Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Excellent QPR Rhone

2003 Chateau de Montfaucon
Cotes du Rhone
Shane’s Notes

This one really complimented the New York steaks we had for dinner. The palate showed mildly, sweet lavender and had firm tannins on a lengthy finish. We recommend decanting this one for at least 30 minutes. It is a great food wine for the price.

Don't give us Liberty

2004 Liberty School Cab
Paso Robles
Shane’s Notes

It smelled of sweet, black cherry, herbs and funk. The palate showed sweet, black cherry up front and that was about it. It was too darn sweet up front and a bit disagreeable on the finish. We are not sure what the bite was on the finish – maybe it was a bit tannic. It wasn’t a disaster, but we can’t recommend this one. We preferred the 2003 version.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Livermore Tasting Trip

Shane's Notes

Jen and I headed to Livermore on Saturday. We didn’t take any notes, so I will just briefly give our impressions of some of the wines we tasted (such as “we had too many malolacted Chardonnays”). We visited the following wineries – Concannon, Tamas, Kent, La Rochelle, Cedar Mountain, Wente and Retzlaff.

Believe it or not, the winner was Concannon. Three of their reserve wines – the 2003 Petite Syrah, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2003 Malbec were all very well done. They had good varietal flavor and were not over oaked. Each was almost interesting and almost worth the price. We even bought a bottle of the Malbec (sourced from Napa). After Concannon, the good wines were far and few between. We had really liked the wines from Kent last time but found them less distinctive this time. Jen loves their Merrillie Chardonnay (despite the malolactic), but I was less impressed. We did the Pinot tasting at La Rochelle,. All their grapes were sourced from either the Santa Lucia Highlands or the outlying areas. The first two (from San Vincente) were mediocre and the next two were decent – including one sourced from Gary’s vineyard. It was mildly interesting, but Pinots sourced from this prime region should be more than mildly interesting, especially for $75.

At Tamas, we both enjoyed the Barbera. At Cedar Mountain, they make a pretty good Late Bottled Vintage “Port.” It was made from the Portuguese varietals and does have some decent, port flavors. The price is a little steep at $25 a bottle but the people at the winery were so nice that we bought it anyway. The rest of the wineries really aren’t worth mentioning.

Cristal Lite

Roederer Estate, L’Ermitage 1999
Anderson Valley$35.99
Jen's Notes

We had heard that this was a California sparkler to rival the best of France. For my palate, this was definitely true. However, if you don't like a heavier style of Champagne, that might not be true for you.

This bubbly is quite full-bodied - reminiscent of Krug's Grand Cuvee. It is toasty on the nose. The palate is leesy, creamy and rich, with a touch of licorice. There is a pleasant hint of balancing citrus before the long finish. As the wine opened up a bit more, we detected plummy fruit. There was good minerality underneath as well, which made L'Ermitage all the more reminiscent of a fine Champagne.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Any Idiot can buy a Petrus...

…but it takes a genuine oenophile to find a case and a half of very good, inexpensive wine.
This was our task upon arriving home from our honeymoon, since we had an empty wine rack and nearly empty wallets. We took advantage of the 2 for 1 sale at Beverages and More, and then went to Trader Joes because they usually have good, bargain wines. As you can see from the list below, we chose a wide variety of wines from all over the world. IMO the best QPR wine on the list is the Charamba – it has an explosive, tangy flavor that I absolutely love.

We spent a total of $144.78 (including our 8.25% state sales tax) for an average price per bottle of $8.04. In no other era have consumers been able to enjoy such a plethora of good quality wine for such a modest price.

*$13.05 - 2004 - Red Bicyclette Syrah, France (2 bottles)
*$7.05 - 2005 Concha y Toro Xplorador Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (2 bottles)
*$7.05 - 2005 Concha y Toro Xplorador Chardonnay, Chile (2 bottles)
$13.00 – 2005 Babich Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
*$5.00 – 2002 Charamba, Portugal
*$10.00 - Peachy Canyon, Zin Incredible Red, Bin 119, America
$11.00 - Caves du Papes Heritage Rose, France
$11.00 - Paradiso Vernaccia, San Gmigiano, Italy
*$13.60 - Clos du Bois Pinot Noir, America

Trader Joe’s
$11.00 – 2004 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile
$4.00 – 2004 Abrazo del Toro Tinto, Spain
*$12.00 – 2004 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, America
*$5.00 – 2004 La Ferme Julien Rouge, Cotes du Ventoux, France
$6.00 – 2004 Barbera D. Alba La Loggia, Italy
$5.00 – 2005 Tonal Douro, Portugal

*A wine we have previously enjoyed

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Ripe Gruner

2003 Gruner Veltliner
Weingut Turk
Kremstal, Osterreich, Austria
Jen’s Notes

This crisp white from Austria showed scents of pear and grapefruit.The palate was clean, with herbal notes and pronounced minerality. Althought it was pleasant, it lacked the verve of other Gruners I have had (for example, by Nigl). A bit more complexity developed as the wine opened, and, if you like your Gruners less funky and more fruity, this one might be for you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Sublime Port

1966 Krohn Colheita Port
Shane’s Notes

This was an amazing wine. This is our second forty year old tawny style port, and you simply have to have one to believe it. This one had a sublime, ethereal complexity. It was very sweet and the palate showed maple syrup, vanilla, butterscotch, brown sugar and a slightly caramelized flavor. The flavors were very light and the finish was very long. It was worth every penny.

Another Mediocre Zin

2003 Clos du Bois Zinfandel
Shane’s Notes

Clos du Bois usually puts out relatively decent mass produced wines but this one was disappointing. It showed a little sweet raspberry but had that familiar heavy texture with mild vanilla flavor which usually indicate over-oaking. The finish was short and the mid palate was rough on the top of the mouth. It was also a bit watery. If you are looking for an inexpensive Zin, shell out a few more bucks and buy the Peachy Canyon.

Lime and Apricot

2005 Babich 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Shane’s Notes

This one had the typical Marlborough aroma – pungent hay and citrus. The palate is steely with a pungent citrus flavor along with lime, green apple and Apricot (yes, Apricot). The palate was mildly complex, just not too interesting. This was a decent Marlborough S.B., but it left me longing for the king of Marlborough S.B’s – Cloudy Bay.