Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2011 Marques de la Musa Garnacha

So tonight I've decided to open a bottle of our next office wine club selection, I guess that's the privilege of being in charge of the wine club! And the selection is the 2011 Marques de la Musa Garnacha, a lovely Grenache from Spain that I think would be a lovely accompaniment to the upcoming holiday dinners!

The wine is a somewhat darker color than you might often expect from a typical Grenache.  The nose presents a very pleasant aromas of strawberry, raspberry cut grass, forest floor and herbs.  The taste is very pleasant, with flavors of ripe, sweet berries, tar and black pepper that transition to some wonderful Asian spice and plum sauce midpalate.  The tannins are well structured, leading to a velvety mouthfeel and long, dry finish, a very pleasant and easy drinking wine.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7, it's nothing spectacular but a pleasant everyday wine and a terrific value that I found at G.B. Russo's for $6 plus tax!  Tonight I am enjoying this with some meatball sliders and a nice salad, but it would be great with some turkey, cranberries and all the trimmings.  In other words, an ideal holiday wine for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Cheers!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2007 Sullivan Vineyards Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

So tonight between packing for my upcoming move I am enjoying a nice Sullivan Vineyards Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the outstanding 2007 vintage.  Speaking of my upcoming move, I closed on my new home yesterday, I guess I was feeling a little underleveraged, so financing this should make me feel a lot better!

But back to the wine, I figured with so much to celebrate I should open a good bottle of wine right?  And this one certainly fits the bill.  It definitely needed to breathe a bit, so I poured mine through an aerator and let it rest for a while.  It has a lovely deep purple color in the glass, with edges of garnet.  The nose of very full of jammy black fruit, plum, black cherry and raspberry, overlaid with hints of leather, Asian spice and mint.  The taste is lovely, with some modest ripe fruit up front that isn't even close to being jammy as the nose would suggest.  The fruit gives way so a wonderful minerality of dusty limestone and sage midpalate.  The firm yet structured tannins support a beautiful, dry and velvety finish that has real staying power.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a wonderful big bold cabernet with complex flavors at a fairly good value.  I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for only $30.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a nice Angus T-bone grilled rare with some steamed green, yellow and purple beans and some sun dried tomato risotto.  The rustic flavors of the wine really complement the risotto, while the big bold cabernet aspects are perfect for a hearty steak, delicious!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2005 Stella Maris Columbia Valley Red Wine

Tonight's wine is an object lesson in keeping your eyes open for potential surprises lurking in unexpected places as that's exactly what happened with this wine!  I've had this wine before, a production of the Northstar Winery in Walla Walla, but the only vintage I've tried before was the 2008 Stella Maris vintage back in July.  So last week I was at the local wine shop in Elkhart looking for a bottle to bring over to a friend's house, and as I was exploring I happened to notice this lonely bottle sitting on a shelf, an earlier vintage that I've not seen before, and the price was a steal at only $16 so I picked it up and am sharing it with you tonight!  The 2005 Stella Maris is a much different blend than the 2008 vintage, this one is mainly Merlot (77%) with some Cabernet Sauvignon (16%) and Syrah (7%).

The wine is a nice deep ruby color in the glass.  The nose is is a nice combination of leather, cedar and rich black fruit, plum, black cherry and prune with a bit of anise over the top.  The taste is very nice, with some dried herbs, mint and a hint of floral notes up front that transitions wonderfully to some rich ripe fruit midpalate, with an almost jammy characteristic beautifully offset with some dusty limestone.  The tannins are somewhat mellow yet supportive of a lush, long dry finish that seems to last 30 seconds or more.  A very pleasant wine to sip, but also quite food friendly as well.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a great example of a nice Columbia Valley Bordeaux style blend at a terrific value for $16, the only problem is I don't know where I can find more of it!  Tonight I enjoyed it with some homemade vegetable pizza with whole wheat crust, zucchini, orange and red peppers, organic bella mushrooms, fresh tomato and a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, asiago and romano cheeses, and the ripe fruit and dry finish was the perfect combination for the rustic flavors of veggies, whole wheat crust and cheeses, so yummy!  Cheers!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

2009 Waterbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Tonight I've decided to open another bottle of Washington red wine that I bought at the Chalet Party Shoppe in Elkhart a week or so ago, so tonight's choice is the 2009 Waterbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley.  Waterbrook is one of the older producers in Walla Walla, and they have a beautiful tasting room on U.S. 12 just east of L'Ecole and Woodward Canyon.  The Chalet had the 2010 vintage on sale, and I just happened to find one lone bottle of the 2009 vintage on the shelf for the same price, so why not try it?

The wine itself is a nice inky indigo in the glass leading to some garnet along the edges.  The nose is a fountain of ripe fruit, blueberries, cherries, prune and cassis, projecting a sweeter, almost jammy aroma.  The fruit is overlaid with some lovely notes of toasted oak, cocoa powder and some earthy aromas of forest floor.  The taste is very fruit forward, but much more complex than I was expecting from such a fruit centered wine.  There is a good bit of ripe fruit at the outset, blueberries, black currant and plum that washes over you in your first sip, but the fruit subsides and transitions nicely to some raw minerality midpalate.  The tannins are structured but not overwhelming, providing a nice foundation for the long, dry and velvety finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a solid Cabernet at a terrific value, I bought this one on sale for just $17, making it an ideal everyday wine (I need to go back and pick up some more of the 2010 vintage!).  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some crab stuffed flounder from Trader Joe's along with some steamed broccoli and some linguine with roasted red pepper pesto, yummy!  And yes, I know it's unconventional to enjoy a Cab with fish but when have I ever been conventional?  Besides, this wine has a nice earthy character that really pairs well with meat or fish in a variety of herb inspired dishes.  Salut!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2011 Dona Paula Estate Malbec

Tonight I have a special treat, a Snooth virtual tasting of wines from the Dona Paula Estate in Argentina! I really have to offer a special word of appreciation and a hearty thank you to Snooth and Dona Paula Estate for providing me with some lovely samples to try this evening, the 2011 Torrontes (which I posted about yesterday) and the 2011 Malbec! Now I'll admit that I have not been the biggest fan of Malbec, though I think this is in part because of the recent surge in popularity of Malbec that resulted in a wave of imports that were not exactly the highest quality.  This one gives me some hope as it's a classic from the Uco Valley of Mendoza, so here's to hopefully trying Malbec with a new outlook!

The wine itself has a deep purple color and nice clarity in the glass.  The nose is classic Malbec, rich ripe red fruit, blackberries, cherries and plums, offset with distinct earthy tones of green grass, forest floor and some dusty granite.  The taste is quite remarkable, with some dark fruit up front, followed by some lovely spice notes midpalate, anise, mint and leather.  The finish is wonderful, as the firm tannins and balanced acidity provide ample support for the velvety mouthfeel and long, dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a really wonderful example of what a good Mendoza Malbec should be, ample black fruit and a lovely rustic earthiness that begs for a big hunk of meat!  Since I'm tasting tonight, I am enjoying this one with a simple plate of antipasti, but it would be perfect with a big rare grilled Angus steak and some fresh veggies, just like you might enjoy in the Andes of northern Argentina.  So if you can grab a bottle, enjoy it with dinner tonight!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2011 Dona Paula Estate Torrontes

Tonight I have a special treat, a Snooth virtual tasting of wines from the Dona Paula Estate in Argentina!  I really have to offer a special word of appreciation and a hearty thank you to Snooth and Dona Paula Estate for providing me with some lovely samples to try this evening, the 2011 Torrontes and the 2011 Malbec (which I will review on a separate posting tomorrow)!  Now the interesting thing is that the Torrontes is a white wine, so I think this might actually be the first white wine review on my blog, and it's a special one given it's source, the Valle de Cafayate in Salta.  This is special to me since I have long dreamt of retiring in the Cafayate near Salta in Argentina, home of beautiful vineyards and lovely cattle ranches, and farms with ample beautiful and healthy produce to enjoy.  Great wine and great steak, what more could you want in retirement?

So back to the wine.  I am so out of my depth with white wines I had to look up on Google what sort of grape this is, and I found that it's native to Argentina and typically displays some smooth mouthfeel and mild acidity with aromatics of peach and apricot.  And sure enough, there are some lovely floral notes to this wine, and some earthy notes that just bring to mind riding on horseback through the mountains.  The taste is quite refreshing, mildly acidic, and displays wonderful notes of peach, citrus and some earth notes that are mildly metallic, a taste reminiscent of copper and rustic forest.  The finish is very nice and crisp, perfect for a summer afternoon, and very dry, a white wine that I could definitely get to know and like!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, as I think it's such a pleasant departure from the usual, sweeter, citrus dominated white wines I've tried in the past.  It strikes me that this could be an ideal white wine for us red wine drinkers.  Although I'm just having this with some antipasti tonight, I could see this going very well with some bright Mexican dishes, fish tacos or some fresh salsa with carne asada and a squeeze of lime, or the traditional Argentine pairing with empanadas.  So yummy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

2008 Tero Estates Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of wine from a producer I discovered on my last trip to Walla Walla this past June, Tero Estates.  They had a lovely little tasting room on the corner of Second and Rose, right in the Marcus Whitman Hotel, and there were a few others that recommended I stop by and I wasn't disappointed.  Since that visit, they've expanded with the acquisition of Waters Winery, which produces some very nice wines as well.  But tonight it's the 2008 Tero Estates Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine is a deep, inky purple color in the glass, and it even left some deep indigo on the cork as well.  The nose is very rich, with some sweet fruit, plum, blackberry and cassis, overlaid with some leather and black pepper.  The taste is very nice and a classic Walla Walla style Cabernet, rich black fruit up front, blackberries, black cherry and plum that transition gracefully to some notes of dark chocolate and earth.  The finish is quite nice, as the firm tannins and rounded mouthfeel make for a long, lush and exceptionally dry finish that last until you take your next sip.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a super quality Cabernet, but it has a price to match at $42.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some grilled lamb chops, steamed asparagus and oven roasted Klondike fingerling potatoes, as the rich fruit and lovely finish make a great foil to the earthiness of the lamb, so yummy!  Salut!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1998 Seven Hills Vineyard Reserve Merlot

So it's the first Saturday of the month and of course that means it's Cellar Saturday!  And tonight we have a super treat, one I've been waiting to try since I bought it in Walla Walla last June, the 1998 Seven Hills Vineyard Reserve Merlot!  I know a lot of you have an apprehension towards Merlot, but I have to tell you I really enjoy it, particularly when it comes from an ageworthy producer like Seven Hills, so that 15 years later when you try it, you are just shocked at what it does for you!

The wine is pretty clear around the edges, with some opacity toward the center, but still a bright ruby color all around.  The nose is very nice, with loads of ripe fruit, black plum, tart cherry and blueberry, overlaid with layers of anise, leather and Asian spice.  The taste is delightful, with some initial red fruit, blackberries, plum and tart cherry that transitions to some tarragon and dusty limestone midpalate.  The finish was divine, as the tannins are very structured along with some remaining acidity that gives this wine an exceptionally long, dry finish.  And I have to admit, that in the end, the finish had some of the classic Bordeaux funk to it that really made me stop and question whether this wine was from Walla Walla or the right bank of the Gironde!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's just such a treat to drink that I don't even remember or care what I paid for it.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic dinner of rare grilled Angus ribeye sliced and topped with Bearnaise sauce, along with a baked heirloom potato and some grilled carrots, leeks and brussels sprouts.  The wine is such a great complement to the richness of the food, it's a perfect autumn evening now.  Cheers!

Friday, November 1, 2013

2011 Dearly Beloved I Thee Red

Friday is here!  Whoo Hooooo!  So what are Fridays for besides having a bit of relaxation and a nice bottle of wine?  And tonight's wine is a nice bottle that like me is simply a day late and a buck short, as this bottle would have been wildly appropriate last night, for Halloween, the 2011 Dearly Beloved I Thee Red wine from California, a nice blend of red varietals from the Central Coast.  As I recall, this wine had a lot going for it when I picked it up at Trader Joe's a year or so ago, not the least of which was the painted label with the creepy skull!

The wine itself is somewhat lighter and very clear, with a bright ruby countenance.  The nose is very pleasant with some rich, ripe berries on top, with a hint of tart cherry, tar and green grass.  The taste has some nice ripe fruit up front that lingers to some real jamminess mid palate, along with some hints of oak and vanilla bean.  The finish was somewhat lackluster, as the lingering fruit was offset by some modestly developed tannins that made for a smooth, semi-dry finish, that overall was quite pleasant.

I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it wasn't spectacular to drink, but it was pleasant and a great value at under $10 from Trader Joe's as I recall.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic worked late and just got home Friday dinner, or pepperoni pizza with a few peperoncinis in the side.  The fruit of the wine really balances the spice of the pizza, yummy and warm for a cold rainy night, cheers!