Friday, February 29, 2008

This Toro Should be in Handcuffs!

We're at Whole Foods on 3rd and Fairfax again. This time our choice is Telmo Rodriguez, Dehesa Gago (aka "g"), from Toro, Spain... umm... 2005??? We don't actually know for sure! The front label says 2005, the back label says 2004! I suppose that's a wee bit illegal, but I like living on the wild side. Let's hope the TTB turns a blind eye...

The bottle states, "without a doubt one of the driest harvests in the last 40 years. A winter without a drop of rain." (We are therefore inclined to believe it's 2005) Drought conditions stress the plant, which develop fewer clusters per vine (and smaller berries to boot) which in turn produce wines of great concentration. There's no irrigation allowed in the EU, so when it's dry, unless there's a special allowance by the government, it's just too bad for the growers. Lucky for us vine stress in moderation is good for quality. "g" has up front primary blackberry and plum flavors, and tons of minerality on the finish. Peter's says, "It tastes very Spanish." An astute observation I think and not bad at all for $15.99... but that mystery vintage is killing me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cheap Bubbles.

Albert Mann, Cremant d'Alsace, NV... this delicious, light, refreshing sparkling wine is $21.99 at Colorado Wine Company. It's totally dry, has nice yeasty, biscuit and apple flavors. A really good every day celebration wine! With Champagne prices out of control, this is a nice drinking Frenchy for a cheapy price.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Cow Goes Moo.

We all know that milk does a body good, but what about a wine bottle with a cow on it? I was intrigued by the wine for two reasons. 1. The original name for Hocus Pocus was Holy Moly, with the idea that subsequent wines would follow the "holy" theme. Like Holy Cow and Holy Mackeral. So I like the name. 2. My friend Daryl is an artist and she gave Peter and I a watercolor illustration of a cow for Christmas two years ago. (pictured) The resemblance is remarkable!

Holy Cow, Merlot, 2006 is from Washington State. It has lots of blue fruit, with herbaceousness and a cough syrup quality on the finish that I attribute to the cooler climate of Washington State and perhaps some phenolic maturity issues (this is a link to a great site on Burgundy that discusses phenolics in wine). But the wine is perfectly pleasant for $13. I mean, what do you people want for $13? A drinkable wine with a fun label is about all you can ask for. Incidentally, this wine is produced by K Vintners / Charles Smith Wines, not to be confused with Charles Shaw. I am not a fan of the Two Buck Chuck. Purchased at Silverlake Wine.

*As a footnote, my friend Daryl would like this wine, my friend Marcel would not.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Zealand at the Wine House

I bought the Huia, Pinot Gris, 2006, Marlborough, New Zealand, from the Wine House ($21.99) about 2 weeks ago. I've been trying to drink more wine from New Zealand not only because I think they are turning out some pretty spectacular wines, but because it's impossible to pass the MW exam without knowing them inside out. We had the Huia Pinot Noir, also a Wine House purchase ($24.99) about a month ago and it was quite pleasant, with rich soft ripe cherry fruit, and at a nice price. It's getting harder and harder to find good Pinot under $30. But the Pinot Gris? I don't know guys. My beef with New Zealand Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc is that they all taste like peas. Canned peas. Green and stewed. This wine had good body and citrus fruit intensity though, so for those of you that don't have an aversion to canned peas, go for it. For me? Icky pee peas. I'll skip the PG and go for the PN. The Wine House has a really good New Zealand section, so check it out, and bug my friend, and co-owner of the Wine House, Jim Knight. Tell him I sent you. He will either treat you like a god or he'll hide in his office and say he has no idea who I am.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Foray Into Whole Foods.

On Sunday I went to brunch with 3 friends to Lilly's in Venice, we were sitting outside enjoying the cool winter air, when they dropped a bomb on me. They all buy their wine at Whole Foods. This isn't a bad thing, it's just shocking to me because I would never buy wine in a grocery store. Why? Well, mostly because of (my perceived) lack of selection and the idea that all grocery stores case stack countless generic wine brands. So I've given myself a challenge. Go grocery shopping and buy wine from Whole Foods. It's only democratic. Tonight Peter and I bought a little Spanish wine, Emilio Moro, Ribera del Duero, 2001 for $19.99 (discounted from $24.99, I love a sale!) from the Whole Foods at 3rd and Fairfax. This is a wine that AOC Restaurant used to pour by the glass, and I remember it fondly. I think it is hands down the BEST BUY that I've ever seen at any grocery store EVER. The fact that it has some age on on only makes it more appealing to me. The texture is velvety, soft and inviting, with sweet dried red fruit... and it's just starting to take on those very pleasant characteristics of aging... a little nutty and complex and delicious!