Saturday, January 31, 2009

2001 Jerome Quiot Gigondas

Producer: Jerome Quiot
Variety: Red Rhone Blend
Country: France
Region: Rhône
SubRegion: Southern Rhône
Appellation: Gigondas
Price: $18.99

The Little Wooden Guy is really confused by this wine. It was completely different from Night One to Night Two, to the point if you didn't really know it was still the same bottle, you would not believe it.

Night One

The nose opens with cherries, both fresh Michigan cherries, sweet and juicy, and tart dried cherries. It also bring smoked bacon and the saltiness of Greek olives.

The palate is very interesting. It flashes through several different and apparently unrelated flavors. First, cherries - CHANGE - Greek olives - CHANGE - bacon - CHANGE - chocolate, then it finally settles into very dark chocolate covered cherries.

Night Two

The nose on Night Two is extremely floral, filled with lilacs and violets.

Cranberries and some blackurrant lead on the palate, orange peel follows. Over it all lay the florals from the nose. Finish is long. This wine appears to bear no relationship to the same bottle on Night One. Interesting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

2006 Mirassou Vineyards Riesling

Type: White
Producer: Mirassou Vineyards
Variety: Riesling
Country: USA
Region: California
Appellation: California

The Big Wooden Guy hasn't been seen for a while, so he thought he would try a Riesling. He gives a mixed review- not classic for the grape, but enjoyable in its own right.

Night One

The nose is soft, fruity and sweet. It opens with bananas and starfruit. If you take your nose out of the glass and sniff around the edges there is a definite scent of roses.

This is thick and off-dry on the palate. Banana, lemon meringue and ginger snaps up front are followed by buttered toast on the mid-palate. The finish is short, most of the flavors falling off quickly, but some pepper lingers.

Night Two

This has not changed at all after two night in the refrigerator.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2005 Sylvester Cabernet Sauvignon Kiara Private Reserve

Type: Red
Producer: Sylvester
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation: Kiara Private Reserve
Country: USA
Region: California
SubRegion: Central Coast
Appellation: Paso Robles
Price: $16.98

The Little Wooden Guy appreciates an under-$20 California Cabernet with something other than OAK!!! to offer. For some reason, he takes the over-use of wood personally.

Night One

The nose opens strong, with several layers. The initial attack starts with blackcurrants with a background of cedar and sage. A slightly bitter nutty smell follows, best described as pecan shells, and it is all over a faint sweet floral background.

Blackcurrants are the primary fruit on the palate as well, but there are nuts and some flowers there as well, almonds and lilac. The mid-palate is tart, like lemon/lime suddenly poured over the fruit, nuts and flowers. Mouth feel was this and the finish short.

Night Two

The nose is less interesting but more classically Cabernet Sauvignon on Night Two, mostly blackcurrant, with some eucalyptus and a slight floral background.

The palate is more classic as well. The fruit is blackcurrant and elderberry, followed by cedar and maple, then a tarter finish with some plum skins. Tannins are very fine. The oak made a bigger appearance on Night Two, showing up in the cedar and maple.

Overall, and for the price, this was pretty good. Mouth feel was thin, but at least on Night One it avoided the over-oaked tendencies of so many California Cabs in this price range.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2003 Zonte's Footstep Cabernet-Malbec

Type: Red
Producer: Zonte's Footstep
Variety: Red Blend
Designation: Cabernet-Malbec
Country: Australia
Region: South Australia
SubRegion: Fleurieu
Appellation: Langhorne Creek
Purchased from: Wines 'Til Sold Out for $12.00

The Little Wooden Guy has mixed feelings about this one. It was very good for the price on Night One, but it shows real over-use of oak on Night Two, and as you know, he takes the unnecessary use of wood personally.

Night One

The appearance is slightly cloudy, ruby-colored at the edges, very dark in the middle.

Oh gosh, that's an interesting nose. It opens with some good earthy funk, but very quickly big dark fruits blast through it, first cassis, and then blueberry compote. A little smoked meat and black pepper round out the nose.

The palate opens with the Cabernet and closes with the Malbec. The attack opens with blackcurrant and blackberries. On the mid-palate it begins to morph into Malbec, adding bloody meat, pepper, and black cherry, then finishing with sweet milk chocolate. Tannins are firm, still drying, and I expect some positive changes from Night One to Night Two.

Night Two

The nose is far simpler than on Night One, offering up just vanilla and blueberry compote. Not promising.

The palate verifies the nose. This just collapsed between Night One and Night Two. All that is left now is a brown sugar and maple oak-infused mess.

Well that was disappointing. It was really interesting, and good, on Night One. Then, ... nothing. Drink this one on Night One. It is actually pretty good up front. But don't let it linger, and don't count on any improvement in the cellar.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2003 St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon

Type: Red
Producer: St. Francis
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Country: USA
Region: California
SubRegion: Sonoma County
Appellation: Sonoma County
Price: $18.98 in Indianapolis

The Little Wooden Guy is not impressed.

Night One

The nose is very jammy with mulberry and black cherry, plus vanilla and cedar from the obvious use of new oak.

The palate is sharper than the nose, more acidic, leading with blackberries, tart plum skins, and nettles. The tartness disappears quickly, turning to dark fruit, mulberry and black cherry. Chocolate makes surprise appearance on the mid-palate. Cigar box, vanilla and plum skins make the finish. It is thick with glycerin, tannins are very fine and soft, adding a feeling of suede drying the cheeks.

A few hours later and this has changed completely. The attack is milder and has far more minerality. The finish is completely different, leaving the exact same lingering taste as fresh coconut milk. You know the kind, where the guy with the machete chops off the top and hands you a straw? Yeah, that.

Night Two

The nose is far more classically Cabernet Sauvignon on Night Two. Blackcurrant is the lead aroma, with a background of some crushed-stone minerality. it is far more subdued than on Night One.

On the palate, oily glycerin makes for a very soft mouth feel. The fruit is also very soft, and very black- blackcurrant, mulberry, and then some more mulberry. The mid-palate gets sweet, devolving into the brown sugar and maple so typical of Cali Cabs of late. If you don't know the taste, or want to explore it, go buy yourself a box of Life Cereal, Brown Sugar and Maple Flavor, and you will have it, on the nose.


An under-$20 Cali Cab is a real crap-shoot. This one was good enough on Night One to be a "buy" for the dollar, but drink it all up on Night One, and don't buy cases of it to cellar. This is a drink now, or at least a drink soon, wine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

N.V. Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut

Type: White - Sparkling
Producer: Chartogne-Taillet
Variety: Champagne Blend (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay)
Designation: Brut
Country: France
SubRegion: Champagne
Appellation: Champagne
Disgorgement: 4/20/08

The Wooden Guys are amazed at all the apples in this wine.

Night One

The color is pale straw, with a very slightly copper-colored tint.

The nose is apples. No, make that APPLES!! Not fresh tart green apples, but more like one of those half-baked without any sugar or spices. Once it cooks, add just a teaspoon of warm caramel, and that is what this wine smells like.

The palate is interesting. Imagine lining up every apple you ever ate, from tartest to sweetest, then back to tart again, and quickly taking a bit out of each one, and you get what happens from attack to mid-palate. It's dry, don't get me wrong, but the impression of apple is there the whole time.

Night Two

Like Night One, the nose is huge with apples, apples, apples, and a little dollop of caramel.

And like Night One, the palate runs through a bite of every apple you ever taste, though now the tart ones are more pronounced. Still, the only possible impression of this wine is APPLE. The mid-palate adds just a bit of baguette, but mostly, it's still apples.

This is also a good time to answer the obvious question- how did I make champagne last two nights? It's called a champagne saver, and a picture of mine is below. It pushes down into the bottle to make a seal, then the wings fold down over the lip of the bottle keeping it tight. The next night it opens with a "pop!" and you can't tell it had been opened the night before.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2007 Siduri Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard

Type: Red
Producer: Siduri
Variety: Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Hirsch Vineyard
Country: USA
Region: California
SubRegion: Sonoma County
Appellation: Sonoma Coast

The Little Wooden Guy liked it thiiiiiiss much.

This smells terrific. The nose starts a little bit earthy, but then adds black cherries, raspberries, and some spices, dill and sage.

This is a nice mouthfull. The mouth-feel is silky smooth. Fruit is big and full, but not fruit-bombish or overpowering. Rich black cherry is balanced by some tart wild strawberries. Sage and a bit of dill fill out the attack. A bit of pepper joins on the mid-palate, and the finish lingers. This is good. This is really good. It is not a modern over-oaked vanilla caramel California disaster, nor is it a thin cherry cola and black tea Oregon why bother. It lacks the florals of a delicate Burgundy, but it is very well balanced, earthy, with fruit and spice.

I can't guarantee this one will make it to Night Two, but I'll try. For you, I'll try.

Nope. Didn't make it. Sorry.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2000 Château de Gironville

Type: Red
Producer: Château de Gironville
Variety: Red Bordeaux Blend
Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
SubRegion: Médoc
Appellation: Haut-Médoc

The Little Wooden Guy is a little disappointed. This wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good, either, and really, with all the good wine in the world, why bother with something less?

Night One

The nose is a little closed, but if you give it some time and some air, it stars to release some odors. Black fruit is in the forefront, mulberry, blackcurrant and a little blueberry. There is also a hint of cedar and just the beginnings of some peppermint.

The palate is a bit thin. The over-riding fruit is plum, plum skins and tart barely ripe fruit, and some sour blackberries. Some cigar box and violets appear on the mid-palate. Tannins are dusty but pretty well integrated with the fruit. The finish is short, it falls off a bit too quickly.

Night Two

Florals come to the fore on Night Two, lilac and roses, with an undercurrent of black fruits.

On the palate, plum skins and blackberries open the attack, rose petals merge into plum skins and a hint of peppermint on the mid-palate. The finish is long, but mostly sour. Mouth-feel is a bit thin.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2006 Château de Lancyre Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup Vieilles Vignes

Type: Red
Producer: Château de Lancyre
Variety: Red Rhone Blend
Designation: Vieilles Vignes
Country: France
Region: Languedoc Roussillon
SubRegion: Languedoc
Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup
Price: $17.00 Indianapolis

The Little Wooden Guy liked the stuff so much on Night One he made me buy another bottle to do a complete review.

Night One

The nose on this is just fascinating. Imagine mixing a couple of bushels of cranberries with half as much orange peel, then drop it on a barnyard floor, and you've got EXACTLY what this stuff smells like.

The palate opens with loads of dry red fruit, mostly cranberry, with some tartcherries and tiny wild sour strawberries. The orange peel shows upon the mid-palate. Tannins are smooth and very dry, leather sucking the moisture from your cheeks. This could have years of cellar life to go. Or not. Let's find out if we get another hint on Night Two.

Night Two

The nose is similar to Night One in the cranberries and orange peel, but the barnyard smell is almost gone. It also has some fresh-ground black pepper with a few fennel seeds in the mix.

The taste is really almost identical to Night One, cranberries plus a little other red fruit, orange peel, and leathery tannins. The tannins are a little softer, rounder, more elegant. Based upon that, I think this has some promise for more cellar time, letting the tannins soften and integrate.

This is pretty good stuff and a very good price. A wine for this money that has cellar potential and a classic profile for the blend is worth looking for and putting away.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2005 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha Calatayud Viñas Viejas

Type: Red
Producer: Las Rocas de San Alejandro
Variety: Garnacha
Designation: Viñas Viejas
Country: Spain
Region: Aragón
Appellation: Calatayud
Price: $19.99

The color is very dark purple-tinged crimson, but slightly translucent.

The first impression on the nose is fruit and spice, and lots of both. It takes a little longer to separate them out. Cherries, cranberries, and dried orange peel are the fruit. Pepper leads the spice, but there is something else there, too. It's sage. The last smell on the nose is a very light background, adding nutty richness more than the clear smell, of hazelnut liqueur.

Oh gosh that interesting. Give me a minute. The palate is not as sweet as the nose. The fruit is cranberry juice and orange peel, with very little of the cherry from the nose. A little bit of charred meat, plenty of black pepper and toasted pecans make up the mid-palate. Sour cherries and cranberries appear, and then linger for a long time, on the finish, ending with a surprising aftertaste of red licorice. Tannins are very smooth.

It will be interesting to see if some of the unsweetened-cranberry bitterness fades from Night One to Night Two. Join me and we will find out together.

Night Two

Missed it. Sorry, I had a National Championship football game to watch, and my mighty Gators won it all! By Night Three, though, it was over the hill, slightly oxidized, and I can not fairly rate it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2004 Eikendal Vineyards Classique Stellenbosch

Type: Red
Producer: Eikendal Vineyards
Variety: Red Bordeaux Blend
Designation: Classique
Country: South Africa
Region: Coastal Region
SubRegion: Stellenbosch
Appellation: Stellenbosch
Price: $20.00
From: The Wine Spies

The Little Wooden Guy is pleased to introduce you to this fascinating wine from South Africa.

Night One

The nose, is a little green, reminiscent of a South American, rather than South African, red. Past that there are definite blackcurrants, a bit of green olives, and some cloves.

Interesting. A blend of red and black fruits, blackberries and blackcurrant, plus the bright tart acidity of cranberries. There is also fair amount of cedar. Cocoa, then coffee, show up on the mid-palate. Tart red fruit lingers on the finish.

The overall impression is a very fresh bright acidic wine, but it carries that off without being thin or just fruity, a la Beaujolais. No, this is far more full-bodied, bringing firm tannins and a good mouth feel along with the fruit.

I am quite interested in seeing what happens on Night Two with this one.

Night Two

Again, the nose starts out green. It really has not changed much from Night One, blackcurrants, green olives and some cloves. It is a little more floral, some violets added to the mix.

Night Two finds the wine a little softer, a little darker. There is still a nice blend of red and black fruits. The acidity is a little less obvious, the fruit sweeter. Vanilla joins the cocoa and coffee on the mid-palate.

This is nice wine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Decoy

Type: Red
Producer: Duckhorn Vineyards (web)
Variety: Red Bordeaux Blend
Designation: Decoy
Country: USA
Region: California
Appellation: Napa Valley

The Little Wooden Guy likes it. Plus, most good decoys are also made from wood, and he feels a certain kinship.

Night One

The nose opens with blackberries and a bit of blackcurrant, all floating over some underlying nettles and greenery, followed by some vanilla.

It is far less green on the palate. It opens with blueberry and boysenberry jams, some tobacco leaf and cedar. Vanilla and brown sugar make an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins are sweet and the finish is long.

Mouth-feel is full and think, lots of glycerin. Alcohol and acids are very well balanced. This is a definite "drink now" because it is good, but let's wait for Night Two to get a sense of cellar life and potential for improvement.

Night Two

Redcurrant, red licorice, and some cherries are all on the nose, a much fruitier and, well, redder nose than on Night One.

The palate is just like the nose this time. It has redcurrant, red licorice, and cherries. The licorice is more pronounced on the palate, but they are all there. Tannins are very sweet and smooth. There is a secondary flavor of tobacco leaf, enough to make it wonder if there is some cab franc in the mix. Vanilla shows upon the mid-palate, along with some cedar. Sure, there was obviously new oak used, but it is not overpowering or out of balance.

This is not a terribly complex wine. At an average cost of a little less than $30, it doesn't knock the QPR out of the park, but Napa wines tend to catch a pretty penny.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2004 Viña Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Medalla Real Reserva Especial Single Estate

Type: Red
Producer: Viña Santa Rita
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation: Medalla Real Reserva Especial Single Estate
Country: Chile
Region: Central Valley
SubRegion: Maipo Valley
Price: $15.99


Me: "Oh, this is terrible. Do you want to try it?"

Wife: "Sure. ... OH DAMN! WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO ME?!?"

Me: "I told you it was terrible."

Wife: "You didn't say how terrible. Somebody had a bad day at work and pissed in the vat. That's what this tastes like."

Me: "But I warned you it was terrible. You wanted to try it."

Wife: "No, you just said 'terrible.' You didn't say 'this is really really awful, and you don't want to taste it.' You just said 'terrible,' and with you that can mean a little too sweet, not this vile brew."

Me: "But honey, sweetheart, I did say it was terrible."

Wife: "You'll pay for this, you bastard. Maybe not tonight, or even tomorrow, but you'll pay. I promise."

Me: "But sweetheart, I did say ... Oh, never mind. Sorry honey."

Wife: "You will be."

The Litle Wooden Guy didn't like it either.

2006 Mosby Sangiovese

Type- Red
Producer- Mosby
Variety- Sangiovese
Country- USA
Region- California
SubRegion- North Coast
Appellation- Mendocino County
Price- $10.99

The Little Wooden Guy is disappointed. Very disappointed.

Night One

The color is brickish dull red and cloudy. The nose is pleasant, mostly cherries plus a touch of raspberry and some pepper. On the palate, though, it falls apart. The first impression is of heat, blatant alcohol. The flavors are much sharper, the cherries turning sour, the raspberries turning to unsweetened cranberries (try them some time- they are incredibly tart to the point of being bitter). Acid and fruit and tannins are an unbalanced mish-mash, fighting with each other rather than complementing each other or working together. It might come together on Night Two. Stick around and we will find out together.

Night Two

Cherries in alcohol make the nose for Night Two. There is also some pepper, and a hint of toasted pecans. Again, sour cherries and cranberries, though some vanilla is starting to make itself known. This is just out of balance and not particularly pleasant.