Loving on the Beaujolais

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Taste Live event

I’m almost embarrassed to admit how little experience I have with French wines. But it’s true. I fell in love with California wine and while I make forays into other areas (see my affairs with Gruner Veltliner and sparkling wines for examples) I usually find myself coming back to my first love time and again. I should really spend more time with French wine though because as I learned through the Beaujolais tastings I participated in, you can get a lot of bang for your buck among these wines. Next up for this tasting we had the 2009 Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees L’Ancien which clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork, and retails for around $13.

My first notes on the wine say “holy aroma on this one” and “it’s like the wine is jumping out of the glass.” A good start, no? I found blackberry, blackberry pie, raspberry, cherries, smoky notes, and more yummy tart fruit. In the mouth I found the fruit to be bold, with cherries, strawberries, and raspberries dominating and spice and herbs rounding it out nicely. Add to that excellent acidity and a pocketbook friendly price point and I’d put this wine high up there on my list of excellent Thanksgiving wines to stand up to the medley of dishes served on that holiday. (What, too early to be thinking of Thanksgiving?)

Slightly More Recent Live Tasting

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Taste Live event

Most of my old tasting notes have been from the live tastings I’ve participated in. I find it very difficult to enter my thoughts into Twitter, respond to my fellow tasters, ask questions of the wine makers AND type notes into a blog post at the same time, so I jot down my notes on paper. Egads, paper! How quaint and old fashioned of me. However, the problem then becomes motivating myself to retype those notes into the computer instead of writing them up as I go along, my normal modus operandi. In any case, for this tasting we focused on Beaujolais. Not the Beaujolais Nouveau stuff.  We tasted the 2009 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais which clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for around $13.

On the nose I got tart berries, raspberries, blueberry, blueberry pie, spice, cinnamon, cream, currants, and pepper. In the mouth I found tart blueberries, raspberries, black currants, pepper, and cherries. For $13 this wine had a lot going on with good structure and nice acidity to boot.

Last Argentinian

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

One step closer to being caught up with my tasting notes! I can say with almost 100% certainty that I had never had a Viognier from Argentina prior to this event. I love Viognier though, so it definitely piqued my interest. I usually don’t go for oak on my Viognier since I find Viognier to have such a wonderful aroma on its own and typically oak will obliterate that, but here with the 2009 Cueva de los manos Reserva Viognier, the oak was used lightly and didn’t interfere at all with the characteristics I love about Viognier. The wine had a screw cap and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I found pear, flowers, smoky notes, honey, oak that quickly blew off, and pineapple. In the mouth I got nice pear flavors, honey, pineapple, tropical notes, and more honey on the finish. Overall the wine had great acidity and the oak was well integrated and didn’t cover up the true flavors and aromas of the grape.

I liked this one

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live event.

Here’s a wine from this tasting I will recommend wholeheartedly. The 2009 Crios Malbec Rose. I found this wine to be quite interesting, retailing at a good price point, and definitely something I would personally purchase. The Crios clocked in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $12.

The nose of the wine smelled slightly meaty to me (not a bad thing, I promise) and looked like melted watermelon. What an awesome color. On the nose I found berry, cherry, spice, white pepper, and vanilla. In the mouth I got strawberries, ripe cherries, very ripe red fruit, and spice. It was juicy with good acidity and struck me as fantastic for the meltingly hot weather I tasted it in.

Still in South America

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event

I don’t know that I had ever had an Argentinian Chardonnay prior to this tasting event. I’m not seeing any in my previous tasting notes, so I’m guessing the answer is no. This event provided the opportunity to taste a couple. Next up was the 2009 Salentein Chardonnay. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for around $18.

My first thought here was that it smelled like candied ginger. If you like ginger, this is a good thing. I do not. Otherwise I found spice, oak, lemon, pear, and almost some pepper notes. In the mouth I found spiced apple, lemon, spiced pear, and a lemon note on the finish. I found this to be a very spicy chardonnay overall.

More from Argentina

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample in order to participate in a Wines of Argentina Taste Live Event.

Same disclaimer as the last wine from this tasting….I’m just behind on writing up my notes. Torrontes is a wine that I have a love/hate relationship with. When it’s done right, I find Torrontes to be a light, perfumey, tropical wine that delights me for a hot summer afternoon. When it goes bad though, thoughts of lemon Pledge dance in my head and I have trouble getting my head past the nose to taste it.  Thankfully, the 2009 Terrazas had a lovely nose! It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $18.

On the nose I got honeysuckle, white flowers, tropical notes, honey, an sweet grapefruit. In the mouth this showed as grapefruit all the way for me. I also found a little floral aftertaste with orange zest on the finish that lent some bitterness to the finish. I’d be hesitant to pay $18 for this, but if it were in the $10 range I’d go for it.

Cleaning Up Old Notes

*Disclaimer: I received this wine in order to participate in a Taste Live event.

I’m still digging back in the archives to catch up on wines I never got around to telling you about when my posting slowed down last year.  I tasted this bottle during a Wines of Argentina Twitter Taste Live event towards the end of August last year. Yikes. Way behind on this one. I should be caught up around here pretty quickly now that I’m publishing 4-5 posts a week again. I’d push out more posts but I’m still suffering from sleep deprivation…the Little Wino doesn’t seem to understand how nice sleep is! The 2008 Valentin Chardonnay was one of the wines in the tasting line up. It clocked in at 13.7% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails somewhere around $14.

On the nose I found oak, a touch of butter, toast, spice, apple, clove, pear, and tropical notes. In the mouth I got apple, lots of pear, pineapple, spice, green apple, slight nutty notes, and oak. This was too oaky and buttery for me.

An Old Tasting

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample to participate in a Twitter Taste Live Event

Oops. Here’s another set of long lost posts from a Twitter Event I participated in last September I think. A few set of posts from those types of tastings fell through the cracks for me last summer/fall as I generally jot my notes down on paper (the horror!) while doing the tastings and then have to go back and type them into the computer. That involved way too many steps for my tired self this fall and so they fell by the wayside. Never fear, I’m getting them done now! The 2009 Les Griottes Beaujolais Rose was the only Rose in this Beajolais tasting. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a plastic cork closure, and retails for about $16.

Apparently I was on a color of the wine kick when I was taking notes last fall as I also noted the lovely salmon color of this wine. On the nose I got strawberry, red cherry, and cranberry. I could almost smell the acidity on the nose. The palate mimed the nose exactly. Overall the wine was light, crisp, and refreshing. My only issue is that I’m not sure I’m willing to pay $16 for a Rose.

Back to Zinfandel

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

I find myself often getting caught up by other grapes and types of wine and forgetting how much I love Zinfandel. It is one of my true wine loves, and definitely the red wine that started my love affair with reds. I love it in all its spicy, peppery, jammy incarnations, and this  2007 Shenandoah Vineyards Paul’s Vineyard ReZerve Zinfandel is no exception. It clocks in at 15.3% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure , and the current 2008 vintage retails for $24.

On the nose I got spice, baking spices, cinnamon, dark black fruit, blackberry, black plums, and a wonderful floral perfumey aroma. In the mouth I found big blackberries, juicy ripe plums, chocolate notes, black cherries, vanilla cream. It tasted like a blackberry crumble to me, only juicier. This had all the elements I love about a good Zin, and I’m sure the current vintage is delish too.

Getting my Bubbly Groove On

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

Here’s another bubbly favorite of mine. It’s as if Pasternak Imports packed up all my favorite NV bubbles into a box and shipped them to me. That’s the best kind of box to open up! This is another Lucien Albrecht bubbly, this time the Rose Cremant d’Alsasce. I buy this one at the Total Wine and More quite frequently as well and it’s another standard for me to recommend to anyone looking for a great moderately priced sparkler. It retails for about $16, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and has a traditional Champagne closure.

First I need to note that I love the color on this wine. It’s a lovely pale salmon. On the nose I got strawberry, raspberry, sourdough bread, and yeast. In the mouth I found fresh raspberries, like you picked them yourself and ate them off the bush, strawberry, cranberry, and tart cranberry sauce. You really can’t beat this sparkler for the price point.