Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tuscany Market in northwest Austin is having a wine tasting event this Saturday (April 2nd) at 3pm. I went to a few of these when they first started doing them last year, but haven't been in awhile. It seemed that they were typically overrun with people in a cramped space and it was pretty difficult to fight your way up to get a tasting. Generally, I've had a better experience going for the weekly Friday night tasting at Grapevine Market, in north Austin. They almost always have something interesting to taste at an affordable price. I think they also do them Saturday afternoon, but that's usually out of my way on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Highfield Estate 2004 Sauvignon Blanc

Highfield EstateThe Wall Street Journal had an article about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines this past Friday. It caught my eye because I'd traveled to New Zealand earlier this year. While I was there, I spent a couple days in the Marlborough region sampling some really great wines. Of those listed in the Wall Street Journal article, the only winery in their list that I visited was Highfield Estate. In fact, it was among my favorites that I tasted there. Light, refreshing, tart - but not too tart. Of the wineries I visited there, it was one of the few I found stocked here in the Austin area. If there's any left, you can find it at Central Market. The winery's tasting notes for the wine can be found here.

Also in my fridge awaiting a tasting are NZ Sauvignon Blancs from Kim Crawford and Saint Clair. I'll post here when I get around to enjoying a glass of those. The WSJ apparently really liked the Kim Crawford.

Had it been on the wine trail map they hand out all over the Marlborough region, I would likely have checked out the Kim Crawford winery. Unfortunately, it wasn't among those listed. I highly recommend visits to Highfield or Saint Clair. Both had very good wines and excellent restaurants. And, you can also climb the stairs of the tower at Highfield and get a great view of the vineyards of the Wairau River valley.

About $16. Could have been more at Central Market, but it was less than $20.
Better than average

Monday, March 28, 2005

Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival

This Austin area festival of food and wine seems to get bigger every year. It also seems to get more expensive! I've been to a couple of the events out at the Salt Lick in previous years. Can't recall now how many years ago that was, but the big weekend event was around $35. This year, they're having it in downtown Austin at Auditorium Shores and it goes for $45, or $55 for both Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2003

Bogle ZinBogle wines are readily available at just about any place that sells more than a few wines here in the Austin area. Though, I don't always find their Old Vine Zinfandel. In this case, this Zinfandel was recommended by the wine buyer at the HEB grocery store at Plaza Volente in Austin. I've had the Bogle Petite Sirah before and thought it was a pretty tasty wine for the price, so I figured this Zinfandel would be worth a shot.

Generally, I enjoyed this wine. It's a pleasant looking deep, dark ruby color as would be expected for a Zin. Not much aroma, but it's immediately spicy and fruity on the tongue. The blackberry and blueberry highlighted by the winemaker's notes are there, but not too well defined. Medium finish that at first I didn't find too pleasant, but after letting it sit and open up a bit longer, it grew on me. I found it a bit better than average for the price point if you like spicy, fruity Zins.

About $11. I paid $11.49.

Let's all try some wine

I generally have a couple different wines every week. As I noted in my description of this blog, some are good, some turn out not so good and some are simply great. Sometimes I try one based on a tasting and that's always the best way to go. But of course there are only so many tastings and only so much time to attend them. Often I just pick a region or varietal that I like and head for the vast shelves of wine in the local stores. The variety is staggering. My selection often ends up fairly arbitrary.

Perhaps you end up making the same arbitrary choices. Thus was born the idea that perhaps I should simply record what I encounter and occasionally someone in the blogosphere might benefit from my experience - such as it is.

In general, what you'll find here will not be really exotic descriptions of wines. For the life of me, I have yet to figure out the secret to coming up with phrases like: "hints of fruit blossoms and lemongrass, .... seasoned with nuanes of peppercorns..." and on and on. I'll describe what I can but often I might just say "it's good" and qualify it as best I can or forward you to some other web site that seeks to describe the sensory experience more elaborately. In general, I'll try to use terminology like that described by this wine lexicon page or this article.

Along the way, you'll find that at this point, I tend to spend the bulk of my time seeking out New World wines that come from what I'll call the Pacific ring of fire. In other words, the west coast of the US and Canada, the west coast of South America, New Zealand, Australia, etc. Technically, Australia would not be considered part of the true geographic "ring of fire" but I lump it in when I consider the wines I prefer to explore at this particular point.


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