Tag Archives: wine review

Et tu, Beaujolais? Yup this Juliénas will kill

21 May


Firstly pretty please check out The Whine Situation, my new comedy n wine podcast on iTunes and  we just got added to Stitcher too yeaaaaaaaa. If you like it n wanna give us an iTunes subscribe or rating all the better. 

One more distraction before the next cru! I was a guest on The Delightful Table, a fantastic blog by my friend Scheherezade features sustainable cooking and seasonal veggies. We experimented pairing “difficult to pair” veggies with wines. Check out the artichoke madness here


And now. We are moving on down through the Beaujolais crus! From flippant Saint-Amour to rather stern Juliénas! A jerk face who is sinister and will beat your mouth up. In a good way, of course!

Named for Caesar. Shall we salad with this wine? Would a Caesar salad pair well? Huh, I feel like maybe not but it’s worth investigating. The wine in question:

2015 David-Beaupere Juliénas “Vayolette”

I got it for about 20 bucks from Garagiste, my favorite source for interesting wines at jolly prices.
Juliénas has a variety of terroirs but the unifying factor tends to be that they are bigger and rougher wines.

This wicked wine was grown in yards of volcanic blue stone, and was made organically. It is a unique devil.

Holy moly it’s high alcohol! 15 % abv. Holy heck it bashes your tongue with little blue pebbles and bramble cranberries! I don’t care if bramble cranberries are not a thing in case you were concerned. I taste violets are blooming in the pebbles to boot. What is this specimen? How is it conquering me with so many different sensations that don’t match yet go together?

And holy holy hell is this wine dark.

Purple as sin. Presuming sin’s true color when showing true colors is purple. The darkness is in flavor too: black pepper, a bit of…I dunno. This is a total snobby “I imagine” tasting note but I bet if those dark purple irises–ya know the flower I’m speaking of?–had a flavor it would be in this wine.

The biggest difference between this and our friend St. Love is the power and the depth. The similarity? The lack of tannins! Many times I taste a tannic wine and describe it as beating my mouth up but this tongue-beater does so without tannins.

Tricky tricky sly sly Caesar.

Now to make that salad (but sans anchovies in the dressing seeing as I’m a vegetarian).

Cheers and tongue-lashings! 

I Feel Amour. The Cycle begins!

15 May


I’ve been saying it for some time. That I was going to do a cycle going through all the lovely Beaujolais crus. Those are: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vènt, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié,  Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. I came up with a device to remember this: Saint Julian Called Many French Cheapo Madams Really Comely Broads.

And I’ve been feeling the…oh…feeling of spring so what better time to jump into Saint-Amour? The most northerly. We begin at zee beginning.

2015 Pascal Berthier “Esprit de Séduction” Saint-Amour

Beyond waiting for spring fever it took me fucking forever to find a Chenas and I wanted to have located all the crus before starting the dang cycle. But we are here now.

I am feeling love for this Saint-Amour, the most northern of the Beaujolais crus. Ah yes, the granite/clay/schist/limestone soils are on hillier regions than much of the Beaujolais area. Hills can be lovely for wine that wants warmth and sun. And Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, needs a whiff of both.

So far I love this wine and it is loving me back.

Blueberries, y’all. And more blueberries plus blackberries and friggin’ slate blackboard. Picture your childhood art teacher grabbing blue chalk and drawing blueberries and you lick the board and it actually tastes both like the board, the chalk, and the berries. Therrrrre you go. This is a classic gamay in its freshness, berry-ness, a hint of some sort of fortified wine so whaaaa—chamomile/herbs/quinine?—and just more love.

Love y’all back. Next week———–Julienas!

We are cycling together my people. Love you too. 

 

Wine-timidation

18 Apr

Oh no so there is that friend. She has her shit together. She is smarter, cooler, more–I dunno everything-er–than you, and you love her but worry about saying the wrong thing around her until the night gets going and you realize really her presence is actually calming.

She looks super deep, and also somehow pulls off the paisley/plaid/denim look like a boss. Like this wine pulls off combining varietals from Spain (the Tempranillo), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Northern Rhone (Syrah). And then this wine sports the one wacky grape like she rocks the random nonsensical jacket patches and it works! The grape in this oh-so-super metaphor is the Petit Verdot. Who the F grows that? It is a finicky and needs extra-special heat and is hardcore and normally used in tiny amounts except here where it is a full 25% of the beverage but hey! This wine has it! And makes it wicked awesome! Why does she have a wombat patch? That’s so odd! And cool now you wanna get to know some wombats even though she probably forgot she ever got that patch.

Oh right and before I forget there is hip minimalist intervention in the making of this vineyard to boot. So cool.

Also a friend of mine in the wine community sent this to me because he rocks and I do my best to give him educated wine feedback…

Here is the thing. This girl (wine) is good. And quality. And worth keeping in your wheelhouse. I might eat it with migas but don’t tell.

So this intimidating friend/wine…although at first glance too hip n cool for school, once you get to chatting (sipping) she is relatable. Do-able. Maybe even basic. Simpler than you surmised but still…upscale shall we say. Delectable.

And now I shall like a WSET advanced certified person I’ll judge for you this wine:

2012 Booker Vineyard “Remnant” 

35% Tempranillo, 25 % Petite Verdot, 23 % Syrah, 17 % Cabernet Sauvignon

Aged 24 months in French oak barrels. From Paso Robles (so near yet so far!).

Lemme give those of you who want a soundbite tasting note my thoughts: This is plush but has a bite. Fruity in a way some peeps will call sweet but really just fruity. With some spice. Balanced perfectly. If you want to know what to pair it with I would say walnuts. That’s my gut feeling. But you are not ordering that for dinner so I’d say anything with nuts. Oooooh a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich would be flippin’ wicked with this. Now I need a sandwich. Oh my.

All of which to say this is an approachable wine with an attitude. Like that girl who is so cool you hope she likes you too. She probably will.

Details, WSET-style:

To the eye: DARK!!! Which I love. Dark ruby/purple. Opaque even poured in small amounts. Medium thick slow tears gliding down the wineglass sides.

Nose: All sorts of blackberries, plums, allspice, red pears,and ginger.

Tongue: Dry but so fruit-forward you almost wanna call it sweet. Acid is medium. Tannins medium and may be from the petit verdot but clearly there is some influence from the oak. Sorta plush yet textured like that. Alcohol is medium (13.8% abv which technically is .3 over medium but what the heck evs). Body is for a red medium…almost plus> Strawberries blackberries cherries all the -ies, allspice as heck, a hint of that sorta sweet baby spinach…rightttt? Right. Flavor intensity is medium, Finish is medium plus. There is a moment you think “this is short-ish or maybe medium” then something spicy kicks you. In a Pleasant Kicking Way. Someone is into that right??

Okay. Thank you Paul for sending this my way. It is truly a delight.

Oh heck realized I have some peanut butter cup ice cream and a cherry ice cream and that may be the ideal pairing for this wine. Test it and tell me?

One for you, one because yum, sip, gulp

4 Apr


Okay this one is simple. 

Maybe I am over-simplifying because this wine is more complex than some of the other pinkies that arrived at my step this season. 

Yet the simplicity is quite elegant for a wine you can grab from the grocery store. 

2016 Dark Horse Rosé

This is simpler than some of the even cheaper rosés I’ve sampled this  season but better too. It is simple but pretty and balanced and I appreciate the name and label. 

So if you only ever buy grocery stores for wine do me a favor and grab this.

It is a good pink delight. Grab it. Drink it. Wooooohoo! 

That’s all for tonight, lovers.

Mine. All mine.

2 Apr


I am a wine slut. I get into this..then that…and in the moment what I have is my true love. For flavor. I’m different with humans. Even though I’d argue each wine is its own person. Just not human.

I am a wine polyagomist. I have enough tastebuds to love a whole lotta fluids. From grapes. Grapes. Wrest ye minds from zee gutters.

What I am saying is while in a person I want one, in my grapes I am a flagrant harlot seeking pleasure.

2015 J Wine Monterey County/Sonoma County/Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

This one is a surprising pleasure.

It was surprising in that I was not expecting it when boom! FedEx was at my door. Thank you Gallo publicists.

I know you are thinking “that is one grape!” It is just Pinot Noir!

But look more closely at the bottle. This is Monterey County + Sonoma County + Santa Barbara County and the same grape is wildly different depending which of those locations it is grown.

Let us be more specific. In Monterey it is Santa Lucia Highlands. In Sonoma it is Russian River. And then in general Santa Barbera.

I don’t need my loves to know their entire genetic past. As with wine this is enough because it is good in my…okay it is good. Great even. For a 25 buck wine (I did not buy but that is the suggested price) this is QUITE do-able.

I am probably more picky with men but maybe I should move past this metaphor.

This wine has the elements of its main three regions. There is the jammy nature of Santa Barbara where SoCal heats things up. There is the red fruit and chipper acid of Monterey where coastal breezes keep things from being jammy. Then there are the bright cherry notes and elegant tannins which are gripping yet drying but not unpleasantly so from Sonoma. Those coastal breezes counteract brutal sun.So blend those three grapes together and it is a damned fine wine.

Heck. I LOVE when something I did not expect arrives at my door AND is SUPER good. Hell.

Life is good. Kiss the ones you love. Hold their hands. And then…drink the shit out of whatever beverage you wish because monogamy is for people.

Free love is for grapes.

 

 

It’s not corked!!!

21 Mar


Oh heck I was nervous to taste my second. Because the first was wonk so I wrote the winery and they sent me a non-corked specimen. But what if I was wrong?

I’m a member of this winery. Did I hate one of their top wines? Was this a sign my taste blew? Blows? Blow-ed? Did a blow thing in the past?

I was questioning existence itself as a thing which is probably too much thought for a wine that was obviously corked.

All the same the winery kindly sent me a replacement bottle and I was SO SCARED that I’d open it and it would be the same and the wine was supposed to taste like that and maybe I just had terrible taste buds.

It was not corked. My tasters work. This wine is marvelous and kudos Dragonette for quickly remedying my corked situation.

2014 Dragonette Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

Only 380 cases produced. It’s too bad one was corked but gosh dang the real deal is the bees knees.

Bees have real sexy knees.

Fuck dude it’s cherry syrup on butter pecan ice cream. That’s it.

Okay I will say more.

You sip and boom there is some acid. Also if you get to the end of the bottle there is some sediment. This shit is unfiltered like a goddamned boss.

Shit this is…GOOD Cali Pinot?! I Lurve This Pinot. Right now. I’m not normally into Cali Pinot but Dragonette as I mentioned is a goddamned boss.

Okay to sum up it is highly Acidic. Highly cherries that have hung out in vanilla and oak and sunshine. 

This is one of those confusing thangs. There is so much up body up in this Noir you are like “is this a cab Blend?” And then you are like I’m an idiot.

But you are not. Because this lovely is full and nuanced and mellow yet complicated like me when I am not yet fully awake but already trying to decipher my dreams.

It’s like…the cherries. But they are complicated. Did I mention them? The cherries? Like every color and roasted and boiled and maybe even pickled. All the cherries.

I mentioned them right?

And there is mayhaps some oak. 

Double checked: 20 months in French oak barrels–13% new.

This is cherry Coke vacationing on the shore near the forest in…in wherever there is earth n dirt and an enchantress stewing cherries. 

Yah.

Happy spring y’all.

This is your unicorn Pinot.

Cheers!

17 Mar


I apologize in advance if this entry is more maudlin and less haha funny. Because I want to toast to family. Which matters.

Family is the…BEST thing. If it weren’t for my parents I…well I need not go on. 

So. Accelerating to the drink because I can tell you more of my not-haha-funny past my family saved me from later. History will always be there where we left it.

How many of us can create wines in honor of our papas? If I ever make a wine I would. That’s what Joseph Carr of Josh Cellars did when he made

Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend

And the winery was kind enough to send some to me. If my family were in town I certainly would have shared the wealth. But it was Tuesday night in LA and I needed to write another wine blog and there was nary a soul to share with. So I am cheers-ing with the camera. With you.

My blog family.

I love you dear readers. Not as much I love my family but like, a whole bunch.

But because I love you I’ll stop being sappy and talk of this vino I would share with you.

Were you here. 

My lovelies.

Okay wine.

The grape varietal combo is luscious:

45% Merlot for the juicy alcoholic tastiness. 45% Zinfandel for those of us who like our rough and also slightly spicy stewed fruit. Then 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (everyone will drink it!) and 5% Petite Sirah (why not?).

This drink is indeed good for family because it is medium in almost every category. So no one will argue. It’s a balanced bottle.

To the eye: deep cherry-plum red, medium tears

Nose: clean, medium intensity, cherries, plum, tobacco and raisins, youthful (2014)

Tongue: dry, medium acid, medium tannins, medium alcohol (13.5% abv), medium body, medium flavor intensity, plums, raspberries, currants (red and black), stewed dried fruit (raisins, prunes, cranberries), vanilla, cigar box, cloves, allspice, medium finish

All over: good quality. Quite do-able. If I was at a party and someone handed this to me I’d be at home.

I’d take this wine home. Cheers!