Posts Tagged ‘ 2009

Vecordia 2009 Ribera del Duero Roble

I am super amped to have the second bottle from my recent buying spree be something actually worth writing about.  I don’t normally go for bottles with a kitsch label like this, but the price was right and something about it told me to buy it. Possibly it was the lack of a back label with a panty-dropping description of how the oak and tannins were going to rock my world and that my mouth would explode with toasty peppermint and chocolate and gumdrop apple beans. I don’t know what that is supposed to mean, but I’m going to roll with it. So yeah. None of that. No real description of how it is supposed to taste.

Sexy little Tempernillo

The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the violet color around the edges, and the luscious deep red of the body. Right away I was pretty stoked to suck on this wine.  Without letting the wine sit for too long, I gave the wine a thorough sniff, which revealed some tart and spicy notes.  There is a lot more structure to the nose of this than the Sangiovese from earlier this week. The initial nose is a little hot, as well.

So, let’s take a minute to discuss this Vecordia.  This is a Tempernillo grape aged in oak. The “Roble” on the bottle is Spanish for “Oak”.  The term Roble is also used to indicate that the wine has not been left to age in the oak for long enough to attain the “Crianza” label, or minimum 6 month oak aging (with 18 month bottle aging). Ribera del Duero, a DO region in northern Spain, is known for producing some excellent Tempernillo wines. Notable wineries include Vega Sicilia, Emilio Moro, and Cepa 21. The terroir consists mainly of silt and clay sand, layered with chalk, marl — a lime-rich mud — and limestone.

Boom. Now that you skipped that paragraph, I’m ready to taste this bad boy. Swish, swirl, aerate… And we have a winner! The tannic structure is good, even without letting the wine breathe (though I recommend you do let it breathe for about 10 minutes). These initial notes are tart blueberry, spice, and pepper. This wine is definitely medium-bodied with a great mouthfeel. The finish was lingering and tannic with a bit of fruit.

After it spent some time opening up, the harsh initial nose disappeared to leave a thick, sweet cherry smell (NOT overwhelming).  This note rang true in the taste, as well, with currant and blackberry coming through to accompany the sweet cherry.

I really liked this wine. Overall it’s well-structured and has the proper mixture of sweet red fruits and tannin-y goodness. I’d give it a solid 88-89.

Extra reading:

Interpreting the Spanish Wine Label

 Wikipedia entry on Ribera del Duero


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

Savage, at least in principle.

Well, it seems tonight is going to be a two-for.

As I apparently find myself continually crossing things like “flour”, “meat” and “sanitary drinking water” off my grocery list in place of wines I’ve always wanted to try, I’m currently sitting in my apartment with my very first bottle of Sancerre (one of the mainstays of the Loire Valley in France, and pretty much THE prime example of how the French feel sauvignon blanc should be made) and a bowl of boiled water with some ketchup in it for dinner.

Having had many different sauvignon blancs from around the world (mostly New Zealand, with a few Napa and Chilean sauv’s thrown in) I’ve seen everything from the “isn’t this chardonnay? It’s not, oh well let’s keep aging it in oak because well, that’s what we do with white wine here in California” to the passion-fruit-bomb-with-a-side-of-lawn examples coming out of the southern hemisphere.

This sauv, however, immediately strikes me as being a great example of what the word “sauvignon” originally meant, or at least where it originally came from: savage. This 2009 Domaine Daulny Etienne from the Loire is loaded with gunflint, and grass on the nose, with just the faintest hint of something I can only describe as the way a pumpkin smells when you first cut into it on halloween. Hauntingly high in acidity and tremendously dry, the mouthfeel of this wine is light and sharp, with the classic gooseberry, grass, gunflint and lime coming through after a few sips. The French, it seems, are doing with sauvignon blanc what they do best with all their wines; namely creating something that is by no means in your face or overbearing, but more a complex and subtle expression of the soil in which the grapes came from, and the climate of that year.

This particular Sancerre is fermented and aged entirely in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, from grapes that come from several of the 50 acres that Etienne Daulny owns throughout the eastern Loire valley.

With a plain loaf of bread and a soft but yet still bitter goat’s cheese this region is also known for, the savage can be tamed into a delightfully refreshing and simple experience without having to pad the walls of your living room.