Monday, April 28, 2008

Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 – California

Smoky blackberry nose. Wonderful clear, deep red/purple color. This Cab has meaty tastes, firm tannins, and lots of oak. Not too well integrated, a little harsh. Maybe. $8 on sale (usually about $13).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling Eroica 2006 – Washington

This is the product of a joint venture between Washington’s Chateau St. Michelle and Germany’s Dr. Loosen wineries. This particular bottle showed to us what a difference a vintage can make. We hadn’t had this wine in a couple of years, but had previously thought of it almost as Tokaji-like, with a wonderful balance of sweetness and acid. Now, however, this time around we’re less impressed. The wine starts with a floral, citrus, and honey nose, and the tastes come on as kiwi, honey, grapefruit, and pineapple. It’s probably that grapefruit tinge that takes it down several notches from our previous memories of other vintages. Yes (if future tastings reveal more of the “older” style), or Maybe (if they are like this bottle). About $25

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Concannon Petite Sirah 2005 – California

Concannon was one of the early California pioneers, and while it’s now owned by one of the big wine conglomerates, the company is still making nice wine, if this bottle is any indication. Petite Sirah isn’t very well known, but by now you probably know our general enjoyment of less-known variatels. Sometimes, Petite Sirah can be, as a winemaker once said to us, “wine that stains your teeth black.” Those monster wines have their place, but this Concannon is easy enough for everyday drinking. It has some pepper/spice on the nose, and tastes of boysenberry and pepper. Not to belittle it, but it’s sort of halfway between a Zinfandel and a Syrah, showing Zin’s fruitiness and Syrah’s spicyness. Francesca said it’s sort of “regal” or “proud,” with a character that she called almost old-fashioned. House. $14 (we got it for $12 on sale).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tepana Garnacha 2006 – Spain

A second nice Spanish red from Tepana. (See our Tempranillo review.) Nose is pleasant but simple – dark, maybe smoky/spicy fruit. Some nice blackberry tastes, with white pepper and maybe even a hint of lemon. Not heavily tannic, and decently smooth for an inexpensive red. Yes. $8 on sale, $12 regularly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oyster Alfredo & Chardonnay

Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2004 – California
This dark straw yellow wine opens with a nose of honeysuckle and baked apple. The wine is a big, creamy, rich, smooth California style. Tastes of burnt honey and oak, along with thick butterscotch. Interestingly, this tasted very little like the 2002 Santa Cruz Mountains Home Ranch Chardonnay we reviewed awhile back. This had none of the minerals and earth of the earlier vintage. As much as we love Ridge wines, because of the heavy style of this 2004, we’d give it a Maybe. About $35.

Oyster Alfredo
We used tortellini, but any large, chunky pasta (rigatoni, thick fettucini) would do. (As one of our Italian food gurus said, “thick sauce, thick pasta; thin sauce, thin pasta.”)

  • Sauté oysters in butter and thyme; remove from pan (save pan juices)
  • Optionally, you can also sauté quartered mushrooms and thick-chopped onions, either with the oysters or separately
  • Cut large oysters into about quarters; if small, use whole
  • Mix a jar of commercial Alfredo sauce, some dry white wine, thyme, sage, the butter and liquid from the oyster pan, and a tiny splash of Tobasco or similar hot sauce
  • Add the oysters to the sauce, and pour over pasta

Monday, April 14, 2008

White Zinfandel/Chardonnay & Garbanzo Chimichangas

Beringer White Zinfandel & Chardonnay 2006 – California
This is Beringer’s “new” white zin – an 80/20 blend of zinfandel and chardonnay. It retains the wonderful strawberry nose. It’s darker pink than the regular white zin (odd, as it’s blended with a white). Deeper tastes, strawberries, and not quite as soft as the regular white zin. The Chardonnay gives it some weight and depth. House/Yes. $7.50

We made Garbanzo Chimichangas, adapted from Horn of the Moon cookbook. The light Rose wine went well with them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Avery Lane Shiraz 2003 – Washington

Green pepper on the nose, and a range of tastes including mint, lemon balm, paprika, and spice. Ken thought it almost like a Petite Sirah (which is a different but related grape). This is quite different from most Washington state Shiraz, but a nice change. There is almost a tomato-like acidity. Strange, but good. Yes. $5 on sale, usually about $11.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Columbia Crest Shiraz 2003 Grand Estates – Washington

Smoother, deeper, richer, more integrated than the Columbia Crest Two Vines Syrah (previously reviewed, and a House wine). Is it worth 50% more? It’s up to you. Ken thinks so; Francesca thinks that the Two Vines is just as good. Francesca Yes; Ken House. $10 on sale, usually about $13.