monastrell, which retails for $6.50/glass and $26/bottle at the restaurant. I found it online for $7 to $10/bottle. Jay Miller from Wine Advocate gave it 88 points.

This wine was so nice and smooth, and went well with everything we ordered: fried avocado, bacon-wrapped scallops, flatbread pizza with duck breast, fancy ham and cheese, asparagus with white bean dip, and paprika roasted potatoes with tomato sauce. Yum! I like this wine and want to try it again to make more detailed tasting notes!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

La Famiglia Pirovano Barbera NV, Oltrepo Pavese, Italy - $9.99

This non-vintage Italian Barbera retails for $9.99/bottle at Whole Foods.

Aroma - red and dark fruit, a little pepper, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, soft to moderate tannins, dry, black tea finish

A nice wine for the price! Am surprised it's non-vintage, but that's fine.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Château Moulin de Mallet 2009, Bordeaux, France - $9.99

This red Bordeaux is a blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It retails at Whole Foods for $9.99/bottle, which is where I tasted it earlier today.

Taste - bitter fruit, black tea, bitter finish, no complexity

Not offensive, but not a very interesting wine. It's a maybe for me.

Chateau Robin 2009, Lussac-Saint-Emilion, France - $13.99

Whole Foods continues its focus on 2009 Bordeaux wines. Today I tasted this Bordeaux from Lussac-Saint-Emilion, which is a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It retails for $13.99/bottle at Whole Foods.

Taste - black fruit, strong black tea, moderate tannins, bitter finish

This wine might be better with food. It's a maybe for me.

This image is borrowed from the 2006 vintage.

Dunham Cellars Three Legged Red 2008, Columbia Valley, WA - $14.99

This Washington red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot (three varietals, three-legged dog...). It is on sale for $14.99/bottle at Whole Foods. Again, they use tiny plastic cups for tastings, so I don't have any notes on bouquet.

Taste - black fruit, black tea, soft tannins, a little cocoa at the end

I like this wine. I like it even better because it's named after the winery's rescue dog. The dog's name was Port because he had two good legs on the port side of his body, and yes, he really only had three legs. I always love a good story!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir "Les Oliviers" 2009, Languedoc-Roussillon, France - $10.75

This French Vin de Pays d'Oc Pinot Noir is $10.75/bottle at the Austin Wine Merchant.

Aroma - red cherries, light fruit
Taste - red cherries, black tea, soft to moderate tannins

This is a nice wine, especially at this price. It goes well with scallops and shrimp. Really like it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA - $20

This California Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. It was rated 88 points by Wine Enthusiast and can be found online for $20/bottle. This is Vince Young Steakhouse's house red.

Aroma and taste - dark fruit, chocolate, strong tannins.

I like this wine!!!

Update - Luigi Bosca Malbec 2007, Mendoza, Argentina - $12/$46

See this wine's main page for the updated tasting notes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ramspeck Pinot Noir Blend 2009, Napa Valley, CA - $12/$46

Had this wine at Piranha Killer Sushi for D's birthday where it retails for $12/glass and $46/bottle. It's listed on the menu as a Pinot Noir blend, but no other website or restaurant that carries it lists it as a blend. In fact, it's been frustrating researching this wine because the winery itself, Rowland Cellars, hasn't updated its website since 2004. This wine retails online for $17 - $20/bottle.

This wine tastes of dark fruit and moderate tannins with a dry finish. I really like it!

This image is borrowed from the 2007 vintage.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deep Purple Zinfandel 2009, Lodi, CA - $12

CC brought this wine over for our TV viewing night - he purchased it at Target and I found it online for $12/bottle.

Aroma - red and dark fruit, wood, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, lots of wood, strong black tea, soft to moderate tannins, short finish

I haven't had a Zin in a while as I've been trying out other varietals. We paired this with guacamole and chips, and brownies and it was fine. It's thinner than most Zins, so those who usually like lighter wines will probably like this one.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Mendocino and Lake Counties, CA - $11

Made with organic grapes from Mendocino County (81%) and Lake County (19%), this California Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 5% Petite Sirah , and retails for $11/bottle at Costco. It earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast in addition to being a WE Editor's Choice and #21 on the WE top 100 wines of 2010.

Aroma - blackberries, a little hot
Taste - blackberries, dry, moderate tannins, black tea, a little minerality, nice smooth finish

I really like this wine, especially at $11/bottle. The Costco wine buyer is doing such a great job lately!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sasso al Poggio 2004, Toscana, Italy - $13

This Tuscan red from the Piccini Winery is 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot. I purchased it for $13/bottle at Costco. It was rated 90 points by James Suckling from Wine Spectator, and 90 points by Wine Enthusiast.

Aroma - dark fruit, dark dry earth a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, dry, soft to moderate tannins, dark cocoa finish

A very nice wine! High in alcohol at 14%, but still nicely balanced and complex. Really like it, especially for the price!