Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catamoungst the Pigeons - Shiraz

Price: $17.00
Region: Australia
Year: 2007

I'm a couple of days behind on my latest post because the World Series has taken up some of my free time. Anyway, I have a little time to kill this afternoon, so it seemed like a good time to write my latest review. This was one of the wines I picked up at the wine tasting we went to a couple of weeks ago. I grabbed a couple of different bottles as 10% of sales were going to the charity being represented. This store is a little more expensive then the others I frequent, so $17 is a little more then what I usually spend for a bottle, but not by much. This particular wine was recommended by a friend that was at the same wine tasting, and my preference for Australian Shiraz is no surprise, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

Another Friday evening pizza dinner from our favorite local Italian eatery. That seems to be a more and more frequent event on Friday these days, but it is convenient and good. As I poured myself a glass and sat down for dinner, I noticed right away how deep, dark purple this wine was. A great start in my book for sure. It wasn't too "syrupy", but has a nice texture. When I took a smell, it definitely said Shiraz, which again, is just fine for me. It is just a smell that I look for when I open a bottle, especially from Australia. It seems to have a bit of spice behind it, but not overly pungent. Based on the color, and smell, I was thinking this was going to be a fairly strong wine, but when I took my first sip, it definitely wasn't as bold as I was expecting. It had a very nice flavor, a bit different then your typical Shiraz, with a hint of licorice. I actually was quite impressed because it was a nice smooth wine, with a very interesting taste. It definitely played the Shiraz part nicely, with a little twist. Would definitely pick up another bottle on my way through that store.

Rating: 3.75 (A bit different, but very good)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Farnese - Montepulciano D'abruzzo

Price: $9.99
Region: Italy
Year: 2008

Another interesting weekend. We honestly do not attend too many wine tastings, but we had another one scheduled this week for a friend's charity. Anyway, I tried a few good wines, a couple of which I bought to try for future reviews. I didn't however have anything with which to take notes, so I just enjoyed the evening with friends, and wine. That was on Saturday evening, so I did have a new wine to try for Sunday dinner. I actually bought this on my way home from work on Friday, but wasn't feeling 100%, so just decided to save it until Sunday. I bought this Italian wine thinking I was actually going to have it Friday with some of our favorite pizza, but it just didn't work out that way. Instead, I ended up having this wine along with chili that I made in the crock pot. I probably would have usually used this opportunity to try a new Zinfandel, but maybe next time.

To tell you the truth, I really don't know much about this wine based on the label, and am guessing it is may be a Sangiovese, but not 100% sure. I guess I could look it up, but we'll just go with the fact that it was an Italian wine. I sat down to dinner, and poured myself a glass. It started off good enough, with a nice dark color red. I would say it had a nice crisp color, with good clarity. I gave the glass a couple of swirls, and took a quick sniff. Nothing really special to write home about, and smelled a bit tart for my liking. It wasn't anything that made me turn up my nose, but my hopes weren't as high at this point. So, I took my first sip, and my first impression wasn't so great. The acidity, or tannins were very strong in my opinion, and the taste went away quickly. Definitely no length. It didn't have a bad aftertaste, but the initial flavor was just not something that intrigued me that much. I had a couple of glasses, and soon lost interest. I decided to save some for a night during the week, and my follow-up experience was no better then the first.

One good thing about the weekend though (I think) is that we ended buying a wine tasting of our own (actually we split it with a couple we are friends with) to benefit the charity. So, in the next couple of months, we'll schedule a wine tasting for about 10 couples, and this time I'll bring some paper to jot down some notes. I already have a couple of wines from the wine tasting party, so no need to stop on my way home from work tomorrow. Hopefully there is a winner amoung the bunch.

Rating: 2.75 (Seek out last week's selection)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Langhe Rosso Vajra

Price: $16
Region: Italy
Year: 2007

A very different kind of weekend for sure. It was the first time in quite a while I wasn't stopping at the wine store to pick up my weekly review. The reason being was that we were invited to a "wine tasting" party at a friends house. This particular party was one that was purchased at an auction by some friends of ours to benefit the school our son attends. This is the 2nd one we have attended, and was definitely looking forward to it. The first thing I had to do was get a bottle of wine for the "admission", which will be put together with everyone else's bottle for an auction item at this year's auction. I thought a pretty good idea. So, for my bottle, I purchased a bottle of Ferrari-Carano Tresor, which I would recommend as a special occasion bottle of wine. All in all, it looks like they gather a nice collection for the auction this year. I might even had to bid on it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, we had been to a similar party once or twice before. It is put on by a local wine shop that I wish I had more time to shop at. For lack of a better word, I would say it is a specialty store that focuses European wines from smaller, family owned vineyards who handle the entire wine making process themselves. I have had more than my share of good bottles of wine from this store. The great thing about these parties is that there is always a great variety of wine in terms of varieties and origin. This time we tasted 6 different wines ranging from a sparkling white, up to a very dry Cabernet. There were two that stood out in my mind for sure, and I will definitely head over to this store one day soon, and grab a couple of bottles of each, but for now, I am going to focus on the one that topped the list for me that night.

I'll be the first to admit my ignorance when it comes to the name of the wine above, but even more so regarding the grapes that make up this wine. I wasn't sure what to expect. From the brief notes I took home, in addition to the conversation I had with the gentleman from the store who was pouring the wine, it primarily comes from the Dolcetto grape, but also a contains mixtures of Barbera, Fresia, and Nebbiolo. I'm not going to try and recall too much regarding the site, and smell, but I do recall a very pleasant aroma, that made me want to dig in. The thing that stood out with this wine for me was the taste, and the balance. I tend to gravitate to the grapes I know when purchasing wine, but I should step into the unknown more often, because when sticking with the tried and true, you end up missing little gems like this. It was not overpowering, but had good length, and a unique flavor (at least to me). I will definitely need to buy a bottle or two to get some more accurate notes, but do yourself a favor, and if you can find it, try it.

Rating: 4.0 (A unique winner)