Sunday, November 27, 2011

Three Red Burgundies for CJ

While picking up my choices for the Petite Syrah tasting at K&L, I asked about red Burgundies. I have had very few French wines, but every now and then I get curious. I was helped by a knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic gentleman that directed me to try three different regions, suggesting we could explore my preference in the future. I was surprised they were all inexpensive, the most being $26. I had been wiling to pay more, but he said typically the more expensive wines needed to be cellared. It sounded good to me, so I picked them up.

Bob and Carolyn came over Saturday evening for dinner and to help taste. Tasting is always more enjoyable with good company.

We started off tasting the three, which I had decanted for over an hour as suggested. I then threw in a special Oregon Pinot I had picked up for Thanksgiving, thinking it similar enough in taste to make sense comparing. We followed this up trying the bottle Bob had brought, a young Villa del Monte, which everyone agreed was much too young to drink. Lastly, I brought out a Windy Oaks, thinking Carolyn would enjoy the taste; unfortunately, I was wrong.

After all of these, Bob and Carolyn tasted a few of the Petite Syrahs left over from the tasting three nights before. Somewhere in between or after these, I opened a Picchetti Zin to boot, which Bob enjoyed. All the while we enjoyed cheese and good company.


Top to Bottom from Left to Right

A - 2009 Maison Champy Chorey-lès-Beaune came in first with an average rating of 3.25. This is one of the three that were recommended. Carolyn liked it. It cost $24.

B - 2009 Domaine Laleure-Piot (Champy) Cote de Nuits Villages "Les Bellevues" came in second with an average rating of 3.08. This is another of the three that were recommended. I enjoyed it a little more than the previous. It also cost $24.

C - 2009 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey "La Framboisiere" came in third with an average rating of 2.66. This is the last of the three that were recommended. I enjoyed this the most out of the three, though the differences between them was very small. It cost $26.

D - 2007 Domaine Drouhin, "Laurene," Dundee Hills, Pinot Noir came in fourth with an average rating of 2.55, barely behind C. I purchased this for Thanksgiving, though we didn't open it until Friday night, since Thanksgiving we still had a choice of most of the 8 bottles opened the night before. I thought it tasted very similar to a red burgundy, so I added it on a spur of the moment. It cost $65.

F - 2008 Windy Oaks, Estate Cuvee, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pinot Noir came in fifth with an average rating of 2. I picked this up at our trip down the Corralitos wine trail that I have yet to blog about. Windy Oaks specializes in subtle Pinots that are similar in nature to red burgundies. I threw it in because I knew Carolyn likes their Terra Nova and I figured she would enjoy this; I was wrong. It cost $31 for club members (yes, I joined their club).

E - 2010 Villa del Monte, Regan Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pinot Noir came in last with an average rating of 1.5. Bob brought this. He had tasted it the weekend before at the winery. Most agreed it was not ready for consumption. It cost $24 for club members (Bob is a member). Earlier vintages of this wine are interestingly spicy.

The Results in Ted's Trademarked Format


The Burgundies all tasted very subtle and similar. I tended to enjoy more from A - C, while most other enjoyed the opposite. None of the them were spectacular, nor did any of them hint of great things to come, but what do I know. I'll have to do more research. One the plus side, Carolyn did enjoy A, which is rare at a red wine tasting.


After we finished, Sue grilled some wonderful steaks with shrimp skewers, which we enjoyed with salad, cheesy potatoes, my mother's recipe, and corn bread. Yum!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

I've been absent from the wine world, spending most of my time hunting dragons in Skyrim, but I wanted to do something wine related over the long holiday weekend. I thought it would be nice to have Ted and Shannon over. Checking schedules, mostly theirs, we determined that the night before Thanksgiving was the only night that would work. I wanted to taste red Burgundies. Ted suggested giving Petite Syrahs a try. I put the choice to Sue, and she decided on Petite Syrah.

I picked up four bottles from K&L that I had never tasted. The website only had a choice of 59, of which only 16 were available at the Redwood City store. I had to limit it to the store, since I wanted to pick the wine up that day and didn't have any time for transportation. The choice compared to Pinots, for example, was incredibly limited; 356 Pinots were available at the Redwood City store.

Ted and Shannon arrived with 2 bottles. We pulled out the Pinot glasses and got everything set up. Sitting down in front of 6 beautiful glasses of wines ready to taste fills me with excitement, though I imagine I'd feel differently if we didn't have a dishwasher.

We all tasted, sharing our experiences. We shared our initial scores, and then tasted again, adjusting our scores accordingly. Ted and I bet that one of our wines would come out on top.


Top to Bottom from Left to Right

F - 2008 Rutherford Grove, Napa Valley, Spring Creek Vineyard tied for first place with an average rating of 3.5. Ted and Shannon brought this bottle. Ted estimated it cost $37.

B - 2006 Consilience, La Presa Vineyard, Santa Barbara County tied for first place with an average rating of 3.5. Ted and Shannon also brought this bottle. Ted estimated it cost $23.

C - 2003 Robert Foley, Napa Valley came in third place with an average rating of 3.25. It cost $50 from K&L. Sue and I brought this. It was one of the four unknowns I chose from K&L because it had a 92 from Robert Parker.

D - 2005 Turley, Library Vinyard, Napa Valley came in third place with an average rating of 2.88. It cost $70 from K&L. Sue and I brought this. It was one of the four unknowns I chose from K&L because it was the most expensive one they had and it had a good rating from Robert Parker.

E - 2009 Ridge, Lytton Estate, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County came in fourth place with an average rating of 2.38. It cost $28 from K&L. Sue and I brought this. It was one of the four unknowns I chose from K&L because Ridge is a known winery that we like.

A - 2008 Stag's Leap, Napa Valley came in fifth place with an average rating of 1.88. It cost $30 from K&L. Sue and I brought this. It was one of the four unknowns I chose from K&L because Stag's Leap is a known winery and we really like their Artemis.

The Results in Ted's Trademarked Format


Petite Syrah can be saturating. None of the wines we tried really worked for me, the highest score I gave was a 3.5. I'll stick with my old favorites for now.


After we were done, Sue brought out a wonderful dinner: Shrimp and crab enchiladas, chicken nachos, salad, and corn bread. It doesn't take meals like this to remind me how lucky I am, but they do stand out.

Ted was saturated with Petite Syrah and said he would drink something lighter, if anything was open. I pulled out a big gun, a 2007 Burrell School PTA Pinot, thinking I would stump him. Unbelievably, Ted sensed it was a 2007 Burrell. Amazing! I wanted to foil him, so I pulled out another, a 2007 Gary Farrell Pinot and went double or nothing on the $5 I owed him. He was stumped. He first thought it might be a Windy Oak's, but his final guess was a Nicholson Pinot. He may have brought the wine's that tied for first place, but he was unable to determine the second glass I had tried to stump him with. Ha!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The WineRack?

A friend of mine was reading this blog and had this ad appear for The WineRack.

Ad for the WineRack

Here's the description from Amazon:

"The Winerack every girls best friend. Turn an A cup in to double Ds and sport your favorite beverage for yourself and your friends. Better than a Boob Job and Cheaper Too. Not to mention the savings on over priced drinks. We developed The Winerack to Fill Out our product line if you will. The picture shown here is of our good friend Drea, who is not, no offense Drea, Well Endowed. Sporting the Winerack and Voila’ Drea’s giving Pamela Anderson a run for the money. Take a bottle of wine, a mixed drink or even a fifth of your favorite hard stuff to the movies, concerts, ball games, even PTA meetings. Sporting a rack that will turn heads and serving a beverage that will have guys standing in line for a sip of your secret stash. With simple blow into the tube it's easy to keep that full look even as you drink from your secret stash."

Seems a little too close to flip-flop coasters to me and offensive to boot, but what do I know.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wine Read : Drink Cheap Wine

The Wine Curmudgeon pointed me to this article in Slate: Drink Cheap Wine.

I totally agree. As I've said before, wine is all about you. It only matters what you think about a wine. There aren't any right or wrong answers. If you enjoy $3 bottle of wines, awesome!, by all means, enjoy away.

I have yet to find one that cheap that I like, but I would love to. Recently I did find a nice $10 Burgundy at the BevMo 5 cents sale ($10 after getting 2 for $20). After drinking it 5 nights in a row, my wife was asking for some variety, but I could have enjoyed the rest of the case over the next 7 nights. I do like variety, so I doubt I could drink it year round, but maybe.

Wine is an expensive indulgence and lowering your average bottle cost can be important, if you enjoy regularly.

365 * $10 = $3,650
365 * $35 = $12,775