Posts Tagged ‘Bubbles Wine Bar’

Bites and Bellies Full

March 4, 2013

This past Sunday, the Morgan Hill Downtown Association presented the first ever Bites of Morgan Hill.  The event was put together as an effort to give exposure to many of the fantastic restaurants along Monterey St. in Downtown Morgan Hill.  For $40, participants were given a ticket book and a map to guide you to 11 different restaurants.  In exchange for a ticket, restaurants would offer you a plate of food, highlighting their culinary style.

Kara and I showed up a little early to the event, so we made a pit stop one of our favorite Mexican restaurants to kill some time…

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Margaritas at Sinaloa.

Once the event started, we would only have three hours to visit 11 restaurants.  With an average of just over 16 minutes to spend at each restaurants, some would think it impossible to visit all 11 stops.  If you thought that I wasn’t going to make it, you don’t know me that well…

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1. Chicken Satay with Chili Peanut Sauce and Tempura Green Beans at Upstairs Jazz Café

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2. A Hamburger and Grilled Artichoke from Ricatoni’s

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3. Fig Brie Puff Pastry and Calamari at Ladera Grill

By the time we arrived at Bubbles Wine Bar, we figured that we were good on time, so we ordered some Sangria to go along with our food.

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Sangria at Bubbles

The Sangria was good.

Now back to the food.

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4. New York Steak Crostini and Crab Melt at Bubbles Wine Bar

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5. Spaghetti Carbonara at Toto Trattoria

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6. Steak Salad and Chicken Castroville at Huntington Station

At Rosy’s at the Beach, we had just enough time to order a beer…

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A Short Beer

Okay…

More food…

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7. Ahi Wonton at Rosy’s at the Beach

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8. Fish and Chips from Champs Bar and Grill

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9. Pecan Gelato and Fruit Crepe at Grinds Vines and Automobilia Café. Sorry for eating before taking a picture. I was kind of in a food coma at this point.

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10. Some Amazing Pear and Gorgonzola Pasta from The Good Fork

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11. Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese from BookSmart

What a great event.

Just thinking back on it, my belly is feeling full.

And you thought I couldn’t make it…

Stay Rad,

Jeff

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Port-Land (See what I did there?)

May 2, 2012

You know how I feel about Bubbles Wine Bar in Morgan Hill

I love it.

Check the food I had there last Friday…

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New York Crostini with Rare Steak, Horseradish, Peppers, and Capers. Mmmmmm…

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Only the dopest of the dope Oysters. Mmmmmm to the hella…

When you’ve got great food, great wine, and a great atmosphere, you don’t want the afternoon to end…

And yet…

It must.

So Kara and I decided to have one more round before we walked back home.

For me, there’s only one choice when finishing of a nice evening…

Port!

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Graham’s Six Grapes Port

Graham’s Six Grapes Port is referred to on their website as “the everyday Port for the Vintage Port drinker.”  Considering I don’t drink Port every day, and have yet to consume a Vintage Port, you can take this review how you like…

Color: Dark inky purple.  I mean… c’mon… What did you expect?

Nose: Nutty grape and plum juice.

Taste: The Six Grapes comes in at 20% alcohol.  And let me tell you… You can feel that heat.  Beyond that, it’s goopy grape juice with a nice nutty backbone.

Score: This is not a very complex Port, but it’s not really meant to be.  What is undeniable is that it is tasty.  For that, Graham’s, I’ll give you an 86.

You know…

The Six Grapes got me thinking.

Dessert wines are always going to have residual sugar.  They are always crafted to be tasty, sweet treats.  The delicious factor is always going to give dessert wines an edge, so I’m wondering…

Should there be a different scale for rating dessert wines?

What do you think?

Stay Rad,

– Jeff

“Where have you been all my life?”: A wine and food pairing at Bubbles

April 17, 2012

As far as wine bars go, you’ve got to know that Bubbles in Morgan Hill is one of my favorites.

If you don’t belive me, just click here.

This past Thursday, they became my most favoritest.

If you don’t believe that “favoritest” is a word, just click here.

Here’s why…

"Where have you been all my life?"

Once a month, for $10, Bubbles offers a wine and food tasting.

Kara and I had been planning on going to one of these events for a while.  Since we had last week off, and our ol’ friend John Terra Savia was in town, we all met up to get our taste on.

This tasting included six wines, and tons of food…

Tons of food: Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns w/ Spicy Chili Oil, White Bean Stew, and BBQ Pork Sliders w/ Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

To start, we walked over to the Beauregard Vineyards table…

Beauregard 2009 Metalique Chardonnay and Beauregard 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

Beauregard 2009 Metalique Chardonnay:

This is Beauregard’s version of the unoaked Chardonnay.  Admittedly, I’m starting to get kind of bored with that style (That gives me an idea for a post!).  There is nothing boring, however, about the 2009 Metalique.  Crisp, lemon acidity, stone minerality, and smoke… Lots of smoke!  It’s an odd finish.  Then again, I’m a little odd too.  It gives me character.  It does the same to the wine.  Give it an 87+.

In talking to John, we began to speculate as to how an unoaked Chardonnay could get that smokey.

My guess was that it was rouge bacteria.

John just kept saying, “It tastes like smoke taint to me… Like there must have been a wildfire that year.”

Sure enough, the next day John sent me a link to an article about another Chardonnay from 2009  (Pelican Ranch) that was grown in the same area (Bonny Doon) and had also been affected by a wildfire.  Check it out!

Beauregard 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay:

This Chardonnay is more my style.  Crisp, lemon acidity (like before), but with the addition of vanilla bean from the oak and malolactic fermentation.  I tried the spicy prawns with this wine, and the heat really went well with the creaminess of the Chardonnay.  88+

Next, we tried out Tank House

Tank House 2009 Syrah and Tank House 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Tank House 2009 Syrah:

On the nose, this Syrah was loaded full of tomato.  The palate, conversely, gives flavors of caramel and cranberries.  This was an awkward, but interesting little wine.  The white bean stew did a good job of marrying the flavors.  86+

Tank House 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon:

Tomato (again) and smoke on the nose, with a touch of tea leaf.  On the palate, this cab brings a good balance of clove spice, plum fruit, Earthy black tea flavors, and nice acidity.  This one also went well with the white bean stew, but it can definitely stand on its own.  89

The last stop on our tasting journey was Alderese Vineyards (Note: I’d provide a link to their website if they had one.  Let me know if you can find it.  I had no luck)…

Alderese Vineyards 2009 Westside Zinfandel and Alderese Vineyards 2008 Late Harvest Zinfandel

Alderese Vineyards 2009 Westside Zinfandel:

This is a new winery in Amador county specializing in Zinfandels.  The 09 Westside Zin has a touch of Petite Sirah in it.  The flavor of this wine is quite candied.  Fruit-forward plums and dark raisin flavors dominate the palate.  Though I give it an 86, this was the perfect wine to go with the pork sliders.  The pork brought out a nice, green pepper flavor.

Alderese Vineyards 2008 Late Harvest Zinfandel:

The gentleman pouring the wine told us that 2008 was the first Zinfandel vintage for Alderese.  I asked him if they did a regular Zinfandel that year too.  He said they did not.  John and I both speculated that they probably messed up harvesting the first year.  This wine was super candied and sugarfied.  Hella concentrated raisins for days.  Another 86 that still went very well with the pork.

We had a great time at Bubbles, as we always do.

I’m looking forward to going to more of their tasting events in the future.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What #Day is it this time?

February 18, 2012

Seriously…

What #Day is it?

You follow enough wine folks on Twitter, and you’ll find yourself asking that exact question.

In the last year, I’ve found out about the following days through social media:

#CabernetDay

#ChardonnayDay

#AustralianWineDay

#PortDay

#NewZealandWineDay

And when there’s no particular wine to celebrate, there’s #WineWednesday (or #WW if you’re hip).

Bloggers (including yours truly) are quick to jump on these days, because it’s an easy source for ideas.

Wine drinkers (including yours truly) are quick to jump on these days, because it’s always nice to have an excuse to drink.

But now…

Now, it’s getting ridiculous.

Yesterday was #CaCabDay.

Today is #NationalDrinkWineDay.

It’s enough to drive this blogger mad.

But…

It still gave me an idea…

Yesterday, I had a wine flight at Bubble’s featuring (mostly) California Cabernet Sauvignons.

By posting it today, I’ve got all my bases covered.

Here’s the rundown…

The Cabbies at Bubbles

Miguel Torres Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon:

Okay… So this is not a California Cabernet.  Las Mulas is an organic winery in Chile.  The vintage was not listed on the menu, but I’m guessing this is a 2009.

Color: Look… Bubbles keeps the lights down low.  So I can’t give you an accurate description of the color.  I will say, however, that this was the lightest of the three wines.

Nose: Big and bright, ripe plums.  Strawberries.  Lavender.  Pretty.

Taste: This is a lighter styled Cabernet.  In some ways, this could be considered the antithesis of a California Cab.  This wine is driven by its acidity.  Lots of tart raspberry and cranberry fruit, with a touch of plum and bike tire.  Nice.

Score: The Anti-Cab gets an 87.

Educated Guess 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon:

On the menu, this wine was listed as “Roots Run Deep”.  In fact, that is the name of the winery where this Napa Cab is produced.  The only wine that they make is under the Educated Guess label.  I’m making an educated guess of my own in calling this a 2009, since that is their most recent vintage.

Color: Darker than the Las Mulas.

Nose: Blackberry and bacon.  Yup.  This is a smokey nose, and that is definitely bacon.  Yum.

Taste: This wine is jammy (in a good way).  Concentrated blackberries and cranberries give way to plum on the mid-palate.  The tannins are powdery and mouth-filling.  There is a lingering grapefruit acidity on this wine.

Score: What a treat this is.  Give it an 89+

Martin Ranch 2007 (I think) JD Hurley Cabernet Sauvignon:

Tucked away through miles and miles of redwoods on the western outskirts of Gilroy, is one of my favorite Santa Clara Valley / Santa Cruz Mountains wineries… Martin Ranch.  I’ve known of them for a while, but it was not until last year’s Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend when I finally got a chance to visit the ranch.  The JD Hurley is their entry-level wine.

Color: Same as the Educated Guess.

Nose: Plum and red currant.

Taste: Tart red currant and cranberries give way to red plum fruit.  Good acidity, and powdery tannins.

Score: A good way to end the night.  89

You know…

The more I think about these different days, the more I continue to wonder…

Who comes up with these wine holidays?

I guess the simple answer is that WE do.

All of us.

We spread the word.

We participate.

We reflect.

We write about it.

So that gives me an idea…

Let’s create our own #WineDay!

Here are some days I’ve been thinking about:

#ScrewTopWineDay – Tweet about your favorite screw top wine.

#RadWineDay – Pull out the Raddest wine in your collection.  That one that you’ve been saving for a special occasion… And open that sucker.  Drink it, foo.

#LocalWineDay – Do a google search of local wineries.  Whichever one is the closest to your house is the winery that you must purchase a bottle from.

What do you think?

Leave a comment below with your favorite #WineDay idea.

We’ll pick one, and go for it.

What do you say?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

When Worlds Collide: #AussieWine on #PortDay

January 28, 2012

We all know that this past Thursday was Australia Day.

I did my duty, and gave you an episode on Australian wine (like a good blogger should).

So I was shocked to wake up Friday morning to discover on Twitter that it was now #PortDay.

Really?

The next day?

How could this have happened?

How could a day of celebration for the national dessert wine of Portugal come this close to a day celebrating the foundation of Australia as a country?

My brain just couldn’t process this information.

I mean… really…

What do you do when worlds collide?

I never thought it would ever come to this…

When Kara came home from work yesterday, I looked her in the eyes and said, “I need a drink.”

I grabbed her hand, and took her down the street to Fuzia for some happy hour drinks and apps.

Here’s what we had…

Vinegar, olive oil, bread, and actual olives!

The house Chardonnay. The best 3 dollar wine you will ever taste.

Bruschetta. You betta!

French Fries

Sure…

The food was fantastic.

The wine was great.

But…

We were dealing with Armageddon!

Kara didn’t seem to see anything wrong with the whole Australia Day / Port Day doomsday event (Obviously, she didn’t see the trailer).

Feeling defeated, I decided that we should go to Bubbles Wine Bar.

If we’re headed for the end of days, the least we could do was enjoy the present.

Here’s what we got…

I ordered up the Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Syrah. Good acidity and spice.

The Three Fromage Plate with creamy goat cheese, Danish blue, and English cheddar.

That cheese plate was fantastic!

After I finished the Syrah, I got a craving for some dessert wine.

Considering it was #PortDay, I figured I’d get some of that fortified Portuguese nectar… So I asked our server which Port she preferred.

“Actually, I really like the Yalumba Antique Tawny.  It’s Australian, so it’s not technically a Port.  They like to call them Stickies over there.”

How serendipitous!

An #AussieWine… on #PortDay!

“I’ll take one of those.”

Yalumba Antique Tawny

Color: Well… It was a little dark in Bubbles, so I can’t give you an accurate description.  Just look at the picture.  Pretty, ain’t it?

Nose: Caramel.  Toffee.  Coffee.  Walnut.  Grape skin.  Apple brandy.  Yup.  It’s pretty.

Taste: Sweet, but not overly so.  There is a great balance of toasty oak, caramel, and whipped fudge.

I tried the Sticky with both the blue cheese and the English cheddar.  Each pairing was fantastic.

Score: I loved this wine.  Give it an 89.

If this is what happens when worlds collide, I think we’re gonna be just fine.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Still Wine at Bubbles

October 28, 2011

You know I like Bubbles Wine Bar in Morgan Hill… I wrote about it here.

Well…

It’s Friday, again, and time to unwind.

What better way, than to travel a whole mile and a half to our favorite local wine bar for drinks and small plates?

As alway, I got myself a flight…

Bold and Beautiful: Xiloca Garnacha, Carol Shelton "Monga" Zinfandel, and Coterie Cellars Syrah... It's not bubbles, but it's Still Wine.

Here’s how it went down…

Xiloca Garnacha ($6 per glass)

Color: It’s dark… You see the picture.

Nose: Tires and mint.

Taste: Earthy notes with hints of clove and spice.

Score: Not bad… 87

Carol Shelton “Monga” Old Vines Zinfandel ($8 per glass)

Color: Look… It’s dark… Haven’t you seen the picture?

Nose: Sugary and buttery with bright red fruit.

Taste: Buttery oak.  Red fruit.  Nice round tannins with a medium long finish.

Score: Not badder… 87+

Coterie Cellars Syrah ($12)

Color: What’s your problem, dude?  It’s dark… Check the photo!

Nose: Tight.  Not much going on.  There is a touch of chalk (which I always love), but not enough to drive me bonkers.

Taste: This wine is DRY.  Dry cranberry.  Dry raspberry.

Score: Meh… Not a big fan.  It’s okay… 86.

Now look…

The wines I tried were not that great tonight, but what do you want?  They can’t all be gems.

But with food like this…

Ahi Tower with mango, avocado, crispy won ton chips, and a red wine reduction.

How can you complain?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

That would be SWEET!

September 26, 2011

I’ve never been one to have a sweet tooth…

I rarely order dessert.  When I do, I usually share it.

When folks try to share dessert with me, I often turn it down.

When folks get all pushy with dessert, I eventually say yes… only to sneakily throw the dessert away when nobody is looking.

I’m just not a dessert kind of guy.

But…

Recently… and I don’t know why…

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with dessert wine.

I haven’t been drinking much of it… mind you…

I’ve just been obsessing about the idea of it…

I can picture myself in a smoking jacket with a splash of something strong and sweet in my glass.  Reading a good book.  Listening to classical music.  It sounds mother #@*%ing classy.

Recently, I have also been reading a lot of ENOFYLZ (a wine blog my Martin Redmond, the self-professed “Wine Drinkin’ Fool”).  In the blog, Martin has been writing a lot about dessert wines… and it has been getting me pumped!

So here is my plan now…

Whenever I am out to dinner, and I’m thinking about some dessert, I’m gonna order me some dessert wine…

The other night, I finished off my meal at Bubbles Wine Bar with this…

Chateau Grand Piquey 2007 Sauternes

I was really stoked on this Chateau Grand Piquey 2007 Sauternes.  Primarily made from the Semillon, the grapes in Sauternes are allowed to hang on the vine until “noble rot” sets in.  The noble rot (Botrytis fungus) sucks out water from the grapes, leaving concentrated sugar for the dessert wine.  The fungus itself also gives the wine a yeasty type of flavor.  Good stuff!

The other night, Kara needed sherry for a recipe, so I picked up this…

Pastora Amontillado Sherry

This Pastora Amontillado Sherry is a medium dry, oak-aged, fortified dessert wine.  Imagine a sweet whiskey with a lot less alcohol.

It’s not bad.  I like it, but sherry seems to be much more of an acquired taste.

The sherry got me thinking…

I’ve known of sherry my entire life, but in almost 33 years on this planet, I’ve never had any until this week.  In fact, I don’t think I know anybody my age that drinks sherry…

Anybody!

So I’m wondering…

Does anybody out there drink sherry?

If so, how old are you?

Is it a generational thing, or am I just trippin’?

Please leave a comment, and let me know.

That would be SWEET!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend… and bubbles.

September 18, 2011

The more I get into wine, the more I get in to the sparkles.

Why wouldn’t you?

They are complex.

They are delicious.

They pair with hella foods.

And they are celebratory.

If the bubbles are flowing, things must be goin’ good.

And if they ain’t?

Bubbles will make things better.

Speaking of bubbles, check out where Kara and I had dinner last Friday…

A view from the patio at Bubbles Wine Bar.

In celebration of the weekend, Kara and I walked down to Bubbles Wine Bar in Morgan Hill to have a little wine and food on the patio.

To start with, I ordered from their keen wine flight menu…

Bubbly and Brilliant... Like me!

I opted for the Bubbly and Brilliant flight.

Here’s what they looked like…

Here's the flight from left to right: Pol Clement Rose Sec, Marques de Gelida Cava, and Perrier Jouet Grand Brut.

And here’s how they tasted…

The Pol Clement Rose Sec is a pink French sparkling wine from the Loire valley.  It’s made from the Gamay, Grolleau, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot d’Aunis grape varieties.

Color: Dull golden pink.

Nose: You can smell sweetness on this wine… like sugarfied candies.  There is a nice hint of toast and crushed rocks on the nose as well.

Taste: The fruit is very muted.  There’s a bit of peach skin and grapefruit.  The star of this wine is its long, dry finish.

Score: A solid 88 and a good buy for under 10 bucks a bottle (retail).

The Marques de Gelida Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made from Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo.

Color: Pale gold.

Nose: The nose is an astringent mixture of lemon peel and chlorine.

Taste: Fruit of dried strawberries and peaches.  There is a very crisp, bread-like finish.  Something about this Cava reminded me of Zinfandel.  Aside from the bubbles, this wine almost drinks like a red… Almost.

Score: This wine is a decent 86+, but I probably wouldn’t buy it for 15 bucks a bottle (retail).

The Perrier Jouet Grand Brut was the only true Champagne in the flight.  At 15 bucks a glass, this is supposed to be the star of the bunch.

Color: Pale gold (very similar to the Marques de Gelida).

Nose: Yeasty toast, minerals, and fig.

Taste: On the palate, the Perrier Jouet brought some dope lemon peel and some fresh dancing acidity.  The finish was long, but subtle.

Score: You could call this 88+ a winner, but as far as deals go, I would stick with the Pol Clement Rose.

Though each of these wines can hold their own, I decided to see how they would pair with my most recent obsession…

OYSTERS!

The Pol Clement Rose Sec really helped to bring out the brininess of the oysters.

The oysters gave the Marques de Gelida a butterscotch type of finish.

In the Perrier Jouet, I noted a hint of cinnamon when paired with the chilled bivalves.  This was my favorite pairing.

As for the main course?

The grilled New Yorker sandwich was loaded with deliciously thin strips of raw steak and came with a dope green salad on the side.

The New Yorker sandwich was just fantastic!

So, how about that for a lazy Friday evening?

Great atmosphere…

Amazing food…

Rad sparklers…

Cheers to Bubbles Wine Bar!

I’ll drink to that!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Hey Y’all! Hey Y’all!

September 10, 2011

Hey Y’all,

How are you?

I am fine.

I was just writing to let you know that I’ve got some really keen things that I will be writing about very soon.

Last night, I had a very dope dinner with Kara at Bubbles Wine Bar.

Today, I’m going to the Capitola Art and Wine Festival.

I am bummed out that I will not be making the Fury 66 reunion show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz tonight.  They were my favorite band when I was in high school.  I also know that I will miss meeting up with some old friends at the show, but I’ve got an early day tomorrow.  When I go to a Fury 66 concert, I go all out.  I’m talkin’ stage diving and circle pits for days… You dig?

Tomorrow, I’ll be getting up bright and early to head up to Candlestick Park in San Francisco.  We will be tailgating hard core, before heading inside the stadium to see the 49ers destroy the Seattle Seahawks.  After the game, Kara and I are gonna stop by my Aunt and Uncle’s house for dinner.

What’s that?

What am I doing right now?

I’m slurping on some java and macking some tight breakfast…

Two eggs scrambled on a bed of rosemary potatoes.

These eggs are possibly the fluffiest and creamiest I have ever made.

Yeah… I’m pretty stoked.

I’ll write you soon.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Love/Hate or The proof is in the off-putting.

August 5, 2011

Wednesday was a free day for Kara and me… It was our last free day of the summer, so we decided to hit up a few local wineries.

You’ve got to know that we had an amazing day.

AMAZING!

The amazing 2007 Lila's Cuvee Rhone Blend paired with an amazing view at Clos La Chance.

I could tell you about how much fun we had at Clos La Chance

2008 Biagini Vineyard Pinot Noir side-by-side with the 2008 Erwin Vineyard Pinot Noir at Clos La Chance. Both wines were hella RAD!

I could tell you about our awesome pre-dinner visit to Bubbles Wine Bar

Bubbles?

Hella to the yeah, son!

The only thing better is bubbles and oysters. Dope!

I could even let you know about the Rad Mexican feast we had at Sinaloa Cafe

Come for the margaritas. Stay for more margaritas.

So please forgive me if I don’t.

I’ve been dying to write about some wine that I hated…

I mean HATED.

HATED!

Please alow me to present Fortino Winery

Fortino... unfortunately = (

Fortino is a neat looking venue on the corner of Watsonville Road and Hecker Pass in Gilroy.  We hit it up after Clos La Chance because it was one of the few wineries in the area that was open on a Wednesday afternoon.

Now, you should know that I’ve been to Fortino twice before.  Once was about two years back before I was as passionate about wine as I am today.  It was also well before I would take notes on wine.  The other time was after a long day of tasting during the Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend, so my palate was shot.  You even read about me having their Almond Champagne at the Garlic Festival.  But this time… This time, I was gonna take it seriously (Not so fortunate for Fortino).

Here’s the breakdown…

Whites:

2009 Chardonnay ($16.95):  Nose of honey, pineapple, apple, and flowers.  Not bad.  The palate was a thick and sweet version of lemon/lime soda.  Not good.  Score it a 75 and trust me… You don’t want it.

2010 Black Muscat Blush ($16.95):  Tropical fruit (mango and guava) on the nose.  The taste was of ridiculously sweet flowers.  This wine is obnoxious.  I’m mad that they served it at the beginning of the tasting, because it’s basically a crappy version of a desert wine.  78.  Pass.

On to the Reds:

2008 Carignan ($18.95):  Here’s where I start to get angry.  Carignan, when done right, is one of my favorite varietals.  Fortino makes a big deal about their estate carignan coming from 80 year-old vines.  The only way you could mess this up is if you don’t know how to make wine, or don’t care how it turns out.  My guess is that Fortino falls into the latter category.  There was this nose of green bell pepper that gave me some hope, but it came with this over-the-top sweet red fruit that destroyed it.  The taste was sweet red cherries with just a little bit of tires and nice acidity.  The problem with this wine was there was no balance.  It was all sweetness.  If I want a sweet red wine, I’ll hit up 7 Eleven.  This is a 79.  In a better mood, maybe I’d give it an 80-.

Non-Vintage Maribella ($16.95):  The bar menu reads, “This off-dry blend named after Marie Fortino offers hints of cherry and raspberry.  Blended from Cabernet, Sangiovese & Carignan”.  Here’s what it should say, “We threw a bunch of leftover grapes from a bunch of different vintages together and came up with this nasty sweet red wine.  We named it after our grandma to guilt you into buying it.”  This wine smelled like sugarfied sweetness with tires and fruit.  It tasted like cherry syrup.  This wine, more so than the others, sucks ass.  58.

2008 Zinfandel ($22.00):  The bar menu reads, “Aged in vintage oak barrels for 20 months, these Santa Clara Valley grapes go great with chocolate”.  It should say, “We went to our local nursery, picked up a few wine barrel flower pots, superglued them together, and were all like, ‘We should put some Zin in here!’  So we did.  It doesn’t taste good, unless you have it with a brick of chocolate.”  The nose is big and chocolatey, with a bit of plum.  It showed some promise, but then I tasted it.  Imagine taking a jar of canned cranberry sauce and spreading it over a dirty ass chair that had been left outside for years.  Now wait for the hottest day of the year, and take a bite of that dirty cranberry covered chair.  Doesn’t sound good, does it?  The wine wasn’t good either.  60.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28.00):  Cured ham, blackberry and oak on the nose.  Blackberry, black olive, and oak on the palate.  I’m giving it an 81.  The good news is that it’s not horrible.  The bad news is that for $28, I could buy half a case of something better.  What a shame.

Sparkling Wine:

Non-Vintage Almond Champagne ($16.95):  You’ve heard me say it before.  The almond tastes very fake, but the wine is still nice and refreshing.  It’s made from 100% French Colombard.  In making conversation with our server (who was very nice), I asked her where the French Colombard was from.  Her response, “Well… I’m not sure.  There’s this other company that makes it for us.  We just put the label on it.”  That makes sense.  No wonder I’m giving it an 84.  This is worth trying.

Fruit Wine:

Apricot ($16.95):  How can you dis fruit wine?  It’s delicious.  It smells like a bag of dried apricots.  It tastes like apricots.  I would try it with some vanilla ice cream (I gots ta get me some of that).  But, at the end of the day, it’s fruit wine.  I have a physics teacher friend that makes stuff like this for fun.  Take some fruit.  Crush it.  Throw it in a vat.  Add some yeast.  Let it sit for a few weeks.  Bottle it.  83.

Here’s the thing that gets me mad.  There are tons of vineyards in this area.  Tons!  Please check the map.  The fruit, from one vineyard to the next is essentially the same.  And the fruit is good.  There are plenty of wineries in the Santa Clara Valley that are making great wine with their grapes.  The problem is that there are almost as many wineries in this area that just don’t care enough to make good wine.  They use cheap methods (like using “vintage” barrels), and have no problem pushing a crappy product on their customers.  That’s just what Fortino is doing… and it’s off-putting.

If you look at their website (which looks worse than this blog) or their Yelp Page, it becomes apparent that they are much more into pushing events and weddings than making good wine.  In fact, the only other people in the tasting room that day, were two different couples that were planning to have their weddings at Fortino.  I overheard one couple say, “We don’t normally like Cabernet, but this stuff is great.”  On the other end of the bar, the other couple was all, “This Maribella is great!”  Kara and I just shook our heads.  I could not imagine having to serve that kind of garbage at my wedding.

Now look…

Fortino has a loyal following.  Many more than I have.  If you’re a big fan of them, all the power to you.  You’ve got your own palate, and you should trust it.  I’m sure they put on great events.  I’m sure the weddings there are beautiful.  And hey… The Almond Champagne and Apricot Wine ain’t bad.

BUT…

I’ve got a message for Fortino…

I love wine.

You make bad wine.

I hate it.

You can do better.

Step it up.

Get Rad,

Jeff


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