18 August, 2012

2012 WBC S WBC Speed Dating -- The Reds

Ok...laptop finally up. Here we go.

1) Alexana 2009 Pinot Noir - BIG pinot -- 14.5%. I think they should have picked earlier.

Retail: $70
Grade: C

2) Seufert Winery 2009 Vine Idyl Pinot Noir -- Brett, Brett. Nice. A bit jammy for me. Would still work with food.

Retail: $30
Grade: C+

3) Johan Vineyards 2009 Nils Reserve Pinot Noir -- Good fruit forward, but not jammy. Lots of red fruit. Really nice bottle. Would love with pork chop with lentils and herbs de provence. Nice!

Retail: $ 45
Grade: B+ (wish it was priced a bit less!!)

4) Gallo (Gina Gallo) 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon - Much less tannin than typical NapaCab. Would be nice with lamb and salt from the moon (right, Bridg??).

Retail: $40
Grade: B (you should try this!!!)

5) Seven of Hearts - 2010 GSM - Fruit from Columbia Valley, WA - Lots of cedar, tobacco, spice. Good front to back. THIS is what I want to pair with food....from Salmon to Pork. Really loving what Byron is doing. It's HUGE, but it's TINY at the same time.

Retail: $25
Grade: A-

6) Maryhill Winery --  2008 Zinfandel. Boy...it's big at 14.5%, but would work with big cheese...almost dessert as well.

Retail: $17
Grade: C

7) J. Christopher 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Still tight and could use some time. Nice red fruit.

Retail: $30
Grade: C+ (buy now and hold)

8) Archery Summit 2010 Premier Cuvee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Wow. Love this. Great OR Pinot. We think this is ready to go. Would pair great with Salmon, pork, Coq au Vin. Love!

Retail: $48
Grade: B

9) Cornerstone Oregon (and Cellars) 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - I really love this. 5 AVAs. 14 months in barrel. 100% French oak. 60% new. Really think this is nice, but 2010 probably better. Nice!

Retail: $50
Grade: B+ (really wish this was priced lower. ...delicious!!!! -- waiting for 2010!!!)

10) Esporao - 2010 Quatro Castas. Aragonez, Tinta Melida, Tinta Caiada, Alfrocheiro. I think this is a gotta have.  Lovely. Paella. Delicious!!!!

Retail: $17
Grade: A- (find this, buy this!!!)

17 August, 2012

Speed Dating - WBC 2012 -- Whites & Pinks

Let the games begin...have some fun, drink some stuff. Very little adjectives. Right?

Here we go.

1) Francis Ford Coppola 2010 Chard. - Standard Cal. Chard. A bit of sweet, OK

Retail: $12
Grade: C

2) Alexana Pinot Gris - 2010 Pinot Gris. Nice P. Gris. Lots of acid. Some citrus, some tropical. Needs food to balance the acid -- Grilled chicken with Figs, Salmon on Lentils.

Retail: $26
Grade: C+

3) 2009  Johan Reserve Willamette Chardonnay - Nice European style...really opposite the buttery, oaked style. Nice lean start. Front to back balance nice. Long, wide mouthfeel.

Retail: $32
Grade: B

4) 2011 Benton Lane P. Gris - Nice nose with some super fuji apple. More apple on the palate, but no green apple makes for more food options. Nice.

Retail: $17
Grade: A

5) 2011 Maryhill Winery - Rose of Sangiovese - Strawberries, peaches...some RS. Wish it was completely dry. Nice flavors, but not sure I would pair with food.

Retail: $10
Grade: C+

6) 2011 Dr. Loosen Riesling - Dry, but plenty of fruit up front. Perhaps a bit too much. Nice acidity...decent selection if you like a bit of Riesling, but that up front sweet fruit.

Retail: $15
Grade: C+

7) 2011 Recuerdo Torrontes - Decent representation of Torrontes. Grown @2600'. I'd like a bit less acid here.

Retail $15
Grade: C-

8) 2011 Esporao Duas Castas - 50% Semillion and Viosinho. Lovely example of what Alentejo wines are about. A bit more than other places in Europe. Warmer climate, but not picked late.

Retail: $13
Grade: B+

9) 2011 Pepe Sauvignon Blanc. - Typical green, grassy Sauvie. Lake County and Clarksburg.

Retail: $9
Grade: C

10) 2009 Decibel Sauv Blanc. Prob the single best NZ Sauv Blanc I've ever had. Hawkes Bay brings more tropical, more legs, more layers and depth. Bring the lobster, halibut or chicken. Awesome!

Retail: $15
Grade: A

08 August, 2012

Romancing the Rhones

We had the opportunity to attend "Romancing the Rhones", the culmination grand tasting and blind wine judging contest held at The Old Mint, in San Francisco. Barbara Drady of Affairs of the Vine is the producer of the event and she and her staff of many awesome volunteers have our complete gratitude for their efforts. The Old Mint is a great venue and the tasting was organized with two floors of tastings with wineries and winemakers and then the blind tasting held in two groups (blue and green) in separate rooms.

We were happy to cover the event and do some tasting and while we tasted over 100 different wines including most Rhone varietals, there were but a few standouts.

First, the 2011 Pastoral Blanc White Rhone Blend, Saralee’s Vineyard from Two Shephards winery in Santa Rosa is a four Rhone varietal blend (45% Rousanne, 20% Marsanne, 20% Viognier, 15% Grenache Blanc) that presents as a very balanced Rousillon style white. With great minerality, super front to back balance and a delightful nose of stone fruit that leads to just a hint of salinity on the front of the palate, it's a super bottle for summertime or even fall. I'd happily serve this with a grilled white nectarine and mache salad or turkey and cornbread stuffing. Wow...versatile!!!

You can find this bottle at many retail and restaurants or directly from the winery.

2011 Two Shephards Pastoral Blanc
Retail $24
Grade: B-

Next, the 2008 Syrah from WinerySF is a really interesting thing for me...and interesting from an interesting standpoint. So, I'm just not a fan of California or Washington Syrah. Some people give me a hard time for that, but for me, it's far too often rich and thick, bordering on sweet, and the fruit should have been picked 3 weeks earlier than it was. On the other hand, I love a Northern Rhone Cote Rotie Syrah. It's been co-fermented with usually 3-7% Viognier and is a much more patient, restrained and relaxed bottle than it's California or Aussie "Shiraz" cousins.

This wine presents a great opportunity to change my mind a bit.. The WinerySF folks sourced this fruit from Napa and it's remarkably more subtle than the stereotypical Napa fruit or effort. Balanced from front to back quite nicely, it finishes long and lean. The interesting coffee and blueberry notes find interest in my mind. I long for a bistro table where I read Le Monde and order the Coq au Vin! Ha!!!! (and when I say stereotypical Napa wine, I think overdone, big, tannic, built to last for 20 years type of wines). This is available only from the winery, so stop by and see them on Treasure Island, or order some direct!

2008 Winery SF Syrah
Retail $20
Grade: B