Sunday, July 20, 2014

2010 Rotie Swordfight

Ok wine folks, I have to ask, how can anyone not like a wine called "Swordfight"?  Particularly when it's a blend of Syrah (75%) and Mourvedre (25%)?  Well, that's what I've decided to open tonight!  After a long day enjoying the local county fair, looking at animals and tractors and eating food that's just terrible for you, I've decided to come home to a nice bottle of wine and perhaps a healthy dinner (oh who am I kidding!).  The wine I've chosen tonight is one of just a few bottles that I brought back from my 2013 venture to Walla Walla when I stopped in at Rotie Cellars, a maker of fine Rhone style blends.

The wine has a deep, inky purple color in the glass, almost black at the center.  The nose is rich and jammy, with nice aromas of ripe plum, raisin and a bit of leather and toasted oak.  The taste is very fruit forward with a blast of dark fruit, black cherry and plum that transition nicely to some hints of mint, dark chocolate and fresh herbs.  The tannins are round and supple laying the foundations for a long, dry and velvety smooth finish that will leave you wanting more.  This is the type of wine that just makes a great companion, whether sipping it on the deck or enjoying it with a hearty dinner.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's truly a beautiful example of a great Rhone style blend half a world away from the Rhone Valley!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a healthy dinner of surf and turf, a petite T-bone grilled rare and some snow crab legs, along with some corn on the cob and sliced ripe tomatoes, a perfect summer dinner!  Salut!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2012 Oliver Winery Dry Red Blend

What a day!  Saturdays are always full of chores but today was off the charts!  I started at the local nursery and bought some new hydrangeas and astilbe for the back yard, then went grocery shopping, then mowed the yard, then planted the plants and with all that activity I'm now up to 18,520 steps so far today and I haven't even had a glass of wine!  Well that's about to be corrected as I found a bottle of 2012 Oliver Winery Dry Red Blend at the local supermarket on sale.  Now I must admit I'm a bit skeptical of this as Oliver Winery is based out of Bloomington, Indiana, and I remember when I was in graduate school at Indiana University, the winery was known for white wines and sweet fruit wines, but definitely not the dry reds that I so love.  The interesting thing about this wine was that the grapes were sourced from California, but the wine was made here, so here goes nothing!

The wine is a bit lighter in color but it has nice clarity and a deep ruby at the center of the glass.  The nose is certainly better than I was expecting, some nice blackberry and black currant notes along with some green grass and hint of spice.  The taste is rather fruit forward, but not overpowering, nice fresh dark fruit flavors of blackberry and currant which transitions rather abruptly to some Asian spice and fresh herbs midpalate.  The finish is nice and dry, but it's very short, making it a bit disappointing, but still not a bad effort overall.

I would rate this wine a solid 7, it won't knock your socks off, but it's a pretty decent wine for only $8!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled T-bone, baked potato and some haricots vert, as this wine has enough backbone to pair quite well with beef.  I can't say this will be a go to wine in my house, but I wouldn't have any problem serving this to my guests.  A new perspective on the old home town winery, cheers!

Friday, July 11, 2014

2009 Helix Sangiovese

Happy Friday!  It's been a long week and I'm still getting everything ready for my first summer cookout tomorrow, so I think I've earned a little break this evening, and what better way to enjoy a break than by opening a bottle of wine?  Tonight it's the 2009 Helix Sangiovese from the Columbia Valley of Washington.  For those unfamiliar, Helix is the second label for Reininger Winery of Walla Walla, so usually a quality bottle.

The color of the wine is a deep, brooding purple at the center leading to some bright ruby along the edges with a bit of opacity.  The nose is a very rustic combination of ripe black fruit, plums, black cherry and black currant, over earthy aromas of leather, green grass and a bit of forest floor.  The taste is wonderfully fruit forward, with a blast of black cherry and currant that subsides rather effortlessly to some warm spice notes midpalate.  The finish is somewhat smoky and earthy as the fine tannins provide ample structure for the long, smooth, dry finish that leaves me wanting another sip.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a wonderful example of Sangiovese at a reasonable price (I think this was about $25, though I don't recall exactly).  It would pair nicely with a variety of hearty pasta or meat dishes, but tonight I am going in a different direction, enjoying this one with some kielbasa and pierogies, an Italian varietal with Polish food!  Cheers!