Thursday, January 05, 2012

Happy 2012 and Big Changes

In two days I will be moving from Houston to Northern Virginia to take an exciting new job.  I'll have to change the name of the wine blog, I guess, since Virginia is more of a purple state than a red state.  But having visited that area many, many times for vacations and holidays (many members of my wife's extended family are in that area), I know of several interesting wine shops and hope to discover many more.  So my plan is to keep on blogging after I get settled in.  There may be a brief (or slightly more than brief) hiatus, however, during the transition.

Best wishes to all of my blog visitors for the new year!

2010 Chateau L'Ermitage COSTIERES DE NIMES Rose (Rhone Valley, France)

A great value in a crisp, fresh, dry, flavorful rose.

Very light bubblegum pink with coppery highlights. Beautifully fruity nose of strawberry, watermelon, and crisp grapes, with a note of brothy earthiness adding some complexity.  Direct, fresh, and fairly full-bodied for a rose, yet not heavy at all.  Loads of minerally crisp cherryish fruit, and a clean, buoyant finish.  B+.  Imported by Miller Squared.  I think I got this for around $10 at Spec's on Weslayan, but I'm not 100% sure.

(Sorry: 2008 depicted)

2007 Domaine Philippe Gilbert MENETOU-SALON Rouge (Loire Valley, France

I had heard of and enjoyed red Sancerre before, but I did not know until I saw this wine that the nearby town of Menetou-Salon (known for its Sauvignon Blanc-based whites) made any red at all.  This was a very nice, lean, light, minerally Pinot Noir.

Light garnet color with some amber at the rim.  Intensely earthy/barnyardy at first, but that blew off after a while and the wine displayed classic PN scents of minerally-infused, zippy but sappy cherry fruit and dry spice cake.  Fills the mouth with flavors but feels very light on its feet, with bone-dry spiced cherry extract and a long, stony/minerally finish.  Excellent acids.  Long, clingy finish.  Very distinctive. A-.  Imported by Neal Rosenthal, I got this for about $30 at Houston Wine Merchant.

(Sorry: 2006 pictured)

2007 La Bastide Blanche BANDOL (Provence, France)

This was a classic example of a Bandol red -- deep, a little rustic in texture (from the Mourvedre) but slowly opening with air time to reveal great, earthy scents and deep flavors.  Would be fantastic with a French pot roast like a daube.

Nearly saturated black ruby with a brick tint.  Closed and unyielding at first, but after being opened a few days under  Vacu-Vin closure, it showed a very fragrant, low-toned nose of ripe berry and plum fruit, with lots of sweaty, earthy scents.  Still very tannic-feeling in the mouth, but with nicely-developed, ripe flavors of fragrant earth, spicy dark berry fruit, and a hint of minerally baker's chocolate.  Long, tannic finish.  This will keep and improve for 4-7 years in a cool cellar.  Impressive, traditionally-styled Bandol.  A.  Imported by Weygandt-Metzler, I can't remember where I got this or for how much.  Sorry!

2007 Mounts Family Winery ZINFANDEL (Dry Creek Valley)

A large-scaled, nicely-rendered Zin.  Harmonious and rich.

Dark ruby-garnet color.  Closed nose at first, but opened the second day (under a Vacu-Vin closure) to reveal lovely, sweet black raspberry scents, along with sweet wisps of high-toned woodsmoke and brown sugar.  Full-bodied, rich, and deep, with ripe, mouthcoating fruit and a subdued, earthy/minerally component that grows on the long, warm finish.  B+.  Was about $23 at Houston Wine Merchant.

2005 Chateau Caronne-Ste. Gemme HAUT-MEDOC (Bordeaux, France)

A decent, but unexciting, Bordeaux.  A little too thin and diluted for my taste.

Dark black ruby color with some brick at the rim.  Medium intensity nose of slightly scorched gravel, old cedar shavings, and a bit of bright plummy fruit.  Fades in the mouth quickly, however, ending with drying tannins and scorched mineral, brambly blackberry, and dried leave flavors.  B-.  About $20 at Spec's.  Not worth it.

2007 Dry Creek Vineyards "Old Vine" ZINFANDEL (Dry Creek Valley)

A very nicely-done, larger framed but balanced Zin.  For those who favor a lusher, richer style of Zin.

Nearly saturated black ruby color.  Rich nose of spicy blackberry syrup, and crumbling, warm sandstone.  Deep and mouthfilling, it features stone-infused dark berry fruit and a long, warm, intensely clingy finish.  Very full-bodied, but avoids being ponderous or out of balance.  A real mouthful.  B+.  This was a gift, but Spec's sells it for just under $25.