Friday, March 26, 2010

Wine Ophelia Gets Naked! Naked Merlot that is...

Purchased at the Wine Cellar in Richmond for around $12. Live in Richmond? Go check em out and also follow them on Twitter HERE.
Tasting notes for the Live Twitter tasting #WAMerlot hosted by Drink Nectar.

Snoqualmie 2007 Naked Merlot Columbia Valley
This wine is visually quite lovely with a deep, almost opaque dark red-violet color. Pleasant aromas of dark forest berries rise to greet me. (ok, so it sounds cheesy... get over it. I like it.) Blueberries, black currant, a slight whiff of leather.

On the palate it is a bit green, youthful and acidic. Green in a way that I tend to like. The wine has medium body and nice, firm tannins but not overwhelming at all---nicely balanced. Vibrant acidity.
A touch of pencil lead.

The Naked Merlot seems like it would lay down nicely for a few more yers and mellow into a gentler, more subtle and complex wine. I can envision the tannins and greenness giving way to subtle leather and tobacco notes, showing off a more relaxed fruit profile and a little less acidity and tannin.

Much in the same way I imagine an exuberant teenager mellowing into an elegant adult or a frisky kitten into a mellow cat enjoying a puddle of sunshine.

This was on my first tasting. I kept this wine for 3 days, something I don't often do. Most of the time because with reds, I find they are just spent after day 2 and if I like them, well, there just isn't any left. Ok. My point being that on day 2, the tannins were totally relaxed and the wine was perfectly enjoyable. So this leads me to recommend decanting before you serve. Day 3 it was STILL GOOD. Which really surprised me. It was very mellowed out, showing off all its fruit in a very nice way (i.e. not fruit bomb)

I would definitely buy this one again and call it a good value for the price.

Cheers! -- Wine Ophelia

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tasting Notes: Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir

This Oregon pinot has a lovely transluscent dark, ruby-red color, belying its very light body. On the nose, not very giving and slightly earthy. On the palate, it has a lively acidity with pronounced cherry and tobacco on the front end and no discernible tannins on the back end. Quite soft but for the pique of acidity which I like. The finish... well... reminded me of this guy

and this little song. only you know...with a short tail. Get it...heh, heh. Short tail. I kill myself!

So Ima stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, stick it.... oh you know.

In the meantime, I decided to pair it with my pizza of chicken, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, feta, herbs, and a light drizzle of some organic CA extra virgin olive oil and a very light shake of red pepper flakes. (and yes... it IS delicious!) The wine's forward fruit and bright acidity paired very nicely with my pizza and quite frankly sloshed down VERY easily and happily.

Ok. So the wine is now cave temp or so. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand THERE it is! The zen of STRUCTURE! Wahooooooooooo! I love it when I'm right! Serve this one at cave temperature people. It makes all the difference in the world. (well at least for me) This wine went from soft, flabby and a little hot (alcohol-wise) with no finish to speak of to being just lovely. Now the nice characteristics it had on my first go remain... the lovely cherry and tobacco notes, but now it is not flabby and soft at all, but rather has good structure and the acidity is really well balanced with the fruit.

The nice folks at Willamette Valley Vineyards provided me with a sample. You can find it for around $20 retail.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sauvignon Blanc Notes

Yesterday on Twitter the kung fu master of social media Rick Bakas held a live sauvignon blanc tasting that dominated Twitter for the evening. Last I saw there were over 350 participants and over 1000 tweets! Great job and huge congrats to Rick! I had the great pleasure to participate and taste some wonderful and interesting wines from CA, NZ and the Loire Valley. I compiled my tasting notes below. Enjoy!

Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Delaille 2008 imported by Kermit Lynch
Sample provided by Loire Valley Wine Bureau

Bring on the funk! Super pale straw yellow color. Faint, funky old world nose. A bit reserved, but I like that in a sauvignon blanc. A whiff of cat pee. (yep… you heard me right… cat pee. A classic sauvignon blanc aroma profile.) I like that too, in moderation. Light body. It also has some mild citrus aromas and flavors. Pleasant acidity. Don’t serve this one too cold or it won’t show you any love. Cave temperature should be about right in my opinion (low to mid 50s.) The finish is crisp and dry with a slight minerality. I really enjoy the subtlety of this wine.

St. Supéry Dollarhide 2008 Sauvignon Blanc
Sample provided by St. Supéry

Extremely pale golden yellow color. Subtle aromas and flavors. Hints of lime and grass. Balanced acidity. Long, pleasant, clean, dry finish. Dry. Again don’t serve too cold. I really prefer this more subtle, elegant style of Sauvignon Blanc to the sledgehammer, over the top pineapple/guava nectar/cat box expressions.

Speaking of which…

St. Supéry Napa Valley 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Sample provided by St. Supéry

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere kitty kitty… heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere kitty! My husband walked in the door while I was tasting this one and the first thing out of his mouth was not, “hi (inappropriate nickname that I won’t tell you) how’s it going?’ Instead, he said, “why do I smell cat pee?” I just looked up over the rim of my stemware at him and giggled. “Sauvignon Blanc!” I said. He just shook his head. This wine is VERY aromatic with an explosion of tropical fruit and kitty pee. Loads and loads and loads of pineapple, guava, papaya and dare I say it? Juicyfruit chewing gum. A bit heavier in the mouth than I’m accustomed to in a Sauvignon Blanc. VERY long tropical fruit finish.

If you prefer an over the top Sauvignon Blanc, this baby’s for you! However, this is not my personal style preference. I much preferred the reserved, elegant Dollarhide.

Sherwood Estate 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough NZ
Purchased a glass for $7 at Caffe Driade in Chapel Hill, NC

So I was waiting and waiting and waiting for a distributor appointment yesterday which eventually got rescheduled. YAY! That meant I could start my sauvignon blanc tasting early! So I celebrated by grabbing a glass of sauvie b at the café where I had been waiting. They only had one. So I said to myself, “Not what I would normally drink, but, hey... it's here and so am I.” Just being practical. Heh. This one has classic pale golden yellow color. Austere on the nose with slightly grassy notes. In contrast to the aromas, it is quite flavorful with tropical fruits but not over the top at all. Light body. Nice, crisp acidity, not on the attack like some NZ’s I’ve tasted. Very pleasant, long finish. Dry. I genuinely enjoyed it and didn’t expect to. NICE!

Last but certainly not least:

Danielle de l’Année 2007 Val de LoireSample provided by Loire Valley Wine Bureau

This on just totally knocked my socks off. It is quite different from any Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted (and I’ve had a few.) Much richer golden yellow color than I would expect from SB. And WHOA! Tropical fruit Crème Soda on the nose! Also a slight hint of honey. What a total freakshow! This wine has a lush mouthfeel and medium body. Some yellow apple flavor. I’m gonna go ahead and guess it’s been on the lees to develop this creamy texture and wild aromas. VERY aromatic but balanced with a quite lively acidity and minerality. The finish is long and pleasant and dry, but maintains the crème soda and tropical fruit and minerality to the very end. This one surprised me so much that I liked it. I probably would not go for this if you described it to me in advance as I definitely prefer (like I said) a more subtle, elegant style to sauvignon blanc, but was just too weird not to like. That might say something about me, though I’m not sure what.

I hope you enjoyed reading the notes. Please consider joining the wine community on Twitter for some of the upcoming live tasting events. Follow @RickBakas and @NectarWine on Twitter for more details.


Wine Ophelia
- Raelinn

PS - I have no idea whom to credit for the photos but they aren't mine. Found them in a search. If it's yours and you don't want me to use it, I'll take it down, I promise.