Not long ago, I walked into a local wine shop during their Saturday afternoon tasting hours. I know I’ve mentioned this store before – The Grateful Red – because I’ve purchased a number of my selections there in recent months. It’s a small but very friendly store, and they’re frequently doing wine and/or beer tastings. This time they had 4 wines out to be tasted. After a quick swig or two, I felt this one might prove the most interesting of the four. Although I’m not usually a sucker for a label, I did appreciate their somewhat unconventional approach and the implied pun.
Winemaker: X Winery
Wine: Big Gun
Varietal: Red Blend
Price: $15.99 at The Grateful Red
Notes: The color of this California blend made from 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Syrah, 27% Merlot and 6% Grenache grapes was a dark purple/red. On the nose I smelled dark fruit and what I would describe as compost. Acidity was all right, and the weight on the tongue was on the lighter side of medium. Tannins were also in the medium range, I thought. Flavors I tasted included cherry, red currant, clove, and pepper. Alcohol was at 14.5%. While I wasn’t bowled over by it, it might fit nicely into the holiday spirit(s) given it’s flavor profile.
In my last post, I mentioned that I’d flipped a coin to determine which of two wines to drink with my Thanksgiving dinner. Well, if the toss had come up tails instead of heads, this California Pinot Noir would have been the winner.
Vineyard: Chateau St. Jean
Wine: Pinot Noir
Notes: The color of this CSJ was a pretty ruby. On the nose I caught whiffs of strawberry and pepper. It was light-bodied with good acidity and light tannins. Alcohol was at 13.8%. On the palate I tasted strawberry, some spice, oak, chlorophyll, a smokey note and a hint of mushroom. It was a great one for the turkey leftovers and enjoyable to sip on it’s own. Yes, you could say I liked it. I was able to find it on sale for $9.99, and I think that’s a definite value buy.
Thanksgiving was an all day affair in my house this year. That was basically because work was so hectic – they kept me working until late the night before – that we did pretty much all the cooking on Thanksgiving Day. The only dish done prior was our homemade cranberry sauce!
All tolled, the dinner was a big success. Being in an adventurous frame of mind this year, we decided to try out several new recipes. Every single one of those extremely tasty, successful recipes took longer than the instructions said they would! Luckily it was just our family, so we didn’t have to worry about hungry guests waiting for the slow cooks to get their act together. We at late, but we ate well. Keeping the adventure going, we decided to throw our wine choice to the fates. We had two red wines in the rack, so we tossed a coin. It was heads! And that’s how I ended up having a Clos du Bois Shiraz with my Thanksgiving meal.
Winemaker: Clos du Bois
Appellation: North Coast, CA
Notes: The color of this Clos du Bois was a dark purple. The bouquet held scents of berries and menthol. It was a medium-bodied wine with good acidity and medium tannins. Alcohol was at 13.5%. Flavors I found were dark berries, plum, a distinctive leather note throughout, and menthol on the finish. It was what I’d call a friendly and approachable wine with some fun complexity to boot. I wouldn’t normally have paired a Shiraz with my turkey, but we were being a little daring. This time, at least, it worked out just fine.
The other wine was a more traditional choice – a Pinot Noir. Guess I can have that with the leftovers!