Monday, November 26, 2012

My Half Full Glass - November 22nd, 2012

Fine wines and also an extensive spirits inventory.

Cave B Tempranillo

A friend passed this bottle of Cave B Tempranillo along to me after a trip to see the Dave Matthew's Band in Oregon earlier in the year. I hadn't come across this label on my recent Oregon wine trip or the research that preceded it.

I couldn't come up with anything hugely notable to say about this wine, but it was well made, focused and has decent flavors so I drank it happily. It is lively and straightforward, likely a good match with charcuterie and cheese.

Tasting  - Wine For Dudes 2 sent me the "Wines for Dudes 2 " sampler curated by Gary Vaynerchuk. I'm not a Gary Vee fan, I'm not opposed to him either, I just came a bit late to the wine blogger party and missed his early online exploits. Assuming he had a good deal of play in selecting the wines in the sampler I was excited to see what his tastes might offer my own.

Looking at the lineup (above) I immediately thought that the party is in the first three bottles. A rosé from Syrah, a lightly oaked Cali Chard and a Rhone-style red blend that was described to be light. I can see these three wines being a killer trifecta for a cocktail party, summer BBQ or even a more formal dinner party. So how did they work for me?

The Bugay '10 "Long Stem Rosé" Syrah from Sonoma was surprisingly floral. Wine for a dude? Maybe a dude that was looking to get laid! No seriously, I like wines that are effective at grabbing ones attention and this wine is no slouch in that regard. It is light, fresh, mildly fruity, but the floral aspects are its main act. I could definitely drink this by the bottle. Maybe I will!

Next up was the Francis Coppola '09 "Director's Cut" Chardonnay, also from Sonoma. I've had some Coppola wines before, but I think just the reds so giving the Chard a spin was of keen interest. It's oakier than the tasting notes suggest, but not in a ruinous way. This wine would satisfy the "I only drink white" or "I only drink Chard" folks that wander through my house from time to time, and this wine is better than that magnum of plonky Chardonnay that I would expect them to drink on a regular basis. I'm fifty/fifty on this wine. The hit of baking spices in the finish is nice and drinking it in the early fall where I can relate to the pear and vanilla (aromas AND flavors) coming through also made sense.

The third wine in the first half of the sampler is the Twisted Oak '09 "*%#&@!" Red Blend, a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache, and the nose immediately made me think of the Rhone reds I enjoyed in France in 2011. The mélange of fruit, funk and oak is a place of action for me. It signals something interesting ahead, and this wine doesn't disappoint. It's not a big wine, and for that I am grateful. It has just enough body and nuance to make it worth drinking, but not so much that casual drinkers will be turned off by it. Finding interesting dry red party wines is a crap shoot and this happily goes on the list!

The second half of the sampler feels like a different party to me. With two Zins and a Cab I'd have to be selective with the guest list or send the riff raff home (you are sensing the sarcasm and snark, right?) before I broke these out! I have a mix of beverage loving friends and my experience tells me that many of them who are not specifically interested in wine wouldn't dig a good Zin or Cab, and that is OK by me. Pushing them out of their comfort zone is unfair so I'd be more apt to share the next three wines with friends who were more used to exploring the world of wine with open senses and opinions.

The first Zin is the Easton '06 from the Shenandoah Valley in California. I'm pretty confident that this is my first Shenandoah Valley wine, and I even had to look up where in the California it actually was! There is a certain rusticity in the mouth on this wine. A bit woody, peppery with some dry soil in fact. This is a drier more restrained Zin and one I might easily pair with some slow cooked venison on a late Fall day.

OK, so the second Zin is going to be different? How do I know? The deeper color, so much purple, tells me that there is going to be more concentration. Will it be jammy and fruity? I bet it will! This is the Jake-Ryan Cellars '07 Zinfandel from Mt Veeder in California. Lots of plum and chocolate in this little filly! This is the one wine from this group that I could expect to stand up to the actual barbeque, say pulled pork with a moderately spicy sauce. That is something I do for my friends once or twice a year and when I can pull out a wine (homemade beer and BBQ is a staple) that can pair well with it I have a chorus of happy party goers in front of me!

End of the line now. We finish with the Feather '07 Cab from the Columbia Valley in Washington State. The tasting notes say CA, but we all know that ain't right! This is the wine I am savoring after everyone has gone home and the party cleanup is done. Mellow and warm this wine helps the transition from party host to exhausted person on the couch. It's a pretty wine with all the Cab attributes you'd expect, but from a place where Cab doesn't get super huge and obtrusive. This wine would be one that would emerge from your cellar in time and still not disappoint.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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