Posts Tagged ‘Syrah’

Where do YOU find value?

April 23, 2013

Well…

The Languedoc has done it again.

I’ve long been a fan of this Southern region of France for its fresh, food-friendly, and inexpensive wines.

The other day, I picked up this bad boy from Bev Mo for 14 bucks…

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Chateau Millegrand 2008 Minervois Red Wine

Millegrand is an estate found in the Minervois appellation of the Languedoc.  This red wine is a blend of 35% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 25% Carignan, and 10% Mourvedre.  It was aged for 12 months in French Oak barrels.

Color: Dark ruby red with a few rusty notes near the edges.

Nose: Nice and chalky (You know I love chalk!).  There are some nice sweet tobacco notes, and just a touch of ripe plum and blackberry fruit.

Taste: This is an earthy wine.  Forest floor, mushroom, and tobacco for days.  There are, of course, these lovely red fruits… but this wine is mad earthy.

Score: This was the perfect wine for a Tuesday night (which it is).  Pair this one with barbecue, pizza, or burgers, and you will be one happy customer.  Pick it up.  89

If the review doesn’t sell you, peep this photo, foo…

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Thumbs up, brah!

You know I love the Languedoc, but where do you find value?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Find wine and wine-related products on Amazon.

Rosé and the Grill

April 21, 2013

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

It’s beautiful here in Northern California.

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It’s the perfect time to break open the ol’ grill.

When you’re grilling, there are a couple different ways to go in terms of wine pairing.

For me, the choice was obvious…

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Stepping Stone 2012 Corallina Syrah Rosé by Cornerstone Cellars

The fine folks at Cornerstone Cellars sent this wine my way as a sample, and I just had to break it open.

This rosé is 100% Napa Valley Syrah.  The block of this Syrah was intended to be used for rosé from the beginning.  In a world where some rosé is treated as an afterthought, this wine was made with intention.  For a wine that saw French oak for 5 months before bottling, this rosé is surprisingly affordable at $20 a bottle.  Considering that it is now available on special at $16 from the winery, this rosé is a steal.

Color: A beautiful salmon pink.

Nose: Citrus of grapefruit and lime, with a fun cherry 7-up minerality on the nose.

Taste: Make no mistake.  This is a dry rosé.  The fruit, however, gives a good perception of sweetness.  Beautiful notes of cherries, raspberries, and cranberries with a little orange zest on the back end.  A nice minerality, and good acidity, gives this wine a fresh balance that completely hides the 14.1% alcohol.

Score: Cornerstone will tell you that this a serious rosé.  I agree.  A solid 88.

Now, onto the food…

 

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Mushroom, Onion, and Bell Pepper Kabobs, Marinated Portobellos, and a New York Strip

Some folks will tell you that this outdoor meal requires a big Cab, or a ripe Zin, but those folks are squares.

This is rosé weather.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your beverage of choice when you’re manning the grill?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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Organized Chaos: A wonderfully mad tasting at Rhone Rangers San Francisco

March 25, 2013

More and more, I find myself gravitating toward Rhone wines (made of grapes typically grown in the Rhone Valley of France). California gets a lot of love for it’s Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) grapes, but it’s the Rhones (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Petite Sirah) that I really think are bringing it these days.

Power.

Balance.

Structure.

Elegance.

Value.

I’m loving me some Rhones!

This past Saturday, Kara and I took a quick trip to the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco to attend the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting as members of the media. Needless to say, we were hella stoked.

You may recall from my ZinFest post, that when you come to these events, you’ve got to have a plan.  We thought about going alphabetical.  We thought about just focusing on Petite Sirah.  We thought about doing a Syrah vs. Grenache showdown.

But…

After entering the  Festival Pavilion, and seeing all the wonderful wines to taste, we decided to bounce around to as many tables as possible…

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Inside the Pavilion

I know that this may seem like a chaotic approach to wine, but the goal is to get a good overall picture of what these Rhone varietals (Take that 1 Wine Dude.  You just got Frogged.) have to offer.

So…

Let’s grab our glasses and go.

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Take your pick.

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Zenaida Cellars 2010 Syrah from Paso Robles brings some bright red fruit, leather, and herbs.

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I love me some Wrath! The 2010 San Saba Vineyard Syrah brings some of that big tobacco that I love. Let me say love a few more times. Love. Wrath.

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VINTUS Wines brought a bunch of French Rhones from E. Guigal to compare against the American wines. I’ve gotta say that they were all killer. The 2009 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde was clean and elegant. It had nice cherry and tobacco notes.

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I was lovin’ all of the wines from Villa Creek Cellars. I really liked the 2010 La Boda, a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Mourvedre with delicious dark plum notes, spice, and rubber. Mad tasty.

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Terre Rouge brought plenty of delicious single-vineyard Syrahs from Amador County. The 2008 DTR Ranch Syrah was big and lovely. By the way, their white Rhones are killer too.

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When I think of American Rhones, I think of Tablas Creek Vineyard. The 2010 Espirit de Beaucastel, with its reserved, yet powerful, cherry fruit and tobacco flavors was fantastic, as always.

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Skylark Wine Company is an urban winery in San Francisco that does some great single-vineyard Syrahs. You know I love Stagecoach Vineyard fruit, so I jumped at the 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Syrah. 32 months on oak gave the wine a nice, vanilla flavor matched up nicely with the tobacco notes on this Syrah.

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Rosenblum Cellars showed up to the party with the 2008 England-Shaw Syrah. The wine was super clean with bright plum fruit.

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Yeah… I write about Ridge Vineyards a lot. That’s because they f-ing rule. Take the 2008 Lytton Estate Syrah… Actually… Give it back. Those blueberry and blackberry fruit notes are just great.

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Eric Kent Wine Cellars offered up two vintages of Kalen’s Big Boy Blend Syrah. The 2010 vintage was loaded with red fruit, tobacco, and jerky. The 2011 barrel sample had a gamey flavor with touches of blueberries. Just thinking about this wine makes me want to give them a visit real soon.

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Not only was the Folin Cellars bringing some tasty 2009 Estate Syrah from Oregon, but look at their glass closures! This wine has some super legit red fruit.

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I was a big fan of the Hug Cellars 2008 El Grande Syrah. It’s a bit of a fruit bomb, but so tasty.

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JC Cellars was my favorite winery at ZinFest, so I had to see what was up with their Rhones. The 2010 Rockpile Vineyard Syrah was loaded with big, bright, red fruit, tires, and chalk. You know I love chalk.

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This is the 2009 Peasant (MGS Blend) from Cypher Winery. It’s a big, ripe, dark, fruit bomb. Not bad.

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The 2010 Stepping Stone Syrah by Cornerstone Cellars has some good cranberry fruit.

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Here’s a couple of big, inky Petite Sirahs from Clayhouse Wines of Paso Robles. Both were quite tannic and concentrated.

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This is the 2008 Cigare Volant from Bonny Doon Vineyard. You know I love Bonny Doon. This Rhone Blend has the perfect balance of fruit, tobacco, herbs, and acid. I love this wine.

After tasting through 50+ wines from 17 wineries, our palates were getting a bit burned out, so I put the notebook away, and we strolled around the Pavilion and tried whatever wines looked appealing.

What follows are my pictures from what Martin Redmond of Enofylz Wine Blog would call the “freestyle portion of the program.”

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Prospect 772 Wine Company 2010 “The Instigator” Syrah

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Landmark Vineyards 2011 Steel Plow MGS

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Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Wahluke Slope Grenache

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Miraflores Winery 2009 Estate Syrah

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Two Shepherds 2011 Saralee’s Vineyard Syrah and 2011 Saralee’s Vineyard Grenache

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Martian Ranch 2011 “Red Shift” Syrah

Yup…

I dig Rhones.

How ’bout you?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 66: A Dynamic Wine

September 22, 2012

As the San Francisco Giants game began tonight, Jeff opened up a Biodynamic wine from Lake County…

Wine Tasted:

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Dynamic 2010 Red Table Wine

Paired With:

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A Straight Up Ridiculous Chili Dog

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Wine and Burritos

September 19, 2012

Tonight, Kara and I were in a burrito type of mood…

You know the feeling.

But… I was also in a wine type of mood…

You know the feeling.

Finding the right wine to pair with a burrito is kinda tough though…

I mean…

When’s the last time you ordered wine at a Mexican restaurant?

After picking up a couple burritos at La Choza Taqueria in Morgan Hill I took a look in the wine cabinet to see if any of my GV Specials would work.  After a few minutes, I came up with this one…

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Estampa 2007 Assemblage

The Estampa 2007 Assemblage is a Chilean wine composed of 63% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot.  This wine retails for $10.  I picked it because Chilean wines always come off as tasting a little green and spicy… The perfect complement for a big, savory burrito.

Here’s how it went down…

Color: This wine is a dark and dull reddish purple.

Nose: For a ten dollar wine, I was surprised by the big, decadent aroma of juicy plums, blackberries, and blueberries.  There was a nice chalkiness to the nose… And you know I love chalk.  This wine smells expensive.

Taste: Woah!  This wine has big, aggressive tannins.  For a 2007, this wine strikes me as tasting very young… But it’s gonna be a beast one day.  Good fruit of plum and fig.  Nice notes of green bell pepper.

Score: The only thing that is holding me back about this wine are those big tannins.  I mean… They are big.  I’m giving it an 89 today, but I think it has potential to knock some socks off in about five years.

Now, let’s try it with the burrito…

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Un Super Burrito de Carne Asada

I love the burritos at La Choza.

I love them.

Chewy tortillas.

Juicy chunks of beef.

Sour cream… So creamy and sour.

I love ’em.

I just don’t love them with the Estampa.

Look…

The greenness of the wine did compliment the burrito, but those tannins… Those tannins are just too overwhelming.

Here’s what you should do.

Get you a burrito and a beer.

Enjoy the wine later.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 62: A Strapping Wine

August 25, 2012

In this episode, Jeff is looking for redemption from this Australian GSM…

Wine Tasted:

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Yalumba 2010 The Strapper GSM

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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