Monday, March 30, 2009

Cry wolf.

Ca'Viola, Barbera d'Alba, Brichet, 2006.

Even I will admit that the label is a little weird. Why does the wolf appear to be smiling? Is he drunk? His eyes are a little off kilter. That said, we really liked this wine. A little wood and dark plummy fruit with good acidity, I found this to be a terrific high end Barbera. Very pleasing to me palate. Perfect for a cold night by a romantic fire. Growl!

We bought it so long ago I can't quite remember where we got it. I think its available (or once was available!) at Rosso Wine Shop for around $30. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

I dig Graves.

Graves, Monkey Wrench, Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles, 2007. 

I had this at the Diane Harder tasting at Campanile a few weeks back and it was one of my favorite finds! Lovely floral notes, jasmine, great soft texture that somehow, even though its grown in Paso, is able to maintain nice acidity, and just really well balanced. Easy drinking, perfect for spring. Perfect for a rich cream sauce.... actually come to think about it, anything is perfect for a rich cream sauce. I believe it has a very light touch of RS, maybe 2 g/l, but now I can't remember. Typical!

I asked why it was called Monkey Wrench and the beautiful young female winemaker, Hilary, told me because it's such a  pain in the ass wine to make. Something always goes wrong with it. I like that. She makes many more wines, GSM sorta blends, with names like Rock Candy and Trim Stinger. 

It's a family business, Hilary, her hubby and her dad. BUT the problem is I don't actually know where you can find it. Has anyone seen it here in LA? If not, that's just too bad!!!! On wine-searcher, it looks like its available at the Wine Connection for $21.99. A long drive, but a great price for a really great little wine. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Loire wine blog.

Jean- Francois Merieau, Le Bois, Jacou, Touraine, 2007. 

Hey look! We're in the Loire again, but this time it's not Cabernet Franc. Yahoo! Instead, it's Gamay. 

This is another wine my friend Jill from Domaine 547 dropped off at my house. She and her husband went to eat at Umami Burger and her hubby, Jesse, did not like the wine. And since we live so close to Umami Burg Peter and I reaped the rewards, we got the sloppy seconds. I'm never opposed to that. I prefer them a little broken in... if you know what I mean. 

Anyhoo, I really like this wine. From a single block of vines, 40-60 years old. It's super light, with an elegant and lean mouthfeel, bright bing cherry fruit. Not complex, just pretty, and not pretty like a Barbie doll, pretty like that fresh faced girl next door. You know, pretty like me. HA!

Ok, enough about me. (Actually can there EVER be enough about me? To all my smart ass friends: DO NOT answer that question.) This wine is available at K&L for $17.99.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

From the land of goat cheese.

Le Clos Delorme, Valencay, 2006. 

To me, Valencay has always been synonymous with goat cheese, but now it's expanded to include red wine. Crazy, I know!

My friend, Jill, of Domaine 547, picke dhtis up at K&L and their website says, "A happy little blend of hand harvested 40% Gamay, 30% Cot (Malbec), 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Pinot Noir all grown in sand, gravel and clay soils and then fermented and aged in tank." Malbec in the Loire??? Who knew? 

Jill dropped an open bottle of this off later in the evening on Sunday and since we were already nursing another bottle, I had a little sip and put it in the fridge. Monday night Peter was out of town so when I got home from aoc I was scrounging around the kitchen looking for a glass of something, anything really and remembered that this was in the fridge. It held up really well overnight in the bottle, and so I say this is a good single person's wine or a good wine for someone who's spouse doesn't drink (crazy!) or for sometimes lonely girls like me. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Of the belly.

Dalla Pancia, Chianti, 2006. 

Now, the truth is, I love this little wine and not just because it is again, another Amy and Peter venture! It is my favorite of all the projects we have been involved in. If no one else likes it I will drink the last 330 cases myself. 

Dalla Pancia means 'of the belly' and has been like the smart, nerdy child who prefers to go to the spelling bee while her sisters, aka Hocus Pocus and Genuine Risk, go out for Lacrosse and Cheerleading. It's just really understated and shy little baby. But it's a late bloomer. 

I will be the first to admit that when it first arrived it was a little, shall we say... primary. But in the last 5 months it has really evolved and that primary tanky quality has been replaced by a nice spicy complexity on the finish and I can actually now tell that the wine spent time in large foudres as opposed to tank. I know that sounds dumb, but many I things I say sound dumb, somehow that doesn't stop me from saying them. HA! 

Lots of fresh cherries, clean red fruit, high acidity and a light spiciness on the finish. It really is great with food and that new AWESOME show on VH1, "Tough Love". 

It's available at Palate, Woodland Hills Wine Co., Wine House, El Vino, Lucques, AOC (of course!) and the soon to open Tavern in Brentwood. It retails around $17. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Check mate.

Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil, "Galichets", 2006. 

Yes my friends, ANOTHER Cab Franc. You know, it's THE recession wine in my opinion. The great yet undiscovered area in the world where wine prices are so reasonable for the high quality level. Well, I guess German Riesling is up there on my list too. But we ain't talking about Riesling today. I read that in 2001 they cut yields almost in half in order to improve quality. We dig low yields no matter what Richard "Sunlight into Wine" Smart says and believe that is a necessary ingredient in producing high quality wine. 

This wine was perfect. Literally. 
Soft red fruit? check. 
Moderate alcohol? check. 
Low to moderate tannins? check. 
Moderate to high acidity? check. 

It's $21.99 at El Vino in Venice. Tell Bart I sent you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Holy Boly.

Holus Bolus, Syrah, 2007. 

I love the new vintage! And not just because the winemaker is so cute and happens to be legally tied to me for eternity. Peter says, "It's the best Holus Bolus we've ever made and has the most balance. It's super fresh."

This wine contains about 30% declassified Piedrasassi, meaning it's rich and delicious. It comes from 6 different vineyards in Los Alamos and Santa Ynez. It has great acidity and these very lovely old school black olivey notes. Me likey a lot!

It's just released this week but is already available at PalateBlair's in Silverlake and Wine House

Retails for $25-$28. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hmm... am I having a bad week or is it just me?

Falchetto, Pian Scorrone, Barbera d'Asti, 2007.

I picked this wine up from a small retail store I happened to drive by in Atwater Village called 55 Degrees. The store had lots of semi-expensive Italian wines in that $30-$45 price range. I had a hard time finding one I wanted for $20, but they have a large selection and maybe I was just in a rush and not looking hard enough. It's just that if it were up to me (which I guess it is), I'd drive to Montrose to Rosso for a more focused Italian inventory.  

When I saw this, I thought SCORE! I totally dig Barbera and it was $22.99, so in my price range. 

BUT, like the Aussie wine below, this wine ended up just not being for me. Actually, we ended up drinking about 3 sips and saying, this ain't working! and abandoning with the wine barely below the shoulder. 

However, that doesn't mean it wasn't a decent wine. I just have trouble with what I call "tanky wines" It just tasted like it was made in a tank. Loads of very primary raspberry and strawberry fruit and moderate plus acidity, if you like those qualities you will like this wine. And 55 degrees is worth checking out because its a family run business and we love family run businesses. And they do tastings in a very cute little basement area. 

If anyone else has tasted this or been to 55 degrees I'd love to know you're thoughts!! 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Babies and bets.

Yesterday we bottled 2007 Hocus Pocus. I think it's our best vintage yet. Really, I'm not just saying that because it's the wine we have to sell now. 

I always sit on the bottling wine and write on a few bottles with a silver paint pen. Usually I write about whatever is on my mind. I've written long passages about wanting to eat donuts and Paris Hilton. That sounds weird. I don't mean I write about eating Paris Hilton, I just meant about Paris Hilton in general. But yesterday I wasn't in that sort of mood. I was pensive. So I wrote about the universe. I drew stars on the bottles. I made wine bottle art. And then I let the bottles dry and put them randomly back in the line and sat and wondered where they would end up and who would hold these bottles in their hands in a few months. And where would we be? 

It really is like giving birth to another child, except without the labor and the pain. And the pregnancy. And the hormone issues. Other than that, it's JUST LIKE IT. 

We are off to Texas to go to a wedding today. It's going to be outside - the ceremony and the reception. The high is going to be 54 and the weather overcast. There's no back up plan, it's in a park. So it's outside rain or shine. Do you think it's ok that I'm wearing Ugg Boots with my skirt? Brown Ugg boots, a black turtle neck and a grey floor length skirt. I'm such a fashionista!!!!!

Wonder what kind of wine they will serve? I'm taking bets. $5 each. We'll start a virtual pool. We sent some of our wines ahead as a wedding gift, but those don't count. Other than Genuine Risk and Hocus Pocus what will we be drinking???

I'm guessing Cotes-du-Rhone. My money is in. How about you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hot and tangy.

Langmeil, Three Gardens, GSM, Barossa, Australia, 2005. 

Now, I am blogging about this wine not because I loved it, but I think it was very "correct". you know what I mean? It tasted just like I expected, even if that taste isn't my preference. 

Subtle red berry fruit, framboise flavors and bafflingly high acidity. I have found this in so many of the Aussie wines recently from my blind tastings. Really ripe, high alcohol wines with high tangy acidity. That has to be acidulation, which I'm not against BTW, it's just a weird tactile sensation. I would love to know if it was acidified after fermentation, but I suppose that is one to ponder. 

This is for those of you who like them rich, but fresh. A simple fruity style. Pretty and easy drinking. And pretty cheap. $16.49 at the Wine House. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Francois Crochet, Sancerre Rouge, 2006. 

We got this at Palate a hundred years ago and had been looking for it for months. We thought, did we drink that? I don't remember drinking it. But we must have! Alas, no, it was buried somewhere in the back house in a box in a cabinet. Don't know how it ended up there as it was meant to be consumed the night I brought it home last October. It's as if it came back from the dead. 

BUT I'm happy to say it was well worth waiting for. I like Sancerre Rouge and this one had a little, and I stress, a little, more red cherry fruit than is usually found in these rustic mamas. What I liked is the fruit was there to support the more rustic tannins and that made for a very nicely balanced, delicious and easy-drinking wine.  

$22.99 at Palate Food and Wine in Glendale.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

A toast to Omar Sharif.

Les Pensees de Pallus, Chinon, 2006. 

Like Doctor Zhivago it just won't end. Our love affair with Cabernet Franc. 

I think we've purchased every CF available for sale in the state of CA. This baby is not the subtle minerally lean style, but a lush soft and pretty feminine little wine. I like both styles, but this one definitely smacks of extended maceration on the skins, I mean how else does one get that nice color, and it's not to be enchanted. 

And, as an aside, I'm really not one to comment on color as it seems of little value except when possibly trying to identify blind. And I think I said this one was Sangiovese. Of course. I better start tasting more or the practical portion of this MW exam is going to kick my arse. 

Word on the street is the barrels for elevage are 1 year old barrels purchased from Haut-Brion. Zing!

$19.99 Wine House

Friday, March 6, 2009

A chip off the old block.

La Sirene de Giscours, Margaux, 2003. 

Peter and I drank a half bottle of the flagship wine from this estate, Chateau Giscours 2005, and it was delicious. Dense, rich and very pencil leady. I like that in Bordeaux. BUT it was $49.99 for the half bottle. So we won't be doing that anymore. 

Anyhoo, I found this at Bob's Market in Venice. The second label for $29.99 and I thought, well, that's a deal compared to the mother ship. 

Apparently there were some aoc problems with this estate in 1998 when the French Authorities discovered (GASP!) receipts for oak chips. The estate and several others were put on trial and it was revealed that oak chips were used in this wine and not the esteemed Chateau Giscours. It's safe to say that oak chips are no longer used for this wine. And I say one of you give it a try and get back to me. 

I mean, why should I always be the guinea pig?

Monday, March 2, 2009

How low can you go?

Stephen Vincent, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2006. 

Available at the Cheese Store of Silverlake for the low low price of $12.99. 

Pinot Noir should not be this cheap. Ever. And if it is, it shouldn't taste good. You should expect it to be green and weedy. BUT enter the recession when you can get great deals on really good wine. 

Lots of cherry fruit and baking spices, this is a delicious little find and Julian would be happy to sell you a case before the Dow plummets again and you're out of more money. 

Keep drinking wine people! And exercising. And eating good cheese. And good olive oil. Those things will make you happy when you're looking at your life savings go down the toilet.