Trentatre Rosso

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to be taking it slow these days. In other words, I won’t be tasting as many wines as I might otherwise. Luckily, I do have some notes left from prior experiences, so I think I’ll go ahead and publish those now as well. While the particular vintage may no longer be available, the wine producers will surely have something on store shelves currently for our consumption.  Here is one of those notes.

Winemaker: Trentatre
Varietal: Rosso (Red Blend)
Appellation: Salento IGT, Italy
Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

Notes: This lovely Italian reminded me of a Bordeaux. A blend of 33.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33.3% Merlot, and 33.4% Montepulciano, this wine had a distinct purplish hue in the glass with a very present bouquet of forest floor (sous bois). It was on the cusp of medium-bodied with good acidity and gentle tannins. Alcohol was at 14%. Flavors I detected included brambly blackberry, leather and tea leaf. I think I see another bottle of the Trentatre in my future.

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Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find my photo of the bottle.  So instead the photo above is of a town (or more precisely a portion thereof) called Castro in the Apulia region – the area in southern Italy where this wine comes from.

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Nine Points Chardonnay 2015

For my return to the trenches, I decided to start with a celebratory Chardonnay.  Honestly, any glass of wine would have been a joyous experience.  Of course, after over half a year as a teetotaler, I knew I wasn’t ready for a big chewy red.

Oenophilogical_NinePointsChardonnay2015Winemaker: Nine Points
Varietal: Chardonnay
Vintage: 2015
Appellation: Napa Valley
Price: $15.99

Notes: This Napa Chardonnay was a pretty light yellow in the glass with scents of citrus, grass and warm spices.  It was medium bodied with a decent amount of viscosity to it.  Acidity was quite high and alcohol was at 14.2%.  As for flavors, I found apple, citrus, grass, hot pepper, hints of warm spices and lanolin.  Not a bad pick at all for my first glass back.

Absence Makes the Blog Grow Fonder

Well, folks, I have to ask your forgiveness for being away from this blog for so long.

What can I say?  I ran into another bevy of challenges which have kept me from imbibing (and thus recording any tasting notes to post here) for the past seven months.  It has been a tough haul for me, especially in that respect.  Trust me, I kept asking if I could have a sip or two but to no avail.  And wine wasn’t the only enjoyable thing I couldn’t consume.  Obviously, it’s wise to follow your doctors’ orders, so I did.

Oenophilogical_GrapesOnVine1

Now, however, I have been officially released from the grips of prohibition.  Yeeha!  I’ll have to begin slowly, but I’m just so glad to be back.

 

Schloss Biebrich Sekt

oenophilogical_munichaugustinerkellerLast fall l had the chance to get a quick trip in to Germany and Switzerland.  It had to be quick due to necessary commitments, but it was a wonderful trip.

The first leg we spent in Munich.  We could have gone gallivanting about Germany because there is so much to see and do, but we decided to focus on beautiful München.  Why?  Well, in part because I had lived in Munich as a young man just out of college.  Thus, I wanted to take a good look around and see just how much had changed.  I also wanted to share some of the gems I’d discovered previously with my sweetie.

Staying in a hotel close to (but not right at) the Hauptbahnhof allowed us to utilize the outstanding public transportation system to go everywhere. oenophilogical_munich_nymphenburgerschloss Whether by subway, commuter rail, bus or streetcar, we were able to get to all our destinations.  Our hotel was also within easy striking distance of the Altstadt (old city) area that includes the famous Rathaus with it’s glockenspiel, Marienkirche and the many shops and restaurants lining the Fussgängerzone (pedestrian zone) that links Karlsplatz, Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz.  Yes, we heard and watched the glockenspiel.  We also packed in a visit to the Olympic Center, Olympic Tower and Olympic Village (and my old apartment which was within walking distance).  oenophilogical_munich_englishegarten2We saw the Nymphenburger Schloss with it’s fascinating history and beautiful gardens.  We pondered the amazing collection of art in the Alte Pinakothek museum, part of a group of museums where you could spend days – weeks, even – appreciating the art.  We took a stroll around the Englisher Garten and stopped for lunch at the Chinesischer Turm/Chinese Tower.  In fact, we had plenty of Bavarian food and beer, dropping in at the Augustiner Keller Beer Garden one evening and the Hofbräuhaus another.  And perhaps most enjoyably, we discovered a wonderful pub/restaurant a few blocks from our hotel in a quiet residential neighborhood that served, among other tasty things, Münchner Schnitzel.  This was my favorite dish when I lived in Munich!  I thought it had perhaps been the specialty of the local restaurant (no longer in existence) where I had first discovered it.  Imagine my elation to accidentally rediscover it and be able to share it as well.

With memories of our trip still dancing in my head, it was no surprise that I was drawn toward a German label when considering options for “bubbly” to help celebrate this past holiday season.

oenophilogical_schlossbiebrichsektWinemaker:  Schloss Biebrich
Varietal:  Sekt
Vintage:  NV
Appellation:  Germany
Price:  $5.49 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This effervescent wine was a “barely there” straw with a very apple-y nose which held some citrus notes.  It was light-bodied and had good acidity.  Alcohol was at 11%.  On the flavor side it held what the nose portended – sweet apple with a touch of citrus.  I know this is very inexpensive wine, but I was disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong: I will drink it again if someone hands me a glass.  On the other hand, I probably won’t be buying another bottle.

Smoking Loon Malbec 2013

I am madly attempting to catch up on my movie and TV watching because we are right in the midst of the awards season.  I’m using the SAG Awards nominations as my bucket list.  One of the shows I hadn’t watched on HBO until recently – despite having a subscription – was Westworld.

I saw the old movie with Yul Brynner on TV when I was a kid.  For some reason it just didn’t tickle my fancy.  I’m not saying it was a bad movie, it just wasn’t what interested me at the time.  Thus, I think that memory kept me from clicking over for HBO’s treatment.

Then one of my colleagues was singing it’s praises at work – the new series, I mean.  He just couldn’t say enough good things about it.  While he didn’t know it was a remake (He’d never even heard of the movie or of Yul Brynner.), he did recommend the series highly.  And then, of course, it made the SAG Awards nominations.

Good grief!  What had I been waiting for?  I am really quite impressed with the new series.  It is an entertaining show!  Be aware, though.  It’s definitely not for young viewers or those who shy away from shoot-em-ups on the screen.

And, yes, I decided to enjoy a glass or two of vino as I began my exploration of the new Westworld series.  I suppose I could have gone more Westworld and had a few shots of whiskey, but that wasn’t what I had handy.

oenophilogical_smokingloonmalbec2013Winemaker:  Smoking Loon
Varietal:  Malbec
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Valle Central, Chile
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  A very dark purple color, this loon exhibited lots of earth, menthol, pine and forest berries in it’s bouquet.  Medium-bodied with nice acidity, the tannins were what I’d call medium.  Flavors I detected included blackberry/mulberry, tobacco, some hints of spice and a touch of mint.

Christmas Day Dinner Surprise

Continuing our staycation holidays, we awoke on Xmas morning ready to continue our celebrations.  Normally we have oatmeal for breakfast – I mean almost every single morning.  But this time we splurged on a full “American” breakfast with bacon, eggs, whole wheat toast, OJ, and coffee.  Afterward, we went out for a nice long walk because our bodies just weren’t accustomed to all of that … goodness.  It was pleasant out – brisk but not cold – so we ended up making it an unanticipated four miler.  It wasn’t just the weather that kept us walking.  All the holiday lights and decorations were up and on while the streets and sidewalks were almost deserted.  Peaceful and cheerful is how I would describe the overall ambiance.

oenophilogical_xmas2016We had once again decided on an early dinner with the following as our menu.  Leafy green salad, cauliflower au gratin, cranberry sauce, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding.  The cranberry sauce and cauliflower had been made ahead (the day before).  Leafy green salad?  Just some chopping and dicing to be done.  The “new” dish for us – despite both of us having familial ties (however distant) to the British Isles – was the Yorkshire pudding.  We had a recipe but had never even tasted a Yorkshire pudding much less made one.  Those who have made this dish before will tell you that the key to the creation of the dish is the drippings from the roast beast.

Imagine my surprise when my sweetie unwrapped a beautiful, almost no-fat tenderloin of beef to put in the oven.  Tenderloin of beef is a beautiful cut of meat.  It was a very nice surprise on the one hand.  On the other hand, it’s lack of fat meant a lack of drippings.  No drippings, no Yorkshire pudding!  What to do, what to do, what to do?!

oenophilogical_yorkshirepuddingI told you in a prior post that we – especially me – are follow-the-recipe cooks.  But I didn’t want to just give up, so I hit the internet.  I read many articles and posts about Yorkshire pudding and substitutions.  I owe a debt of gratitude to fellow bloggers out there sharing their own experiences with Yorkshire pudding.  They gave me a solution.  Remember our big fatty American breakfast?  We had put the bacon fat into a container to be discarded, but it was still waiting in the fridge.  Hallelujah!

This time we got the meal on the table in a timely manner and enjoyed a Tempranillo from Spain with our Xmas dinner.  It was a very tasty meal, if I do say so myself.

Winemaker:  Manyana
Varietal:  Tempranillo
Vintage:  2015
Appellation:  Cariñena DO, Spain
Price:  $7.99

Notes:  Made by Bodegas San Valero, this was a dark burgundy-colored wine with a bouquet of berries, pine and a hint of mint.  I thought tannins were mild and body was medium.  Flavors I found included very ebullient berries (settling a bit with more oxidation), a touch of wood, some green herbal notes, and a nice finish that seemed to vacillate on my palate between ripe plum and prune.

Autoritas Pinot Noir 2015

This is another of the wines I grabbed to have on hand across the holiday season.  And by that I mean Thanksgiving through the New Year.  I picked this Pinot up at Whole Foods fully expecting that we’d bake a turkey at some point, and it’s conventional wisdom that Pinots go pretty well with a holiday bird.  Turns out, however, that we didn’t do a bird because a) we went visiting on Thanksgiving and b) we decided on something different for Xmas.  Even so, somehow we managed to pop the cork on this bottle and sample the goods.

oenophilogical_autoritaspinotnoir2015Winemaker:  Autoritas
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Vintage:  2015
Appellation:  Chile
Price:  $7.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  First thing you gotta know about this selection is — let it breathe.   I know this is a Pinot Noir, but I just about spat out my first sip right after uncorking.  With some time to oxidize, however, I found pleasant flavors of ripe strawberry, currant, pepper, a hint of coffee along with woody tannins in a light-bodied wine.  The color was a very pretty jewel-tone red, and I smelled tangy berries and a touch of cedar in the bouquet.  It was a little weak in the mid-palate but then packed a punch on the back end.