Saturday, November 29, 2014

2011 Forgeron Malbec StoneTree Vineyard

Well happy Saturday!  Today I slept late, ran errands, then bought some fresh pine and cedar garland to start decorating for the holidays, so tonight I've earned a little break.  And what's better with a break than a nice bottle of wine?  Tonight's selection is one that I recently received from one of my wine club shipments, the 2011 Forgeron Cellars Malbec from the StoneTree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope.  Now had I realized when I grabbed my corkscrew how limited the production of this wine was (just 95 cases!) I might have held onto it for a while, but what the heck!

The wine is a deep dark brooding ruby color in the glass, that is almost black at the center leading to brighter color along the edges.  The nose is just fantastic, some bright fruit notes, blackberries, plums, with a lovely smokiness overlaying some toasted oak and spice notes that just brings to mind all that is best about the holidays, the wonderful foods, fires in the hearth, pine boughs hung and trees decorated, fresh fruit, the smell of pies and cookies wafting from the kitchen, this wine just smells like Christmas to me!  The taste is just as much of a treat, with some rich fruit flavors up front, cherry cola, blackberries, currants, all cooked down to a lovely glaze, which transitions to some wonderful spice notes mixed with smoke midpalate.  The finish is just lovely, with some coarse mineral notes, dusty limestone along with the well structured tannins supporting a long, supple and sublimely dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5 as it's probably my favorite Malbec (of course you all know I'm not a huge fan of Malbec, but I could drink this one all day long).  The price was a little steep at $46, but given the limited production it's perfectly understandable and worth it.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a little unusual comfort food, some steamed snow crab legs along with oven roasted fingerling potatoes and some grilled asparagus, but it would be perfect with any hearty winter meal, from rich stews to braised short ribs or lamb, the sweet fruit and spice makes this one a perfect Christmas wine for all!  Sante!

Friday, November 28, 2014

2012 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Well folks, I hate to admit it but November has been a bust for my wine blog.  I came down with some sort of cold early in the month and I was sick for about 2 weeks, and once I was over it, I had three days of no sickness before I came down with another cold!  What a mess!  Well I'm still not 100% but I'm feeling well enough to have a glass of wine or two with dinner tonight, and since I made my first venture to the new Costco that opened about 20 miles from my house I figured today would be a Costco day, and to celebrate I opened a bottle of 2012 Kirkland Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (for those unfamiliar, Kirkland is the Costco private label brand for everything from wine to toilet paper)!

Now I bought a couple of bottles of this wine to try, and the bottles themselves were impressive, not your typical bottles, but the heavy glass bottles normally seen with higher end wines.  The wine itself is deep ruby color in the glass, with nice clarity.  The nose is comparable to some of the best Napa Cabs I've tried, rich dark cherry and cassis intermingles with leather and green herbs and just a hint of dark chocolate on the end.  The taste is wonderful, with some rich black fruit up front, black cherry and currant, that transitions nicely to some white pepper and spice notes midpalate.  The tannins are very well structure giving depth and breadth to the long, velvety dry finish.

Although it's still young, this wine from the solid '12 Napa vintage is drinking quite nicely right now, and I'd rate this one a solid 8, with room to improve with some time in the cellar.  And it was a great value at just $20 too!  Since this is a Costco sort of day, I've decided to pair this wine with a classic dinner of a rare grilled USDA Prime New York Strip, a big steak house sized baked potato with the works, and some grilled brussels sprouts.  The wine has just enough acidity to balance out the great marbling of the steak while the spice just livens up the entire meal.  Cheers!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2012 Seven Hills Walla Walla Merlot

Holy Moley!  I am exhausted and I think I'm coming down with a cold!  First the exhaustion, which comes from helping the kids I hired to clear the leaves from my yard (have I mentioned I have a lot of leaves?).  Yesterday my iphone counted over 15,000 steps and today as I type this I'm up to 16,132 steps!  What the heck kind of employer am I?  I should have been napping while they did the leaves!  So after working in the cold the last two days as well as drinking beer in my friend's cold garage in celebration of his 30th birthday on Friday night, it's a recipe for illness!  But at least tonight I'm feeling up to opening a bottle of wine, and tonight's is a favorite, the 2012 Seven Hills Walla Walla Merlot!

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass with great clarity.  The nose is a nice array of licorice, leather and a hint of Asian spice.  The taste is a burst of fruit up front, plum, black cherry and a hint of cocoa powder, which transitions to some nice minerality midpalate.  The tannins are still a bit young, but very well integrated, supporting a long, velvety smooth dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's an incredibly pleasant bottle right now, but it's sure to age well for another five years or more.  Now that I have a bit of my appetite back, tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled Hereford T-bone steak from my favorite local butcher, along with a backed potato and some steamed asparagus.  What goes better with Merlot than a nice steak?  Cheers!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2004 Valentina Cubi Morar Amarone della Valpolicella

Well, it's the first Saturday of November and that means it's officially "Cellar Saturday" that time when I open a bottle of wine that's been given some time to mature in the cellar.  Tonight's feature is one that I actually bought fairly recently, the 2004 Valentina Cubi Morar Amarone della Valpolicella, a 10-year-old Amarone that should just about be hitting it's prime about now!  And for those of you who are unfamiliar with Amarone, it's a classic northern Italian wine made from the Corvina and Rondinella grapes which are partially dried (for up to 120 days) before pressing.  The result is usually a much more concentrated and powerful red wine that is a personal favorite.

This wine is a deep ruby color in the glass with a bit of opacity.  The nose is classic Amarone, rich fruit notes of raspberry and raisin, over cascading aromas of leather, white pepper and just a hint of lavender.  The taste is quite subdued up front, with some mild flavors of blackberry and cherry intermingled with vanilla and pipe tobacco, that gives way to some spice notes of white pepper and Asian spice midpalate.  The tannins are very nicely integrated, supporting a long, flavorful and very dry finish.  A very classic Amarone.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it is a fine example of the wine and a nice value, as I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for just $30.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a simple dinner of rare grilled New York Strip with grilled leeks, a baked potato and some steamed green beans.  This wine would also pair well with a lot of Northern Italian dishes, such as a nice wild mushroom risotto with a bit of Asiago shaved on top, wow I'm making myself hungry again!  Cincin!