Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tasting Notes - 2004 Bernardus Marinus Red

Mom and I popped into the local wine shop Valley Wine Cellar in my hometown and stumbled on a little wine tasting. Oh lucky Saturday afternoon! We tasted several CA cabernets and blends. Mom and I overwhelmingly preferred the Bernardus Marinus 2004 to the others on the lineup. 2 were just HUGE and I'm certain the "pro-flavor majority" would approve heartily of them.

The Bernardus website of course provides tasting notes for their wine as most winery sites are wont to do. And please pardon me a little quoting...they had me for most of the note:

"Our 2004 Marinus exhibits a deep crimson color and appears nearly opaque. Aromas are redolent [ok not sure I'd say redolent, but it's there] with ripe black plums and cherries accented by notes of spice and smoke with a hint of earth. The flavors of ripe red fruits and spice notes fill the palate." (and sorry for not indenting my long quote. I can't figure out how to do it on here!)

To this I would add a nice, youthful (still!) greenness. Now, don't go curling up your nose. This is not an unpleasant youthful greenness. It is underneath the fruit and mostly present in the finish. It feels like it is a result of the oak and I like it.

Where they lost me was here, " The texture is very full and rich with firm supporting tannins promising a long aging potential."

If they wrote the note in 2004, then they were probably spot on. I found that now, the tannins are fairly relaxed---present, yet subtle, and I like this too.

They also say, " The finish is very long with flavors that linger on and on. Can be enjoyed now, but will reward patient aging in a good cellar for many years to come."

Since we are now at 2010, I'm not quite sure how much longer it will hold up, but it certainly is pleasant to drink right now and may yet offer more complexity and subtlety.



Wine Ophelia

(photo credit to Bernardus)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lange Twins 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - Tasting Notes

Big thanks to Lange Twins for sending me a sample for the Twitter Calicabs tasting on 2/15.

This wine has a pleasant, translucent medium red-violet color that belies its medium body. There is a faint whiff of pencil lead, prominent ripe black cherry on the nose along with a hint of black plum. On the palate it has ripe fruit and relaxed tannins with well-balanced, well-integrated oak supporting the structure of the wine. I find it somewhat green and youthful in a spunky, good kind of way. Would probably become more subtle, complex and interesting with time. Lively mouthfeel. Acidic. Could probably handle a slight chill in its current "mood".

This is a pleasant, enjoyable wine and a good value at $15.


Wine Ophelia

Supply or Demand?

Yesterday Robert M. Parker, Jr. made some posts on Twitter and one of them caught my eye. He said, "[the]biggest problem for consumers is the trade is not buying much, diminishing our choices."

It left me wondering if he hasn't got that a backward. It's been my personal experience in my own markets this past year that it is consumers who have tightened their belts, choosing less expensive wines and cutting back on spending in general. As consumers are sitting on their money, retailers, restaurants, importers and distributors are all sitting on inventory. I've talked to many trade partners who have seen an encouraging upswing in sales in January and February; but all are having to adjust their purchases to a stagnant marketplace, either by ordering less wine or by bringing in more wines that fit into the value category (what consumers are showing us they will buy) and cutting the ultra premium (what they are NOT buying.) I'm going to go ahead and say that I think it is the consumer who is not buying much, limiting the choices of the trade to provide them with options.

I'd LOVE to hear your opinions.

Wine Ophelia

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Because it's what we do... My Picks for Valentine's Day:

People, I'm thinkin' PINK!

Are you seeing a theme with me? If you aren't, you should... I LOVE ROSE! I drink it all year long in its various forms and I love them all! Still, sparkling, so many different regions and grape varieties to choose from! It is one of the most versatile wines out there in my opinion. And for Valentine's Day, it's a no brainer!

Here are some of my favorites:

Rendardat-Fache Cerdon de Bugey - a Louis/Dressner Selection - Sparkling, lightly sweet, light alcohol. This is pure bliss in a glass. Made from gamay and poulsard in the ancestral method. Incredible fizzy mousse, delicate aromas and flavors of raspberries. Gorgeous dark pink color. Looks incredible in the glass and on the table, like a present. GOES DOWN EEEEEEASYYYYYY...Buy more than one bottle. (you will thank me for that advice.) Just buy a case. You'll drink it.

Strohmeier Schilcher Sekt - a Monika Caha Selection- If there is a polar opposite to Bugey Cerdon, this is it. The mousse is the only connection. SUPER fizzy mousse. I love it! But this baby is BONE DRY. Beautiful pale pink color, aromas and flavors of tart strawberries. Made from the grape blauer wildbacher from the Styria region of Austria. I can't say it much better than Nico from Williams Corner Wine so I'm quoting:

"Because (in the words of Gary V) this wine is bringing the thunder!

So here’s the deal: Drink it with someone special[your Valentine!!] while enjoying something delicious (roast duck maybe.) Be sure to save one glass to drink the next day for breakfast or lunch (if you can wait that long…).

This is a no sulphur, no dosage, methode ancestrale sparkling rosé. It tastes better than most rosé champagne out there on the market that cost three times as much! For me, this is one of the truest and purest manifestations of natural wine. It is unadulterated, yet clean. Alive, refreshing, deeply fruited, taut, balanced. I could go on and on." (didn't want a huge indent sorry.)

Domaines Piron Gamay Rose - A beautiful, delicate expression of Gamay from Beaujolais. This one is SUPER pale, subtle but complex. Gorgeous fruit. Very light. Don't serve it too cold or the fruit will withhold itself from you; and you don't want that, now do you? Served close to cave temp in the mid 50s somewhere and it's sublime.

And probably my second favorite after the Bugey: J. Mourat Rose - Fiefs Vendeens - A gorgeous blend of Pinot Noir, Negrette and Cabernet Franc. Extremely complex and absolutely delicious. Photo credit to Hardy Wallace, taken at Dynamic Dish in ATL! YUM!

Lastly, one I haven't tasted in awhile but used to like qutie a bit is Rose di Regaleali a Sicilian deep, dark pink, fairly intense flavors. Find it if you can.

Have a favorite rose? SHARE IT HERE!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cheap Wine Challenge Recap

At LONG LAST! Here are the links to bloggers who reviewed wines for the Wine Ophelia Twitter Cheap Wine Challenge. I hope this helps some of you find some new-to-you inexpensive wines that at least SOMEONE else has tasted before and found to be good! We had a great time tasting and hope you will too! Let me know if you try any of them and post up your own opinions!

My Vine Spot

Cru Wine Blog

@Vino_Beth at Mom's Wine Rack

Great video recap from Nectar Wine


Wine Ophelia

Oh and PS... Here are some other wine blogs I've found who are writing up their own under $10 choices... Find more? Share the love!

Drink What U Like

even found some boxed wine reccos HERE

Here are the wines we chose from:

Casilliero Del Diablo - Chariot Gypsy - Bear Flag Red Blend #1 - Penfolds Koonunga - Monte Velho by Herdade do Esporão - Ravenswood Zin - Natura Chardonnay - Tomaresca NePriCa - Gougenheim Malbec - Bogle Petite Sirah - NV St. Cosme Little James Basket Press - Garnacha Del Fuego - Broadbent Vinho Verde - St. Francis Red - Honey Moon Viognier - Delas Cotes-du-Rhone St. Esprit - Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin - Dancing Bull Zin - 2007 Luzon Jumilla - Wolftrap 2008 - 2007 Altano Duoro