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Monday, February 28, 2011

2001 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d'Alba

On Saturday, February 26, 2011 wine nerds are celebrating Open That Bottle Night - an excuse, basically, to open that bottle of wine you've been sitting on for a special occasion that just never came. I bought this wine years ago for a good price, but the shelf talker warned me not to open it for a while, arguably it's still too early, but I knew I had to sit on it until 2011 for ten years. Retail on newer vintages is about $55. We're pairing this with some deep dish pizza - hell yeah.

Dark chocolate, maybe baking chocolate is more accurate - super dark either way - burnt tire, asphalt, and way in the background some rose perfume

Far more approachable and less funky than the nose would suggest - cherry, strawberry, nectarine - medium body, solid tannins, and still some rather firm tannins. A white tea thing, combined with a bit of black tea, comes through.

More of that white tea and almost a sourdough bread mouthfeel. Impressive length on the finish, lasts for well over a minute with cinnamon and cedar notes.

I dig it...well worth the wait.

Score: 91

N/V Moet and Chandon Impeial

Imperial doesn't get much respect (it used to be called White Star), but neither does Veuve Yellow and I dig that stuff - this can be had for anywhere between $30 and $35ish.

The nose is kind of interesting as it seems to show shortbread and even some peanut qualities.

In one word, I'd call this boring. There are some bready and yeasty notes, some orange pith, but really, not a whole lot. Too sweet to be brut, certainly not sweet enough for dessert - the sorta wine I'd recommend with Thai or Indian food, but too expensive for randomly pairing (unless received as a gift).

A bit of a grapefruit with a bit of sugar on top thing on the finish, maybe some tangerine - the finish is far more interesting and flavorful than the palate.

You know, even if this was half price I wouldn't recommend it, it's certainly not an unpleasant wine, but it's just completely uninteresting and for this pricepoint, that is inexcusable.

Score: 78

Thursday, February 24, 2011

N/V Croft Pink Port

This was $17. I snagged it because the notion of pink Port sounded too intriguing to pass up....though one should not take a wine too seriously if the label suggests serving over ice.

The nose has an artificial watermelon thing with some orange as well, can't quite place if it's fake orange or real orange...if I'm on the fence I assume that means reasonably good artificial.

This is kind of goofy...watermelon and sugarfied cherry, it's a heavy feeling wine, but there's really no heat or anything of that sort. There's still just an odd has the flavor profile of almost a White Zinfandel, but the weight of a Port. Peculiar. At 19% alcohol, this could be dangerous.

A Jolly Rancher watermelon finish with some heat finally coming through.

While it's certainly interesting, it's definitely not worth $17 and it's definitely not the sort of thing you should snag if you like Port. It's certainly pleasant tasting enough, but I can see why one would drink this over ice to cut down the viscosity and cover up the heat.

Score: 77

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2010 Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc

This goes for about $11 - we don't drink enough Sauvignon Blanc and it seemed like it may be a good pairing with a buffalo chicken pizza.

A "tropical" nose - snow on the ground, this just doesn't smell right with grapefruit, pineapple, maybe even mango.

Fruity, perhaps a tad sweet, but great acid to balance it - a touch creamy, mostly tropical, mango is more pronounced, papaya, pineapple, pink grapefruit.

A bit of white grapefruit on the finish - some more tart qualities come through, stronger (yet less sweet) pineapple, and certainly papaya.

A nice bottle of wine to be sure...if you have one, save it for a warm day, it just seems cruel to open this in the winter.

Score: 88

Thursday, February 17, 2011

N/V L Mawby Blanc de Noir Cuvee 168

We've had this one several times and really enjoyed it, but something about this particular bottle grabbed my attention, so I'm revisiting it here. This retails for $19.

A bit of red apple and a bit of bright red raspberry on the nose.

A lot of berries - blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, boysenberry, everything but the elusive Boo Berry really. Red apple as well, and a bit of red pear. "Red fruit" is what some would say. Dry, a bit toasty, a bit nutty,

A nutty finish - walnuts, pecans...I don't like nuts, so I can't rattle off what this may taste like, though I do find it enjoyable. Nuts and a bit of rye toast, perhaps with some blueberry jam. I'm also getting a black tea component...a slice of rye toast, a glass of tea, and a pecan or two on the side...this wine would pair well with breakfast.

I'm not sure how different cuvees are - it could all be in my head and something could be hitting me different this bottle around.. That said, this is, genuinely, outstanding. We have hit up a bunch of $30-50 Champagnes in recent weeks - and this wine was reviewed blind, so for all I knew it was yet another one. If you're willing to drop twenty bucks on a sparkling wine, from anywhere, this gets my top recommendation. If you see it, buy it.

Score: 93

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2006 Stag's Leap Napa Valley Petite Syrah

This goes for about forty bucks and came with strong recommendations when I snagged it a while back, though my memory is sketchy with from where or who.

Raspberry licorice and cola on the nose with some mint - for the first hour or so green spice dominates but blows off.

Black cherry and plum dominate, with mere hints of mint, cedar, eucalyptus...don't let that give you the wrong idea though, this is a big, fruity, juicy wine.

More of that raspberry licorice thing on the finish.

Good...quite good....beyond that?

Score: 87

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2007 Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Abeilles

Grabbed a bottle of this for eight bucks because a shelftalker told me someone - Spectator, I guess - dug it.

Sort of a Beaujolais type nose - raspberry, earth, rotten fruit, perhaps a bit of banana....

Acidic, inching towards harsh, almost seems to scorch the tongue. Dirt and earth dominate, fruit is very mild, maybe some plum, perhaps peaches mixed with strawberry as well.

A dirty, spicy finish - brown baking spice, some mint, perhaps a touch of eucalyptus.

I tend to go easier on cheap swill if it's not a sweet sugary mess, and I find myself wanting to go that way here, but I'll resist....with food, I suppose it would be fine, but I can't get behind this.

Score: 80

Sunday, February 06, 2011

N/V De Chanceny Cremant de Loire

This is a sparkling wine from the Loire Valley in France - a blend of 70% Chenin Blanc and 15% Chard and Cab Franc. I don't know if I've had a sparkler wine with Cab Franc before...hmmm. This is about $11 at the local Whole Foods.

Green apples on the nose and almost a Pez kind of thing, chalky I suppose.

Quite nice - crisp and dry with pear and golden apple notes dominating with a bit of that chalky thing.

The finish is tough to place, I normally dislike saying "grapes" because it tends to be a pejorative, but that's what I get - green grapes - and not necessarily in a bad way.

French sparkler, dry and tasty, classy label, change back with a ten and a five? Solid gift for the upcoming holidays, my friends.

Score: 87

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

N/V Louis Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose

This was on sale at Whole Foods for $18...some places have it for a few bucks less, some for a few bucks more.

A bit of a Fufu Berry nose....Fufu Berry is a Jones Soda flavor, I don't believe such a thing exists in nature.

Cranberry domination. This would be a fine Thanksgiving wine actually....nice fruit, not bone dry but not sweet, not too toasty though some is present, and fine acid make it a good food match. Nice.

While the palate struck me as a real fruit, the finish brings the Fufu back.

If you're considering bubbly next Thanksgiving - and you know what, you should - this would be a solid offering.

Score: 88