Thursday, December 28, 2006


2005 Cuvee Tradition Vouvray, Francois Pinon
Shane’s Notes

Once again, we had an amazing Vouvray. Vouvray is one of my favorite white wines (My three favorite whites are Mosel Rieslings, Condrieu and Vouvray). This Vouvray showed good complexity for an inexpensive wine. The palate showed floral notes, dirt and steel. It also had the “classic” Vouvray flavor. Jen and I currently disagree on a label for this flavor. I want to call it lanolin but Jen vetoes that description. All we can agree to at this point is that the flavor is similar to licking a bar of soap except that it tastes pleasant. Anyway, this Vouvray was very smooth, very enjoyable to drink and we highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Return to Peachy Canyon

2004 Zinfandel
Peachy Canyon "West Side" Paso Robles
Jen's notes

We had high hopes for this wine, having enjoyed another Peachy Canyon Zinfandel. In a way, I was ironically disappointed. There was no question that this was a well-made wine, and definitely a more serious style for a Zinfandel. But I don't drink Zinfandels for a serious wine experience. I drink them for fun, which was what the other bottling we had offered.

That said, there's really nothing to complain about here. This Zin boasted huge aromas of sweet, ripe berry fruit wrapped around candied violets, spice and woody notes. And that's just how it smelled.

On the palate, this one was initially titanic. After it settled down a bit, we tasted ripe fruit and lots of spice. It was very concentrated, with a deep, lasting pepper flavor that seemed to expand the longer I had the wine on my tongue. Later on, the flavors evolved into smoke and tobacco. Surprisingly complex, and worthy of a serious Zinfandel experience - just to shake things up a bit.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Too Elegant

2003 Lavradores de Feitoria, Tres Bagos, Douro
Shane’s Notes

I don’t want elegance in my Douro table wines. I want rustic, unbalanced flavor explosions. So, even though this wine is smooth, elegant and very well structured, it didn’t excite me. It is very mouth filling but the flavors (cassis, gamey and herbal) are mild. The finish is unforgivably short and dry.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Great House Wine

2004 La Loggia, Barbara d’Alba
Shane’s Notes

The monolithic palate overwhelms you with a tangy, very juicy, blackberry flavor. It’s amazing that a wine costing only 6 bucks can have so much flavor! This is definitely one of our favorites in the under $10 category. We suggest buying a few cases (Trader Joe's carries it) and making it your house red.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Fair Fonseca

Fonseca 2000 LBV
Shane’s Notes

This one needs to be decanted for about a half an hour. It shows the typical port flavors of brown sugar, licorice and a bit of chocolate. It finishes a bit hot and the texture is thin. I enjoyed it much more when I had it with chocolate cake. The dark chocolate made the port seem sweeter and richer. However, having a sip of port after each bite will quickly get you drunk. This one drinks well now but probably needs about another five years in the bottle to reach its peak. I prefer Fonseca’s 1999 LBV but the 2000 is still very good.

Another Blind Tasting

2005 Rosenblum "Appellation Series" Paso Robles Zinfandel
Jen's Notes (blind tasting)

Aromas included sweet fruit and maybe florals. Generic, but pleasant. On the palate, the fruit was quite soft, with hints of spices and a tartness at the finish. Maybe a teeny bit gamey underneath (or maybe I was reaching). I thought it was pretty good. Guesses: southern France/Languedoc or Spain, Rhone varietals, around $12.00.

Guigal doesn’t Giggle

2004 E. Guigal Condrieu
Jen's Notes

I submit that if a Condrieu were a human being, it would giggle. More specifically, SHE would giggle. I think of it as a sweet, pretty young thing that is perhaps a bit shy, certainly blushes a lot, and would most assuredly giggle if you said something witty or a bit risqué.

With that it mind, you will know just what I mean when I say Guigal's Condrieu did not giggle. Though it was well made, and I liked it okay, it did not impress me in the way our other Condrieus have done (which were, admittedly, hovering at about one and a half times the price). This one was minerally and austere, more tart than expected, and did not have the ethereal floral perfume or flavors that I so enjoy in fine Viognier. This is definitely one area where you should spend a bit (or even a lot) more to get the ultimate experience.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Heckuva Hecula (or A Yummy Yecla)

Castano, Hecula
2003 Yecla red
Shane’s Notes

For an inexpensive wine, the palate is surprisingly complex. It shows some tart, tangy berry flavor with a very spicy, herbal finish. The finish also shows an almost orangish flavor. The finish is lingering but quite dry. The palate has a medium concentration making this a great food wine. It is elegant and well-structured. This is definitely the best Mourvedre we have tasted. (Decant for 30-45 minutes)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pear Syrup

Knebel 2005 Winninger Rottgen Auslese
$44, 375 ml
Shane’s Notes

I love German Rieslings at the Spatlese level. At the Auslese level, the texture can become so rich that the wine resembles syrup more than wine. I enjoy them but not as much as a good, less unctuous Spatlese. This particular Auslese was just a bit too rich for my palate. It tasted like a heavy, pear syrup. It was like drinking liquid candy. We did enjoy it, but stylistically, we preferred the 2005 Knebel Winninger Rottgen Spatlese (which is absolutely fantastic!).

Reliable Kunde

Kunde 2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley
Shane’s Notes

This one showed a tangy, red berry flavor with undertones of pepper, spices and tobacco. There is a slight vanilla overlay but not enough to be annoying. The tannins are there but very, very soft. We enjoyed this Cab and think it would be a good wine to serve to relatives over the holidays. It is serious enough to satisfy oenophiles yet mild and smooth enough for the two buck Chuck crowd to enjoy.