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Today’s Wine Review

Cooler temperatures and rain have made a comeback here, at least for the next week or so. I’ve rescued a few of my pans and utensils from the storage unit and am able to cook again. Tonight it was a favorite of mine, chicken fajitas. For the wine I opened a bottle of Erath Pinot Blanc, 2013, an Oregon white wine.

The Pinot Blancs that I’ve had in the past were soft and off-dry, fruit forward wines. This one was quite different than those. This wine was dry, crisp and had that mineral taste synonymous with a Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was a yellow golden color more like a Chardonnay than a Sauvignon Blanc. The wine tasted somewhere between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay, with that hint of that flat beer taste I get whenever I drink an oaked Chardonnay.

I think this wine would have gone better with a different dish. Maybe something not so spicy like grilled chicken or shrimp. It didn’t go that well with the spicy chicken. Oh well live and learn. There are many more wines out there to try.

Today’s Wine Review

Thursday I went to a wine tasting that featured wines from Burgundy and for a special treat; the last glass was a 20 year old tawny Port. I’ve never tasted wines from Burgundy so that was pretty enticing but the real reason I wanted to go was for the 20 year old tawny Port. I’ve had 10 year old tawny Port and that was pretty special so I could only imagine what a glass of 20 year old tawny Port would taste like.

The wine tasting was a small private affair at a local liquor store that holds wine tastings about every month or so. These tastings are usually themed based, such as Bordeaux, Italian, Cabernet Sauvignon or a certain winery being featured. Thursday night it was wines from Burgundy. I learned that there are only three grapes grown in Burgundy one white and two red, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Gamay Beaujolais.

We started off with a dry sparkling wine called Simonnet-Febre Cremant made from the Chardonnay grape. It was dry but not as dry some of the extra bruts I’ve tasted. It was also reasonably priced at $22.49 a bottle.

Then the tasting began with three whites and three reds. The first white wine was a 2012 Simonnet-Febre Chablis. The cost was $27.49 a bottle. It was dry and very clean tasting, not at all like the flat beer taste I usually get from a Chardonnay. That’s because the French don’t age their white wines in the big oak barrels like the California Chardonnays. It had a mineral taste and a bit salty but still a light wine similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

The second white was a 2011 Latour Macon Lugny Les Genievres. It was a little less than the first one at $22.49 a bottle. It was also dry and had a mineral taste but it was a lot fuller more like a Chardonnay I’ve tasted before. The third white was a 2010 Latour Puligny-Montrachet AC. It was dry but also light and very smooth, my favorite of the white wines. Of course it was the priciest of the white wines too at $69.99 a bottle.

The next three were the red wines of the region. Two Pinot Noirs and one Beaujolias. The first red was a bottle of Fessy Regnie Reyessier, a Beaujolais. It was semi-dry a pinkish red wine very light and soft and very much a bargain at $20.49. The second red was a Latour Marsannay Rouge, a Pinot Noir. It was a darker red but still a fairly light wine, soft and dry. The cost a bit higher at $28.99.

The last red was a bottle of Latour Nuits St. George, a Pinot Noir. It was much fuller and a more golden red color. There was a dark fruit taste and much more expensive than the other two at $67.49 a bottle.

But they saved the best for last; a Grahams Tawny Port aged 20 years. It was a golden color in the glass with no hint of red. It smelled warm and inviting like warm honey. I almost held my breath as I picked up the glass and raised it to my lips. I took a sip and it was everything I had imagined it would taste like, warm maple syrup, honey and nectar all in one small taste. I didn’t care what the bottle cost, I knew I was going to buy a bottle. Actually it wasn’t that bad, it had a list price of $67.49 but the liquor store was offering a special that night for $49.98 a bottle, so I didn’t completely blow my budget. I think I would have bought it at full price anyway. It was that good. I am looking forward to opening the bottle and having a glass to savor all to myself without twenty other people in the same room.

Today’s Wine Review

My favorite wine is a big jammy Zinfandel. One that is dark purple and full of blackberry and cherry flavors, not too dry and not sweet. I had the perfect bottle once, a Rosenblum, Planchon Vineyard, 2006. It was everything I wanted in a glass of Zinfandel. I went back to the store where I bought the bottle, I know, I made the mistake of only buying one bottle but I planned on rectifying that by buying many bottles. Alas, there were no more bottles to be had. In fact I couldn’t find another bottle at any store I went to. Later I found out that Rosenblum Cellars had sold their holdings to another company and was told not to expect the same quality ever again. Needless to say, I keep searching for that perfect big jammy Zinfandel.

I’ve been told by some in the wine business that for great Zinfandel there were the three R’s, Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. Both Ravenswood and Rosenblum have been sold and the quality is not the same as before. I’ve been intrigued about Ridge Wines, seeing the clean simple labels and the price tag, a bit pricier than I normally pay when stocking up on wines but hadn’t tried any yet. So when I received an email about a Ridge wine tasting at a local liquor store, I jumped at the chance to taste some of the fare.

The lineup included a Chardonnay, Merlot, two blends and three Zinfandels. The Chardonnay wasn’t as bad as some I’ve tasted, but I don’t like oaked Chardonnay, un-oaked Chards taste really clean and fresh, oaked just tastes like flat beer to me. The Merlot was very dry and thin tasting, not too bad but not what I was looking for and at $49.99 a bottle, very pricy. The blends were good, all dry with a medium finish that was quite drinkable; one was priced at $27.29 and the other at $39.49. The three Zinfandels were also drinkable, drier than I prefer but they were still very tasty. The first one, Ridge Paso Robles, 2012, was dry and tart with a medium finish and priced at $31.29. The second one, Ridge East Bench, 2011, was a lot thinner and a little smoky, priced at $31.99. The third one, Ridge Geyserville, 2012, was much better than the other two, smoother softer, but still dry, not the big jammy Zin I’m looking for. The third one was priced at $38.99. This is how the Ridge style of Zinfandel is made, drier and higher alcohol content, most around 14.4% to 14.8%. The Ridge wines were nice and drinkable just not the style that I am searching for.

Because the room was almost full, the owner of the liquor store sat at our table and I mentioned that while these were nice, they weren’t the same as the Rosenblum I was trying to replicate. He told me to see him after the tasting and that he had something for me. After the tasting I picked up a couple bottles of what we tasted, Ridge Paso Robles and Ridge Geyserville and went to pay when the owner handed me a Rosenblum 2006, Monte Rosso Vineyard Reserve Zinfandel. He said he had bought all the Rosenblum Zinfandels he could get his hands on when the vineyard sold. I figured that this bottle was going to be very expensive, but he said that he wanted me to have it and gave it to me. I couldn’t believe it; he just gave me the bottle of wine. It’s not from the Planchon Vineyard, but I can’t wait to try it.

Now I just have to come up with a perfect menu to go with the wine.

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