Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2010 Coppola Claret

You know, there are some nights where you come home and you don't really want an adventure, you really just want a good glass of wine, something you've had before and you know provides you with a consistent wine experience.  Well that's where I am tonight, and I reached for a nice bottle of 2010 Coppola Claret in the black label bottle that I picked up last weekend.  It's one of those wines that you know will be good to drink, with no risk involved, just what you need after a long day!

The color of the wine is deep garnet, with brighter ruby along the edges.  The nose is a pleasant combination of leather, raisin, a hint of mint and some floral notes dancing around the perimeter.  The taste is wonderfully fruit forward, with some nice ripe berries and a hint of tartness that quickly transitions into some dried herbs and a bit of spice midpalate.  The bright tannins then emerge, supporting the long, dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a great everyday drinking wine and I've been a fan for probably the better part of a decade.  And it's not a bad value either at around $15.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some roast chicken, potatoes and steamed green beans almondine, and though it's not a typical wine to enjoy with poultry, it does lend some nice accents to the herbs from the roasting process that makes it a lovely combination.  The day is done, now it's time to relax!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2010 Gerard Bertrand Corbieres

It's a Sunday night, and I am getting ready for dinner, so why not open up a nice bottle of wine from the south of France?  Tonight it's the 2010 Gerard Bertrand Corbieres, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, the perfect match for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

The wine is richly colored with deep garnet hues, and the nose is a pleasant combination of ripe berries, and something of a "twang" to it, perhaps some tart fruit to counterbalance the jammy sweetness that is also present.  The taste is very fruit forward, with lovely notes of blackberry, ripe plum and vanilla that is just offset with a bit of tartness as well.  Midpalate the fruit gives way to some tar and spice, a bit of black pepper notes.  The finish is quite nice, very long and dry, supported by some supple tannins.  I've found on this one that as you let it breathe, it really opens up quite nicely, so give it an hour or so if you can't decant it.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, as it's a great example of the Mediterranean influences on the wines of the Languedoc, and a terrific value.  I bought a couple bottles of this wine at the World Market for only $9!  I couldn't afford not to get them!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a nice winter meal, some lovely baked chicken breasts on the bone, some garlic mashed potatoes and some fresh steamed asparagus, as the fruit in the wine really brings out the best in poultry, making it feel like Thanksgiving.  Cheers!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

1988 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino

It's "Open that Bottle" night!  A day once a year when we open special bottles we've been saving for special occasions that never seem to arrive.  So tonight I am opening a bottle to enjoy with some friends that I've had since 1995, a bottle I paid 24,000 Lira for when I was in Rome!  The 1988 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino is a wine that I am hoping has aged well over it's time in my cellar.  Of course I also get a kick out of the English translation on the back of the label that sounds like Google translator a decade before Google existed, "From a severe selection of the Sangiovese grapes this wine of great structure is produced." Hopefully the wine isn't as severe!

So in the glass, the wine was a bright ruby color, with a bit of cloudiness.  The nose was a nice combination of leather, dry spice and floral notes.  The taste was actually somewhat of a surprise, particularly how much fruit was left after a quarter century. Up front the taste was quite peppery, but the spice quickly transitioned int some nice fruit, ripe plum, anise and some berries.  The finish was just bone dry, but still very pleasing, and interesting to see how a more mature Brunello presents itself.  As an aside, after the first glass, we decanted the bottle, and ironically the air seemed to suppress the pepper and spice, but the fruit was still fairly bright as it opened up.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 9, primarily because 25-year-old wines are not easy to come by, and this one was a super bargain at only 24,000 Lira, which if I recall at the time was about $15.  Tonight my friends and I enjoyed this bottle with a lovely Italian dinner, starting with a spinach salad with goat cheese, pickled beets and candied walnuts, and some wonderful eggplant involtini with pasta and fresh tomato sauce. And of course for dessert we had some mini canoli, one of my favorites! Ciao!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2005 Burgess Napa Valley Syrah

Tonight I've decided to crack open a bottle that I've had sitting in the cellar for a while, not sure what I was saving it for other than a Wednesday night, so here we are, the 2005 Burgess Napa Valley Syrah!

The wine is a nice ruby color in the glass, and the nose presents a nice combination of anise, leather, oak and some chocolate notes, with just the faintest hint of mint.  The taste is quite mellow overall, with some dark fruit at the outset, ripe berries and black cherry, which transitions to notes of leather and tobacco midpalate.  The finish is quite bright at first, but then becomes more subdued, as you let it breathe, ultimately transitioning to a smooth, dry finish with some lovely spice around the edges.

I don't recall where I bought this one or how much I paid, but it's a nice little wine that I would rate a solid 7.5.  Tonight I am pairing this with some wonderful prosciutto stuffed perline pasta that I picked up at Trader Joe's, along with some lovely creamy pesto.  The wine really makes the earthy notes of the prosciutto stand out, which is a pleasant surprise, but it would also be very nice with a variety of grilled meats.  Cheers!

Monday, February 18, 2013

2008 Hito Ribera del Duero

Questions that linger throughout the ages, things like the meaning of life, what came first, the chicken or the egg, and what wine to pair with pork!?!  Well, tonight I am doing my best to try to answer at least that last question, and for me when it comes to pork, a good option is usually something Spanish, perhaps a Tempranillo, or in my case tonight, a lovely Ribera del Duero.

This wine is a lovely example of the Tinto Fino from Spain, and presents a lovely rich, ruby color in the glass.  The nose is somewhat fruity, yet also quite rich in a number of lovely sweet aromas, from some lovely leather and cedar aromas, to baking spice and some rich red fruit.  The taste is wonderfully fruit forward with rich berries and tart cherry up front, giving way to some lovely earthy spice notes midpalate.  The finish is just perfect, with well structured tannins supporting the long, dry finish that seems to last much longer than most Spanish reds.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's just a great example of some of the more drinkable, yet complex wines coming from Spain today.  I think I bought this in a bargain variety pack of wines from Wineshopper.com, so although I don't have an official price, it couldn't have been too expensive (just the way I like it eh?).  And of course, back to my question, I am pairing this one with a lovely maple and bourbon glazed pork tenderloin served with a bit of pasta and some fresh steamed asparagus, a wonderful dinner for a February evening.  And this wine just accents the pork so well, with the earthy spice notes offering the perfect counterbalance to the richness of the pork, delicious!

Friday, February 15, 2013

2009 Chateau des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape

Tonight I am relaxing with a bottle of lovely wine from the south of France from one of my favorite chateau in the Languedoc region, the 2009 Chateaux des Karantes Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape.  This particular producer was one that I first encountered a few years ago at a charity wine tasting, and having met the winemaker, I fell in love with the product!  From the gorgeous vineyard right along the Mediterranean coast to the spicy bold wine, this is certainly my favorite French wine outside of Bordeaux.  Now the wine itself is a blend of Syrah (60%), Mourvedre (30%) and Grenache (10%) that is a classic style of the south of France.

The wine itself is a lovely deep ruby in the glass, and the nose is a wonderful combination of intriguing aromas, from some lovely toasted oak, faint floral notes, anise, cocoa powder and a bit of earth.  The taste is delightfully subdued at first, which is surprising given how fruit forward so many GSM blends can be.  Instead, this one opens with some lovely notes of ripe berries and plum, which transitions to some baking spice and dark chocolate midpalate.  The tannins are nicely structured, supporting a long, smooth, dry finish that makes you immediately crave another sip.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 8.5, it's still pretty young but drinking beautifully now, with some good aging potential as well.  I bought this from my local wine merchant, G.B. Russo, and I think it was around $20, so a pretty good value for a wine of this quality.  Tonight I am enjoying this with some crab cakes and sweet potato fries, as the richness of the starch and spice of the crab cakes really balance the richness of this wine.  The perfect end to a long week, bon appetit!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2007 Fitch Mountain Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

It's been a long day, definitely time to open up a bottle of wine.  And since it's snowing, I feel like a big hearty red, so why not the 2007 Fitch Mountain Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon?  That ought to warm things up a bit!

The wine is a deep, inky purple in the glass, and the nose is a pleasant combination of leather, oak, anise and dried spices, a perfect combination to warm you up on a cold evening.  The taste is a lovely fruit blast at the outset, with flavors of ripe berries, tart cherry and ripe plum, that provides an intriguing combination of sweet and sour.  Midpalate we transition to some lovely spice notes and a hint of cocoa, before the vibrant tannins lead you to the long, smooth, dry finish.  A nice Cabernet that though reminiscent of those from Napa Valley, provides a bit more fruit and a different overall feel when drinking it.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, and maybe I'm being generous, or maybe I just really needed a glass of wine, but so be it!  As for pairings, I am going against the grain tonight, enjoying this big, bold red with some butternut squash ravioli and some sun dried tomato and parmesan cream sauce.  The bold fruit and spice notes of this wine provide a great contrast to the creamy smoothness of the ravioli, delish!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2009 BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

So tonight I am enjoying a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina, the nation where someday I hope to retire (great beef and wine, what more do you need in retirement?).  This wine, the 2009 Benmarco Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the high desert of Mendoza, and was blended with a bit of Merlot (5%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) and aged in a combination of French and American oak for 11 months. 

The wine itself has a lovely nose of rich leather, ripe berries, licorice and spice, aromas that remind me of a high-quality Cabernet.  The taste presents some modest fruit up front with flavors of ripe plum and black currant, which quickly transitions to some lively spice and mint midpalate.  The finish is tight, with a good bit of tartness as the well structured tannins support a long, smooth, dry finish.  A nice wine that would be great to sip in front of a fire on a lovely February evening.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8 as it's just a nice solid Cabernet.  I got this wine for Christmas in a wines gift pack that my Aunt Janet from Las Vegas sent me, and I can't complain a bit about this one!  Tonight I am enjoying it with some Thai food, but it would easily be a lovely complement to a rare grilled ribeye.  It's been a while and it's about time I enjoyed a nice bottle of wine for an evening, cheers!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2009 Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah

I am just exhausted!  I've been so busy with work and various other fun projects I haven't had time to even sit back and enjoy a bottle of wine.  Even tonight, it's past 8:00 and I just got home from the gym, need to make dinner and review this wine!  But at least there's wine, and tonight it's a bottle of 2009 Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah.  I've had this wine before, but it's been a few years, and I can't recall the previous vintage, but I do recall that I liked it quite a bit.  And of course the fun thing about a petite sirah is that it's neither petite nor syrah, but rather it's a bigger, bolder wine made from the Durif grape.

This wine is a lovely deep purple in the glass, and presents a nose of tart cherry fruit, cut grass, and hints of leather and dark chocolate.  The taste is marvelously fruit forward, with dark fruit flavors and just a bit of tartness giving way to some richness of ripe plum, and earthy spice midpalate.  The finish is quite dry, with very smooth tannins supporting a very modest finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a very good example of a petite sirah, and it was a real bargain at just $7 from Trader Joe's!  Tonight I am pairing this wine with a mission style burrito, with grilled steak, onions and peppers, as I just think this type of wine really complements the spice and smokiness of Mexican food.  So if you have the chance, stop by Trader Joe's an pick up a bottle for yourself!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2009 Sausal Family Zinfandel

It's Superbowl Sunday, and everyone must be getting ready for the big game.  For me, I will watch the game and enjoy a nice bottle of wine in the afternoon, and for me a nice Zinfandel is the perfect wine for the broad range of food on a national holiday like this!  And tonight I've opened a bottle of 2009 Sausal Family Zinfandel, made from grapes grown on old vines in Alexander Valley.

The wine is somewhat lighter in color, with a rich ruby color permeating the glass.  The nose is classic Zin, with a rich combination of ripe fruit scents, from ripe blackberries, sweet cherries and plums, along with a characteristic sweet spice that practically dares you to drink in the whole glass.  The taste is very fruit forward, but not really jammy as some Zins tend to be, it has very nice balance of fruit, spice and acidity.  Midpalate, the fruit subsides and the spice really kicks in, carrying through to the wonderfully supple finish supported by lovely, soft tannins.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a lovely Zin, but not a blow your socks off sort of wine. I bought this one from wineshopper.com, but I can't remember what I paid for it.  As for pairings, it's the Superbowl, I'm pairing this with everything!  But I guess the highlight is some barbecue ribs and buffalo wings, now how could I not pair a nice Zin with barbecue?  Here's to watching a great football game!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2001 Sawyer Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Well here we are again, another Cellar Saturday, a time to open a nice bottle that's been aging a while and tonight we have a 12-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, the 2001 Sawyer Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rutherford appellation.  Now 2001 was a solid year for Napa Valley Cabs, perhaps not as good as the 2007 vintage, but still quite respectable and with a good bit of maturity behind it.

The wine was an inky purple in the glass, with a good bit of ruby toward the edges of the glass.  The nose was just lovely, with complex aromas of leather, cedar, anise, dried spice, and just a hint of ripe fruit.  The taste was just marvelous, with some dried fruit flavor up front, that quickly gave way to some wonderful earthy spice notes midpalate.  The finish was long and spectacularly dry, with well rounded tannins supporting the velvety mouthfeel and complexity on the finish that makes this wine an ideal afternoon sipper.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a simply wonderful example of a Napa Valley Cabernet from a solid vintage.  I think I bought this wine from wineshopper.com and it was a good value at around $25.  Tonight I am pairing this wine with rotisserie chicken of all things, along with some pasta tossed in garlic and olive oil and some steamed Brussels sprouts.  Despite my breaking all the rules of pairing red wines, this one would also be ideal with a rare grilled steak, or a wonderful Yankee pot roast for Sunday dinner!