Thursday, February 26, 2009

Byron Chardonnay

Byron Vineyards and Winery
Santa Maria Valley
Santa Maria, California
$24.88 -- Whole Foods, Austin, TX

Color: Medium gold
Nose: Apricot, pretzels, lime
Body: Full
Front: Melon, citrus
Middle: French bread, peach
Back: Cream, lemongrass
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

The nose on this wine was immediately striking, and delightful. This is a fruit basket, for sure; the ripeness is almost so powerful as to be salty. I like it! If you want something limey and steely, steer clear of this one; if you want a great opener with some stiff soft cheeses, it'll be awesome.

It'll be a bit of a showdown, I think, between this wine and the lentil and sweet Italian sausage stew that I'm making. I just preemptively tried it with dessert--blackberries--and the wine crushed the blackberry flavor out of existence, like, "Seriously, freshman, back to the bench with you." Damn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

St. Clement Cabernet

St. Clement Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley
St. Helena, California
$32.39 -- Twin Liquors, Austin, TX

Color: Near opaque red with purple tinge
Nose: Mexican chocolate, blackberries, thyme
Body: Full
Front: Dark cherry coffee
Middle: Tannins, blackberry
Back: Chocolate, smoky car seat leather
Burns clean?:
Cap: Cork

Who is this strange man who licks car seats? Come on--you did it. You got in that leather-coated backseat when you were five, or maybe seven years old. Mom and dad's crappy-ass fabric seats, or the vinyl benches of grandpa's AMC were nothing compared to your aunt's Camels-infused hidebound capsules. You were tasting wine, but you didn't know it, child.

Now dark cherry coffee I've never had, I admit. I'm not sure I like it, so I'm going to wait another half hour before I taste this, since that flavor compression might just mean it needs a little untightening. In the meantime, I'll contemplate my bizarro dinner of roasted red pepper soup with goat cheese with steamed squash on the side. Possibly also an avocado and tomato salad with a little lemon and pepper on 'er.

Yes: put at least an hour, maybe longer, of air on it before drinking this one. It opens into a really delicious coffee-chocolate-small berry sort of thing. It's kind of French--no fruit bomb here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Veramonte Chardonnay Reserva

Casablanca Valley
$10.79 -- Grape Vine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Pale gold
Nose: Apricot, banana
Body: Full
Front: Peach, banana
Middle: Sour apple, a little tangerine?
Back: Beach ball, cream
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Screwcap

This evening I'm getting over a cold and trying to focus on writing an important article that has nothing to do with wine. In the spirit of productive procrastination (and because with a cheap white wine I can have one glass, recap the bottle, and reinfuse caffeine to keep writing), I turn to Veramonte. It's the first Chilean wine I've reviewed, I note, but it will not be the last.

One of the reasons I picked this one up was that it's imported by Huneeus Vineyards, which makes one of my favorite wines, Faust. Indeed, Augustin Huneeus is listed on the bottle as the vintner, so my hope was that the connection is deep.

I like this wine; it's full and creamy but not super-oaked, well-balanced and structured. It pairs well also with Lays Potato Chips, which bring out the wood in the wine nicely. Once again, The Ditty Bops are playing, singing, "And we like it / Because we do..."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trentadue Old Patch Red

Old Patch Red
Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Syrah
Sonoma County
Geyserville, California

$12.59 -- Grape Vine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Dark purpley-red
Nose: Blueberries, sour cherries
Body: Medium to full
Front: Candy cane, spice
Middle: Blueberries
Back: Graphite
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Screwcap

I've been drinking OPR around here for awhile, but not talking about it. The 2003 was absolutely fantastic, and it's still a complete steal. When I'm in the mood for Paraduxx, but not in the financial position to engage it, this is what I get instead. It goes well with a range of foods, and I have a feeling that it's going to stack up perfectly to brisket and sautéed brussels sprouts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais Blanc

Jean-Paul Brun
Terres Dorées
Beaujolais Blanc
Charnay, Beaujolais, France

$15.88 -- Whole Foods, Austin, TX

Color: Medium gold
Nose: Apricot, pear, a hint of some sweet, potent flower
Body: Medium
Front: Apricot
Middle: Smoky butter
Back: Pear
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Plastic cork

This is a delightful, simple, fruit-and-butter wine. It's not super layered, but it's got a great nose and a couple of really interesting flavors. It made me jump up and put on Cheri Knight's excellent and little-known record, The Northeast Kingdom. And it was super-tasty with hot sorpressata.