Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snapdrag - Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $9.99
Region: Sonoma, California
Year: 2007

Sometimes it isn't just about finding a different wine, sometimes I like to try a store I rarely visit just to see if they have something different on the shelves. In the case of last Friday, we were actually not ordering take-out, but I still had to make a quick run to the store to grab a bottle of wine. A Friday just isn't complete.... Anyway, I decided to try a small little shop that is close by, but just don't happen to frequent very often. It just so happens that on Friday evening, they do a small wine tasting. Now, this isn't generally how I pick my wine out, but I figured what the heck. So, when I was offered a taste of a wine I hadn't tried before I thought it would work good for my wine review of the week. I just took a small sip because I had already decided to buy a bottle, and I wanted to wait until I got home to determine what I really thought.

When I arrived back home, I went right to work and poured a glass. As one would expect, a nice strong looking, dark red color. I then swirled it around a bit, and took a sniff. A very nice smelling wine, but a touch on the light side. Nothing too much to complain about though. So, at this point, I didn't recall much of the taste from the wine store, since it was such a small amount, but I was ready for another try. Now, I will be the first to admit I'm not the biggest fan of the next saying, but it definitely applies with this wine. The taste was was "fruit forward", which to me means the fruity taste hit me right away, and then actually had good length. It definitely didn't dry up right away. A bit of blackberries if someone demanded to know what fruit I tasted (again determining different tastes in a wine is not my strong suit). It had a touch of a bite, but I would say was fairly smooth overall. My general impression is that for $10, and I would suspect a couple dollars cheaper at a larger wine store, this was a very nice Cab. It wasn't a big bold tasting wine, but definitely held its own. Would definitely give it another try.

Rating: 3.25 Corks (Solid choice for the price)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ravenswood - Petit Shiraz

Price: $9.99
Region: California
Year: 2006

A pretty average Friday evening, but we just happened to order pizza from a different pizza shop, which is no where near my favorite wine store. In fact, the store I ended up stopping at has a good selection, but just way overpriced, so definitely not my favoroite. However, I didn't have much of a choice unless I wanted to go out of my way, so I figured I'd stop by and see what I could find. I really didn't have anything particular in mind, but found something in the first aisle I walked down. It happened to be the aisle with a few bottles of Petit Shiraz. I just haven't been able to find a bottle, for the price, that meets or beats a bottle of Bogle Petit Shiraz (on my default list), but I'm always willing to take a chance just in case I get lucky.

In this instance, the brand was very familiar, as I have had many bottles of Ravenswood Vinters Blend Zinfandel, but was very surprised to see a Petit Shiraz on the shelf. I had never seen a Ravenswood Petit Shiraz before, but at just under $10, and probably cheaper at more reasonable stores, it was worth a try. Again, nothing to exciting for dinner, just a ham and spinach pizza, but it was Friday, and there could be worse things then a quiet evening with pizza and wine. So, when I sat down, and poured a glass, I was not surprised to find a very dark, purple glass of wine. That definitely seems to be the trait of any Petit Shriz I have ever had. A very nice color for sure. When I went to take a smell, I was a little surprised to find it was kind of dull. It was pleasant enough, but not as bold as I was expecting. So, at this point I was thinking that I might have found a decent, inexpensive Petit Shiraz to have every now and again, but the most important aspect was still left. When I took my first sip, my first impression was, bland. Not the adjective I was thinking I would use after first seeing the wine. I know this next word might not make a whole lot of sense, but overall the wine just seemed shallow. I was expecting big, and bold, and that is not what I got. So, the search goes on for another quality, inexpensive Petit Shiraz, but I didn't find it here.

Rating: 2.25 Corks (Will pass on this one)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

7 Deadly Zins - Zinfandel

Price: $12.99
Region: California
Year: 2006

Sometimes it takes a gentle nudge. I received an email from a friend the other day, nicely reminding me that I haven't reviewed a Zinfandel in quite some time, and he was exactly right. I must admit, it is a wine I walk past more often then not, and I'm not 100% sure why. I think in general, I have just had a couple bottles that make me think twice about it, and I have found that the more inexpensive Zinfandels seem to stand out as just that, cheap. Anyway, there were a couple of suggestions for ones I might like, but when I saw "7 Deadly Zins" on the list, I knew what my next purchase was going to be. I have seen this a couple of times before, but just never pulled the trigger, and this time I had no excuse.

The interesting things about this night, was that I had to figure out a way to buy a Zinfandel for a dinner I was planning for my wife's birthday, when I know full well i is one of her least favorite wines. So, in addition to grabbing a bottle of this, I also picked up my default white wine, ( which I know she loves. So, I was covered all the way around. I wasn't sure exactly how much this wine was going to cost at my favorite wine store (which has some great deals), but when I saw it was $12.99, I was actually happy because I was hoping it wasn't a $8 bottle of Zinfandel for reasons mentioned above.

I made a mixed grill of chicken, steak, and vegetable ka-bobs for dinner, so I was actually looking forward to the pairing. i was going to wait until dinner was ready, but something about a glass of wine out on deck while grilling that is very enjoyable, so there was no time like the present. I poured a glass, and was none to surprised at the nice deep, dark color. When I raised the glass to swirl & smell, I was impressed by the very nice smell, that was a touch earthy. So, far, things were looking good. So, when I took my first sip, I continued to be impressed. It immediately hit me how smooth and well balanced the wine was. No big bite that I have sometimes experienced with less expensive Zins, but still bold, and a touch spicy. Kind of similar attributes to what I love about Shiraz, but clearly a different wine (and 14.9% alcohol to boot). I'm not going to say it was my favorite wine, but definitely on top of my Zinfandel list at this point. I am definitely going to have to pay more attention to the emails I receive from Roland in the future.

Rating: 3.5 Corks (A really good Zin)