Monday, August 27, 2007
The Incredible Lightness of Sauternes?
Friday, August 17, 2007
Someplace Old And Someplace New
Vika was kind enough to bring me a flight of three white glass pours - Orvieto, Soave, and Verdicchio. The Orvieto was tart and fruity with a spicy nose. The Soave was suave and easy - smooth, fresh, and simple. The first pour of the Verdicchio seemed corked. The second pour tasted much less of TCA. I chose the Soave. I've had much better versions of these wines, but they were good enough and the price point was right. Diane had 2005 Terre de Sole Sangiovese from Sicily. It made a soft, smooth round entry to the mouth with lots of good fruit flavor followed by some tannin - an excellent food wine. The 2005 Fattoria de Bagnolo Chianti Colli Fiorenti was soft fruity and velvety - an excellent wine by the glass. The glaring omission on the wine list was a Dolcetto. Vika told me they had one in the back but didn't put it on the list because they had questions about it. She poured me a small taste and they were right - it was the worst Dolcetto I've tasted. The average quality of Dolcetto is quite high so I'm sure they won't have any trouble finding a good one. BTW, Rose liked her Martini. It will be interesting to see how Enotria evolves. Definitely a place to watch and go back to.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
2004 Pepper Bridge Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Great fruity nose and raspberry flavors. Very drinkable now. Has the characteristic softness of Columbia Valley grapes. Made in lieu of Walla Walla Cab, since there were few grapes from Walla Walla in 2004 due to a major winter frost.
2003 Pepper Bridge Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon - Great color, phenomenal nose, needs at least two years of ageing. Big, lots of backbone, typical Walla Walla grapes.
2002 Pepper Bridge Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon - Deep garnet, toasty nose, smooth, but still tannic. Needs at least two more years. Beautiful wine.
1989 Chasse Spleen - Great Bordeaux from a Cru Bourgeois, this wine took a little time to open up. Mahogany red, complex nose, soft subtle black fruit flavors. Definitely an older wine taste, but still kickin'.
2003 Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay - Still the best buy Chardonnay in the world and available at almost any gas station!
2004 Callaghan Buena Suerte - Fairly light red, good flavors, somewhat astringent finish. Once again, a wine that was at its best young. The fruit is fading. Could this have anything to do with the screwcap?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Is Etta's Losing It's Grip?
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Note Bene Cellars
Tim Narby, winemaker at Note Bene, is a graduate of the Boeing Wine Club and following the "tradition" of northwest winemakers, he is an experimenter, unconstrained by old world prototypical notions of what a wine should be. His 2003 Washington State Syrah is a good example - kind of a Rhone/Bordeaux hybrid. Eighty-three per cent Syrah from three different vineyards, the wine is complemented by four out of five of the classic Bordeaux blending grapes -Cab Sauv, Merot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot. Altogether, the grapes are sourced from nine different vineyards and at least four AVAs.
Our friend Mary, gave us a bottle. WOW! It is deep dark red with a nose of forest floor and mushrooms. Big, jammy, black fruit, tannin - definitely a food wine. All of Tim's wines this year are excellent and, in fact, we rated Note Bene one of the two most consistent wineries along with Willis Hall at Taste Washington.
Monday, August 06, 2007
1999 Ouilceda Red - This wine is made in a much bigger style than the "100" scoring 2002 and 2003 Cabs from Quilceda Creek. Of course it is a "second " wine, and so is much more rustic, but it seems like a much bigger, more European style that will age longer, and it was much less expensive. It leads with a really appealing nose of Mr. Lincoln Roses, followed by mushrooms, violets, lilacs, raspberry and truffles - an amazingly complex nose. In the mouth it is light to medium bodied with raspberry, vanilla, and truffle flavors. The finish is a little hot, suggesting that it could age more, although it will never have the finesse of the Cab. What a treat! What a great value!
2004 Cadence Klipsun - From a half bottle. Light garnet with a bouquet that jumps out of the glass - cherry, meat, vanilla, roses - almost like a Barolo without the tar. In the mouth it is light bodied - almost overwhelmed by the acid and tannin and the slightly hot finish. Last time I tasted this at the winery it was perfectly balanced. As my mentor, Fritzy Haskell, used to say, "Wine is a living thing." It evolves over time. Perhaps this wine is just going through an awkward stage. If the mouth experience ever catches up with the nose, look out!
2006 Cold Creek Chardonnay - Magnificent, like a good stony Meursault. One of the best Washington State Chards along with Amaurice and Forgeron and...
2005 Rulo Chardonnay - Ironically when we were at Taste Washington in Seattle we missed Vicky and when we were in Walla Walla, she was in Seattle selling wine. We did, however, manage to taste the 2005 Rulo Chardonnay in a restaurant and it was excellent. The pear and tropical fruit nose leads to a stony, mineral wine with a hint of starfruit.
2000 Chateau Charmail - Here is a real Bordeaux. Deep red with a nose of tobacco, cedar, spice, raspberry, in the mouth it has a soft velvety feel, with good raspberry fruit and a slightly tannic finish.
Marcillac Rose - Very nice, a Goldilocks Rose - not to big, not too fruity, not too sweet, just right with medium body - refreshing and dry. Marcillac is an obscure appellation in the Southwest of France. I remember thinking this would be a great wine to import when I was there several years ago. Good value here!
2004 Le Grand Noir - Here is another wine from the Southwest of France, the Languedoc, specifically. At first, I thought I detected ambivalence - a French Sheep that wanted to be an Australian Wallabee, but, with a little checking on the net, I discovered the ultimate in hype and marketing. A "cool" Le Grand Noir website portrays itself as being different and eccentric. After all, a black sheep is a black sheep. The real website, if you will, is that of the Prestige Wine Group which sells the stuff. So is this a wolf dressed in a sheep's coat? Let us say, it is a fairly ordinary Vin de Pays d'Oc dressed up with some upfront fruitiness and sweetness. It's a decent ordinary wine - doesn't taste particularly French or old world, but not as good as it's New World competitors either. Avaiable at Costco.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Serendipitous Wine - 2006 Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc
A few weeks later, as I'm entering the QFC supermarket in University Village, I spy an end display of wine in the produce department of all places, so I check it out. Sure enough, there on the white label it says "Whitehaven." Not only that, but the price is supposedly reduced from $23 to $13. Who could resist, even though I generally don't like Sauvignon Blanc? So I called up my friends Carol and Sam who love Sauvignon Blanc to see if I could come over and crack open the bottle with them right away. But, alas, they were away on their annual sojourn in the San Juan Islands.
I couldn't wait to taste my newly acquired Whitehaven, so after appropriate chilling, I did something I rarely do , I opened the bottle just to taste it. Thankfully for me, the 2006 Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc had little or none of that grapefruit flavor that turns me away from Sauvognon Blanc. Little of the grassiness that I like, too. I was blow away - fresh, crisp, refreshing, dry, slightly tart with a hint of lemon. Dryer, cleaner, purer than any Sauvignon I've had before, this diamond reminded me of the best Muscadets I had in France and the best Entre-Deux- Mers I've had with oysters. If you are a Sauvignon Blanc lover, this might not be the wine for you, but if you want a laser beam of pure "ice," this is the wine for you. Great with oysters, also just by itself, if you like really dry wine.