Archive for April, 2011


It’s been a rough week. Problems at work, 45 miles on the bike this week (as well as many other issues). I’m hurting emotionally and physically. It’s the perfect time for a surreal wine experience. A taste sensation, if you will.

So, I hit up Binny’s and talked to my main man there (and by main man, I mean the guy I’ve talked to a few times in the last year). Pouilly Fumes and Viognier are his recs for non-Sancerre Sauv, and other-white picks. It was 60, sunny, and breezy today. I’m craving spring. I want flowers in my mouth, I want them in my nose, and I want fruit.

The Pouilly sucked. Not even worth mentioning. 75? Baby diapers and florals, medium to medium-low body, and nothing I wanted at all. I think the funk I’m looking for can only be found in a German Gewuerz. Fine, I’m okay with that.

But alas, the 2009 Viognier. Apple juice on the nose. Totally Mott up front. This is the first viognier I’ve ever had, so I didn’t know what to think. “This is cool, maybe this is incredibly juicy? Maybe this is incredibly sugary?” It didn’t smell sugary, so I dove in. I swished, I swirled, I sampled, I spit, I waited, I sampled again. The nose: Apple juice at its strongest. The mouth feel: medium-big. Green apple. Like you bit into a cantaloupe but instead of cantaloupe flavor you received Granny Smith apple. This is exactly how I described it to my partner in crime, Ryan. The finish is overly acidic and the alcohol bleeds through (though halfway through the bottle one will be so satisfied with the taste that this will make little difference). I will rate this lower than Parker at a solid 88. Don’t think that just because I’m rating this lower that you shouldn’t drink it. That is not the intention at all. This is good, but I just want you to know that I expect that there is much more complexity to be found somewhere in this grape.

Mmm, And!! To the foodies out there, try deglazing a white meat with this wine. In fact, cook the meat in the wine a bit as well. Succulent! I had a Pork Tenderloin cooked in this for about the last ten minutes, then I deglazed the pan with it as well. The sauce was thick and brown and perfect for the meat (as well as the bread). Lemon zest, garlic salt, butter, dalmatian rubbed sage, and olive oil were used to cook the pork, by the way.

Domaine Les Grands Bois
Côtes du Rhône AOC
2009 Viognier
$13 at Binny’s

White–Bianco–Blanc. SPRING.

Well hello there!  It’s been a while since we’ve had a real review.  It’s April, now, and it’s spring.  It might be 40 degrees outside right now in Chicago, but those days are numbered.  After wandering around Binny’s for 45 minutes this evening, I came home with 5 wines.  Three Sauvignon Blanc, one Pinot Grigio, and one Beaujolais Villages.  It’s clearly time for whites (and reds that act like whites).  Today I’m bringing you a Marlborough sauv, Churton 2009,  and the Italian grigio, Maso Canali 2009.

I’m a huge Marlborough fan. Since I was 22, I’ve been sucking Marlborough’s dick, and with good reason.  Their gooseberry, tobacco, dry, crisp, FRESH flavors have been a summertime pal for two years.  If I’m in sweltering heat and humidity, or even on a nice 70 degree porch night, I’m most likely downing a Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Churton is a step in a different direction, however. They are claiming an “old world meets new world” sauvignon blanc, and boy are they right.  The Loire features on this wine are non-trivial.  It’s musky, it’s bone dry, it’s lemon and lime (mostly lime, in my opinion), and it’s a Hell of a spring wine.  Churton boasts that it has a terroir “not dissimilar” to central Sancerre, and I believe that to be totally true.  There are helpings of grass on the nose, and the finish leaves me feeling more like I’ve drank something with a bit of syrup in it.  I don’t want you to think that this is anything like the thickness on a riesling or gewuerztraminer.  No, this is just a light syrup that leads to an overall satisfyingly bigger mouth feel than your typical Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

The second wine I’ve tasted tonight is the Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio. I had this earlier this week, and it paired perfectly with a vodka sauce penne at Tre Cugini.  But that was then, and this is now.  First, the bottle is corked, which I don’t really have an opinion on since this is one of my first forays into Pinot Grigio, but I get the feeling most of the wines are meant to be consumed young.  And I feel like this is one of those wines.  Although, interestingly enough, I was reading about how corks are made the other day, and apparently Portugal is the #1 producer of cork in the world, and while wine corks are only 15% of sales by weight, they account for 66% of cork revenue.  But I digress! I believe that Grigios are supposed to be fruit-forward and contain citrus and tropical fruit-like flavors.  Something like fruit cocktail, eh? I could be wrong, but that’s been my only experience with them.  This wine has a very subtle bouquet and an equally subtle palate.  I am not saying that it lacks structure or balance, but the mouth is small to medium and it takes time to enjoy the green pear, the lime, and everything else going into this wine. Overall a nice wine to pair with a spaghetti and white sauce dish, or perhaps with scallops.

Churton 2009 Malborough Sauvignon Blanc
I’m going to give this one an 87.  It’s good, it’s different.  It’s neither Marlborough nor Loire.
750ml - $16.99 @ Binny’s
Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio
I’m not going to rate this wine because I don’t have enough experience with this grape yet.
750ml – $14.99 @ Binny’s