Tasting Notes for wine30flight

(211 notes on 206 wines)

1 - 50 of 211 Sort order
White
Residual sugar at about 1.5% makes this Greenhill's dessert wine entry. White peach, pear, and honeysuckle combine with a bit of petrol in the nose, before giving way to a lovely palate that is happily not to sweet, like a well done Riesling or Gewürztraminer - though lacking the minerality of both. It falls a little flat in complexity, though we're OK with that as that's not what this wine is for.
Red
From the study of being to superstition, this bottle is primarily Syrah at about 58%, but is blended with about 32% Cabernet Franc, and punctuated by 5% each of Mourvèdre and Tannat... though it looks like a Cab Franc in the glass, with a nose of forest floor and baking space. Otherwise expect a complex wine of muted fruitiness, dried plum and cherry, habanero and hot spice in the finish.
Red
Named for the "study of being", Greenhill evidently believes that this 100% Chambourcin is an appropriate compliment to those long nights spent drinking wine and contemplating the world. As we'd expect with a good Virginia Chambourcin, the nose is distinctly that of baking spice and then -- oddly -- a pile of wet sticks. Actually we find the nose to be more refined than most other Chambourcins with which we are familiar. Cinnimon stick, smooth cheery in the mouth, and sour cherries in the aftertaste finish off a wine that is happily unencumbered by the overt Christmas in a bottle phenomonon that befalls a great many other wines made from this same varietal.
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White
Greenhill represents Virginia's leading white grape quite well (we've not yet tried their Cabernet Franc). Nose or ripe honey dew, peach, and a sensation we'd describe as the "bottom of a fruit salad" belies a floral touch that is normally more assertive in Viognier. This wine looks in the glass a lot like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and possesses some similar acidity and grassiness when drunk. You'll otherwise taste nice fruit and floral notes that reminded us of a dry Vidal Blanc. Serve this cold in the summer.
White - Sparkling
A sparkling wine made in the traditional method, this Chardonnay from Grennhill's French fourth-generation winemaker is surprisingly always vintage (i.e. always bottled with a vintage year attached). Pale straw colored in the glass, the peach, tropical fruit, banana, and a little mango in the nose foretells a great first sip. The palate is rounded out with notes of lemon zest, mango, pineapple, and a tart effervescence. Really excellent, particularly by standards of a state that produces so little sparkling wine.
Red
2014 Karas Armavir Red Blend (view label images)
This is an interesting wine before you even open the bottle. Karas is made in Armenia, a small nation in the South Caucuses region, landlocked about equidistant between the Black and Caspian Seas, sharing borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey, and formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The winery itself sits within sight of Mount Ararat (of Noah and his Ark fame), about 30 miles west from Yerevan, the capital. The wine I medium garnet, medium brightness in the glass. We picked up the nose from feet away when first poured: red fruit, baking spice, vanilla, jammy. Syrah is the major grape component, with a little Petit Verdot delivering a grassier organic nose. It's runs a little alcoholic hot, with further notes of cranberry sauce and stewed fruit. There's a lot of flavor up front, but is otherwise well balanced with nice fruit texture, just the right amount of tannin in the back corners of the mouth, and quite juicy. The palate finishes off with espresso and a little menthol. Lovely!
Rosé
Tried this in the American Express Centurion Lounge at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). This Côtes du Rhône rosé shows as a light, delicate pink color in the glass. Nose is mild with a little rhubarb that mellows into far gentler strawberry and cream after just a moment. It's profoundly agreeable on the palate, easy drinking yet elegant. Strawberry notes feel sophisticated, yet gentle.
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White
Tried this in the American Express Centurion Lounge at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Pretty typical classic Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in the north of New Zealand's South Island, the Wairau River is a bit on the grassy side, with aggressive lemon citrus that settles into lychee. It's far more mellow at the front of the palate than in the back.
Red
A good rhetorical fit with the city of Philadelphia, in whose airport's American Express Centurion Lounge we tried it, this Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, California, is part of a series of bold, red, founding-father themed reds produced under The Federalist label. It's Cab-characteristic red fruit is boisterous, with strong cigar notes in the nose. And then… ummm… yeah it's totally different on the palate. Shockingly smooth and gentle compared to what we expected from the nose. Think mellow pipe smoke, gentle tannins, and dark red fruit.
White - Sparkling
This is not your run of the mill Veuve, rather, it's the famous Champagne house's "Vintage" edition from 2008. Far more nuanced and refined than their (admittedly tasty, but quite mainstream) non-vintage bottle, the nose of the 2008 is at once floral and smoky like an honest-to-God fire (I believe our reaction when we tasted this was akin to, "WTF, did they char this oak barrel?"). We also found notes of old, wet brick that alumni of The College of William and Mary (Kathleen and Andrew) will remember all-too-well. The moment when you have your nose in the glass and take your first taste is reminiscent of the telltale green flash of the sunset's penultimate moment… it really sings. There's lots of and lots of brioche toast in the mouth, buttered, with mild jam.
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White - Sparkling
This Blanc de Blancs took us in a completely different direction, with apple juice elements in the nose that were sweet, but not overly so. The palate is strikingly crisp, big and bold, with no bread or toast elements at all (really). It presents like the most luxurious freshly pressed apple juice you have ever had. It's approachable nature makes this Champagne an excellent candidate for a toast with your closest friends, for it's something that everyone can enjoy!
White - Sparkling
Blanc de Blancs is always such a fine expression of what Chardonnay can do when made as a Champagne. The Dom Ruinart was no different. Overwhelming toffee notes in the nose make this bottle incredible from the start. A mouthfeel of very fluffy bread backed by palate notes of Portuguese sweet bread make it luxurious. Summer berry fruit make it fun. This was one of our favorite Champagnes of the evening.
White - Sparkling
Wonderfully nuanced, this bottle threw up a unique nose of cool menthol and peanut butter. The nuttiness continued through the palate in a completely mouthcoating way, actually like a peanut -- or, we think more accurately, cashew -- butter. Cider elements push through at the end.
Red
This off the wall red blend inspires a geography lesson. It comes from coastal Istria, Croatia's triangular peninsula that extends directly south from the far north of the Adriatic Sea. Its ridiculous label featuring a flying pig was contextually appropriate pairing with the smorgasbord of meats served at Svartengrens in Stockholm, Sweden. The nose is -- surprise, surprise -- dominated by cured meats, mustard seed, and perhaps a bit of red pepper flake. Highly unique combinations of leather and animals, barnyard, Chorizo and sautéed mushrooms (an olfactory callback to Mesón del Champiñón in Madrid) as it comes more into focus. Cranberry pops through on the palate, with dry tannins that are a bit surprising given how juicy the overall experience is. The wine lingers and leaves much of itself behind in the finish. It strikes us what an excellent choice this would be on Thanksgiving, or any other moment when a feast is in order.
Red
Burgundy (Bourgogne, in French), a sizable region in east-ish central France, is known overwhelmingly for its Pinot Noir. Exceptions include the red wines of Beaujolais, made primarily from the Gamay grape, and the Chardonnays of Chablis. For our purposes here, though, we're talking about Pinot Noir. Most drinkers are satisfied simply with the notion of sipping on "a Burgundy", i.e. a Pinot Noir from this region. That said, a number of often subtle climatic, geographic, and stylistic variations produce substantive differences in wines produced in various towns throughout the region. So it is that I often gravitate to the rather substantive wines from the town of Beaune -- where even the lower end bottles tend to be very good, so great values are to be had -- and the more delicate and playful (though usually more expensive) wines from Volnay. So, today, we went with this Beaune, whose nose was one of the most extraordinary I've had in a long time. We opened it for an hour, swirled it bit in the glass, and unlocked an extraordinary spicebox nose of clove and nutmeg. Wow. Continued swirling mellows it into cocoa powder and cherries, and then mesquite barbeque and incense after several minutes. It's cool and smooth on the palate, albeit a bit metallic in the back when you first star drinking. Quite dry and not terribly fruit forward, I'd recommend you enjoy this with food to help balance out some of its eccentricities. Chicken with simple herbs will do nicely.
Rosé
Though the French region of Sancerre is known mostly for its white Sauvignon Blanc wines, French Pinot Noir is known mostly for its production in Burgundy, and the country's rosé perhaps most famously comes from the region of Provence on the Mediterranean coast… the three come together nicely in this rosé of Pinot Noir from Sancerre. Pinot Noir actually makes exceptional rosé wines. This bottle in particular demonstrates a slatey minerality, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream in a nose that feels a bit more austere than some other free spirited rosés. It tastes much creamier than it smells, with a little peach and sweet orange in a palate that is surprisingly not acidic at all, and quite floral in the middle. Rosé pairs well with light dishes featuring a strong arugula component, such as the salad we drank alongside this bottle. Give it a try.
Red
Meghan knew this was a Virginia wine from the very first sniff. At nearly five years old, this 2012 is older than most Chambourcin you'll drink (generally in the 2-3 year range). That age has given it time to take on unexpectedly refined notes of smoke, green pepper, and burning cedar. Fear not, though, for the warm winter spice and baking spice in the finish still come out to play, just a bit less assertively. Swallow it down and breath out to experience a little clove and mild tobacco.
Red
An eclectic nose of rasinettes candy, chocolate covered cranberries, lots of black fruit jams, and currant is offset by quite strong alcohol that that abruptly clears the senses for what is to come. It turns out to be much sweeter, bright, and fruity than what we anticipated. Think smoother and less brooding than other Zins you may have tried, and quite approachable. It actually shares some similar fruit characteristics to a Ribera del Duero Tempranillo from Spain, and doesn't come across with those hot earthen notes you sometimes find in other Zinfandels. We evaluate it as being bold without being huge. This is an excellent wine for the holidays, but equally delicious all winter long. Try it with Swedish Meatballs or a succulent lamb dish. It finishes with deer jerky flavors in the back of the mouth.
Red
This Cabernet Franc is actually a blend with Tempranillo from the Spanish region of Pla de Bages in the country's far northeast, even north of Barcelona towards the border with France. By far the most fruit forward of the lineup we tried on this night (not a hard bar to clear), we found cocoa powder, green pepper, and a bit cooler, dark red fruit in the nose. Several of us recognized notes of unsweetened baking chocolate on the palate -- a rather tongue coating experience -- with hints of cranberry, cherry, red bell pepper, and a little earthen tannin (that's the Tempranillo talking).
Red
We tasted the 2014 vintage -- Virginia's signature red grape from one of Virginia's very best wineries -- shortly after it hit the bottle. It was divine then, actually one of the single best Virginia wines that had ever cross our lips. A couple of years on, now, and we find a wine whose best year we suspect to be 2019. Keep your bottles safe until then. Meanwhile, today we're getting a nose of clove cigarette, tobacco, black pepper, generalized spice box, and red stone fruit. Follow that up with more red stone fruit on the palate, unripen red plum, green pepper. You might find some Merlot-like viscosity when you first sip, followed by cranberry that turns quite smooth, and a little menthol in the finish. Leave it open for a couple of hours and you'll swear your drinking the burnt sugar top of a crème brûlée.
Red
There are today few more visible advocates for Cab Franc that Lori and Micahel Budd of Dracaena Wines. They've grown through amateur winemaking to producing several vintages of Paso Robles, California Cab Franc over the last several years, and have through social media tirelessly promoted not just their own grape, but the broader global wine community in general. Their 2013 vintage opens a bit astringently in the nose, but follows on with notes of sandalwood, cocoa powder, cardamom, and a little nuttiness. It's much smoother than expected on the palate, whose lack of signature Cab Franc peppery notes is offset with touches of cigar smoke -- or, rather, the woody sensation in your mouth of burning wood in a fireplace or camp fire -- milk chocolate, and after about three hours to air in the glass, white tea and vanilla, like the custard from a crème brûlée. The 2013 vintage is ready to drink now, but the 2015 vintage is still on sale. Order some and have it shipped direct. We're confident you'll have no regrets.
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White - Sparkling
One of our favorites shared with us by our friends at The Vineyard in McLean, Virginia last night, the La Croisette is our actual honest-to-God Champagne offering on our list this month, made in from 100% Chardonnay grown on a small 1.5 acre vineyard in Épernay, France. The incredibly expressive nose -- I'll call it "transportive", for it really moves your senses to a different moment and place -- throws notes of fresh apple pie and cinnamon which, though quite refined, evokes that gooey goodness that anyone whose celebrated an American Thanksgiving will find all too familiar. Meghan and Kathleen debated the presence of "a candy from our youth" before arriving on sweet tarts as the likely comparison. The fresh -- oh my this feels fresh -- apple pie continues robustly through the palate. Really phenomenal!
White
Another natural wine -- this time from Italy -- the "Youngster" Pinot Gris is indeed quite young, made from grapes just harvested and fermented this year, as many natural wines can tend to be. Its youth is born out by its qualities: very light, pear juice colored in the glass, a nose of lilly and pear, green and yellow applies with notes of lemon lime spritzer on the palate. Our first wine tasted from any 2017 vintage anywhere is a success!
White
Our sommelier took us away from the Czech Republic and over to Italy with this Pinot Grigio made as an "orange wine", a white left to age with the grapes' skins. Yes, it looks orange in the glass, particularly so when drinking by soft candle and filament lights. Orange wines are creations that most drinkers will either love or hate, but that I happen to love. The nose throws up notes of hay made wet from a fresh morning dew, cumin, and sweet grapefruit. You'll find toasted hazelnut when it sip it, but not a lot of fruit on the palate.
White
Gruner Veltliner is an excellent white alternative to some of the other better known grapes (Riesling?) produced throughout central Europe… but this bottle isn't at all like what you expect from a typical Gruner. It's biodynamic and natural, dark and cloudy gold in the glass, shimmering in front of the candle similarly to the sparkling we had just finished. Floral in the nose, with definitive notes of grey poupon mustard and tuna. Bear with me here: It is distinctly possible that you'd have to try this yourself to understand why we liked it, because our (accurate, I believe) tasting noges do not read well. Briny, The fish elements carry through in the palate, mingling with lemon and lime that is typical of a Gruner. Pair this with poultry, not fish, for the wine brings its own fish, like opening a can of tuna, making a sandwich, looking at the cat and saying "screw you, Nicholas, I'm drinking this," and then carrying on with your life. …and now that I've turned you off with the least appetizing tasting note I have ever written I will conclude re-affirming that we absolutely loved this wine. Promise.
White - Sparkling
Set aside some disagreement of the origin of this sparkling wine; the sommelier asserts it to be a blend of Welschriesling, Rhine Riesling, and Muller Thurgau, though sources on the Internet claim otherwise. Its defining characteristic is unfiltered, making it stylistically very different for drinkers used to sparkling wine made in the "Traditional" method for which (say) Champagne is known. That lack of filtration produces a beautiful, cloudy, shimmering gold color in the glass, from whose center a lone seam of bubbles emanated. The nose is reminiscent of light cider, reminding us of what high quality producers like Pennsylvania's (USA) Big Hill Cider Works are doing now. It effervesces lightly in the mouth, again, a far cry from traditional method sparklers. Largely apple and subtle pear notes pair beautifully with the mouthfeel and entire visual experience to produce a glass that we'd drink again and again.
Red
Beaujolais, a wine traditionally made from the Gamay grape in the French region of Beaujolais, is a classic Thanksgiving pairing. Other wines have their moments each year -- Vinho Verde in summer, sparklers on New Years Eve -- and November is most certainly the moment for a good bottle of Beaujolais. This one is characteristic of what you'll often find, offering up hints of cranberry and a little slate in the nose, followed by a pleasingly fruity palate. It's slightly acidic, but not too acidic, so a perfect compliment with food (i.e. "nom with Turkey"). A little green pepper comes out in the nose after just a bit. We found this young wine (generally drink Beaujolais from just the year prior) to be very round in the mouth, with not a trace of anything harsh.
White - Sparkling
Beautiful Cava for the $10-$15 price tag. It's particularly effervescent in the glass, with notes of brioche, slate, and bright, lively green apple in the nose. It's smooth on the palate, but tart in the back, and warming in the mouth - like freshly baked bread.
Red
This wine is labeled Crianza, which in the Spanish wine classification scheme notes a wine that has been aged at least two years of which at least six months have been spent in oak barrels. This gives the wine a bit of cachet above a simple table wine, but still lacking the more advanced aging of a bottle labeled Reserva or Gran Reserva. We pulled the cork on this over lunch at the recommendation of the folks at a restaurant called Asados Nazareno in the town of Roa, located in the Province of Burgos, which is itself located in Castile and León out towards the northwest of Spain. It turns out that Roa, in the heart of Ribera del Duero, is about an eight minute drive from the Bodega Viña Sastre where the wine is made. It's quite local. In any case, the wine is rather characteristic for a Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo, of course, though in Ribera they often refer to Tempranillo as Tinta del país). We loved the notes of cedar, hickory, and blackberry in the nose. The blueberry notes so common in wine from this region followed on the palate, fruit forward, where a quite smooth mouthfeel made this the perfect midday red.
White
Pouring this typically medium yellow colored wine on the occasion of Albariño Day, August 1, we found a nose of lemon curd, slate, and spring green as if walking into a flower shop in springtime. Meghan picked up oak and butter on the palate, and buttered popcorn in the back that reminded us of a Chardonnay. Its juicy peach notes are fresh up front, while a touch of menthol asserts itself as its going down.
White - Sparkling
This bottle was quite notable in our lives as it was our 1,000 bottle purchased (err, the 1000th bottle we've tracked) since Meghan and I combined our wine collections several years ago. We wanted to make it a special bottle, and saved it for quite some time before finding the right moment to drink it. An complex nose of brioche (which is typical), honey, spindrift (that's spray blown from a rough sea or surf), and harbor mist gave way to a very smooth and fresh Champagne that featured bright acidity like biting into a fresh apple. It was, interestingly, not at all creamy, eschewing that quality for something a little more toasty and a touch nutty on the finish. This is a great food Champagne.
Red
We revisited the stunning 2013 Flor de Pingus from Spain's Ribera del Duero region just about a year after first trying it the mid-summer of 2016. Extraordinary smoothness is conveyed in the nose alongside a little leather a little spice, and slight herbal qualities of sage and bay leaves. This wine is crazy, crazy smooth, like chocolate melting in a sauce pan, with minimal fruit on the palate but a little of the telltale Ribera del Duero blueberry essence. It's not the most complex wine we've ever tried at this price point (upward of $100, so not something you're going to be drinking daily), but super delightful. We loved it. It presents very well, and is defined first and foremost by how "off the rails" smooth it was drinking as of late July 2017.
Red
We love Breca as a wine that is fairly widely available on retail shelves in the United States at around $20 per bottle, yet consistently sufficient quality to put an exclamation point on any evening. A rustic nose of smoke and melting chocolate changes to rich, brambly fruit when swirled vigorously in the glass. This richly tannic wine conveys notes of cranberry and cedar plank on the palate. We love it with meats, but are equally happy to sip it alone.
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White
2013 DeSante Proof Napa Valley White Blend (view label images)
7/26/2017 - wine30flight wrote:
Proof is a pricier ($59) white blend from Napa, whose components are all aged together in a single barrel. Only twenty-two cases were produced. The nose is heavily oaked and lightly buttered, cut with grassiness, lemon grass in particular. The alcohol burns a bit in the front. Powerful floral notes intermingle with honey to convey the qualities of a Viognier, while aggressive tartness intermingles with some grapefruit in the back.
White
A dinner party gift from thoughtful friends, this Sancerre from tossed a clean nose of lemon-lime, lemon grass, green apple, and freshly cut spring lawn before giving way to a palate that tasted rather different than what we'd expected. Generally crisp, though quite creamy in the middle, we loved how smooth this wine was throughout, and how fresh it felt to the very last drop. Consider this as a great pairing with shellfish.
Rosé
I leapt at the chance to try this rosé from the Getariako Txakolina DO in Spain's northern Basque region. Almost sparkling in its effervescence, like a subtle Vinho Verde, this wine offered really substantive legs in the glass and a sweet nose of cherry juice reminiscent of jolly rancher candy. A bit of Granny Smith apple followed on a palate that ended with very notes juicy strawberry. Truly pleasurable to drink with dinner outside at the height of summer.
Red
For the price, this is a wonderful bottle from Spain's Rioja region, first filling the nose with notes of smoldering wood as if from a campfire, then dried blueberries and a slightly hot touch of alcohol. It is surprisingly a little sweet on the palate, but tastes much as it smells with rather Ribera del Duero (a nearby region in Spain) like blueberry notes throughout. Quite velvety smooth for a wine at this price, you might find a little cashew nuttiness in the back, something that reminds us of the flavor profile of a fortified wine, perhaps raisin? It's satisfyingly warm as it goes down.
Rosé
The Apaltagua is unique in that it's a rosé made from Chile's signature Carménère grape. We'd been saving it for an occasion to share with someone we believed would truly appreciate it. It's extraordinarily pale, looking in the glass at least as much like a white as it does a rosé. Mineral defines a nose in which there is only a bit of green apple (reminiscent of some Sauvignon Blanc) among otherwise imperceptible fruit notes, but the wine tastes completely different than it smells. The plate is more floral, a bit like a Viognier, though there is a bit more apple and orange citrus towards the slightly sweet finish.
Red
2014 Le Chaz Vin de Pays d'Oc Grenache Blend, Grenache
The Le Chaz from France's Vin de Pays (VDP) region has made multiple appearances in our low-cost yet high performing house wine lineup. It's sweet smelling, with bright chocolate strawberry notes and a little confectioner sugar whose nose is repeated in the palate (i.e. it tastes how it smells). It's an immensely simple wine, but a very easy drinker and crowd pleaser that should make most red wine drinkers quite happy in a casual setting.
Red
This affordable red from Tuscany (in Italy) served us well as a case worth of house wine. A smart pairing with food, yet highly drinkable on its own, the nose of graphite, a little slate and mineral gives way to some plum and milk chocolate after a few minutes. It's light and fruit forward with some coffee on the palate, and finishes with a bit of a tart aftertaste.
White
Richland Reserve Viognier from Virginia's Potomac Point Winery has been a staple of our warm weather lineup in years past, and this 2013 edition did not disappoint. It is, we believe, in its drinking prime right now (June 2017). Actually we were pleasantly surprised, for we thought perhaps we had missed the window when we found this bottle recently. The nose is very dry, with the sensation of lush green grass on a rainy day, with a hint of hay, and juicy green apple. A little oak and butter greet us on the palate, but more so a mix of green and floral notes (particularly at the tip and back of the tongue), apricot, and perfumes. We love Virginia Viognier, of which this continues to be one of our favorite renditions.
White
Our first taste of wine from Sweden's Klagshamn winery was over a stupendous dinner at a restaurant called Swedish Taste near the waterfront in Göteborg (Gothenburg), the country's second largest city. We believe Sweden to be the world's northernmost winemaking region. Klagshamn's lineup of white and rosé is the spiritual cousin of those from other cooler climate regions such as the South Coast of Massachusetts. The Inkognito itself took home silver at the International Wine Challenge in 2017, so we were pleased to see that our newfound appreciation for wine from this largely unknown wine region is shared by others. Pineapple, apricot, and the ever slightest essence of sweet frosting like what you'd find atop a cinnamon bun (we really mean slight… this is not a dessert wne by any stretch) leap from the nose in what feels like high notes on a piano. The palate carries on those pineapple and apricot notes alongside those of yellow apple and a little bit of cream.
White
This white wine made from the Piquepoul grape in France's Languedoc region has made repeat appearances in our glasses for ten years. The 2015 edition is cool and crisp with a hint of nectarine in the nose. Lush and round, it's possessed of minimal tartness or wood, but a pleasant creaminess that makes it a versatile bottle to pour for white wine drinkers of different tastes. Apple and pear on the palate remind us of a summer fruit salad. It's a truly great choice for casual warm weather drinking.
Red
We found this wine made from Turkey's native Öküzgözü red grape in the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). To be clear then -- because this is such an unusual wine -- "Diren" is the quite established winery from northern Turkey, and Öküzgözü is the grape varietal. A bit astringent and rough around the edges at first, we found that this wine paired amazingly with the Turkish dishes served in the lounge. It is truly a case for the notion that the best food and wine pairings are often those that match food and wine from the same part of the world. It's warmingly alcoholic with brambly red red (yes, two reds) raspberry fruit. We didn't pay for the glasses in the lounge (thanks, Priority Pass!), but we believe this wine can be had in the $10 range. We'd consider a true house wine contender if true.
White
This Torrontés is among our favorite white "house wines" we've had. Light straw color in the glass, we discovered crystalized sugar, hay, farm in springtime, and a little Ritz cracker in the nose. More refreshing and fun than complex, the palate is driven by simple citrus and lemon zest energy. It's really pleasant to drink, and one that we'd eagerly break out for a party.
Red
2012 Cape Mentelle Wilyabrup Margaret River Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
From the Margaret River region on Australia's west coast, near(ish) the city of Perth, this bottle by Cape Mentelle blends 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Franc in something that is both special and surprising. It's another beautiful ruby color in the glass, with red fruit, earth, and spice in a somewhat alcoholic nose. The palate is rather unexpected -- not what we'd assume from an Australian red, and a bit reminiscent of something from Méntrida, Spain -- offering bits of vanilla, black pepper, cedar. We think the 2012 is quite young, yet, and could benefit from some aging. Pick up a bottle to drink this month, and one to drink in May 2019!
Red
We love Fowles Wine, and shared their "Are you Game" Sauvignon Blanc as a recommendation on Drink Wine Day in February. I wrote then that, "a conscious desire to produce food wines -- specifically those that pair well with the likes of wild game and the fish you've caught -- drives the wine making ethos here. We've paired their 'Ladies who Shoot their Lunch' Shiraz with West Virginia venison, and love their whites with all manner of seafood." Their 2009 vintage was excellent to say the least, a brilliant ruby red color with a complex nose of earthy farm, rhubarb, hearth fire, and incense. The palate is itself a bit smoky, with rich hints of deer jerky, cedar plank, and red fruits (of course). Cigar notes evolve as the bottle is open for a little while, with additional bits of green pepper asserting themselves after an hour or so. May 2017 is prime time for drinking this 2009 vintage.
White
Pinot Gris is a white wine that has grown on me over the period of years, but is above all else intended to be fresh and well suited to spring and summer months. This particular wine delighted our senses, producing honeydew and cantaloupe notes in the nose as if we were slicing into a piece of fresh fruit. Layer citrus zest, some faint minerality, and… oh… the floral notes of jasmine and gardenia along with what (yes, I swear) was a bit of new soccer ball and you've suddenly poured something that is fun to talk about! You'll find some lemon and lime sprightliness in the front of the palate, with nice citric acid in the mid-palate that will cut nicely through a medium body pasta, a bit of green apple in the back, and lots of lovely floral notes from nose to finish. Delightful!
Red
I've been saving this bottle for about six and a half years, but pulled it out to celebrate Aussie Wine Month in May. Though we were initially worried when the cork disintegrated on opening, a little wine sieve and everything worked out fine, which turned out to be helpful given all the good sediment that's accumulated here. This wine is extraordinarily dark purple in color, with truly juicy black fruit and a little heat in the nose. Sweeter than expected, raspberry on the palate makes for a much more fruit-forward wine than what you'd expect from something aged for eleven years (drinking with us, my grandfather's contribution was "all wine is fruity, it's made out of grapes"). May 2017 is definitely the time to drink the 2006 if you've not already done so, and there's absolutely no need to decant at this point.
White
We've loved the Man O' War wines since we were introduced to them several years ago by our good friend Sonja, former wine director at a Washington, DC-area restaurant who has actually since moved to New Zealand. This wine is produced on small Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf along the more northern reaches of New Zealand's North Island. Our initial whiff was of wet hay, which evolved with a little air into freshly cut grass after a spring rain, with a bit of complimentary flint and melon notes to add texture. There a little grass in the palate -- as you'd expect -- particularly in the mid palate, but it's moderated by lemon and lime citrus notes in the front, as well as some slate-based minerality that could trick you into thinking you were drinking a Riesling. Something makes us want to pair this with olive oil grilled chicken, some mango chutney and goat cheese, and a simple arugula salad. Great for summertime!
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