Sunday, November 29, 2009

What We Had For Thanksgiving

In a word... wine. This year we attended two Thanksgivings, one served at the house and one at a Tio Ely's. It made for an exhausting but fun day and of course an opportunity to share from the wine stash. The offerings we had were fairly traditional but of course there are reasons for traditions, in the case of wine, because they go well with the typical Thanksgiving meal. In no particular order those around us got to share the following:

2007 Louis Jadot Beaujolais: What a pretty wine, a lovely garnet in the glass that delivered what you would expect from a Thanksgiving wine. Very fruit forward with crushed strawberries, hints of cherry and peppercorn leading the way. Excellent acidity and gentle tannins make this a favorite of mine for Thanksgiving (or just when I want something light and fruity).

2008 Alex's Red Barn Grenache: A newer offering from one of my Temecula favorites, this wine is loaded with black fruits, high-finish acidity and smooth tannins. An extremely food-friendly wine for most any meal with roasted or braised meat.

2007 Fess Parker ATR Pinot Noir: Since I recently reviewed this wine I won't say anything more than this wine did not disappoint and was as expected a crowd pleaser.

2008 Baily's Temecula Valley Dry Riesling: Had to throw a white in and this one was lovely. Slightly less dry than the name suggests this wine, this was a crisp, lightly spicy, "appley" wine that blended stunningly with the turkey.

Wines reviewed in 2009: 220 (not counting the Fess Parker since it was recently reviewed)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bridlewood "Six Gun" Syrah 2006

Over the weekend I went to Martinis Above Fourth to listen to Chaz and Aaron perform (if you haven't gone you really should). Since it was going to be a long evening (your fearless wine reviewer was going about an hour and a half before the performance to have an early dinner) I decided to take along my own bottle of something to have while waiting (the cocktails are both potent and deceptive in taste... you don't know you're drinking an "adult beverage" until you get whacked by the vodka). Since I had a recent shipment from Bridlewood I took the 2006 "Six Gun" Syrah contained therein. Turned out to be an excellent decision. The "Six Gun" is a pretty rustic, in your face wine. Big and bold, full of dark fruits, white pepper, hints of smoke and cocoa (and a touch of cedar on the nose) with bold tannins and good acid support. While a big wine this is not at all harsh with all of the elements coming together quite nicely in the mouth and bringing about a longish finish. I still prefer the English Leather from this winery but this bottle showed a nice job by the folks at Bridlewood!

Wines reviewed in 2009: 217

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fess Parker American Tradition Reserve Pinot Noir, 2007

As any reader of this blog knows I am a big fan of the Fess Parker wines, especially their Syrah and Pinot Noir. Last night at "Temple" I brought a bottle of 2007 American Tradition Reserve Pinot Noir from my most recent shipment. It was a touch young but a lovely wine that lived up to my expectations for any wine from ol' Fess. The color was a beautiful red, I would venture garnet but the lighting was a little dim so exact determination eludes me. The nose was fruity, heavily strawberry and raspberry with a hint of smoke and vanilla that I adore. Medium-light bodied, the wine delivered a nice blend of strawberries, black cherries and chocolate supported with good acidity and tannins producing a medium-length finish. I paired it with the pork appetizer at Temple for a nice synergism of flavor.

Wines reviewed in 2009: 216

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Foley Chardonnay T Anchor Ranch

The other night I was sitting in my usual spot at Martinis Above Fourth (affectionately known as "Temple") with my friend Sarah. I had decided to bring along a wine to go with the yummy food they serve (since I have been on a diet recently I cut back a bit on anything harder than wine though from time-to-time I do get to have one of their many fantastic cocktails). I felt like a Chardonnay and after rummaging around the storage areas I pulled out a bottle of the 2007 Foley T Anchor Ranch. I had read a lot about Foley but hadn't sampled them until my last trip to the Santa Ynez valley. One tasting and I was hooked, joining the wine club. This bottle is from their "Brand Series" that commemorates one of the early relatives of the owners.

The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Foley estates, Rancho Santa Rosa and Courtney’s Vineyard to be more precise. You get something interesting in the blend as they come from different microclimates within the appellation. Although allowed to ferment for 16 months in Oak I was quite surprised at what came out. The wine was bright, just a hint of greenish gold in the glass. The nose was clean, quite a bit of fruit with a touch of green apple, pineapple, orange blending together. Usually with oak fermentation and malolactic fermentation I expect butteriness and roundness and while there was some roundness in texture it wasn't at all what I expected which was a pleasant surprise! There were hints of the usual suspects of the fermentation process but very subtle with the acidity shining through. Nothing about this wine was flabby or overly processed creating a lovely fruit / acid taste with a slightly rounded mouthfeel making for a bit more body without it just laying the on your tongue. The finish was a lovely medium length that provided the "appropriate" time between sips. Definitely worth picking up if you want to sample something good from this vintner... but hurry, they only produced about 450 cases!

Wines reviewed in 2009: 215

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Couple Of Old Friends: Curtis Crossroads and Leonesse Melange de Reves

As the weather gets cooler my palate yearns more and more for red elements (but don't worry white lovers, there will more postings of those lovely wines as well). But cooler weather makes me think of the reds of Bordeaux, but perhaps even more these days the Rhone-styles. I pulled out two old friends to help with this transition, both from Southern California. The first is the lovely little 2006 Melange de Reves from Leonesse Cellars in Temecula. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Grenache that produces a medium body wine of fantastic aroma and taste. The nose hints at pepper, spice, berries and just a touch of tobacco ina warming combination perfect for my balcony-sitting in the evening. The taste is well balanced with a nice little touch of heat, good fruit, firm but not demanding tannins and good acidity that yields a nice medium-length finish.

Continuing with the same theme I decided to open a bottle of Curtis Winery's 2005 The Crossroad - Santa Ynez Valley. This tasty offering is another Rhone-style blend, this time of Grenache and Syrah. Curtis is a Rhone-style specialist boutique winery in the best sense of the word. From the get-go the nose is teased with clove, black fruits, and just a touch of sandalwood. I swear I spend quite a minutes just letting the aroma linger before even tasting. On the palate we get lovely black cherries and vanilla with fine acidity and good tannins that carry the event to a tasty lingering finish.

Wines reviewed in 2009: 214