Saturday, October 23, 2010

Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

Martin Ray Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Rosa, California, USA
$24.99 -- Grape Vine Market, Austin, TX

Color: Deep red
Nose: Mint, cherries, tar
Body: Full
Front: Cherries
Middle: Raspberries, chocolate, licorice
Back: Mint, cream, cigar wrapper
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

A delightful wine. Balanced and smooth on the palate. There are tannins enough to suggest it can still age longer, and plenty of acid to balance them. The cherry and raspberry flavors beautifully set up the meatier, chocolatier flavors in the mid-palate, and it pairs elegantly with grilled food of any kind.

{Note, in 2014: That is the kind of thing I write when I don't want anyone else to know how good a wine is--at least, as far as I can taste. This wine was heavenly. It poked through the veil of universe and smiled into my little well. If you own some, please, please send it to me.}

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Domaine de Triennes St. Auguste

Domaine de Triennes
St Auguste
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot
Vin de Pays du Var
Nans-les-Pins, France
$14.99 -- Spec's, Austin, TX

Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Black cherry, those purple flowers on the wisteria vine sometimes, Tootsie Rolls
Body: Medium to full
Front: Black cherry
Middle: Blackberries, licorice
Back: Black tea, chocolate
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

This is not a blend I'm used to from France, but I like it. It's nicely balanced, rich, aromatic, but not cloying or too stewed. It didn't completely change my world, but it's good with food. The roasted lamb was a little too much for it; there's a bit of a dip in the intensity of the wine in the mid-palate, which on its own lets some nice blueberry come out, but with food gets drowned out. With a meal that's even just a little lighter--turkey--this would rock it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stoller Pinot Noir

Stoller Vineyards
Pinot Noir
JV Estate
Dundee Hills
Dayton, Oregon, USA

$17.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Medium strawberry with a touch of peach
Nose: Cranberries, cherries, bacon, cinnamon
Body: Medium
Front: Cherry
Middle: Peach, cotton candy
Back: Sage, graphite
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Screwcap

In a world of $45 crap Pinots, this is a delight to find. A hint of earthy stank on the nose, and another hint in the glass, but plenty of fruit (the cotton candyish flavor isn't overbearing) and a light, not cloying body. Bring it! This will be perfect with the red pepper and garlic, sausage, and farfalle I'm making tonight, but it'll be even better, I'd guess, with fish.

{Note, from 2013: Still magnificent. Doubtless better.}

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roux Pouilly-Fuissé

Roux Père & Fils
Grand Vin de Bourgogne

Saint-Aubin, France

$8.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Light gold
Nose: A little faint; sea salt, maybe some lemon?
Body: Medium
Front: Lemon, honeydew
Middle: Salted buttermilk pie
Back: A hint of cedar, gravel
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

This was so cheap for a Pouilly-Fuissé that I had to try it. Not bad, though the nose is reticent. It's acidy and minerally, as one would expect, but there is a hint of baking spices lurking around the edges. I might get another bottle and put it away for a year or two just to see what happens. It's a smooth wine, and good with the sharp cheddar I'm finishing off. All in all, at this price, a good deal!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Morot Beaune Cent-Vignes 1er Cru

Albert Morot
Beaune Cent-Vignes
1er Cru
Pinot Noir

Beaune, France
$50.00 -- Austin Wine Merchant, Austin, TX

Color: Light to medium strawberry
Nose: Cherry, peat, tobacco
Body: Full
Front: Strawberry
Middle: Cherry, a hint of cassis
Back: A touch of oak, sage
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I went to a wine shop today, The Austin Wine Merchant, that has been much-recommended to me. They've got a particularly strong selection of French and Italian wines; I saw many old favorites. And they're knowledgeable and not pushy, which I like. Under the circumstances, I approached helpful Dan about a Pinot Noir, and he led me to this one.

While my favorite wine of last year was a Burgundy, it was an exception--I just glanced back through most of my accounts of them, and they're eh. So-so. Okay. Part of the problem is that these wines close down after a year or so in bottle, and don't reemerge for awhile. When they do, they're often way, way better than before. It's not quite a shell game, but it is an investment-driven style: you have to find something young, know it has promise, buy some bottles, and wait. Repeat annually. Six or seven years later, you will have a non-stop supply of awesome wine. In the meantime, drink Zinfandel. Also pray that none of your choices are stinkers, and follow Cellartracker to see how they're drinking.

This wine, I think, is going to be delicious ten years from now. It is balanced, if subtle, and there's enough fruit and enough other interesting flavors to entertain. The tannins are in effect, but before they hit, the wine is very smooth.

Note: After leaving half the bottle overnight (vacuvin), the nose is much richer and more interesting, and the palate is a little more elaborate. So--the future of this one looks good, I think!