Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Wine Club meeting

After almost six months, the wine club met at my place on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 for a night of wine and pontification. For this meeting, I selected six wines from my rather large haul from the 2012 Summer visit to the Finger Lakes. Coincidence would have that Finger Lakes was featured in the current issue of Wine Spectator. Per the club tradition, all wines were blinded and the challenge this time was to guess the overall theme for the selection as well as the varietal, region and the year, if possible, for individual wines. Here are our notes.

1. 2006 Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs Methode Champenoise (Finger Lakes - Keuka, NY, USA) - Quite an yeasty nose with traces of melon and green apple skins, tart and very dry with a short finish. Majority thought it was some kind of Italian Prosecco. Rating: 88 Winner of the night!

2. 2010 Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Gewurztraminer (Finger Lakes - Keuka, NY, USA) - Great fruity nose with hints of melon, candy and petrol, dry, and very slightly bitter finish. No spice, which is such a characteristic of a typical Gewurz. No wonder no one thought it was a Gewurz. Most thought it was a new world, possibly Californian, warm weather, late harvest, copy of an Alsacian wine, potentially Riesling. Even Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris were suggested. Rating: 84

3. 2010 Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Dry Rose (Finger Lakes - Keuka, NY, USA) - Light oak on the nose, very dry with a very watered down feeling on the palette and an extremely short finish. It was not easy to guess anything for this wine. People thought it was definitely a North American wine, potentially from Oregon, California or New York. Rating: 77

4. 2008 Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes - Seneca, NY, USA) - Ruby color with Caramel and Pepper on the nose; lighter body - almost no tannins; decent acidity yet clunky and out of balance. Most guessed Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir from not a classic wine region, potentially California or Chile. Rating: 83

5. 2009 Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Lemberger (Finger Lakes - Keuka, NY, USA) - Decent legs and a nose of cherry, pepper and herbs with a gamy and tannic palette. Varietal and region guesstimates varied widely from Italian Lambrusco or Sangiovese to Charbono from France. Rating: 85

6. 2009 Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Cuvee d' Amour (Finger Lakes - Keuka, NY, USA) - Complex nose with some fruit, barnyard, feet, horse blanket, pine and resin. Full-bodied wine with quite a depth. Again a difficult wine to figure out - guesses varied widely from Italian Sangiovese, blend of Blaufrankisch and Petite Syrah and California Pinot Noir. Rating: 89
Actually, Cuvee d'Amour (vitis Amurensis) is a winter-hardy grape native to the wilds of southern Siberia and northern China.  Crossing of vitis Amurensis with numerous varieties of European wine grapes have yielded early-ripening vines that thrive in colder climates.

7. 2009 Roco Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR, USA)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Back after a hiatus

The vagaries of the travel job took over life and now I am posting to my blog after almost a year and a half. Not that I did not enjoy wine or visit wine countries during this period; its just that I did not have any time to post my rendezvous with wines. Last summer, we took a driving trip to Long Island, NY and recently we went back to our favorite place, the Finger Lakes, for a short Memorial Day vacation. Wines from this region continue to improve. We tasted some decent wines and brought back almost six cases. I look forward to a summer full of enjoying these good wines. In the past week, we tried the following two wines.

1. 2011 KATO Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough) - Our friends brought this for a dinner at our place. Tropical fruits, citrus and a hint of herbs on the nose with a smooth, buttery palate and balanced acidity leading to a slight mineral and oak on the finish. Good wine for a hot summer day.
2. Schooner Red (Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes - Seneca, NY, USA) - A meritage style blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with dark fruit and berries on the nose, smooth palate and medium finish. Good wine with or without food.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Wines

Most of the wines that I had during these holidays were repeats. And, I still like them. Here is the list.
  1. 2006 Villa Antinori Toscana (Italy)
  2. 2009 Montgras Reserva Carménère (Colchagua Valley, Chile)
  3. 2007 Ortman Family Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR, USA)
  4. 2009 Rabbit Ridge Vineyards Allure de Robles (Paso Robles, CA)
  5. 2006 Las Rocas, Calatayud Garnacha (Spain)
  6. 2009 Petraio Nero d'Avola
I also imbibed the following new wines.
  1. 2006 Windsor Sonoma Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, CA, USA) - Unlike other Zins that I have tried, this was not a fruit bomb. Pleasant berry aromas on the nose and quite smooth. I am still trying to get Zins.
  2. Roux de Beauces Grande Reserve Champagne (France) - We cracked this open just as the new year (2011) set in. Smooth with balanced acidity and good bubbles - we liked it. Looking forward to an occasion when I can open the other bottle I have.
For the new year's eve, we went for an eight course (each course paired with a different wine) dinner offered by Executive Chef Vytauras Sasnaukas (a personal friend and one of our wine club member) at Americano. The dinner was absolutely delicious and a flavor-poluzza. Vy had worked wonders with these unique ingredients. Top notch. I highly recommend this restaurant and chef.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wines and Steakhouses

This past week has been a week of steakhouses. I went with bunch of co-workers to two highly rated steakhouses in Indianapolis - Eddie Merlot's and St. Elmo's. Eddie Merlot is an upscale steakhouse with a great decor and ambiance, very attentive service and great food with great presentation. St. Elmo's apparently is an Indy institution in downtown - established in 1902, it is currently housed in an old downtown building with retro signage and ambiance, crowded and noisy dining halls leading to what I considered not so attentive service, good food with presentation that left a lot to be desired. Of course, being a modernist, I preferred Eddie Merlot's.

Of course, we had some good wine at these steakhouses.
  1. 2006 Villa Antinori Toscana (Italy) - My first super tuscan and I liked it. This wine is a blend of Sangiovese (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Merlot (15%), and Syrah (5%) and is aged in French, American and Hungarian oak. Full-bodied, Blackberry on the nose with a very soft, velvety palette.
  2. 2006 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône (Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France) - Decent Côtes du Rhône with red fruits on the nose and a smooth palette and a short finish.
Besides these two wines, I had the following wines in the homy ambiance of my home-sweet-home.
  1. 2009 Hall Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley, CA, USA) - All I can say is, I am still not so sure about this varietal.
  2. 2009 Montgras Reserva Carménère (Colchagua Valley, Chile) - Deep purple in color with spicy aroma and soft tannins. Did I mention before - I LOVE Carménère

Another week in the journey

Here are the wines that I had last week. Nothing noteworthy except for the pleasure of drinking wine in good company.
  1. 2007 Murrieta's Well Red Meritage (Livermore Valley, CA, USA) - A Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Quite Good.
  2. 2006 Argyle Winery Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR, USA) - A decent Pinot
  3. Andretti Winery Merlot (Napa Valley, CA, USA) - Very smooth and balanced
  4. Ventosa Vineyards Saggio Series V (Finger Lakes, NY, USA) - A blend of 40% Finger Lakes Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Long Island Merlot, 20% Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc, and 5% Finger Lakes Syrah; IMHO an average wine with nice nose and an average palette and finish.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Week in wines ...

This past week, I had the following wines:
  1. 2008 Raven's Glenn Winery Chardonnay (Central Ohio, USA) - Oak and tropical fruits on the nose with a dry palette and balanced acidity
  2. 2009 Rabbit Ridge Vineyards Allure de Robles (Paso Robles, CA) - a cheap Cotes du Rhone style wine from California; Quite good I must say
  3. Cherry Hill Winery Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR, USA) - A fantastic Pinot. I consider this second best after Domaine Serene
  4. Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR, USA) - Quite expensive but I did not think much of it; May be it needed to breathe a bit. I will have to give it another try but I am not sure I want to pay for it dearly the next time
  5. Andretti Winery Merlot (Napa Valley, CA, USA) - Very smooth and balanced

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bordeaux Varietal Blind Tasting

This past Sunday, the wine club gathered for yet another tasting of wines and related pontification. The topic of the night was Bordeaux Varietals. Here are our notes and pontifications from the blind tasting. It was a fun night with some great wines.