Archive for the ‘Tasting Notes (Short Review)’ Category
By Nikki Lincoln
The last few weeks of wine fun have been kind of a blur. With my WSET studies, a lot of my wine tasting was in a more formal set up rather than the one offs that I prefer for this series so I realized that even though I skipped a few weeks, I still had about the same amount to write about. It was an exciting and delicious month of wine drinking though and I’m excited to share some of that with all of you.
Two Sheperds 2011 Pastoral Blanc 375 mL
2009 Viandante del Cielo Pinot Noir Skywalker Ranch
Turkovich Family Wines 2011 Grenache
Alamos 2011 Mendoza Selección Malbec
All in all, the month was filled with some wonderful wines and the reviews practically wrote themselves. I’m also happy that I have other varietals on hand from each of those winemakers (except Skywalker…) and you’ll be seeing more about them in future reviews.
I recently took a trip to South Africa, and as wine lovers are apt to do, I filled my suitcase with wine sleeves so that I could bring a taste of Africa back with me. Of course, as wine lovers are also apt to do, there was more wine purchased than wine sleeves brought and I had to wrap a few bottles in towels…
This was was a
steal at Oliver’s Market
in Santa Rosa for $11. At 11.5% alc, and a fan of Grüner Veltliner, I couldn’t resist and bought blind without even looking
Sadly, domestic, good Gruner is hard to find, so indulge yourself with a foreign investment.
Tasting Notes: 2011 Höpler Grüner Veltliner
To The Eye: Pale straw color, with slight hint of effervescence.
On The Nose: Green apple, lime peel, hint of wet stone.
In the Mouth: Green apple, citrus, nice minerality, bright but well rounded fruit, despite the acidity.
buy discount cialis
Recommendation: A great summer sipper. Recommended. Great QPR. 89 points.
Expand beyond NZ Sauv Blanc will you?!
Please take out of the fridge 15 minutes before drinking.
Overchilling will obliterate the subtleties of most whites, expect the bad ones of course, then over chilling is encouraged!
My first Syrah
from Vice Versa, and sadly maybe the last for awhile, as they have stopped producing this Russian River Syrah.
The wine is a perfect Napa meets Sonoma crossover – its cool climate RRV Syrah, matched with a Napa Cab maker of finesse, which is Vice Versa’s ‘core’ program. Long corks, heavy elegant Burgundy glass, it’s certainly Napa grade packaging and marketing.
When I popped the cork and poured it into the glass, I suspected I would
like this unfined, unfiltered beast that appeared to be be dark, brooding, and promising.
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Tasting Notes: 2007 Vice Versa Syrah Ulises Valdez Vineyard, Russian River Valley
- To The Eye: Impenetrable to light, inky black purple.
- On The Nose: Layered nose of smoked meat, blackberry, leather, mocha, and a subtle note of earth.
- In The Mouth: A beefier Syrah, with the body to support the balanced 15% alc, as well as acidity. Modest oak has had time to integrate into the wine, and provide sweeter tannins, that combine with dark black fruits, pepper to make a Syrah with backbone, but isn’t a fruit bomb.
Bigger red wine drinkers, not looking for “Shiraz” will love this. But don’t wait, must call the winery to purchase, and its the last of its kind. Contact the winery and see cialis prices if you can get some of the <50 cases left.
Best served with grilled lean meats like fillet, lamb, or perhaps game. 91 Points. Media Sample
Last week I waxed poetically (well at least passionately) about Rosé and some of the myths in Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards.
Domestic Rosé continues to grow in production, mostly from small producers, as the US population of more savvy drinkers buy domestic offers that have gotten substantially better, and newer wine drinkers discover this is not their Parent’s sugary Sutter Home White Zin.
In the spirit of my popular December sparklers panel , I will do a panel tasting of Rosé wines and publish a series of articles of what I think are the best finds.
I will break the reviews into categories, Domestic vs Imports, State, region, or even varietal categories. Pinot vs Rhone vs Bordeaux etc. if there are sufficient wines to merit comparison. There will also be an overall top picks across all categories.
If you are interested in sending a sample please email SimpleHedonisms@Gmail.com – feel free to ask any questions about the panel, reader stats (8-10k unique readers a month), etc.
Samples from all regions are welcome, including importers. Duplicate samples are always appreciated, in the event of tainted bottles, but in today’s world of high expense & reduced cork TCA, screwtops, not required. If you wish to include some other new/recent release, since already shipping, feel free.
All wines tasted, whether published or not, will be added to my lengthy and well followed Cellartracker notes.
Samples should be received by May 5th. If you are on the cusp of a release, email me – perhaps I can delay a category slightly. Wines that are available tasting room or DTC only are fine, and will be noted with purchase links.
Cheers and until then, drink pink!
Tick Tock – the Countdown to Two Amazing Rhone tasting events continues. This next weekend , March 24-25 is the Rhone Rangers “Weekend Celebration of
American Rhones.” Over 100 domestic Producers from California, Washington, Oregon, and even Virginia assemble in Ft Mason, San Francisco for two days of seminars, winemakers dinner, auctions, and tastings.
Just one month later, April 26-28th Rhone lovers head to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines.” This event is a stunning immersion of seminars, lunches, dinners, & tastings.
Each week Simple Hedonisms is celebrating with at least one Rhône wine review.
Rosé Wines – Man Up – Drink Pink. This Isn’t Your 1990′s White Zin, It’s a French Classic Wine
My friend Lisa Ortman of Ortman Family Cellars used to say “Man up, Drink Pink.” The myths surrounding Rosé wines are still a bit perplexing to me. Lets smash a few of them, shall we.
1. Most quality Rosé wines are dry aka not sweet.
No, not that corporate mass produced sugary garbage at the bottom of the supermarket shelf, the real stuff from your local artisan winery or imported from France.
2. Rosé is for women.
For the record men – Rosé is made from RED WINE GRAPES. The only reason its pink is because it doesn’t spend much time on the skins during fermentation, which is the ONLY reason that red wine is even red! This concept is as assanine as the thought that “real wine drinkers don’t drink white.” (Which I’d contend its the opposite if anything.)
3. Rosé is a summer wine only.
This myth is perpetrated both by consumers and by wineries, who are deathly afraid of being caught with any Rosé left by October. It’s true, a good Rosé is a great summer sipper and aperitif. But its hardly limited to that. I was amazed at my trip to France and the Rhone this January – most restaurants had more Rosé by the glass than whites, and swarthy French men bundled up in wool had no issue ordering a bottle of Pink. The higher acidity in Rosé pairs it nicely with food, and its one of my top recommendations for the winter Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well.
4. Rosé can’t age.
Generally the spirit of Rosé is a wine meant to be drunk young, fresh, and consumed in the first year or so of release. But many Rosé wines can actually age quite well, particularly if they are a ‘true’ Rosé – that is to say grapes picked early in the season to be higher in acidity, lower in alcohol. The acidity preserves the wine, and softens with age. Indeed a few Rosé wines I have bought and specifically but aside awhile to let the brightness subdue a bit. The freshness will tamper down a bit, and the wine will change. Generally one wouldn’t hang on to a Rosé more than a few years, but for every rule, there is an exception, especially with wine geeks.
Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards
I recently compared three Rhône Rosé wines in an impromptu panel. I am debating putting out a “call for Rosé” as I did in December for sparkling, for a more thorough review – stay tuned. If interested, email me.
Rhône wines in my opinion, especially Syrah and Grenache, make exceptional Rosé wines. These three do not disappoint.
(1) Mounts 2010 “Pink” Syrah Rosé
I frequently wax poetic about the Mounts, and I hope to write an in depth article soon.
Watching their evolution over the last 4 years has been a rewarding experience as this four generation Grower family continues to innovate and has become a Dry Creek Valley Rhone producer to follow.
This 2010 is a wonderful Rosé of Syrah. Kudos to Dave Mounts for picking, making a true rose’, not a Syrah juice bleed off.
Bright salmon pink color. Essence of strawberry, watermelon, tomato vine, on the nose. Crisp, bright in the mouth, cherry, jolly rancher, watermelon, in mouth.
Lingering mouth watering finish. Drinkable all year round, and a few years bottle time thanks to the nice acidity. At 13% alcohol, can drink a few of these.
Sadly the Mounts are down to about a dozen cases, and there is no 2011 Rosé. I only hope they make it again for 2012. Pretty please? At least hold 6 more 2010 bottles for me.
(2) Skinner Vineyards 2010 Grenache Rosé
A winery in the Sierra Foothills I have my eyeballs on. This Rosé is mostly Grenache with a touch of Mourvedre.
Color – clear, salmon-strawberry color. On the nose -cherry, red fruit, hint of watermelon,
tomato vine, red hard candy
Palate – Enjoyable, food friendly, excellent acidity. Cherry, hard candy vibrant front palate , pleasant mid palate, and a lingering finish with notes of spice & hazelnut.
Would pair well with many foods and cheeses.
(3) 2011 Quivira Rosé
Quivira is another of my favorite Dry Creek Rhone producers and new winemaker Hugh Chappelle continues to do great things as Quivira lets him be the creative artisan he wishes to be.
Quivira’s newly released low production rose’ – never lasts long. New in screw top this year.
Like last year, heavily Mourvedre based, unlike Grenache based Rosé of years prior.
Light, bright, pink in color. Nose of watermelon jolly rancher and strawberry. Wonderful in the mouth, watermelon, white peach, red fruits. Mouth watering acidity that lingers on finish.
13% alc. Fresh. Bright. Fun.
The weekly review of Rhone wines as we count down to the the March 24-25 Rhone Rangers “Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” and the
April 26-28th20th anniversary of Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines” in Paso Robles, continues.
David Girard Vineyards – El Dorado
This week I am sharing a gem wine, and winery in El Dorado, a region that is an emerging powerhouse of Rhone wines in Northern California: David Girard Vineyards.
I met owner David Girard, and winemaker Mari Wells Coyle just over a year ago when I visited. Mari was nice enough on a day off to come spend some quality time and geek out with me. I was won over by her wines and her warm personality.
Vineyard manager Ron Mansfield, whom I have also had the fortune to meet this year, is a quiet genius in Rhone vineyard management and wine growing. I am delighted to source grapes from him in 2011 for my own project. (See A new Mother Lode: vintners rediscover Sierra foothills by Jon Bonne’.)
you road trip there, or seek them out at the Rhone Rangers March 25th Grand Tasting at Ft Mason. Tell them William sent you.
Wine Review: 2009 Mourvèdre, El Dorado, Estate Vineyard
Mourvèdre is one of my favorite red wines. It can be hard to find as a single varietal, and even harder to find well made. Some Northern California vintners want to treat it like Cabernet and over oak it. This red Rhone grape has much to express if left alone from the clutches of New World Cabernet makers.
Mourvèdre is often known for its meatiness, slightly gamey profile, with notes of smoked meat & bacon. This Mourvedre is a bit of a departure from that, and a bit unlike most Mourvèdre I have had before. It also stood out in the 2011 Rhone Rangers ‘Mourvèdre On The Move’ seminar. It’s lighter, feminine, and more seductive than most you will come across – reminiscent of Pinot Noir in many ways.
To The Eye: A clear medium red, you can actually see through.
On The Nose: A floral nose of violets leap out of the glass, along with hints of spice, red berry, and tea.
In The Mouth: A wonderful combination of red fruits: Strawberry, pomegranate, cherry notes, with a hint of black tea. The wine dances across the palate and delivers completely front, mid and finish. The acidity is mouth watering, the finish lingering and pleasant. It’s silky and seductive in the mouth.
This wine may surprise you slightly if looking for “classic” Mourvèdre (whatever that might mean to you), although some of those undertones exist. All I know is I want more for my cellar.
Recommendation: Highly recommend. Consume now or cellar for 3-4 years. 92 Points.
Buy online $34
Albariño – a Spanish white wine popular with wine aficionados who look for leaner white wines, higher in acidity.
The Rías Baixas region of Spain (which I have not visited yet unfortunately) is renowned for the Albariño grown here, so I was delighted when asked if I wanted to receive a sampler pack. (More reviews to come.)
Albariño is one of my Spanish white loves, and growing to be one of my preferred varietals. It reminds me somewhat of Grenache Blanc, in that its high in acidity, and responds to vinification techniques, and can gain some complexity if something besides stainless is done with it: neutral oak, concrete etc. (lees aging anyone?)
US production is slowly increasing, but is still hard to find, and generally I have been more pleased with the the Albariño imported from Spain. Which by the way you won’t find on most Safeway shelves, but your local wine shop should carry a bottle.
Review: 2010 Gallegas Albariño Rías Baixas Miudino
To The Eye: Medium yellow
One The Nose: A pleasant nose of grapefruit & white peach.
In The Mouth: Bright and lively lime, wet stone, some stone fruit, good mouth feel, and a touch of minerality combined with lingering finish. 12% alcohol.
Recommendation: A very enjoyable white thats great as an aperitif, but would sing when paired with shellfish, especially oysters. A solid white, under $20. If you see any, grab a bottle. 89 Points.
Where To Buy:
Miudiño – available to order online at http://www.zagatwine.com/
Also fun – sign up for information on the new Albariño Explorers Club website:
Time to bring it back home and share thoughts on some of the many great sparkling wines made in California.
There were also some unusual finds here that were very
bottledpoetry.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/sparkling-wine.jpg?w=450″ alt=”" width=”189″ height=”199″ />fun to taste. Below are the best of my many nights of tasting: some wines purchased, some media samples. All enjoyed.
Sparkling Wine – Under $35
2009 Windsor Vineyards Blanc de Noir $25 *Top Pick*
A pretty sparkling from Windsor Vineyards. Light pink, salmon color. Nose of strawberry, hint of cherry. Good red fruit, creamy in mouth, with an easy finish. Easy quaffing.A great aperitif. A great sparkling for the price. Their Brut is also very enjoyable, bright acid, green apple.
Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee 2007 $32 *Top Pick*
An incredible Blanc de Noir, made from 88% Pinot Noir, 12% Chardonnay. Essence of strawberries, creamy rich mouthfeel. Iron Horse consistently makes some of the best sparkling wines in Russian River Valley, and this carries the torch well.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Non Vintage $20
My house bubbles. Widely available, often a discount, regularly an award winner. A consistent winner that delivers: green apple, bread yeast, citrus. Yum.
J. Keverson ‘Bubbles for Boobies’ Brut, Non Vintage $20
Whats not to like about sparkling wine that is for boobies. Dark yellow straw color, pear, lemon. Crisp in mouth. Begs for some oysters.
50% of the proceeds from the sale of Bubbles for Boobies Brut is donated to fight breast cancer. 60% Chardonnay from Mendocino, 40% Pinot Noir form Carneros. Drink some bubbles, help a worthy cause.
Sparkling Wine – The Unusual
While most domestic sparkling is made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, we do find the occasional deviation. These require an open mind, and can be fun.
Amista Vineyards Syrah Rose’ (Non Vintage)
I had this the very first year it was released, and just recently tasted the new vintage, which is now lower in alcohol and color. (A plus.) It’s a fun wine, made from Syrah rose’, not that dark purple sweet sparkling shiraz the Aussies make. The new vintage has a nice red fruit, cherry and strawberry.
Harvest Moon Sparkling Gewürztraminer Dry Sparkling $38 *Top Pick*
Randy is a master of working with wines of great acidity, and he takes the difficult task of making a Gewurtz in a sparkling in stride. This is a unique bottle of bubbles is fun. A floral nose as expected, tiny bubbles, citrus and stone fruit. This wine always sells out, grab a bottle if you can.
Harvest Moon Sparkling Zinfandel $38
Another odd duck and even more interesting and complex. Because the zin is from the cool climate Russian River, it pulls off the acidity, and the fruit, picked early as one does for sparkling has interesting notes of spice. A dark red color, reminiscent of sparkling Syrah. Fragrant nose of black cherry & raspberry. Black cherry and black fruit in the mouth with some spice. Good acidity, recommended to pair with food or an aperitif. Get adventurous and try it.
Sparkling Wine Over $35
Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir Amber Block Starr Ridge Estate 2009 $50
My first time tasting sparkling from Thomas George, and given how great their Pinot Noir (and other wines) are, I wasn’t surprised this bar was equally high.
Light salmon pink color, fresh strawberry and bread yeast on nose, strawberry and citrus in mouth, Excellent creamy mouthfeel, lingering finish.
Inman Family Wine – Endless Crush 2009 $50 *Top Pick*
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone this made the list, given it was my wine of the month a few weeks ago. See Winery of The Month, Wine of the Week: Inman Family Wines 2009 Brut Rose Nature “Endless Crush”
Just the slightest tinge of pink. Nose of strawberry, citrus and a hint of bread yeast. Bright in the mouth, great acidity combined with rich texture and mouthfeel, lingering finish and some minerality, this is a unique work of art.
Gloria Ferrer -Carneros Cuvee’ 1999 $50 *Top Pick*
The bottle you love to look at, but can’t stack many of in a cellar. A work of art, the bottle and whats in it. I have the 1999 in my cellar, current release is 2000. (Yes almost 12 years old folks.) Don’t worry the 2000 is great too, Jon Bonne recommended it last month. Elegant. Citrus, pear, creamy. If I could afford it every day, or week I would. Well worth the splurge.
On this (tired) note – we are off to France for a tour of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. Many changes are afoot for 2012, and taking a quick research jaunt.
Have a Very Happy & Safe New Years, and thanks for reading!
This Albariño from Bonny Doon is not too be confused with their 2009 Ca’ del Solo Albariño, which was one of my favorite Albariño’s at the TAPAS event in San Francisco earlier this year.
This wine derives from two vineyards in the Central Coast: Ca’ del Solo in Soledad, and Jesperson Ranch in San Luis Obispo.
Wine Review - Bonny Doon Vineyards 2010 Albariño
On The Nose: Green Apple, Asian Pear, Lemon Peel
In The Mouth: IMPORTANT – do not drink overchilled. This wine’s nuances are completely lost if overchilled (which I did by accident.) It has a rich texture, mouthfeel and slight oiliness one wouldn’t expect when combined with this acidity and lower (12.5%) alcohol. Must bug Randall or his other winemaker for vinification techniques.
It dances in the mouth with green apple and citrus and makes you smile, and reach for more. The finish is lingering, and compelling. This wine drinks wonderfully by itself, and the bottle is emptying fast as I consume it. (Instead of spitting.)
Food Pairing: Bonny Doon recommends pair it with “…pairs beautifully with briny foods like oysters, shellfish, seafood salad, fish crudo (or ceviche), or shrimp scampi with garlic and lemon. It’s a natural with fresh goat cheese, green olives, tomato salads (especially dressed with a drizzle of lemon-infused oil), tempura, and other Asian fare.” Randall and his team are foodies, so I never doubt them, however tonight’s fare when I am done reviewing is home made turkey soup.
Recommendation: 90 Points. Buy and Enjoy. At $18 this Albariño is an excellent buy, that will both drink wonderfully solo or with food, and can age easily for a few years. Available online for $18, $15 for club, and right now club members get free shipping on orders $99 or higher.