In Light of some heated “debate” over a recent blog post and my looming 40th birthday on Wednesday, I decided to do a little soul searching. A little reflection if you will, about how I can tweak myself and hopefully be a better, more enjoyable person over the next 40. Here are 10 thoughts (in no particular order) which i will try and remember/follow.
Last night truly was a treat. My wife and I had dinner at BLTSteak located in Camelback Inn Resort and Spa. Let me start by saying that if you are on a budget, this is not the place for you. However, if you have the money to spend and are looking for a great dinner and drinks then this is a spot that you should visit.
The ambiance is upscale yet relaxing. There is a patio seating area complete with gas fire pits so you can enjoy the cool desert evenings. If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, try the happy hour menu at the bar inside while watching a game. The happy hour runs from 5pm – 7pm nightly with $5 appetizers and drinks.
The wine list is more than sufficient and possibly a tad too large for the average person. No worries though, BLT is staffed with a few sommeliers who are more than capable at helping you choose a wine to suit your tastes. Seeing that we had a couple joining us, we decided not to deviate too far from our comfort zone and select the 2006 Girard Artistry. Unfortunately we ordered the last bottle that they had, so we decide to stick with Girard and went with their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. I enjoyed the Cab, just not as much as the Artistry.
I was reading through some blogs recently and ran across one that caught my eye. It was talking about the 337 Cabernet Sauvignon and its “roots”. I had seen this wine on the shelves before but had yet to venture out enough to try it. It wasn’t that I had anything against it, I just didn’t know enough about it. So, when I stumbled across the blog I was curious to hear what they had to say. What is the significance of the “337”? No it doesn’t stand for the area code from Louisiana nor does it have anything to do with a family member’s birthday. It is actually named for the French vine clone 337 which hails from the Bordeaux region.
The 2007 337 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi California has 14.5% ABV and has a nice dark color to it. I got aromas of mocha, licorice and black currants. The palate had touches of blackberry, currants and a peppery spice which all worked well together. This wasn’t a big bodied wine nor was it an overly complex wine. It had light tannins and too short of a finish for my liking.
The wife said “the finish and tannins are too soft, but still likes the wine”.
Would I buy/drink this wine again? The 337 is an average wine to me and at $13 – $15 isn’t a bad buy. It just doesn’t quite rate as my daily drinker.
I give this wine 2.5 out of 5 corks!
I recently attended a tasting hosted at Enotria, one of my local wine shops, which was having KR Rombauer III pouring his family’s wine. My wife and I have visited the winery once or twice and thought that it would be nice to meet one of the owners and taste some good wines. So here is where I start ranting. I, like most wine drinkers, try to support my local retailers as much as possible. But I have a hard time doing that if the owners will not help themselves or do stupid things. Enotria used to be owned by another group of owners and had small but faithful following because they had a great wine selection, knowledgeable staff and the place had good atmosphere. The new owners opened the store again and unfortunately have nothing in common with the old place except the name. Most of the wine they carry would only be found on the bottom shelf at your local grocery store. I get the idea of trying to have inexpensive wines that everyone can afford, but they may have three or four medium level wines in the entire shop. Because of this, I have been reluctant to go in the wine bar very often. I recently received some emails, they bought the old owners mailing list, inviting me to some wine tasting events they were hosting. The first tasting was Frank Family Vineyards which was being poured by the winemaker Todd Graff. We had been meaning to try some of the FFV wines so thought that this would be an excellent opportunity for us to do so. We went and had a great time and loved the wines so much that we bought some and had the winemaker sign them for us. Continue reading
I decided to try this after seeing Steve from Notes From The Cellar reviewing some of Concannon Vineyards other wines and rating them fairly well. After speaking to him, I found out that he had not tried this wine yet and informed me that they make a few different levels. Unfortunately, I found this out after I had already purchased this bottle.
2006 Central Coast Syrah
The wine has a brownish ruby hue to it in the glass and is slightly transparent. On the nose I get aspects of cherry, leather and pepper. It also has a slight alcohol burn note too it. Overall the nose isn’t bad.
The palate is kind of jammy mixed with oak and dirt. The alcohol is still present and gives it a tad too much burn on the finish for my liking. There are some so-so tannins on the medium finish. I didn’t feel that this was a really well balanced wine. I paired the syrah with short ribs (tried to at least) and found that it didn’t hold up very well, other than cutting some of the alcohol.
Would I buy/drink this wine again? The Concannon Syrah is an ok wine, but even at the $6.99 price point I don’t think I could justify buying it again. With that being said, I am still going to look for the higher end Concannon wines and see if they can impress me a little more than this one did.
I am giving this wine 2 out of 5 corks!
Ever since my friends and neighbors found out that I was writing a wine blog, I have been getting the not so subtle hints to host an event so they can have some fun too. Well I finally put a little gathering together and decided at the last minute that it would be more fun to have it as a blind tasting. Looking back, it made me think of the old adage “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t completely prepared and had to improvise.
The only guidelines were that each set of neighbors were asked to bring one bottle of red wine at a cost of $15 -$30.
After the bottles were concealed and marked, everyone got a glass, notepad and pen. Each person was then instructed to make any type of notes that they could about each wine. They were to try and pick out the varietal and after tasting all three, choose their favorite. The wines were labeled WDO#1, WDO#2 and WDO#3. Complicated, I know!
This is what everyone had to say about each wine.
The nose has hints of dark ripe fruit with a light vanilla and oak to it. When i first taste this I get a slightly spice/pepper flavor at the beginning with a mild finish. Here is what I love about this wine, after about an hour in a decanter the finish starts to smooth out and ends up with a candy-like taste! Only 575 cases were produced and Wine Spectator gave this 90 points. I have had this wine on three different occasions now and love it (for the most Part)! The last bottle pulled a bit of Jeckll and Hyde on me and never rounded out like the previous two bottles. So that begs the question. Which is the “REAL” 2007 Chiarello Vineyards Giana Zinfandel? I’m not sure but hopefully this will find its way to MR. Chiarello and he can tell me what to expect the next time I taste this wine.
Brief history of the Châteauneuf du Pape region:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape translates as “New Castle of the Pope”
To distance himself from the bustle of wars that raged in Italy at the time Pope Clement V took residence at Avignon, France in 1304. His successor, John XXII, restored and enlarged the old Episcopal residence of Châteauneuf. It was he who ordered the first grapevines to be planted in the year 1318. Initially intended as a confidential production, wine growing gained predominance as the years went by. The true renown of Châteauneuf du Pape wines date from the 13th century. — From Domain Font de Michelle website
Yellow + Blue wines is a relatively young company (founded in 2007) who is focusing on making organic wines at reasonable prices. The company approaches their packaging differently than most wineries around than world, in that they use an alternative packaging called a Tetra Pak. The Tetra Pak isn’t a bottle or a box, it’s the same type of package that you find juice or chicken broth sold in at the grocery stores.
2009 Y+B Wines Sauvignon Blanc Central valley Chile
This comes in at 12.7% ABV and costs around $13/liter *note* this was a sample provided by the producer.
Nice yellow color in the glass. Nose has notes of floral and tropical fruit. On the palate this wine has good body and slightly creamy texture to it. You can sense that this was done in a stainless steel tanks. This is not as acidic as an Australian or New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
I really liked this wine and think that it would be excellent choice on a hot Arizona day sitting by the pool
Would I buy/drink this wine again?
I would have no problems buying this or suggesting this to friends and thus give this wine 3 out of 5 corks.
2008 Y+B Wines Malbec San Juan Province Argentina
13.5% ABV and also costs around $13/liter *note* this was a sample provided by the producer.
Light purple in the glass. On the nose I got earthy, cherry and not much else. The palate (to me) was even more nondescript. All I was able to get was a touch of chocolate and almost a metallic flavor to it. This was a light-medium bodied wine with medium tannins.
After tasting the S.B. first, I had higher expectations for this wine but unfortunately I was disappointed with the Malbec.
Would I buy/drink this wine again?
This isn’t a bad wine, it just doesn’t work for me, because of that I would have to pass.
I give this wine 2 out of 5 corks
I read a great post today by Steve Paulo who has his own blog “Notes From The Cellar“. He was writing about the Do’s and Dont’s while visiting tasting rooms and I thought that he was really on to something, so I would sahre it with you. the following is directly from his blog;
There are unwritten rules about visiting winery tasting rooms. Living a few miles south of Napa/Sonoma, a hop-skip-and-a-jump north of the Livermore Valley, and within a day’s drive to the vast majority of the wine made in California has lead me along to many a tasting room. And there are rules. Unwritten rules, but rules nonetheless.
Unwritten, that is, until today.