A Rose for a Rosy Day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand.

I was 100% positive that I had written about a previous vintage of this wine. Apparently not, but I do know I have tasted it and enjoyed it before. Perhaps I thought I wrote about it, but never actually go to making my notes into a post and putting it up. That seems most likely. In any event, today in the 85 degree weather we opened the 2013 Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rose. The wine had a Diam closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and retails for under $10 a bottle.

1.) The first word that comes to mind when I see and taste this wine is “pretty.”

2.) You really can’t beat the sub-$10 price tag for this wine. Stock up for all the dog days of summer that are most definitely ahead.

3.) We had this with rainbow trout on the grill for dinner. I tend to baste my trout in a lemon/mayo/salt/pepper/etc. blend and the acid in the Jean-Luc cut through nicely.

4.) Sitting in the sun and soaking up the 85 degree day was definitely the right choice for this wine.

On the nose I got raspberry, cranberry, other red fruit, and lime zest. In the mouth I found raspberry, cherry, lime, and raspberry jello. Overall I found the wine to be tart and refreshing with good acidity.

 

Spring into Spring

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks associated with Rueda.

Even though our weather has continued to be fairly terrible, I’m pretending it’s spring and being drawn heavily to the white wines. I went digging in the basement and came back out with the 2012 Yllera Verdejo.  I’m a Verdejo fan as an alternate white wine. I generally find it refreshing and tasty. The Yllera retails for around $14 and has a real cork closure. The bottle got recycled before I could write down the alcohol content.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I was almost expecting this wine to be on the sweeter side based on the nose.

2.) Pass me a glass to enjoy in the sun on the porch please.

3.) I’d serve this with grilled trout.

4.) The Yllera would be an easy summer crowd pleaser at the price point of $14.

On the nose I got lemon grass, tangerine, melon, flowers, and an overall sweet aroma. In the mouth I found oranges, lime, and melon.  The wine was surprisingly tart to me based on the sweet nose. Overall I found it quite citrusy and refreshing.

 

 

 

Two Nights Two Pinots

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I managed to pluck the same wine from two different vintages two nights in a row from my basement. Let’s just say the Pinot Noir called my name this winter and the two Rodney Strong ones that were lurking (that sounds ominous, I promise it’s not) in my cellar got caught up in a few day Pinot fury. Had I actually realized I had both of them down there, I would have done a side-by-side comparison. On night one we tried the 2010 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. More on night two’s wine, the 2012, another day. The 2010 had a real cork closure and likely retailed for about $25 originally.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Overflowing on the nose with red, red fruit.

2.) Pair with a roaring fire and a cozy couch.

3.) Or with an herbed, roast chicken. That would work as well.

4.) Once again, Rodney Strong comes through with a solid offering for a great price point.

On the nose I found raspberries, red cherries, spice, mint, herbs, and sage. (Yes, I’m well aware that sage and mint are herbs, but there were more than just those there, more of an overall herbal note.) In the mouth I got pomegranate, raspberries, spice, and other red fruit. Overall the wine has acidity to spare and a long finish.

 

 

Let’s Get Blended

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand.

Winter persists. Spirits falter. Red wine is a necessity to strengthen the soul. Why not a red wine from a warmer climate to ease the pain of the never-ending winter? In Argentina it’s been in the 80s during the day. Tonight I think it is going to be 9 at my house. With needing a warming red in mind, I plucked the 2012 Graffigna Reserve Elevation Red Blend from its comfy resting spot in my basement. The wine has a Diam closure and retails for around $10-$12. It’s a blend of 20% Bonarda, 20% Cabernet Saugivnon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah, and 20% Tannat.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) While it warmed us on a winter night, I really wanted it with some grilled meat.

2.) The Syrah really dominated the nose of the wine for me.

3.) The palate was more mixed, with the Merlot and Syrah both really shining for me.

4.) At $10-$12, this is a crowd pleaser for a bargain price.

On the nose I got smoke, meat, pepper, black cherry, and blueberry.  In the mouth I found black cherry, dark fruit, herbs, blueberries, and plums. Overall the wine showed good tannins and left me smacking  my lips a bit.

 

 

Always a Good Day

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

My day definitely looks up when my wine glass contains a treat from Jordan Winery.  Particularly when that wine happens to be their signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Our weather has been, shall we say, chilly, and a big red wine warms the soul when the thermometer can’t seem to get up over 9 degrees.  On this evening, we had the fortune to try the 2009 Jordan Cab Sauvignon. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $53.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) We drank this with grilled lamb done with rosemary and garlic. Absolutely fabulous match.

2.) I really appreciate that Jordan keeps their alcohol levels pretty darn reasonable for a CA cab. I enjoy not feeling like my nose is on fire when I smell a wine.

3.) I’m not sure I ever got around to posting about our visit to Jordan, but if you get the chance, you should definitely try to go on your next trip to Sonoma.

4.) Jordan only does two things: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. And it does them really well.

Jordan in the spring.

On the nose I got pepper, black fruit, bramble, slight green notes, black cherry, and baking spice. In the mouth I found blackberry, black cherry, a mineral streak, and herbal notes. Overall the Jordan had great structure and acidity to carry it through.

 

 

Cold Winter’s Night

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

Cold has settled into the DC area. Most days it’s been 13 degrees or under when I leave for work and the same when I return. Standing on an outside platform to catch the Metro is extremely unpleasant, and I come home chilled to the bone. On one of those nights, I bundled up for a trip to the basement and returned with the 2010 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It seemed like an excellent choice to counteract the weather. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $28.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) On the cold cold night, this wine warmed my soul.

2.) Rodney Strong is an incredibly consistent producer.

3.) This Cab offered lip-smacking black and blue fruit.

4.) I will get to Rodney Strong on my next Northern CA trip. Now to work on having that trip!

On the nose, I found the Alexander Cab to be quite spicy, with pepper, herbs, a slight green note, black berries, and other blue fruit.  In the mouth I got blueberry, brambly fruit, black fruit, spice, and pepper. The wine had nice tannins and mouth-filling fruit.

 

Two Bubbles

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

My goal for the posts about bubbles was to have them up before New Year’s Eve. However, I got taken down by a bronchial infection that I’m really just starting to kick now. Pardon my unexcused absence around here! I think many people drink Champagne for Valentine’s Day, so consider me early with a recommendation for that “holiday.” I received several bottles of bubbles from a PR firm, and this was above and away my favorite.  The Perrier Jouet Grand Brut has a Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for around $40 from various online retailers.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) We tried four sparkling wines over the course of a few days, and this one got top marks from the whole family.

2.) The wine had an intriguing ginger candy note.

3.) I used my new air popcorn popper and popped up some fresh popcorn to go with this wine. Slightly cliched as a pairing, but really a nice salty match.

4.) $40 for a tasty well-done Champagne seems like a pretty good deal to me for a special event wine.

On the nose I got lemon, grapefruit, toast, and apple. I could almost smell the acidity that I could tell was coming on the palate. In the mouth I got spice, lemon, grapefruit, a honey note, and ginger candy. The palate had a lot going on and kept me coming back for more as I mulled over what I was tasting.

 

 

One Bubble

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

The day before New Year’s Eve. You haven’t bought the bubbly for midnight yet. What shall you get? Thankfully, I’ve got several to recommend in just a few short hours here at different price points. For a budget friendly, domestic sparkler, we tried the Mumm Napa Prestige Brut. From as low as $15, this bubbly will not bust the bank and is sure to please on New Year’s Eve (or whenever toasting with some sparkling catches your fancy.)

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s not the most complex bubbly, but delivers well for the price point, and offers nice, small bubbles to tickle your tongue.

2.) I enjoyed the tropical notes that reined in the lemon the dominated both the nose and the palate.

3.) Especially good for the price point if you are having a crowd and don’t want to break the bank on multiple bottles.

4.) The leftovers made excellent mimosas.

On the nose I got lemon, lots of lemon, apple, tropical notes, and slight toast. Did I mention the lemon? In the mouth I found pineapple, other tropical fruits, lemon, apple, and just the slightest hint of sweet pear.

My Glass Doth Overflow

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for a live Twitter tasting.

With bubbles of course! Bubbles make for one happy wino and I love this time of year as my local wine shops expand their selections and bubble samples arrive on my doorstep. I always like to grab a glass and toast friends and family and usually welcome guests to our house by popping open a bottle of bubbly. Tonight we chose the Contadi Castaldi Brut Rose. It has a traditional Champagne closure, retails for about $23 and come from my new favorite area for sparkling wine, Franciacorta.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Franciacorta. If you aren’t drinking it, you are missing out. Really. Why are you still sitting there? Go buy some.

2.) The Contadi has a beautiful nose with just a hint of almonds that I found very intriguing.

3.) If you are seeking a dry brut rose with nice acidity and a lovely toasty note, this is it.

4.) Did I mention how you should get yourself a bottle of Franciacorta?

On the nose I found flowers, cherries, almonds, and toast. In the mouth I got cherries, strawberries, and toast.  Overall I found the wine to be dry, with good toast, excellent acidity, and a nice finish. My notes say “I’m loving it.”

 

 

Cool Bottle

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the winery.

While I tend to drink bubbles all year, many folks seem to associate sparkling wines with the holiday season. Around this time I go hunting for new sparklers to entice and delight. Tonight I went fishing (mixing my outdoorsy metaphors here) in the basement and came back out with the Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva Heredad. The wine has a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $26. I’m saving the bottle to do something yet to be determined with because it’s a really cool bottle.

1.) The wine had a really refined and small bubbles, something I don’t normally associate with a Cava.

2.) If you are looking to make a splash with a really different looking bottle, this one is sure to impress.

3.) I thought the Heredad was really well done, but the price is a little steep.

4.) I was really taken with the long finish and toast on the wine.

On the nose I got toast, apple, and lemon rind. In the mouth I found lemon, bitters, toast, apple, and pear. The finish on the wine lingered and the fine bubbles and acidity kept the wine refreshing and light.

 

 

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