Now that I’m back in the trenches sipping vino, I hope to continue my exploration of the Sangiovese varietal. I will continue exploring other wines as well, of course. Still, the renown and venerable Sangiovese has somehow caught my interest.
Sangiovese Grapes by Francesco Sgroi
Winemaker: Di Majo Norante
Appellation: Terre degli Osci IGT, Italy
Notes: This southern Italian was a bit like opening an old cedar chest with mothballs in it. Those were the scents that immediately struck me – cedar resin and menthol. A dark wine in the glass, it was medium-bodied with good acidity. The tannins were quite present, verging on high. Alcohol was at 13%. On the palate I tasted rubber, blackberry, resin, menthol, pepper and woody tannins that lingered. Pretty decent, I’d say. In fact, given the tannic structure, I think it might have been a good candidate for cellaring.
The statement cannot be refuted. Goats do, in fact, roam. As proof, there are wild goats (not feral domestic goats) whose natural habitats are scattered all over the world – Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Central Asia, for example. On the other hand, the maker of this wine – Charles Back of the Fairview Wine Farm – has some 600 goats on the property. They are domestic goats, of course, and their milk is used to produce cheese. I imagine, then, Mr. Black would know a thing or two about goats and their habits.
Winemaker: Goats do Roam
Varietal: Red Blend
Appellation: South Africa
Price: $9.99 at Whole Foods
Notes: What an interesting blend this was. Comprised of 60% Shiraz, 14% Grenache, 11% Mourvèdre, 11% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan, and 2% Cinsault, this South African red was dark ruby in the glass. It had good acidity, medium body, very little tannins, and 14% alcohol. Flavors my happy tongue enjoyed were blackberry, blueberry, leather, ash, and black pepper with some olive notes. This seems to be made as a “drink now” wine, and why not? I mean it. Go ahead and buy a bottle to drink tonight! Of course, the tongue-in-cheek name Goats do Roam (rhyming nicely with Côtes du Rhône) was just icing on the cake.
Seems I haven’t yet exhausted my archival notes. So while it appears that Joel Gott Wines is now selling it’s 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, please step into my time machine for a trip back into the not-so-distant past. Can we find a bottle of the 2013 on our store shelves? Probably not. Does the quality of this vintage provide a sense of what may lie waiting for us in the 2015? Well, it can certainly give us an idea of the quality we can expect. You can also click on the link above and see what the vintner has to say about his new Sauvignon Blanc. In the meantime ….
Winemaker: Joel Gott
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Notes: Aromas of tropical fruit and citrus rose from the glass of this pale golden-hued wine. On the tongue, the heft was light with a definite coat-the-tongue sensation. Acidity was brisk, and alcohol was at 13.9%. As far as flavor, my palate found Meyer lemon, grass, a hint of hot pepper (from the acidity, no doubt), and a saline note. I certainly enjoyed this Joel Gott selection quite a bit, and I think it would have been a great pairing with scallops or a light fish stew. Perhaps I need to cook up some scallops and grab the current release for an awesome meal.
From the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer: “When you see the VINTJS label on a bottle of wine at Trader Joe’s, you can be sure of a couple of things right off the bat. One, that wine is a good example of the best of what you’ll find from its appellation, and two, that wine represents a stellar value you’ll find only at Trader Joe’s. . . . Using grapes from their vineyards along Monterey County’s coastal mountain ranges, where a cooler climate gives the grapes a chance to ripen slowly and develop more intense fruit flavors, the winemakers have crafted a hefty, almost chewy red, full-bodied and fruit forward yet decidedly dry, aged for nine months in American and Hungarian oak barrels. Rather than a straightforward Petite Sirah, which would be a much bigger wine than its name would suggest, they’ve opted here to blend in a bit of Merlot, Syrah, and a splash of Viognier ….”
Winemaker: VINTJS (aka Trader Joe’s)
Varietal: Petite Sirah
Appellation: Monterey, California
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This wine was 90.7% Petite Sirah with 4.6% Merlot, 2.8% Syrah, and 1.9% Viognier. At almost 91% Petite Sirah, I think it definitely deserved a varietal label rather than that of a blend. In the lovely, full bouquet of this VINTJS I detected scents of dark, juicy berries and forest floor. It was a very dark-colored wine in the glass as well with medium body and good acidity. Tannins were also medium. Flavors for me included cherry, black currant, and oak along with a medicinal note and a zing of pepper on the finish. Despite it being a dry wine at 14.5% alcohol, it had a touch of sweetness on the palate, too. I agree with the Trader Joe’s folks that this wine was most certainly a value purchase.
Feel like dancing? I’m not talking about the headsnapping dance I mentioned previously. I mean something a bit more sedate this time around. You see, a cotillion was an 18th century French dance.
Looks an awful lot like square dancing to me but to quieter more refined music. I was in a square dance club when I was a young kid, so I’ve done my share of do-si-dos, allemande lefts, and promenades. We were called the Wheelers and Dealers. It was fun! Only real drawback for me was that at my tender age I was shorter than most of the girls. Ha!
Winemaker: Cotillion (by Ashford Court)
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Price: $9.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This Pinot Noir was a blend of grapes from three counties in California. The mix was 60% from Monterey County, 24% from Sonoma County, and 16% from Santa Barbara County. In the bouquet I found scents of pine resin, moss, and mushroom with an underpinning of red berries. This light-bodied selection was a dark burgundy hue in the glass with high acidity. Alcohol came in at 13.8%, and tannins were on the light side with a slow grip. On the tongue I detected cherry, boysenberry, tea leaf and bitters.
While I don’t speak Spanish (but wish I did as I mentioned in a previous post), I do speak German at a conversational level. I’ve lived in Germany a couple of times and studied the German language both in the country and at college. In fact, it was almost my minor. I had the credits for it. But book German, or Hochdeutsch, is not the same as the daily spoken language or vernacular. And then you have the variations by region and country. Hochdeutsch is different than Bavarian German which is different that Swiss German which is different than Austrian German, etc. So when I tell you that it took me awhile to work out that Gmörk or Ried Gmörk on this Anton Bauer label means Gmörk Vineyard, please don’t judge me too harshly.
Winemaker: Anton Bauer
Wine: Grüner Veltliner Ried Gmörk
Varietal: Grüner Veltliner
Appellation: Wagram, Austria
Notes: This Austrian sent aromas of zingy green apple and citrus to my olfactory nerves. Color was a light but intense yellow. Acidity was bright and lively in this characteristically effervescent and light-bodied selection. Alcohol was at 12%. When I opened the bottle, the screwtop liner remained affixed to the lip of the bottle until it popped off of its own accord with a sound as satisfying as any champagne cork. Flavors I detected were green apple and lime zest with touches of almond. Pretty tasty and entertaining to boot.
As we move into fall with the impending holidays, I thought I might post these notes from seasons past.
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: The color of this Pinot Noir was a medium garnet. The bouquet contained a generous amount of cedar as well as earth, berries, and a hint of beef. It was light-bodied with good acidity. This Echelon also had 13% alcohol and medium tannins. On the palate I tasted cherry, ash, pomegranate, and tea.