Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gen 5 Cabernet Sauvignon
Gen 5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Lodi, California

I shared this wine with my downstairs neighbor one night earlier this fall. It was the perfect Tuesday night treat!

The Gen 5 wines are all made using sustainable viticultural practices in the Lodi region of California's Central Valley. A smidge cooler and drier than the rest of the Central Valley, Lodi has been turning out some really yummy Cabs (and Zins, too!).

Review: This dark purple hued wine has lovely aromas of ripe black currants, eucalyptus and minerals. It's a hit sweet and lightly tannic, with favors of juicy currants and plums, and muted earth highlighted by spicy cloves and nutmeg. 

Food Pairing: No food required. This cab is great by itself. But if you are having dinner, I'd keep it casual, like some sweet and savory Chinese takeout.

Bottom Line: The Gen 5 is smooth and easy. A sure crowd pleaser.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • BOOZE: 13.9%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? MOM's Organic Market
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Brew Thursday: Alewerks Pumpkin Ale

Alewerks Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale
Williamsburg, Virginia

Fall has most certainly fallen. And while pumpkin beers have been available since August (crazy, right?!?), I finally decided to drink some!

Review: The pumpkin ale has a deep amber hue with a thin, lacy head. The aromas remind me a bit of mulled cider -- pie spice and ripe apples. The palate shows slightly sweet caramel and candied orange flavors, complemented by the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

The producer claims it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but this is one of the better pumpkin beers I've had. I quite enjoyed the balance achieved here -- sweet but bright, full bodied but still light.

Bottom Line: Smooth and softly spiced. Very tasty.

Beer Geekery:
  • BREWER: Alewerks Brewing Company
  • STYLE: Spiced Ale
  • PLACE: Williamsburg, Virginia
  • BOOZE: 7.3%
Where did I get it?  Giant
What's the damage?  Mid Priced

Monday, November 3, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Rex Goliath Chardonnay

HRM Rex-Goliath Pinot Chardonnay

So far we've seen the Rex Goliath Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, and Pink Pinot Grigio. What does the 47 pound rooster bring us for Chardonnay? You know what, it's surprisingly drinkable! Happy days for all buyers of $5 wine.

Here is Issue 4 of the Rex Chronicles: Chardonnay.

Review: The Rex Chardonnay has a soft golden color and aromas of pineapple, apricot, citrus, and toast. The palate is off-dry, with moderate acidity and no discernible oak tannin. The fruit is a bit muted by flavors of cream and toast. The finish is unremarkable. 

Bottom Line: This is pretty decent. The fruit is present, the oak isn't overwhelming, and a generous touch of sugar makes it go down smoothly. If someone were looking for a SUPER cheap, basic, slightly sweet Chardonnay, I wouldn't have any trouble recommending this. Color me surprised. 

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: America
  • GRAPE: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot

Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot 2010
Santa Clara, California

Berries and spice and everything nice! This Merlot from boutique Santa Clara Valley (aka: Silicon Valley) producer Jason-Stephens delivers on all fronts.

Review: This Merlot is exactly what I want Merlot to be. It has aromas of grilled figs, black plums, and a touch of menthol and herbs. The full flavors of ripe, juicy black fruit and black pepper linger on the palate. This wine achieves a wonderful balance of bright acidity and the tiniest touch of sweetness, all on a canvas of resolved, silky smooth tannins. Yum! 

Food Pairing: The slight sweetness and smoke make this a perfect pair for a spicy jambalaya. 

Bottom Line: A delight. Perfect on this cold November night.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Santa Clara Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Merlot
  • BOOZE: 15.2% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced