Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cameron Hughes Lot 36 Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Rutherford, CA - $14

Had this wine at my mom's tonight - it was a gift but she can't remember who brought it over. Cameron Hughes wines are available at Costco and Sam's Club, but this one is no longer available as it was originally released in 2007.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, dark cocoa, smooth, subtle, long cocoa finish

So great! Love this wine! Too bad it's sold out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update - Durigutti Bonarda 2008, Mendoza, Argentina - $14.99

CC brought this wine to TV night tonight. See the tasting notes on this wine's main page.

Volteo Tempranillo 2008, Spain - $10


MS and SD brought this wine to TV night tonight. They bought it from Whole Foods. It is 100% Tempranillo and retails for around $10/bottle online.

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

I like this wine, and it went great with Moroccan-spiced olives and chips/dips, and devils on horseback!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Becker Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2009, Texas



PBS brought this to TV viewing night tonight. We had it with tomatillo/avacado salsa and chips.

Aroma - dark fruit, cola
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, some wood, soft to moderate tannins, a bit sweet

A maybe - not a wine I would purchase for myself.

Update - Quinta do Cardo Vinho Tinto 2006, Beira Interior, Portugal - $8


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

Inspiration via Burgundy

A great article in the NY Times yesterday. Makes me want to drop everything and start making wine!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stags' Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $50


This wine was a gift from JB for my 'uniki. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the most prestigious Cabernet Sauvignon growing regions in Napa Valley. It retails from $35 - $50/bottle online.

Aroma - dark fruit, coffee, cocoa
Taste - dark fruit, dark cocoa, moderate tannins, well-balanced, long finish

We had this wine with an arugula/goat cheese/spiced nuts/balsamic vinaigrette salad. I really love this wine! Thanks JB!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Five Rivers Pinot Noir 2009, CA - $10/glass

Had a glass of this wine with my sister at Imperia, where it retails for $10/glass. I found it online for $10/bottle.

Aroma - cherries
Taste - cherries, spice, black tea, soft tannins

A good, basic Pinot Noir.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cameron Hughes Lot 217 Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Russian River Valley, CA - $9



I purchased this wine at Costco for $9/bottle.

Aroma -
Taste - light citrus, a little wood?, good acid

I prefer crisper Sauvignon Blancs, but it's a nice wine, especially for the price. I opened it because I thought it would be a nice intro to wine for my sister. She liked it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moroccan Dinner / Une Nuit a Mararakech - 5 Courses, 9 bottles of wine, 2 splits, 1 magnum

We kicked off the beginning of our second year of gourmet dinner club at Mel and JS's place with a marvelous Moroccan meal!


First Course - Appetizers
  • Moroccan style lamb turnovers - Lamb, tumeric, ginger, cumin, white wine, tomato paste, cinnamon, pine nuts, golden raisins, cilantro, salt, and pepper
Wine Pairing
  • Argiolas Costamolino 2009, Sardinia, Italy - $16
The wine is made from Vermentino grapes and purchased at Austin Wine Merchant. It was rated 89 points by both Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, and retails online for around $16/bottle.

Aroma - light citrus fruit
Taste - light citrus, dry, a tiny bit of wood

It paired so well with the luscious lamb turnovers!


Second Course - Soup
  • Moroccan Carrot Soup - carrot, onion, allspice, honey, salt, pepper, toasted ground cumin, yogurt, and lemon juice
Wine Pairing
  • Zeal Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand - $14
I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, so this course was doubly enjoyable for me! This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and was named a best buy by Wine Enthusiast.

Aroma - light tropical fruit, a little spice
Taste - light tropical fruit, crisp, acidic, slightly effervescent

The soup was just delectable - the sweetness of the carrots combined with the heat of the ginger - a great balance! A very yummy food and wine pairing.


Third Course - Main Course
  • Chicken B'Stilla
  • Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine
Wine Pairing
  • Les Vignes d'Alexandre Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007, Rhône, France
  • Stag's Leap Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $50
The first wine we had with the main course was the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault.

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

The second wine paired with the main course was the Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine Enthusiast rated this wine at 94 points.

Aroma - black fruit
Taste - black fruit, dark cocoa, moderate tannins, love this wine!

The chicken b'stilla was like a Moroccan chicken pot pie in a phyllo dough crust - so delicious! The sweet potato and chickpea tagine was mouthwatering. The two wines complimented the main course so nicely!



Fourth Course - Cheese Platter
  • goat cheese and Moroccan spices
  • goat cheese in red peppers
  • sheep's milk cheese
  • Moroccan olives
  • green olives marinated in red peppers
  • dates
  • garlic flatbread
Wine Pairing
  • Tenuta delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso 2004, Sicily, Italy - $50/magnum
This wine is a blend of 98% Nerello Mascalese and 2% Nerello Cappuccio.

Aroma - red fruit
Taste - red fruit, dry, moderate tannins, black tea finish, like!

This wine pairing was suggested by Austin Wine Merchant, where I purchased the magnum for $50 - it worked so well with the cheeses, olives, dates, and flatbread!


Fifth Course - Dessert
  • Moroccan Orange Cake - oranges, almonds, eggs, sugar, baking powder, garnished with yogurt/pink peppercorns/sliced oranges
Wine Pairing
  • Les Petits Grains Muscat de Saint Teau de Minervois NV, Languedoc-Roussillon, France - $11/half bottle
This wine is 100% Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains.

Aroma - honey, slightly floral
Taste - honey, sweet, yum!

A nice compliment to the cake!


After dinner wines
After dinner, we tasted some wines that were actually meant to be paired with the main course's sweet potato and chickpea tagine.


Squared Three 2006, Ribera del Queiles, Spain - $16
This red blend consists of 49% Garnacha, 30% Merlot, and 21% Tempranillo.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - tart dark fruit, slightly bitter, moderate tannins, good!


Bellum Providencia Monastrell 2006, Yecla, Spain - $16
This wine is 100% old vine Monastrell.

Aroma - dark raisins
Taste - dark raisins, slightly bitter with some wood

I made sure to taste this wine with the food pairing it was meant for, and it was great with the chickpeas!



Une Nuit a Mararakech - what a fabulous way to spend some time with fabulous friends, food, and wine!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Secreto Malbec 2009, Valle de Colchagua, Chile - $8

This Malbec from the Viu Manent Winery was rated 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. I purchased it for $8/bottle at Costco, and it can be found online for around $12/bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, some wood, moderate tannins

An okay wine overall. Had it with Chinese delivery tonight - Kung Pao chicken, almond chicken, moo shu pork, and beef and broccoli. Good with the food!

Royal Blue Thursday Wine Tasting - Cinquante-Cinq Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Durigutti Bonarda 2008, and Vidigal Dão 2005

Today's Royal Blue wine tasting included white and red wines as well as cheese!


Dos Lunas cheese is made from raw milk and aged for at least two moons (60 days), which is the minimum aging time required in the US for unpasturized milk products. The cheesemaker is lactose intolerant and says that he can eat this cheese no problem. Having the same dietary limitation, I decided to try a few samples.
  • Classico 60 days - okay
  • Cheddar 60 days - one of my favorites
  • Seared especial - another favorite - excellent!
  • Caraway seed cheddar - aged one year
  • Black pepper cheddar - aged one year, another favorite

Kelly from Serendipity Wines served the wines at the tasting today. I enjoyed them all!


Cinquante-Cinq Sauvignon Blanc 2010, France - $11.99

Aroma - light citrus, grassy
Taste - light citrus, dry

A nice - perfect for summer!


Durigutti Bonarda 2008, Mendoza, Argentina - $14.99

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



Vidigal Dão 2005, Portugal - $10
This wine was rated 88 points by Wine Spectator.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, a little wood

A good wine - like it!

A nice wine and cheese tasting overall! And of course the snacks that Royal Blue provided were AWESOME - prosciutto and cantaloupe/blueberries. Yum!