Posts belonging to Category Tempranillo



Hidden Treasures in Hidden Treasure Chests

"Hunting Wines" talent

“Hunting Wines” field team

The Animal Planet show “Finding Bigfoot” is fun to watch except we never get to see the critter. Storage Wars, Antiques Roadshow, Bering Sea Gold would be nothing without the payoff. Show me the buried treasure. The same principle holds when hunting for worthy wines at even more worthy prices. Here is the premiere episode of Hunting Wines. (more…)

Xmas to New Years, Le Ka Restaurant Review

young'uns2012WEBNothin’ left of 2012 but the memories. The fiscal cliff, the NFL season, Steve Nash’s return date…all yesterday’s headlines. How was New Years Eve? Memorable or forgettable? We are looking forward to 2013 and more and more U20 wines, Largené, the Krisses in Piemonte, and a return of the Field Mouse. Now that he converted us to white Rhones and Pennsylvania Pinot Noir we need to be regaled again for missing other little known regions. It could be make-or-break year on many fronts…including wine. Soon as the Eno Merchant comes online we will be announcing and buying. While he is getting ready Mr. G has provided a restaurant review below of a new hot LA dining spot. Forewarned is fore-armed. We also plan to feature more tasting notes from our newest tBoW team tasters the Young’uns, Their awesome [ed. young’un speak] palates are ready and willing. God Bless’em! (more…)

How to Taste Wine: Old School Tasting for New World Wines

Tasting wines blind usually works well…usually. It turns out that bagging and tagging can challenge even the most widely traveled among us. RULES for bagging: Learn to hold onto the bags used at your local wine shop; i.e., Woodland Hills Wine Co. Place the wines in plain brown wine bags. Pull the corks first and put them aside. Use corks from other bottles that occupy an otherwise useless drawer in the kitchen. Tape the bags tightly just below the rims. Send someone else to number the bags.

Problems can also arise when the concept fails. The latter occurred recently when we tried to taste off Pinot Noir wines, all from Santa Rita Hills. We were hoping to discern the differences between winemaker styles: terroir vs. fruit driven, lower vs. higher alcohol levels, New versus Old World preferences. Other “territorial” nuances might have played a role but that would lower this blog to the level of “entertainment” rags like People, US, and OK or some other Rupert Murdoch publication [ed. just ask, he’s itching to gossip if only someone was interested!]. Suffice it to say the SRH Pinot Noir taste-off proved to be more cerebral than distinctive. Given the sameness of outcomes, i.e., all the wines were pretty darn fruity with alcohol levels above 14%, we turn to the science of measurement to present our findings.

Here then is a matching quiz where you THE WELL INFORMED READER will successfully match the label to the description of the wine. Record your matches at the end under COMMENTS. Enter the number for the wine with the letter for the description. If you believe the #1 wine 2010 La Grange aux Belles La Niña matches the letter F description then enter 1F under COMMENTS. Your complete finished answers will read 1F, 2G, 3D…

OK. Pick up your pencils and break the seal on your booklets. Like so. You may begin.


THE 5 WINES..

1. 2010 La Grange aux Belles La Niña (Gamay) 13%
2. 2001 Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial (80% Tempranillo) 13.%
3. 2010 Cold Heaven Peacemaker Pinot Noir 14.75%
4. 2006 D’Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir Los Hermanas Vineyard, 14.1%
5. 2007 Talley Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir 14.1%

THE NOTES…

A. Fruity, balanced, not overwhelming. Tastes like Sangiovese. Forward cherry fruit. Medium weight. Pretty fresh for older wine. Fan favorite. $30

B. Alcoholic, big wine with peppery nose and flavors. Cherry cola. Powerful, like Syrah. $45

C. Funky nose and flavors. Is this Pinot Noir? Thick, unctuous, vinous. Sweet, cherry Robitussin, tannic. Off balance. $15

D. Sweet flavors. Smells and tastes like Pinot Noir but not distinctive. $25

E. Too big. Lots of alcohol. Hot. Everything wrong with SRH Pinot Noir. Gets more intense with time in the glass. Too focused. $45

Our tasting was undone not only by the lack of distinction among Central Coast Pinot Noir winemakers but also by the entry of two non-Pinot Noir wines. In the end the Spanish wine was most favored [ed. hint hint]. Once again, SRH Pinot Noir wines will go on hiatus. As took place with Paso Robles, we shall turn our attention to Rhone style reds from Santa Barbara. David Corey of CORE Wine Company has made the point in spades that these are the varietals which do best round these parts. In the queue for further testing on that proposition, we have Blair Fox of Blair Fox Cellars and Mikeal Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company; both premium and high rep Rhone style wine makers from the region.

As we observed in Paso Robles White Rhone style wines from SRH are another story. Some local SRH winemakers are doing a bang-up job with Rhone varietals such as Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. Kris Curran has been making very popular and luscious Grenache Blanc wines for longer than we can look up. We tasted two Viognier wines recently from producers with whom we were less familiar. We often find the Rousanne/Marsanne/Grenache Blanc blends fairly pleasing. However, we have consistently been unimpressed with Viognier as a varietal in general. Things have changed.

2010 Cold Heaven Sanford & Benedict Viognier $34: This is Morgan Clendenen’s signature wine. The next issue of Elegant Living magazine includes my incredibly perceptive interview/profile of her. This wine has a powerful nose. First flavors are steely, acidic, sharp. There is ferality but none of the dreaded feline quality. With a little more time citric and lemon flavors emerge. Kind of like ripe kiwi. Next stage shows peach. This is getting delicious. Excellent. Check the alcohol. 13.5%

2009 Blair Fox Paradise Road Santa Barbara County Viognier
$24: Another winner. Comes out strong but not beefy. Think Marshall Faulk. A tough, persistent and shifty runner with enough power and strength to carry the ball the entire game. Solid fruit flavors. More peachy than lychee. Also more straight ahead where the Cold Heaven teases and tempts. Like the Cold Heaven version this wine has very good acid to support the fruit. Also featured in the November 2012 issue of EL. Another winner. 14.2%

Although these two wines are not U20 values they are still good value in terms of quality. Keep in mind these are very low production hand-crafted wines made very skilled local winemakers. It shows. If somebody wants to know what to bring to the holiday party suggest one [ed. or both!] of these wines and you will be watching the door. Timing is perfect for bigger red and solid white wines. We especially like these white Rhone varietals with their lighter alcohol levels. The weather will turn cooler and Turkey Day is on the horizon. Stay frosty.

Labor Day Stay-cation Fueled by Low Wine Prices

With our lives governed by precious petrol we had little choice but to turn to wine as an alternative fuel source over Labor Day. The Large provided the first tasting session on a perfectly sunny SoCal day. After checking out the SW swell at Salt Creek we retired for a serious and amusing tasting dubbed Le Ruse Rouge de Mooj. The crew assembled for the avalanche of U20 wines laced with commentary heavy in fake Frénch acceñts. Let’s get to it. Many of the wines are still available.

Chris primed the tasters with a nice selection of Rosés that showcased the range of varietals and regions making up this prototypical summer beverage. (more…)

Pink Savages: BEST of the Large Fantastic

tBoW team taster The Large got inside the ropes at the premiere party for Savages. Being this close to Benicio del Toro [ed. the Hunted, Fear & Loathing], and Salma Hayek [ed. lead vampire From Dusk Till Dawn – see video!] sent Large for a Loop crossing his appetite for blush wines with movie star fever. We all benefit from his pyretic vision shared herein: tasting notes, sexy babes, paired foods. Welcome to the Large location food truck.

Summer is the season of blush. You see it in the cheeks of that beguiling and shapely post-teen prancing the beach!…in her bikini — tiny sparks of sand fly off her electrically as he turns to notice her staring at him; she’s caught with an embarrassed smile, pale perfectly smooth skin scattered with freckles turning deep pink… her deep red hair masking the sun like some flaming halo…. Or is it just the way the late afternoon sun disperses as you twist your glass, its dancing rays sparkling atop a sea of pink. It’s the season of hotter days… our ecosphere is boiling over, starting to fry large swaths of the Eastern seaboard into the midwest.

Hollywood spews out sizzling summer thrillers, with tall blondes in pink dresses sharing bong hits while manacled, held hostage by a ruthless, decapitation-happy enforcer working for a struggling, ruthless Baja cartel (Benicio del Toro, could it be any other, I ask you?). And after cutting a maniacal workday short and putting your feet on the patio furniture, it’s time at last to savor another wine of countless variations: Rosé.. (more…)