Sunday, July 24, 2011

1998 Gaja Barbaresco

     While I generally think of Nebbiolo wines as something to drink in the winter, I decided to break my "rule" the other night and opened a bottle of 1998 Gaja Barbaresco on a hot, Houston summer evening. My husband's birthday is at the end of the month and we tend to celebrate for a good portion of July. He wanted a dry-aged rib-eye steak that we had seen at Whole Foods for dinner. This is why I try to keep him out of the grocery store, as this is not what I would typically pick on a hot Thursday night, but it is not my month we are celebrating.
     The label looked a little aged and the cork broke in half when I was opening it, I was hoping that I had not held this one too long. I decided to decant it although that proved unnecessary as most of the sediment was all stuck to the side of the bottle that it had laid on.
     In the glass, it was an opaque brick red with an orange rim. It had a medium+ intense bouquet of violets, leather, ripe red cherries and fennel. It was well-structured with a full body, high acidity, a comfortable 14% abv and thoroughly integrated smooth tannins. Complex flavors evolved through dinner- cherry and raspberry, smoke, tar, earthy truffles and a long, lightly spicy licorice finish.
     Absolutely fantastic- an outstanding, perfectly aged wine!
     The rib-eyes were just rubbed in butter and sprinkled with coarse-ground salt and pepper and were served with grilled vegetables marinated in EVOO infused with fresh rosemary and scalloped potatoes with Fontina and Parmesan cheese with white truffle oil. A ridiculous amount of beef but we somehow managed to finish them :)

    

Monday, July 18, 2011

2006 Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva

     I almost didn't bother to write this one up.  I opened the 2006 Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva to have on Friday evening. I had three hungry teenagers at the table for dinner that night so I made a fried cheese and zucchini appetizer and sandwiches from Wednesday's leftover meatballs. 
     The wine was very closed- Low aromatics combined with less than expected acidity and a light, indiscernible red fruit flavor. My husband and I each had less than one glass. I re-corked it and left it on the kitchen counter.
     While preparing dinner the following night, I poured myself a glass. It was more aromatic and had a stronger cherry/berry flavor but it was still not very interesting. Overall, calling it acceptable is about as excited as I can get. Approximately $22 at Spec's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2006

Simple family dinner at home on Wednesday night- spaghetti with meatballs, salad and bread. My dad brought a bottle of Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 to have with it.

In the glass, the wine was a medium ruby with a garnet rim. Medium intensity aromas of ripe black cherry with cedar and a bit of tobacco. Medium body, medium+ acidity and tannin balancing concentrated cherry/berry and licorice flavors. Smooth medium length finish.

Very easy-drinking and enjoyable for about $20, recommended! 
    

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2010 CUMA Malbec

     I made veggie tacos with black beans, grilled onions, bell peppers and squash with guacamole and pico de gallo on corn tortillas. I decided to open a bottle of 2010 CUMA Malbec by Michel Torino. This wine is made from organic grapes sourced from the Cafayate Valley in Argentina. An organic wine with my vegetarian meal seemed appropriate. I had purchased this bottle at my HEB grocery store for approximately $12.

     In the glass, the wine was a deep purple with a ruby rim. Jammy aromas of black and blueberries prevailed with an herbal note of tarragon. It was medium everything-body, acidity, alcohol and tannins (which were very smooth and sweet). The flavors mirrored the aromas with the addition of chocolate-covered cherry in the medium+ length finish. It was a very fresh (lighter than I expected) Malbec which is perfect for the hot summer and light grilled meals. A very good wine at a very nice price. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2008 Bonterra Merlot

     Grilled hamburgers topped with blue cheese on the dinner menu at home the other evening seemed the perfect match for one of my HEB grocery store wine buys. I opened the 2008 Bonterra Merlot from Mendocino County. This Merlot-based wine which has some Syrah, Zinfandel and Carignane in the blend is made from organic grapes and was purchased for $11.75.

     It was a dark ruby in the glass with medium intense aromas of mixed ripe black fruit with light oak. It was well-balanced with medium acidity, alcohol and tannins with flavors of plum, cranberry and a bit of vanilla. It had a smooth, medium length finish.

     We really enjoyed it- the best value priced Merlot that I have had in awhile!   

Friday, July 8, 2011

Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir at Guido's in Galveston


     We were in Galveston over the Fourth of July weekend. On Saturday night, we went to Guido's for dinner. The best pairing of the evening was the Watkin's Bisque with the 2007 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir. I did not take tasting notes. The bottle was $55 in the restaurant but only about $22 retail. It is one I plan to keep at my home. I think it will be fantastic with grilled sockeye salmon this summer.

* I did end up purchasing this to serve with grilled sockeye salmon. The price was $30 locally at Spec's instead of the $22 (which makes me feel better about the price at Guido's). Only the 2008 was available. 
In the glass, it was a pale ruby with aromas of fresh red berries and cherries and floral notes of violet. The medium acidity, smooth tannins and 14.2% abv balanced out the flavors of raspberry, red cherry and a nice dose of black tea. A very good young, fresh and fruity Pinot Noir.
* 2nd note added on 07/13/11