Friday, November 16, 2007

Another T-Vine

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
T-Vine, Monte Rosso Vineyard
Jen’s Notes

Concentrated and powerful on the palate entry. Complex palate of herbal notes (primarily thyme), buttered popcorn Jelly Bellies, eucalyptus, spices and kirsch. Pronounced astringency on finish. Good dose of tannin, nicely integrated. Could easily age, but if you're impatient, decant for about 40 minutes.

Premier Crus Chablis

2005 Chablis, Domaine Vocoret, Montee de Tonnerre, Premier Cru
Jen’s Notes

One might say that this Chardonnay is the antithesis of Tablas Creek's Antithesis. Or one might just stop already and get to the notes.

This wine was steely up front with a little funk. As the wine opened, this first impression seemed more chalky. One of my favorite things about Chablis is its minerality, and la famille Vocoret did not disappoint on this score. The palate also showed flavors of basil and fennel, with some kind of tropicalish fruit I couldn't quite identify. Maybe lychee. Maybe gooseberry. Either way, there was also a dash of key lime. Delicious, but perhaps a bit youthful. Tuck this one in the back of your cellar for a bit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Unusual Chardonnay

2005 Antithesis, Tablas Creek, Chardonnay, Paso Robles
Jen’s Notes

So named because this is Tablas Creek's first non-Rhone varietal. It is also the antithesis of my great love in Chardonnay, Chablis. I liked it, though. This wine had scents of amaretto, complemented by a palate of baking spices, pear and vanilla bean. It was moderately focused. Though I would like a bit more in the way of fresh acidity, I thought this Chardonnay was quite unusual in terms of the flavor profile. Medium finish with a hint of fennel

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


2003 Prunotto Dolcetto
Shane’s Notes

We didn’t want to deal with trick or treaters so we headed to Pizza Chicago for a nice, relaxing dinner. We brought this bottle with us and were slightly disappointed. The palate shows raspberry and cherry and is very astringent – too astringent for our palates. The finish was very dry. It was a decent food wine but we wouldn’t buy another bottle.

Our First Cote Rotie

2001 Bernard Burgaud Cote Rotie
Shane’s Notes

This was our first Cote Rotie and the experience was definitely interesting. The blending of Viognier with Syrah produces a rather unusual flavor palate. Neither Jen nor I liked this wine until we were about half way through the bottle and our palates became acclimated to the style. This wine was very well balanced and the palate was concentrated. The flavors included blood orange, currant, maybe a hint of olive and some funk on the finish. I doubt Cote Roties will ever be our favorite Rhones but we would try another one.

Honeyed Apricot

2002 Knebel Winninger Rottgen Spatlese
Shane’s Notes

We saw the play Argonautika on Saturday with my parents at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Once again, the Rep staged an excellent production and we thoroughly enjoyed the play. Jen and I arrived home and scoured the wine fridge for a half bottle to enjoy before going to bed. Alas, we couldn’t find any half bottles, so we opted for this low alcohol (7.5%) Riesling. It was an excellent choice and as is frequently the case with good German Rieslings, it was hard not to slurp it down. The palate was simple but flavorful showing honeyed apricot. The finish was medium length and minerally.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kim Crawford Pinot

2005 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ
Jen’s Notes

This is a stunning value in Pinot. Scents of smoke and herbs invite you in. The palate entry is sweet with a mild reverb, followed by tangy cranberry and orange flavors. As the flavors expanded, we noted strawberry with smoky notes. Moderately concentrated, medium-length finish. Quite tasty and very enjoyable.

Dashes of Pepper and Smoke

2005 Tablas Creek, Syrah
Jen’s Notes

We seldom have Syrahs; Shane isn't a huge fan, and though I like the good ones, there are often those that don't have what I am looking for in this varietal. Tablas Creek's offering, on the other hand, really hit my Syrah spot, and Shane liked it, too. This wine boasts jammy, almost too-sweet fruit on the first sip, and soon opens into brambly raspberry flavors with dashes of pepper and smoke. Astringency on the finish, which I like. A very enjoyable wine.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Spring Mountain Vineyard Tasting at K&L

Jen's Notes

On Thursday 11/1, I went to the K&L tasting after work, a new series of tasting events on Thursdays. This tasting featured the wines of Spring Mountain Vineyard, located on the eastern slope of Spring Mountain, above St. Helena. Though Shane and I had been up to Spring Mountain on a tasting trip, we had not visited this eponymous winery.
Across the board, the wines expressed distinctive character and pure varietal flavors. The reds were gently oaked, allowing a bit of spice and toast, but nothing obtrusive. The Cabernets were mostly cab, blended with smaller amounts of the other Bordeaux varietals. I enjoyed them all immensely.

1. 2005 Estate Sauvignon Blanc

No blending here, this wine showed unmistakable SB character, with some of the green bean notes you see in New Zealand examples, but with plenty of juicy stone fruits. Both complex and elegant.

2. 2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Quite Bordeaux-like I thought, with a sophisticated restraint, smoky notes and a little funk.

3. 2003 Elivette

Pleasant tanginess on the palate entry, baking spices over berry fruit. Super long finish with pronounced astringency. Both this and the 2002 Elivette are beautifully structured, and I could see them lasting for quite sometime. Decant if you are drinking now.

4. 2002 Elivette

The 2002 keeps the tang and astringency, but is rounder, lusher and fruitier, with less spice. Excellent. Lovely now, but decant for a bit for the full experience.

5. 2004 Estate Syrah

Juicy, brambly, but again, showing French-style restraint, making for a balanced and wonderful Syrah. Another one with a nearly-endless finish, with good astringency.