Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bordeaux With Pizza?

You know I'm on a 2009 kick, drinking my way through the bottom of the barrel searching for values. Trader Joe's is a frequent haunt in the hunt for values, though the results vary tremendously. Two more Bordeaux raised an interesting question. Can you really drink Bordeaux with pizza, pasta, burgers The answer is a definite yes. Chateau Moulinde Beausejour 2009 proves it, Like most 2009 Bordeaux, Moulin Beausejour has fruit, but more acid than I would like in a Bordeaux, so I re-imagined it as a Chianti. Now it tasted like a classic Chianti with lots of good berry fruit and the tangy acid finish needed to pair with pizza and pasta. Amazing! French Merlot in the style of Italian Sangiovese. The second wine, an old Trader Joe's standby was more of a hamburger wine. The 2009 L'Estey Reserve is a negociant's blend from Calvert, better than Mouton Cadet and, IMHO, Two Buck Chuck. It  had good fruit and balance but seemed a little dull, unidimensional - a good everyday wine

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Am I Drinking?

What am I drinking these days? 2009 Bordeaux! Am I a Chinese billionaire? Am I a wine killer? Committing infanticide? No way! While 2009 First Growth Futures sold for around $1000 (a bottle!), the other end of the barbell is coming into it's own. For years now the the prices of fancy classsified wines have skyrocketed while the rest of Bordeaux wine was virtually unsaleable. Finally, some French vignerons are figuring out how to sop up the " lake of wine." Of course the weather helped. The 2009 vintage is so balanced and fruit forward it was a bit easier to produce delicious wines even at the low end. If you've always been curious about Bordeaux, but figured you couldn't afford it, think again. There are so many excellent Bordeaux coming ashore from the big appellations like Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux Superior, Cotes de Fronsac, etc.,. So far all the wines I've tasted have had good fruit with gentle tannins and acid. Some are very fruity, almost American in style, lots of Merlot here, but others have complex flavors and some balancing tannin and acid. These wines are all drinkable now, and some will improve with a few years of ageing. It is unlikely that they will last more than 6 to 10 years. And the coup de grace? An average price of $10 to $12 a bottle.

Here are some Bordeaux I've tasted:

  • 2009 Chateau Grand Pierre, Bordeaux Superior, about $10 at K&L - This wine grabbed us - medium bodied, delicious black fruit some soft tannins and good backbone this will probably get even better over the next year or two. Drink now to 2015 - definitely our favorite.
  •  2009 Grand Bateau, Bordeaux about$10 at K&L. This seems to be a negociants blend kind of like Mouton Cadet only infinitely superior. Mainly Merlot, this is pure simple fruit. A good quaff, but not too interesting 
  • 2009 Chateau de Riberbon, Bordeaux Superior, about $15 from WTSO online. Good fruit with enough tannin so that it really needs at least two years before it wil come around to easy drinkability
  •   2009 Chateau Haut Sorillon, Bordeaux Superior, about $9 at Trader Joe's. That's not a typo! Eight bucks for a delicious, balanced, fruity red with a nose of violets and lavander.  Ready to drink, good for at least four more years. A best buy!

    Next on my list to check out are 2009 Reserve de L'Estay and 2009 Moulin de Beausejour both from Trader Joe's.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Seattle Makes The New York Times

    Yes, friends, we are on the first page of this past Sunday's New York Times Travel Section with a big blowup of a handsome server with a platter of Northwest Fruits de Mers.from the Walrus and Carpenter. Despite occasional condescension, Frank Bruni did a pretty good job of covering some of the newest venues in Puget Sound - Walrus and Carpenter, Seatown, Revel, Madison Park Conservatory, and the Willows Inn. For booze, he discovered Knee High Stocking Company and Tavern Law. Having resided in Seattle for 40 some odd years it has been a long time since I stayed in a hotel. I must admit I found $300 a night for a standard double at the Edgewater (not exactly the epitome of luxury) a little shocking. Willows Lodge in Woodinville for a little over $300 I found a little more comprehensible. Frankly, I'd rather stay at my cabin on the Hood Canal.

    Where Bruni missed the ferry, or the boat, was in the wine department. He did have the good sense to recommend DeLille Chaleur Blanc and give a nod to the Buty Sauvignon blend, but where are the Chards from Buty, Amaurice, and Cougar Crest. Somehow Bruni managed to find his way to Willows Lodge, but avoided the excellent Herbfarm and Barking Frog. What about Betz and Brian Carter and Hestia and Adam's Bench, Novelty Hill, Januik, Gorman, Sparkman, Mark Ryan  to name just a few. Apparently, Frank stayed downtown just a hop skip and a jump from Cadence, Fall Line, O-S, and Note Bene. The man seems to prefer Vodka and speakeasies to the garagistes of Seattle. Tant pis pour lui, too bad for him. Maybe he only stayed a weekend and fled the rain.  Still, not bad for a New Yorker!

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    2009 Vintage

    You thought I might be talking about the 2009 Bordeaux vintage. That will be the next post. Today I want to remind you  that 2009 was a great year in many places, but if you like Zinfandel, you had better run, not walk to the Dry Creek Valley. Why? Because 2010 was a wet, miserable year in Dry Creek Valley, and "09 was great.
    I can't wait to taste the "09 Zins. I would definitely start with Mazocco and Quivera, I.m hoping that the '09 Quivera Zin will be as good as the '07
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