Official theme song

Saturday, April 28, 2007

2005 Voga Pinot Grigio

Check out that fancy bottle - I never claimed to not be a sucker for a marketing ploy, but I’ve been putting this one off, alas the allure of an $8 light white to pair with enchiladas convinced me to grab a bottle.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a terrible Pinot Grigio, but I know I’ve never had a phenomenal one....this one is no exception.

Fresh citrus and slate on the nose.

Lime and mineral notes on the palate. A bit of sweetness and slight acid - no complexity, but I certainly didn’t expect much.

The finish fades quickly but is all lime.

Not bad, certainly not great, but a fine quaffer for spicy faire. For a chic bottle, perhaps for a party with casual wine drinkers - this would be a fine bottle to bring.

2005 Bell’agio Chianti

Many times I’ll read about Chianti and I see comments about wicker basket bottles swill....I know I’ve seen these bottles before but I realize we’ve never actually tried one. On sale for $6 I couldn’t see a reason not to pick up a bottle.

Some sharp acid, cherry, mild oak, and not much in terms of tannins. Nothing interesting, but I can’t say I’m offended.

No finish.

Many people don’t like to “waste” fancy wine on cheap food like frozen pizza - I personally don’t have a problem with it - but if you do, this can’t be much better or worse than any of the other Chianti at this price.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

2004 Tramonto’s Red Chianti

This is the namesake wine of Rick Tramonto. Rick owns the ultra high end restaurant Tru and you may have recently seen him on Iron Chef with his partner Gale Gand. He recently opened three restaurants in Wheeling and we picked this up after eating breakfast at Osteria di Tramonto ( This one ran me $18. The cork says Casa Vinicola Dreolino.

I get some raspberry and earth on the nose.

Cherry, cinammon, earth, funk, black tea, and medium tannins. I’ve never tasted black tea in wine before and this one just screams it. I typically expect a somewhat sharp acidic bite from Chianti and this does not have one at all - it’s fairly smooth. We had this with some baked mostaccioli and Boca sausage and it went extremely well.

The finish brings out some nice herbal and earthy notes.

Is it worth $18? Human nature leads to bias, and just by knowing what it is, I know I’m probably giving this more of a chance than I normally would...if the label said “Gabbiano” instead of “Tramonto,” how would I feel? It’s an inherent problem with not pouring wine blind.

At the very least, this is worthwhile as a souvenir or a gift for that special foodie in your life who couldn’t be there. I feel this is almost certainly the finest straight up Chianti I’ve had and if this was on the menu by the bottle for even $30 I'd have it with dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

N/V Galena Cellars Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer

Galena Cellars is one of the strongest wineries in Illinois....we’ve tried quite a few of their wines and they’re usually fairly solid. I had this one at a tasting some time ago and liked it enough to pick up a 375 ml bottle for about $15.

A bit of stone fruit on the nose - maybe apricot or nectarine.

Very nice and smooth on the palate - a bit of spice, peach pie, apricot, and honey.

The finish has some nice spicy notes that linger.

Clean, sweet, balanced, and refreshing: an excellent dessert wine at this price - strongly recommended.

2005 Glamour Puss East Coast Pinot Noir

A $10 Pinot Noir with a cutesy good can it be? I intended to find out.

Earth and raspberry on the nose.

The palate has some mild tannic backbone, with raspberry, cherry, earth, and chocolate.

The finish brings out some sassafras notes.

This is probably the biggest shock I’ve had since trying The Little Penguin - this is not only not bad, it’s actually pretty good...sometimes people ask why I bother with "obvious" bad wines: I present you with why I do.

Some distinct Pinot notes and nice structure - I would recommend this firmly. Certainly the best under $10 Pinot I’ve had and better than many at the $15 range.

Monday, April 09, 2007

2005 Mollydooker Two Left Feet

Late one evening, I saw this bottle of wine at a local wine shop but knew nothing about it - the label jumped out at me, but I figured “eh, I’ll jot down the name and come back in a few days after I find some reviews.” I tend to avoid picking up random bottles if it’s over $10 - this one was $20.

Every review I found was a rave, so I went back to the shop on my lunch the following day - sold out! They had maybe 20 cases, and between 8:30 one night and 1 pm the next day, they sold it out. While browsing at another wine shop a few weeks later, I found it again and snatched it up. Poking around online, you can find this ranging from $30 to $50.

Does it live up the hype?

The nose stings with alcohol but otherwise is somewhat muted.

Deliciously complex - oak, tobacco, black pepper, blackberry, cherry, anise, plum (prune?), vanilla, and coffee. Booming, New World fruit bomb, I didn’t even bother trying to pair it - maybe with some sort of red meat, but we just slowly enjoyed it over the course of an evening.

The finish brings out some blackberry jam, oak, some dried fruit, chocolate, and a bit of alcohol burn.

I hate to give into the hype, but goddamn this is a good bottle of wine. If you find it, grab it.