Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - 2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc

As the temperatures rise, a big hearty red is sometimes too much...time to check out some crisp, dry, delicious (hopefully) whites...first up a little something from New Zealand. More specifically Marlborough, NZs premier wine region.  This wine has 25% of it's blend 
spend time in neutral/older French Oak barrels, which typically adds a nice level of complexity to the wine. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Australian Shiraz - 2012 Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz

I've often heard it's best to buy the cheapest house in a great neighborhood. How about buying the cheapest wine from the maker of some great higher end wines... let's see!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red - 2008 Bodegas Muriel Rioja Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva

I have been very much enjoying the spoils of a recent trip to California where I visited a great wine shop in Hollywood - K & L Wines.  They have a wonderful selection of Spanish reds - so it will be a spring full of vinos de España!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red Blend - 2008 Altavins Viticoltors Terra Alta Domus Pensi

Spanish wine...check.  Garnacha (Spanish for Grenache)...check. A grape in the blend I'm not familiar with (Samsó, which I later discovered is Carignan)...check.  A name (the Domus Pensi part) that reminds me that Games of Thrones new season is next month...check. More than enough reasons to give this wine a try!
 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Spanish Red - 2013 Algueira Ribeira Sacra Mencia

My experience to date with Spanish wines made with the Mencia grape has been restricted to Bierzo. I quickly became, and remain a very big fan of Mencia wines. When I came across this wine, the first I've found from Bierzo's neighbor Ribeira Sacra - I knew I had to give it a try.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Australian Red Blend - 2011 Sons of Eden Kennedy

I thoroughly  enjoyed the Sons of Eden Romulus, so decided to give their less expensive GSM blend wine a try. Screw top, so we didn't even need a corkscrew!

 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wine Tip of the Week: Uggh!!!! My Wine Cork Broke!!!

If you open enough wine bottles it will happen to you at some point. A wine bottle with a natural cork may break off during opening.  I have opened quite a few bottles in my day, and even with tons of practice occasionally some expletives will be uttered (they don't help the problem - but they do make me feel better!) as some amount of cork is on the corkscrew, and some amount still in the bottle. 
If the cork is in good shape - try again with the corkscrew - screw it in as far as possible, even past the cork - and try again to remove the remaining piece. If the cork appears dry and crumbly, or there is only a very small piece of the cork left in the bottle - trying to use the corkscrew further may just grind cork into tiny bits.  Your best bet in this case is to push the remaining cork into the bottle (the handle of a fork or spoon works for this), and then filter out any cork bits as you pour the wine into another container such as your trusty decanter.  If your decanter came with a filter for wine sediment - this works great, otherwise cheesecloth is your best choice.  I have heard coffee filters recommended, but those could potentially impact the flavor of the wine.  If coffee filters are all you have on hand - at least make sure they are unbleached.
Properly stored wine should leave wine in constant contact with the cork - so your wine will not be harmed by the presence of the cork pieces, they are just not very attractive to see floating in the glass. If the cork was very dry it could be a sign that the wine may have issues if exposed to too much air - so make sure and sniff and taste before serving to make sure it is OK.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Australian Shiraz - 2010 Sons of Eden Romulus

Sons of Eden made two versions of Shiraz - Romulus and Remus. Sadly, KL Wines only had Romulus - but as it was supposed to be the bigger denser of the two, I was OK with that. This wine was part of Wino4Life Wife's Birthday dinner - paired with Sous Vide then smoking gun smoked brisket, and heirloom potatoes with smoking gun smoked butter (I'm all about the gadgets!).

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wine Tip of the Week - Go Your Own Way and Rise Up Against Wine Ratings!

So tell me, what kind of hamburger do you like?  WHAT??? I want to rise up against oppressive wine ratings systems, not chat about burgers! False Advertising!!!  Well, yes sort of - but hey you are reading, right???  Trust me, keep going a little more and it may start to make sense - and you may just rise up against wine rating systems after all!

I first thought of this topic for a blog post during a trip to a burger restaurant this past weekend. Spoiler alter - it was BLT (Burger Laurent Tourondel) at the Mirage in Las Vegas.  They have a bunch of different types of burgers, and I was very hungry and having a tough time choosing. My leading contenders were these three beauties:

  • Shaft’s BlueShaft’s Blue Vein Cheese, Balsamic Caramelized Onion, Mushrooms
  • Cowboy BurgerBBQ Chipotle, Tobacco Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon, Pepper Jack
  • Lamb TandooriColorado Lamb, Mint-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, Mediterranean Salsa

While struggling with my decision (and even considered adding their Falafel burger to the list...I looove a good Falafel) - I jokingly found myself wishing there was something that could help me make my decision ...perhaps a burger 90 point rating system??? 
What a silly concept - how could there ever be a burger rating system? If I were to tell you that you should try a burger at BLT or any other restaurant because I rate it 95 points...would you ever order it based on just that information? I know I wouldn't. I would want to know what the scorer's preferences were for their burger. Do they love spicy? Do they hate spicy? How do they stand on fried egg as a condiment? (Just FYI - I am pro fried egg!). Plus, what is being used for comparison - is this a 95 point across all the menu offerings? Are Kobe beef burgers rated right along with regular beef? Then, what about the Falafel? Are meat free burgers judged on the same scale? I do love a good Falafel, but it would not be a fair rating process that puts ground up garbanzo beans head to head against beef from a pampered cow from Kobe, Japan.

When you think about it, wine rating systems make no more sense than a burger rating system. OK, so this wine is 95 points and this wine is 85 points - does that mean you will really like one and loathe the other. Does it mean one is worth big bucks, and the other isn't worth your money? Not at all. Wine ratings are typically based on some common attributes of quality - the presence of faults, acidity level, tannin level, sugar levels to name a few - but ultimately the rating awarded to any wine is definitely influenced by the personal tastes of the reviewer.  Don't believe me? Look up the same wine on Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, and other professional review sources and see how the scores can differ. 

Hey, I do wine reviews every week, so I do believe there are values in providing opinion along with some characteristics of wines to help you choose what you may want to try, and what you may want to avoid.  But much like you wouldn't choose a burger based solely on a numeric rating, don't choose your wines that way either.  Read about the wine - are the characteristics ones you like in wine? If not, a 97 point score will be meaningless if you are not a fan of say... huge Australian Shiraz like a Penfold's Grange Plus at over $400 a bottle, you don't want to find out your wine tastes are very different from Grange-review guy.  Regardless of the score if it's not your type of wine, you probably won't be impressed.  So, an uprising against wine ratings may not be necessary, but don't get caught up with those labels all over every wine shop that say 90+ point.  That score is just someone's opinion, who may be a fan of the double bacon cheeseburger with Tabasco sauce, while your tastes in burgers (and wine) may be more of a simply prepared Kobe burger, or even Falafel!

Even though I have (gently) encouraged you to rise up against wine ratings I will ask that you please check out my wine reviews. My rating system has what I think is a valuable upgrade to the standard 100 point scale. I break wines down in categories based on price first - and grade them based on what would be a great "Everyday Wine" vs. a great "Splurge Wine."  Use my information as reference...but in the end make sure you Go Your Own Way!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - Champagne- Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

The wife's Birthday Feast this year called for a little bubbly...so we had a little bubbly! I purchased this one at my new favorite wine store in Hollywood - KL Wines (a little far away from Arizona, but they ship!). Blanc de Blanc Champagne is made from 100% Chardonnay, unlike other Champagne which may also contain Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier (yes...Red Wine grapes!).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weekly Wine Review - New Mexico Red Blend - 2014 Merkin Vineyards Tarzan

Please forgive me, for I have snobbed. I am very much against everything snobby in the wine world, yet I have turned my nose up to the wines of my home in Arizona.  Only after reading an article shared by a friend in Chicago did the wife and I drive a couple hours north of us to visit Caduceus Winery.  The owner and winemaker of Caduceus is Maynard Keegan of the band Tool.  You may have heard his name in association with another Arizona winery - Stronghold. Well that partnership is over, and that leaves Mr. Keegan free to focus on his Caduceus winery. Merkin (hee hee) is the second label for Caduceus - and most everything we tried was quite stellar.  Today's wine was one that was not available for tasting the day we visited, but Tarzan??? I couldn't resist the name, and the fact that it was made from Tempranillo - the grape of the Spanish regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero (and Toro if you are keeping score).