Sunday, September 29, 2013

2010 Plumb Cellars Estate Sangiovese Walla Walla Valley

Well another weekend has slipped by me and I didn't get nearly as much done as I had wanted to!  But I guess that's life in many ways, no matter how much we toil there's always more to do, and that's why God made wine!  So we can enjoy a rest from all the toil of life and take a moment and breathe a little easier.  Tonight I am breathing easier with a bottle of wine I picked up on my last trip to Walla Walla, the 2010 Plumb Cellars Walla Walla Valley Sangiovese.  I know normally I love the Cabernets and Bordeaux blends from Walla Walla, but I have to admit I tasted a lot of very nice Sangiovese while I was there last summer!

The wine itself is a beautiful ruby color in the glass, with great clarity as you might see on a classic Chianti.  The nose is wonderfully Sangiovese, with ripe black fruit notes of cherry, ripe berries and plum overlaid with leather, dried spice and some forest floor.  The taste is very nice, with good fruit up front, a blast of black cherry and cassis that transitions effortlessly to some wonderful spice, dark chocolate and dusty limestone notes midpalate.  The finish is long and dry, but very smooth as the tannins do the heavy lifting, but don't get all up in your face about it.  A wine you can just sip and enjoy on an early autumn afternoon like today!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's such a nice example of the varietal and a super value as I think I paid under $20 for this bottle!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a vegetable pizza, my own creation of red and purple peppers, portabello mushroom and zucchini topped with mozzarella, asiago, parmesan and provalone, yum!  An American version of an Italian wine with an American version of Italian cuisine, how appropriate!  Cin cin!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2009 Stephen Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon

The best laid plains of mice and the saying goes and so my week of wine went!  I had originally planned to bring a bottle of nice Bordeaux with me on this trip and it's still sitting on my kitchen table.  But where there are disappointments there are opportunities, as I had the chance to stop at the local wine shop in Elkhart to find another bottle to enjoy, hence the 2009 Stephen Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is a classic deep purple in the glass, just as you'd expect of a California Cabernet.  The nose is a pleasant and full of fruit, blackberry and cherry with notes of plum and cherry cola.  The taste is fruit forward, with some ripe fruit, plum, cherry, ripe berries that transitions nicely to some lovely tarragon and floral notes, and an earthy minerality midpalate.  The tannins are fairly mellow leading to a soft finish that is just pleasing and food friendly.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7, it was nothing spectacular, but a solid wine at a great price.  I bought this wine for only $11!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some chicken tacos and a nice salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Cheers!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2010 Wrongo Dongo Monastrell

It's the middle of the week and what better way to celebrate hump day than with a fun wine?  And tonight's is certainly fun, as the name says it all, the 2010 Wrongo Dongo Monastrell from Jumilla Spain!  I have to admit, I bought this bottle at the World Market about a year ago, just because I couldn't get over the name, and I figured at less than $10 how could I go wrongo?

The wine itself is a deep ruby color in the glass, giving you a sense that this is a heartier Spanish wine, which it is, as Monastrell is the Spanish version of Mourvedre, which is a blending grape in the Southern Rhone, but a primary grape in many wines from Southeast Spain.  The nose is very rustic, with aromas of leather, sagebrush and forest floor accented by rich ripe fruit, blackberries, ripe cherries and plums.  The taste is delightfully fruit forward, with a burst of ripe berries and prune that mellows through the midpalate where there is a smooth transition to some mint and herb notes.  The tannins are somewhat tight, allowing the fruit and spice notes to really carry through on the finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a 7.5, it's quite pleasant to drink, but even moreso it's a great value as I think I paid about $9 for this bottle!  Tonight I'm enjoying it with some rotisserie chicken and a nice salad of field greens and raspberries, as the wine really balances well with the savory spice in the chicken.  It would also pair well with a variety of roast meats, or some spicy sausage and polenta.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2008 Three Rivers Winery Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

So tonight I've decided to enjoy a lovely Cabernet from the Columbia Valley in Washington produced by a long-time Walla Walla winery, Three Rivers Winery!  Now Three Rivers is an interesting producer, as I recall from my first trip to Walla Walla stopping by their winery just east of Woodward Canyon and L'Ecole No. 41 on U.S. 12.  It was a beautiful new tasting room, in a gorgeous setting complete with putting green and patio to enjoy their wines and a view of the Blue Mountains.  Alas, today there is a new U.S. 12, and Three Rivers is a little off the beaten track, but still well worth the side trip as they produce some very nice wines at great values, like tonight's selection, the 2008 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!

The wine is a classic Columbia Valley offering, with deep purple color in the glass easing to bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a pleasant combination or rich ripe fruit, blackberries, black cherry, cassis and plum, overlaid with a big of oak, baking spice and cocoa powder.  The taste has great fruit up front, with ripe berries and plum that transitions to some tart cherry and earthy minerality midpalate.  The tannins are very nicely structured, providing the backbone for the exceptionally long and bone dry finish.  It's the kind of wine you'd like to sip and enjoy all afternoon, especially an afternoon like today, the first day of fall!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's not an exceptional Cabernet, but it's a very nice example at a great price.  I bought this from for only $14, so it's perfect as an everyday Cab!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a lovely last of summer feast of grilled Bourbon Teriyaki glazed pork tenderloin with mashed purple potatoes and grilled corn on the cob.  The strength of this Cab just pairs so nicely with the grilled smokiness of the tenderloin, but it would do just as nicely with a steak or spicy marinara.  So goodbye summer and hello autumn!

Friday, September 20, 2013

2011 Conundrum Red Blend

My first week at the new job was busy and very satisfying, so you know what that's time to celebrate with a glass of wine!  And tonight's selection is the 2011 Conundrum California Red Blend, a proprietary blend (hence we don't know the exact breakdown of the varietals used) produced by the makers of Caymus (and I just got a bottle of 2011 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today!).

The wine is a lovely rich and deep ruby color in the glass that just exudes a feel of quality California wine.  The nose is a wonderful combination of ripe berries, lavender and chocolate, with just a hint of leather, one of the more complex aromas I've experienced in a while.  The taste is a burst of ripe fruit and floral notes, with rich blackberries and plum.  Midpalate there is a good bit of tannins, mixed with some floral notes and cocoa powder that works so well with velvety texture of this wine.  The finish is long, but not overly dry as the fruit makes another appearance at the end, practically daring you to take another sip.

Overall I would rate this one a solid 8, as it's a beautifully drinking wine that you'd never be embarrassed to share with guests, and it's a terrific value too, as I paid about $19 for this one at Wines Till Sold Out!  Tonight I am enjoying this with a simple dinner of penne with some grilled veggies and a garlic cream sauce, as the fruit really makes a nice counterbalance to the light cream.  It would also pair well with a variety of casual dishes, from barbecue to pizza, as the structure makes is a great foil to heartier dishes.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

2004 Forgeron Cabernet Sauvignon, Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills

Well, it's been a busy week, my last week at my old job and getting ready for my first week at my new job in Indiana!  So tonight I've decided to treat myself to a nice, well aged Cabernet from one of my favorite producers in Walla Walla, Forgeron Cellars!  Tonight's treat is the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Champoux Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.  So let's jump right in!

I opened this bottle about an hour ago to give it some fresh air, and the first glass has a lovely deep, inky purple color that just begs to be imbibed.  The nose is a wonderful combination of rich leather, cocoa powder and just a hint of ripe berries around the periphery.  The taste is surprisingly fruit forward, with a burst of berries and cassis that effortlessly transitions to some dried herbs, smoke and lovely mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is just wonderful, as rounded, lush mouthfeel and well developed tannins provide ample support for the long, exceptionally dry finish.  Simply a lovely wine to enjoy on a late summer afternoon!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a great wine that's had some time to age and bring out the best of what the Columbia Valley has to offer!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a nice Angus T-bone, some grilled corn on the cob and some steamed broccoli.  This wine stands up quite well to grilled beef, so a fine pairing and a lovely Sunday dinner.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2009 Powers Champoux Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Well, it's been a long and arduous couple of weeks, so tonight I've decided to relax a bit.  You see, I just got back from vacation in Europe, and on that trip it seems I had a small stroke.  Nothing to be too concerned about, as I'm not paralyzed or anything like that.  It seems it was about 1 cm deep in the brain near the area that controls motor function on my right side, so the main symptom was waking up in the morning and not being able to control my right arm or leg.  So being a stupid guy, I just assumed I slept on them awkwardly, and that it was most likely due to the rather hard bed at the hotel where I was staying.  It wasn't until I arrived at another hotel in another city that I realized there was more to this.  So after a few days in the hospital in Zurich, I arrived home, thankful that I wasn't in the cargo hold on the flight back!

So what does this have to do with wine?  Well, first wine is about enjoying life, and it's impossible to enjoy life if you're not among the living.  So whoever you are, if you are in your 30s or 40s and still have this idea that you're invincible, stop kidding yourself.  If you notice strange happenings when you wake up or anytime, don't just hope it will go away, and don't make excuses for what it could be, just get checked out by a medical professional!  I was very lucky that I got past my stupidity.  The second thing this has to do with wine is that I will see my American doctors tomorrow and they may tell me I can no longer drink wine (let's hope not!) or that I may have to cut back on wine or some other thing, leading to a reduced number of posts on my blog.  We'll take that news as it comes, but until then, I've enjoyed a nice 2009 Powers Champoux Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon this evening!

This wine has a lovely deep, inky purple color in the glass.  The nose is a lovely combination of leather, cherry, ripe plum and a bit of floral essence.  The taste is very pleasant throughout, from the initial burst of ripe berries and plum, to the smoke and mineral flavors that come through midpalate.  This finish is quite nice, with some nicely structured tannins and supple mouthfeel that provide the foundation for a long, exceptionally dry finish.  This is the type of wine that you are really happy to spend time with, sipping on the patio on a late summer afternoon, hoping the sun will never slip down beyond the trees.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 8.5 as I really like this one, and it was a fairly decent value as well at under $20.  Tonight I am pairing this with a pan seared Scottish salmon filet with a lemon dill sour cream sauce (this was a Tyler Florence recipe on that I highly recommend), some linguine with garlic and some steamed broccoli.  So we'll see what the doctor says tomorrow, but until then enjoy a nice dinner and a glass of wine!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2003 Christian Moueix Merlot

Well, here we are again, another Cellar Saturday, where I reach way back and open a bottle that I've been holding on to, just so I can finally have an excuse to open and enjoy it.  And tonight's bottle is a wine that I used to get a lot, as it was a nice everyday Bordeaux, but then about 2005 or 2006 the stores in my area all stopped carrying it, perhaps they lost a distributor or maybe the winemaker went out of business.  In any case, I saved a bottle and am now opening it to reminisce...the 2003 Christian Moueix Merlot!  Now this wine is a bit different than your standard single Chateau Bordeaux in that it's blended by the winemaker with the idea of bringing out the best of the Merlot grape, and from my experience this wine does a pretty good job.

The wine itself is a rich ruby color in the glass.  The nose evokes pure Merlot, with aromas of anise, tar and earthy forest floor.  The taste has great fruit up front, cherries, cassis and ripe plum that transitions to some dusty limestone midpalate, accentuated by a velvety mouthfeel throughout.  The tannins have softened a bit with age, but they still provide a nice foundation for the long, structured finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a pleasure to drink and it was a pretty good value as well since the price tag was still on this one at $13.59!  Tonight I am enjoying it with a nice rare grilled Angus New York strip and some buccatini tossed with roasted garlic and olive oil.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2009 Mayne Durege Bordeaux

So tonight I've decided to have dinner in as I've been walking all around Prague today, from the Vysehrad to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, then up to Patrin Park, all the way up the hill to the gardens and the observatory, so after walking miles and up and down about 500 feet of elevation, I figured I needed a night in with a bottle of Bordeaux.  And for this my final Prague blog post, I've opened a bottle of 2009 Mayne Durege Bordeaux, let's hope it's good!

The color seems somewhat light, but then again it's now quite dark out, so who knows?  The nose is actually quote nice, with hints of cherries and ripe berries overlaid with a aromas of leather and smoke.  The taste is nice, but it didn't quite live up to the expectations brought about by the pleasant nose.  It had some nice ripe fruit on the outset that transitioned to some strong minerality midpalate.  The tannins were somewhat subdued leading to a more abbreviated and lackluster, but still very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a 7, it was a nice effort, and another incredible value at 90 Kc, or about $5.  Tonight I am pairing this with the ultimate standby for carry out, Chinese food!  Tonight I have some stir fried noodles with chicken and a Thai spicy sauce.  The wine actually pairs well with this, as the more subdued fruit notes tend to balance the spice, while the dry finish counteracts the heaviness of the dish.  Na zdravĂ­!