Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bouchard Pere et Fils Premier Cru Beaune de Chateau 2005

Kelly and I can’t review many wines on our own - we just don’t drink that much! So we love to get reviews from readers. We’re not experts - we just like wine - and this blog is all about sharing opinions. You can e-mail a review to me here, or, if you want to do it anonymously, post it in  a nbwines / at / gmail / dot com. If you want to provide the review anonymously, post it in the “Make a Suggestion” thread, and I will re-post it.

Here is a review of a Burdundy from Peter. While this wine is no longer available, ANBL does carry a variety of wines from Bouchard Pere et Fils regularly (the white Beaune de Chateau is currently listed), so we may see it again. Let’s hope so - it’s hard to find a good Burgundy at this price.

— Peter’s Review —

Nose:  Delightful, fresh, powerful springtime nose.  Classic Pinot Noir scents with raspberry and cranberry like notes, some earthy and floral notes.  You can just anticipate the nice acidity. Mouth watering, complex, and enticing.

Palate:  Again fresh, easy drinking (watch out!), very well balanced!  Prominent acidity in line with what you want and expect from a pinot. Light-medium body. Nice raspberry fruit is the predominant flavor.  Just faint tannins on medium long finish.  More earthy and floral notes on back end.  Very drinkable on own, and paired very nice with cedar planked BBQ ginger maple salmon.  I always caveat all this for most wine drinkers, particularly new or very casual, this style may not be fruity or approachable enough to impress.  But for those who like Pinot, this is great stuff.  I didn't mind paying the premium for this one.  Would buy again.  I presume I drank around the right time frame, but would love to hear opinions on cellar time for such wines.

I'd score 91-92pt+.
Price approx $45

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Poderi Colla Nebbiolo d'Alba 2003

She's smiling, and you should be smiling too, if you can find any of this wine left in the stores. It's a Nebbiolo d'Alba - the little brother (or sister, judging from the label) of the great Barolo and Barbaresco. It's the same grape (Nebbiolo), and from the same general region (Alba), but not from the especially favoured sites that are the home of these two more famous wines. While this does not have the flavours and complexity of a good Barolo, it's a great buy nonetheless. If you have ever wondered what a Barolo is like, but you haven't been willing to shell out the $50+ to find out, this has characteristic Nebbiolo flavours at very reasonable price. Also, apart from any comparison with Barolo, this is excellent value at the price, especially if you prefer an old-world style. But if you want to try it, hurry, as there isn't a lot left. I'm only posting this because I already bought a case for myself.

Price: $19.99
Region: Peidmont
Grapes: Nebbiolo
UPC: 836951000185

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wine and Food Fest

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bridlewood 2008 Reserve Viognier

I tasted this wine with Norman, and then later with a group. Both times, I guessed it might be a Riesling. So apparently I think it has Rieslingesque qualities. However, one of the group - correctly identifying it as predominantly Viognier - volunteered “if this is Riesling, I’ll shoot myself.” So maybe it’s not so like Riesling. I don’t taste much white. Others in the group thought it might be Chardonnay. Style-wise, I found it sweeter, fruitier, and smoother than other Viogniers I’ve tasted.

The nose is delightful and aromatic: honeydew melon, floral notes, citrus and something a bit spicy, like cloves. On the palate it is slightly sweet and crisply acidic with smooth viscosity. The texture is a bit buttery. We enjoyed it on its own, but I can imagine that it would stand up nicely paired with cheese or maybe seafood. Overall, very nice.

Price: $24.99
Score: 89
Value: 3.5/5
Region: Central Coast California
Grapes: Viognier 90%, Chardonnay 4%, Marsanne 4%, Rousanne 2%
UPC: 085000014615

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sterpato 2007

I tasted this wine with a group, and then, coincidentally, with Norman about a week later. Everyone describes it as a Super Tuscan. What is a Super Tuscan, anyway? I know that historically, wines that didn’t adhere to the blending laws for the region question had to be sold as “table wine.” When in the 1970s some Tuscan producers experimented very successfully with international grape varieties, those wines became known as Super Tuscans. The addition of the looser IGT category to the older DOC/G system embraces some of those wines. But if I find myself with a Tuscan wine designated IGT or “vino da tavola,” how do I determine whether it is a Super Tuscan or plain old undistinguished table wine? Does the term describe a particular style and assemblage of grape varieties, or does the wine have to be in some sense “super”?

The first time I tasted this wine, I guessed it was a Bordeaux blend (i.e. mostly Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot). The second time I tasted it, it struck me as unmistakably Italian, and predominantly Sangiovese. Averaging those experiences, I'd wankishly opine that it's a nice hybrid of the international and traditional, and a true expression of its constituent grape varieties. The nose is lovely: dark red berries, stewed fruit, cedar, dried flowers, moss, dusty leather, and spices. All of those follow through on the palate, along with firm tannins and good length and acidity. I found it a bit hollow toward the middle to end palate, with a bit of an edge; but then I tend to find that with Sangiovese. Overall, it’s great value and I would buy more at the price.

Price: $22.79
Score: 89
Value: 4/5
Region: Toscana, Italia
Grapes: Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%
UPC: 8029966000512

Friday, December 10, 2010

Collazzi Liberta 2008

Aaron recommended this as a sort of baby sibling to the Collazzi Toscana, which I really like. It’s a winner. The Liberta is very different from the Toscana, but enjoyable just the same. Its nose is relatively reserved, mostly plum, cedar, and something a bit dusty. The same basic flavours follow on the palate, which is full with nice structure, firm tannins, and good length. It seems to stop short a bit mid-palate with a bit of an edge and a gap that I find characteristic of Sangiovese, but that’s fine. Norman says it’s “quite quaffable” and I’d agree. A solid choice at the price. I found it perhaps even better after a night in the half-bottle.

Price: $24.79
Score: 88
Value: 4/5
Alcohol: 13%
Region: Tuscany
Grapes: Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese
UPC: 8033844400011

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Velenosi Lacrima Di Morro d'Alba 2008

This is a very distinctive wine that will probably provoke love-it-or-hate-it reactions. I think 86 is a fair score, but I expect some people will like it a lot more than that, others will like it less. If you're looking for something interesting and different, this is a good choice at the price.

--- Kelly's Review ---

Lacrima di Morro is a grape variety grown only in Morro d’Alba, a tiny wine appellation in the Marches region of Italy.  DOC regulations require that the wine must be at least 85% Lacrima di Morro, with Montepulciano and Verdicchio together permitted to comprise up to 15%.

This particular example of the variety is very distinctive.  The nose is ripe and fruity, mostly lychee, blueberries, roses, and a hint of menthol.  The flavours are clear and bright and nicely balanced.  It’s not a complicated wine, but I don’t expect complicated for $15.

I tasted this with a group, and there was substantial agreement on the flavour profile, and also on which grape varieties the wine most resembled.  We all tasted it blind, and most guessed that it was a Grenache, a Pinot Noir, a Zinfandel, or possibly an extremely atypical Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s great value at the price.  I suspect that its bright fruitiness would go well with spicy bbq.

Price: $15.29
Score: 86
Value: 4/5
Region: Marches, Italy
Grapes: Lacrima di Morro
UPC:  666056000236

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cavit Pinot Grigio 2009

Norman asked me to pick up a white for cooking, so I grabbed this one. Ridiculously hungry and waiting for supper to happen, I started drinking it. I enjoyed it. (“Hunger is the best sauce,” says Norman’s mother.) The nose is aromatic and mostly citrus, honeydew melon, a bit of mineral, and a maybe a hint of cloves. The same flavours follow through on the palate, plus something like plasticine. It is medium bodied, dry, and slightly viscous, with good acidity. I find that it ends on a sour note, but I often find that with white wine. At $13.29, it’s good value.

Price: $13.29
Score: 86
Value: 4/5
Region: Venetio, Italy
Grapes: Pinot Grigio
UPC: 8007890229247

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sandhill One 2007

The Sandhill One is a blend of Cab. Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  It bears a strong family resemblance to the Petit Verdot, but somehow it doesn’t quite strike the right note. It is certainly rich and smooth, like the label says, but it is not particularly complex.  Kelly detected a slightly bitter finish, which I can’t say I really noticed, but on the whole it struck me as well done, but in an overly soft, fairly generic new world style. It had me second guessing my positive review of the Petit Verdot, since the two are quite similar in style, but Kelly assures me that the Petit Verdot is just better (I also take comfort from Peanutman’s comment). I tried the 2004 vintage of the One a couple of years ago (when it was four years old) and loved it. Maybe another year or two will improve the 2007.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sandhill Petit Verdot 2006

I was a bit disappointed by the Sandhill Viognier, not because it's a bad wine, but because Sandhill sets a high standard.  This Petit Verdot lives up to that standard.  It is inky and long, with rich dark fruit caressing the tongue.  It's beautifully structured - enough tannin to give it backbone, but soft at the same time.  Maybe not subtle - at least not yet - but impossible not to fall for.  But if you're going to try it, you should hurry.  This wine is part of Sandhill's Small Lots program - only 233 cases made, and fewer than four are left in the province.  The Sandhill release appeared on the shelves only a couple of weeks ago, and the Petit Verdot is already sold out in F'ton.  The only reason I'm willing to post this comment is that I've already ordered in a half dozen from out of town for my cellar.