Monday, November 14, 2011

2006 J. Bouchon Merlot

Ok, so I've already gone on a Merlot rant, so this one we'll just play by the numbers.  Tonight I am enjoying a bottle of 2006 J. Bouchon Merlot from Chile.  Now the merits of Merlot aside, you have to admit that in the last few years Chile has been producing some remarkably wonderful, yet inexpensive wines for us to enjoy, and I think this is one of them.

This wine has a deep ruby color, with a nose of licorice, spice and ripe berries, with just the faintest hint of cedar.  As for the taste, this is a dry but remarkable fruit forward wine, with the taste of ripe plum, cassis and cherry, with just a hint of tobacco near the finish, which is remarkable smooth and supple, and very dry (it is a Merlot after all!).  This is a really easy drinking wine that really opens up after a few minutes in the glass.  Tonight I am enjoying it with a chicken breast, wild rice and some awesome fresh Brussells sprouts right from the stalk that my friend Amanda picked up for me at Trader Joe's and we love Trader Joe's!

Overall, I would rate this wine a very pleasant 7.0, nothing earth shaking, but a very nice everyday table wine at a value price.  This was a WTSO Cheapskate Wednesday selection that I picked up a couple weeks ago for only $8 delivered!  Can you believe it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2008 Mount Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

So tonight I decided to open a bottle of our office wine club's November selection, the 2008 Mount Veeder Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  I am fighting a cold, so my sense of smell and taste could be affected, but that will not stop me from enjoying a nice cab!  So let's get right down to business.

This wine has all the earmarks of a classic Napa cab, a rich deep ruby color, with an opacity that hints at its complexity.  The nose is a combination of leather, tobacco and spice that let's you know this wine is not playing games.  The taste is absolutely beautiful, with a fruit forward appeal of cherries and ripe blackberries, giving way quickly to the young tannins that give this wine big bold Cabernet taste leading to a long smooth finish.  What a great wine, perhaps not to the level of the now legendary 2007 vintage, but a fantastic wine in its own right nonetheless.

This wine would pair well with a variety of grilled meats, perfect with a rare T-bone, or many spicy Italian dishes, as the wine stands up to many flavors, as it stands well on it's own.  This was one of our more expensive wine club selections at $20 (thank you!), but still a bargain as this wine seldom goes for less than $25, but still the cheapskates in the office whined, so it looks like I'll be stuck with a few bottles for myself <==insert evil grin==>.  I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 to 9, as it has everything a big bold Cab should have, so enjoy a bottle tonight!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2007 Moulin de Vissandre Domaine de Fabrègues Coteaux du Languedoc

Happy #LanguedocDay!  A new holiday from Rick Bakas, who has done past fun events like #CabernetDay among others, is a celebration of the wonderful wines of the Languedoc in the south of France.  Wines of the Languedoc contain many familiar grape varieties, including Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier, which to my mind bring out the warmth and flavor of the region.

To celebrate #LanguedocDay, I am enjoying a bottle of 2007 Moulin de Vissandre Domaine de Fabrègues Coteaux du Languedoc, which I got a couple weeks ago during WTSO's "Cheapskate Wednesday" so what more could I ask, a new wine from an interesting region for a bargain price?  The 2007 Moulin de Vissandre is a classic blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan, which is a red wine grape believed to have originated from the Aragon region of Spain.  Interestingly, most of the Carignan used in French wine used to be imported from Algeria until its independence in 1962, when the French began to plant the variety near the Mediterranean coast.

The wine itself is a classic Languedoc, which is certainly different than your standard Cabernet or Merlot from Bordeaux.  I've read some pretty negative reviews of these types of wines, but most I think were from people who were unfamiliar with the varietals and hence did not appreciate what these wines have to offer.  This wine is quite pleasant, with a nose of leather, blackberry and tobacco with a hint of spice.  The taste is fruit forward, with flavors of ripe berry and plum, with a smooth, subtle finish, that leaves you feeling as though a warm breeze was blowing off the Mediterranean as you relax at the end of a hard day of leisure.  This is an especially good feeling for me today since it's been snowing off and on since this morning!  As for pairings, this wine would go very well with some soft cheese, a variety of roast poultry or seafood.  But for tonight, I am having it with a classic northern European dinner of Kielbasa, saur kraut and pierogis!  How's that for an interesting choice?

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7, as a good example of the types of wine from the Languedoc, and for value you can add another half point as this one came delivered for only $7!  Can you believe it?  So whether it's this bottle or another, I'd encourage you to try a new wine from the Languedoc!

Monday, November 7, 2011

2008 Buried Cane Merlot

Man, one stupid movie, and a whole broad array of wines get trashed!  I'm talking about the unfortunate Merlot, the object of abuse and brunt of jokes since that sad sack movie Sideways of nearly a decade ago.  What a depressing movie that was, not because I am approaching the age of the two main characters, but because the two main characters led such depressing lives even a Chardonnay would have made me happy if I were either one of them!  Let's be serious, the character "Miles" elevates pinot noir to vaunted status, even though they are traveling through "Santa Barbara wine country" even though anyone worth their salt would freely admit that any decent pinot comes from much further north, ummm anyone?  How about Oregon!  And then he denigrates Merlot throughout, and what did Merlot ever do to him?  Maybe get that sad lonely film an Oscar?  Oh, but I digress, I must leave discussion of the idiotic tastes of the Academy for another time!

In any case, just because an idiot character in a movie praises or denigrates a varietal, doesn't mean we should listen!  That would make us even more numbskulled than the imaginary person we listened to.  For me, I love a good big bold Cabernet, but I also am a huge fan of exceptionally dry red wines, after all, I learned to like red wines in Paris!  So a nice Merlot will always have a place in my cellar and a glass to be filled.  Which brings me to tonight's selection, the 2008 Buried Cane Merlot from Washington State.

You must know that wines of the Northwest, and particularly the Columbia Valley have a special place in my heart.  This wine was a WTSO Cheapskate Wednesday selection, so you know it's a value.  The wine has a wonderful nose of ripe berry, leather and spice.  The taste is exceptionally dry, with subtle fruit flavors and a smooth finish.  Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, and it was a great bargain at only $8!  I'll be enjoying a glass or two with some linguine and marinara sauce (sorry, no time for a fancy dinner on a work night!), but it would pair well with a nice baked salmon as well!  Salut!