Thursday, August 30, 2012

...Aaaand I'm back for 2012 National Cabernet Day

Yeah.  I know.

I'm here right now, though, & that's what counts. I've been thinking about this day for a bit.  I mean, it's National Cabernet Day. I still can't believe that the banks & government offices weren't closed, for cryin' out loud.

You think I'm kidding. So cute.

Doug & I chose 2006 Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon for our celebratory bottle. It's a Bordeaux-style blend from Napa.  Oh, & we had it signed by Robert Craig when he was in town a couple of years ago.  I specifically remember meeting him. All he wrote was his name & barely spoke. Doug said "He & my dad shop at the same place for shirts, that's for sure." (Let me specify - we're talking about Doug's dad - not mine. Totally different animal, yet frighteningly similar in ways. Including the shirts. Robert Craig was very quiet,  like my father-in-law, & Gordon, my father, is the farthest thing from quiet.)

Now, for those of you that know me well, you know that I really do value our signed bottles. We've got quite a few that we've picked up along the way, & I've just always thought that was cool. Never mind that I have no idea what I'm going to do with the empties, & don't get Doug started on that subject, either. Hey, some people keep old Matchbox cars, I keep signed wine bottles.

Enough small talk - let's get to it, shall we?

If I had only one word? Classy.

Luckily, I have more than one word.

Initially, the nose was very intense with black cherry, accompanied by a nice spicy kick. After a bit, it evolved into this lovely perfume with waves of cassis & violet. Once we stopped huffing our glasses long enough to actually taste the stuff, we were both pretty blown away. Red fruit on the front - think cherry- red raspberry. When I paid attention to the middle, I picked up blackberries the most at first, along with some spice. We both did, actually. Black fruit throughout. Winding down to the finish took a while. Doug got more dark chocolate, while my tastebuds revealed more of a Turkish coffee kind of edge.  I think we both got it right. The chocolate/Turkish coffee bit faded into a caramelly toffee yet maintained a lush fruitiness. This wine sticks with you for ages with a finish that won't quit. Nice acidity, pretty tannins & graceful complexity made this wine an absolute delight.

I think we paid about $42-$46 for this bottle & I'd do it again tomorrow next payday, if I could. Of course, we have those less expensive bottles that we pick up for everyday drinking again & again, but I tell myself that there's just too much good wine out there to keep buying the same stuff over & over & over - but then I have a wine like this, & I sort of get it.  Even at this price range. Only 5,800 cases were made, & while that's not tiny, it's still small enough that I can have faith in the attention to quality.  Quality.

Worth every penny, folks.

Remember that next time you're tempted to drink Yellowtail.  Or hell, any time you reach for the ones that are most advertised.  Just because it has a lot of cool ads in magazines or even in the stores doesn't mean that it's a sound choice.  They just have more money to throw around at ad agencies, sales rep incentives, etc.

Uh oh, on the verge of getting on a soapbox, so I'm going to shut up & enjoy this wine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Blog Resurrecting Bottle...& Mini-Lesson

So, it's been a while.  Since I last wrote, a lot has happened (nothing bad, really, just a lot).  Doug & I went back to Paso Robles in January & tagged on a couple of days in Santa Barbara - fantastic trip.  Alas, I have yet to upload our photos.  Eh, older computers take a while.  That's my excuse & I'm sticking to it, by George (whoever he is).

I've been meaning to get back to the ol' keyboard but it just hasn't happened.  This is not a bad thing, but as I've explained before, I not only need inspiration, but I also need the time & the energy to do it, & maybe being sober enough helps, too.  Heh. 

Go ahead & judge.

Yesterday at work, not one, but TWO people mispronounced a word in a way that always grates on my nerves.  Meritage.  Now, I want you to remember this, lest you look like an idiot at your next tasting, winery trip, dinner out...really, any occasion that involves wine:  The word "meritage" rhymes with "heritage".  It is NOT pronounced "meritazh", like you would say the "Taj" in Taj Mahal.  (Thanks to my friend Tim for giving me that reference.  I was having a hard time coming up with one myself, since words with a "zh" sound at the end aren't all that common.)  I have no idea why people have gotten it into their head otherwise, perhaps they want to sound French.  I get it -  we all know that when you pronounce a word in a Frenchified way, you immediately sound so much classier.  Uh huh. Anyway, please think "heritage with an m" the next time you are buying, tasting or just talking about these wines, because if you don't, you're doing it wrong.  You probably won't be corrected - I didn't correct my pals - but you're still doing it wrong, & it will/should be noticed.

There.  I've said my piece, do with it what you will. 

On to the blog resurrecting wine....

Spring has sprung earlier than usual, which means my allergies have been plaguing me a bit.  We haven't had much wine lately.  Tonight, however, both of us really wanted wine, & a good bottle at that.  I graciously allowed Doug to choose a bottle - under my careful supervision, of course - & he chose the 2006 Four Vines Monarchy (now produced under the Cypher label, but still a Freakshow wine, for those of you familiar with the Four Vines story) that we picked up on our first trip to Paso a couple of years ago.  Since this was our only bottle of that wine & since it is one of our more unique wines due to the 59% Petit Verdot (I get happy just thinking about that) along with 41% Malbec, I was thinking that we would share this with friends. After all, it's a wine made from the 2 least utilized varietals in Bordeaux, & one of them is PV.  Man, I'm a junky for that stuff.  Ever wise, Doug said that we don't have to share every cool bottle with friends - he's right - & I relented.  Boy, am I happy we opened that wine!

On the nose, we both got an intense smack of blueberries with a bit of vanilla.  Yum, I'm in.  As the wine opened up a bit, I picked up some dried herbs & an earthy character of some sort.  Sorry, I don't know what sort it was, but it was interesting.   The palate is ripe with blackberries, both spicy & juicy. SO good.  This isn't a huge wine, but it is mouthfilling & downright delightful.  Really nice velvety mouthfeel & the tannins are fairly gentle with a very satisfying long finish.  (Please excuse my disjointed comments - I am drinking as I write.)  This wine is freakin' sexy.  Seriously. And graceful.  No rough edges here, even straight out of the bottle.  Oh, & I just got a whiff of pipe tobacco.  I'm both blissfully happy & somewhat sad - this wine rocks, but I will very likely never have this exact wine again.  Sigh.

Ok, enough writing.  I want to thoroughly enjoy this bottle & not get wrapped up in the details.  After all, we bought the wine to really experience it, & I can't do that while attached to a notebook or keyboard.  Whatever you're drinking tonight - even water - I hope you're loving it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Full Circle

The weather in St. Louis was unseasonably warm over the last few days, which caused my allergies to go haywire.  I know I'm not the only one.  After what must have been my 12th sneeze in a row last night, Doug asked me what I wanted to drink.  I knew he meant wine, & after a bit of consideration, I declined.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I said "no" to wine.

I figured it would be a waste of a decent bottle if we opened one.  Even after an overdose of Sinex, my senses of smell & taste were questionable.  Since Doug wasn't suffering from anything other than a long day, he still wanted wine.  Fair enough.

It was during our search for a bottle that Doug A) wanted to drink & B) that I really didn't care about (remember, he calls me the wine warden for a reason), I came to a sudden & somewhat surprising realization...

Me: "Holy shit!  We don't have a single bottle of Merlot!"
Doug:  "That's weird.  We like Merlot."
Me:  "Yes, we do! How in the hell did that happen?"

Doug had no answer other than the problem is easy to fix, & then he decided on a bottle of Argentinian Chardonnay that my boss sent me home with one day.  Just one of the perks of my job. ( Just a warning - I'm about to go slightly off-topic.  Big shock.)  Anyway, he opened it up & I was actually able to smell & taste it....but only because it smelled exactly like banana taffy.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that's a good thing in a Chardonnay.  Waaaay too much banana. Besides that, the finish was really weird.  Doug disagreed, so he poured himself a glass.

About 15 minutes later, after I'd poured myself a Diet Coke & lime flavored rum (not bad!), Doug declared that I was right, the finish sucked & that it's a good thing that my company didn't pick up that line.  I'm not right very often, but man....I really like it when I am.

Enough of my digression.  Back to Merlot.

I woke up this morning & found myself thinking about our lack of Merlot.  I just get like that sometimes.  Luckily for me, I happen to work in a warehouse full of wine, so guess what I brought home?  You guessed it - a bottle of Merlot.

My sinuses are much better tonight, so yay! We're drinking wine.  I guess we both had Merlot on the brain because that's exactly what we're drinking right now.  And it's lovely.  And we're happy.

And now we have no more Merlot.

If that's not enough, after reading another blog, I've realized we also don't have any Petite Sirah.

Here we go again...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

As is the case almost any time we open up a bottle of wine, there's always the question "Which one? What are you in the mood for?"  Doug has labeled me the "wine warden" - & he's right - because I don't always want to open up a special bottle on, oh, a Wednesday night. 

Not that I'm hating on Wednesdays, mind you, but I'm sure you get my drift.

It's gotten to the point in our house that we have a bit of a challenge.  We have quite a bit of wine - if I were to guess how much, I'd say about 80-90 bottles.  Not a tremendous amount, but for 2 people, I'd say that's a decent amount.  The challenge is that we have a lot of really great bottles, some that would be good for 3rd or 4th (or 5th, 6th...) bottles when we have company, & very few bottles that are perfect for a regular Wednesday night.  You know, those go-to under $20 bottles that you really like, can get plenty of anytime, & won't be tragic if the bottle isn't finished at the end of the night. (This rarely happens.)  I know, I know...quite a predicament, & we're going to work on that.

We also have quite a few bottles that have been signed by the winemaker, & I'm sort of a geek with them.  I tend to hang on to them like an 8-year old boy hangs on to a baseball card.  Really.  Which leads us to tonight...

A few months ago, we went to this absolutely fantastic blind tasting "class" with Siduri/Novy winemaker Adam Lee at the St. Louis Wine Market.  I loved every second of this thing (if you don't count the woman that doused herself in perfume & insisted on flitting about the entire room), & perhaps one day I'll get around to writing about it before I forget it.  But not tonight.  Anyway, we bought a bottle of wine that night - the very rare - as in only 94 cases made - 2009 Novy Family Winery Zinfandel - Carlisle Vineyard from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma -  & had Adam sign it...which means that Doug had to guilt me into opening it with "What, he signed it, so now we'll never, ever drink this wine?"

Point taken.  Bottle opened.

Let me summarize by saying this: WOW.  But I'll go into a little more detail.

Did you know that there's a full 1% leeway on alcohol content? Yep, it's true.  So, the label says this Zin clocks in at 15.3%, which is pretty damn high.  Let's not even think about the possibility that it could be 16.3...not that I'm scared.  From the initial nose on this wine, I'd say that it's at least 15.3 - it was pretty hot at first.  But as it usually does with a good bottle of wine, this blows off & you get it.  In this case, the alcohol gave way to very lovely baking spice-filled aromas. 

On the palate, this wine screams luscious dark fruit with cinnamon, & an almost chocolate-like finish. The alcohol, while high, is very well-integrated, in my opinion.  A great Zin, but not necessarily an in-your-face one.  I'd venture to say that it's somewhat restrained.  Just somewhat.  I'm just really digging this wine.  And it just keeps getting better as time goes on.  This is a fairly young wine, & while I would've loved to have held on to it for a bit longer (say, 2-3 years),  I'm glad I'm drinking it now. 

Well, except that I can't run out & get another bottle.  They're probably all sold.  I could get really bummed out about that, but why?  I still have some left in the bottle, & it's not yet bedtime.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Substance is a big deal....

....Wines of Substance, that is.

Doug performed a wedding this weekend for some friends of ours, & they gave us a wonderful thank you gift.  Not only did they give us a gift card to Veritas (if you recall, one of our favorite haunts), but they also had the owner pick out a bottle of wine for us. 

I'm happy to report that he knows us quite well.

He chose the 2009 Wines of Substance Cabernet Franc from Washington.  You see, he knows.

Well-made Cab Franc, plainly stated, rocks.  It's one of my favorite varietals.  This surprised the hell out of a wine dude from Bordeaux that we had brunch with this past Sunday.  That statement alone makes me so incredibly cool.  All of my coolness aside...while Cab Franc is one of the 5 red Bordeaux varietals, it's mostly used for blending in that region.  Really, it's only a major player on its own in the Loire Valley, where the wine is called Chinon after one of the town the vines are grown in. 

Ah, but that's just France.

Doug & I decided to open the Wines of Substance tonight, & WOW.   The nose was heavenly & quite complex.  I picked up some herbal notes like mint - actually, more like a mint tea - & dried cherries.  Maybe some rosemary & some other green stuff.  Not too much, but just enough.  Once I tasted it, I got some raspberry, plum & something like cherry cough drops...the really good ones.  Killer finish - if I timed it, I think it would be well over 30 seconds, but I'm not that big of a dork. I could go on & on, but I'll spare you.  There's no need to get super-technical.  One, I really can't get super technical; two, that gets boring; & three, I want to focus on one of my new favorite bottles.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wow, I almost forgot I have this thing!

Crazy, huh?

Well, it was an almost. Inspiration to write pops up every so often, but unfortunately, the time &/or energy didn't follow.  You know how it is.  My blog silence doesn't mean anything more than that. 

Oh, & yes - I still drink wine.  Quite a bit of it. 

I have some things that I want to write about, but guess what?  I'm short on time.  Perhaps if I hadn't stayed up until 2:00 a.m. drinking wine with our friends...but whatever. 

What can you expect of me in the future?  Well, not much, really.  I'll write when I want about what I want.  I'm not going to write about every wine I drink - now, there's an exhausting concept - & as always, I won't just write about wine.  After all, my life is pretty entertaining. 

So, with that, I hope to not be such a stranger.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doug & Claire's Big Ass Missouri Wine Dump

Yeah, yeah...It's been a long time.  So much time has passed that my pal Kyle over at Sippin' St. Louis called me out on it this past Saturday.  Tonight, inspiration has struck the Uncorked household.

Doug & I have a lot of wine.  Well, we have a lot of wine for what little storage we have, & we had about 10 homeless bottles on top of the bar.  With our penchant for continually buying wine (especially now with my place of employment), this was going to become a problem quickly.  So, I took a good look at one of our wine racks tonight, & saw 9 very dusty bottles of Missouri wine at the bottom.

We decided that it was time to toss it, but not before tasting each one.  We had vintages ranging from 2004 to 2007 in Chambourcin - from a Missouri winery that, in our opinion, makes the best wine in the state - & a Norton/Cynthiana or two from other wineries.  We were told that each of these bottles could handle at least 5 years in the cellar/rack.

They lied.

We opened bottle after bottle, giving each their fair shot.  One wine had turned orange.  One wine had such a sour finish to it that I feared we might have to use Comet to get the taste out of our mouths.  Luckily, we didn't have to resort to such drastic measures - the next wine's lack of anything killed it.  Not one single wine was acceptable, not even the 2007.  Not good, Missouri - not good.

We were now on a mission. Once we'd opened, tasted, & quickly dumped every bottle from Missouri, we grabbed the only one from Illinois.  Again, we were told that this Cynthiana could easily handle 10 or more years. 

I believe you know the outcome.  Poor Truvy was so confused.

We opened up our lone bottle from North Carolina. 


At this point, we just wanted some wine.  We were disheartened yet amused.  I couldn't bring myself to open up our wine from Texas, although after tonight, I don't have high hopes.  We're going to have to open those soon.

So, what are we drinking right now?  A 2005 Hahn Syrah.  We had faith, & we were not disappointed. 

Either that, or our palates were just too roached to know any differently.  Ugh.  I can't bear to think of that possibility.