Screwtop Wine Bar: Worthwhile Waiting

The Wine Rangers headed out to another nearby watering hole to sample some vino.  I was the first to arrive at this very popular spot on a Thursday evening.  Not wanting to waste the time, I succumbed to the friendly staff’s offer to serve me a little something while I hovered – with quite a few other folks – waiting for a spot.

One thing I really like about this establishment is that their menu offers wines by the bottle, glass, and sip (half glass).  That provides almost an incentive (not that I need one – lol) to experiment.

After perusing the list, I ordered a half glass of the Early Mountain Viognier 2011 from Charlottesville, VA.  This Viognier was pale straw color.  On the nose I found spiced apple cider.  It was light-bodied with the characteristic touch of viscosity, and acidity was bright.  Flavors were a solid core of apple (no pun intended) with hints of spice and a touch of fig.  It was a pleasant sipper, and disappeared all too quickly.

As my fellow Wine Ranger, Heather, was running late, I had another look at the wine list.  Unable to resist the temptation, I ordered a half glass (aka sip) of the Villa Wolf Rosé 2012 from Pfalz, Germany.  The Villa Wolf was a pretty salmon color with a floral bouquet.  Although a light-bodied wine, it  had good acidity and a fun, almost flirty flavor profile of bing cherry and lemon/lime.  Flavors weren’t heavy but light and lively.

Eventually, the Wine Rangers were reunited, and the evening began in earnest.  But a report on that adventure will have to wait for another post.  In the meantime, I wish you worthwhile waiting, too.

 

Advertisements

Rex-Goliath Pinot Noir

I have to admit that the first time I saw a Rex-Goliath wine, I was curious about the reason for naming a wine label after a big rooster.  After reading at the winery’s website that HRM Rex-Goliath was billed as the “World’s Largest Rooster” in a Texas circus at the turn of the 20th century, I was confused.  Texas?  A giant chicken?  Circus?  What do they have to do with a winery in California?

But their website goes on to say, “Our wines are a tribute to Rex’s larger-than-life personality, with bold, fruit-forward flavors that are sure to please. In essence, Rex is all about letting BOLD fruit flavors express themselves in an easy-to-drink, worry-free fashion. Bold Wines. Fun Times.”  Oh …  I suppose I see now.

Winemaker:  Rex-Goliath
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  America
Price:  $5.49 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  The color of this non-vintage Pinot Noir was a medium garnet.  On the nose I caught whiffs of oak, earth, red plum, and pepper.  It was medium-bodied with bright but not racy acidity and medium tannins.  The tannins were pretty aggressive in attack and long in duration, but they did settle some with time to breathe.  Alcohol was at 12.5%.  Flavors I tasted were cola, sweet plum, lots of pepper and oak, and a green herbal note on the finish.  This was an unusually feisty selection for a Pinot Noir and a surprisingly interesting bottle of wine for the price.  Yes, I would call this a good value.

Alamos Chardonnay 2012

This is just a quick post about an Argentinian Chardonnay I recently had.  In the immortal words of the character Joe Friday (played by Jack Webb) from the radio and television show Dragnet, I’ll be sticking to “just the facts.”

Winemaker:  Alamos
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Mendoza, Argentina
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  The color of this South American white wine was a pale shade of Maize.  On the nose I found lemon, toasty oak, some pineapple, and a zing of paint thinner.  Acidity was good but on the lower end of what I think of as typical for the varietal.  Alcohol was at 13.5%, and it was a medium-bodied selection.  Flavors?  Well, I tasted citrus (mainly lemon, some grapefruit), butter, pineapple, and grass.  It had quite a long finish that held copious toasty oak along with hints of spice and butter. I enjoyed this selection.  It does have a fair amount of oak which gives me no pause but isn’t to everyone’s liking.  With the buttery undertones, maybe this would be a good accompaniment to a lobster dish or chicken with mushrooms.  

Jellybean Red Blend 2011

Just one look at the packaging of this wine and you’d think you were getting a full-on dessert wine.  After all, jellybeans are basically sugar, food coloring and flavoring.  Add to the Jellybean name the candy stripes at the top of the bottle, and there’s no doubt it’s a dessert wine!  But wait . . .  the wine is called Berry Smooth.  So, does that mean it tastes like a fruit smoothie?  Only one way to find out.  Twist off that cap and pour!!

Winemaker:  Jellybean Wines
Wine:  Berry Smooth Red Wine Blend
Varietal: Red Blend
Vintage: 2011
Appellation:  Catalunya DDO, Spain
Price:  $14.99

Notes:  The color of this Spanish blend made with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes was a very pretty dark red.  On the nose I smelled musty dark berries and eucalyptus.  Acidity was good, and the weight on the tongue was medium with a decided silkiness to it.  Tannins were faint but present.  On the palate I tasted sweet blueberry and boysenberry, a touch of pepper and pomegranate on the very quick finish.  Alcohol was at 12.5% which, along with the lack of tannic acid, probably accounts for the omnipresent sweetness.  If you like your wines on the fruity and sweet side, this could be a good, easy-drinking choice for you.  In addition, it might also do fine with a spicy meal – Thai barbecue, for instance.  And while it isn’t a dessert wine, per se, I suppose you could serve it with a dessert like a deep dark chocolate peppermint cake or a wild berry bread pudding.  I’m just sayin’.  Anyway, in my opinion, the flavor profile is a little on the simple side for a retail price of $14.99.  Happily, I grabbed it on sale for $8.40 which also seems to be closer to the average price I saw online.

The Luck Of The Draw

Trying out a new grape varietal is always a draw for me when I’m perusing my local store shelves.  In this case, I saw that the majority of this white blend was made from the Italian grape Cortese.  Never having tasted a Cortese wine, I was willing to test my luck and gamble on a new wine experience.  After all, the stakes (ante up at $6.99) weren’t too bad.

Vineyard: Azienda Giribaldi
Wine:  Winemaker’s Selection White Blend
Varietal: White Blend
Vintage: NV
Appellation: Italy
Price: $6.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:   This blended white is made from 80% Cortese and 20% Chardonnay.  At 11.5% alcohol, it was moving toward sweet yet didn’t strike my palate as heavy or syrupy.  The color was a very pale lemon yellow, acidity was OK, and the body was quite light.  On the nose I found primarily citrus with hints of peach and floral notes.  Flavors consisted of citrus once again, some peach, and a fleeting hint of butter with a biting, grassy finish that also echoed the floral notes (think wild flowers or daisies).  Honestly, I can’t say that I enjoyed this selection.  It didn’t taste like gasoline or road tar, but the balance of flavors across the palate didn’t create an extremely pleasant experience for me, either.

Even so, I’m not giving up on Cortese.  I may have had an off day.  This may have been an off bottling for Azienda Giribaldi.  I certainly can’t say that I lost anything, because I did get what I was looking for – a new wine experience.  If I didn’t find a selection to fall in love with on the first draw, well what are the odds?  So I’m undeterred and will keep my eyes open for another opportunity with the Cortese grape.  Who knows?  I could get lucky next time.

This post is an entry into the 8th Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC8).  Originated by The Drunken Cyclist, this month’s challenge – to write around the theme of “luck” – was issued by last month’s winner, The Sweet Sommelier.  Click on the MWWC logo at the top of this post to see details for this month’s challenge.

Meatless Monday: Best of 2013

A recent study quoted by a number of online media sources, including the New York Daily News, shows that a diet high in animal protein helps stave off cognitive decline in elderly individuals. HOWEVER, you have to get there first. And to do that … “The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality,” said … Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC.” I read that and immediately thought of A Crust Eaten’s tasty-looking recipes in the Meatless Monday posts. Which of these will I try first? Don’t know yet, but I am definitely aiming to make it to senior status! lol  I look forward to finding the right wines to pair with these and other veggy dishes.

A Crust Eaten

2013-07-13 10.56.12

Over the past six months or so, I’ve tried to post one vegetarian recipe a week to encourage people to think outside the meat and potatoes box when it comes to dinner. All of the recipes are listed under the Meatless Monday section on the Food page, but below are some of my favorites and ones that we come back to again and again.

I hope that 2014 will bring even more inspiring vegetarian recipes for me to share with you as I try to be even more creative with vegetables. Happy New Year!

View original post 67 more words

Révélation Cabernet-Merlot 2011

According to the Oxford Dictionaries a revelation is “a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.”  In some ways you might say that’s what my journey through wine is all about – the search for a surprisingly good wine at a dramatically inexpensive price.  Yes, it just might take a miracle.  But I have faith.

Winemaker:  Révélation by Badet, Clément & Cie
Wine:  Cabernet-Merlot
Varietal:  Red Blend
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Pays d’Oc IGP, France
Price:  $5.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot was very dark red with a bouquet of earth, cherry, and hints of spice.  Alcohol was at 13.5% on this medium-bodied Vin de Pays d’Oc while acidity was moderately high and tannins were medium and grippy.  To me the flavor profile came across as fairly dark with black cherry, oak, menthol, and pepper.  I didn’t have a religious experience while drinking this wine, but I wasn’t especially disappointed for $5.99.  While this selection wasn’t a true revelation for me as it’s name might suggest, I bet it would add some inexpensive enlightenment to a nice chuck steak or some beef ribs.