Saturday, June 30, 2007
July's Assignments are posted!!!!! (over there on the right).
If you haven't finished the June assignment, don't fret -- skip June and move on to July or skip July and work on June -- if you're feeling particularly thirsty..... do both, it's a long month.
You'll notice that the July assignment was suggested by Sarah, so if you have a suggestion for a future assignment -- please feel free.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I'm a girl, I know -- but the label looked fun and happy to me -- I love sunflowers and the description reminded me of summer, it reads as follows:
"Sachem's Picnic is a semi-sweet, low-tannin wine, light in color with bright raspberry, blackberry, and plum fruit. It is best enjoyed within a year or two. Food pairings: Picnic basket fried chicken, Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, a classic burger with the "works" or a good dog (we like ours with caramelized onions and mustard)."
The Big Guy opened the bottle, poured a couple of glasses and let them "breath" for a little bit. I asked him to bring me my glass and read the bottle to me. After he read the description, I held it up to my nose..... FRUIT PUNCH! I smell........ fruit punch.
I took a sip, the Big Dubya must have seen something on my face because he said "Oh, no... not good?"
I said nothing and he took a sip..... he exclaimed VITAMIN WATER!
I had hoped the second taste would improve, but...... no -- it tastes like a bitter Welch's Grape Juice and I'm not sure I can finish the glass.... never mind the bottle. I was embarrassed to suggest it, but he was relieved when I asked him to pour it down the drain.
The label is true, you can indeed taste the berry flavors -- however, for $11.99 I was hoping for something more than spiked Hawaiian Punch.
Sorry, but thumbs down, way down -- this bottle could easily be confused with one of the illustrious "Wines of the Fenway".... I can almost smell the pee.
Commenter Sean mentioned some wine recommendations along with a shameless plug for his buddy's site InterWined (very cool and clever name by the way).
I checked it out briefly this morning and it's a pretty neat site (I know, it's much fancier than this one, but...) -- "The Tasting Room" features some basic wine lessons as well as some tips on how to serve and store wine.
So, to Sean -- thanks for the tip
And, I've added a list of like-minded-blogs over on the right..... please feel free to refer us to others and I'll add them.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Since Big Dubya used the Evita reference in his review of an Argentine Malbec, I figured I'd throw everything else I knew about Argentina into the title of this review. Except before buying a 2005 Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec from the Mendoza province, I didn't know anything about Argentine wines. (I also didn't know that los cardos means the thistles, which are pictured on the bottle.)
To be honest, we chose the wine because we thought we'd be different. We had heard of Chilean wines and thought that other people would buy those. To be more honest, I'm not sure if we've even had a Chilean or any South American wine before this. But, I learned that Argentine wines are becoming more popular, and we did like this one.
The label describes the wine as "a spice wine with a touch of dried herbs that are well combined with mature fruits as dry plums and black cherries." (I know it seems like there's a word missing in that quote, but, even though I'm typing this right after we've drunk the wine, I've checked twice and it's like that on the bottle.) The wine also describes itself as having a hint of mint.
Sue and I both liked this wine. It was slighty spicy, dry and fruity as the label suggested, but we didn't get the hint of mint. I'm sure it would be great paired with steaks or any heavier South American or Mediterranean food. We didn't have it with a meal though; we had it with some bread and gorgonzola dip from a local bakery that we bought downtown at the farmers' market today. (That reference is mostly for the Dubyas.)
So, we've found another wine that we'd buy again. But, since we're usually not knocking back that many bottles a month, our next purchase will probably be July's assignment instead. That's the beauty of this project—that we're trying wines that we probably wouldn't have otherwise.
Friday, June 22, 2007
I'm not one to claim that I have a refined palate. To put it bluntly, I'm the type of guy who would go to a poetry reading and offer up some naughty limericks or some Andrew "Dice" Clay takes on some nursery rhymes. For years I abused my taste buds with "Wines of the Fenway" - MD 20/20, (What's the word?) Thunderbird!, Wild Irish Rose, Boone's - you know, stuff that will take off paint.
But, as I've aged and matured, so has my appreciation for better tasting wines. I'm not able to discern all the distinct flavors of any given wine, but I can recognize some things. And, at the very least, I recognize when I like a bottle or not. Mrs. Big Dubya sent me out last weekend to pick up some things for the bar and also asked me to pick up a bottle of wine from South America and a local vineyard. Not being familiar with the wines of S.A. - I know something about California, Australia, Italy - I just looked at bottles and any descriptions the liquor store provided. I settled on a Malbec from (Don't Cry for Me) Argentina (sorry, I just had to). I grabbed the $11.99 bottle of Punto Final Malbec 2006 which comes from Bodegas Renacer located in Perdiel in the Mendoza region of Argentina. Malbec is planted all over Argentina, but the Mendoza region is widely regarded as the best.
We opened the bottle Monday night to complement our pasta dinner that evening.Mrs. Big Dubya used a little bit of it in the sauce prior to anyone even taking the first sip. She was hesitant at first, having read on the label that "This wine is unfiltered in order to preserve its distinct varietals qualities." "Does that mean chunks," she asked. I was intrigued by the "unfiltered" quality -- I am a huge fan of unfiltered wheat beers -- and I replied, "Yep, floaties." I poured us each a glass; let it breathe for a moment or two; gave it a nice deep sniff and took a sip. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It was very, very mellow and left barely any aftertaste. There was a slight tannin quality to it but nothing that would be off-putting. Mrs. Big Dubya, a little overwhelmed by the initial "nose," found it to be a nice, refreshing wine -- not as heavy or as bold as some reds can be.
The bottle went very well with the pasta we had that evening, bringing forth the flavors of the tomatoes, garlic, onions and Italian seasoned turkey. It was another bottle Mrs. Big Dubya wished I had bought two of.
All in all, a very nice buy. Fruity and refreshing and I think the unfiltered quality only added to its complexity. (Do I sound remotely like I know what I'm talking about? Maybe just a little?) Definitely a buy again.
I had several problems (all of them personal - not like I won't share them with you, but like I am a moron problems) with the South American wine assignment.
1) I thought we were supposed to pick a South African wine at first. I'm just bad at reading. But seriously, South Africa has great wines, we should do that sometime.
2) I drank the bottle of wine and forgot to write down what it was.
Judging from this wonderful picture that I took with my cell phone it is a 2005 Malbec. I'm pretty sure it $12.99 and from Argentina. Also judging from this picture I am pretty sloppy when it comes to pouring.
I think I liked it. I think we drank it with some sort of chicken tacos. I'm pretty sure that I enjoyed it and it was spicy, and I am certain that I caught a nice buzz off of it and then threw away the bottle without writing anything down.
Next time I'll try to be more specific.
We also cheated on the extra credit assignment itself. There are wineries that are more local (we actually have two that are just one town away), but we went to a liquor store and bought one from a vineyard that’s in southeast Connecticut. Stonington Vineyards had the best selection of our state’s wines and choices other than blends. We also spent $16.99, which is a little more than the $15 we were limited to.
We’re not huge fans of white wines, but we picked a 2003 Chardonnay. According to the vineyard’s site, the wine “has been fermented and aged in both French and American oak barrels. This adds to its complexities, and gives an up front yet not overpowering oak finish. There are also wonderful tones of pear and butter. This wine is wonderful with classic French cuisine.”
We didn’t have our Chardonnay with French cuisine. There may have been some French bread involved though. If we had thrown some French fries into the oven and gotten some French dressing, we’d have created “dinner mon dieu.” (We’re good with the John Cusack movie references too—even though we totally missed the boat on appropriately titling that last review of the Peruvian wine “And to drink…”)
Sue liked the wine more than I did, but I didn’t hate it. Actually, it’s a wine that I’d try again—especially if we’re ever at the vineyard to get it. It wasn’t too dry, wasn’t too fruity, and who could resist “tones of butter.”
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Just passing through the wine store on Saturday afternoon and this one looked like it was a good candidate for this challenge!
And the verdict?
Terra Andina is definitely a great sipping wine for the summertime, especially at this price!
Light, crisp and refreshing and it had some major grapefruit flavors which makes it a great one for drinking on the deck on a warm, summer night.
It reminded us very much of the more expensive New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and would definitely be quite tasty with fish or cheese and crackers.