Friday, September 26, 2008

1994 Schloss Schönborn Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Spätlese

If you got here by typing the name of this wine into a search engine, congratulations on your typing abilities!

This is the third of three bottles of older German Riesling I purchased from Garagiste, the others being the Kabinett version from the same producer in the 1994 vintage, and a 1990 Spatlese from this producer.

Like the others, this one belied its age. Initially the color in the glass was a medium gold but it lightened up with air and nothing about the wine gave any hint that it was 14 years old.

There was a definite petrol/rubber component in the nose and mouth of this wine, and on the fruit side, I thought it was all apples and pears. It had a sugary/honeyed sweetness to it with enough acidity to keep it from being cloying. The aftertaste trailed off rather quickly. All the flavors were ripe and well integrated.

Refreshing (especially for this ridiculously hot weather we've had the past few days in Southern California.. is summer ever going to end???) and a bit on the simple side, for the $16.99 tariff I would give this a thumbs up. I'd say it was priced fairly.

Here's the matching YouTube music video (click here if you don't see it below):

Here's the Amazon product page for the CD: Jay & The Techniques

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2006 Gautheron Morgon Côte du Py

This bottle came from Garagiste (so did the wine inside of it) and was a reasonable $13.99.

My main impression of this wine was minerals. Lots of minerals, chalk, concrete and slate. That ought to give you some idea of what I thought was its most prominent characteristic - I use that in the singular because they all sort of lump together.

On that taut framework there was also crisp fruit. Other reviews I've seen call it "lively" and that fits well. I found it to be a clean, fresh wine whose fruit character became fuller and rounder as it aired.

Very nice, and deserving of two thumbs up.

Here's the matching YouTube music video to listen while you drink (click here if you don't see it below):

And here is the link to the CD page at Amazon: Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage

Monday, September 22, 2008

2004 Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso

The blend of 50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot and 20% Sangiovese came from Gargiste for a tab of $19.99.

There was a lot going on in both the aromas and flavors. On the nose I picked up cedar, rose petal, earthy plum, strawberry and raspberry. This carried through on the palate, along with bittersweet chocolate and coffee. It had a lingering cranberry-like finish.

I feel this wine is drinking nicely right now and has a nice melange of flavors that keep it interesting, never tiring. It's well worth a two thumbs up recommendation.

Here's my choice for the matching YouTube video (click here if you don't see it below):

And the Amazon CD product page: Steely Dan - Kid Charlemagne

Friday, September 19, 2008

Government Bails Out Screeching Falcon Winery

The financial markets have been hit hard by the recent subprime mortgage crisis, but it has not been confined solely to that sector. Even the wine industry has been negatively affected to a great degree.

Consumers simply have less money to spend on wines. Large corporations that normally would spend lavishly on office parties and customer entertainment by purchasing the most expensive bottles of wine now find themselves teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Without those sales, what is a premium winery to do? Screeching Falcon, best known for its wines that cost thousands of dollars per bottle even on release, found out yesterday. With sales way down, they had no choice but to either ask the Federal Government to bail them out, or go bankrupt. The only way they could continue to fetch the normal $5,700 per bottle price of their wines was to have the government subsidize it.

The agreement worked out with the Feds calls for the United States BATF to purchase all remaining stock of Screeching Falcon wines at a discounted price of $5,650 per bottle. That will allow Falcon to remain in business and operate their web site so that customers on their mailing list will be assured of receiving their precious bottles of next year's vintage uninterrupted.

The other option considered by the Feds was to guarantee the resale value of the wine, akin to FDIC insurance. However, after extended discussion with representatives from both the winery and the Fed, it was decided instead for the federal government to purchase the wine stocks and thus prop up Screeching Falcon to prevent it from suffering financial disaster.

What is going to happen to the wines after being purchased by the government? They are not talking, although this reporter is investigating rumors that bottles of Screeching Falcon have been seen in various 99 Cent Only locations that have a license to sell alcohol. When we find out more, you will find out more.

When asked for their comments on this situation, both John McCain and Barack Obama were in agreement, something that has been very rare during this presidential election year. Both stated, "My position is that which will get me the most votes from the American people."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2006 Twisted Oak Verdelho Silvaspoons

Today's wine is made from the not-often seen (at least in this country) Verdelho grape, produced by the not-seen-enough Twisted Oak Winery.

Pale in color, on the 1st night I would have mistaken this for a Sauvignon Blanc, with its grassy, herbal aromas and grapefruit character on the palate.

On subsequent nights the grassy character faded and a more fruity character emerged. The herbal element remained but was more in the background. In the foreground was a lot of honeyed, ripe fruit. Crisp acidity kept the wine refreshing and never tiring to drink.

It's ready to drink now but I would suggest letting it get some air, and also not serving it too chilled. For $12.80 from the winery, this was a no-brainer two thumbs up. Enjoy it with summer (which I know is fading fast, so enjoy it with autumn, too.. or with winter or spring.. winter spring summer or fall all you got to do is call..).

Here's the matching YouTube video (click here if you don't see it below):

The Amazon CD page: Sweet Baby James

Monday, September 15, 2008

2004 Château Falfas

Jill of Domaine 547 recommended this wine from the overlooked 2004 vintage, which set me back $17.99.

Nice aromas of cedar, cigarette smoke and dark berries rose from the glass. There was more of the same on the palate with predominately plum and black cherries fruit-wise, along with a hint of soy sauce. The aftertaste lingered.

Texture-wise, this wine was smooth and silky, even a bit leathery or waxy in feel. All of the components were nicely balanced

Very nice wine, unquestionably two thumbs up on this one!

And now the usual matching YouTube music video (click here if you don't see it below):

Link to the Amazon CD page: Yvonne Elliman

Friday, September 12, 2008

2006 Tablas Creek Chardonnay Antithesis

This one came winery-direct from Tablas Creek with a $21.60 tariff.

The wine was a clear light gold color. Aromas were on the reticent side. It had a creamy mouth feel, with flavors of pear, roasted nuts, spiced lemon and some anise; it had chardonnay character but was not the fruit-forward type. This one leans to the subtle side.

This would do very well with fish or chicken in a mild cream sauce, I'd say, and is better as a food wine rather than one to drink on its own.

I liked the wine but at $21.60 I think it is on the expensive side. I give it sideways thumbs.

Here's the matching YouTube video. Click here if you don't see it below. page for the CD: Stevie Wonder - Innervisions

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2004 Domaine Benedetti Côtes du Rhône Vieux Clos

Today's wine came from Garagiste and set me back $16.83. I wonder how he comes up with his pricing - there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the last two digits. Maybe it's some sort of secret code.

Overall it had a nice purple color but was a bit light around the edges. Initially I sensed soy sauce and worcestershire sauce on the nose. The palate was like molasses that you find in barbecue sauce, mixed with berries. After gaining more air it morphed into tartish cranberry tastes. The wine had an acidic bite to it along with minerally tannins. The aftertaste trailed off rather quickly.

I don't drink enough wines to say this from experience, but only from what I've read about the 2004 Rhone area vintage - this wine appears to reflect the nature of that vintage. The fruit was restrained rather than ripe or rich, and the acidity made itself known. It seems one to drink with food.

This one gets sideways thumbs. It tasted natural and there's nothng wrong with it, but it's not something to get excited about, either.

Here's a tartish YouTube video to go with the tartish, acidic character of the wine. Click here if you don't see it below.

And the link to the CD page: Janis Joplin - Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Tale of Two Wineries

Napa Valley's Metachange Winery raised many an eyebrow when it burst on the scene a couple of years ago seemingly out of left field with its debut wine, a 100% Monastrell from the 2004 vintage. Critically acclaimed, this wine has picked up a near-cult following and the once nearly-unknown varietal has now become a household name among wine enthusiasts across the U.S.

"Consumers had grown tired of the same old varieties," remarked Steve Jepson of Century Wine and Vine House, a leading New York retailer. "It was nice to have gotten away from the generic, and falsely labeled 'hearty burgundies' and 'pink chablis' to true varietal wines, but that was back in the 60's and 70's. It's about time we had a progressive winery that saw the need for change and did something about it."

When Metachange released its 2004 Monastrell, it was the only winery in the United States that featured this grape; it's more familiar to people who drink Spanish wines but few in this country had ever tried it, much less heard of it. Helped by wow reviews from leading wine publications, the problem of being unknown is no longer a problem.

You can imagine what a sitr was created when two months ago, Metachange announced it was releasing only its second varietal wine, the production of which had been kept a closely-guarded secret. Even industry insiders such as Robert Parker and the staff at the Wine Spectator were kept out of the loop and had to wait, just like everyone else for the identity of the grape that was in the bottle. Speculation ran rampant; names of obscure varietals were bandied about but the tight-lipped Metachange held fast to its promise to first notify those on its mailing list via text message. The hype became unbearable.

Last Monday, the announcement was made. "Faithful Metachange fans, the future has arrived," stated the bold text message. "Orders are now being taken for our second varietal, first come, first served: The 2006 Metachange Cabernet Sauvignon is now available."

"Aged in 100% new American oak, this is a big, bold, highly-extracted wine that just goes on and on," continued the text announcement. "There's nothing subtle about it; it's made in the style that's going to rack up the points. We're very proud of this, our second varietal release and we are sure you will love it."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

I read about this list on Sonadora's Wannabe Wino website so I thought I'd give it a try. The original idea was posted by Andrew of the Very Good Taste food blog, and basically, here are the rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste linking to your results.

I also added my own two cents in (parentheses).. and, like Sonadora did, I put an asterisk * next to things that I have no idea what the heck it is. I also italicized stuff (instead of crossing out, as I am not sure what the html code is to do a strikeout and blogger seems not to have this feature) I refuse to eat (even though I may have had it in the past, which explains why I refuse to eat it in the future).

Ah, this was a nice break which saved me from having to come up with another boring wine review.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (if you transpose a couple of letters, I have had that several times like at Red Lobster)
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (while listening to Baba O'Riley)
11. Calamari
12. Pho (no friend of mine.. I don't care for it)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi *
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses *
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (ugh..)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda *
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I think Timmy and the ASPCA would have something to say about this one..)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Cognac, but not the fat cigar.. yuk.. unless Le Cigare Volant counts)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (not intentionally but as I have eaten in Chinese restaurants and fast food places this is probably a sure bet.. I won't bold it, though)
43. Phaal *
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin (was forced to do this by a client.. egads that is nasty)
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer *
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads (only King's Hawaiian.. I guess that don't count)
63. Kaolin * (Isn't that one of the trendy names people use for their designer babies these days?)
64. Currywurst *
65. Durian (is that like the music group Durian Durian?)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost *
75. Roadkill (again, I've eaten in Chinese restaurants but I haven't intentionally ordered this)
76. Baijiu *
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (did this to win a bet for a bottle of beer.. would never do it again, though!)
79. Lapsang souchong *
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (this is Sylvester Stallone eating Sweet and Sour pork - Rocky meets Pakkai)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef (I guess the Kobe Burger at Tops Restaurant doesn't count)
86. Hare (nope, and no krishna either)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa *
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

After looking at my results, I'd have to say I am not very adventurous. Or willing to spend a lot of money, either, as a few of the items are on the expensive side. And there's a lot of stuff I am not familiar with. There is also plenty of stuff I refuse to eat - mainly innards and strange creatures. I guess I am pretty much mainstream..

Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2002 Domaine aux Moines Savennières Roche aux Moines Cuvée des Nonnes Moelleux

Hey, how's that for a long title for this entry?

I've had dry versions of Savennières before, but this the first time I've tried one with noticeable residual sugar - it was definitely different from the stony, minerally ones of the past!

The color of this wine looked like a not-so-healthy urine sample - ewww. Amber, even orangeish, it matched the orange border on my box of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal. But in the interests of winedom I drank it anyway.

This wine was one smorgasbord of fruit. Layers of ripe, honeyed apples, peaches, bananas, you name it, it seemed like it was there, held together by enough acidity to keep it from being cloying. The fruit was intense in this wine and it would make a great dessert.

$19.83 from Garagiste and most definitely worth it - two thumbs way up on this one.

Here's my YouTube music video match (click here if you don't see it below):

And the link to the CD on Amazon's site: Carole King - Living Room Tour

Or the DVD: Welcome to My Living Room

Monday, September 1, 2008

2005 Cameron Hughes Lot 34 Cabernet Sauvignon

This particular Lot from the popular line of Cameron Hughes wines comes from the Rutherford district of Napa. I purchased this one direct from Cameron Hughes for $14.00, although I saw it at several local Costco locations for $11.00.

On the first night, I sensed aromas of sauteed bell pepper and onions, mixed with some smoke and ground beef - a casserole in a glass! Tastewise I got graphite and dirt at the beginning, along with a meaty character so there was a rather odd combination of aromas and tastes. It took some air, but then cassis flavors emerged to balance things out.

On subsequent nights (from 187.5 ml bottles that I had poured from the main bottle), the character of the wine became more fruity but the bell pepper remained. It also got smoother and silkier. The tannins seem fairly well integrated and are not harsh at all.

The wine did evolve with air, mainly in that the fruit component emerged and became more prominent although I wouldn't call this a fruity wine. It is more restrained. I never sensed any of that "Rutherford dust" character, either.

Overall I'd have to give this wine sideways thumbs. For the price it isn't bad, but I didn't feel it was anything special, either. Considering what most Rutherford cabs go for these days, this is on the low end of the price scale but like I said, there's nothing special about the wine inside the bottle.

Here's the matching YouTube video. Click here if you don't see it below.

And the usual link to the CD at Blues Image