Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mirassou - Pinot Noir

Price: $8.99
Region: California
Year: 2007

Well, looks like I missed my first week of having a review, but it was actually due to not having a bottle of wine the weekend before last. Lots going on, and just didn't get a chance to sit down and relax. for reasons of my own sanity, I am going to try to not make a habit of that. Anyway, while I was thinking about what to try this past weekend, I was kind of at a loss. I wanted to do something at least a little different, but was sure what. Then, for some reason I was thinking about the fact it was starting to turn cold out, the leaves were changing, and I happened to remember an article I read a year or two back about this time that indicated it was perfect weather for a Pinot Noir.

Now, i will be the first to admit this is where my inexperience is going to shine through. I just have never really gotten the Pinot Noir thing. I obviously love a deep, bold red wine, and these rarely, if ever fit that category for me. That being said, I have found one or two over the years that I kind of enjoyed. Anyway, what I usually look for, I just throw out the windows and try to focus on how much I enjoy the wine itself. As with all Pinot that I can remember having, the color was opaque. Just nothing there for me to get excited about, but I think that is one of the reason I never really warmed up to this wine. The smell on this one was pleasing, and almost floral. I took a sip, and wasn't immediately swayed one way or the other, but in my opinion, it had kind of an earthy taste. Again, not my favorite flavor when looking for a wine to have, but overall it wasn't horrible. So, I had a couple of glasses one night, and chalked it up to trying something I know I'm just not very good providing deep insight into. I did leave about 1/2 the bottle, and after storing it in my wine refrigerator overnight, I must say I enjoyed it the 2nd night a little bit more then the first. Couldn't tell you why that might be, but I guess as far as inexpensive Pinot Noir's go, it was acceptable.

Rating: 2.5 Corks (Middle of the road)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hayman Hill - Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $12.99
Region: California
Year: 2005

It is definitely starting to feel more like fall these days. This past weekend was no exception. I was waling through the store this past Friday, trying to find something that would match up well with a good beef stew (I was hoping this would be dinner on Sunday night). Therefore, I picked out a Cabernet. Now I usually steer away from the signs that tout a wine, but this one just caught my eye it had a sign in front of it that said, best Cab under $20. Since it was also under my self-imposed ceiling of $15, I decided to give it a try.

When Sunday rolled around, my anticipation fro beef stew was a little misplaced. I wasn't too far off though, as we did have beef chili, which is a great cold weather dinner as well. So, right before dinner, while having some crackers and port wine cheese spread, I poured myself a glass. This wine was definitely full-bodied, based on the deep dark color. It was nearly purple. After a quick swirl, I took a sniff, and the smell was very pleasant. So far, I was on board that this would be a wine worth paying a couple of extra dollars for. When I took my first sip, I noticed right away that the flavor had great balance. It was very consistent from start to finish. In addition, it really had great length, and the taste just hung around for a couple of seconds. It was a very smooth wine, and went well with both my appetizer, and my bowl of chili. I would say overall I was very content with this wine, but I would say it was something I would rave about as the best Cabernet I've tasted under $20. Actually, I think it is on par with the Pepperwood Grove I reviewed previously, but twice the price, does not give you twice as good a wine. Worth giving a try though for sure.

Rating: 3.5 Corks (A very nice wine)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Camper - Merlot

Price: $7.99
Region: California
Year: 2004

This week I didn't have time to go to the store myself and pick out something to review. In fact, I was busy both Friday, and Saturday night, so I didn't even get to enjoy a glass of wine either night. Luckily we had dinner with my wife's parents, on Sunday, which always involves a bottle of wine. In this case, it was something I had not only never tried before, but to be honest had never even seen on the store shelves before. Since my father-in-law and I usually shop at the same wine store, I knew it was something I could have stumbled across before, but just hadn't.

Anyway, the wine that was out to have with appetizers before diner, was a bottle of Happy Camper Merlot. I must admit my first impression was to laugh a little at the name, but there are plenty of wines today whose name is squarely based on a marketing ploy. So, I decided not to have any biases up front, and give it a try. The color was a little weak, but overall not too bad. What you would expect from an inexpensive Merlot. When I took a sniff, I really had trouble picking up any noticeable smell at all. I gave it a nice firm swirl to see if I could get anything the second time, and that didn't seem to help very much. When I took my first taste, it was a little stronger then the smell, which was almost non-existent, but not too much. It was smooth enough, and tasted just fine, but was kind of short in length and fairly nondescript. My overall impression is that if you are having a big party at your house, this would be a very safe bet to serve. I don't think you would get a lot of complaints since it is rather bland, but you won't get an rave reviews either.

Rating: 2.75 corks - (Rather tame Merlot. Maybe try for your next party)