I’m becoming convinced that some of the best wine from California is from Alexander Valley. Not to over emphasize the region over the producer….
There’s a story behind how we got this wine, but you’ll have to ask to hear it (comment!)… but we didn’t pay for it (OK, fine, Rika’s boss gave it to her). Basically, all we knew was what was on the bottle, and that it cost around 20 bucks.
The wine has a pretty nice bouquet – certainly not timid. Rika said she smelled a sugary candy. I think it smells of vanilla – a result of the toasted oak. In fact, it is mostly oak, a fairly strong floral component, and noticeable alcohol. When I first smelled it I thought it might be a little hot, but it isn’t. It is 14.5% alcohol, which is slightly high, but it has enough umph else-wize to hide it. (more…)
First off, we probably shouldn’t have openned this wine yet… 2007 vintage, red, France… bad idea. Anyway, we were mixed on this wine… I like it, Rika doesn’t. For her I think there isn’t enough fruit. In a way, I agree… but then, it is complex, dry, and there’s nothing foul about it. It is a dark garnet color with a violet fringe. It looks dark, but doesn’t taste that dark. It has an interesting nose, that you’ll mostly appreciate after a couple of days of decanting (or wait a few years to open it), with flowers, spices, citrus, cedar, and wild berries. The vegetal component is immediately evident as soon as the wine touches your tounge, but is soon mixed with leather, wood (not really oak), and a variety of subtle fruit flavors, fairly evenly mixed red, blue and black. There is some acidity, good enough for medium weight meals. On the finish I like the spices that linger, with cherry, tobacco, and… some kind of wood. I’m not a fan of oak in my wine, and I’m not saying this wine is oakey, but I can’t escape the taste of some sort of wood. I get a little flashback from when I was a little boy… and chewed on a piece of wood from time to time. I guess I liked it. I guess I still do! I’m giving it a combined rating between mine and Rika’s… because that’s how we roll.
Price: Paid $10 (K&L) Retails for $17
January 42003 Fattoria Dezi Dezio Marche Rosso
Another bargain from K&L’s clearance! Dark ruby color, dusty, smokey, black and sour red fruit on the nose, and smokey oak, plum, and black cherry, with a bit of tannin and spice on the pallet – and little veggie action and orange peel on the back end. Light acidity, but a great food wine. (more…)
December 12006 Felsina Chianti Classico
I didn’t have really high expectations for this wine, because I saw it as “the cheap version” of the Felsina Chianti Classico “Rancia”, which goes for twice the price. But this wine is not half as good. I’ve fallen for this scenario before… buying the lesser wine of a maker who’s premier wine is fabulous. I have found this seldom means much. In this case, however, what you get is what you would expect, if you didn’t have my experiences… a very nice Chianti Classico with real character and depth.
November 302004 Vin de Pays d’Oc Jean-Louis Denois “Chloé”
This is the 2nd vintage of this wine we’ve had, the first being the 2003. Again, my expectations were high, but this time impressed me even more. This is for sure the same wine and most of what was found in it last year, are present this time around, but with a bit more fruit and acidity. It isn’t at all hot, and still has little tannin. After 18 months in the barrel, you can definitely taste it, a little smokey vanilla. The black pepper was more subtle this time and licorice was non-existant sadly. The finish is quite nice and long. Most people will see this as a better wine, including myself. Highly enjoyable! Remember to decant!
November 272005 Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano
I like simple labels, and that’s one thing that appeals to me about this wine. It looks simple, but you get the feeling all the passion went into the wine. Upon decanting this bottle, that was also apparent. The nose was quite interesting, with ripe fruit (mostly red), floral, and spice… and sweet somehow, not like candy so much as maybe a confection. On the pallet it is floral, smooth red and blue fruits, low-medium acidity, and bit of tannin at the end. There’s mostly the same on the finish, but adds a bit of black pepper and a vegetal component. The after-taste is quite long, and I could swear that in there somewhere there’s watermelon.
November 232003 Le Cinciole Chianti Classico
We had this with pizza and it went well. Later, after the taste of the pizza was gone, the wine was basically pleasent but unmemorable. I would call this typical run of the mill chianti. We bought it on sale resently for $10, but retailed for $20 upon release. I’m very glad I didn’t pay full price. Not bad, really, but you can do better for the money.
November 161998 Mauro Molino Dolcetto D’Alba
We were very lucky to get this wine, and the luck runs deep with this purchase. As you already know, if you’ve read this blog at all, we’re relatively new to “the serious” wine scene. As such, we don’t have a cellar with 10+ year old wines to pull from, from time to time. That day will come eventually, but for now, we’re stuck trying to find those wines for a price we can afford… because we tend to like them quite a bit. Of course with age comes risk – risk of spoilage. We don’t know how this wine was stored all these years. Lucky for us, apparently it was stored well.
I got this wine during K&L’s Italian wine clearance sale. The original price was $17 and was on sale for 4 BUCKS! I figured, for 4 bucks my expectations would be low and it wouldn’t matter much if it was spoiled or just not that great. But we totally hit paydirt with this one.
This is kind of the kid brother to the big 2004 LAN Limited Edition Rioja we had last year… the quieter, more reserved kid brother. This reminds me that Rioja is like the Chianti of Spain in that most of what is out there, in the lower price range and higher production the wines are pretty simple and light, but in the upper echelon of each the wines are rich and delicious. Probably the same could be said for most varietals, but these two are of the most popular. OK, so anyway, this wine is a little less potent than its big brother, but easier to drink, and probably would appeal to a larger audience. It is also more balanced.
The color is inky reddish-black. On the nose it is mostly smokey oak and red Twizzlers… a good amount of fruit. The mouth-feel is really nice with enough weight to give it a luscious feel, but enough acidity to make it great for pretty heavy meals (think Lamb, Roast Beef, etc.), and just enough vegetal and tannin structure to make me think of it as a very serious wine – certainly not overpowering. The primary flavor is raspberry, with some toasty oak and plum mixed in. The fruit is very pure in this wine, which I’ve really come to appreciate after so many jammy/extracted wines. The finish is raspberry, spices, and soft tannins, and lasts for about 30 seconds or more.
This is certainly an enjoyable wine and one you can feel confident serving at a dinner where you want to serve a "good" wine. It will pair with many different foods. However, its relative simplicity keeps it from scoring higher than it did. At the price, I do recommend it.
Price: $16 (K&L)
June 112006 The Black Chook
This is an Australian red blend of 94% Shiraz and 6% Viognier. That’s right, a white grape. My take is that the Shiraz alone was thick and dense like tree sap (but probably tasting a lot better) and the only thing they had laying around to thin it out was Viognier. I’m joking, of course. I think they actually were trying to add complexity and aromatics, which they did succeed in doing.
My problem with this wine is that it just doesn’t taste… right. At least not for my tastes (nor Rika’s). I would love to tell you what kind of fruit it tastes like, but I can’t place it. Basically, it is dense (still) in bouquet, color, and flavor. The profile is red fruit, maybe a mix of all of them… but it is too jammy for me. When I opened it the aroma of blackberry jam slapped me in the face. I actually thought "cool!" But after tasting, was pretty disappointed and confused. It never got worked out… sip after sip until the whole bottle was gone. After-taste wasn’t too bad, and lasted a while… mostly the oak, tannin, and black pepper.
If you like a challenge, buy a bottle and try to figure out what it tastes like. Be sure to post it here! But then, for the price, you can get far better wine.