Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lust Zin And Sin Zin, The Early Arrival Of Halloween Or Some Dionysian Euphemism

Michael David Lust/Lodi 2007 Zinfandel

Black Oak 2009 Zinfandel

Dionysus is the Greek god of the "unexpected" and of the grape harvest; these two aspects so well describe the Halloween wine I'm tasting now (or maybe tomorrow). The Zinful (oops, Zinfandel) Wine I'll be tasting will be part of the "Halloween" wine selection I intend to present in October.
In the mean time, here are a couple of "Lustful"-links to  explore while I'm gathering my wits to review the "unexpected":
Wineaccess; both of which have contrasting views. 
My thoughts brooded over the 16.9% alcohol (Almost 34 proof), but I didn't feel it would be right for a Zin kind-of-guy to rationalize not tasting this Zin; in fact, experience demanded that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this "type" of wine, just as it wouldn't be right not to taste that $6.00 bottle of Black Oak Zinfandel (Not yet reviewed).
As you can tell, I very much got into photographing this wine, because as this blog evolves, I find that, other than the wine itself, the challenge of presenting the wine is quite a bit of fun, but time consuming.

Well, today is "tomorrow".
My son marked the bags wherein stood the two bottles of Zinfandel wines, as easy a blind tasting as anyone could arrange, a blind tasting nevertheless.

The number one wine is obtuse to black, but on the rim is deep Shiraz purple.
The aroma jumped out of the glass pungent, new cedar-chest and prune, almost nauseatingly so.
With a strong flavor of Portabello mushroom, this Zin is jammy, meaty, and chewy, with an almost syrupy quality.  This"hot" Zin is not a stand alone wine, but did a bit better with food, Wine-Thoughts had that exactly right.
This Michael David Lust/Lodi 2007 Zinfandel$50.00, 83 points, was not difficult to pick out, wouldn't be in a crowd. A friend of mine tried the same tasting the next day, and had exactly the same findings, but if you want to read about Michael-David's "redemption", check-out Jon Thorsen's 
review: 2010-Seven-heavenly-chardonnay Jon Thorsen

There is deep ruby color, glittery with flashes of ambient sky-light.
The number two wine is aromatically reticent, but with a little swirling effort, out comes a bit of cedar and black-cherry, with subtle hints of strawberry making this a much more interesting wine. Having a light to medium body with lots of black pepper on the long finish, gives this somewhat one dimensional wine, with 14.5% alcohol, a much better rating (Needs to be room temperature or warm). Black Oak 2009 Zinfandel, $6.00, 86 points.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sin Zin Alexander Valley 2007 Zinfandel

Sin Zin Alexander Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $22,99, 90 points, is deep rose red, and the aroma has hints of green and jalapeño peppers, clove, cinnamon, and cedar, but there is plum fruit on the nose as well.
Though I wouldn't describe this Zinfandel as complex, I would describe it as bold, making a statement like a boxer ("Move like a butterfly, sting like a bee" comes to mind); this wine is focused on the edge of firm tannins and carried by an almost medium body of plum with that green pepper having its cameo appearance.
Sin Zin has a long black pepper finish, with just a whisper of mocha.
The Sin Zin carries its 14.4% alcohol very well, though there is a touch of heat here.
I have to believe that a better price is out there, but that said, still a good buy.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley 2007 Zinfandel

Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $11.99-$29.99, 92 points; this score has me up a tree and out on a limb with this one, so ignore me, but with approximately 12% of my Zins at 92 points, and only the Cakebread (93 points) scoring higher, this would seem to judge me conservative enough, taking into account my avowed bias with this varietal.
I believe Fredric Koeppel (Biggerthanyourhead)
said something like this: it is easier to review a wine that is either very good or very bad, but the middle-of-the-road wines are the tough ones; much paraphrased, but true, and I'm going to go over-board with this Zinfandel, because I liked it so much. If verbosity is not your cup of tea, you might want to settle for this paragraph and this phrase: The 2007 Jack London is a very good Zinfandel at a very good price.
Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley 2007 Zinfandel, Is not a middle-of-the-road Zinfandel Wine, but within its vibrancy, consistency, and beautifully wild richness, it earned high marks with me. As a standalone wine it is wonderful, and as a food-friendly wine it is a chameleon; though the wine was central to the food, it just seemed whatever I threw at it was great, from Brown Canadian tomatoes, to goats cheese with spinach, Boston-Baked beans, rare fennel-black peppered tenderloin, buttered fresh Italian bread and Chinese cuisine:-) You get the picture.
This Zinfandel had a rim-color of crystal-clear ruby red welling into an almost dense Shiraz, but at the thin of the bottom of my glass, it was strawberry hued. 
Then the Jack London  burst-open with an attack aroma of sharp black cherry, with hints of clove, cinnamon, redwood, and sage.
With flavors of not so subtle cherry and plum in a medium body that is focused; this is power restrained and not over whelming, not as complex as the Tensley Colson Canyon 2008 Syrah, but this Zin reminded me of it. 
The finish is long on black and white pepper with hints of strawberry.
The Jack London is delicious and satisfying.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Greystone And Cuvaison Dueling 2009 Chardonnays

Cuvaison Carneros Napa Valley 2009 Chardonnay, $14.44-$22.99, 90 points, began with a nice
clear golden hue, with a cold aroma of citrus that warmed to hints of bacon and nectarine (Acid 6.5 grams/liter). The flavor layers peeled opened as the wine was awash with air and warmed even more; from lime to honey lemon into a fine creamy ginger finish. Cuvaison fashions a complex, but approachable wine that is consistently good.

Greystone Cellars 2009 Chardonnay, $9.99-$12.99, 87 points, began cold and somewhat muted, but warmed with the aroma of crisp Fuji apple, but warmed into an aroma of butterscotch and toast with a hint of diesel. The color is light goldenrod, with flavors that began with as an almost flat vinegar citrus, but morphed nicely into flavors of quince and hints of mild celery. This Chardonnay is a good table wine, but, for me, not what I had expected by all the reviews. Experts not withstanding, I have my palate and they have theirs. Let me know what you think.

Both these wines paired nicely with fried haddock and clams with Coleslaw.


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Friday, July 22, 2011

Jezebel Oregon 2009 White Wine You'll Not. . .

Jezebel Oregon 2009 White Wine, a blend of: Riesling (adds acidity and minerality), Gewürztraminer (adds a rich fragrance), Pinot Gris (adds crispness and quaff-ability), $13.59-$18.99, 91 points, is a light, fruity, flavorfully layered White Wine with good quality throughout, mineral-color, lightly-sweet lemon-lime and fresh-cut hay aroma, with flavors of aroma carried-over to palate, but as this wine warmed, hidden talents of apricot, apple, and almond eked their way into consciousness.

Great wine with Thai-food, or light and spicy cuisine.

"You'll Not" Forget her! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Merlot Time-Bolla, Havens Napa, Clos Du Bois Sonoma, Glenn Ellen, Lockhart, Artesa

Bargain-basement Merlot, $5.99 750ml is out there, but you knew that; you go to the store every week and grab that bottle of Bare Foot, Turning Leaf, Oak Leaf, Leaf-on the wind or whatever, but I have some comments, and I'll begin with a worthy Merlot at $5.99; can you afford a worthy Bargain-basement Merlot?

Bolla 2008 Merlot, $5.99-$8.99, 86 points, is to me the Merlot, at the price we all want, and I want on my dinner table. Buying this Merlot is like going to the grocery store and buying milk and bread. Bolla 2008 Merlot is about as good a wine, at this price, you'll find.
Did I praise this enough?
Maybe it's the Italian label?
Merlot is not my usual affair, but since my wife mostly drinks Merlot, I can't get away without tasting them.
Light Red color, pleasant aroma, light bodied, having a gentle easy mouth-feel, over-all grapey flavor with great drink-ability, but still a one dimensional wine with just a hint of diesel on the finish.

Havens Napa 2004 Merlot, $19.99 (Are they still making wine?), 90 points, opened to an almost pungent aroma, but settled-down, with some breathing, to a roar of cigar, mint, and grape.
Deep Red color is beautiful.
This is a sleek medium bodied wine with a nicely layered finish.
If I'm correct, and this winery is gone, I think we've all lost something. I think the economy is not as favorable to "Family owned" wineries as it was; I've seen the reports of their selling-out, but just maybe, the best wineries, with lower costs (Family-labor biting the bullet) and demanding higher prices (95-100 points get the big-bucks), will weather these financial storms.

Clos Du Bois, Sonoma Alexander Valley 2006 Merlot, $12.99, 86 points, opens to a hint of clove and soft cinnamon, there is a striking floral character along with alcohol (14.5%), and both carry-over to the palate in excess. There is a bit of bitterness, but not offensively so. I did like this plum and licorice light bodied wine having a fair finish. However, with all the competition, the price hurts this wine.

Glen Ellen 2008 Proprietor's Reserve 2008 Merlot, $3.99-$5.99, 82 points, began with disappointment after the good quality of their Chardonnay. I think this is another one of those Merlots that gave Merlot a bad name.
The color is young with bright purple-red hues.
The aroma devolved from grapey to a muted vegetative character.
This is a thin wine with little to commend it, except for a fair, mild, spicy finish.

Lockhart 2007 Merlot, $9.90, 88 points, is Dark-Ruby-Red. The gentle Black-cherry aroma is very nice. This wine has a medium body, a bit floral and sweet, but the plum and licorice give this some richness, and the silky smooth finish makes this a good wine with a high QPR.

Artesa 2005 Merlot, $14.99-$19.99, 87 points, is dark purple, with a strong floral aroma with hints of clove, all of which carries-over to the palate with some espresso syrup and smokiness. This is the first Merlot I would call "chewy". The medium body is  dense and awkwardly complex, and the finish has quite a bit of heat on it.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Antinori Umbria Cervaro della Sala 2005 Chardonnay

Antinori Umbria Cervaro della Sala 2005 Chardonnay, $33.99-$39.99, 92+ points, is 15 % Grechetto, but this is pure delight.
This is my first Italian Chardonnay, and though too expensive for me, I just had to try this one at the lower price point, and at that price, it is a good buy still, especially when you compare it to a high-quality Cabernet.
This wine comes from the Umbria region of Italy. This is a region that produces Grechetto (Among many other grapes), primarily for blending.  
Usually, I start my White wines at about 42 degrees, and sense them develop as they warm, and this Chardonnay too, began cold. The aroma (Cold) is the nicest and lightest lemon-oil and honey. As it warmed, hints of pine and lychee with almond and clove gave complexity to the bouquet.
The flavors developed from a unique blend of pink grapefruit and lemon into hints of pear, apple, and a marble minerality  (As imprecise as that maybe).
This is a clean, crisp and refreshing wine that will pair well with anything buttery, creamy, crab or richer fish, poultry, but you might like this with almost anything; as I've said, there are "rules" but the number one rule is: if it works for you. . .

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Red Wine Trio Triple Value

Costieres Et Soleil Plume Bleue 2007 Grenache/Syrah, $12.99-$14.99, 89 points is a splendid French Red wine at a splendid price.
Having a very light ruddy-plum and crushed black currant color, a toasty pine-nut aroma, and layers of fruit flavor. As is typical with Syrah, Plume Bleue finished with a spicy flair, wrapped in a matrix of unnoticeable 14% alcohol.
For inexperienced wine adventurers, I've advocated United States Wines. I still do, but I have also advocated going outside the box when the price is right and or you have some "good" counsel; this wine and the two to follow, was inspired by those two criteria and the idea behind my buying and tasting these wines; I was not disappointed, and I doubt that you will be either. When my wife (Who only drinks one Merlot) had finished her last favorite bottle of Merlot, came-a-beggin for "something" to try, she tried three different Merlots (Which she rejected) before I gave up, and surreptitiously    
gave her this wine; she loved it.

Peter Lehmann Of The Barossa Clancy's 2005 Red Wine, 37% Shiraz, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 27% Merlot, $13.99-$18.99, 88 points, has a typical dense purple-red color, and an aroma of plum and black currant that carry-over to the palate with a quaff-able quality, yet sweet and sour hints give this some complexity. The finish is long and spicy.
This is a high QPR wine, fabulous with many dishes, barbecues, Italian or Mexican cuisine, or just plain burgers. 

Claraval Seleccion Especial 2006 Red Wine, $14.99, 91 points, is a Red Wine from the Calatayud region of Spain

This Red Wine is of a medium body with a rich feel, and flavors edging red currant and grape. The tannins are firm, and the finish is smooth, but spicy.
This is a better than average table wine, and will stand-alone.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Reasonable Markus Molitor Riesling Multifaceted And Manicured

Okay, my title is confusing, but German wines confuse me, so I'm just getting even.

Markus Molitor Haus Klosterberg Spatlese 2007 Riesling, $21.00, 92 points Spätlese-Late Harvest ), is a sleek and pure libation. If you click on the above link, you'll get the fact sheet that is more informative than I can be about this wine; all I know is that it was elegant, delicious, refreshing, and difficult to pin-down, but sometimes we'll see something quite beautiful and not be able to explain the essence of it, hear a melody that we just can't hum, or taste a wine that everyone seems to describe differently; I found (cold) hints of kumquat and golden grapefruit, but as it warmed there was crisp apple and a slate-like quince dominating, but others had peach, still others had citrus. 
On the rim of the finish was a delicate fructose tangerine (Acid 6.9 grams/liter). So, if you are daring, if you have $20.00 or so to spend, and want something outside the American-box, give this a try, write your own review and let the people of New Hampshire into your insights and opinions


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Marechal Foch New Hampshire's Very Own Wine?

Marechal Foch (pronounced "mar-esh-shall-fosh"), some people like to think (In some sense) that this is New Hampshire's very own wine. So, and as far as I'm concerned, that's not a problem.
My reason for starting this post is obvious: NH Wineman and so few NH wines! Well, this is a work in progress, but I'm working to rectify my malfeasance. In the meantime just enjoy the photograph and the four wine reviews linked below. Thanks Tom! Hope you like the photo of Mount Washington?

Sadly my blind tasting of four New Hampshire Marechal Foch red wines didn't go well, and I'm sure I'll get a lot of heat for this, but I have to call them as I see them.

Flag Hill 2011 Marechal Foch Red Wine, $10.99-$12.99, 76 points
Jewell Towne Marechal Foch N/V Red Wine, $8.49-$10.49, 77 points
Olde Nuttfield 2009 Marechal Foch Red Wine, $10.99, 75 points
Sweet Baby Vineyard N/V Marechal Foch Red Wine, approximately $12, 75 points


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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley 2009 Dry And 2010 Harvest Select Rieslings

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley 2009 Dry Riesling, $9.00, 87 points, is another in the value wines from Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley.
This is a very dry wine, but has plenty of fruit, apple and lime as well and other pome fruit with some citrus flavors which were carried over from the aroma.
The color is very clear, having a glimmer of lemon-lime.
The lightness of the color is true on the palate, making this a very refreshing libation. 
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Harvest Select 2010 Riesling, $10.00, 91 points, is a great buy.
The color is almost as crystal clear as mineral water, the aroma is citrus, and the flavor is rich and layered. I found tangerine and a hint of kumquat tingeing the core of light citrus and giving a lush creaminess to this more full-bodied less dry Riesling.
The three of us did a blind tasting on these two wines, and we all preferred the Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Harvest select.
Keep in mind that Chateau Ste Michelle  has almost a dozen different Rieslings.

Index of reviewed-wines

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Jess Jackson Would Have Been Proud 2006 Zinfandel Vintner's Reserve

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve 2006 Zinfandel, $12.00, 89 points, is as good as it gets at this price point for a very good Zinfandel wine, though not a typical Zin at this stage of its life, but with a beautiful dark ruby-red color and an aroma of cinnamon spice and just a hint of peppermint candy-cane, with a very smooth, but not lush feel, and a delicious flavor, but only a fair finish, this wine still "rocks" as a "red table wine" or as a standalone sipper.
I paired it with a Gruyere cheese and hot sopresata pizza.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Edna Valley Paragon Vineyard Res. 2007 Chardonnay

Edna Valley Paragon Vineyard Reserve 2007 Chardonnay, 
$23.79-$27.99, 87 points, begins as a remarkable mirror image to the Hess SU'SKOL 2008 Chardonnay ( Hess-Suskol2008-chardonnay ), the aroma adds a bit of "burnt-butterscotch", the texture is good, but not as smooth, the finish too was similar, but the key to this wine is a sour hint. I was a bit disappointed, being that it was a wine hard to find and expensive; the Hess is a much better bargain, in my humble opinion.


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Monday, July 11, 2011

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley 2007 Syrah

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley 2007 Syrah, $8.49-$11.99, 86 points, is what it is: an entry-level Syrah, rich and heavy (Blackberry syrup), dense purple color, pungent grape and clove aroma, with early palate sweet "kerosene"  and late palate hints of espresso and mocha.
The finish is spicy and fair.
This Syrah paired well with steak-tips in an American cheese sauce, and paired very well with dark chocolate.


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hess SU'SKOL 2008 Chardonnay

Hess SU'SKOL 2008 Chardonnay, $16.99-$24.99, 90 points, is a clean Chardonnay, from the Sauvignon Blanc-like color (Light Lemon-Lime), to its cool aroma of lemon-grass, warming to a soft oaky grape; these aromas carry-over to the palate, with silky smooth citrus and vanilla, finishing long with hints of ginger-spice.
This is a nice wine, and at the lower prices, is a great deal too; Chardonnays like this explain why I'm falling in love with some of these Chardonnay wines.


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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Louis Latour Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Controlee

Louis Latour Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Controlee, $38.24-$44.99, 92 points, has a lovely Champagne color, and early cold aromas of tangerine, lemon zest, and lime. Very crisp and delicious cold, and as it warmed this wine became ever-so creamy and smooth, but very little in the way of Californian "buttery" Chardonnays.
There was a mineral ginger finish that lingered long and pleasant. 
Paired well with fried jumbo sea scallops. 
I think those who like Big California Chardonnay will find the elegance of this wine too light, too thin, and possibly unbalanced, but I enjoyed this wine very much, but Chablis is one of my favorite White Wines, and I think the Montrachet is a close cousin. However, the price is definitely a problem, and I think this wine will only appeal to a relative few.

Index of reviewed wines

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"Gnarly" Is Not A Word From Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Gnarly Head Lodi Old Vine 2009 Zinfandel, $9.35-$12.99, 86+ points, is, to me, the most recommended wine. Three times this week alone, someone was buying and recommending this wine to me. One man commented that Gnarly did not have much of a finish, but otherwise a rewarding wine. Another person said that the price made this wine their Zin of choice, and yet another said it just tasted good and the price was right.
So finally I've tried this wine, and especially for the woman at the NHLS Coliseum avenue, this review is for you (You know who you are).
The color is cranberry to crimson, and the aroma is fresh-crushed grapes. The texture is early palate rich, the flavor is early palate sweet (Too sweet for me), where cherry, licorice, and grape dominate. The B&W pepper finish is longer than expected, but only moderately so.
Gnarly paired okay with Gruyere cheese melted on Focaccia (Should have been a Chardonnay), but excelled with dark raspberry chocolate. QPR is definitely very good, and I can see why so many wine-lovers choose this wine, and for under ten-bucks, what a deal.


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Friday, July 1, 2011

Ridge Wines And Consistency 2007 Lytton Springs Through The Lens

Ridge Lytton Springs 2007 Red Wine 71% Zinfandel, (22% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane) $29.74-$34.99, 92 points, is amazingly constant and consistent within the family of Ridge Dry Creek Valley wines, having an aroma of memories, aromas of autumn earth and wood, of fresh baked sweet spiced pie, of grape jelly, BlackBerry, and a hint of cigar.
Early palate lush to mid-palate tame-tannins, and a finish long and filled with wonderful flavors of licorice, plum, black and cayenne pepper. When I said "sweet" that sweetness is carried over and on the tip of my tongue enticing and appealing to the sweet-tooth I have, but with the near perfect balance of this wine, that sweetness is almost subconscious.
As with the previous wine (Toad Hollow), this one too is dark magenta in color, but the similarity ends there. The Ridge is twice the money, but three-times the wine. These kinds of judgments are "hard", but everyone has their opinions, and mine can be quite strong; here, I'd rather have this Ridge twice in one week than the other every night, but if I'm having a barbecue and friends over, then I'm going to be a "Toad".


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