Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage Rouge

Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage Rouge 2007
Tain l’Hermitage, France

On Monday I reviewed a bargain priced Rhone red. Tonight's wine is a little different...

It's not every day that I get to try a wine as elegant as this one (not to mention pricey). Hermitage is possibly the most famous appellation in the Northern Rhone. It's quite teeny tiny -- only 132 hectares on a south-facing hill of granite. The region is surrounded by the much larger Crozes-Hermitage which also produces amazing, if less intense and long lived, Syrahs.

Review: The wine displays rich aromas of red currants and ripe cranberries; herbaceous lavender eucalyptus, and black currant leaves; subtle toast and sweet spice; and earthy wet dirt, tar, and clean forest floor. The palate is dry with moderate acidity, and integrated soft, ripe, supple tannins. All of the notes on the nose display as intense flavors. The earthiness is enhanced by a wonderful mineral graphite. The flavors linger for a long, intense finish.

Currently the Ermitage is displaying ripe fruit and clean earth. As it continues to age, the juicy fruit will transform into dried fruit with savory spices, and earthy mushrooms and leather. I can't wait to grab another bottle to lay down for another 4 years!

Food Pairing: The herbal notes in the wine would be a fantastic pair to roast leg of lamb with mint of rosemary. Yum.

Bottom Line: Absolutely outstanding.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2007
  • PLACE: Hermitage AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 100% Syrah
  • AGEING: 15 months in new oak (30%) and stainless steel (70% )
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2020

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Super Premium

Monday, October 27, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Arnoux & Fils Chapelle-St-Arnoux

Arnoux & Fils Chapelle-St-Arnoux 2011 
Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France
I don't typically choose bottles based on the labels, but this one caught my eyes. The Chapelle-St-Arnoux just looked so classy! And it was $8.99 -- clearly I had to bring it home with me.

This delightful red is made by notable producer Arnoux & Fils in the Ventoux, a sub-region of the southern Rhone Valley. It's a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.

Review: The Chapelle-St-Arnoux has a medium ruby color and developing aromas of fresh raspberries, ripe black cherries, earth, leather, black pepper, and anise. On the palate the fresh fruit is transformed to dried berries, along with pepper and herbal notes of lavender and fennel. The tannins are grippy and a touch astringent, giving the wine a moderate body well suited to food pairings. Speaking of which...

Food Pairing: My top pick will have to be a savory stew to complement the meaty notes and toothsome texture of the wine.

Bottom Line: Quite nice, especially at the price point. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Ventoux AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault
  • BOOZE: 14% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Wegman's
What's the damage? Low Price

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mapreco Vinho Verde 2013

Mapreco Vinho Verde 2013
Minho, Portugal

Summer is on the way out (well, I suppose it's really gone), and couldn't resist trying to recapture it with summertime in a glass: Vinho Verde.

Review: The wine has a gorgeous water white color, speckled with teeny tiny bubbles. The nose is highly aromatic, displaying tart green apples, zests of lemons and limes, and light minerality. On the palate the wine is a wee bit off dry with bright, zippy acidity and a surprisingly round body. Even with a short finish, the apple and citrus flavors shine. Delightful!

The Mapreco is made from indigenous Iberian grapes Alvarinho (aka Albariño), Arinto, Loureiro, and Trajadura.

Food Pairing: This wine is delightfully food friendly and would pair with anything light and easy, from fish to chicken to veggies to fruit. I paired mine with some wasabi peas and my favorite TV show.

Bottom Line: Light, lively, and lovely. Oh, and the label has a wee little owl on it. Too cute.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Vinho Verde DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada)
  • GRAPES: Alvarinho , Arinto, Loureiro, Trajadura
  • BOOZE: 10%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Brew Thursday: Brouwerij Bosteels DeuS Brut Des Flandres

Brouwerij Bosteels DeuS Brut Des Flandres 2010
Buggenhout, Belgium

The Champagne of Beers. No, not this one. The real Champagne of Beers, made using the Champagne production methods.

Brouwerij Bosteels' DeuS starts with a beer made with summer barley, and completes a month long fermentation with two different strains of yeast. After the initial fermentation, the beer is shipped from Buggenhout, Belgium to a town outside Epernay, France to start it's secondary fermentation and bottle conditioning. The beer spends 9 months on its lees (spent yeast), which imparts an amazingly rich flavor and supple texture. The bottles are then rotated, moving the yeast to the neck where it can be easily removed. The beer is then ready for drinking! Huzzah!

Review: Goodness, that's a gorgeous beer -- a soft amber color, lacy head, and teeny tiny bubbles. It has aromas of toasty malts, yeast, citrus and spice. The palate is dry with a creamy mousse of pin prick bubbles. The yeast and malts combine with soft tree fruits and spice, giving the impression of a fresh apple pie. Oh, it's beyond delicious.

Bottom Line: Amazingly round, malty, and generous. A bit pricey, but worth every penny. I dig it.

Beer Geekery:
Where did I get it?  Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage?  Premium

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hervé Souhaut Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet

Hervé Souhaut Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet 2010
Ardèche, Rhone Valley, France

I picked up this wine (among others) for a WSET study session on wines of the Rhone Valley. It was one of my favorites from the day! This wine from producer Hervé Souhaut is a blend of Roussanne and Viognier, two beautiful Rhone grapes. The property is located just across the river from Hermitage. 

Review: This beautiful deep lemon colored wine has a lovely, strong aromas of honeysuckle, yellow apples, ripe pears, white peaches, apricots, toasted almonds, and marzipan. The palate is dry with a mouth-coating texture and bright acidity. The flavors are just as deep and ripe as the nose suggested: honey, fresh stone fruit, perfumed flowers, wet stones, and touch of delicate oak. 

I love the balance that is achieved in the Romaneax-Destezet: round body, fresh acid, moderte alcohol, and concentrated fruit, flowers, nuts, and spice flavors. Oh, so tasty.

Food Pairing: Seared scallops and roasted winter squash dusted with cardamom and brown sugar.

Bottom Line: Excellent. I think I adore everything this wine has to offer. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Vin De Pay de Ardèche
  • GRAPES: 90% Roussanne, 10% Viognier
  • SOIL: Schist
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now or hold for several years

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced

Monday, October 13, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Rex Goliath Pink Pinot Grigo

HRM Rex-Goliath Pink Pinot Grigio

The Rex Chronicles continue! Here is Issue 3: Pink Pinot Grigio.

Review:  From the get go, everything about this wine is cloying. The color is crazy bright pink. The aromas are of confected strawberries, reminding me of a jolly rancher candy. The palate is a mix of abrasive acidity and overwhelming sweetness. Typically I won't drink wine ice cold, as it masks the flavors. However, I tried to drink this one as cold as possible (see condensation in photo below). It didn't help. It was not "Refreshingly Sweet" as the bottle claimed, but rather stickily and ickily sweet.

Why, might you ask, is this Pinot Grigo (Gray) pink? Despite the name, Pinot Grigo grapes are actually pink! This was was made in the style of rosé with some skin contact, allowing the juice to take on the pigment of the skins.

Bottom Line: Generally I try to be positive about wine. This is one makes it difficult. I suppose if someone is looking for Kool-Aid with a kick this might work. But wouldn't you rather just throw some vodka in fruit punch?


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: America
  • GRAPE: Pinot Grigio
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Harris Teeter
What's the damage? Low Price

Friday, October 10, 2014

Alain Combard Atmosphere Rosé
Alain Combard Atmosphere Rosé 2013
Provence, France

I know it's a little late in the season for rosé, but this one is too good to pass up! This little beauty from Provencal producers Saint-André de Figuière is sure to soothe your soul on a blazing hot day. It is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Cinsault. The grapes are from the Var department in the south of France.

Review: On the nose, this wine shows aromas of tangerine zest, lavender, and ripe blackberries. On the palate, it is dry with a medium level of acidity and a soft, round body. Flavors of juicy black fruits are joined by slightly tart blood orange, wet stone minerality, and hint of spicy ginger.

Food Pairing: Perfect at the end of a long, hot (or cold!) day with a fresh mixed green and citrus salad. 

Bottom Line: So soft and pretty. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) Var 
  • GRAPES: 30% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Grenache, 15% Cinsault
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced