Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been seeing this label in the stores for awhile, but hadn’t had any of their wines till now.  Funny thing: I tasted this the same evening as another red varietal (post to come soon), and the similarities in style were so striking I thought I was tasting fraternal twins.  I mean fraternal twin wines, of course.  You know, similar but not identical.  Anyway, here’s my takeaway from this one.

Winemaker:  Naked Grape
Wine:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  California
Price: $8.29

Notes:  This little number was surprisingly light for a Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you had told me I was drinking a blended red with no Cabernet Sauvignon, I might have believed you.  In the glass it was a clear rich red color.  The bouquet had plenty of earthiness – even dirt – red currant, and whispers of brown spice.  On the palate I found an unexpected juxtaposition of bright cherry with dark currant along with hints of pepper, a menthol kick on the end and notes of sweet cinnamon here and there.  The wine is light-bodied with almost no tannins.  Alcohol is 13%, and acidity is OK.  It’s pleasant enough and inexpensive enough to pair with the delivery pizza you order when you just don’t feel like cooking or that quick bowl of left-over pasta you heat up after a long day at work.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Advertisements

Château Haut Blaignan Bordeaux 2011

Peck_CHBMedoc2011This time I’m taking a quick day-trip by bottle from Germany into the Bourdeaux countryside for a bit of Vin Rouge de Médoc.  In fact, I understand that the area around Blaignan has some of the oldest vineyards in the Bordeaux region.  I have been trying to get additional info on this winemaker, but have had difficulty scaring up more than what you see here.  I could find a website for Château Blaignan, but they are clearly a different enterprise.  If you have something on Château Haut Blaignan, please share it.

Winemaker:  Château Haut Blaignan (Earl Brochard-Cahier proprieter)
Wine: Grand Vin de Bordeaux
Vintage: 2011
Appellation:  Médoc, France AOC
Price:  $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  What an interesting ride this little red took me on.  On first pour it was like a green bronco bucking it’s way across the palate.  I thought I was in for quite a ride, indeed.  But after 10-15 mins. to breathe, it settled down like the family’s favorite mare.  That isn’t meant negatively.  In the glass the wine is a very dark, inky plum color.  On the nose I detected blackberry, plum and violets with notes of spice and the Mare’s barnyard.  The spice and barnyard dissipate quite a bit with oxidation on both the nose and palate.  Flavors for me in this fairly light-bodied wine were blackberry, red plum, and black pepper with hints of moss and earthiness.  Light tannins bring menthol to the fairly long finish.  Alcohol is 13%  and acidity is good.  What I’d really like to know and why I tried researching this selection is the specific blend of grapes used.  I know that Bordeaux makers often use Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc in their “mixology.”  What I am keen on finding out is the percentage of each in this wine.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Sutter Home Chenin Blanc

I’m sputtering to a close on the transfer of posts from Blogarhythms.  Hadn’t yet brought over anything on this particular varietal.
_______________________________

Sutter Home is well known in the affordable wine market as a ubiquitous product and a pretty consistent performer.  What is nice, though, is that they haven’t given up on wines that so many of the boutique and “upper end” vineyards dismiss.  Chenin Blanc is one of those that I’m glad to see they produce.   Do you have friends (or acquaintances/guests) who put ice cubes in their Chardonnay because it’s too strong/flavorful?  Maybe this varietal is more their speed.  And, seriously, people should drink what they like – not just what’s popular or in fashion.

Vineyard:     Sutter Home
Varietal:       Chenin Blanc
Vintage:       2008
Appellation: California
Price:          $6.99

Notes:     At 12% alcohol, this Chenin Blanc is a bit dryer than some others on the market.  Even so, it still has the characteristic sweetness which provides for honey on the tongue along with lemon and peaches and a nice apricot zing at the finish.  I could see this particular wine as an alternative to a Riesling.  Although the flavors are lighter and not as intense as are typical in a Riesling, the flavor profile is not unlike some Rieslings I’ve had.  It isn’t really dry, true.  So if you absolutely insist on a dry wine, this won’t be your choice.  But with summer not too distant, I think this could be a nice little sipper for an outdoor barbeque.   For those who like wine with dessert, you could consider this selection esp. if you are serving a dessert with more delicate flavors.  The price makes it easy to be generous with your guests when you’re entertaining.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Joseph Händler Riesling 2012

Peck_JHRiesling2012OK.  Here is the third in my promised trio of German wine tastings.  It’s another Riesling from the Pfalz region – this time a 2012.  Here’s what I found in this simple, straight-forward wine.

Vineyard: Domherrenberg Kellerei for Trader Joe’s
Varietal: Joseph Händler Riesling
Vintage: 2012
Appellation: Pfalz, Germany
Price: $5.49 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  The wine is a very pale straw color in the glass.  On the nose I got lemon and white peach.  Like the Spätlese I recently tasted, this Riesling has good acidity which gives the tongue an effervescent zing immediately (but in a more restrained way).  The primary flavors for me were apricot, lemon and green apple with green apple peel on the finish.  It’s fairly sweet at 10% alcohol, but the acidity and flavors make it seem less sugary than other selections at the same ABV.  Overall the experience was pleasant – less dramatic than the Spätlese but equally pleasing.  I wouldn’t consider serving this one at dessert, though.  This wine sits solidly in the “good for a picnic” category for me.  It would also be nice served at a cheese and wine gathering.

By the way, don’t think I’m finished with German wines.  I’m not.  Ich komme zurück.  Ohne Zweifel!!

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

I’m Grateful For Grateful Red

I recently ran across a small wine merchant located next to a bike store across from a major chain grocery store.  I know that sounds sketchy, but it isn’t at all.  I really liked the clever name – Grateful Red – so I decided to venture in to see what it was all about.

Well, they’re primarily about wine along with some beer, too.  The offerings there are not the labels one finds in the typical wine and liquor stores in the area.  That’s good!  Of course, the prices are a bit higher than the usual bottle I blog about here on Oenophilogical.  I mean the ones that can be considered “budget-friendly,” aka cheap.  Even so, I like the variety of offerings Grateful Red has on the shelves.  So I plan on grabbing some of their selections now and then for tasting and blogging.

One of the best things about the Grateful Red store, though, is that they do a wine & beer tasting every Saturday from 1 – 4 p.m.  They open 3 wines and 2 beers for folks to sample.  When I was in they had a Riesling from Germany, a Blush wine from South America, and a French red (as well as two artisanal beers) available for tasting.  What a great discovery!

Franz Wilhelm Langguth Erben Spätlese 2010

Here we go!  Another German wine in my current trio of German tastings.

Winemaker: Franz Wilhelm Langguth
Wine: Erben Spätlese (White Wine)
Vintage: 2010
Appellation: Rheinhessen, Germany
Price: $8.99

Notes:  This had what I would describe as lively ripe peach and honey on the nose.  When it hits the palate, you get an immediate effervescence that plays on the tongue.  The flavors for me were primarily a nice sweet nectarine core with a zip of rhubarb on the finish where it lingers.  On the very, very end the wine leaves just the slightest hint of spice.   As you know, eating a nectarine is a natural sweet & sour experience.  And this wine is that – a playful dance between the sweet and the sour.  In fact, drinking this wine reminded me a little of when I was ten years old and had a temporary fixation on Sweet Tarts.  I was in a Saturday bowling league and they sold the candies at the register.  But back to the wine!  Acidity is pretty vibrant and alcohol is at 10%.  Given it’s sweetness, this selection might be served as a dessert wine (although the tartness may be too much for some to consider it dessert).  While I’m no foodie expert, I think this wine could pair nicely with some hearty cheeses or even a spicy Asian dish.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer. 

D’Aquino Gaetano Sangiovese di Toscana 2010

Not a Chianti, but rather a 100% Sangiovese from Tuscany.

Winemaker: Gaetano D’Aquino
Wine: Sangiovese di Toscana
Vintage: 2010
Appellation: Toscana, Italy IGT
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  Well, now here is another light-bodied red wine to pair with pasta dishes and even light meat dishes.  Once it breathed and settled, it had a core of bright cherry and red currant fruit flavors with plenty of veggie notes.  The light but definite tannins gave this selection a nice peppery bite at the end which is why I think it can stand up to some meat dishes.  Acidity seemed good, and alcohol is at 12.5%.  On first pour, however, this one came across as almost vegetal with a very tart cherry accompaniment in the background.  If your preference is the fruit flavors in a wine, I’d open it at least a good half hour before serving.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.