Welcome back everyone and raise a glass to 2012! Ok, now that I have all the exclamation points out-of-the-way, I would like to apologize for my unannounced hiatus (last post in Mid Movember). I suppose I underestimated how busy I could be throughout that most hectic and stressful time of year. I hope you had a wonderful round of holidays and are completely refreshed to dive headlong into the new year. I am going to use this post to float a few topics out there, some related to what I have been up to (read: drinking) and a few tidbits about the current world of wine as well as some potential additions to the realm of possibilities here at GrapesRGreat.com.
So a quick summary of recent quaff worth talking about is probably due. For thanksgiving my wife and I opened a bottle of 2007 Chronicle Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir that was purchased through Lot18, which is a quickly growing website that does a fantastic job of presenting customers from little tucked away corners of the US (Ohio) access small production wines that may not be available via direct shipping or through local distribution. I highly recommend you check it out, and no I am not paid for the endorsement. The Pinot was absolutely fantastic but would certainly benefit from a year or 2 more of cellaring (Visit Chronicle Wines Here). We also had a bottle of 2005 Saddleback Cellars Napa Cabernet, also a real blockbuster. Nils Venge is the Owner and Winemaker at Saddleback and started the winery in 1985, the same year he produced the first ever 100 point score from Robert Parker for a Californian wine with the 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet. Other highlights include snagging a bottle 1990 Veuve Cliquot Grand Reserve Champagne from a local retailer when I asked about vintage Champagnes. The wine was actually from his private home cellar and I got it for a more than reasonable price given the incredible pedigree. The bottle was a gift for a close family friend who adores Champagne I am forever indebted to Chris and Urmila at Rumbleseat Wine in Dayton, Ohio for their continued hospitality and over the top customer service.
After Christmas my wife and I went to St. Louis to visit my family and picked up a bottle of Boulevard Brewing’s Saison-Brett limited edition brew (Boulevard is a Kansas City based brewery and is not distributed in Ohio :*( ). The beer is a Saison style farmhouse ale inoculated with “Brett” or the brettanomyces yeast strain responsible (controversially so) for much of the barnyard-y and earthy qualities found in many a French wine. Although it is considered a spoilage yeast, many wineries (and now breweries) use it in a controlled fashion to add character and complexities to their wines and beers. When we got back from our trip we poured it around to our friends at Rumbleseat Wine and it was really yummy and wonderful. The hoppy character plays off the earthiness of the Brett very well and the whole become more than the sum of the parts.
Along the way, we also drank a 2006 Coturri Freiberg Zinfandel, a perennial favorite with dark stewed plums on the nose but tons of big fruit on the palate; and a 2001 Gundlach Bunschu Cabernet Sauvignon which developed into a monster of complex layers with toast and smoke, I actually guessed that it had some Syrah in it before I knew what I was drinking. All in all, I have no complaints about the wines during this holiday season.
In other news, the 2009 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was named wine of the year by Wine Spectator, so don’t count on ever finding any and 2009 was declared possibly the best vintage ever for California Pinot, so grab it while you can! Especially since you will not likely be having any Bordeaux First-Growths as the 2010 futures broke pricing records when the cheapest of these were set to release at 600 Euros ($765 US). 2 things, 1) that is a futures price, so folks are betting the price will go up by the time the wines are actually released and 2) that is a per bottle price. . . amazing.
Thirdly, and finally, if you have read this far, I want you all to look at the right side of this page and sign up for the email updates to ensure you never miss a beat and are getting all of the wine tasting reviews and any other exciting news here at GrapesRGreat.com. I am currently toying around with a few different things I may be adding to the blog including entries covering breaking news in the wine industry and legislation affecting how you buy wine, hot deals I see and where to find them, and possibly most exciting I may be doing a raffle with a real prize in the near future. So stay tuned!
12% alc/vol, $30 (375mL split bottle): Veuve (www.veuve-cliquot.com) is easily one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Champagne house in existence. If my memory serves, they have been serving up the bubbly stuff since 1772. The fact that I have never before tasted this stuff, being the self-proclaimed winegeek that I am, is saddening at best. This incredible oversight on my part, happily, has now been rectified.
The color on this wine is extremely faint, more so than you might expect and the aroma is very crisp. A little bit of yeast is also present on the nose (somewhat typical in “big” sparklers) as well as honey butter and vanilla. The initial flavor of this wine was short but lively (a product of drinking it too cold, straight from the fridge ). Once I allowed it to warm a little, this wine proved to be very complex with a welcome mineral note and a distinct creamyness. Overall, I think I may have to side with my favorite Champagne, Piper-Heidsieck, but the history of Veuve certainly adds to the mystique. 90 pts.