April 27, 2009

Tasting Note Tuesday - A 'twofer'

So, I got a little thirsty this weekend - can you tell? Today I'm offering up, not one, but two reviews of moderate priced reds. If you've ever tasted either (or both), leave us a message in the comment box - we'd love to hear about your experience!

2005 Georges Vigouroux Cahors Pigmentum - Southwest France, Cahors

Just like handbags, cars and shoes, wine goes through trends, and Malbec is one quickly turning heads and even being coined the "new" Pinot.

While many Malbecs accomodate both the taste buds and the wallet, I personally don't agree. Afterall, Pinot is the God of Wine! But with that being said, right now, Argentina is producing some outstanding Malbec - names like Norton, Luigi Bosca, and Catena, are becoming more prominent. And while Argentina is producing some of the best Malbec around, you can't forget about wines from it's native France. A "traditional" Bordeaux varietal (along with Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petit Verdot), Malbec is also produced in the Cahors region in France (where this Pigmentum is made).

My Thoughts: Wow, this is a tannic beast. I even Vacu-vinned half the bottle and threw it in the fridge... and it was still tannic two days later. The nose showed promise with hints of blackberry and plum combined with some old world charm of earth and mineral. However, I couldn't quite get any of that on the palate because the tannins ripped the first layer of skin off the inside of my mouth. This didn't really open up after two days... and there's not way I can see the fruit outliving the tannins. And to be honest, who wants to wait for an $11 bottle of wine to be ready to drink??

Review: Average
Retails: $11/bottle

USA, California - Sonoma County, Russian River Valley

Maybe you had a long week, maybe you're celebrating, but sometimes you just need to open a better bottle. And I felt the urge this weekend. So I pulled the trigger on one of my favorite Pinot producers... Walter Hansel. The winery is located in Sonoma County in the Russian River Valley and they focus solely on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. In fact, they make four different Chards and five different Pinots!

I'd classify their wines as very "Burgundian" (this is my subtle tagline for Pinot and Chardonnay's birthplace... Burgundy, France) in nature, showing more finesse and femininity... rather than typical "in-your-face" California Pinots.

My Thoughts: I have really enjoyed the past two vintages of both North and South Slope Pinots, so it was with great anticipation that I opened this bottle... and maybe that was the problem. To my dissatisfaction, there was something "off" about this bottle. Dark ruby red, but almost too dark. I could taste some hints of strawberry and raspberry, but they seem muted. There seemed to be an overlying hint of rubber or minerals. It wasn't off-putting (I don't think the bottle was bad), it just wasn't what I was hoping for. It seemed to fade with air time, but the fruit didn't seem to emerge. Very awkward experience. I hope this is just too young. But this wasn't too enjoyable now.

Review: Below Average
Retails: $36/bottle


Clarabelle said...

$36/bottle for BELOW AVERAGE! Refund!

ratherBEEbuzzed said...

No kidding!!! What's worse, I made the mistake of buying 3 bottles. 'Gulp' I guess that's what I get for buying before trying. Well... one down, two to go.