Monday, March 23, 2009

Bangin Red.... no, really, that's the name!

Tonight we tried a wine that I received as a gift at Christmas, a 2006 Bangin Red.  A nice blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 2% Zinfandel.  Yikes.  That's an odd mixed bag of stuff.

Well, the wine was a nice everyday drinker.  The blend managed to make it drinkable, however a bit benign.  Nothing bad at all, but nothing memorable.  The cab was definitely dominant - the mix is intriguing, but almost seems like to good aspects of in each grape cancel each other out.  Easy drinking, nice flavors, a good value, if it goes for about $10-12, which is what I'm guessing it is.  If the givers are reading this, great choice!  And thanks!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A doubleshot of tasty

Yeah, Saturday night and we have two wines!  And we made fondue!  It was a good night.

First was a 2000 "L'Ermitage" Brut by Roederer Estate, sparkling wine from Anderson Valley.  This is one of Roederer's signature wines, a dry, fruity, balanced blend of 53% Chardonnay, 47% Pinot Noir, and 3.5% "aged reserve."  I don't know what "aged reserve is, nor do I know where the other .5% went to.  Hopefully my belly.  We bought this thinking we'd drink it this past New Years Eve, but did not have a chance.  About $41 from our local Pavillion's supermarket - have seen it from $38-$50 since.  Why they call it "L'Ermitage" I do not know - seems like they are trying to invoke the name of "L'Hermitage," a wine from the Northern Rhone made from the Marsanne and Rousanne grapes having nothing to do with sparking wine.  Weird.

Anyhow, it was a lovely start to our evening.  A tasty sparkly wine - very fruity and crisp and dry.  It didn't have that yeasty, creamy, biscuity character of some of the Champagnes. I must admit, I personally prefer this style.   Is it worth $40?  That could be debated, but it's pretty darn good.

Second up was a 2005 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon.  Wow!  We had the pleasure of imbibing this about 6 months ago at Capital Grill in Seattle with Rachel's mom and "stepfather."  (They aren't married on paper, but...)  And then we got a bottle from them at Christmas!  Yay!

Well, tonight was the night to retry this and it did not disappoint.  If you care, Parker gave it a 92.  So insanely yummy.  Great big flavors countered with nice amounts of oak and leather, yet not an oak bomb.  Nice length, great balance.  Just damn good Cab from Napa.  Anyone who thinks Napa Cab is overdone and over-oaked should try this.  It's damn good.  About $40-50.

This is "unfiltered" but don't be nervous - some wine folks feel that filtering removes some wonderful flavors from the wine - there minimal to no sediment - it's just darker and more opaque than some wines.  And in the Parker review I read that "the proprietress Su Hua Newton declassified the 2003 and 2004 vintages, as she was not happy with them."  I guess she takes this wine stuff seriously.  Glad she does so I can have fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How do I pronounce the name of this wine?

Seriously, I simply don't know.  I will issue an official "attaboy" or "attagirl" to whomever can tell me.  Ready?  The name is Jarrarte.  Tricky, because it's from Spain and they do funny things with "J's."  

Tonight's wine is a 2003 Jarrarte Rioja.  Found this about a year ago at Sepulveda Wine Company for about $10 a bottle.  We loved it and quickly drank through it; Rachel had to dig the internet to find it elsewhere for about $15 a bottle.  We liked it so much, we paid the extra money and thus we have some tonight.  No info on the label, so I had to do a little research which proved to be tricky.  Listed on the back is the name "Jorge Ordonez" - nothing came up about him.  In small print on the front was "Bodega Abel Mendoza" which is the actual producer of the wine - that yielded some surprising results.  I found this wine online for as much as $32!  Since I bought it for $10 originally, I feel pretty smart.  That is if this is the same wine... I found another wine with the same name, same producer, different label.  I think it may be the same wine but a "joven" (young) version.  Gotta love wine - wonderful as it is confusing.

Between the taste and reading online, seems like it's Tempranillo, I think.  Again, couldn't find information that made me certain.  Really easy drinking wine, but has some nice depth to it.  Lots of earth and dark cherry on the nose, even a bit musty, in a good way.  Taste has more of the same and some spice.  Nice finish - really polished.  Boy we like this stuff.  I doubt we'd buy it for $30 since we don't often drink wines at that price, but it's pretty darn good.

Monday, March 9, 2009

.......annnnnnnnd we are back.

Sorry for the horrendous gap in blogging. Have no fear though... even though no blogging occurred, we continued to drink wine.

Let's get right back to it.  We return to Spain, specifically to Campo de Borea. Tonight, we are imbibing a 2007 Masia D Bielsa Garnacha Vinas Viejas (grenache old vines).  For the life of me, I can't recall where I bought this, but according to the interweb thingy, it goes for about $12 or so.  On the label, this wine is listed as "joven" which means it was bottled the year after the vintage (which mean it may or may not have been put in oak barrels) and is meant to be drunk young, within a few years of release.  Can you tell I'm back in wine class?

The color is super purple - nose has a bit of spice and medium dark fruit - think I smell a little oak.  The taste is quite nice even if it is fairly one dimensional.  That intense berry fruit which is fairly typical of the Spanish garnachas.  Kind of a yucky finish - a bit sour and what my mouth thinks in tannic, but can't be - this wine probably didn't get much oak and it's grenache, which is not too tannic.  Nothing too special or unique but OK juice for $12 (if that's what I paid).

Now get out there and drink!