Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tasting the Home Made Zinfandel

As you may have seen in a previous post of mine, my dad tried something new this year...he departed from his usual primary wine making grape, alicante, and made a batch of wine out of only the zinfandel grape.

Well last week I got the chance to taste the wine with my old man, and I have to say, I think he hit a home run with it. I've been drinking his wine for a very long time, and I think this zinfandel might be the best wine he's ever made.

Now it was only made in September, so let's not take my review of it out of context, but I thought it delivered some quality that could very well make it an everyday drinking wine. Because of it young age, it didn't pack the punch of an aged Zinfandel, but that may be what I liked about it. The color was a wonderful ruby, and the nose was sweet, with black cherry and floral hints. As for the taste, it was good...ripe fruits with a little smokiness, but again because of its age, didn't hit you like most Zinfandels do. This wine was very easy to drink...perhaps too easy if you judge by the throbbing in my head the next morning.

Overall I give the wine a rating of 7 corks, which is very good. Congrats to my dad for trying something new and creating something I think most people would enjoy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tasting: Wine Spectator's 07 Wine of the Year, Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Well it took a bit longer than I had hoped to crack open this bottle, but I finally did on Thanksgiving day. So here is what I thought of Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005, Wine Spectator's wine of the year for 2007.

Color: Very dense/dark ruby color

Nose: Sweet and fruity with berries, spice and some floral notes.

Taste: The wine is BIG & BOLD from the offset with a burst of sweetness up front, but then mellows in on some dark fruit, licorice, mild oak and spices. It is a very hearty with a slight bitterness (likely due to its young age). A long finish with mild tannins, but not the kind that will stick to your teeth and make your whole mouth purple. Really good, tasty wine that will only get better and better if stored in the right conditions. I look forward to trying another bottle next Thanksgiving!

The Verdict: 8 corks (may increase to 9 corks with some time in the bottle).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wine Spectator - 2007 Wine of the Year...and the honors go to

I know this will sound weird, but when I finally saw which wine took this year's top honor from Wine Spectator's editors, I got really excited. The reason, you see, is that I have been indulging in Chateauneuf du Pape for about the past month, AND several months ago I bought a ton of it from various vineyards. And wouldn't you know, of the 20 or so bottles I bought, I only bought a measly 3 bottles of the wine that Wine Spectator has just given it's highest honor to. I haven't tried it yet, but will now and I can assure you that come Monday there will be some tasting notes on this blog.

Note to all of you, if you've never tried a Chateauneuf du Pape, I highly recommend it. It's also important to note that this is the second Chateauneuf du Pape to make the top trust me you'll want to get your hands on some of this yum yum.

Check back on Monday for my tasting notes, as well as some others...I'm attending a dinner tomorrow night, and will try to get note from other folks, from novice to experienced wine drinkers.


Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 - 98 points - $80

Here's what Wine Spectator had to say about this beauty:

In the Southern Rhône's recent trio of great vintages starting with 2003, no other Châteauneuf-du-Pape domaine has produced better wines than Clos des Papes. Under Vincent Avril, quality has improved steadily, and the 2003 (97 points) was Wine Spectator's No. 2 wine in 2005.

At 98 points, the 2005 is Avril's best wine yet, displaying an enormous core of fruit and minerality along with massive structure. The Clos des Papes red (the estate also produces a white) is a blend of 65 percent Grenache, 20 percent Mourvèdre, 10 percent Syrah and other grapes from 74 acres of vines around Châteauneuf. Avril keeps yields low, picks vineyard blocks separately for ideal ripeness and vinifies the destemmed grapes in ceramic-lined vats. The wine is aged in large wooden foudres
for up to 12 months before the final blend is assembled.

This is really tight now, but it's packed with dark fig, currant, espresso, licorice and chocolate notes. Superfleshy but seriously structured, there's layer after layer of sweet spice, fruit and minerality pumping through the finish, with lots of latent depth and power. Far more backward than the 2003 and 2004 on release, but considering this typically puts on weight as it ages, it should be a monster--à la the 1990--when it reaches its peak. Best from 2009 through 2030. 7,500 cases made. –JM

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007 - Today #4, #3 & #2

Hey gang. As you know, we've been tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007. Now some of you may say who cares, but trust me, as we approach the holidays, you will be wondering what bottles of wine to buy for friends and loved ones, and I for one think the top 100 is a great list to work off of. While we're only tracking the top 10, you can find the other 90 from the top 100 on Wine Spectator's web site. So we've covered 10 through 5 so far, and here are the next three wonderful bottles ranking 4, 3 and 2. Tomorrow we will know the number 1 bottle according to the magazine. Anyway, here we go.

4. Antinori Toscana Tignanello 2004 - 95 points - $79

3. Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 - 95 points - $49 - **9 corks**
I actually have a dozen or so bottles of this little beauty in my wine racks, and really do enjoy it. For the price, thus far the cheapest of the top 10, I think it's absolutely outstanding.

2. Ridge Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountain Estate 2005 - 95 points - $35 - **8 corks**

That's all for now...stay tuned for the big winner tomorrow. I can assure you that whichever bottle is named #1, it will be one of the top sellers at any and all local wine shops within a few weeks.

The Vine Guy

Get Out The Vote

Don't forget to take a quick second to vote in our poll on the top right corner. We're trying to gauge the types of wines we should be reviewing/discussing by polling you! Our readers! (All 20 of you)

I prefer wines from the good old U.S. of A. most of the time, but in addition to my US mainstays I will generally focus on a region or country for about 6 months at a time. First it was Spain, then Portugal, then Argentina, and now I'm fully into Italian wines.
Right now, as I've mentioned in the comments section a few times, I'm moving towards big, hearty Cabs and Zins. Our weather here in the Northeast makes these deep red wines ideal for sitting next to a fireplace or paired with a nice roast with hearty root vegetables. Weather is definitely one of the most significant factors in choosing a wine and really something to consider when serving guests. But, if you like white wine in the winter time, don't let me (or the weather forecast) stop you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007 - Today #6 and #5

OK, so Wine Spectator has announced two more bottles to make the top 10 list for 2007. The following came in at numbers 6 and 5.

6. Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien 2004 - 95 points - $90 - **10 corks, absolutely wonderful Bordeaux**

5. Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 2005 - 95 points - $60

Stay tuned as we follow this baby all the way to number 1.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tracking Wine Spectator's top 10 of 2007

Hey gang. Wine Spectator has started announcing its much anticipated top 10 list of 2007 wines. They will work from #10 to #1 this week, with the top spot being announced on Friday. In honor of a great magazine, and its great top 100 tradition, we are going the track it for you here and let you know if any of your favorites make the best of the best. So here are the bottles that have made the top 10 for 2007 so far. You'll notice Grape Nut made mention of the Robert Mondavi in his last post. For bottles on the list that I have personally tried, I've also noted my score...not that it matters:

10. Krug Brut Champagne 1996 - 99 points - $250

9. Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 2004 - 95 points - $125 - **8 corks**

8. Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2006 - 95 points - $80 - **9 corks**

7. Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2004 - 97 points - $150

That's all for now...stay tuned for more.

The Vine Guy