Sunday, May 25, 2014

2007 DaMa Walla Walla Sangiovese

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend, time for grilling out and why not enjoy a bit of wine as well?  Tonight's selection is almost a year in the making, as I first tasted this at the DaMa tasting room in Walla Walla in late June 2013 and I'll admit I fell in love with this wine at first taste!  It was really the best Sangiovese I found in Walla Walla (though to be fair this is an up and coming varietal that more producers are experimenting with even as I write this).  So after tasting the wine I bought 4 bottles (at only $25, I should have bought a case) and wanted to have it shipped to my home since I had no more room on the case to check on my return flight.  And that's where the story ends until a month or so ago, when I realized that I never received the wine, so I called but wasn't much help since I've moved since then, had no receipt and all I could track down was a nearly year-old credit card statement with a charge, but thanks to the wonderful folks at DaMa, that was enough for them to find it in their records and send me the long awaited wine!  HOORAY!!!

And now to the wine, it's a deep purple in the glass with ruby along the edges and a good bit of opacity at the center.  The nose is just how I remembered it, rich dark fruit, blackberry, plum and black currant with an overriding aroma of smoke, leather and spice, with just a hint of dark chocolate.  The taste is absolutely lovely, with a subdued rush of dark, ripe fruit at the outset that quickly transitions to some smoky, mineral notes midpalate.  The finish is wonderful, with some firm but sophisticated tannins that support a warm, spicy dry finish that seems to last a good 30 seconds. This is a Sangiovese that I am convinced would stand up quite well to some of the nicest Chianti in Tuscany!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, as it's a super example of the varietal and a terrific value at only $25.  Tonight I am enjoying this with a toned down version bistecca alla Fiorentina, a nicely seasoned and grilled T-bone with some grilled leeks and asparagus and a baked Yukon gold potato.  The spice and smokiness of this wine is the perfect accompaniment to a grilled steak while the fruit enhances the flavors of the veggies. If you can find this wine grab it and enjoy in with your grilling tomorrow, but it's sold out at the winery so it might be a challenge to find.  Cin cin!

Friday, May 23, 2014

2010 Mirror Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Well here we are at the beginning of a long weekend, and what better thing to do than open a nice bottle of wine!  Tonight I've opened a bottle of wine that my boss gave me, as he recently discovered this winery run by a fellow football player with roots in our area who is making great wine and giving a portion of his sales to a charitable foundation focused on children's charities tied to health and education.  The football star turned wine maker is Rick Mirer, a former Notre Dame quarterback who was born in Goshen, Indiana and eventually played in the NFL (of course my boss played football at Purdue, so there is a natural connection).  And the wine?  It's the 2010 Mirror Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!

The wine is a deep purple color in the glass with a bit of opacity.  The nose is a pleasant blend of dark fruit, black currant, plum and cherry with a layer of earthy notes, cedar, forest floor, dark chocolate and spice over the top.  The taste is a bit tightly wound at first, but if you let it breathe for 45 minutes or so, it really opens up with concentrated black fruit flavor and a richness that really presents a nice counterbalance to the intensity of the tannins, resulting in a warm, but smooth, dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's drinking very nicely now but I think it has a lot of potential to age very nicely over the next 5-10 years.  Tonight I am enjoying this with a rare grilled T-bone steak along with some steamed fingerling potatoes and some fresh grilled asparagus.  This is the type of Napa Cabernet that really plays well with a sizable piece of rare beef, I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Grenache Rose

Well it's a beautiful late Spring evening, the sun was bright and the temperature was a little warm today, well into the 80s, so what better time to enjoy a refreshing glass of nicely chilled rose on the patio?  Tonight I am enjoying one of my perennial rose favorites, the 2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Grenache Rose from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills of the Columbia Valley.

The wine is a lovely pale pink color in the glass.  The nose is a refreshing blend of green grass, pink grapefruit and floral notes of rose petals.  The taste is a beautiful combination of fresh citrus, light raspberry and tart pomegranate that transitions to some nice floral notes midpalate.  The finish is a blast of summer, with some wonderful mineral notes that bring structure to the crisp refreshing finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's just a lovely wine for those hot summer evenings, and it's an ideal summer wine for the dry red wine fan like me, as the fruit is balanced, not overpowering or syrupy.  Tonight I am just enjoying this wine sitting in my Adirondack chair on the deck, listening to the birds and enjoying the every changing types of flowers blooming in my yard.  That's not to say this isn't a good food wine, as it would be lovely with a citrus stuffed lake trout or an heirloom tomato salad with aged balsamic!  Cheers!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2010 Reininger Malbec

Well, it's Sunday evening and after working in the yard all day I figure it's time for a rest.  I don't mind doing yard work, in fact it can be relaxing and when I'm done I get to enjoy my work, sitting out on the deck with a glass of wine enjoying my handiwork:

At least that's the way it worked out today!  And when it was done I opened a bottle of 2010 Reininger Walla Walla Malbec to enjoy. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Malbec, and there are relatively few that I really enjoy, but Reininger makes one that really is enjoyable to this unreformed Bordeaux drinker.

The wine itself is a deep purple color in the glass.  The nose is a rich combination of ripe black fruit, blackberry, currant and a hint of huckleberry overlaid with some nice mineral notes, limestone, forest floor and a hint of leather.  The taste is quite nice, with a rush of fruit, black cherry, blackberry and plum that transitions to some notes of cherry cola and spice midpalate.  The tannins are nicely structured, giving this wine a sturdy mouthfeel and a long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a great Malbec for those of us that like it a little less earthy and more on the fruity and spicy side.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with the classic Malbec pairing of grilled lamb chops, baked Yukon gold potato and some fresh grilled asparagus.  I really enjoy the way the fruit of this wine counters the somewhat "gamey" aspects of the lamb making for a lovely dinner.  Cheers!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2011 Forgeron Sagemoor Barbera

Is it just me, or is home ownership the biggest racket in the world?  Now that I am a proud homeowner it seems I never have the weekends to just lounge around, sipping wine and enjoying the finer things in life.  No, every weekend it seems like I'm inundated with little projects around the house.  Today it was trimming some dead branches, then planting some flowers and fixing my broken skylight on the eve over my dining room!  Well at least when it's all done, I can relax on my deck, enjoy my yard and trees and sip a delightful glass of wine, like the 2011 Forgeron Sagemoor Barbera!  For those of you who have known me any length of time, you must know that one of my favorite wines is a good Barbera primarily because it's a very nice, food friendly wine that drinks exceptionally well when it's young, like the wine I've opened this evening.

The color of this wine is a deep purple at the center, leading to some bright ruby along the edges with fairly solid clarity.  The nose is a sweet combination of ripe fruit, licorice and a bit of smokiness.  The taste is a blast of fruit, strawberries, cherries and blackberries, along with some lovely spice notes of nutmeg and baking spice.  Midpalate the taste shifts to some mineral notes with a lingering presence of rich black fruit.  The tannins are well behaved creating a velvety and full mouthfeel and a long, smooth dry finish.  The lightness and fruit make this an ideal summer red!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as I think it's just a great example of a Barbera, a fruit forward and food friendly wine that should be on everyone's list as we get to summer grilling!  This wine is very limited production of just 131 cases, yet it's still reasonably priced at just $30.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a preview of summer dinner of "surf & turf" with a grilled ribeye along with some steamed snow crab legs, a baked Yukon gold potato and some fresh grilled corn on the cob!  It's only May but man I am looking forward to so many fine summer dinners, cheers!

Friday, May 9, 2014

2013 Seven Hills Dry Rose

What a day!  It's a Friday, which should be a gentle slope into a relaxing weekend but today was nothing of the sort!  I was awakened at about 3:30 this morning by the sound of a wind storm moving through, and when I got up three hours later there was a huge branch laying in my back yard!  So I had to leave work early today to take my truck in as the window washers weren't working (thankfully they just had a calcium clog so the blew them out and no charge later I was back to my house to deal with the branches.  Thankfully my handyman arrived by then and we took down the branches and then cut some more dead limbs from the tree, all in 85-degree humid weather, but in a couple hours the branches were piled up by the street.  So needless to say I'm in need of a nicely chilled glass of high quality rose to sip this evening, and am I in luck as I put a bottle of 2013 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Dry Rose in the fridge last night!

The wine is a lovely blend of mainly Cabernet Franc with a bit of Petit Verdot and Malbec which makes for a nice structure and some great fruit expressions.  This wine is a very pale rose, with a color that just reminds me of magnolia blossoms.  The nose is just a breath of summer, with aromas of fresh herbs, green grass and some fresh summer fruit notes of grapefruit and peach.  The taste is a burst of summer flavors, cool citrus and tropical notes that quickly transition to fresh herbs and a hint of spice.  The finish is absolutely bone dry, in fact I've never had a rose this dry before, but it was such a wonderful treat, such a crisp and refreshing wine that was quite unexpected.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's just a great rose, ideal as a summer wine for heavy, dry red wine fans like me.  Tonight I've already enjoyed a glass on the deck as I watched the birds descend on the freshly filled feeder, but I plan to enjoy some with a dinner of grilled kielbasa along with some spinach and feta pierogis, a perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the sausage and the richness of the spinach and feta.  Here's to a more relaxing weekend!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2010 Aegerter Pommard Premier Cru

So today I've been cleaning and then I went to the local community theater for a play, so now I'm ready to relax!  And what better way to relax than with a glass of wine?  Tonight I've decided to open another bottle of wine that my Aunt and Uncle brought back for me from their trip to France last year, the 2010 Jean-Luc et Paul Aegerter Pommard Premier Cru.  Now for those unfamiliar, Pommard is somewhat similar to Nuits Saint-Georges in that it's a Burgundy wine that is primarily based on Pinot Noir, but in many cases it can be somewhat more tannic.  The result is a lighter pinot based wine that has a nice backbone.

The color on this wine is a bright ruby with great opacity as you might expect from a pinot noir.  The nose has some great fruit, strawberry, plum and cassis overlaying some lovely green grass and cedar notes.  The taste is quite nice, with a burst of fruit that quickly subsides as we transition to some lovely flavors of fresh herbs, balsamic and forest floor.  The tannins are tightly wound, creating a sharp but pleasing finish that makes this wine perfect for sipping on the patio.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's the type of Pinot Noir based wine that has a bit more structure than many of the lighter style pinots you see in the market today.  Tonight I am pairing this wine with some pan seared sashimi tuna garnished with some fried leeks along with some mushroom risotto and steamed cauliflower.  The lighter style of this wine would be just perfect with seafood of almost any sort!  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

2003 Forgeron Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Hooray!  It's the first Saturday of May, which means the weather must be beautiful, they are racing horses somewhere in Kentucky and it's "Cellar Saturday," that special day where I crack open a bottle that's been aging in my cellar for a while and share it with all of you!  So for tonight we go back over a decade to the year 2003, a time when I actually lived in Seattle and was spoiled with all the wonderful Washington red wines I could find all around me.  Though at the time, I hadn't yet discovered the great folks and delicious wines at Forgeron so this is a special treat, opening up a bottle of 2003 Forgeron Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color of the wine is classic Cabernet, a deep, brooding purple at the center with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is beautiful with rich aromas of leather, anise, baking powder and ripe black fruit.  The taste is decidedly fruit forward, with ripe blueberries, blackberries and plum washing over your palate from the first sip.  The dark fruit transitions effortlessly to some mineral notes of dusty limestone and wonderful spice notes of black pepper and espresso midpalate.  The finish is divine, with nicely structured tannins supporting a velvety mouthfeel and a long, smooth and exceptionally dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a real treat to drink and a stellar example of what a Columbia Valley Cabernet should be.  Tonight I will eventually be enjoying this wine with a rare grilled porterhouse and some haricots vert, but for now I am just loving sipping this wine on my deck, enjoying the sun and birds after a long day of yard work!  Cheers!