Saturday, July 4, 2015

2005 Saddleback Cellars Napa Valley Merlot

TWell, it's the first Saturday of the month, so you know what that means, it's Cellar Saturday!  And not only that, it's also the 4th of July which makes opening up a well matured wine even more fun!  Tonight I've opened up a bottle of 2005 Saddleback Cellars Napa Valley Merlot, one that I've been looking forward to, as a nice quality Merlot tends to hit its stride at about the 10-year mark.  Keep in mind I've let this one breathe a bit, but I didn't decant it, so we'll see how it goes!

The color in the glass is a nice garnet with very nice clarity despite its maturity.  The nose is a lovely combination of ripe berries, red plum and macerated cherries, overlaid with a bit of leather and moss, reminiscent of some wonderful French Bordeaux.  The taste is a rush of ripe fruit up front, raspberries, blackberries and plum that transitions flawlessly to some flavors of cherry cola and mocha midpalate.  The finish is just lovely, with silky tannins and mild oak on the long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as I love Merlot and this is a prime example of an expertly produced bottle that highlights the varietal.  Although this would be an ideal wine for a juicy porterhouse, tonight is the 4th of July!  How could I enjoy this with anything other than barbecued ribs, grilled corn on the cob, creamy cucumber salad and a nice grape tomato caprese salad!  The wine has such great flavors it really complements the variety of great tastes we get on holidays like these.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah

Happy Sunday!  It's been an eventful day of yard work and some mechanical work on my lawnmower (turns out you actually need to replace the air filter every so often!) but now it's time to relax a bit.  So tonight I'm out on the patio enjoying a glass or two of 2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah, a nice blend of Syrah (80%) and Grenache (20%).

The wine is a beautiful deep ruby color with bit of opacity.  The nose is a pleasant combination of ripe berries, smoke and some lovely spice notes, just as you'd expect from a nice quality Syrah.  The taste is so pleasant, with a blast of fresh black cherry, blackberry and raspberry up front that subsides into some nice flavors of mocha, dark chocolate and baking spice midpalate.  The fine tannins are the ideal foundation for the nicely textured, long and exceedingly dry finish.  A perfect wine for sipping on a cool summer evening!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a really nice example of the varietal and a perfect food friendly wine.  Although I am having this with hamburgers tonight, it would be great with a steak, pizza, tacos or a variety of pasta dishes, it's just that versatile.  Of course after dinner, there will be plenty left to sip on the patio as the lightning bugs come out.  Cheers!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2012 Maison Bleue "Bourgeois" Grenache

Another hump day comes to an end, let's celebrate with a glass of nice wine!  Tonight I've recovered from my eye exam and pupil dilation, so now I can actually see what I'm typing once again!  With the return of my eyesight, I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Maison Bleue "Bourgeois" Grenache from Columbia Valley, a blend of Grenache (90%) and Syrah (10%).  I am a big fan of Maison Bleue, so I can't wait to see what this latest wine club selection will hold!

The wine is a bright ruby color in the glass with awesome clarity, making it look like a real jewel.  The nose is a lovely, vibrant combination of red currant, strawberry and some lovely Asian spice and a bit of pepper, that braces you for a bit of sweet and savory.  The taste is a rush of ripe fruit up front, cherry, blackberry and cassis that transitions smoothly to some warm spice notes midpalate.  The fine tannins provide just enough backbone for what is arguably one of the most elegant, lingering dry finishes I've experienced in quite some time.  I just typed that entire sentence and the finish is still going!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, with plenty of room to grow with some time in the cellar.  I really like Grenache, and this one, in my opinion, rivals some of the best of the Rhone Valley.  Tonight I am enjoying this one profusely, along with a standard mid-week meal of rare grilled prime sirloin, some grilled leeks, steamed asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes.  Such an elegant wine, I'm just sorry I don't have something better to eat with it!