Yes, you read the title correctly. I'm going to start the 6th month with 6 wine reviews.
The first two wines in the line up are standards in our house. Around here we like to sit around with a glass of wine and talk when we get home from work, or just want to relax. To sum it up, the norm is to drink a glass of wine that is light in body before, or as we are preparing dinner. Usually the wine of choice is a white wine such as Chardonnay, or a white Rhone varietal like Viognier, or my favorite a Rhone blend.
The rest of the wines I chose to review are wines that I have acquired around Paso Robles just for the fun of it! Enjoy.
- 2007 La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast - This wine can easily be found for a reasonable price (under $15 per bottle) at our local grocery store (Albertson's). For someone like myself who doesn't enjoy an over oaked Chardonnay, I like the La Crema Chardonnay. It has nice fruit flavors of pineapple, lemon and green apple, which are rounded out by oak characteristics such as vanilla and cream. I find this Chardonnay to have a soft, luxurious texture with a fairly long citrus finish. Overall this is a good buy for a tasty glass of wine (with a fair amount of fruit and balanced acidity) to whet your whistle, or would pair very nicely with a chicken or seafood dish.
- 2008 La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast - Another standard in our home, since Pinot Noir tends to be a light bodied wine that pairs easily with an array of foods. Over the years we have enjoyed La Crema's Pinot Noir because of the silky tannins, and typical dark cherry and smoke flavors. Unfortunately the 2008 vintage leaves a little to be desired. Don't get me wrong, I know what a well crafted wine this is, but something tastes a little off, which may mean its just a little young and needs time in the bottle to age and mellow a bit. Black cherry, rhubarb, blackberry and earthy/woody/herbal tones on the nose, with black cherry and a heavy, bramble characteristic floating around on the pallet. This wine seems to be heavily oaked compared to previous vintages and I am wondering if maybe this wine was aged in newer oak. This is exactly the thing that I find unpleasant on the pallet; nice fruit tones, but unbalanced oakiness and a medium short finish. Just doesn't excite my pallet. : ( I'm still recommending La Crema wines, but I think I will wait until the next vintage of their Pinot Noir is released before buying anymore of the 2008. bummer.
- 2006 Barrel 27 "Right Hand Man" Syrah, Central Coast - I bought this wine at our local Albertson's for $14. I still haven't made it to the Barrel 27 tasting room in Paso Robles, but I hope to soon! Dark purple and garnet hues clear out to the rim of this "Right Hand Man." Just by looking at it, I knew my pallet was getting ready to taste something big, bold and concentrated. I was right about concentrated...on the nose and on the pallet I was tasting gobs of ripe blueberry, blackberry and plum with a bit of sweet dried cranberry. Mixed in were notes of earth and smoke and a touch of bitter greens. This wine is bold, and can definitely stand up to bold foods. As much as I love wine, I love a good hunk of cheese. And all I can think about pairing with this Syrah is a chunk of aged parmigiana regianno. Perfecto!!
- 2006 Derby Wine Estates "Fifteen 10," , Paso Robles - This wine was thoughtfully given to me by the tasting room manager at Derby. Katie informed me that this white Rhone blend is one of Derby's most popular wines. It is a lovely blend of Viognier, Roussane and Marsanne. A beautiful pale gold color with scents of white flower combined with ripe fruits such as pineapple, pear and honeydew. The soft, honey-like pallet is matched with jasmine, warm honeydew melon, caramel apple and swirls of smoke. This wine is fruit forward, with balanced acidity and alcohol. A perfect wine for just sipping or pairing the acidity with a crisp, caprese salad made with my favorite, organic heirloom tomatoes and fresh sweet basil!
- 2007 Vina Robles RED4, Paso Robles - Always a favorite when at the tasting room. (Side note: I "heart" Vina Robles, not only because of their wine and their beautiful tasting room, but because of my love of Switzerland (AFS exchange student to Zurich '97-'98!) Vina Robles is Swiss owned, has a Swiss winemaker, and if I am not mistaken the tasting room is managed by a Swiss couple! ...oh and on occasion they have one of my favorite Swiss chocolates (Ragusa) hiding in their displays!) On to the wine review!! RED 4 is a blend of the following 4 varietals (see where they get the name!) 51% Petite Sirah, 43% Syrah, 4% Tannat and 2% Touriga. As you can see from the numbers, its pretty much a Petite Sirah/Syrah blend. This dark ruby/purple wine had such a unique nose. Here's what I smelled - blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, apple cider, cedar, plum and balsamic! Wow what a combo! Lots of dark fruits, with a sweet acidic characteristic. So interesting. On the pallet, a dry wine with big tannins (of course I expected this from Petite Sirah and Syrah especially), tar, cedar, and dried fruits. This is an intensely complex wine, which I am sure will be great over the coming years. The tannins will mellow with the intense fruit and earthy tones settling in. But why wait!? Drink it now (try decanting)!!
2005 Arroyo Robles Syrah, Paso Robles - Yet another Syrah! What can I tell you, I like Syrah! This fruit forward, earthy, mineral-rich wine was a great buy for my pallet last Thursday night. That particular night I had some time, so I was sitting at the kitchen counter tasting wines that I had recently acquired (go ahead and ask me about how I "acquired" this wine!) At this particular tasting I was impressed with the complexity of flavors and components to this wine. Garnet in color with blueberry, ripe raspberry and cherry melting together with the sweet smell of tobacco leaves. On the pallet an iron characteristic I can only describe as "meaty" is combined with the flavor of stewed blueberry and blackberry. As most Syrah wines are characterized, this Syrah was dry with a burst of fruit, rich bold tannins with a lingering fruit finish. This is a super summer barbeque wine! I'm thinking steak!!
There! I did it! 6 wines... that sure was a lot of typing. I hope you all enjoy the reviews.