Northern Italy – Alto Adige Pinot Bianco

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

2007 Alois Lageder Pino Bianco

It’s time I get back to trying new whites. In this case, something from the northern region of Italy – the Alto Adige. This is a first for this varietal for me, and I’m looking forward to it.

The first thing I notice is the color – it is a very light yellow color. When I first opened it, it was still rather cold and the citrus notes were the first thing to jump out. Grapefruit comes to mind while still cold. As it warms, it turns more toward apples such as granny smith, but still a bit of tang remains. The initial taste is that of light citrus and green apple with a little bit of lemon grass. The flavor lingers and evolves into more of a honey taste and it is surprisingly viscous considering the light color. I like the way the flavors hang on long after it is gone. This will be great before a meal and with appetizers.

Rating: 1984 Lance Parrish In 1977 Lance made his mark early as a catcher with the Detroit Tigers. In only 12 games he hit 3 HR’s – which were a signs of things to come.  He was an 8-time All Star, yet many don’t remember much about him outside of Detroit. But he played in 19 seasons, showing his longevity. Just like this Pinot Bianco – many aren’t familiar with it, but it’s All Star caliber and the finish lasts a long time. Lance played for many teams over the course of his career, including stops in Toronto, California, and Seattle in 1992. But the bulk of what he’s know for was in Detroit where he was an All Star six times and five consecutively. He won many awards – not bad for a catcher most have never heard of.


Italy in the Sierra Foothills

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

2006 Renwood Sierra Foothills Barbera

It’s been 5 months – where does the time go? Hopefully I’ll get to spend more time focusing on tasting as opposed to everything else that’s going on.

Today I’m tasting one of George’s wine club wines – a Barbera from California. One thing I’ve done lately is try to taste varietals outside their region. However I’m not a big fan of non-Portuguese “Ports”. This wine comes in around $10. It’s a nice ruby red, however it isn’t so dark that you can’t see your fingers through the glass. On the nose, I instantly get earthy tones with vegetables and a smoke component. On the fruit side of things I smell black currant and plum. The tannins quite strong with a good bit of acid. The smokiness also exists in flavor as well as nose. The fruits are black and the plum shows up in the flavor as well. The carpet definitely matches the drapes with this wine. No huge surprises from nose to mouth. The flavor continues long after the wine is gone.

Rating: 1980 Bob Horner Bob Horner played with the Atlanta Braves from 1978-86. He played at both 3rd and 1st base, and his only year other than with Atlanta was with St Louis in 1988. He was what he was – a power hitter. It 10 seasons he totalled 218 HR’s, but most of those came in 8 seasons as he spent almost all of 1984 on IR. He never spent a day in the minor leagues and started his career as ROY and a HR. Like this wine – it shows what it is on the nose and backs it up in flavor. It’s dirty, smokey, and gritty. What you see is what you get, and it comes at good value. Unfortunately for Bob, he never really got a chance to make his money in free agency, although his salary was 7th in baseball for his final two years. This is a wine that could easily be forgotten how good it is and is at a price point that you could enjoy it any time.

Escaping Portugal for France – Hello Rhone

•May 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

2005 Domaine de Couron Cotes du Rhone|

I’ve finally been escaping Portugal, although I have had my share of Port in the meantime. I’ve also tasted a few others that I’ve failed to note. But finally something I’ve sat down to spend some time thinking about. This is a very dark red wine, with some bright red around the edges. On the nose it’s incredibly fruity with blueberry, strawberry, and huckleberry. There’s a sort of green grass fragrance in the background, but it all seems to start with the fruit. My expectation is that of sweetness. A strawberry and raspberry jump to the front of my mouth. There seems to be some tobacco in there. The tannins aren’t strong and it seems somewhat acidic. At around $12, it’s not a bad Cotes du Rhone, but it also isn’t outstanding.

Rating: 1979 Steve Kemp. For those rushing to Baseball Reference, Kemp played for the Detroit Tigers and had one of his best seasons in 1979. However he’s pretty much still a common on a team that really didn’t do that well. He had his best year for HR’s, RBI’s, and BA, yet nobody really remembers – including Steve Kemp. A reasonable effort in this wine with some bright spots – if you like bright, ripe fruits. Yet you won’t be outbidding the next guy at an auction any time soon. Not on my fantasy team.

More Port from Porto

•April 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sandeman Founders Reserve Port

Back with another Port – I just can’t stay away from the stuff. I’m back to Sandeman’s which I know well having toured the facility. However during my tasting I had a white, Vau Vintage, 10, 20, and 40 yr Tawny. So this is one I haven’t tasted yet. In the glass it’s a very deep red in the core with bright red around the edge. I’m drinking from a Riedel Port glass. I’ve ordered some official glasses from Porto but have yet to receive them – hopefully soon! On those nose I find some cherry jam, a little blueberry, a bit of vanilla and even some nutmeg. It seems rather complex from a relatively simple ruby – but I guess it is a Reserve. The flavor continues the complexity with dark fruits that are as if they were reduced over the stove and made even stronger – cherry, plum and blueberry in a creme – a sort of berry creme brulee with a bit of spices on the top – allspice and nutmeg. At the back end it softens a lot and a bit of the vanilla comes through. I’m really happy with this Port. The price was $15.95.

Rating: 1992 Edgar Martinez. In 1992, Edgar broke out batting .343. Unfortunately he was injury limited for the next coouple of years before coming back from being a 3B to being one of the best DH’s in history. But as a 3B he was 12th in the MVP voting. Like this wine, there were others with better stats, but it is at the top of its game and complex. Edgar not only hit for average, but he was one of the best doubles hitters in the game with 514 of them over 18 seasons and even stole 14 bases in 1992. There was a lot more to Edgar than just the average and there’s a lot more to Founders Reserve than just being a ruby Port.

Back to Portugal, but not for Port

•April 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

2006 Dow’s Vale do Bomfim Portuguese Red

I’m still trying to hang on to my trip to Portugal and Spain (especially Portugal). My local wine shop just got in this $9.99 Portuguese red, so I bought a couple of bottles. The 20% for wine club members moving sale helped a lot too. The color is a nice ruby red. The first thing that jumped into my nose was the spice. There is also a strong smell of dark fruit including plumb and cherry. A slight bit of vegetable and earth/dirt goes along with. I like the smell a lot. On the mouth I notice the tannins quickly and they linger quite a while. Maybe leaving it open longer would have helped. I get the flavors of the smells, but not nearly as strongly as I would have liked. There’s the dark fruit and earth with some oak. But it’s a bit tight. I’ll be curious to see how it is in an hour or so of being open. As with so many portuguese wines, it’s hard to beat at under $10. Unfortunately what was $6 or $7 yesterday is on it’s way to going over $10 now. I may have to pick up some more at this price point.

Rating: 1979 Bruce Bochte. The All Star game was in the Kingdome, so Seattle had to have someone on the team. Bochte ended up being that guy. Other possibilities were Ruppert Jones or Julio Cruz, but there was too much talent elsewhere in 1979. Vale do Bomfim is a wine you can send out every day and get good results. It doesn’t cost you a lot and at the price is definitely an All Star.

There’s No Place Like Home Port – A Nice Ruby

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Warre’s Heritage Ruby Port

I thought it would be appropriate to start sampling some Port starting with a Ruby. Having come home from Porto, I’m constantly drawn to any Port section of any grocery store I’m near. I picked this one up to go into a recipe for Francesinha for tonight’s dinner with friends. As much as I love the tawnys, I’m really drawn to the fruit-friendliness of the Ruby Port. This one doesn’t let me down. On the nose, that distinctive ‘port’ smell is there, I’m assuming from the brandy. But the heavy doses of fruit really come through for me. The darkness in color would lead me to think dark fruit, however the nose is more of a bright red fruit. Sort of a stawberry syrup sort of thing seems to be happening for me. Although it was in oak for three years, it was seasoned oak and there is no heavy oakiness. Maybe a hint of some vanilla and a little bit of huckleberries come through. There is a taste of the red berry. With it at room temperature, the alcohol content is noticeable for me, but that’s to be expected without a little chill on it. There is a sweet taste reminding me of a laffy taffy in a sort of strawberry-grape-blackberry. The flavor lasts a long time on the pallet.

Rating: 1977 Kent Tekulve. For a pitcher who didn’t even win 100 games, he was a foundation in the rotation of the Pirates of the late 70’s. His ERA was solid at only 2.85 after 16 seasons. Some may consider him a common, such as a ruby Port isn’t the one you bring out for special occasions. Yet he really shined when he came out. This wine can come out as if it were a common but will shine like the 7th game of the World Series.

Home from Portugal and Spain – Drank lots of Port and Rioja

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last updated. This was due to a vacation where I didn’t take a computer, although the days and nights saw a lot of different wines consumed. My favorite are the Ports of Portugal, where I took tours of caves and sampled many different varieties from aged white Port to a 40-yr Tawny. I hope to get back and spend some more time in the Douro wine region and visit more of the caves.

Spain was dominated by Rioja (Temperanillo), which is inexpensive and in Granada seemed to always come with a free tapa, no matter how many times you got a new one. I think I’m broken of jamon (ham) for a while now. It was the best thing around until after several days of pairing it with Rioja (which never did get old). I only wish I could have found some Port in Spain.

I would like to review what I tasted, but it’s been so long ago now and there has been so many different tastes that I would do any of them a disservice. I hope to bring some more home and do as many reviews as possible soon.

Drink more Port!!!