Sunday, April 26, 2015

2012 Reininger Malbec

Well it's Sunday evening and I feel like I got a lot accomplished today.  I did a bit of spring cleaning, planted some herbs in my herb garden, and embarked on something completely new for dinner, but more on that later.  So tonight I've opened a bottle of 2012 Reininger Walla Walla Malbec which I just received in a wine clubs shipment a few weeks ago.  This particular wine is 100% Malbec from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard in Walla Walla, and a limited production of just 171 cases.

The wine is a deep, inky purple color in the glass, with a bit of garnet at the edges.  The nose presents some lovely blackberry notes, dark cherry, leather and a hint of eucalyptus.  The taste is at first crisp and refreshing with a rush of ripe black fruit that transition nicely to some earthy notes of mossy oak and white pepper midpalate.  The tannins are evident but not overpowering, leading to a finish that is more smooth than bracingly dry, but still quite long and delicious.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8 with plenty of room to grow in the cellar (I can't wait to try my next bottle in a few more years).  It's also a great wine to pair with a variety of rustic foods, which brings me to my dinner tonight.  Yesterday I was at my local market and they had fresh Morel mushrooms as they are now in season, so I couldn't resist and bought some.  After looking at a number of recipes, I decided to go with some linguine with a Morel mushroom cream sauce with fresh asparagus, a perfect dinner chock full of spring delicacies.  The fruit of this wine was a nice foil to the earthiness of the mushrooms, which in turn reinforced the earthy characteristics in the wine.  That was a delicious evening for all!  Cheers!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

2010 Helix Columbia Valley Sangiovese

Happy Saturday!  It's been raining here all day, so I decided to get some errands done since yard work is out of the question.  I went to Costco, then to Meijer, then to Martin's my local market where I get most everything, and what would you know they had fresh Morel mushrooms on sale, so how could I resist buying 3/8 of a pound (it doesn't sound like a lot, but it's a lot!).  And now I've decided to open a bottle of wine to help clear my head as I contemplate what interesting Morel recipe I should try, and what better wine than the 2010 Helix Columbia Valley Sangiovese, from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard.  Helix is the second label be Reininger, one of my favorite Washington producers of this varietal.

The wine is a lovely rich garnet color in the glass, with great clarity.  The nose exhibits beautiful aromas of leather, oak, tar and black pepper spice, just as you would expect from a great Sangiovese.  The taste is lovely, with a mild bit of fruit up front, black raspberry and cassis that melds into some earth and floral notes, edging toward some nice peppery spice midpalate amid some dark chocolate and mocha notes.  The tannins are well developed, providing a velvety mouthfeel and mild acidity supporting a long, exceptionally dry finish.

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's a nice wine and drinking well now, but I really do prefer the 2009 vintage which I reviewed here.  Tonight as I ponder the coming Morel madness, I am enjoying this wine with some Monterey kabobs, with sirloin, peppers, red onion and some lovely spicy citrus seasoning, a baked potato and some grilled asparagus.  This wine is so food friendly, it's hard to think of any dish that you couldn't enjoy with it.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2012 Legend of the Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

Well it's a weeknight and time to have a bottle of everyday wine to sip.  Tonight I've decided to open a bottle of 2012 Legend of the Vine Cabernet Sauvignon from California, a wine I recently picked up at G.B. Russo's in Grand Rapids for a terrific price.

The wine has a nice ruby color in the glass with nice clarity.  The nose is better than I was expecting, with notes of blackberry, violets and a hint of leather.  The taste was somewhat lackluster, with somewhat syrupy fruit up front that transitioned to some earthy notes of oak and black pepper midpalate.  The tannins are still a bit tight, leading to a very dry but pleasant finish.  After a little while, the wine does open up quite a bit, but it's still quite earthy though the fruit rush subsides quite a bit.

Overall, I would rate this wine a 7, it's not a particularly memorable wine, but it's very easy to drink and a good value as I bought this one for about $8.  Tonight I am pairing this with some linguine with spicy marinara and a fresh arugula salad, a nice simple dinner with enough spice to balance out the fruit of this wine.  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2013 Barricas Malbec

If you've known me a while, you know I tend to have a love hate relationship with Malbec, there are some I enjoy and others that leave me really turned off.  Let's hope tonight's wine isn't the latter!  Tonight I've opened a bottle of 2013 Barricas Malbec from Mendoza Argentina, and if there's at least one thing the Argentinians do well it's Malbec.

The wine is a bright ruby in the glass, with very nice clarity.  The nose is chock full of ripe red fruit, mulberry, black cherry and plum with some floral notes of violets.  The taste is actually quite nice (see we did get the love kind tonight!), with some ripe fruit up front, wild berries and tart cherry that quickly transition to some baking spice and mocha notes midpalate.  The tannins are fine but still a little tightly wound given their youth, but they still provide a nice foundation for a long, smooth dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's easy drinking, an ideal everyday wine at a terrific value as I found this at G.B. Russo's in Grand Rapids for less than $8!  The wine does come with an artificial cork, which I'm not a big fan of, but it doesn't detract from the overall wine.  This wine would pair well with red meats or a variety of Latin foods, but tonight I'm enjoying it with some Italian sausage ravioli with some Alfredo sauce with red and green peppers and grape tomatoes, for a fresh pasta meal, as the ripe fruit and tight tannins really pair well with the rich cream of this sauce.  Cheers!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2014 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Dry Rose

Happy Easter!  Yeah, I know, Easter was two weeks ago, but given my hectic travel schedule over the last few weeks I've had to wait until today to have my traditional Easter ham!  And not only am I having to pair a wine with glazed ham, it's also beginning to feel a lot like springtime, so what better wine to open than a nice 2014 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Dry Rose?  This particular dry rose is a blend of Cabernet Franc (84%), Petite Verdot (8%) and Malbec (8%), making it somewhat more interesting than many rose blends I've seen.

The color of the wine is a nice pale peach color in the glass.  The nose expresses an interesting combination of citrus notes, along with some white floral notes and a bit of peach.  The taste is delightful, with a crisp blast of fruit up front, plenty of grapefruit and tropical notes of papaya that give way to some honeysuckle and mineral notes of limestone midpalate.  The finish is crisp, refreshing and bone dry, perfect for sipping on the patio on a cool summer evening, which I can see myself doing a lot this summer!

Overall I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's a terrific dry rose wine, ideal for the summer months and a perfect complement to the sweetness of my glazed ham dinner.  The wine is also a great value at $17, but even more so with the wine club discount!  As mentioned, tonight I'm enjoying this one with a classic, though belated Easter dinner of glazed ham, cheesy potatoes and of course, green bean casserole!  The only thing better than this will be the left overs, ham sandwiches for lunch this week!  Cheers!

Friday, April 17, 2015

2012 Seven Hills Pentad Vintage Red Wine

Ok, before you leave an anonymous comment that this is a truly age worthy wine that you shouldn't even be opening for another five years, yes, you are correct, the 2012 Seven Hills Pentad is a terrifically age worthy wine which is why I bought a case of it!  The wine is a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67%), Petit Verdot (11%), Merlot (8%), Malbec (7%) and Carmenere (7%) with only 310 cases produced.  I haven't had a taste of this remarkable blend since the 2009 vintage and I had this case unopened for nearly a month before I gave in to temptation and opened a bottle tonight!  So please, let me enjoy this!

The wine itself is a beautiful dark ruby color in the glass with great clarity.  The nose is a rich combination of leather, dark cherry, espresso and some floral notes.  The taste is really exceptional, with some lovely ripe berry notes up front that transition beautifully to some lovely tart cherry and mocha notes midpalate.  The finish is showing remarkable potential as there is just a hint of tightness in the tannins, creating a classic youthful dry twang, but it subsides very quickly to reveal a soft, voluptuous finish that just tempts you to keep the whole bottle for yourself!

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 9, with room to improve with some time in the cellar.  The wine is not inexpensive at $75, but it's certainly worth splurging on for a special occasion (like a Friday night when I've already finished grocery shopping!).  Tonight I am enjoying this with a nice rare Angus New York Strip topped with some bleu cheese along with grilled leeks and Brussels sprouts and a classic baked potato.  This really is a perfect prime steak wine as the fruit and earthy minerality just shine with beef!  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2006 Shining Hill Columbia Valley Red Wine

Happy hump day!  It feels good to be home for a change after the recent hectic travel schedule I've kept, and since I'm home I can cook dinner and enjoy a glass or two of wine.  Tonight I've opened a bottle of the 2006 Shining Hill Columbia Valley Red Wine, a product of the Col Solare Winery.  A year or so ago I reviewed the 2007 vintage which you can see here, so let's see how its older brother stacks up.

The wine is a deep purple color with ruby along the edges and somewhat opaque.  The nose is actually surprisingly fruity, with aromas of blackberry, plum and cassis overlaid with some lovely baking spice and mineral notes.  The taste is quite fresh with some blueberry and blackberry up front that easily transitions to some cherry cola and mint midpalate.  The finish is quite mellow, with some soft tannins supporting a long, dry finish that's smooth, not abrupt as so many big reds can be.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7, it is very pleasant, but it seems to be just a bit past it's prime.  Tonight I'm enjoying this one with a lovely rare grilled Angus New York strip, backed potato and grilled Brussels sprouts.  Sipping a nice wine while grilling outdoors in the cool of the evening, seems like I've been waiting six months for this!  Cheers!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2012 Primus The Blend

Happy Saturday!  I actually got a lot done today, laundry, cleaning up the yard, washing my truck and later this evening I'll be going to a play!  So why not pause for a nice glass of wine, and tonight it's one I recently picked up at Costco at a very nice price, the 2012 Primus "The Blend" an intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Carmenere (25%), Syrah (25%), Merlot (15%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%) produced in the Colchagua Valley of Chile.

The wine is a deep indigo in the glass, with brighter garnet along the edges.  The nose is a lovely combination of smoke, ripe black fruit, rosemary and clove.  The flavor is quite nice, with some sweet fruit notes of strawberry and plum up front that transition nicely to some earthy notes of toasted oak and blackberry midpalate.  The tannins are nicely rounded providing for a velvety mouthfeel, balanced acidity and a long, smooth and very dry finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it's drinking very well now, but is likely a wine that's meant to be enjoyed while young.  It was also a solid value at around $14 at Costco.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a rather unorthodox dinner of butternut squash ravioli with a fresh vegetable Alfredo sauce, the acidity of this wine is the perfect balance to the richness of the sauce.  This wine would also go very well with a nice steak or barbecue.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

2012 Forgeron Sagemoor Barbera

Today is the first day that really felt like Spring around here, it was raining and humid with a high in the low 70s, so not bad really.  In honor of the first feels like Spring day, I've decided to have some barbecue tonight and what could be better with barbecue than Zinfandel?  Barbera!  And tonight I've opened a bottle of the 2012 Forgeron Sagemoor Barbera which I received as one of my Spring wine club selections.  I reviewed the 2011 Vintage here about a year ago, so now we can see how the current vintage stacks up.

The color is a rich garnet in the glass.  The nose is an intriguing combination of fresh herbs, white pepper and ripe berries, blackberry, cassis and tart cherry.  The taste is a rush of ripe fruit, cherries, boysenberry and plum that transitions to some dark chocolate and cherry cola notes midpalate.  The firm tannins provide a nice frame for the opulent, long and lush finish that just beckons you to another sip.  This is certainly one of those inherently food friendly wines as well, sure to please while cooking and eating.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, it's pleasant and drinking well now, and it was a pretty good value at $25, such that I don't feel at all bad about enjoying this one on a Thursday night!  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with some barbecued country style pork ribs with some mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.  The fruit and spice in this wine just meld with the richness of the pork, but then again with such a food friendly wine, how could it not go well?  Cheers!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

2012 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Franc

Happy Easter!  Now before you think me a non-traditionalist for my dinner selection, I have a wonderful ham that I fully intend to cook for Easter dinner, but since my travel schedule is so hectic, I'll wait a couple of Sundays to make it so I can thoroughly enjoy the leftovers!  Oh, and the wine, since I don't have to pair with ham, I thought a more traditional wine would be in order as well, so tonight it's the 2012 Seven Hills McClellan Estate Cabernet Franc.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc from the McClellan Estate vineyard and an incredibly limited production of just 23 cases!

The wine is a beautiful inky purple in the glass with bright ruby along the edges.  The nose is a lovely combination of leather, mint and ripe black fruit.  The taste is a refreshing blast of fruit up front, blackberry, boysenberry and black cherry that easily transition to some earthy notes of dusty limestone, white pepper and vanilla midpalate.  The tannins, though still developing are nicely structured, giving a great base for the long, smooth, dry finish.  I'm also impressed with the level of flavor complexity in this wine, as every sip seems to present another hidden nuance of flavor that you didn't notice before.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's an exceptional example of the varietal, though it could certainly improve with a bit of time in the cellar.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with my non-traditional Easter dinner of a rare grilled Angus porterhouse, baked potato and a variety of grilled veggies.  This is just the perfect wine to enjoy with a big steak, as it has the backbone and structure to stand up to charred beef, but the complex flavors to really complement all aspects of your meal.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2001 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Merlot

Well, it's the first Saturday of April, which means that it's Cellar Saturday, a time to open a bottle that's been maturing in the cellar for a while simply to enjoy.  And on this Cellar Saturday, we are also excited for bud break, a time when I get to hear about the initial buds of grape vines breaking forth for spring, and I am having a bit of a bud break of my own, only with my hydrangeas!  I'm particularly excited about the ones that I planted last year, they have survived the winter and hopefully will flower this year.  But back to the wine, this isn't a gardening blog after all, and tonight's wine is a real treat, the 2001 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Merlot!

Now bear in mind, I decanted this bottle for about an hour before tasting.  The color is a lighter ruby, with just the faintest hint of auburn along the edges.  The nose is a combination of sweet ripe fruit, blackberry, plum and a hint of raisin, along with some floral notes and tobacco.  The taste is remarkably fruit forward, with some lovely strawberry, cherry and blackberry notes that transition nicely to some earthy notes of mint and basalt midpalate.  The finish is warm and very dry, with soft tannins supporting the supple finish.

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, as it's a terrific example of the varietal that's aged very nicely over the past 14 years.  Tonight I am enjoying this wine with my classic Merlot meal of a thick cut grilled Angus ribeye with a big baked potato and a variety of grilled veggies, including leeks, purple carrots and Brussels sprouts, a perfect celebration of Spring!  Cheers!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2012 Maison Bleue "Voyageur" Syrah

Wow, it's been while since I've posted on my blog!  And no, it's not because I've been exceptionally lazy, but because I've been so darn busy at work!  I was out of the office for the last 10 days of March traveling to Houston, Dallas, Austin, Boston and New York, I think I was home less than I was gone during the month!  So let's get back to business, time to open a great bottle of wine, and tonight't should be a good one, from one of my favorite producers of Grenache and Syrah, Maison Bleue!  Tonight I've opened a wine club selection that arrived in my office when I wasn't even there, the 2012 Maison Bleue "Voyager" Syrah!  This wine was made from 100% Syrah, with a limited production of just 192 cases.

The wine is a lovely bright ruby color in the glass with great clarity.  The nose is lovely, with aromas of green herbs, macerated plums, black pepper and tobacco, it's the kind of wine that makes you feel good just inhaling the aromas surrounding it.  The taste is so rich and sophisticated, not your average Syrah by any stretch.  This one has a lovely bit (emphasis on bit) of fruit at the outset, cherry, blackberry and cassis, that transitions effortlessly to some wonderful spice and mineral notes of black pepper and just a hint of anise.  The tannins are well rounded, offering a foundation for an exceptionally smooth, dry finish (not the mouth-puckeringly dry of so many wines today, much more like the fine dry reds of France).

Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8, as it's a great wine, but the price prevents it from being your everyday Syrah at $55 ($46.75 with the wine club discount).  This wine would be great with a variety of rustic beef dishes, pizza, or tonight's dinner, homemade tacos!  The rich fruit and hearty minerality are perfect foils to a hearty steak taco with crisp veggies and homemade guacamole.  Cheers!