Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rex Goliath 2004 California Pinot Grigio

2004 Rex Goliath Pinto Grigio

This one was on sale at Whole Foods the other day along with some advertising hype on the stack of cases. So I gave it a try. Not likely to become a favorite.

The Wimbledon Wine Company gushes over this one, saying “lovely aromatics of pear and honeydew. Bright, juicy flavors of citrus and apples that lead to a sweet mineral core.” Personally, I can’t say I came away with all that. I did note some pear and apple but nothing very distinct and it otherwise had an earthy taste & aroma that didn’t appeal to me too much.

About $8 (Austin – Whole Foods).
 a little apple & pear. Somewhat earthy taste/aroma.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Hot Time In The City - A Cool Tasting of ‘Hot Weather’ Varietals

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas is having a tasting event this Thursday at the Four Seasons in downtown Austin. $50 gets you lots of wine & food. There'll be a bunch of Texas wines and the wines of R. H. Phillips.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gianni Gagliardo Fallegro 2004

2004 Fallegro

This week’s been mostly old familiar favorites so not much new to post about. Last night though, I had a white that makes a great apertif. I’ve bought it many times before and had a hankering for it again the other day.

Fallegro is from an Italian wine maker named Gianni Gagliardo and is made from Favorita grapes. Other than it being a nice light white wine to start things off, the main thing I really like about this wine is that it’s slightly effervescent. Not really a sparkling wine, but just a bit of fizz that dances on the tongue.

About $13 (Austin – Whole Foods).
Slightly tart and fizzy. Unmistakable bottle.

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MIT Weblog survey

I ran across the following survey about weblogs over on Blogdex. If you write a weblog, you might want to take the survey. It's 5 pages of questions, but doesn't take all that long to complete. I'll be curious to see what they turn up with the survey. Click the "I am a statistic" image below to take the survey yourself.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Monday, June 20, 2005

Langhorne Crossing 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec

2003 Langhorne Crossing

Here’s the second of two value priced reds from Australia that I had this weekend. This one is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Shiraz and 10% Malbec. 

The first impression was bright fruit. It’s a light bodied, soft wine though. Almost has a bit of a floral aroma to it.

This one was stacked in the “Top Ten” section at the NW Austin Whole Foods. It seems to be the place they put their best value priced wines. I’ll definitely grab another if there’s any left on my next trip to WF.

About $10 (Austin – Whole Foods).
 Light bodied, bright fruit tastes. Soft tannins.

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Woop Woop 2004 Shiraz

2004 Woop Woop Shiraz

This weekend presented the opportunity to try a variety of different wines. Some were old favorites I’ve posted about before. Two of them were fun, value priced reds from Australia – one of which I’ll give a bit more info on in this post. The other I’ll post about later.

But first… We’re into our third straight week of 90+ temps and it’s shaping up to be a pretty hot summer. So a nice cool, crisp white is always nice. I had the 2004 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc on Saturday night. Not quite as complex and fruity as the Kim Crawford, but very refreshing nonetheless. It’s a few bucks cheaper too at around $11.

Ok, back to Australia. Woop Woop is a big jammy red wine with blackberry notes. It’s 100% Shiraz and aged in French and American oak. It’s got a smooth mouth feel with soft tannins. At $12 a pretty good buy.

About $12 (Austin – HEB).
 Big jammy red wine with blackberry notes.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Top 25 "Table Wine" Trendsetters

Just a pointer to a short but interesting article about the top 25 'table wine' trend setters (as determined by Information Resources, Inc., a provider of consumer behavior insights for packaged alcohol sales, among other things). #1? Yellow Tail. Were you surprised? I consistently run into the ubiquitous Yellow Tail at parties. Clearly I'm going to the wrong parties.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #11 announced

The next Wine Blogging Wednesday has been announced. This time it's "off dry" wines. Hmm. That could be an interesting one. But I think I've got something in mind already. Now to find it. Stay tuned for that on the 6th of July.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Seghesio 2003 Sonoma Zinfandel

2003 Seghesio Zinfandel

Been a bit busier lately and haven’t had as much of a chance to post here recently.  But I did have a couple of interesting wines through the weekend. Both Zinfandels.

The first was this one from Seghesio. The wine maker’s notes are artful, as I guess most are, but I’ll have to agree with the “intriguing spicy, briery, dark fruit qualities” that are mentioned. This one got smoother/softer the longer I had it open. In fact, I thought it was actually better the 2nd day.

The other Zin I had while at Reed’s in NW Austin. I have few details about it but I found it very good. That was the Jessie’s Grove Earth, Zin & Fire, a Lodi area wine.

About $17 (Austin – Costco).
 Soft, lush, briery dark fruit.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

WBW #10 - Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc D'Alsace

2003 Blanck Pinot Blanc

I really wish I could remember where I got this wine from the Alsace region. I’d like to go back for another… gotta be one of the usual local suspects, but just haven’t noticed it recently. But I’m glad to have had an opportunity to dig this one out, enjoy it and research it a bit.

Anyway, better late than never for WBW #10. I appreciate the mention by Alice in the WBW #10 round-up despite the late arrival. This month’s theme was white pinots, and I can’t think of a better representative than this one.

The first time I really remember taking note of anything called a “Pinot Blanc” was in Brugge Belgium several years ago. We found a restaurant just off the main square there and a Pinto Blanc from Alsace was recommended with our meal by the waiter. Not surprisingly, given the geographic proximity, Alsatian wines seemed to be very popular in Belgium. Whatever wine we were served, (didn’t make a note of it then) since that time I’ve made a point of looking for Pinot Blancs from Alsace and that’s how I happened to pick up this one.

The Blanck family, starting with Hans Blanck, acquired their first vines in the Alsace region as far back as 1610(!) Based on what I read at their web site, the family has been involved in one way or the other with producing wines ever since. This Pinot Blanc comes from a line of wines they call their “mineral wines”. Those “which express the plenitude of limestone, the sweetness and firmness of clay, the harmony of manganese an the racy bouquet and power coming from silica”. This wine does indeed have a mineral note to it.

The CNN Money online edition also has a pretty good article about Alsatian wines and mentions Paul Blanck as a label to look for.

Interesting to note also that this wine uses a Stelvin cap rather than cork.

Less than $20 – I otherwise can’t recall exactly. No paper trail.
 Very good. Crisp, very light green apple fruit with mineral finish. Went well paired up with seafood (some baked Talapia in this case). I’ll look for it again.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

WBW #10 - Pinot Blanc

Well, I've got the wine all ready, but no time today to actually get to it. Watch this space for a posting tomorrow for Wine Blogging Wednesday #10...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Good article about Lodi

As a fan of this area's wines, just a quick pointer to a good article on Lodi.

St Supery at Zin Bistro

Zin Bistro in central Austin is doing a night of St Supery (Napa) wines this next Tuesday the 14th. Looks like it would be great, but I'm not sure I really wanna shell out $75 on a Tuesday night.

I was at the St Supery winery a year ago last spring and tasted some great wines. So I'm sure they'll have some good ones there come next Tuesday.

Mapema 2003 Argentina Tempranillo

Mapema Tempranillo

I once again found myself spending part of my evening hanging out at Tuscany Market. It’s kind of on the way home and too convenient. The place is only a bit over a year or so old, but seems to be undergoing a kind of reorganization. They’ve reduced the number of prepared foods in refrigerated cases and have eliminated the big ‘fridge with all the white wines and beers & cheeses completely. They seem to otherwise be doing a bang-up business, so I’m guessing this has more to do with reducing the ‘market’ part of their business to rearrange and focus on the stuff that seems to be their best offerings – wine and beer sales along with pizzas and sandwiches.

Anyway, under recommendation of a friend, I had some of this Mapema Tempranillo last night along with one of their great cheese pizzas. I usually expect to find more good value priced stuff (i.e. around $10 or less) from Argentina wines but this came in at $17 and was beginning to creep out of the ‘value’ range in my humble opinion. Nevertheless, I really liked this wine. Very dark and hearty fruit with lots of black cherry and berry fruit. Balanced and not very tannic. It worked well on its own and with the pizza.

About $17 (Austin – Tuscany Market)
Dark and fruity. Evenly balanced and great sipping on it’s own.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Columbia Winery 2001 Columbia Valley Syrah

2001 Syrah

I was in the mood for a fruity wine and I figured the Syrah from Washington that I got the other day at Costco would fit the bill. Sure enough, it was made to order.

This is also the second Washington wine in about the last week I’ve had. I liked the Tamarack Cellars from Washington too.

The winery’s tasting notes for this one can be found online. So if you want the details, check it out. While their notes don’t mention it, I picked up some very nice scents of chocolate on this.

This particular wine comes from what the winery calls their “Mainline” series. I’m now intrigued to try the “Signature” series Syrah from the Red Willow vineyard. Although at a list of $39.99, it’s kinda pricey. We’ll see if I can even find it locally. Chances are, probably not.

$11.99 (Austin – Costco)
 Smooth tannins and very fruity. Hint of oak.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Weird post of the week

Here's a theme restaurant I hope to not find popping up locally.

Costco wines - skip the membership

Some time ago, someone mentioned to me that you didn't need to be a member of Costco to shop its liquor store. The explanation was that because of some obscure Texas liquor law related to clubs, the liquor store portion of the Costco store had to be open for anyone regardless of membership. I honestly don't know the details, and at this point nor do I care since this week I confirmed the accuracy of that offhand comment.

The selection of wines is not very large, but the good news is you can expect to find some wines discounted in comparison to other shops. For example, last I saw, Darioush 2001 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon went for over $60 at Grapevine Market. At Costco it was about $46. Cheaper wines were not as significantly discounted or were not discounted at all relative to other local places.

Anyway, I'll certainly be back to look for bargains.

Wine Week in the Woodlands

Wine Week in the Woodslands is a Houston area event, but looks like it’d be fun. Probably not going to be able to get down to it though.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Orogeny - redo

In April, I had what I thought was a really outstanding Pinot Noir from Orogeny in California. Last night I had another bottle of the same wine, same vintage. But this time, the experience was completely different. Still very fruity, yes, but gone was my previously experienced layers of complexity that I had made a mental note of. Now I wish I’d made a note of what I had to eat with that other bottle. Clearly it was a good pairing.  Last night though, I had some pizza along with the wine. Just cheese, sauce, garlic and basil. And in fact, I had a bit of the wine before the pizza, so even on its own it wasn’t as impressive. Could it be that there’s that big a difference from one barrel to the next? No doubt, I still like this wine, but it certainly doesn’t have the wow factor the other one had.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


How can they call this wine?

Bizarre replication of my blog postings!?

Update: My email to the contact person for the winegift site that was replicating my whole posts got a very quick and suitable response. The posts seems to have been removed and in fact the contents of that typepad site are now empty.

This is truly weird. I track what’s linking to me via Technorati. Today I noticed a bunch of links from something at winegift.typepad.com. It is just really odd to find this out there and all it’s doing is just embedding my posts. Looks to be anonymous, but guess I’ll try to track it down. Whatever it is, it’s pretty lame.

Anyone else seen anything like this?

Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red - 2003 Columbia Valley

Firehouse Red

Switching gears quite a bit from the Spanish wine of the last posting, comes this big fruity wine blend from the Columbia Valley. And judging by the Tamarack Cellars web site, this blend is sourced from all over the Columbia valley.

It’s got it all in there: 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Carmenere, 2% Sangiovese.  It’s big and juicy and I really liked it. To quote the Tamarack web site’s tasting notes for the wine: “Tastes like really, really good red wine.” So there you have it.

From distant memory, about $18.00 (Austin)
 Juicy fruit wine with lingering black cherry tastes. Hint of oak. Definite repeat buy.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Viña Borgia Campo De Borja 2003 Grenache

Vina Borgia

Somewhere along the way, I picked up something that I stored in the back of my mind that told me there were some good values to be had in Spanish wines. In this case, the price was right and the hype high, but I’m not sure I’d buy this one again. In fact, doubtful.

It was actually a bit of raving by a little shelf-talker at Whole Foods that got me interested in picking up this wine. There’s not much I can point to out there on the web about this particular wine. There’s a bit of a blurb about the 2001 at wineloverspage.com. But this is the 2003 so of course your mileage may vary.

This wine is 100% Garnacha, or rather, Grenache. It has a nice hearty, smokey nose, but personally, other than a nice light raspberry fruit taste, I found it to have very little complexity. True to the linked article above, it does make a nice “spaghetti wine” (in this case capellini with a red mushroom & green pepper sauce) but little more.

I’ve noticed in the past that the little write-ups that Whole Foods does for their stacks of wine generally rave more than they probably should. Consequently, I generally discount them more than those from other stores.

About $7.99 (Austin) – and I think that is probably on the high end for this.
Simple, light fruit. 14% alcohol. In this case, I’ll keep looking for good values from Spain.

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