Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Stellenbosch 2007


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Price: $9.99 @ Gary’s Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
Boston Globe
Comments: This wine was listed in the Boston Globe as one of the best wines you can find for under $10. We agree! It is similar to Gruner Veltliner on the nose but exhibits flavors of both Gewurztraminer (spice) and Sauvignon Blanc (fruit) on the palate. Flavors of lime are most present, tempered with a buttery smoothness and a nice spicy finish. We had it with sushi (surprise!) and it was a fantastic pairing. It went particularly well with the sweetness of the unagi (eel). We’ll be looking forward to this one again soon.
Rating: 7.5/10

Chateau Bianca Gewurztraminer 2006


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Price: $13.99 @ liquor store in Porter Square
Recommended by: just a domestic Gewurz we have not tried
Comments: We were not impressed by this. It doesn’t even really taste like a Gewurz. There is no real exotic spice flavor that you would expect; instead it’s a bouquet of flowers. A strong bouquet. There are also subtle flavors of pineapple, lime, and honey, but it’s mostly a bouquet. Not terrible, but not our favorite, and we won’t likely be picking this one up again soon.
Rating: 5.5/10

Welcome to our blog!


This post is by from Building Wine Cellars by Joseph and Curtis


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We would like to thank you for visiting our website and our blog. This blog is all about how we build custom wine cellars for our clients. We will be discussing how we work with our clients to create a home for their wine. A home that allows them to preserve and protect their valuable wine collection.

Check back soon to learn more.

Perdeberg


This post is by from handtomouth


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The Perdeberg lies between Wellington and Riebeeck Kasteel, named after the zebras that used to roam here. Many of the vineyards are now of great age (in the Cape that’s 50+ years) because the small mixed agriculture farmers planted white varieties for distillation rebates and it so happened that these farmers never pulled these old vines out – while the rest of the Cape’s vineyards were rapidly replanted in the commercialisation that began in the 1990s. The combination of rare old vine stock and the Perdeberg’s naturally granitic soils has resulted in an area of undeniable excitement for a new wave of winemakers.

Leading the new wave with confident energy and now world-famous wines is Eben Sadie, who makes his Palladius white blend solely from Perdeberg grapes. A good portion of his red blend, Columella (the 2005 was the highest rated South Africa wine ever in US Wine Spectator magazine), also comes from these slopes. For Sadie, a good wine is assessed by its structure, not its obvious fruit. The Perdeberg vines, with their age, give him this structure in spades, and their granitic composition preserves the natural acidity of the grape – and natural acidity is far superior to added acidity for a wine’s balance.
The Palladius 2006 comes across as a beguilingly soft wine, but its lingering persistence and mineral heart give you an idea of what role provenance can play in making individualistic wine. It’s a solid wine without being at all hard, and its consistency in the palate is fantastic. Difficult to find, expect to pay around R349 in fine wine shops. If Palladius is unavailable, get hold of some of his Sequillo 2006 white (R165). Again a white blend from the same soils, this time lower on the slopes, the result is a more accessible style of wine.

Other wines to seek out are the Lammershoek Roulette 2005, a blend of Shiraz, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier that packs a sophisticated punch and the Black Rock White 2006. The latter is made from old vines; it’s an intense blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and a little Viognier. On the reds, the Scali Syrah 2005 is herbal and lithe and even though it carries the structure of the area, this wine proves that Shiraz does not have to be fruit soup. Vondeling Baldrick Shiraz 2007 is a lightly wooded wine with an exuberantly spicy palate that’s fresh and delicious. If famous brands are your game, the David Frost Par Excellence 2003 is a modern wine of great intensity, still very much in its youth. Contact (021) 869 8655 or visit www.voorpaardeberg.co.za for more on these wines.

Do our reds age?


This post is by from handtomouth


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No theme to this column today, but a wandering through some of the wine experiences I’ve recently had. Always been a fan of Solms Delta for their idiosyncratic approach (you may recall the vine-dried or “desiccated” wines they make) and the fact that they have a fantastic on-site museum that explains the human side of our wine heritage. Now they are establishing a museum of music, a collaborative project with Richard Astor, whose farm is next door.

They’ve also started a harvest festival in the roots sense, where music and merriment replace commerce, uptight music and desultory picnic baskets. At the first one, the new Solms-Astor wines were launched. There’s a white blend, a red blend and a curious pétillant Shiraz. The blends are great table wines, easy-drinking but not simple, and lovely for the fact that they are dry wines without residual sweetness. They also have great names, the white called Vastrap, the red Langarm, and the 2007 vintages sell for R46 each. And if you are generally bored with clichéd back label blurb, check these out.

Another wine that makes good, lively drinking without being OTT is the Elgin Vintners Shiraz 2006. It’s got good spice notes, lots of fruit but also a tangy quality that refreshes. Only problem for me is the R78 price tag, I think this is more of a R60 wine.

Been launching into some older wines recently, opened the 2001 Delheim Vera Cruz Shiraz alongside their 2001 Grand Reserve. 2001 was a good vintage, and seven years should show these wines in a great light. This was true for the delicious Grand Reserve which has integrated beautifully and is really a polished wine – but less for the Vera Cruz which is tired and somewhat flabby. It’s still my opinion that the modern Cape makes Cabernets and Cab blends that age well, but have not yet cracked the code on Shiraz.

Of course, I say modern Cape because we now make wines that are easier to drink in their youth, and are less likely to age as well as the Cape reds made in the 1970s and 1980s. When you taste a 1974 Fairview Pinotage that’s still a lively, delightful wine today, you really appreciate this. In its youth, I heard from current winemaker Anthony de Jager, it was an austere, rather forbidding wine, with firm tannins. When last have you tasted a Cape wine that sounds at all like this today?

So I said no theme, but I have come back to a recurring feeling I have that our modern reds, for all the back label promises, are ill-equipped to mature (in the sense of improving) for longer than six to eight years. Whether this is actually a bad thing is debatable.

Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon 2004


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Price: ~$15.00
Recommended by:
This was a gift, but we’ve had this on our wish list for a while. We think it was recommended by Sunset Magazine.

Comments:
Yum. It was yum from the first sniff. Very flowery on the nose and the palate. We also smelled Fruit Loops (honest!) and tasted plum, cherry, and oak. The flavor lasted a long time, and the finish was very smooth. Lots of flavors going on in this wine. It’s rather different from the California (in-yer-face-with-fruit) Cabs, but this was excellent. We’re becoming huge fans of Washington State wines.

Ratings:
7.75/10

La Uve Toro 2006


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Price: $12.99 @ Blanchard’s (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
wine tasting

Comments:
At a wine tasting event that included many good wines, this inexpensive Spanish red stood out as a super value. It has bold flavors of bright red berries as well as blueberries (particularly in the finish). The wine consists of a “tempranillo clone” called “Tinta de Toro,” and it would be a good wine at nearly twice the price. The smooth, long finish on this happy wine guarantees that we’ll be getting another bottle soon! Viva la Espana!

Rating:
7.5/10

Chateau Jean de Pey Bordeaux 2005


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Price: $11.99 @ Blanchard’s (Jamaica Plain, MA)
Recommended by: sucked in by store advertising
Comments: We totally shouldn’t have opened a second bottle of wine tonight. And yet, we’re so glad we did! We so rarely drink old world wine, and yet this one is really good, and a fantastic deal for the money. We found strong flavors of plum along with chocolate and black cherry, and perhaps a hint of black licorice at the end. The wine consists of 70% Merlot and the rest is Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is quite long and smooth. We’ve never been happier to succumb to good advertising!
Rating: 7.75/10

Hess Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2006


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Price: $12.99 @ Luke’s Liquors (Rockland, MA)
Recommended by: we love Hess wines
Comments: Given that we’re huge fans of Hess’s reds, we wanted to try their Sauvignon Blanc. What a perfect evening to try it … with sushi! It has a wonderful pineapple, peach flavor with a bit of a grassy finish. It had a bold citrus flavor but in a different way than our beloved Marlboroughs (New Zealand). And it might not be as smooth as the NZ wines, but we enjoyed it (and it got better the more we drank it). I don’t think you can go wrong with Sauvignon Blancs with sushi — it’s really a perfect match. And it does have 14.5% alcohol, so it will add to your happiness, especially on a Friday evening … with sushi.
Rating: 7/10

Chateau Ste Michelle Orphelin 2004


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Price: $15.00 @ Luke’s Liquors (Rockland, MA)
Recommended by: we love CSM wines!
Comments: After visiting their winery last fall and enjoying just about every Chateau Ste Michelle wine we’ve tried, we were excited to find one that we have not tried. This red blend has 9, yes 9, varietals — Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese,
Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Souzão, and Touriga — and was tasty to the last drop. It got better as we drank it (not with food but just as a “hard-day-at-work-and-now-chilling-out” wine). It has flavors of cherry, chocolate, and spicy pepper with hints of raspberry and vanilla and a smooth, long finish. It still is not as tasty as our favorite domestic red blend (Artesa Elements), but we’d definitely get this one again.
Rating: 7.5/10

The Spanish Quarter Cabernet Sauvignon-Tempranillo 2006


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Price: $8.99 @ Gary’s Liquors
Recommended by: We like Spanish wines!
Comments: This inexpensive red is a tasty mix of Cabernet Sauvignon (55%) and Tempranillo (45%). Flavors of berries (mainly cherry) and chocolate dominate the palate with a bit of spiciness, and the wine has a longer finish than you typically find at this price range. We enjoyed it tonight with pizza with mushrooms and spinach and it was tasty. Not too fancy but very good.
Rating: 6.75/10

Wine Review: Johann Donabaum Setzberg Riesling Smaragd 2005


This post is by from The Silk Road of Wine


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Donabaumrieslingsmse
This beautiful wine came courtesy of the good folks at Winemonger, with whom we’ve recently become acquainted (and who will be the subject of a future post, given their excellent site and focus on hard-to-find Austrian wines).

Being a big fan of dry Rieslings, and even semi-dry ones, I was eager to try this effort from Donabaum.  He’s an up-and-comer on the Austrian wine scene and certainly has the whiff of prodigy about him:

At 26 years old, Johann Donabaum has taken over the reins as the
cellarmaster of the relatively small 9 acre family winery in Spitz,
whose total production each year is 2,100 cases (85% white, 10% red, 5%
sweet)

He might seem terribly young to us here in America, but
what you need to understand is that Johann has been in training for
this his entire life. Training which included a stint working and
learning from F X Pichler, perhaps the most famous vintner from the
mighty Wachau region.

Further, Wine Spectator called Johann one of the three vintners leading the way
in the famous Wachau region, and no less an authority than Jancis Robinson has also chimed in about
his talents: One of the most impressive for quality – and without
a doubt for value – was Johann Donabaum of the eponymous family winery
of Spitz at the coolest, western end of the Wachau, Austria’s great dry
white wine region….This is a name to watch.

After all that, the wine did not disappoint.  Lots of mineral aromas and citrus notes came together in the glass; I expected the wine to be sweeter for some reason but it was exactly the right level of dryness and acidity to pair with the simple ling cod preparation we served it with. 

The tasting notes say it could be cellared until 2019 but I don’t know how it would last in the house for that long … Finally, if scores matter to you, Wine Spectator gave it a 92 and Wine Enthusiast a 91.  Highly recommended!

d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne 2006


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Price: $15.99 @ Gary’s Liquors (West Roxbury, MA)

Recommended by: Wine Spectator (90 points)
Comments: Frickin’ Almond Husks. That’s right. Almond husks. Who the hell knows what almond husks taste like??? I’ll tell you who. A pretentious idiot whose opinion about wine you definately do not want to trust. And yet, it’s the winemaker that lists among this wine’s flavors . . . almond husks. Also (and not surprisingly), the winemaker finds an array of tropical fruits with quince, ginger, and lees. Speaking of which, what the hell does a lee taste like? Denim? But nevermind, we’re here to review a wine. And it’s a good one, although we’re not sure it deserves its place in the top 100 wines of 2007 by Wine Spectator. Although we didn’t note almond husk, we did enjoy its pear and grapefruit flavors. The smell is “minerally” apparently, although Rob isn’t sure it doesn’t have a faint scent of cat pee (but in a good way!). The finish is fairly long and buttery, and a tad bitter, but also in a good way. We would get this one again but we’re not sure it’s worth the price when some really fantastic Sauvignon Blancs cost less and would pair equally well with similar food (seafood, particularly shellfish).
Rating: 6.75/10

I can’t believe it’s not Stelvin!


This post is by from Basic Juice - the wine blog for my generation


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There are those who cling to the ‘romance’ and ‘tradition’ of popping the cork prior to imbibing.  Then there are those who think such ‘romance’ and ‘tradition’ are ridiculous if these totems potentially mean stinking, spoiled wine.  Both camps have valid points.  I’m a sentimental, shmoopy sucker for the romance involved in popping the cork.  But then, If I’ve dropped 40 or 50 clams, and my just-popped bottle of wine smells like a box-full of soggy, old Boys Life magazines, I set up camp amongst the pro screw-cap crowd.

Merlot

Must the wine lover chose between faulty corks and sterile Stelvins when it comes to bottle closure?  Would that there were a closure, which could preserve in an aesthetically appealing manner.  Thank the cosmos for Vino-Lock.  This glass stopper is much prettier than a Stelvin and, of course, more reliable than cork oak bark cylinders.

Just a few weeks ago I took home the first glass-stopped wine to appear in the wine shop.  I loved it.  And the wine wasn’t too bad either.

Cusumano IGT Sicily Merlot 2006 ($12) – A simple, exuberant Merlot made more appealing by its aesthetically cool glass stopper.  This inky-purple wine offers scents of cherry jelly and baked strawberry.  Its flavors a simply tangy fruit.  Cusumano Merlot is nothing if not pleasant and eager to accompany pizza.

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Bloom Gewurztraminer 2006


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Price: $7.99 (regularly $9.99) @ Whole Foods (Columbus, OH)
Recommended by: the great price
Comments: OK, we have to brag. This photo was taken from our new iPhone. Why did we have to take it on our iPhone? For some reason, no one has provided a label of this wine, not even the official Bloom website! And that’s a crime, because this is an excellent wine! Fantastic, when considering the price. This wine from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany provides flavors of pineapple, lemon, and a hint of pear. It finishes with some spice that came to the fore when paired (perfectly) with Moroccan swordfish. This inexpensive wine can compete with some of the best Gewurz‘s that we’ve enjoyed (and Whole Foods named it a Top 10 wine for holiday entertaining). We would definitely buy this again.
Rating: 7.5/10

Gutenberg Would be Proud: The Juice in Print


This post is by from Basic Juice - the wine blog for my generation


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If you happen to dwell in the land of hard copy, check out the current issue of Salt Lake Magazine.  Whilst neglecting Basic Juice in cyberspace, I have been nurturing it in the world of print.  Alas, I am still struggling to multitask.

For those who eschew paper, have a look at the extended, ‘Author’s Cut’ of the article below the fold.

This I Sip



Chances are you’ve read many a wine article wherein the author recommends a particular bottle or two.  What exactly does one do with such recommendations?  Do you accept them on blind faith, dutifully seek out said bottles and schlep them home?  Of course you do!  We all do.  Everyone trusts and accepts expert opinions on all manner of topics – movies, restaurants, music and, of course, wine.  However, there comes a time when one realizes that expert opinions on matters of taste, are essentially just that – opinions.  For example, recall the last time you sat through a painfully bad, critic-recommended film and thought, “I’ll never follow
that guy’s advice again.”  Experts and critics may know more about their specialty than you, but your tastes may be dramatically different.  Taste, particularly when it comes to wine, is exceedingly personal.  An expert may guide you in a general direction, but the final arbiter of taste, is you and your palate.  The take home message is this:  It pays to know a wine critic’s palate before plunking down 10/20/30 bucks for a bottle you may very well despise. 

Over the coming months, I will recommend hundreds of wines in this space.  Some you will adore, others may be consigned to the dubious category of “cooking wine.”  However, I will always do my best to explain what I like about a particular wine.  I will open my mouth – as it were – and attempt to expose every nook and cranny of my wine palate.  I don’t expect readers to employ oeno-faith and blindly follow my recommendations.  Rather, at some point, I hope our tastes connect and a wine idea put forth in this column, yields exciting discovery and fond memories.  So, in lieu of a personal introduction, allow me to introduce my wine palate, in two parts.  This, I sip – the whites.

It’s An Acquired Taste – Everyone has that one beloved specialty food that makes others cringe (Think: Kipper snacks, Brussels sprouts or Vienna sausages).  “It’s an acquired taste.” You say.  I love dry Sherry.  It’s wonderfully weird wine – slightly nutty, aggressively tangy, delightfully funky and very much an acquired taste.  My favorite Sherry combo is utterly simple: An Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado, $18) with oven-roasted almonds is a fiesta of out-of-the-ordinary flavors.  If you’re the type who relishes the challenge of acquiring tastes, give Sherry a try.



Cheap and Cheerful
– Let’s face it; acquiring taste is demanding work.  Occasionally, I long for something uncomplicated.  Wine doesn’t need to be complicated.  There are plenty of good, simple wines.  When I would rather sip than ponder, I go for budget-priced Austrian Grüner Veltliner (Berger Grüner Veltliner 2005, $12).  This wine is simple, refreshing and exceedingly flexible with food.  Budget Grüner compliments almost any entrée exiting the oven or flying off the stovetop.  Cheap and cheerful wines like this don’t catalyze any epiphanies.  Rather, they cause one simply to remark, “That’s good.”



I’m Feeling Naughty
– Admit it.  Every so often you yearn to do something off-the-wall – something naughty.  Of course, following through on such impulses can lead to a heap of trouble.  When I yearn for naughtiness, I grab a bottle of decadent Alsatian Gewurztraminer (Domaine Weinbach Cuvee Laurence, $40).  Gewurz-based wine has a tendency to grab one’s schnozz and hypnotize with scents of lychee, apricot, mango and honeysuckle.  The talented vintners in Alsace often introduce a layer of naughty to this decadent wine by incorporating a small portion of overripe grapes into the cuvée.  The result is wine with an added scent dimension best described as earthy (or dirty).  The indulgence doesn’t end here.  These wines possess a very thick & cheek-coating mouthfeel.  Indeed, drinking such wine feels a little bit naughty.  Try Gewurztraminer with salmon sashimi and commit an indulgent act of gastronomy.

Other White Palate Pleasers

Acquiring That Taste: Aveleda Vinho Verde NV, $8; Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Crianza 1995, $25; Feudo Arancio Grillo Sicilia 2005, $9

Cheap and Cheerful: Saint M Riesling 2005, $10; Segura de Viudas Brut Cava, $9; Santa Julia Torrontes 2006, $7

Naughty, Naughty: Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvee LD 1995, $33; Twisted Oak Viognier, $26; Pine Ridge Chenin Viognier 2006, $12



Coming in Part II, I introduce a few of my preferred, palate-pleasing red wines.

The Reds coming in Part 2

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

I Lost 2 Pounds!  Let’s Gain it Back

My Imaginary Smoking Jacket

Comments/Questions: Email Beau at beau@basicjuice.com

Find more wine ideas at basicjuice.blogs.com

Hanna Sauvignon Blanc 2006


This post is by from In Vino Veritas


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Price: $11.99 @ Gary’s Liquors (West Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
the description at the store

Comments: This is a great Sauvignon Blanc! Today we ventured down to the Haymarket in Boston and grabbed some amazing fish (tilapia) and fresh asparagus, which turned out to be a great pairing with this wine. This Russian River Valley wine had some of the potent grassiness that we’ve come to enjoy in Marlborough SB along with flavors of lime and a touch of basil, but it finished with a creamy woodiness that differed from the flinty culmination typical of New Zealand varieties. We really enjoyed this one and look forward to having it again very soon.
Rating: 8/10