2010 Elizabeth Spencer Pinot Noir Rosé Sonoma Coast

2010 Elizabeth Spencer Pinot Noir Rosé Sonoma CoastI don’t really drink a lot of rosé. It’s only in contact with the skins for a few days so it has virtually no tannin to strengthen it’s flavor. Still, it lacks the crisp bite of a chardonnay or the sweetness of a chenin blanc. In general, this makes most rosé wines bland, with very light and sometimes indistinguishable scents and flavors.

The Elizabeth Spencer Pinot Noir Rosé was a different story.

The scent was light, but only because the predominant fruit I picked up on was the watermelon. Take a sip and another strong whiff and you’ll catch a light trace of strawberry and peach, not far off from the winemaker’s notes.

About mid-palate you can pick up on the grapefruit, and it finished off short and dry, like a lot of Rosé do. It would make a fantastic warm-weather wine and would go great with an antipasto platter, cold cuts or a salad (recommended recipe below). I’d score it at 89 points easily. [Read more...]

Deep Purple Zinfandel 2009

2009 Deep Purple ZinfandelDeep Purple Wines as a company does a very nice job at promoting the pop culture of wine. They’re fun, unique and definitely passionate about what they do. The label is very cool, and their website has some cool features such as their Deep Purple Brownie recipe.

As for the wine itself, it’s okay. It’s not nearly as complex as I expected, but has a strong fruity scent and taste, all the way to the mid-palate. It had a long finish, but was more dusty road than the “dusting of cocoa” from the winemaker’s notes. I haven’t seen any official scores on this vintage, but if I were important enough to score wines and be taken seriously, I’d give it 86 points.

I wouldn’t abandon the wine at the score, though. I find that a lot of under 90 point wines are not stand-alone drinkers, but still pair well enough with certain foods that they taste a heck of a lot better.

Pair it with a meat lovers pizza or spaghetti and meatballs, and you’ve gotten your $10 worth of wine and then some.

Winemaker’s notes:

“Scents of blackberry, black cherry, and plum with a touch of black pepper and clove. Jammy fruit from entry through mid-palate, finishing with wild berries and a dusting of cocoa.”

$10-12, available at Target and Wine.com.

Wedding Wine Closeouts

I have a very caring and compassionate wife. Thanks to that, she attends every single wedding she’s invited to, even if she doesn’t want to.

For that reason, we spend a significant amount of time each year attending weddings for family, friends, and other people whom I don’t know but am instructed to attend nonetheless.

Now, weddings can be exciting, dull, full of drama or sweet as pie. Anyone who’s been to more than one will tell you that there’s never really any way to say which direction things might head at a ceremony, and even fewer ways to tell what might happen at the reception afterwards.

One thing I have learned to count on, though, is an abundance of wine.

Not only is that a good thing because there’s usually plenty to drink (no one wants their wedding’s reception bar to go dry), but that also means that there is plenty of wine left over that not everyone is wed to the idea of holding on to. [Read more...]

2007 Ghost Block Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa, CA (Oakville – Rock Cairn Vineyard)

According to many reviewers, 2007 may be considered one of the greatest Napa Cabernet vintages of all time.  It was a very long growing season, and two hot spells combined to increase sugars and flavors.  What made it special is that these hot spells were immediately followed but unseasonably cool temps that kept the wines in balance.

Ghost Block is 100% cabernet sauvignon.  And while the wine is relatively young in terms of drinking (it can probably be aged for another 10 years easily).  We opened and decanted the wine for about 30 minutes.  When first opened, it had beautiful aromas of tobacco, dark fruit and hint of flowers.  When I first tasted it, I got blackberry, cherries and a little chocolate.  It was well balanced, and tasted wonderful.

What made the wine so unique is how much it changed in the 30 minutes while it was opening up.  The second taste was still full of dark fruit, but it developed an amazing caramel/chocolate finish.  It was like drinking a wonderful piece of candy.  The finish was long and smooth, and you almost felt you combined the power of a young cabernet with an elegant, delicate dessert.  Our table enjoyed three bottles of this wine

($450 total at the Restaurant).  Every bottle was the same, and they were all spectacular.  It’s pricey for everyday drinking, but was worth the money for entertaining Clients.

Too Much Wine…

As an avid collector and consumer of wines, I can definitely understand the concept of wine hording. I have a collection of “will some day drink” wines, and keep a regular stash of daily drinkers along side them in the cellar. Whenever I’m out buying a few cases for my daily consumption stash, I try to pick up at least one or two good bottles of wine to add to my collection. While this may seem a bit on the side of borderline alcoholism, one Japanese diplomat makes my vino addiction look like tea-toddling.

According to a recent article on Japan Today, an audit into properties owned by the Foreign Ministry found that an official residence of an ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a Parisian suburb contained a collection of nearly 8,000 bottles of wine. [Read more...]

2007 Las Rocas Garnacha

2007 Las Rocas Garnacha

2007 Las Rocas Garnacha

Grenache wines are ripe and rich, with a great balance between fruity and acidic. While most people have enjoyed it in blends with Tempranillo, fewer layman spend significant face time with the grape in its stand-alone version.

When a grape makes as great of a wine as the Grenache, it’s almost always a win-win situation when picking up a bottle. But when you can bag a $10 version rated at 90 points by Wine Advocate, it’s hard to imagine passing up on a case full.

Las Rocas’ Garnacha (what they cal Grenache in Spain) is sourced from old Calatayud vineyards ranging in age from 70 to 100 years. It is a dark ruby wine with a scent of spices, cherries and black raspberries.

Even though the wine is rather young, it’s still one I would recommend decanting for at least a half hour before pouring. A fresh glass will taste okay, but after having some room to breath it really opens up with a deep, complex flavor combination with a surprisingly clean and long finish.

Overall, it’s a fun wine, it has just the right alcohol percentage (14.5%) and goes great with a number of dishes. Recommended pairings include Petit Provincal, Sweet Constantine, Banon and of course Sheperd’s Pie. If you want to give it a go, you can purchase it here.
- The Wine Fugitiveicon

2007 Martín Códax Albariño

I enjoy Spanish wines, especially with some of the types of food we cook around here. Oddly enough, I don’t spend as much time hunting down Spanish wines when I’m restocking the cellar. It’s usually an impulse purchase when I do pick them up, and this occasion was no different.

Martín Códax is a co-operative established in 1968. Now boasting over 550 members, the collective has over a thousand acres of vineyards, mostly located in the Salnés Valley in Rias Baixas.

The wine immediately stood out in color from the other wines at the local cellar because of it’s bright, straw-yellow color. After cooling it down to the right temperature, I was pretty impressed with the intense green apple, aromas. It’s not a dull smelling wine, nor is it overwhelming.

It was more smooth than crisp, which was perfect for pairing it with the asparagus and prosciutto risotto we had as an appetizer. Overall, it was a medium bodied wine that we carried through dinner and into the gathering room for conversation.

I could easily see myself keeping it around in the summer time for a lot of the light foods we eat when it’s hot outside. I don’t think we could pair it with many of the heavier winter time dishes we eat, and it really didn’t strike me as a seafood wine even though the winemaker suggests it on the label.

Oh, and did I mention it sell for under $15 a bottle? I couldn’t find a rating for the 2007 vintage, but I would easily give it an 89 points (if I were an important someone whose opinion was valued by magazines and Master Sommeliers the world over).

- The Wine Fugitive

2009 Finca La Linda Chardonnay

Chardonnay "Unoaked"

I’m not really a Chardonnay fan, and for a good reason… It upsets my stomach.

It is the oaky taste that makes consuming more than a glass or two disagree with my senses. Overall, Chardonnays are a beautiful, delicate wine, but aging them in oak just doesn’t sit well with me.

While I don’t recall the specific wine, my first “unoaked” Chardonnay wine was in the British Virgin Islands after my wedding. I loved the wine for all the reasons people love Chards, and I didn’t feel like I was going to get sick after my 3rd glass.

I have looked around for a few others since then with varying degrees of success. Tonight, while looking for a pairing for my risotto, I stumbled across this in the Argentina section.

Bottled by Luigi Bosaca, the Finca La Linda is smooth, but still has a nice bite if served at the right temperature. My first glass was a little to cold, and the wine was a bit understated. After letting the bottle warm up, I was really impressed.

It was fruity and crisp, with scents of pear, white peach and green apple. It was a great wine to pair with the tangy risotto, but just as good as a stand alone wine on the final two glasses. I would recommend it for any vegetable appetizer, but I really want to try it again with an asparagus and prosciutto risotto or maybe some grilled fish.

Overall, for under ten bucks, I would keep a case around for casual drinking. Which is pretty much all I do anyways….

Decanting Tips And Tricks

Decanting a bottle of wine insures that the sediment that builds up inside a wine bottle is not served in a glass. Decanting is a process that transports clean wine into a separate container while containing the sediment buildup inside the original bottle.

Many red wines, and some white wines, will begin to buildup a sediment after 10 years of aging. This visually displeasing material also produces a bad taste. While older wines typically require decanting there are younger bottles that can benefit from the process because it aerates the wine, softening the first notes and stirring up the complex aromas. [Read more...]

Corkage Do’s And Don’ts

Bringing your own food or drink to a restaurant sounds like a bad idea, and often is, but many restaurants do allow patrons to bring their own bottle of wine.

Some dinner parties desire to bring their own bottle of wine because of its meaning or because its not offered at their favorite restaurant. When its allowed, many restaurants will charge a fee that accounts for the use of glassware and the work of the server. This practice is called corkage. [Read more...]