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Saturday, August 29, 2009

2006 Castano Monastrell Yecla

CastaƱo for those of you who are particular about their tildas. This is a monastrell - you may be familiar with it by its more common name, mourvedre. I don't recall what I paid for this or why, but online prices vary between six and ten dollars, so it's a cheap offering.

I get some cola components on the nose as well as some tart cherry.

Not unlike a light bodied California Pinot Noir - the peculiar blend of strong dark fruit combined with a strong dollop of funk and earth. Like dropping a blackberry in fertilizer and not washing it off before eating it. I am digging the fact that this is so light, many CA PNs don't work for me because the ones we've had tend to get a bit heavy, this is just about right.

I get just a bit of Twizzler on the finish.

This isn't a terribly complex wine, but it's very tasty, easy drinking, and a perfect summer red - chill it a bit and eat it with burgers or brats and you're good to go.

Wine: 7
Value: Definitely

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2008 Mulderbosch South Africa Rose

The weather's a bear and rose is a surefire way to beat the heat. I'm perusing the shop and grab a French rose, our default, and as I walk around I stumble upon the South African wine section. It's been a while since we've had a South African wine (as far as I can tell it's been three years), so this is the first in several wines we'll be having in the near future to reacquaint ourselves with the region.

Some minerality on the nose, which isn't all that common in roses.

The slightest bit of sugar - barely noticeable, but it's there - and a good punch of acid. Strawberry mostly dominates here with some nice spicy notes. There's an interesting lemon/lime sorta thing - almost like it has a dash of 7-Up or something mixed in.

Some interesting spicy things come through on the finish - white pepper perhaps, something more exotic that I can't quite place my finger on - almost a lavender quality.

For ten bucks, I have no complaints here.

Wine: 7
Value: Yep

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2008 Lacheteau Loire Valley Vouvray

This was seven bucks at Trader Joe's. We grabbed this and the Josefina rose reviewed below - this was the second wine opened after tossing half that bottle - part of me feels this review is somewhat biased because it was consumed right after an atrocious offering. I dug this enough that it does warrant a revisit - we'll see what happens then.

The nose brings crisp pineapple notes.

Very nice - light spice, somewhat sweet, light in body, plenty of crisp acid. Green apple, tropical fruit, and pineapple in a crisp sorta way.

Tart apple and some tropical notes linger.

A phenomenal summer wine and one of the better bargains I've found in some time - highly recommended.

Wine: 7
Value: Yes

2007 Josefina Syrah Rose

This one goes for five bucks or so at Trader Joe's.

A nondescript grapey quality on the nose.

Just blah - grapey but with some spice and tannin. Sweet and spicy overall and and ultimately unpleasant. It's not cloyingly sweet or anything, but the whole combination of flavors and mouthfeel is pretty bad.

The finish is little more than a spicy/sugary mess - more sugar comes through right on the finish.

Among the worst, as in foulest tasting, roses I recall consuming.

Wine: 3
Value: No

Friday, August 21, 2009

2007 Triebaumerg Muscato Gunter Triebaumber

An Austrian Muscato? Hmm. I don't recall the exact details on what I paid, but I do recall it being under $15.

A bit of honey and orange - sort of like an orange jam.

There's just a bit of fizz in this one despite the sparkling wine packaging. Sweet to be sure, but not cloying, mostly peach, but some apple - varying between golden and the lighter red varieties, all with a bit of some mild citrus qualities. You know, with just a bit of air this is really coming alive - almost a fruit salad - there's nectarine and pear, even a bit of honeydew melon.

I'd say mostly apple notes on the finish.

I would consider this a dessert wine and would not recommend as a table wine unless you are really into sweet stuff. That being said, it's a damn good dessert wine and easily on the list of the best muscato we've had.

Wine: 8
Value: Yes

Monday, August 17, 2009

2005 L'X de Larrivaux Haut Medoc

This goes for around ten bucks at Costco and I believe has some sort shelf talker about 90+ points but the details of that I am sketchy on. I gave it about 90 minutes to open (it wasn't tight, but it was sorta dumb).

Sort of a pencil lead quality on the nose of this one along with a dash of eucalyptus and even a minty/cherry thing - sorta like a cherry flavored toothpaste.

Black fruit - plum, super dark red cherry - with a whole bunch of that earthy/spicy thing you expect. Very light oak, the lightest touch of vanilla, and a nice bit of tannin, all with a bit of eucalyptus and more of that pencil lead that I don't see often (to be fair, I don't drink all that much Bordeaux, at least decent Bordeaux). It's like sucking on a pencil in a way, a good way mind you.

Some nice tannic tea like qualities come through as well as some dark cherry.

You know, for a Bordeaux that's less than ten bucks, I gotta go right on ahead and say this is damn fine. I'm not sure how much more time in the bottle I'd give it - I couldn't imagine more than another year or so, but it's definitely worth a look.

Wine: 7
Value: Hell yeah

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2008 Two Lads Pinot Grigio

Alright, Two Lads - Pinot Grigio. Retail this goes for about $16.

A big ol' Pinot Grigioy nose, which is an obnoxious descriptor, but good PG smells like PG. It's mostly a green apple thing with some vanilla.

Michigan Pinot Grigio is, in my humblest opinion, some of the best on the planet. You can get some cheaper bottles from Italy, but for this price - $18 which is right around Santa Margherita territory - places like Two Lads and Left Foot Charley annihilate the pasta makers. Excellent blend of acid and sugar, mostly green, or maybe golden, apple notes. There's some nice spicy qualities, more vanilla, just the slightest touches of green grape, pear, and even banana (usually a quality I'd consider a flaw, but it works well here). Way on the back palate bring lychee. Something was lingering here that totally stumped me - I recognized something distinct, but could not place it. After about 90 minutes, it hit me - Juicyfruit gum

I keep getting vanilla in this one - even on the finish as well as more pear and lychee.

2007 Left Foot Charley was the best PG I've ever encountered. Two Lads owns 2008. If a more interesting Pinot Grigio exists at this pricepoint I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a bottle today.

Wine: 9.5
Value: Hell to the yeah

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2006 Pierre Sparr Extrem Riesling Alsace

This was on super ultra mega discount - kicking it down to three bucks from I think ten. Not only is it an EXTREM Riesling, it's also an EXTREM value! Remember kids, listen to Poochie and always recycle - TO THE EXTREM.

Enough joking, wine is serious business....TO THE EXTREM!

A somewhat gasoline fueled nose with a punch of lime....key lime, maybe....key lime pie, in fact.

Very light in body, somewhat light in acid, quite light on sugar, and somewhat light on taste - unripe nectarine dominates (sorta like if you absentmindedly take a bite out of a nectarine with the consistency of an apple) with a dash of lime rind. There's even a sort of cherry skin quality here - imagine peeling a Rainier cherry and just eating the skin - sorta like that. There's even a sort of good vodka like quality here - clean, smooth, not exactly burn, but certainly a spirit quality. Interesting.

Really more of the same on the finish - unripe nectarine, lime peel, and cherry skins.

This is the sort of wine that as it opens, I become more convinced of its quality - the first hour I wasn't quite convinced but after a couple hours, I feel this really began to shine. I am a stupid stupid human for only buying one bottle at three dollars. Stupid.

Wine: 7
Value: Yep, even at full price

Sunday, August 09, 2009

2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

It's kind of a shame that the, apparently, unrelated Monsanto corporation is so's like buying a wine called Mussolini. It just feels wrong.

The nose here strikes me of mostly barnyard - funky to be sure, even some rotten banana comes through.

Smooth and somewhat heavy - not terribly acidic - loads of dark chocolate, cherry, (bordering on rotten) strawberry, tobacco, leather, cedar - pretty much everything you'd expect from a quality Chianti.

Chocolatey and tobacco notes on the finish.

This strikes me as a very well crafted bottle in a true Chianti Classico style. For $20 there's absolutely nothing to dispute here - drinking fine now but I'll bet in a few years it would be even better.

Wine: 8
Value Sure enough

Friday, August 07, 2009

2007 Forty-Five North Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose

As soon as we left this winery and got on the road I began to doubt myself with buying this one - that is, only one - but we had other places to hit and the budget was being pushed as is. Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose - twenty bucks - regular ol' twist cap - the way you know it's sparkling is by the little bubbles. I wonder if they ever regret making it so subtle. I quite like it, myself, but people do tend to be, you know...dumb.

I found a review - a negative review - that I can only assume was discussing this bottle, but the person clearly did not realize this was a sparkler. Loosley quoted: "strong bubbles and fizz...not a good thing." That sorta is a good thing in this case.....and if it wasn't - that would be what we call a flawed bottle and an e-mail to the winery would be in order. I mean, really, do they just let any idiot publish wine reviews on the internets?

(and a chill filled the room.....)

Many wines we've consumed lately have been bringing stone fruit, which I fear is a 'palate rut' for me, but I'll be damned if this doesn't bring mostly nectarine on the nose.

Fairly heavy in body and somewhat light on bubbles. Cranberry, strawberry, and tart cherries on the palate with a touch of sweetness. There's some tannic structure here that's quite interesting, but I can see the whole heaviness here turning some people off - neither light nor crisp, though I do not consider that a flaw - this is, perhaps, the definitive sparkler for fall or winter.

More of that cranberry quality with even some interesting oaky notes (though I assume this hasn't actually seen oak) on the finish...almost a pinch of clove seems to come through.

A nice offering - well played - and somewhat unique. I dig it.

Wine: 7.5
Value: Yep