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

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pieroth Winkler Hasensprung, Riesling Auslese, Rheingau

Ahh yes German Riesling I do love it so and for me there is no real equal. I purchased a few Rheingau gems from a broker I know here in San Diego who sells this type of wine for a good price. The case we purchased was the 2007 Winkeler Hasensprung, Auslese from the Rheingau area in the Nahe Valley. Alc. 9.5% and sells for 24.99 each.
I specifically look for wine from this region because much of Rheingau consists of south-facing slopes between Taunus and Rhine which provides excellent wine-growing conditions at these northerly latitudes and is regarded as the premium spot for mind-blowing Riesling.
Two words describe this wine, which are ripe and balanced! In the glass is a golden hue of liquid honey colored goodness. Juicy aromas of tangerines and ripe apricots entice the nose, an a so subtle citric notes mingle in the harmonious aromas. On the palate of this Auslese Riesling is fine, fruity and rich while at the same time round with a palate coating essence. It's playful, refreshing acidity, which heightens the vivid fruity finish which is especially inspiring to pair with a delicate Chicken Marsala or some Wiener Schnitzel! Until next time Cheers everyone!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Put on the Red Light!

You don't have to put on the "Red-Light", but when you display the kind of lush seductive red fruit you get in this bottle of wine from Columbia Crest you just may need to. I purchased this little number from Costco the other day for $19.99 and thought it was a fair price for the caliber of wine in the bottle and of course taking a look around the web I saved $10 -$12 per bottle. BTW, @ this price it's a QPR winner! For you restaurateurs this means buy all you can, very food friendly and easily sold by the glass and try not to mark it too much!

I know some of you are saying what you're a Costco wine shopper? Yes, in this economy you need save every dollar you can and they have some very good wines for little prices. That's not all if you didn't like the wine cork it and take it back and they will give you a full refund no questions asked. Try that @ your local wine store. But one of the draw backs of shopping for wine there is the summer heated warehouse, which is no friend to wine. During the summer months I tend to purchase very little wine. I've stocked up during cooler months and have my stash socked away in the cellar. Not sure how I got on that rant, but I felt the need to share.
Back to the review, now the winemaker Ray Einberger say's this wine displays aromatics of chocolate cherry and slight mint and culminates in the perfect complex balance of fruit and wood. Sorry Ray I didn't get the mint or the chocolate in the nose, nor on my palate. Thank God, because I would have hated this wine if it had tasted like an Andes Mint.

Here's the wine Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 which comes unfiltered! ( I would recommend decanting) It is very good and has a very soft mouth feel which comes from the Merlot blended in at 9% and the 27 months in the barrel. In the glass was a fully extracted ruby core and lighter colored rim. Wafting up to the nose complex aromas of dark cherry and a hint of cocoa, filling out the palate with indulgent blackberries and currant melding to a medium to long finish. I would not say this wine was full bodied or complex, but it is very fruit forward and the 14.2% ALC is scarcely noticed. If you can still find this wine @ your local Costco, I would recommend to run, not walk down and get your self a half case. As the drinking recommendation on this bottle extends to 2012. The year we are all suppose to implode into oblivion.
Oh, one other thing Columbia-Crest is part of the WWQA or the Washington Wine Quality Alliance which in 1999 was established to spearhead development of industry standards in wine making and labeling. Suffice to say, this is a good thing for you and me and all the wine loving community. I've drank many of the wines from Columbia Crest over the years and have always been pretty happy with most of their efforts and if your not familiar with them, my advice is to seek out their wine and give it a swirl. Until next time Cheers!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wine of the Week: The Coalesce of Grape Fusion

"The Roman belief that wine was a daily necessity made the drink "democratic" and ubiquitous: wine was available to slaves, peasants and aristocrats alike.”

Have you ever wanted a wine which included most of your favorite varietals? Well this wine could quite possibly fit the bill. Some call this a Bordeaux Blend and true, but which bank? No I am not talking about the banks here looking for "bailout" money who want party it up in Vegas via taxpayer expense. 

Nope I am talking about the left and right bank in Bordeaux, which most of you reading this blog are most likely all too familiar with, so suffice to say this blend would be a "lefty" in terms of the type of blend used to produce this amazing effort from Girard Winery. But it's not a typical Bordeaux [style] blend. I say that because, it is more fruit forward, definitely more approachable, suited for an American palate [not a rustic note in sight]. Which is one of the dig's of American wine!

So here's the breakdown of the blend: With Cabernet Sauvignon leading the way at 63%, the balance is 13% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, 9% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. You can find this small litany inscribed on the back label. While some back labels are sometimes just a vacuous wasteland, this one got right down to business of giving you a mini-education on the fruit used and where it came from [great job]. Also a phone number so you could call for more in case you ran out!

In the glass the 2004 vintage is a fully extracted regal colored throng of dark ruby wine spreading out to a lightly colored velvet rim. On the nose aromas of ripe cherries, red plum, cinnamon and allspice waft up out of the inky goodness. On the palate, this smooth-textured wine offers a full-mouth, medium (14.3% ALC.) bodied feel, while the firm tannins are very well integrated, making the wine courtly and approachable rewarding those who can't wait to imbibe. 

This wine like your favorite layer cake, which has a complex blend revealed through decanting. No wonder this wine is called Artistry. I do strongly recommend decanting this wine, one to reveal it's more subtle characteristics and two because this wine is not filtered!

Taking a look around the web, I see many sites offering this same wine for $39.99 or more. Tho that price is still worth the price of admission, I have to be honest, I scored this beauty at Costco for $30.99. They (Costco) are currently carrying the 2005 for the same price point as the 2004. I had purchased the 04 just about a year or so before popping the cork. It was well worth the wait. Until next time folks remember, life is short sip long and prosper cheers!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some Rise by Zin, and Some by Virtue

While to many Ridge is synonymous with quality Zinfandel, it's also one of the shining stars of the Santa Cruz Mountains. When I visited the Santa Cruz Mountains last year Ridge was near the top of my list of wineries to visit!
Now when they call this place Ridge, wow they are not kidding! It's at the very top of the very narrow and winding Monte Bellow Road. As you drive up be careful as many Cyclist love the climb to the top as well. If you are considering a trip to the tasting room, go (the tasting room fills up quickly on weekends) early, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the view. I can hardly recommend it enough!

I had made some Baked Ziti last night and planned to have a nice Zin with the meal. My wife and I having tasted the Ridge, Dusi Ranch 2005, Paso Robles, SLO, 100% Zinfandel and loving it so much we took half a case, we opened one last night. Wow, it an inkey gob of liqueur like crushed blackberry and sappy cherry gushed into our glasses rim to rim and what fell upon our palate's were mounds of mouth coating layers of super ripe berry flavors, with a slight undercurrent of minerality to balance out the kirsch flavors of one of Paso's oldest surviving Zinfandel vineyards. (85 year old vines)

The finish was long and caressing and continued the berry compote expression of this very approachable 2005 Zinfandel. You can still find the 2005 Ridge Zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Ranch between $21.99 and $30.00 depending on where you look, which makes this for some not your everyday drinking wine. This wine was every bit what remembered in our tasting room experience (which is not always the case) If I were rating wine it would definitely score an easy 90 points. Until next time Cheers!
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