Thursday, November 19, 2009

Domaine Tresor - Pinot Noir

Price: $11.99
Region: France
Year: 2004

It seems the percentage of European wines that I fail to find a picture for, is much higher then from other areas, but maybe that isn't a surprise. Anyway, I was heading home on Friday, and made the usual stop at the wine store that is right on the way. Again, not my favorite, but by far the most convenient, and on Friday evening, that is important. A slight departure from the normal dinner, and the usual wine. I stop and picked up subs from a local store that uses real turkey breast instead of cold cuts. Therefore, since everyone always says Pinot Noir goes great with turkey, it seemed like as good a time as any to pick up a bottle. Not a wine I have had a lot of luck with at lower prices, but I'll keep trying.

I always have my prejudices when it comes to this wine, which is probably not a good thing when trying to do a review, but they are sometimes hard to put aside. As I poured myself a glass, and took a look, the color was very interesting. It was a bit clear, which I expected, but it had a nice light ruby color that I found appealing. Nothing like the deep dark reds that are by far my favorite, but a nice change of pace. When I took a smell, I was also pleasantly surprised. Again, trying to put aside my expectations, it had a nice fruit smell, with very little of the earthy undertones I tend to find in the Pinot Noirs I have tried. At this point, I wasn't quite sure what I had, so there was no time like the present to give it a try. Here is where I struggle a bit. I really didn't love the taste, but that isn't saying it was bad for a Pinot. It wasn't something I turned my nose up at, which is the case sometimes with this variety, but it just wasn't my cup of tea (or glass of wine to be more precise). Overall, it was decent, but for $12, I just don't think I'll go back. Hopefully one of these days I find a Pinot Noir that fits pleases my palate, without costing an arm and a leg.

Rating: 2.75 (Probably deserves a little higher)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alamos - Malbec

Price: $9.99
Region: Argentina
Year: 2008

I still have one bottle of wine I purchased at the wine tasting party a few weeks back, but it is a bottle I am looking forward to, so I plan on saving it for a rainy day. Actually, there have been a lot of rainy days lately, so I'll save it for a special dinner if I can. This past weekend didn't happen to be one of those special dinners. In fact, it was very much like a few Friday have been recently, which is fine by me. A simple pizza and wine dinner. I walked into the wine store that is on my way home, and had it in my mind that I was going to get a wine from South Africa. Not sure why, it was just something I hadn't had in a while. After a few minutes, nothing really stood out, so I walk a little further down the aisle to where the Argentinian wines were located. There is always a large selection of well priced wines in this section, especially Malbecs. This isn't a wine I have a whole lot of experience with, but the ones I have tried have been pretty good. There wasn't anything that made this particular wine jump out, but it was good as any at $10.

So, when I got home and got settled, I sat down with a couple of slices of pizza and a glass of Malbec. As has always been the case, this wine was very dark red, and had great clarity. There was nothing weak looking about this wine. The Malbec's I have had always remind me of a Cabernet Sauvignon while in the glass. Next, I gave my glass a swirl, and took a sniff. The smell was just as bold as the color, with a bit of spiciness to it. It almost reminded me of an earthy Shiraz, which is always a good thing in my book. At this point, I has hoping for the best. Unfortunately, when it came to the most important attribute (in my opinion anyway), it fell a bit short. I mean that literally. I was kind of surprised that the structure was a bit thin, and a bit short as well. The flavor just didn't hang around for long. The taste seemed to go immediately to the back of the throat, was a little bitter, and then faded quickly. All in all it wasn't a bad tasting wine, just not smooth as the look and smell would have led me to believe. I'll try a few Malbec's over the next couple of months and see if I can find a better choice.

Rating: 3.0 (Will search for a better Malbec)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ballast Stone - Petit Verdot

Price: $20.00
Region: Australia
Year: 2005

Well, the World Series is over, so I have a little extra time tonight. Was really hoping for a game 7 to route on the Phillies, but no such luck this year. Instead, I am writing my second review from this past weekend. Another of the wines I picked up at a recent wine tasting I attended. This one is again a little more then the average I have been reviewing lately, but it was another recommendation from a friend, so I thought I'd give it a try. As I have written many times, I enjoy many of the Australian wines I have tasted, many of which happen to be Shiraz. This was is a Petit Verdot, and I'll be the first to admit I'm not exactly sure of the "normal" characteristics of this wine. I think that made this choice all the more interesting to me.

We were not in the mood for pizza again last Friday, so we decided on a local sandwich shop. I didn't have anything special, so it wasn't really about matching this wine up with anything in particular, but just a relaxing Friday evening with the family, and a bottle of wine. The first thing I noticed when I poured a glass of this Petit Verdot, was a very "grapey" looking wine. That may sound kind of odd, but that was the first thing that came to mind. It had a purplish tone, but not deep dark purple. It was a little lighter, kind of like grape jelly, but with good clarity (definitely not cloudy). After enjoying the color, I took a good sniff of the wine. I would say it was a bit sweet smelling, and kind of floral. Not exactly what I was expecting, but very pleasant to be sure. So far, I was enjoying the uniqueness of this wine, and I wasn't disappointed when I took a sip. The flavor hit immediately, and had very good length. It had a bit of spiciness to it, but I would say not as much as your typical Australian Shiraz. The nice flavor hung around on the pallet for a bit, with no bad aftertaste. This was a great change of pace, and given the opportunity, would definitely give it another try.

Rating: 3.75 (A nice change of pace)

Blackstone - Merlot

Price: $9.99
Region: California
Year: 2007

I know it has been nearly 9 months since I decided to post my top 5 "default" wines, but I am finally reviewing #5 on the list. The real story is that each week I was looking forward to trying something new to review, and just never picked up a bottle. This past weekend, I just needed a bottle for Sunday dinner with my mother and father-in-law, and didn't have much time to browse. My wife was making a chick and sweet potato stew, and a Merlot seemed to be in order. I have tried this wine many times before, but never had taken the time to write down any tasting notes until now.

Obviously with a fairly mainstream wine like this Merlot, especially one I have had on many occasions, I was going in with some preconceived notions already in place. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to finishing off my default wine list. I sat down with a simple appetizer, and poured myself a glass. The wine had a good dark red color, with good clarity. Nothing to be wowed by, but sufficient. Along the same lines, after giving the glass a short swirl, the smell was very pleasant, but predictable. This could very well be my familiarity with the wine talking, but it was what I expected. So, it came as no surprise that when I took my first sip, I found the wine to be fairly smooth, with pretty good length, and a nice overall taste and finish. Now that I think about it, one of the reasons this was always one of my default Merlots, if I didn't know what to buy, was because it was consistent. I knew I wasn't getting a knock your socks off kind of wine, but each and every time it was a solid choice, and sometimes that's all you need.

Rating: 3.25 (Consistently Solid)