Posts Tagged ‘Strawberry’

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

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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

This wine makes me want food… Now!

June 12, 2011

Setting the mood: I have this tempranillo decanting in two huge wine glasses. The candle is for show. It will not be lit.

There are a few advantages to having summers off.  One such advantage is having a ridiculous amount of time to kill.

The other day, I spent almost two hours at the Gilroy BevMo just looking at wine.  Scoping the labels.  Reading the blurbs.  Scouting for deals.

A “deal” is NOT the same as a “sale”.

They are having their 5 cent sale right now.  It’s a scam that will be discussed on another day.

By deal, I’m talking about value.  A Rad wine at an equally Rad (if not Radder) price.  With so much time on my hands, I found that the best deals (on paper) were in the Spain, Chile, and Argentina sections.  I came across hella wines that were highly rated by the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Not Wilfred Wong!  Again… will discuss on another day) that were in the 10 to 20 dollar range.

From that BevMo adventure, I ended up buying 3 bottles of wine.  Of the bottles, the one that I am the most excited to taste is this bad boy…

The Mas Que Vinos 2007 Ercavio Tempranillo Roble cost me $10.99 and was given a 90+ rating by Robert Parker.  Now, Gary Vaynerchuk would tell me to trust my own palate, but I must say that my palate usually agrees with that of Robert Parker.  For 11 bucks, why not try it?

Now, it’s time to taste…

Mas Que Vinos Ercavio Tempranillo Roble 2007

Those smudges on the label are not supposed to be there. I'm that messy.

Color:  This wine is a DARK ruby.  There is a not quite rusty rose color along the outer edge of the glass.

Nose:  One sniff of this tempranillo filled my mouth with cocoa powder.  You know how you’ll be opening a packet of instant cocoa and a cloud of powder wafts up to your nose?  THAT kind of cocoa powder.  The chalkiness of the nose also reminds me of opening the box for a new bicycle tube.  There is a green component to this wine as well.  Slightly minty.  A little like fresh lettuce from the garden.  There is a deep note of plum.

Taste:  I don’t want this to throw you off.  My first thought in drinking this wine was of a grapefruit.  Imagine that tart citrus component of a grapefruit.  Now take away the mouth-puckering sour aspect.  I guess I’d call it essence of grapefruit.

Now, take that grapefruit and dip it in chocolate.  Delicious!

There is a lingering acidity.  A little lime.  There are some nice soft tannins that tell me this is as good as this wine is going to get.

This wine is a solid, confident, beast…

This wine makes me want food… Now!  I want tacos.  I want burgers.  Bruschetta.  Cheese.  It is extremely versatile.

After my initial taste, I jumped up to raid the fridge.  My initial thought was to grab some cheese.  Since I was thinking about tacos, I grabbed some hard cotija cheese from Mexico (Literally!  I flew down to Mexico just now to get this cheese).

While I was cutting the cheese (Childish joke.  Though not intended… appreciated!)  My mouth began to water with this flavor of caramel and chocolate (Rollos anyone?), so I grabbed some strawberries.

The saltiness of the cotija paired very well with the acidity of the wine.  The strawberries did a great job of stepping up those chocolate notes.

This wine is a solid, food friendly, mo fo.

Considering that this is my first official review for this blog, I had a tough time scoring this wine.  I must tell you that I loved it.  You must also know that I doubt it has the structure to last another two years in the cellar.  All I’m thinking right now, however, is that I want to go buy a whole case right now.  I want to drink this wine with as many different food pairings as I can.  It is THAT good.  But… I’ve had better.  But… It’s only 11 bucks.

I’ve got to tell you, I could not have asked for a better wine to score first for you.  This is THE threshold for me.  I’m giving it 90 points, and I’m telling you that you MUST try this.

Rubbery, synthetic cork. Chocolaty, authentic wine.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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