Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shining Wine

This evening I grilled a marinated skirt steak and wanted a big wine that would hold up to it. So I selected a 2005 Shining Hill Columbia Valley Red Wine. $30 at LA Wine Co.

This is basically the 2nd label of Col Solare, the joint venture between Chateau St. Michelle of Washington and Marchesi Antinori of Tuscany. Col Solare is a wonderful wine, but priced a bit high for us (about $50), so we've only had it once. It is made the same as Col Solare, but basically using the 2nd tier grapes. As I understand it, they intend to release this vintage a year before the Col Solare is released. This first vintage, however, was released at the same time as the 2005.

Very bold wine. Made of 58% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot. Big stuff, kind of crushed my palate at first, but great balance. Big medium to dark fruit, a little bit of spice and cedar notes on the nose and at the end. Long finish, nice complexity.

Really good stuff - some decanting may have helped to soften it a bit. Have to have it again!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sinning with Sinskey

Toooooonight! A 2007 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir Los Carneros. $34 at the Wine House. Crazy guess, but I bet the fruit comes from Carneros, the cool area of southern Napa great for growing Pinot Noir. Can't recall where we discovered Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir, but we have had it before and felt we needed to try it again.

To me, a wonderful balance of the flavors of "New World" Pinot Noir with the restraint of "Old World" Pinot Noir. Will not be confused with some of the bolder Oregon pinots. If you like big, bold, knock out wines, this is not for you. A nice balance of bright cherry and raspberry, spice and earthy flavors, none of them overdone. Silky mouth feel. Just a pleasure to drink. Not uber complex, but a lovely wine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mo Salinas, Mo Betta

This evening, a 2006 Bodegas Salinas Mo Monastrell. $11 at LA Wine Company. A big wine which, at first, I thought was simple, but actually has some nice complexity. A mix of flavors: cherry, black pepper, licorice, blueberry and significant tannin. According to a little research, this wine is mostly Monastrell (which accounts for the tannin) as well as some Tintorera Garnacha (also known as Alicante) and some Cabernet Sauvignon. A solid wine, and probably a good example of this style from Spain for a good price, but not my favorite flavor profile.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

126? No. 127? No. 128? YES!

This evening we consumed a 2006 Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz. Penfolds makes a wide array of wines, with prices ranging from $8 to $300. Overall, they consistently make pretty dang good wine and are always rated well.

Way back in our early days of wine drinking, we discovered Bin 389, which at the time was $20 - now it's closer to $30. So, we've tried others, including this for about $18 at the Wine House.

100% Shiraz from lovely cool weather Coonawarra, Australia. Very solid wine. Not much to complain about. Lots of ripe medium and dark fruit berry flavors, a decent amount of oak, nice structure. Decanting may help soften it a bit. Simply good Shiraz!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Once Upon a Wine

Really nice wine tonight. A 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Being lazy, but this is worth reading... from the LA Times...

"This Cabernet from Once Wines, which makes private-label wines for some of the country's top restaurants, is part of their Sommelier Series. In 2007, Daniel Johnnes, wine director for Daniel Boulud's restaurants, challenged the sommeliers in town for his annual "La Paulée de New York" tasting to blend a perfect, food-friendly Cabernet. This is the wine that scored highest with the judges: a master sommelier and two of the biggest names in Burgundy. Young, but accessible, it's velvety and bright, the fruit tightly woven into the structure. Barely kissed with oak, it is a blend of Cabernet with 18% Cab Franc and a wee bit of Petit Verdot (barely 4%)."

Yup. And the kicker is the Wine House has it for $15 - everywhere else I'm finding it lists it as an excellent wine when priced at $25-30. So, $15 is an insane price. I think we will buy more!