Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proyecto Garnachas de España La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo 2009, Ribera del Queiles, Spain - $11.25

The label on this wine is SO GORGEOUS I could not pass it up at the Austin Wine Merchant, where it retails for $11.25/bottle.

Aroma - red and black fruit, a little hot (14% alcohol)
Taste - red and black fruit, very dark cocoa, soft tannins, slightly bitter cocoa finish

I like this wine - it's very good for the price, and the label is impressive!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pellegrini Family Vineyards Olivet Lane Winery Pinot Noir 2009, Russian River Valley, CA - $19.99

This wine from the Pellegrini Family Vineyards was on sale at Austin Wine Merchant during their 20th anniversary celebration - regularly priced at $19.99, I purchased it for $15.99 last month.

Aroma - red fruit, hot (14.3% alcohol)
Taste - red fruit, very dark cocoa, dry, soft to no tannins, maybe a hint of wood

I like this wine - it's very food friendly. I just wish it weren't so high in alcohol.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cooking with Liquor Dinner - 12 people, 6 courses, 11 bottles of wine, and 1 liqueur!

Another fantastic gourmet dinner club get-together! This time, each dish needed to cooked using some kind of liquor.

First Course - Appetizer
  • Tequila Lime Wings - organic chicken wings, lime zest, lime juice, tequila, agave syrup, adobo sauce, cumin, salt, pepper
Wine Pairings
  • Domaine Pichot Vouvray 2010, Loire Valley, France - $14.99
  • Château du Basty Régnié Beaujolais 2009, France - $13.75
I purchased the Vouvray (varietal: Chenin Blanc) because it was recommended by the Austin Wine Merchant staff as the best white wine pairing for the Tequila Lime Chicken Wings. It tasted tiny bit sweet, floral with a hint of pears, not too acidic, but crisp enough to cut through chicken fat (Mel, thanks for the help with the tasting notes for this wine).

I purchased the Beaujolais (varietal: Gamay) at the suggestion of the Austin Wine Merchant staff as the best red wine pairing for our first course. I tasted red fruit, black tea, soft tannins, and a very slight floral finish. Interesting, but not my favorite. See my updated tasting notes for this wine.

I liked the white better overall, and with the chicken.

Second Course - Cheese
  • Cypriot Saganaki Haloumi (sheep's milk cheese dipped in flour to form a crust when fried, then flamed with brandy before serving)
  • fresh mission and brown turkey figs
  • assorted olives
Wine Pairing
  • Elios Mediterranean White Wine 2010, Greece - $10
This wine is a blend of four white varietals - 50% Moschofilero, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Roditis, and 10% Savatiano. It retails for $10/bottle online. I tasted light citrus fruit and a slightly bitter aftertaste. The finish is nice and dry. It was good with the salty cheese, figs, and olives.

Third Course - Soup
  • Butternut Squash Soup with Calvados (apple brandy) and Cinnamon Sour Cream
Wine Pairing
  • Nine Walks Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand - $9
This wine retails for $9/bottle online. It tastes of light citrusy fruit, some tropical fruit, and has a nice acidity.

I really loved the cinnamon cream that topped the soup - gave it that extra little kick! And apparently, this soup is often served with a shot of calvados on the side, which would be poured into the soup just before eating - talk about a kick! This course was so warm and inviting - a great way to welcome fall.

Fourth Course - Salad
  • Shiitake and Portobello Mushrooms in a Sherry-Rum Sauce over Goat Cheese and Mixed Greens
Wine Pairing
  • Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran Chardonnay 2009, Burgundy, France - $13.75
This wine was purchased from the Austin Wine Merchant. I tasted light green fruit, a little wood, and a little vanilla.

It pairs well with the salad, which I absolutely loved - the saltiness of the mushrooms with the creaminess of the goat cheese over a slightly wilted salad (from the warmth of the dressing) - absolutely perfect!

Fifth Course - Main Course
  • Spicy Tequila Bison Balls in a Robust Tomato Sauce over Fusilli Pasta
Wine Pairing
  • Dönnhoff Riesling 2009, Nahe, Germany - $19.99
This wine is slightly sweet and fruity. It retails for $19.99/bottle online, but I believe it was purchased at Whole Foods. It was good with the pasta and meatballs. The wine was chosen because its low alcohol content and slight sweetness helped to cut through the spiciness of the dish. Loved the meatballs (love bison!) and the sauce! Main course was perfect!

Sixth Course - Dessert
  • Chocolate Rum Torte
Wine Pairing
  • Luxardo Amaretto
Yummy! The almond flavor of the liqueur is reflected in the crumbled topping of the scrumptious torte. The torte itself was chocolate heaven - literally a melt-in-your-mouth-sinfully-delicious-can't-eat-another-bite-but-can't-leave-it-on-my-plate-either showstopper!

These aftermath photos don't really do our dinner justice. Our wonderful hosts were washing dishes and plates all evening long to keep up with the 6 course meal and all of the wonderful wines. The dinner was an amazing experience! Bravo to all!!!

Austin Wine Merchant - Côtes du Rhône Villages Tasting

Today, Austin Wine Merchant kicks off the start of fall with a Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages tasting.

Perrin et Fils Côtes du Rhône Villages 2009, France - $11.99/bottle, on sale for $9.99/bottle
This wine was rated 89 points by both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. It is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.

Aroma - tart fruit
Taste - tart cherries, black tea, spice, highly acidic?

Too tart for me, and very acidic but maybe because I just brushed my teeth - always a big mistake before wine tasting.

Brunel Cuvée Sabrine Côtes du Rhône Villages 2009, France - $13.75
This wine is a blend of about three parts Grenache and one part Syrah with a little bit of Mourvèdre. Past vintages have been ranked in the low 90's by Wine Spectator.

Aroma - musty red fruit, a little pepper
Taste - same, lots of black pepper, moderate tannins, spicy

I like it, and would like it even better with food. Very savory. My favorite of the tasting - very interesting!

Ferraton Père et Fils Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages Red 2009, France - $13.75
According to the winery's website, this wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan.

Aroma - red fruit, earthy
Taste - red fruit, more balanced and
subtler than the first

A nice wine.

Domaine des Coteaux des Travers
Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2009, France - $14.99
This wine was rated 90 points by Rhone Report. It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah.

Aroma - red fruit, smoky, earthy
Taste - red fruit, smoky, earthy, spicy

Like the second wine better. See my previous tasting notes for this wine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zinc Vin de Pays d'Oc 2010, France - $9.99

CC brought this wine to share for TV viewing night. He bought it for $9.99 at Whole Foods.

Aroma - dark fruit, spicy
Taste - dark fruit, spicy, tobacco, soft tannins

Like this wine, especially for the price!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kirkland Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma County, CA - $13

This wine is quite a deal from Costco - just $13/bottle for a fairly good Pinot Noir! They also sell Kirkland Pinot Noir from Carneros.

Aroma - cherries, spice, a little hot (13.9% alcohol)
Taste - slightly tart cherries, spice, soft tannins, bright acidic fruity finish


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Austin Wine Merchant - Copain Wine Cellars Tasting

The general manager of Copain Wines, Tony McClung, hosted this tasting at the Austin Wine Merchant. It featured the winery's Tous Ensemble line, which literally means "the gathering" or "all together" and less literally refers to "the drinking buddies." All of these wines are 100% varietals, and are crafted to be low in alcohol content. I knew there was a reason that I really like these wines!

Copain "Tous Ensemble"
Viognier 2009, Mendocino County, CA - $19.99
This wine is from the McDowell Valley in Mendocino County, which is not an official AVA yet, but probably will be soon according to Tony.

Aroma - light fruit, minerals
Taste - light fruit, minerals, dry, good acid

I love this wine!

Copain "Tous Ensemble"
Pinot Noir 2009, Anderson Valley, CA - $27.50
I first tasted this wine a couple of months ago when a friend brought a bottle to my birthday, and I immediately loved it.

Aroma - smooth red fruit
Taste - smooth red fruit, minerals, light black tea, soft tannins

I love this wine, too! See my previous tasting notes for this wine.

Copain "Tous Ensemble"
Syrah 2009, Mendocino County, CA - $23.75
This wine is from the Yorkville Highlands AVA, but the wine's label says Mendocino County because of a misprint.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, spicy, smoky, moderate tannins, super dark cocoa finish

Pretty good for a Syrah!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Campagne de Centeilles 2007, Minervois la Liviniere, France - $17.50

I purchased this wine on sale at Austin Wine Merchant's 20th anniversary celebration - that brought the price from $17.50 to $12.99 - what a deal, especially for a wine that I really enjoy!

Aroma - red fruit, spice
Taste - red fruit, light spice, black tea, soft to moderate tannins, long dry finish

Such a nice wine for the price! See my previous tasting notes here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vino Vino Wine and Dinner

Castel del Monte Rupicolo 2008, Puglia, Italy - $31

Had this wine at Vino Vino, where it retails for $31/bottle. It is a blend of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Nero di Troia.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, soft, subtle, dark cocoa, moderate tannins

Love! Went great with mussels and fries in white wine sauce and green Sicilian olives.

Langhe Nebbiolo 2008, Italy - $35

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, black tea, moderate tannins, yummy!

Good with the scallops.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Austin Wine Merchant - Bang for Your Buck Red Wines Tasting

Today AWM featured red wines that they feel are good values.

Pere et Fils Bouchard Bourgogne Pinot Noir Rouge 2008, Burgundy, France - $17.50
Aroma - light fruit, earthy
Taste - tart fruit, light earth, acidic, great for summer
Like this wine.

The Messenger Telegram Red Wine Number Two Lot #511, Napa, CA - $13.75
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and perhaps Malbec.
Aroma - red fruit
Taste - Red bright fruit, nice acid
An okay wine.

Picada 15 Patagonia Red 2010, Argentina - $7.99
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Pinot Noir.
Aroma - dark fruit, must
Taste - dark fruit, acidic, tart, not sure how I like this combo
Not my favorite - just a maybe.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

337 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Lodi, CA - $13

AP brought this wine to TV viewing night at CC's. It retails online for $11 to $14/bottle.

Aroma - dark fruit
Taste - dark fruit, dry, moderate to strong tannins, a little sweet tobacco

A nice wine! Great with kettle corn and jalapeno potato chips!