After almost 8 years, I have decided that my Wine Blogging journey has come to an end. Thanks to all the readers, PR staff, and fellow wine bloggers that supported me through this journey. I have a few posts to finish up and will explain a bit more, but basically this forum has run it’s course in my life and I am ready to move on. I have valued the feedback I have received and thank you all for your support. Stay tuned for a few more posts with the most valuable wine lessons I’ve learned, tips for wine bloggers, and some final reviews and notes from recent tastings I have attended.
I stumbled across Pax Cellars a little over a year ago, when R.P. raved about the 2004 Syrah’s, and I must admit, I usually don’t spend $300 on 5 assorted bottles of wine I haven’t tried, but thanks to Bob, my confidence was there, and I made the purchase. These wines didn’t disappoint, and although expensive, they do offer a pretty good incentive to purchase again, as this wine is well made. The following are my notes on the 2004 Cuvee Christine. Thanks Tim for hosting!
Notes: A classic California Syrah, this burgundy color wine has a beautiful aroma of Anise, Blackberry, Forest Floor and pepper, with a nice mouth-feel and flavors of Mushroom, Leather, and blackberry notes, medium tannins, and a lingering finish. It’s still young, but has a certain velvet character that allows for drinking now.
Finally, an excuse for me to buy box wine. I’ve literally stood in Target in the wine isle, debating whether or not to grab a box for minutes on end, almost picking one up, to find my other hand quickly slapping it away. As an amateur wine writer/reviewer I feel responsible to try new wines, and put prejudice aside, but it’s so hard for me to spend money on wine in cardboard. Well, now I have to, as Roger from Boxwines.org has asked us to broaden our horizons this next month, and only drink wine from a box.
Will I live? Check back on March 14th to find out!
As my readers are probably aware, I’ve missed 6 or 7 Wine Blogging Wednesday’s since June, so it’s only fitting that the host that started my absence, Tim at Winecast, is the host again as I mark my return.
This is actually a great theme, one that Tim and I seem to see eye to eye on. Rhone wines are amazing, and the New World versions of these wines pay their respects, while offering their own slant on the unique French versions. If you love Syrah or Shiraz, this is a great time to pick up a bottle to enjoy during a cold night. In fact, If any of you dear readers would like to contribute, but don’t have a blog, just put your comments in my WBW#30 Syrah post on February 7th, or email me and we’ll include you in the round-up (the more the merrier!).
For this two year edition of the ever popular Wine Blogging Wednesday, Alder, Uber blogger from Vinography.com, suggested we try the wines from the Loire, namely Chenin Blanc as opposed to Sauvignon Blanc. A great theme indeed, and one that most Americans don’t really appreciate, as Chenin Blanc is not a popular choice for most. But why shouldn’t it be? With variables from mineralty, to citrus notes, to off-dry with a hint of residual sugar, this grape can pair with a myriad of meals. Unfortunately, this is a varietal and or region that isn’t always available at the local mega mart, so you just might have to hunt it down at your finer wine retailer.
I headed down to the Wine Steward in Pleasantan, whose selection is diverse, and grabbed a bottle of the 2004 Clos Le Vigneau Vouvray White Table Wine Val de Loire. The Alcohol level was at a mere 12.5%, but it seemed to taste about as alcoholic as some 14-15% whit wines I’ve had from Napa. Your nose is greeted with Apple, Pear, and Apricots, with a light, slightly acidic taste that is full of lemon zest and minerals. A pretty straightforward, simple wine, with an O.K. finish, at $15 USD this isn’t a bad value at all.
One thing that continues to bug me about French wine labels is the missing varietal names on bottles that are labeled White or Red wine. Sometimes it’s nice to know the grape you are drinking so you can return to it in the future. Thankfully, someone at the Wine Steward was able to direct me to a White Wine that consisted of Chenin Blanc. Here’s to a knowledgeable wine staff.
Wine: 2004 Clos Le Vigneau Vouvray White Table Wine Val de Loire
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Notes: Apple, Pear, and Apricots on the nose with a mineral / lemon zest flavor, crisp and clean with a smooth finish. 12.5% ABV
Score: 86 pts JAT
If you haven’t already noticed, Herb Lamb Vineyards is one of my favorite wineries from Napa Valley. This year was exciting because Jennifer and Herb came upon some Sauvignon Blanc, and under the talented hand of David DeSante released the EII White Wine under the 2005 vintage. In a word, this wine is breathtaking. Not overdone, the wine shows a definite balance of flavors from Sauvignon Blancs around the world. Tropical and stone fruit from New Zealand, minerailty from Bordeaux, zesty fruit and hints of Lemon grass from Napa; this wine has it all. You might be offered this wine if you signed up on the waiting list recently, but at only 200 cases produced, it’s going quick.
I chose this wine for Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Joel from Vivi’s Wine Journal, where the challenge this month was to pair wine with the Bar-B-Que, and this white pretty much works with a lot of things you’d throw on the grill. I had this with a lemon and honey marinated chicken breast that we grilled, then tossed in between a focaccia roll. It was delightful.
Wine: 2005 Herb Lamb Vineyards EII White Wine
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Score: 96 pts
Side-note: Between my job change (I’m now an Independent Contractor), celebrating my Anniversary, and just being busy, I haven’t had to much time to post lately. (I even missed WBW last month, the first one I’ve missed since I started with WBW #10, because I didn’t have time to search for a low Alcohol wine. Little did I know, most people cheated and had higher ABV levels than recommended, which I could have done at 12.7%.) As I have read on other sites though, trying to post everyday is an early web 2.0 philosophy. At this point, well established blogs have people that aggregate their content, via email or feed, and the blog will continue to retain readers if the content remains high in quality. Hopefully that is the case at Winexpression, but on the same token, I will try to post more often than I have been.
Next months theme for the popular virtual wine tasting event, Wine Blog Wednesday, will be Lite Alcohol Reds, hosted by Tim from Winecast on June 14th. Modern methods of winemaking have pushed the envelope on high alcohol wines. Some point the finger at wine critics, whose palates favor concentrated ripe fruit flavors that are the result of leaving fruit on the vine longer. Because the sugar levels in the grapes hit high levels at harvest, during fermentation, these sugars are converted into alcohol, and If the wines aren’t balanced with the right acidity, the high alcohol level can be very noticeable. Nowadays, most wines are easily in the 15% range. Tim is urging us to find red wines that don’t exceed a 12.5% ABV.
There’s nothing better than Gamay Noir, a.k.a. Beaujolais. What a sec, did I just type that? The truth of the matter is, I’ve never had Gamay Noir, (or Beaujolais for that matter), before trying this bottle. After trying it, I will tell you that it isn’t my favorite, and I don’t think that it’s meant to be a “favorite”. What it is meant to be is a food friendly, daily drinking wine, and it delivers. At Andrew Lane, proprietor Drew Lane and crew are trying to put this varietal on a few dinner tables as an alternative to the Cabernet that is so ubiquitous with the area. The only problem is, there are only a few acres of it produced in all of California, so hopefully demand doesn’t out pace supply.
This bottle worked perfect for this 21st edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Lenn of Lenndevours, where we a challenged to pair a wine with our favorite food, or Vice Versa. We paired it with broiled Salmon and asparagus, and it seemed to work perfectly. I think Salmon is my favorite fish. The texture, buttery flavor, and simplicity are accentuated when grilled or broiled in my humble opinion. I like to make a little aluminum foil boat to keep all the juices close to the fish when cooking, and hit is with a little S & P, Butter, and a squeeze of lemon, or give it a teriyaki bath 30 minutes before cooking (we used the former method this time). The fish mellowed hints of tar and tobacco in the wine, and the fruity cherry character came through following each succulent bite. Overall, this is a good wine, and a good value at $18. Just make sure you enjoy it with a meal (which some would argue, is the only way to drink wine).
Wine: 2004 Andrew Lane Gamay Noir (a.k.a. Gamay, Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc, Beaujolais) Price: $18 Notes: Light purple with a light-medium bodied palate, notes of Cherries, Tar, Tobacco, a nice finish with minimal tannins. Enhanced by food, and meant to be enjoyed over the next 2-3 years. Score: 86 pts JAT
Full disclosure: This wine was a press sample.