Friday, January 29, 2010

Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zinfandel 2007

I've read a lot about Rosenblum Cellars and their Zinfandels so I thought it was high time to try one. I dropped in at 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro in Ocean Beach and picked up a bottle of the 2007 Rockpile Road. This was very exciting for me because I have been tasting quite a few outstanding Zins lately and looked forward to having yet another one by a noted vintner. The wine is very pretty, a deep purple in the glass that was very eye-catching. The nose was full, delivering dark berries and hints of spice with just a touch of cedar and hint of (I swear) tar. The flavors are intense with smooth tannins and just enough acidity to deliver a good finish though to be honest I could have stood a touch more acid to wake it up a little. A good wine but I don't think I would have rated it as well as Wine Spectator did (90 pts).

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 21

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fess Paker Viognier 2006 (Santa Barbara County)

Ah from time to time I just want something light and fruity (no comments Sarah) and the other night I pulled a bottle of Fess Parker Viognier 2006 from my little wine stash. I like Viognier, more than Chardonnay (which makes me the stranger among the people I hang with) and once again Fess make me one happy wine taster. The wine looked lovely when swirled in the glass, a touch of gold and green in the liquid. The wine is aromatic with honeysuckle and orange blossoms being dominant with just a touch of spice and vanilla. Good acidity and I was totally unaware of an alcohol content of 14.9% which goes to show how well they make their wines at Fess Parker. The finish was nice and smooth with the slow fade of the fruit on the tongue.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 20

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to Temecula: Leonesse 2007 Zinfandel

For those of you following my blog you know that the little-known region around Temecula has started producing some wines of note. The top three in terms of consistency of quality as of this moment for yours truly are Alex's Red Barn, Baily Winery, and the supplier of today's wine Leonesse Cellars. In my latest wine club shipment I received their 2007 Vineyard Selection Zinfandel, "Temecula Valley Vineyard". This wine was lovely to look at in the glass, dark ruby in color and nice legs. The nose is full of black and blue fruits (plums, blackberry, and hints of dark cherry) with a touch of cedar and dark chocolate. The wine is sufficiently complex and layered to keep the interest of a Zin lover and yet approachable enough that someone looking for a fun wine will enjoy it. Medium bodied, nice acidity, runs a little hot (15.5%) but with the spice in the finish it all seems to come together. The beef skewers I ordered at MA4 meshed quite well with it as did the spicy crab cakes (go figure). Well done Leonesse! Now get up to Temecula and grab some, only 498 cases were made!

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 19

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hob Nob With X Winery

Another night for light dinner and wine at Jake's On Sixth with the hubby. While he settled into his Riesling I decided to sample as my first wine Hob Not 2007 Pinot Noir. "Hob nob" is an interesting word that goes back to the early 1800s and means "to drink sociably" (One would drink "hobnob" if you took turns drinking to one another) and this Pinot Noir is definitely a wine conducive to sociable drinking. This is a French Pinot Noir but not from the traditional Burgundy. It comes from the very interesting Languedoc-Roussillon region. The wine is simple but pleasing with notes of violets and red cherries with just a hint of spice. The wine is medium-light bodied, nice acidity and fruit with enough tannins to give it a decent finish. A very nice Pinot Noir for the price (about $10 a bottle).

After finishing my lovely salad and Pinot I decided on one more pour. One thing I have come to like about Jake's, I tend not to know the wineries so I get to have a bit of vino adventure. Hubby spotted a bottle of red wine with a big "X" on it so being intrigued I asked Greg to pour me a glass. The wine turned out to be 2006 X Winery - Special Release Spring Mountain Merlot. A Napa region Merlot this dark wine delivered a lovely nose of dark fruits and cherries with hints of currant and coffee. Medium-full bodied this wine delivered good fruit and firm tannins, a nice depth and complexity but for some reason I found the finish coming up a little short for what I expected (guess I'll have to go back and give it another try). Still, quite a good Merlot and shouldn't be passed up if you get the chance to try.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 18

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Clos du Val 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

Today we closed on our first house and it's time to celebrate. From the collection comes Clos du Val 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Wine Enthusiast Editor's Choice. Not that such appellations matter but in this case I can definitely see why. Clos du Val has been making outstanding wines for about 40 years and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon belongs in that long distinguished pedigree. From the opening pour of dark ruby wine we are introduced to what is in store. The nose is full of dark fruits... cassis, currant, and a touch of underlying spice that was lovely. I could have just sat there and smelled the wine and been happy. This is a wine review though so taste does come into play. For a youngish Cab the wine ins medium bodied with fine structure. The tongue is hit with dried fruits, currant, blackberries, and again just a touch of spice supported with good but not overwhelming acid and silky tannins that combined to give a very polish, slightly dusty finish that was excellent. This wine has everything that will allow aging but at least tonight it was excellent as it currently stands. Even better when shared with friends!

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 16

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Justin 2007 Cabnernet Sauvignon

It's Tuesday so it must be Temple night. To commemorate tonight's gathering I selected a bottle of Justin 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Justin is a lovely winery in the Paso Robles area and dodging Napa for this Central Coastal area of California was a good choice. From the moment Nick opened the bottle both Sarah and I noticed a fantastic plum aroma. A closer examination brought out hints of cherry and vanilla along with the plum for a fantastic promise of a fruit-forward fun Cab. As the wine opened up a little more I got hints of cocoa and a touch of earthiness that was quite lovely in the mix. On the tongue we were treated to lovely black fruits along with a touch of sweet oakiness, good acidity and smooth tannins combining to create a medium-long finish resulting in a young but very approachable wine. If you think young Cabs are either too harsh or too simple to enjoy I suggest you plop down the $20 or so to get a bottle and try it out.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 15

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wine Tasting At San Diego Wine Company

Yesterday hubby and I decided to head north and hit the weekly wine tasting at San Diego Wine Company. It's typically a really good deal, 10 pours for $10 with at least one or two of the wine being a highly-rated wine. At this tasting there were a couple of standout wines, some I just didn't care for but overall a great way to get back into official tasting mode. Below are the wines in order poured and my notes from the tasting:

  • Husch 2008 "Mendocino" Sauvignon Blanc: Not a bad little wine but far from my favorite Sauvignon Blanc. Nice nose, hints of lemon and grapefruit and touch of "green" on the nose. I found the taste a little bitter (reminded me a little bit of citrus rind on the finish) but it may have been that the wine was too cold at the time of the pour. Crisp and light, didn't speak to me.

  • Buehler 2008 "Russian River" Chardonnay: Clear, tinted yellow. Light, citrusy with a touch of apricot on the nose. Not a bad chardonnay, round and slightly creamy, definitely malolactic fermentation happening but not OVERLY manipulated.

  • Chehalem 2008 "Willamette Valley" 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris: Very light in color, hints of lemon, tangerine, and I swear honeysuckle on the nose. Finish has a hint of spice with is quite good.

  • O'Reilly's 2008 "Oregon" Pinot Noir: Good Pinot Noir at a good price. Garnet, nice legs. Chocolate, strawberry, and a touch of raspberry on the nose. Good body, nice acid/fruit blend supported by soft tannins for a surprisingly long finish.

  • Nick Goldschmidt 2007 "Marlborough" Boulder Bank Pinot Noir: Pretty good Pinot, darker in color than the O'Reilly with hints of roasted meat on the nose in addition to the nice mix of blue and red fruits. Good mouthfeel, vyer soft tannins, medium finish. Between the two I'd take the O'Reilly though.

  • Cermeno 2007 "Toro" Tinto de Toro: In case you don't know, "Tinto de Toro" is another name for Tempranillo. Lovley color. Dried fruits and a touch of spice and cedar on the nose. Rich, slightly spicy on the tongue. Good acid, sfot tannins, medium finish.

  • Bored Doe 2006 "South Africa": Read the name again slowly... "Bored Doe"... Bordeaux! This from the people who bring us "Goats Do Roam" (can you figure that one out? * smile*), this is a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvigonon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Deep, dark color. Nice nose of dark fruits, hints of violets and cedar. Nicely priced wine, made me want to fire up the grill and make some big juicy burgers to go with it.

  • Lake Sonoma 2006 "Alexander Valley" Cabernet Sauvignon: Here the tasting really beings to hit some excellent offerings. Deep rich red, lovely blend of red and black fruits with some licorice, cedar, and cocoa. Full bodied, solid (but not harsh) tannins with balanced acid make this a well-priced wine that can age a while if you want.I found the finish a little short but an overall excellent experience.

  • Gran Cermeno 2006 "Toro" Crianza: Wow, nice! Blackberries, vanilla, hints of cedar. Medium/full bodied, find blend of promised fruits, acid, and tannins for a long finish. Rated a 90 by Tanzer, grab up some at the great price of $11.95 a bottle!

  • WCP Cellars 2005 "Paso Robles" Cripple Creek Vineyard Zinfandel: This is the one that came home with us. Nice jammy fruits, spicy peppers and I swear hints of spearmint (hubby mentioned that too so I don't think it just a faulty nose). Medium/full bodied, fine fruit and acid with just enough tannins to make the mouth feel spicy and tingly.

  • Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 14

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Brander 2008 Sauvignon Blanc "Purisima Mountain"

    Ah, a lovely evening. With kitty stable after his big medical trauma and finishing up from hubby's lovely dinner it is time for me to relax. I decided to pull a bottle from my latest Brander shipment and settled on their 2008 Sauvignon Blanc "Purisima Mountain". I have to say, Brander makes some of the most fragrant Sauvignon Blancs in California and I love it. This is a vibrant wine, nose full of limes, grapefruit, just a hint of "green" (I know, a color, but that is what I get) and good minerality you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc that all comes together to make the mouth water before it gets to taste. With this wine you get loads of fruit right off the nose. This is a very pure Sauvignon Blanc, treated the same way that Brander makes it stunning "Au Natural" so that you get loads of the pure fruit with little manipulation. The mouth feel is good, just enough body to it so that you don't get lean, lean acidity but just a touch of "roundness" that combines with the fruit and acidity to make this a very enjoyable expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. They only produced 158 cases so I suggest you get a bottle while you can.

    Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 4

    Two From Tallulah

    Stress. Work, kitty with major health issues, moving... ugh! So last night hubby took me out to a place we first encountered on a pre-drink to our lovely New Year's Eve outing at Martinis Above Fourth (affectionately known as "Temple"). While we often passed it on the way to church (real church, not temple), we had never been in Jake's on Sixth until that time. We had so much fun we wanted to go back and last night was that time for a return visit. Jake's offers a nice little selection of cheese and fruit plates, salads, and yummy paninis (we both had the "Americano Panini" which was delicious) but since this is a wine blog I want to focus on the wines. Jake's tends to offer wines that might be termed "boutique" wines, wines that are not mass produced or as our bartender Greg said "Not the ones you can find at BevMo". Indeed, for as many wines as I have sampled over time there were few I recognized, a good sign for me to come back more often.

    With dinner (pictured) I chose the 2006 La Femme D'Argent (or if your French is bad, "The Silver Lady") from Tallulah. A Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. The wine is aged in neutral oak and the minerality and citrus shine through. The nose is loaded with orange blossoms, grapefruit, and honeysuckle. The wine is lean but not racy with good acidity making the mouth water. Quite a good offering. So good in fact I decided to try a second Tallulah offering after dinner, their 2006 Shake Ridge Ranch GSM. For those of you who don't know, GSM is a shorthand way of writing "Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre" which is another way of saying "Chateauneuf-sytle" (sorta, close enough for government work in my opinion). The blend is slightly over half Grenache making this a nice fruit-forward and approachable wine. The bouquet is loaded with red fruits and has just a hint of lavendar and smoked meat. The mouth experience was quite pleasant with good fruits, young but not strong tannins and enough acid support to bring it all to a warm medium-length finish. Apparently less than 100 cases of this were produced so if you want to try it I would suggest you hurry out now. To make things easy Jake's is open at 4pm seven days a week.

    Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 3

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    First Post of 2010: Bridlewood Syrah "English Pleasure" 2006

    Yesterday was stressful. Between work and health issues with my beloved kitty I was so happy when the hubby and I met up with Sarah at the Temple. As per the Tuesday night custom I brought along a bottle from my home stash. For last night's enjoyment it was a bottle of Bridlewood Estate '06 Syrah English Pleasure. Bridlewood makes some very nice Syrah for their "Winner's Circle" label and in my opinion English Pleasure is the smoothest and most easy going of the bunch. From the opening of the bottle releasing lovely aromas until the end of the medium-length finish one word comes to mind, smooth. This isn't a big, powerful Syrah but is more like well-worn leather, supple and form fitting. The nose is rather floral with rose petals equaling the dark cherry that greets you when you pop the cork. There is a little support from hints of spice and cedar that are simply warm and pleasant (perfect for a chilly evening in San Diego). Good fruit, decent acidity and just enough smooth tannins come together to create a medium-bodied experience that brought a relaxing end to a hectic day.

    Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 1