Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée

Domaine Serene
Yamhill Cuvée
Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
Dayton, Oregon, USA
$26.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Medium garnet
Nose: Flowers, cinnamon, smoke
Body: Medium
Front: Dry cherry
Middle: Smoky honeysuckle
Back: Minerals, soft tannin
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Delightfully low in alcohol, fascinating on the palate, and good with food: it doesn't get much better. Actually, judging from the prices on the Domaine Serene website and the reports of my older wine-drinking friends, it does get a lot better, with Serene's higher-level Pinots. But this is a well-made, delicious wine at a price that's pretty good for Pinot.

This wine is available by the glass at restaurants, so give it a shot in someplace you trust before you buy a bottle--its austerity and weirdness aren't going to please all folks who like Pinot!

Fess Parker Chardonnay

Fess Parker
Ashley's Vineyard
Santa Rita Hills
Santa Maria, California, USA
$21.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Lovely medium gold
Nose: Yellow pear, marshmallows, a little heat, lime
Body: Full
Front: Meyer lemon
Middle: Honeydew, some minerality
Back: Cinnamon, key lime pie, wood
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

This is a delightful Chardonnay. It is balanced, intriguing, and tasty; rich without being too buttery. There's a strange little alcoholic thing at the very end of the palate, which is oddly around the time that you sense a little unexpected cinnamon in it. This is what I mean by intriguing.

I have no pairing advice to offer tonight, as I had this with a hot dog and a tomato salad! It's hot out there. But at this price and with this bigness and balance, this wine will make many people happy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oakville Winery Cabernet

Oakville Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville, California, USA
$34.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Deep garnet
Nose: Eucalyptus, cherry, espresso, a tinge of heat
Body: Full
Front: Cherry
Middle: Licorice, mint, orange peel
Back: Cigar wrapper, soft tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Oh, no. Not another excellent 2007 Napa Cabernet. Okay, yes. It's another excellent 2007 Napa Cabernet. Particularly good with a grilled ribeye, and, I suspect, better a few years from now, when the heat will back off and the fruit will step up a bit. But if you can get it at this price, and you like bracing, herby Cabernets, I would say you are getting a good deal even if you drink it tomorrow!

This is my first post in July, and I can't help but notice it's already July 5th! Historically, July is one of the least productive months for posting, the etiology of which I must contemplate. I suspect it's hot, so I'm not drinking as much of my staple red wine; I'm ludicrously busy with my non-wine-related jobs; and I'm always traveling for some reason. But I've got some surprises up my sleeve, O loyal reader!