Saturday, November 26, 2022

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2022

*Additional comment added a day later at bottom.

Purple grape juice hue with aromas of orange circus peanut candies which you wouldn't expect from a red wine but there it is. The slightest hint of fresh grape over the rim with a floral loveliness in the bowl.

Palate--Sour first impression with more soreness throughout. There are some suggestions of grape but this is the worst Nouveau I have had in memory.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a "special" wine made in a special way and released with a VERY special fan fare. From vinification to release the wine is only 6 weeks old!  It is released worldwide on the the third Thursday of November at midnight and there is a raucous bacchanalia in Beaujolais and a lot of headaches and perhaps regrets in the morning.

At $12 it is fun to be a part of such a worldwide festival but as a wine beverage, it isn't worth the headache the morning after. The best part of this wine is its bouquet which is quite lovely but this wine isn't fit for drinking so, "Dump a glass!"


* I always like to check back with a bad wine that is not corked, it just seems BAD.  On rare occasions a wine that honestly horrible the first day mellowed out and was drinkable the next day. This Nouveau however was simply wretched and dumped...The first in all my years of drinking Nouveau.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Sebastiani Pepperwood Grove (California) Cabernet Sauvignon 2006


Brilliant ruby with bricking around the rim. Aromas of light cherry, mint, red berries, wonderful sweet cherry candy, gentle spices. (Amazing)

Palate--Lively acidity, integrated structure, slightly tart and wonderful cherry fruit all over the place. Finishes with a much classier ending than ever expected.

OK--This was a gift many years ago and has been in my cellar for over a decade. The original regular 750ml bottle cost about $8.    

This is now the third time in a few years I have been blown away at older wines which were not "expensive" wines on release and really shouldn't even be drinkable at this state of their existence. But the large format wines, (*Double Magnum in this case) which this is, tend to age much better than the 750ml bottle.  Still this honestly should have been only fit to pour down the drain.  Instead it will be THE wine served with the Thanksgiving feast.

*Dbl-magnum equals 4 bottles of wine.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving day wines! (repost)



A Thanksgiving Day meal with friends and family provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy nice wine. Because so much fuss is made over food and wine pairings in general, I find people get a little stressed out about what to serve guest on this special day. Fortunately, many wines have a much broader range than they get credit for. With that in mind, I have some basic suggestions that might help.

If you are planning a very traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with Turkey and all the assorted sides,

Rule #1 You need to abandon the adage saying, "White meat, white wine..." This couldn't be worse advice considering all the hefty spices, gravies and sauces at Thanksgiving. In fact, because of that very fact, a red wine is the best pairing but not just any red wine. So without getting too complicated--and boring--I'll cut to the chase.

 A host of red wines work well like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Merlot. All of these varietals have a pretty broad range, except maybe the Zinfandel. However, I put Zinfandel on the list because it works well with cranberry sauce and heavy starches like mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. And as far as bang for the buck, my go to is Zinfandel. 

In order to make things even more festive at the table, I suggest you offer guests two wines. This is especially easy if you are able to provide you guests with two wine glasses and allow them to pour and sip as they like. Simply place the bottles on the table and allow your guests to discover the different pairings as they please.

As a rule of thumb, plan for at least a half bottle per person while at the table. That may seem like a lot but, there are only 4-- 5oz. pours in a 750ml bottle! So which two wines? Try offering one Cabernet Sauvignon and one Pinot Noir, perhaps both from American wineries in the spirit of the holiday. While there a many very nice $12 Pinot Noirs, stay away from the bottom of the barrel Cabernets.  If you are able spend closer to $15 - $20 for your Cabernet.  Washington State is making some really good value Cabs at this price point.

While wines at the dinner table are often the focal point, don't forget that you can create a special experience with wines before and after the meal. A nice bubbly is a great way to start the festivities, especially with assorted appetizers or finger food. (I like a Cava from Spain which are ubiquitous and very inexpensive. It will say Cava on the label) 

To finish things off, try a nice dessert wine or Champagne. Something sweet but light, for example a muscat or icewine, should help wash down the pie. Do this before the coffee.

Above all else-  It is a time for special consideration of the King of all Creation who came to Earth to redeem all who put their trust in Him. Raise a glass to a Thanksgiving table complete with wine!

Breca Rosé 2020

Interesting orange, amber hue with aromas of orange circus peanut candies, (seriously) light banana, sweet melon, and a hint of citrus.

Palate--Off dry with a bitter line on the mid-palate which is actually rather nice, a slightly medicinal rear, juicy structure and a finish that is dry and fruity.

This Catalyaud (Spain) is made from the Garnacha de Aragon grape and is a nice quaff at $10. Serving it now with cheese and crackers before the big Thanksgiving Day meal with family. Give thanks with a grateful heart...  and Raise a glass!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Brotte Bord Elegance "Laudun" 2018

Lighter ruby hue with yeasty aromas out of the bottle, cherry berry, raspberry fruit in the bowl with perfumed fruity bouquet.

Palate--Impressive first impression with a lot of happiness going on: Loads of fruit, with berry pie filling, dried cherry pie filling, and savory spices on the edge. 

This is from "Laudun"in the S.E. region of France and located in the great Cotes Du Rhone appellation  consisting of Grenache and Syrah. It seems to run around $28 but I found it for $14.  Right now I am eating aged Gouda with a sweet *** and it is a very nice pairing.  Later on I will be having left-over savory Prime Rib and I expect it will be quite adequate.   

At $28, definitely raise a glass; at $14 as I paid for it, raise a helf case!  

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais 2020

 


Purple hue with aromas of cocoa, sweet strawberry

Palate--Lively presentation on the palate, with expressive Gamay flavors, a nice acidic line, delightful, strawberry fruit, finishes quickly.  

This is one of the better I have had so raise a glass!

Beaujolais explained:

Gamay is THE grape of Beaujolais and there are several levels of Beaujolais by which to judge the price and quality of what you can expect. 

Beaujolais--The first tier of blended Gamay grapes from anywhere in Beaujolais but nonetheless generally quite a decent quaff with a variety of cheeses and food or all by itself as this one is a really nice example. Generally about $10 and a delicious easy quaff.

Beaujolais Villages--The next step up in quality and price. To use this designation on the label all the grapes must come from mmore select parcels of land.  The price point tends not to be all that significant but a couple bucks generally.

Beaujolais Cru of which there are 10.  These are: Saint-Amour, Fleurie, Moulin-á-Vent, Juliénas, Chiroublés, Chénas, Juliénas, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié

All the grapes must be from these express regions and they express different qualities of their terroir. The price are a bit higher ranging from the upper teens to up to $30 or so. 

Finally-- Beaujolais Nouveau among which TODAY is the annual, release of Nouveau (or "new" Beaujolais) which is done to great fan-fare in France as this lite, uncomplicated gentle quaff of Gamay is only 6 weeks old from harvest to bottle and always released world-wide on the third Thursday in November. I would have reviewed one here but living in Maine we don't see much in the way of such wine. I will endeavor to review one when I find one.  In the meantime, Gamay is just a delightful grape so raise a glass!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Corvelia Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 20


Nearly midnight hue with nice aromas of rich ripe plum, blackberry pie, sweet and savory spices and a lot more going on.

Palate--Supple tannins, with a rich *fruit bomb first impression. Huge dark berry presence with all sorts of dark berries as well. Finishes with a warmth and flavorful ending which hangs around for a good while. Constructed in the "new world" way for the popular palate that neither likes paying $50 and beyond for a lovely quaff nor waiting a decade to be able to enjoy what's in the bottle.  It finishes with a lingering reminder of what is in the bottle. 

There is a depth here that goes well beyond its price point of $12. Is this a complex, Napa Cab, NO. But neither do you have to take out a loan to buy it or get on a list and hope you make the cut for the chance to purchase a bottle. I have had a good number of Corvelia Cabs and Zinfandels and am I big fan.  Struggling for that Thanksgiving turkey accompaniment? Read my previous post about Thanksgiving pairings, or just buy this wine and raise a glass!

*Fruit bomb is derogatory to some people. It is NOT to me. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Thanksgiving Day Wine Pairings??? What to serve...



A Thanksgiving Day meal with friends and family provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy nice wine. Because so much fuss is made over food and wine pairings in general, I find people get a little stressed out about what to serve guest on this special day. Fortunately, many wines have a much broader range than they get credit for. With that in mind, I have some basic suggestions that might help.

If you are planning a very traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with Turkey and all the assorted sides,

Rule #1 You need to abandon the adage saying, "White meat, white wine..." This couldn't be worse advice considering all the hefty spices, gravies and sauces at Thanksgiving. In fact, because of that very fact, a red wine is the best pairing but not just any red wine. So without getting too complicated--and boring--I'll cut to the chase.

 A host of red wines work well like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Merlot. All of these varietals have a pretty broad range, except maybe the Zinfandel. However, I put Zinfandel on the list because it works well with cranberry sauce and heavy starches like mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. And as far as bang for the buck, my go to is Zinfandel. 

In order to make things even more festive at the table, I suggest you offer guests two wines. This is especially easy if you are able to provide you guests with two wine glasses and allow them to pour and sip as they like. Simply place the bottles on the table and allow your guests to discover the different pairings as they please.

As a rule of thumb, plan for at least a half bottle per person while at the table. That may seem like a lot but, there are only 4-- 5oz. pours in a 750ml bottle! So which two wines? Try offering one Cabernet Sauvignon and one Pinot Noir, perhaps both from American wineries in the spirit of the holiday. While there a many very nice $12 Pinot Noirs, stay away from the bottom of the barrel Cabernets.  If you are able spend closer to $15 - $20 for your Cabernet.  Washington State is making some really good value Cabs at this price point.

While wines at the dinner table are often the focal point, don't forget that you can create a special experience with wines before and after the meal. A nice bubbly is a great way to start the festivities, especially with assorted appetizers or finger food. (I like a Cava from Spain which are ubiquitous and very inexpensive. It will say Cava on the label) 

To finish things off, try a nice dessert wine or Champagne. Something sweet but light, for example a muscat or icewine, should help wash down the pie. Do this before the coffee.

Above all else-  It is a time for special consideration of the King of all Creation who came to Earth to redeem all who put their trust in Him. Raise a glass to a Thanksgiving table complete with wine!

Frisk Riesling 2021


Straw hue with aromas if lime, mandarin orange, tropical fruit.     

Palate--*Spritzig, fruity, sweet impression, (off-dry) a melange of tropical fruit salad. Structure is a touch weak regarding acidity but actually pretty decent for a $7 Riesling.

Riesling is one of those forgotten grapes which is sad. It is the signature grape of the famous Mosel Saar Ruwer-- Germany. Traveling the Mosel River as I did, the terraces of vineyards are so steep that I thought, "if a vineyard worker stumbled they weren't going to stop until they reached the river." The region is peppered with storied parcels that have been making wine for centuries. 

But the stunner here is that this Riesling is from Australia! Not bad at all for the people down under.

I paid $7 for this at Trader Joe's and I would do it again! Raise a glass.


*  Spritzig is the German word used for "sparkling meaning fizzy, carbonated, whatever term you can identify with. The carbonation is a product of the process of making the wine. It is not added as in soda.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Chateau Haut Biraud 2020

Pretty garnet midnight hue with aromas of coffee, green undertones, sweet berry goodness

Palate-- Puckery tannins holding fort on the dark berry prevalence with a super quick finish. (This is on opening.) There is much more here and I will resume after it has had time to open up. I like what I'm seeing and tasting at the moment!

This is a young Bordeaux made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon located in the "Entre-Deux-Mers.' 

Breathing only accentuates what is there and it is pleasant. I see it for $20 on line but I found it for $13. Raise a glass!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

M. Chevallier Sparkling Brut Cava (NV)

This is a Trader Joe's regular and at the 
$12 price point is a very nice value sparkler.

It is a pale golden with aromas of lemon curd, vanilla pudding, creme bruleé, tropical fruit galore and pineapple.

Palate--The evervescence is fine, pin point bubblers with a liveliness on your tongue. It is dry yet nicely fruity, cleansing your palate with tropical fruit flavors. 

Serve this chilled down as an aperitif, or an accompaniment to those hard to pair Indian, Asian cuisines.  It is a wonderful value at $11 so raise a glass!

Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2018


Hue has purple remnants with a garnet bowl and aromas of classic Sangiovese (the grape) with sweet cherry, a hint of black licorice, savory spices, and more lovely fruit.

Palate--Lovely fruity front with excellent acidic Sangiovese structure, well balanced at this age and excellent drinking right now!

Querceto is one of my favorite Chianti's having memories of sitting in an Italian restaurant in the home of this wine with the waiter aerating our Querceto pouring it from glass to glass.  This is a really nice Riserva (*Reserve) and will be superior with my home-made venison spaghetti. (and it was!) 

This is listed at $25 but I paid $15. I used to get this wine a lot at $12...

 At $15 this is a no brainer so raise a glass!

* Any wine that posts "Reserve or Riserva" is a wine that has had added attention choosing only the best grapes of the vineyard and perhaps some special attention in the way the wine was made. They tend to cost 10-20-% more.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Canoe Ridge "The Explorer" Merlot (Horse Heaven Hills) 2017

 


Dark purple he with distinctive aromas of overly ripe plum, (not a bad thing) and a pronounced "something" which I just cannot put my finger on. I'm not sure I like it though...

Palate--Mouth filling flavor with firm structure, big bold, dark berry mid-palate, expresso at the end. This is a very BIG wine with a lasting finish that is also "warming." 

This is a BIG wine (have ai said that already?) LOL   with a lot of expression and the structure to go for another 10 years.  This is a different kind of Merlot and perhaps the Horse Heaven Hills AVA is the reason. It is big, bold, trying to become balanced and finishes with a lasting berry ending.  If I  have the chance I will buy another and lay it down for a couple years anyway. I believe the longer you give this wine, the better it is going to be!  It prices at $40 but I found it for $15. Nice find so raise a glass! 

Monday, November 07, 2022

Maison Nicolas Pinot Noir 2021


Light cherry hue with aromas of yeasty bread above the rim with wonderful Pinot bouquet of strawberry juice and even a suggestion of maple syrup, cola or rootbeer.

Palate- Thin first impression with steely center. Raspberry midbeam and a clunky structure. Finishes almost before it starts. 

Ok even for $10 this is a substandard Pinot and gives a bad impression of the grape which can cost a thousand of dollars for one bottle from one of the hallowed Chateau of Burgundy. When one speaks of a "Burgundy" they are referring to Pinot Noir.

The basic elements are present here but they are bare bones. You can find some pretty nice Pinot Noirs from Oregon and Washington state at the under $15 price point which are wonderful by comparison. I'd give this one a pass!

OK on retrospect, this is better than at first. Actually it is pretty darn good. Before you serve it, breathe it for an hour or so and you will reap big dividends!  RAISE A GLASS!

Bergeyre Labadie Merlot-Tannat Reserve Cotes De Gascogne 2021


This is a very young wine with an intense, immature dark purple hue with aromas of berries, savory spice, ripe cherry-berry juice and red grapefruit! 

Palate--Fresh out of the gate with unidimensional structure that will take shape as it opens up. First impression is new world style even though an old world creation, and it works for the new world palate! Chewy tannins that are gentle yet pronounced only because they are young. It has been about 20 minutes and it is already showing itself to be a delightful quaff. 

Tannat is not a well known grape in America or Europe even though it is a significant grape grown in the Gascogne region of France. It is the preeminent grape of Argentina being grown throughout much of S. America and Australia.  

Although this wine is priced as high as $40 I paid $10 for it at a state liquor store. It's a nice wine at the latter price point so raise a glass (at that price point)

Guardians Sapervavi Kakheti 2021

Intense black/garnet hue with subdued aromas of brioche, light red berry, hard cherry candies, and a hint of licorice fighting to emerge. 

Palate--Gentle first impression with light tannins, nuanced structure, satisfying red berry flavors with a touch of savory spice.

This is a gentle and tasty wine with a lovely first impression and would be delicious with all manner of (lighter) cheeses and food. 

This wine comes from the country of Georgia and may be my first wine out of thousands from this region of the world. At $13, I'm glad I grabbed it. It is is nice experience and and easy quaff so raise a glass!

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Aravail Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Decently dark plum hue with aromas of lightly yeasted baked bread, subtle hint of cocoa, green fruit, savory spice, and lovely dark berries. (Nice bouquet for having just been opened.)

Palate--Tart first impression with a steely middle, green hints, crushed dark berries with a suggestion of vanilla cream candy.

This Central Coast (California) Cab is better than I expected and should improve with more breathing and a bit warmer as my ambient cellar this time of year is in the low 60's which is a great storage temp. but too chilly to be fully appreciated. I paid $12 for this and I wouldn't go out of my way to buy another but it is a decent offering at this price point so raise a glass!