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

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wine Blogger's Weekend -WBC 08 - Live Blogging

Boho - ho ho ho! Pleasant stuff in a box. Eco- friendly? Call Chardonnay $24 box + 4 Bottles
Central Valley A great way to use up the "Lake of Wines" Premium wine in a box? HWP, non-smoking, likes pets and volleyball/

Speed blogging like speed dating? Is it fun? Does it work? Will I marry any of these wines? A nightcap? How would it taste in the morning?

Stood up on our second date!

James David - 2007 Muscat- Citrus nose, pretty dry, more like a gewurztraminer. Sexier than the last one, HWP, too, but spicier and more interesting. This one wears glasses and reads books. A little kinky. A good date.

The Spaniard - Twisted Oak - Carmen plays Twisted Sister- Somehow this hot sexy Spaniard morphed into a young Matron. Pleasant upfront with round fruit, but a tangy twisted tail.

Dark Horse - Will this one be a winner? A long shot? Round, voluptuous, sinful Zin? Hint of unpleasant odors.

Small Vines - 2006 Pinot Noir - For $65, it better good, and it is, but I can get a cheaper date.

2006 Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay - At $12 it it's an easy wine. A great value! I'll be back for more, but would I want to marry it?

2007 Kanzler Pinot Noir - Barrel sample, not yet bonded - 12 months in oak. For $48 it better be good. HWP, beautiful, centered, but not sexy.

2005 Bink Pinot Noir- Black Ink, At $40, this one merits a second date. I would take this baby to meet Bim. Right up there with my amateur friends . I might even take this one home to meet the folks.

2007 Roussanne Lionheart - Santa Ynez, Warm site - Tastes like an off Chard. Ready for the next date. $30.

2006 Sean Minor Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Finally a reasonable date, only $17 a date.
No movies out, no babystitter, no restaurant dinner, no popcorn, no BonBons, Just a bottle of wine and thou. Now, how do I like the wine and thou. A really great cheap date. HWP lots of upfront fruit, easy, luscious, almost voluptuous.

Wine in a box - 2008 Malbec from Argentina - $12 The box is not bad. A good cheap date.

Bonterra - biodynamique - 2004 The McNab Cab/merlot/Petite Syrah blend. I liked this beauty til I heard the price. $45 solemente!

2005 Clos La Chance - Good luck, buddy! Delicious, HWP, great berry fruit. For $30, a great date.

Is it fun? Yes! Does it work? great for new wineries. It was good for us. How was it for you?

Bim Bam, Thank You Mam

Alls I can tell you is Bim is no flim flam man, he just makes great Pinot Noir in Sonoma. Just ask Patti, or King or Lady Lin. The first time I tasted Bim's Pinot at King and Lin's July 4th party last year, it was from an exceptional double magnum. This time around, the good Bim Bam Man poured a vertical tasting of six vintages. On a rare "summer" afternoon in October we toured the vineyard with some 80 odd vines in 80 degrees plus of heat, then sat down to Pinot accompanied by smoked salmon, cheese and other delights. Bim's first wine, a 1999-2000 blend tasted of forest and mushrooms - very complex. The 2001 seemed a little more acidic. The 2002 was perfectly balanced bigger and fruitier. The 2003 seemed to have quite a bit of Brett, but the underlying fruit was there. The 2004 had a small amount of Brett which did not detract from rich dark fruity wine. There was no 2005 because the good winemaker split for Crete when his vines had mildew. The 2006 has a tangy acid finish following the sour cherries. Most of Bim's wines have won silver medals. Lin and King brought along two gold medal winners. The '03 really wowed me - deep, big tobacco and cherry fruit. Finally Bim brought out two commercial wines including a Rodney Strong that was balanced, fruity and pleasant, but just not as interesting as any of the "amateur wines." These wine have character and are not made to the lowest common denominator. Bim, you're the man! Thank you, Man.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Whites To The Right Of Us, Whites To The Left Of Us

Standing in the gardens of Grand Luce, it is easy to think of the Loire Valley white region, Jasnieres, just directly south, but the Loire Valley extends almost the length of France from the Muscadet in the west to Sancerre and Quincy in the east. These dry whites are positioned like the rooks on a chessboard guarding the sweeter Coteaux de Layon and Vouvray placed like the knights. Back to dry whites, Jasnieres and Savennieres for the Bishops guarding Chinon, the King, and Bourgeuil, the Queen. Various lesser wines like Tavel, Saumur, and Touraine take up the positions of the pawns. St. Nicholas de Bourgeuil can be thought of the Queen's pawn as it is almost always a good first move at the table, but first, perhaps, it is better to start with one of the wonderful Sparking wines of Saumur, perhaps the Kings pawn

In any event, these are the hidden gems of France. Even wines from the south of France are better known, more widely circulated, and frequently more expensive. Corbieres, Languedoc, Minervois, Bandol are all easier to find than many Loire Valley wines with the exception of Muscadet, Sancerre and Vouvray. It is worth the search for Chinon and Bourgeuil. BTW, the quality of these is quite consistent and because they are not well known they are usually among the most reasonably priced wines in restaurants. If you like semi-sweet whites then the Chenin Blanc based Vouvray is the wine for you. Coteaux de Layon is even better, but very hard to find in the states. If you ever see Jasnieres ( Gigou might be the best) or Savennieres, grab it. They are also consistently good but almost non-existent in the U.S. Although Bourgeuil and Chinon are both made from the Cabernet Franc grape, Bourgeuil is the lightweight sib. Chinon is the big brother and can sometimes have a lot of muscle, though it is usually HWP. Search for these wines, they are usually consistently good and more reasonably priced than many others on the market. Kermit Lynch in Berkeley is a good place to start.
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