Wednesday, December 16, 2009

River Road - Pinot Noir

Price: Around $13
Region: Russian River Valley, CA
Year: 2008

Had a couple of different things to do this weekend. I wasn't home much on either Friday or Saturday night, so I didn't get a chance to browse my local wine store, and pick out a wine for the week. Therefore, my only chance for a review was if my father-in-law was having a wine with dinner that I had not yet reviewed. Luckily enough, that was exactly the case. Even better, it was a variety that I just don't buy that often myself, so it turned out to be a great chance to give another Pinot Noir a chance. I'm not exactly sure of the cost, but I gave a pretty good guess above. There is always an attempt to match wine up with the main course at Sunday evening dinner, and this was no exception. Since turkey was on the menu, Pinot Noir was as well.

I'll be the first to admit that this is always a tough wine for me to review. I just love pouring a glass a dark red wine into my glass and enjoying the view. It is always good however, to try and expand horizons. When I poured a glass of this wine, as expected, it was light red in color, but I did notice it had very good clarity, and was actually quite pleasant to look at. The smell on the other hand, didn't do a lot for me, as it was kind of faint. It did have a bit of an earthy smell, which is another reason I tend to shy away from this type of wine, but overall it wasn't a bad smell, just a bit light. Now, if I shy away from this wine because of the color, and smell, that goes even more for the taste. It just isn't one I have grown to love, but I keep trying, and find one I like every once in a while. Interestingly enough, this happened to be one of those wines. I think the thing I found most surprising, was the taste was very smooth, with a bit of a peppery taste, but not overpowering by any means. I actually enjoyed a couple glasses of this wine with dinner, and could easily find myself buying a bottle of this wine to simply enjoy by itself. This is one I will definitely put on my buy list.

Rating: 3.25 (A Pinot I'll buy again)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So Cab - Take a Guess..

Price: $15.00
Region: California
Year: 2005

It was starting out to be a normal Friday evening as I was headed home from work to grab some pizza. About half way home though, I remembered I had a bottle of wine I purchased at a wine tasting we attended the day before Thanksgiving. From the ounce or so I tried, I was pretty intrigued, so I was definitely looking forward to sitting down with a glass. It is kind of hard for me to come to an overall conclusion from such a small sample, so a glass or two always does the trick.

I had a couple of pieces of pizza on the table waiting, so I poured myself a glass. One of the interesting things I noticed right away, was that it was noticeably lighter then your normal Cabernet Sauvignon. Definitely good clarity, but no doubt a touch paler. I started to take a sniff, and thought it was very nice, but I definitely got the sense of a particular fruit smell. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will know I am very bad at indicating a specific smell, but I could smell a hint of blackberries for sure, very nice. So, when I took a sip, I wasn't overly surprised to find the taste very much in line with the smell. It was very pleasant, but just a bit more fruity then I was expecting. It wasn't a big, bold tasting Cabernet, but that was quite alright for me. This wine had a wonderful flavor, an even better finish, and was a great change of pace for a Cab. This was definitely a solid wine, and one I would buy again for sure. I've been on a roll lately with some good wines, so hopefully my streak stays alive.

Rating: 3.75 (Very Nice)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bogle - Phantom

Price: $19
Region: California
Year: 2005

I had another wine in between my last review (Terra-Barossa) and this wine, but it was just a run of the mill Cabernet I'll make an effort to review one of these days. This wine however, was the last wine from a wine tasting I attended last month, that I've been looking forward to tasting. Now, I kind of cheated on this since I did try it at the wine tasting, but this is the first time I've sat down and had a couple of full glasses with dinner. This special wine from Bogle, is a blend of Petit Sirah, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Old Vine Mourvedre, that only comes around at certain times of the year. It seems to be in stock locally around the October/November time frame. If you read some of my previous reviews, you'll recall that Bogle Petit Shiraz is a fairly common wine in my house, so I was interested in how this would compare.

Based on the wines used to make this wine, I don't think it is a big surprise that the color was a deep, dark red. It wasn't quite as dark purple as the Petit Shiraz is, and I noticed a hint of red, that gave it a little sparkle. I was also a bit surprised to find that the smell was a touch faint, but it was very nice, with definite earthy undertones. No complaints so far. As always, the color and smell add to the experience, but for me, taste rules. So, when I finally sat down to take a sip, I enjoyed it as much as I did when I only had an once or so back in October. This time, I was very happy to have a full glass. The mixture of Zinfandel, and Mourvedre, with the Petit Sirah, gives this wine a wonderful, interesting flavor. It was definitely a little unique, and am already looking forward to next year's selection. I think it is quite a coincidence that two reviews in a row have made it on to my top 5. This one as a tie, but definitely deserves to be on the list. Plus, it has a cool name :)

Rating: 4.0 (A bit more $, but a nice treat)

Terra-Barossa - Shiraz

Price: $15.99 (1 Ltr)
Region: Australia
Year: 2008

I am a bit behind because I didn't write any reviews last Thursday (as it was Thanksgiving), so I definitely have some catching up to do. The week before Thanksgiving wasn't a typical week as I had some free time Friday to head to my favorite wine store. We also had some plans Friday night, so I didn't have this particular bottle until Saturday. I did take my time picking out a bottle though, and as is not unusual, I ended up in the Shiraz aisle. I came across this bottle, and it caught my eye because of two reasons. First, it was on sale, and second because it was a bit bigger then the normal 750 ml bottle. So, for a little more then $15 for 25% more wine, it seemed like a good idea.

So, by the time Saturday evening came around, I was looking forward to a glass of wine. I had cooked a simple dinner ravioli for me and my kids, as my wife was out helping a friend. So, when I poured my first glass, I was very impressed by the dark, rich looking wine. It was so dark, it was almost black in color. I then brought my glass up to have a smell, and was equally impressed with a very nice floral smell, with a hint of spiciness. Very much a Shiraz smell without overdoing it. At this point, I had high expectations, so there was nothing left to do, but take a sip. This wine had a very nice initial flavor, that was extremely smooth, and the best part was that it hung around for a bit before fading away. Definitely a very nice wine, with everything I look for in an Australian Shiraz. This one as definitely worth the couple of extra dollars. A very quality wine, at still a reasonable price.

Rating: 4.25 (The 1st Shiraz for my top 5)