Apothic White Winemaker’s Blend 2013

Apothic WhiteThe 2013 Apothic White Winemaker’s Blend cost a mere $8.99 a bottle with an ABV of 12% and had  an array of aromas and flavors that really surprised me. I like the red blend from this vintner so I thought I would give this one a try.

The second weekend of August was not as hot as the start of the month but was in the upper 70’s to low 80’s with a nice Northwesterly wind (red wine drinking in my book) but it still did not deter me from continuing my quest to find as many good, decent, inexpensive white wines for summer sipping.

The wine was pale yellow in color with good clarity and a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. Not sure what the percentages were but based on the aromas and flavors it was done just right.

On the nose I found pear, apple, melon and fresh squeezed lemon juice. The palate was a concoction of peach, melon, pear, and lemon rind with hints of sweet lemonade. The finish was that of sweet apricot iced tea. My only regret was not having another glass with the meal. I think it would have paired quite well. Another day perhaps?

The meal consisted of zucchini boats – huh?? Actually it’s a zucchini cut lengthwise and the insides scooped out and stir-fried with onions, broccoli and ground pork (you could use any other meat – ground beef, ground bison, ground veal, ground sausage and any other veggies you’d like to add in) and then baked in the oven until the outer zucchini was cooked but not mushy.

 

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…

Jacqueline Bahue 2012 Red Angel

Here is another selection I received from Naked Wines. I was mildly surprised with the Jacqueline Bahue Rosé I reviewed a couple of posts ago. And I’m not a real big Rosé fan but hope to try this one again in the summer while out on the deck.

Well, back to this red blend and I’m not sure what this wine’s blend varietals are but I’d guess it contains the major varietals we all see in most red blends. This opened on the nose with mostly a black berry aroma with a hint of Bing cherry. The flavors were of black berry with hints of berry jam and black cherry. There was some oak in the flavor.

This did not pique my interest a whole lot and doubt I would purchase again. Not that it isn’t worth it, but it’s that I have tried so many really good wines that are as good if not better and for the same price (around $10).

This has a screw top as did all the wines I received from Naked Wines. With a 14.2% ABV it had decent tannins and an okay balance. I had this stand alone so I don’t know if it would have gone better with food or not.

 

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.

 

Small and Small At Large 2012

Not the strangest name I’ve heard and yes, this is another selection from NakedWines.  Again, this has a screw top closure and has an alcohol content of 14.2%. Actually the six bottles of wine I received were all screw tops – what is the wine industry coming to? Although I do recognize the dilemma wineries face with cork and the possibility of losing up to 3% of your wine production can be costly.

Back to the Small and Small At Large, The color of the wine was dark red and I got black cherry, blackberry, strawberry, tobacco and leather notes on the nose which was quite pleasing. On the palate was a dominant black cherry flavor with hints of strawberry jam more so than fresh strawberries. I don’t have an issue with either flavor as I’m fond of fresh strawberry and strawberry jam (if it’s seedless).

The wine was decent for the price but for a very young wine (2012 vintage) the first sip seemed to be a bit flat or should I say it didn’t have that spark that glitters in your eye when tasting a wine. I did notice however that after a day or two in the pantry, the wine improved in flavor. I wouldn’t think a young wine would require a lot of decanting. Normally I pour this through my aerator but didn’t. I’ll remember next time though. You can find this at the Angel’s price of $8.50 (regular price of $19.99 – I wouldn’t buy this at that price) but the majority of wine sites I searched were selling this wine at under the $10 range.

Jacqueline Bahue Rosé Lodi 2012

The Jacqueline Bahue Rosé Lodi 2012 has an ABV of 12.3% and is the second of six bottles I received from NakedWines. Still a bottle of wine with a screw top closure (will I ever see a cork again???), at least I didn’t have to search for the corkscrew – like that’s really a problem huh? Anyway, this had a fruit punch color but stopped there as it began with a very nice fresh strawberry aroma. After swirling it for a bit I was able to detect a nice floral bouquet with hints of Peach Melba. And at the very end I picked out a hint of tart cranberry. I’ll have to tell you I was quite pleased with what I smelled so far as it gave me hope that the flavor would follow the nose’s lead so to speak.

On the palate a nice burst of fresh strawberry flavor abounded past the ‘ol taste buds and found ripe apricot on the back palate. Oh, but that wasn’t the end of the experience as the aftertaste was of creamy strawberry yogurt. This wine costs $14.99 on the Naked Wines website (see above link) but if you’re an “Angel” (still need to do my homework on this) the cost drops to $8.99, but I did find where this sells for around $8.99 on most sites I searched.

We paired this with baked chicken breasts (skinless) with a BBQ sauce concoction of Jack Daniels BBQ, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco brand hot sauce. We accompanied the chicken with Rice Pilaf (chicken style) and mixed veggies (regrettably from the can, but we survived) and surprisingly the wine and food went quite well. I also tried this stand alone and this would make a great summer sipping wine out on the deck on a warm summer eve with a bunch of friends to hang out with.

 

 

Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012

Seeing as the holidays are over and might be some of the best and worst times of the year. Shoppers abound with good intent only to come home frustrated and tired with little to show for their efforts. Crowds are at an enormous level testing the small amount of patience we have left after we cannot find a parking spot – and we haven’t even started shopping yet. Even e-shoppers get the blues with out of stock items and Internet glitches.

However, we do have the ability to relieve all that stress of getting over the holidays by experimenting with new wines. I received a coupon from my brother for $50 off wine from NakedWines. So, I opted for one of their packages and selected a six-pack of wine which cost me a total of $11.68 for the six bottles which included the cost of shipping. I really can’t complain about the price but that never stopped me before… Seeing as the holidays were over and I wanted to start getting back into trying wines again I decided it was time to experiment with the wines I just received.

The first of the 6 bottles I opened was a Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012 red wine from California. I couldn’t find out a whole lot about this wine other than the Naked Wine website. All I know is this – it’s a red blend (not sure of the grape varietals) and that’s about it…This had an ABV of 13.8% and a screw top closure. Both the aroma and flavor was dominated by black cherry – a real strong black cherry. It was difficult for me to pick out anything else but the black cherry. However, given enough time I was able to detect a bit of blackberry on the nose, nothing more on the palate though. I had this stand alone and the following day it did seem to have a bit more body and flavor but not much. According to the Naked Wine website this costs $24.99 (regular cost), $10.99 (Angel price) – I’d have to do more research on what constitutes an “Angel”. This wine leaned toward the semi-sweet scale rather than a semi-dry red wine. More to come on the other bottles I received and of course from the other 50 or so bottles in my wine cellar that I have not tried yet. Well – best I get to drinking…uh, I mean tasting those wines! Will they be gems???

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?

Adelaida 2009 Claudia

*Disclaimer: I received this wine from Griffin Estate Wines

The day started off with a brisk 50 minute walk around the neighborhood, then a few cups of coffee and a mindset that this was going to be a relaxing day. Well, my better half had other plans as she decided that cleaning the vinyl siding of our house was her project for the day. After 41 years of marriage, she pretty much has me pegged and knowing that eventually I’d come out of my relaxing day to help out. Yeah, I’m one of those that likes to procrastinate about household projects – and it works for me!

I decided that I’d give the power washer we bought a few of years ago a try. It took a couple of yanks but it eventually came to life and we added some detergent to the machine and started cleaning the house. It took about two hours with running to the local hardware store for a set of “o” rings that fell apart while washing the siding but it was finally finished. We couldn’t believe the results as it almost looked as if we just got the house re-painted.

Word to the wise though, if you decide to power wash your home do it when it’s the middle of summer with ambient temperatures reaching the mid-90s, not in October with temps at 68 degrees. Both my wife and I were soaked to the bone and chilled, although I did put on a raincoat about halfway through. So, after a long hot shower I decided it was time to make the noon day meal and open a bottle of wine to start the whole process.

After opening the bottle of wine to let it breath a bit, I seasoned two beef tenderloins that were about 2 1/2 inches thick with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Although we are the tale of two cooks concerning the “doneness” of the steaks as my wife prefers a medium to well done cooked center (hence I’ve gotten used to butterflying one steak) and mine are usually ‘mooing’ to me when it hits my plate. But I’ve gotten pretty good with setting the outdoor grill to about 400 degrees and grilling the tenderloins at about 6-8 minutes on one side, then 4-6 minutes on the other side. Whiling I was grilling the steaks the other cook was preparing garlic mashed potatoes and wax beans to finish off the meal. And of course I have to have freshly cut Italian bread too.

What really amazed me was the wine we opened to serve with the meal. Adelaida is in the Paso Robles region which consistently produces great wine. And the 2009 Claudia was no exception. It has a deep garnet color with pretty decent tannins. The 2009 Claudia has an ABV of 14.5% and is a red blend of Grenache (38%), Mourvedre (29%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (11%) and Counoise (2%) and if you’ve read this blog long enough you know I’m particularly fond of red blends. It’s reasonably priced as I researched the following sites at WineWise, Ancona’s, and Wine-Searcher for price ranges. They all showed $19.99.

It opened with a very dominate black raspberry jam aroma but after swirling in my wine glass, a black cherry aroma emerged to open my ‘nose’ senses. Then after repeating the swirling process a few more times, a very pleasant concoction of tobacco, forest floor, wild mushroom, moss and boysenberry aromas awoke to finish off the experience. It took a while to open the aromas but when it did open it was wonderful. I got flavors of black currant, boysenberry, black cherry, thyme, cigar box and pepper. A slight hint of anise was found on the back palate. This wine was great as either a stand alone wine (I had another glass of this wine after lunch while reading in the sunny portion of the deck) or served with a meal. This would also be a great wine to bring to a party as you know it would be received well by the most discriminating of wine palates.

My wife thought it was fantastic and we don’t always agree on wine selections. But I do know if she says its “fantastic”, then it’s a really good wine because her wine rating system is “I like it” or “I don’t like it” which varies from my 1-10 wine glasses rating system.  I’m hoping I can get my hands on a case before it is sold out as I’m excited about having this as a staple in the Witless Whiner’s Cellar.

Oh, did I mention we topped off the wine experience with a Reese’s Pieces Hot Fudge Sundae? Well, it was almost a perfect match for the wine but a chocolate cheesecake may have been the ideal dessert for this particular opened bottle. Maybe on the next bottle perhaps…