Sunday, January 23, 2011

2007 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Napa Valley

I received this sample of Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel as I migrated away from my normal pinot noir tastings and ventured into other varietals. Actually I had tasted zins before but never found one I like and then many of my wonderful wine friends flooded me with suggestions of excellent zinfandels. I'm now a Zin fan!

Loved the aroma on this wine. The combination of ripe blackberry and plum on the nose is awesome. Currants and smokey oak round out my smelling pleasure.

Excellent flavor and definately full bodied. Fresh plum and raspberry started off my taste. Very juicy fruit! Touch of blackberry in the middle followed by the spice of clove and the finish lovely vanilla. The combination of flavors were perfect and made the wine very enjoyable. A big thank you to the folks at Ravenswood for introducing me to their wines!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

2008 Cartlidge and Browne Pinot Noir

A wine I chose for this post is one which sells out fast in my area. Folks here tend to taste a wine and then proceed to buy it out especially if its a great value. Cartlidge and Browne fits that mold and I can't tell you how many times once their wine is sold out I have to wait for the next vintage.

The 08 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir California is full of juicy cherry on the nose. Slight hint of ripe plum and then a wonderful spice to finish out the aroma's. Whenever I smell ripe cherry in a wine I'm so excited to taste. Probably why I love Pinot so much.

Great taste on this baby. The cherry is jamy and really gives you the feeling of cobbler! Loved the plum which tasted as it was fresh picked. Combine that with the slight warm spice finish and you have one outstanding wine. Priced at $12.99 this is a very good Pinot and one that won't last long on the shelf.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

2002 Tenuta Vitanza Quadrimendo Italy

The always fun trip to the wine store 1st Avenue Wine House to see my friend Traci (and she greets me like family which is what I love about going in there), the quest was for a nice italian wine because it had been awhile. After the usual me flipping her crap and I getting much more in return :) I headed upstairs to the Italian wine section.There I spotted todays offering the 2002 Quadrimendo a nice red wine showcasing the Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.

Nice fruit aroma, dark and rich. The blackberry is very dominant in the beginning of the smell followed by a hint of black currant. Towards the middle I get a little hint of juicy raspberry followed by a wonderful earthy aroma. Looks very silky smooth in the glass to me a sign its fine wine.

Yum! The silky juicy blackberry starts off your tasting pleasure so smooth you really forget its wine. Layers of licorice, raspberry, chocolate follow and the finish just the slightest hint of oak. Wonderful combination of complex flavors. Priced at $20, an excellent value.


Friday, January 14, 2011

2008 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay Francine's Selection

Chardonnay lovers have so many wonderful choices and styles to choose from today. I see the questions posed many times by friends on facebook and twitter "Do you like the traditional buttery, heavy oaked chardonnay or the new unoaked fruit forward chardonnay?" For the record I like both but starting to sway in a little different direction. Something about wonderful layers of fruit flavor with no oak or little oak really pleases my palate.

My first introduction to unoaked or oak free chardonnay as some refer to it, was on my trip to Napa last June (Passaggio and St Supery). I now have a 3rd to add to that awesome list the 2008 Toad Hollow Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay. Crisp, refreshing, full of fruit its one you will definitely want to drink and keep on hand.

Once in the glass the aroma of green apple crisp and fresh fills your nose. As I continued to swirl the glass citrus tickled my nose. The aroma of this wine excites you and suddenly to heck with smelling it's time to let the palate enjoy.

Just like the aroma the wine is awesome. The apple/melon combination at the beginning of the taste followed by a hint of mango is very pleasing. Love the quick hit of mineral right before the creamy finish which really lingers long.

Pick up a bottle today to share with friends this weekend. I know they will enjoy it as well.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

2007 Kris Pinot Noir Italy

Exploring different pinots to me is such a thrill. What region did they come and what characteristics do they showcase? Does my palate love one region over another (I have not even broke the surace in CA, OR, Italy, New Zealand).  How is the price relative to the taste (great wine comes with a price and I love great wine). I was very surprised as my oldest dropped off a bottle of 2007 Kris Pinot Noir from Italy. Dad I bought you the bottle because the label was cool looking :). I figured out quickly this was a new product carry in my area and the price range is $10.99 to $13.99 depending where you purchase.

The wine comes from the Apennine foothills of Oltrepò Pavese in Pavia Province, Lombardy known for it's mild days and cool nights. So how did my nose like this Pinot? A lot of red and black fruit on each swirl and smell. First aroma was the a wonderful combination of cherry and red raspberry with a hint of earthiness. Next some black raspberry and blackberry. Excellent ripe fruit aromas.

As in the aroma the fruit flavor was very juicy. Raspberry, cherry, blackberry, black cherry with each sip. What I felt the wine lacked for me was some spice on the end. Maybe I drank it too young? It would be a nice evening starter wine for a gathering at your home or party though in my opinion especially for those who prefer a lighter wine.

Imagine the first blog post of the year being a pinot noir :)


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs to ring in 2011

How did you ring in the New Year? Dinner, a night of drinks with friends or maybe you just got home from your celebration in which case you need a nap because football heaven starts in just 3 short hours.

After an early dinner we chose to celebrate the new year at home (actually I celebrated as one of us headed to sleep due to having to work this morning) by opening a bottle of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs. A wonderful tasty sparkling wine. Now I must know more about the winery and its production.

Known as the first sparkling wine house in Sonoma's Carneros region of California (one of my favorites), Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards was established in 1986. It was very interesting that Gloria Ferrer on a trip to the Carneros region, absolutely fell in love with the beauty of the scenery as it reminded her of her homeland Catalonia. Her dream of producing California wine became reality as Gloria, her husband Jose and their 2 sons found a home for Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards in beautiful Carneros. Jose Ferrer who's family was well known in Spain for their excellent sparkling wine production, never forgot his father wish of one day making wonderful sparkling wine in NorthAmerica. Congratulations on reaching that dream from 70 years ago. Kudos as well to today's winemaking team of Bob Iantoska Director of Winemaking who has the title of of creating the most award winning sparkling wines than any other single winemaker, Steven Urberg Winemaker who joined in 2001 and Vineyard Manager Mike Crumly who has worked with Bob for over 25 years. You each have a special gift!

Just loved this sparkling wine. From the first sip to the last the wonderful berry flavor found in my favorite grape Pinot Noir was light and fruity. Combine that with the citrus of the Chardonnay and it was all complimented by a creamy vanilla finish. Perfect combination of flavor and bubbles! I brought in the new year in style with this awesome wine. Gloria Ferrer quotes on her website "For generations, my family has said, ‘When you serve sparkling wine, you are serving a smile." Couldn't agree more.