Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2005 Rolf Binder/Veritas Halliwell

Cross-posted from 2 Days per Bottle. This wine received an "89" from Harvey Steinman at Wine Spectator. He said:

Bright and juicy, with lively acidity to balance the fresh berry and spice flavors, which linger effectively on the generous finish. Drink now through 2009. 3,000 cases imported. Score: 89. —Harvey Steiman, October 15, 2006.

Curiously, Robert Parker gave it a "92":

Wine Advocate- A sexy, knock-out effort for drinking over the next 5-7 years is the 2005 Shiraz/Grenache Halliwell. This aromatic blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Grenache offers up notes of blueberries, raspberries, cherries, earth, spice, and a hint of oak. It is full-bodied with juicy, concentrated flavors, supple tannins, and a velvety, opulent finish. Score: 92. —Robert Parker, October 2006.

and Joe Czerwinski gave it a "91":

Wine Enthusiast This is 60% Shiraz and 40% Grenache, with the Grenache providing some volume and roundness while the Shiraz provides the more assertive flavor notes. It’s a heady blend of sweet—cola—and savory—black olive and coffee—notes, with a long, supple finish. Drink now–2015. Score: 91. —Joe Czerwinski, November 01, 2007.

I love reviews. Read those three, then mine, and tell me if any of us tried the same wine. That said, I think in this case Czerwinski and Parker are a lot closer. Really, I can't imagine any reason this just got an "89" other than a price south of $20.00.

Type Red
Producer Rolf Binder/Veritas
Variety 60% Shiraz 40% Grenache
Designation Halliwell
Country Australia
Region South Australia
SubRegion Barossa
Appellation Barossa Valley
Price $19.49

The Little Wooden Guy signals "TOUCHDOWN!" This is startlingly good stuff for the dollar. Heck, it's just good stuff.

Night One

The color is very dark, turning to purple-tinged scarlet at the edges.

The nose starts with a bit of barnyard must and earthiness, probably from the grenache. It also has plenty of fruit, starting with creamy blueberries, plus the dusty, fruity smell of a bag of dried strawberries. There is also a touch of fennel.

The palate is deep and rich, with a very smooth full mouth feel. Blueberries and blackberries in cream, plus a hint of licorice, open the attack. Some tart red fruit shows up on the mid-palate. Toward the finish, add vanilla and pepper. The finish is long. This is very nice, well balanced with fruit and sweet silky tannins.

Night Two

The nose of Night Two is still fruity, but darker than on Night One, adding blackberries and elderberries to the creamy blueberries. The pepper shows up earlier on Night Two, on the attack rather than toward the finish. The fennel is still there.

The attack is very prickly peppery plus loads of black fruit, especially blackberry and elderberry. Vanilla, ample and espresso glow on the mid-palate. Tannins are very smooth and sweet. Finish is long.

This is very good. When you factor in a price under $20, it is terrific. Grenache tempers the jammy fruitiness of Barossa Valley shiraz.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Twitter Taste Live - The 89 Project Round-Up

This review is just of Night Two from the weekend's Twitter Taste Live, sponsored by The 89 Project. For Night One with all the Wine Twitters, watch the video, courtesy of 1 Wide Dude:



The Wooden Guys had a good time, but the consensus was that the Rivola was not in the same league as the rest of the wines.

2007 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Domaine Sainte Claire Vieilles Vignes

Type White
Producer Jean-Marc Brocard
Variety Chardonnay
Designation Vieilles Vignes
Vineyard Domaine Sainte Claire
Country France
Region Burgundy
SubRegion Chablis
Appellation Chablis

Night Two

The nose has tart apple, lime, and some minerality. From Night One to Night Two this lost a lot of fruit on the palate. It is tart and stony. There is some apple there, but it is the tart and green. Butter makes an appearance at the very end of the mid-palate and echoes lightly on the finish.

2005 Abadia Retuerta Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León Rívola

Type Red
Producer Abadia Retuerta
Variety Tempranillo Blend
Designation Rívola
Vineyard n/a
Country Spain
Region Castilla y León
SubRegion Sardon de Duero
Appellation Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León

Night Two

Oak-city on roller skates. Oh wait a second, there's a single teaspoon of blackcurrant jelly there. Unfortunately, it was crushed when the lighting struck and felled the oak tree. The lighting gave it that toasty smell.

Okay, let's take a sip, shall we? Blackberries, lots of blackberries, some cedar, and lots of vanilla. It devolves into a brown sugar/vanilla mess. The finish is short and sudden.

Honestly, I have no idea how anybody ever rated this 89.

2006 Clos La Coutale Cahors

Type Red
Producer Clos La Coutale
Variety Malbec Blend
Designation n/a
Vineyard n/a
Country France
Region Southwest France
SubRegion n/a
Appellation Cahors

Night Two

The nose has nutty, meaty smells underlying some dark fruit. Hiding behind it is a small hint of cherry, probably from the little bit of Merlot blended in. On the palate, black fruit dominates, but there is a lot more there. There is a meaty flavor like a crisp end-piece of prime rib, beefy and smoky. There is also a bit of vegetal taste, tobacco, like whole leaves hanging in a cigar shop on Calle Ocho. Tannins and acid are well balanced and pronounced, suggesting some more cellar time might be possible. Tannins are not quite smooth. "Dusty" would be a better description.

2006 Kilikanoon Shiraz The Lackey

Type Red
Producer Kilikanoon
Variety Shiraz
Designation The Lackey
Vineyard n/a
Country Australia
Region South Australia

Night Two

Bright red fruit, plums, spices, pepper and a touch of cedar all are on the nose. The palate has dark fruit, pepper, and some meatiness. At first, it was reminiscent of bacon, but a better comparison is actually Bresaola, Italian dried beef. It has the same nutty cured dried meaty flavor, especially at the back side-edges of the tongue. Tannins are smooth and sweet. Finish is long. This is nice, quite nice.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The 89 Project on Twitter Taste Live!

Since tonight (8PM ET) is the first 89 Project appearance on Twitter Taste Live, I thought I'd post the CoverItLive stream that I'll be following (and contributing to) for the event. Enjoy!




Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seleccion Especial

The Abadia Retuerta, Estate Grown in Rioja, Sardon De Duero 2003, 14% alc. In the glass a thin violet colored rim that segued to an opaque velvet curtain core. This wonderful wine is a blend expressing Tempranillo’s richness at 75%, Merlot’s roundness at 5% and Cabernet Sauvignon’s aromatic elegance coming in at 20%. Which for my palate made like a visit to a tobacco store humidor, breathing in all the wonderful aromas deeply and a lithe compote of dark fruits and well worn saddle leather, followed my a long palate coating finish. In a word yum!

Mr. Parker rated this wine 89 Pt's. I would say it requires a least hedonistic 91 Pt's. This is huge wine for the price. It is selling for $19.99 @ Bevmo and was a wine I tasted in my wine class @ ISG. This could be a everyday drinker and just happened to pair ever so nicely with some smoked beef sausage one of my classmates most graciously provided. My recommendation is purchase a six pack if you can and if storage is not an issue or buy one for an upcoming holiday party or gift giving occasion to show off your epicurean taste! Until next time Cheers!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'05 Waterbrook Melange, Washington This wine was given an 89 rating by the Wine Specatator (reviewer(s) unknown) in 2007. Waterbrook Melange 2005 is made by Eric Rindal and the Waterbrook Winery is located in Touchet, Washington in the Columbia Valley AVA. It is called Melange because it is a blend of 5 varietals including 40% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Sangiovese, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah.
Color: deep garnet with a light magenta rim.
Nose: every sniff carried a different aroma: 1st:chalk 2nd: spicy oak 3rd: black fruit ie; black plum, blackberry, black cherry cola 4th: leather 5th: Dr. Pepper!
This is how all of the aromas come together... nice complexity...

Mouthfeel: cherry/pomegranate/leather finish with a medium plus linger. What is this wine lacking that the Wine Spectator could only bestow an 89 upon it? It has balance, acidity, supple tannins. It is not an oaky fruit bomb (thank god). It is more subtle and smooth. Does it not represent the terroir of the Columbia Valley? Are the 5 varietals not as well-blended as they could be? I am looking forward to addressing these and other issues in rating a wine during our blind tasting of 89 point wines in the Twitter Taste Live event coming up on December 13th www.twittertastelive.com For a better idea of how this will work visit www.lusciouslushes.com This is one of the best under $10 wines I have reviewed. It is lovely and satisfying. Well, I am giving it a 90 so there, WS! -BrixChick Xandria

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'06 Te Kairanga Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand

'06 Te Kairanga Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand ($16.29). The nicest thing about tracking down 89 point wines that I love is that usually they are priced attractively,. This was no exception,. At only $16.29, this compared favorably with examples costing more than twice as much. It was suggested that this be opened six hours before service to let the complexity of flavors and aromas build. I was only able to open it 2 hours ahead of time, but I found that my trusty Vinturi http://www.vinturi.com/home.html improved the wine. The nose on this was spicy---redolent of pepper and plums. While it initially had a slightly bitter grapefruitish flavor, the Vinturi smoothed out the flavors to a Burgundian plummy taste, still redolent with tasty spice. A delicious example of a rare creature: a value Pinot Noir!

Monday, December 1, 2008

'05 Wishing Tree Shiraz, Australia

'05 Wishing Tree Shiraz, Australia ($12.29). At $12.29, this wine was a bargain. Beautiful dark Shiraz color, balanced acidity with aromas of cinnamon roll, licorice and smoked meat. I enjoyed the fruit forward nature of it, especially combined with its dryness. That, along with the tannins made it a very food friendly wine. A tasty wine and a great bargain! At my 89 project party, we tasted it against '05 Jim Barry The Lodge Shiraz ($19.99). Once again, I pinned the 89 on the wrong wine. This example was similar, but had a little less robustness of fruit in the flavors along with an almost brandy-like and licorice-y aromas. Still both were inky dark examples with lots of red and black fruit flavors and nice spice. When planning the party, it was kind of hard to track down "89 point" wines. One thing that was helpful, was http://www.wine.com/. One of the fields they let you search by is "ratings". So, try this at home, but be careful. While it's fun and interesting to track down wine by ratings as an experiment, experiential evidence is a much more rewarding way to find fun, interesting wines.