At the end of a recent post, I found this comment…
If I would have known my meal would be featured on Stay Rad, I would have picked more handsome looking menu. I demand you come back soon for another night of vegetarian goodness. Don’t blow this by not bringing more wine.
PS – Seriously. Bring more wine. I’m running low.”
Later that day, Dave texted a picture of grilled halloumi to me, via my wife (I don’t own a cell phone), with the message, “Come on over… and bring the wine.”
Never having been one to back down from a challenge, I yanked two random (yet related) bottles of wine from the rack, grabbed Kara by the hand, jumped in the car, and shouted, “It’s on!”
Kara began to shake her head. “Again?!?!”
Once we arrived at the House of Thevegetarian, I reached into my fanny pack to see which wines I had picked…
Since there was no halloumi left, we jumped right into the wine.
Here’s the thing about the Montgras 2009 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah…
I first started following this Chilean blend a few months back when I saw that Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate gave this wine a 90. When I saw that it was $9.99 at BevMo, I picked up a bottle and really liked it. The next week, BevMo started their 5 Cent Sale. I was stoked to see that it was on the list of 5 cent wines, until I saw that they jacked up the price of it to 17 dollars! Since I liked the wine, I still decided to pick it up with a savings of $1.50 per bottle (when you buy two). What’s crazy is that now that the 5 Cent Sale is over, BevMo lists the regular price of the wine at 17 dollars, but sells it for $11.38 with your BevMo Club Card. Meanwhile, Wine Library lists the regular price as $12.98, but sells it for $9.99. If I lived in New Jersey, or if I had a free shipping coupon, I’d hit up the Wine Library for this one.
Aside from the weird pricing thing with the Montgras, there is also a question about the blend. I could have sworn that when we checked the back of the label, it said it was 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah. Jay Miller refers to it as a 50/50 blend, as do all of the websites that quote Jay Miller’s rating. The Montgras website says it’s 60% Cab and 40% Syrah, so I should go with that, but remind me to have Dave check his recycling bin. As Tom Cruise once said to Jack Nicholson, “I want the truth!”
Now remember… I’ve had this wine before, but have never scored it.
Here’s the breakdown…
Color: Reddish purple.
Nose: Chalk (I love chalk!). Plum. Raspberry. Tobacco. I really loved the bouquet.
Taste: There is an instant BIG plum attack, followed by tobacco and green bell pepper. The one drawback was the tannins. They were HARSH! I love mine big and round. Not harsh. I made a note that it would probably be best served after some decanting or cellaring for a year or two.
Score: I was surprised by the Montgras. Maybe it’s bottle variation. Maybe I’ve become a harsher critic. I just remember liking this wine a whole lot more a few months back. The first time around, I would have said this wine lived up to the hype… But this time, I was kind of disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. The wine has a beautiful nose, and the balance of fruit and vegetal flavors is interesting. The problem is those harsh tannins. I just can’t get over it. At 86 points I cannot justify paying 12 bucks for it.
You know how I feel about the Kendall-Jackson tasting room by the Healdsburg Plaza.
In short, it sucks.
If you want the full story, click here.
When I pulled out the 2006 Kendall-Jackson Syrah, Dave was all, “I thought you hated Kendall-Jackson.”
“Their tasting room is for the birds, but… I already had this Syrah. We may as well try it.”
Here’s what I thought…
Color: Reddish purple. Much like the Montgras.
Nose: Chalk (mmmmmmmm). Plum. Tomato. Nice!
Taste: A very nice combination of dark fruit, chocolate, and bell pepper. The tannins are very soft and round. Good finish.
Score: Believe me, I really wanted to hate this wine. I really did. There was just one problem. The wine was good. You cannot deny how delicious this thing is. I’m giving the wine an 87. The Kendall-Jackson website says current vintage of the wine is $16, but I’m pretty sure I got it for around $12 at Safeway. If you are in a pinch, and looking for a nice Syrah, you may want to give the Kendall-Jackson a shot.
The Thevegetarians had opened up some nice wines as well. I really liked their wines, but I promised not to score them.
I can respect their wishes, but…
They did give us a tomato from their garden before we left…
Look… I said I wouldn’t score the wine, but I didn’t make any promises about tomatoes.
Lucky for me, I just found a ripe tomato in my back yard this morning…
So I decided to do a little head-to-head tomato challenge today…
Tomato del Vegetarian:
Looks: A light brick-red color. This tomato was the bigger of the two. It was about the size of a racquet ball. There was a low flesh/seed ratio with lots of juice-filled seed-pocket space.
Bite: The membrane was a little bit chewy, but not unforgivably so.
Flavor: Sweet, but with a green sensibility.
Score: This tomato was very nice. Considering his inability to build a succesful fantasy baseball team, I was surprised that Dave was able to produce such a good tomato. This tomato would taste great sliced up on a turkey sandwich. I give it two wedges and a stem.
A Rad Tomato:
Looks: A much darker red. Let’s call it ruby. My tomato was about the size of a large ping-pong ball. With a much higher flesh/seed ratio, this tomato had much smaller seed pockets and a meatier flesh.
Bite: There was a nice snap to the membrane, and the flesh was the perfect blend of meaty and juicy.
Flavor: Sweet and dark tomato flavor. Much sweeter than the first one. It had almost a salsa-esque flavor to it.
Score: With these two tomatoes, it’s all about preference. I think the sweetness and texture allows this tomato to stand on its own. I’d love to have this one quartered with a plate of charcuterie. I give it three solid wedges.
It looks like when it comes to tomatoes, the Rad ones always come out on top…
And just so you know I didn’t pre-plan my victory, I took this picture in the off-chance that Dave’s tomato would have won…