Sunday, March 29, 2015

Judd's Hill Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Judd’s Hill Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Napa, California

I've been holding this bottle of Cab for a few years now, and just couldn't wait any longer! The results: magnificent. This is a beautiful, elegant style of Cabernet. Yes, it has power and structure, but also subtly and sophistication.

Review: This Cab has a medium ruby color and aromas of plum, black cherry, bramble, lilac, leather, and toasty oak. It's dry with bright acidity, and fine grained, well integrated tannins. The flavors mirror the nose, with lots of ripe and dried black fruit, wild herbs, pepper, and a host of sweet barrel spice. The finish is medium plus in length. 

I love the development this wine has seen, both in oak (28 months French oak) and in the bottle. While it may be nearing the end of its drinking window, there is still ample fruit and acidity to carry the wine for a few more years.

Food Pairing: I would love to pair this with an herb crusted pork loin to complement the savory and herbal notes of the wine. 

Bottom Line: Absolutely wonderful. My only regret is that this was my last bottle!

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2009
  • PLACE: Rutherford AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • BOOZE: 14.1%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020

Where did I get it? Judd’s Hill Wine Club Shipment
What's the damage? Super Premium 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Cantine Colosi Sicilia Rosso

Cantine Colosi Sicilia Rosso 2011
Sicily, Italy

Oh my, this wine is delicious! So very much better than the last Nero d'Avola I reviewed... Rich and soft, perfect to keep you warm on a cold winter's night.

Review: A deep ruby color, this Sicilian beauty has ripe aromas of black plums, bramble, and currants. On the palate, it's dry with moderate acidity, a round body, and soft easy tannin. The flavors bring more dark fruit, sweet spice, and toasty cocoa. The finish is a bit on the short side, but overall, this is a very nice little wine. It has a balanced structure and concentrated fruit. At $9.99, it offers a fantastic value.

Food Pairing: I'll be having mine with some rich beef stew. 

Bottom Line: I'm delighted by this wine. Ripe fruit, soft texture, and great value. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Sicilia IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta)
  • GRAPE: Nero d'Avola
  • AGEING: 6 months Slavonian oak, 4 months in bottle
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now through 2017

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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot

Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot 2012
Kenwood, California

This wine was on sale at my local Giant so a neighbor and I decided to give it a go. Results are mixed.

Review: The Sonoma Merlot is a deep purple-ruby color, with aromas of jammy plums, black cherries, and a bit of cocoa. On the palate, it's a bit off dry, with moderate acidity and pretty light tannin (I wish there was more for structure). There's a ton of ripe black currants and plums, and the tiniest bit of toast and chocolate from the barrel. The finish is on the short side. 

There is absolutely nothing objectionable about this wine. We drank the bottle -- it couldn't have been bad. I just wanted there to be more: more barrel spice, more texture and tannin, more acidity and brightness. It just seemed one note: ripe fruit.

Food Pairing: I paired one glass of Merlot with a second glass of Merlot. But if you wanted food, this would pair just fine with a soy glazed pork loin. 

Bottom Line: A ripe, simple wine.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Sonoma County
  • GRAPE: 98% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • AGEING: 20 months in French and American oak barrels
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Giant Food
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Domaine Sallet Mâcon Uchizy Les Maranches

Domaine Sallet Mâcon Uchizy Les Maranches 2013

Mâcon-Uchizy, Burgundy, France

The Les Maranches hails from Uchizy, one of 43 Villages of the Mâcon. This region in southern Burgundy is a bit warmer, sunnier, and drier than its northern counterparts. Wines from this region are often vinified in stainless, are meant for youthful drinking, and provide consumers (yay us!) with excellent value.

Review: This wine has mild aromas of golden apples and dried pineapple. On the palate, it's dry and softly acidic with a round body. The flavors from the nose are expanded to also show ripe pear, lemon custard, and a hint of nuttiness. The finish is medium in length, with a bit of lingering citrus.

This wine isn't terribly complex, but it is solid and tasty. It shows fresh varietal character of Chardonnay and a has a refreshing brightness.

Pairing: A citrus salad with bitter endive. Yummy.

Bottom Line: An easy drinking Chard at a good price. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Mâcon-Uchizy AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blandy's Alvada
Blandy's Alvada
Madeira, Portugal

I have a not-so-secret love affair with fortified wine, and Madeira is my favorite (with Tawny Port and Banyuls coming in a close second and third). I love Madeira's nutty, confected notes and acidic zing. Simply wonderful.
As the rules for go, age indicated Madeira is supposed to be made from a single variety. Well, the folks at Blandy's are breaking the rules and breathing new life into Madeira. The Alvada is a 50/50 blend of Malmsey and Bual grapes, creating a new flavor profile. The wine is packaged in 500 mL bottle with bright colors, rather than the traditional 750 mL with conservative labeling. Oh, and one last touch: the Alvada is priced to move (roughly $20), making Madeira accessible than ever.

I tried the Alvada for the first time in 2013 when visiting the island of Madeira. While it is available stateside, I brought this bottle back from Portugal in my checked luggage. Carpe Vinum!

Review: The Alvada is a medium amber color, with pronounced aromas of toasted walnuts and roasted figs. On the palate it is quite sweet, with a bright fresh acidity and full body. This wine is so full of flavor: spicy crystallized ginger, dried dates and apricots, candied orange rind, sweet nutty toffee. It just goes and goes, with a long finish.

Food Pairing: Of course a fruit and cheese plate would be wonderful, but don't fear going savory! I paired mine with a spicy tomato and sausage soup.

Bottom Line: A great (delicious) innovation. I'm delighted with this wine -- and the idea of putting Madeira within reach of more consumers.

Wine Geekery:
  • PLACE: Madeira
  • GRAPE: 50% Malmsey/Malvasia and 50% Bual 
  • AGEING: 5 years
  • BOOZE: 19.0%
  • CELLAR: Drink now, but will hold for a very very long time

Where did I get it? At the Blandy's tasting room in Funchal
What's the damage? Mid Priced, for 500 mL