Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Shoofly South Australia Shiraz, 2017

Previous bottles I have opened of this Shoofly Shiraz have been a bit tough and one-dimensional. By now, the aging process has created a very agreeable Australian Shiraz. Ben Riggs, a respected winemaker from McLaren Vale, has carefully chosen grapes from a variety of sites and appellations to create a serious wine at a reasonable price level.

Deep and dark. Blackberries and cassis. Ripe fruit but with a savory, spicy note on the mid-palate. Medium body, medium acidity with some of the qualities you might expect from a Crozes-Hermitage or Saint Joseph. Drinking beautifully right now.


Sunday, February 26, 2023

Ronci delle Betulle Colli Orientali Friulo Friulano, 2016

Donna likes Pinot Grigio--herb-tinged Pinot Grigio from northern Italy. I prefer fuller bodied Pinot Gris from Alsace or Oregon. Since Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape, you would think we could agree, but no. Pinot Gris is usually perceived by Donna as too sweet; Pinot Grigio is perceived by me as too green or herbaceous. In trying to bridge the gap, I have been buying some Friulano from northeastern Italy. Tonight, since we are having pasta with pesto and a green salad, this wine is the right choice.

Clear, bright yellow with some green tints. Green apple, unripe pears and green herbs. More body and mid-palate fruit than your average Pinot Grigio. Good acidity and a medium long finish. Still too green for me, but I can live with it.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Kermit Lynch Languedoc Cabrieres Rouge, 2020

This Kermit Lynch Selection wine has more Syrah (55%) and less Grenache (35%) than is typical for a Languedoc red. But the vines are located at high elevation with cooler nights to go along with warm, sunny days. Tonight, the black fruited Syrah traits are even more evident than they were when I last tasted the wine on October 25, 2022.

Dark ruby red. Black raspberries, cassis, black pepper. Not as warm and cuddly as I expected but still a very good wine to accompany Middle Eastern fare from Cairo's Kitchen in Kalamazoo.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Terramata Barbera d'Alba, 2017

Frittata with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese and jalapeno peppers. That's dinner tonight, so what wine should I bring up from the cellar? It's a tough choice, but when the going is tough, my choice is usually either a Cotes du Rhone or a Barbera from the Piedmont--wines which go well with just about anything.The frittata is lovely and so is the wine.

Deep ruby. Beautiful red cherry/berry smells and flavors plus white pepper and spice. Some tannins on the mid palate but more than enough acidity to give it freshness and excitement.A wine to enjoy tonight or any other night over the next two or three years.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Pithon Paille Anjour Blanc Mozaik, 2017

Once again, this Anjou Chenin Blanc, a long-time "buy-now" bargain from WineBid, meets and far exceeds expectations for an $11.99 wine.

Brilliant gold. The descriptor often used for Loire Chenin Blanc is quince. I can't remember ever tasting quince, but I am tempted to use the term because the smells and flavors are so typical of Loire Chenin Blanc wines I have tasted. For me, it's pear, apricot and sliced apples from the lunch box, slightly oxidized.Dry up front, then rich flavors and full body on the mid-palate and finish. Great acidity that leads to well defined, glorious flavors. This bottle was opened last night and recorked; tonight it is better than ever. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Famille Perrin Ventoux Rouge, 2020

This Ventoux Rouge is an old favorite of mine from Plum Market in Ann Arbor. The 2019 was very good; the 2020, even better.

Bright crimson. Fresh, flowery strawberry rhubarb with a touch of mint. Medium bodied. Has an elegant mouth feel with well defined fruit flavors. Fresh and lively from front to back. Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah but has authentic Grenache-oriented personality of traditional Ventoux Rouge.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Silvio Grasso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2021

To accompany lunch at Eataly in Chicago, I ordered a glass of the Nebbiolo on the wine list, but the waiter brought a bottle of another Langhe Nebbiolo and opened it at our table. "See if you like this," he said. "If not, I'll get another." One sniff was all Donna and I needed to know that this Silvio Grasso wine was a perfect match for our pasta dishes. "Six ounces, nine ounces or the whole bottle?" he asked as he poured two generous servings without waiting for an answer. "You might as well enjoy yourselves," And enjoy ourselves we did--at least 10 ounces each.

Medium garnet with Nebbiolo orange tints. The wine was aged six months in stainless steel, threee months in large oak casks and six months in the bottle. Beautiful scents of cherries, dark plums and flowers. Tannins grip the mid-palate, leaving the dry sensation I associate with a fine Barolo. The fruit is from LaMorra and offers up generous flavors. As the wine airs over the course of the meal, the flavors get more and more enticing. Great acidity. Tart cherries, red raspberries and savory spice. The pleasure continues long after the glasses are empty/

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Domaine Roux Pere et Fils Bourgogne Rouge, 2013

This 10-year-old Bourgogne Rouge was a good match for a dish featuring Tandoori lamb chops at the excellent Vinaigrette Restaurant in Austin, TX.

Medium ruby, mature color. Rhubarb, red berries, orange zest and black pepper. Tannins have faded. Good fruit but it's acidity that carries this wine. Gets better with every sip and highlights the flavors of the perfectly cooked lamb chops--crisp and charred on one side, medium rare and moist on the other.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Ercole Barbera del Monferrato, 2020

The Monferrato area of the Piedmont is apparently where Barbera wine originated. And this wine, made by a coop, represents what Monferrato Barbera is all about.

Deep ruby red. Vibrant smells and flavors of fresh cherries, red berries and spice. Has the acidity Barbera is known for with modest tannins and medium body. Delightful finish, spicy and fresh. It comes in a full liter bottle, making it a perfect match for the pizza you're probably eating while watching the Super Bowl. I bought it for $14.99 at Whole Foods.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fall Creek Vineyards Texas Chenin Blanc, 2020

Texas Chenin Blanc?? Well, it may not be Vouvray or Savennieres, but it has the qualities I expect from the grape.

Medium deep gold. Quince, melon and a touch of honey. Full bodied. Has some residual sugar but enough acidity to keep it honest. Even with a spicy beef Tex Mex enchilada, it goes down quite well. I would order it again.

Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture, 2019

This wine, at $17 a bottle, offers an excellent quality/price ratio.

Blackberries, cranberries, citrus zest and violets. Savory, almost salty, with considerable complexity and depth for a wine this young and this inexpensive. Mushrooms and pleasant earthy tones. Medium long finish.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Cartlidge & Browne North Coast Pinot Noir, 2020

I knew very little about the Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir but when the wine list gave me a choice of North Coast or Monterey, I felt confidence choosing the North Coast, even though it was listed at $9 vs. $11 for the Monterey Pinot. And I am glad I did.

Very dark for a Pinot. Black raspberry, plum and forest floor. Now some pepper and orange zest. Pleasantly dry with a long after taste. I could drink this frequently.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Wind Gap Woodruff Vineyards Santa Cruz Chardonnay, 2013

With the low, sell-out prices available on WineBid, I have purchased and consumed quite a few bottles of this Santa Cruz Chardonnay since October of 2021. And it's certainly not showing any signs of near-term decline.

Deep gold color. Pretty citrus-tinged bouquet. Also green apples, flowers, lime and French oak. Bold Chardonnay personality on the mid-palate with good acid-tannin balance and well defined flavors.

I think all of the WineBid supply has now been purchased. The last price I saw was 6 bottles for $10. Despite its deep gold color and 10 years of age, I suspect the wine will still be drinking beautifully two or three years from now. 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Domaine Pegau Cuvee Reservee Chateauneuf du Pape, 1994

Pegau's Cuvee Reservee is a wine that ages well over two to three decades, but this 1994 vintage was tagged by Robert Parker as a vintage to drink sooner rather than later. Now at 29 years, however, it is still a great Chateauneuf du Pape.

Bright crimson with some brickish tones emerging. Alluring scents of  raspberries, cinnamon, herbs and leather. Old time Chateauneuf texture, rich and powerful with furry tannins on the mid-palate. Intense flavors of fresh and dried fruit with black pepper, minerals and spice on the long finish. This is my last bottle of a case, and I am sad to see it go.