Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Vin Gris Tuilé"


Though not quite a meeting on the astral plane, when an early morning conversation about dreams leads to the arrival of intriguing wines, it does make one wonder if, perhaps, the universe is working its mysterious ways through the magic of social media.

A sample of the 2013 Vin Gris Tuilé, a "brick pink wine of the sun & earth", arrived to me in just such a way. I didn't even know it existed before it materialized via delivery service. Though a traditional blend of southern France grapes, this is not a typical rosé in the Provencal sense; this wine was solarized in a glass demijohn purposefully changing both it's color and character.

I had dinner guests coming later in the evening and a large chunk of meat was already out spinning on the rotisserie. I was setting up some pre-dinner Mediterranean-themed snacks and decided to check out whether this Central Coast wine was "the perfect apéritif wine" as advertised on the back of the bottle. I poured a glass of the slightly cloudy, pale orange-colored wine. With it's oxidized aromas familiar to any sherry drinker, I immediately knew this wine was not going to be for everyone. 

I took a sip, sat, thought and then I poured myself some more. Nutty with grapefruit citrus and an interesting Indian spice note through the lingering finish. Cumin or curry, I couldn't decide. Nope, this wasn't for everyone. It clearly was a wine for me and I wasn't sharing. I decided to go hide it in my refrigerator. 

Dinner was served with different wines that evening and I continued to enjoy the 2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard "Vin Gris Tuilé" over the next few days. It was an excellent apéritif wine as suggested and with it's intentional oxidized character, it remained very consistent.

I did offer a taste to my husband the next day. He compared it with the white wines we had tried in Bandol (which I will tell you had not been his favorites). As I said, it is not for everyone so I took his glass and I finished it. Highly recommended for your quirkier wine loving friends.

Monday, May 9, 2016

2015 Vin Gris de Cigare by Bonny Doon Vineyard

I had written about Randall Graham and his unique labeling a couple of years ago for a local magazine. I didn't love the editing so I never linked that article here, however, his Vin Gris De Cigare and Le Cigare Volant are wines that I know. I've purchased and served them both on more than a few occasions. When it was time to start appraising an array of Bonny Doon rosé samples, there was an obvious place to begin; the 2015 Vin Gris de Cigare, a Rhone-style blend of sustainably-grown Grenache, Carignane, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Roussanne, with a suggested retail price of $18

I poured myself a nice taste prior to dinner as I am prone to do when I am cooking at home. Hello, old friend, how did 2015 treat you, I mentally asked as I looked at my glass. It was a pale salmon pink with light citrus aromas. I took a sip. It was dry, crisp and smooth. I finished my final dinner preparations as the wine warmed up some and started to open up more displaying its familiar personality- delicate strawberry, melon and grapefruit notes along with a slight savoriness in the mostly mineral finish. Always interesting and delightfully drinkable.

Dinner was going to be simple, just grilled vegetables and shrimp; everything was prepped
and the grill was hot. I moved outside to the front porch to talk to the cat and wait for my husband who promptly pulled up. "What was that?" he asked as he walked towards me. I looked down at my now empty glass and replied, "an old friendship that you are really going to enjoy renewing."

The 2015 Vin Gris de Cigare is a highly recommended "pink wine of the earth" for spring, summer and beyond. Enjoy it with easy meals and good company.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Texas Taste-Off

An intro and link to a feature I wrote for Texas Wine and Trail Magazine

"Despite the dreary conditions outside that day, local wine professionals arrived at Camarata at Paulie’s to blind taste a selection of Texas wines beside similar European wines at the same price point. Though Texas’ reputation for improving quality continues to grow with more wins at international competitions, wineries still fight their former status of being “less than” their European or California counterparts.

The tasters took their seats and four unidentified white wines were poured for each and the sniffing and swirling began..."

Read in full at Texas Wine and Trail Magazine

Friday, March 18, 2016

2012 Chateau Bibian

The beautiful spring weather we enjoyed earlier this week in Houston prompted my decision to open this sample bottle of 2012 Chateau Bibian Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois and fire up the grill for some steaks. My husband had arrived home somewhat early (for him) and he was assisting me in setting up for dinner. I poured us each a glass of wine while we waited for the grill to heat.

I was standing at my notebook starting to scribble down my initial positive impressions about the wine when I heard him say, "wow, what is this? This is good." I looked up in time to see him take another big gulp from his glass.

"It's Cru Bourgeois from the Haut-Medoc", I replied, all the while knowing this is relatively meaningless to him. We have a deal that I don't have to know too much about how my car operates and he doesn't have to retain too much wine knowledge.

He continued to look at me with a semi-blank expression so I expounded, "Bordeaux, left-bank, not the fancy places." That is just the kind of fine wine education I occasionally provide to my loved ones. "Ahh", he said," so, it's...?" To which I replied, "A typical Merlot-based Bordeaux blend." He nodded his head, he knew what that meant.

I'm running a variety of interesting fun facts through my mind that I'm considering sharing with him next about the winery's history (originally created in 1857), the vineyard location in Listrac, the 2012 vintage, the Cru Bourgeois label and what it means when my husband interrupted my thoughts. He had been watching my mental wheels turn, "Umm", he said, "you had me at Merlot." He smiled and walked out the door to cook our steaks.

I knew that was true, Merlot had been our first red wine love. It was the go-to, the no-thought choice of the late 80's and early 90's. Since that time, we've grown to love many others but we also never got "Sideways" with our first love.

The 2012 Chateau Bibian is a blend of 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc sourced from chalky-clay and pyrenean gravel soils. While wines from the Listrac area have been described as "austere", this wine was more giving with fresh aromas of ripe dark cherries and blackberries with just a trace of vanilla, the wine was dry, medium-bodied with smooth ripe tannins and juicy flavors that matched the aromas; easy drinking and deliciously good. This wine is a highly recommended anytime red and reasonably priced at $21.