Sunday, August 24, 2014

2008 Marques de Caceres Crianza Rioja

What a momentous day!  Well, it wasn't that impressive, but I did get a lot of work done in the yard and I managed to change out all 6 florescent lights in the garage so now I have a well lit work space rather than a dim flickering one!  So to celebrate little victories, I've decided to open up a bottle of Rioja, specifically a 2008 Marques de Caceres Crianza that I bought a couple weeks ago.

The wine is light in the glass with great clarity, almost reminiscent of a pinot noir, but not quite.  The nose is pure Rioja, with bright fruit notes blasting forth, cherry, plum and cassis overlaid with a but of tart apple.  The taste is somewhat different than I was expecting, it was fruit forward, but bursting with tart cherry rather than jammy berries.  The initial fruit transitions effortlessly to some herb notes and earthy notes of dusty limestone midpalate.  The tannins are still quite pronounced lending structure to the long, smooth dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as you know my penchant for Spanish reds, plus I found this one in the bargain bin (literally a shopping cart at my local market full of discontinued wines!) for only $12!  Tonight I am pairing this one with a classic summer cookout of grilled brats with sauteed onions and peppers on a pretzel roll along with some broccoli slaw and grilled corn on the cob.  The fruit of the wine is such a great pairing with the spice of the brats, so yummy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

2011 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

Well the weekend is here, I left work, went to the gym, picked up something for dinner and now I'm ready to relax with a bottle of 2011 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  I bought this one from G.B. Russo's up in Grand Rapids, and here is what Dave Russo had to say about the wine:
"When I visited Napa Valley a couple of months ago to taste wines in advance of release, I was very impressed with how the 2011Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon tasted.  It reminded me of the elegant, classic style Phelps Cabs used to have twenty years ago, before the production of their top wine, Insignia, was expanded.  My guess is, like other Napa wineries, they made less of the flagship wine Insignia in the difficult 2011 vintage and put a lot of that juice into the standard Phelps Cab.  This wine is drinking beautifully now.  It has a silky black-fruit character and very polished tannins, and a gently earthy finish.  I like the fact that this is a more classic style, not the high octane – sharp tannin style that so many Napa Cabs seem to have these days."
 Needless to say, I bought some for me and my boss but tonight is the first I've opened a bottle so here goes nothing!

The wine has such a rich color, dark crimson in the center leading to a bright ruby along the edges, classic of a Napa Cabernet.  The nose is at first somewhat fruity and spicy, with notes of black cherry and anise, but then it transitions to some earthy notes of leather, iron and moss.  The taste is a quick blast of dark fruit, plum, blackberry and cassis, which then transitions to some lovely warm spice notes of white pepper, dried herbs and Asian spice.  The finish was quite nice, with velvety smooth tannins supporting a long, smooth, dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.  The wine is certainly drinking very well now, and I agree with Dave, this is much more of a classically styled Cabernet.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a beautiful Cabernet, but it's definitely not for your everyday table wine as I bought this one on sale for $65 a bottle.  Tonight I am enjoying it with a thick Hereford ribeye grilled rare and served with some grilled zucchini (thanks Emily!) and a giant Amish baked potato (you should see these things, there were 4 potatoes in a 5-pound bag!).  Salut!

Friday, August 15, 2014

2012 Castlebank "Vivian's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Friday everyone!  And of course to start the weekend we should enjoy a nice bottle of wine, and tonight I'm having a bottle of 2012 Castlebank "Vivian's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle that I just received today from the fine folks at Wines Till Sold Out.

The wine is a nice deep ruby in the glass and the nose is a rich, jammy combination of raspberries, blackberries and cherry cola with some interesting floral notes and vanilla over the top.  The taste is quite nice, but somewhat surprising as the nose tricked my brain into expecting somewhat more of a jammy sort of Zinfandel type wine but this was nothing of the sort.  There was good fruit at the outset but it quickly transitioned into some wonderful mineral and spice notes, dusty limestone and smoky oak with a hint of white pepper.  The finish was sublime, as some wonderful cherry cola notes mingled with the firm but well integrated tannins to provide for a long smooth and very dry finish that had me wanting more.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a very solid Cabernet at an absolutely fantastic value at about $14!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rather non-traditional pairing, but still a classic summer supper of jalapeno brats with some fresh grilled corn on the cob and fresh sliced tomatoes.  The wine stands up nicely to the rich spiciness of the sausage but brings out the freshness of the vegetables.  It would also be great with a big ol' steak or some hearty pasta dishes.  Cheers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2010 Revelry Columbia Valley Merlot

Ahhh...a relaxing summer Sunday evening, all the chores are done, dinner is started and it's time to open up a bottle of wine to cap off the evening.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2010 Revelry Columbia Valley Merlot.  This is a new one for me, a winery based in Walla Walla that I'm really not very familiar with, but one which I found at my local wine store for a reasonable price.

The wine is a bright ruby in the glass with great clarity, but somewhat lighter than a typical Merlot.  The nose is somewhat fruity, with nice aromas of blueberries and cassis, dusty granite and a hint of toasted oak.  The taste starts off strong, with a blast of fresh berries, blueberries and cherries, which transitions to some earthy notes of black truffle and oak midpalate.  The finish is quite nice, with nicely integrated tannins supporting a velvety, smooth dry finish that seems to be short, but lingers for quite a while.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a very nice Merlot that would be perfect for everyday drinking as I'm doing tonight, particularly at the value price of $15 that I paid.  The wine seems food friendly and would pair with a variety of dishes, from steaks to pizza.  Tonight I am enjoying this with some heirloom tomato and basil ravioli in a four cheese creamy grape tomato alfredo, perhaps an odd choice for summer, but I had a craving!  Salut!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

2011 Slingshot Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

It's been a busy day, what with farmers' markets and tractor shows, life in the country can get really busy!  So tonight I've settled in with a new bottle of wine that I just got last week, in fact this was my first order based on an offer I received from, and I saw it was a 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet at a great price, so how could I pass it up?  So I ordered half a case and am enjoying the first bottle this evening.

The wine is a dark ruby in the glass, a classic Cabernet color.  The nose, I must admit was surprising.  It was a lovely combination of black fruit, blackberry and black cherry intermingled with a bit of anise, black pepper and a hint of mint.  The taste was a blast of rich jammy fruit, much more like a Lodi Zinfandel than a Napa Cabernet, but that gracefully transitioned to some nice warm spice notes along with a bit of dusty limestone midpalate.  The finish was quite nice, as the spice, vanilla and fruit made for a complex bit of flavor as the well structured tannins provided for a velvety, smooth, dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a great and versatile wine at a value price as I paid only $13!  The nice thing about this wine is that at some moments it feels like a nice Napa Valley Cabernet, which makes it great to pair with a nice rare porterhouse topped with grilled leeks and red peppers as I'm doing tonight.  But it also has that secret identity that seems more like a Zinfandel, which would make it great to pair with barbecue or a variety of classic summer fare.  A surprisingly nice and versatile wine, cheers!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Snooth Vouvray Virtual Tasting

Tonight is a fun night since it's another Snooth Virtual Tasting!  Tonight we are tasting the Vouvray wines of the Loire Valley of France.  Tonight at my house we are tasting two lovely Vouvray wines, the first is the Brut Champalou Sparkling Vouvray and the second is the 2012 Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec, a dry still wine based on chenin blanc.

The first wine we tried was the Brut Champalou Sparkling Vouvray, very interesting nose, a little floral aromas, and a bit of iron and graphite.  The taste is remarkably bright and crisp with some nice fruit and honey notes at the outset.  The finish is really nice, and super dry, without the aftertaste that so often accompanies a sparkling wine.  Overall I would rate this one a solid 8, as it's a wine that's a good value at $24 as it tastes like a much more expensive sparkler.  I'd be very pleased to offer this to my guests as I did tonight!

The second wine was the 2012 Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec, a more traditional dry white wine based on the chenin blanc.  This wine has some nice fruit up front some citrus and melon aromas, along with a bit of green grass and herbs.  The taste is so interesting, with a great silky mouthfeel and so much flavor that it keeps evolving in your mouth.  There is a good bit of minerality, it's so smooth and complex rather than crisp like the sparkler, a truly wonderful white wine that would go beautifully with a lovely mushroom risotto or some rich buttery cheeses.  Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 and a terrific bottle for just $21!

So there you have it, our Virtual Tasting of Vouvray, a big shout out and thank you to Snooth and the wines of the Loire Valley!  Cheers!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2013 19 Crimes Red Wine

Well tonight I've selected a wine on a whim, hmm...that seems like an ideal title for a wine blog, or maybe a selection for a blog...have to think on that one some more.  In any case, tonight's selection was totally purchased based on the packaging, both the label and the bottle wrap was very cool looking as I was pushing my cart through the grocery store, so I bought a bottle and am not trying the 2013 19 Crimes Red Wine from where else, Southeastern Australia!  This wine, a blend of Shiraz and Durif (aka Petit Sirah in the USA), which should be ideal for my dinner tonight.

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass, while the nose is classic Syrah/Petit Sirah, bursting with jammy fruit, blackberry, cherry and a bit of strawberry along with some lovely spice notes, cinnamon, baking spice and cocoa powder.  The taste is lovely and classic in the sense of an Australian Shiraz, with a burst of jammy fruit, blackberry, plum and cherry that shifts to some warm spice notes mid palate.  The finish has some classic Shiraz twang as the soft tannins provide for a smooth warm finish that ideal for summer cooking.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, making it an ideal everyday table wine, particularly with the $10 price tag (not to mention it's got a pretty cool bottle and label, did I mention that?).  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some grilled dyngus sausage with carmelized onions and peppers on a pretzle bun along with some creamy potato salad, a perfect late summer supper!  Cheers, and try not to commit any of the "19 crimes" that will get you sent to Botany Bay!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

1995 Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Merlot

All right, it's the second day of August and the first Saturday of the new month, so that must mean it's time for me to brave the cobwebs and head to the cellar to find something fun to drink!  And tonight it's one of my favorite varietals from one of my favorite wineries from what was a very good year, the 1995 Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Merlot!  Now as a disclaimer, as with so many of my cellar selctions, I opened this for a while and then decanted it to let it breathe a bit.  It's already opened up nicely, but will likely get even better as the evening progresses.

The wine has actually held up quite nicely, with not even a hint of brown, but rather a nice bright ruby with a bit of opacity.  The nose is bright and floral, with some nice aromas of lilac, strawberry, green grass and cedar over some nice hints of minerality.  The taste is very nice, with a burst of fruit up front, blueberry, black currant and cherry that transitions nicely to some nice dark chocolate, coffee, mineral notes and a bit of "Bordeaux funk" midpalate.  The finish is very dry, the soft tannins support a lovely velvety finish that seems to last more than a minute and leaves you wanting more.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's really aged quite nicely and shows the great aging potential of a nice Merlot.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some classic kabobs, some shrimp, some steak and some veggie grilled fresh and such a yummy summer treat!  The wine just makes such a nice combination with the heartiness of the steak and the spiciness of the shrimp kabobs sprinkled with Old Bay.  Cheers!