Posts Tagged ‘Rhone’

Golly Gee (S.M.)!

July 12, 2013

At this point, we know each other pretty well, right?

So…

What would you say if I told you that I just tasted one of my favorite wines of the year (so far)… and it was only SEVEN DOLLARS?!?!?!?!

First, let me show you what I made for dinner…

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Rosemary Chicken, Mushroom & Bell Pepper Skewers, and Grilled Cabbage Slaw

Now…

After Kara and I picked up most of our ingredients from our local farm stand, we swung by Trader Joe’s to get some organic, free-range chicken breasts.  While browsing the wine aisle to find the perfect pairing, I came across this bad boy…

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Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

Now…

You know that I am a big fan of Rhone-style wines.

You also know that I’ve been loving the value and quality of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France.

So…

When I see a seven dollar Languedoc composed of the popular GSM Rhone blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (20%), you know I’m going to be all over it.

But…

Does it deliver?

Hells to the yeahs, it does!

Note: I opened, and poured, this wine a good 45 minutes before tasting it.

Color: A dense, and inky, deep ruby red.

Nose: Beautiful notes of dusty chocolate with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits.

Taste: Though young, this wine has a medium body of very soft, and approachable tannins.  The front palate starts off strong with dense and brambly fruits of blackberry and dark cherry, which transition nicely to a mid-palate of cranberries and orange zest.  On the finish, these fruits begin to raisinate, and show off a wonderfully long, acidic finish.

Score: Wow!  This wine is a strong 91+… And I almost feel bad scoring it that low.  My only reservation is that this wine appears to lack the ageability of a truly fine wine… But… C’mon guys… This wine is what it is.  This is a fantastic wine that is ready to be consumed right, the F, now… And the great part is that you can find this at your local Trader Joe’s… Right.  The F.  Now.  Of course, if you shop at my local TJ’s, you’re gonna have some trouble finding it.  I’m buying them all up.  Right.  The.  F.  Now.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s the best seven dollar wine you’ve ever had?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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Bundled up in Gilrory. Music by Naked in Vegas.

June 18, 2011

Sarah's Vineyard is in Gilroy... but not really.

On Friday, Kara and I decided to head over to Sarah’s Vineyard in Gilroy.  Sarah’s is a small winery, tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains.  The breezy climate makes it perfect for Burgundian and Rhone varietals.  I am a big fan of their light style of wine making.

The reason for the trip was to attend their Summer Music Series.  They have a neat patio and lawn area where different local bands will come to play.  The tasting room stays open late to sell their wines by the bottle to enjoy with the music.  You can bring your own picnic, or buy something to eat from whichever catering company is there (it changes from week to week).

Kara and I brought homemade Brie Paninis with Mango Chutney, Turkey (for me), and Spinach.  We also bought a bottle of the Sarah’s Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir for $15.

Sarah's Vineyard 2006 Central Coast Pinot Noir and Kara's foot 2011.

Color:  This Pinot had a cloudy dull red color.  You could recreate that color by mashing a bunch of over-ripe roma tomatoes into a paste and adding water and a pinch of dirt.  I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but I must say it looked fantastic.  See…

Tomatoes and Dirt and Awesome!

Nose:  There was a nice whiff of smoke, butter, and pepper.  As I took a bit more in, I noticed a rubbery cola aroma.  Nice!

Taste:  This Pinot Noir had a very meaty and buttery taste on the palate, rounded out with a touch of cherry cola.  On the finish, a touch of cranberry and walnuts became present.

I really liked this wine.  I also appreciate that Sarah’s did not jack up their prices for the event.  I give it a solid 87.

As the sun began to set, the wind really started to pick up. It got hella cold, hella quick.  The cover band, Naked in Vegas, was alright.  They were not, however, good enough to keep our cold asses at the vineyard after we had finished our bottle of Pinot Noir.

Naked in Vegas? More like bundled up in Gilroy!

Don’t worry, Sarah’s Vineyard, we will be back.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Everything’s coming up Rosés: A three bottle throwdown.

June 16, 2011

Yesterday, Kara and I did a little tasting at Guglielmo Winery.  I originally went there with the intention of tasting and scoring EVERY wine we tasted.  Things did not go as planned.  The problem was that a tasting room is not an ideal space to score wines.  Too many people.  Too many wines.  Too many distractions.  That, and it’s embarrassing to write down a score in front of people working for the winery you are scoring.

I will say that I had a great time there.  None of their wines felt like must-haves, but Guglielmo is a fun place to be.  All of their wines fall in that 83 – 89 point range for me.  All of the people that work there are more like 92’s.  Great, great folks and a neat place to visit if you are ever visiting the Santa Clara Valley.

The wine that stuck out the most to me was the 2010 Estate Grown Rosatello.  It was an interesting rosé wine made from the grignolino grape (a super nerdy varietal from Italy).  Guglielmo claims to be one of only two wineries in California to grow the grape in any significant quantities.  The wine seemed food-friendly enough, so I purchased a bottle for $16.

I’m not a HUGE rosé drinker, so it is a tough category for me to score (It’s tough to type too.  Alt + 0233 = é).  Part of this blog experience is to try new things.  So how do I transition from a novice into an expert on pink wines?

THE THREE BOTTLE THROWDOWN!

This morning, I picked up two more bottles of Rosé from Trader Joe’s to compare against the Rosatello.  One from the Rioja of Spain ($6.99) and one from the Rhone of France ($4.99).  I know what wines I have purchased, but I will not know which of the three I am drinking until after I take my notes.  I had Kara pour the wines into three different glasses…

The three Rosés were labeled with wine charms: "Red", "White", and "Blue". In the battle between Spain, France, and the USA, I think we all know who should win... or do we?

After I taste the wines, I’ll see which one is which.  Wish me luck…

Wine #1:

"Red": You know what time it is!

Color:  This is the darkest wine of the bunch.  It haa a cool blood-orange type of color.

Nose:  There is a really pretty nose to this one.  Peach skin, oranges, and licorice dominate the nose.  There is a strong minerality that is rounded out with a hint of strawberry.

Taste:  This is what I would expect a Rosé to taste like.  Very dry.  There’s a nice orange and peach fruit to this, but the wine is much more driven by its minerality and acidity.  There is a long rubbery finish that I really like.  My guess is that this is the French Rose.

Wine #2:

"White": More like orange! Heyohhhhhh!!!!!!

Color:  The color is a very dull, very light, orange tint.

Nose:  The nose is very tight.  There are hints of sugar and salt.  There’s a subtle touch of peach.

Taste:  The first second of the taste was salty minerality.  This flavor gave way in an instant to a beautiful mouth full of cream and licorice.  It has some oak notes that remind me of a California red wine.  I really like this!  I’m thinking that this is the Spanish Rose.

Wine #3:

"Blue": The candle is for Evan.

Color:  The color on this wine is almost identical to that of the second (“White”) wine.  Light, dull, and orange.

Nose:  The nose is giving subtle hints of peach and minerals.

Taste:  All I can think of when tasting this wine is the viscosity.  This wine is the thickest of them all.  There’s a light acidity and minerality.  This wine would go well with food, but mostly because it would not get in the way of the food.  I doubt, however, that it would do anything to enhance the food experience.  This wine confused me.  It’s not bad.  It’s pleasant.  It just doesn’t bring much to the table.

Now…

The scores have been tallied, and the I’ve seen what’s what.  Here are the results from worst to first.

In last place…

Marques de Caceres 2009 Dry Rose Wine. Rioja, Spain. This wine made me "Blue".

I originally gave the Marques de Caceres an 85+, but the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it.  Again, it is not bad.  The problem is that for 7 bucks, I can find at least two wines that are significantly better in a similar price range.  Give it an 82 with shrugged shoulders.

In second…

Cellier du Rhone 2009 Cotes du Rhone Rose. "Red" and Rad!

The Cellier du Rhone is a steal at 5 bucks a bottle!  Give it an 86.  This is what I want from a summer time rosé.

And in First Place…

Guglielmo Private Reserve 2010 Estate Grown Rosatello. Santa Clara Valley, California. In spite of the look, this is NOT a crappy "White" zin.

The Guglielmo Rosatello is not your typical rose.  I am, however, in love with the creaminess of this wine.  Give it an 88 and save it for a hot summer afternoon.

So, there you have it.  I don’t know if I’m an expert yet, but I think I learned a lot today.

Take it away, Ethel.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Burgers, Beer, the Bachelorette, and Wine: L’Authentique Barbecue

June 14, 2011

Inspiration abounds when ground beef and Tecate Light are in the mix.

KaraIsRad, my wife, was to be back from the gym in about 15 minutes.  The clock inside my brain told me it was time to start prepping.

80/20 ground beef?  Check!

Veggie Patties (For her, dude!)?  Check!

Grill on?  Fa’ sho!

Tecate Light?  No doubt!

Let it be said that I do love hoppy craft beers.  Love ’em!  Make them so hoppy it tastes like I just bit a rose bud off of a 5 year old bush.  Flowers for days.  Love me some micro-brew!

But…

When a grill is involved, you have to bring out the canned lager.  The macro-brew, if you will.  Something cold with a tinny (aluminum) kick.

I’m a Coors Lite fan.  Not that I think it is any better than Bud or Pabst or Modelo.  It’s not even different.  I like the Coors Lite because of the can.  There’s only one can that can tell you it’s cold using blue mountains.  One!  That’s the Silver Bullet, baby.

I had some Tecate Light on hand, because I’ve been on a taco kick lately.  Again… there is no (okay… a little) difference in taste here.  If you’re making tacos on the grill, however, your canned lager MUST be Mexican.  I don’t make the rules, holmes.  I just stick to ’em.

Now…

I was deep in it.  Getting my mise en place for the ultimate Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, when I thought to myself,

“You know what would go great with this burger?  WINE!”

I dropped my Tecate Light like it was cold, and grabbed me this sucker…

The L'Authentique la Caumette NV and my dope ass Nokia (Phone Book) leaning against a turtle lamp.

When I picked up this $4.99 bottle of L’Authentique la Caumette NV Red Table Wine at Trader Joe’s, I swear the elderly stock clerk gave me the same look that Bastian got from that dude at the book store in Never Ending Story.  His eyes said to me, “You can’t handle this!”  I started to shake just before he ripped the bottle out of my hands…

I was shocked to hear him speak in such a calming tone  “Nice.  This is an EXCELLENT bottle of wine,” he told me in a gentle French accent.  “This wine has good fruit, nice acidity, and for the price… it cannot be beat.”

This Non-Vintage French table wine does not list the grape varietals being used, but the word on the street is that it’s a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and carignan.  The back label, showing a map of France with a little dot near the Southern Rhone, leads me to believe that the aforementioned blend is entirely possible.

I poured two glasses.  One for me and one for KaraIsRad.  Then, it was back to the barbecue…

Pre-Heat to Hell Fire... ALWAYS!

80/20 ground beef w/ egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dill. Shape like a deformed heart, and lay it down!

Always oil up the grates to get sear marks. Only flip it once. Man Code!

Time to eat… I mean… taste the wine.

Blue Cheese Burger w/ Garlic Dijon Aioli, Arugula Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta (by KaraIsRad), and L'Authentique in a big glass. Not L'Fake!

Color:  This wine is as red as red can get without being black.  I’m talking BLACK!  It’s what I would envision the back alley of Fangtasia from True Blood to look like.

Nose:  My fist thought is of orange zest.  Very ripe, but acidic in nature.  There is a chalky feel to this nose.  I love chalk.  Throughout it all, there is a red raspberry fruit that balances everything out.

Hey…

The Bachelorette is on!

Told you!

Look… I’m not a huge fan of the show, but it is a great conversation starter:

“Who names their kid Constantine?  Or West?  Or Ames?”

“What’s up with that guy’s face?”

“Why does she wear so many belly shirts?”

“How come that dude is always squinting?”

“Is that dude missing his lower set of teeth?”

“That dude runs like a girl.  What’s his problem?”

Oh yeah…

Back to the wine!

Taste:  On the initial attack, there are these extremely dry, mouth-filling tannins.  They are lasting 30+ seconds, easily.  Dee-lish!

There is that same orange zest component that I smelled earlier, but it is rounded out with hints of lemon and lime.  There is this not-so-ripe strawberry flavor that is really nice.  Great acidity!

I just took my first bite of the burger…

"These burgers are crazy!" - The Moldy Peaches

It is F-ing Amazing!

The beefiness of the burger, paired with the lactic notes of the blue cheese and tanginess of the aioli bring out some chocolaty tones from the wine.  It gives my entire mouth a rich milky feel.

KaraIsRad made a fresh arugula salad with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and a red wine vinaigrette.  This highlights the flavors of orange blossoms and chalk.

You have to respect this wine for what it is.  A red table wine.  What do we put on our tables?

Food.

By itself, the wine is a solid 88.  With food?  Give it a 90.  This is the perfect wine for a weeknight meal with the wife.  And a steal at 5 bucks.

Pair it with Pizza, Pasta, Burgers, the Bachelorette, and possibly the Bad Girls Club.  This wine is THAT versatile!

Have you ever seen a wine bottle this full?

Stay Rad,
Jeff

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