Monthly Archives: January 2013

2011 Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba

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I picked this bottle up at Wine Library our last trip down to New Jersey for $18. Moby wasn’t around for a couple nights so I decided this was going to be my evening entertainment. I ordered a pepperoni pizza and sat down to watch some hockey and drink some wine.

colonelgrape: 89. This wine really surprised me. The first bottle of Dolcetto I had was a bright, fruity, acid bomb that was very odd. It didn’t really strike my fancy and certainly not Moby’s. When I was at Wine Library I wanted to pick up a good bottle to give it another chance and it was certainly different. This was a spicy bottle with a fair amount of tannins. Black fruit and tar, yes tar, on the palate but in a good way…it tastes very earthy. Definitely a bottle that would benefit from some decanting. It actually didn’t go well with the pizza at all and if I knew the flavor profile before I tried it I definitely would have had something else. That being said I think it’s a delicious wine I just had it in the wrong setting. If you see a bottle under $20 grab it and have it with a nice big meal.

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2011 Bartenura Moscato

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I picked up this bottle at Vin Bin a month or so ago when I went hunting for our usual bottle of Moscato. It was more expensive at $19 but I thought we’d give it a try. How did it compare?

ColonelGrape: 80. I gave the bottle I’ve liked the most an 85 (Soria Bruno Cascina del Santuario) so I’m going a little lower here. It was the usual Moscato being very light, mild bubbles, and big on sweetness. It’s very low alcohol content makes it easy to drink and perfect for an aperitif, desert, or even with some light meals…I’m sure Moby would even have it with breakfast. Definitely a wine you need to be in the mood for but when the time is right it’s a nice wine to relax with.

MobyGrape: 88.  This wasn’t my favorite Moscato that we had, but it pretty much lived up to what I expected.  Delicately bubbly (enough so you have an excuse to pull out the champagne flutes) and a very light flavor, it was sweet without being overbearing.  Like if you get too ambitious and you kind of chug it because it’s delicious (not that I’d ever do that) you won’t find yourself having to try and keep an unruly burp from erupting (once again, not that I’ve ever done that) and come off as less Bond girl, and more Bud girl.  I think it’s safe to say that at this point I like Moscato, it’s just a matter of finding my favorite producer.

2011 Barton and Guestier Vouvray

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The past week has been filled with some repeat wines but we’re back at it with this 2011 Baron and Guestier Vouvray. Vouvray comes from the Loire Valley and is 100% Chenin Blanc. This grape has high acidity and the levels of sweetness in the wine vary similarly to Champagne but they use different vocab: Sec, Demi-Sec, Moelloux, Doux with Doux being the sweetest version. Vouvray is also available as a sparkling wine though not as common as the standard white. In some exceptional vintages extremely sweet wines are made via noble rot (similar to Sauternes) with tremendous aging potential…sometimes over 100 years.

We enjoyed this bottle with a poached red snapper:

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This was a simple recipe I saw made on TV by Alton Brown and I found the it online. It’s basically a whole snapper with cous cous, onion, artichoke heart, cherry tomato, lemon, white wine, and butter seasoned with salt and pepper. Wrap in in parchment paper, completely seal it, and allow it to cook for 30 mins until tender. It’s hard to find whole fish at the standard supermarket but if you do find it I recommend this recipe.

MobyGrape: 90.  This was sort of a cross between a Gewurztraminer and a Riesling.  At first I thought it was going to hit me hard with the honey-sweetness, but then it sort of settled into a lighter, crisper sweetness like a Riesling.  It went down easier than I care to admit, it was just such an easy drink, with the appetizer and a lighter stir fry this wine was perfect.  I don’t think it was super expensive either, it’s a good starter wine if you’re looking to make the move into the vino.  And it’s fun to say. Vouvray!

ColonelGrape: 78. A demi-sec Vouvray, it wasn’t really sweet or dry…you got a little of both when you took a sip. Initially it had a floral nose with some fruit…maybe pear. On the palate more of the same, it just didn’t wow me. It seemed like a wine that didn’t know what it wanted to be so it decided to be average. Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t bad at all, I would have liked to seen it commit more one way or the other on the sweetness. I’ve tried other demi-secs that I liked a whole lot more. The style does go well with the fish though, I’d recommend a demi-sec Vouvray with fish or cheeses…but I’d prefer a different producer.

Baron D’auvergne Brut Privelege

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Last night we had our first Champagne of 2013 and it was the Baron. We were out celebrating Moby’s birthday (21 again of course) and we decided to get sushi. UncleGrape has been raving about the pairing of sushi and champagne so we gave it a try and it didn’t disappoint. You can even see some sushi Moby snuck into the photo. I think the reason the pairing works so well is the lightness of both foods….no overpowering flavors just refreshing and light.

My last order from Wine Library was all whites and this bottle was one of them. What’s different about this bottle is the blend is 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay whereas most champagnes are chardonnay or the ratio is reversed. I have another bottle of champagne in the cellar that’s 100% chardonnay so we’ll have an interesting comparison…as was the Nicholas Feuillate we had on New Years Eve.

colonelgrape: 87. I’m still struggling to find my champagne palate but it’s coming along. I could definitely distinguish the quality in this wine vs. the Nicholas Feuilatte we had a few weeks ago. The bubbles were just right and the wine was just tighter. I like to have Brut with food and usually by the time I get 1/2 way through I’m over it but I made it almost all the way through this bottle before that happened. I could really taste the difference the pinot noir makes because it allows you to taste red berries in the background like strawberry and raspberry while the focus is on more golden fruit like pear, apple, and melon. I really enjoyed it with the sushi as they were both light and refreshing at the same time. We tried sea urchin for the first time and that even worked with the wine. All in all the Baron is a delicious bottle of champagne and I’m looking forward to trying more to compare it with. Expect sushi/champagne nights to keep popping up in the future and hopefully I’ll have more of a grasp on champagne.

MobyGrape: 84.  I’m finding myself very torn writing these champagne reviews.  It’s like looking at a famous work of art that you can appreciate as an incredible artistic creation….but you don’t really like.  You’ll never admit that you don’t like it, because you’d then be known as the uncultured idiot who doesn’t like fine art, but deep down, as hard as you may try, it just doesn’t do anything for you.  That’s how I feel about some of the champagnes we’ve had.  I can appreciate them, and they make me feel fancy, but I don’t always want to hang them on my living room wall.  For whatever reason, I still like my sweet bubblies for all occasions.  Yes, they may be the color-by-numbers of the art world, but there’s no accounting for taste, is there.  If you like dry champagne/sparkling wines, by all means have at it, I admire your style!  If you’re like me though, make sure to pair those with food, they complement each other better that way.  Personal preferences aside, I consider it my solemn duty to keep on popping corks until I can appreciate the Brut equivalent of the Mona Lisa.

1998 Nobles Rives Hermitage

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Hermitage is the Rolls-Royce of the Rhone region. It’s made from 100% Syrah and quality examples take decades to mature. Often times other wines in the region are thought of as wines to drink while wines from Hermitage and Cote Rotie mature. Hermitage is actually a very small region as well so coupled with the age needed these wines are very expensive. White wine is also made in the region but  most of the production is red.

This bottle here is not a well known producer so it was relatively inexpensive at $40. Most well known producers are in the hundreds even when they are new and still need 20 years before you can drink them. We enjoyed this wine with rigatoni and meatballs.

colonelgrape: 83. Since this is an older wine we decanted it for a solid 40 minutes before tasting it and the first thing that jumped out at me was the color. This wine was a very distinct brownish/brick red that you only see in older wines. On the nose it smelled leathery and earthy. On the palate I immediately tasted smoked meat, leather, earth, spices, and a background of red fruit. That first sip I literally thought someone dipped a salami in my wine, in a good way. I’d describe it as “gamey” tasting. It went really well with the hearty meatballs. I think we missed the prime of this wine by a few years but this is still a bottle I’d recommend if you’re looking to try a Hermitage red but don’t want to spend $200 for a bottle of Jean Louis Chave. Just make sure you do it soon as this wine is definitely on the back 9 and won’t last much longer in the cellar.

MobyGrape: 85. I didn’t know what to expect from this wine, because even though the colonel has explained to me roughly 4001 times what hermitage wines are, I have yet to pay attention.  It smelled and tasted kind of meaty at first, and there was a lot of sediment, which leads me to the conclusion that someone dropped hamburger in the barrel.  Whatever they did I’m cool with it, because it worked out pretty well.  The meat smell went away shortly and then it smelled a little bit raisiny and tasted like them If you did the weird little slurpy thing to aerate it on your tongue (which I do in a very classless way, so I’ve been told). Regardless, I enjoyed the wine before dinner and also with pasta and meatballs, a nice meaty wine for a nice meaty meal.