Daily Glass: Wine Happenings on New Year’s Day, as well as before and after
New Year holiday in our family always means lots of food and drinks. And it is not even New Year’s evening – all the festivities start a few days before, and continue going into the New Year’s day itself. As the result, it means that a lot of wines were opened, and I don’t even want to talk about food (I refuse to touch the scale at least for the next two weeks).
We didn’t drink anything amazing (well, may be with the exception of one wine), at the same time we didn’t drink anything really bad, so here is a summary of what we went through (side note – I will make an attempt to produce “wine review” posts more regularly this year – call it New Year’s resolution or what).
E1 Locations, Spain ($20, 14.5 ABV) – This wine is made by Dave Phinney, winemaker behind Orin Swift wines, and its goal is to showcase best grapes form the best places. E1 Locations is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Carinena, all grown in three famous regions in Spain - Rioja, Ribera Del Duero and Priorat. To be very honest with you, this is not my style of wine – it has a lot of heavy fruit ( I call it “burnt fruit”), some warm spice and hint of oak with not enough acidity – however, the wine opened up somewhat next day, showing brighter fruit and more harmony. Drinkability: 7+
2009 Chateau Maison Blanche Medoc ($19.99?, 14% ABV, sorry for the picture of the ripped label) – tasting of this wine was an interesting experience. On the first day, it was drinkable, but lacked any excitement. The next day, it became plain bad – but I don’t pour wine down the drain easily, so I put it aside. Day number 3 – same story, not the wine I want to drink – and again I let it be. On the day number four, I decided to give this wine one final taste before disposing of it – and found it completely changed. The wine opened up, showing nice luscious fruit, supple tannins, good acidity and good overall balance, it became soft and round. This wine definitely needs time. And before I forget – this wine is made of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. Drinkability: 8- (either decant when serving or cellar for a while).
2008 Bogle Vineyards Phantom ($17, 14.5% ABV) – Bogle Vineyards is one of my favorite producers of inexpensive California wines. While they make pretty much a full line (Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.), Bogle Vineyards Petite Sirah typically represents an unbeatable QPR – it is simply an excellent wine usually priced at $11.99. The wine we had, Phantom, is a bit of a higher end – it is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre. It drinks very well, showing a bouquet of warm spices on the nose, and a lot of nice bright fruit on the palate, ripe plums, touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, good acidity – quite an enjoyable wine. Drinkability: 8-
2010 Field Recordings “Neverland” Red Wine Santa Barbara ($26, 15.4% ABV) – Have you ever tried any wines from Field Recordings? You know, may be I shouldn’t even talk about this wine here? Too many people will find out, it will be hard to get, do I really need all that hassle? Well, okay – feels good sharing a secret.
Andrew Jones, winemaker behind Field Recordings, was grape grower first, working with many wineries and tending to their vineyards. Later on he started making his own wines, each of them coming from the different sites, from the places were particular grapes do particularly well. This wine, called Neverland, comes form the Three Creek Vineyard site, and it is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petit Verdot and 16% Malbec. The wine was perfectly balanced, with layered soft fruit, black currant and touch of blueberries, dark chocolate notes, very long and pleasant finish. Why I wanted to keep such a great wine to myself? Very simple – total production: 150 cases. When it’s gone, it’s gone… Drinkability: 9-
2011 Brick Lane Pinot Noir California ($?, 13.4% ABV) – When faced with the wines like this one, I always have a dilemma – do I write about them in this blog, or do I not? I don’t want to pretend to be a big critic and proudly proclaim my scores – I look at the wine rating mostly as a fun exercise. Anyway, as you probably guessed, this was not a very good wine. Thin, green, acidic, unbalanced, drinkable, but not delivering any pleasure. Drinkability: 6-
2011 Dr. Hans VonMuller Riesling Spatlese Mosel ($11.99, 8% ABV) – I either don’t drink enough Riesling, or I don’t write enough about it, or both – somehow, I think Rieslings are scarcely discussed in this blog. For the Spatlese, this was a very modest Riesling – yes, it had an explicit sweetness – but it was not cloying by all means ( some of the 2010 and 2011 German Rieslings I tried had this clinging sweetness even at the Kabinett level). Sweetness was nicely balanced by acidity, and overall this was a very pleasant wine with good amount of white fruit, some apricot and may be peach, very enjoyable. Drinkability: 7+
Now it is time to talk about Sparkling wines – I have a few to share with you. First, NV Abrau-Durso Semi-dry, Russia ($12.99) – as planned, we ringed the New Year 2013 with this wine. Yes, it is not the first time I write about Abrau-Durso in this blog (it was also my wine #19 in the Top wines of 2012 list) – but I can’t help it, as the wine is good! Apple and touch of yeast on the nose, very restrained white fruit on the palate, good acidity, hint of sweetness, perfectly refreshing bubbles – you have to try it to believe it. Drinkability: 8
We are almost done, I promise! A few more sparkling wines:
So here are NV Cremant D’Alsace Brut Cattin ($16.99, 12% ABV) and NV Cremant de Bourgogne Louis Bouillot Grande Reserve Perle de Vigne ($?, 12% ABV) – the reason I lump these two wines together is that they are literally indistinguishable (unfortunately!). It is interesting that grape composition is quite different between them – Cremant d’Alsace is made out of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay. Cremant de Bourgogne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, and Aligoté. Both wines are drinkable – a bit of yeast, good acidity, crisp and refreshing – but not exciting. Drinkability: 7
Peach Canei Italy ($4, 7.5% ABV) – I guess by even mentioning this “wine” ( it is more of a wine cocktail – it is peach flavored grape wine) in this blog I have to officially renounce a self-awarded title of a wine snob and never even try to claim it again.
I told my friend Zak that way back ( about 20 years ago), when I was just slowly getting into wines, Peach Canei was one of our favorite wines. I think only a young age protected Zak from having a heart attack – he was completely shocked. So he got me a bottle of the wonderful beverage as part of my New Year’s present. As you can imagine, I had no reason to cellar it, so we decided to open the bottle right away. It had a pronounced peach flavor, with a bit too much sweetness, lightly fizzed, probably could’ve used a bit more acidity. But – it was drinkable, and we managed to finish a bottle. It is highly unlikely that I would ever crave this wine, but again, it is not that terrible as you might think. Drinkability: 6.
That’s all I have for you regarding the wines – wait, don’t go yet. New Year is usually celebrated with lots of food – here are couple of pictures which will give you an idea of how the table looked like:
That’s all for today, folks. Did you have a most memorable New Year’s wine? Please use the comments section below and share! Cheers!