Thursday, February 26, 2015

2012 Dixie Flyer Vineyards "The Brakeman" Cabernet Sauvignon

Could you imagine my astonishment when I was walking through the Costco wine department and saw this label, the 2012 Dixie Flyer Vineyards "The Brakeman" Cabernet Sauvignon, combining two of my favorite things, wine and trains!  It's a rare occurrence, and this one was even more special as the Dixie Flyer was one of the named passenger trains operated by the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroad which ran behind my house when I was growing up!  The train and railroad are long gone, but the wine is still here, so let's taste!

The Cabernet is from Paso Robles, which in my experience usually has somewhat lighter color and body, with a somewhat more approachable fruit forward taste than your typical big, bold Cabernets.  This characteristic is certainly true of this wine, with a lighter, garnet color with great clarity.  The nose is a playful combination of green grass, blackberry and cotton candy.  The taste is quite nice, some black fruit up front, blackberry and candied plum, that transitions nicely to some mocha and dark chocolate notes midpalate.  The finish is brief, with some very mellow tannins supporting a last bit of fruit that rounds out to be quite dry in the end.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a pleasant, easy drinking everyday wine at a value price (I think I paid around $12 for this at Costco).  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a very un-Cabernet sort of pairing, some baked cod with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus!  With all the fish on sale for lent, I've suddenly found the urge to eat more fish, at least the fruit in this wine really doesn't overpower the more subtle flavors of white fish.  Cheers!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2012 Reininger Carmenere

Here we are, Oscar night!  Everyone getting excited about the Academy Awards, personally I don't really get all that into it, though it was usually funny when Billy Crystal was hosting it at least.  So instead I'll just enjoy some wine and casually watch to see which big movie I've no doubt never seen takes home the little golden statue.  So to help me with that endeavor tonight, I've opened a bottle of 2012 Reininger Carmenere from the Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla.

The wine is a deep, inky purple color in the glass, with a hint of garnet along the edges.  The nose is a wonderful combination of dark ripe fruit, black currant, blackberry and some spice over a layer of earthy aromas of oak and smoke.  The taste is quite complex, with some dark fruit up front, blackberry, black currant and a hint of raspberry, over some dark chocolate and mocha notes that transitions nicely to some wonderful spice notes of white pepper, fresh herbs and vanilla bean midpalate.  The fine tannins support a lovely, smooth dry finish with just enough acidity to keep it interesting.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's another solid Carmenere effort from Reininger.  Tonight I am pairing this with a classic east coast Italian dinner of hot Italian sausage links with onions and peppers along with some spaghetti tossed with garlic and olive oil.  The nice fruit and earthy spice in this wine makes it ideal to pair with hearty Italian dishes.  Cheers!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2011 Northstar Columbia Valley Merlot

To celebrate me finishing shoveling the driveway and to settle in for an evening in front of the fire to shield me from the sub-zero outside temperatures, I've decided to open a classic bottle of Merlot, the 2011 Northstar Winery Columbia Valley Merlot.  This wine is a blend of Merlot (78%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Petit Verdot (2%), which should add to the wine's complexity.

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, with a center that borders on indigo.  The nose is an interesting combination of mocha, dark chocolate and raspberry over a subtle base of earthy minerality.  The taste is very nice, a blast of fruit up front, tart cherry, raspberry that transition seamlessly into some vanilla bean and toasted oak midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with a hint of basalt among the fine tannins that support the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's still a bit young but is drinking quite nicely right now.  It was also a great value as I bought this one for $24,50 in an offer from Vivino (if you don't have it already, it's a super app for drinking wine on the go!).  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic Merlot dinner of seared ribeye, baked potato and steamed asparagus. Cheers!