Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!




Friday, April 29, 2011

A taste of Tuscany: Fattoria di Montecchio Pietracupa Selezione 2003

Every time I mention the phrase "Super-Tuscan" I seem to either be given me an eye roll or a shrug of the shoulder. In one camp, insiders who are so-over this phenomenon of old world wines made in a predictable international style and the other camp filled with folks who either don't know or just don't care.

But for wine drinkers like me, who don't want spend an arm an a leg on a Brunello everyday and are tired of rustic Chianti Classico's who at times can nearly cost as much as an ST, I really think you need to take another look at Super Tuscans [IGT]. Yes I will freely admit the buzz and fanfare has died down a bit. But I think that is a good thing, it means you can get some these wines at far more reasonable prices, now  that buzz has worn off and really who doesn't want to drink more, for less.

I happened upon a discussion, with a Mr. Mannie Berk of the Sonoma-based Rare Wine Co. who was quoted in a recent article authored by the WSJ's Ms. Lettie Teague. The gist of the article was about the supposed "decline" of these super-tuscan style wines,"The market for Super-Tuscans is pretty soft," he said. And, in an echo of Hess, Berk added, "People are looking for a wine with transparency—a wine that screams that it’s from a place." Generically he says "people", in context meaning to me a large majority, but it's my contention that the folks described in his statement are actually what I refer to as "insiders" a loud and persuasive minority who advocate to only drink wines that represent place [which again is just fine, but don't tell me I have to].

Too Generic: However, the rest of "ordinary" wine drinkers are looking for a wine that screams, I taste good, have polished tannins, spent some time in barriques and have good acidity. If you consider yourself and insider, whose passion in life it's to drink wines that screams I'm from a "place", please have at the vast stores of Chianti Classico's, which irrefutably scream [but only sometimes yell] they are from a dry, dusty, tannic and austere place. Some folks like that style and I say more power to them, great enjoy it. Frankly, I don't believe too many folks want to hear someone pontificating to them from some ivory wine-tower, that only a vino which screams [hopefully not a primal scream] it's from a certain place, is the end all and be all. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of delicious CC's out there on the market, but in general most fall into the austere category, but they do scream I'm a wine from a place full of tradition, structure, without flaws and unfortunately without a lot of tasty flavors.

Too Expensive: The other fallacious argument out there is that the majority of the Super Tuscan will set ya back three figures a bottle [which they can], a big fat Benjamin smack-down waiting to happen to the unsuspecting wine drinker. Where you really find this statement to be true is in American restaurant's with bloated over-priced wine-lists, but retail is a whole different story in most cases. Frankly, folks I don't have one bottle in my collection [over 300] which cost more than a Benjamin. I proudly and freely admit that, because you don't have to spend more than a Benjamin for even a great bottle of wine. If some one tells you that you do, they are leading down the primrose path. If you wanna drink good to great juice without breaking the bank, then stick around because the wines I review can be found on "The intersection of where great wines meet reasonable prices". This will be the fourth ST, I've reviewed that falls under the $100 price range. Here's a link to another story about "affordable" Super Tuscans.

So while reclining here pool-side in pleasantly warm Phoenix, Arizona I threw open my wine journal, discovering a wine I had on my trip to Tuscany, which I had not put into a review. I discovered this wonderful wine while dining at a wonderful Tuscan ristorante, called Pietracupa [same as the wine] just outside Castellina in Chianti.  A Super Tuscan which is not expensive, but delivers wonderful mouth coating dark and red fruit flavors, spread over polished tannins. I even found one place in sunny Florida that has this wine in stock and ready to go.
 
Swirly-Swirl, Sniff and long Slurp: In the glass a ruby-red core, throws some nice legs against the glass. In the nose lots of plum, dark cherry aromas of espresso, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla. After the first long slurp, I was delighted to find a full-bodied, heady wine. A wonderful flavor profile danced across my palate, ripe red cherry and blackberry fruit, licorice and subtle earthiness complements, zesty acidity and a touch of tar all combine for a long, generous finish. A perfect accompaniment to a host of Italian fare.
 
Price and where to Purchase: You can find this delicious blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon waiting for you at Distinctive Wines, where they are selling a 750ml bottle for just $27, a steal of a deal [as I paid more than that in Italy].
 
What's the Score: We all want to know the score whether it's sports or you just want the "skinny" on a particular topic, ok so here it's, I scored this wine 92 points.
 
That's all I have for you today folks, check back next time when I will delve deep into the Wines of Chile tasting, you don't want to miss that review. More great tasting wines and all well under the three figure category. See ya all next time, until then sip long and prosper, cheers!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Born to Be Wild: Franciscan 2008 Cuvée Sauvage Chardonnay

Time for another spin in the wine-wagon, this time we are heading back to the comfy confines of the Napa Valley, cruising through the vineyard lands of Carneros on our way to one of my favorite wineries,  Franciscan Oakville Estate, winery which produces a wide range of wines and different price points.

Like the the movie "Easy Rider" inspired by the song, "Born to be Wild" the folks at Franciscan are following in the foot steps of [wild-man] Greg Upton who in the eighties created a stir  [oh-my] in Napa Valley by fermenting Chardonnay using only the wild, native yeasts naturally occurring in the vineyard, emulating the style of the great wines of Burgundy.

Speaking of Burgundy, that was my first thought as I had my nose stuck in the glass and took my first sip, I whipped my head back, thinking hmmm, is this California Chardonnay? But oh yes it is and wow what a fantastic representation, better yet expression of Carneros fruit putting terroir on a pedestal and paying homage to their cousins across the pond in Burgundy.

This style of winemaking used in the production of the Franciscan Estate Cuvée Sauvage could be what many refer to as "natural" winemaking, because of the use of native yeasts during fermentation, and the stingy use of sulfur [unlike cultured yeasts, wild yeast comes in many strains, reflective of the vineyard terroir]. One of the keys to producing "natural-wine" is minimal intervention throughout the winemaking process. For many folks it's their belief that this is the only way can that wine be considered a "true" expression of the terroir, that if it speaks of the place in which it originated without tom-foolery by the winemaker. 

In this winemaking style and approach it's believed each wine should reflect its own environment and that each vintage should have its own unique story. The Cuvée Sauvage is not your everyday cookie-cutter Chardonnay and I believe represents that ideal very well. If I was to characterize it, in terms of Burgundy, I'd say this wine falls somewhere between a a Latour Corton-Charlemagne and Aloxe-Corton Grand-Cru in style for more than half the price. It's not made to appeal in a monolithic fashion, in fact each barrel has a distinct aromas and flavor profiles. If you plan to grab a few of these wines [which I highly recommend that you do], prepare to take a walk on the wild-side.

Swirly-swirl, Sniffy-sniff, Slurp: In the glass a big beautiful-bodied warm hay colored core, fleeting to a watery rim. Drawing a few sniffs from the freshly churned glass, this wine is intensely Chardonnay displaying pure mineral, floral, citrus and stone fruit aromas. On the palate, a rich full wine elegant character and complexity, white fruit, crisp apples and a hint of honey, flowing with a mineral richness floating just above the sur-lie aging, although there's one hundred percent use of new French oak in its 14 months of aging, it's beautifully integrated near the point of transparency, segueing to the sumptuous finish.

Price and where to Purchase: You could purchase this wine directly from the the winery for $40 each or I've seen this wine it as low as $30 on a few other wine-store sites. A few other places claiming prices of $19 and under, but with none in stock. So as you can see there's a pretty wide range, but if you can grab this for wine for just under the "Jackson" price I would get as many as possible.

What's the Score: I gave this wine a score of 93 points and give my drinking nicely now, but will improve greatly recommendation. A well made wine, that will continue to evolve and improve, but really a solid performer at the moment as well. I would not drink this wine too cold or you will lose the multiple layers of complexity this wine shows.

Other Voices: Hmmm, looks like I'm the first to review this vintage year. I did find a few folks that rated the 2007 from 93 to 100 points. The guy who said it was buttery and gave it 90 points must have mixed up his tasting notes. No buttery anything, anywhere, this is not your typical California Classic Chardonnay.

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a media-sample for the review process.

That's it for today folks, I hope you will give this winetastic juice a swirl. Stay tuned as next time it's time for a fun trip down to Chile for a taste of the good life. Until next time, sip long and prosper cheers!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Hopping Good: 2007 Zaca Mesa "Z" Cuvée

Okay folks time to hop-back into the wine-wagon as we are set for another road trip. I hope you enjoyed the trip to Washington as much as I did and played it smart by grabbing some of that winetastic juice from L'Ecole41 .

This time we are going to take a spin back down the left-coast to a little place, called Zaca Mesa in Santa Barbara County, which can be found just out-side of the lovely town of Los Olivos [but there tasting room is not in the city-center] on Foxen Canyon Road, just down the road from iconic Fess Parker.

If you are looking for a good jumping-off place or just a base of operations while you are exploring Santa Barbara's wine country then may I recommend Solvang, a little less expensive, yet wonderfully poised as place to start your own wine-tasting adventures. Many great restaurants are located within a relatively short driving distances as well.

If your staying in Los Olivos, it's a relatively short drive from their downtown area out to the winery, it will be hard to not find a wine you will like, as most of their wines are well above-average and the bonus is that the majority of their vino is very reasonably priced.

Folks, if you have never been to the area and consider yourself a "cork-dork"  or just a casual fan of the grape, then you really owe it to yourself to make plans to experience this winetastic winemaking region, that produces some of the best freaking juice in the world. Not too far of a drive from San Diego or LA either. You could spend a week here and still not see everything there's to see and do. I've been there three times myself and once I arrive I really never want to leave. And of course who could forget that this the area was made even more famous, by the movie Sideways movie, which by the way, there's a sequel in the works as we speak, called Vertical.

Pairing: We all know that Easter weekend is upon us and many folks including myself are planning to incorporate a lamb dish into this fun and festive family weekend. As for me, I always go with the ever dependable Lamb Chops, which I secure from my local Costco [because they have the best price]. This is one of the easiest entrees to prepare, my god it's so simple it should be a crime. The most difficult part is getting those chops out of the hermetic sealed package, without a little splurge flying here and there. My recommended pairing with any lamb dish would be the Zaca Mesa Z Cuvee, which should meld effortlessly with the gaminess that many derive from lamb.

Recipe: Okay so here's my uber-easy no-fuss or muss recipe. I use a simple cookie sheet covered with two sheets of aluminum foil, I throw the lamb-chops down and douse with some olive oil [evoo] sea-salt, ground pepper, fresh sprigs of rosemary from the garden. Then I drop the chops into the pre-heated broiler [set to low] near the bottom rung and cook both sides for 15 minutes and hit it with a 5 minute blast [on the fat-side] on high for extra carmelization. They turn out, nicely pink in the middle and will wow any guest you have over for the holiday. By the way I also like throw some roasted rosemary red-potatoes on the side, which again, is another super-simple recipe [I cut the potatoes thin and place in broiler with the lamb], that will wow your guest and compliment the lamb-chops quite nicely. Veggies, hmmm a spinach-salad supreme is just the ticket to round out the meal and again falls into the uber-easy, but oh so fantastic tasting recipe side of the equation.

Swirl, Sniffy-Sniff, Slurp: After the first splash-down in the glass, this blend of  57% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, & 12% Syrah core of this wine had a deep ripe strawberry colored hue and shimmers like a night sky in the desert. Immediately aromas of fresh picked strawberries, which are followed by a bouquet of toast, framboise, black raspberries, and a hint of spring floral aromas. On the palate this wine just dances with rain-drops of flavor, it's plush light bodied wine, nicely complex and a wonderfully concentrated effort with silky tannins and good acidity which jams the mid-palate with a red/dark fruit explosion, that falls off a bit toward the end. A fantastic food wine, that will not over-power, but instead complements the meal from the first pour to the last drop.

What's the Score: Wow this a great effort by the team at Zaca Mesa, the quality, price, ratio [QPR] is off the charts, availability is plentiful, taste has a wow-factor and the price is right. So the CCWB score on this wine is 90 points. Not sure why other reviewers, didn't dig it as much as I did, but nonetheless this is some very tasty juice. This wine is a drink now and drink often, style of wine, compared to so many other wines on the market today, this wine is dressed to impress right out of the gate, an easy-going delight.

Other Voices: Okay folks I found just one other review of this current release, one that closely mirrored my thoughts, but just not as impressed as I, so here you go. This dark ruby colored red blend opens with a mild red raspberry and strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and fruit forward. The flavor profile is a red currant with notes of mild oak. There was also some black pepper and spice mixed in as well. The finish is dry and its moderate tannins linger for a little while. This wine would pair with spicy pulled pork. Enjoy - Ken's Wine Guide and Ken gave it a score of 87 points.

Price and Purchase: You can find this out-standing valued priced wine at few places on winesearcher
selling in the price range of $17 to $20 each in the 750ml size.

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as sample for the review process.

Well that's all I've got for you today, I hope you all have a winetastic Easter weekend and whatever your plans maybe I hope you will be giving this very tasty wine a swirl. Until next time, sip long and prosper, cheers!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hop over for some bubbly: Woodbridge NV Brut Sparkling Wine

Spring is definitely in the air and my lovely garden is abuzz with the sights and sounds of Spring. Seeing that the Easter weekend is upon us, I wanted to bring to your attention to a very delightful, inexpensive and celebratory wine & food pairing champ.

It's known as Champagne across the pond, but here in the New World we must simply refer to it by its more common name "sparkling" wine.
NW sparkling wine grapes get far more sun than their French counter-parts and as a result you can expect a much more expressive style of wine that  delivers boat-loads of ripe fruits flavors [talking, apples, lemon and passion fruit] and much less mineralitly and yeasty characteristics in most cases.

It's perhaps thee most versatile type of wine to pair with food and with this Sunday being Easter, you just may be hosting an afternoon brunch and are thinking what is the best wine to go with your meal. Although a a flute full of bubbly melds wonderfully over the tongue on its own nicely without the need of accompaniment, it’s always a deliciously good choice to flavor or season any meal with the essence of luxury and this NV Brut helps you do it at a paupers price [elegance at a paupers-price, who doesn't want that].

Whether you are thinking of mimosas or or you just want to add a sparkle to your holiday plans, champagnes or new world bubble's are a great idea. As I mentioned above these wines are fun and easy food pairing champs. They’re wonderful for cleansing the palate, especially after eating any spicy, salty, or fried foods.

There are few differences in the style of bubbly you may encounter and one of those differences is in the sweetness level. So many times it's the sweetness level  you are choosing, rather than the body of the wine, when picking out a champagne or sparkling wine to pair with your meal.

Brut [very dry]: Great with appetizers, many different fish entrees [perfect with lobster or shrimp] or even a Honey-Baked ham. Also the bubbly of choice for many folks who love to have Sunday Brunch Mimosa's.

Extra [dry]: A little sweeter than Brut, but still in the “dry” range and is often considered to be the "toasting" bubbly. Oh and it can be quite fabulous with the majority of Easter celebration dinner foods as well. Just keep it chilled for the best results.

Sec, Demi-Sec or Doux: If you see any of these words on the label, then you can know with absolute confidence that you are about to acquire what's known as "sweet" bubbly and is great to serve with dessert or it can be the dessert. A perfect match with those fresh-fruit tarts, which can be found at places like Han's and Harry's [this place rocks] here in San Diego's South Bay area.

Today's wine in the spotlight is the Woodbridge NV Brut Sparkling Wine. This bubbly was perhaps the biggest surprise of the a "blind" bubbly tasting I had recently attended and perhaps none had shone brighter than this sparkling-wine I received as a SAMPLE along with a set of four silver straws, making for a "runway" ready bottle, perhaps.

Swirly, Sniffy-Sniff, Slurp: Fresh biscuits in the nose, showing fine, green apple notes, a stylish and well defined inexpensive example of Brut Champagne. A lingering finish, engulfed in the hay/peach colored core. It has a bright, zesty aftertaste that will pair with a variety of foods, especially a night out getting after some of your favorite Sushi rolls. Don't worry BYOB is more common than ever and beats paying crazy restaurant mark-ups.

Price and Score: Selling for a mere $7.99 most places, this wine represents a great value and I scored it 90 points on the CCWB, with maximum points again for a great QPR and wide availability. I'd recommend rounding up some of this very tasty juice today, for your Easter-Day celebration, you won't be disappointed. This time of year you will most likely find that this sparkling-wine is case-stacked in many grocery stores and is priced right for a easy take home case purchase. It's an everyday drinker that won't break the bank, so sip long and prosper, cheers!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get Schooled: 2009 L'Ecole No. 41 Semillon [Columbia Valley]

Okay folks time for another review, so hop back into the wine-wagon, sit back, buckle-up as it's time for a road trip, join me once again as we leave the comfy confines of the Napa Valley and head up the coast to Washington State, the great vineyards of the Pacific Northwest.

Having tasted this wine once again recently at a friends place, reminded me of my first encounter with this outstanding winery in the Walla, Walla, area. It was during last years Wine Blogger Conference that I had the first opportunity to taste some of their wines, which in my mind are palate-quenching phenoms of flavor and finesse, talking specifically about their White-Bordeaux style whites which is in today's review spotlight.

It is funny when folks ask me about these types of wines, they say to me in a nearly hushed tone, "do you have any "white-bordeaux" kind of like their not expecting me not know what their talking about, like it's some "insiders" secret. My answer, sweet or dry and yes and no, depending on their response I say, "I know where you get hands on a wine of similar varietal make-up but it's not from Bordeaux" speaking of the dry wine. The typical response is huh?

That's when I explain how to get their hands on what I would call some real thirst-slakers and because of my trip to Walla, Walla just last year I always think of the mouth-watering wines of Washington State and their Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blends which in many ways mimic, copy and often surpass their European cousins, producing superlative charming white-Bordeaux styles of wine that are a perfect match for late spring and summer time sipping [absent the dash of Muscadelle]. Unfortunately for us here in Southern Cal, there's not a lot of this winetastic style of juice on wine store shelves almost anywhere [correct me if I'm wrong].

The Winery: If you plan to visit they have their tasting room located inside an iconic, 1915 schoolhouse whose image adorns the winery’s labels. Their tasting is fee is modest, as is the price points for most of wines they produce.L’Ecole No. 41 is located in Lowden, Washington, a short distance from the wonderful city of Walla Walla. Which is a great place to stay [great B&B's] and wonderful jumping-off spot for fun, flavorful wine tourism experiences in town or out to the nearby tasting rooms and vineyards. For a great review on the majority of their other wines by the Washington Wine Report click here.

Swirly, Sniffy-Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a bright beam of straw in the core, with a touch of youthful watery green-hues at the rim. This wine just screams "summer" is nearly here, stuffing my fat half-Irish nose down into the glass I could nearly hear Alice Cooper belting out, "schools out for summer" as a waft of ripe fruits [apples, honey and passion-fruit; with a splash of citrus] and toast come at me like a freight train. After the first splash down, I found a complex, yet creamy palate of tropical fruit flavors, apple slices, with just a squeeze of lemony-honey zest framed in mouth-watering acidity which finishes vibrant and clean. This wine will school your palate and make it want to come back to class over and over.

The Blend: A mouth watering blend of 83% Semillon and 17% Sauvignon Blanc. Often times what you'll get with a straight up Sauv-Blanc is a distinctive grassy/vegetal edginess, which is smoothed out nicely by the addition of Semillon, who on its own has a potential for flabbiness, but blends nicely with the Sauv-blancs higher acidity, an odd couple that works wonderfully together.

What's the Score: So much flavor for so little money. Thus my score for this wine is 93 points. A real block buster of finesse and charm. This wine definitely gets my drink now and drink often recommendation. They do appear to have plenty of it in stock at the moment, but with summer approaching I imagine it will fly out the door quickly.

Price and Where to Purchase: This wine can be purchased directly from the winery who does seem to have right-around the best price that I've seen it for anywhere online. They are selling it for $13 each in the 750ml size and also have a deal on shipping through the end of April, plus a 10% case discount. So what are you waiting for, get busy. The QPR on this wine is at full-tilt, the kind of juice where you're getting a four-year education at an elementary price.

Other Voices: Okay just incase you needed another opinion on this wine, I found out that one of the reviewers from WE listed this wine as a "best-buy" [no-kidding] and had this to say; the L'Ecole No. 41 2009 Semillon blended with 17% Sauvignon Blanc is exceptionally fragrant, satiny and rich, with fleshy ripe fruits and just a hint of toast, a warm streak of caramel enlivens the finish, which lingers gracefully [P.G.] and gave it a score of 91 points.

That is it for todays review, stay tuned next time as I reach into the sample bag for a review of one my favorite wineries in SBC, Zaca Mesa. By the way if the review above has wet your appetite for the fragrant and flavourful wines of the Northwest, then you will also want to give the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc blends from DeLILLE Cellars a swirl. Everyone of their wines I tried last summer was off the charts in the winetastic department, seriously good juice folks [don't doubt me]. Until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Call me a Cab: 2007 St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon

Time to get back in the wine-wagon but no cab-fare will be needed, time for another review of a wine that though produced in a large quantity, it's still makes my palate do the happy-dance. So much so that after I had just one, I went back for half-case. Okay folks time to head back to the comfy confines of the Napa Valley to a place called St. Clement.

If you have not heard of them before, it's time to get acquainted, as these folks are doing it right. I got acquainted with them during the 2009 Wine Blogger Conference that was held jointly in Napa and Sonoma and I wrote a review of their stunning, not to be missed 2006 St Clement Orrpas the signature wine in their line-up and rightfully so. Even though this wine is stunning, for me and most folks this wine does not represent the everyday drinker. However, their standard label 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is quite wine-tastic and fits ever so nicely into the everyday drinker category if you can find it at the right price [see below].

The Winery: St. Clement is a small boutique winery located in the heart of Napa Valley and their picturesque tasting room is a must stop for any visit to the Napa Valley, there they offer a variety of ways you can experience their wines and or take a tour to see what makes this Napa Valley gem tick. Some of fees associated with these types of arranged tastings or excursions can be on the pricey side, so plan accordingly.

The Grapes: The grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon came from vineyards in southern Napa, Rutherford and St. Helena and is a blend of two varietals, 94% Cabernet Sauvignon 6% Merlot. This wine was aged in 50% new French Oak [part of the reason this wine has great balance] and aged for 19 months before being bottled.

Swirly, Sniffy, Slurp: In the glass a opulent purple-ish, ruby colored core, cerise rim and some nice legs. On the nose plenty of blackberry and licorices aromas kicking up some floral notes as well. Right away this wine shows excellent depth and structure for a Napa cab at this price point. Taking in that first slurp and giving it a good swish-about the black fruits are abundant and plummy sweet berries, with a touch of black licorice and tannins are polished and deft. It has some excellent layers that could suggest, this young Cab could lay down a few years if need be, but why wait it's drinking pretty fab right now.

Food-Fab: This is a an excellent foodie type wine and will pair with a large varieties items fresh off the grill, the kind of wine that will bend to your foods will. Decanting of course is recommended or at the very least open the bottle in the morning and leave in  your hopefully cool pantry till you get home to enjoy in the evening.

What's the Score: This wine gets my drink now and drink often recommendation. Providing you can get this wine under $25, I would give it a solid score of 91 points. At the tasting room price of $36 my score would necessarily go down to a 88 points, when you factor in the QPR into the point equation.

Price and Where to Buy: I purchased mine online from a place called Gary's Wine Palace [or something like that] in New Jersey [hello no taxes]. He's selling this wine for $22 each not sure how many he may have left, but I did check with the tasting room folks who said they are down to the last 6 cases where it sells for $36. So if you want to grab some of this wine before the height of the summer BBQ season, you better get moving.

Other Voices: This is spot on my review where I let someone either confirm or conflict with my review of the wine in the spot-light, so here you go, Robert Parker.com had this to say about this wine: "A sleeper of the vintage as well as a great value is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. Its opaque purple color is followed by terrific aromas of blueberries, blackberries, licorice, and camphor. The wine possesses sweet tannins, a velvety, full-bodied mouthfeel, and impressive purity and length." [should evolve for 12-15+ years]. So it looks like old Bobby likes this wine as much as I do, but hey what does he know?

Full Disclosure: Ha, nothing to disclose this time as this was a bottle I laid down cold-hard cash for myself and then went out got six more. I do have plenty of other samples in the queue waiting for the review process, oh man this "Wines of Chile" tasting I particpated in yesterday, geez can't wait to tell you about some of the mind-blowing vino me and several other bloggers discovered yesterday.

That's it for today folks, I hope you will come back next time as have an excellent inexpensive Spring and Summer time sipper that will definitely knock your socks off and sells $15 bones. You've never seen a wine like this, trust me [okay well maybe a few of you]. Are you a white Bordeaux fan? If so this next review is something you don't want to miss.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring is Sprung: 2009 R. Müller Riesling "bunny-wine"

Well folks hope you all had a wonderful time in Tuscany, too bad that bottle was not ready for the "big-time" but every bottle can't be everything you want it to be, sometimes when you are traveling in the wine-wagon you're going to hit a few pot-holes. That's the risk of exploration, even when a wine has good points behind it, you still run the risk of getting a clunker. But hey, we must persevere as it's time, for another spin in the wine-wagon and for most folks spring has sprung and it's nearly time for the white-bob-tailed wonder to hop over to your place and lay some eggs for the kids to find.

But there will be no brightly colored Easter-eggs, or jelly beans in this review as we hop off to Germany for a review of the 2009 R. Muller Riesling which comes in the easily recognizable Octavin shaped box, with the pop-out spigot and fits ever-so-nicely and easily onto the refrigerator shelf.

I've had the opportunity to taste many of the Octavin Home Wine-Bar boxed wines and I must say, I'm pretty hoppy overall with the quality of what really amounts to a simple table wines which are great for large parties or perfect for the anytime quaff from the easy on/off spigot as this wine reclines on your   refrigerator shelf and is a good bang for the buck. The grapes for this wine were grown in the Landwein Rhine region of Germany.
The term Landwein is used to describe the German counterpart of the French vin de pays or a  "wine of the country."

Sniff, Swirly-Swirl, Slurp: In the glass, a pale hay colored core flowing to a watery rim. What the wine warms a bit in glass, the nose smells nicely of yellow fruits such as apple, apricot and peach, but the aromas really don't reach out and grab you. On the first splash-down there's a pleasantly round, softness with a subtle acidity filled with peachy-apricot flavors. The finish is simple, yet supple and struck with just a bit of slatey-minerality.

Pairing Recommendations: Here's the my pairing recommendation, especially if you like it spicy, I found this recipe for Spicy Red Curry Chicken and Rice and in my opinion it's a perfect match with the Riesling. As your palate gets a hit of spiciness, the mild sweetness and acidity clear the palate nicely preparing the way for the next bite from this delicious anytime meal.

What's the Score: Like I mentioned early this wine is not a knock your socks off kind of wine and it's really isn't suppose to be, it's a simple everyday table wine sure to give some day-to-day pleasure and perfect with a spicy meal or something to sip on poolside. It's uncomplicated but not, unsophisticated thus my score of 85 points reflects that point of view.

My Recommendation: If you are looking for a good example of a semi-sweet, German Riesling then it would be a good move to grab yourself a three litre tower of the Rudolf Müller 2009 “Rabbit” Riesling. But if a three-liter town of vino is a little more ambitious of a quaffing plan for you, the good news is that you can purchase Rudolf Müller 2009 “Rabbit” Riesling in the smaller "less-commitment" size, as you will also find this wine in the standard, lay-on the-refrigerator shelf 750ml bottle, just chill and enjoy. The low 9.5% ABV won't weigh you down either, making for a perfect lunch time partner.

Price and Where to Purchase: The better news is that both sizes are a thirst-slaking, penny-pinching deals under $25 for the tower or you could get the bottle, which sells for under $8.00. What are you waiting for?  The one piece of information you don't get from many wine publications or other wine-writers all that often is the 411 on where you can actually purchase the juice they review. But I won't leave you hanging. The tower can be found in most grocery stores, like Ralph's and Albertson's and for the bottle check out the wine-searcher page which lists several places to purchase the bottle and save some coin [tax-wise] purchasing from a out-of-state merchant.

Other Voices: This is the spot on nearly every review that I allow another reviewer to spout-off about their thoughts on the wine in the spotlight. Whether they agree with my review or not, so today is no different,  I present to you none-other than the famous Benito who had this to say about this wine. "It's a good compromise for a party, picnic, or other casual event--sweet enough to appeal to the white zin crowd, but dry enough that you can enjoy a glass or two without feeling sugar build up on your teeth." I'm pretty sure this means he liked it and would recommend it to you as well.

Well folks that is it for today, I hope you will stay tuned for next time as I have a wonderful Pinot Noir from Chile to share with you. You really don't want to miss this review, as this is some wine-tastic juice, so until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!
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