Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Barnard Griffin 2006 Fume (Sauvignon) Blanc 2006 – Washington

The nose is mildly floral, not a lot of nuances. Tastes are of lemon/lime and floral. Very smooth and nice. It’s interesting that this is called a “Fume” Blanc, a name which was created by Mondavi back in the 1960s. This is a nice intermediate style between New Zealand’s brightness and California’s smoky/creaminess. Eminently drinkable with food or by itself. We were pleasantly surprised by the Barnard Griffin Cabernet/Merlot, and very pleased with this wine. House. $9 on sale, retail usually about $10.50

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barnard Griffin Cabernet-Merlot NV – Washington

What a nice surprise. We’re not big Cab or Merlot fans, but this is a wonderful addition to our House wine list. The nose is smoky and meaty. Tastes of beef, prune, walnuts, and grape skins. This is rich, full, almost chocolaty. The more of Barnard Griffin wines we try, the more we like. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc. House. $9.50/12

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cambria Chardonnay Unwooded 2006 – California

This opens with a great floral, herbal, and almost perfumy nose. Tastes are of green apples and a little grassiness. It’s bright and crisp, with nice acidity. This shows what chardonnay can be like when the sometimes massive overdoses of oak are left out. Yes. (We don’t remember the price, but most of Cambria’s mailing-list wines are in the $20-25 range.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Three Chimneys Restaurant Review, Isle of Skye, Scotland

We’re not ones to usually post restaurant reviews on this blog, but we recently had a dinner that was so far over the top that we thought we’d share our experience.

On the Isle of Skye, Scotland, is a totally out-of-the-way restaurant that embraces local ingredients and offers a multi-course dining experience such as what one might find at famous Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, Napa, or Paris.

Dinner at The Three Chimneys restaurant can be either a traditional three-course meal, or the spectacular Seven Courses of Skye. We had the seven-course dinner (which with appetizer, cheese, and dessert turned out to be more like 9 or 10 courses), and would suggest that if you’ve traveled that far for a meal you might as well go with the best.

Not on the list of the seven courses is an amuse bouche (appetizer) of the day. This was followed by....

Loch Dunvegan Langoustines with Tattie Scones & Glendale Organic Mesclun

Colbost Crab risotto with Shellfish Essence and Truckle Wafer

A Selection of Broadford Cold & Hot-Smoked Fish with Croft Quail Eggs

Sconser King Scallop with Hazelnut Crust, Pickled Winkles, Split Pea & Ham Hough Purry, Claret Jus

Three Loch Harport Oysters with Cucumber & Mint Jelly, Homemade Crème Fraiche, Smoked Herring Roe

Roast Glenhinnisdal Lamb Loin with Kidney, Heart, Liver & Hairst Bree

Highland Cheeses with Our Oatcakes

Three Chimneys Hot Marmalade Pudding Soufflé with Drambuie Syrup & Mealie Ice Cream

When we were there, this menu was £65 per person – an astounding bargain. We started the meal with a half bottle of Domain Seguin Pouilly Fume 2006 (Sauvignon Blanc)

and continued with a premier cru white Burgundy as our main wine – a Marie & Marc Vincent Santenay Beaurepaire 2003 (Chardonnay). Both wines were excellent, and good matches for the primarily seafood menu.

The wait staff are young and reasonably knowledgeable, and asked each diner if there was any part of the seven courses that they couldn’t eat, as a substitution or two was available. Francesca declined the lamb course, and thus had another fish offering.

Pan-Fried Mallaig Hake & Razor Fish with Root Vegetable Dauphinoise, Puy Lentils,
Cumin Cauliflower, Orbost Herb & Garlic Salsa

Overall, we’d say it was one of the best meals of our lives.

You'll definitely need reservations very far in advance at the Three Chimneys Restaurant.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2006 – France

We know we’re biased against most Bordeaux wines – both red and white. We love French Burgundies (again, both red and white), but can’t seem to warm up to Bordeaux. This Mouton Cadet has been around for decades (and we hadn’t had a bottle in many years), and is known as an inexpensive, reliable entry to red Bordeaux blends (most often primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc – in that order). Reliable? – maybe; Inexpensive? – yes; Good? – not in our opinion. This seems like just another Weak Red Wine. Nose is pleasant, with some plum and hints of seriousness. But the tastes go downhill from there – watery, little fruit, no depth or even hints of elegance. Maybe it will go better with pizza tomorrow night. [It didn’t.] No. $9 on sale, $11 usually.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bolla Valpolicella 2006 – Italy

We distinctly get some red bell pepper on the nose. This has smoky, beefy tastes that are rather dry and rough. Raisins and roasted chili peppers. Significant, but not harsh, tannins. Maybe. $8 on sale, normally about $10.