The best things in life are usually unplanned. Having spent my Friday assisting customers with their wine and beer needs for the weekend I felt the urge to do the same. A few e-mails and texts later, it turned out we would be hosting a POP-UP beer, wine, fine cheese and pizza party that same night celebrating the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Spontaneity being the key, a fun time was had by all that partook; imbibing what turned out to be some very nice wines while debriefing each other on the week past and enjoying London’s beautiful Olympic show.
The celebrating did not end on Friday. More get-togethers with great friends continued through Saturday and Sunday all including wine. While thinking about how lucky we were to all be together, how lucky I am to have friends that enjoy wine as much as I do and realizing we had tried eight different wines in 3 days, I decided to record our imbibing in some form for future reference. Albeit, reviewing/recording wines experienced in a social setting is not exactly easy. So, below you will find a somewhat chronological [got fuzzy after a while 🙂 ] drinking diary of our Olympics opening weekend. Some of the tasting notes are mine and some will be winemaker notes etc.
Fortune was on our side because all were good. We had six red’s, two white’s and I would drink/purchase each of these wines again with no issue. In fact I think I will… ¡SALUD!
Casa Silva Reserva Carmenere 2009
A bold and strong flavored Carmenere. After tasting the Mont Gras [below] I believe this one could use more time in the cellar to mellow. That said, the bottle was emptied quickly by the crowd.
Authentic Chilean style. Dark almost purple core with deep sooty red at the fringes. A blend of concentrated blackberry and plum softened by some red fruit character. Distinctive dried herbal and white pepper spice character. A superb balance of full fruit, good acidity, sweet French oak, and full tannins on the long lingering finish. Cutting edge grape coming into its own, a première producer.
“Purple/black; complex nose of balsamic, herbs, spice box, blueberry; easy-going, no hard edges.”
90 Points The Wine Advocate / Pricing; $12.00-18.00
LaMadrid Reserva Bonarda 2009
I have enjoyed a multitude of different wines from this great winemaker from vintages; 2008,2009, 2010. Never disappointed!
90 points (’10), Wine Advocate:
“nose of underbrush, mineral, plum, mulberry, and violets. Concentrated on the palate with good depth, balance, and length, this flavorful effort deftly combines elegance and power, quite an achievement at this price point.”
Price range; $14.00-$18.00
MontGras Reserva Carmenere 2011
Noted: Surprisingly smoother than the Casa Silva [above] and at a 2011 vintage. I was impressed.
Introduced from France in the 1800s, Carmenère has developed a unique personality in the “terroir” of Chile, which is today the only significant source of this uncommon varietal grape. The MontGras vineyards, in the Colchagua Valley, are in the heart of the Chilean wine country. The climate is typically Mediterranean, favouring the production of rich concentrated red wines.
Color: Deep violet red Bouquet: Powerful aromas of spices, wild herbs and vanilla. Taste:Well-rounded, with subtle fruit flavors and soft tannins leading to a velvety finish.
Folie à Deux Chardonnay 2010
Noted; a nice golden color. On the nose; yeast/minerality, tropical fruit [pineapple], tree fruit [apple] and melon. Also a slight honey aroma. Its rich flavor supplied nice acidity and a slight buttery taste on the palate with slight oak. As the wine warmed vanilla was also noted. This is a good chardonnay for those who like some wood and butteriness in their selection.
Composition:100% Chardonnay Oak:Combination of French & American oak barrels (22% new) for five months
Fermented and aged in French oak barrels to preserve the wine’s rich, vibrant fruit character, this quintessential Russian River Chardonnay is a joyful dance of sun, sea and soil. Seductive, complex aromas of honey, green apple, tropical fruits, vanilla and baking bread introduce juicy apple, pineapple and tropical fruit flavors with light butter notes from partial malolactic fermentation and crisp balancing acidity.
Beringer Chenin Blanc 2010
A tasty treat we served between dinner and dessert. Most expected this to be a sweet wine and were pleasantly surprised that it was somewhat dry instead. I am very impressed with the quality and price point of this wine.
Winemaking Notes Gentle handling and careful attention is given to the Chenin Blanc grapes from the vine to the glass. To retain the delicate varietal flavors, Beringer’s winemakers chill the juices immediately following crush and continue to closely monitor the temperature throughout fermentation. Just before dryness, they cool the juices even further to halt fermentation and retain a smooth, lush mouthfeel and lingering finish.
Tasting Notes The California Collection Chenin Blanc is a well-balanced wine with aromas and flavors of crisp citrus, melon, and spicy ginger. It’s meant to be enjoyed with a variety of foods, from Asian and Mexican foods to a casual backyard barbecue with friends.
Pascual Toso Malbec Mendoza Reserve Barrancas Vineyards 2009
A well-oaked wine with pencil-shaving aromas yielding to coconut and subtle black fruit notes. The palate is dense, structured and full of cherry, cassis and clove flavors.
Winemaker notes; This Alta Reserva has a complete harmony of color with a deep, bright red combining with violets hints. Characterized by fruity aromas, blackberry and spices, the mouth has sweet tannins with the presence of spices from oak. All these notes give persistent elegance and complexity to this wine.
Quite ripe and flashy, displaying lots of spice, licorice and mocha notes up front, backed by fleshy plum sauce, boysenberry preserve and currant paste notes. Stays nicely layered and focused through the finish. An excellent effort for the vintage. Drink now through 2012. 150 cases imported.
Score: 91. —James Molesworth, December 15, 2010.Price: $18.00
Frei Brothers Reserve Dry Creek Merlot 2010
I was glad to see this wine served on a Saturday night dinner outing. We sell it at the store and I have looked forward to trying it. It did not disappoint. Everything a Merlot should be with the help of a few other varietals to soften the edges [see varietal content below].
The 2010 Dry Creek Valley Merlot captures the rich, ripe flavors of the Dry Creek Valley terroir. Aromas and flavors of red licorice, Satsuma plums, red fruit jam and blackberry meld with hints of toasted oak, milk chocolate and medium-roasted coffee. This medium-bodied wine delivers excellent structure and an elegant finish.
For our 2010 Dry Creek Valley Merlot, we co-crushed the Merlot grapes with Petite Sirah to achieve dark fruit flavors and enhance the overall tannic structure in the wine. The grapes were destemmed, but not crushed, before being cold soaked to extract vivid color and intense flavors. We fermented this wine at warm temperatures, reaching 90°F for a few hours, to create a darker, riper fruit profile. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged on fine lees to soften the mouthfeel. This Merlot was aged for seven months in a combination of French and American oak barrels to impart notes of chocolate and vanilla in the finished wine.
|Appellation:||Dry Creek Valley|
|Varietal Content:||88% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Sirah|
Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
|Grape Varietal||92% Cabernet Sauvignon – 4% Cabernet Franc – 2% Merlot – 1% Malbec -1% Petit Verdot|
|Barrel Regimen||Aged for 14 months in French and American oak, 25% new|
|Release Date||May 2011|
- Casa Silva Carmenère Reserva 2009 (westlakewineclub.wordpress.com)