19 Crimes.

The 19 Crimes 2013 red wine is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir and has an ABV of 13%. It has a real deep garnet color with aromas of red cherry, strawberry and bing cherry with hints of wood and smoke. The flavor is of cherry jam, strawberry, sweet mixed berries and a hint of oak.  On the back palate, a Swiss Miss cocoa powder gives this wine a smooth, velvety, chocolate finish.

I did have this with grilled pork, homemade potato salad & fresh green salad and it went quite well with the meal. I’m sure this wine will pair well with a variety of dishes but I’d like to try it with grilled, skinless chicken breasts smothered in Texas Hot & Spicy BBQ sauce, roasted potatoes and your choice of vegetables. Oh, and corn on the cob wouldn’t hurt either.  I would suggest having several glasses of this wine as it is really tasty.

I’ve seen this wine in the price range of $10.99 to $15.99 depending on which wine merchant I visit, but found this one up in the NH State Liquor store on sale for $9.99. I only bought 2 bottles – foolish me! You also know that I’m not real fond of Australian wines but this one suited my palate very nicely. I’ll have to remember when I go back up to NH or to Table & Vine in West Springfield to look for this wine and get at least a half case of it. For the price you can’t go wrong.

Words and Pictures (2013)

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche portray two teachers at a high school where they strike up a rivalry of their respective passions – art & literature. Owens plays a one-time lit phenom, Jack Marcus, but hasn’t published in a long time. This, along with his alcoholism, may just be his demise and get him fired from the prep school.

Dina Delsanto (Binoche) is an abstract artist debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis and is the new teacher on campus. Jack quickly starts the flirting game by challenging Delsanto to a word game by increasing the number of syllables of words. The flirting then leads to romance but is soon dissolved by Jack’s alcoholic blunder.

Although it appears bleak that Jack and Dina will repair their relationship, the students are engaged in a competition as to whether words are more important than pictures. Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

While watching the movie I enjoyed a red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Sirah produced by Bota Box called RedVolution.

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I know, I know it’s a box wine but for some reason I really enjoyed this with the movie along with some chips & pretzels. I found aromas of plum, blackberry and black cherry. This wine was quite jammy with similar tastes that I found on the nose. And for $19.99 for a 3 Liter box it’s pretty easy on the budget so it gets 7 1/2 wine glasses.

 

 

 

Ghost Pines 2011 Red Blend

I received this as a Christmas gift in 2013 (yeah I know – what took me so long?) and has a delectable blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, Merlot & Sangiovese grape varietals from Sonoma County (56%), Joaquin County (23%) and Napa County (21%) which yielded a deep garnet color with an alcohol by volume of 14.5%.

On the nose were aromas of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry & mulberry. On the palate were a variety of flavors and each time I sipped the wine I got a different combination which was quite a surprise and a fun experience. In addition to the blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry & mulberry flavors I found spice and caramel mixed in with the blackberry combination with nuances of leather, tobacco & pepper – but not always the same.

We paired this with ziti & marinara sauce with Romano & Parmesan cheeses, a side green salad sans Italian bread (which I really missed) and had it on the deck. I’m not sure if the bottle returned to the pantry (where all my opened wines find their resting place) or it was emptied while enjoying it on the deck.

I don’t have a price for you on this wine as it was a gift, but whatever the price, it was worth it – don’t be afraid to bring this to the party and have it be the first one opened.

Here’s to good wine, good food and good friends…

3000 BC 2009 Luscious Scarlett

Summer has finally arrived here in the Northeast. Mother nature certainly took her time – but I’m grateful. Although many believe a clean, crisp white wine fits the bill for a sipping wine while relaxing on the deck with the ideal temperatures and humidity, I still like my reds. The Luscious Scarlett is a South African Stellenbosch blend of 56% Shiraz and 44% Cabernet Sauvignon.

After aerating the wine I went through the ritual of swirling it several times while taking in the aromas each time. On the nose I found ripe plum, black cherry, blackberry, fig and anise. This took several moments as I was really enjoying swirling and sniffing. If anyone passing by would certainly think twice before knocking on the screen door. You know how we wine wannabes can be.

Now it was on to the flavors. Jammy plum, elderberry, boysenberry and fig on the palate with a nice peppery finish. Once the pepper dissipated a velvety chocolate truffle appeared on the back palate which was a nice surprise. It was a lot more than I envisioned – but isn’t that the best part of drinking wine?

Although I tend to drink a bit more white wine in the summer months I did relax on the deck with a glass of this wine reading Wine & War by Don & Petie Kladstrup and their description of the battle for France’s greatest treasure during WWII – wine!

The wine sells for around $14 and the ABV is 14%. Anytime you get a decent wine for under $15 it’s usually worth it.

Here’s to good wine, good food & good friends…

Apothic Rosé 2012

The 2012 vintage of the Apothic Rosé Limited Release California ‘First Cut’ was a mild surprise and one I didn’t expect. But then again, I never know what to expect from a bottle of wine I’ve never tried before.  I picked this up due to the fact I really enjoy the Apothic Red Blend and figured I would like to try this to see how it would compare to other Rosés’ and was pleased with the whole wine experience on this one.

First, this must be chilled to enjoy the complete wine. Second, you can have this with food or have it by itself. I decided to have this with stuffed green peppers & long grain rice. I wasn’t sure how this was going to pair. The sweetness of the wine complemented the roasted pepper with meat filling much better than I anticipated.

The color of the wine was that of raspberry lemonade and per the back label, was a description of its hue “…its vibrant hue from an ancient wine making practice called saignée, which means ‘to bleed’ intense color from the grape’s red skin”. Hmmm, wonder if that equates to raspberry lemonade?? The wine has medium acidity with 13% alcohol by volume and I picked this up for $8.99 ($11 average price from several different wine sites I visited).

Guess you want to know what the aromas and flavors were, huh? On the nose were aromas of apple, strawberry, berry, watermelon, and cherry. This is a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon which produced flavors of strawberry and watermelon and didn’t really have much of a finish to it. There was a dash of sweetness to the wine, more so than in other Rosés’ I’ve had in the past. I’m thinking this would be much more suited to the warmer climates sipping out on the deck on a hot summer night.

 

RH Phillips 2000 Dunnigan Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This bottle of RH Phillips Dunnigan Hills (sorry about the blurry picture) still had a real cork closure and not the screw tops this particular brand went to. I can remember the last time I opened this bottle of wine and it was pretty good. Although this wine was good it didn’t have the intensity it did when I opened another bottle about a decade ago.

I think I bought two of these back ten years ago and the first bottle was pretty good. And if you know me at all you know I can be very patient when it comes to cellaring wine to see how it ages throughout the years.

When you have high hopes for a brand of wine, you sometimes wait a bit too long to open a bottle of wine. I should have opened this a few years ago but it was still a decent wine as it didn’t disappoint with red cherry, red currant and red plum aromas.

On the palate I found flavors of red & black cherry, red & black currant, and red & dark plum. The flavors were decent enough but as I mentioned earlier the intensity and “pop’ of the wine was lacking.

Again, we paired this wine with a beef tenderloin with a baked potato and green beans & steamed broccoli. No dessert followed much to our chagrin but hey we don’t always have a dessert after a good meal. I just need to get better at knowing when to open a cellared bottle of wine.

Guess I need more experience, huh?

Kitchen Sink NV Red Table Wine

I couldn’t resist picking up this bottle for the name alone. So, I had not a clue as to what this would bring to the kitchen table – no pun intended, nah I intended that! Anyway, I’m always in the market for new wines and sometimes I strike it rich, and sometimes not.

This was a fairly decent wine with 12.5% ABV and around $18 for a 750 ml bottle. I had every intention of having this with food. It was supposed to be served with grilled chicken and a fresh garden salad but it just didn’t work out that way, hey – it happens!

It started off with really great aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, elderberry, damp forest floor with hints of moss and earth. So, seeing as this is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah I can understand all the great aromas.

On the palate I got blackberry, black raspberry, dark plum, fig, and black currant flavors. The downside to this wine was the flavors, albeit plentiful, lacked any sustainability. That is, the flavors didn’t last long plus with the $18 price tag I was expecting a bit more. So, pick up a bottle and check it out. You may get a much different impression than I did. Maybe we can compare notes.

 

Mawson’s Hill Block 3 Wrattonbully 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’ve followed this blog long enough then you know I’m not a big fan of Australian wines. I have a tough time wrapping my arms around them. Many of my oenophile friends keep telling me I have to try this one or that one but I never seem to get the chance. So I picked this one on a whim with a cost of around $20 and an ABV of 14.5%.

The Wrattonbully wine region is in Southern Australia’s Limestone Coast which is in the southeastern corner of the state bordering Victoria. The red wines from this region are the mainstay of the Wrattonbully region. The Cabernet Sauvignon varietal is the most planted with Shiraz and Merlot right behind it.

I bought this particular bottle for two reasons. One being I’ve heard good things about the Wrattonbully region and of course the other being that I’m still prodded by my fellow oenophiles to keep trying Australian wines as they’re confident I’ll find one I like eventually.

I may have just found it. This is a medium bodied red wine with nice tannins. On the nose were aromas of mint (yeah, go figure), berry flavors with hints of minerals and earthy notes. The flavors were of elderberry, mulberry, dark berry, and plum. We had this with Bison burgers and it was a good match.

 

 

Preston Ridge Vineyards

This past weekend I awoke on Saturday morning hoping to soak the deck in Australian Timber oil to protect the beautiful cedar boards so I can get our patio furniture out and I can enjoy the warm weather, if it ever comes this year.

It has to, I presume, because the local farmers have all spread manure on their fields and that is a sure sign that spring has sprung. But the only liquid soaking the cedar was from natural resources – rain, that is.

So, I’m moping around the house getting under my better half’s skin as she’s trying to study and I’m trying to have a conversation. So, I was politely told to go do something, go to a winery or something. Well, I don’t need to be prodded to visit a winery. So, I logged on the computer to see where I wanted to go and found a new winery I had not heard of yet.

Preston Ridge Vineyard opened last October but I was unaware as I had already turned in my CT Passport (no, I didn’t win) and was pretty much done for the wine season. Seeing as the vineyard was only 8-9 miles away, I figured what the heck and I gathered my keys to the car and hit the road. It didn’t take long and I was soon at the vineyard.

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After heading down the entrance the tasting room came into view and there were only about five cars in the parking lot and the building seemed to be fairly large so I was excited about visiting a new winery.

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Upon entering the wine bar is just to the right of the entrance. This is where I met Steve and Ann, the owners, and where I began my wine tasting.

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But not before I noticed the 144 bottle wine rack to the right of the wine bar. I have to get one of these wine racks.

I started my wine tasting with their 2011 Fieldstone White which is a blend of Cayuga grapes and it opened with peachy and citrusy notes both on the nose and the palate. Although it wasn’t a real warm day I could envision sipping this on a warm sunny afternoon out on the deck that is, if I ever get the Australian Timber oil on it.

Next up was the 2011 Chardonnay which had peach, apple, and pear aromas and as this was chilled to just about the right temperature the flavor was similar to the aromas as my palate found this to be clean and crisp. As many of you know I am not a real big Chardonnay drinker but I liked this one. On their tasting menu were two other Chardonnays of similar aromas and tastes, however the 2011 Chardonnay Reserve had a real buttery finish on the palate and the 2011 Chardonnay Premier Cellar Reserve finished with vanilla notes on the back palate.

Next up was the 2011 Zundell Farm Rose which was light and refreshing and reminded me of strawberry shortcake sans the cake but with the creamy topping. Again, another good summer sipping wine. This would probably go well with a cheese and fruit tray.

Now I was on to their reds and the first one was the 2011 Cabernet Franc which is one of my favorite reds – actually, reds are my favorites in general. This didn’t disappoint as jammy red raspberry, red currant, and red cherry flavors were plentiful with a slight peppery finish.

Then I tried the 2011 Estate Cabernet Franc and I found much the same as the previous Cabernet Franc but detected hints of plum with the same slight peppery finish. The the last wine on the wine list was the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon which consisted more of the black berry fruits of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, currant with hints of earth and leather.

Well, I thought this was the end of the wine list but Steve and Ann had a few more surprises. I was treated to a few barrel tastings (these are some of my favorite things) and was quite surprised to be offered a couple of Rieslings which weren’t even on the tasting menu. I couldn’t tell you specifically what the two were but the aromas and flavors were of peach, honeysuckle, and pear with slight hints of green apple. Clean, crisp and wonderful, however these won’t get bottled until the fall but worth the wait if you’re a Riesling drinker.

The last one was a Cabernet Franc. I really liked this one and it will be bottled in the winter which was a surprise to me as it tasted perfect. I’ll definitely be back to taste this one again when it’s ready. Bet you’re wondering what the aromas and flavors of the barrel Cabernet Franc – oohhh, you’re going to have to visit the winery and hope they bring some of this up to the tasting room to experience the nuances of this wine.

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When I was leaving I took this picture and I’m not sure what this is but I’d love to turn that into a bocce ball court.

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Now this is the way to do a wine tour!

 

 

Root 1 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

This bold red wine is produced in the Colchagua Valley in Chile and has a 13.5% ABV with a price tag of around $14 give or take a few bucks. This started with black currant, blackberry, licorice, smoked bacon, leather and earth notes on the nose. For me this is some pretty good aromas to start off with.

Once I was done wafting in the aromas, I found blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry, and mocha flavors with a hint of licorice and light pepper. A mix of mocha and chocolate on the back palate and finish rounded out the tasting on this wine.

We paired this with a beef stir fry with crunchy broccoli, snap peas, onions, green pepper, celery and mushrooms over long grain rice.

Root 1 does have a Carmenere that is supposed to be pretty good so I need to find a bottle of this and try it. If any of you have tried the Carmenere – please drop me a note and let me know what you experienced.