Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rockus Bockus Red Wine, 2007

This is a Sonoma County blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Jeff Bundschu and winemaker Keith Emerson (of Gundlach Bundschu Winery) utilize their extensive knowledge and network to access the best fruit to produce this wine in a style that is bold, fruit-forward, juicy and well priced. This is a modern fruit forward wine with abundant red and black fruit along with sufficient acidity and tannins to lend a moderately serious backbone. On the nose are aromas of fresh raspberry, black cherry, baking spice and wet rocks. In the mouth there are ripe blackberries, cassis, sweet plums and some toasted cardamom. This is a medium bodied wine with a velvety texture and a long graphite tinged zesty finish. This a a lovely wine for a summer barbecue. We purchased the fun wine at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dill Potato Salad

While Kate and I were growing up in Poughkeepsie, our parents would order great potato salad from John's Market. Helen, the owner, used dill pickles in the potato salad and we both have fond memories of this summer favorite. I served this with apple wood smoked turkey for our 4th of July picnic.

3 lbs. New or Yukon Gold potatoes
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large dill pickle, chopped
1 tbsp. pickle liquid
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp. mustard
1 tbsp. cider or wine vinegar
1 small bunch fresh dill (or 1 tbsp. dried), chopped
1-3 tsp. salt (to taste)
1-2 tsp. black pepper

Boil potatoes until soft, cool under water, then slice into medium chunks. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the chunked potatoes. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 Red Wine, 2008

We have been big fans of Columbia Crest wines for years. I can't think of another American winery that can produce such a tremendous quantity of wine and produce an excellent product at every price point. They have wines starting at about $6 and wines priced above $35. The Vineyard 10 Red Wine can be found in the Seattle area for about $6 and represents excellent quality at a very good price point. This is a modern, fruit-forward blend of predominantly Syrah with Cinsault, Viognier and Mouvedre. This is a medium bodied wine loaded with flavors of plum, black cherry and cassis. The texture is surprisingly rich and smooth with low levels of tannins and gentle acidity. French and American oak barrels added a creamy caramel cloak to this straight forward, easy drinking wine. At this great price, this wine is a slam-dunk for the summer barbecue season.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Georges Duboeuf Morgon, 2009

The "Morgon" is from the Jean Descombes estate in the Beaujolais Provence of France. It's made from the Gamay grape that is traditional to the Burgundy region and rarely found throughout the rest of the wine world. In the glass this wine has a deep garnet color and strong aromas of tart red berries, wet rock and raspberry leaf. This is a medium bodied wine with vibrant sour red cherry, red raspberry, strawberry and flint. There is zippy acidity and very light tannins that work together to keep this wine light and refreshing. Distinctive for it’s crisp red fruit, this is a nice “food wine” that could pair well with Beef Bourguignon or a simple grilled chicken sandwich. We purchased this red Burgundy from Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $14.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

Bridlewood winery is located in the Santa Ynez Valley and is included in the Central Coast AVA that stretches 250 miles along California's coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. With the popularity of the movie “Sideways”, the Santa Ynez Valley became renown for Pinot Noir and as a casual travel alternative to the ever popular Napa Valley. The 2009 Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon is made from about 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from Paso Robles. This is a delightful, easy-drinking Cabernet that is very fruit forward, well structured and vibrant. In the glass there are aromas of cherries, plums and baking spice. Flavors blackberry jam, cherry and cassis are rounded by hints of chocolate and creamy caramel. There are supple sweet tannins supported by zesty acidity and some spicy minerality. Bridlewood is best known for producing excellent estate Syrah, however, their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely worth trying. This wine can be found at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Black Bottle, Gastro-Tavern

919 Bellevue Way, NE
Bellevue, WA

Last night we tried a newly opened Black Bottle in downtown Bellevue. This is a modern gastro pub with a slick, industrial, open-air space softened with the abundant use of warm wood and the gentle glow of stylish incandescent lights. We sat at the bar and had some big decisions to make. On the beverage side of the house, they have an extensive selection of interesting draft beers that showcase many small handcrafted brews representing a large variety of flavors and styles... no Bud Light here! Their wine list is equally impressive with a well chosen diverse selection of wine from around the world and from our own pride and joy, the Columbia and Walla Walla Valleys. We ordered a bottle of the 2008 Tapiz Cabernet Sauvagnon, from Mendoza Argentina, to enjoy with some tasty food from their eclectic menu. “Food designed to be shared", we were told, as we ordered the Lamb Meatballs and a Flatbread of Nicoise Olives, Feta, Roasted Tomato and Arugula. Both food choices were well made, delicious and satisfying. The Lamb Meatballs dish had a Middle East meets India feel as savory meatballs were accompanied by grilled vegetables, Tabouli salad and Tandori spiced cubes of Paneer. Our flatbread was served in a rectangular tinned steel fluted tart pan and had a crisp, chewy crust that was perfectly topped with high quality cheese, olives, roasted tomatoes and arugula. We had the pleasure of conversing with the Black Bottle’s Beverage Manager, Noah Goldman, about their interesting wine list and how these wines have been carefully selected to represent wines of high quality and diversity at a reasonable price point. Bottles are fairly priced with many in the mid-twenties to low thirties and no bottles over $50. Since yesterday was the last day of my birthday month, I decided to celebrate and finish our meal with an order of warm Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Sweet, fragrant and gooey, this house-made confection was a perfect ending to a fun evening. Last night, the Black Bottle was abuzz, packed with a high energy crowd enjoying the nightlife in yet another Bellevue "hot spot" for excellent food, libations and camaraderie.

Tapiz, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

This wine has a deep opaque ruby color with a purple hue. On the nose this wine reveals complex berry notes, chocolate, licorice and hints black pepper and cinnamon. It delivers a broad mouthful of dark fruit with cherry, currant, black raspberry balanced by mocha, coffee and some toasty oak. There is excellent depth and length and it shows plenty of complexity with sweet tannins and enough acidity to make it versatile with food. This was a solid wine to pair with our flavorful food.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, 2009

We have been enjoying lazy days at poolside in the warm Arizona sun. A good friend gave us a bottle of this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy after a hard day of lounging, soaking and reading. In the glass, this wine has a light lemon yellow color with good clarity. On the nose is aromas of honey, tropical fruits, lemon blossoms and wet rock. This is a medium bodied wine that is fruity and slightly sweet with flavors of gooseberry, pear, lemonade and wheat grass. There is nice acidity and minerality that keeps this fruity wine refreshing and lively. Nothing serious here, but a fun wine to enjoy, icy-cold, after a day in the warm desert sun.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Martin Codax Ergo, 2008

We have been quite busy during the past month and I haven't had time to write about some of the wines we have been enjoying. Presently, we are down in Scottsdale, Arizona and enjoying some welcomed warmth and sunshine. I find myself drinking more beer than wine in an ongoing attempt to keep hydrated in the desert climate. Tonight we decided to pop the cork on a new vintage of a favorite "every-day" Rioja that we have enjoyed in the past. Bodegas Martin Codax was founded in 1986 and represents modern Spanish wine making with the ideal fusion of tradition and innovation. This Bodegas produces fine white wines in the Rias Baix Region and lovely red wines in Rioja. The winemaker is Luciano Amoedo and with Ergo he delivers is a well crafted wine at an everyday price. This wine is a blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo. The color is deep ruby red that is nearly opaque. The nose is full of red cherry, plum with a hint of leather and exotic spice. This is a medium bodied wine that opens with sweet plum and black cherry and finishes with chocolate, black pepper and a hint of mandarin orange. There are medium tannins and a hint of oak that help round out this modern, fruit-forward, Rioja. This 2008 vintage of Ergo can be found in the Seattle and Phoenix area for about $10. This is a versatile red wine that will work well with any meal, your favorite cheese, or a good bar of chocolate.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Atalaya, 2008

It has been a busy few weeks for us with trips to San Francisco and Scottsdale and a hectic work schedule in between. This weekend things returned to normal as we slipped back into our normal routine of lazy mornings with our laptops, walks in Bellevue Square and casual cuisine with some tasty wines. Tonight, I made stuffed peppers and we enjoyed them with an excellent value wine from eastern Spain. This is the second vintage, available in the Seattle area, of Atalaya from Almansa. The 2008 Atalaya is a blend of Monastrell, Garnacha, and other red grapes. This wine was aged for eight months in French and American oak. The color is deep purple with a violet rim. This wine has a lovely bouquet of black cherries, blueberries, aged cheese and cotton candy. On the palate it has beautiful dark fruit flavors of dried plum, black cherry and blackberry along with some light spice, coco and white pepper on the finish. This is a medium bodied wine with mild tannins and gentle acidity that contribute to a smooth mouth-feel. This is a “new world” wine that is quite delicious and will go well with any hearty meal (like stuffed peppers) or with a nice chunk of dark chocolate. We bought this 2008 Atalaya at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $14.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Red Wine, 2008

We have been big fans of Columbia Crest wines for many years. I can't think of another American winery that can produce such a tremendous quantity of wine and produce an excellent product at every price point. They have wines starting at about $6 and wines priced above $40. The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was selected as “Wine of the Year”(for 2009) by the Wine Spectator Magazine. The Columbia Crest “H3” wines are upper-mid level wines that sell for about $12 to $14 in the Seattle area. The name “H3” stands for Horse Heaven Hills which is the appellation of this wine and the home of the Columbia Crest Winery in Patterson, Washington. The H3 Les Chevaux is a blend of 34% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Malbec. "Les Chevaux" is French for "the horses" - a reference to the wild horses that once roamed this region. In the glass there is a deep ruby/purple color and lovely aromas of dark berries, crème de cassis, minerals and some spicy oak. This red blend is both bold and elegant with zesty ripe blackberry cherry, currant, and blueberry balanced by espresso, licorice, flint and spice flavors. The medium bodied frame supports smooth tannins on a long, creamy finish. This is a delicious “new world “ blend that is a great value from the Horse Heavens Hills AVA. This wine can be found at Pete's Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.