Home > Daily Glass, Sparkling wine, wine > Daily Glass: Wine Happenings on New Year’s Day, as well as before and after

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).

DSC_1866 E1 LocationsE1 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+

Chateau Maison Blanche Medoc2009 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).

DSC_0028 Bogle Phantom2008 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-

DSC_0024 Field Recordings Three Creek Vineyard2010 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-

DSC_0032 Hans Von Muller Riesling2011 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+

Abrau DursoNow 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:

two cremantsSo 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

DSC_0045 Peach CaneiPeach 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!


  1. January 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

    I think it is good that you mentioned the bad wine. That way your readers are less likely to buy it. I know that taste is always personal and others might like that wine but it can still help to mention that you didn’t enjoy it.

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Thank you. I will try to include those too, even though the utmost desire is only to talk about great experiences : )

  2. January 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Wow, that’s a lot of food – I imagine you guys had a bit of fun as well! I have a post on the Locations E & F sitting in my draft folder…I need to get those out! We liked the E but preferred the F as it is a bit more complex. I’m familiar with Andrew Jones & Field Recordings but haven’t tried them yet. Based on your recommendation I’m heading out today to see if I can find some.

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Quite honestly, I bough E only because of the cool label and reasonable price – I didn’t even know about the F, and in general I’m not fond of Orin Swift wines (lots of overripe/heavy fruit).
      Field Recordings makes great wines, 2010 Fiction was absolutely incredible. I joined their Catalog club. If you can’t find the wines in the store, you can order directly from the winery – Andrew was very kind responding to my e-mail inquiries…

  3. January 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the tip re Field Recordings! 🙂
    I am also a supporter of Bogle, real decent winery with very good QPR.
    Just because I like you and your blog so much I will not comment on the last “wine” in your list 😉 I am only going to say that those guys should be stripped of Italian citizenship altogether just because they make that product! ;-)) Peach flavored? Seriously? Blah. Kind of reminds me of those hideous fruit flavored vodkas that became popular in the Eighties…
    Finally, what a wonderful feast you guys had, Anatoli!
    Take care

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you Stefano, appreciate your kindness : ) With my “wine geek” hat on, I’m willing to try everything – it was pretty interesting to see how much my palate changed, so I consider that more of an experiment.
      And for the food – yes, food for the New Year celebration is always a major thing. It is very different than a Thanksgiving meal, let’s say, as here we don’t do any entree dishes, only salads, appetizers and finger foods…

  4. January 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Wow–did not taste good until day number four!? That muxt be some kind of record! And peach wine? Yeah, the wine snob title is revoked….

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      actually, the record belongs to Dunn 2002, which took 5 days to open…

  5. January 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    I was also intrigued to hear about day 4; I usually don’t give ’em more than 2 and a half…:)

    Regarding the riesling, I find that the dry 2011s from Germany are really worthwhile because the acidity was so low in 2011. If you can grab a bottle, give it a try! I am glad you found some acidity in that spaetlese.

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      well, sometimes things just happen, so it was a lucky accident with the day 4 🙂

      Can you explain your point about worthwhile 2011 Rieslings and low acidity? I always want more acidity to balance sweetness, not less?

      • January 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        When it comes to dry rieslings, you usually don’t get the redeeming sweetness, so the acidity sometimes stands quite alone in these wines. That is why I liked the dry rieslings in 2011: They have low residual sugar and low acidity, so the wines are actually nicely balanced and the flavors come out greatly. Does that make sense?

        • talkavino
          January 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

          Got it. Yes, this make sense. I just remember 2010, where whatever was called Kabinett was more of Spatlese, if not Auslese, and a lot of them really lacked acidity. I need to try more of 2011 basic Rieslings.


        • January 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm

          That is quite interesting, Anatoli, because the 2010s actually had some of the highest acidity levels ever recorded in the grapes. That year was really weird, because the grapes also had tons of sweetness. No one remembered a year where things had been that extreme. In my experience with the 2010s they all had a wonderfully racy acidity.

        • talkavino
          January 9, 2013 at 10:22 pm

          doesn’t look like we can align on this : ) We might have to both taste exactly the same bottle of Riesling at exactly the same temperature in order to try to settle this. Might be a good case for the Google Hangout experiment : )

        • January 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

          Good call. We should start planning that. 🙂

  6. PSsquared
    January 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    That is a LOT of food. It looks wonderful. Since I refer to my husband as “E” I may have to buy some of that wine. And then we’ll decant it for a day or so. 🙂 Cheers, sir!

    • talkavino
      January 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      That is a great thought! If I will come across a wine called “P”, I will let you know : ) And I will be curious to know if you will like the “E”!

      • PSsquared
        January 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Yes! Please do. Although I can’t imagine anyone would put “P” on a wine label. That can’t be good. 🙂

        • talkavino
          January 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm

          Hmmm, you are right. LOL. My quest is over before it started.

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