Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mixed bag

Some brief notes on some wines consumed last week when my father-in-law passed through town:

I really enjoyed the inexpensive 2007 Windfall Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi for its fruit and spice. Not too serious, but a great quaffer.

I've enjoyed many, many bottles of the Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press, Vin de Table (2008 bottling), but this one was sadly not showing very well. Not sure where all the bright raspberry fruit of previous bottles has gone, but it wasn't here.

I think we went through 3 or 4 bottles of the 2008 Sean Minor 4 Bears Pinot Noir, Carneros. Really delivers with vanilla-oak and sweet strawberry and cherry flavors. What more could one ask for from a $15 Pinot Noir?

The 2006 Felsina Lucilla, IGT is a serviceable Tuscan red blend to be enjoyed with pizza or pasta and red sauces.

I'm glad I drank the last of my 1995 Banfi Summus, Montalcino at this time. Shows uncanny amounts of licorice. Medium-bodied, but the tannins are fully integrated and the fruit is receding. Better palates than mine may recommend aging this longer, but I say "drink up!" Quite enjoyable with a traditional bistecca alla fiorentina.

The 2006 Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra, California is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend that offers tons of licorice, sweet/tart blackberry and toasty French oak. Full-bodied with dusty tannins and a long finish.

I'm a huge fan of the Hell's Kitchen TV reality show and I figured opening my lone bottle of 2006 Jada Hell's Kitchen, Paso Robles seemed appropriate for the season finale. This blend of 40% Syrah, 28% Grenache, 16% Tannat and 16% Mourvedre was quite layered and complex. You can really taste the blackberry and spice from the Syrah, the raspberry of the Grenache, the earthy leather of the Mourvedre and the structure and tannin of the Tannat. A bit pricey at $40 (from the winery), but a very well made wine.

A grilled salmon salad was faithfully accompanied by the 2005 Trivento Select Chardonnay, Mendoza. I was initially a bit worried about opening an inexpensive 2005 Chardonnay thinking it might be on its downhill slide. But the wine was fresh and youthful with pear and apple flavors and just a hit of oak.

The 2007 Chateau Beauchene Cotes-du-Rhone Villages is textbook C-d-R with sweet/tart raspberry fruit and a bit of briny green peppercorn. Well done.

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