Monthly Archives: June 2013

Beaulieu Vineyards Pinot Noir(1 out of 5)

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Image You’ll recall I reviewed- with ill-concealed glee- another one the wines from this vineyard months ago(Red Blend), and loved, loved, loved it. This wine shows that lightning does indeed not strike twice at the vineyard. While the red blend fulfilled many dreams of the penultimate red blend, this pinot did not make me write and sing arias to strangers on the El. It made my desire to find THE soulmate of the pinot noir wineset as soon as possible, if nothing else. Beaulieu Vineyards put out great wines- except this one, which just exists. 

Juicy and light is what you read—- light, oh yes, almost too much so! Juicy- well, it made me want Juicy Juice, does that count? Strong cherry, smoke, redwood, and some blackcurrant is what the notes tell you on the bottle. Well, cherry is there, but strong it is not. More like Neneh Cherry. Smoke? It makes you want to. Redwood? Redwood? Am I eating a tree or drinking wine? Blackcurrant reminds me of black crows. Which almost reminds me of mincemeat pie. Which is not yummy. Right there, in the notes, we have an issue, Houston. 

It doesn’t taste awful, despite my less than enthusiastic ramblings above. It has a light taste to it. However, too light to really register much. I had a second glass trying to taste all of the things listed on the bottle, as well as the BV website. I didn’t taste much of anything. A little spice and a wee bit of the blackcurrant, but really not much else. I’m at a loss to describe it beyond that. 

Biggest complaint—not much taste at all for me to get excited enough. It’s ok, but okay is not enough to give more than one star. A shame. If you’re doing a light steak- chopped, etc. you can probably get away with having this wine alongside it and it would work. Or a light tomato based soup- even crab bisque would likely work with this wine. Overall, not much satisfies with this. 

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Santa Bachelli Chianti(2 out of 5)

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ImageOh, my beloved Chianti, how I was prepared to love you. I was not prepared to have to deliver a not-enthusiastic review. I am a huge chianti fan. I was in love with this one, just from the label. Look at it. The dude’s ready to go lop off heads, kick ass, and take names. In the medieval armor as well! I was hoping that meant delicious anarchy in a glass. Instead, it was merely officious tasting slightly like ass. 

OK. I picked up this bottle at Aldi. Like my favorite Winking, Leering Owl wine, it is an Aldi exclusive. It was also only $4.99, a steal for chianti. I now wish I had stuck with the Winking Owl. Oh well, you live, you learn. You drink this with spinach and bean salad, and oh boy, your esophagus will burn. 

This chianti, upon being uncorked and allowed to breathe for a full hour, didn’t have a welcoming aroma to it. It smelled more like apple cider vinegar overload. And pungent, but not in a good, pig-roast type of way. More like “I wash my windows with this, you should now drink it, despite the fact that I washed my windows with it”, type of wafting odor. It tastes of plum, cherry, red raspberry, and not a strong presence. The bouquet will knock you out, but the taste doesn’t linger for long. The first drink, you have a good taste, then it fades rather quickly and uneventfully. if you’re eating the infamously uneventful Mama Cozzi pizza, then this would work well with that. It doesn’t work well with much else. I tried a second glass chilled, and that helped a little. Two stars because of the awesome label, the awesome price for a chianti, and because it maintains a good balance on glass one. After that, it doesn’t assert itself, doesn’t come out with the flavors you yearn for despite breathing, and doesn’t fire up the senses, so that’s where the appreciation ends. If you’re hard up for a cheap chianti, this will do, but don’t expect a Ruffino type of chianti, it definitely isn’t the case(It’s Aldi, so you shouldn’t expect that, but at least a little bit more satisfaction here would be great). 

Old Reliable–Fetzer Gewürztraminer

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ImageIn a time, in a land not so far away, I decided I would have the summer of white wines. That summer was 2006. That was the summer of white wines, way too many nights trying to play pool at Brixie’s hoping to hear from the distraction that had returned to tip me upside down again, trying out different food places in Lagrange trying to expand my horizons(all it did was expand my drinking and my waistline), and the summer of watching way too much VH-1(Dani California reruns, bad reality TV shows, etc). All in all, not a time to be proud of. I came away with a lot of learned lessons, but I did come away with several bars of gold. The discovery of Fetzer Gewurtraminer was one of them.

I’m not sure if this was Dylan’s fault or the distraction previously referred to. I remember several long-distance phone calls discussing this particular wine and the fact that it messed you up, but was delicious. Oh yes, yes, it was. I haven’t had it since the Lost Summer, but it’s one that I see myself having very, very soon. 

This is a sweeter, white wine that is said to go better with spicier foods. That certainly explains why I was enjoying it with those double jalapeno cheeseburgers I used to enjoy. It was also, if I remember correctly, good with spaghetti arrabbiata. i think you need a spicier dish to offset the sweetness of the wine. Is it as sweet as a Riesling? I would say no, but the White Wine Gods and Goddesses(D, Erin) may disagree.

This Gewurztraminer is primarily peach, apricot, and some mango taste, although the mango is vastly understated. It’s a medium bodied white wine, which means, if consumed in a great amount(say, a whole bottle), you may wake up incredibly disoriented, nauseated, or completely do not remember a fucking thing. I speak from experience, regrettably. I don’t regret the wonder of the discovery and enjoying of the varietal, mainly the amounts I consumed.

Again- if i didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have drank a whole damn bottle. I wouldn’t have passed out on my sister’s carpet in that first condo and not remembered some very unforgettable texts(or so I was told at the time). I also would have remembered the subsequent ride home, the snoring that could wake San Francisco, and other calamities of my first time hanging out with Mr. Fetzer G-miner(it saves me trying to keep remembering how to spell it, and it sounds like a bad rapper or an artist at some dance music festival). I do remember a headache of seismic proportions when I woke up the next day. I’m sure there were more instances, but D will have to remind me. 

All in all, a good time can be had with Mr. Fetzer G-miner, just make sure if you’re going to overdo it, that you have plenty of hydration, sustenance in the way of food, and stay away from the Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium album. If you do that, you’ll do fine. And enjoy, because it truly is a good, reliable buzz wine. 

Bone Dry Red Cabernet(5 out of 5)

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ImageFelicia found this doozy at Dominick’s. As usual, it was a surprise. As usual, the label caught her eye. It is a gorgeous label. That’s before we saw the 14.% alcohol level, so we knew it was going to make us wineblind(bad change-up on an Ozzy classic). The wine has a paper label that you have to remove to get to the wine itself. I think we let it breathe for a hour or so. It has a rich aroma when you smell it. Meaning- you’re in for it. But oh, it’s so good(sorry, Mr. Food, I am mimicking you as I write this). 

This wine has lush berry, cherry, some chocolate notes, and a whole lotta spice. It is a dry wine, but it is a strong wine, do not be fooled by the pretty skull on the label. It’s oaky, oaky, oaky, but in the context of this wine, it’s a perfect balance. One glass and you are questioning life, love, and the existence of gluten-free crackers. Two and you’re likely offering to mow your neighbor’s lawn topless(not in my case, I’d probably offer someone money to blow up her over-blown ceramic and lawn statue cemetery instead). It’s an extremely rich cabernet, and probably would be best accompanied by a Porterhouse steak or a rack of ribs. This would not work well, with, say, tuna fish or salmon(my usual fares as of late). It is excellent with Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel bars(another thing to blame the lovely Felicia for). Definitely my second favorite cab of the month, behind Beringer, which had me such a wreck from one glass that I completely forgot what the fuck I was supposed to be making for dinner. 

Try it, buy it, recommend it, send it, drink it, don’t rethink it!

Firecracker White Wine Blend(4 out of 5)

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Image Oh boy, this was a nice surprise! You may or may not remember my post skewering the red blend(the maple syrup wine). After much discussion, Dylan got a bottle of the white so I could try it. I was prepared to not be friends with this wine, but oh, the surprise was on me! 

I have spoken about the blog feature coming “Candy & Wine-Why Not?”. I could use this as an opening salvo into that blog featurette. 

This wine tastes like liquid Starburst. The flavors of mango and pineapple are magical here. The wine isn’t real crisp, but it’s smooth and settles well. It has a nice smell to it also, kind of like you overdosed on Spree and this is what resulted. I drank several glasses and it went down real smooth and quickly. To the point where I stopped and told Dylan to cork that sucker up. I probably would have gone on drinking the whole damn bottle, and that isn’t good! 

I would highly recommend this for lighter fare- like my infamous Jimmy John’s slim Unwich. Or a light pasta dish with broiled chicken and lemon, this would be a good match. The bottle mentions with lamb. I guess if you put mint jelly on the lamb, and drank this, I can see that might be a good call as well. 

Overall, incredibly good fruity flavor. Not a long-lasting effect wine, but a good tasting wine. No sourness, no noticeable acidity, and it’s not real crisp, so it just kind of exists. If that makes sense. It’s a pretty mellow wine and not real bubbly, like the Kunde was, and we know I like bubbly wine, but the taste is what shines through here! I’ve never had a white that had such good fruit flavors shining through, and this one definitely does.

2012 Kunde Sauvignon Blanc(6 out of 5)

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ImageThis was a revealation! Dylan’s mom had opened this wine up and didn’t care for it because it was too sweet(keep this in mind, as she prefers the red wines, as I usually do). I found this not to be the case. I found it to be awesome. I have had some real sweet wines(Riesling, Geruziminer, etc), but I thought this was perfect in every way. 

I like the label- it reminds me of the video for the Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney song “Say,Say,Say”. (Watch it, you’ll figure out why). It has a moderate bouquet. It’s a crisp and bubbly wine- there were actual bubbles in the wineglass, so it reminded me of champagne, my other favorite pastime. 

The taste was sublime. It has hints of guava and melon. I paired it with my ever-glamorous Jimmy John’s UNWICH(for those of you unaware, meat or cheese wrapped around a sexy bunch of lettuce. I’m bringing lettuce back, yeah) and it worked perfectly. A perusal of the label shows that it works with salad greens…so I wasn’t totally insane in my thoughts of what it would pair up well with. 

I really, really enjoyed this white wine, probably my favorite white of the year so far. 

2010 Beringer Founders Estate Cabernet Sauvignon(5 out of 5)

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ImageI like a cabernet with some kick. This is the one! Or one of few that I’ve had that I can give a 5 easily. Nancy got one for Matt, one for me. I wonder his thoughts–I like this one a lot! 

The label is great. It reminds me of this magical chocolate gold coins I used to eat as a kid. This wine is LUSH. And if you are hopelessly in love with it, as I fear I am, it could also turn you into a LUSH. This one has cassis for your chassis, and blackberries, also black currant and some tart plum flavors. Unlike some wines I have tried that were blackberries, there is no sweetness to this wine. It is all spice, baby. The right kind of spice. This one has a long finish and a rich taste to it, but not a bitter aftertaste. It’s unmistakably a cab,although that description makes it sound like a merlot. No mer here…it’s smooth as a cab usually is. I had one glass, and went for a second one immediately…within a half hour. THAT hasn’t happened with a cab in a while. I would highly recommend this sucker if you are having ribs,        brisket, or barbecued pork of any kind. It is fabulous to pair with that. I had some after having vegetabled myself to death, and it was ok. I think a barbecued based meal of some substance would truly bring this sucker to a pleasing end. If not, drink up! You won’t regret it!