Saturday, January 31, 2015

2012 Columbia Winery Merlot

Here we are, my last blog post before the big game!  And since I am hoping for a Seattle win, it only makes sense that my posts leading up to the game have focused on Washington wines, and tonight is no exception.  Tonight I am opening a 2012 Columbia Winery Merlot, a blend of Merlot (85%), Syrah (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals (5%).  I recently found this wine at my local supermarket on sale for $12 so I decided to give it a try.

The wine is a bright ruby in the glass with very nice clarity.  The nose presents some light floral notes of lavender over some black fruit notes of cherry and plum.  The taste is a nice combination of black fruit that transitions easily to some mineral notes of graphite and toasted oak midpalate.  The tannins are quite fine, lending to a long, smooth dry finish,

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a pleasant example of the varietal at very good value for just $12, one that could easily become an everyday wine.  This wine would pair well with a variety of hearty meat or Italian dishes, but tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled Angus ribeye along with a baked potato with butter and sour cream and some steamed cauliflower.  Something always just seems right with Merlot and meat and potatoes.  Cheers!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2011 Forgeron Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Happy Thursday!  Today I received a wonderful surprise from the Fedex guy at my office, my latest wine club delivery from Forgeron Cellars!  This club selection was the 2012 Primitivo and the 2011 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which I decided to open for tonight's dinner (this Cabernet is actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (84%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (8%)).  Given that Seattle is playing in the big game on Sunday, I thought tonight would be a good night for a classic Pacific Northwest dinner to celebrate what I hope will be another Seahawks Lombardi trophy!

The wine is a lovely deep garnet color in the glass.  The nose is just dynamite, a rich earthy combination of leather, toasted oak and ripe plum bordering on prune.  The taste was quite a surprise, as you open with a lovely bit of floral presence, some lavender and rose petals that quickly transitions to some ripe plum and blackberry flavors midpalate.  The tannins are nicely structured, lending to the velvety mouthfeel and supprorting the long, smooth and very dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, one of my favorite Cabernets in quite a while, and one that's likely to improve with some time in the cellar.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic Northwest dinner of cedar planked Coho salmon filet served over a bed of baby kale tossed with a bit of aged white balsamic, some oven roasted potatoes and steamed cauliflower.  Yeah, I know, Cabernet is for steak, but isn't Coho just the steak of the fish world?  Sante!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of one of my favorite varietals from one of my all time favorite Walla Walla wineries, L'Ecole No. 41.  Specifically, I've opened a bottle of the 2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon, inspired by my finding a bottle of the 2009 vintage at my local wine store last weekend.

The wine is a deep purple at the center, with a bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is classic combination of rich leather, cocoa powder, a touch of green grass and some ripe cherry.  The taste is a blast of cherry cola which transitions to some lovely mineral notes of basalt and limestone along with some green herbs midpalate.  The finish is lovely, as the elegant tannins provide for a velvety mouthfeel and the basis for a long, sultry and exceptionally dry finish that just begs you to ask for more.

Overall I would rate this as a solid 9, as this is by far one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons!  Tonight I am enjoying this with a classic pairing, a nice prime New York Strip grilled rare with a big baked potato with all the trimmings and some steamed cauliflower.  The great tannins and solid backbone of this wine makes it just perfect for steaks!  Cheers!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2010 Ryan Patrick Vineyards Rock Island Red

So I happened to stop by my local wine store today, just to see if they had anything interesting to buy, and surprise, I found something!  Well, first I found a bottle of 2009 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon for only $39, so I picked that up.  Then I happened upon two other Washington wines from Ryan Patrick vineyards, which is based in Mattawa, Washington, to the northwest of Walla Walla and right in the heart of the Columbia Valley neat the Wahluke Slope.  So I picked up a couple bottles and tonight I've opened the 2010 Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%), Malbec (34%) and Syrah (8%).

The color is a nice deep garnet in the glass.  The nose is quite pleasant with notes of ripe, candied fruit, plums and cherries and marionberries, with a hint of cocoa powder and some faint floral notes. The taste is not at all what I expected, rather than a rush of jammy fruit I was hit with some smooth cherry cola and vanilla notes overlaid with just the slighted spice midpalate.  The tannins are round and supple, making for a velvety, smooth dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a solid red blend at a very good price of just $20.  Tonight I am pairing this wine with a lovely prime top sirlion, grilled rare and served with some grilled leeks, Brussels sprouts and baby golden beets atop a bed of baby kale.  The mellow fruit and big flavors of this wine make it a perfect wine for a big grilled steak, but it would be great with a variety of more rustic dishes, or just by itself, which is how I'll enjoy it after dinner!  Cheers!

Friday, January 23, 2015

2008 Reininger Cima

Happy Friday!  The work week is over, and I just got home from the gym, so it's seems a perfect time to open up a bottle of wine!  Tonight I've opened a lovely bottle of 2008 Reininger Cima, a "Super Wallan" blend of Walla Walla wine modeled after the super Tuscan blends of Italy.  This wine is a blend of Sangiovese (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%), Merlot (14%), Petit Verdot (14%) and Cabernet Franc (8%), blended and barrel aged for five years.  I've previously reviewed the 2006 vintage (click here) and the 2007 vintage (click here) so let's see if the latest vintage can live up to its predecessors!

The wine is a beautiful bright ruby color in the glass, with great clarity.  The nose is a sophisticated and layered presentation of ripe black fruit over some smoke which plays nicely off some mineral notes and a hint of leather, very reminiscent of a nice Tuscan blend.  The taste a brief flash of ripe plum and tart cherry that subsides into some flavors of fresh herbs and just a hint of coriander and white pepper spice midpalate.  The finish is very nice, with understated tannins providing a nice base for a long, mineral finish that is just daring you to take another sip.

Overall, I would rate this one a solid 8.5, it's a fine effort, but it just didn't blow me away like the '06 and '07 vintages (good think I have a bottle or two left of those!).  Tonight I am pairing this with a nice winter comfort food dinner of stuffed cabbage, or Galumpkis as my Polish friends used to say (I make mine very simple, blanched cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef, topped with some San Marzano tomatoes, a touch of basil and some freshly grated cheese.  The fruit and spice of this wine along with the earthy notes are a lovely complement to the sweet and spicy aspects of the stuffed cabbage, but this wine would also pair nicely with about any traditional Italian dish or a nice grilled steak.  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2005 Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco Riserva "Serraboella"

Happy Wine Wednesday!  To help celebrate this fine mid-week wine day, I've decided to open a bottle of 2005 Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco Riserva "Serraboella" a nice red wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, which you guessed right, is made from 100% Nebbiolo!  I just received this wine today at the office, having ordered a couple bottle last week from Wines Till Sold Out.  Now I'll be the first to admit, I'm somewhat hit or miss on Nebbiolo-based wines, as there are some Barolos that I find amazing and others that I can't stand, though the odds of me liking them definitely increases with age, particularly once a wine reaches the 10-year mark.

This wine is a deep ruby in the glass with great clarity.  The nose is very inviting, with aromas of tart cherry over some nice earthy notes of smoke, tar and cedar.  The taste takes be back to Italy, with some wonderful flavors of anise intermingled with cherry and candied plum at the outset, which quickly transitions to some earthy mineral notes midpalate.  The bright tannins support a velvety mouthfeel and an exceptionally long, dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a fine example of the wine that was a descent value at $26.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some classic northern Italian wild mushroom risotto with some lovely shaved asiago on top.  The lovely fruit notes perfectly complement the earthiness of the risotto, but it would also pair well with classic pasta dishes with a variety of sauces or a lovely grilled steak.  Cin cin!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2010 Viticoltori in Valpantena Amarone della Valpolicella

I was in Florida this week for work and finally arrived back home last night, so today has been catch up day for all my household chores, including taking down the last of the Christmas decorations outside!  So now it's time to relax in the evening with a nice bottle of wine, and tonight it's a bottle of 2010 Viticoltori in Valpantena Amarone della Valpolicella, and those who know me know what a big fan of Amarone I am!  This one is a classic blend of Corvina (60%), Corvinone (20%) and Rondinella (20%).

The wine is a deep ruby color in the glass with great clarity.  The nose is a classic Amarone, with wonderful cherry and ripe plum notes, with just a hint of floral essence with some rose petals.  The taste is classic Amarone, with a blast of ripe fruit, cherries, blackberries and prune that transitions flawlessly to some vanilla and a hint of white pepper spice midpalate.  The finish is lovely, with some earthy notes of dusty limestone and a hint of hazelnut as the well structured tannins form a foundation for a long, voluptuous finish that can only come from a nice Amarone.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's drinking quite well now, but it's still young and should improve with a few more years in the cellar, and it was a great value at less than $23 from Wines Till Sold Out.  This wine would be ideal with a variety of great Italian dishes, from Bistecca alla Fiorentina to a hearty pasta with a spicy red sauce.  Tonight I am pairing this wine with the classic American (almost Italian?) dish of stuffed peppers!  The sweetness of the wine is a perfect complement to the hearty beef and rice stuffed peppers topped with a bit of spicy marinara and some grated parmesan and asiago cheese.  So delicious!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2010 Forgeron Petite Sirah - Stone Tree Vineyard

What a long day!  Sometimes it seems like the work around the house just never ends, whether you're mowing the grass, raking leaves, or this time of year shoveling snow, there is always work to do.  Today I took down the Christmas decorations, dragged the trees to the curb, took down almost all the lights and garland, though there is one section outside the living room I didn't get to since it started snowing and I didn't feel like getting up on the ladder in the snow!  In any case, now it's time to relax, and to help me do that I've opened up a bottle of 2010 Forgeron Petite Sirah, from the Stone Tree Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope.  I just happened upon this bottle while looking for something to go with my dinner, and what a find, a Forgeron Societe exclusive wine with only 108 cases produced!

The wine is a deep, inky purple color in the glass that's almost black at the center.  The nose is just divine, with aromas of ripe black fruit and a bit of smokiness that accents the notes of boysenberry and blueberry.  The taste is a rush of ripe fruit, blueberries, plums, black cherries, that transition to some lovely notes of white pepper and cassis midpalate.  The finish is lovely, as the well integrated tannins support the long, smooth and velvety dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.  I can't wait to have another sip!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's just a big, fruit forward wine that would pair well with a variety of dishes, from steak to a lovely roast lamb, but tonight I am pairing it with some barbecue chicken breast!  You see, I really love petite sirah as a great wine to go with barbecue, in a similar vein to Zinfandel, the strong fruit notes and the spice just make it perfect with smoky, sweet barbecue with just a hint of spice.  Along with the chicken breast, I'm also having some oven roasted rainbow potatoes and some sugar snap peas, it's like summer came back for an evening!  Cheers!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

1999 I Balzini Super Tuscan - Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese

Happy New Year!  Yeah, I know I'm a few days late, but what can you expect from me?  Tonight not only will I make my first blog post of 2015, but it's also "Cellar Saturday" that first Saturday of the month where I raid the cellar and open a bottle that's had some time to mature.  Tonight, that mature bottle is the 1999 I Balzini Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese that I originally bought in a vertical that included the 1997-99 and 2001 from Wines Till Sold Out.

Having let this wine breathe for a couple hours, it's a bright ruby, with some darker color toward the center, and surprising clarity given its age.  The nose is quite pleasant, with some ripe berry, prune and cherry notes up front, than transition to some toasted oak and smoky notes.  The taste is quite nice, with some ripe cherry and cola notes up front, that transition to some notes of plum and dusty limestone midpalate.  The tannins are very well developed, supporting a round, velvety and very dry finish that seems to last a minute or more.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a very pleasant wine that would make a great accompaniment to a variety of heavier, meaty dishes.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rare grilled Angus New York Strip topped with some Stilton, along with a big old baked potato and some fresh steamed Brussels sprouts.  A perfect dinner for such a lovely wine!