I told Denise that I would write up something about their new Cabernet Sauvignon Chocolate Truffle flavored coffee, which is evidentally the only wine-flavored coffee available anywhere. Well, I liked it, but it took me a while to figure out why. My favorite coffee is Kenya and/or Tanzania coffee, which are usually described as having a wine-y flavor. Well, this cabernet coffee tastes like Tanzania coffee, because of the wine flavor. It is really worth trying, and pretty soon you’ll be able to buy it from their web site. Assuming I ever get done with this book so that I can spend any time on other stuff.
This evening I had a Lamborghini with dinner. A Lamborghini 2000 “Trescone” Umbria Rosso ($12.99).
WineLoversPage.com describes it better than I could. I had it with warmed-over pizza that was too hot, and which burned the roof of my mouth, so, to me, it tasted like a full-bodied, earthy red, but I didn’t get all the nuances which those notes suggest. Roquefort cheese in a barnyard? Sheesh
The Chrisman Mill First Vineyard Reserve is way way WAY underpriced. So, when you go to buy your bottle, offer them a few bucks extra, and tell them to pass it on to Chris and Denise. With a smoky, jammy nose, and a wonderful dark berry taste, and delightful deep purple color. This is the wine for a evening talking with friends, and, although it is indeed better with food, it is so wonderful by itself that it is hard to discard that option. Also excellent with a good book and a fire.
While I’d recommend that you keep it for a few years before opening, it is very yummy now, so get several bottles. Also note that it throws a lot of sediment, so be prepared for that, or even have a filter on hand.
I’m finishing up the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2001) that we opened on Sunday. It is still pretty yummy, although not as good as it was on Sunday. I find it interesting that the President’s Selection, which is always a few dollars more, is invariably not as good. What’s up with that? This is slightly tannic, with jammy, smoky aromas and plum and cherry in the mouth. Good with bread and oil, or by itself. Would also be great with a nice hearty steak, I expect – it always has been in the past.
I started doing this earlier, but my laptop battery ran out before I could get things properly shut down. I hate it when that happens.
So, anyways, The Wine Shop, in Nicholasville, had a wine tasting yesterday, in which they poured two italian wines:
Ruffino 2001 Orvieto Classico (d.o.c.)
Orvieto Classico is a white wine from italy – specifically from Umbria – and is composed of Grechetto, Drupreggio, Procanico and Trebbiano Toscano. Ruffino is an estate in Tuscany, and has a wonderful web site contaning a lot of information about their wines.
Although I caught a little bit of a nutty aroma, mostly I detected pear and tangerine, which was pretty cool. The taste was light, somewhat sweet, and bright (if that makes any sense – like a mouthfull of light – interesting sensation) and in the taste I found more of the nuts I had been told to expect. I suppose, for the most part, I’d rather people not tell me what to expect, because then I wonder if it is just the power of suggestion, or if it is really there.
The color is a wonderful straw color, reminiscent of summer.
This would be really good with an herbed chicken, or perhaps a baked fish – but then I tend to think that everything is good with baked fish, so you might want to discount that one! 🙂 Not everyone would agree with me on this, but I actually think that this would make a great sipping wine while sitting on the deck with a good book. It has enough sweetness to stand on its own, but also enough character and body to work with a meal.
Next, we tasted the:
Michele Chiarlo 2000 Barbera d’Asti (d.o.c.)
Barbera is red wine, made from the Barbera grape. Asti is a region in Italy. You can read more about Barbera d’Asti wines here.
If you have not had many (or any) Barberas, this is a good one to start with, as it has all the characteristics that I expect in a Barbera. It has a lovely dark ruby color, and the smoky, dark berry aromas that I want from a Barbera.
I felt, at the tasting, that this really would be a lot better with a meal – perhaps something simple, yet flavorful – like, say, spaghetti. So I got a bottle and brought it home, and made some spaghetti. Fortunately, I was right. The meal brought out the wonderful smoky flavor, as well as the plums and, perhaps, a little bit of strawberry (?) to go along with the rich berry flavors that just kept getting better as the wine opened up (having been just a little tart and acidic immediately after opening.)
Highly recommended, particularly if you like big, bold reds.
Additional notes: Italian wine labels can be hard to read – figuring out which is the producer, which is the appelation, and what the other stuff is, can be a little hard, particularly if you don’t speak any italian. There’s a good guide to reading wine labels at LeesMarket.com, including information about Italian labels.
Well, I seem to have neglected my duty, and now I seem to be forgetting what I should have taken good notes on.
In summary, the J Pinot Noir was disappointing. When I pay that much for a wine, I expect it to thrill. However, it was clear from the first taste that this was not a wine to chug, but one to squirrel away and have next Christmas, or the one after that. Shame.
The Sauvignon, on the other hand, was thrilling. Anise. Lots and lots of anise. This was very very weird. But fascinating. It was fruity, too, but it was unrecognizable, like strange tropical berries and currants, but not quite. I did not know a sauvignon could be that interesting.
I need to make sure to tell the folks at the T.C. about it, and give them my compliments on their assistance in picking.
Chrisman Mill 2001 Mead (Kentucky) ($8 for a 375)
J Pinot Noir 1999 (Russian River) ($28)
Tohu Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2001 (New Zealand) ($18)
I am sure that other folks will spend a lot more on wine for Christmas, but, for me, this is a *major* splurge, so they better be good.
Concha y Toro
Maipo Valley, Chile
Had this with spaghetti, good friends, and good conversation.
Made to drink young – it had some tannin, but I would not think that you would want to keep this much more than a year or two. At first, the tannin seemed pretty strong, but after just a few minutes in the glass, it was not particularly perceptible, which seemed odd to me.
A good peppery backbone, black currant and other dark berry flavors. A very slight unpleasant chemical taste in the finish – almost metalic. Fairly long finish. Deep burgundy color – very dark
Recommended, with food. Not so great by itself, but a great compliment to tomato-based foods, or beef.
Yummy yummy yummy.
We went to The Homestead for our company christmas party last night. Almost everything about the restaraunt experience was disappointing. Appetizers took 30 minutes. The meal took another *hour and half*!! Nobody’s steak was done correctly. Mine was way overdone. Maggie’s was way under done. At least 3 people (including me) got the wrong side items. And the replacement side item came as I was finishing up. Not one of them.
And then, to top it off, as we were doing our gift exchange – nearly 3 hours after we got there! – the owner came in and asked if we could relocate down to the lounge, where they had reserved some seats around the fireplace for us. Now, this turned out to be kinda nice, although very loud. However, we were being bumped because they had the room scheduled, and had taken more than 2 hours, total, to bring our food. The least they could have done is offer us free desserts or something.
This was a huge surprise, as I have always had good experiences there. They are sort of under new management, with one of the managers selling to his partner and moving on. I don’t say that’s the cause of it, but Mike was a fabulous manager, and knew more about wine than any restaraunteur (sp?) I have ever encountered.
But the wine was wonderful. J Lohr 1999 Zinfandel, and that’s just about all I know about it. $7 or so a glass, or $30 a bottle, so standard over-pricing. But very yummy. Earty and meaty, with a depth that could not be ruined by the steak.
I find that I’m gradually regaining my ability to talk about wine, but I seem to be remembering incompletely. The most enjoyable part of the evening was the folks that were there, and this far outweighed any unpleasantness. However, I get the impression that Chad was even more displeased than I was – as well he should be, since he paid, and I did not.
2001 Shiraz/Cabernet (55/45)
South Eastern Australia
This was enormously disappointing. I’ve long plugged Rosemount and their Grenache/Shiraz, which is always good. But this was just so very grapey. And for a Cabernet blend this young (sure, 2001 in Australia is earlier than 2001 in California, but still!) there is no tanin. It’s like this wine was made to drink immediately. Which is ok, if that’s what you’re going for, but this tastes like welches grape juice. Well, not quite, but it’s almost that grapey. It is slightly sparkling, which is also odd in a Shiraz/Cabernet, I think. I just can’t say much to commend it. It was ok with a well-seasoned spaghetti, but just in the sense that I like to have wine with spaghetti, and this is wine. It still had nothing to commend it, particularly/
I’d like to think that I just somehow got a crappy bottle, as I have never before had a disappointing wine from Rosemount, which is a consistent source of reasonably-priced solid wines. So don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.