Cloud Break, Petite Syrah – 2016

  • Basic info: Cloud Break, Petite Syrah, California – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $9.50 (Total Wine)
  • Look: Dark red with some staining on the glass. Good legs and almost opaque in the glass.
  • Smell: Wine. Nothing very discernible on the nose.
  • Taste: Dark berries. Smooth and very fruit forward. Really short finish with a hint of leather on the back end.
  • Conclusions: Eh. I drank most of the glass with my dinner (it went pretty well with grilled cheese, but not well at all with the cucumber salad) but didn’t end up finishing the wine.
  • Other notes: This was a bottle I picked up because Petite Syrah is one of the few “major” varietals that I haven’t tried since I started keeping track. I remember really not liking Petite Syrah – too woody, too earthy and a bit bitter – so it wasn’t one that I was trying to get to. However, when at Total Wine, I broke down and picked up a bottle. If you had put the glass in front of me with no indication of the wine, I would have called it as a Merlot. It had the fruitiness of Merlot and none of the heavy characteristics I generally associate with Syrahs of any kind. After about half a glass, it also tasted a bit like doctored wine. The kind of wine that has so much chemistry added after nature does its thing that it is very generic. I want to say there is nothing wrong with that, but really, it didn’t taste great.
  • From the bottle: “From the last rains of winter to the flowing of spring vines, nothing is as exciting as the cycle of the vineyard and the promise of new wine. This year’s near perfect combination of long warm days and cool evenings produced a gorgeous wine with ripe, concentrated fruit flavors, a rich texture and a great length.” 13% alcohol by volume.

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Domaine Chavy-Chouet, Bourgogne Blanc – 2016

  • Basic info: Domaine Chavy-Chouet “Les Saussots” Chardonnay, Burgundy, France – 2016
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $22 (Somm Select)
  • Look: Pale yellow that is almost clear at the edges. No noticeable legs.
  • Smell: Pineapple and apricot
  • Taste: Round. good acidity but soft in the mouth with flavors of melon, pineapple, white peach, white cherry and granite. Medium finish with apple and more mineral.
  • Conclusions: I was really surprised with this wine. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but the description sounded good and I decided to try it. I am really glad I did. It was a great wine to have with dinner and it went well with food (can’t remember what I paired it with) but it was equally as good sitting on the couch watching tv later in the evening. I just wish I had picked up more than one bottle of this.
  • Other notes: I almost didn’t get this wine. There was an issue with the case of various wines that I ordered (I won’t go into details). I was frustrated and ready to cross Somm Select off my list of places to order wine from. But I was contacted by the company and not only did Connor understand why I was frustrated, he did everything he could to make it right. I can not tell you how much I appreciated the phone call – an actual phone call, not an email or text – to explain what happened and everything he did in the name of customer service. He went well above and beyond what I would have expected so rather than cross Somm Select off my list of places to order wine from, it’s gotten bumped up on the “go to” list. It also helps that the wines are generally fantastic, and this one is no different. This is one of those wines that makes you remember why you drink wine for the pure enjoyment of the experience.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Somm Select, ” Alluring aromas of quince, yellow apple skin, white peach, preserved lemon, citrus blossoms, and pineapple core shine through, followed by notes of crushed chalk, wet stone, hazelnut, slight cream, and delicately-woven baking spices. The medium-bodied palate is soft and elegant – near crisp in style – but with rich layers. Nervy stone mineralogy and fresh waves of acid sit in perfect harmony with a delicate core of just-ripe, and finely textured fruits.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.

Fre Chardonnay – NV

  • Basic info: Sutter Homes Winery, Fre Alcohol Removed Chardonnay, California – No Vintage
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $8 (grocery store)
  • Look: Very pale yellow with a tint of green
  • Smell: Apple juice and white grapes (Bob’s comment was that it was just hard.)
  • Taste: Soured apple juice, sour grape, maybe a little pear if I’m being generous. Very sweet finish.
  • Conclusions: I won’t say this was undrinkable, but it was pretty much not wine. If you told me it was apple juice I’d have thought it was bad. Give it to me as a glass of wine and I’m holding on to it all night and not drinking more than a sip every now and then. If you just want something sweet to drink, there are way better options. I’m not even sure I would cook with this and I certainly didn’t finish the glass.
  • Other notes: Yes, I realize this is not wine and it is almost blasphemous to post it here, but I did. I like wine. I really like wine, but I don’t always like drinking alcohol and I was looking for non-alcoholic options for when I want a glass or two, but don’t want to drink. You know, something to sip on while sitting on the couch watching whatever superhero show Bob has on. I’ve had some sparking non-alcoholic wines before that were actually pretty good – no they won’t pass for Champaign but they were perfectly enjoyable. I was really hoping to find an option in still wine that would be the same, but oh, this just was not.
  • From the bottle: (Their marketing department did a fantastic job with the bottle notes … just saying.) “The sophisticated alternative. With its deep golden hue, and lively tropical fruit flavors that waft from the glass, our alcohol-removed Chardonnay makes any occasion special. Rich, creamy apple flavors mingle with crisp citrus notes on your palate, concluding with an enjoyable tart finish.” 24% juice, <0.5% alcohol.

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Louis Latour, Pinot Noir – 2015

  • Basic info: Louis Latour Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Cote D’Or, France – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: unknown
  • Look: Garnet colored that is slightly translucent at the edges. Light legs evident in the glass.
  • Smell: Raspberry and cola
  • Taste: Raspberry, black cherry, tart with a little oak. Nice acidity. Mid palate has a little candy cola flavor (think bottle caps) and some chocolate. Long finish with a black forest cake taste (chocolate and cherry).
  • Conclusions:Really good wine. Pleasantly surprised and I would have thought this was a new world pinot since the fruit is so present. It doesn’t have a lot of the earth I usually associate with French reds.
  • Other notes: This wine was a gift from a family I worked with this year. I was surprised not only that they gave me wine, but that it hit all the right notes for me.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the website, “This Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015 has a bright ruby color. The nose reveals notes of Morello cherry, liquorice and moka. The mouth is round and supple with a delicate woody taste.”

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Authentique Wine Cellars – Pinot Noir, 2015

  • Basic info: Authentique Wine Cellars “The Corridor” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR – 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $35 (Backcountry Wines)
  • Look: Dark garnet in color. Good legs.
  • Smell: Subtle alcohol with dark berry aromas.
  • Taste: Raspberry, black cherry, caramel and a little milk chocolate. There is a black forest cake note in this wine and the finish is pretty good with the caramel and cherry flavors lingering.
  • Conclusions: I liked this wine. It was really nice to drink, but it wasn’t one that blew me away. I’m not sure why, either. Looking at the description it should be something I’m ga-ga over, but it just wasn’t. It was good, very good, but not one I’m probably going to remember six months from now.
  • Other notes: We had this when John came to town – I showed him the spreadsheet of wine and said, “pick.” It was nice to share a bottle with him and get another opinion on the wine.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from the winery, “Enigmatic. Pomegranate, bergamot and dusty raspberry.  The palate is bright with yellow raspberry and great tension lingering for a long baking spice finish.  16 months elevage in 40% new French Oak.” (I forgot to write down the abv and can’t find it on the website. Oops.)

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Peterson, Zinfandel – 2013

  • Basic info: Peterson “Old School Zinfandel” Dry Creek Valley, CA – 2013
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $20
  • Look: Dark garnet in color. Opaque. Nice legs with a little time in the glass.
  • Smell: Cherry, oak, fresh tobacco and strawberry.
  • Taste: Tart cherry, dark fruit with a touch of vanilla and oak. Black cherry on the finish maybe a touch of chocolate in there.
  • Conclusions: I loved this wine. This is what zinfandel should be for me. Lots of layers of flavor with none of the bitter notes that some reds can get. Deep cherry and a touch of chocolate with a hint of sweetness, but not a sweet wine by any stretch. Yeah … this one goes on the “get again” list.
  • Other notes: I was nervous when I saw the bottle because I was a little afraid that the wine would match the art and I’d have an over-heavy punch-you-in-the-face wine. But it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of flavor in this wine, but it held back the punch. Just lots of great drinking here.
  • From the bottle: The bottle itself doesn’t have any notes, but from the website, “Blended primarily from vineyards in the Northern Dry Creek Valley, Old School has a style that is full of flavor and character but not over the top. We want a wine that is refreshing and “highly drinkable” and satisfying; the type of Zin you can either open on a weeknight or take to a party without hesitation. As a bonus to an already great wine, each year our designer Chris Blum comes up with a new image and accompanying story to entertain and amuse, starting on the front and finishing on the back label.Robust dark-toned aromatics—briary berry, plum, spices and oak—fill the senses and lead into this easy-sipping wine.” 13.9% alcohol by volume.

img_20180522_193327Yes, I went heavy on the pour after tasting it. And I don’t regret it in the least.

 

J. Bucher, Pinot Noir Rose – 2016

  • Basic info: J. Bucher “Rose of Pinot Noir” Russian River Valley, CA – 2016
  • Type: Rose/Pink
  • Price estimate: $25
  • Look: Electric dark pink, almost a light red in color. Vibrant.
  • Smell: This was weird, but I swear it smelled like herbed butter.
  • Taste: Pine, strawberry, sour apple and watermelon. Finish was fine, but not anything memorable.
  • Conclusions: Bob liked this a lot more than I did. I thought it was okay – pretty good, but not great. The first few sips were odd, and I think some of that had to do with the smell of the wine, but it was okay. It isn’t one I’m going to seek out again, but it was nice.
  • Other notes: This was one of the six wines we got from Underground Wine Events, which focuses on small producers. The Longboard was so good, I had really high hopes for this one, but it just wasn’t fantastic for me.
  • From the bottle: “World-class wines start in the vineyard. For over 50 years, our family has farmed in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley. Our passion and dedication for producing the finest agricultural products ensures exceptional fruit from out vineyard. We look forward to sharing our wines and our Journey with you.” 13.1% alcohol by volume.

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