Saturday, May 31, 2014

2005 Grosset Watervale Riesling

Moving on from the two Chablis wines I threw a ringer into the mix with a bottle of 2005 Grosset Watervale Riesling from Australia's Clare Valley.  This wine was bone dry and very complex.  Lots of dried fruit flavors and lychees.  Wonderful acid and it kept a good grip on the mouth.  All that said - there was a mellowness to this wine that made it very appealing.  I'm not sure that lobster was the right food for this wine and it sat on the table until folks were done eating. Then it disappeared quickly into glasses, and those glasses seemed to drain rather quickly. 

2005 Grosset Watervale Riesling, Clare Valley.  13% alcohol.  $30 about six years ago. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Louis Jadot Chablis

There was a second Chablis at the lobster party, a 2010 Louis Jadot.  This is as basic as Chablis gets, but it was still a good drink.  Lots of lemons and apples and hints of the famous Chablis limestone and seashells, but very much toned down from the William Fevre.   It did a good job washing down some bites of lobster.   Easy to drink and easy to find. 

Louis Jadot Chablis.  12.5% alcohol and $20.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

William Fevre Chablis

Without any doubt the star wine at the lobster party was the 2007 William Fevre Premier Cru Chablis, Fourchaume.  Very tart and fresh with aromas of apples and  a bit of white peach, but beyond everything a solid core of pure minerality.  The fruit played a supporting roll, but the limestone and seashells were playing the lead.  It cut through the richness of the lobster and the drawn butter like a razor and restored a balance back to the palate.   A long and lengthy finish completed the cycle.

Two people who usually take of sip of white wine and then wait until the meal is finished to open a red wine kept refilling their glasses with this wine.  It was perfectly aged and just about perfect. 

The winter here was long and hard and difficult.  This wine was a just reward for suffering through it.  Once in awhile a wine comes along to reaffirm why I love wine and this wine did exactly that.

2007 William Fevre Premier Cru Chablis, Fourchaume.  13% alcohol and $35.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kinkead Ridge - New White Wines

This past weekend was the release date for the 2013 vintage of white wines from Kinkead Ridge in Ripley, Ohio.  The wines were superb but it was a bittersweet weekend.  Briefly, thanks to the devastatingly cold winter in this area there will be no 2014 vintage estate wines.  The cold was too severe and the damage too extensive to allow production of estate wines this year.  Parts of the vineyard must be replaced and the remainder needs to heal and recover.  

The good news is that the 2013 white wines are delicious.  My impressions follow, starting with the estate wines.

Viognier- Roussanne.  This year's blend is just about perfect for me with 71% of the blend being the Viognier.  There are citrus zest aromas and flavors of orange peel, melon and kiwi.   My first impression was that this wine seemed lighter than some of the other recent ones, but the more proper word is probably "lithe."  It is still a full flavored wine but this vintage has a grace and suppleness to it that I very much liked.  Unquestionably the best of a very good bunch.  14.1% alcohol and $17.  257 cases produced.

White Revelation.  This wine changes every year also and this particular vintage was definitely different than the previous vintages.  This wine is a blend of various white grapes.  For this vintage there is a much greater percentage of chardonnay and much less sauvignon blanc so it seems a little richer.  Great notes of pineapple and tart, green grapes.  There is a wonderfully dry finish with limestone hints and a good length.  13.3% alcohol and $14.  A true bargain.  146 cases produced.

Riesling.  It's been two years since there was enough grapes to make this wine so I was very happy to see it back in the lineup.  This is like biting into a fresh, cold yellow or green apple.  There's a bit of lime here also and just enough sweetness at the end to make you take another sip.  It's very light in the mouth but leaves a smile on your face.  My experience with this wine is that it always tastes better after a year in the bottle - it seems to pick up weight and flavor and I think this one will also.    11.4% alcohol.  1.2% residual sugar.  A steal at $12.  179 cases produced.

And from the second label....

River Village Cellars Seyval, McCafferty Bridge Vineyard.  This wine is from a hybrid grape and reminds most of a Muscadet from the Loire.  Sharp, tart, refreshing and full of green apple and citrus flavors and that great aroma of cold rain dripping on limestone.  There's not an ounce of pretension in this wine and it is plain fun to drink.   Find a hot summer day, throw a couple of ice cubes in the glass, add a few drops of cassis or framboise (or just toss in a couple fresh, very ripe raspberries) and fill the glass with this wine.  Definite summer treat.  13.8% alcohol.  $10.  87 cases produced.

River Village Cellars Traminette, MacCafferty Bridge Vineyard.  A hybrid with Gewurztraminer as one of its parents, this is a sweet wine with spiciness of the Gewurztraminer but a little more fruit.  Well made and good, but not favorite.   13.2% alcohol.  2.1% residual sugar.  $10.  185 cases produced.

A great group of wines and that makes it even sadder that there will be none next year.

The photo of the vineyard was taken several year ago in the fall, just before picking began. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy Time

It's been a very busy time lately, but there has been a lot of wine.  Pictured above is one of the guests (victims) of the Lobster Fest on Saturday.  Today was the release of wines at local wineries and I again made the trip south to the Ohio River for my annual supply of Kinkead Ridge white wines.  More on both of these events in the days ahead.  It's been a very tasty holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kinkead Ridge Riesling

One more bottle of cellar clearance of the Kinkead Ridge wines to make room for the new vintage of whites next week.  This time it is my last bottle of the 2011 Riesling.

The color was pale but the aromas, though light,  were unmistakably Riesling.  Fresh and fruity, dry and crisp and very fruit oriented.  A touch of sweetness (1.2% residual sugar) balanced out the crisp and apply acid.  Easy to drink.

The wine was paired with fresh, dry packed bay scallops that were quickly stirred fried with a bit of garlic, a chopped serrano pepper and some fresh ginger.  The sweetness in the finish of the wine mitigated the heat from the serranos and the crispness cut the richness of the scallops. Very nice pairing.

2011 Kinkead Ridge Riesling.  12.1% alcohol and $16.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Something a Little Different

Regular wine postings will return soon but I took the camera along on a walk through a tall grass prairie and a pond this morning and the iris flowers, some wild and some domestic, were putting on a show.

The first one is a small, white wild iris near the edge of the pond.

Next up are two domestic plants, a large bearded white iris and a purple and white iris.

And finally two wild and controversial ones, yellow flag iris.  As pretty as they are they are considered an invasive species that are harmful to animals, though they still show up as ornamental plants around ponds.  Beautiful nonetheless.

There will be wine with dinner tonight so expect that tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Ten ounces of wild Columbia River king salmon and a sprig of dill.  Fat and rich and earthy and delicious with minimal fuss and cooking. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc 2005

Eight years out from the vintage and this wine is delicious.  Bright fruit flavors, great acid, good tannin and moderate alcohol.   One can definitely taste the American oak but it fits very well with this wine.  Totally balanced and very easy to drink - especially with a plate of beef Stroganoff.   

My all time favorite Kinkead Ridge red wine was the 2005 Syrah.  This wine is less than half a step behind that one.  No question that the 2005 reds are all good.  I still have some Cabernet and one Syrah left.

2005 Kinkead Ridge Ohio River Valley Cabernet Franc.  13.2% alcohol and $18.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Farm Fresh

For suburban dwellers like me this is about as fresh as one can find asparagus. This batch arrived at the local market and was in my basket before it ever hit the display stand.  It was less than two hours from when it was cut.  After it posed for this photo and went into a damp towel to await dinner. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kinkead Ridge White Wines

It's just a couple of weeks until the release of the 2013 wines from the Kinkead Ridge Winery in Ripley OH.  As usual for me it's time to start drinking some of the older bottles to make room for the new vintage, which promises to be very good.

First up was was 2008 Viognier Roussanne from the 2008 vintage, a blend of 57% Viognier and 43% Roussanne.  This is a little higher in Roussanne than usual, but one makes what the vintage gives you. This is definitely a wine on the more savory side of the scale with a bit of orange zest, ripe melons and pineapples up front and at the end but definitely not in the middle. The orange zest had a definite bitterness to it that balanced the flavors from the other fruits.  the color was clear and bright with no signs of oxidation or darkening. 

Dinner was a chicken roasted over indirect heat on the grill and a pasta dish full of fresh asparagus and a sauce of olive oil, grainy mustard, anchovy paste, thyme, garlic, small tomatoes and shallots.  There was also a few spears of fresh pineapple that were grilled on the plate.  The wine did an amazing job of standing up to the asparagus but the big surprise was how well the wine matched up with the grilled pineapple.  There was a similar flavor profile and the small bit of smokiness in the pineapple was nearly perfect with the wine. 

2008 Kinkead Ridge Viognier Roussanne.  14.8% alcohol and $17.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Good Doctor L

Does Riesling ever taste as good as it does on a warm, early spring day with the sun shining? I can certainly drink it year round, and I do, but everything seems to come together in the early spring.

The latest one is the 2012 vintage of the Loosen Brothers Dr. L Mosel Riesling.  There are fresh and fruity aromas, a crisp and clean taste with tons of super fresh apples, and a god bit of savoriness on the finish.  It's hard to think there is anyone that wouldn't be happy with this wine. 

Dinner was a pork loin that was butterflied and seasoned inside with salt, white pepper, red pepper flakes, olive oil and fresh sage, thyme and rosemary.  The loin was tied back into a cylinder, seared quickly in a hot pan and then slowly roasted in a low temperature oven.  It was finished with a pan sauce of reduced chicken stock, sweet vermouth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and sour cream - rather like a Stroganoff sauce.

The asparagus, while not being overly wine friendly, was the first local stalks of the season.  

Loosen Brother Dr. L Riesling.  8.5% alcohol and $13.  A true bargain.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2010 Erath Pinot Noir

"Writing in my sixty-fourth year, I can truthfully say that since I reached the age of discretion I have consistently drunk more than most people would say is good for me. Nor did I regret it. Wine has been for me a firm friend and a wise counselor. has shown me matters in their true perspective, and has, as though by the touch of a magic wand, reduced great disasters to small inconveniences. Wine has lit up for me the pages of literature, and revealed in life romance lurking in the commonplace. Wine has made me bold but not foolish; has induced me to say silly things but not to do them."
- Duff Cooper, "Old Men Forget"
The 2010 Erath Pinot Noir from Oregon is easy to love.  Fresh red fruit and a sense of earth pour out of the glass when swirling it.  Lip smacking cherry flavors and that sense of earth are in the flavors and there is just enough tannin and acid to bring the whole thing together nicely.  More savory than sweet.  A small tri tip done on the grill with minimal seasoning and some fresh pasta in a brown butter and sage sauce made thing even better.

2010 Erath Pinot Noir, Oregon.  $20 and 13% alcohol.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blue Jays and Cardinals

No, this post has nothing to do with American Baseball and an inter-league series.  The local birds are out in full force now that spring is totally here.  There's also a new camera lens to play with. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Clos Normand Cider

There are more and more ciders appearing on store shelves in this area, and that's a good thing.  The latest one I've tried was the Clos Normand Brut.  It was a beautiful golden color and had a moderate aroma of apples and a good amount of bubbles in the glass.  The lack of a strong aroma made me suspect a bit, but the taste was pure, refined apple.  Crisp without being tart and mellow without being flat.  It was a good choice for a Kentucky Derby party with pork ribs.  It definitely stood up to the flavors in the ribs and was simple and good.

Clos Normand Brut Cider.  4% alcohol and $4 for a 750 ml bottle.  Good buy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Glass of Rose'

What is the definition of good wine?  It should start and end with a smile......William Sokolin

Friday, May 2, 2014

Rhinegeist Cougar

Like many areas in the U.S. this area of southwest Ohio is exploding with craft breweries. Cincinnati is no exception but it is simply reviving its past traditions of German immigrants and beer making. 

One of my favorites is the Rhinegeist Brewery, which translates to ghost of the Rhine.   This is a new brewery and until very recently their beer was only available in the Cincinnati area, though they have now expanded north to Dayton.  It's a fun place to visit. There are two beers available in cans and the rest of their output is kegs only.

My favorite of the two canned beers is Cougar, a blonde ale.  It has some malty sweet notes but on the whole is very citrus like and only 4.8% alcohol.  It's a good  good summer beer with freshness and lightness. It's also rather tasty with clams and crabs.

I also like one of the beers only available at the brewery.  Uncle is a British mild beer with only 3.8% alcohol.  It's has more malt flavors but is still on the lighter side. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Old Faithful

The first of the 2013 rose wines showed up during a quick trip to the market yesterday, and it was more than true to form in taste and price.  The wine was the 2013 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose.

Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time cutting down and digging out the eight year old lavender plant in front, the one that attracted all the bees and hummingbirds.  The severe winter here was not kind to it and after a month of waiting it showed no signs of life so it was removed and a small replacement put in place.  The entire process made me hungry.

Dinner consisted of chicken leg quarters seasoned with herbs de Provence and done over indirect heat on the grill.  What was different was that I cut up some of the thicker branches of the dead lavender plant and threw a bare few of them on the grill to create some smoke.  The resulting smoke certainly drew the interest of the neighbors because of the  smell.  It imparted a floral and earthy quality to the chicken pieces and because there were only a few chunks on the coals it didn't overwhelm the meat.  Good experiment and I saved some of the lavender pieces for future use.

The wine was a pale pink color with aromas of fresh strawberries and peaches.  The first sip was fruit forward but the wine quickly dried into a savory and earthy profile.  It was perfect for sipping throughout the evening and a great match with the chicken.  Year after year this wine remains consistent, though this year seems a bit drier and I liked it very much.  A terrific bargain.

2013 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose.  13% alcohol and $10.