Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sicilian Value

So tonight, I randomly grabbed off our wine rack a 2005 Colosi red wine from Sicily. I bought it a while back from LA Wine Co for $7. 100% Nero d'Avola grapes. Pretty darned good juice, especially for the price. A little musty on the nose - not sure if that's the right term, but it's all I could think of. Medium bodied, straight forward, cherry, red fruit, nice acidity, solid tannin, balanced. The musty scent on the nose also makes a brief appearance on the finish. Definitely a solid food wine. Great value.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2003 LBV - part 1 of 3

So, we drink a little port almost every night and it's my favorite thing in the whole wide world, but for some reason I've never blogged about it. So it deserves a special 3 part in-depth series! And there is good reason why, but first a little information...

Here's the basics: true port is fortified wine (grape spirit is added to wine during fermentation) from the Duoro Valley of Portugal. They have very specific categories of port. A governing body in Portugal decides which years are good enough to create quality wines, which are called a declared vintage. Recent declared vintages are 2007, 2003, 2000, 1997, 1994, 1992, 1991, 1985 etc. Vintage ports are considered to be the best quality and get the highest prices. They are not meant to be drunk when released but many years later. One practice is to give a gift of vintage port to a child when born so when they turn 21, they can drink an awesome wine. A Late Bottle Vintage port (or L.B.V.) is port from the same year as vintage port but is meant to be drunk upon release. To be a LBV, the port is aged for 4-6 years in the cask (unlike vintage port which spends a maximum of 2 1/2 years in cask) which basically speeds up the maturation process.

Still reading? OK, so I bought three different 2003 LBV's. The first is a 2003 Taylor Fladgate L.B.V. $22 at the Wine House. Taylor Fladgate is one of the older and more well respected port houses. Some LBV's need to filtered (if it has a real cork, you have to filter it) and some don't (it has a stopper you can pull out with your hand.) This is a pull-out cork, so no filtering.

It's very yummy stuff. Lots of dark cherry and dark fruit flavors. A bit fruitier, more floral and sweeter than I expected. Not bad, just surprising. Great structure. Although I'm partial to aged tawny ports (that is a whole different lesson), I really am liking the 2003 LBV's so far. Part 2 coming next week.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goodbye Havens

So, this evening we are trying a 2006 Havens Hudson Vineyard Syrah, for the first, and probably, last time. Not because it's bad, but because Havens no longer exists. They went out of business and sold off all their stock this past summer. As a result, many places, like the Wine House, bought up a ton of the inventory and are selling it at ridiculous prices. I think this was originally about $45, but Wine House was selling it for $18.

Well, it certainly is pretty good juice. Big and a bit sharp at first, we had to decant it to let it open up and soften a bit. Once it settled, it was darn good. Great syrah-y flavors, fairly complex, big red fruit, lots of pepper - reminds me of smoky BBQ. However, just a bit sharp in the finish, even a few hours after decanting. Not a totally bad thing, just evident. If you have the chance, grab some and check it out before it is all gone.