Wednesday, February 22, 2006

NV Sokel Bolsser - Evolution (Oregon)

The Evolution - NV (9th Edition - Lucky #9): is from Sokel Bolsser Winery in Dundee, Oregon. It's a blend nine unnamed white wine grapes. Where as this might sound to some as a cleaver way to utilize lower quality grapes in a creative (read: marketable) way, and it might be, this is a good solid white in my opinion and comes at a nice price. This bottle was bought at Garnet Wines (68th St. & Lexington) for $12.99 and I've seen it elsewhere around the city for between $12-$15. The wine is a pale straw yellow color with a tropical fruit nosemixedt in with a hint of yeast. The wine is crisp and round (which might be what you get when you mix 9 varietals together) and has a medium finish for a white.

I think this is a great value white for any casual weeknight occasion. I'm not great a food pairings but I can see this going well with most fish with the possible exception of shellfish or anything that might require a minerally white.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Castell Del Remei Vertical from '99-'02 (Spain)

As promised, here are the wine notes from our Castell del Remei vertical tasting. Before I get to what we thought of the wines, I have to say that getting a few friends together to talk about the wine and compare our impressions was more fun that I thought it would be. We Brian, Lisa, and I got into very spirited discussions of what we thought we tasted and smelled, noting how our opinions differed and also noting the different words and phrases we use to describe them.

So, we tasted the ’99, ’00, ’01, and ’02 Castell del Remei from the Costers Del Segre region of Spain. First off, all three were good to very good and at roughly $11 a bottle, all bargains. As noted in the blog from 2/16, the ’99 was purchased in Amsterdam where the European blend of the wine is different from the American blend we tasted for the ’00 to ’02 vintages. It was evident from the first sips that the ’00 to ’02 wines were more fruit up front and where less complex and dense. Is this what they think American’s like? That speculation lead to some lively discussion. Maybe we Americans are simple and less complex than our European counterparts?!?

Castell del Remei – 1999: That said, we all liked the ’99 better than any of the American blends. Visually, it was a dense brick red that Brian thought was radiant as well. The bouquet was very complex with dark fruit, spices, and hints of leather. The wine was dryer than the rest and had a medium long but lush finish.

Castell del Remei – 2000: The 2000, while still good, was ranked 4th overall by all of us. It was a lighter red with hints of spices and dark fruits (along with potato chips but not in an entirely bad way). It was the least complex of the four wines. The wine was a little thin on the palate with a short finish.

Castell del Remei – 2001: This was our 2nd favorite wine. Another brick red and much darker than the 2000 with an aroma of cedar and black fruit with a hint of cocoa all in balance. Slightly earthy overall. The texture was soft and lush with a long firm finish.

Castell del Remei – 2002: This was our 3rd favorite but not far behind the 2001. Appearance wise this was the darkest red aside from the 1999. It was more fruit forward than the rest which was balanced nicely with hints of earth and spice. Very lush and mouthwatering and not as dry as the others. It had a medium long finish.

Overall a great night of wine and I’d love to do another vertical as long as I can find affordable wines to do this with and not have to drop hundreds on the first growth verticals that always seem to get written up in Wine Spectator and such.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My First Vertical - Castel Del Remei (Spain)

As of right now, I'd say the number of people I know who love to drink literally numbers in the hundreds. The number of people I know who love to drink wine... lets say 10 to 15. The number of people who can get as nerdy as I can about it... two that I can think of and one of them isn't my wife. Lisa and Brian are coming over today to help me empty out some space in my wine fridge which is currently sitting in my closet. Lisa is one of of my two friends who can get as nerdy about wine as I can and because of that, I've chosen today as the day for my first vertical tasting. Its not a big one so I won't be popping the corks of '59 - '61 - '70 - '88 etc Lafite Rothschild. However, I will be opening '99 - '00 - '01 - '02 Castell del Remei from Costers Del Segre in Spain. It's a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I think it's wonderful and a great value at approximately $10-$13 a bottle all depending on where you find it.

You'll typically only find the current vintages in stores and Garnet Wines on 68th and Lexington in New York is currently selling the 2002 for $10.99 a bottle. I had picked up a case of the 2001 last year and today's tasting will be my last bottle of that. The 2000 was bought in Syracuse and the 1999 was purchased in Amsterdam where they do keep older vintages of this around. It's blended differently in Europe but I'm not sure how. I've also had the 1997 which was so different from what is imported here. Not better. Just different. I'll have to find my notes but my memory tells my it was BIG and dense with very dark fruit and a very aromatic nose of underbrush (or something like that.)

I'm looking forward to tonight and I'll try and post our notes tomorrow.