Wednesday, October 26, 2005

WBW 15...

I just got around to seeing that WBW #15 has been announced for Nov 2nd. That’s just next week. It has a requirement to find something with less that 250 cases produced… hmm, that could involve more investigation than the average WBW. Not a bad idea though. Chances are good that it should lead to a pretty wide variety. But then, it also means it might be hard to find anything mentioned in the wrap-up.

Ca' del Solo Big House White - 2003 California White Wine

2003 Big House White

You’ll have to pardon the lack of posting lately. I’m in the midst of two transitions right now. First, I’ve been ending one job and now, starting another. If this weren’t enough change, I’m also moving to a new house and in the midst of packing. Oh, and did I mention the recent hard drive crash? What a pain that has been to resolve. This machine is only partially back to normal. Consequently, the opportunity to sit back and enjoy a nice glass of wine hasn’t been at the top of my ‘to-do’ list. And yet, what’s a decent meal without something from the vine to accompany it. So I’ve found time to try a few new things, just not that much time to capture my notes.

Until the last week, summer around here has simply refused to die. So I’ve been in the mood up until recently, in an echo of some summer tastings, to try out some more white wine. This one from Bonny Doon caught my eye. I’ve had occasion to try the Big House Red a couple times in the past. I’ll admit I haven’t been completely thrilled with it, but it had its moments so thought I would check out this white.

This wine is a blend of whites, with Sauv Blanc, French Colombard, Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier listed on the label. The above web site will suggest there may yet be other grapes blended in there. Regardless, I found it to stand out mostly as a tart and herbal Sauvignon Blanc. It’s crisp and refreshing but my notes also took me as far as saying it had the aroma of fresh mown hay. Hmm, not sure I really like that. In fact, it was just a little more tart and citrusy acidic than I found suited me at the time. On another day and time, perhaps that would have been just the ticket.

Giving it only one ‘glass’ rating, but chances are, given the price point, I might grab a bottle again at some point to give it another whirl.

About $10. HEB grocery.
 tart citrus & herbal aromas. Crisp & refreshing on a hot day, but otherwise a little more tart than I found pleasing.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Jorge Ordonez "Urban Oak" 2002

2002 Urban Oak

This wine had a shelf-talker that caught my eye a couple weeks ago as I wandered thru Central Market. Good thing, ‘cause honestly, the label isn’t much to look at and the name “Urban Oak” sounds computer generated.

I enjoyed this though and also shared it with some other friends last week. The Dennings also both gave it thumbs up. The wine hails from Argentina and is a blend of 45% Tempranillo, 30% Malbec, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah. The taste for me was a jammy almalgam of blackberry and a bit of blueberry. 3 months on oak gives it something of a toasty aroma.

About $12. Central Mkt, Austin.
hint of oak in the nose and jammy dark berry taste. Long finish. Reasonably priced. Repeat buy if I run across it again.

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Other Austin Blogs...

Thanks to recent commenter Anna, I’ve discovered a couple of other interesting Austin area blogs related to food and wine. Anna’s is called Cookie Madness! and some of the pictures of the cookies she’s making look fantastic.

There’s also a relatively new wine blog by ‘taj’ called the Cork and Demon. I like her irreverent writing style.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Time out...


Had to add another note. Doesn’t have anything to do with wine, but it’s just something I find interesting. This time of year it finally starts to get really nice around here. I mean the weather gets really nice. So this morning, as I often do, I was up and out cycling. Ideal conditions today though. About 70 degrees, sunny skies, no wind. I did a looping route that took me out to Volente by the lake and then back.

So, the interesting thing is that at this time of year, Monarch butterflies arrive in central Texas as they migrate south. Based on that web site I have linked to, sounds like today may have been catching the tail end of them in this area, but they were definitely out in force and heading south. Not a bad way to spend the morning – biking along with the butterflies.

La Dolce Vita - Oct 20

If you’ve got a spare $75 to shell out, you can drop in on La Dolce Vita this Thursday at the Laguna Gloria art museum. Lots of food and Texas wines.

Cuvaison 2003 Napa Pinot Noir

2003 Cuvaison Pinot Noir

About a month ago I posted a profile of the Cuvaison Chardonnay. Nice stuff. I also got a 2003 Pinot Noir.

Sometimes it’s surprises me how my own notes match up with the wine maker’s (click image). I guess that’s a good thing, but in my case I’m transcribing my notes from the back of a Fidelity statement envelope – it was handy. But then I don’t suppose you care how I write them down. Eventually I put them here. Perhaps some day I should scan an image of the envelopes and other scraps of paper as proof that I actually wrote down some notes, but then I guess it’s not that big a deal.

In this case I really enjoyed this wine. I have no idea if it can be found in the stores here in Austin as this one was shipped to me, but hope I can find it again. At retail mid $20’s it’s on the pricey end but a good, cheap Pinot Noir from Napa is probably hard to come by, so pony up people.

I noted a smoky aroma and a taste of black cherries. I also found it to be nicely balanced, med body with a med to long finish. It stacks up pretty good in comparison to my recent WBW #14 posting. While the wines are similar, there’s definitely a bit of earthiness to that Central Otago wine that I think sets it apart. I’m not sure it’s necessarily better, but there’s definitely a unique character to that NZ wine.

The Cuvaison web site will add a note that says this wine has a flavor of “damson plum”. If you know what a damson plum is, please call me.

Cuvaison apparently does an “Estate Selection” pinot noir as well at twice the price. Haven’t seen it nor tasted it, but if it’s twice as good as this one, well, it must be pretty nice.

Retails for around $24
 very nice. Smoky black cherry, med to long finish.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

WBW#14 - Pinot Noir: Olssens 2003 Jackson Barry from NZ

2003 Jackson Barry Pinot Noir

When I saw the theme for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday (#14) I immediately thought I’d try to find a Pinot Noir from the Cromwell/Bannockburn area in the Central Otago of New Zealand. In fact, one of my early posts to this blog was of that area and its wines. If you click the above link and check out the pictures, you’ll get a sense of the beauty of the area. 

There’s not a lot of NZ Pinot Noir that you can find here in the Austin area. And what you can find, is kind of expensive in my opinion. But, I sucked it up for the greater WBW community. In this case I found 3 wines but selected this one partly because of its Felton Road heritage, but also because it’s the first time I’ve seen this particular wine in the store.

This is a beautiful translucent red wine. Medium bodied, with a reasonably long finish. A bit of oak in the nose and a big taste of ripe cherries. 

The Olssens web site has lots of other good info on their wines. The 2003 wine I had apparently has been recently released because the site has notes on the ‘02.

Central Market grocery for around $28
 very good representative of the Central Otago of New Zealand. Flavors of ripe cherries.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Flat Creek again

Time to get out into the Hill Country for a bit this past weekend. Took the long way to Fredericksburg and the annual Oktoberfest. Along the way stopped in again at Flat Creek. For WBW#12 I'd picked a wine from Flat Creek Estate because it was the closest to me. It turned out they were having an open house this past weekend to celebrate the completion of their events center. Wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out nice. They had 3 excellent hor'devours along with tastings of 4 of their wines. My favorite of the food was the venison from Selene's. Anyway, Flat Creek's 2003 Shiraz was the new one of the bunch being tasted. I liked it, but it was a bit more of a fruit bomb than the earlier profiled Super Texan sangiovese, which remains as one of my local favorites.

The other two being tasted went from sweet to sweeter. The first being the PrimRosé made from Primitivo grapes. The other being the Muscato Blanco. You can read more about them here. Of the two, I preferred the dessert-like Muscato Blanco.

More Chardonnay: Kendall-Jackson 2003 Grand Reserve

Grand Reserve Chardonnay

I finished up the Chardonnay theme a week ago but never quite got around to posting about the follow-on Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay I’d tried.

In my last profile I’d mentioned I’d tried the 2004 Kendall-Jackson California Chardonnay Vintner’s Reserve “Jackson Estates Grown”. I wasn’t all that impressed with it. The Grand Reserve’, on the other hand is a much more interesting wine. It had a big, bright citrus and apple taste. My own notes are pretty consistent with those at the link above. Nice lingering finish and has that buttery mouth feel you might expect of a CA chardonnay. French and American oak for 9 months, but the taste is not overly oaky.

HEB grocery for around $17
 crisp citrus taste with a lingering and buttery finish. Tasty. I’d get another.

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about | ratings images courtey of Jason Lewis