Sunday, March 29, 2009

1998 Château de Fieuzal

Type Red
Producer Château de Fieuzal
Variety Red Bordeaux Blend
Country France
Region Bordeaux
SubRegion Graves
Appellation Pessac-Léognan



The Wooden Guys just love old Bordeaux. The fruit has faded. Back then wood was not as prevalent. Instead, it is like a trip to the flower shop. In a glass.

An older Bordeaux is a beautiful thing. The color was just starting to turn brick red, without even a hint of orange at the edges. The nose and palate are delicate, trending toward sublime, rather than big and fruity. The nose was light, delicate. The first aroma was dry ancient leather, then a hint of tarragon. Florals followed, very light scents of lavendar and lilac flowing from the glass.

On the palate, too, there were delicate flavors. Fruit had retired, gone after a decade in the bottle, replaced by soft leather, lavendar and lilac, and a bit of fennel. The feel was silky smooth, acids still bright. The finish was long.


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

2002 Dowie Doole Cabernet Sauvignon

Type Red
Producer Dowie Doole
Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation n/a
Vineyard n/a
Country Australia
Region South Australia
SubRegion Fleurieu
Appellation McLaren Vale
Price $13.00



The Little Wooden Guy just gets warm fuzzy feelings for an under $15 dollar Cabernet that tastes like Cabernet, not oak juice.

Night One

The nose tells you right up front this is a warm weather wine, but after that nothing is obvious. This is a very deep dark nose. Imagine dark chocolate covered blackberries a elderberries, lightly dusted with espresso. There is also a touch of fennel.

Okay, that's startling. This is incredibly dark. It is deep with elderberry, but the berries, not sweet jam. It has loads of tobacco, burnt coffee grounds and unsweetened chocolate. Some plums join the show on the mid-palate, but it does not really show big changes there. This is wound pretty tight. It should be interesting to see what happens to it on Night Two.

Night Two

On Night Two the nose is a bit more classic Cabernet. It opens with blackcurrant, eucalyptus and some sage.

The palate has changed, too. Blackcurrant and elderberry, now a bit more jammy than on Night One but not a fruit bomb by any measure, open the attack. Now there is a definite mid-palate, presenting chocolate, smoked meat and eucalyptus. Plum skins show up just as it moves to the finish. The mouth-feel is smooth and silky.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a $13 Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have been reading for a while, you know I usually just skip low-priced Cabs, preferring to spend $20 or under on other varietals that show better in the lower price range. However, at $13 this is a steal.


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

2005 Montoya Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietor Owned Montoya Vineyards

Type Red
Producer Montoya Vineyards
Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation Proprietor Owned
Vineyard Montoya Vineyards
Country USA
Region California
SubRegion Napa Valley
Appellation Napa Valley
Price $13



If The Big Wooden Guy had thumbs, he would be giving a "thumbs up" to an under $15 drinkable Napa Cabernet.

Night One

This has currant, but it is an underlying aroma. The predominate aroma is vegetal, plus some green olive, along with enough black pepper to make you think "grenache."

The palate is fairly simple and harsh. It is sweet-fruit forward, mostly plum and some blueberry. It has some of the same vegetal tastes as the nose. The same vegetation, plus some green pepper, makes up the mid-plate. The finish is short and metallic. Tannins are harsh.

This is not great wine. It is also a $13 Napa Cabernet. This raises a question I have asked several times before, why drink low-priced mediocre Cabernet when there are so many other good wines in the same price range? But who knows, it might be a lot better on Night Two.

Night Two

What a difference a night makes! The harsh vegetation and overpowering pepper is gone from the nose. Now it has a more classic Cabernet, with blackcurrant, a little coffee and chocolate, and plums.

The fruit is far softer on the palate, too. It opens with a lot of plum and mulberry. Some eucalyptus appears for a moment as it shifts to the mid-palate, before the typical maple and brown sugar of moderately-priced Cali Cabs takes over. The finish is mid-length. Tannins are surprisingly smooth and sweet.

This is a THIRTEEN DOLLAR Napa Valley Cabernet. Is it great? Nope. Is it good? No, not really. Is it competent, and competitive with Cabernets at twice the price? Yup. Absolutely. Give this several hours to breath and you will have a drinkable $13 Napa Cab. How can that be a bad thing?


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Tour of The Wooden Guys' cellar

The Big Wooden Guy and The Little Wooden Guy thought you might like to see their wine cellar. I needed to increase the humidity a little, so I made the fountain out of some empty wine bottles. That is what you hear if you turn up the sound. Wave back at the Wooden Guys.




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Monday, March 23, 2009

2005 Yangarra Estate Grenache Old Vine

Type Red
Producer Yangarra Estate
Variety Grenache
Designation Old Vine
Country Australia
Region South Australia
SubRegion Fleurieu
Appellation McLaren Vale
Price $25.98



The Big Wooden Guy is not pleased. You don't turn Grenache into Aussie fruit-bomb Shiraz, even if you are from down under. How the heck did this get a 90+ rating?

Night One

The nose opens with some jammy dark fruit, mostly elderberry, with black pepper, earth and brambles. It also has an underlying lingering licorice aroma.

The palate is very true to the nose. The wine opens with jammy dark elderberry and black pepper. It has earth and brambles, giving it underlying depth and keeping it from qualifying as a "fruit bomb." Licorice is more pronounced on the palate than the nose. A bit of dried orange peel appears on the mid-palate. The finish is mid-length and trends away from the fruit and toward black pepper and orange peel.

Night Two

The nose is less complex than on Night One, opening with black fruit and black pepper, and not much else.

The palate, too, is less complex. It is mostly jammy fruit bomb sprinkled with some black pepper. A bit of coffee makes a quick appearance, and equally quick disappearance, on the mid-palate, then the finish reverts to big fruit plus vanilla. Tannins are slightly grainy.

This wine got great reviews from the commercial magazines, 90+. I don't get it. This is Grenache turned into Aussie Shiraz fruit bomb.


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Friday, March 20, 2009

2005 Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo Garnacha Cariñena Menguante

Type Red
Producer Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo
Variety Garnacha
Designation Menguante
Country Spain
Region Aragón
Appellation Cariñena
Price $8.99

video

This is under $10. Amazing.

Night One

This has a powerful nose, full of blackberry, mulberry, and orange peel.

The palate is extraordinarily complex for an under $10 wine. It starts with blackberries and pepper, then adds orange peel, intense spices and licorice. The wine is medium-bodied and tannins are smooth, adding leather to the finish. The finish is long.

This is absurdly good for an under $10 wine. Is it great? No, not really. Is it great on a price to quality ratio? Heck yeah. Come back on Night Two to see it it stands up.

Night Two

The nose is not as nice on Night Two, opening with sweet blackberries and the aroma of artificial grape soda. It still has a little of the orange peel from Night One. There is also a touch of tarragon.

The palate has also dropped off quite a bit from Night One. First, rather than smooth, it is gritty. Pepper is stronger than blackberry, but the taste of artificial fruit flavors, followed by a mid-palate with the clear metallic taste of garlic, is a real disappointment. The finish is all garlic and the aftertaste of artificial sweetener.

I adored this wine, for the dollar, on Night One. On Night Two, I am not even going to finish the bottle. In all fairness, though, this is an under-$10 wine, so it was made to drink fresh, not to rest in a cellar for years. For what it is, cheap wine meant to be drunk right away, it is terrific. Just make sure you have enough thirst, or enough friends, to put it all away the first night.


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

When Wine Blogging is really good

I don't do this very often, but once in a while we here at 2 Days per Bottle take a break to enjoy the world, and the wine world, around us. Today, I would like to commend a couple of fellow wine-bloggers, and direct your attention to them. Sure, there are plenty of wine blogs out there, and many of them are absolutely terrific. If you want to find a few to start following, you can't go wrong clicking on anything on the blogroll to your right (also, I hope you already follow AND subscribe to 2 Days per Bottle and The 89 Project). Today, though, I want to point out a couple of blog posts that show just what Wine Blogging can be.

The first is from McDuff's Food and Wine Trail, and the post is entitled Southern Exposure. It is David McDuff's entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday, sponsored this month by The Wine Case. In it, David writes as good a description as I have ever seen on the effect of northern or southern exposure (the direction a mountainside faces, not the direction a flasher, ahem, "points"), desribing the difference between two different Barolos grown within sight of each other. Here is the intro:

Have you ever found yourself enticed by the idea of a “bargain” Barolo? (Yes, I’m writing about Piedmont again, just like for last month's WBW.) Ever wondered what the difference is between those two theoretically regal Piedmontese reds sitting next to each other on the shelf, one priced around $30 and the other over $50? If you have, then you know there is a wealth of possible answers. One of the most meaningful, though, happens to be one that I’m guessing might not come immediately to mind: exposure. Not brand exposure, mind you, but vineyard exposure – the position of a site on a hillside and its correlating exposure to the sun’s rays.


Now click on over there and read the rest.

The second comes from Dr. Vino, and if you don't know who he is, you're in for a treat. Today, he writes about the curious effect of a century of war, starting with Otto von Bismark and ending (at least for now), not with the end of World War II, but with the creation of the European Union. What is he writing about? A vineyard where A Border Runs Through It. He tells the story of Friedrich Wilhelm Becker, who crosses from Germany to France, and back again, every time he wanders from the eastern side of his vineyard to the western side.

Today, about two-thirds of Becker’s 35 acres of vineyards are in Alsace with the remainder, as well as, the winery lying in Pfalz, specifically the town of Schweigen.


Is it German wine, French wine, or both? Does he need two different sets of labels? Fortunately, an accord was reached involving water, lumber, and probably at least three verses each of Lili Marlene:




So what do you grow if your vineyard straddles the French and German borders? Riesling? Gewürztraminer? Nope, Pinot Noir. Or Spätburgunder, as the call it locally.

There you have it, two great posts from two great wine blogs. Enjoy. And finally, since we're taking a break from wine reviewing, at least for the afternoon, the Big Wooden Guy is going to take his dog for a walk:

video


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday- North vs. South

Remy, at The Wine Case, hosts this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday. The theme? North vs. South. So tonight, the Wooden Guys and I will be looking at Garnacha from Spain and Grenache from Australia. I am just going to compare first nights for both. The wines will be reviewed over two nights individually.



First, the Garnacha:

2005 Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo Garnacha Cariñena Menguante

Type Red
Producer Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo
Variety Garnacha
Designation Menguante
Country Spain
Region Aragón
Appellation Cariñena
Price $8.99

Night One

This has a powerful nose, full of blackberry, mulberry, and orange peel.

The palate is extraordinarily complex for an under $10 wine. It starts with blackberries and pepper, then adds orange peel, intense spices and licorice. The wine is medium-bodied and tannins are smooth, adding leather to the finish. The finish is long.

This is absurdly good for an under $10 wine. Is it great? No, not really. Is it great on a price to quality ratio? Heck yeah. Come back on Night Two to see it it stands up.

And now, the Grenache:

2005 Yangarra Estate Grenache Old Vine

Type Red
Producer Yangarra Estate
Variety Grenache
Designation Old Vine
Country Australia
Region South Australia
SubRegion Fleurieu
Appellation McLaren Vale
Price $25.98

The nose opens with some jammy dark fruit, mostly elderberry, with black pepper, earth and brambles. It also has an underlying lingering licorice aroma.

The palate is very true to the nose. The wine opens with jammy dark elderberry and black pepper. It has earth and brambles, giving it underlying depth and keeping it from qualifying as a "fruit bomb." Licorice is more pronounced on the palate than the nose. A bit of dried orange peel appears on the mid-palate. The finish is mid-length and trends away from the fruit and toward black pepper and orange peel.

North versus South

The first obvious difference is the price difference. The Garnacha is under $10, while the Australian Grenache is over $25. The Australian is not two-and-a-half times better than the Spanish. In fact, I think I like the Spanish one better. It is more balanced, offers a far more interesting and entertaining nose, and has a better mid-palate. In the Spanish wine, and Spain is a warm weather country, too, the fruit is not big and jammy. Tannins and acid balance nicely, and the different tastes balance out. On the other hand, the mulberry dominates in the Australian wine, while everything else plays second-fiddle.


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2006 Gainey Pinot Noir

Type Red
Producer Gainey
Variety Pinot Noir
Designation n/a
Vineyard n/a
Country USA
Region California
SubRegion Central Coast
Price $30.40 from Bin Ends Wine, tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live.



The Big Wooden Guy tries the "Dancer" Yoga pose, not an easy feat after a bottle of win that is best drunk all in one night.

This was tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live.

Night One

The nose was big right out of the bottle. It offered up a whole mix of cherries, from tiny clear native to big Bings, with allspice, and an echo of nutmeg. It was not over-oaked over-fruit, but not quite Burgundy in depth, either.

The palate bears almost no relationship to the nose. A lot more wood shows on the palate, a couple of scoops of vanilla. Spice is there, too, but more peppery, less exotic. It has a shift from cherry on the nose to raspberry on the palate, but the bigger shift is exotic sweet spice to pepper, nose to palate.

This is very good wine on Night One.

Night Two

The nose is far more muted on Night Two than on Night One. The fruit is softer cherry plus some strawberry. Most of the spice is gone.

There are loads of strawberry on the palate, but not really in a great way. It is more like artificial strawberry soda than fresh strawberries. It has a touch of white pepper, and some raspberry on the mid-palate.

The bottom line is simple- this wine was good, not great, but good, on Night One. On Night Two, not so much. That does not necessarily mean it won't last a bit in the cellar, but if you do open it, plan to drink it all that night.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2006 Sonoma Coast Vineyards Pinot Noir Petersen

Type Red
Producer Sonoma Coast Vineyards
Variety Pinot Noir
Vineyard Petersen
Country USA
Region California
SubRegion Sonoma County
Appellation Sonoma Coast
Price $60.40
From Bin Ends Wine, and tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live.



The Wooden Guys high-five each other over a very good bottle of wine with great potential.

Night One

This wine open with a rich and complex nose, one that is sure to take a few minutes to pick out the different aromas. This is the sort of nose that can be enjoyed so long you forget to take a sip. It starts with rich black dirt and the charred end of prime rib, then adds unsweetened chocolate, all over a strong base of deep red fruit.

The palate is at least as complex as the nose, serving up red fruit, smoked meat, chocolate and spices. Asian spices pop out on the mid-palate, followed by a delightful long finish with an intriguing after-taste of dried tangerine peel.

Night Two

The nose is not as rich as on Night One, but it is still delightful. It still has red fruit and dark chocolate, along with a teaspoon full of black dirt, but the smokey meat aroma is not there any more.

Loads of red fruit, tart cherries and ripe sweet cherries, raspberries, and some pomegranate. The mid-palate brings out smokey meat and a little cocoa, and more tartness to the red fruit, adding cranberry to the mix. This wine has some real Burgundian minerality, as well. The finish is long, tannins are very smooth, acidity offers years in the cellar.

This is very good wine. It might turn out to be great wine in eight years. if I had half a dozen, I would not open the next one for at least six years.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

1997 Massa Vecchia La Fonte di Pietrarsa Maremma Toscana IGT

Vintage 1997
Type Red
Producer Massa Vecchia
Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation La Fonte di Pietrarsa
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
SubRegion Maremma
Appellation Maremma Toscana IGT
Price $46.99

video

The Little Wooden Guy likes older Cabernets.

Night One

The color shows the age of the wine. It is brick red with the first hints of orange at the edges. The nose is classic older Cabernet, leading with florals, nuts and tarragon, rather than big fruit. Some plums were behind all of that, but did not dominate at all. The palate, too, is far more floral than fruity.

Violets take the lead on the palate, followed by tarragon and a touch of mushroom. Leather and grilled meat join the prior flavors, rather than replacing them, on the mid-palate. The finish is long, tannins are smooth and no longer predominate. This seems to be near the end of its life, perhaps just a bit over its peak. I will be interested to see how it fares on Night Two.

Night Two

The wine drank almost exactly the same as on Night One, except it was even better knit-together. It was wonderful and is clearly peaking right now. It am thrilled I have three more bottles, and will drink them over the next few months.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

2005 Rolf Binder/Veritas Shiraz Hales

Type Red
Producer Rolf Binder/Veritas
Variety Shiraz
Designation n/a
Vineyard Hales
Country Australia
Region South Australia
SubRegion Barossa
Appellation Barossa Valley
Price $17.49

video

It's a screw top. No, it's a hat. The Wooden Guys are having fun starring in movies. We're all going to try it, then we'll get back to you.

Night One

This has huge fruit on the nose. There is no question this comes from a hot climate and the grapes were allowed to fully ripen and then some. It is saved from being a "fruit bomb" by the addition of a little Mouvedre and Grenache, adding some citrus peel and spice. Fruits on the palate are dark and jammy. The palate also has dried orange peel, pepper, and a grain or two of cayenne, not the flavor, just the kick. It takes a complete turn on the mid-palate, throwing out cocoa and coffee, even as the fruit and pepper linger. The finish is long and really lingers, particularly the dried citrus peel. Tannins are smooth, acids a tad stronger and just slightly out of balance. That might calm down on Night Two.


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Thursday, March 12, 2009

2003 Poggio Amorelli Oracolo Toscana IGT

Type Red
Producer Poggio Amorelli
Variety Super Tuscan Blend
Designation Oracolo
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Appellation Toscana IGT



The Wooden Guys did not get to try the wine, since we had it at Wine at Work Wednesday, and man are they going to be upset when they read this. Go buy this wine. Seriously, buy it. Study it. Drink half a bottle and have the other half on Night Two. This is a case study in how a wine can change, and how a dozen different aromas and flavors can knit together with some time and air.

Night One

The nose on this wine is absolutely wild. The first whiff will make you look up and say "hmmmmmmm" out loud. After that, it is a search to match the aromas with something familiar. Menthol? Absolutely. Lemon grass and asian spices? What the heck is that doing in there, floating above the glass like a bowl of Vietnamese soup? Chestnuts. Chestnuts?! Then the fruit, some white raisins, perhaps. There is also licorice, the real stuff, not the artificial candy.

The palate is just as odd. It definitely presents the taste of raisins, but it still has the odd predominate lemon grass and other asian spices taste of a Vietnamese restaurant. It offers huge changes on the mid-palate. Menthol pops out, followed by licorice. The very end of the mid-palate offers the crusty end of a leg of lamb. The finish is long, tannins strong but silky smooth and balanced by good acid. On Night One tasting, it seems like it would have lots of cellar life left.

Night Two

This has not changed a tremendous amount since Night One. The "Vietnamese Restaurant" nose is there, even stronger than before. The asian spices, not hot Szechuan, but exotic, are stronger, particularly on the sides of the tongue. Menthol faded a bit from Night One, but the spices are explosive.

On the palate, the spices run through the jars in your pantry though the hidden leaves and powders in the back of a restaurant with whole ducks hanging by their necks from the rafters and half a dozen woks going at once. White raisins become mulberry for just an instant, then shifts to natural licorice toward the finish.

This is good. This is far better than the 87 from Wine Spectator, but the whole shift from "interesting" to "really good" came on Night Two, so that is understandable. On Night One it threw a dozen things at you, but on Night Two those dozen things knit together into a smooth arc. This is the sort of wine an oenophile can spend hours studying, picking out different flavors and aromas, tasting it as it changes, minute by minute, and most important, from one day to the next.


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2006 Charles Smith Cabernet Sauvignon Chateau Smith

Vintage: 2006
Type: Red
Producer: Charles Smith
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation: Chateau Smith
Country: USA
Region: Washington
SubRegion: Columbia Valley
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Price: $20.99



The Little Wooden Guy says "temper your enthusiasm." Yes, it's Cabernet for less than $20, and it is not an oak and vanilla brown sugar mess. On the other hand, and he really hates to say this because it is not bad wine, it is also just not particularly special. Sure, it is hard to find decent Cabernet at the this price point, but there are so many other good wines out there that deliver a bigger bang for the buck. Perhaps the thing to do, or at least this is how the Little Wooden Guy feels, the thing to do is save Cabernet for a splurge, and buy Syrah, or Shiraz, or a good Rhone blend, or something from South Africa, or South America, or any of a thousand other options, when you're looking for an under $20 wine.

Night One

The nose is light. The first thing you notice is what is not there, rather than what is. This is an under-$20 Cabernet that does not reek of oak and vanilla. Instead, fruit is front and center. The fruit is not overpowering or jammy. Instead, it is light and clean. Blackcurrants and blackberries are joined by some eucalyptus.

The palate is also fruit-driven, but not jammy. Blackcurrant, blackberry and elderberry open the attack. it is joined by light notes of eucalyptus and peppermint. The finish is a little short.

Night Two

The nose remains light on Night Two. There are just hints of fruit.

The palate is fruity, sweeter than on Night One. Blueberry, rather than blackberry, is dominant, with a secondary flavor of blackberries. Cedar makes an appearance on the mid-palate. There is also a tiny hint, half a drop at the most, of vanilla. The finish is mid-length and sweet. Tannins are smooth and balanced by some acidity, but not quite enough to balance out the sweet fruit.


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Monday, March 9, 2009

2006 Kendric Vineyards Syrah

Vintage 2006
Type Red
Producer Kendric Vineyards
Variety Syrah
Country USA
Region California
SubRegion Sierra Foothills
Appellation Shenandoah Valley
Price $19.99
From WineQ

video

The Wooden Guys do the honors.

Night One

The nose has a bit of mustiness, lots of fruit- raspberries and blackberries, and milk chocolate. It also has just a touch of sage.

This is not a terrific wine on the palate- it seems overworked, even unnatural. Raspberry is the primary fruit, but it is more artificial raspberry licorice than fresh raspberry. That is followed by too much vanilla, and the aftertaste of artificially flavored candy. No, I'm not loving this, but I will stick it out and give it a second chance on Night Two.

A few hours later and it has improved significantly. At this rate, it could be good by tomorrow night. Stick around and find out with me.

Night Two

The mustiness from Night One is gone. The fruit is darker than on Night One. Blackberries and mulberries give a sweet dark aroma, which is sharpened a little with a few raspberries. There is some underling milk chocolate and the same touch of sage noted on Night One.

The palate is different on Night Two. There is a tremendous amount of chocolate to go with jammy dark fruits. Imagine Chocolate covered cherries, but instead of cherries, fill them with mixed blackberry and mulberry fondant and fruit. That hint of sage and some meat shows up on the mid-palate, but only as faint echoes under the fruit and chocolate. The finish is mid-length. Tannins are faint but smooth, acidity is light.

This is drinking well on Night Two, but gives no indication it has huge cellar life in front of it. Based upon the performance on Night One, significant improvement over a few hours, and its performance on Night Two, this might have a year, but could just as easily be served now after a few hours of decanting.


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2006 Campo di Sasso Insoglio del Cinghiale Toscana IGT

Type: Red
Producer: Campo di Sasso
Variety: Red Blend
Designation: Insoglio del Cinghiale
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Appellation: Toscana IGT
Price: $48
From: Bin Ends Wine for $38.40. This was tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live sponsored by Wilson Daniels.




Night One

Cabernet Franc is obvious in the blend, as the tobacco leaf scent leaps first out of the glass. Just as the bottle is opened it also has the curious smell of dried tangerine rind, which blows off after about half an hour. The nose is rich with cocoa and dark fruit.

The first impression on the palate is of how smooth the wine is, even with a strong tannic structure. Cherries, leather, and some clear licorice also make up the initial attack. This continues to evolve, not just on the mid-palate, but from minute to minute. It is probably not fair to try to judge this wine until it has had some time to decant.

This is a real candidate for Night Two improvement.

Night Two

Classic Cabernet Franc tobacco is the first aroma out of the glass. A deeper whiff brings sticky dates and figs, and behind those, blackberries.

Tobacco also leads on the palate. The fruit is all black, dates, prunes and blackberries. A solid mid-palate adds pencil lead, and the dates turn to figs. The finish is very long. The tannins are smooth and silky, leaving a sense of suede, not merely leather.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2005 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc Kritt

Type: White
Producer: Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss
Variety: Pinot Blanc
Vineyard: Kritt
Country: France
Region: Alsace
SubRegion: Andlau
Appellation: Alsace AOC
Price: $23.00
From: Bin Ends Wine for $18.40. This was tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live sponsored by Wilson Daniels.



The Big Wooden Guy finally gets a turn, and has big hugs for this Alsace gem.

Night One

The first impression was thickness on the palate. This was not a dry, tight, acidic summer afternoon quaff. This was a thick serious food wine. Next was the creamy softness of it. Immediately out of the bottle it was sweet and creamy, giving a first instant impression of coconut cream. Some time out of the bottle allowed that to soften, first to banana, then finally settling on pears, and very obvious pears. I expect nobody could drink this wine, thirty minutes or more after opening it, without saying "oh, pears!" out loud. It had one other flavor that was a bit unusual, first hinting at toast, but too flavored to just be dry bread. No, the best description was Zweiback, the old crackers that parents gave teething babies, but that are the real secret behind the crust of genuine New York Cheesecake (graham crackers started with cafeteria lunch ladies and condensed milk "cheesecake," but the real thing has Zweiback). The wine also had some balancing acidity and tartness. The tartness was more exotic than typical lemon, and is best described as somewhere between, or even a blend of, key lime zest and starfruit.

Night Two

Pears were the predominant, perhaps even overpowering, aroma, modified a little with a bit of tart apple and toasty Zweiback.

Pears continue to dominate the palate, as well. They are joined by exotic soft citrus tastes, something akin to ugli fruit, with a slight ginger bite. Night Two sees a bit of bitterness on the mid-palate, a bitterness reminiscent of almond skins. The finish is long, highlighting ginger and a little white pepper.

This is very good wine.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

2005 Marc Kreydenweiss Costières-de-Nîmes Domaine des Perrières

Type: Red
Producer: Marc Kreydenweiss
Variety: Red Rhone Blend
Designation: Domaine des Perrières
Country: France
Region: Rhône
SubRegion: Southern Rhône
Appellation: Costières-de-Nîmes
Price: $17.00
From: Bin Ends Wine for $13.60. This was tasted as part of Twitter Taste Live sponsored by Wilson Daniels.



The Little Wooden Guy applauds any Rhone that comes in under $20 and delivers classic flavors.

Night One

The nose opens with huge barnyard smells, layered smells of animal, dirt and hay. Applewood-smoked bacon is also in the forefront, a strong classic smell. Fruits are intense, like dried cherries and raisins.

The palate opens with surprising mineral flavor, like walking through a limestone quarry and inhaling fine dust as you drink. Fruit is just as intense on the palate, tannins are very tight. The same applewood-smoked bacon shows up on the mid-palate as the limestone softens and darkens into pencil lead.

This is a terrific candidate for big Night Two changes, so stick around and see what happens.

Night Two

Most of the barnyard is gone from the palate. It opens, instead, with medium red fruit. It is not big juicy cherries. Instead, it offers pomegranate and cranberry. It is nowhere near as intense as on Night One. There is some pencil lead on the mid-palate. A clear smoked bacon flavor pops out on the finish. The wine s less intense, but far more balanced, on Night Two.

This is good wine at a great price. The explosiveness right after corking is interesting, but the greater delicacy and balance is even more delightful. To me, that is a clue that this will benefit from some time in the cellar, a couple of years before it really hits its stride.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2006 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese Terre degli Osci IGT

Type: Red
Producer: Di Majo Norante
Variety: Sangiovese
Country: Italy
Region: Molise
Appellation: Terre degli Osci IGT
Price: $9.99



The Little Wooden Guy is disappointed, and that's not really fair to the wine. At $9.99, it delivers a decent bang for the buck. No, he is disappointed because it failed to meet its promise, and herein lies one of the real problems with rating wines. The shelf-hanger said:

Wine Advocate - December 2007 - 89 points - Great Values from Italy

"The 2006 Sangiovese Terre Degli Osci is simply gorgeous. This superbly balanced red offers generous, super-ripe blueberry, spice and sweet toasted oak along with a soft, accessible personality."*


Hey, $9.99 for that? What a bargain! And then, disappointment. On the one hand, it suckered me into buying it. On the other hand, I was disappointed where I should have been thrilled- for $9.99 this wine really delivered. So I guess the question is, do they want a large number of individual sales, or a smaller number of multiple sales and loyal customers?

Night One

The nose opens with big aromas, starting with rubber and dark ripe fruit, blackcurrant and plum, followed by spices, primarily pepper and cardamom.

The palate, too, opens with rubber, followed by black pepper, blackberries, plums, and lots of florals, including violets and roses. Vanilla comes out on the finish. Mouth-feel is very smooth.

Night Two

The nose is much lighter on Night Two, more fruity, opening with cherries and raspberries, plus the cherry pits.

The palate is far simpler on Night Two, as well. Cherries and raspberries, some spice including white pepper, not any significant changes on the mid-palate, and a hint of nutmeg added on the finish.

*I am not a big fan of wine ratings and rarely buy anything based upon shelf-hangers, but as the manager of The 89 Project, if see and "89" under $10, I really have to buy it.