Growing at amazing speeds, trends moving in every direction and hundreds of new arrivals everyday, yet the wine industry is such a small one when it comes to people. The same faces, just a new business card in many instances. Well, as I wrote a few blog posts ago, our friend Juan Carlos Rodriguez used to represent the Spanish portfolio of a local wholesaler, than became a Regional Manager of a nationally distributed import portfolio and since has been reincarnated as a winery official/sales rep for a very boutique collection of artisinal bottlings from Spain. The Spanish theme runs strong here and for good reason, Carlos could very well be the CT authority on wines from the Iberia Pennisula. With that said, we've brought in a few favorites from his new portfolio and have seen a tremendous response to them. We've practically sold out our Spanish Wine Tasting at STUDIO 275 in Derby where Carlos will be guest speaking, and that was after a few days of announcing it! In the fast paced wine business, we look to our representatives to deliver strong concise information, albeit we always verify/confirm any and all info, but it's great to know your sources have great credibility...much like you all refer to us as the Wine Authority for your purchasing needs!
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Well, with that said, we tasted through a few goodies with Carlos most recently, in particular a vintage Cava by Saniger that will knock your socks off for very little money! For those that are less than familiar, Cava is a Sparkling wine from Spain that is traditionally from the Penedes region and made with the grapes: Parallada, Macabeo and Xarello. An exellent alternative to expensive Champagne, especially when you want a patio/pool-side sipper or just a nice bottle of bubbles to relax/celebrate with, why spend the $50+?
Another tasty effort that we held off on for now, but will certainly be featuring in the coming weeks, El Arte De Vivir 2007 from Ribera del Duero, another favorite place for excellent quality Spanish wines. Although the region's reputation is more than well known, it's bottlings like this that keep you looking to Spain for new favorites at reasonable prices. Ribera del Duero is home to the legendary Vega Sicilia wines that fetch First Growth Bordeaux prices. Made with the local clone of Tempranillo, Tina del Pais one can enjoy the rich flavors of earth, fruit and spice, bound by supple textured wines with sturdy, yet well integrated tannins.
Sure enough, Carlos threw a curve ball, Loma Gorda 2006, a wine from the Almansa DO. A great blend of old vine Garnacha and Syrah that completely over delivers for the money. Check out the tasting notes below:
Saniger Cava Brut 2004 (bottles are individually numbered - cool)
NOSE: Yeasty and bready with overtones of red apple, ripe citrus and a mineral/slate edge
PALATE: Turning pointy with green apple flavors, pear, smokey tones and the mineral/slate flavor turning more forward on the finish.
SCORE: 89 pts
El Arte De Vivir 2007, Ribera Del Duero
NOSE: Melted licorice flavors mixed with rose petals, baked black fruit flavors come in with rhubarb and forest berry fruits.
PALATE: Medium-full bodied, there is still good acidity here despite such ripe flavors, tannins turn sweet with hints of asparagus on the finish.
SCORE: 89-90 pts (gave it a score range because it could stand to breathe for another hour, thereby helping the asparagus flavor mellow out)
PRICE: $16 - cleaning house a little bit and will be in within a few weeks
Loma Gorda 2006 65% Garnacha + 35% Syrah, Alamansa
NOSE: Smokey notions mix with earth, sweet incense, forest fruits and underbrush flavors, with each swirl revealing more exciting combinations.
PALATE: Medium-full bodied, sweet fruit flavors, a balanced acidity and a zesty spice to the mouthfeel.
SCORE: 89 pts (after the fact, I realized Tanzer scored it 90, but I thought it needed aeration, then I read his review and realized he agreed!)
GRPSo what happens when the fastest growing wine consuming nation in the world goes through one of largest economic slow-downs of our time? All the high end wine producers come up with Second and even Third labels to keep from getting backed up on juice.
It seems as though the producers, with just cause, are scramblimg to understand the ramifications of a 14k Dow Jones turned 8k in just 6 short months, will have on their inventory. Even the no-brainer producers, regardless of price are making sure cash flow remains healthy. With that said, the wonderful folks at Anderson's Conn Valley Estate, whose wines receive ratings that reflect what could be the best of our Ratings to Price ratio, have delivered us Prologue. A 100% cab that has knocked my socks off!
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, Prologue Cabernet 2007 , Napa Valley
NOSE: deep with layers of mocha over sour cherry, creamy currant, all spice and hints of dark berry extract. Combine the above with mineral and gravel driveway components, a touch of smoke and a layer of sage and you have a stunning medley of delicious Cab aromas.
PALATE: sumptuously textured, with a light grip, the fruit is gracefully outlined by acidity and velvety tannins. This wine reveals wonderful length on the palate, while being medium full bodied, this is a what great Cab is about.
PRICE: $19 by the case
SCORE: 92 pts
This wine marries together the cornerstone flavors of Napa (deep, ripe currant) with the pillars of great Pauillac (mineral/gravel underpinnings) to make a wine that is excellent with aeration, however shows tremendous short to mid-term cellaring. IMO, pick up the case, open your first bottle during the Holidays of 2009 and continue to watch it evolve for 2-3 years. Happy drinking!I once was riddled as to the meaning of Chateauneuf du Pape by a friend on a casual email exchange. The answer was easy for any novice of the Latin based French language:
Chateau = Home/House/Castle
Neuf = New
Du = of/from
Pape = Pope
So how the heck does a wine region from Southern Rhone Valley of France become known as this? The query goes deeper...it seems that in ancient times, the historical line of figure-heads in the Papacy, have traditionally been Italian. Based in Rome, Italian Popes never felt the urge to leave the city. When the once Archbishop of Bordeaux, was named Pope Clement V, he relocated the Papacy to the city of Avignon in the South of Rhone. Long advocating the wines of France, Pope Clement encouraged the local growers/producers to reach for better quality. Succeeding Pope Clement, it was under Pope John XXII that the wines of the region became known as "Vin du Pape". Sure enough, the appellation eventually came to bear the designation "Chateauneuf du Pape" while most bottles will bear the embossed monker on the neck of the bottle.
For those that like to know this stuff, there are technically 13 different grape varieties allowed within the appellation: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counise, Vaccarese, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Rousanne, Picpoul, and Picardin. As per the AOC requirements, the minimum alcohol by volume content of Chateauenuf du Pape is 12.5%.
As for tonight, I'm well into a glass of Domaine Grand Veneur CDP Les Origines 2005, a wine rated very highly by Robert Parker at 95 points. My thoughts:
NOSE: black cherry and currant notions mix withpleasant liqeuer like qualities, every swirl introduces nuances of smoke over minerals.
PALATE: very full in the mouth, great acidity, wonderful velvet texture follows up the glossy attack. The mineral edge is more pronounced here, garrigue elements and a pleasant raw tobacco flavor on the finish.
SCORE: 92 pts
At this young a stage, I believe the wine is going through a sleeping period. That is, it's going through a period where it has a lot of characteristics that suggest greatness, but there is also something restraining the intensity/richness of it. I see this often and think the wine will come out of it in a couple of years. This wine has the guts to age for 12-15 years, like Tony Bennet sang: the best is yet to come. For now, if you want to dig into a great drinking '05 CDP, try the Roger Sabon Les Olivets '05...unbelievable, I posted about it in Feb 09. Also a 92 pointer for me, but a better drinking one, RIGHT NOW. The Grand Veneur is a great bottle, but needs some time to flesh out.
GRPHanging on the couch with some mild blue cheese, fresh sliced baugette and a glass of this delicate chardonnay.
NOSE: fresh baked biscuits, pineapple and pouched pear, leesy aromas over lemon oil.
PALATE: wonderful balance here, medium body, silky texture, great richness in fruit with a precision acidity, no clumsy oak on this chard. Round flavors, yet firmly balanced.
90 points, this is a great example of great chard for people looking to avoid the oak. Coming in from new zealands south island, the cool air in the vineyards make their presence in this wine. The wine does age on the lees as well as getting malo-lactic fermentation, but the flavors are perfectly balanced. This is a great chard, I had a bottle of this in the house from a salesperson giving us a sample.
Great stuff to pair with mild fishes up to even salmon, ideally trout. The creamy cheese gets a nice match with the acidity on this wine, the earthy blue cheese flavors are complimented by the richness from the "on the lees" aging and the ML fermentation
GRPSo working in the wine business means, that you're either lifting cases, building displays, selling or tasting wine. Needless to say, when you're working hard, you're just doing the aforementioned activities at a much faster pace. One night last week, we had one of suppliers that we truly enjoy doing business with stop by to try us on a few of his wares. There are always pre-requisites to a Wine Team Tasting Session, any given supplier must adhere to the following:
1. NEVER bring garbage/crap/swill that has more money invested in an advertising campaign than they do their oak barrels. We also don't want the 5 year old wine that's been collecting dust in the back of the warehouse no matter how cheap it is.
2. ALWAYS bring strong value. Every wine store in America is going to taste the obvious wines at the obvious price points, for example, we no-longer get excited about an Argentine Malbec for $10...we've got plenty of those. Taste us on the new $15 dollar bottle that's going to make a few $25's look bad.
3. BRING IT ON...We want the hot new thing that no-one else has looked at...and if we like, no one else will see it because our volume allows us to buy pallet loads of wine...furthermore, we want the best possible price, not so we can overcharge our loyal customers (that's the usual trick for most stores), but to PAY IT FORWARD! (saw the movie the other day on HBO). We want our customers to gain from our purchasing power...because the more value we give YOU, the further you'll drive to see us...and we LIKE seeing you!
We always have a ball at these "power tastings" because we talk and taste great wine, catch up with good friends, and usually get carried away! Then again, it's our job to have fun while working (we realize many of you don't have the opportunity to say you enjoy your job...but you also don't get our weak paychecks). So what was on the bill for our Power Tasting...see below for an outline of some goodies that are available in store, for the sake of keeping this short and sweet, we've eliminated those wines that did not merrit our attention:
Anakena Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Vallee Central, Chile
NOSE: fresh aroams of gooseberry and wild blossom, fairly ripe
PALATE: Bursting with ripe fruits, very fresh, a lively style with a pleasant finish
SCORE: 87 points, this is a great value in SB, great for Summer Sipping!
Primarius Pinot Noir 2006, Oregon
NOSE: copious amounts of crushed black cherry, bing cherry and black raspberry fruits with a sprinkle of fresh diced cilantro, traces of white pepper and hints of berry.
PALATE: focused and precisely balanced with delicate flavors, wiht a lengthy finish suggesting a great salmon pairing.
SCORE: 90 points, this is a superb value...you just cant find this price Pinot that drinks so true to style.
Anakena Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Rapel Valley, Chile
NOSE: Wonderful aromas of fresh berry fruit, bright red fruit flavors, hints of earth, brush and spices over a pleasant violet undertone.
PALATE: is fresh and vibrant with notions of spice, silky texture and a fresh finish
SCORE: 88 points, priced comparitive to Mark West and Castle Rock, this wine tastes far better
Zin 91, Old Vine Zinfandel 2006, California
NOSE: a melange of crushed peppercorn, jammed black fruits, and a red raspberry overtone
PALATE: medium full, this wine showcases a supple texture, forward fruit and a mildly zesty pepper
SCORE: 88 points, another value, coming in under $15, this is a solid buy
Edgebaston The Pepper Pot 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NOSE: Blackberry jam and stewed dark fruits, layers of white pepper overlapped with mulberry preserve, then black pepper. Nuances of tobacco leaf and cedar box interchange.
PALATE: full bodied, delivering an opulent texture, caressing as it delivers teh above flavors with a distinctive flare.
SCORE: 90 points, this is delicious, an intriguing blend of Mouvedre, Tannat and Syrah.
GRPYeh, I know how good could it possibly be? Believe it or not, u can pick up a lafite rothschild (vintage not listed) for the low price of $750, not bad if its 2005! Mind you, I've not got the hair to buy that while my 2 year old is either trying to eat or throwing crayon across the dining room, no time to dedicate the thinking required to dissect it. Food is fantastic, wine is fairly priced, drank an 06 caymus yesterday, as usual, I don't like the stuff. Tonite, pan seared veal w/ paul hobbs russ river pinot noir 2006. Nose: earthy black cherry fruit, mild spice, notions of bitter cocoa. Palate: rich yet charmingly elegant. This is a classy pinot with masculine backbone and feminine overtones. The palate is perfectly balanced w/ supportive acidity to the black cherry, forrest berry, ground nutmeg and forrest floor flavors. Good now, best 2012-2018.
Score: 91 points, I really like this stuff
Cheers from Key West!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&TThere's much to be said of relationships and the wine business. Let's not kid ourselves, without them, there is no business. When you deal with a product so intimate, complex and controversial, there needs to be the buffer. With so many wines in the marketplace coming from so many different appellations, covering different varieties and styles can be a maze to get through, even on this side of the counter. It sometimes takes a friend, customer, co-worker or supplier bring a wine to your attention that you may otherwise have missed. Surely not the fault of the wine, but the hectic environment of a high-volume wine store. So we rely on our "community" to give us feed back, insight and introduction to a new style, flavor or producer that is the next big wine.
Rewind 4-5 years ago, here in the store, we've only begun to dig into the famous 2001 vintage for Rioja that unvealed a bevy of, then unknown labels that delivered bigtime on the "shock and awe" factor and typically for much less than could be expected. It was an exciting time for Spanish wines becuase there was so much ground that needed to be covered with the monumental vintage and peaking consumer interest that kept the Spanish aisle a buzz with foot traffic. The store's floor was soon flooded with "must trys" and "smart buys under $15" all of which beared the moniker, "Product of Spain". At the time, one of our favorite sales representatives was Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Spanish Portfolio Manager of Slocum and Sons. Carlos always had a great bottle to show us and was diligent in highlighting lesser known producers that delivered big on value. We worked hard that year with Carlos, promoting Spanish wines through tastings and various food pairing events, all of which were very successful in promoting the glories of Spanish wine. Sure enough, as it's proven to, time went on, the buzz for Spain remained strong, however, for me and the rest of the staff, there hasn't been that initial excitement from the area since. It was our enthusiasm of wine and food combined with our ability to educate on Spanish wines that motivated us while working together. Because of our hard work, many, many people drank wines they would've otherwise ignored and we had an amazing time doing it.
Present Day. Carlos has since left the position that allowed us to first meet on a professional level, however, we never lost touch. Having moved onto a few different positions, we weren't afforded the ability to catch up for a few months. Then, one day evening in the store, in comes Juan Carlos pulling a bag of goodies. With a big smile on his face, he asks, "Wanna try some wine?" Everyone knows the answer to that! Sure enough, he now reps a very small portfolio of very high quality, artisinal producers that we've never worked with before. So my buddy Carlos and I had a chance to catch up over a tasting session on some really cool bottlings:
Castillo Medina Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Rueda
NOSE: big time notions of canned asparagus, lime and grapefruit aromas. mineral and slate components underly here, but the asparagus is dominant.
PALATE: light and crisp, subtle melon fruit tones and a piercing acidity, lingering lemon peel flavors on the finish
SCORE: 85 points, this is a decent wine that should/must be accompanied by food. My recommendation is an Asian Glazed Large Sea Scallop. The richness of the asian spices, weight and texture of the Scallop will fill in the blanks for the white wine, while the wine will cut through the richness of the food. This may make it to the store for the summer months.
Valserrano Blanco 2007, Rioja
NOSE: Slightly muted nose. Aromas of star fruit, kiwi and sea salt do come out after serious encouragment
PALATE: More to be said here, the above flavors shine a little move, but overall, just a little too flat on the mid-palate. Acidity is firm, texture is silky...but...but...not much else.
SCORE: 80 points, this is a non-offensive bottle of wine that is stylistically correct, but lacks the ability to inspire, this wine will not be stocked.
Robalino Albarino 2007, Rias Baixas
NOSE: pure stone fruit aromas, peach, apricots, with overtones of melon and guava, a thread of corriander and fennel keep things fresh.
PALATE: Great flavors bind together here, the waxy texture and supple finish show great length, immpeccable balance and a fresh acidity that calls for another sip.
SCORE: 88 points, this is a solid wine that will earn placement in the coming month.
MINGO 2007, Valencia
NOSE: Raspberry crea, cherry pie and pie crust nuance
PALATE: Delivering a round body, with solid flavors, asian spice comes through more on the finish than on the nose, balanced acidity. Fresh, fruity and tasty.
SCORE: 87 points, this will definately be in the store because it drums up all you could ask and leaves out everything you don't want...all for very little money!
Valserrano Crianza 2005, Rioja
NOSE: Dusty, spicy berry fruit, baked cherry pie aromas, hints of cranberry come through along with fresh herb notes mixed with hints of menthol.
PALATE: Fresh and vibrant with a solid core of fruit, rich yet balanced by textbook acidity.
SCORE: 88 points, awesome Crianza level wine that is very reasonable in price, expect it in store
Valserrano Reserva 2004, Rioja
NOSE: Richer than the Crianza, with a deeper briar component, anise and asian spice over mullberry preserve flavors dominate.
PALATE: Supple texture with good, medium bodied weight, juicy acidity and a lengthy finish.
SCORE: 89 points, a good step up into the Reserva style from a so far, solid producer, probably won't make it to store shelves because it's younger brother might over-shadow it's sales.
Ondarre Reserva 2002, Rioja
NOSE: Balsamic/cured aromas coming forward over flowers and baked herbs. Cinnamon flavors overshadow the light cherry fruit
PALATE: Nice mature flavors, good acidity and velvety in texture, though it lacks the center palate fruit to balance out the aforementioned.
SCORE: 86 pts, fun stuff to try, but this isn't firing on all cylinders therefore will not be available. On another note, the color of this wine was still dark ruby red with a pale rim and only a slight brick color on the rim. I would've assumed more signs of maturity from a 2002 Rioja.
Prima 2006, Toro
NOSE: Crushed black fruits, cocoa dust, white pepper and kirsch notes. This seems to be very closed down right now, almost like it's waiting to come alive...this is a plus.
PALATE: Layers of ripe fruit, densely packed, glossy texture, supple tannins and a lengthy finish. I don't think this wine should be drank now, it needs some time to round out and develop, especially aromatically. While it does possess some great aromas, they are far from well-woven, it resembles a barrel sample more than anything else.
SCORE: 91 points, this score is based on this wines ability to develop dramatically in bottle, which I believe will happen. It will be in store before Spring end, however, should sit for at least a year and will drink well through 2015, possibly further.
PRICE: $20, stop by the store, I believe the Palacio de Villachica 5T 2002 shows the density this wine does with more complex flavors that have had time to mesh in bottle, and clocks in at 92 points.
GRPConsidering the time of year and the turbulent economic head winds we're dealing with, we've been re-vamping our selections in store. Removing older favorites that perhaps were just a little tired, over exposed and maybe even overpriced at this point. Let's face it, we're all used to escalating wine prices because somebody gave out a 90+ rating too many vintages in a row. The ensuing demand will push a winery owner's ego even further into the stratosphere, only to be overshadowed by the new price tag on their current release. Add to that, the fact we've seen a monetary rollercoaster over the past years that has made the US Dollar look like a fat kid gone slim at a summer camp. Truth be told, our dollar didn't get us far these past 18 months, and now that every other part of the world is feeling the economic pimp slap, we've got some sort of relative worth again.
None of us are about ready to part with a good glass of vino so where's the give. With that said, we're all looking for a deal. That $10 bottle that drinks like a $15 or the $20 bottle that replaced your old favorite for $30. We're all shopping a little more nowadays. Our team here has got the feelers out for all sorts of new findings that are sure to "stimulate" (all pun intended) your palate at friendlier than usual prices.
First up at bat: Chilean wines, particularly Carmenere
So I've been on a mission to find the "next best carmenere" and I have to say, there are a lot of green, harsh and poorly made examples of this grape.
Originally thought to have been Merlot for the longest time, Chilean Carmenere has a distinctive note of bell pepper, green leaf tobacco, plum fruit and a kiss of acidity, all of which can prove difficult to put together in a well-balanced package.
WINE: Santa Ema Barrel Select Carmenere 2005
NOSE: lots of ripe plum, crushed red fruit flavors w/ heavey emphasis on strawberry preserve. Underpinnings of mullberry keep things grounded. With the classic bell pepper, forest floor and earthy tones.
PALATE: medium bodied, with silky tannins, supple fruit balanced by just right acidity, almost snappy on the finish with a toucjh of vegetable on all the cherry/berry fruit
SCORE: 87 pts
So this wine makes the cut, it'll be in store soon and hopefully, you'll agree with our assessment of this great Tuesday night wine.
Truth be told, up front, I think this Chateau and her bottlings are good, but rarely inspirational. I've had it vintages prior and for me, they lack a little focus on the center palate. Knowing the wine is from the most northern village appellation within the Haut-Medoc means that you can expect a wine with a firm tannin profile along with a balanced, yet more noticeable acidity. Given the appellations closer proximity to the estuary, cooler air elements are a signficant contributor to the regions style. Known for weighty and structured reds in the past, some producers are introducing larger quantities of Merlot to help soften the sturdy backbone wines from this appellation tend to exhibit.
NOSE: mocha and cherry berry fruit, hints of currant and a waxy note, underpinnings of earth/spice/and believe it or not roast, vegetables.
PALATE: is medium full, with good ripe fruit flavors, surprisingly, good earth tones that shine through. Silky texture, balanced acidity and fine tannins tell me this a 2-5 year wine at the most. I wouldve expected more guts and a lot more glory from this vintage, alhough this is not terribly disappointing, only slightly over priced. Suggested is $50, I would love this at half the price.
SCORE:Price regardless, 89 points
GRPSo...I'm on my way to locking the joint up and sure enough, the phone rings. On the other end of the line, kids shouting, a microwave beeping in the background and a voice shouting, "bring another bottle home, we've had eveything at least once!". Ah, the joys of something new on a Tuesday night while my kids are climbing all over me.
Next stop, Spain! There is always a pleasant surprise in the Spanish aisle, whether its a trusty Rioja or a new Loff the radar" region from some of our favorite importers, there's always a must try from Spain.
So what's on the wine list for a Tuesday night, one of my favorite zones, Montsant. A larger appellation that borders/encompasses what could be Spain's greatest production zones, Priorat. Montsant is a hot bed for great values that always deliver for your money. A great bottle from here can cost you well under $20 and bring a bountiful effort. Why, really high elevation vineyards + older vines + warm days + traditional growing methods + new technologiesd in winemaking = (I know, finally) GREAT WINE.
Capcanes .Mas Donis Barrica 2005 is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah, two varieties that thrive from this zone and have done awesome from many other areas, i.e. Rhone valley, South Aussie and places like Central Coast California. The unique profile in this zone is the mineral based sub-soils that deliver signature terrior in almost every effort from the area. Color is dense red and purple red. Beautiful aromas of black cherry jam, lots of high tone red cherry fruit, and a mullberry/ bramble berry flavor that is at the core of it all. Notions of lavendar, crushed rock/ wet gravel driveway and a white pepper intermix with the fruit. The palate is medium full, great supple fruit but there's no shortage of grip on the palate. The flavors of spice, fruit, wood and minerals are perfectly balaned and this is a superb value. 90+ pts GP.
This wine has been a perennial favorite from our friend / importer, Eric Solomon. Imported wines should be carefully considered, a reputable importr treats their products with the utmost respect when handling the transportation. Solomon's name is synonomous with quality and equally as much, value.
GRPYeah I know, how much could I poss drink in one night, forgive the abbreviattions...or mispelling.
Alvear 1927 pedro ximenez, a pretty popular sherry that rocks the nose of liquid nuts, baked marmelade and spicy figs. The nose is so exquisite of rich flavors that there are not enough words in my vocab to describe. The palate, thick and mouthcoating flavors of almonds and tiramasou cake, flavors of wild vanilla bean and toffee expand on the palate. This is a dessert wine for kings. Tonight, I am King.It is no secret that I absoutley love wines from Itlay. From Sassicaia to Sicilian nero d'avola, Italy has got it going on. Toinights taste is a good ol favorite that, I think is sold out in-store, if not there can't be more than a few bottles. Sette Ponte Crognolo 2004. This beauty comes from the delicious 2004 vintage that has produced boatloads of great juice.
The color pours a deep garnett red. The nose is so Italian with boasting aromas of dusty cherry fruit, notions of berry, and earthy jammy fruits with notions of white flowers and white pepper flavors. The palate there is almost a hint of garrigue in this stuff. The palate is half silk, half velvet...all smooth. The fruit shows great concentration, elegant intensity and firm tannin grip. The finish is 45+ seconds with excellent flavors of bright cherry fruit and a perfect balance of acidity, nice effort from a classic producer. All the critics have rated this stuff, but I don't know what, my stamp is a healthy 91 points.
Does anyone remember the movie "Last Dragon"? Bruce Leeroy? 300 channels...Only thing on right now and the wine just got better!Inside joke, email us and well let you in! Either case, ended up with a bottle 2005 Cote de Nuits Vielles Vignes made by my buddy Nicholas Potel (that is not a typo). Super-bowl left overs, tasty! So, survey says:
Nice ruby color with a seductive nose of fresh bing cherry, cranberry compote, nuance of fresh diced cilantro. On the palate enters a velvety wine with medium weight for Pinot. The flavors of forest floor and sappy flavors come more forward on the finish. Medium length but charming intensity, this wine is a little young right now, but will improve over the next few years and will drink good thru 2014.
88pts G.Patel (also not a typo).Chilean wines have nbeen on the main stage for quite some time now, known for great values however, I can't seem to undertand how they became more popular than Argentine wines FIRST! I mean, IMHO, I believe whilemany super-star Chilean wines have come onto the scene, far too many "every-dayers" are far too green and lack charm in displaying this unique flavor. Well, tonight I'm happy to dive into a bottle of Maycas del Linari Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. I recently supported a fund-raising event for the Easton Community Center where this was one of the wines at the Chilean table. I've had the wine in passing and knew it was a good pick for the event, but a closer taste at the event compelled a bottle with dinner.
Pouring a deep garnett color, the nose is abundant of ripe black cherries, plum sauce, currant fruits, allof which hug a core of that green flavor. Not too far over the top though, this wine shows off Chilean "terrior". The palate is velvety smooth with medium-full weight, high-tone fruit flavors, dusy tannins and minerally/smokey finish with well balanced acidity. Clocking in at 89+ points, this has strong potential to evolve into something better. Stick 6 away and find out.So it's only been a few months since we've last posted...we're not that lazy. Actually, we've been very busy, we've just opened a new store in the town of Madison in the heart of the CT Shoreline. A gorgeous 10,000 square foot store that is loaded with all the best wines and the best prices that we're known for both here at our brick and mortar store in Ansonia, Ct and our online prescense...GetWines.com. Now that we're into our new diggs a little bit, we've come up with an awesome new way to blog...since we all have Blackberry/Crackberry (depends on whether your addicted or not), we're able to shoot a direct post through an email into Blogger...not bad! Now we can drop a line on all the stuff that we're drinking or spitting as we're doing it. Considering we drink a lot, this Blog should get filled up fast! So one of the first wines to be uploaded on the go, was Roger Sabon's Les Olivets Chateauneuf du Pape 2005.
Ruby red color. Gorgeous chateauneuf aromas of black jammed fruits, asian spice, anise seed and an underpinning of creme brulee. There is a hint of heat on the nose. The palate is full, broad array of crushed red cherries, plum fruits with firm tannins whose grip is lightened by great center palate fruit. The texture is silky and polished. Hints of earth and notions of fresh pepper are hanging around under all the robust flavors. The heat on the nose is not present on the palate, which has a finish that sails on and on leading into a lightly mineral driven finish. Good juice, for under $40. 92 points.
Still some in stock as of this post...
Having this w/ blue cheese and bread. Delicious.The world of wine is a smaller one than just a decade ago...in fact, we've most recently expanded our Portuguese section to include 2 bottlings fetching $30 (not Lancers or Mateus with a candle, although for that price it'd better be a heck of a candle). Portugal is only one example, over the years we've seen Spain rise up to the challenge of delivering wines from lesser known regions. Wines that have taken the market by storm by offering tremendous value and bang for your buck. Just as your ready to open up a bottle of Pinotage/Shiraz/Cabernet/Carignan/Cinsault blend from South Africa...BAM...you get rocked by a Tuscan bottling! At least that's what is happening to us.
Let me explain, we've seen a tremendous string of vintages coming from Tuscany...and as an authority on Italian wines, we've always promoted the zone for having long-standing history among the world's greatest wines, so it's no surprise that tradition continues here. Really though, what's not to like about Tuscany...their ability to produce reds from varieties that are unmatched in quality from any other country/zone in the world puts them in a league of their own. Tuscany, home to all-star favorites the likes of which collect dust in the cellars of the rich and famous as well as the novice enthusiast. Tuscany, great Sangiovese from coastal towns like Maremma all the way to Chianti Classico. Tuscany, where Sangiovese from the slopping hills of Montalcino bear the name Brunello. Tuscany, where Bordeaux meets contention on both left bank and right. Tuscany, when was the last time you had Carmignano or Vino Noble di Montepulciano. And...Oh yeah...Tuscany, where 8 out of the past 10 vintages have been GREAT CRUSHES!
We've seen a phenom decade from this zone and there is only more to come. You've got to keep your eyes open, otherwise, Tuscany might just pass you by.Just when you thought prices couldn't get crazier...a Container (approx 1,200 cases) of Classified Growth 2005 Bordeaux gets stolen in Connecticut. I kid you not...some crook has a boat load, literally, of some serious wine. Then again, why not.
As much as we enjoy wine as an art, there is quite an industry built around the subject, particularly Bordeaux. The region and its products has Indexes dedicated to determining the value of bottlings. Making and breaking records for prices fetched by Chateau XYZ which have already been pleateaued by said critic to be "vintages best" or everyone's favorite "best ever from here". Of course, there must be retrospective tastings where the oldest of vintages in the dingiest of cellars must be re-tasted, to see how they are improving. By doing so, either vaulting them to new record prices or deflating them to a collector's new "Tuesday Night Pizza Wine." Think about the impact, for example, when 2000 Bordeaux was released is 2003, we sold Chat. Petrus 2000 (WS98 + RP100) for little under $1500 per bottle. By 2005, that same bottle was commanding $3000!
For these reasons, when the next "vintage of our lifetime" comes around, Collectors and Investors alike will scour the retail scene for the best deals on the planet. Driven to save would could amount to thousands of dollars off their acquisition costs. Yet when countered with a larger bid at auction are willing to go to war with the opposing wallet to obtain a perfectly stored case of 1947 Chateau XYZ. "Hunting" through Auctioneer Catalogs of the next great cellar to be unloaded. Looking for the so very few, precious bottles that will put a person to their knees after one sip of Perfection. Will this wine be in OWB, Original Wood Box or will it be filled to TSF, Top Shoulder Fill. Perhaps it will be bottles of 1899 Chateau XYZ with STL, TL, MSF, OC, OWB, WON that will be the steal of the show. For those less than AL (Auction Literate) that would be Slightly Torn Label, Tattered Label, Mid-Shoulder Filled, Oxidized Capsule(s) in the Original Wood Box With Out the Nails!!!
When you take a good look at what goes into making a buck off of great wines, there is a huge learning curve. There is so much to keep track of, details to be noted and of course the time. You have to have the timing down just right. Or, you could just know when there is a container of Classified Growth 2005 Bordeaux going into New Haven and rip it off. I mean, what could it have taken. Knowing who the truck driver is and when he's going through town. Of course one would have had to read up on "said" critics review of the vintage to know you're not ripping off the 2002 vintage.It is without question that we hold the Golden State in high praise for the many outstanding, world-class efforts that have come about with such a short history of fine wine production. Consider the world's most highly sought after zones, from Bordeaux to Barolo, let's face it, California and specifically Napa Valley is just a baby. In such a short peroid of time, we've seen the likes of wine biz icon Robert Mondavi change the Napa scene all the way to Screaming Eagle's Oakville Cabernet fetching $500.00 a bottle. Is it worth it? Many would argue otherwise...however this cork dork believes there are many great wines on the west coast where the price paid is justifiable to the penny.
BUT...just when you thought this entry was going to praise the millionaires with purple feet, newsflash...I am getting bored with California wine! The monotonous flavors of the classic Napa Cab is driving me insane. I find myself opening $100 wines that leave me unsatisfied and to be quite frank, I'm not alone. There have been less revelations for me in Napa than one would expect. What I find quite disappointing is the lack of change a Napa Cab goes through after some years in the cellar. Nothing sucks more than watching your 97 Caymus Special Select collect dust for 7 years (those that can do the math will note that we have not even reached a decade in bottle) and having it taste almost exactly the way you remember it. Why bother to cellar the stuff? It is my declaration that there are a very few rarities of Cali Cabs that can go the distance, Montelena Estate, Ridge and perhaps a dozen others that my experiences have shown me.
In fact, many of you may have noticed Mr. James Laubes most recent article in the Wine Spectator. He has conducted several retro tastings of California Cabernet and despite some of his enthusiasm in his findings, I have found myself disappointed. When you look at this report from Mr. Laube, you gotta say to yourself, Harlan Estate 1997 got 88pts with a release price of $225 and now at auction for the super-low price of $1,229! Maybe I speak for myself when I say at 88pts, I just don't pay more than $1,199. For instance, why not just pick up the now 88pt 1997 Colgin Herb Lamb Napa Valley Cabernet for the most recent auction price of $857. A steal at 535% above the original release price of $135.
The Result: Don't get it wrong, Napa wine is good, you just can't wait more than 5 years on a majority of Napa Cabernet. I want to see more "cult" wines go the longer haul because as far a my palate has taken me, the stuff just doesn't change like Bordeaux or Barolo.Does it amaze anyone else that one little number scrawled from the pen of one "expert" carries with it such monolithic consequences? It's no great secret that a single rating can make or break a wine, or even an entire vintage. Find a way to make a 95+ point wine and your label becomes a must have on every linened table, a staple in every cellar, and a guaranteed sell out for the next two vintages at least. You will be sit in the finest crystal decanters next to world class cuisine and be heralded with penache the likes of which are scarcely seen beyond the glittering marquees of Broadway.
So if the "Expert" says its a 96 pointer and uses a bunch of fancy descriptors us wine geeks love to invent on-the-fly, then why don't I lke this wine? Is it me? Is my palate inferior? Am I simply not sophisticated enough to appreciate the myriad of subtelties that elude my laughably underdeveloped tastebuds?
No. It's not you (but I still think we should see other people).
The simple reality is that it's absurd for one person to rate a wine and have that single number determine its fate. Wine, like literature, art or any other of life's little pleasures, is extremely subjective. What to one might taste like vinegar, may to another be just what they've been craving. Where I find strawberries and crisp acidity, someone else may find thin fruit and an austere unsatisfying finish. I rarely recommend a wine based on what I thought. Rather what I think you will think.
If you want to get some good recommendations, trust your local wine merchant. Let him or her get to know your palate. It may be completely different than theirs, but a true professional will be able to single out flavor profiles and intensity levels you tend to enjoy. Sure they may miss the mark with a few recommendations, but its all part of the learning process. Eventually they will turn you on to boutique gems that you may never have discovered otherwise. Remember, for you wine is fun and a leisure activity, but your local merchant probably tastes THOUSANDS of different wines a year. It is a lifestyle for them, and in many ways even a subculture.
At the end of the day, whether it be wine, movies, or music....critics and ratings will always be there to guide us down an unfamiliar path. But remember, if you know what you like, then you know everything you ever need to know about wine.
Cheers From Connecticut!WELCOME!!
It has arrived, the GetWines.com blog! Finally, our own little corner of the internet where we can gather as wine loving friends and discuss all things involving our favorite juice. We'll discuss ratings! We'll debate issues! We'll raise questions that need to be raised! We'll complain just because we can! It will be an open forum for the vintelligent discussion. Look at it like a giant table, with all of us swirling, smelling, yelling and drinking together.
You can expect at least one new post here every week. Sometimes it will be a quick synopsis of new items, or a little news blurb from the wine world. Others it will be a lengthy tirade from our wine director about something that happens to be bothering him at that particular moment.
Like a new vintage, it will be unpredictable and exciting. So make sure you venture back as often as possible!
The GetWines Team
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