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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pinot Report: 2007 Sanctuary Pinot Noir

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.” ~Ivan Panin
Pinot Noir is known to many, as a grape of great depth and balance. For many producers especially in the new world, it’s known as the heart-break grape. In Burgundy its ancestral home, it has the well renowned [and may I say well-deserved] reputation for producing some of the very best wines in world and has been doing so for longer than any of us have been alive. For me, these wines do have great beauty, they speak truth in every sip, slurp and even the eventual gulp and with each bottle I confirm my love for this grape.
Just before harvest, weighing heavy upon the vine, you’ll find clusters of Pinot Noir grapes, blue to violet and still some sporting indigo colors and for me that builds the anticipation of the good things to come down the road.
Furthering that excitement, seeing Bien Nacido Vineyards on the label nine times out of ten, I’m getting the style of Pinot, which I know will make me and Mrs. Cuvee very happy, which is the reason why I purchased this wine, without a moment’s hesitation. I’ve never purchased a bottle of wine from this producer before, but knowing this vineyards reputation, I was confident that I was coming home with a winner.
Many vino-sapiens know this grape has a reputation for breaking hearts and not just those producers, but also for the consumer who hopes they can beat the odds and save a few coins by purchasing Pinot Noir’s under the sacred $10 threshold, only to find out later the good ones under that price point are the extreme exception and nowhere near the rule.
Now to that point the wine in today’s spotlight set me back $24, not a king’s ransom by any stretch. But I know for many this price point not going to be a Tuesday evening wine. I get that, but that said this wine would normally sell for upwards of $40 to grab it from their tasting room or website. In a restaurant forget about a wine like this, will sell for upwards of $70 or more. So getting a wine of this caliber for the price point I did, to me be is quite the bargain, one you should consider grabbing, if you have the opportunity. It’s well worth the price of admission, a wine I scored 91 points, a bit less generous than my pals over at WE who have ad-space to sell.
Wondering about how it tastes? Right after popping the cork, whoa an explosion of aromas pops me in the nose; juicy, young cherry-pie-like fruit its main motif. After I get this wine in the glass wow a deep cranberry colored red core. Once in the glass finely tuned smoky red and dark berries give my nose another slap.
After I go in for the first slurp, a bit sappy and gently sweet, offering broad raspberry and cherry-pie crust flavors, notes of smoked meat, wet earth play quietly in the background, with just the right pop of acidity to carry the abundant low hanging fruit.
You will find this supple; a nicely knit-together pinot sporting supple well integrated tannin, which finishes with good clarity and lift on the back-end. It would make an excellent wine for the upcoming holiday activities, including Thanksgiving, as it has many generous properties which lend its self to easy pairing options. Over the next few days, I will be reviewing 3 more outstanding Pinot Noir’s I’ve recently sampled, so stay tuned. Until next folks sip long and prosper cheers!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chile Uncorked: 2010 Emilana Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir

"Compromises are for relationships, not wine." --- Sir Robert Scott Caywood

Well here we are, it's almost time for the weekend, it's now just hours away. You can feel it, see it and sense the fact that the boss-man has lost control and the possibilities are endless for what you will do this weekend. If you're lucky enough [from a weather related point-of-view] to live here in So-Cal then you know this weekend is going to be superb [epic] for whatever out-door activity you decide to embark upon.

With that in mind the chances are very good, that if you're reading these words that you'll be slurping down some juice this weekend, some looking for the serious and some just looking for the fairly quaff-able wine of the moment. But whatever it's you are looking for in the wine world, I hope you enjoy it fully, but please don't do the same old song and dance, explore something new and just say 'NO' to mass produced juice [aka, commodity wines].

The 2010 Emilana Novas Pinot Noir is another wine [sample] I encountered during the Wines of Chile Blogger tasting, which did not come dressed to impress initially. I confess I chilled it a bit as requested, unsealed the screw cap and poured a 3 ounce pour about an hour before the 'live' tasting commenced. I'm not sure if this wine just didn't travel well or what the problem with it was, but it did NOT show well that evening.

"Although several other bloggers were going gah-gah over it. It was dirty, murky and had some funky stewed aromas, which did not blow off that evening, aromas which made its dirty-shoe'd way to the wines overall flavor profile."

Now that said, I didn't pour the wine down the drain, like I know many other writers do. I took a different tact, instead I re-capped it and tucked it back into my cellar for a few days. Having just made an amazing whole roasted barbecue chicken [great pairing partner] and then seeing the poor little bottle of Emilana looking back at me, I decided to give this wine another go. I mean why not, it's already open, what the heck and I believe in second chances.

So again I poured another 3 ounce pour in the glass you see in the picture above and wow, bang-bang this wine came out of its corner like Rocky against Apollo Creed. I was hit with boat-loads of baking spices, cranberry, ripe strawberry, rich wet-earth, wrapped around polished well integrated tannins, making for some nice QPR on a Pinot Noir with a SRP of $19.

But the fact that this wine took three days to get its act together, that is really disappointing. Honestly folks, this wine did NOT show well that evening on any level and no I'm not exaggerating one bit. Even Mrs. Cuvee gave it a thumbs-down, she is no where near the snobby-grader that I can be at times. The Caveat: Perhaps, I didn't have the best bottle, perhaps I'm the only one whose wine was sick with bottle shock or is there another explanation, I confess to not knowing the answer.

"Writers about #wine should, at least on occasion, be troublesome, irritating and critical.” ~ Andrew Jefford 

Even though this wine did make a remarkable turn-around, I still can't give it a good recommendation, my score on this wine is 84 points at best. Frankly folks, there is far easier game to hunt than this elusive Pinot Noir, which may ultimately disappoint the thirsty vino-sapien. The reviews of the wines I liked from this tasting are coming up next, so please stay tuned and remember folks until next time sip long and prosper cheers!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chile Uncorked: 2011 San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Good afternoon everyone, welcome to November. Can you believe there’s less than sixty days until the end of the year and just six more days until the election? I'm sure like you, that you're looking forward to it being over.

Now I've read and also heard it said; "the best way to be noticed and collect Internet hits is to express outrage. The outrage business, it must be said, is a growth business, thriving in the age of new media."

While there may be a place for “outrage” in some areas of the blogosphere [mainly political blogs and other websites] and on other social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter. As for me, I like this blog to stay focused on things that matter; like exploring new wine regions, uncorking countless bottles of wine and boldly seeking out new wines that have a soul. But as many of you have discovered that sometimes on the road to discovery you may run into a few bumps in the road.

Having said that, let me throw another quote at you, something to ponder and think about in the context of today's review. "Flattery, by contrast, gets us all nowhere; it’s meaningless for the flattered, and demeans the flatterers. If you have a mind, you should speak it." - Andrew Jefford

So speaking my mind is something I plan to do today, regarding the sample I received for the Chilean Wine Blogger 'live' tasting from Chile. When I encounter new wines where I simply don't get the style, I typically don't go too far out of my way to throw it under-the-bus just for the sake of "outrage". Something which some of my fellow bloggers may think I'm doing here today, regarding the San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. But even the folks over here tasting these wines with me, including Mrs. Cuvee without any coaching from me, agreed this wine was just a bit over-the-top.

Most folks know, I'm kind of a fussy-pants when it comes to this varietal, simply said for the most part I really don't like it. Please don't tell anyone, but I like to keep a bottle inexpensive SB around just to rinse out my stems and or my decanter before pouring in another wine. It really is a great for grabbing any remnant lint from the freshly cleaned glass. What I especially don't like is some producer’s tendency to elevate this varietals aggressive-side and this often happens with New World producers.

Now you may like the style I'm about to describe, but I promise I won't think any less of you, but I just may snicker a bit. That said, what I mean my aggressive is that this style is "all-up-in-your-business" from the moment you pop the cork, to the first sniff, slurp and the eventual spew. There is just no delicate way to put it, in my book the 1865 SB is everything that is wrong with new world Sauvignon Blanc.

This wine [under screwcap] gave me a sock-in-the-jaw, ouch! Ugh, I was begging for mercy in just minutes after being hit by a broadside of pungent grassy aromas and picked-to-early aromas like an upper-cut from a south-paw. Whoa, green bell-pepper, grape-fruit, intense vegetal flavors, boat loads of acid and a intense, yet odd can-of-asparagus thing going on from start to finish. I even tried this wine with a couple different food pairings, but it was just too over-whelming.

It's not that the wine was not made incorrectly or that it had any detectable flaws. This wine sell for a SRP of $19, I scored it 84 points, not a recommended wine in my book. Until next time folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers!
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