Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barbecue Wine

2004 Barbera d'Asti, Fratelli Ponte
Jen’s Notes

Perfumey, with plummy scents and flavors, spiked with raspberry, spices and herbs. A compote in a wine glass. Short finish with slight astringency. Great with my brisket and ribs at Armadillo Willy's.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fantastic Fontanafredda

2006 Fontanafredda “Briccotando” Barbera
Shane’s Notes

This is a fantastic value. It is very concentrated and very smooth. The palate shows blackberry, tart cherry and has herbal and smoky notes with a medium finish. It is rare to find a wine this well-crafted in this price range. We went back and bought a few more bottles.

Basic Chablis

2005 Pascal Bourchard Chablis
Jen’s Notes

Very nice basic Chablis. Lemony with a touch of chalk on the finish. Not complex but decent.


2005 Tannat, Tablas Creek
Jen’s Notes

Intense brambly blackberry aromas; the palate is similarly chock-full of berry fruit. The wine is juicy and tangy with hints of licorice and vanilla oak. Nice astringency on the finish; pronounced tannin, which I love.

Overpriced Pinot

2006 Pinot Noir, Williams Selyem, Russian River Valley
Around $35
Jen’s Notes

This pinot is scented with cherries and herbs. On the palate, it is juicy and fruity, with earthy and smoky notes underneath. Though pleasant, I found it a little more fruit-forward (and sweeter) than I ordinarily like.

A Disaster

2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Shane’s Notes

We loved the 06 but the 07 is just awful. It has a vegetal spiciness up front which is almost offensive, and the palate is very thin with almost no flavor. I love a good, racy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but this isn’t one. This is an awful wine.

Another Dr. Loosen

2005 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese
Shane’s Notes

The palate is rich but not cloying. There is good acidity with massive flavors of mango, peach and pear with a mild honeyed overlay. This a great wine for the price.

Give us a Good CDR...

O’Sud, Mas Fondreche, Ventoux (Sebastien Vincenti and Didier Robert)
Shane’s Notes

This wine was very closed at first but it opened up nicely after about twenty minutes. The palate was light and showed flavors of blackberry and cherry. It is pleasant but rather uninteresting. We have drank CDR’s that we have liked better.

An Okay Oaky Chardonnay

2006 Benovia Chardonnay
Around $35
Shane’s Notes

The style is similar to a Kongsgaard. It retails for about a third of the Kongsgaard and is about one-sixth as good. I should reveal my bias – I simply don’t like these massively oaked, partially to completely maloed Chardonnays. I try to review them keeping the style in mind but it is difficult. The texture of this Benovia is very rich and heavy but the palate is light on flavor. We could detect a hint of pineapple underneath the honeyed texture. We both agreed that it simply isn’t complex enough to justify the price.


2004 Tablas Creek Panoplie
Shane’s Notes

We love Tablas Creek wines and finally opened a bottle of their premium Rhone blend, the Panoplie. Is it worth the price? It just might be which actually is quite a compliment from me, because I generally won’t pay $70 for a bottle of wine. The palate is extremely flavorful with a long finish. It is velvety and slightly sweet on the entry. The flavors include raspberry and blackberry with hints of tarragon and cassis and a smidgen of cherry cola and lavender.

Sumptuous Saracco

Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2007
Shane’s Notes

I love this stuff although it will be too sweet for many. The good news is that the alcohol level is only 6% so you can drink twice as much of it. This one is syrupy but has a crisp acidity to it. It is also slightly bubbly. I thought the palate tasted like pear syrup, while Jen thought it tasted like apple sauce. Either way, it is flavorful and enjoyable to drink even if it isn’t complex. It would make a great aperitiff.

Opulent Viognier

Alban Vineyards, 2007 Viognier
Shane’s Notes

This is like a Viognier on steroids. The palate is massive with floral flavors, lanolin and wet rock. The finish is long. This is a magnificent, opulent example of what can be done with Viognier outside of Condrieu. We highly recommend it.

Another Erdener Treppchen

Dr. Loosen 2003 Erdener Treppchen Spatlese
Shane’s Notes

As I was going over our notes, I realized we had two sets of notes on this one. We drank two bottles of this one within a week of each other without realizing it. So, here are our notes from both occasions and they are actually fairly consistent.

1) We got this one on sale at Dee Vine. It was definitely worth the price. The palate is rich with flavors of pear and honey. It is tangy with a medium finish. It is not complex but very tasty.

2) Pear dominates the palate and there is a stony finish. Nice and rich but not complex. Medium finish. Slightly honeyed with good acidity.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Interesting Insolia

Valle Dell’Acate
100% Insolia, Sicily
Shane’s Notes

Another interesting Italian wine - not spectacular but very enjoyable. Good entry building to mid palate concentration. Palate shows juniper, tangerine and meringue (creaminess). Very dry with a short finish.


2005 Puligny-Montrachet, Clos du Chateau
Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet
Jen’s Notes

If memory serves, this wine was amazingly inexpensive. Not "cheap for a Montrachet" inexpensive, but, "Shane's definition of QPR inexpensive." Yet, it tastes at around $60. Scents include banana and melon, and the palate is quite fresh-n-fruity, if not outright rooty-tooty. It is tangy, especially on the palate entry, followed by pear, lemon curd, and stony/minerally/funky notes underneath. Extremely well done and enjoyable to drink.

He Blinded Me with Drouhin

2006 Burgundy, Chorey-Les-Beune
Joseph Drouhin
Jen's Notes

I tasted this one blind at my spinning wheel, with a wool blend of very similar color on my lap, waiting to become yarn.

The wine boasted aromas of raspberry and rosewater, with a slight funk underneath that told me immediately that the wine was French. On the palate, I tasted juicy berry, with something tangy and astringent, perhaps currant or orange peel, and more funk. I guessed a price range of $12-20, and that it was probably a Rhone.

German Wine Society

German Wine Society
San Francisco Chapter
May 17th tasting
2006 Vintage

The San Francisco Chapter of the German Wine Society met at the Gatehouse at Fort Mason to sample Rieslings from the 2006 vintage. As always, the hors d’oeuvres were fantastic and included sausages and an assortment of cheeses and crackers. Many of the wines, especially the Spatlese and Auslesen, need more bottle age but most were enjoyable to drink even this young. Here are some very brief notes on a smattering of the wines we sampled.

2006 Leitz Rudesheimer Klosterlay Kabinett – Rheingau
Palate shows apricot and baking spices. Finish is very short. Too sweet and simplistic.

2006 Prinz Hallgartener Jungfer Kabinett – Rheingau
More herbal than fruity. Also minty and the finish is like licking a stone.

2006 Toni Jost Bacharacher Hahn Kabinett – Mittelrhein
One of the better wines of the tasting. A “classic” Kab (not flamboyant). Palate shows pear and Meyer lemon. Very minerally.

2006 Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett – Mosel
As always, a fine effort from Doc Loosen. Palate shows moderate complexity with baked apple, honeysuckle and orange rind on the finish.

2006 Kaiserberghof Limestone Spatlese – Pfalz
Dry and tangy – probably a halbtrocken although not labeled as such. The palate was salty and showed fennel and citrus flavors. A bit unusual for my palate.

2006 Schafer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Gold Cap Spatlese – Nahe
One of the better wines of the tasting. Very rich. Palate is like eating a candied orange peel covered in honey. Medium finish.

2006 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Spatlese – Mosel
Most unusual wine of the tasting. The palate was very light and tased like Rosewater. Not sure what to make of this one.

2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Gold Cap Auslese – Mosel
A bit too rich and honeyed at this stage. There are some nice peach and pear flavors underneath the honeyed overlay. Would like to revisit this one in about ten years.

2006 Schmitges Erdener Treppchen Auslese – Mosel
Best wine of the tasting. Can definitely age but tastes great now. Palate is very rich and shows banana and apricot preserves. Finish is long.

Memorial Day Weekend

Shane’s Notes

2005 Cuvee Vatican, Chateauneuf de Pape

This is truly a magnificent wine. I usually don’t like paying more than $15 for a Southern Rhone but this wine is proof that it can be worth it. The palate is rich and decadent with flavors of raspberry, violets and lavender. There are also some earthy undertones. The finish is medium length.

Knebel 2001 Winninger Bruckstuck Auslese 500 ml

This Knebel is very rich, but with the age, the honeyed overlay has disappeared. The palate shows tangerine, marmalade and apricot. The finish is medium length. It is a very nice wine for the price.

2006 A-Z Pinot Blanc

Another great deal from Greg Popovich and company. The palate entry shows some creaminess and the mid palate flavors include kiwi and melon. It is also just a touch sweet which adds to the overall deliciousness.

2001 Fonseca LBV (unfiltered)

I still prefer the Dow LBV but we both enjoyed this one. The palate is rich for an LBV showing cherry, licorice and a hint of chocolate. Our only complaint is that the finish is rather short. It put a nice finishing touch on the holiday weekend.