Monthly Archives: February 2013

2008 Chateau Mont-Redon Cotes du Rhone

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2008 was a notoriously inconsistent year in the Rhone Valley. You’ll often fine this vintage at a much lower price than the famous 2007 or 2010 vintages. While the wines are inconsistent this gives the potential to find a great wine for a bargain price. The best bet is to stick with the more well known producers in these off vintages. Chateay Mont-Redon is one of our favorites in Rhone and I’m always willing to give them a try. While we were in Switzerland we had a 2008 Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf that was out of this world.

colonelgrape: 80. This wasn’t the super rare amazing 2008 we were looking for but it wasn’t bad. Considering the $12 price I was happy with the quality but I’ve had better Cotes du Rhone at this price point from the 2007, 2009, and 2010 vintages. We absolutely love the 2007 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du-Pape and next time I see their CdR from another vintage I’ll be sure to pounce on it. If you see a 2008 and you’re looking for a table wine for an every day dinner this wine works just fine. If you’re trying to impress someone, try the 07 or the 10.

MobyGrape: 80. I once again epically failed a blind wine taste test.  But since whether I get it right or wrong never changes the outcome, (meaning I still get to drink it all), I’m not terribly broken up about it.  It smelled a little like foot, and had a rustic, earthy quality to it.  I hope it wasn’t expensive, I’d consider it a perfectly fine wine to crack out for a non-special occasion.  It was such a non-special occasion I can’t even remember what we ate with it.

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2006 Les Vignes D’Alexandre Chateauneuf du Pape

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Our first…and our last…foray into inexpensive Chateauneuf du Pape. I found this bottle at Wegman’s for $27 and while that may not seem inexpensive, it is for CdP which runs $40+ for a decenet bottle. CdP producers typically focus on Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre but in the more inexpensive bottles you’ll see the focus shift to the lesser grapes of the region leading to inferior wines. In the long run if you see a bottle that’s priced significantly below the normal price range for that type there’s probably a reason. You might find a diamond in the rough but more often than not you’re going to be disappointed. When searching for value wines I recommend doing some research online or talking with trusted employees at the store.

colonelgrape: 64. I have to give this wine a below average rating. It’s not appalling, but it’s simply my least favorite Chateauneuf I’ve tasted to date. Not much to add to my initial statement other than if you’re going to drink CdP pay close attention to vintages, years, producers, and price. These are pricey wines right now and I’d recommend spending the extra $15-$20 to get a quality bottle.

MobyGrape: 75. I was underwhelmed by this one.  I’ve been so spoiled by the Colonel giving me great Chateauneuf’s I was surprised.  There wasn’t anything really wrong with it, just didn’t get me going like some of the others we’ve tasted.  I still ran around the house yelling “Chateauneuf du Pape!” over and over though, so at least there was that…

Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

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In this episode of Champagne meets Sushi our guest star is a non-vintage Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs Brut. Blanc de Blancs meaning this is made from 100% white wine grapes unlike the Baron featured last time. Last time we went to the restaurant and brought the wine however this time we brought the sushi home and honestly it was just as good. The ambiance is nice at the restaurant and it’s fun to watch it made but the $20 corkage fee isn’t fun…and most places won’t even allow you to BYOB. We had spicy tuna/salmon and crispy rice salad (amazing) along with our standard fare: Sake, Maguro, Toro, Hamachi, a few specialty rolls, and some spicy salmon hand rolls. All of it was excellent…onto the wine:

colonelgrape: 81. Another bottle from Wine Library…I didn’t like this one as much as the Baron d’Auvergne. I think what I’m learning is that I prefer Brut de Noir over Brut de Blancs…it just has more depth to it. That being said this was still delicious with the sushi. Nothing goes with sushi like champagne…except maybe a well made mai tai or top shelf sake. This bottle was around $35 and a decent value but I think $50 for the Baron was better. On the palate it was very light and fruit forward with pears, apples, and floral notes. I was surprised how light it was, much lighter than the Baron. I think it would earn higher marks if I were more into Blanc de Blancs.

MobyGrape: 83.  As a belated Valentine’s day dinner (i.e. an excuse to have nice wine and food), champagne and sushi to the rescue!  I may need to start monitoring my mercury levels because I can’t get enough.  I’m now totally convinced sushi is the yin to champagne’s yang.  Although it was delicious with the meal, as hard as I try I’m just not a brut gal.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say no to a glass (or 3/4 bottle) of it, this was certainly fizzy and refreshingly tart, but deep down, I love me some sweeter bubbly.

I have 3 more bottles of Champagne on their way so stay tuned for the next episode of Champagne meets Sushi.

2009 Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon

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I started a new job this month and after a long recovery from our vacation and settling into our new routine we’re back to our old habbits…drinking wine and talking about it. We enjoyed this bottle with a nice medium rare top round roast and roasted asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. It was a nice meal and very affordable. If you’re in the mood for meat and want to spend $10 or less try a top round roast.

colonelgrape: 82. I think Moby described this wine perfectly as a Gateway wine. We first discovered this wine at a local restaurant and drank it on a regular basis for a while. We were able to find it at NH liquor stores on the way home for $17 but you can find it for anywhere from $20-23 regularly. After some time away from it and exposure to more “serious” wines this bottle came across as a huge dark fruit bomb. The tannis were hardly noticeable for a cab and there were big notes of black currant, black raspberry, and black cherry. We almost polished it off before the meal was over becuase it was drinking so easily. It’s a good wine but it’s really not a great cab…too fruity and not enough structure. If that’s what your looking for it’s spectacular but based on all the cabs I’ve tried it just doesn’t fit in. I’ve been saving a bottle of 2007 to have with something nice but I think I’m going to reconsider and just pop it one day soon. Bottom line is try it if you like fruit, easy going wines and it’s a good, gentle way to get into cabs. Once you’re into cabs though you may find you’re palate is beyond this bottle.

MobyGrape: 86. Where do I start with this one? This was one of our gateway wines we found at one of our favorite restaurants, and we thought it was such a huge bold cab that we’d never drink anything else. This time we drank it and it felt like juicy juice, I wanted the tiny little ineffective straw and everything. It was so much fruitier than I remembered, I wasn’t disappointed, just surprised. Did I love it any less? Absolutely not. Did I gulp it down like a thirsty gal who found water in the desert? You bet! If you want to ease into wines, this is a good place to start, or if you just want something that’s not too complicated and goes down easy. It’s like a scratch ticket. You don’t have to think too much, just enjoy!

January 2013 Recap

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Thank you for being patient with us this month. While there haven’t been any posts yet in February there has certainly been wine tasting…in Switzerland. Moby and I were away on a ski/food/wine trip last week and tasted some fantastic wine. Stay tuned for Switzerland blogs but for now let’s recap a fantastic month of January with some of our highest rated wines ever:

Grapestorm Highest Rated Wine of January 2012: 

2007 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape – 97

Wines Rated:

2010 Domaine Bechtold Silberberg Gewurztraminer – 94

2003 Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph – 92

2009 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Anniversary Edition – 92

2010 Louis Latour Chameroy Beaujolais-Villages – 91

2008 Trimbach Gewurztraminer – 91

2010 Renato Ratti Barbera d’Alba – 91

2007 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – 89

2007 Silvio Giamello Vicenziana Barbaresco – 89

2011 Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba – 89

NV Baron D’auvergne Brut Privelege – 86

2009 Larose de Gruaurd Saint-Julien – 85

1998 Nobles Rives Hermitage – 84

2011 Barton and Guestier Vouvray – 84

2011 Bartenura Moscato – 84

What a great month! As you can see by the numbers we’d suggest trying any of these wines if you come across them. Hopefully we can keep the trend going in February!