Wednesday, January 30, 2008
10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Will drink again.
A funny thing happened when I was looking for an appetizer that would accompany McManis Cabernet for my mother's B'Day dinner last week. The Guy and I have had McManis before and really liked it (see October reviews). He brought some home again a couple of weeks ago and I was reminded of what a really good value it is. So I thought I'd serve that as our before-dinner wine at my mom's dinner. I couldn't find anything on the internet that recommended an appetizer. Then, finally, a recommended pairing comes up and I'm relieved. It recommended Horseradish Cheddar with wheat crackers. I'm reading it and then I happened to notice the site - it was this one! So I took my own advice and we simply had cheddar and crackers.
So, last night I wanted to get another couple of bottles of McManis and went into my local wine shop. They only had the merlot. I have had the merlot and it's not nearly as good as the cab. So I passed. Then I came across the Italians and saw a "Super Tuscan" advertised. I decided to give it a try.
The bouquet was enticing the minute it was opened. There was a wonderful strong scent of black cherry and oak. The first mouthful seemed as though it would taste as good as it smelled. There was the oak and cherry up front, some heat, dryness and then a weakening. I was slightly disappointed, but enjoyed it anyway. It got MUCH tastier with an Italian Boule dipped in garlic and oregano olive oil.
"Super Tuscan" is the term used to describe any Tuscan red that doesn't follow regional traditional blending laws. They often use a combination of grapes which then makes them ineligible for DOC(G) classification under traditional rules. But this originally caused them to be labeled as "Vino da Tavola" (i.e. "table wine") which was considered the lowest of the low, even though some of these wines are the finest in the world. The recent formation of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica category (which represents a level of quality somewhere between Vino da Tavola and DOC[G]) has helped Super Tuscans regain their place in the wine world.
No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage. It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of whiskey.
8.0 out of 10
$10.99 / 750 ml. bottle
12.5% alc. by vol.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Clos Du Chene Vert
Would drink again.
Another wine sent home with me from my uncle. The color when poured was a bejeweled ruby. I loved the scent of this wine and couldn't wait to taste it. I smelled Brie and strawberry and smoke. Although the taste was less berry than I would have liked, I did taste a slight Brie-ness and smoke. But it was a little on the drier side than I normally like, and, not enough big flavor for my total enjoyment. It was more light to medium body, leaning more on the light side. It did accompany Dill Havarti and wheat crackers nicely though.
Go, little book, and wish to all
Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
A bin of wine, a spice of wit,
A house with lawns enclosing it,
A living river by the door,
A nightingale in the sycamore!
-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)Underwoods, I. 1, 'Envoy'
8.0 out of 10
12.5% alc. by vol.
Approx. $22 / 750 ml bottle
Monday, January 28, 2008
Vidal Grapes (100%)
Niagra Falls Canada
Before I review this wine, I'd like to just give an update on the pairing of the Holy Trinity, 2000 with the Moroccan Chicken recipe posted on http://www.cheznathalie.com/ (go to "Topics" and the "Food / Drink" section). The two were most excellent together. The original recipe actually calls for the pairing to be with the 2001 Holy Trinity. But I believe this was probably close enough. The chicken is served with Greek yogurt mixed with chopped fresh mint leaves which especially taste interesting with the wine.
I got off track there a bit and never completed my wine experiences with Uncle Bob a week and a half ago. After the Arrowood Chardonnay (Posting 1 of 4 Related reviewed below) we had the Pride Merlot and the Pomerol (see "Posting 2 and 3 of 4 Related" reviews below). Following dinner, we all shared my aunt's fondant cake made at the bridal shower earlier in the day. My aunt, it seems, has an affinity for Ice Wine. So my uncle brought up the 2002 Ancient Coast. This was my first ice wine experience. I really enjoyed it. It was excellent with the cake - especially the chocolate cake layer - the chocolate flavor seemed to burst forward following a sip of the wine. The color was like a cognac and the flavor was like apricots and honey. Very, very good.
If you are unfamiliar, Icewine (or "Eiswein" in German) is a dessert wine made from grapes (in this case, Vidal grapes) that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugar doesn't freeze, but the water does, resulting in a concentrated, usually very sweet wine. Freezing takes place before fermentation.
Forsake not an old friend; for the new is not comparable to him:
a new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shalt drink it with pleasure.
-The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, 9:10
8.0 out of 10
9% alc. by vol. / 375 ml. bottle
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Cote du Py
The Guy loved the scent, then had a couple of sips and handed it back to me. He said he was looking for a heavy Cab or Merlot and wasn't happy with this "weird" taste. I liked it. I am not a Beaujolais fan (though I must admit I haven't had too many - I consider Beaujolais "summertime picnic fare" and I haven't been on any of those lately). Ironically, my first Beaujolais was brought by The Guy, when he was first "courting" me. He brought two Louis Jadot Beaujolais' from his Dad's cellar to my bungalow one night. He probably doesn't even remember that though!
Anyway, I found tonight's Gamay (care of Uncle Bob - please note that a Google link for Uncle Bob shows up here but it has absolutely nothing to do with my uncle) much more flavorful and not as light as previous Beaujolais wines I've had. I liked it. The color was a cloudy claret. The scent was of thyme and cherry. The taste was mushroom, olive and earthy beef and a little cherry mixed in. It was good on its own but I did prefer it with pork chops (and gourmet peppercorns and "shrimp scampi" seasoning).
It helped that the bottle had one of my favorite wine pioneers' quotes on the back:
"Good wine is a necessity of life for me."
(We US wine lovers owe a lot to that President.)
Tonight's thoughts are totally on my mind (Duh!). I love all kinds of music - I really run the full gamut. But tonight I'm listening to Keith Urban's "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing" which I absolutely love. My favorite song, playing right now, is Stupid Boy (awesome haunting ending and guitar rift). It reminds me of my first boyfriend. I totally loved him and he was just "bad to the bone". I can't tell you how many times he wronged me. It took me four years but I finally walked away just before Christmas. His mother called me telling me I was breaking his heart and not to do it. He called me threatening to shoot himself (with a BB gun mind you). I later found out he'd bought me a diamond for Christmas. Funny how life turns out. One decision and everything changes. Wild. As the mother of a daughter, or two, or three, I'm very concerned about their future love(s) and the roads they will be taken down (or choose to take).
So, on my way into work one recent morning I was listening to a local rock station and a local singer that I like was on as a guest, live in the studio. The DJs kept begging him to play his "old girlfriend" song. He said he would but he had to mentally prepare for it. Turns out, he wasn't mentally prepared before I arrived at work. But, ironically, his "old girlfriend" song was a response to his old girlfriend's song now made popular by Keith Urban! Yup - it was Stupid Boy. SHE wrote Stupid Boy about him and Keith made it popular. I wished so bad that I could stick around in my car for his retaliation. The dynamics of it all were totally fascinating.
The interesting thing about what Keith's done to the song is that he's twisted it to be about himself - he sings her song just the way she wrote it, but then he sings "Yeah I'm that same ol' stupid boy" and at the end, he shows incredible emotion as he screams his apology.
Oh, in case you're actually wondering if my old boyfriend survived his BB gun, he did. Though I never saw him ever again, I know he's out there somewhere, still alive and not much smarter.
Tomorrow night's menu is for my mother's birthday and will be a pairing of The Holy Trinity, 2001 with the Moroccan grilled chicken/mint sauce recipe on http://www.cheznathalie.com/. I can't wait. Although I posted a review in December on the wine, and I've previously listed the Moroccan Chicken recipe on ChezNathalie, I will post the wine-food pairing results sometime next week as the two are specifically recommended to be served together.
Well, she was precious like a flower
She grew wild, wild but innocent
A perfect prayer in a desperate hour
She was everything beautiful and different
Stupid boy, you can't fence that in
Stupid boy, it's like holding back the wind . . .
Well, she laid her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
Yes, ya did
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
You stupid boy, . . .
It took awhile for her to figure out she could run
But when she did, she was long gone
Long gone, long gone
Ah, she's gone
Written by Sarah Buxton and sung by Keith Urban
8.0 out of 10
$25 / 750 ml. bottle
13% alc. by vol. (which I prefer - lower alcohol content)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Posting 2 and 3 of 4 Related:
Vintner Select Cuvee
First, eatingplum.blogspot.com, your snowmen cake is so sweet! Nice job. I am so excited about Fondant. I should probably take a class too as I got so much from the informal shower lesson. I appreciate your comments - thank you. Your recipes look good too, especially the Tagliatelle - I will try to pair with wine. I'm thinking right off the cuff that the budget-friendly The Third Bottle white wine would probably accompany it well. However, I have a bottle of 2005 Kistler Chardonnay my uncle gave me that I am already thinking about what menu options to serve it with (however, not exactly budget-friendly).
On to my current review(s): I guess I have (2) wines to review here but I don't have enough info on the second bottle. After we had our Chardonnay but prior to dinner, Uncle Bob, knowing I'm a Merlot lover, brought out a bottle of Pride (incidentally, he sent one home with me too). This wine was excellent on it's own AND with our dinner. My aunt made a delicious Hearts of Palm salad (with Hearts of Palm, grape tomatoes, avocado, Feta cheese, and other delicious ingredients that escape me at the moment, served with a rasberry vinagrette) and we ordered a phenomenal pizza - pesto sauce, pignolia nuts, and Feta cheese.
The scent was "warm"and very inviting. Lots of oak, vanilla, and berry flavor with a "warm stone" finish were the main flavors I was hit with. I worried what the taste of dinner would do to the wine, but it stood up nicely to the various flavors and I thoroughly LOVED this wine.
I mentioned to Uncle Bob my disappointment in not finding a French Merlot that I was yet impressed with. I told him how I find most of the French reds "watered down" and I seem to definitely be more of a California girl. That prompted him to offer a taste test. Although I was completely happy with the Pride, I took part in the 1995 Pomerol Uncle Bob brought up from the wine cellar. It was very good. The immediate taste for me was definitely Earth. It's extremely different from the California. As Uncle Bob and I discussed, the California is all about the berry, and the French is all about the earth. Very interesting and fun. I still preferred the California.
Looking for the right one unread
Needing to lighten the freight in my head
Here comes that sinking feeling again
Throw me a lifeline with no end
For time is robbing me blind
And gravity is not being kind
Sia's "Breathe Me" comes on the radio
And I think oh how appropos:
"Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I've lost myself again and I feel unsafe
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
I am small
Warm me up
And breathe me"
9.0 out of 10
$56 - $63 / 750 ml bottle
14.6% alc. by vol.
Mountain Top Vineyard
I would have to give the Pomerol an 8.5 out of 10 (I'm sorry I can't recall the Chateau and my picture is too small to get further info off of).
Monday, January 21, 2008
I have a lot to post and am excited about my day yesterday and all four wines I had to drink last night (Thank you Uncle Bob)- yes four! I went from almost having no wine to drink in the last (2) weeks to having (4) different ones last night. I don't recommend anyone do that as it packed a huge punch which didn't catch up with me until I tried to lay down in bed. Luckily, I spent the night at my aunt and uncle's. And, in case that wasn't enough, Uncle Bob sent me home this morning with half a case from the wine cellar. I will have much to review in the next few weeks (though I must admit, not exactly "budget" material - but I do have enough of my own budget wine to throw in between the others so please keep checking back).
My wine-filled evening began after spending the day at my cousin's fiancee's wedding shower in New Jersey making cake and drinking champagne (this was a shower for close friends and direct family of the bride only, but my aunt graciously included me as she knows I love to bake). The shower was a great time - the mother of the bride is an artist and she had her beautiful paintings displayed throughout her home, as well as some interesting sculptures she does. Most of her paintings are of people, but there was a beautiful one of a vineyard in Italy that I just loved.
The bride-to-be's beautiful sister arranged for New York City artist and cake studio owner Elisa Strauss to teach us all how to make perfect cakes http://www.confetticakes.com/. This was such a great time. Elisa is so talented, sweet and extremely funny. I was so excited with all that I learned and how my cake came out (and everyone else's - especially my cousin's perfect bow with her "surgeon's hands" ! She is not a surgeon, she is an ER doc, but everyone kept mistaking her for a surgeon due to her flawless bow - and we did use surgical knives to perfect our cakes - care of Elisa's dad).
Are you ready for my cake??? Check it out.
Yes! You can eat it. I couldn't wait to bring it home to my children. They couldn't believe it was real cake. It was the hardest thing (emotionally) to cut into it!!! It was absolutely delicious and so hard to see it go! I am SO eager to try this now on my own.
Ok, onto the first wine. I was unable to grab a picture before Uncle Bob had replaced it with a different bottle to accompany dinner. (The next three wines tasted during and following dinner will be reviewed sometime in the next few days.)
Russian River Valley
Would love to drink again if I could get my hands on more.
While waiting for dinner, Uncle Bob brought out Arrowood Chardonnay. It had wonderful fruit and oak aromas prior to tasting. The wine was rich, almost creamy, toasty oak and vanilla with an awesome mineral finish. I loved this Chardonnay. It was delicious on its own and accompanied simple mixed nuts well.
Robert Parker rated it an 89 in 2005 (I don't think he gave it justice - perhaps if he had it now it would rate better).
Thoughts brew over flames that dance and crack
The weight of weary days take their consecutive toll
Giving in to the warmth massaging my back
I relinquish to the fire that, for tonight, nourishes my soul
8.5 out of 10
14.1% alc. by vol.
$25.99 / 750 ml. bottle
Monday, January 14, 2008
Will drink again. Bonzer Mate.
First, an aside:
Funny thing - I know this woman, who just so happens to be my mother, and she called me up recently to tell me she tried The Holy Trinity (more like drank the whole bottle in one sitting), also care of The Bro, and yet, I never saw any commented posted from her. Hmmm.
Now, onto the most recent tasting:
Ok, ok, ok. It was supposed to really snow last night and I so love the snow and impending storms (some storm that turned out to be - facetiously spoken) and I made a fire in the fireplace and just wanted a glass of wine, in spite of my diet. So, here I am reviewing a wine before I intended to.
As I am SO lucky thanks to Christmas purchases, gifts and trades to have mostly wines above $20 in my home at the moment, I chose the only cheaper wine we had (though, as it was a gift, I didn't know its pricing until I looked it up). I made a pork loin for dinner and chose this Shiraz. I opened the bottle and poured a glass and brought it into The Guy and told him to tell me what he was drinking. His first reaction, right off the bat was, "Shiraz." Then he let it settle and he changed to a "Cabernet." Then he said, "It must be a blend because it's not quite a Cabernet." Not too bad - I'm impressed. It's actually 93% Shiraz and 7% Cabernet. He also believed it to be an "under $20 more than $15 wine."
I was slightly impressed with this wine - I don't know if it's because I took a wine break for awhile and can really taste well, or if it's just because I haven't had any in awhile and any wine is good! The scent was of black cherry and pepper. The taste was exactly as it smelled with a slight heat finish that was fairly smooth. It was good with the pork loin and good on its own. However, the wine bottle recommends (and I love this next sentence!): "It's bonzer with tri-tip steak, sausages, ribs or any food fit for the Barbie."
I think this is a good value for the money. The Guy and I figured, based on initial taste, its price range to be $15-17. It's $9.99.
She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it's gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She's so far gone she feels just like a fool
My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things
You're still the same old girl you used to be
8.0 out of 10
$9.99 / 750 ml bottle
13.5% alc. by vol
Sunday, January 13, 2008
We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.
7.75 out of 10
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Fonseca Bin No. 27 and
As these were both gifts from friends and family, I had to look up pricing. The Quinta I couldn't find available except for overseas. So the price is an estimate based on what I could find overseas.
8.25 out of 10
Fonseca Bin No. 27
8.0 out of 10
The way it's always been
I know all the ways of war
Cannot change it back again
I've been searching...for the dolphins in the sea
Sometimes I wonder do you ever think of me...
I'm not the one to tell this world
How to get along
I only know that peace will come
When all the hurt is gone
I've been searching...for the dolphins in the sea
Sometimes I wonder do you ever think of me
Terry Callier and Beth Orton
Posted by The Gal logged in accidentally as The Guy
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The following review is sort of an addendum to the one below it for "Belle Glos Pinot Noir"
Will drink again.
I wanted to do a separate post for this wine though it was enjoyed on the same day as the Belle Glos Pinot Noir. I previoiusly mentioned in one of my December posts that The Guy, The Bro and I did a blind taste-testing. I was slightly proud of my amateur self at how well I did at identifying the wines. However, the two that I messed up were the two Pinot Noirs. I guessed that Cloudline was Belle Glos and Belle Glos was Cloudline. I feel this is poignant because there were nice similarities in taste between the two which I believe led to my confusion - yet one was California and over $40 a bottle, and the other was Oregon and under $20. Bottome line: As much as I loved the Belle Glos, I will again purchase more Cloudline for the flavor it delivered at more than half the price.
The color was classic "Ruby Red" and it had a nice cherry and subtle oak bouquet. Like the Belle Glos, I would have to say this was very flavorful for a Pinot Noir. It had more substance and finish than most. It wasn't as bold as the Belle Glos, but it had wonderful fruit-forward flavor (but not too sweet) and a light oak and spice finish that was quiet but nice - very soft, elegant.
It is recommended to drink now through the next six years. And it is recommended to accompany either turkey or beef - though it accompanied smoked ham well on my dinner table (though I must say I did enjoy it more on its own prior to dinner).
In summary, I have to disagree with The Guy's comments in the Belle Glos review because when dealing with these two Pinot Noirs, the vast difference in expense was not noted in taste - and if you're on a "lower" budget, that makes Cloudline a real good thing.
Oh, and, as for The Guy's comments on my poetry, he might want to watch less football and drink less beer.
No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.
-- Horace, 65BC
13.5% alc. by vol.
$17.99 / 750 ml bottle (have seen on sale for as little as $15.99)
Friday, January 4, 2008
Would definitely drink again.
Before I review the current wine, Frederic's post reminded me that I want to go back to my "Top Five" list for 2007. I left off one of my other definite favorites: The Dead Arm. I loved it. But it is over $50 and therefore I don't consider it a recommendation for those on a budget.
OK - Belle Glos. I apologize for the poor picture of the bottle but it's all I've got. I was enjoying Christmas too much to keep up with the camera. I am not a huge fan of Pinot Noirs though I will occasionally buy one. This Pinot The Bro brought totally surprised me. I am used to Pinot Noir being lighter in color and lighter in taste - weaker than I like my red. It was a nice balance of fruit and spice - Cherries, herbs (a little thyme in there), and pleasant earthiness. It was full-bodied and a dark plum color for a Pinot Noir. It was delicious alone and I thought it accompanied our smoked ham extremely well - the cloves and honey in the ham seemed to be accentuated by the herbiness in the wine. It had the longest finish I'd ever experienced in a Pinot Noir.
8.75 out of 10
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
McLaren Vale Red Wine
Winemaker: Tony De Lisio
Will drink again.
30% Shiraz, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot 22%, Grenache 21%
I bought this wine for The Guy for Christmas simply because of it's name. However, it is a McLaren Vale and it is a blend, so I did use a little discretion.
This wine was very (subtly) alluring. The Guy and I enjoyed it more the second night – though the first night was good. Big fruit aroma – smells like it will pack a punch. It is a “quiet”, mellow yet full, cherry flavor-packed, woodsy wine up front. The finish is very subtle and just goes away gently.
This has got to be my favorite wine quote ever from The Guy: He said "When you put the Quarterback in your mouth, you get a burst of taste." (Oh, I'm thinking Matt Cassel or Tom Brady.) He insists he was talking about the wine, but I still think all these months and years of watching those tight ends run around have certainly had quite the effect on him.
The recommendation is to drink over the next 6- 10 years.
The Wine Advocate gave it a 90-92 rating.
When you're dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part . . .
. . .When you're dreaming with a broken heart
The giving up is the hardest part
Dreaming With a Broken Heart
8.5 out of 10
$22 / 750 ml bottle
15% alc. by vol.
The Guy: Yeah so... like ... um... The loss from words is due to an inherent inability to keep up with the quick wit of the gal. All I know is that I'm not the one fawning over these pics (1, 2, 3, 4) from camp. Odd name for a wine, but heck, if it is half as good as the team I follow, then why the heck not give it a shot?
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The Guy and I had shrimp and Korbel mimosas for brunch this morning.
TOP FIVE PICKS FOR 2007
(See my strategic pose with three below)
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes, 2006 (see DECEMBER reviews)
The Holy Trinity, 2001 (see DECEMBER reviews)
Yangarra Vineyard Shiraz, 2004, McLaren Vale (see JULY reviews)
Bogle Phantom, 2004 (see OCTOBER reviews)
Yalumba Shiraz Viognier, 2004 (see JULY reviews)
---Andrew Boorde, 1562, "Dyetary of Helth"
The Guy: If I only knew then what I know now, I would have thought twice about wasting my time trying to teach the gal how to ski. She looks a lot better just lounging around in the snow with a bunch of wine. =P oh la la