Thursday, February 02, 2006

Terra Rosa

2003 Terra Rosa Malbec ($14) -- Mendoza, Argentina by Laurel Glen. I couldn't find much on production notes except that the wine is from 50 year-old vines and is aged 18 months in oak, but the website does offer a blurb on "Why Malbec". This is Terra Rosa's first Malbec offering although it has been blended into other offerings. It has been awhile since I reviewed a good Malbec.

Laurel Glen is a long-time Sonoma producer of 90-plus-pointers of Cabernet for $50 and the popular "REDS" label for $10. The production notes of the Terra Rosa Cab suggest the juice is shipped to the California winery after fermentation in Argentina, and then aged in oak before bottling but I can't say whether the Malbec is produced the same way.

I immediately liked this wine with its big aromas and full-fruit flavors with a mouthful of soft tannins and a medium finish. Deep dark red colors and the closure is screwcap. Very good and a good value!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wine Blogging Wednesday #18 -- Road Trip

This month’s theme of Wine Blogging Wednesday, that monthly global Internet wine tasting event initiated by Lenndevours, is “wine shops that feel the love”, and is hosted by “Dr. Vino”. Check his site in a few days to read the wrap-up.

Well, I feel the love everyday that I am in my wine shop, but I don’t think that is what the good Doctor is talking about, and I am reticent to endorse a fellow competitor, so I concluded that it was time to make a Road Trip to Dayton with the local guidance of Mark Fischer at Uncorked, the wine columnist at the Dayton Daily News. You will have to pardon the length of this write-up but I have a story to tell.

I closed down early January 20th to beat the traffic on I-75 North. Forty-five minutes later I arrived at Arrow Wines and Spirits in Kettering and bumped into two of the managers who I had previously met in Cincinnati at distributor functions. If I lived in Kettering this would be a definite go-to store as they have a large selection of interesting wines (that means wines that I also have in my store) that is nicely laid out with helpful staff. After meeting Mark there we headed to downtown Dayton to join the Friday wine tasting already in progress at Jay’s Kitchen Door. Arrow doesn’t have Friday tastings because “we’re too damn busy on Fridays!”

Jay’s Kitchen Door is actually a back room, the old wine storage area I was told, of Jay’s Seafood. You enter through the back kitchen door! Get it! Jay’s Kitchen Door! They actually sell wine at retail on Fridays and Saturdays and have serious tastings with heavy appetizers. Usually they have about 30 or 40 wines to select from at “the store”, but today the selection was down to 10, not that there was any shortage as wines kept appearing from the “restaurant” side to be opened and enjoyed by all.

Over the night there were about 30 “winos” tasting the wines, but really it was more of a party as everyone knew each other, and I learned later that this crowd follows a wine tasting route on Fridays and Saturdays through the many wine stores in the Dayton area. Later, 12 of us grabbed two tables in the main dining room after a tour of the wine cellar. (I volunteered to stay in the cellar to make sure the light really did go out when you closed the door, but the manager saw through that scheme very quickly!)

The food was great and the wine list very expansive from all regions and included some back vintage Bordeaux labels. I wish I could remember all the great wines we shared at the two tables but it became a blur and I had stopped taking notes. I selected the 1998 Chateau Angelus as I had recently tried the 1999 and they were out of the 1996 Latour Batard Montrachet. I would re-order it again particularly as the wine pricing was very reasonable. I will try to get a copy of the wine list next time I am there.

Now this review is getting long-winded (as I prefer short pieces and believe that over 100 words on a blog post is a fatal error!) but I haven’t even got to the part where I found a REALLY cool wine shop, and it’s past 11 o’clock now on Friday night.

After dinner we headed over to Oregon Express to catch some live music. The Eric Jerardi Band was playing led by Eric Jerardi who besides playing a mean lead guitar, runs a wine store, The Little Shop, in Dayton and has recently produced and hosted a DVD on touring the wine country of Napa and Sonoma.

The highlight of the evening, beside the covers of Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughn, was Eric’s stirring Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Hendrix followed by a smoking 5 minute rendition of Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner to close the set. Now THIS is the guy I want to help me pick out a light red to go with a lamb roast! Looks like I will be heading back to Dayton to catch Eric in between his concert and film gigs. Stay tuned….

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Katrina Relief

Crushing Grape has posted an appeal for Katrina Relief for the Red Cross as there is still much work left to clean up the mess. I am glad to pass on the word.

I tried to get the Image Hot Link to work but it messed up my second column.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Very Funny

Even I laughed at this one! Geez, when did the Democrats get a sense of humor!

2002 Lynch Bages

2002 Chateau Lynch Bages, Pauillac ($50) -- Bordeaux. This was in my opinion the star of the show today. The website does not have details on the 2002, but do try this wine if given the chance.

Full aroma, big fruit, well balanced and drinkable now although it will age well. All this for $50 which is cheap for good Bordeaux! I will leave it to the experts to dissect the flavor nuances, but I was not the only one sliding up for seconds!

De Martino Legado

2003 De Martino, Legado Reserva Syrah ($17) -- Colchagua Valley, Chile. After a Bordeaux tasting today this wine jumped out and would have surpassed most of the mid-priced Bordeaux wines, except for the 2002 Chateau Marjosse and the 2002 Lynch Bages (which is not so mid-priced at $49).

This Syrah sees 14 months in French oak and has full fruit flavors and solid tanins. Would go well with food after a 30 minute decant. It is great to see Chile coming on with better wines and new varietals.

Wine Spectator gave it an 89 last year and reported that only 900 cases were produced.