29 July, 2008

2006 La Bastide Saint Dominique Cotes-du-Rhone

OK, OK...stop gettin' your knickers in a twist. I finally had a decent red to review, so here you go. Pulled this little bottle out last night for something to pair with boneless pork ribs on the grill. They'd been in a salt brine with herbs de provence and a bit of pimenton for a day and I thought the Cotes du Rhone would make a super pairing. Bra-Vo!

I found this wine at the local wine shop in HMB and have had it aside for a few months, waiting for the typical summer HMB (that's THICK FOG for you non-NorCal folks) weather to arrive...well, it finally has and last night was a perfect time for a sultry glass.

It's mostly Grenache with 5% each of Syrah, Mouvedre & Cinsault and took some time to open up; about 15 mins did the trick. I was patient and was successful at taking something that was tightly tannin-ed up, to a nice relaxed, drinkable glass, or two....or the whole damn bottle.

If you enjoy a deep inky-hued Cotes Du Rhone with a decent base structure, moderate tannin with a raisined nose and notes of blackberries and currants, then this is your ticket!

Retail: ~$17
Grade: B

10 July, 2008

2006 A to Z Pinot Blanc - Oregon

Ok, so don't get on me 'cause I'm doin' another white review. It's been hot here...STUPID hot. Of course, for me stupid hot = anything north of 85 degrees, but anyways, it's still hot and I just can't think of anything better than Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc these days.

Get over it, will ya?

So, for those of you who DON'T know, Tina and I are going to Stockholm for vacation this summer. Luckily, I reconnected with a great friend from Stockholm recently and last night, we had dinner with Henrik and Ylva @ Pizza Antica in Mill Valley. They're in the middle of a 3 week journey driving from Chicago to Seattle, via the Dakotas, Wyo, all the other stuff in the middle, Yosemite, and SFO.

We ended up with a couple of great appetizers including house made mozzarella and antipasti and the A to Z Pinot Blanc did a great job of keeping up with the varying notes and textures.

The winemaker notes mention:

" ...walks a taut line between the Old World mineral driven aromatics (talc, wet stones, chalk) and New World fruit (melons, nectarines, tangerine, and white grapes overlaid with honey, lime blossoms, and hazelnuts)." and "The wine's richness and weight is held in place and balanced by crisp ripe acidity that gives focus and integrity"

I have to disagree with the first and agree with the second. Don't get me wrong, I liked this wine, but the fruit forward sweet nose and tongue drive it over any mineral aromatics that might be involved in the party. To the second point, it IS quite rich and the crisp acidity provides a platform for the weight of the richness.

I'd definitely order this again with seafood that wasn't rich (ie: lobster in butter or anything with bernaise), or with spicy Asian such as Vietnamese or Thai.

Also, A to Z is big in the "20 Dollar Wine" game. That's they're mantra. Check them out!

Retail: ~$15
Grade: B