Sunday, September 28, 2008

2005 Stevenot Cabernet Sauvignon

The Wooden Guy was impressed. This wine came from California Wine Club. Through the Club it was a mere $15.99, a great price for any Cali cab.

Night One

The nose was complex, showing blackcurrant, menthol and cedar. On the palate it was equally interesting, opening with blackcurrant and cigar box, yielding to a midpalate of cranbery and vanilla, before finishing sweet with brown sugar and vanilla. Tannins were drying, a bit harsh, but this is a very new cab. Wait to Night Two to judge this part of the wine.

Night Two

The nose is much rounder and softer now, offering much fuller odors. The blackcurrant still leads, followed by vanilla and a touch of nutmeg.

On the palate the mouth feel is far more full, the flavors darker and richer. Blackcurrants and joined by stwed plums, with a midpalate of cedar and blackberries, then vanilla and a sweet brown sugar finish. Tannins softened considerably, with only a memory of leather, rather than strong lingering leather, on the finish.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Michel-Schlumberger Merlot Dry Creek Valley 2004

First, absolutely HUGE credit to Schlumberger for a very simple reason- they sent me wine in recycled paper packaging, not styrofoam. Do you have any idea how completely INSANE it makes me to see wineries that claim to be "organic," or "biodynamic," or at least "concerned about the environment," only to get bottles of wine packed in something that will last a grazillion years in a landfill? They will also be moving to soy-based ink. Credit where credit is due. Thank you Schlumberger.

What can I tell you? The Wooden Guys are torn. Michel Schlumberger and Schlumberger winery were incredibly kind to send out four bottles for a Live Twitter Tasting. On the other hand, we just have to give honest reviews. The wooden guys did not love any of the Schlumberger wines. The most complete notes are on the Merlot, below. We also tried the Chardonnay (way too woody and buttery- the wooden guys were not amused), the Cabernet (EXTREMELY tannic on Night one, with a hint of a scent I never got on the nose of a wine before- Tabasco), and the Syrah (by far the best of the bunch, a good wine, not overblown or jammy, terroir forward and well balanced. It showed significant improvement from Night One to Night Two, and is recommended).

here are my notes from Twitter on the Syrah, and Cabernet:


Nice nose- not Aussie fruit bomb, more terroir-driven.

some blackberry under the tannins, lots of leather to finish. New wine in a new leather wine skin.

the syrah is just starting to open now (after about an hour).

The syrah is coming into its own. Open nose, cherries & blueberries, vanilla, and an earthy touch of mackeral (it works). ... Mackeral? Tiny fishy smell in the background- rich, not foul. like adding anchovy paste for richness, not flavor.

Cabernet Sauvignon

2 Days per Bottle here, so I started last night. Mulberry jam & tobacco leaves, then ... wait for it .. Tobasco! Just for a second or two. On the palate, verry tannic, even bitter, with blackcurrants and violets hiding beneath.

Now, on to the Merlot:

Estate Bottled Wine
14.3% alcohol
Dry Creek Valley

From the bottlenotes:

Michel-Schlumberger established a name for its superbly structured Merlot in th early 19902, and this rendition caries that banner with aplomb. Blended with Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Carmanere, this long, spicy Merlot has a nicely etched profile that gives its lush fruit unusual finesse. The grapes for this wine come from several select vineyard parcels that grow in our small pocket canyon in western Dry Creek Valley.

Night One

Deep black cherries, vanilla, and a hint of toasted almonds on the nose.

There is a lot of red fruit on the palate, cherries and raspberries. It gets a bit more tart on the midpalate, then blends smoothly into mild soft tannins. The finish comes up a little short, falling off quickly, leaving some dry leather on the cheeks from tannins.

Night Two

Red cherries and some cassis, and a touch of balsam make up the nose. On the palate, tart cherries up front with some chocolate appearing on the midpalate. Tannins are smooth. Mouth feel is a little thin. The fruit, once again, dies quickly, leaving leather and not much else for the finish.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2001 Ferdinand Pieroth Burg-Layer Schloßkapelle Pieroth Blue

The little wooden guy is a bit unsure. This was the first time any of us tried anything made from the Kerner grape. It was very interesting. It was even good, but the overpowering diesel kept it from reaching very good.

Night One

The nose is overpoweringly diesel. At first it surprises, with none of the sweet fruit you would expect from the "Spatlese" on the label.

The feel is slightly thick, that taste fairly complex. It stirs around a bit, never as sweet as you expect, starting with a tiny hint of very sweet limee- think key lime pie, not gimlet, but ultimately settling on over-ripe apple. The diesel from the nose makes a split-secod appearance on the mid-palate and then disappears for good.

Night Two, well actually, Night Three, corked and in the fridge.

Diesel on the nose is still very strong. Behind that is some green apple skin. There is also a fairly strong smell of gooseberry. I wonder if that is from two nights in the fridge.

It is still very thick on the palate, but the diesel is now asserting itself more strongly up front and lingering. Again, the primary flavor is very ripe apples, even stronger than on Night One. The finish gets a bit more tart, ending with green apple skins. It is very long.

This is a very interesting wine. It is as strong a diesel nose as I have ever smelled. The fruit is good, and for a Spatlese it comes across a surprisingly dry.

I was given this bottle as a gift. I have never even seen the grape before, so have no idea how much this costs. That said, for its curiosity and complexity, for its balance with the relatively high sugar content, and for overall drinkability, this is a good wine. Is it great? No. But if you want to add a whole new grape to your list this is a very pleasant way to do it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Goodbye Bush- I'll drink to that

What will you open on January 20, 2009? How will you celebrate the end of the Bush Era? I asked that question of wine bloggers around the world. What will you drink, and why? The answers are terrific, and recommendations and reviews are worth a look.

People picked French wines, a poke in the eye to the "Old Europe" and "Freedom Fries" kerfuffle. One particularly brilliant wag chose Chateau Maison Blanche, leaving me to shake my head and say "I wish I'd thought of that." Some people are looking only forward and hoping for sweet success, while others will take a moment to look back in contemplation and rememberance. One blogger went for a wine that mirrored Bush's Presidency ("Despite shining promises, this wine disappoints in the end."), while another picks a "mystery in a bottle," because that is really what any new President really is.

Answers came in from across America and around the world. It is a terrific round-up and I can't offer enough thanks to everybody who participated.

Cheers! Salud! L'Chaim! Prost! All I know for sure is that I am really looking forward to raising a glass to the end of the Bush Era.

Pour Favor looks forward, not back, recommending Moscato d’ Asti, because "it delivers only sweet success!"

The Wine Camp Blog will be drinking 1970 Graham's Vintage Port, looking backward and taking a "moment to remember the thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that the Bush era has wiped from the face of the earth in our names."

One Wine Dude will be drinking Chateau Frank's Brut Champagne and being "thankful that Bush stayed in good health, so that Cheney never had a chance to try to ruin, er, I mean run the country."

Dr. Debs, at Good Wine under $20, will open a bottle of 2005 Great Whatsit Stolpman Vineyards Syrah, a wine she describes as "a mystery in a bottle," appropriate for inauguration because "every election day we're left opening Pandora's Box and facing the great unkown."

Strumerika will be drinking "The Old Man’s Blend” 2006 Groote Post from South Africa. Why? "Despite shining promises, this wine disappoints in the end. Sound familiar to you?"

Eating Leeds brings us a point of view from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and goes to the other side of the world for a bottle of wine, De Bortoli's Willowglen Shiraz 2006. The wine was grown during one of Australia's worst droughts on record. "The issue where not only the American people but the population of the world have been let down is the environment," and this wine is a good reminder of the future we face, together.

At McDuff's Food and Wine Trail is going for the true maverick, not John McCain, with “Pleiades X Old Vines,” Sean Thackrey NV. It's good, he says, very good. "History, I expect, shall not be so kind to Mr. Bush."

2005 Feather, Long Shadow’s Winery is the choice at Through the Walla Walla Grapevine. If the election goes one way, she will be tickled pink. If it goes the other way, "because the silkiness and rich mouth feel of this particular cabernet reminds me of a favorite blanket - - my security blanket that I will need to hold onto for the next four years."

At The Inquiring Vine picked two, Shotfire Shiraz and Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner. Why? Because "once upon a time George had a little trouble telling the difference between Australia and Austria." Well done, wine and a movie.

The Cork Dork will drink The Pommery Cuvée Louise 1989, "the best Champagne I have had in the last year," if Obama wins. If McCain wins, it will be 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select Kentucky Bourbon. "A lot of it."

Pour More plays it a little coy, saying "if my candidate wins," without naming names. But I think you can get a little hint from the wine, Pol Roger Champagne, and the why, "thinking back on the absurd “boycott” on all things French that the Bush administration encouraged, I figured at the very least I can stick some bubbles in their eye."

Wine Case hits it out of the park with a "why didn't I think of that" selection, Château Maison Blanche, or, "Chateau White House." Really, how obvious was that? It is named for "the building and institution that, thankfully, symbolizes so much more than just the current president."

Lenndevours picked Swedish Hill Winery's 2007 Vidal Blanc. Why? "It's in a blue bottle and I live in a blue state. I tend to vote with my fellow New Yorkers too."

Anything Wine chose 2003 Pride Cabernet Sauvignon for a darned good reason- "because even though I have not been remotely happy the past two elections, I have pride in the process that as a citizen, I have the right and duty to participate in."

My Wine Info went with a French wine because the French "were one of the few countries stand up the US when it counted." The wine? Domaine du Jas Le Chevre d'Or

Luscious Lushes like Perrier-Jouët NV Brut if Obama wins. But if "McLame & Caribou Barbie win this freak show, I will be drowning my sorrows in [Glenmorangie Sherry Cask] as I drive up to the border to escape."

Gonzo Gastronomy picked a great one, Twisted Oak *%#&@!. Yes, that is the name of the wine. "The reason for choosing this wine to celebrate the end of the Bush/Cheney nightmare is because over the last eight years I have used the word Twisted Oak symbolized more than I have my entire life!"

And let me not leave out a direct Twitter from martastrickland of Recenlty Consumed, who picked Oregon A-Z rose, saying "will miss A-Z, but certainly not W."

And finally, my own pick at 2 Days per Bottle was N.V. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve. It's French. It's from a small single grower, not a corporation or negociant. And I bought it from a small independent wine store in Tribeca. Yup. Everything George W. Bush could possibly hate. Of course, if McCain wins, "I might be looking for a Merlot-Hemlock blend."

Domaine 547, a wine store as well as a blog, plays it safe. Depending upon the results, they will be opening a bottle of Godmé Blanc de Noirs Champagne to celebrate, or a bottle of Whisky to drown our sorrows. Follow the link, though, and I think you can guess the preference.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

WBW#49- N.V. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve

I have the honor of hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday #49, "A Toast to the End of the Bush Era." Read more about it on the link, and come back later this week for my WBW#49 round-up. I will be linking wine bloggers' responses from around the country and around the world. My choice for Inauguration night? N.V. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve.

The Wooden Guys are happily dancing around this terrific champagne.

Le Mesnil Sur Oger
12% alcohol
$39.99 at Chambers Street Wines

The is a "blanc de blanc" champagne, meaning it is made entirely from chardonnay grapes. It is also a "grower champagne." That means it is made by the same person who grows the grapes, rather than by a corporation/negociant. Read more here about
why to buy grower champagne. I bought it from Chambers Street Wines, a wonderful wine shop in Tribeca, which is not exactly Bush country. Simply stated, this wine is everything George W. Bush could possible be against- it is French (was there ever a more embarrassing moment than when we talked about "Old Europe" and renamed "Freedom Fries," all petit attacks against our oldest ally, the nation to which we owe our very existence as a nation?), it is anti-corporate, and it is "elite," you know, champagne, not beer. To celebrate the end of the Bush Era, I will happily drink this poke in his eye.

Night One

The color is clear light golden straw, and bubbles are tiny tiny tiny. The nose is rich and yeasty, fresh-baked bread and buttered toast, with light delicate citrus (key limes and a hint of pink grapefruit) and lychee.

The palate is equally delightful. The mousse is full but delicate. Anybody wondering about the term "mousse" in champagne need but try this to understand how something can be rich and mouth-filling yet light as air at the same time. It also gives a perfect lesson in "brut," proving something can be fruit-filled and floral but bone-dry at the same time. The fruit on the palate is like the fruit on the nose- key lime and a touch of sweet grapefruit. Florals were equally citrusy, orange blossoms from a distance. The toast evolved from attack to midpalate in a fascinating way. Up front it was yeasty and toasty, but as that flavor blended with the fruit, well, the best way to describe it is an incredibly light key lime pie with a Zweiback, not graham cracker, crust. Have you ever had real, genuine, New York cheesecake? One where the crust complements the cake rather than competes with it? Those have crusts made from Zweiback crackers and butter. The overall sense of this wine is sweetness, but it is not sweet. It also had clear minerality, but only as background, not foreground.

The finish lasted quite a while, the different tastes all coming together and lingering, all very light but lasting.

Night Two

On night two the yeastiness took even more of the nose. The smell was richer. Have you ever had Cuban toast? It is Cuban bread, sliced, generously buttered, then "toasted" in a sandwich press. It is yeasty, crusty, and redolent with butter. Spread a piece of that very thinly with key lime and lychee jellies, and you're there.

The palate was similar to the nose- Cuban bread and citrus, plus citrus flowers. Bubbles remained tiny overnight and the mouse smooth and gentle. It was a delightful mouthful, all bubbles and smiles.

I will happily pop a bottle of this the night George W. Bush says "goodbye" to his power. It's French. It's non-corporate. And yes, it's upper-class. To the end of an era, and good riddance to it.

Unless McCain/Palin win. Then I might be looking for a Merlot-Hemlock blend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Deerfield Merlot Cuvee 2004

The Wooden Guys take the gratuitous over-use of wood personally.

Deerfield Ranch Winery
2004 Merlot Cuvee
North Coast
75% Merlot
10% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Sangiovese
5% Malbec
3% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol 14.2%

From the bottlenotes:

Winemaking is a combination of art and science, cooking and chemistry. Like a memorable meal, it's first about the quality of the ingredients and then about interplay of flavors, textures and techniques. Our merlot cuvee is all this in the glass. Six of our favorite vineyards supplied the grapes. Our winemaking focused the individuality of each varietal. Long barrel aging gave them texture. The blend, done by taste, married them into a harmonious, fruit flavored sensation, each element playing on the other, nothing out of place, every sip memorable. We produced 2,000 cases.


Night One

Black fruit, red fruit, fruit fruit fruit. Lots of fruit up in your snoot. Not just fruit, there's lots of wood. Do you like wood? Some wood is good. Too much wood, though can be bad. Too much wood, it makes me sad. Fruit and wood and something more. What's that more down in the core? Tobacco from the cabernet franc, cabernet franc added to the tank. It's time to drink, to drink and think. Will it be great or will it stink?

I sipped and tripped on all the oak, so much oak it's like a joke. Sure theres's fruit, it's plenty sweet, so very sweet I beat retreat. Vanilla, brown sugar, cherries and wood, too much too much is just not good.

Am I being fair or just trying to rhyme? I can rhyme at any time. Just watch me go- "blow, Joe, though, fro." It's really the wine. I thought you should know.

Will this be better on Night Two? Stick with me, my faithful crew.

Night Two

Wood defeats fruit.

Sticky vanilla oak juice.

Too much is too little.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

L'Aventure Optimus 2004

The Big Wooden Guy is quite pleased, not just with the wine in the bottle, but optimistic for its future, a bottle the Little Wooden Guy might enjoy for years to come.

Night One

The color is thick inky black, turning to purple only at the very edges.

Right after opening the nose is surprisingly closed, blackcurrant and herbs, but not overwhelming. Twenty minutes later and the smells are coming forward. Blackcurrant jam, plums, eucalyptus, and molasses.

Huge on the palate, jammy with just a little tobacco, followed by vanilla and oak. Big big big. Tannins were big, too, sweet and smooth, but very drying.

Night Two

Again, rather a closed nose giving out blackcurrant and some sweeter vanilla-tinged blue- and blackberries.

On the palate blackcurrants again dominate. Now, though, there is nothing green at all. Instead, it is jammy fruit, vanilla, and sweet smooth tannins. Tannins are still incredibly powerful. After the finish, after the wine is gone, an aftertaste echo offer some promise for the future, giving hints of violets and lilac.

This clearly need a lot of cellar time to integrate the wood and soften the tannins. Will the near "fruit bomb" quality ratchet down and allow the more complex florals and maybe more come through? I would guess "yes," but can't make any promises. That said, this is darned good right now and even more promising for the future.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2005

Central Otago, New Zealand
14% alcohol
$33.98 in Indianapolis

Can I tell you a secret? The Wooden Guys and I, we don't drink a lot of pinot noir. It's not that we don't like it, we just can't afford the stuff we like, and don't much like the stuff we can afford. Most of the latter tastes like Strawberry Snapple and black tea. When we come across one we like in the $30 range, well, I promise you will hear about it.

The Big Wooden Guy liked it. He was surprised. He told me that, but he liked it. In fact, he asked me to buy some more. I might, but only if he saves me some.

From the bottlenotes:

Wild Earth expresses the essence of an untamed land far from the pressures of a crowded world. Each wine presents orginal art created by New Zealand's finest emerging artists. Our pinot noir vineyards are sited on the respected Felton Road and Lowburn distrct, located in the stunning alpine desert landscape of Central Otgago. This pinot noir was made from clones 5, 6 and a range of Dijon clone vines, tended by hand and crafted with devoted care in the traditional manner.

The color is just barely translucent, dark for a pinot. It is ruby red in the center trending to pink before it disappears at the edges.

The nose is very promising. It is not just fruit and tea. There is fruit, no question, dark cherries and strawberries, but there is also old leather, mesquite smoke, and an old velvet dress from the back of the closet.

On the palate this one falls back a little, a little more like the typical $30 pinot than the nose seemed to promise. It doesn't fall all the way back, mind you, but a little. Cherries are there, but dark ones, barely ripe and tart. Strawberries are there, too, but little ones, fresh farm berries mixed half and half with tiny sour wild ones. There is smoked meat, too. Not juicy meat, the smoky edges and ends, more meat flavored smoke than smoke flavored meat. There is also a hint of sea salt, most noticeable if you let a drop dry at the rim for a few minutes then put your lips back to the glass. That old velvet is there, too, a dusty musky earthy flavor coming mostly from dusty sweet tannins. This is getting better. It has the classic pinot arc, growing from the time you first sip through a long glowing finish.

I hope this holds up on Night Two. Perhaps a more immediate fear- I hope it lasts until Night Two.

Night Two

The nose has not changed much. Cherries and strawberries, leather and smoke. It is still lovely.

Nope, this really has not changed much from Night One to Night Two. It still bridges generic pinot to good pinot, bringing cherries/strawberreis and black tea, your generic stand-bys, with earth and smoked meat. I think this is the first time I have seen so little change from Night One to Night Two. What does that mean for aging? I don't know, but if you have a few botles of this why would you wait? It is quite nice right now.

WBW Special Release- A toast to the end of the Bush Era

What will you drink to toast the end of the Bush era? Will it be something to honor the 43rd President, or are you just looking forward to 44? Will it be something from Texas, which Bush calls home, or Connecticut, where he was really raised? Maybe a nice French champagne, a bit of a poke in his eye? Or do you prefer Italian prosecco, since they supported the "War on Terror"? Whatever it is, get ready to lift a glass and toast the end of an era that America will never forget.

This diary is brought to you by my own site, 2 Days per Bottle, and Wine Blogging Wednesday, a cooperative venture of the wine blogging community. Wine bloggers, meet political bloggers. Political bloggers, meet the wine people. And please come back to see the results of the first WBW Special Release, when the world's wine bloggers review their choice for January 20, 2009.

Wine Bloggers around the country and around the world will post their choices on Wednesday, September 17. I will post a compendium of them here, but hope you will visit all the sites to see what everybody was drinking.

(The reviews below are from Cellar Tracker, the most people-driven wine site on the internet.)

Will you be drinking Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 43, Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel #43, or Cameron Hughes Zinfandel Lot 43 Dry Creek Valley, in honor of our 43rd President? Or will it be Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 44 or Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 44 because you have already moved on to 44 and any new President will be an improvement? Will you turn to Texas in honor of the departing President, to drink one of Texas's sparkling wines, like Delaney Vineyards Texas Champagne Brut, or do you prefer your Texas wines red, like Fredericksburg Baron's Bach Burgandy or Grapevine Texas Winery Grapevine Red? Maybe you remember Bush is not really a Texan, but a rich boy from Connecticut, and you will turn to Priam Vineyards St. Croix or Chamard Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon to fill your glass.

Maybe you want something bubbly to celebrate the end of an era. Champagne, real Champagne from the Champagne AOC in France, is traditional. A small label single grower blanc de blancs is certainly the way to go here, like Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve. On the other hand, the French were not very supportive of Bush, so if you're mourning the end of his Presidency, you might want to go with something Italian. After all, the Italians actually sent troops to Iraq, and more than 30 of them died. Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico is always a good, moderately priced choice.

Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 43

This is actually getting better. Nice berry flavor.

Are Bush and his supporters right? Will the "Bush Era" get better as we look back on it?

Nice table red, though I think I prefer the Menage a Trois for that -- at least it's not trying to be more elegant than it is. A little heavy on the zin spice without the thick jammy payoff I'm generally a fan of. Still, good alongside pasta with some kick.

Well heck, don't we all prefer a menage a trois, given a choice? Actually, he's refering to Menage a Trois, a ubiquitous grocery store red table wine. Funny story. I was in a grocery one day looking at the wines and a woman, actually a pretty attractive woman, picked up a bottle of the stuff, looked me in the eye and held it for about three seconds, and said rather pointedly "my husband and I like this one, how about you?"

The last one I had was around 6 years ago, and was substantially better. This one has nice fruit flavor, but the aftertast is a little sour and misses tannins in the middle.

Will this be history's comment on Bush, not so bad up front, but a crappy middle and terrible aftertaste?

Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel #43

Opened a month ago and it was nice, but I just had the last glass from the bottle and its really improved with a month of sitting (post-opening) in my fridge. Lots of tropical fruit, and has developed better acid.

Nose is the essence of lime peel and acacia. The palate is very sweet but does not have the acid at present to balance it. Perhaps with time it will improve. Still a very enjoyable (BA-like) wine.

This is clearly a wine for people who found the Bush years to be sweet. I'm guessing it won't be a big seller come inauguration day, but I could be wrong.

Cameron Hughes Zinfandel Lot 43 Dry Creek Valley

Maybe its just me, but I was quite disappointed. Found this wine rather flat. Fruity and very little complexity on the nose or palate. Even @ $11, this wine just isn't worth it in my opinion.

Wonderfully balanced wine with sweet fruit on the nose and a traditional darker fruit with some pepper in the glass. Not overly done or a new world fruit bomb nor is it an over the top hot or heavy zin. Nice finish and great smoothness.

Is this the perfect Bush-toasting wine? Is it either terrible or wonderful, and all in the eye of the beholder?

Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 44

Take that 86 with a grain of salt.. It's a young bottle, too young hopefully. I have a case of this and I was curious what was going on with it right now. It had some funk right after opening it but that seemed to clear up. Drinkability improved with time. I really shouldn't even be writing this, as it's probably unfair to try and rate an 05' cab right after finishing a bottle of Elizabeth Spencer Special Cuvee 1999

Maybe this is the way to go. Whoever takes on the mantle of 44, he will be new, full of promise, with little show and a lot to prove. Any new President starts with hope and optimism.

Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 44

Lot 44 is a tad disappointing compared to the last few, and seems a little more reliant on carignan, with a strong presence of the trademark carignan roughness. It also seems just that much lighter that than previous lots, with a shorter finish. There is still that nice spice on the front end, and for a $10 wine, one could do vastly worse. I still stand by these wines as something wine lovers watching their pocketbooks ought to seek out, as the overall quality far outpaces the price. Lots are typically nicely balanced, and this one is no exception.

Or are you ready to be disappointed, just sure that 44 can't be as good as 43? If so, this might be the wine for you.

Delaney Vineyards Texas Champagne Brut

Surprisingly good -- nice acidity, and freshness -- the best sparkling wine I have had from Texas. Good complexity and a pleasant, fairly rich finish.

Were you surprised at how well the Bush Presidency worked out? If so, we have the sparkling wine for you.

Fredericksburg Baron's Bach Burgandy

Yuck! Disgusting.

I have a feeling this might be a big seller.

Grapevine Texas Winery Grapevine Red

What is this horrendous creation? Blueberry sweet tarts. Unbalanced and unenjoyable. May be good to cook with... maybe...

The perfect wine for lefty bloggers to remember Bush.

Priam Vineyards St. Croix

Horrible. Tasted like a bad homemade wine.

This whole Texas/Connecticut thing is showing a trend, don't you think? Maybe we should pick our Presidents based on the quality of their state's wine? Fortunately, both candidates' states seem to produce something drinkable, like Illinois' Lynfred Winery Petite Sirah Private Reserve and Arizona's Dos Cabezas Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Cochise County. Pick up a bottle of each and decide who you're voting for.

Chamard Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine was undrinkable. I poured out the entire bottle.

I'm thinking a lot of people wish they could have done the same thing with Bush.

Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve

From magnum, disgorged 12/05. Lovely champagne with baked buscuits on the nose. The flavor profiles are citrus peel with bright acidity. The wine continues to open up in the glass showing more intensity. The finish is clean and lingerng. An excellent NV and I get the excitment behind this particular producer and this bottling lot.

Tasted by Dieter Klippstein on 12/9/2007 & rated 87 points: Lot 092007, which I believe to be based on the 2005 vintage. I have never had such a young Champagne, both from the perspective of vinatge composition and disgorgement date. Yet it's also one of the most flattering flushest and most physiologically ripe Champagnes I've ever had. Probably little in the way of dosage keeps it balanced -- though I don't see bigtime cellarability.

This French Champagne is clearly a wine for those looking forward to the change. It is young, new, fresh and delicious, filled with bright bubbles and promise. It also comes from the little guy, not a big wine corporation. I'm guessing this will only be quaffed if Obama gets the nod. If he doesn't

Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico will get the nod.

Good light prosecco, but not quite as good as expected based on prior and recommendations.

Oh gosh, that does not bode well.

flawed bottle: flat, lost all carbonation, purchased in April 2006. Cork says 2003. Must have been sitting to long in a wharehouse someplace. Sour, lost all sweetness.

Is that a shot at McCain's age? How did they know?

Better than the last bottle we drank about two months ago. We drank it over several days and both us noted that each time it seemed to have a different level of sweetness.

This is the perfect wine for Republicans settling for McCain. Better than Bush, but with "different levels of sweetness." Is that a shot at his famous temper?

I don't know what you will drinking come January 20, 2009. I don't know if you will be mourning or celebrating. But I do know there is a wine for every mood, a perfect glass to mark the occasion. And I hope you will come visit all the different bloggers who make up Wine Blogging Wednesday, get to know some of them, and start to enjoy the fruits of their labors. And you wine bloggers, energy costs, conservation, and global warming are issues that effect every bottle we pour, every glass we drink. I hope you will get involved between now and November, and remember that what you do November 4, 2008, will effect what you drink for decades to come.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Esca Cabernet 2004

Esca Wines
Napa Valley, California
14.3% alcohol
screw cap top
$27.99 from WineQ

The Big Wooden Guy is applauding a very nice effort- a nice wine at a good price.

from the Bottle notes:

Esca is a collaboration between the husband and wife winemaking team, Mario and Anna Monicelli. Esca means "bait" in Italian. Just as the nectar of the Hibiscus flower allures the bee on the label, these wines entice the enophile.

Night One

Immediately upon opening this smelled like Welch's grape juice. Fortunately, that blew off pretty quickly. After about 20 minutes it started to show its legs, with currants, tobacco, and a little melted licorice. That evolved over time, too. Currants remained prominent, but the tobacco faded to be replaced by a more pungent eucalyptus, and the licorice disappeared completely.

On the palate it was more vegetal than the nose suggested. It also changed significantly from attack to midpalate. Up front it was blackcurrant and blueberry, plus tobacco. That evolved to blueberry and dark plum, plus mint. Toward the end, and through the finish, vanilla grew from nothing to a crescendo, exciting at first, pleasant next, but overpowering and distracting at the end. Mouth feel was fine, not too thin but not anything to write home about. Low but very soft tannins, there, but not enough. Acid was AWOL. It was, in a word, fat. If I had to guess, I would say it lacks sufficient backbone to carry over to a second night, much less last years in the cellar.

Night Two

The nose is more terroir-driven, more vegetal and earthy, than Night One. Currants are there, black and red, and so are black cherries, but tobacco, eucalyptus and some green pepper are there, too. It also has a spicier kick, black pepper and cinnamon.

Black and red currants, blackberries, and later blueberry, are all there on the palate. The mint is there, too, spearmint, not peppermint, but only faintly and in the background, along with pepper and nutmeg. Mouth feel is far fuller than on Night One. Tannins are silky, tooth-coating and sweet, but a little light to balance the fruit. Overall, not as fat as Night One, but it does knock an otherwise very good wine down a peg or two. Finish is long.

This surprised me. Night Two was not just better than Night One, it was a LOT better. Was it great? No. Was it good? Yes. I could not recommend years in the cellar. The lack of tannins just don't have that kind of promise. However, will a few hours in a decanter make it a heck of a lot better than just opening it and taking a swig. At a mere $27.99 for a Napa Cabernet this is a good deal on a pretty good wine. Heck, I've had Napa Cabs at two or even three times the price that I would take second to this one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunstone Syrah 2005

Santa Barbara County
14.1% alcohol

The Big Wooden Guy is disappointed. Very disappointed.

The bottlenotes:

Perched on terraces overlooking the Santa Ynez river, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery is home to 77 acres of Bordeaux and Rhone style varietals. Grown using sustainable farming practices respecting our environment and neighbors, Sunstone grapes produce wines of superior quality and flavor. Our wines represent distinct varietal character unique to our terroir and Satna Barbara County wine country.

The nose- Australia meets France. Big jammy fruit alongside earth and herbs. The fruit is blueberry pie filling with a little blackberry added to the mix. Oak is prevalent, showing up as vanilla with a molasses shadow. A bit of mushrooms and earth, along with a tin hint of sage save it from being just a fruit bomb.

Fruit is blacker on the palate, leaning far more toward blackberry and plum than the blueberies on the nose. Blackberries, plum, black pepper start out the attack. Some very tart wild cherries, wild strawberries and then vanilla add to the blend, the black fruit fading as the red increases. Vanilla and oak, some showing up as brown sugar, make a sweet, too sweet, finish. Tannins are smooth and soft.

Night Two

This absolutely died from one night to the next. It was not particularly oxidized, it just, well, sucked. I took one sip, then another, and quit. It was, frankly, too bad to suffer through a second night tasting.

I did not love it. Can you tell?