Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sex sells wine

Tonight, we are trying a 2007 Menage a Trois made by Folie a Deux ($7.50 at LA Wine Company.)  The trois refers to the three grapes in the blend, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  If I recall correctly, the winery is located in Napa near Sterling and their awesome sky tram.  Although the exact blend is not indicated, I'm guessing it's dominated by Zinfandel.

This wine is good for the price.  Nice fruit, good flavor, basic fermented grape juice.  Basically balanced and easy drinking.  The addition of Merlot and Cab probably saves this wine - it is still very much on the sweet side.  A bit too sweet for us, but still drinkable.  It's been a while since I drank Yellowtail, but it reminds me of that, although this is certainly higher quality.

I guess an OK weeknight wine, although we have no plans to buy it again.  There is simply much better wine for a few bucks more.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Newton's Law of Wine?

Tonight is... 2005 Newton Napa Valley Claret; the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon 47%, Merlot 41%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Petit Verdot 4%,  Syrah 4%.  FYI, claret is basically another word for Bordeaux blend (a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.)  I think it was around $19 - don't recall where I got it.

Decided we should try this after loving their 2005 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, which was outstanding, but is more in the $50 range.

Solid wine - nice blend - all the right grapes, that's for sure.  Big and bold, but not a palate crusher.  A bit musty and earthy on the nose.  But very easy to drink. Medium finish.  Dark fruit and earthy with a little hint of spice.  A fairly typical Napa blend.  Good tannin, but again, not overwhelming.  Really solid wine, but missing that "wow" factor.  But good!  Oh wine, why do you confuse me so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

This evening, we sampled another pinot from New Zealand.  A 2007 Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand ($15 at K&L Wines)

Very nice weeknight wine.  Nothing special; not amazing, but not bad.  Soft and round, light cherry flavor.  A little tight - almost an unripe fruit character to it - a bit green.

For $15 it's OK, but I'd rather pay a few extra bucks for better juice.

note: this is a re-post - for some reason the first post was deleted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Proof we drink white wine

Holy cow!  A white wine!  Gasp!

Well, this is not a new one to us, but it is a new vintage, and I had to share it with you.  Tonight we had a 2007 Weingut Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett ($20 at Beverage Warehouse).  That's a mouthful.  I originally had this in a wine class and fell in love with it.  It actually started my love and appreciation of riesling.  If you are wondering, all those German words mean it is a 2007 vintage wine, made and produced by Reuscher-Haart, made from riesling from the Goldtropfchen vineyard (which is an outstanding vineyard located in Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) in the region of Piesport, Germany.  "Kabinett" refers to the level of sugar; in this case it's very low.  And it's low in alcohol at 8.5%, which is normal.

Anyhow, this wine is so amazing!  We last had the 2005 vintage and this is almost as good - this was a bit less acidic and bright - but still damn good.  Over the last few years, we've probably tried at least 20 different Kabinett level German rieslings, and this is still one of our tops.  High acidity makes it super crisp, great minerals, lime, apple, super refreshing - great to get your taste buds ready for dinner.  We had it with some Spanish goat cheese called Leonora - very tasty.  Anyhow, this is a wonderful riesling, wonderful fruit but not sickly sweet.  If you can find it, grab it.

By the way, just found this on an educational website - not sure is Reinhold Haart has anything to do with Reuscher Haart, but still interesting:

The best vineyard in Piesport is the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen. But there are over 350 different estates making wine from the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen vineyard. So if you want the best, you have to look for the wines of Reinhold Haart. His wines which are made from the best portions of the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen vineyard, and vinified to perfection and earn high scores every vintage.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

When DeRose is not a rose

OK, another short blog tonight.  We drank a 2006 DeRose Zinfandel ($23 at Wine House) - the label claims it is "Dryfarmed Old Vines."  I do like seeing old vines on a label - usually a good sign, but I don't think the term is technically regulated.

We discovered DeRose at a now closed steakhouse - they make a great wine from Negrette grapes - it's insane stuff - I have a bottle of that around and someday will blog about it.  This stuff is big - 16.2% alcohol.  Anyhow, I couldn't describe this wine any better than the folks at The Wine Exchange, so they can do it for me :) 

"Sometimes their stuff can be a little over the top.  But this one, even though it packs a pretty good octane, reins in the ripeness to the degree that you get the lush, plump, spicy, peppery red fruits, but it stops short of being porty.  The end result is delicious, character-filled, very zinny Zinfandel with plenty of stuffing and no pretense, right down to the price."

Yup. Done and done.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bio-dynamic Carignan

Not a big blog tonight, but had to mention this one.  2006 Ferrer Ribiere Empreinte du Temps Carignan Cotes Catalanes.  And I didn't even type all the fancy words on the bottle.  No wonder Americans are intimidated by French wine.  This was another purchase from the restaurant/wine shop Palate.  I think around $16.

100% Carignan and very good, apparently from 129 year old vines.  Very lush, big fruit, blueberry especially.  A little earth and spice.  Long finish.  Really nice.  Not oaky at all, but had nice tannin.  Took some time for Rachel to get used to the intense blueberry flavor, but she also recognized it was good stuff.  This would be a great complement if paired with the right food, not that I know what that is.

Monday, February 2, 2009

G5 is not a jet

Tonight, we return to what seems to be our favorite place, Spain.  The wine is a 2007 Vinos Sin Ley G5 from Madrid ($12 from LA Wine Co.)  Poking around online, I found this on the website for the wines importer (

"Vinos Sin-Ley “Wines Without Law”in translation.  The twofold objective of Vinos Sin-Ley is to create “new wines” that are value oriented.  The concept, driven by creative innovation using non-conventional methods of harvesting, fermenting, blending, ageing and labeling, results with wines processing new 

fresh fruit driven flavors that are different from those achieved in the past. Composed of a group of young winemakers from different regions in Spain, the wines crafted at Vinos Sin-Ley are value oriented, driven by experimentation and innovative insight shared by their philosophy. They meet twice ayear to set in place new 

projects of mutual interest and shared knowledge of the winemaking techniques implemented."

This bottle is kind of cool - it has a bunch of info on the back of the label about the grape (100% grenache), the soil, the climate, the vine... all kinds of good stuff - I wish all bottles were like this. Hopefully you can check out the posted photo.

Most importantly, this is a tasty wine.  A nice bright fruit component (cherry, raspberry) but none of the sugary fruit you get with some of the Aussie wines.  Nice length.  The word savory seems to apply here.  Not over oaked.  Big alcohol (14.5%), but it didn't taste like it.  For some reason, it reminded me of a beaujolais - lots of fruit and almost no oak.

Definitely try this if you get a chance.