Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bodegas Castano Solanera, 2005

This red wine is imported by Eric Solomon from the Yecla region of Southern Spain. The Castano Solanera is a blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha Tintorera. The Monestrell grapes come from some of the oldest vines in the area. In the glass there is an opaque red/black color with aromas of ripe red cherry and blackberry with notes of mineral and smoke. This is a medium bodied wine with rich dark fruit flavors balanced with lychee, minerals and mocha. There are smooth tannins that mingle with some pleasant tartness that adds to the long, lingering finish. This is a delicious wine that will pair will with any summer Barbecue or a good Spanish cheese.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, 2007

This was the other “top-notch” wine we enjoyed, alongside the Corino Barolo, while dining at Café Juanita, last night. Leonetti Cellars wines have held almost cult status during the past 20 years since receiving top scores from Wine Spectator magazine between 1989 and 1992. Having set the bar high for Washington State premium red wines, Leonetti wines are the benchmark which others are measured. This Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Carmenere and 3% Malbec. This wine has a opaque dark red color with purple hues. A heady bouquet evokes dark black cherry, cassis, coffee and sweet vanilla. On the palate, ripe black fruit, espresso, spice, fruitcake and mocha commingle to create a bold, luscious wine. This full bodied wine has powerful dark fruit flavors with firm, solid tannins. This wine offers terrific depth and a long polished finish with exotic spice and vanilla. This Cabernet will pair well with a grilled rib-eye steak or a roasted saddle of lamb.

Corino Barolo, Vigneto Rocche, 2000

Last night we met some good friends and had an outstanding dinner and fun time at Café Juanita in Kirkland, Washington. The highly acclaimed chef/owner, Holly Smith, has created a great restaurant that specializes in the food of Northern Italy while using fresh local ingredients whenever possible. To help celebrate 3 of our birthdays during the month of June, we brought along a bottle of the Corino Vigneto Rocche Barolo from the 2000 vintage. I had decanted this Barolo for 5 hours prior to our dinner. Our friends brought a bottle of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, 2007. The Corino Barolo, Vigneto Rocche is a single vineyard Barolo that is produced in small quantities of less than 350 cases. This wine has a dark ruby color and an amber rim. A serious perfume of smoke, earth, lead pencil and leather accompany red raspberry and plum. In the mouth this full bodied wine offers deep mineral accented dried strawberry, floral and cherry flavors with abundant gripping tannins and crisp acidity. The mouth-feel is impressive showing a great punch of flavor and a long and elegant spice filled finish. Despite being made from grapes harvested back in 2000, this wine is still youthful and vibrant. We had cellared this Barolo since 2005 and last night was the big pay-off. A great wine from a small producer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Villa Pozzi Nero d'Avola, 2008

Nero d’ Avola is the most important red grape from Sicily and has been grown their for centuries. In recent years, modern wine making techniques are used to create fruity, “easy-drinking” wines that are often compared to new world Shiraz. This Villa Pozzi Nero d’ Avola has a dark purple color with a violet rim. This is a medium bodied wine with flavors of blackberry liquor, plum, Bing cherry and subtle spice on the finish. This wine is very soft in the mouth with gentle tannins and acidity. This is a nice value wine that is not overly complex, but appealing. I recommend this wine to accompany any casual meal or a take-home pizza. We purchased this wine at Top Foods, in Bellevue, for about $8.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bodegas Goulart Malbec Classico, 2009

There is a flood of Argentine Malbecs entering the US market and many of these are value wines that are gaining popularity with the general public. This past weekend I tasted 5 different Malbecs and the Bodegas Goulart was a stand-out for a wine under the $10 price point. This wine has a dark red color and an aromatic nose of fresh raspberry, cherry and violets. This is an easy drinking Malbec with a medium body, smooth texture and good structure. Fresh fruit flavors of red raspberry, blackberry and red current are lively and are complimented with floral notes and black pepper on the finish. The tannins are soft and smooth and there is nice acidity that keeps everything together. This wine would make a nice “house wine” to drink with any mid-week meal. This Bodegas Goulart Malbec Classico can be found at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $9.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Domenico Clerico Dolcetto Visadi, 2007

Domenico Clerico’s wine estate is situated in Monforte d’Alba, right in the heart of Barolo. Barolo is the “big-gun” wine of Piedmont and for Domenico Clerico, but the Nebbiolo grape is not the only player in the Barolo area. Throughout the region there are many vineyards growing Barbera and the lesser known Dolcetto ("little sweet one"). In the case of the 2007 Visadi Dolcetto, this wine is neither little or sweet. This wine has a deep ruby color with a purple hue. This is a modern style Dolcetto that show extreme concentration of flavor and a backbone of black fruit and bold tannins. This is a full bodied wine with flavors of black plum, cherry, licorice and molasses. These deep, dark flavors are enhanced with a background of herbs and smoke and gentle acidity that set the stage for the smooth, abundant tannins. This is the kind of Dolcetto that we really enjoy.... big, bold and delicious. We purchased this winner at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $18.