Saturday, November 29, 2008

3 Blind Moose - Merlot

Price: $8.99
Region: California
Year: 2005

Another stop at the wine store next to one of our favorite Italian take out restaurants. The dinner order doesn't usually vary too much, but always looking for another wine to match up . In this case, it was a wine I remember seeing around my father-in-laws house, but don't remember ever giving it a try. After trying it, I can't decide whether to thank him for that, or wished I had tried it so I knew not to waste my money. You can see where this is going.

A dull looking red wine always starts me off on the wrong foot. There is something about being able to see all the way through a glass of red wine that bugs me. Although, I must admit it doesn't always mean a poor tasting wine, but just something that means the smell and flavor are going to have to make up for . Now, when you mix that with a wine you can barely smell, like was the case here, the chances I am going to enjoy this wine are pretty small. So, when I finally took a sip, I was not overly surprised that the only word that came to mind was dull. All the way around, that was the word that best described this wine for me. It was just boring from start to finish. At this point, it really didn't matter what was for dinner, although I very much enjoyed my dinner, the wine definitely didn't enhance the meal.

Rating: 1.75 Corks (The bottom of the barrel so far)

Pine Ridge - Chenin Blanc / Viognier

Price: $12.99
Region: California
Year: 2007

Another two wine review week. First, the 3rd on my list of default wines. Now, if you've picked up anything since I started reviewing a wine each week, it is that I tend to favor red wine. OK, that's the understatement of the blog so far, I must agree. Actually, there are just very few white wines that I enjoy drinking. I know this probably excludes me from being considered anything close to a wine expert, but again, that's the whole point of the blog anyway. I just drink and review wines I like to drink, and for the most part, they happen to be red wines. That being said, this wine is definitely the exception.

I first came upon this wine when my wife and I visited Napa for our 10th wedding anniversary. We signed up for a private tasting at Pine Ridge, which ended up being one of our favorite wineries that we visited that week. After the tasting we purchased a few bottle of wine, and this happened to be one of them. We bought this one because the variety just happens to be my wife's favorite when it comes to white wine. The reason is because it tends to be less dry and more fruity then say a Chardonay. It is hard for me to describe the color of a white wine, but I would say when you pour a glass of this wine, you do notice it has a crisp look about it. When you then start to smell, the fruity smell its you right away. That is a trend that continues right into your first sip. One of my biggest reasons for not liking a lot of white wine is the initial bite that I tend to experience. This wine just simply does not have it. It has a fresh crisp flavor, and a great fruit flavor that reminds me of pears. It is a great wine to have on a summer evening along with some appetizers of crackers and cheese. I usually don't get to have more then a glass or two though, because it is one of the few wines that my wife will have more then a glass of, so I'll usually open up another bottle of red to let her enjoy her favoriate white wine.

Rating: 3.75 Corks (By far my favorite white)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Festival 34 - Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $11.99
Region: California
Year: 2006

OK, now on the my new wine of the week. As is the case on most Friday's, one of my two main wine stores had a wine tasting tonight. Since I was in a bit of a hurry, I decided to give a sneak peak of this wine and see if it provided any interest. So, I got my little plastic cup of wine, and gave it a taste. At first taste it seemed acceptable, so when he said it is normally $14.99, but was on sale tonight for $11.99, I said why not. Plus it made for my quickest trip to the wine store in recent memory.

When I got home and sat down to dinner, I poured myself a glass for real. The color was a little on the light side for a Cabernet, but nothing overly concerning. I gave it a swirl and then gave it a sniff. Nothing too surprising here. A very pleasant smell, with some floral hints. So far, nothing was sticking out and making me take notice. So, when I took my first sip, I wasn't overly surprised to find it good, but not great. There was a little bit of a tart taste, but nothing too overt, but it was rather smooth. It didn't have a long finish, but didn't disappear right away either. My general impressions was that it was a solid choice, but even at the discounted price of $11.99, I've tasted better. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to avoid either.

Rating: 2.75 Corks (Take it or leave it)

Bogle - Petit Shiraz

Price: $10.99
Region: California
Year: 2006

Since I'm running a little late this week, I decided to do what I was going to do a while ago, and that was write two reviews in one night. First, I am going to review another one of my "default" wines, and then a bottle that I picked up at the store tonight. First, I want to talk about my #2 default wine, Bogle Petit Shiraz. I mus admit off the bat, that the choice between #1 and #2 was very difficult. I really like both of these wines very much, but what it came down to was the Yellowtail is $3 - $4 cheaper, so that was the tie breaker.

Pouring this wine into a glass is something I never get tired of. The deep rich color as it fills up the glass is very inviting. You can just tell from the onset this is a bold wine. The aroma is just as enticing. It is one of those wines I just simply enjoy smelling. All of that being said, what makes this wine tops in my book is the consistent, smooth taste. This is a wine I often pair up with a steak on the grill. I can't think of a more enjoyable Saturday evening, then a piece of grilled beef, and a bottle of Bogle Petit Shiraz. I must also admit that this is my wife's favorite wine, which is good because we get to share a bottle ervy now and again, but is also bad because we have to share a bottle every now and again :) It is also a wine that invites a cold fall day with a nice pot of beef chilli. For what I look for in a wine, this one has it for sure.

Rating: 4 Corks (A very close #2)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yellowtail - Shiraz

Price: $6.99
Region: Australia
Year: 2006

OK, as I promised a couple of times already, I am taking a quick break from the task of picking an untried wine out each week, and am going to run through my list of "default wines". I have a pretty good list for my top five, and have decided to start at the top, instead of working my way to my number 1. Not quite sure why, but just what I felt like doing.

So, that being said, I am sure it is of no surprise that my #1 default wine is Yellowtail Shiraz. I think I could review this one in my sleep if I had to. It started a few years back when I had a membership at Costco, and used to make monthly runs to stock up on wine. I always picked up a couple 1.5L bottles of Yellowtail for a mere $9.99. Now that I no longer have my Costco membership, I just grab a bottle now and then at my local wine store, but eventhough it is a few dollars more, it is still a bargain that is hard to beat in my opinioin.

When I first pour a glass, the color is a deep dark ruby red. Definitely no lack of color here. The smell is typcial Shiraz, with just a hint of spice, but in general very appealing. As is always the case though, what really keeps me coming back is the taste. For an inexpensive wine, I find that Yellowtail always hits the spot. I happend to have a bottle this weekend because I knew I was having a simple dinner of pizza, and there's not much more I like with pizza then a bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz. It has a nice bold fruity flavor, with a slightly spicy feel, but definitely doesn't over do it. The one think I find most appealing is that from bottle to bottle, from year to year, the product is very consistent. That is definitely one of the attributes I look for in my default picks, and hence why this one ranks #1.

Rating: 4 Corks (#1 for a reason)