Finca Antigua Crianza la Mancha, Castilla, Spain 2009

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I bought this on sale for $11 and couldn’t be happier.  I got three bottles but may have to re-order by the case!  Opaque dark red/purple from this 50% Tempranillo, 20% Merlot, 20% Cab, 10% Syrah blend. The nose gives up mint, capsicum and a touch of blueberry. On the palate an interesting mix of blueberry, earth and pomegranate. The wine exhibits some forward acidity which explains the pomegranate component. It finishes nicely with a healthy, balanced dose of tannins that rest in the gums and make me reach for the glass. This is a yummy wine that defies the typical Spanish profile yet provides juicy, interesting flavors that should evolve and mature. 90 points and 5 stars for this great quality to price ratio.  Salut….

finca antigua crianza

Domaine Sebastien Magnien Pommard Les Perrieres, Cote de Beane, France 2010

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A Burgundy bottling that comes with great acclaim and which I have waited long enough to try.  See through light purple, hinting at refinement and class.  The nose has strawberry, pomegranate and twizzlers.  All typical of good Pinot Noir!  The initial taste is very elegant, light and juicy. Strawberry, rhubarb and juicy acidity merge into a mid palate of cherry kirsch. The finish is long and laced with tannins as well as that bracing acidity. This wine is exuberant and young. The earthiness and funk that I crave in Burgundy wines has not yet evolved. I would imagine another 4 years in the cellar might extract the results I’m looking for. 91 points for now and I am excited for the next bottle in a few years!  4 stars for this $55 offering.  Salut….

les perrieres

Clos St. Thomas ‘Chateau St. Thomas’ Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2008

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I have recently started to modify the titles of my posts to more closely reflect what other sites use.  One site in particular has added my blog to their reviews section and I want to make sure they are cataloged properly.  I may go back and modify some of the reviews I have done to become more searchable and SEO friendly. In the meantime, I plan on doing more tastings and more reviews.  This particular wine is a favorite.  My father and uncle both got me a few bottles of the 2008 St. Thomas, of which their cousin owns.  When I drank it 18 months ago it was really good, yet still primal.  The notes that follow will hopefully show you the evolution and value of cellaring certain wines.  What was a 91 point wine has now come out as worthy of 92, and 5 stars for it’s incredible $22 value.

Mature, bold and balanced. This wine has finally rounded it’s tannins and now the whole package is seamless and smooth. The mouthfeel is gorgeous with rich plum, cassis, leather and vanilla. The tannins are ever present but not dominating. They counter the acidity perfectly. This wine has evolved incredibly. The mid palate is especially present with rich plum and a hint of the oak. It will evolve further and run for another 10 years minimum. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and Syrah blended.  92 points. I’m serving it with grilled rib steaks and home-grown tomato salad.  Salut….

clos st. thomas wine

Alexander Valley Vineyards Wetzel Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

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I was recently in an airport lounge and saw this wine being offered.  I am a fan of the winery since our visit there in 2015.  If you are ever in the area and want to enjoy a nice tasting, fun staff and cool dog I suggest you visit Alexander Valley Vineyards.

Nice rich purple in the glass with a nose of eucalyptus and plum jam -maybe blackberry reduction. The initial taste is super smooth. I mean seriously smooth, with blackberry, nutmeg and tobacco flavors. This wine has a seamless transition from front to back. Amazing and extremely balanced. I’m loving it. 92 points, which is high but this wine is drinking on pointe and deserves credit for its immediate satisfaction. It may cellar for another 3-5 years but why wait?  I found it online for $15, but MSRP is around $22.  They blended a touch of my favorites in for color, aroma and balance.  Merlot at 6%, with a touch of Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. For sure a 5 star wine, stock up and serve alone or with pretty much all the classic red wine pairings.  Salut….

wetzel fmly estate cab sauv alex valley sonoma county north coast california usa

 

Esperance Du Retout Haut Medoc 2013

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Not much could be dug up on this wine so I I don’t have pricing or details.  It says Cru Bourgeois on the label and consists of 62% Cab Sav, 32% Merlot and 6% Cab Franc.  I like this ratio of blending.  The wine is an opaque purple in the glass and gives a charming nose of black fruits with some oak hints.  The initial attack is all black currants.  There is a sour cherry mid palate taste that feeds into the finish of more black fruits and very lithe tannins.  The acidity is slightly off-balance and there is a green note in there.  The wine slides in with 12.5% alcohol  which makes it pleasing to drink.  Overall a decent bottle of Bordeaux from a lackluster vintage.  I am giving it 86 points but without pricing, I can’t give a star rating.  Salut….

esperance du retout haut-medoc

BriO de Cantenac Brown 2010, revisited

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I last tasted this wine in it’s infancy, with instructions to revisit later.  Eighteen months on and it’s starting to open up, evolve and change in fruit flavors.  When I initially reviewed the BriO I only gave it 88 points.  This time is different.

Deep, rich purple hues with a nose of black currants, violets and cinnamon. The initial attack consists of blackberry, tar, and plum pudding. The wine is still showing some primal tannins, but they integrate well with the acidity. The mid palate and finish offer up more plums and a hint of eucalyptus. A medium length ending that leaves a certain tannic edge that begs for some red meat- good thing I’m doing kebabs tonight. I think this wine is just opening up and will drink well for another 5 years. 90 points and 3 stars for this $40 bottle.  Salut….

brio de cantina brown 2010

Domaine Mazilly Pere & Fils Beaune Vignes Franches 1er cru 2010

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Burgundy, and Pinot Noir can seem like such a minefield.  The nuances of the grape coupled with the intricacies of the Burgundian wine system leave me with a headache sometimes.  Having said that, I am trying my hardest to discover and having fun doing it.

See-through pinkish purple, as would be expected of a Pinot Noir. The nose intrigues me- but kinda thin. It offers shades of cherry, straw, dust and perhaps some pomegranate. The initial attack is very subtle and smooth. Cherry for sure, some capsicum, and spices. Violets come to mind as well. The mid palate is where the wine opens up- cherries, berries and some nice juicy tannins show up. The pomegranate re-appears on the finish as the wine closes out in a slightly acidic note. The whole package is quite delicious but lacks depth for now. I’m thinking it may evolve somewhat. 90 points from me (the pro’s gave it 92). Drink from now until 2025 and pair it with Cornish hens, maybe even some Salmon on the grill.  For $50,  it is a pricy wine, but very typical of small production Burgundy.  3 stars.  Salut….

Domaine Mazilly Pere & Fils Beaune Vignes Franches 1er Cru 2010

The cork was really dark and interesting.

The cork was really dark and interesting.

Chateau Arnaud, Saint Estephe, France 2010

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A see-through purple hue in the glass with some damson and leather on the nose.  The initial taste is super smooth with plum, tobacco, a touch of oak and very well balanced tannins.  The acidity is present, but only just showing itself.  The mid palate is interesting, with the tannins and acidity swirling around, mixing it up with more dark fruits and what appears to be the beginnings of secondary flavors.  I also get a telltale hint of violets.  When Bordeaux wines mature, the better made ones will start to lose the fruit and gain tertiary flavors that most claret drinkers love.  I am hoping this wine will evolve more as I have another 10 bottles and am going to enjoy the journey.  The finish is what I would consider ‘normal’.  Not long, not persistent but still showing off some of the fruit and tannins.  2010 was an exceptional year for Bordeaux, this wine is making the most of it.  The fruit is still ever present and the structure is great, holding the wine together and giving it a cellaring potential of another 7-8 years. In that timeframe I imagine some interesting things may happen.  I am going with 91 points and 5 stars for this $22 effort that is 30% Merlot, 60% Cab Sav and 10% Cabernet Franc (Which is probably why I like it so much!)  Salut….

chateau arnaud

Chateau Les Ormes Saint-Julien 2009

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I love Bordeaux wines, especially from awesome vintages like 2009.  This particular bottling is 68% Cab Sav, 30% Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot.  It comes in at 13% alcohol and can be had for $80.  Do not confuse this winery with Ormes de Pez.

Dark, hazy purple in the glass it offers up a nose of black fruits, tar and some oak.  On the palate, still young and tannic but with flavors of black berries, cassis and violets.  The mid palate is somewhat muted by the tannic structure and the juicy acidity, not leaving much room for the fruit to shine, this is only a temporary problem that will be solved wth cellaring or a run through the Vinturi.  The finish is long and searing with gum numbing tannins.  The tail end shows off some berry and spice box.  The deft use of oak and lack of super extraction tell me this is a quality wine that has respected the terroir and will live long.  Not cheap, it is worthy of 91 points from me and 3 stars.  I am cooking NY Strip steaks with some Artichokes, a perfect pairing if I might say so.  I have more in the cellar and will re-visit in two years or so.  Salut….

chateau les ormes

 

Baby Back Ribs on the Big Green Egg

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I know, this is a wine blog.  But I also love cooking on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill. I have done chicken, turkey, steaks, legs of lamb, brisket but never ribs.  Today is the trial.  I am using a slow cook of 5 hours with a portion of that time spent in a tin foil bath of apple juice.

I started off with two racks of baby back ribs, to which I slathered a thin coating of mustard.  I do this with all my slow cooks as it gives the meat a moist base for the rub to stick to without overpowering the flavors.  For the actual rub, I bought some Pork Barrel BBQ rub from Costco to try out.  I normally mix my own, but rubs are generally pretty standard and this brand happens to have some good sauces:

  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili
  • Paprika
  • Cilantro
  • Pepper
  • Anything else in the cupboard

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Once the meat was rubbed and the coals set to about 230F I put the diffuser in the Egg, placed a water bath on top of it and laid the meat on to the grate so there was no direct heating.

 

Mustard and Dry Rub

Mustard and Dry Rub

Indirect 230F heat/smoke

Indirect 230F heat/smoke

The meat was cooked for 2 hours of indirect heat followed by two hours wrapped up in foil with some apple juice. The juice adds moisture and allows the meat to fall off the bone. The final hour of the 5 hour cook will be spent without the foil, ensuring the crust gets a little crispy.  I really enjoyed these ribs and will tinker some more with rubs, cooking times and sauces.  All you need is some cold beer or perhaps a glass of Shiraz!  Salut….

The ribs, in all their glory.

The ribs, in all their glory.

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