Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Blog Address

To consolidate the food blog and the wine blog I have created a new blog titled Champagne and Croissants. Please follow me there.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Campos de Viento, Tempranillo 2009

Campos DeViento Tempranillo

Sometimes the key to picking out a good wine is to have your Hindu neighbor, who doesn't drink, or know a thing about wine, go to the  wine shop and pick out a bottle based on two criteria:
1. cheap 
2. cool label

That is how we found this little gem of a wine. This wine is apparently a project created by Ignasi López and Robert Hunter, two foremost experts in Spanish wine. They started in 2007 working with winemakers to select the single varietal juice to make wine with their own personal stamp on things. What I didn't realize at the time is that these are the same wine makers that created the Campos de Luz Garnacha - a wine that Chris and I have been enjoying for about 6 months now.

We'll have to run this little experiment more often - I like it when other people pick out the cheap cool bottle wine that ends up being a big hit. If you give a shit about ratings or points, Robert Parker gave this wine 87 points. Parker and I don't always agree, and I think I would have given it an 88 or 89. And with its dark cherry, and bitter chocolate notes it will be a perfect wine for the impending ass biting cold weather that is coming our way now that the Labor Day Weekend has passed.

The Particulars
Winery: Campos de Viento

AVA: Northeast, Spain
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13
Price:  between $7-10
Rating = BUY IT

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2009 Raymond Reserve Chardonnay | Fill Er Up

Two weekends ago Chris and I went to the Newport wine festival. First, let me tell you, the only thing good about one of your best friends getting pregnant after you have all bought tickets to the festival is that suddenly no one has to worry about who is going to be the designated driver. Pregnant woman are always good for that.

Second, this festival should have been more appropriately named the Newport Wine and Hard Alcohol festival, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, limencello....whatever. I tried my hardest to stick to the wine, but the table with Bailey's Irish Creme did call to me a few times. 
One of my favorite wines at the festival was the Raymond Chardonnay. I had never had it before, and was so taken by it that at the end of the festival this was the only wine I wanted to drink. So, having made friends with Phillip the wine rep, I sauntered back up to the table (maybe swayed would be a better word, in my mind I was sauntering, but I'd been drinking heartily for a few hours now, so swayed would probably be a more descriptive word) and simply asked if I could have a full glass - it was funny, his name was Phillip and I asked for a Fill Up...get it. Whatever.

So, fast forward a few days, Chris is at BJ's wholesale club of all places and they sell this wine for $10 a bottle, a full $10 less than What what.
Of course we bought it, chilled it and drank it as soon as it was cold. Here is the skinny on the wine. Its good, very good. It has aromas of honeysuckle and orange, but then on the end its like lemon cream...its so good. Just grab a ten spot and go out and get this wine and give it a try.

As a note. I think Wine Spectator gave this wine 89 points.

The Particulars
Winery: Raymond
Varietal: Chardonnay
AVA: Napa Valley, California
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13.5
Price:  $10 (BJ's)
Rating = BUY IT

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2006 Chateau Lyonnat Lussac St. Emilion

 After I read the Wine Bible I became a bit of a Francophile for a while. I went in for months only wanting to drink French wine, mainly because all of those obscure wine labels with pictures of large chateaus on label finally made sense to me, I could read them and understand what I was buying, I felt like I had learned a new language - it was fun.
What is also really fun is perusing the bin end section of your local wine shop. You know all the bottles that for one reason or another are marked down below their normal price, usually due to damaged wine labels or whatnot. As you can see from this picture, this wine was originally priced at $20, but due to some wine stains on the label it was marked down to $14. Sweet.

I bought this probably about 6 or so months ago. I don't usually buy wine that I haven't tried before, but every once and a while it is fun to not know what you are getting yourself into.

So, here goes. It was good, very good. I actually thought it could have had more time in the bottle and gotten better, there was a slight green-ness to the wine, it was still great, but I think it would be better in a couple years. (Hmm a novel idea in this wine age, a wine that can actually lay down for a bit and get better, not beg to drunk the day you buy it.)

This is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc. Now, Cab Franc is one of my least favorite varietals, I haven't come across a 100% Cab Franc that I wanted to drink, most of them give me the smelly fart face. However, in small quantities it does add tannin and heft to wine and it works here. It had a great earthy note and a slight berry flavor...thank you merlot, it was an all over palate pleaser. Now, at $20 it may be more money than people want to spend on a Wednesday night wine, but at only 12.5% alcohol it is the perfect wine to drink on a school night, or if you happen to be driving that night, two glasses won't put you over the edge.

The Particulars
Winery: Chateau Lyonnat
Merlot, Cabernet, Cab Franc
AVA: St. Emilion
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 12.5
Price:  $20 (Bin End at $14)
Rating = BUY IT

Monday, August 22, 2011

2008 Stickybeak Syrah

This wine has been given anywhere from 88 points (wine enthusiast) to 91 points (Jerry Lawson). Chris and I bought this wine at a wine tasting back in the spring. Our neighbor Angela also came to the wine tasting with us and also purchased this wine. I loved the wine at the tasting, it was what I sometimes refer to as "my kid of wine" meaning ample juicy berry flavors, smoke, good mouthfeel, and a lingering finish (no doubt helped by its 18 months in French oak). This wine is all that. But what Angela and I really loved about the wine was the name, Stickybeak - literally meaning "nosey neighbor" because. This name rang true for us, Angela and I spend at least four days together a week, but we never call each other or email each other, our relationship is a matter of looking over the fence to see if we are home working in the garden, or me hanging out the kitchen window yelling into her living room window when I see the light come on to ask if she wants to pop over for a glass of wine. I love our easy going way, we toss vegetables or flowers to each other through open windows, and we miss each other when one is traveling - sticky beak is indeed our wine.

The Particulars
Winery: Stickybeak Wines
Varietal: Syrah
AVA: 80% Napa Valley, 20% Atlas Peak, California
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 14.8% - yep, she's a big one
Price:  $18.99
Rating = BUY IT

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lamplighter Cabernet - the perfect wedding crasher wine

Our neighbors upstairs from us in Vermont like to drink wine and they don't give a shit what kind of wine it is, jug wine, box wine, whatever and we love them because just like us, they always have wine in the house, half of which they have no idea what it is or what it tastes like. We love going to their condo because we can bring whatever wine we want and they don't care what it is or want to talk about it, they just want to drink it. Now.

On Saturday we decided to have a couple bottles of wine at their house before we headed out to hear some live music at a local place. We finished a bottle of Smoking Loon Merlot that they had open when we came, and then we opened this little gem that we had bought at a local market for the whopping price of $5.99. I had no expectations from this wine - but was so pleasantly surprised by this medium bodied wine with the hint of cocoa and dark cherries. It was easy to drink and for the price was a veritable steal!

So, we finished the wine and headed out to the pub to hear the band, we pulled into the pub parking lot and as we got out of the car were greeted with the most amazing music wafting through the hot August night air, the problem was, the music was not coming from the pub in which we were going, it was coming from the restaurant across the street. We decided to check it out and realized that the music was indeed a wedding band, playing at what clearly was a wedding reception.

It was at this point, fueled by the liquid courage of a few glasses of vino at the house that on my bucket list there might actually be a line item for "crash a wedding". So indeed that is what I did, with my neighbor Jan. The husbands hung back and wouldn't go into the open air wedding reception structure. I looked at Jan and stated that you can't actually say you crashed a wedding unless you have a drink and dance, so we went to the cash bar and ordered two glasses of wine, and do you know what the wine was that night? Lamplighter - thats right - between the same wine and the full moon it just felt like we were supposed to crash this wedding. So, we danced under the full moon with about 50 or 60 people who were complete strangers. No harm no foul right? It is Vermont.

The Particulars
Winery: Lamplighter
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
AVA: Napa Valley, California
Vintage: Non Vintage
Alcohol: 13.8%
Price:  $5.99
Rating = BUY IT

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bodega Lurton 2007 Torrontes

Yum! I have to be honest, I have no clue where I bought this wine, but if I had to guess I would say that it came from the 3 for $10 bin at Casalli's in Rhode Island. The front of the store is dedicated to these boxes of wine that you can mix and match and I like to just grab a bunch when I'm there because really, sometimes the night calls for a $3.33 wine. Like tonight for instance, a hot humid, Monday night, the quiche is in the oven and I need myself a little bit o vino. So, here we go, here is what I think of it. 

My wine varietal chart states that Torrontes is spicy, floral, grapefruit, soapy and spicy. The nose is full of grapefruit, but almost like a candied grapefruit, not like fresh, and definitely aromatic/floral. The taste surprised me, acidic yes, but it balances out with this great mellow mouth feel that is really great. I don't know a ton about Torrontes, but after this wine I will definitely seek this varietal out more often, just to learn more about it and compare it to this wine. 

The Particulars
Winery: Bodega Lurton
Varietal: Torrontes

DOC: Mendoza, Argentina
Vintage: 2007
Alcohol: 13%
Price:  $3.33 - sells typically for $7-$10