Sunday, October 22, 2017

2013 Helix Sangiovese

Happy Sunday!  So last night I invites some of the folks that went down to Houston for a bit of a reunion dinner and it was wonderful, lots of Italian appetizers and the main course was bucatini with mussels fra diavalo, a classic!  So all that Italian had me looking for some sort of Italian or Italian inspired wine to enjoy with tonight's round 2 of mussels.  I found it in the 2013 Helix Sanviovese from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard of the Columbia Valley of Washington.  So let's see how this wine stands up to some serious Italian food!

The wine is a light, garnet color with great clarity as you'd expect from a nice Sangiovese.  The nose is chock full of leather, anise, dried flowers and a bit of white pepper.  The taste is somewhat subdued with black fruit notes up front, plum, blackberry and currant that transitions nicely to some peppery spice notes and tart cherry midpalate.  The tannins are wonderfully structured, bringing some mild acidity to the long beautifully dry finish.  This is a departure from the typical Chianti, but a pleasant one that provides ample fruit, spice and complexity to lift the dish it accompanies.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as I think it's solid vintage and somewhat better than the past few vintages I've tried.  This wine would pair beautifully with a wide variety of classic Italian dishes, from pasta to risotto, but tonight I am going for round 2 of last night's dinner, with some modifications.  Tonight it's linguine with the remainder of my PEI mussels sauteed in garlic and olive oil and then simmered with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, red wine and a bit of hot pepper for the kick, all topped with a bit of shaved Parmesan.  Cheers!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2015 Mark Ryan "Little Sister" Columbia Valley Merlot

Happy Wine Wednesday!  Tonight I have multiple special treats from what I'm drinking to what I'm eating, but let's start with the important business of what I'm drinking, after all, this is a wine blog!  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle that came with a recent wine club shipment from Mark Ryan Winery, the 2015 "Little Sister" Columbia Valley Merlot, a blend of Merlot (97%) with just a touch of Cabernet Franc (3%) to mellow things out.  You know how I love me some Merlot, so let's check out the Little Sister!

The wine is a deep, inky purple with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is an intriguing blend of leather, tart cherry, cardamom and baking spice.  The taste is classic, old school Merlot with a rush of ripe fruit up front, cherry, currant and plum, that transitions to some interesting notes of buttered popcorn jelly belly midpalate.  The finish is smooth, with young tannins providing a bit of punch to the long, smooth and dry finish.  This wine is such a pleasure to drink!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's one of the nicest Merlots I've had in quite some time.  Although I'm happy as a clam just sipping this wine, it would be ideal with a variety of dishes, from lobster bisque, to steak, to hearty pasta.  Tonight I'm enjoying this wine with a 28-day dry aged Prime New York strip, with grilled asparagus and a baked potato.  The sweet to dry fruit of this wine is ideal for a hearty steak, cheers!

Monday, October 16, 2017

2011 Reininger Cima

Happy Monday!  Today I spent the afternoon trimming branches from some of the smaller trees around the house.  These are what I consider the annoying trees, like the thornapples and other trees that can never have straight branches, but only branches that naturally grow into bird nest like monstrosities, but I digress.  So after trimming a pile of branches, I am definitely in the mood for a nice glass of wine.  Tonight it's a recent wine club selection from Reininger that I've been anxious to try, the 2011 Cima, a blend of Sangiovese (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Petit Verdot (17%) and Merlot (8%) from the Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge Vineyards in the Walla Walla AVA.  So let's see what I've been waiting for!

The wine is a lovely bright ruby in the glass, typical of the Sangiovese in this Washington Super Tuscan.  The nose is a symphony of soft leather, graphite and spice box with emerging hints of ripe cherries and rose petals.  The taste is surprisingly youthful despite the more than five years this wine spent in barrel, with lovely notes of strawberry, cherry and red plums bursting forth at the outset, only to give way to some lovely notes of black pepper spice and tart cherry midpalate, no doubt a testament to the wonder of Sangiovese.  The finish was velvety smooth, as the tannins were mature and expertly integrated to provide a lasting dry finish that begs you to take another sip.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, it's just s fantastic and fun wine that speaks volumes to the creativity, passion and talent that Chuck Reininger pours into every bottle.  This wine would be great with almost anything, from smoked brisket to roast chicken with fire roasted root vegetables, but tonight it an average day at my house which means I'm enjoying this wine with a wonderful Angus porterhouse, grilled veggies and a baked potato with all the trimmings.  Cheers!