Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Wine Tasting At Wine Steals

After studying a bit this morning I decided to venture out to Wine Steals in Hillcrest. They have an interesting "leftovers" tasting that provides a pretty good deal if you want to try a large selection of wines for a reasonable price. I like to go before the crowds appear so I can spend a little time in reflection on what it is I am tasting without excess perfume and noise interfering with my concentration and sense of smell. From the wide range of wines available I chose the following:

  • Chateau St. Martin de la Garrigue 2006 "Bronzinelle": A decent, rustic wine from the Coteaux du Languedoc region of France. The wine gave off hints of oak, cherry, and plum. The temperature was working against it as the alcohol was evaporating at a pretty high rate masking the fruits. Good mouthfeel, chewy tannins and good acidity with a short finish. Not bad, probably would have been a better show at a lower temp.

  • Jenke 2002 Merlot: From the Languedoc we go to the Barossa Valley in Australia for a nice Merlot. Pretty garnet in color with hints of chocolate, plum, and herbs on the nose. Very dry, good alcohol, dusty tannins and decent fruit. Nice complexity and shows some depth. At its peak.

  • Rockledge 2003 Primitivo: Now to California, Napa's St. Helena AVA to be more precise for this "hot" little number... and by hot I mean a 15.2% alcohol content that you definitely detect. This deep cherry-red wine is a blend of Primitivo, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon delivering spice, red berry fruits and a little "gaminess" to the nose. Jammy fruits, solid tannins and good acidity helps me overlook the heat I get on the finish. Solid but runs on a little higher octane than I like. They might take a look at Fess Parker to see how to handle the higher alcohol a little better but overall not a bad wine for the bucks.

  • Domaine des Escaravailles 2007 "Les Sablières": Back to France, this time Cotes du Rhone. Heavily Grenache. Dark ruby with hints of violet. Lots of fruit (good raspberry) and hints of oak and earthiness. Lively acidity and good tannins delivering lots of red berry fruits. Medium/light bodied. Medium finish. An excellent offering for the price.

  • Jazz 2006 Napa Red Wine: From Branham Winery in Napa we have a lovely blend of Zin, Petite Sirah, Cab, and Syrah. Deep red with hiints of purple. Very fruit-forward (plum and dark fruits), soft tannins, decent acidity. A good "up the middle" wine that should please most people looking for a friendly red wine. While sipping I had a craving for food.

  • Camponova 2007 Toscana Rosso: This lovely Italian blend was one of my top two (the Jazz being the other) in this tasting. Cherry red in color, light fruity nose. Nice acidity, light bodied, almost tangy. Good tannins and delicious red fruits. Lean, clean, simple and very enjoyable. Should go well with a simple red sauce and pasta or a broiled flank steak.

  • Wines reviewed in 2009: 166

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    90 Points and Higher Tasting

    This last weekend my love and I attend a "90 Points and Higher Tasting" at San Diego Wine Company. This was an interesting tasting, all of the wines selected had been rated 90 points or higher using either Robert Parker or Wine Spectator ratings. The selection came from a broad selection of geographical areas including the United States, Chile, Argentina, Spain, and France. Here are my notes from this event along with the stated points (RP = Robert Parker, WS = Wine Spectator):

  • Albert Mann 2007 "Vin D'Alsace" Pinot Blanc: Light straw color, herbal and appl on the nose, lean, good acid. Nicely refreshing wine. (RP: 90)

  • Vina Cobos 2007 "Chardonnay: From the Mendoza region in Argentina come a lovely little Chardonnay. Yellow-gold in color (reminded me a bit of Mountain Dew in its coloration), this wine delivers a nice beldn of oak, pear, melon and fig to the nose and having a lingering buttery citrus finish. (RP: 91)

  • Vignerons de Tavel 2007 Cuvee Royale: Light cherry/strawberry in color. Hints of strawberry on the nose. Fruity, hints of sour-cherry, soft tannins and good acidity with a medium-length finish. (WS: 90)

  • Ercavio 2005 "La Mancha": What a great little wine from Spain! 100% Tempranillo, this wine is dark garnet in color with some oak, black fruits, and tobacco on the nose. Dark chocolate, black fruits with a lean feel to it (quite an accomplishment). Lively spice on the finish. At $6.99 a bottle this is a great deal! One of our two top picks of the day. (RP: 90)

  • Bodegas Sabor Real 2006 "Toro": Another Tempranillo. Not as deep in color as the Ercavio. Lovely nose, seemed lighter and more fruity. Shorter finish. Good, but when compared with Ercavio not worth twice the price. (RP: 90)

  • Vina Santa Ema 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: Lovely Chilean Cab from the Maipo Valley. Deep purple in color, lovely nose of black fruis, tobacco and dark chocolate. Mouthwatering acidity, soft tannins, excellent fruit all combinings into a great finish. (WS: 90)

  • Clos De Los Siete 2007 "Red Blend": Another fine offering from Argentina, a country that continues to deliver a good product at reasonable price. This is a Michel Rolland product (so you'll either enjoy it or turn your nose up at wine globalization at this point). This wine is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Very dark purple in color. Earth, cassis, tobacco nose. Nice mouthfeel, good body, fine balance of acid, tannin, and big fruit with a lingering lovely finish. (RP: 91 - surprised?)

  • Trinitas 2005 Petite Sirah "Old Vine": Finally a California offering, and what an offering. Lodi has been the source of some fantastic wines and this one is no different. Deep, dark in color. Heavier bodied than the others, a full, rich, mouthwatering wine delivering fruit, fruit, and more fruit with some lively spice (pepper?) on the lingering finish! This wine was the other on our top two list and a steal at $11.95 per bottle. (WS: 90)

  • Celler Bartolome 2006 "El Mirador": Back to Spain for a fantastic Grenache.Carignena blend. Black fruit, vanilla and milk chocolate nose (almost a caramel). Great fruit delivery with good tannin and acid support. Lean and clean with a nice finish. (RP: 91)

  • Landmark 2006 "Steel Plow" Syrah: This California winery delivers some stellar wines and this is just one more example. Pretty color, garnet with a nice bleed out to the edge. Fruit and "gaminess" on the nose. Fine fruit and hints of spice and tobacco with excellent tannins and acid. Long spicy finish. (WS: 94)

  • Sand Diego Wine Company continues to offer a great Saturday tasting experience with far, far more hits than misses from their hand-picked store offerings.

    Wines reviewed in 2009: 160

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    A Bit Of This, A Bit Of That

    Went wine tasting at the San Diego Wine Company. This week it was a selection of wines new to the shop. There were some definite hits but a few misses as well:

  • Luna 2007 "Freakout": Quite an interesting blend of white wine grapes - 7% Ribolla Gialla, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Pinot Grigio, 35% Chardonnay (wow). Light straw in color, I felt that the Chardonnay over shadowed the other, somewhat lighter grapes. Smokey, toasty and melon were what I picked up most. Not bad, not impressed.

  • Kunde 2006 "Sonoma Valley" Chardonnay: Again light straw in color, blend of apples, pears, and butter on the nose with decent fruit delivery. Good acid, medium finish. Good everyday kind of Chard and at the price ($9.95) it really could be.

  • Manu 2008 "Marlborough" Sauvignon Blanc: Nice stone fruits and citrus, hints of herbaceousness, good acidity. A tad tight but nice.

  • Mont Gras 2007 "Quatro": A Chilean blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 25% Syrah and 15% Carmenere, this is a lovely little wine. Deep ruby shading to purple. Nice black currant, cherries, hint of "gaminess" on the nose. A medium bodied wine delivering good fruit and a hint of oak along with balanced acidity and tannins leading to a medium length enjoyable finish.

  • Eberle 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: Solid offering by a Paso Robles mainstay (gotta love the pig logo). Nice deep garnet, excellent black fruits and berries on the nose, hints of tobacco and chocolate. Nice mouthfeel and acid/tannin balance. Longish finish, a fine product.

  • Brassfield 2004 "High Valley" Monte Sereno Zinfandel: From the High Valley appellation just north of Napa comes a nice Zin (currently on sale at SD Wine Company). Deep rich color, fruit-forward nose and nice, good mouthfeel, decent acid/tannin/fruit balance.

  • Wines reviewed in 2009: 150