Thursday, December 30, 2010

Foley Chardonnay 2008 "Steel"

The more from Foley I try the more from Foley I like. This is a wonderful example of a Chardonnay that was stainless steel fermented (no oak, no "toastiness") and malolactic fermentation (no roundness and no buttery notes). Here we have a pure expression of Chardonnay. On the nose I get notes of citrus (mainly lime but a touch of lemon curd as well), some wet slate and just a touch of Riesling-like petrol. The wine is lean, lively acid and lemon/lime in the mouth with a slightly zesty, med/(+) length finish. Simply lovely, should hold well over the next couple of years.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 139

Monday, December 27, 2010

Castoro Cellars "Blind Faith" Syrah 2006

It's been a while since I have visited Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles so it was fun to find this particular offering at Trader Joe's in Hillcrest. With many pleasant memories of tastings and trips past I purchased a bottle and took it home. And a pleasure it was. This is not a big, overwhelming Syrah. Instead there is some subtly in this wine. The nose is loaded with anise, cherries, a touch of floral and spice scents and an undertone of earthiness. In the mouth, well, what you smell is what you get. The wine is medium bodied, smooth tannins, medium/(+) acidity, sour cherries and spice with a medium length finish with just a touch of heat at the end. Pleasant, fun, a little different than most from Paso Robles.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 138

Sunday, December 26, 2010

La Vielle Cure 2005

The Bordeaux 2005 vintage was hot and heavy, one of the best in 50 years. This of course means that if you look at any of the main names for Bordeaux reds you might get stick shock. At times like this it pays to look at some of the satellite regions around the better known ones. What we have here is an excellent wine from a lesser known (or at least lesser publicized) region of Fronsac. This appellation lies just to the west of the more celebrated areas of Pomerol and Saint Emilion. Being a "Right Bank" Bordeaux we would expect a higher concentration of Merlot and that is what we get here with this wine being around 80% Merlot. This lovely wine was inky/ruby in color with a loaded, layered nose of black cherry, cassis, blackberries, mocha, and a touch of minerality and spice. The wine is medium/(+) bodied, concentrated with still strong but not overly powerful tannins and a balanced acidity leading me to think we have a wine that is just now entering its real drinkability and should evolve more the next 5 years. We get nice black and red fruits blending with the tannins and acid to give a lovely long finish. If you want to experience a solid wine from a legendary region produced during a historically proclaimed year at a price that won't break the bank give this lovely wine a try. Pair it was a lovely cut of beef and you'll have a fabulous experience.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 137

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Playing Catch Up

With work picking up the last few weeks I've fallen behind putting up my reviews. In an effort to catch up here are 10 mini-reviews I've pulled from recent tastings:

Scott 2009 "Arroyo Seco" Chardonnay: Lemony-yellow, tropical fruits and lemon, buttery notes indicating malolactic fermentation. Med/(+) bodied Chardonnay with a med length finish. Good value, would wait another year before popping the cork.

Laird 2007 "Cold Creek" Chardonnay: Golden straw, buttery, tropicla fruits, hints of oak. Med bodied, "round" with enough acid to keep it from being flabby. Nice finish. Drink now.

Hitching Post 2008 "Santa Barbara" Hometown Pinot Noir: Redish-purple hue, med (-) intensity. Love the nose, cherry, dried roses, a littl earthiness and spice. Med bodied, nicely balanced. Only shortcoming was a med(-) length finish. Good value.

Kermit Lynch 2008 Cotes du rhone: Black cherry color, light nose withhints of blackberries and spice. Dusty tannins, slightly twiggy finish. Not a fan.

Cellars Baronia 2006 "Montsant": Blend of 63% Garnacha, 32% Carinena, and the balance Syrah and Merlot aged in stainless steel. Purple hue, med intensity. Black cherries, raspberries, hints of mulling spice and earthiness. Med bodied, good acidity, smooth tannins, med/(+) length spicy finish. Excellent value, should be lovely over the next 3 - 4 years. For those who care, Robert Parker gave it a 92 (and it's less than $10 a bottle).

Nozzole 2006 "Chianti Classico Riserva": Nice example of a good Chianti at a reasonable price. Dark brikc, broad core. Nice red and black fruits with good earthiness and mushrooms and a touch of tobacco. Med/(+) bodied, nice acidity, smooth tannins that firm on the finish.

Le Conseiller 2005 "Bordeaux Superieur": Parker gave it a 91 but I'm not sure why. Dark, deep core. Baked black fruit on the nose, fruit forward with ok acidity and fairly smooth tannins, not thrilled with the finish. OK, but didn't knock my socks off.

Hedges 2007 "Red Mountain" Meritage: Purple hued. Black fruit, sweet oak, mulberry and hints of baking spice on the nose. Good balance, med/(+) bodied, long finish. Good example of what a Washington state producers can do with a Bordeaux-style blend.

John Alan 2006 "Paso Robles" Meritage: Blackberry, mulling spices, touch of mocha. Nice fruit, smooth tannins and decent acid. med/(+) length finish.

Opolo 2008 "Summit Creek" Zinfandel: Garnet, med intensity. Black chery, raspberry nice with a touch of spice. Nice but I found it a touch muted and flabby overall.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 136

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Conn Creek Anthology 2003

Last night I was at my favorite place in Hillcrest, MA4 with a couple of friends. I brought along something that had been in my collection for a while now, Conn Creek Anthology. Conn Creek is a little boutique winery in the Rutherford AVA in Napa. Their Anthology cuvee is made from a collection of grapes sourced from Napa Valley’s finest vineyards and several diverse AVA's. Anthology is a Bordeaux blend (heavy on the Cabernet Sauvignon so more of a left bank than right bank) so here we have Cabernet Sauvignon from AVAs like St. Helena and Carneros, Cab Franc from St. Helena, Merlot from Atlas Peak, Petit Verdot from Yountville, etc. What you get is a fantastic blend that seems to bring out the best in each varietal to build something whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I really enjoyed this wine, deep black cherry in color, lovely nose of ripe currant, plum, black cherry, and lovely spicy oak. Nice balance of fruit, acid, and slightly dusty tannins all coming together to give a med/(+) length finish. Excellent, though I would say it is definitely hitting its peak so if you find a bottle drink now through next year.

Number of wines reviewed in 2010: 126