Saturday, March 28, 2009

2006 Marietta ZINFANDEL (Sonoma County)

This winery usually issues chunky, flavorful wines that offer lots of bang for the buck but sometimes are a bit less than "elegant." This one is typical (and very good).

Totally saturated black ruby, still showing some violet highlights at the rim. Classic, very ripe Zin nose of sweet, spicy raspberry and blackberry, with sweet maple syrup and crushed rock notes. Massive, jammy, almost sweet fruit envelopes the mouth, but with good, balanced acidity and a nice bit of peppery heat in the back end. 88. Very good value at $16 and change at Spec's on Smith.
(Sorry, 2005 pictured.)

2006 Cono Sur CABERNET SAUVIGNON "Vision" (Maipu Valley, Chile)

A fruity and direct (and very modern) style of Cab. Not bad for the price but a bit lacking in lacking complexity and depth.

Saturated black ruby color with violety highlights. Lots of toasty oak and milk chocolate notes on the nose, overshadowing the simple plummy fruit. Sweet cassis and blackberry flavors, with a cedary, minerally component in the background. Soft and mouthfilling, but relatively superficial in appeal. 86. Was $10 and change at Spec's on Smith.

2007 Edmeades ZINFANDEL (Mendocino County)

Fleshy and fruity, but very simple.

Rich, soft dark ruby color. Medium intensity nose of sweet brown sugar, baking spices, and fresh-pressed berry juice. Sweet and soft in the mouth, with full body, and lots of simple ripe berryish fruit (with the barest hint of minerality in the background). A decent wine, but I'd have a tough time identifying it as Zinfandel. 85. Was $15 and change at Spec's on Smith.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A whole bunch of good wines

Mom and Dad came for another visit, and for much of their visit I didn't have time to blog in real time or take detailed wine notes, but we did open up a lot of good stuff. Pretty much special occasion , not everyday quaffers, but what the hey. Here are my quick impressions of them:

2005 Daniel Dampt CHABLIS PREMIER CRU "Cotes de Lechet" -- A wine I reviewed last year, it was holding nicely, with lots of steely, earthy, austere and penetrating (unoaked) Chardonnay fruit. Was about $29 from Flickinger's Wines (on-line) in Chicago.

1989 Chateau Meyney (St. Estephe, Bordeaux) -- Despite non-optimal storage for the last 10 years, this wine has held together nicely. Loads of cedary-peanuty aged Bordeaux scents, with soft, earthy plummy fruit in the mouth.

2006 Wine Guerrilla "Coffaro Vineyards Old Vine" ZINFANDEL (Dry Creek Valley) -- This Zin was really, really good. Big, spicy, ripe (almost jammy but not quite) nose. Rich and fat in the mouth, but with great balancing acidity keeping it from being ponderous. Spec's has some of this limited production gem for around $32.

2004 Casa Emma CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA -- This was a deep, brooding Chianti, with big earthy, gravelly, gingerbready notes augmenting seriously concentrated macerated cherry fruit. Long, austere finish with some well-hidden tannin. Come back and see this guy in 3-5 years and it will be amazing. About $40 at Spec's.

2005 Turkey Flat Vineyards MOURVEDRE (Barossa Valley, Australia) -- This had loads of deep, ripe blackberry fruit, with a distinctly saline minerality. Mouthfilling and deep. Was about $20 on sale at Kroger's (Yes, Kroger's!) on Westpark near Buffalo Speedway.

2006 Cristom "Eola-Amity Hills PINOT NOIR "Marjorie's Vineyard (Willamette Valley, Oregon) -- Another superb P.N. from this producer. Earthy, spicy sappy cherry nose. Mouthfilling yet exceedingly elegant, with a soft finish that lasted and lasted and lasted . . . . Wow. Was about $40 at Spec's on Smith.

2006 d'Arenberg "The Noble" RIESLING (McLaren Vale, Australia) -- This botrytised late harvest Riesling was a total surprise. Who would have expected an Aussie Riesling to compare with a German Beerenauslese? Not me. But this one did, and at a (relative) bargain price of $18 (Spec's on Smith). Honeyed apricots and peaches, very sweet, intense, flavors, yet with very good acidity for balance. Not as complex as the best German versions, but a bargain in comparison!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2005 Lolonis ZINFANDEL (Again!) (Redwood Valley, Cal.)

This wine ROCKS! (Hence the big picture.) I gave bit a glowing review last summer, and it's still drinking stunningly. If anything, I'd up the score to 91. And for $17 (Spec's on Smith), it's a total steal!

Incredibly ripe, yet lively Zin fruit explodes out of the glass. Rich, yet balanced with vibrant acidity. Mouthcoating, yet soft as silk. I love this stuff.

2007 Domaine de Colette BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES (France)

Not as good as the 2006, reviewed here, but still a winner.

Classic old-fashioned Beaujolais, with a light color, but vibrant ripe cherry candy and granite/mineral scents jumping out of the glass. Light-bodied, totally refreshing mouthfeel. My only gripe is that the mineral flavors predominated over the fruit in the lean, back-half of the finish. 87. Was $17 at Central Market, I think.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

2006 Chateau Pesquie "Terrasses" COTES DE VENTOUX (Rhone, France)

An absolutely beautifully-rendered, elegant Rhone wine.

The color of this wine wasn't super-saturated, but the nose and flavors revealed an elegant ripeness of fruit that was remarkable, particularly after it had been opened an hour or so. Beautiful ripe raspberry, plummy fruit, with just a hint of Rhone garigue-y earthiness. Very soft texture, medium-full body, and a long finish. Not exceedingly complex or a blockbuster, but just one of those wines you just want to keep sniffing and sipping. 89. Was $14.95 at Central Market.

2007 Inama SOAVE CLASSICO (Veneto, Italy)

This was really nice, but not as nice as the 2006, previously reviewed here.

Youthful, bright light gold color. Nose full of pungent minerals and herby fruit. Crisp, balanced, and full of flavor, but with a bitter component in the flavor profile that detracted from what was otherwise a very nice white. However, the flavors would likely be a nice foil to sweetish seafood such as shrimp or scallops. 86. Was about $13 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

2005 Patrick LeSec CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE "Marquis" (Rhone Valley, France)

This was a really nice, well-constructed wine.

Deep, saturated black ruby color. Big nose of spicy raspberry and earthy, stony, herby scents (classic "garrigue"). Deep and mouthcoating, this wine weighed in on the back of the tongue with great authority and length. Had fruit and deep, iodiney/minerally flavor components in equal measure. Gobs of soft, fine-grained tannin makes this a good candidate for another 2-3 years of cellaring if you've got a cool place to store it. Was about $34 at Spec's on Holcombe, making it one of the lower-priced Chateauneufs available. 90.

2007 Cruz de Piedra GARNACHA (Calatayud, Spain)

A good buy in a gutsy, working class red.

Bright, saturated ruby with vivid magenta highlights. The nose jumps out of the glass with ripe raspberry and crushed rock aromas. Intense fruity minerallly flavors, with good concentration, full body, but a slightly coarse texture. Would pair nicely with red meat sauces and grilled burgers. 86. Was $8.98 at Central Market on Westheimer and Weslayan.

2006 Bogle PETITE SIRAH (California)

This is a very good buy in a flavorful, soft red.

Deep color, but not nearly as deep as those $30 blockbuster Petite Sirah's that dominate the wine shop shelves. However, the upside of this limited extraction is that this wine is 1/10 as tannic as those wines, and is very drinkable. The nose and taste are very ripe and loaded with straightforward, deep-toned blackberryish fruit. Good length, balance, and texture. Not even close to complex, but lots of fun to drink. 87. This was $9.99 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

2006 Nugan Estate SHIRAZ (Riverina, Australia)

This was a beautifully balanced wine. Not as jammy and massive as some Aussie Shirazes.

Deep, vibrant color. Sweet and ripe nose of raspberries, blackberries, and smoky balsa wood. Soft and sensual texture in the mouth, with medium-full body and lots of pure fruit. Long, rich finish. A great buy at about $11 and change at Spec's on Richmond. 90.

2008 D'Arenberg VIOGNIER MARSANNE "The Hermit Crab" (Adelaide, Australia)

Even though I'm not a huge Viognier fan, this white was loaded with character and hard not to like.

Big tropical fruit, bubble gum, and mineral nose. The nose would lead one to think that the mouthfeel would be like that of a Riesling -- light, crisp, refreshing -- but the opposite was true. The huge, off-dry fruit flavors were wrapped in a large-bodied, alcoholic frame. Long minerally finish, with significant alcoholic warmth. A distinctive wine. 89. Was $18 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

2006 Cartlidge & Browne ZINFANDEL (Amador County, Cal.)

This was flawed, but not completely. The nose was marred by medicinal, acetate, and prune scents. In the mouth, there was some rich, balanced black cherry fruit, but overall the experience was disappointing. D. Avoid.

Monday, March 02, 2009

2006 Bodegas Agustin Cubero STYLO Old Vines GARNACHA (Calatayud, Spain)

A good, ripe, chunky Grenache. Lots of cherry, black raspberry, and crushed rock powder on the nose. Mouthfilling and relatively soft, this is a good accompaniment to pastas with red sauces and meaty stews. Good acidity in the lean but intense finish. 87. Was $12.63 at Spec's on Richmond.