Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chapoutier Belleruche Rose' 2010

The third wine in the trio from M. Chapoutier  is a rose, a Cotes du Rhone Rose'.  No need for this wine to take a back seat to the red version or the white version.  All three are delicious.

The rose' is a pale wine in the glass, almost copper colored.  The aroma is pure strawberry with some peach skin thrown in for good measure, and the wine isn't shy with those aromas.  The taste is nearly bone dry strawberries with a tiny bit of cherry mixed in.  Very lively acidity that puts some zing in the wine.  I was pleasantly surprised by the length of finish of this wine. With it being a 2010 vintage it was remarkably fresh.

There was some grill roasted cod with a roasted corn relish alongside - roasted corn, red and green peppers, red onion, parsley and basil all mixed with some olive oil and a touch of lemon juice and sherry vinegar.  It was a great combination with the wine. 

13.5% alcohol and another steal at $10.

We laid in a mixed case of the three Chapoutier wines to help carry us through the spring and early summer.  Very good wines at a true bargain price.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kinkead Ridge Syrah 2008

At the end of last year we opened a 2005 syrah from Kinkead Ridge and thought it was excellent.  You can read about that wine here.

Last week we opened the 2008 version with a slow roasted rack of lamb from the grill, one of the few days it has been possible to grill here in the last month with all the rain.  The featured wine of the night was supposed to be a 1999 Chateau Ste. Michelle Meritage from Washington State.  Very good wine with rich fruit, some wood, a little bit of earth, and very nice with the lamb.  The Kinkead Syrah was opened primarily  to check on its progress after I liked the 2005 version so well.

By now I guess I should stop being surprised about the Kinkead wines, but the KR quite simply blew the Ste. Michelle wine out of the water.  Lots of dark fruit with some blackberries and blueberries on the nose and a small hint of the raw meat smell that I like so well in northern Rhone wines.  The taste was full with those same fruits but there was more acid in this wine to cut through the richness of the lamb.  There was some good mouth feel of oak and nice finish to the wine.  My only complaint was just a touch of heat at the very end, but that was a minor price to pay for a very good wine.

The best part may be that there are more bottles of this resting in the cellar and I will get to revisit this wine for several more years.  If it matures the way the 2005 version did there are some seriously good bottles waiting down the road.

15.2% alcohol, 194 cases produced and $18.99.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When It Rains.... doesn't seem to stop.

If the weather forecasters are correct, and judging by what's currently falling from the sky they are, by the end of the day today April will be the second wettest month ever recorded in this area, exceeded only by January 1937.  And if their forecast for the next two days is correct we will "storm" past that record as well.  There should be tons of May flowers but half of them may be water lilies.

The bench pictured above is a nice place to sip a glass of wine, but it no doubt feels under used this spring.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2009 Chapoutier Belleruche Blanc

A few posts down from this one you will see a review of the 2008 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone, a great red wine on sale in the local market for $10. Also on sale is the Belleruche Blanc and it is just as tasty as the red.

Mostly Grenache Blanc the wine is sharp, crisp, tangy and yet has some body to it.  Very pale color and a light taste that just plays with the tongue.  Lemon zest, tart green grapes and maybe a touch or two of green melon are the primary flavors.  The acid is great and keeps everything happy and alert.

There was a risotto for dinner that included some shrimp and some scallops and some saffron and some fresh tarragon from the garden.  The whole thing was cooked in a light shrimp broth.  No butter, no cheese, nothing to distract from the primary flavors.  A great dish with the wine.

13.5% alcohol and $10.  Time to stock up.

And before I forget, there's a rose' in this line for the same price.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Le Vieux Donjon 2000

I've been raiding the cellar lately for some older bottles to make way for some newer things and the latest to give up its cork was a 2000 Le Vieux Donjon Chateaueuf-du-Pape.  There was a tri-tip beef roast with a black peppercorn and cream sauce and a potato Anna working their way to completion to go with the wine.  The cork came out and the wine was an immediate winner.

Medium color with some browning at the edges let me know this wine was mature.  Wonderful nose of red fruits, fresh dry leather and a little bit of meat, earth and spice.  There was nothing reticent about the nose, it was prominent and filled the glass and the room.

The mouth feel was not overwhelming, but the flavors were clean, sharp and focused with the cherry fruit singing a wonderful tune.  Great tannin and acid balanced this wine out.  The wine was initially sweet in the mouth but turned more savory toward the finish, making it a great match with the beef.

With a little air time the wine bloomed even more.  This was a wine I could sit and smell all night, but having said that it tasted just as good as it smelled. 

I can't imagine this wine being any better with additional age.  It came from a time and vintage before Chateauneuf-du-Pape seemed to go over the top in alcohol and extract and ripeness.  There was restraint and a little subtlety here and I liked that.

13.5% alcohol and an original price sticker of $40.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Michel-Schlumberger Coteaux Sauvages 2007

The second wine in the April shipment from Michel-Schlumberger was the 2007 Coteaux Sauvages, a premium Rhone blend from the Dry Creek Valley.  The blend is 99% co fermented Syrah and Viognier and 1% Petite Syrah added for the lengthy aging process.

Very dark, purple wine in the glass.  Strong nose of black berries and plums and perhaps a little blueberry.  There was some vanilla and cinnamon in the nose as well as a touch of earth.  Full flavored with the dark berries being prominent.  Not only is the wine young, but it certainly tastes that way.  Mouth coating flavor supported by some acid and good tannin.  There was just a touch of heat on the finish. 

The wine needs a couple of years aging in the bottle (and the second bottle will get that) before it's truly ready for a braised lamb dish. 

14.9% alcohol - which makes one understand the slight heat on the finish and $60.

The golf ball with a flamingo on it is a new addition to the avian collection.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dry Creek Valley Pinot Blanc

The second of the spring shipments arrived from the Michel-Schlumberger winery last week and this one included the 2010 Pinot Blanc from Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley.  The wine is labeled La Bise or 'The Kiss.'

The Alsatian heritage of this wine is evident in the floral nose the minute the top comes off the bottle.  There were hints of waxy fruits and early spring honeysuckle flowers.  Good medium weight on the mouth feel, and nice legs that ran down the interior of the glass after swirling.  The waxy fruit and stone fruit were dominant with enough acid to suggest some citrus.

The wine was done entirely in stainless steel so there's nothing to interfere with what the grape has to offer and that makes the wine refreshing.  The finish was dry and crisp.

Dinner was a small turkey roasted on the charcoal grill over indirect heat for several hours.  It was a great spring day, warm and breezy with lots of sunshine and the wine was a perfect representative for the day, fresh and alive and inviting after a long winter. 

12.5% alcohol and $22.

The redbud trees decided to add to the springlike feel by virtually erupting into bloom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2008 Chapoutier Belleruche

Maybe the best $10 red in the market at this time. Fruity but with some hints of earth to balance things out. Good acid. Fresh, clean, and almost Beaujolais-like in its ability to just bring a smile to your face.

13.% alcohol.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Roda I Reserva 1996

Exceptional, remarkable, wonderful, extraordinary.  And let me add delicious.

With apologies to  the old TV series The A-Team,  I love it when a plan comes together.  In this case I love it when a wine comes together in perfect maturity.

Last night we opened a 1996 Bodegas Roda, Roda I Reserva from the Rioja region of Spain.  There were several bottles sitting in the cellar for some time and yesterday we opened one to drink with a Tri-tip beef roast with a Romesco sauce of tomatoes, almonds, garlic, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, pimenton and olive oil. 

The wine was brick red and mature in the glass.  At first the nose was devoid of any fruit, just dry, dusty earth.  I thought the wine was perhaps over the hill.  A few minutes later some fresh meat aromas and some fruit began to peek out from the earth, almost like things coming up out of the earth in the spring for a new season.  After forty minutes or so the wine just bloomed.   Aromas of dark fruit, the hints of fresh meat, the bits of earth were all there. 

The first sip or two was all about the earth and dust, but toward the middle the fruit jumped out and coated the mouth.  It was fully ripe without being over the top in any way.  The acid was still wonderful and the tannins were still strong.  The wine was just in perfect balance with the sweetness tempered by a wonderful savory quality to the acid and earthy tastes.

It was delicious with the beef.  The smokiness of the pimenton and the sharpness of the vinegar sang a wonderful chorus with the wine.  There was some curried couscous on the side, full of pungent curry powder, currants, almonds, lemon juice and olive oil and that too was great with the wine.  Of course, I think almost anything would have been good with this wine.

Fourteen years after the vintage the wine was just about perfect.  I love young, fresh wines, but my heart still belongs to fully mature wines that take time and patience to come together. 

13.5% alcohol and the cheapest internet search price I could find was over $100.  The price sticker was still on my bottle and that sticker said $45. 

I should have bought more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Domaine du Puojol 2009 Rose

There is at least one good thing happening at the local wine markets in the last two weeks. In order to make room for just arriving 2010 rose's they are offering steep discounts on the bottles remaining from the 2009 vintage. They are perfectly good and if one tried them last spring and summer when they were fresh, and if one like them, then there are some truly good bargains out there.

I brought home two bottles of Domaine du Poujol, Coteaux du Languedoc and for dinner that night we opened one of them.  Tart, prickly, floral, fruity, dry - all good words that described the wine.  The strawberries and cherries were on the dry side, but fully ripe and glowing.   The acid was crisp and there was just a touch of tannin.  Every sip just made one want another sip.  Good stuff.

The meal was Italian rather than southern France.  There was s thick slice of porchetta done on the grill.  A loin of pork was smothered with pesto and then a section of pork belly wrapped tightly around the loin.  The whole thing was tied up with butchers twine and then sold in slabs.  There was also a big pot of polenta infused with some of the first few sage leaves of the spring, a dose of black truffle salt and some Pecorino Romano cheese and butter.    I certainly had no complaints.

 12.5% alcohol and $10 a bottle - down from $17.

The wine bottle and the slice of porchetta on the grill follow by clicking on "read more".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simlpe Pleasure

There was a good sale price on a simple white Burgundy a week or so ago, so that meant one came home with me. The wine was the 2009 Louis Jadot Macon Villages.

There was some halibut, the first of the season, that was pan seared, and a simple white rice with fresh peas added at the last moment to just warm until done.

Simple flavors in the wine of green grapes and green apple mixed with a little lemon zest.  Great acidity, helped carry those flavors along to a medium length finish.  Nothing extravagant here, just chardonnay done in its basic form.  With a basic piece of fish it was all that was necessary. 

The halibut was delicious, but without a coupon the price was bordering on exorbitant at nearly $30 a pound.  That's up $10 a pound from just a year ago for this wild caught fish.  Hopefully as the season moves along the price will drop.  If it doesn't drop I won't be eating a lot of halibut this summer, and it is my favorite white fish.

A scary thought - if wild halibut is $30 a pound, what will wild caught salmon be when that season starts next month?  The answer is probably out of my price range.

$13 and 12.5% alcohol.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The first bud break on the neighbor's red-bud tree.  With two days of warm temperatures there should be a lot more of this in a week or two.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2007 Fleurie

A few weeks ago we opened a Henry Fessy 2007 Morgon and talked about it here.  When I purchased that bottle I also brought home the 2007 Henry Fessy Fleurie.  Last week we opened that bottle.

The fruit and flowers that I liked in the Morgon were even more evident in this Fleurie.  They just gushed from the glass and smelled like spring.  The taste was all about cherries and ripe table grapes and a strawberry or two floating by on the wind.  Medium body and the fruit flavors just sort danced around the supporting acid and tannin.  Well balanced wine that just kept on getting better. 

As opposed to the Morgon, which turned a little more serious with some breathing time, the Fleurie just stayed happy and light.  A wine to make one smile through dinner and it was good stuff with a couple of pan roasted lamb chops.  I went back to the store and picked up their last two bottles of this wine.

13% alcohol and $10.