Friday, April 25, 2008

1995 Reserve de la Comtesse - Pauillac - Bordeaux - France

The 1995 Reserve de la Comtesse reminded me of everything I truly love about Bordeaux!

This lovely wine is the 2nd label of Pauillac’s Chateau Pichon Lalande, a revered 2nd growth where the main wine sells for about $100+.

This bottle was bought in Bordeaux on vacation as another way of sampling the solid ’95 vintage at a reasonable price. I believe this was about 20euro at the time where this now sells for approximately $40 in the US for the recent vintages.

As for the wine itself… Elegant and refined. Ruby red with clean notes of smoke and cedar to accompany the dark fruit. Blackberry and currant. Medium bodied. Very nice balance and a caressing medium long finish.

Certainly one of the better wines I’ve had in a while. A-…. Lovely…..

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2003 Chateau do Mourre du Tendre - Côtes du Rhône - France

2003 Chateau do Mourre du Tendre is from France’s Côtes du Rhône region.
Brick red color. Earthy. Red fruit and floral notes. Maybe even cigar box or smoky notes… Regardless, somewhat complex in nature. It’s a little hard to describe but overall it has a really lovely aroma. Medium bodied. Very dry with a medium finish.

This is a good wine, especially for the money. A solid B which sells for $13 at Astor Wines.

I should also note that I just finished reading Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Route and just felt the need to have a solid unassuming French red. I’m glad I did!

Friday, April 11, 2008

2006 Domaine de Montvac - Vacqueryras - Rhone - France

The 2006 Domaine de Montvac from Vacqueryras in France’s Rhone region is medium bodied with a light purple hue. Red fruit and spice on the nose. Possibly some light floral and licorice notes as well. Earthy too. Soft texture and a nice medium long finish.


Just a really good, solid drinking wine that paired well with the homemade mac & cheese we had for dinner.

What more could you really want! $17 from Astor Wines.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

2005 Oreana Central Coast Pinot Noir - California

The Oreana Central Coast Pinot Noir was a vacation by from our trip this past summer to California and was tasted in their funky shared warehouse/wine producing/tasting room facility in Santa Barbara called Cellar 205.

There have two Pinot Noir bottlings, a Santa Barbara County one for $30 and a Central Coast for a more affordable $18.

Keep in mind that I think just about everything I’ve tasted at a winery’s tasting room is better than anywhere else and their Central Coast I would say falls into this category.

At the time, we thought it was actually better (or at least more approachable and food friendly) than their Santa Barbara. Tasting a few months later, I’d still say that probably holds up but there were a couple flaws here not noticed in the tasting room.

Overall, the Central Coast is cherry red in color and definitely has a lighter and less concentrated texture and weight than “bigger” California Pinots. Cherry nose with oak notes. Earthy with darker fruits contributing here. Medium weight which is nice but also just a little “sharp” or “hot” in the mouth.

That is the one aspect that takes away from what is otherwise a more “elegantly” styled California Pinot.

Still, a very nice wine and a B in my book. One that over delivers at its modest $18 price point.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

2005 Querciabella Mongrana - Maremma, Tuscany

The 2005 Mongrana from Querciabella was a real find for me. I’ve been a big fan of their Chianti Classico since 2004 when I had my first bottle and it hasn’t disappointment in any vintage I’ve had.

Last week I was in a relatively non-descript wine-shop in Brooklyn and spotted the 2005 Mongrana for the first time for about $13 a bottle. I hadn’t seen it before but recognized the label as coming from Querciabella. I picked up a bottle and went home to do some research, discovering that this was the first vintage from Querciabella’s venture into the Maremma region of Tuscany which is know for being the home of some of the more famous Super-Tuscans such as Sassicia. True to the region, this is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. Also true to these “Super-Tuscan” blends, it is labeled as a Toscana-IGT which is essentially table wine.

The wine itself is medium cherry in color with oak, dark fruit, blueberry, earthy but also with some subtle floral notes. Balanced with a nice soft texture, medium bodied, with a nice medium long finish. The dark fruit also lingers on the tongue.

This is nice work from a producer I traditionally like. As far as everyday drinking wines in this price range, this is excellent and has a fantastic price-per-quality ratio.

Friday, April 04, 2008

2006 Chateau du Cleray - Muscadet - Sevre st Maine - Loire Valley

This 2006 Muscadet is from the Sevre et Maine region of the Loire Valley. Pale yellow color with a very minerally/slate aroma along with light lemon. Melon shows up on the taste. It’s bone dry, crisp and clean with nice balance and a medium short finish.

This was $12 from our local liquor shop near Newkirk Avenue. It also sells for $10 at Sherry Lehman. At the time I was looking for something cheap and simple and this fit the bill. The added bonus is that also reminded me of my first experience with Muscadet in Paris where we had it at the local bistros with fresh seafood. A great memory and a nice wine to bring it all back.

Serve this chilled with shellfish, preferably in Paris.