Rutz Cellars Chardonnay 2013

Earlier today my sweetie and I decided to head out on our bikes.  We rode about 9 miles out (uphill mostly), stopped to rehydrate in a cute little cafe, then rode back at a brisk but not withering pace.  The day was beautiful if a little warm and muggy.  We had a great time.  What a nice experience!  This evening as we entered full-on relaxation mode (after having taken showers, of course), I popped the cork on this inexpensive Chardonnay.  Rutz is a winemaker I’d never tried before, so I was interested in seeing what it might be like.  Now, I realize it’s cheap because … well, because I bought it.  But as many of you already know about me, I am not at all averse to inexpensive table wines.

Winemaker:   Rutz Cellars
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Sonoma County, California
Price: $5.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: A light-bodied Chardonnay, the Rutz had good acidity and 13.5% alcohol.   On the palate I tasted mainly grapefruit with a hint of buttered toast and a bitter prickly-tongue finish.  That was surprising to me because the flavors didn’t match the scents I thought I encountered in the bouquet.  Didn’t hate it; didn’t love it.  Anyway, I think I want to buy another bottle and see how that goes.  Have any of you tried this selection?  If yes, what was your experience?

Jackson-Triggs: A Brief Moment In Montreal


Not too long ago I had the opportunity to travel to Montreal for work.  I have been to Montreal previously for fun – a long weekend in the summer – so I was looking forward to a return visit.  Until, that is, I looked at my schedule for my time there.  First, they had me booked into a hotel at the airport (I could have walked).  The meetings I was part of were also at the airport hotel.  And they had me so tight time-wise that I literally couldn’t leave the property.  It was a work trip, and that’s exactly what I did the entire time I was there.  One bright spot was that I got to pull out some of my college French and put it to use.  It’s been a few years, but I managed to get some appreciative nods and smiles from attendees when I opened my portion of the meetings with a sentence or two in French.  After all the hustle and bustle of the meetings, etc., I finally had a moment to relax – in the airport terminal waiting for my return flight.  Ha!

photo by FRED

Finding a restaurant called Houston Bar & Grill just steps from the gate, I sat down for a bite and a swig.  I chose their Classic Burger and a glass of wine.  Since I was in Canada, I asked for a domestic offering.  When in Rome and all ….

Winemaker:  Jackson-Triggs
Wine:  Reserve Merlot, Niagara Estate
Varietal: Merlot
Vintage:  2013
Appellation: Niagara, Canada
Price: $13.95 (Canadian)

Notes:  I thought this was surprisingly light-bodied.  At first sip it seemed quite peppery with a fruit core of cherry, hints of cassis, some tobacco, and spice notes lingering on the finish.  Funny thing was that as the wine breathed, the flavors subsided significantly.  They were still there but weren’t nearly as present on the palate.  This was my first glass of Canadian wine, so I’ll have to do some more sipping and exploring.  Don’t expect another work trip north again any time soon.  Next time, though, I’ll try to wrest a few more moments from the schedule for fun and more Canadian vin.