Friday, December 31, 2010

Lan - Rioja

Price: $17.00
Region: Spain
Year: 2006

My last post of 2010. I was hoping to get to about 40 done this year, and fell a bit short, but still another fun year of trying and reviewing a lot of new wines. I have a whole lot of reviews written down from over the Christmas holiday, but I decided to go with another gift from my wife from the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010. I forget exactly where this was on the list, but I'm fairly certain it was between 40 and 50. From the title, it is easy to determine we are talking about a wine from the La Rioja region of Spain. This wine is made up of about 80% Tempranillo. It falls a little bit about the $15 range, but not much. I really enjoyed the Malbec that also found its way on the Top 100 list, so I was hoping for a repeat experience.

There was nothing special going on when I decided to open this bottle of wine. To me, sometimes that is the best time to open a new bottle. No expectations, just wanted to sit down with a fire in the fireplace, and experience a new wine. There was no surprise when I poured a glass and saw a deep dark red wine in my glass. I have had some really good Spanish wines over the last couple of years, so my expectations were high. I gave a glass a rather long swirl, and took a couple of short sniffs. While the wine had a very nice berry smell, it was a bit faint in my opinion. With such a bold color, and the reputation of this grape, I was hoping for a little more umph. When I took a sip, I had the same impression. It was a very smooth wine, with great texture, and length, but just lacked a little boldness. Maybe expectations were a bit too high, but overall I thought it was a touch thin. That definitely doesn't take away from a very good wine, but just a little off the mark for me.

P.S. I updated my list of default wines since it tends to change over time. I added the Angeline Pinot Noir that I reviewed in May - - Good Stuff!

Rating: 3.0 corks (Worth a try)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Durigutti - Malbec

Price: $15
Region: Argentina
Year: 2008

I really love this time of year. There are the obvious reasons of the Christmas season, but there are surely wine reasons as well. We attended a recent wine tasting at a local wine shop, and did a lot of browsing for a couple of bottles of our Christmas wines. We have a brunch each year on Christmas day, and I like to have a couple of nice bottles of wine, even though it is fairly early in the day. It just gives me a good excuse to take a little nap in the early afternoon. This year will be no different, and I'll do my best to review them come January. Another reason I love this time of year is that my wife always picks me up the Wine Spectator top 100 wines of the year. I don't read Wine Spectator at any other time of the year, but I enjoy sitting down in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine and casually reading this edition. On top of the magazine this year, my wife also grabbed a couple of bottles that were on the list and under $20. so, since I had a couple of new wines to try, I thought I try one an write about it here.

While I had 3 to choose from, I ended up picking the Malbec first, as it was just the kind of mood I was in. We happen to be having take-out hamburgers again, which is almost becoming a Friday night staple. Not quite sure if that is a good thing, but that's another story. Not surprisingly, when I poured a glass, I saw a very dark red wine in my glass. It really had a rich looking quality to it, and just right up my alley. Now, I gave a glass a few swirls, and took in the smell. It was not overpowering, but the word that came to mind is smooth. That is something I usually associate with a velvety tasting Cab, but this wine just had a nice consistent smell to it. When it came to having a taste, the word that again popped in my head was consistent. It had a great upfront flavor, which was a bit smokey, but continued right through to the back of my mouth, with nice length. This wine was really quite tasty. Now, I usually try to stay away from wines that already carry with them a great review, and being on the top 100 list of 2010 definitely carries classifies, but it was easy to see why this wine made the cut. It really had it all, including a very reasonable price. This was one of the better wines I've had this year for sure.

Rating: 375 corks (Top 100 for a reason)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Glen Ellen - Chardonnay

Price: $8
Region: California
Year: 2009

I actually and just about to get ready to head to a wine tasting tonight, and had a few minutes so thought it was a good time to write another review. I have two wines from last week, but I thought I would start with one of the wines that was sent to me a couple of Fridays ago. There were two 1.5L bottles of red, and this bottle of Chardonnay. If you go back over my 2+ years of reviews, the white wines are few and far between. Interestingly enough, I have another one ready to go from two weeks ago that I have not gotten around to yet. Even though we usually buy a white every week for my wife, I usually only have a taste. Since I knew I was going to be reviewing this, I sat down with a glass, some spinach dip, and my wine journal to give it a try.

While I don't find it that difficult to see the variety of sight differences between red wines, I tend to lump white wines into two categories. There are those pure white wines, that have very little color at all, and then there are some with a bit of a yellowish tint. Now, I'm sure there are those that would say there is much more to it that that, I'm sticking with that for now. This wine definitely had a bit of a yellow tint to it. I really gave this one a good swirl to try and conjure up as much of the smell as I could, and I was pretty impressed. This wine had a nice floral aroma about it that was definitely not overpowering. When it comes to white wines, there are few that I love, but I must say I tend to stay away from Chardonnay. My general impression is that I will get a very dry wine, and when I do choose a white over a red, I look for something a bit more on the fruity side. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but as I took a sip, and was bracing myself, I was actually quite surprised that this wine had a very crisp flavor with a pleasant hint of pear. It did not have a bad aftertaste, but went down smooth, and was quite enjoyable. I only had the one glass as my wife enjoyed it as well, and I had a nice looking red standing by just calling my name. I think we will add it to the list of white wines that we buy as a little change of pace from our typical Chenin Blanc.

Rating: 3.0 corks (Not what I would call typical, but pretty tasty)