Tuesday, April 29, 2008

italian wines with rich from pinnacle

tasted through some new italian wines today...

Primaterra Pinot Grigio 2007 light dry style.not a lot of fruit, some minerality and a cute label of a fish with an umbrella,, i think it was a freud thing but you decide for yourself what it means.

Mirabile Inzolia Sicily 2005 Pretty in the glass with a bright golden shine, creamy mouthfeel even though it sees no ML. Of course it will be in this store because across the parking lot is Jaspers restaurant run by the Mirabile family.

Quattro Mani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006 a wine advocate 88pt wine..you will find it in the corner amidst the high rated under $20 bottles. a touch of earth on the nose, roses and lavender.

Guicciardini Strozzi Titolato Chianti DOCG ...very earthy and rustic.. not a winner for me

Fontanafredda Serralunga Barolo 2003 Coffee colored in the glass.. touch of fruit good acidity but not a big tannic monster

Fratta Pasini Amarone 2003 Amarone usually smells of raisins, coffee flavors came through. soft tannins and earthy but not what I think of as Amarone.

Tapestry luncheon at pierponts

One of the perks of the job is being taken to a nice restaurant for lunch, to of course tell how well the wine goes with food. this time it was my old haunting grounds of Pierponts, that I had the privilege to help open up over 9 years ago...hard to believe its that long.
Tapestry is a winery from Australia. Nice products. I wish I could remember what they were but I didnt have a sheet on me. The thing that stood out the most was their Unoaked chardonnay... very crisp clean and not overly sweet.. The Shiraz called Bakers Gully was a little light for me. The outstanding wine was their Tapestry Cabernet...lots of sweet cedar and lush fruit. I also got to try their big boy Shiraz called The Vincent ..very big lots of extraction and for me not overly exciting for $40 plus....maybe next vintage...by the way I did not know that St Vincent was the patron saint of winemakers...learned something new every day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

priarie organic vodka

These two gentleman, jason connelly and kip tyler, introduced a new vodka to me today...made from corn and completely organic. prairie vodka...a soft almost floral nose and sweet first impression. it doesnt have the bite that european vodka does, very smooth. lots of heat that spreads out through the mouth not just middle of the tongue.

it also is certified kosher.. it will be in the store for rosh hashanah.

kevin seligman and rosenblum

pity poor rosenblum in the kansas city market. it has been with three different distributors that I know of...having a home with one of the largest it will have some focus again. they produce over 60 bottlings with all their tiers. Their winery is located in Alameda, just a ferry ride away from San Fran.

the ones we tried today.

Vintners Cuvee XXX zinfandel... year in year out a crowd pleaser. dark purple, with coffee notes coming at me.. and briary..unlike the Krug though this had some nice fruit attached.

Vintners Cuvee Syrah 2005 a touch watery, a little hot at 15%, nice juice but was hoping for a little more intensity.

Richard Sauret Zinfandel... one of the many single vineyard things they do...very ripe fruit, almost port like, dark berry flavors and nice acidic finish.

negotiants with david maib

australian wines tasted here.

Oxford Landing 2006 GSM I usually like this blend of grenache, mourvedre and syrah, the nose on this was funky, like chocolate cotton candy. a mish mash of flavors that really dont gel together.

Yalumba Old Vine Grenache 2006 hot not juicy, not much going until the end and then a little cherry... again I usually like old vine grenache but this disappointed me.

Jim Barry The Cover Dive Cabernet 2005 refers to a position or game plan in cricket... I think this was a tight wine that could use age but I dont know...screw top..interesting.

Henshche Euphonium 2003 A touch of iodine on the nose, a blend of cab merlot and shiraz.. could be a little more focused especially for the money.

Charles Krug

New vintages of Krug wines, these interest me since reading the Mondavi book and how Peter and Robert came to blows, literally.

Krug Sauv Blanc 06 a touch sweet, peachy? herbal not too grassy or tart.

Krug Merlot 2005 a touch hot and tannic, would have liked more fruit.

Krug Zin 2005 Briary nose but too much alcohol and tannin...maybe in a year or so.

Krug Cabernet Yountville Nice up front fruit and grip or texture. my favorite of the bunch

Generations 04 soft and supple. 60% cab with the rest made up of bordeaux varietals and a touch of syrah.
vanilla nose, juisy silky tannins.

corks and forks

big tasting tonite and a lot of wine people in town for it.. they say that ones tastebuds are affected by the weather, the barometric pressure in particular. I dont know if thats the reason but a lot of the wines I tasted today came off as hot or with high alcohol levels.Not always a bad thing but usually they are integrated enough to not be that noticable.

first from derrick of bommarito.

selbach-oster riesling kabinett 2006 I will give you the notes written by the company..." a seldom seen species from the 06 vintage but i follws the wish of the winemakker to have a snappy, taut and light-ish basic wine. There's great crunch and snap and little limey puppy teeth, herbal intricacy, powdery minerality and mentholated penetration yet each sip is juicier than the last. This is about as rare as an ivory billed woodpecker in 2006." I found it to be sweeter than I expected a kab to be...honey notes and a nice roundness.

Ladera Napa Cab 2005 great wine with a lot of grip. long finish with a touch more cedar than I like but not a deal breaker. this wine is like drew barrymore, you think its a one hit wonder and then it keeps surprising you. Ladera is made on the old Chateau Woltner estate which was known for high end Chardonnay, but they took out all the Chard and planted bordeaux varietals.
Their Claret and Howell Mountain are really nice too a little pricery though

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Martin Ray with Tom Gasparo

Martin Ray is a negociant wine maker in that they buy grapes from people and make their own wine. Martin Ray was one of the first vinifera winemakers in the Santa Cruz area which seems interesting now that we know Pinot and Cab and such grow well there.

Their second label is Angeline which for the money is one of the better value wines from California.

Angeline Russian River Merlot 2005 Soft berry flavor like red color.

Angeline Pinot Noir 2004 soft tannin like candied fruit, good intro to pinot at the price point.

All of the wines I tasted seemed to have a slight aroma or odor..maybe what is known as breit or maybe it was in the glass before we tasted. not a terrible smell but just a little off.

Martin Ray Reserve Russian River Pinot...a touch stewed fruit, a touch hot...not showing well today.

Martin Ray Cab Napa 2005 soft tannins, not a long finish.

Martin Ray Stags Leap Cab 2004 for the money I was expecting a little more umph..if that is a word. it was hot but in the back of the mouth, not where I usually feel heat...and not a lot of fruit.

Martin Ray Santa Cruz Cab 2004 definitely the winner of the tasting for me. what i call pencil box aromas of lead and crayon wax, good tannin and lots of lush fruit will be in the store around $30.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wine thoughts for Tuesday

there was a lot of excitement in town this last week over the Paso Robles Experience coming to town. lots of good wine from one of the still quaint regions of California. Ken Volk was in the store because of the event. He was one of the founders of Wild Horse, and has since gone on to make wines under his name.

Interesting Pinot and Chardonnay, I wish I had asked why no Syrah which seems to do well in that part of the world.

Next up is Corks and Forks on Thursday night.

Seasmoke will be in the store around mid of May. Unfortunately I was told there will be no Botella which is their (relatively) inexpensive pinot. So just Southing and Ten.

New in the store is the 06 Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Should be good.always has been in the past.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

post tax day

lots of wines coming in to try... Simi wine maker and Methevin from Oregon and a bordeaux 2005 sampler of inexpensive things. will try to get them in before too long.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

dreyfus ashbey with mark kalachnik

This company represents mostly two ventures, Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy and Migue Torres in Spain.
The first wine tasted was Giesen from New Zealand. I was somewhat disappointed with this wine. It had all the bells and whistles of a NZ SB but they stopped short. No up front fruit really, lots of heavy acidity on the back of the tongue but just a lot of zest and little zip almost flabby in the middle.

Torres Vina Esmeralda 2006 a blend of moscatel and gewurztraminer. cotton candy nose with a hint of sweetness on the nose and palate. dry finish but again a little flabby and uninteresting.

Drouhin Laforet Chardonnay or Bourgogne Blanc 2006.. has gone to screw top which is a nice change. very crisp but again where was the fruit. minerality but not telling it was a chardonnay.

Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir or Bourgogne Rouge 2006
nice medium weight and texture. again not a lot of fruit..some tart cranberry but I couldnt tell if they were french trying to be american or vice versa.

Winner of the day. Celeste' Blue by Torres from the Ribero del Duero. Dark color and flavors..what I would describe as chunky but after a few minutes became very nice. toasty oak on the palate...I have always enjoyed wines from this region of Spain which will be made from Tempranillo. A little more pricy than Rioja but infinitely better. IMHO

Thursday, April 3, 2008

odds and ends for the first of april

Derrick with Bommarito
La Valentino Montelpuciano d'Abruzzo Spelt 2002 Spelt is a single vineyard in the Abruzzi region of the Marche. The 2001 received great acclaim unfortunately the 2002 suffers from the cooler year. aged in barriques , a nose of earthy and a bit unintersting not offensive just nothing to write home about flavors. quick finish.

Kracher Illmitz Pinot Gris 2006 mineral on the nose but surprisingly sweet fruit on the palate. I would almost wonder if it was a Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of gooseberry, grapefruit that it showed. The viscousity makes me wonder how much ML it had.

From Craig Rohner
Twin Vines Vinho Verde 2006. a touch of citrus..a light wine that is perfect for summer , this willbe tasted at our June 12th tasting. light apple and maybe just a hint of bitter fruit at the end.

Recanati Chardonnay 2005 From Isreal, just in time for Passover. The aromas and texture makes you think its a California Chard, vanilla and sweet fruit on the long finish.

Planeta La Segreta 2006 from Sicily made with mostly Nero d'Avola. round flavors nice finish. a definite value considering the region and the price.

Bodi Wines with Sean Bell
Probably the nicest wines today overall

Chateau Mourgues du Gres Galets Rose 2007 pretty dark salmon color, nice aromas and flavors of strawberry and rhubarb. great summer and spring wine.

Guillham Durand Vielles Vignes Syrah 2005 Dark flavors with a wonderful coffee finish. dark berry . cote rotie its not but a great value.

winner of the day!!! Chateay de la Bonnieliere Chinon 2005 Cabernet Franc in its best form. french stink on the nose with flavors of cinnamon and light red fruits. i liked the grip or texture on the mouth. only 100 cases came to the US and I will hopefully have 2 of them. 91pts from Spectator so it will be in the Corner.

Saintsbury wines with Gaetano Comerci

Saintsbury has always been in my wine consiousness since I can remember. One of the early pioneers of the region of Carneros for fine wine, thought to may be too cool at one time. Pinot and Chardonnay are their main focus. today the upper end wines were featured. at one time they did a reserve but that name seems to have lost some significance in the face of Kendall Jackson Vinters Reserve or Glen Ellen Reserve. Saintsbury if I remember is the name of a character in English lit but dont quote me on that.

Brown Ranch Chardonnay 2005 nose of toast and light fruit but ultimately disappointing on the palate for its quick finish..just enough ml and just enough caramel but they both go away pretty fast.

Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir Anderson valley. 2006 interesting wine, more herbal and mushroom. nice finish.

Toyon Farm 2006 a lighter color than the Cerise. sour cherry, nice fruit..and finish.

Stanly Ranch 2006 One of the more well known producers with Beringer getting fruit from here also. juicy was the word I had...almost like it was from a warmer climate even though its only vineyards away from the others.

Lee Ranch Pinot Noir 2006 Deep rich color, high extract in flavor. higher alcohol but not over the top... nice long tannins on the finish with a cocoa aftertaste.

Sea Turtle and Inland Sea

Michael Amigoni a local gentleman farmer has started a vineyard from scratch. His vineyard is outside of Warrensburg and I have been able to watch his enthusiasm and dedication to this property grow with each year. After selling his grapes to the likes of Les Bourgeous he decided to process some of them himself, with the help of the new Boulevard Brewery where he can put wines into barrel and temperature control space. The name was chosen because of the nature of the soil which was under water in past epochs.

Sea Turtle Chardonnay American NV pretty floral nose a touch of green apple on the tongue that segues into a little burnt aspirin that reminded me of a spanish cava. also a little CO2. a touch hot from the alcohol.

Sea Turtle Viognier American NV traditional nose of honeysuckle and mint, nice roundness on the palate..not overly sweet with a rustic finish.

Inland Sea Cabernet Franc Missouri 2006 pretty ruby color. quick berry finish and cedar that turns smoky and long. I was impressed with the finish in that it kept showing different flavors. No one would think this was a Missouri wine.

As he becomes more comfortable with his winemaking skills I believe these wines over the next few vintages will just get better and better

Umani Ronchi wines of the Marche

Pronounced Marshay this region of Italy has long been regarded as good wine value. In the inexpensive wine section they have a wine known as the Exclamation. A cute label of Exclamation mark with pertinent info on the label.

Verdicchio light green color, very crisp slight almond on the finish, done in stainless steel but with a little malolactic fermentation on the finish.

Casal di Serra Verdicchio Classico Superiore 06 Very creamy for this varietal. a touch of citrus, spectator gave it great press. In Italy Classico describes the best region for growing that grape in the region.Superiore usually implies a little more alcohol and more stringent regulations for the vines and harvest.

Montelpulciano d'Abruzzo dusty on the nose. a touch of earth on the palate. roundness on the tongue...I would say it is a flavor of Umami..that round texture feeling of mashed potatoes..not really a taste..just very pleasant.

San Lorenzo Rosso Conero corked...too bad

Cumaro Rosso Conero DOCG made from Montepulciano with some Sangiovese all barique aged. dark color. a huge tannic wine for this area.. with a faint english walnut on the end. very nice wine.

Le Busche which I wonder if that means German in Italian... a blend of Verdicchio and Chardonnay..whats interesting is this is a 2003 and still fresh and viable. We have the presumption that older white wine will not be good or tired. This wine had a golden hue to it with toasty notes and creamy finish. what in the business is known as a hand sell.

first april tasting

Lots of new wines to taste this week. Hard to believe its April, when looking outside it feels more like late February.

From Kim Klein of Gateway Distributors
Domaine Don Gonzalo of Argentina
I was a little skeptical at first because the vintage. but both wines showed well.
Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve 01 True cab flavors, nice acidity a quick but pleasant finish.Nice bright color for an older wine.

Malbec Private Reserve 2001 Juicy and nice oak..a touch rustic or rough on the finish but a really nice food wine.

Both wines will be priced around $15

You will find them in the newly expanded Chilean and Argentine section.