Our friends at Vin Bin opened their new store in Hopkinton last month and had the grand opening this past weekend. They had great selection of 40 wines and various cheeses from around the world to sample and of course Grapestorm was there. In true Grapestorm fashion we got the best number possible…randomly. The couple in front of us got #68 so we immediately looked at eachother, giggled like small children, and grabbed our glasses. The store was generous and the first 100 groups got a nice Riedel wine glass to taste with and keep. We weren’t the only ones who thought it was funny as every bottle of wine we claimed we got a comment. Some from people you’d expect, others completely out of left field. It’s good to see we aren’t the only wine lovers who enjoy a good immature laugh. The store was packed with over 300 people showing up so we had to do some serious crowd maneuvering but we managed to taste all 40 bottles. They were offering 20% off every bottle in the store so we picked up 12 bottles from the tasting and 2 bottles of 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape I found in back. Overall it was a great time and I highly recommend checking out the store if you’re in the area.
After 3 hours of wine tasting I thought it would be a good idea to open a bottle when we got home. We got mostly whites but we did get a few nice table reds including this 2010 Chateau Joinin Bordeaux. This is a regional wine so it’s a blend of many different Bordeaux grapes but mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc and it was very inexpensive at $10. Most young Bordeaux needs plenty of cellar time before it’s approachable but the regional wines are often ready to drink sooner and this 2010 was ready. 2010 was a historic vintage in Bordeaux so it’s no suprise even the table wines are good. Sadly after a long day of wine tasting I don’t remember much else about it other than it was delicious and a good value. So was opening it actually a good idea? Questionable but if you can find some for under $15 pick up a couple bottles to have in the cellar for a casual night.
Hello Piedmont, I’ve missed you. This bottle is another treat from Ian at Wine Library. Last time we spoke I mentioned I was looking for some good value Barolo’s and this bottle is $40. Normally I’m pro trying wines just by buying and trying with basic knowledge but like Bordeaux’s it’s important to do some research on a Barolo before you buy it because you can easily overpay for a lesser bottle. With typical prices ranging from $40-ridiculous I’d recommend talking to a trusted friend at the store or a trusted website (Grapestorm!) thinks before you buy. Everyone should drink Barolo, it’s that good, just be sure to do your homework!
colonelgrape: 93. One thing I enjoy about a Barolo is the color. Swirling, smelling, and inspecting Barolo’s is a lot of fun. This bottle has the classic translucense and brick red color of aged Nebbiolo grapes. Leather, red fruit, tar, and anise come through. It’s a young wine so the tannis are still firm but there’s enough acid and flavor to make it approachable now. We only decanted it for about 20 minutes but I’d recommend decanting a solid hour. This should get better with time in the cellar and for $40 it’s a fantastic bargain.
MobyGrape: 89. It was up to me to pick the Barolo for the evening so naturally, the one named Guido was the obvious choice. I’ve gotten so used to wines that look muddy it was weird to pour a clear brick colored one. It didn’t decant for long, and may have been a bit tannin-y up front, but it mellowed out after a while. As much as I want to insert an obvious Jersey Shore joke about tanning, I’ll restrain myself. If you’re looking for a solid wine for a solid Italian meal, this Guidette wouldn’t look much farther. GTL.
I’ve been in the mood for Pinot Noir lately and usually that means Burgundy or Willamette Valley, Oregon. We’re headed to Oregon for this bottle of Torii Mor Temperence Hill Pinot Noir. Torii Mor’s winemaker is a Nuit Sant Georges Burgundy transplant so it’s no surprise his wines are balanced, delicate, and elegant. At $35 a bottle it’s a fairly expensive American Pinot Noir but it’s a treat worthy of splurging.
colonelgrape: 93. I’ve yet to be let down by a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. I thought this particular wine really emphasised the terrior of the area. There was a great balance of red raspberries, a hint of dark fruit, minerality, earth, and a unique ash flavor I’ve never tasted. I couldn’t put my finger on that flavor so I looked it up and apparantly that’s a hallmark flavor of the particular area where the vineyard is located in Willamette Valley. It was all held together nicely with just the right amount of acid. I think the ash flavor was just slightly more than I would have liked otherwise I’d be giving it a mid 90’s score. I think it’s worth trying just to experience that taste alone…it’s clear that thought went into making this wine.
MobyGrape: 89. Sometimes I have a problem with pinot noir. I’m not sure why, but it’s kind of like the kid in class that rubs you the wrong way because they try too hard. I don’t know what it’s trying to be, but I just want to tell it to calm down, you’d have more friends if you weren’t such a spaz. I really enjoyed this one, much more laid back than other ones we’ve had, works well with a lighter meal or alone. I think I’ll stick to west coast surfers for a while until the Colonel sneaks a French one in again.
A very interesting desert wine recommended to us at Vin Bin. Chambers winery is well known in Australia and I was excited to give this a try. Muscadelle is one of the 3 grapes permitted in Sauternes (mostly Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc). I prefer dry wines but we’ve branched out and sampled many different kinds of sweet wines over the last year. We haven’t rated/posted all of them but there will be more in the future.
Sweet wines we’ve tried: Port (tawny, vintage, ruby), Ice Wine, Sherry (white and red), Sauternes, Muscadelle, Moscato d’Asti, Asti, Champagne (dolce).
colonelgrape: 83. The nose is full of figs and molasses and the same is true on the palate. The body is similar to that of a Sauternes, it’s very thick. I actually found the fig taste to be a big overwhelming at first on every sip but the finish was excellent. It’s very sweet, but a darker sweet, almost port like. I’d describe it as a Sauternes/Port hybrid injected with serious fig flavor. I would have rated it higher but I had a tough time with the initial taste every sip…really didn’t like that but I loved the finish. I’d like to will try their Muscat as well but I prefer other desert wines.
MobyGrape: 91. This stuff was nutty. Tasted like alcoholic fig juice. Super awesome, but unexpected.
A very interesting bottle of Chardonnay. It’s an un-oaked California that drinks more like a Chablis. It’s aged in steel and cement vats instead of oak which gives it that French profile. The vineyard got creative with the cement looking ceramic bottle which is kind of cool. Definitely no light messing with this wine on the shelf. This is the second cement wine we’ve reviewed and the first white. Something tells me it won’t be the last though…
colonelgrape: 92. I really enjoyed this bottle. I’ve been looking for a California Chardonnay that we both like and we’ve finally found one. Not suprisingly it’s one that tastes like it’s from France! This wine was a nice gold color and had a big nose of tropical fruit, minerals, and apple. On the palate it had medium body and the acidity was medium-high…it had good tartness. Apple, pear, peach, pineapple…lots going on. We enjoyed it with a traditional boiled dinner and it stood up to the fattiness of the meat and was light enough it didn’t overwhelm the vegetables. This would definitely be good alternative to Sauvignon Blanc if you’re looking for something with more pop and body with any light-medium seafood or chicken dish such as salmon, clams in white wine sauce, baked chicken, etc.
MobyGrape: Chardonnay – 92. No, that’s not a typo. We finally found a chardonnay that doesn’t taste like piss! Hallelujah! Found this puppy at a tasting recently, I was ready to make my chardonnay face as the guy started talking about the wine. But, miraculously, it was delicious! It was fruity, crisp, just tart enough to be interesting, and I can’t stress this enough, did not taste like the sour ass I normally associate with chardonnay. I think I’m digging on this aging in cement/steel barrel business. It’s edgy. I like it. Next thing I know I’ll have a ring of chardonnay grapes tattooed around my bicep.