Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are you Hungary...?

Mmmmm Tokaji.  Good lord, this stuff is good.  For those unfamiliar with Tokaji, it is a sweet white desert wine made in Tokaj, Hungary.  This stuff comes in variations of sweetness as indicated by the number of puttonyos - this one has 5.  I'm sure I will mess this up, but basically a puttonyo is a basket of concentrated rotting grapes (they use the Furmint grape to make this).  First they make base wine out of the Furmint grape - then they add a puttonyo of sweet, rotting grapes to a set amount of base wine - the more puttonyos, the sweeter it is - the scale is basically 1-6, 6 is highest.  The result is a wonderfully sweet and acidic wine with incredible honey flavors.

Since good tokaji is usually fairly expensive (this was $30 for a half bottle from Wine Library in New Jersey), I've only had maybe 6 different brands, all in the 5-6 puttonyos range - this one is outstanding - a 2001 Hetszolo.  Simply an excellent example of tokaji.  Balanced, loads of honey, not sickeningly sweet (which was the problem with the last one I bought) - just wonderful.  You must try this once in your life.

Just found this on the K&L Wines website, where they also sell it for $30 a bottle...With a stunning 120 g/l of residual sugar (minimum), this original dessert wine was made according to tradition, harvesting only starts after 28th October, and may last until the first snows, so as to allow the botrytis cinerea (noble rot) to develop and to obtain the maximum concentration of grape must. When the grape must concentration is sufficient, the grapes with noble rot are separately harvested. The AszĂș grapes are manually harvested one by one, and maceration takes place with the grape must. Next fermentation takes place in barrels for one and a half to two months. The white wine is then aged for three years in oak barrels stored in underground cellars at constant temperature (12° to 13° C) and humidity. This long ageing process gives the wine its complex and inimitable bouquet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

2006 ZD Pinot Noir

Sorry for the lazy blog title - they can't all be gold.

Tonight, we downed a lovely bottle of ZD Pinot Noir.  We actually visited ZD about 5 years ago while up in Napa.  We loved their cabernet sauvignon; even bought a bottle even though it was in the $40 range (a fortune for us back then.)  The pinot is listed as from Carneros, one of the better Pinot growing areas in California.

This is a very good pinot noir, especially at $27 from Lincoln Fine Wines.  Doing a quick web search, the price ranges from $22 (outrageously low! I'll have to check into budgetbottle.com) to $49.  Huge range.  Excellent quality, certainly worth the money.  Great fruit, great balance, nice acidity.  Really solid.  If you can find this - try it.  You will like it.  Just damn good California Pinot Noir.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Domaine Yum

Tonight we returned to Oregon, drinking yet another yummy Pinot Noir.  Seems like they can do no wrong in Oregon.  We had a 2006 Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir.  $26 at LA Wine Company.  Normally, it seems that pinots from Domaine Serene are always top quality and fetch top dollar - $40 on up.  This was an excellent pinot noir, certainly worthy of the $26 price.  Great fruit, very lush and wonderful.  Don't tell them, but I think they could get more money for this wine..... 

So, with that thought, I just hopped on to the web - looks like they underpriced this - most everywhere else has this for $38+  -- love LA Wine Co!  Now we're gonna buy more!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tonight, we are having a 2006 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee from Napa Valley. Chappellet is known for having pretty good 
Cabernet Sauvignon, and this has 51% Cab... as well as 40% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Seems like 
the price varies, anywhere from $20-30 - I paid $28 at Lincoln fine wines this time. Really excellent blend - great quality - 
enough Cab that it went well with our steak, but balanced enough that it could be drunk easily on it's own. For those that 
might be a bit frightened of the $50+ bottles of Cab, this is a nice alternative.  We have had this many times before and have 
never been disappointed. Better than last night's blend in my opinion, but $13 better? Who can say?

Perhaps in a day or two, I will blog about the Tokaji we had as a dessert wine...

Sorry if this post looks odd - was having a problem with the settings...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Many apologies... but there is wine!

So what I feared most happened.  I was afraid that blogging would turn into too much work.  And it did, because I made it that way.  So sorry to abandon you all.  Enough of that.  Wine is good.  Wine is tasty.  Mostly, wine is fun!  So back to having fun!  Ok?  Ok. 

Let's dive right back in with a stable, solid nice blend for $15 at LA Wine Company.  2007 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red.  From multiple vineyards in Washington State (one of my favorite regions).  A blend of (get a pen) 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Syrah, 16% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, 5% Sangiovese, 1& Carmenere and 1% Petit Verdot.  Now THAT is a blend.  But it has the two things that make me think it is a good blend, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.

And it is.  For $15, it's a very solid wine.  Very nice blend.  Great balance, but not dull, which sometimes happens with the multi blends.  Great dark fruits, a bit of spice, nice acidity, just damn fine juice for $15 (looks like $18 at K&L Wines, so that is a great price.)  If this was from Napa, it'd be a $35 blend.  Buy this.  You will like it.  Or I will buy it from you.