Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Pinot Grigio

2004 Pinot Grigio
Santa Margherita
Jen’s Notes

I first tasted Santa Margherita's Pinot Grigio years ago at an Italian restaurant that no longer exists (Splendido in Embarcadero Center - wonderful), with a friend who has since moved to New York. I was so impressed with it that I scoured the principle wine shops of the Bay Area for it but came up empty-handed.

You might have noticed that these days, it seems to be everywhere. Get yours at Beltramo's in Menlo Park; they have the best price. Elsewhere, it is closer to $25. Worth it, but if you're close to Beltramo's, you might as well save yourself a little money.

I know what you're thinking. Why should I drink this, when the Cavit PG is only, like, 7 bucks? You should because this wine is smooth, crisp and clean. It is obviously well-made, with herbal and lime flavors, and good minerality underneath. It might remind you of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with less of a "bite" than you might expect. Food friendly, and perfect for summer.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oregon Pinot

2005 O'Reilly's Pinot Noir, Oregon
Jen’s Notes

This is a young one - drinkable now with decanting but would also benefit from a couple of years in the bottle. It boasts a heady aroma of dried strawberries and crushed herbs. On the palate, the wine is elegant, opting for a less fruit-forward style. The flavors include smoke and rose petals, with subtle fruit underneath. It is silky-textured and lingers on the palate. This is an excellent value in Pinot.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pear and Lemon

Dr. Loosen, 2003 Erdener Treppchen
Riesling Kabinett
Shane’s Notes

This wine greets your nose with aromas of sweet lemon and peach. The palate shows a concentrated burst of pear with a hint of lemon. There is also some wet rock underneath. It is a very good Riesling for the price.

An Inspired Sparkler

Domaine Chandon Riche
Extra Dry
Shane’s Notes

This one showed an aroma of sweet peach and nectarine. The palate was very interesting. It had a nectarine/bitter orange flavor with good acidity on finish. It was sweet but not as sweet as we expected. I told Jen that I couldn’t imagine one of the Champagne varietals imparting that bitter, orange flavor to the wine. Diligent research (we read the back of the bottle) confirmed my guess: some Muscat had been added to the mix. It is an inspired blend, and this sparkling wine is very enjoyable

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another Rosé

Red Bicyclette, 2004 Rosé
Jen’s Notes

This Rosé was pretty good - not as over-the-top yummy as our current favorite (Vielle Ferme), but certainly a respectable choice for summer drinking with something French. It boasts juicy watermelon fruit with a bit of tanginess and even something funky underneath.

Santa Rita Pinots

Jen’s Notes

2004 Pinot Noir, Sanford, Santa Rita Hills

I think we're becoming pinot snobs! This one was pretty good, although not nearly as smooth and interesting as the other Santa Rita Hills Pinots we have enjoyed (namely, Sea Smoke). It does, however, have the virtue of being easier to find and relatively affordable.

It boasts a nose of bright strawberry fruit layered over eucalyptus. On the palate, it is nicely tangy, reminiscent of cranberries. There is some concentration here, but it lacks the subtle complexity that we like to see in a good Pinot Noir.

2004 Pinot Noir
Sea Smoke

This is Sea Smoke's entry level offering (we got our allocation last week - yay!). It is intensely perfumed, with violet and warm woody scents. It is a bit hot on the palate, but this should diminish somewhat with decanting, and a lot with a couple of years of bottle age. Even so, I enjoyed the juicy, cranberry fruit, accented as it was with a hint of smoke.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Casa Lapostolle
2004 Sauvignon Blanc, Rapel Valley
Shane’s Notes

This one had aromas of cantaloupe, melon, citrus and grass. The palate was citrussy up front with some creaminess and cantaloupe in the middle. Judging by the palate, the grapes were probably very ripe, but the wine did have enough balancing acidity. The finish is quick. It is interesting and will have its fans, but we prefer our SB’s more crisp and acidic.

Ruined Riesling

Wehlener Sonnenuhr
2000 Riesling Auslese, Mosel
$35 (375 ml)
Shane’s Notes

Unfortunately, this bottle of wine was ruined. We extracted the cork and noticed that the wine had traveled up the sides of the cork (the cork was stained up to the top) and soaked the top of the cork leaving mildew on it. Each time we notice that this has happened to a cork, the wine is at least partially ruined. This one was drinkable but much flabbier than it should have been, and the palate was clearly damaged. The palate had a honeyed flavor with a bit of minerality but lacked the complexity we think it would have had if it had not been damaged. We were very disappointed. We no longer laugh when we buy a bottle of wine with a screw cap.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Fifth Top Twelve

Intro by Shane

Here’s our fifth top twelve list. A quick review of the rules that we follow: we choose 4 wines in the under $15 category, 4 in the $15 - $30 category and four in the over $30 category. Also, a winery can only appear once on the list.

Usually, I’m the one that culls through our notes and compiles the top twelve lists. I pick around 8 wines that we both agree belong on the list. Then, I usually add a few that impressed Jen but didn’t impress me and vice versa. The Bordeaux and Champagnes are usually Jen’s picks, and the Ports and Rieslings are usually my picks. However, we usually at least respect each other’s choices. This is the first time one of us has included a wine that the other person really disliked. I insisted that the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc make the list while Jen thought it was more of a candidate for a bottom twelve list. The Cloudy Bay S.B. has an extremely distinctive flavor so it will tend to polarize opinions: you’ll either love it or hate it, but you should definitely try it.

$4.99, 2005 Concha y Toro, "Xplorador" Chardonnay
Tropical Chardonnay, 4/27/06

$11.99 Alexander Valley Temptation Zin, California
Zinfandel Festival, 2/7/06

$11.99, 2004 Pinot Noir, Clos du Bois, Sonoma County
House Pinot, 2/23/06

$14.99, Chateau St. Michelle, 2002 Indian Wells Merlot
Jen’s Birthday, 3/15/06

$16.00, Sanchez Romate, "Iberia" Cream Sherry Reservas Especiales
Cream of the Crop, 2/7/06

$16.99, 2004 Domaine de la Maurelle, Gigondas
Great Gigondas, 3/1/06

$22.99, 2004 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
Sailing on a Cloudy Bay

$28, 2003 Winninger Rottgen Alte Reben, Reinhard Knebel, Spatlese, Mosel
Bursting with Tropical Flavors, 4/17/06

$33, 1997 Felsina Vin Santo
Savvy Cellars, 3/7/06

$49.99, 2003 Roar Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands
Terroar!!!!!, 4/21/06

$70, 2002 Louis Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Trip, 4/28/06

$89.00, 1996 Fleur du Champagne, Perrier Jouet, Epernay, France
Jen’s Birthday, 3/15/06