Thursday, June 30, 2011

A to Z Pinot Noir 2008, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $15



Wine Spectator rated this wine 90 points and #75 on the top 100 of 2010. I purchased it for $15/bottle at Costco.

Aroma - cherries, light spice, a little hot (but at only 13% alcohol, this is surprising - maybe need to chill the wine a little more)
Taste - light red fruit, black tea, moderate tannins, long light tea finish

Had it with tortilla chips, fresh homemade salsa, guacamole, crackers/apples/cheese, pistachios, and barbeque Pop Chips, and chocolate chip/oatmeal cookies. Good, but there are better foods to compliment this wine - I can still taste the salsa on my tongue!

I really like this wine - will definitely have to buy it again!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

La Quercia Montepulciano 2009, Abruzzo, Italy - $10


I took a chance on this wine because it was only $10/bottle at Whole Foods, and I was not disappointed!

Aroma - red fruit
Taste - red fruit, some black tea, moderate tannins, light cocoa finish

I actually like this wine better than the Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008 I tasted yesterday, and it's slightly less expensive - a win-win!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cantina Zaccagnini Il Vino "Dal Tralcetto" Red Dry Wine 2008, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy - $13

I purchased this wine at Whole Foods for $13/bottle - it's one of my Italian food pairing staples.

Aroma - dark fruit, dark cocoa, a little gunpowder
Taste - dark fruit, a little gunpowder, strong tannins, a little acid, a little oaky, slight tea-like finish

This wine is complex and interesting. I like it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Update - Carlos Basso Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Mendoza, Argentina - $17.50



See this wine's main page for the tasting notes.

Beso de Vino Selección 2009, Cariñena, Spain - $12


This wine is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Grenache, and was rated 90 points by Jay Miller of Wine Advocate.

Aroma - blueberries, a tiny bit hot (13.5% alcohol)
Taste - blueberries, oak, moderate tannins, dark cocoa finish, dry

I liked this wine the best of the three new ones I tried tonight.

Greg Norman Pinot Noir 2009, Santa Barbara County, CA - $14



AP shared this wine with us during the Season 4 True Blood season premiere tonight!

Aroma - cherries, spice
Taste - cherries, spice, oaky, soft tannins, woody finish

Okaym but a little too oaky for me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

JB's Mystery Wine Tasting Party - 18 red wines

JB held a mystery wine party for her daughter's return from studying abroad. We are all so happy that she's back!!!! And we LOVED the wine tasting - so much fun!!!!

I've included these in the order that I tasted them. All labels and prices were revealed at the end of the tasting after tasting notes had been made.



Little Yering Pinot Noir 2008, Yarra Valley, Australia - $11.99
Number 12 at the tasting, this wine was the one I brought and this was my first time tasting it. I purchased it at Austin Wine Merchant. It is made by Yering Station and was rated 90 points by James Halliday.

Aroma - a little hot, a little spicy
Taste - red fruit, black tea, soft to moderate tannins

I liked this wine and would buy it again - it's a good value Pinot Noir. See my updated tasting notes for it here.



Domaine les Grands Bois "Cuvée les Trois Soeurs" 2009, Côtes du Rhône, France - $13.99
Number 9 at the tasting, this wine is a blend of a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan, and was rated 90 points by Wine Advocate.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, strong black tea, strong tannins

I liked this wine and thought it could have been a Burgundy, although it did seem more full-bodied than I would have expected a Burgundy to be.



Water 2 Wine Orange Chocolate Port Dessert Wine
Number 11 at the tasting, this wine is only available at Water 2 Wine.

Aroma - dark chocolate covered raspberries
Taste - same

I would probably like this wine with dessert.


Roche Pinot Noir 2005, Carneros, CA - $30
Number 2 at the tasting, a wine collector brought this Pinot and was worried that it might be past its prime.

Aroma - raspberries, chocolate
Taste - tart red fruit, dark cocoa, moderate tannins, fresh

It was clearly a Pinot when I tasted it, and I liked it! Definitely not over the hill.



Irony Pinot Noir 2009, Monterrey County, CA - $16
Number 16 at the tasting.

Aroma - cherries, a little spice
Taste - cherries, black tea, soft to moderate tannins

A common Pinot Noir tasting profile - I liked it.



Cameron Hughes Frunza Merlot 2009, Timisoara, Romania - $7
Number 14 at the tasting, the Cameron Hughes website says that this wine is available at Sam's for under $7 a bottle, but is comparable to wines that range from $10 - $15/bottle.

Aroma - a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, a little tea, moderate tannins

This wine is just okay.



Water 2 Wine Rattlesnake Red
Number 8 at the tasting, this wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah and is only sold at Water 2 Wine.

Aroma - acidic, tart cherries, cinnamon
Taste - tart red cherries, acidic, young, very light

Tastes like a white (not what I prefer), maybe good for summer, needs to be chilled.


CMS Red 2008 by Hedges, Columbia Valley, Washington - $15
Number 7 at the tasting, this wine is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, and 6% Syrah. It was rated 88 points by Wine Enthusiast.

Aroma - dark fruit, dark chocolate, a little hot
Taste - black fruit, strong black tea, strong tannins, strong oak

Needs a filet mignon - this is a wine that should be paired with food!!! See my previous tasting notes for this wine.


Maroon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Yountville, CA - $25
Number 6 at the tasting, this wine by Maroon Vineyards is a blend of 80% Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Napa Valley Merlot.

Aroma - dark fruit, hot
Taste - dark fruit, dark cocoa, very strong tannins, overoaked?

An okay wine. I think it's just been aged too long in oak for my tastes.



Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Sonoma County, CA - $16
Number 5 at the tasting.

Aroma - dark fruit, hot
Taste - dark fruit, wood, tart, strong tannins

Not great. This wine always smells a little hot to me, and this experience was no exception. The combination of heat and wood is not for me.


Galan Private Reserve Merlot 2009, Lontué Valley, Chile - $11
Number 4 at the tasting, RS and MS brought this wine to the party.

Aroma - fruit, vegetal, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, dark cocoa, strong tannins, long cocoa finish

I like this wine - it's a little more complex than the average Merlot.



Rex Goliath Free Range Red NV, CA - $7
Number 3 at the tasting, one of the JBs brought this wine to the party. I think it retails for around $7/bottle at Whole Foods, and is a blend of Syrah and Zinfandel.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little musty
Taste - dark fruit, dark chocolate, a little musty, old world?

This wine is okay. See my previous tasting notes for this wine.


Red. Table Wine 2009, California - $9
Number 1 at the tasting, this wine is a blend of 72% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot,
4% Zinfandel, and 2% Petite Sirah.

Aroma - hot
Taste - dark fruit, strong tannins

This wine is not for me. It's very unbalanced.



Chain Gang Red Wine 2009, Sonoma County, CA
Number 18 at the tasting.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, strong tannins

Okay, a simple wine.



Beringer California Collection Merlot 2008, CA - $6
Number 17 at the tasting.

Aroma - hot, musty
Taste - red and dark fruit, a little musty, dry, tart

An unbalanced wine.



Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Alexander Valley, CA - $55
Number 15 at the tasting, CM brought this wine to the party. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and was rated 92 by Wine Enthusiast.

Aroma - red fruit, pepper
Taste - red fruit, dry, spice

Such a good wine! This is what I like! Interesting and balanced.



Lazzaro Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Argentina
Number 13 at the tasting.

Aroma - dark fruit, raisins, hot
Taste - dark fruit

An okay Cabernet Sauvignon.

Final thoughts...
Overall, my favorites for the tasting were:
  • Number 15 - Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Alexander Valley, CA - $55
  • Number 2 - Roche Pinot Noir 2005, Carneros, CA - $30
  • Number 12 - Little Yering Pinot Noir 2008, Yarra Valley, Australia - $11.99
  • Number 9 - Domaine les Grands Bois "Cuvée les Trois Soeurs" 2009, Côtes du Rhône, France - $13.99
Fun fun fun!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

O'Reilly's Pinot Noir 2009, St. Paul, Oregon - $17.50


Purchased this wine at Austin Wine Merchant for $17.50/bottle. It is produced by Owen Roe Winery.

Aroma - red fruit, a little hot
Taste - subtle red fruit, a little spice, a little black tea, soft tannins, long black tea finish

I like this Pinot Noir - it's a good choice - a bit more subtle and less fruit forward than many that I taste.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Williams-Sonoma Wine & Food Book


I received this great Williams-Sonoma book from a friend, and liked it so much that I bought a copy for another friend for her wedding.

I found this list of different types of wines helpful:

Sparkling Wines
  • Prosecco - fruit salad, high acid
  • Cremant - French sparkling wine made outside of Champagne, light and fruity, can be a good value
  • Cava - similar to Champagne but lower in price
  • Sparkling Vouvray - elegant, made from Chenin Blanc grape,look for the word "mousseaux" which means "sparkling" in French

Crisp White Wines
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Muscadet
  • French unoaked Chablis
  • Albarino
  • unoaked White Rioja
  • Pinot Bianco
  • Soave

Soft Whites (great with Asian foods)
  • Riesling
  • Gewurtz
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Gruner Veltliner
  • Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Blanc

Juicy Red Wines
  • Gansu
  • Pinot Noir (Old World)
  • Cabernet Franc (Chinon and Fruili regions)
  • Valpolicella (Classico, not Amarone or Recioto)
  • Dolcetto
  • Barbera (d'Alba or d'Asti)
  • Grenache

Smooth Red Wines
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir (New World)
  • Sangiovese (Chianti Classico)
  • Malbec
  • Tempranillo
  • Grenache
  • Barbera

Bold Red Wines
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah, Zinfandel
  • Nebbiolo
  • Sangiovese (Brunello)
  • Petite Sirah

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hoya de Cadenas Reserva Tempranillo 2006, Utiel-Requena, Spain - $10



This 100% Tempranillo by Vicente Gandia is a perennial favorite of mine. It's usually easy-drinking and accessible, and at $10/bottle at Whole Foods, it's a great everyday value. Wine Spectator has named it a Best Buy and it has also won a number of international wine awards.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little wood
Taste - dark fruit, a little wood, tobacco, dry, soft to moderate tannins

Still like this wine a lot!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don Fincas Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2010, Mendoza, Argentina

MT and RT brought this wine over for dinner tonight. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Malbec.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot (14% alcohol)
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, strong tannins, long finish

Like this wine! We had it with pulled pork and green beans.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Château Greysac Médoc 2006, Bordeaux, France - $18



I first heard of this wine while reading Julie and Julia. It retails for $18/bottle at Whole Foods. It is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.

Aroma - dark fruit, minerality
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, strong tannins, minerality, subtle

I like this wine, and it went great with Mandarin orange and almond salad with fig vinaigrette, Kalua pork (Hawaiian pulled pork), jasmine rice, and oven-roasted pineapple.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kirkland Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Alexander Valley, CA - $9

This wine is such a great value at $9/bottle - it can only be purchased at Costco.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, light tobacco, strong tannins, dry, long finish

It contains 13.6% alcohol so I'm surprised that it smells a little hot, but it tastes great! I like this wine and am going to purchase a few more bottles!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Canta Perdices Tempranillo 2008, Ribera del Duero, Spain - $10


This Tempranillo from Bodegas Pedro Regalado retails for $10/bottle at Costco.

Aroma - red fruit, almost like beer, a little hot (at 14% alcohol it's no wonder)
Taste - red and dark fruit, a hint of tobacco, dry, moderate tannins

It tastes way better than it smells, but I still am not crazy about this wine - it's just a maybe for me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Columbia Winery, Woodinville, WA - wine tasting



This winery was built in 1962. It is absolutely gorgeous with lovely grounds, a very beautiful tasting room area, special events rooms, and at least three tasting bars that I noticed. They charge $5 for four tastes, so we purchased two tastings - a white wine tasting and a red wine tasting.


Columbia Winery Red Willow Vineyard Sangiovese 2007, WA - $30

Aroma - smoky red fruit
Taste - red fruit, a little smoke, soft tannins

We liked this wine so much that we purchased it to have with dinner - tortellini soup and Greek salad.



Columbia Winery Covey Run Reserve Merlot 2005, WA - $18

Aroma - dark fruit, a little licorice
Taste - dark fruit, soft to moderate tannins, watery, short finish

Not my favorite wine of this tasting. Almost like drinking water. Maybe good for those who don't like heavy reds.



Columbia Winery Otis Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, WA - $30
This wine is a blend of 86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13.5% Merlot.

Aroma - dark fruit, green pepper
Taste - dark fruit, light black tea, moderate tannins

I think I like this wine best of all out of the wines we tasted today.


Columbia Winery Malbec 2009, WA - $30

Aroma - red and dark fruit, a little minerality
Taste - red and dark, moderate tannins, minerality

A nice wine - our host Bill's favorite.



Columbia Winery Red Willow Vineyard Syrah 2005, WA - $30

Aroma - dark fruit, a little spice and smoke
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, a little smoke

I like this Syrah better than most - it's much less smoky than I usually expect.


Columbia Winery Covey Run Late Harvest Riesling 2008, WA - $15

Aroma - tropical fruit
Taste - tropical fruit, sweet, a little honeyed

This was the wine TB and RB purchased.

We really enjoyed our visit to Columbia Winery. The grounds are dog-friendly but you can't bring pets into the tasting room.