Saturday, September 29, 2007

A New Vintage From an Old Friend - 2004 Castell del Remei Gotim Bru

Spain’s Castell del Remei - Gotim Bru from the Costers del Segre region might be one of the most reliable and affordable wines on the market today. It retails for $10 to $15 a bottle and its quality is consistent year in and year out for as long as I’ve been drinking this, going back to the 1997 vintage. (Read past posts here and here.)

It’s been a solid relationship.

The 2004 Gotim Bru has a ruby red color to it and a smoky aroma with underlying red fruit. There’s spice on the nose as well. Actually, if you swirl it around some, the aroma transforms into dark berry. The dark berry really comes though on the taste as well. Blackberry? Just slightly acidic but not enough to make me think this is too far out of balance. Medium long finish. Very good solid B wine.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wine From My Scrapbook...

From my scapebook...

2006 Inman Family – Rose of Pinot Noir
Rose pink in color. Bright with a berry bouquet. Strawberry or raspberry in the berry. Because of the Pinot Noir grape, I think it has more body than most roses. Balance between sugar and acidity is nice. Healthy bosy for a rose. Very nice. (Solid B)

2005 Querciabella Chianti Classico
Dark rudy red color with aromas of red cherry, cedar, and tabac. All very well integrated. Bright and smooth in texture. Light, resfreshing zip of acidity. Medioum long finish. Very nice. (B)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tasting Wine in Kansas with Friends

“Fruit present and accounted for.” as noted by Zack upon first sniffing this wine, the first of five bottles we shares together with his wife Darci when visiting them in Lawrence, Kansas earlier this month. The bottle was a 2004 Argiolas – Costera – Isola Dei Nuraghi from the Sardina region of Italy. The wine is a blend of 90% Cannonau, 5% Carignano and 5% Bovale Sardo with the Cannonau grape thought to be a descendent of Grenache and that might be the reason it was reminiscent of a Chateauneuf du Pape. The wine has nice balance between the fruits, acids, and tannins with the fruit dark cherry driven, possible blackberry. There are also notes of spice and anise. It’s dark red in color, full bodied with a nice long finish. Very tasty but it could also last another few years. (B+)

It was followed by an actual Chateauneuf du Pape. The 2000 Le Vieux Donjon. A dark, inky black wine that might have been just slightly less complex than the Costera above but what it might have lacked there, it made up in finesse. The wine started out with an earthy mulch like nose but opened up to reveal notes of leather, dark fruit, notably blackberry. Texture was slightly tannic but they were soft tannins, leading to a nice long lush finish. (B but possible a b+ if the flavors meld more together after a few more years in the bottle.)

The next night we shared a 1999 Rosemont Estate Belmoral Syrah from the McLaren Vale in Australia. It was dark inky black in color with aromas reminiscent of grilled meats and prunes with the later coming through on the taste as well. The alcohol shows itself at 14% but softens after some time in the decanter. The acids and tannins had also melded well. (B)

That was the wine of the second evening but we stated out earlier in the afternoon with a couple of white wines.

The 2006 L’ete Viognier is from Mendocino County in California. It was straw yellow in color with a somewhat yeasty nose. The fruit was not as immediately identifiable. Possibly citrus peel underneath but hard to distinguish. Pleasant summer quaffer but not too remarkable. (C)

Also sampled that afternoon on the back patio was the 2005 J. Albin Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The wine was mainly fermented in stainless steel with a small portion aged sur lie in small oak barrels. It was straw yellow in color. Very floral on the nose. Honeysuckle. Citrus zest. Grapefruit. Actually more like pink grapefruit. Nice balance of acidity and fruit. Medium long finish. Very good and another strong case for Pinot Gris from the Pacific Northwest. (B+).

As for prices, the only two I bought were the L’ete for $11 and the J. Albin for $17 and those were purchased in Kansas. Other than that, the other wines were generously provided by Zack and Darci.

Those were the wines of the first night. Shared with friends I hadn’t seen in a really long time. The wines were shared over cheeses, olives, caperberries, homemade pizza and long discourses of child rearing and friends. You know how people say that the context of tasting a wine, where you are, who your with, etc. adds to your perception. Well, I would have probably given a Yellow Tail an A+ in this context.

All in all, a great wine weekend and a great weekend with friends. Zack was probably the first friend of mine who developed an interest in wine back when I thought red table wines from the Finger Lakes were the pinnacle of class. It’s be nice to have him here to drink away with at times.


Friday, September 14, 2007

San Fransicso Wine Bars and Writer's Block

The attached link is from a New York Times Travel article this past weekend called Snobless Sipping: Where a Glassfull is Just a Glassful”. It’s an article about San Francisco wine bars.

Here’s where my writer’s block starts. My wife and I spent our vacation this year in California, a couple days in Los Angeles. A couple of wonderful days in Santa Barbara wine country where we visited several wineries, including Santa Barbara Winery, Brander, Beckmen, Alma Rosa, Sanford, Foley, and Melville. From there we traveled up the California, stopping in Monterrey where we kayaked up the Elkhorn Slough. From there we went up to San Francisco where we spent a full six days, spending plenty of time some of the aforementioned Wine Bars but also a fantastic day in Somona where we had personal tours of Inman Family, Moshin, and Freeman.

My block… I’m not sure where to start. In the meantime, read the article. It’s gives a little taste of the fantastic time we had.

But, I have to say the highlight might have been just seeing and photographing the Sea Smoke Vineyard even if only from a distance... (Below: Not my photo of the Sea Smoke Vineyard but beautiful just the same.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

NYC Wine Notes: Wine Blogging Wednesday - 2002 Cardeal Reserva from Portugal

NYC Wine Notes: Wine Blogging Wednesday - 2002 Cardeal Reserva from Portugal - Indigenous grapes for Wine Blogging Wednesday as hosted by Dr. Vino's Wine Blog (check it out - great site and fantastic wine educator if you can get into any of his NYC classes!)Lots of choices. I settled on the 2002 Cardeal Reserva from the Dão region of Portugal. It’s made from 100% Touriga Nacional.

2003 Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva Lucius (Italy-Tuscany)

The 2003 Lucius is a Chianti Classico from Viticcio, makers of what is one of my favorite Chianti’s, their Riserva.

The difference between the two… This one is sees more in oak. That is the basic difference. Does that make it a better wine for me? Well, it’s different and a nice departure from what I’m used to.

The wine is dark red in color. The oak really comes through on the palate with an oak/cedar aromatic blend but there is also noticeable “big” fruit underneath. Blueberry is predominant but lighter notes of cherry, plum, & prune lay underneath. Maybe the prune notes are possible result of the unusually hot 2003 growing season? Lots of grip on the long finish with a a strong berry taste. But… its just slightly tart. Really the only flaw in an otherwise solid wine that rates a B in my book.

This was part of a Viticcio sale at Zachy’s a few months ago for $25. I have one more bottle that I’ll let sit for another couple years to see what happens.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wine Blogging Wednesday - 2002 Cardeal Reserva from Portugal

Indigenous grapes for Wine Blogging Wednesday as hosted by Dr. Vino's Wine Blog (check it out - great site and fantastic wine educator if you can get into any of his NYC classes!)

Lots of choices. I settled on the 2002 Cardeal Reserva from the Dão region of Portugal. It’s made from 100% Touriga Nacional. A grape, if you believe everything you read on Wikipedia, is “considered by name to be Portugal’s finest.” I’d never heard of before today but that’s part of the point of this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday!

Now, I understand that this is a grape more closely associated with Port, Portugal’s finest wine export, and is seen less in table wine. But as it shows in the 2002 Cardeal Reserva, I’m not sure if it exactly “Potugal’s finest.”

The wine is brick red in color with a nose of sour cherry and spices with an overall earthiness, a slightly weird mix of aromas that don’t entirely work in harmony. Medium bodied with a soft texture, the wine’s best characteristic. Dark fruits do come out on the palate. Possibly plum but it’s hard to tell. The earthiness also comes out in the medium long finish. However, all the elements on the taste seem as disjointed as the nose.

Overall, this is not a wine I can really recommend and I’d give it a C-. Although not undrinkable, it’s too disjointed to offer up real pleasurable drinking for me. In its best scenario, I can see consuming this at a party where conversation is the focus rather than what’s in your glass.

That said, I might be expecting too much from a $10 wine, actually $9.20 when factoring in the 15% discount I got from Astor Wines as Portugal was their featured region this past Tuesday. As for the experience of having an indigenous grape from Portugal… I’ll look for a good Port next time.