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.

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Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Some wines are so full of flavors and nuance, I almost feel like I can’t do them justice with a description.  In fact, I probably can’t.  Still, I do my best and enjoy trying.  Other wines are so amazingly straightforward, it takes only a word or two to express the essence of their character.  That isn’t a judgement, by the way.  Sometimes the right wine for a particular occasion is the kind that makes a singular impact.

Winemaker:   Santa Rita
Wine:  120 Sauvignon Blanc
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Valle Central DO, Chile
Price: $9.69

Notes:  Grapefruit

 

Viña Maipo Chardonnay 2015

Some wines I remember for their impact on my senses – their bouquet, their flavors.  Others I remember as part of what I was doing when I drank them – at a birthday party, concert, special restaurant, etc.  When I popped the cork on this bottle, my sweetie and I had decided to catch up on our pop culture and begin watching Season 1 of the show True Detective via HBO Now.  I truly didn’t realize how dark the story line would be, or I might have opted for something else.  The juxtaposition of a light white wine and the grim crimes being investigated on the screen, however, may have made both more memorable.

Winemaker:  Viña Maipo
Wine:  Mi Pueblo
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2015
Appellation:  Central Valley, Chile
Price:  $5.00

Notes:  This light-bodied, light-hued Chardonnay had bright acidity and a bouquet consisting of lemon, pineapple and spice.  Alcohol was at 13%.  On the palate I tasted lemon, pineapple, grass and a very forward kerosene note.  I’d suggest pairing this with food as (for me) the kerosene note was a bit off-putting.  Maybe that’s why it was marked down from $12 to $5.

Natura Pinot Noir 2013

Here is a wine called Nature from Chile as well as some scenes of nature’s beauty in Chile.

Vineyard: Natura by Emiliana Vineyards
Wine:  Pinot Noir
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Colchagua Valley, Chile
Price: $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  I love it when a wine surprises me (in a good way).  In this case it was the bouquet that brought a fun aroma of strawberry soda to my nose as well as scents of earth, pepper and green herbs.    This Pinot was light-bodied with good-to-high acidity and light tannins.  Alcohol was at 13.5%.  On the palate I caught flavors of strawberry, white pepper, green herbs and a hint of mushroom.  I found it a pleasant, gentle selection.  Although Turkey Day is a long way off, this wouldn’t be bad at all with a gently seasoned bird.

Rubus Chardonnay 2014

I try not to consult the winemaker’s or wineseller’s notes on a particular wine when I’m looking for a new wine experience.  Yes, I know they can prove helpful in finding things we think we’ll like based on the flavors we prefer and the wine experiences we’ve enjoyed in the past.  I definitely find them useful when searching for a wine to accompany a particular meal or for an occasion.  And I can’t completely ignore them if – as in some retailers – descriptors are posted with every selection.  But since I don’t want all my wines to taste the same, I don’t pay close attention to them when I’m browsing.

I also try not to read the back label before drinking a wine on the chance that it’ll contain tasting notes.  I don’t want my own experience to be affected by the suggestions of certain flavors and aromas being present.  I don’t think I’m all that easily beguiled, but I like the idea of starting with a blank slate when experiencing a wine for the first time.  And my experience has proved that, although often similar to what I taste, I don’t always agree with winemaker notes.   In some cases their notes and mine are quite different.  This wine is a case in point.  You can read the importer’s/winemaker’s description by clicking on the picture.  My notes are below.  Like night and day almost.  If you have tried this selection, I’d be interested in hearing what you found.

Winemaker:  Rubus
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Colchagua Valley, Chile
Price:  $14.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Chilean Chardonnay was pale yellow in the glass with a faint bouquet of lanolin, citrus and spice.  Acidity seemed good, and alcohol was at 13.5%.  Flavors I found consisted primarily of clementine and grass with fleeting whispers of spice.  I found it to be a somewhat restrained selection.  Not the average New World Chardonnay.  I liked it!

 

Crucero Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Although you can’t tell it from my posts on this blog, I’ve been drinking mostly reds for weeks now.  Perhaps it would help if I were better about getting my posts up in a timely manner.  Then you might know I’ve been enjoying reds of late.  And that is one of my New Year’s resolutions – to be more diligent about posting my wine experiences here.  Not doing too well so far, but there is time (and room) for improvement.  Ha!

Anyway, I was in the store the other day browsing and found myself drawn to the white wine shelves.  I even commented to the staff that I seemed to have a hankering for a white wine despite the chilly weather and piles of snow hanging around.  Having given voice to my thoughts, I decided to take action.

Winemaker:  Crucero
Varietal:  Sauvignion Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Curicó Valley, Chile
Price:  $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was light-bodied and a light yellow in the glass.  On the nose I found plenty of citrus and a touch of pear.  Flavors basically mirrored the bouquet with the addition of warm spice notes.  Acidity was fairly bright, and alcohol was at 13%.  Quite pleasant overall.

Maniña Sauvignon Blanc 2014

My work is sort of boom or bust.  By that I mean that when it is quiet, you can hear the grass grow.  But when it gets busy, it can be key-ray-zee!  Thus, after a 12+ hours day of work recently, I stumbled into a Kroger store and grabbed a bottle of wine to accompany my very late dinner.  And let me say, this Kroger had the best wine selection I have ever seen in one of their stores.  I mean they even had a Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon on the shelves.  In my state, however, I knew anything that potentially complex and lovely would be wasted on me that evening.  Instead, my tired digits wrapped themselves around this Chilean white.

Winemaker:   Maniña
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Valle Central, Chile
Price: $12.99

Notes:  The color was straw, and it’s bouquet held scents of citrus and tropical fruit.  It was light-bodied with decent acidity and 12.5% alcohol.  I tasted primarily citrus flavors with a hint of melon here and there.  It finished on a bracing citrus zest note.  It went fairly well with the frozen chicken strips I microwaved, but I think it might have been better with a nice seafood dish.  By the way, I did have the next day off.  Thank goodness!