January 20. 2018: Dinner with Friends

Almost a year prior, a few friends of ours got together for a post holiday wine night and dinner. This year, we didn't hold back. 

Bollinger N/V 1.5L - The bottle was well deserved after a long of work, and it drank like I remembered. It had tiny bubbled leaving a creamy mousse with hazelnut, lemon creme brulee, and toasty notes. 

Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay 2015 - Delightfully bright with acidity, much more than I had anticipated. Classic California flavors of vanilla oak, baked apple and spice, and a subtle fig flavor. 

Chateau De La Mordoree Chateaunuef-du-pape 2006 - This wine may have been the superstar of the evening, but grouped in with so many killers, it is hard to tell. The color was still deep purple and barely fading on the edges. It had aromas of boysenberry, plum, wet stones, and a subtle note of Kalamata olive. It had a long ass finish.  

Chateau Beaucastel Chateaunuef-du-pape 2015 - with a tough act to follow, the famous label showed well, thoguh young. The tannins were tight as expected, but the plum, black cherry, and barnyard notes were present. This bottle could wait another twenty years. 

Vega Sicilia 2010 - A Riberia Del Duero red from Spain, this wine was special and drinking well. I would say, it had no reason to wait to be opened, but if you are patient, waiting would be fine. There was cranberry, cherry, bacon fat, and sweet herbal notes. 

Odette Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - We probably didn't need to open this red with all the others that were already opened, but who was going to argue. It was big, full, tannin, and everything you would expect from a high end Napa Valley Cabernet sauvignon. It was chalk full of blackberry, tobacco, vanilla, cedar, and gritty tannins. 

Chateau D'Yquem 1995 - We all took a pull straight from the bottle like a baller, which I know believe is truly the only way to drink D'Yquem. We had attempted this bottle in the past and it was corked, so we waiting on the edge of our seats and fingers crossed, but we were pleased. No flaws, just perfection. Certainly a treat. 

Blandy's Malmsey Madeira 1996 - This was an unexpected extra from a friend and was full of hazelnut, pecan pie, honey, apricot, Fig Newtons, yet dying acidity. For the price paid for it, it was awesome. 

Soundtrack to these bottles: Any Black Crowes album.

November 1, 2017: Pinot Night

I was given a bottle for my birthday from some friends with good taste, but I just couldn't hold onto to it. 

2015 Purple Hands Holstein Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Unfined and unfiltered, this small production pinot had great acidity, with aromas of cherry bubble gum, raspberry torte, sweet herbs, and a subtle hint of herbs. At its young age, it had medium tannins and drank real easy. The young winemaker is a force to keep an eye on. Paired with a carmelized onion, goat cheese, and duck confit pizza. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Soulive - No Place Like Soul

October 29, 2017: Stormy Days

Rolling into the evening with the house massaged by lukewarm raindrops, I decided I needed cool down with something different. 

Fox Run Hedonia NV

Scott and Ruth Osborn created this fun wine by fortifying the Traminette. It is not your typical grape to make a fortified wine from, but delicious non-the-less. I am drinking from their vintage of the Hedonia and it has aromas of fruit cake, lemon tart, orange pith, and petrol. It has a full mouth feel with a slight burn on the finish, but rightfully so as it boast a 20% abv. I am not the biggest fan of dessert wines, but I can appreciate them and the craftsmanship it takes to make a good one, and this is strikingly appealing. If you visit the Finger Lakes, stop by the winery and check it out. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Rich Robinson - Through A Crooked Bottle

October 17, 2017: Doggy Day Off

On a rare Tuesday off, it is just me and the Gord. Since I gave him a bath which usually consists of him fighting me and me waterboarding him into submission, today was set aside for making his mushy food since he has no teeth. While I cooked and mixed up a healthy combination of ingredients, I kept the movie Sideways on in the background. Now I have Pinot Noir in my hands.

2013 Roco Wit's End Vineyard Chehalem Mountain Pinot Noir  

I have had this wine on numerous occasions, and have always thought of it as above average. It shows notes of fresh baked cranberry muffins, raspberry jam, a light bit of white pepper and anise seed. It has high acidity from the cooler climate of the Chelalem Mountain AVA and a long finish. The 14% abv shows on the finish. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Jurassic 5 - Feedback

October 14, 2017: Washington Capitals Get Blown Out

I was excited to watch the Washington Capitals take on the Philadelphia Flyers last evening. My brother-in-law and I have a standing bet for every game against these two teams. I usually come out the victor, but last night the Caps took it on the chin. At least I had a fantastic bottle of wine. 

2015 Major Wines Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

I was very excited to dig into this bottle and for $30 it was worth. It had a well balanced body with medium tannins and medium acidity. It had nice flavors of sweet cherry pie, RC cola, herbal nuances, and cranberry. It went down real easy and I suggest you go find a bottle now. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Sublime - Sublime

October 2, 2017: Mother and Grandmother Visit

When my mother and grandmother roll into for the first time in over a year and after the broken arm and stapled head late night hospital visit, it is crucial we open something fun. 

2015 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Pinot Gris

With its rust color from skin contact during fermentation, this pinot gris was loaded with candied clementine, funky earth, chalk, and raspberry. It has a rich mouthfeel with bright acid and a mineral heavy finish. 

2011 Ferrari-Carano Tresor

A Sonoma county red blend, this wine was full bodied, but short lived as it was very ready to drink. It had low tannins and low acidity with nice fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and black currants. We paired it with flank steak and chimichurri sauce and it worked nicely

Soundtrack to this wine: Cory Branan - No Hit Wonder. 

September 27, 2017: Pre-season Hockey

2014 Louis Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Rated 97 points from Robert Parker, and just shy of $30, this is a unicorn. Do I agree with 97 points, no. More like a 92 in my books, but none the less, it is still a delicious wine. I am sure if the Washington Capitals were not down by 2 goals in the first five minutes of the game, the wine may taste more favorable. Now 3 goals, by the time I finished writing the previous sentence. No Stanley Cup for the Caps this year. Any-who, the wine shows notes of cocoa, raspberry torte, blackberry, with medium tannins and a balanced medium acidity. The wine is totally worth the price for the current release, I would like to try this again in a few years. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: The Bell Rays - Black Lightning

August 17, 2017: Home Office Wine

2013 Mouton Noir Oregogne Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

This wine is has a funny aromatic blend of old leather and cherry pie. It wasn't expected, but pleasently satisfying. It also shows aromas of green herbs and cranberry. I am writing as I finish the bottle and it has really opened up. The finish is getting longer and longer, with medium acidity and medium tannins. Big props to Mr. Mack. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Beastie Boys - Ill Communication

July 29, 2017: Chicago Live in Bristow, Virginia

Saturday in the park, I think I paid too much for my wine...

The price of fun is exhausting. We bought a bottle of wine at the venue, off a list of Gallo Brands. We chose a Sauvignon Blanc that retails for $15, but was up charged to $57 at the venue. (Just grin and bear it, Nick. Ended up buying two bottles) 

2015 Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

For $15, this is a good Sauvignon Blanc. It had a very pale yellow color, with aromas of classic grapefruit, but also, sweet lemon, kiwi, and honeydew melon. It had a surprisingly light acidity, but remained very refreshing. 

Soundtrack to this bottle: Double live set of every single one of Chicago greatest hits on their 50th anniversary as a band.

July 6, 2017: Home Office Wine

Barricaded in the home office while the painters are finishing the hallway just on the other side of the door. My house with soon be four shades of gray. I grabbed a bottle of wine and a bag of homemade dehydrated sriracha beef jerky for the next hour. 


K Vintners 'The Deal' Syrah 2013: Grapes grown in the Sundance Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope in the Walla Walla Valley, of southern Washington State. I have tried this wine on a few occasion and this vintage specifically a few times. Highly rated from everyone, this wine does not disappoint. Full of the typical bramble and black cherry fruit aromas, it also serves up notes of cherry cola, white pepper, and thyme. It has medium to fuller tannins most of the time, but tonight, it skews more towards medium. Well balanced and I am glad I have a few more bottles in the cellar. 

Soundtrack to the bottle: Guru - Jazzmatazz Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger - Back to the Future. 

June 24, 2017: Dinner With Friends

Dinner with friends including a home cooked meal. It was my turn to cook and the menu and wines follow:

Various Cheeses and Breads and Brandy Compound Butter, BLT Deviled Eggs, 24 Hour Pickled Shrimp with Shallots and Celery Leaves, Cured Green Tomatoes with Toasted Pistachios and Orange Zest, Fennel Braised Short Ribs with Grilled Polenta and Grilled Broccoletti with Pan Gravy, and Lemon Blueberry Moonshine Cake (Bakery Bought).

Wines and review:

Bollinger N/V 1.5ml: Distinct small bubbles giving the wine a creamier than normal mousse. It had aromas of candied lemon preserves and various honeyed nuts. It had bright acidity with a pop of kiwi and banana creme pie. This was showing very well and had been aging nicely in the larger format. I did not remember to check to see when it had been disgorged.  

ROCO RMS 2014: This is the second trying this wine, the first was with the winemaker Rollin Soles at his ROCO estate vineyard. It drank great then, and did this time. This was bright with high acid. Great notes of lemon and apricot. Will love to see how this ages. 

Baumard Savennierres 2008: This was past its prime, although the nose was filled with carmel popcorn, gauva, and citrus. The palate was left flat and empty. 

E. Guigal St Joseph Blanc Leau Dit 2015: Here is another stunner from Guigal. Full of rich honeydew melon, beeswax, apricot, dragon fruit, and lemongrass aromas. The body was full and could handle any flavor we threw at it. It had a medium acid, but a long finish. I needed another bottle or two that evening. 

Chadwick 2006: I have always been a fan of this wine, especially since I bought it much cheaper than its asking price years ago. This was my last bottle of 2006 and I think we timed it just right. The acid and tannins were perfectly balanced, but with nothing lost. It had an aromas of plum, cedar, cranberry, and mint. The body was full and brought a subtle smoky character forward. I would highly recommend this wine in any vintage. 

Shafer Relentless 2013: Like a punch from a retired boxer, it still knows how to leave a mark, and this did just that. I have taste a few different vintages of the Relentless, but this was the best to my best recollection. It Shafer's showing of Syrah and Petite Sirah. The nose was strong with hints of blackberry, black cherry, warm spices such as cardamom, old leather, tar, and fresh raspberry. It had an expected full mouthfeel with full tannins gripping at my cheeks. It was a little young and will be spectacular in a few more years. Give it time. 

Lafaurie Peyreguey 2003: Bordeaux usually makes an appearance at the dinners and this time it was from Sauternes. At 14 years old, this one was hitting its prime and perfect with a lemon blueberry moonshine cake. It had aged aromas of candied pecans, apricots, citrus, subtle petroleum notes, wet stones, and calvados. It was full bodied, with a viscous full on gums. The finish was very long lasting and worth every last drop.