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Sunday, January 31, 2010

N/V L Mawby Conservancy

For each bottle sold of this, L Mawby donates $2 to the Farmland Preservation Fund of the Leelanau Conservancy – suck it Fat Bastard and your quarter! Retail on this goes for $22, it's Extra Dry, and a blend of this and that.

A mellow nose with mostly pear.

Apples – red and/or pink apples, to be exact. Basically all apples honestly, so it is fairly simple, but I'll be damned if it isn't tasty. A touch sweet - perhaps sweeter than you'd expect from even an Extra Dry - but enough acid to balance it out. An almost mellow wine - the sort of bottle I refer to as dangerous as it's no doubt very easy to drink a lot of this.

More red apple and a bit of pear comes through on the finish.

Simple? Perhaps. Delicious? No question. Perfect for the summer heat (or after cranking your thermostat to 80)....I'll be buying again for Ravinia, thank you very much.

Score - 89

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2007 Benton Lane Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

So, as you will notice, posting will be slightly less frequent - the goal is less wine, but better wine. Getting hit with an unexpected bill convinced me to do the only logical thing one should do - drink.

A very nice nose - chocolate, cola, cherry, blueberry,

Interesting - chocolate (maybe carob?), barnyard (maybe that's the carob hint on the chocolate), tobacco, cherry, black pepper, a decent amount of earth, and just a touch of green, sort of grape stemmy, almost minty kinda thing. The tannins are integrated very well - this is a nice, easy drinking, bottle to be sure. Another wine I refer to as dangerous since you can easily down it quickly and dig it, but a bit of time, a bit of air, and more than a bit of contemplation will pay off.

A reasonably lengthy finish of barnyard, cherry, and some mild menthol notes.

I'm quite digging this one and, quite frankly, am being forced to reassess my view of New World Pinot Noir. At $26 from the winery, this isn't a bargain, but it's more or less right. Don't get me wrong, I wish it was cheaper, but realistically speaking, if you want decent PN you gotta pretend you're looking for love - which means you gotta pay.

Score: 90

Friday, January 22, 2010

And now...

The big slow down.

The past few days I've posted quite a bit - more than I had planned.

The "blind reviews" weren't supposed to be up for a while, but I have to admit I'm excited about it. I burnt off a few reviews (and even deleted a few that weren't tasted blind - I have extras of those wines and they'll be put to the test in time).

I have a few more in the can that shocked even me - a highly rated California Cab gets a shrug, a Michigan Pinot Noir gets over 90, and will my love for L Mawby or Two Lads hold up when tasted blind?

Time will tell. Stay tuned.

2005 Souverain Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This one goes for about $22, but I found it at Target, of all places, on sale for about $15.

Plum, cherry, and tobacco on the nose.

The second this wine hits my palate it's like water - virtually nothing going on at all. After a second or so, things start coming together - blackberry, blueberry, and vanilla. Deep on the back palate, there's almost a nectarine quality with some cinnamon and very mild tannins - flabby is a word that comes to mind. Day two saw much of the fruit fade while the cinnamon began to dominate with some mint coming through.

There's just a bit of eucalyptus on the finish, with some bing cherry qualities as well.

This one is okay - kind of interesting how the palate presents itself, but not necessarily in a good way. Simple perhaps, but also pleasant to drink - I can't really bash it, but a low B is about right. This is the way blind tasting begins...not with a bang, but a flabby, inoffensive wine.

Score: 81

The blind era

I have made every effort to not let my biases creep into my reviews, but it's inevitable. Am I being too easy on the $5 wine? Too hard on the $50 bottle? Vice versa? I don't mean to, but I probably am.

Therefore it is, with pleasure, that I announce all wine will be tasted blind from here on out.

The way it works is simple - I will give Fran a vague suggestion for selecting a wine off the rack. She will open it and either pour the bottle into a carafe or mask it in some way. I will not know what I'm drinking until the review and score are finalized.

The selection process will be noted in each review - I may suggest a "California Cab" or a "Pinot Noir from anywhere" or maybe I'll ask for "something bubbly" - my suggestions are just that, she can take or leave them. Price will not play a factor, so I won't know if it's a $5 or $50 wine.

If you want to be insufferably particular, you can say I should call this "semi-blind" since I have an idea of what we own, but trust me - my memory isn't that hot.

Situations do arise when I may not be able to do it this way - I will make this clear in the review and most likely add an asterisk to the score.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2006 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a half bottle which sells for about $30 – the full sized bottle was going for $60. Kudos to the winery for not charging a premium for half bottles. Though I understand why one would do such a thing, I've seen places charge $30 for a half when the full goes for $40. Not cool. It's probably too early to be drinking a wine of this quality so soon, so I gave it several hours in the decanter.

A very large nose - you can smell it from several feet away - plum and eucalyptus dominate.

While I can see why this will be better many years from now, I think this drinking rather nicely now. All sorts of things happening on the palate - plum, cassis, tobacco, mint, clove, eucalyptus, sweet tannins, vanilla and chocolate, black cherry. There's an interesting quality with the body of this one - it's thick, full bodied, but by no means hot - almost like a liqueur.

More plum, more black cherry, all with a bit of mint and linger eucalyptus on the finish.

An excellent, beautifully structured wine. Now to find a second and third job so I can afford this more often.

Score: 94

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2006 Mollydooker Maitre'D Cabernet Sauvignon

I was not a fan of the 2007 at all, but I had this 2006 on the rack, so I figured I'd crack it open. The first glass was just heat and burn.

I recapped it, put it in the fridge, and forgot about it for ten days. The plan was to let it sit for only a day or two, but out of sight out of mind - I was about to pour it down the drain, but thought I should at least try it. Guess what?

Ripe plum, almost prune like, and red licorice on the nose.

Red licorice, blueberry, black cherry, a touch of eucalyptus, coffee, and chocolate are all nicely integrated on the palate. A big wine to be sure, plenty of heat, but we actually get "something" here - after a full week and a freaking half.

It's pretty much all black cherry on the finish.

Day one was not good in the least – tight, huge, silly, painful (think low 70s). After a full week and a half we have a wine that's tolerable. I'm sticking with The Boxer from here on out.

Score - 80

Monday, January 18, 2010

N/V Piper Sonoma Brut Select Cuvee

We had this wine two years ago - Check it If you don't care enough to read, the gist is we thought it was okay but something seemed off. It seemed like it was time to give it another spin.

I'm going to call it at a blend of cantaloupe and honeydew on the nose.

This is a big wine. Loads of pear and apple of the green and golden varieties, plus a clear citrus quality. There's also an interesting (mass made) ginger ale thing happening - it's not terribly sweet and has a very enjoyable tart/bitter quality.

A spiced pear and ginger quality linger on the finish.

This is about ten bucks and can be found at many grocery and liquor stores – if you're in a pinch you can do worse, but I'm not rushing out to get it again.

Score - 81

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2004 Robert Pecota Muscat Canelli Moscato d'Andre

The winery's website lists this at $18 and this is a half bottle.

Peach and some floral notes on the nose. On first pour, there was an odd, almost turpentine quality but it blew off after an hour or so. Still....strange.

No turpentine here - peach, pear, nectarine, apricot, orange blossom, and apple liqueur all blend together on the palate. By all means, this is a dessert wine - it's quite sweet - but there's also a huge amount of acid which give this a very interesting balance.

Orange blossom, peach, chamomile, and apricot linger for an impressive length - the floral notes linger for almost a minute.

Tasty overall with very nice depth - I enjoy this quite a bit.

Score: 93

New things!

Things have gotten off topic a bit here, so let's get back on track....

I spoke of (subtle) changes before, here are a few of note:

1) All posts are categorized with an array of tags - country/state/region, varietal, and, if it's logical, producer.

2) Effective immediately, the ten point system is dead. I'm selling out and going with the 100 point scale that's basically standard in the wine world. Details on that can be found here.

3) Effective immediately, the official "value" designation is dead. I will comment on the wine's relative value, but the cost of a wine will not have any effect on its rating.

4) Prices given will only reflect approximate retail cost...referring to sales and clearance deals is pointless, isn't it? I know I can come off a little proactive, and for that I'm sorry.

5) I'm going to try to tweet interesting wine related links with a greater deal of frequency - check it out over here.

6) Do you have any suggestions? Site related? Wineries to hit up (within, let's say, eight hours of Chicago)? Let me know.

7) I'm still with Coco.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

N/V Martellozzo Veneto Prosecco

This was a Christmas gift, so I'm not sure of the price, but the assumption is the giver did not pull a Michael Scott and this is in the $10-$15 range.

A fruity gum sort of nose – like a peach flavored gum.

Light body with a good amount of fizz. A bit of apple and grapefruit – a rather crisp bottle, good acid, a touch of sugar, a thoroughly enjoyable bottle.

Some honeydew qualities come through on the finish.

We haven't had a lot of luck with Prosecco, but this one I'm enjoying – if I recall, many Proseccos have an unripe tropical fruit stickiness that doesn't work, but this is light, crisp, and easy drinking all around.

Wine: 6.5
Value: Sure

Monday, January 11, 2010

Domino's Pizza - 1/11/10

Watching Colbert the other day, I have to admit being somewhat intrigued....

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Domino's Pizza
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Seriously now - good on them. I'll throw some business at them just for having the cojones to run an entire campaign around how bad their pizza is/was.

Putting my biases on the table - I have a high tolerance for just about any sort of pizza that comes out of the freezer, hell even Lean Cuisine works for me. I live close enough to a Lou Malnati's and Gino's East (and am near a Pizano's often) that I rarely stray from any of those three for ordering out. I dig pizza, but I can hardly be called a snob.

The special was two 'two topping' medium pizzas were $5.99 each, so with tax, delivery, and tip you're looking at just under $20.


Thin crust topped with pepperoni and garlic -
Lots of visible garlic, but not a lot of punch - my guess is the garlic is from a jar. Check the photo, there are several piles which actually tasted like garlic - flavor pockets, if you will. Plenty of pepperoni, but yet again - you almost can't taste it. The crust is thin and cracker like - more of a Ritz cracker on the edges and somewhat soggy towards the middle - on par with Tombstone. Bottom line - inoffensive and bland, but nothing unpleasant.


Hand tossed with Italian sausage and green pepper -
The crust is pillowy - light and airy up top, somewhat white bread crust like on the bottom (I hate to call it cardboard, but that is coming to mind), with what tastes like garlic powder infused butter slathered around the edges. The Italian sausage has a very nice spice to it - impressively so - and the green pepper seemed to be fresh and cooked just about right. The sauce is dominated by hot red pepper, more spice "heat" than spice "flavor" (though by absolutely no means is this "hot"). The cheese left me with no impression good or bad.


There you are.... About half of each pie is left over. The hand tossed crust was unpleasant enough that it's getting tossed, but I'll probably keep the thin and spice it up before reheating.

The bottom line? If you didn't like Domino's before, you probably won't be sold. It is, by no means, the worst pizza I've had, and as far as the mega chains go it's right about on par. While some aspects - the crust mostly - were lacking, the sausage was nicely executed.

Me? If I want to be cheap, I'm sticking with frozen - Costco's in house (refrigerated) pizza is quite good and the frozen offerings by Lou Malnati's and Rustico also work nicely in a pinch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2007 Parallel 44 Meditation

Another Wisconsin wine - this one from Parallel 44, which is located outside Green Bay, a bit out of the way so you're unlikely to stumble upon it, but worth a visit if for no other reason than to try some Wisconsin wine made with local grapes. A warning, hybrid grapes are kind of weird, a bit funky, an acquired taste, if you will - but they're also most likely different from anything you've encountered before, so it's worth a look - this one is made with Frontenac.

The first night:
Thick and sweet - very much a cherry dominated wine - you'd almost think it was infused with cherries or had cherry brandy added, as well as some grapey notes. Smooth drinking, low on tannin but certainly high in alcohol.

Several days later:
This has totally change to a wine dominated with blackberry. A blackberry liqueur quality overwhelms on both the nose and palate. A very slight anise quality comes through - subtly - on the back palate.

This half bottle goes for about $18 and I'd say that's about spot on. It's big, fruity, heavy enough for a cold night - a dessert wine for those not into the sweeter light wines and not crazy about the nuttiness of Ports.

Wine: 7
Value: Yep

Friday, January 08, 2010

Wind of change

Over the coming weeks and months there will be some (most likely subtle) changes here at The Wineauxs.

Every post is now labelled and I'll be working on correcting some typographicl errors (ha!), toning down some silliness while increasing some goofiness. There's going to be a general shift starting in a few months - fewer posts of better wines, so the rating system will probably be reevaluated as well. I also intend to tell Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

N/V Louise d'Estree Brut

This was about eight bucks at Trader Joe's – always up to trying a cheap sparkler, I snagged a bottle.

Lemon pith on the nose, if that – it's mild.

This may be the least interesting wine I've ever had. And by that, I mean, there's nothing “wrong” because there's also nothing, you know, “present.” Incredibly light in body – lighter than your typical sparkling water no less. Perhaps there's some notes of lemon? I'm not being lazy, there's just little here.

Just the slightest bit of lemon and maybe a tiny amount of vanilla linger on the finish.

A bland effort suitable for patients recovering from surgery. At this price point you're far better off with Cristalino, Segura Viudas, Rotari, or for Chicagoland people - the Binny's Blanc de Blanc.

Wine: 5
Value: Nah

Friday, January 01, 2010

2002 Mille by L Mawby

This is L Mawby's only vintage sparkler available at the moment because they're only made in exceptional years. This goes for $50, which makes it one of the pricier bottles from the state.

There's an orange liqueur quality on the nose, along with some notes of that raw biscuit dough you get from the refrigerated section at your local grocer.

Orange marmalade is the main thing I get here. There's also a bit of yeast and creaminess, with vanilla, yeast, citron, limeade, grapefruit, white cranberry, lemon zest and just the slightest hint of caramel. The bubbles are tiny and impressively long lasting - several hours after popping, it's still going full steam.

A tremendous finish, citrus qualities - orange and tangerine - linger for over a minute.

Generally speaking when wines get around this pricepoint, the whole "value" thing is irrelevant. It's tasty, I dig it, but my socks are still on my feet - a solid 8, an excellent wine all around but nothing groin grabbing. I certainly don't feel hosed and when other 2002 bottles come out, I'm open to grabbing one.

Wine: 8
Value: Try it