Friday, June 29, 2007

Laundry Night

2004 Artazuri, Artazu, Navarra
Shane’s Notes

We like to spice up laundry night by taking a bottle of wine with us to the Laundromat. Since our Laundromat doesn’t have a liquor license, we have to clandestinely quaff it in the car. We usually bring a bottle of wine that has been sitting in our collection for awhile and is inexpensive. I saw this Artazuri the other night and couldn’t remember when I had bought it or for how much. It looked like a good Laundromat wine, so it was our choice for the evening. The palate was simple but showed a good concentration of blueberry with some wood on the finish. We figured it was a Grenache/Tempranillo blend that retailed for $10 - $15. We were very surprised to discover that it was 100% Grenache. It was aged and fermented in steel and never saw oak, so this may be what confused us. Anyway, it is an excellent QPR wine. It is one of the better 100% Grenaches we’ve tasted.

Not Bad for a Burgundy

2004 Burgundy
Premier Cru, Domaine Pierre Guillemot
Jen’s Notes

What a lovely Burgundy! We decanted about 20-30 minutes, and gorgeous floral/herbal aromas positively blossomed. The palate entry is similarly herbal, and there was something else in there that I couldn't identify for the longest time. I sat there for a minute and waited for the word to occur to me. It was sandalwood. That's what I love about Burgundy. You have to think about it. There was a hint of rosewater, too, followed by concentrated, tangy fruit, and a lingering finish. The acidity was buoyant and really seemed to add so much to the focus of this wine. Can you tell I loved it?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Coffaro at Armadillo Willy’s

David Coffaro
2005 Price Family Zin, Dry Creek
Shane’s Notes

We had this zin with some baby back ribs at Armadillo Willys. We love the food at Armadillo Willys and they don’t have a corkage fee. Well, actually, we’ve never asked. We carry our handy wine kit to the table and serve ourselves. This time, we left the corkscrew at home because this one had a screw top.

This is a fantastic zin and it goes great with ribs. This zin is dominated by dark, brambly fruit with a touch of pepper running through the palate. There are also spicy notes and cedar notes. With the alcohol hitting the 15% range, I thought the finish would be hot but it is relatively smooth. This is one of the better zins we’ve tasted. Congrats to Coffaro.

Heid and Sieck

Piper-Heidsieck, NV Brut, Champagne
Jen’s Notes

We liked this one, but it might be just a wee bit overpriced, especially when you consider something like the Ariston, which packed a lot of bang into our 23 bucks. Nevertheless, this is a nice, refreshing bubbly, with some interesting (though not particularly concentrated) flavors: clean apple and citrus, with a slight licorice sweetness behind them, and a slightly burnt taste at the finish.

Funky Friulano

Ermacora Verduzzo Friulano
Shane’s Notes

This was a very unusual wine. It tasted almost like a sweet Viognier. The mid palate was rich enough that this could be considered a dessert wine. The palate showed honeysuckle and tangy apple and the finish had a weird flavor to it. We aren’t sure how to describe it. This is a very interesting varietal and we would like to try a few more Friulanos.

A Sparkling Riesling

2004 Solter Brut, Klassische Flaschengarung
Rheingau, Riesling
$18 (we think)
Shane’s Notes

How could we pass up a sparkling Riesling? It was very, very, very steely with undertones of lemon and pear. It was very dry and had a sour citrus flavor. We were surprised at how much it tasted like champagne. It was very nice, but I prefer my sparklers a little sweeter.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Three Interesting Wines

2004 Beckman Vineyards “Le Bec Blanc”
1993 Jacoby Urzigen Wurzgarten, Spatlese, Mosel
2005 Tablas Creek Counoise
Shane’s Notes

We spotted the Beckman for sale at a wine tasting bar and we had to buy it. We really liked Beckman’s Syrahs at the Rhone Rangers tasting and his wines are hard to find. This particular white is a Rhone style blend (53% Rousanne, 37% Marsanne and 10% Grenache Blanc). The dominant flavor is apple with some nectarine underneath. The finish is slightly stony and the wine is mouth filling. Bravo to Beckmen.

We found the Jacoby at K&L. I feel like a sucker buying older bottles at a wine shop because about half of the bottles we buy are ruined. However, it is our best shot at drinking aged wines because we just don’t have the room to build a wine cellar in our apartment. So, we rolled the dice and picked up this ’93 Riesling. K&L assured us that it was aged at the winery and just recently shipped. This wine was undamaged and we really enjoyed it. The flavors included apricot and pear with undertones of lemon and banana. It had a hint of sweetness up front followed by a tanginess leading into a stony finish. The age may have robbed some of the flavors of their vibrancy but the rich texture was quite a treat.

The Counoise was shipped to us as part of our semi-annual allotment of wines from our Tablas Creek membership. It was very interesting to taste a 100% Counoise. It was tangy and although we aren’t experts, it certainly seemed very acidic. It was mildly concentrated with flavors of plums and strawberries. There were also lavendar and herbal notes. It was a very nice casual red. At $28, it is not over priced, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I’d pay that much for another bottle.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Liquid Blueberries

2004 Avignonesi Rosso di Montepulciano
Jen’s Notes

We had read all about their wines without knowing that we actually had one slumbering inside Pierre (I named the wine unit. Is that weird? Actually, don't answer that). Matt Kramer praises their Vin Santo, among other offerings in his book, “Making Sense of Italian Wine: Discovering Italy's Greatest Wines and Best Values.”

We were quite happy with this one. It was spicy on the nose, and offered both complexity and focus on the palate. The flavors included tart red fruits-, as well as some dense blueberry underneath. Hints of herbs, licorice and a little funk rounded out the impression.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Amazing Ariston

NV Champagne (Brouillet), Brut Carte Blanche
Ariston Fils
Jen's Notes

What a yummy Champagne! It is rich, creamy, and very concentrated, with lots of delicious fruit. Flavors include white plum, lemon curd, and a dash of fennel. A good candidate for the house bubbly.

A Restrained New World Pinot

A to Z 2005 Pinot, Oregon
Jen’s Notes

Do you ever sit back and look at your rack full of $60 and up Pinots and wonder if you're missing something? Eh, you probably don't. Which is fine with us, actually. We can keep this gem to ourselves. This pinot shows good fruit without being too fleshy, or oaky. It is even just a touch restrained, which we like. The pleasantly herbal nose is echoed on the palate entry. Surprisingly concentrated.

Flawed S.B.

2006 Matua Paretai Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, NZ
Shane’s Notes

The aromas include citrus and mown hay. The initial palate entry is a bit spritzy and the palate shows lemon lime (more lemon than lime) with some green bean and a metallic finish. There is also a hint of creaminess mid palate. We both enjoyed this but we think the bottle was flawed. The spritziness combined with the softened mid-palate acidity has us thinking the wine was undergoing malolactic fermentation in the bottle. So, we will withhold judgment on this one.

Simply Dee Vine

Shane’s Notes
May 19, 2007 tasting

This tasting featured wines from the 2006 vintage by Schmitges and Grans Fassian. The winemakers were there which always turns out to be a distraction. There are just too many people who want to show off their knowledge to the winemakers and they slow down the tasting. One threesome must have stood in front of the Schmitges table for a half an hour before moving on. Anyway, the wines were very good, but we wish we had started with Grans Fassian instead of Schmitges. There is a definte stylistic difference between the two. Grans Fassian’s 2006’s are more citrussy while the Schmitges are much more opulent. Here are a few of our notes.

2006 Schmitges Kabinett “vom roten Schiefer”, $14

This was sweeter than we were expecting. It showed peaches, tropical fruits and tart lemon. A very interesting wine.

2006 Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Spatlese, $21.00

A very nice Spatlese. It was honeyed, had some candied orange peal and maybe some pear. The finish was very long.

2006 Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Auslese (Auction)

This was a beauty – definitely the best of the Schmitges. It smells like golden raisins which is mirrored on the palate along with spices. It is honeyed, unctious and rich.

2006 Grans Fassian Piesporter Kabinett.

This one showed lime and metal. It was very crisp and refreshing.

2004 Grans-Fassian Leiwaner Eiswein Goldkapsel

This was our first Eiswein and it won’t be our last. Jen tasted it and her eyes rolled back in her head. This one showed baked apple and candied orange peel with a touch of lime underneath. It was rich with a very long finish. It is amazing that a wine this rich can be so vibrant and complex. Magnificent.

After each Divine tasting, Jen and I have a tradition of picking up at least a half a case. I go into withdrawals if I run out of Rieslings. We grabbed a few of the usual suspects, some Knebels and Loosens, and then we came upon something we had never seen before: a Riesling made in the Champenoise style. The gentleman who helped us told us that most of these are kept in Germany and they are usually sweet. He mentioned that this one was drier and quite excellent. The price tag was missing so I put in the basket and hoped it wasn’t too expensive. Fortunately, it turned out to be only $18. We can’t wait to try it.