2007 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre: Victoria liked it, Greg not so much

oct. 27, 2009: we had this frenchman with scamp that greg's brother mike purchased for us in florida (and that his brother chris drove up for us on his way back to bloomington, ind.) greg seasoned this particular white fish with mediterranean spiced sea salt (a mixture of garlic, basil and oregano), and we had it with steamed broccoli and white rice. oh my gosh this was the best fish we've had in a long, long time! we forgot to take a picture, it was so good! the sancerre was well matched, victoria thought. it was crisp, light, with a good, clean flavor that was hardly acidic and easily drinkable, with slight honey tones. but greg didn't like it; he thought it was tolerable with a good mouthful of salt from the fish, but otherwise, he said it had too much grapefruit. that's his typical complaint about sauvignon blancs, which this is. the pascal jolivet domaine covers 49.50 acres in sancerre, with vineyards close to the villages of bue, verdigny and ste. gemme, according to the label. the sauvignon blanc grapes are produced in soils composed of 50 percent limestone, 30 percent chalky clay and 20 percent flint. this is 12.5 percent alcohol. victoria purchased it at varsity liquors in evansville months ago (the original plan was to match it with some boiled lobster) but doesn't remember the price; on snooth.com, it's $24.99.


2007 1707 Hacienda El Espino Almansa Syrah: Good for the price.

oct. 25, 2009: we had this with penne with sausage creme sauce (we substituted salsicca for sweet italian sausage) via http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1658,133176-254197,00.html and homemade garlic bread (well, the garlic/butter/olive oil/italian seasoning was homemade), and then victoria's famous blueberry pie, this time made with a homemade crust via http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1937,144170-250194,00.html. before the penne, and after the garlic bread, we had this spaniard with some manchego. that was the ideal combination, victoria thought. while this syrah was rumored to go best with sausage, the rich cream sauce she cooked up with heavy cream didn't totally match the wine (but it was still a good solid entree). greg thought it had a sweet and fruity nose and was slightly acidic but also mildly sweet. victoria agreed that it was a good food wine, with slight acidity and minor tannins. the label says this is 100 percent syrah and was aged three months in french oak barrels. 14 percent alcohol. $9.99 according to snooth.com.


2007 Schmitt Sohne Piesporter Michelsburg Mosel Riesling: Great pairing!

oct. 18, 2009: we had this 2007 schmitt sohne piesporter michelsburg mosel riesling with indian chicken with yogurt sauce (via http://www.recipleased.com/2008/08/indian-chicken-with-yogurt-sauce/ and coconut jasmine rice (via http://www.toomanychefs.net/archives/001418.php). it's been some time since we bought it, so we don't remember the price, but it's about $8 online according to various sites. the plan was to have a 2008 angeline pinot noir if the riesling turned out badly, but it actually went well with the meal. victoria thought the riesling had flavors of pear and apple, and it was also light and crisp. it really enhanced the flavor of the chicken. she had forgotten that she liked rieslings so much. greg really liked it and said it was fruity. he also thought it went well with the meal. for more information on deciphering german wine labels, visit: http://www.snooth.com/articles/commentary/deciphering-german-wine-labels-x

2006 La Mano Mencia Roble: Good table wine, went well with dinner.

oct. 17, 2009: we had this spaniard with leftover chicken skewers and spinach mashed potatoes (see earlier posts), homemade beef stroganoff and steamed broccoli. it went well with all of it. greg said he thought the wine was smooth, with slight tannins (he said it's a 2 on the 1-5 tannin scale, with 5 being so tannic it's undrinkable). overall, for the price, he said, it was good. victoria liked it, too, though as with the Dogajolo the night before, it left a slightly sour taste in her mouth the farther it got from the meal. but it was still a decent wine for a decent price. 12 percent alcohol. $9.99 with 10-percent case discount at big red liquors.


2007 Carpineto Dogajolo Toscano: Good with full-flavored dishes.

oct. 16, 2009: we had this tuscan with yogurt-marinated chicken with crushed red pepper and paprika, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper (via http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/09/grilling-yogurt-marinated-chicken-kebabs-with-aleppo-pepper-recipe.html) and spinach mashed potatoes (via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/garlic-mashed-potatoes-with-spinach-recipe2/index.html). greg wasn't feeling very well so he didn't eat or drink much, and at first victoria didn't think either dish was very good. but the next day, it was for some reason much better, and her sentiments might have been cold-related. anyway, the wine was a good match. it was smooth, with a slight cherry to the flavor, we both thought. greg said he would get it again. victoria added, though, that the farther it got from the meal, the more sour the wine tasted. it is 80 percent sangiovese and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon. $13.99 with 5-percent mixed case discount at friar tuck beverage in st. louis.


2004 Premius Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet: Gentle, light on flavor.

oct. 14, 2009: we had this grand vin de bordeaux with leftover grilled chicken and broccoli, and what was left of the harissa from last week. greg said it's a gentle soul, with a slight alcohol vapor in the nose yet nonetheless fruity all the same. he said it's mildly tannic, yet also smooth. victoria agreed that it displays some tannins, but it's smooth and near creamy, too. she doesn't think it has much flavor. that could be because she's fighting a sore throat. she said it's not a bad bottle; she's just not sure she'd get it again. it's also interesting how this bordeaux could be so smooth but also have so much tannin as it warms up in the glass. it's been aged in oak barrels. 60 percent merlot, 35 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc. 13 percent alcohol. $11.99 with 5 percent mixed-case discount at friar tuck liquors in st. louis.

2006 Bogle Petite Sirah Port: Very good.

oct. 11, 2009: we opened this clarksburg, calif., petite sirah after the lyeth cab. victoria thought this port was good, with a chocolate/blackberry flavor. it was definitely concentrated. greg liked it. he said the flavors he got were chocolate and blueberry, and he said it was very smooth. he said it was almost raisiny to him. 20 percent alcohol. $16.19 with 10 percent case discount at big red liquors.

2005 L de Lyeth Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon: Greg likes it, Victoria isn't so sure.

oct. 11, 2009: we had this californian with chicago-style seasoned steak that was first seasoned with seasoning salt, and steamed broccoli. greg liked it. he said it was smooth, and the nose is fruity and aromatic. he said he doesn't even taste it until it hits the back of his throat, and at that point it's kind of cherry. victoria said this wine seems acidic to her, but that may be because of the saltiness of the steak. with a little distance, and after a few sips of water, the wine reminds her of old leather. she thinks it almost may be sour. (she's fighting a lingering cold.) but greg thinks the steak seasoning and the fat within the steak brought out more flavor in the wine. victoria thinks the wine does improve as it warms up (we had chilled it significantly before we popped it open.) as it warms up, it has more flavor; but the last portion of the sip is almost rough to the mouth. 13.5 percent alcohol. $10.79 with 10 percent case discount at big red liquors.

2008 Montes Malbec: Fruity, good, fun light wine.

oct. 10, 2009: we had this chilean malbec with grilled chicken seasoned with a roasted chicken and burgundy rub with a little bit of sesame oil, and also steamed broccoli. greg thought the wine was good and it reminds him a lot of the 2007. it's smooth, with a tannic nose and a slight cherry flavor and minor tannic acid. victoria said this vintage is not as tannic as the 2007. she said it's fruity and light at the same time. 14 percent alcohol. gift from alan marty. $11.99 at snooth.com.


2006 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Very good with this meal.

oct. 5, 2009: we had this californian with homemade harissa and seasoned chicken skewers via http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/herb-marinated-chicken-skewers-with-harissa and some homemade hummus via http://mideastfood.about.com/od/appetizerssnacks/r/hummusbitahini.htm. the meal was delicious. the wine started out as acidic, but it mellowed out as it started to aerate. greg said this wine hasn't changed since we had it last (see a posting from june 7, 2009): this 2006 vintage is smooth, hardly acidic, the nose is slightly cherry and he can smell the tannins. greg said this pinot went very well with the meal and that neither modified the other. victoria said this wine becomes slightly more acidic the farther it gets from the meal. this was 13.9 percent alcohol. $20.69 at big red liquors (with 10 percent case discount).


2006 Fred and Nancy Grabner Plum Port: Very good.

oct. 4, 2009: we had this with a homemade blueberry pie victoria made with blueberries greg, chris and sarah had picked about a year ago. this pie turned out slightly sour, which was good; it wasn't too sweet against the plum port. fred's wine had a small amount of carbonation which we couldn't explain, but the flavor was both tart and sweet. greg said he thought fred's port had a bit of a french "barn yard smell" that he and rob williamson always talk about, but victoria didn't notice that specifically. this was definitely a good bottle, and it was nicely paired with the pie. we had one of the last bottles fred made from that year. 15 percent alcohol. gift from fred and nancy.

2007 Billington Winery Lily Pinot Noir: Decent.

oct. 4, 2009: we had this russian river valley pinot with a grilled salmon dish via http://www.articlesbase.com/wines-and-spirits-articles/wine-and-dine-grilled-salmon-and-pinot-noir-marinade-a-crowd-pleaser-596845.html# and grilled portabella mushrooms via http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grilled-Portobello-Mushrooms/Detail.aspx. we also had steamed potatoes from fred and nancy grabner's garden. (victoria doesn't think she'd like to redo either the mushroom or this particular salmon recipe. the salmon recipe was made with a cup of this pinot).
greg really liked this pinot, which he said is very good. it's smooth with a cherry flavor, and he can smell the tannins. victoria is fighting a cold, so her sense of smell and taste are a bit off. she could tell that this californian is smooth, with minimal acidity (which she likes), but she said the flavor is almost bland. she said later that this is a pinot she could drink on its own, without food; that's notable because a lot of pinot noirs we've had have been acidic and need to be disguised by some sort of food pairing. grapes for this pinot were sourced from 14 small vineyards in the russian river valley and the sonoma coast, according to http://www.billingtonwines.com/. it was aged for 10 months in small french oak barrels, 40 percent new. this was 14.5 percent alcohol. $24.99 with 5 percent discount at friar tuck beverage in st. louis.