2006 Robert Stemmler Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir

March 31st, 2011

I did not pick this bottle out, nor do I think I ever would have. I like Pinot Noir, but I typically find it to be a safe pick with guests and generally unremarkable. This wine was picked out for me at a dinner recently and I had an open mind. Delicious. Russian River Pinots, in my experience, have a reputation for minerality. And that quality is something that I feel needs to be handled with care. Robert Stemmler made it easy for me; this wine did not have that Earthy flavor. It was probably a little more "new world," so keep that in mind if you prefer the old style. According to the website this producer has an intense focus on Pinot Noir (they feature 3 different Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay). From that specialization you hope to taste the expertise and I certainly did. A quick google search suggests this is a $40 bottle. On my budget, this is a celebration wine, but maybe I will be more lenient now with what qualifies as a celebration so I can have another bottle of the 2006 Robert Stemmler Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Wine of the Month - July, 2009

June 24th, 2009
2007 Monte Oton Garnacha
2007 Monte Oton Garnacha

| Discuss it |

Wine of the Month - May, 2009

April 27th, 2009
2007 A to Z Pinot Gris
2007 A to Z Pinot Gris

| Discuss it |

2006 Kiwi Red Pinot Noir

April 10th, 2009

This was the first pinot I have had from New Zealand, a wine country popular primarily for its Sauvignon Blanc. I was excited to try another varietal from the area. This was a very fragrant wine. It smells good and tastes good. My only complaint is that this wine finishes like Jesse Owens -- at Olympic speed. The taste disappears so fast it will play games with your memory -- Did I just have a sip or not? -- but then again this is a $8-9 bottle of wine. You want long-lasting finishes, maybe you should spend a little more. All in all this was a decent effort. At this price point I think this is a fine pick to take a bottle (probably two) to a friend's house for dinner. This would also be a good wine to have on hand one night when it's time to open that third or fourth bottle of pinot noir.

2007 Chateau Bianca Pinot Noir

April 3rd, 2009

This wine sort of dispells two of my theories on Pinot Noir, well the one that Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley is super, super overpriced is not necessarilly my theory. The one that is mine is a little strange. I normally think that the worse a Pinot smells, the better it will taste. I cannot explain it, but there you have it. Admittedly I am unable to decipher many different aromas, but I typically find Pinot to be quite pungent on "the nose." This particular bottle was more subdued. But I think this wine is very drinkable. Most Willamette Pinots will run you north of $30 and you're paying for the reputation of the Valley. This wine is $16-17 (and is even available at Whole Foods).

This is not a great wine, but it is the most moderately priced Oregon Pinot I have stumbled upon that I consider to be worth drinking.

Wine of the Month - April, 2009

March 26th, 2009
2007 The Velvet Devil Merlot
2007 The Velvet Devil Merlot

| Discuss it |

2005 Kathryn Kennedy Winery Lateral

March 18th, 2009

This is an exciting bottle from the moment the cork is removed. I have experienced few wines with as much aromatic presence as this has. For a moment I even considered not drinking it because if I did I would have nothing left to smell...but that was a very brief moment. This wine has a tremendous balance of flavors from its blend of 50% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. The subtle tannins and light acid give Lateral depth without losing focus. The wine has great, creamy texture and it lingers in your mouth for an enjoyably long time. This wine really perpetuates my feeling that Merlot, when done well, can be excellent.

The 2005 is no longer available from the winery, but the 2006 is listed at $36. At that price point, this is not an everyday wine for anyone I know. But this is a great wine for an occasion of any magnitude.

1995 Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Gran Reserva

March 13th, 2009

This was a phenomenal wine. I didn't buy it, but I was assured it was less than $30 from the person who did buy it. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is probably very difficult to come by at this point. The place from which my friend bought this bottle had apparently lost a case of it in a back room and stumbled upon it then sold it all. So it's gone. But we did get this bottle.

This wine was the only one I've had that by smell alone was able to transport me back to my first wine-country experience. There was some heavy oak, which may turn some people off, but it was comforting to me to be reminded of when I was standing in a room full of brand new French oak. I may get crucified for this, but this wine reminded me immediately of the smells of Opus One -- the wine and the vineyard.

This was only my second Gran Reserva and I was surprised at how much more complex it was than the other one that I've had and the Reservas and Crianzas I have had in the past. Did I mention that it was phenomenal? This really was a treat.

2007 Tamarí Malbec Reserva

March 6th, 2009

This is a Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina. In Huarpe, the language indigenous to Mendoza, Tamarí means "to do everything with passion." The name is as much poetic as it is indicative of the quality of this wine. Much to my chagrin, in most markets Tamarí Malbec is a restaurant-only wine. I will have to accept that this a very tasty, deep purple wine with its soft tannins will only be mine on a night out. And I am lucky to have a place locally that serves it. I find this wine drinkable right away, but it may benefit from any time you can let it breathe. I'll just come out and say it, This is the best Malbec I've had.

A bottle of the 2007 Tamarí Malbec would run you $10-12 retail, and I would probably have a case in my closet cellar right now if I could get my hands on one.

Wine of the Month - March, 2009

March 3rd, 2009
2007 Domaine Mas du Bouquet Côtes du Rhône
2007 Domaine Mas du Bouquet Côtes du Rhône

| Discuss it |