Sunday, October 27, 2013

2012 2 Copas Spanish Red Blend

So a week or two ago I was at my favorite local wine shop, G. B. Russo's and as they usually do on Saturdays they had a small tasting of three or four wines, and of course how could I resist?  And one of the wines they were tasting was a 2 Copas, a label I've tried before and it was always a pretty descent value wine.  But this one was different, as it was a wine from Spain, so why not try it?  I'm glad I did, because I wasn't disappointed and it was as good or better value than I remembered!

The wine is a nice deep ruby color in the glass, suggesting it might be full of ripe fruit, and it is!  The nose is chock full of rich ripe fruit, blackberries, cherries, plum and cassis overlayed with just a hint of leather and cedar (enough to make you think about it!).  Despite the distinct jammy character of the nose, the taste takes a different direction.  There is great ripe fruit up front, with some lovely notes of plum, cherry and anise, but the fruit transitions effortlessly to some green grass and minerality midpalate.  The finish is surprisingly nice, with some tight tannins and mild acidity that accents the wonderfully dry finish.  It's really a best of both worlds sort of wine, very fruity up front yet still with a nice dry finish that you don't even notice unless you're thinking about it.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's not so much a spectacular Spanish red as it is a good Spanish red at a spectacular value!  I bought this wine for just under $6 including tax!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a last gasp of summer meal, a rare grilled Angus T-bone (though to be fair, looking at the filet this is really a porterhouse), baked heirloom potato and some grilled baby carrots (that I grew myself) and some grilled brussels sprouts that I picked up at a farm stand yesterday in South Haven.  Those grilled veggies really married the Autumn with the steak of Summer, which is a great testament to this wine.  It would be great with a summer dinner, but it could be fabulous with turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and all the trimmings of the holidays which are fast approaching!  Cheers!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Domaine Serene Rockblock SoNo Syrah

Once again the weekend is coming to a close, so why not make the best of it with a bottle of Northwest wine?  Tonight's selection is a little different, as it's a multi-vintage wine from Domaine Serene, produced from the best grapes and vintages from two vineyard sites in the Walla Walla region of Oregon.  And for those unfamiliar with the area, Walla Walla is just a few miles north of the Oregon border and fortunately good wine grapes don't stop growing once you reach Oregon!  The fruit for this wine was sourced from the Seven Hills and Stone Valley Vineyards in Oregon.  As a non-vintage wine, this one should be interesting.

The wine has a nice deep, inky purple color at the center, leading to a bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is at first a spicy sweetness, with black pepper and blueberries that ease into some hints of smoke, cocoa powder and a touch of lavender.  The taste is wonderfully complex, with some spice and floral notes up front that transitions smoothly to blueberries and black plum midpalate.  The tannins are somewhat rustic and smoky that suppose a silky finish that lingers on the palate.  Very pleasant to sip at the end of a long day!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a lovely example of Walla Walla Valley Syrah that shows a lot of complexity.  The only real negative I can see with this wine is the price, as I paid $33 for this bottle at my local wine merchant, G.B. Russo's, so it's clearly not an everyday wine if you're on a budget!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a simple Sunday dinner of salad, herb roasted chicken breast and some steamed fingerling potatoes with butter and parsley.  The rich blue fruit and spice of this wine make a nice foil to the more subdued flavors of chicken and potatoes.  Cheers!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2009 Vina Bujanda Rioja Crianza

Well, it's a rainy afternoon, and surprisingly I still didn't get much done today!  Very frustrating, and what cures frustrating rainy afternoons better than a glass of wine?  Today I am enjoying a nice bottle of 2009 Vina Bujanda Rioja Crianza that I sampled earlier today at my local wine merchant, G.B. Russo's.

The wine is a classic rioja red in the glass, beautiful ruby color with great clarity.  The nose is a lovely combination of ripe fruit, cherries, blackberries and cassis over a subtle background of cedar.  The taste is classic rioja, with a burst of red fruit at the outset, followed by some lovely floral notes.  Midpalate presents some nice minerality and wonderful dried herbs over a wonderful earthiness.  The finish is quite nice, as the tannins are well structured with mild acidity that combines for a wonderful, mid-length and very dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a solid example of rioja, but it was also a nice value at $14.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine before dinner with a simple cheese course of Romano Locatelli sheep's milk cheese from Italy, which has a salty and nutty flavor that really accentuates the red fruit and minerality of the wine.  Cheers!

Friday, October 18, 2013

2007 Reininger Cima

Another week closer to moving to Indiana, but for now I have a long drive home on Friday and then unpacking then getting something for dinner, oh yeah and then opening a bottle of wine!  And tonight's feature is a wine club selection from Reininger that I received recently, even though it's a 6-year-old vintage it was just released!  Reininger has a habit of doing that, and I really appreciate it since when I receive the wine I know that it's ready to enjoy without any additional cellaring (though that's not usually a bad thing either).  The Cima blend (which means "summit" is an interesting one, that's surely off the beaten path of the more traditional Bordeaux style blends that Walla Walla is known for.  The 2007 Cima is a blend of Sangiovese (53%), Cabernet Sauvignon (21%), Petit Verdot (16%) and Merlot (10%), and it's really the heavy reliance on Sangiovese that makes this wine such an adventure.

The wine is a lovely deep ruby in the glass.  The nose is very interesting, with a whiff of leather that is layered upon rich ripe fruit, lovely spice, vanilla and a hint of dried flowers.  The taste is just marvelous, with a subdued combination of fruit, blackberry and cherry cola with a hint of cassis and plum midpalate.  The finish is divine, as the subdued tannins suddenly awaken and combine with a wash of acidity that supports the long, supple finish.  Truly a pleasure to sip on a crisp autumn evening!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, is it's just a quintessential Walla Walla blend that takes things up a notch.  I have no idea how much I paid for this one either, and frankly that doesn't bother me a bit!  As for pairings, it would be perfect with a variety of grilled meat, or spicy Italian fair, but of course since I am just getting home from a week in Indiana, I am enjoying this with some simple pasta and veggies with a parma rosa sauce.  Cheers!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2009 Chateau du Pin Bordeaux

Tonight I am coming to you from Elkhart, Indiana, the RV capital of the world, and nothing says RV like a nice 2009 Bordeaux!  I just came back from a lovely dinner with my Chairman at the Vine here in Elkhart (if you are ever in the area I highly recommend it).  We had the salmon special, grilled with a Tuscan cream sauce, delicious!  And now I'm back at the hotel ready for a glass of wine.  This one the Chateau du Pin Bordeaux from the stellar 2009 vintage that is really starting to drink very well now.

The color is very nice, rich ruby edging toward a deep purple in the center.  The nose is quite nice with rich ripe fruit, blackberries, cherry, plum and cassis that suggests a very fruit forward wine.  The taste is fruit forward but subdued, with cool red fruit up front that transitions to some nice minerality, dusty limestone and dried herbs midpalate that is so typical of a young Bordeaux.  The tannins are rather mellow, but still supportive of a long dry finish that is classic for the Gironde.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a very nice example of a standard Bordeaux from a strong vintage, and it was a pretty good value as well as I recall this one was about $15.  Although I'm having this after dinner, it would pair quite nicely with some lamb chops grilled with sage, or some braised short ribs with some lovely root vegetables that are just coming into season with the autumn weather.  The fruit of the wine really would be a nice foil to the strong and savory flavors of a big meat dish.  Cheers!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah Viognier

Tonight's wine is an interesting one that I picked up yesterday at G.B. Russo's and it's interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is the lesson in bureaucracy I received, though it's that bureaucratic effect that led to my getting this wine at a bargain price!  The winemaker, Nicolas Perrin wanted to make a wine in the style of a Hermitage in the northern Rhone, but at a price that would make it much more approachable to young people (as opposed to $300 a bottle!).  So he came up with a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier sourced from the northern Rhone.  Unfortunately when it came time to bottle the wine, the French authorities would not allow him to classify it as anything but a "Vin de Table" which was the lowest classification and only allows you to state on the label the producer and that it comes from France.  Then, as he tried to export it to the United States, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives would not allow him to state a vintage on a "Vin de Table" so he ended up with the very basic label we see before us.  But by 2012, the French had changed their rules creating the "Vin de France" category which allowed a vintage to be added, so now he is changing the label and liquidating all the wine in the old labels, voila!  A bargain!

The wine itself is very dark ruby with a tinge if India ink.  The nose is very rustic, with aromas of peat moss, forest floor and wild herbs, over just a hint of fresh cut grass.  Now keep in mind this wine needs some time to breathe, so you might consider decanting or letting it breathe for an hour or more as I have this evening.  The wine has a very rustic taste up front, with wild herbs, grass and great minerality at the outset, with very mild red fruit that expresses itself nicely midpalate.  The finish is very smooth, as the tannins accent the mineral characteristics and make for a very smooth finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, as it's not a wine for everyone, but for those who really appreciate the great mineral character and terroir that can be expressed in a wine from the Rhone valley.  As I mentioned earlier, it was also a great bargain at only $8!  The wine would pair well with richer dishes as a nice contrast for heavy cream sauces or sweeter dishes.  Tonight I am pairing this wine with some maple and bourbon glazed roast pork tenderloin, some baby potatoes with butter and parsley and some baby carrots from my garden.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

2010 Maison Bleue "Le Midi" Boushey Vineyard Grenache

So here we are, winding down a Washington Wine Weekend and boy are we going out with a bang!  Tonight I am enjoying one of the wines I fell in love with on my tasting tour of Walla Walla back in June, the 2010 Maison Bleue "Le Midi" Boushey Vineyard Grenache.  I was lucky enough to be visiting during the first week that the new Maison Bleue tasting room was open in Walla Walla, so I had a wonderful chance to taste their wines and order a couple bottles of tonight's wine which happened to arrive at my office last week (Oh thank heaven for cooler weather!).

Unlike it's French cousins, Maison Bleue's Grenache from the Yakima Valley of Washington tends to be a bit more muscular yet complex.  Given its youth, I recommend decanting or at least opening this one up to let it breathe a bit before enjoying (I've had this one open about 2 hours now).  The wine is a lovely bright ruby in the glass, with exquisite clarity.  The nose is a lovely combination of ripe fruit, berries and black cherry, with hints of Asian spice, fresh herbs and black pepper.  The wine has an simply wonderful velvety presence, as you are cascaded with ripe fruit at the outset.  The fruit smoothly transitions to some wonderful minerality, with layers of dark chocolate mixed in.  The finish is supported by some well structured tannins that form a base for a long, smooth and dry finish that seems to last forever while beckoning you to another sip.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's probably the best Grenache currently being produced in Washington state.  Given the lovely fruit and mineral flavors, I am enjoying this one tonight with a grilled New York strip, garnished with grilled leeks, along with a baked Bliss' Triumph potato that I got from the farmers' market yesterday and some steamed brussels sprouts.  Though you might question it, this Grenache really pairs well with grilled steak and savory vegetables, as the fruit offers nice balance to the savory, and the minerality really stands up to the hearty beef.  Cheers!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

1997 L'Ecole No. 41 Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot

So it's Cellar Saturday, time to reach back in time to enjoy a wine that's had a bit of life behind it, and of course as an added bonus, this is also a Washington Wine Weekend, so we know tonight's selection will be coming from my favorite wine region.  Tonight we are going back 16 years for this vintage, though I'll admit this wine has only been in my cellar since last Friday as I bought two bottles of this library selection at the L'Ecole 30th Anniversary celebration back in June when I visited Walla Walla.  I tried it then and ordered a couple bottles and they were just delivered last Friday, so how fortunate!  This particular vintage would have been just a couple years out of date when I first visited Walla Walla back in 2001 so it sure brings back some memories.

The wine itself still has some nice ruby color, with just the faintest hint of opacity.  The nose is very reminiscent of Bordeaux, with some funk initially followed by some lovely notes of leather, cedar and hint of lavender and plum (keep in mind I only opened this about an hour ago, so it's early in the process of opening up!).  The taste is quite complex, with some lovely floral notes up front that draw you in to a combination of rich dark fruit, blackberries, plum and black cherry that are still very vibrant.  The fruit transitions to some lovely dried herbs and mint, balanced by some musty forest floor.  The finish is long, dry and exceptionally smooth, the type of finish that makes you question why you've been wasting your time with such young wines barely 5 years old!

Overall I would rate this wine an easy 9.5, as it's simply outstanding and in my opinion just passing it's peak, and I think I bought this wine for about $35 which to me is a screaming bargain!  Tonight I am pairing this with something a little different, a lightly grilled tuna filet with some grilled leeks, red pepper and purple asparagus along with some steamed heirloom fingerling potatoes I bought at the farmers market today.  So delicious and an entire evening to enjoy this bottle, cheers!

Friday, October 4, 2013

2010 Canoe Ridge Frontier Reserve Cherry Street Red Wine

Well, tonight seems like a good night to enjoy a nice glass of wine, especially with so much going on!  It was a busy day at work today, plus I have a lot of craziness going on with trying to relocate to Indiana for my new job, we have the winner being announced for ArtPrize here in Grand Rapids, and I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting.  So let's make this a Washington Wine Weekend shall we?  Tonight is the first Washington wine and the inaugural selection for my new office wine club (we are starting small as there are only 4 of us!), the 2010 Canoe Ridge Frontier Reserve Cherry Street Red Wine from the Horse Heaven Hills of the Columbia Valley!

The wine is a lovely rich ruby color in the glass.  The nose is brimming with ample ripe red fruit overlaid with lovely notes of leather and baking spice.  The taste is a burst of tart cherry that subsides into a basket of ripe berries and plum.  The fruit gives way to some lovely notes of limestone as the nicely structured tannins provide all the support you need for a long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.

This is my first sampling of wine from Canoe Ridge and I must admit I wasn't disappointed.  Overall I'd rate it a solid 8, as it's the sort of wine that is delicious on its own, but also beckons you to pair it with a variety of rich or zesty dishes.  It was also a great value as we bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for just $17!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with just a simple linguine with some spicy marinara, since I really didn't feel like cooking tonight!  So what's next for this Washington Wine Weekend?  You'll have to come back to find out, it could be exciting especially when considering that tomorrow is also Cellar Saturday!  Cheers!