Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wines Tasted in July

2006 Alice White Shiraz Australia, South Eastern - Pretty much grape juice. Slightly sweet with a bit of oak. Would not purchase again even at this price point.

2002 Cana's Feast Winery (Cuneo) Syrah Del Rio Vineyard USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley - Decanted due to copious amounts of sediment. Huge wine. Dark and brooding. Tannins are still the dominating force, will probably wait another 3-4 years before I open my next one. Very tasty now, but will be excellent when the tannins calm down a little and stop overshadowing the wonderful dark fruit flavors. Would purchase again.

2006 Stevens Yes USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Great QPR. Was it a Wednesday night? "YES" Did we want an inexpensive wine? YES" Did this wine serve it's purpose? "YES" Nose was filled with red fruits. Oak was a bit on the front end, but not too overpowering. Nice flavors, thought the mouthfeel was a bit thin. Would purchase again.

2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Sémillon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Much more oak than prior vintages. Tended to overshadow the fruit. Though paired nicely with the baked salmon. Hoping that this was just a heavy handed bottle and maybe the next one will be a little softer. We shall see.

Non Vintage Vashon Isletage USA, Washington, Puget Sound - Bright crisp acidity. Lots of steely flavors and no oak to speak of. Bit of lime and mineral. Interesting but not something that I would go out and search for. Would not purchase again.

2003 Covington Cellars Cabernet Franc Seven Hills Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley - No need to decant, no sediment to speak of. Tannic in a good way. Dark purple. Saturated flavors of black cherry and raspberry. Finish grips the tongue for a good 30 seconds. Would purchase again.

Non Vintage Toad Hollow Crémant de Limoux Amplexus France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Crémant de Limoux - Pleasent. Good everyday sparkling wine.

2001 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Ensemble USA, California - Good. Smoky notes. Would purchase again.

2003 St. Supéry Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley - Really good for the first couple of hours, and then it kind of fell off a cliff. Definitely heavy handed on the oak, but in a good way. Flavors were contrasting, both elements of green bell pepper with a little bit of prune. Finish was nice. After a few hours it was all alcohol and old leather. Near term drinker. Would purchase again.

2004 Matanzas Creek Winery Chardonnay Sonoma County USA, California, Sonoma County - Lots of acid. makes for one crisp chardonnay. Was hoping for a little more of a butter bomb, oh well. Plus the over acidity masks the fruit. Somehwat muted nose with a little bit of oak. It's nice, but not really the style that I like.

2003 Sam Hill Winery Vino Della Marinata USA, Oregon, Yamhill County - Not a drinking wine. Winemaker had some of this left over that he didn't care for and so bottled it specifically for use as a marinade. Made the flank steak taste good.

2006 Stevens Viognier Divio USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Really tasty and refreshing. Served cellar temperature and that was just right. Notes of pineapple and grapefruit. Good amount of acidity to cut through the food. Paired with ono skewers seasoned with hawaiin sea salt. Wine was just what I was expecting. Would purchase again.

2001 Covey Run Merlot Barrel Select USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Starting to dry a little bit, but it is enhancing the tobacco notes of the wine. Good everyday wine. Would purchase again.

2002 Rulo Chardonnay USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley - Very nice bottle. Don't typically like Washington chardonnay, but this was good. Full mouthfeel, deep yellow color. Wife liked it a little bit more chilled, brought out the acidity. I liked it a little warmer, tasted more robust. Would purchase again.

2005 Benson Vineyards Viognier Estate USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Surprisingly this was still going very strong. Initial nose of honeysuckle and other strong floral elements. After a while it picked up more of a white pepper nose. After a few hours there was even a bit of a hint of salt water shellfish. Good balanced acidity on the palate. Would purchase again.

2006 Darby le deuce USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Honeysuckle and peach. decent amount of acidity. Paired nicely with the seafood paella. Would purchase again.

2003 Sam Hill Winery Pinot Noir USA, Oregon, Yamhill County - DOA. Volatile acidity. Fruit was toast. Oh well!!!

1998 Maison de Padgett USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Nice port, but not a very good QPR. Think that there are many other ports out there that I could spend less $$$ on and get just as much enjoyment from. Heavy on the brandy with notes of white chocolate and caramel.

1995 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée USA, California, Sonoma County, Carneros - This bottle a little better than the last. Still think that it is time to drink this wine up while it is refreshing.

2004 Gallagher U Brew France, Rhône - Used for Sangria

2004 Gallagher U Brew France, Rhône - Used for Sangria.

2004 Château Rouquette sur Mer Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape - Tasted heavy and clumsy. A bit of acid in the background but not in a good crisp way. This is best really cold on a hot day.

2002 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Vine USA, California, Sonoma County - Nice bottle fo zin. Nothing spectacular, prefer the Lodi it is much more interesting.

2002 Pepperwood Grove Syrah USA, California - Nothing special, but decent drinkable wine for the price.

2004 Boudreaux Cellars Merlot USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Good stuff. Double decanted three hours before dinner. There was a little bit of sediment, but not too bad. Nose was a bit hot, which is funny at 13.5% alcohol. Aromas of baking spices and dark fruit. Palate was awash in black cherries. As always, lovely mouthfeel. Would purchase again.

2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Sémillon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - This batch just seems to have a bit too much oak for my liking. Paired well with a cob salad (the fat from the bacon settled the oak down a bit). Very thick mouthfeel, but the fruit is a little too covered up. Would not purchase more of this vintage, but would continue to purchase the wine in the future.

2001 Il Vescovado Chianti Italy, Tuscany, Chianti - Decent bottle of wine. Needs a little decanting to open up. Good mid week pasta wine.

2005 Gaetano D'Aquino Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Light red color. Little bit of oak. Not a lot of fruit. It works if you have to drink something. Would not purchase again.

2003 Gaetano D'Aquino Chianti Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Chianti - thin insipid wine. Ended up using it for cooking.

2002 Argyle Brut USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley - Wasn't feeling this wine tonight. Popped and noticed right away that the bubbles were lacking. Color was like golden apple juice. Not really any nose to speak of. On the palate it was an odd blend of bitter and sweet. Not sure if there is any residual sugar in this, but it tasted like a possibility. Finish was "meh". Would not purchase again.

2003 Camaraderie Cellars Cabernet Franc USA, Washington - Would have guessed this a cab sauv rather than a franc. Much darker with a heavier mouthfeel than I typically have found with franc. Smooth and tasty, though there wasn't much unique to make this wine stand out. Would purchase again.

2000 Covey Run Merlot Barrel Select USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Proving that inexpensive wine can be very good and develop complexities over time. Nose started out with mint and caramel. Good deep fruit on the palate with only a slightly heavy handed bit of oak. Stayed fresh and lively over a two hour period. Wish that I would have picked up more of this originally. Would purchase again.

2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Dry USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - pineapple, honeysuckle. Nice acidity. Paired well with the spicy pork stir fry.

2002 Kana Dark Star USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - This bottle is all about the spice. Needs to be filtered when decanted due to heavy amount of sediment. Still a bit of a grainy mouth feel. Both the nose and taste were filled with pumpkin pie spice. Made me think of fall. Enjoyable, but somewhat one dimensional. If it were October and I was looking specifically for a spicy wine, I would choose this. However, don't know if I would purchase again for anytime drinking.

Non Vintage J. Bookwalter Red Table Wine Lot #20 USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Really had high hopes for this upon opening the bottle. The nose was heady and expressive. Lots of oak and dark fruits. Unfortunately the palate was flat and uninspiring. Only the oak showed through and there didn't seem to be any fruit to be tasted. Would not purchase again.

2004 Gallagher U Brew Pinot Gris USA, Oregon, Yamhill County - Starting to lose the bottle funk. Decent bottle on a hot day when the wine is cold.

Non Vintage Olympic Cellars Go Girl Red USA, Washington, Puget Sound - Decent bottle of wine. Was really concerned when I pulled this out of the cellar as the color was very pale red bordering on dark pink. Pleasant nose though somewhat simplistic. Just the faintest hint of sweetness on the palate. Not a wine to be kept for very long. Would purchase again.

2001 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay USA, California, Napa Valley - Big, huge California chardonnay. Thick mouthfeel. Tons of oak. Lemon custard. Wonderful with roasted chicken. Would purchase again.

2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Sémillon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Seems to be better after two days open. The oak has settled down some and the fruit is still there. Maybe I start opening these up a day before I want to drink them. Would purchase again.

2004 Stevens Sauvignon Blanc Legs USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Not as refreshing as I remember at the winery. The wine seems to have picked up an off note that I can't put my finger on but is unpleasently distracting. Very crisp wine, the flavor of the steel tank grabs hold of you. Let this breath for 2 hours and it softened a little bit, but not as much as i'd hoped. Should have drank this when I purchased it upon release???

2005 Winemaker's Loft USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - This wine started off the evening on the right foot and then fell apart into a one dimensional oak monster. Right after popping the cork there were aromas of vibrant red fruits. Flavors were more on the sour side but still pleasant. After about an hour all you were getting from the wine was wood. On the nose, palate and finish was a bunch of oak. If this was a wine for a party where everyone only got one glass it would be a good thing. If you are going to revisit this throughout the evening, I would probably pass. Would not purchase again.

2006 Boudreaux Cellars Chardonnay Bishop's & Homestead USA, Washington - Really do enjoy this style of Chardonnay. Completely unfiltered so the wine had a cloudiness to it. Color was a muted gold. Aromas of pineapple and coconut with just a hint of oak. Flavors were leaning towards the tropical fruits. Nice balanced acidity. Thing about Rob's wines is that he knows how to get the mouthfeel just right. There is a weight to the wine without feeling to heavy. Would purchase again.

2005 Red Sky Sémillon Rosebud USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Timothy Leary where are you??? This wine hit with masive amounts of acid. Color reminded me of dijon mustard. Not much nose to speak of, but I had it in the fridge too long and it was too cold upon opening. Tasted like a key lime custard. Finish was tart in a good way and stuck with you for a while. Would purchase again.

2004 Robert Karl Cellars Claret USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Smoke and oak in just the right combination. Fruit didn't start coming out until about 2 hours. Nicely complex. Really enjoy this wine. Would purchase again.

2004 Gallagher U Brew Pinot Gris USA, Oregon, Yamhill County - Still a bit of the bottle funk. Hope that a little more time in the cellar will clear that up. Decent bottle on a hot summer evening.

2004 Woodinville Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Danielle Artz Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain - Very refreshing. Lots of tropical fruit flavors and bright acidity. Just a whisper of sweetness. Would purchase again.

2004 ÀMaurice Cellars Premier Blend USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Wicked good wine. Reminded me a bit of the Boudreaux Cellars cab. It was a bit tight upon opening, but with an hour in the decanter it started to sing. Oak was not overbearing, though it could use some more time to integrate. Lots of different fruits popping to the surface. Finish had a bit of a green tinge. Would purchase again.

1998 Château Cabrières Châteauneuf-du-Pape France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Notes of iron, similar to blood. Possible heat damage?

2006 Stevens Yes USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Bit of an alcoholic nose right out of the bottle. This blew off with a few good swirls. Nose of wintergreen mints. Flavors of plum and cedar. Somewhat tannic finish. Could use some food to balance it out. Would purchase again.

2002 Ash Hollow Estate Blend USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley - Someone charred the barrells a little too much. Campfire in a bottle. Very smokey, hard to find any fruit underneath all of the charred oak. It's not that the wine was bad, it just wasn't good. Would not purchase again.

2005 Cougar Crest Vivace USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley - Tonight this was speaking all about grapefruit. Mouthwatering crispness. The nose was somewhat muted, though the citrus notes were coming through. Not as enjoyable as the last time, but still a good bottle of wine given the price point. Would purchase again.

2005 Rulo Syrah USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley - I quit smoking 15 years ago, but after drinking this wine I feel like I just smoked a whole pack of Camels. Nose of dried smoked cherries. On the palate there was more smoke and lots of oak. Hoping that this will calm down a bit over time. Interesting right now, but a little too much over the top for my preference. Would purchase again, but would hold off a couple of years before opening up the wine.

2003 Stevens 424 USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Decanted, not much sediment. Fruit is starting to fade a little bit and the wine is becoming more complex. Nose has plum and tobacco. Tannins were in check and the wine had a nice long finish. Would purchase again.

2003 Canon de Sol Syrah USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - First two hours this was screaming, then it developed a tart finish. So drink it up in the first two hours!!! Heady aroma, earthy and gamey. Really enjoyed this wine. Would purchase again.

2007 Efeste Riesling Evergreen USA, Washington - Paired with a blackened (very spicy rub) mahi mahi filet. The little bit of sweetness to the wine really cut through the heat of the rub. That being said, the wine seemed really simple tonight. Nose had elements of apple cider. Flavor was nice but uninspiring. Would not purchase again for the price point. There are many other alternatives for half the price.

2002 Brian Carter Cellars L'Étalon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Predominant element of this wine was smoke. The fruit was very muted. There was nothing much to complain about this wine, but there also wasn't much to get excited about. Would not purchase again at this price point.

2002 Waterbrook Mélange USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Part of a three bottle vertical tasting 2002-2004. Starting on the down hill slide. This wine was dominated by a sharp alcohol flavor. There were decent fruit flavors, but it was hard to get past the sharpness of the alcohol. The wine's tannins were well integrated.

2003 Waterbrook Mélange USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Part of a three bottle vertical tasting 2002-2004. Drinking really nice right now. The high proportion of sangiovese really mellowed this wine out and gave it a good floral nose. Tannins were starting to integrate and the wine was balanced. Hoping that the 2004 will show this well with another year in the bottle. Would purchase again.

2004 Waterbrook Mélange USA, Washington, Columbia Valley - Part of a three bottle vertical tasting 2002-2004. Needs a little more time to settle down. Tannins were overshadowing the fruit at this point. However, there were some good flavors underneath that will be very good eventually. Would purchase again.

2006 Stevens Sauvignon Blanc Athought USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley - Paired very nicely with herb crusted halibut. Was a bit like sucking on a fresh cut lemon and lime wedge, though not quite as tart. Good acidity. Nose wasn't giving up a huge amount tonight. Would purchase again.

2002 Cana's Feast Winery (Cuneo) Nebbiolo Del Rio Vineyard USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley - Much lighter color than I was expecting. Light ruby color. Decanted 20 minutes prior to drinking. Aromas of rose petals jumped from the decanter. Nice flavors of black cherries. There were plantiful puckering tannins, however they did not take away from the wine. Added a healthy zip to the finish. Going to wait a couple more years until I try the next bottle. Would purchase again.

2004 Gallagher U Brew Pinot Gris USA, Oregon, Yamhill County - A little bit of the funk.

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