Sunday, July 27, 2008

D'Vine Wine

Lone Star Chardonnay

A close friend of mine, who lives in Texas, sent me a wonderful care package after I had surgery back in March. In that care package was a bottle of wine from D'Vine Wine of Texas. This white wine was from their Vintner's Select Wines and was called "Lone Star Chardonnay." According to the website, it has a peach flavor. Last night, my husband and I finally got around to popping the cork and giving it a try.

Why did it take so long? Because I am not a huge fan of Chardonnay. I normally find them to be too dry for my taste. But my husband needed a white wine to cook with so he opened this one up and we imbibed on the rest with dinner.

The first sip was actually quite delightful - very fruity and light - not dry at all. Unfortunately, the delight didn't last long for me - I thought the aftertaste was a tad bitter, though my husband thought it was fine. Would I buy this one again? Probably not, but it was a nice change from the usual Chardonnay.

3 out of 5 grapes.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer, Summer, Summertime....

I'm a red wine girl.... I like a nice glass of red wine on a chilly evening.

Problem is.... it's July -- and although the humidity has finally broken here in CT, it's still in the mid-80s. I'm not complaining -- believe me, I'm not complaining -- but..... a glass of rich red wine that warms your insides just doesn't call to me this time of year -- so what does that leave? white wine. I know nothing about white wine.

We have some friends coming for a visit this weekend and so, I asked the Big Dubya to pick me up a bottle of wine. He asked what I wanted..... and I struggled.... I just honestly don't know.

I hemmed and hawed and came up with pinot grigio.... I wanted light and sweet -- something cold that that I could sip leisurely.....

Anyone want to suggest a good white?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Talk me into (or out of) giving Yellow Tail another try

Several years ago, a guy at work told me that Yellow Tail was a terrific affordable (a.k.a. cheap) wine. So, when I saw it on sale.... I picked up 3 bottles (it was something like 3 for $20).

One night, the Big Dubya and I decided a glass of wine would be nice and we busted open a bottle of the yellow tail -- I want to say it was Merlot, but I can't be sure.

It was disgusting -- I would have preferred to drink a glass of Robitussin. We didn't even finish the glasses -- we poured them down the sink, followed by the rest of the bottle. If I recall, the Big Dubya noticed something suspicious about the cork and so we deduced that it was probably just a defective bottle -- those who'd recommended it had never steered us wrong before.... we must have just gotten unlucky.

Well here we are..... it must be 4 or 5 years later, the other two bottles are still on my wine rack. Not sure why I haven't either opened them or thrown them out -- but, I haven't.

Do any of you have an opinion of Yellow Tail that you'd like to share?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Doing Time

“We need to write a wine review,” I told Sue.

“What do we have?” she asked.

“We have Red Truck, but we reviewed it already. And we have this,” I said, holding up a bottle of 2004 Big House Red, a California blend of Carignane, Sangiovese and Charbono.

I grabbed two glasses and the corkscrew from the kitchen gadget drawer. Then I noticed something.

“I’m not so sure I want to review this one,” I said.

“Why?” she asked.

“This is why.” And I unscrewed the cap.

“A lot of good wines are going to screw tops now,” she told me.

I’m still not sure if that’s true or she was making something up as she sometimes does. But you couldn’t prove it with this bottle of wine.

Neither of us liked it.

According to the website, Big House Red has “lush tannins” and is “criminally rich—a riot of blackberry, raspberry & black pepper.” Hardy har har.

I got the tannins. I think I got the blackberry and raspberry. I even got the black pepper—in the bottom of my glass. I usually like dark heavy reds, but this one was just off. Sue liked it even less.

Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator both supposedly liked it. Maybe it just wasn’t our thing. Anybody else ever done time with Big House?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maine to Mannheim

You don't think that just because Mrs. Big Dubya was pregnant I gave up drinking, do you?  Bite your collective tongues.  Someone has to take up the slack when one member goes down.  I do it for Johnny, man!  I do it for Johnny!

So, yes, I have been drinking; expanding my horizons; and developing (and treating) my palate.  First up is the Saranac Imperial IPA.  I've been on a hoppy kick for a while now, so when I buy some beer, there will usually be one or two IPAs or something similar in the mix.  I've always liked Saranac's offerings - the Pale Ale is good as is the Adirondack Lager - so when I saw the Imperial IPA I thought it would be a nice diversion.  I tried an Imperial Stout which pleasantly surprised me so the Saranac seemed a logical choice - Imperial + IPA = must be good.  And you know what?  It is.  Saranac boasts that this beer uses 10 different hops and 10 different malts to brew this complex beer.  I was not overwhelmed by the aroma of hops upon my first sip - something that surprised me given the amount of hops in this brew.  It sports an IBU of 85 (up there on the bitter scale) but you wouldn't know it by the nose.  It pours a nice amber color and has a nice medium mouth feel.  It comes in at a healthy 8.5% ABV which doesn't make it a "pound these all night" sort of beer.  It is a seasonal so unless you can find it on your retailer's shelf, you might be out of luck.

Since this is spring/summer and baseball is in full-swing, I opted for the Stone Coast Knuckleball Bock.  I must admit not having been a bock aficionado - it's never been one I've been drawn to or one I have sought out when I do my beer shopping.  I've seen the Knuckleball a few times and decided I would give it a go.  Last summer, I gave Stone Coast's 420 IPA a whirl and found it to be very tasty so I was hoping the same would be true for the Bock.  After being on a hoppy kick for a while, this was quite different.  The bock is a malty beer and that comes across in the first whiff.  It pours a nice dark amber/brown with an off-white head.  The first sip caught me a bit off guard but pleasantly so - it was malty followed by some hoppy bitterness which added a nice balance.  All in all, a nice beer and at 5% ABV, not an ass-kicker so you shouldn't feel compelled to stop after 9 or 10.

One more.  I love me some hefeweizen (HefeweiƟbier).  As far as beer goes, hefe and Guinness are the creme de la creme; tutti di tutti beer - for me anyway.  But it has to be German for it to be really good.  I've drunk Harpoon UFO, Widmer Bros., etc. but none of them have ever matched the goodness I found in Ulmer Munster, Gold Ochsen or many others.  Hefeweizen is an unfiltered wheat beer and, in contrast to what I've been digging lately, is low on the hops - usually only about 15-20 IBUs.  One of my favorites that I can get around here is Julius Echter which pours a pale gold color with a nice white head that remians throughout.  I've noticed distinct clove aromas as well as a hint of banana and vanilla.  It has a very high carbonation level which is a signature characteristic of the hefeweizen.  If you're not afraid of unfiltered wheat beers, you should really try and find the Julius Echter.  If you can't find this one, find a Tucher or Paulaner - you can't go wrong.

The choice of Dr. Frank-n-Furter

Ok, honestly, when you look at the label you say, "Look, a novelty wine."  But, I'm here to tell you, it's no novelty.  It's actually pretty good.  Good enough that it will be added to the list of "buy agains."  That is if I had a list of "buy agains."

Mrs. Big Dubya got this bottle as a gift at her office baby shower.  Yes, a baby shower for a third child.  These work people of hers just like their parties.  Anyway.  So, we enjoyed the Vampire Merlot 2004 this evening.  Well, Mrs. Big Dubya had one glass.  I had...well...more than one.  Maybe the rest of the bottle.  I'll never tell.  Don't judge me.  Once you get past the kitschy vampire references on the label - "favorite among the nocturnal elite"..."Sip the blood of the Vine" - you'll learn that it has am "intense dark plum bouquet" and that it can "take on the biggest chargrilled steaks and barbecued meats."  The wine is a deep, ruby red bordering on dark purple and you can taste some plum as well as some black cherry on the palate.  It is also mild on the tannins which I find particularly nice.  As with any Merlot, there is an oakiness to it, but not as intense or as distinctive as most - if you like that deep, oaky smoky flavor, you might not like the Vampire.  The Merlot is also blended with Cabernet (8%) and Zinfandel (8%) which add to its complex nature.

For the price ($7-$11 depending on retailer) you really can't go wrong.  I give it two fangs up.  I'm sorry.  Drink it.  You won't be cross.  I'll stake my reputation on it.  Someone please stop me