may 31, 2009: we opened this as a second-bottle wine after the bennett family cab. victoria says based on that comparison the montes has a more iron nose, and it seems more firmly tannic, with less complexity than the bennett family. admittedly, it's a different grape, but compared to the bennett, it's definitely stronger and less expressive ... the strong but silent type that takes more time to get to know. hopefully it changes as it aerates. greg thinks it's an excellent example of a mellow malbec. it's got a carmelie taste, catfoody, he agrees it's slightly iron in flavor, a 1 on the 1-5 acidity scale, (5 being so acidic it's undrinkable). 14.5 percent alcohol. gift from victoria's dad.
may 31, 2009: we had this with chicago-style seasoned steak and broccoli. victoria thought it was a perfect mixture of tannins, acidity, sweetness and creaminess ... any of these to excess would make this a bad wine in her opinion, but this one's very balanced. it has a bit of cherry on the nose, but also traces of chocolate and coffee. it's complex, but not in an overpoweringly arrogant way. pretty good for a pick she learned about in a magazine, and now that the steak is done, it's got a relaxed feel in her mouth. greg thought it had some vapors of alcohol at the start of the bottle, so we gave it a chance to breathe. later, he said, it was a very good overall cabernet. it's got a cherry nose, a slight catfood smell, he likes the bayonette on the top of the bottle. he'd get it again. 14.5 percent alcohol. $17.99 with mixed-case discount at big red liquors.
may 30, 2009: we had this with chicago-style pork loin seasoning and fresh broccoli. greg truly enjoyed the wine, he said it's slightly tannic, sweet, smooth, and a good sit-down-and-drink wine. victoria thought it had a minor sour finish, but it's light, with a fruity nose. she wouldn't drink it again, but it's not the worst wine she's had. 13.9 percent alcohol. about $15 at schnucks.
may 29, 2009: we had pizza earlier, and it's in the fridge if we're still hungry. but in the meantime, we decided to open up this klinker brick on rob williamson's suggestion. victoria thinks it's a good buy. zins in general seem to be hits with us. it has a mustiness to it that's not negative or bad in any way ... it just makes it distinctive. there is a slight tannic feel, but it's only about a 2 on the 1-5 scale (5 being most tannic). greg says it's very interesting. it's got a sweet and cat foody nose, with slight fruitiness and acidity. he says it's a 2 on the 1-5 acidity scale (5 being so acidic it's undrinkable). 15.8 percent alcohol. $14.39 with mixed-case discount at big red liquors.
may 28, 2009: we had this with grilled chicken, beans, carrots, brussel sprouts, and tortellini. it was our second try. greg thought it was good, he likes it, it has the slight candy corn flavor he noted in our first post about it. victoria thinks it's better as it aerates, though it is relatively tannic. she says it's a 4 on a 1-5 tannic scale (5 being the highest). it has a heavy mouth feel, though it's fruity, and it has an expressively cherry nose. andean culture bonarda. mendoza, argentina. 13.5 percent alcohol. $8.99 with mixed-case price at big red liquors.
may 26, 2009: rob williamson had recommended this one as a good second-bottle wine, and he's made a good determination, though this one is a bit corked. still, it has a slight cherry flavor mixed with a tannic mouth feel, and it's pretty good. victoria said it seems to have a more vibrant nose than other malbecs, many of which, honestly, seem to run together as if they were tributaries of the same giant grape-based river. this one stands out in a fruit-forward, intense way. greg said it's hard for him to determine what the flavor is. he said it's got the general characteristics of a malbec, but it's hard to tell how the wine is in more detail because it's corky. 13.5 percent alcohol. $6.29 with mixed case discount at big red liquors.
may 26, 2009: we had this with a mesclan salad with garlic/dijon mustard vinagrette and oven-melted slivers of goat cheese dipped in thyme/breadcrumbs as a starter. victoria thought it went very well together and was almost sweet against the acidity of the vinagrette. then we had grilled chicken breasts with carrots. it was also a good match. the 3 stones by itself was more grapefruity than victoria would have liked, though it had an aromatic nose like a lot of sauvignon blancs do. greg thought the nose is not as grapefruity as other s.b.'s, but it was fruity. he said it's too acidic for him. victoria can see that. it *is* slightly acidic, but she thinks that effect is minor. the flavor is grassy, slightly sweet. it reminds her of a chardonnay, but it's more effusive in fruitiness than a chard ... and definitely more tolerable. greg, however, just told me "i'm not finishing that." looks like a very distinct line is being drawn in the sand re: s.b.'s. 12.5 percent alcohol. $13.49 at big red liquors with mixed case discount.
may 25, 2009: we had this with chicago-style seasoned grilled pork loins, green beans, mushrooms and red potatoes. it definitely lived up to its memory. greg thought it was slightly sweet, but very smooth, with a minor cat food scent, with the flavor of cherry. victoria thought it was gentle, smooth, elegant ... as soft as a pillow after a hard day. it was minimally tannic, but in such a way that the firm line of tannin enhanced the softness of the wine. definitely a good find. and only about $12.59 (with the 10 percent mixed case discount). 13.5 percent alcohol.
2007 Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc Sauvignon Blanc: Good nose, but flavor is watered down. Wouldn't get it again.
may 23, 2009: we also had this with the white fish that had been marinated with lemon juice, cilantro, salt, pepper and olive oil, as well as carrots and brussel sprouts with sweet onions. victoria thought it had a gently aromatic nose, but the flavor was watered down, as if someone had wanted to make it a little less concentrated at the winery. greg said it had a nice, fruity, citrusy nose, and it lacked a grapefruit scent, which was good. phil said he was really overpowered by the boxcar pinot noir, so he didn't get much of a flavor off of it. 13.5 percent alcohol. sonoma county. about $27.
may 23, 2009: we had this with white fish marinaded in lemon juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, garlic salt and olive oil, as well as a side of carrots and brussel sprouts with sweet onions. greg thought it was highly acidic, but slightly sweet. phil thought it was also highly acidic, but chilling it helped that. victoria agreed that it was acidic, but the minimal sweetness made the acidity tolerable. it was a 3 on the 1-5 acidity scale (5 being undrinkable). after the fish, we matched it with the saltiness of some compte, and that minimized the acidity. 14.5 percent alcohol. russian river valley, santa maria, california. about $29.
may 22, 2009: it's a friday night, so we figured we'd uncork another one after our pinot noir experience. victoria says this one is earthy on the nose, slightly sweet and jammy, but light, too. definitely a welcome change from the acidity of the kim crawford pinot. greg likes it, pricewise it's a very good purchase ($10), the nose has the cat food scent he usually identifies in certain wines, and it reminds him of the malbec montes. he says it's fruity, sweet, smooth, slightly acidic. but it's also got a bold flavor. greg says this wine is a 2 on the 1-5 acidity scale (with 5 being so acidic it's undrinkable). victoria disagrees, saying it's a 1 on the acidity scale; to her, it seems relaxed and comfortable, like a dancer who's just found her gentle rhythm on stage in front of adoring fans. greg says it would be good with a juicy steak, and you should hear him now in his german/italian accent ... 14.8 percent alcohol. about $10.
may 22, 2009: we had this with fresh atlantic salmon seasoned with a marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic salt, sea salt and lemon pepper. it was a terrific match. the acidity of the wine was easily paired with the richness of the salmon. greg likes it. the nose has what he always describes as a classic cat food/tannic odor. the flavor is cherry, slightly acidic, though smooth and good overall. victoria thinks it went well with the salmon, but without it, the acidity is amplified, and she can pick up prickles of it as it pulls on her tongue. greg agrees, saying it does make the tongue tingle. it doesn't have much of a nose, and the acidity is enough to make you drink it slowly. we'd heard kim crawford was a good vineyard for sauvignon blanc, so we wanted to try the pinot noir. because of the acidity, this vintage may do well to be aged a bit. a 3 on the 1-5 acidity scale, with 5 being the highest (5 meaning undrinkable, according to victoria). 13 percent alcohol. about $19. photo shows wrong year.
may 20, 2009: greg picked this up for about $6.99 at the grocery store. we had it with green pepper brats and potatoes and sweet onions. for the price, this was surprisingly decent. greg said it's the best six-dollar cab he's ever had. the nose is fruity, with a slight tannin, it's a mild cab. economically, he says, this is a really good deal. victoria says it has a scent of cherries and is slightly creamy, though it has its share of tannins, too. it's a light cab, certainly less distinctive than the beringer knights valley and the louis martini napa valley, but for $6, it's really not as bad as she expected. 13 percent alcohol. price already stated.
may 18, 2009: victoria's dad had given half of this bottle to greg, and he brought it home to match our dinner of pork loins with thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and carrots, broccoli and cheesy rice. we both agreed this wine was wonderful. it had a fruity flavor, with a thick and luscious mouth feel that was concentrated and worthwhile. we'd definitely get this one again. 14.5 percent alcohol. about $18.
may 19, 2009: we had this with pork loins marinated in thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and with brussel sprouts and sweet onions ala greg. big, big disappointment, especially considering the price tag. we bought it at friar tuck in st. louis despite what was essentially a non-rating at the store. we'd rate it your standard, wallflower malbec ... lacking in personality, and just there to fill up space at the dinner table. victoria thought it had very little nose, with lots of tannin and a slight sourness to the aftertaste. greg thought it was okay, but wasn't worth the $29. it seems more like an $8 or $9 bottle. victoria thinks that with a little bit of distance from the food, it is slightly sweet with a slight peppery-ness, but not enough to create any kind of distinctive flavor. 14 percent alcohol. price already stated.
may 17, 2009: victoria had (not all of) this (again) while greg was working. it continues to not disappoint, with a creamy and light tannic feeling that is definitely worth repeating. we got this at friar tuck in st. louis while visiting emilie during her graduation weekend, and it was $2 less than the price in evansville. so we got two bottles, and convinced alan to purchase one of them. 13.9 percent alcohol. about $10.99 at friar tuck.
may 16, 2009: we had this with miniature chocolate and fruit/custard tarts from whole foods. alan says this is a rare wine. he said at first the alcohol hit him too much in front at the beginning of the tasting, but later it integrated well with the rest. he doesn't remember the nose, but the fruit was forward, meaning he tasted it right away. and there was tannin, though it was also a concentrated wine. 16 percent alcohol. 7.9 g/100 ml residual sugar. contra costa county. $15.99.
may 16, 2009: yet another celebratory wine during this post-graduation weekend in st. louis. victoria thought it had an aromic nose, slightly fruity, with a lingering tannin that announced itself later on in the evening. greg thought it was very smooth, the nose had a faint raisin scent. alan thought it started out with a little acidity, and the tannins were well equilibrated with the wine, slightly tannic but the tannins were smooth. it had some mouth feel that was pleasant, so it was concentrated. it was good by itself or with blue costello blue cheese (which has a creamy, nutty and buttery flavor). he said it would stand the test with any premier cru bordeaux. marie-paule did not complain so it must have been good, she joked.
2007 Drylands Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Vic thought a little acidic, though with a wonderfully effusive nose.
may 16, 2009: we had this along with white fish, cilantro, salt, pepper, and lemon, and some green beans. victoria thought it had a very aromatic nose, but the flavor was slightly acidic, and less attractive than the vavasour. greg thought it had a very grapefruity flavor and nose, and was too much for him. it wasn't something he would get again. alan thought it was grapefruity, with an intense aroma and flavor of citrus. he would buy it again. marie-paule is not commenting. emilie thinks it's less fruity than the vavasour when the vavasour is just opened. $17.99.
may 16, 2009: more celebratory dinners to follow emilie's graduation! this one worked out very well. victoria thought it had an initial slight apricot nose. but later, after about an hour and a half, it had a scent of leeks. the flavor had a minor acidity. greg thought it was really good. he said it had a grapefruit flavor, when it was first opened it had a little bit of an oyster or shellfish scent. alan thought it had the disadvantage of being open a couple days in the refridgerator, but it was thinner, with less intense fruit flavor and scent. but that could have been the result of having been opened. marie-paule thought the first impression was that it had the scent of oysters, but then once it had aerated for 5-10 minutes, it lost that scent.
may 15, 2009: emilie's graduation day! so of course it was a time for celebration, and this bottle did not disappoint. it was, as my father paraphrased winston churchill, aged and with few bubbles. my father said good champagne is supposed to have a nose of burnt toast ... but this nose wasn't very aromatic, though greg said it reminded him a bit of apples. my father said he thought he had purchased it in chicago about 10 years ago. he gave a bottle to emilie's doctoral advisor, dr. david gray. we had it with some foie gras my grandmere had given us. delicious. a wonderful wine on a fantastic day :) photo not exact. 12 percent alcohol. about $20-25 when it was purchased. worth twice that today.
may 13, 2009: greg bought this as a surprise. we had it with rosemary-encrusted pork loins, rice and broccoli; not the best pairing, but once we got the food out of the way, this wine lived up to its earlier designation as creamy, round and altogether satisfying. victoria again got the flavor of blueberries, though this time there was a slight peppery-ness to the finish. 13.9 percent alchol. one of the better finds for $12.
2005 Picket Fence Russian River Valley Chardonnay: Decent, Victoria says; Best chard he's had up to this point, according to Greg.
may 11, 2009: we had this with a rosemary seasoned grilled chicken and tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar salad. greg really liked it. it was the best chardonnay he's ever had up to this point, he said. victoria wasn't as impressed, mostly because of what she said was a certain level of acidity. there was a definite lemon flavor, she said, though on the good side, it was fruity without being sweet, with a restrained pull toward the grapefruit side of the fruit bowl. the flavor was definitely light and refreshing ... a good warm weather wine, though victoria doesn't think she's a big chardonnay fan. greg said it's got a buttery flavor, with lemon and pear influences. victoria didn't notice the butteryness as much as the acidity. dennis at winetree described it as oaky and woody. he said to tell him what we thought of it (reminder). our first picket fence. 266 barrels produced; 7,000 cases made. 14.5 percent alcohol. about $20.
may 10, 2009: we opened this other bottle after we had had the leyda pinot. victoria really liked it. it was less acidic, and smoother and more even than the leyda. it also had fruitier nose. this photo is not exact since we had a 2003.
may 11, 2009: victoria's father had the rest of the mueller the next day, and he said it was less acidic (though the first-day's pours weren't that acidic at all), richer and rounder. he said it was unusual for a pinot noir to be better 24 hours later.
may 10, 2009: we spent this mother's day with victoria's parents and sister emilie. we wanted to try this pinot again after we had what we termed a bad bottle in st. louis a week earlier. the bottle we had tonight had been properly chilled in victoria's dad's wine cellar. it was fruity. we compared it to a bottle that had been stored at emilie's apartment in st. louis. the one that had not been properly chilled had a slight raisin flavor. the more the wines warmed up, the more acidic they became. we decided that when it comes to pinot noir, it's best to drink it relatively quickly after it has been opened. $20-30 range.
may 9, 2009: this is the second bottle we had (with alan, marie-paule and emilie) after the party with some friends. victoria's father introduced it to us. victoria thinks it is light, with a slight sweet but also lemon flavor. it's a good wine for a hot spring day. greg thinks it has a mild nose, a subtle hint of grapefruit or something else citrusy. he says the flavor is slightly sour and sweet, almost like eating an orange. about $7.50. alcohol content was not listed. photo not exact (no saar-ruwer on the label), but close enough.
may 9, 2009: we had this riesling after an afternoon party with some friends in our back yard. victoria thought it was sweet, with a slight apple flavor. greg thought the nose has a hint of mandarin orange, with a little bit of pear. the flavor is smooth, sweet, definitely sweeter than a normal riesling, with a hint of grapefruit at the end. about $8. too shy to be photographed ;)
may 8, 2009: we had this cab with chicago-style steaks, carrots and broccoli. we both really like it. we had cooled it because the ambient temperature was in the 70s, and we wanted to experience its development in the glass. greg thinks it definitely has a cat food aroma (his words, not mine), it's very smooth, the nose is meaty, in-your-face, but not overpowering. it has a slight floral scent to it. he says the flavor is smooth, very even on the mouth. at first it has a little chocolate and cherry, a bit tannic, and it definitely has a grapefruit aftertaste. victoria loves the dark cherry color and the heavy, almost-raisin nose. it reminds her of the scent of a bed of wave petunias that needs to be pruned of older blooms. the flavor is chocolate and cherry, but also floral. it's smooth, and yes, slightly tannic. this is a serious wine, with a bit of an attitude, since it might be too good for the steak. this is in contrast to the two angels petite syrah, which was a perfect match. 14.2 percent alcohol. about $20.
may 7, 2009: we had this 2008 mendoza, argentina, don miguel gascon malbec with rosemary-garlic grilled pork loins, carrots and broken rice, and it was very good. victoria thought its nose gave off alcohol vapors, but it immediately had a flavor of blueberries, with a tentative (but not obtrusive) tannic feel. it's slightly sweet, but also light and, oddly, creamy, too. it's gentle on the tongue and a worthwhile dinner companion after trying multiple not-so-good selections. greg said it's really good, with a minor tannic texture that blends in well with the flavor of the wine. greg said he now realizes that the cat food scent he gets from so many wines goes along with the tannins. anyway. this is a good wine, we both agree. 13.9 percent alcohol. better than the price implies ($11). this would be good as a gift.
may 5, 2009: this was pretty good. we chilled it to well below the recommended level of 55 degrees and had it with rosemary/garlic marinated chicken, broccoli and pasta (same meal from the night before). greg said the nose has a cotton candy scent, with a fruity flavor. it is slightly sweet with a minimal residual grapefruit flavor. it's slightly tannic. victoria likes the color, which is as dark as a sliver of stained cherry wood. it does have that slight cotton candy scent, but it becomes more tannic as it warms up. it is also slightly bitter. greg said it would be interesting to try it at our room temperature (around 72 degrees, it being warm out today). victoria prefers it at the lower, just-out-of-the-fridge temperature, especially with the chicken we had tonight. 12.5 percent alcohol. about $9.
may 5, 2009: we haven't had this entire bottle (yet), but on the face of it, jay's first attempt at bottling a wine has turned out really well. greg said it has a hint of blueberry on the nose, and what he describes as a catfood scent to it (sounds odd, i know, but this is what he says often about wine). the flavor is very smooth, not overly sweet, definitely can taste the bluberries in it. he says it's very good. victoria thinks it's also very good. it's smooth, almost with a creamy finish, and the blueberry-ness is not overwhelming or too sweet. this is definitely a good bottle.
may 5, 2009: we had this with garlic/rosemary/pepper/sea salt marinated chicken, carrots, broccoli and tortellini with garlic tomato sauce. we both agree that it doesn't have much of a nose or a flavor, but it's light, and at the temperature we have it at right now, it's very refreshing. it's not very acidic at cooler temps, but it becomes moreso as it warms in the glass. it also becomes more flavorful and tannic as it warms up, and is a little bitter. greg thinks it has a little alcohol vapor to it. the flavor when you take a sip is slightly tannic; it is very smooth, but it has a little bit of unidentified sweetness. he thinks it's a good wine for a warm summer's day. victoria thinks its flavor is undefined, but it's not too flat. because it doesn't have much of a nose, it doesn't promise too much, which makes it harder to be disappointed. about $13.
may 2, 2009: greg bought this bogle after we had often walked by it at the store. we had it with rosemary-seasoned, grilled pork loins and broccoli. victoria thought it had a slight tannic feel. it wasn't too heavy or too light, though. and it was relatively flavorful, with a slight cherryness to the nose, though the rest of the flavors were difficult to name. greg thought it was okay. there was a caramel nose, and he definitely tasted the cherry. he said it was moderately acidic. victoria agreed that it was slightly acidic, but she noticed the texture of the tannins more. graton, calif. 13.5 percent alcohol. $9.