Posts Tagged ‘bordeaux’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 126: Goin’ South

January 3, 2014

In this episode, Jeff does a blind tasting of two new world, South American, Bordeaux wines.

Wines Tasted…

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Come on, guys! This is a blind tasting! But… If you really want to see what they are, scroll down.

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Lamadrid 2011 Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec

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Aresti 2010 Reserva Carmenere

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Leave a comment, and tell us about your experience with Argentine Malbec, Chilean Carmenere, and South American wines in general.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 119: This wine is soooooo good..

September 15, 2013

Jeff takes a break from packing boxes for the big move to review this French sparkling wine…

Wine Tasted:

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Jaillance Cuvee de l’Abbaye Cremant de Bordeaux Brut

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s the last wine that moved you?  Leave a comment, and tell us about it.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 109: Pomerol (Almost)

July 5, 2013

In this episode, Jeff shares a Right Bank Bordeaux with his clarinet-playing father…

Wine Tasted:

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Chateau Garraud 2010 Lalande de Pomerol

After the Facts:

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Here’s the Ribs Marcello made…

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And here is his Merlot vine!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite value Bordeaux? Do you want to hear Dave TheVegetarian play some music? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 49: Does Meric Have Merit?

June 19, 2012

In this episode Jeff tries another Cru Bourgeois from 2009, and looks for advice on his upcoming trip to Japan.

Wine Tasted:

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Chateau Meric 2009 Medoc

Pairing:

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Grilled Chili Lime Spiced Chicken and Corn with a Clean Green Salad topped with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 33: The Greatest Vintage?

April 4, 2012

In this episode, Jeff tries a Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux from the Medoc region.  Is 2009 the greatest Bordeaux vintage of all time?  Let’s work our way from the bottom up…

Wine Tasted:

After the Fact:

Neal Martin of Wine Journal (Wine Advocate) gave this one a 90.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

I’ll Bordeaux when the Sauternes

November 7, 2011

This past Saturday, Kara and I headed over to Cin-Cin Wine Bar for another tasting event…

This time... Bordeaux!

Bordeaux France is one of the premier wine appellations in the world.  Although there are 57 regions within Bordeaux, there are really only four that you would need to become familiar with in order to sound like a wine geek:

Graves (including Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes): Found on the “Left Bank” of the Garonne River, Graves is known for reds, dry whites, and some of the best dessert wine in the world (Sauternes).

Medoc: This is a wide-spread region found along the “Left Bank” of the Gironde River.  There are seven major sub-appellations of the Medoc (Haut Medoc, St-Estephe, Paullac, St-Julien, Margaux, Moulis, and Listrac), all producing reds.  In 1855, sixty-one of the chateaux were classified under the Grand Cru Classe (5 of which were of such high quality to be called Premiers Cru).

St-Emilion: Found on the “Right Bank” of the Dordogne River, the wines of St-Emilion are always red.  Piggy-backing off of the Medoc, St-Emilion also has a Grand Cru Classe ranking for their chateaux.

Pomerol: This is the smallest of the top red wine regions in Bordeaux.  Pomerol, also on the “Right Bank” of the Dordogne, makes about 15% as much wine as St-Emilion.  Though Pomerol does not have a ranking system, one can almost be assured (since they are so scarce) that most Pomerols are the bomb.

As far as grape varietals go, you will rarely see the breakdown of grapes listed on the bottle.  Bordeaux does, however, follow rules in terms of which grapes are allowed in their wines.  The whites of Graves (including the dessert wine of Sauternes) is primarily made of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.  As far as reds go, Bordeaux can be made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.  To figure out what is the predominant grape, just look at the rivers.  Wines from the “Left Bank” are Cabernet Sauvignon based, while those from the “Right Bank” are mostly Merlot.

On the real, though… I’m tired of getting my nerd on.  Let’s get some drink!

There were three distributors at the event; James, Luke, and Jon.  Each had their own table with hella different styles of Bordeaux to choose from.  To make sure we started with whites, moved to reds, and finished with Sauternes, Kara and I had to bounce around a bit from one table to the next.

First… The Whites!

Chateau Ducasse 2010 Bordeaux Blanc ($18): We started at Luke’s table with this white wine made of 60% Semillon.  It had a crisp, flowery finish.  A great way to start the day.  86

Chateau Hout Rian 2010 Bordeaux Blanc ($11): Over at Jon’s table, we picked up this white made of primarily Semillon.  Again, this one had flowery notes, but with a hint of honeysuckle.  It was crisp and dry.  85

Once we got our palates primed, we headed moved into the reds at James’ table.

James

Chateau Petit Manou 2007 Medoc ($21): So, here I am telling you the Left Vs Right Bank rules, and the first red I show you just shatters them.  This is a Left Bank wine that is made like a Right-Banker.  The Petit Manou is 70% Merlot.  The fruit is bright cherry and cranberry with a soft, buttery finish.  Good stuff.  87

Chateau Picque Caillou 2007 Pessac-Leognan ($26): A Left-Banker with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc, the Picque Caillou had a dusty nose with a green palate.  87+

Chateau Mongravey 2008 Margaux ($33): A true Left Bank Bordeaux made of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, the Chateau Mongravey falls under the Cru Bourgeois (just under Grand Cru) classification.  This one brought lots of dusty cranberry and Earth notes.  89

Chateau Pipeau 2007 St-Emilion ($34): A Grand Cru from the Right Bank, the Pipeau is 90% Merlot.  Now, don’t get it twisted.  This is a Merlot with balls.  There is a BIG barnyard funk on the nose.  The palate brings BIG leather and minerality.  It is both juicy and Earthy.  Nice!  90

To the next table…

Jon

Lafleur Gazin 2007 Pomerol ($45): 80% Merlot.  This Right Bank wine brings bright cranberry and cherry fruit.  A smooth wine.  89+

Chateau Hout Beausejour 2007 St-Estephe ($25): Barnyard.  Raspberry.  Dry palate.  Good acid.  There is a growing note of mushroom the longer the wine stays in the glass.  88+

Chateau Paveil de Luze 2008 Margaux ($30): This is a Left Bank red made of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon  The Paveil de Luze has some nice cranberry fruit, but it is more texture driven than anything else.  There is a nice acidity on this.  89-

Chateau Gloria 2008 St-Julien($63): 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot from the Left Bank.  This wine is silky smooth with leathery tannins and raspberry fruit.  Lovely!  91+  G-L-O-R-I-A!

Croix du Trale 2009 Haut-Medoc ($16): We were just about to move on to the last table, when I realized that we missed one of the wines.  Considering that the Gloria was so dope, it’s hard to go back to the Croix.  Dusty raspberry with butter.  Nice, but no Gloria.  88+

With that, we moved on to the last table…

Luke

Chateau Belles Graves 2007 Lalande-de-Pomerol ($28): Though not from the actual Pomerol appellation (Lalande-de-Pomerol is on the other side of the train tracks), Belles Graves is well-known for a different reason.  This is the wine that Jacques-Yves Cousteau would take on all of his adventures.  A Right Bank wine primarilly made from Merlot, this wine was hella tart and dry with fruit of cherries.  Not my cup of tea.  86

To make up for the Belles Graves, Luke provided the only vertical of the day with two (real) Pomerols…

Chateau Gombaude Guillot 2005 Pomerol ($67): Now this is why I love these tastings!  I’ve heard plenty of folks rave about the 2005 vintage of Bordeaux, but until now I’ve never had the opportunity to taste any 2005 that would be considered more than just a table wine.  This Pomerol is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.  On the palate, this right-banker was one smooth criminal.  Beautiful cranberry fruit, and a good hit of oak.  This wine has the body to last another 15 – 20 years, but is elegant enough to enjoy right now.  92.

Chateau Gombaude Guillot 1996 Pomerol ($60): Oh my!  The nose this wine is just dope!  Loads of juicy blackberry get smoothed out with tannins of delicious cigar tobacco leaf.  Wow!  Sometimes I wish you could taste these things with me.  Wow!  93

We finished off the tasting with two Sauternes dessert wines…

L’Alliance 2009 Sauternes ($27 Half-Bottle): Luke served us this Sauternes made of 90% Semillon.  There is a BIG nose of apricot and gapefruit.  On the palate the SWEET dride apricot overpowers the typical yeasty finish.  Good, but not what I think of when it comes to Sauternes.  90

Chateau Haut-Peyraguey 2005 Sauternes ($56): Jon capped off our tasting with this Permier Cru chateau from the epic 2005 vintage.  In comparison to the L’Alliance, the Haut-Peyraguey is much more reserved with its fruit.  This is a yeast-driven Sauternes (the way I think it should be).  This dessert wine has a good sweetness, but it is not obnoxious.  91

And there you have it…

16 wines…

One good time.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Searching for value in Bordeaux…

August 27, 2011

“Should we open up a bottle?”

It’s a simple question.

The answer should be simple…

but it never is.

“What should we open?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do we have?”

“We’ve got plenty of wine, but it’s Thursday.  I’m not gonna open up anything good.”

And it goes ’round and ’round and ’round…

As I dug into the wine fridge, I found this…

Chateau Du Seguinier 2005 Premieres Cotes de Blaye, Bordeaux

I don’t recall where I bought this wine…  Probably Trader Joe’s.

I don’t remember how much I paid…  Most places on the internet show that it is less than 10 bucks.

I do know that I purchased this wine at a time when I knew a lot less about wine than I do today…  Considering that I’m still learning, I know that I didn’t know much at all…  You know?

At the time, what I knew about Bordeaux was that 2005 was an AMAZING year…  “A 2005 for less than ten bucks???!!!???!!!!  I’m keeping this one!” I thought.

On Thursday, when I spotted the Chateau Du Seguinier 2005 Bordeaux, I was all, “Why not?”

Cotes de Blaye is a lesser-known appellation of the Bordeaux region of France.  It is technically a left bank wine… but WAY North.  Their red wines are primarily Merlot based.  They are known for being dry.

Here’s how it went down…

If you wanna see the color, hold that sucka in front of a fridge foo!

Color: The Chateau Du Seguinier is a dark brick-red.

Nose: Really good!  Cranberry and blueberry fruit with a touch of pencil shavings.  I ain’t gonna lie… It smells delicious.

Taste: I know that this wine is supposed to be dry, but the Chateau Du Seguinier is HELLA DRY.  Very tart.  The tannins are very harsh and bitter.  It’s got a little cabbage and dried tomato skins on the finish.

Score: I initially gave this wine an 84+, but as I let it sit for about a half-hour the tannins started to mellow out.  With a little decanting, it shows more like an 86+.  It comes of as a decent table wine (not a term that is often associated with Bordeaux).  It would go really good with spaghetti.  In fact…

A BIG plate of Spaghetti with a HUGE Fork.

While tasting this wine, I become obsessed with spaghetti…

So I hooked myself up.

For the sauce, I sweated some onions in olive oil.  Then I deglazed the pan with a splash of the Chateau Du Seguinier (Why not?).  After the wine steamed off, I threw in a can of diced tomatoes, salt n’ peppa, and some cumin and dried oregano.

When the pasta was ready, I tossed in the sauce, along with some freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and some basil.

The spaghetti paired nicely with the Chateau Du Seguinier.  It brought out some nice fruit notes in the wine.  Cranberry and raspberry for days.  It was all good.

So my take on “value” Bordeaux is simple.  They are meant to drink young.  They are meant to have with food.  If you spent less than 20 bucks for it, don’t hesitate…

Just pop that bottle, baby.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

The House of Thevegetarian: A Bordeaux Vertical w/ Enough Food to Make a Man Grow Horizontally.

July 10, 2011

Remember when I asked you to pick which wine I should drink?

Fine then!  Go here to refresh your memory.

One of the wines I featured was this guy…

Chateau Ballan-Larquette 2006 Bordeaux

At the end of the post, this guy (the winemaker for Chateau Ballan-Larquette) asked me to let him know what I thought about it.

Well…

The other day at BevMo, I was checking out the wines for the 5 Cent Sale (again… a total scam), and I found that they had the 2007 and 2009 vintages of the exact same wine I already had.  I decided right then that I had to purchase those other vintages and do a vertical tasting.

The problem is, 3 bottles of wine is just too much for one man to drink alone (1 bottle is too much).  So I needed to make an event out of it.

That’s where the Thevegetarians come in.

Dave Thevegetarian has been my best friend ever since we were in third grade.  Third grade, man!  If you want to figure out how long we’ve been friends, take the age that you are supposed to be when you’re in third grade (I’m too lazy to ask my Kara.  She teaches third grade.) and subtract that from 33.  That’s about how many years we’ve known each other, or something.

Dave and his wife, Kara Thevegetarian, both happen to be vegetarians, coincidentally.  They love throwing dinner parties.  I would invite the Thevegetarians over for dinner at my house more often, but I doubt they would eat my Blue Cheese Burgers.  They had us over for dinner last Friday.

“You bring the wine,” Dave told me, “and I’ll make some dope food for you, home boy.”  In spite of Dave Thevegetarian’s odd choice of words, I pulled my three bottles from the old wine fridge along with a little bubbly, grabbed Kara by the hand, and headed over to the House of Thevegetarian.

“It’s on!” I shouted.

“Oh brother!” Kara responded.

We arrived at 6:30 pm to a table loaded with vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and a cork screw.  I opened up the three bottles of Chateau Ballan-Larquette and arranged them thusly…

Chateau Ballan-Larquette 2006, 2007, 2009, and vegetarian goodness.

While waiting for the wine to breathe a little, Kara Thevegetarian poured us each a glass of this…

Clos La Chance 2009 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc. Why it was kept in the vegetable crisper is beyond me.

I’ve always been a fan of Clos La Chance.  So much so, that KaraIsRad and I were married there.

See! I told you!

The Clos La Chance 2009 Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc is a grassy lemon/lime machine.  The perfect aperitif on a hot summer day.  I’m not giving you a score for this one, ’cause I didn’t take any notes on it.  Let me just say that I recommend it.

On to the vertical tasting…

The Cateau Ballan-Larquette is a “value” Bordeaux.  The list price for this one is $19.99.  At BevMo, you will pay that much for it during the 5 Cent Sale, but when it’s not on “sale” you should be able to get it for about 15 bucks.  This wine is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc.  It spends 12 to 18 months in steel and cement tanks.

Up first…

2006

Color:  Ruby red with a little rust.

Nose:  Chalk (I love chalk), Cola, Green Bell Pepper.

Taste:  This wine is GREEN!  Bell peppers for days!  There is also a spicy black pepper component.  Good acidity.  There is a little bit of bacon fat in this one which really brings the whole thing together.

Score:  A solid 88.  Solid!

How about some food?

Roasted Asparagus Soup by Dave Thevegetarian.

Up next…

2007

Color: Same ruby color as the first.  Maybe a little darker.

Nose:  Bright Cherry.  A little wood shop action too (Strange, since to my knowledge this wine is not oaked).

Taste:  Very green with some SHARP tannins.  Sour Cherry.  Acid.  A little rubbery bike tire thing.

Score:  I originally gave this one an 87, but after the tasting was completed I gave it a retaste.  It just doesn’t hold up to the other two wines.  I now give it an 86-.

Note:  I bought this wine two weeks ago at the 5 Cent Sale.  All of the vintages at Bev Mo were 2009, but I found this one tucked in the bin.  At Bev Mo, they display their wines upright at room temperature.  There is a strong possibility that this bottle was sitting around the store for two years before I bought it.  Not being stored properly, this bottle may not represent the 2007 vintage properly.  Two questions:  A) Have any of you tried the 2007 Ch. Ballan-Larquette and have notes to share?  B) Would any of you ever buy an odd-vintaged wine that was not stored properly?

What?  You want more food?  Okay…

Stuffed Zucchini Crumble. It tasted WAY better than it looks.

Alright.  More wine…

2009

Color:  Same as the rest.

Nose:  Blueberry.  Cocoa.  Chalk (I love chalk).  I’m looking at my notes from Friday.  It says “DOPE!”

Taste:  Bell Pepper.  There is this sweet lacquered wood taste to it.  See that table in the picture above.  Imagine taking a bite out of that, but in a good way.  There is also a cranberry and white pepper component.

Score:  The 09 was my favorite.  It edged out the 06 because it was a little more complex.  Give it an 89+.

For fun, I also had the other folks rank the wines before I revealed my scores.  Here’s what they said…

KaraIsRad: She liked the 07 the best.  It was followed closely by the 09 which barely edged out the 06.

Kara Thevegetarian: She also thought the 07 was the best, but she liked the 06 better than the 09.

Dave Thevegetarian:  He was very much in my camp, scoring the 09 as the top wine (followed by the 06 and 07).

The takeaway for me was that this is a wine that can be consumed young.  If you are going to hold it for a while (I had mine for 3 years), make sure that you store it properly.  Put it in a cool place if you do not have a wine fridge, and keep them on their sides.  Decanting for 15 minutes to a half and hour is a good idea.  The 07 did start tasting off after a few hours, but again… I think it was doomed from the start.  I am looking forward to tasting more wines from Ch. Ballan-Larquette.

What?  MORE FOOD?!?!?

Baked ziti of smoked mozzarella. Like a circus, this dish was "in tents"!

After the business of the night was done with, we had a really fun time hanging out.  We even had a dance off.

Here is what my camera saw…

Sparkling white wine paired with sparkling bon fire.

Emile's California Champagne by Guglielmo.

Croatian Fig Brandy. Yikes!

Good times, but now I’m hungry…

Dave called my bluff and brought me some fruit. What a sweetheart.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

It’s all good: A two day extravaganza @ #RidgeVineyards

July 6, 2011

Chillin' on the Ridge.

I’m just gonna say it.

Somebody has to.

It may as well be me.

Ridge Vineyards is the raddest winery in the history of all that is awesome.

A couple of months back, after visiting their Monte Bello tasting room in Cupertino, Kara and I decided to become members.  The membership allows us free tasting, discounts on wine, and the ability to buy futures of their Monte Bello at a DEEP discount.  One of the really neat things we’ve discovered since joining Ridge is how many cool members-only events we get to take part in.  Recently we were able to go to two different events on back-to-back days.

Here’s the rundown…

July 1st: First Friday at Monte Bello

During the summer season, the Monte Bello tasting room will serve a special flight to club members on the first Friday of each month.  Although Ridge is most known for their zinfandel and Bordeaux blends, for July, they offered a vertical tasting of chardonnay.

Who says white wine can't age?

The tasting consisted of the 2003 and 2004 vintages of the Monte Bello Chardonnay, as well as the 2005 and 2006 vintages of the Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Charonnay.  The great part about this tasting was seeing just how well chardonnay can age.  The two Monte Bellos were very much smooth and balanced.  They both had really nice acidity.  The 2005 Estate was a crowd-pleasing chardonnay with a beautiful creamy finish.  The 06 Estate had this amazing smell of figs, but the taste did not live up to the nose.  The winner of this throwdown was…

The 2003 Monte Bello Chardonnay. Class in a glass.

After the chardonnay vertical, I had a hankering for a zinfandel and a picnic.  Now, if you’re talking zins, Ridge has ’em.  Based on a recommendation, we got a bottle of this bad boy…

Ridge 2007 Carmichael Zinfandel and a picnic.

This zin had a nice spice and ripe fruit, without being too jammy.  It was a great way to cap off the day…

Okay…

Seeing this thing on the road on the way back was pretty cool too…

If my car were just a little bit smaller, I'd have tried to drive under this thing.

July 2nd:  Zins, Blends & BBQ

For an early 4th of July celebration, the next day, Ridge offered barbecue paired with many of their fine wines.  Here’s what we had…

Check in with a glass of 2009 Mikulaco Chardonnay. Don't mind if I do.

2009 Geyserville paired with a bomb ass North Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich.

2006 Mazzoni Home Ranch with Kansas City Baby Back Ribs and a bunch of forks.

2007 Lytton Estate Zinfandel w/ California Tri Tip and Blue Cheese Potato Salad. Yum!

I found this 2008 York Creek Zinfandel hiding in the corner with Texas Beef Brisket. This York Creek has become one of my favorite zins in the Ridge collection.

After these pairings, there were three more wines for us to try in the main tasting room…

"Would you like to try our 2009 Jimsomare Chardonnay?" "Does a bear poo in the woods?"

The 2009 Buchignani Carignane. So nice, I had it twice... You'll see.

2006 Lytton Estate Syrah done in the true Côte-Rôtie style with 8% viognier.

We were such fans of the Buchignani Carignane that we got another bottle to have with our picnic leftovers from the day before.

I told you.

And there you have it!

13 wines.

4 barbecue dishes.

2 picnics.

1 dope time.

The shadows of Kara and JeffIsRad on the Ridge.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Wine… with a little help from my friends.

June 24, 2011

Ideas?

I’ve got a lot.

One of which is to ask you for ideas.

What do you think?

So, here’s the deal…

I’ve got 8 wines that I’ve been thinking about opening up.  What I need you to do is take a look, and leave a comment telling me which of the wines you would like me to taste for you.

Okay?

Go!

A) Vina Zaco 2006 Tempranillo

B) Cocobon 2009 Red Wine

C) Chateau Du Seguinier 2005 Bordeaux

D) Chateau Ballan-Larquette 2006 Bordeaux

E) Franciscan 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

F) Joseph Drouhin 2007 Pinot Noir

G) Mont Gras 2009 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon - Syrah

H) Kendall-Jackson 2006 Syrah

So now it’s up to you.

Leave a comment, and let me know which wine you want me to taste.  If you think I should try something else, let me know.

Let

me

know.

I get wine with a little help from my friends.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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