Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tangent Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This weekend we served a bottle of the Tangent 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Edna Valley, CA with cheese appetizers and was rather disappointed. There was a citrusy nose with herbs along with an initial taste of pineapples and grassy clover followed up with an overbearing alcohol taste. We would pass on this wine the next time. Overpriced at $18.00 compared to the Twomey or Girard from the US and most of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Follow-up: We gave this wine a second try and opened another bottle this past week. This bottle was better than the first as far as the overbearing alcohol. However, I still think it is overpriced and not as nice as many other sauvignon blancs on the market. This is still a pass.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

La Mascota Malbec 2005

We purchased 2 bottles of the La Mascota Malbec by Bodegas Santa Ana but accidentally picked a 2004 and a 2005. Bodegas Santa Ana has been producing wines for over 100 years in the Mendozza region of Argentina. This turned out to be a great opportunity to try two vintages side-by-side. The 2004, although a year older, was not as intense and tasty as the 2005. The 2005 had a very pleasant blackberry and cherry aroma followed by blackberry and plum tastes with a hint of licorice and spices. The tannins were smooth. This is a full-bodied wine that you could cellar for a few more years. Be sure to decant this prior to serving. It was aged for 15 months in new French oak and American oak barrels. We served these wines with a coconut curry chicken dish and the wines complemented the spices well. Could also go well with grilled meats or even stronger cheeses like my wife's favorite Gruyere. Pass on the 2004.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lois Gruner Veltliner 2007

Austria has been producing some very good wines with the Gruner Veltliners (white) and the Zweigelts (red). The 2007 Lois Gruner Veltliner by the Loimer winery is one of my favorite Gruner Veltliners. It has a very crisp aroma of green apples, pineapple and honey dew. Along with the citrus, there is a spicy/peppery taste. This is a wonderful summer wine that can be paired with many foods or just enjoyed with some appetizers. Wine Enthusiast rated this 86 points. We thought it was better than this rating. Retails for about $15. GREAT VALUE for this wine.

Naia Las Brisas 2007

Las Brisas is a wine made by the Bodegas Naia winery in Rueda, the famous white wine region in the heart of north-central Spain. This wine is comprised of 50% verdejo, 25% sauvignon blanc and 25% viura. It is a medium bodied white with a crisp citrus taste and traces of grapefruit, honeysuckle and melon. It was the perfect pairing for our grilled shrimp and fish. A great value wine at $12. Will definitely buy more.

Dievole Plenum Quartus 2001

This past summer while having dinner at the Parco San Marco Resort in Cima di Porlezza, Italy overlooking Lake Lugano the sommelier recommended a bottle of 2001 Plenum Quartus by Dievole. It is a 50% Sangiovese from Tuscany and 50% Touringa Franca, a grape that is originally from Portugal.  This mix is medium to full bodied with an intense plum aroma and a berry taste with some light spices and soft tannins. This is a great wine if you can find it. We specially ordered it for $35/bottle. This wine would pair nicely with most foods including grilled chicken or pork tenderloin, pasta dishes or an italian risotto.  This is still one of my wife's favorite wines.  When we are planning a special evening, this is the wine.  Although drinking it at home is nice, it is not the same as the beautiful setting for this trip.

View from hotel looking towards Porlezza

Girard Petite Sirah 2004

As mentioned in an earlier post, Girard Winery from Napa, CA produces outstanding Petite Sirah wines. We were introduced to this wine with the 2002 and 2003 vintages, which are both 90+ rated wines. The 2004 was once again a very nice full-bodied wine made from 100% petite sirah grapes with aromas of blueberry, coffee, black cherry and some lilac. The taste was a combination of blackberry, blueberry, plum and spices. A finish that goes on forever. Was the perfect wine with our beef tenderloin dinner. If you can find any vintage of the Girard Petite Sirah, BUY IT!!! Hard to find. Retails for $28-$35. Girard Petite Sirah's are one of our favorites. Looking forward to opening the 2005 and 2006.

Bogle Phantom 2005

Don't be afraid of this Phantom (by Bogle), in fact you should invite it in!! The 2005 Phantom from Clarksburg, CA is a wonderful full-bodied wine made up of 55% Petite Sirah, 42% Zinfandel and 3% Mourvedre. It has a dark inky color with an aroma that changes by the hour. Initially, there were aromas of plum and cherry along with pepper. Then, a little later, I also picked up a blueberry and blackberry aroma with a hint of chocolate. The taste is very fruit forward with some spices including anise which is common to CA zins. Decant this wine for an hour before serving. We served the Phantom with a rack of American lamb that was marinated in curry, Chinese five spice, peanut satay mix, sesame oil and herbs. Would pair nicely with grilled meats, especially bbq ribs and a peppercorn crusted fillet. For our palates, we rate this 90 points. Retails for about $18.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Girard Zinfandel 2006

As you will see in upcoming posts, we (my wife and I) are big fans of Girard wines from Napa, especially the 2003 Petite Sirah. Last night, we had the opportunity to try a bottle of the 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel. This full bodied wine hit you right from the beginning with a big aroma of cherries, cassis and espresso. The initial tastes were blackberry and cherry flavors, along with smoked peppers. The '06 Zin has a nice long finish with a taste of chocolate on the back end. This is a dry red wine but the tannins were pretty smooth. I would hold the 2006 Zinfandel for a few more years if possible. Serve this with some gamey meats or even a nice steak on the grill. Would also be great with a stuffed turkey. If you have never tried Girard wines, search them out. The 2006 Zin retails for about $24. I will search for the '02 and '03 Zins now that they have had more bottle time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2002

Last night I enjoyed a bottle of the 2002 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon from Hyde Vineyards. This is a full-bodied Cabernet from Napa that has a wonderful nose of blackberry and cherry along with vanilla and some lavender. The first taste is a nice spicy cherry along with currants and some chocolate in the back. Nice big finish with some chewy tannins. Our server did not decant this wine but I highly recommend it. This is a pricey ($85-$90) wine but well worth it if you can find it. Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator rated this 94 points. Serve this with your favorite steak.  This will contiue to cellar nicely for another 5-10 years.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Terrabianca Campaccio 2004

The 2004 Campaccio is a "super Tuscan" mix of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet. This medium-bodied wine had a deep red color and aromas of strawberry, plum and cocoa with a hint of leather. The structure was excellent with the fruit and some oakiness and a finish of cherries and vanilla. Nice long finish!! The wine got better as it opened. Highly recommend this wine. I will be looking to put some away for a few more years. This wine retails for about $26. Would pair nicely with a lasagna or another pasta dish.  The 2004 received a 91 point rating from the Wine Advocate.

The 2005 Campaccio was also tasted in the same sitting. I was disappointed with this wine. It did not have the full taste from the Cabernet that the 2004 had. It had the earthy taste expected from Italian wines but the structure was lacking. The black fruits and tobacco tastes were more subtle. This retails for about $29. For my taste, the 2004 was much better.

I look forward to my visit to Terrabianca later this year.

Cigales Museum Real Reserva 2003

Our good friends, Tanya & Geoff Smith, introduced us to this outstanding wine from Northern Spain. It is a medium to full-bodied red wine made from 100% tempranillo grapes that have been picked from 50+ year old vines and aged in oak barrels for 2 years. The nose was very interesting with earthy red fruits and vanilla along with hints of spices and herbs. The flavors were more black fruits along with currants, licorice and chocolate. The oakiness and acidity were well balanced. Great finish with cassis (my boys favorite syrup). Wine Spectator rated this 86, but I would rate it 92+. OUTSTANDING wine!! Will add this to my collection in the cellar. Was an absolute perfect match for their incredible marinated grilled lamb and vegetable dinner along with a dessert of chocolate ice cream balls covered with toasted coconut and cinnamon. This will cellar for many more years. Retails for about $25.