Consistently Impressive Pinot

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

Rodney Strong, in my humble opinion produces some really great wines at some really great values. I’ve always enjoyed their Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc and many of their Chardonnays. I think they really shine with their Reserve Pinot Noir though, and I was happy to taste the newest vintage of it, the 2008 Reserve Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the other evening. We enjoyed it with an eye of the round roast and it was an excellent complement to our meal.  The wine clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $40.

On the nose I found red cherry, red berries, cloves, spice, strawberries, earth, smoke, white pepper, and a hint of blackberry. I definitely got lost in the nose of this one, as often happens to me when a Pinot Noir presents with that lovely combo of smokey earthy red fruits.  In the mouth the fruit seemed darker, with black cherry, blackberry, espresso, pepper, dark chocolate notes, and red edges coming through.  Well balanced acidity and tannins, while this wine is drinking beautifully right now, I would guess it could age really well.




Getting Into Grenache

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Hahn Family Wines

Grenache is one of those grapes I wish people would pay more attention to, as it makes some wonderfully aromatic wines that I just adore.  I know it’s scary to try new things 😉 but I urge everyone to go out this year and at least try a bottle of Grenache. Or a GSM (Grenache, Syrah Mourvedre) blend, the traditional place many people find the Grenache grape. Give it a go, it will be worth it.  You could start here with the 2009 Hahn Grenache, a lovely little bottle of wine that we cracked open the other evening. The 2009 Hahn clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands, had a Diam closure, and retails for…well, I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it’s in line with the other Hahn wines in the Grenache line, somewhere in the $12-$16 range. I know it was a fairly limited production wine, and it might be sold out, but keep an eye out for the 2010 if this one is gone.

On the nose I got pomegranate, cherries, flowers, spice, white pepper, black cherry, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Fantastic aromatic nose that just jumped out of the glass and made you want to jump into it.  In the mouth I found black cherry, pepper, earth, blackberry, vanilla, and raspberry.  Displaying tons of acidity and juicy fresh fruit, this wine and a roaring fire made for a very relaxing evening in the Wannabe Wino house.

Stepping Up

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars.

What better way to celebrate the winter than with a nice hearty red? I can’t really think of one. Especially when it’s Syrah. I love Syrah. And I really enjoy finding new ones to savor, which is exactly what I got in this bottle of 2008 Stepping Stone Syrah by Cornerstone Cellars. And the price can’t be beat for a good bottle of Syrah. At $20 a bottle, this is a steal. Hailing from Napa, the wine had a real cork closure and clocked in at 14.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found violets, fresh plums, black cherries, cedar, flowers, and a spicy perfume aroma. Lucky for Matt I was just tasting and spitting at this point, or else this might have been one of those cases where I snapped at him for drinking more than his share while I was still lost in the nose of the wine.  In the mouth I got black cherry, black plums, earthy notes, red raspberries, and some spice.  The palate showed mostly juicy tart cherries for me though all the fruit tasted fresh picked.  A great little bottle of wine from a winery that continues to impress me.




Grenache Syrah Mour…

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Strike that. This wine is not a typical GSM blend. It’s missing the M, the Mourvedre. The 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 from the Cotes du Rhone is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $10, though I see it floating around on sale for $9. For $9-$10 this is a great bargain wine.

On the nose I got cherry, real tart bright red cherries, plum, raspberry, pepper, spice, and something that reminded me of a wood-burning fire in the fireplace. I was struck by how aromatic this glass of wine was.  In the mouth I got the same fruits as the nose, though they also tended toward being a bit darker with black cherry and black plum floating around.  I also found spice and pepper and overall the fruit showed as tart and fresh with good acidity and tannins holding this little bottle of wine together.  A definite buy at the price point.



Birth Year Wines

Now that my daughter is here, and I know what year she arrived in, it’s time to start thinking about the wines I intend to buy and store for her 21st birthday. I don’t normally buy wines to keep for that long, I’m more of the drink within 4-5 years of purchasing type of person, at the most. I have plenty of storage though, so it’s not inconceivable for me to store wine longer.

So 2010 wines that will age for at least 21 years.  I’m thinking a mix of wines, though no less than a few bottles of each to account for any corked bottles. I’m definitely interested in some age-worthy stickies to have in the collection. Thoughts? Suggestions? Have any of you done this or plan to do this for your child(ren)?

Price is pretty flexible…I mean, I’m not looking at $500 bottles, but for something that you think would BLOW us away in 21 years, I’d be willing to spend up to about $100ish on a very special bottle or two.