December 30, 2009
December 29, 2009
December 16, 2009
THE NICE LIST
Item: 2005 Marsannay
Category: Wines for Dining
Cost: $17 (as a "futures")
Where To Buy: WineSearcher.com
It's time for another "Naughty or Nice" pick TNT style, and what better place to snag from than, Burgundy!
Burgundy is one of the most difficult wine regions in the world to understand. First, it has more 'appellations' than any region in the world. You've probably heard of Chablis, Beaujolais; and maybe you've seen Gevrey-Chambertain or Montrachet on a bottle or restaurant wine list. Well there are 677 of them!!! Then, there is the 'ranking' system... from Grand Cru to Premier Cru to Village to finally "regional" wines. Now figure in all the producers and it's no wonder Burgundy can be a very scary place. But if you can take the time to explore it and learn a little about it, you will find that is produces much of the worlds greatest wines.
As a start, basically only two types of grapes are grown here... Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There are some other smaller varieties (Gamay, for instance, is grown in Beaujolais), but their use is extremely minimal. So we're basically dealing with Pinot and Chardonnay.
Next, we can learn a lot from the label... so let's look closer. Since Burgundy is all about the appellations, it's the name of the appellation that is the largest thing on the label (not the producer). So this wine comes from the Marsannay appellation.
Now, notice the label... it doesn't read Grand Cru, Premier Cru or 1er Cru... but it does say 'Vielles Vignes". Therefore, this wine is from the "village" class (not a grand or premier cru). Finally, the vintage is 2005. The vintage on this bottle is shown on a label at the top of the bottle... which is not shown in the picture. So, after glancing at the label, we know we are drinking a 2005 "village level" pinot noir from the Marsannay region of Burgundy. The producer is Dominique Laurent.
2005 Dominique Laurent Marsannay Clos du Roy Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Marsannay
Purchased as "futures" for $17 (this is where you buy wine before it's released. I purchased this in 2007 and it was delivered in 2008). Dark ruby in color with a hint of violet on the edges. Overwhelming nose of barnyard and earth. There is definitely terrior here. Behind the earthy notes lies subtle aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and ripe cherry. The crisp acidity (it's borderline effervescent) make this an excellent food wine, and the tannins can stand up to a steak. (I served porterhouses for dinner). This could use a little time for the tannins and acidity to settle down, but this is a very enjoyable wine. The fruit with the barnyard notes really make this a complex wine. And I like the fact that there is very little oak here.
My Take: Outstanding
December 14, 2009
December 11, 2009
Item: Orogeny '06 Pinot Noir
Category: Wines for Dining
Where to Buy: FineWines.com
Stemming from the Greek variation of "Oro," meaning mountain and "Geny," meaning birth, Sonoma's Orogeny very literally brings to life collisions and separations of the Earth's crust which form mountains. The last orogenic episode in Sonoma County formed Green Valley, where the grapes from this wine come from.
Cool story, right? Even better taste! This Pinot is super smooth and has lively cranberry and cherry flavors on the palette, balances with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Pinot might very well be the best medium-bodied red you can get, and this particular bottle is on the top of our list for the holidays (and all year round!)
December 6, 2009
Item: '07 Firestone Discoveries Merlot
Category: Wines for Holiday Dining
Where to Buy: Firestone.com
It's time to spin the 2009 "Naughty or Nice" List Tasting Note Tuesday style. If the name "Firestone" sounds familiar to you, you're not alone. Not only do wine lovers know the name, but so do car enthusiasts (and ex-bachelorettes!).
That's right, the Firestone Winery was started by the son of the founder of Firestone Tires! Leonard Firestone started the Santa Ynez Valley winery in 1972... a time when no one was planting vines in this coastal area of California. The family ran the winery for 35 years before legendary wine owner Bill Foley purchased the winery in 2007. For those of you who have never heard of Bill Foley, he is the owner of some of California best and most sought-after wines including Sebastiani, Kuleto and Merus.
2007 Firestone Vineyard Merlot Discoveries - USA, California
A little on the 'thin' side for a merlot. In the glass, the wine has a translucent ruby red color. Upon opening, scents of oak, vanilla and cherry are most dominant. On the palate, cherry takes center stage and the oak plays a supporting role. There is also a slight hint of cranberry... but mostly cherry and oak. The finish is a little short, but for $9 per bottle, it's not too bad.
My Take: Good
December 5, 2009
December 4, 2009
December 3, 2009
December 2, 2009
December 1, 2009
Today kicks off the month of December, which means that Santa Clause and the Hanukkah Armadillo are on their way to pay each of us a little visit... well, at least all of us who made the "nice" list. And just as we "play nice in the sandbox," it's only be appropriate that we hold our vino to the same expectations.