Friday, June 18, 2010

Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Wow!  I haven’t had much cab lately, as I’ve had a hard time finding one I like at a price I’m willing to pay.  So this is a great find.  It’s drinking beautifully already – great nose, perfectly integrated tannins, excellent fruit and depth, without being the stereotypical Aussie fruit bomb.  I’m very sensitive to the green flavour of under-ripe cab, and there is not the slightest hint of that.  But it isn’t in the least jammy either.  These grapes must have been picked when they were perfectly ripe.  Good complexity already, and only three years old.  This is excellent value at the price.  I will definitely be picking up a bunch more of this, both for drinking now and to see how it evolves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ménage à Trois 2008 White

I picked this up because of the blend – Chardonnay, Moscato and Chenin Blanc.  I was hoping for the richness of Charonnay and the grapiness of Moscato and some of the all-round deliciousness of a Vouvray that Kelly and I had recently.  Well, I didn’t quite get all that.  Instead of building on each other, the different grapes seemed to dilute each other.  It’s doesn’t have the richness of the Chardonnay, the nose of Moscato or the flavour of Chenin Blanc.  It adds up to an adequate but generic crisp white.  It reminds me of the Hermit Crab I tried a few weeks ago, even though none of the grapes are in common.  I’ll give it a 3/5 for value; I don't feel like I've wasted my money, but I won't buy it again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lurton Fumées Blanches 2008

This is about what's you'd expect from New Zealand sauvignon blanc for around $20, except that it’s $13.50 and from France.  I have to admit that sauvignon blanc isn’t my favourite grape. I prefer my whites to be fruity and floral, like Gewurz or Muscat, or rich like chardonnay.  But for those of you who like the crispness of sauvignon blanc, this is excellent value at the price.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Monte Antico Toscana 2006

I was surprised to see this little gem in ANBL when I popped in the other day.  Kelly and I drove to North Carolina for a cycling vacation this spring and we stopped at New Hampshire Liquor on our way down.  The Monte Antico was advertised as #61 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2009, and the blurb was something to the effect that it was the best value wine on the whole list.  For only $11, we had to give it a try.  And it was a winner.  Very well balanced, medium to full bodied, with bright fruit and soft tannins.  WS gave it a 90.  I’m not sure I’d go quite that high, but somewhere in that ball park is about right.  At $11 it was a off the charts for value – it’s the best $13 red I can recall.  At $19 from ANBL, it’s still good value. 

Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Monday, June 7, 2010

d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab 2008

I can't say anything bad about this wine, but I don't have a lot of good to say about it either.  Reasonable nose, on the green apple side of things, well balanced, good body, but there isn't anything that stands out for me either.  Kelly and I had it on one of those hot weekend afternoons a couple of weeks ago, side by side with another white (an Aus Verdelho, not an ANBL product), and it didn't stand up very well.  We didn't finish it that day and I put it in the fridge.  Pulled it out a couple of times since then, but it just never particularly appealed to me.  A perfectly decent white wine, but I won't buy it again at this price.

Value 2.5/5
Viognier, Marsanne

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vilafonte Series C 2003

The blog has been moribund – but it’s not dead yet.  Let’s get it kick started with a review from Michelle, along with a food pairing – and even the recipe!

— Michelle’s Review —

Ok I have to admit, I did not purchase this little gem. Last night Don and I were having pork loin medallions with an apple cider reduction along with mushroom/quinoa pilaf. The inevitable question came up "Do we have any wine?". Yes, its funny, but I have a very small rack and there are certain ones in it, that cannot be touched. The top row, is usually the every day ones that I open at the drop of a hat (you know, under $20/bottle). As you go down all three rows of the rack, the price goes up or my affection grows (my last Chianti skuttled in a suitcase from Italy is on the bottom). So, I say yes, take one from the top. Now, imagine my surprise when this unknown bottle shows up. I am perplexed. I didn’t buy it and I don’t remember adding it to the rack. I read the back and say "Sounds nice, it’s a blend that should go great with the pork".

The nose had the deep berry, slighly earthy hints with a smattering of vanilla. In the glass deep, dark indigo. I got the anticipation giggles. Woo. I was completely surprised. Gorgeous dark fruit cake with plums and tobacco. The finish was velvet smooth with little or no tannic aftershock. WOW. I was in heaven. Went nicely with the pork without overpowering it. I just kept topping up my glass. Its one of those pleasant surprises. I just wish I knew who brought it over, so I could congratulate them.

Pork Loin with Apple Cider

1 pork loin
3 TB each thyme, mint, oregano
3 T Olive oil
½ onion sliced
3 cloves garlic
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
½ cup apple cider or apple juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine herbs. Pat pork loin dry and rub on the herbs (I usually put it in a ziplock and toss it around).  Slice loin into medallions about 1 inch thick.  Heat olive oil over medium heat an oven proof pan. When hot, add onions and garlic.  Sauté for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Add pork medallions and brown for 3 minutes each side.  Add  rosemary & apple cider. Place in the preheated oven.  Cook for about 10 more minutes and then broil for about 2 minutes until the pork is browned.  Lots of fresh ground black pepper to serve.

Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green onion
2 TB of fresh thyme

Bring stock to a boil and add mushrooms quinoa and onion. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Add the fresh thyme and fluff with a fork.

Price $39.99
Value 3/5
Merlot 41%, Cabernet Sauvignon 39%, Malbec 16%, Cabernet Franc 4%
South Africa, Paarl Region