We decided to take a ride to the new Vin Bin last night for their Thursday night tasting and found a few treats. This 2008 Syrah is from the Sierra Foothills AVA which is located directly east of Napa at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s young and only cost $25 but it tasted well so we picked up a bottle.
colonelgrape: 85. We had a cork disaster opening this bottle but were able to recover and not need to filter. At first taste it was harsh and overwhelming, unlike at the tasting. It was at room temperature which wasn’t helping and so we threw it in the decanter and in the fridge for 20 minutes. A little air and being at the proper temperature did the trick and the wine opened up nicely. Classic Rhone Syrah nose of dark fruit, spices, black licorice, and earth. On the palate similar flavors came through. Long finish with notes of pepper and black cherry. Plenty of fruit but not too fruity. I may have liked it better with a slightly lower alcohol content…at 15% we noticed it at the end of the night and it can kind of sneak up on you. I think this drinks well now but would be better with 2-3 more years in the bottle but I like old Syrah. Overall a fun wine for a decent price.
MobyGrape: 87. This was a strong showing from a syrah we picked up on a whim after a rando Thursday night tasting. At one point I thought it smelled like caramel and butter, and at one point I decided it tasted buttery too. I’m not sure if either of those statements are entirely accurate, but it was really quite smooth once it opened up. We decanted it for a bit (not sure if you have to) because the cork split when we were opening it, and maybe that helped since the first few sips (with half of the cork expertly rammed into the bottle) were ok, but a little tight. But after it sat for a bit it was much more mellow. I can’t really identify what it tastes like, if it’s fruity I can’t tell what fruit this is, but it’s good. Like I want to try it with chocolate or a dessert for some reason. Or maybe I just want dessert. Either way, use this as an excuse to have syrah and something sweet.
73: What the hell, 2008! You took a perfectly fine wine and ruined it! I had this one at dinner the other evening and wowed my dinner companion by proudly ordering the 2007 Cvetic from the menu. I then proceeded to horrify my dinner companion by sending the waitress back to the kitchen when they brought out the 2008. When regaling one of my friends with this story they called me “GrapeDick”, which may have to be my pseudonym for when I give bad reviews. Anyways, sadly they were out of 2007 but I figured we’d try the 2008 anyways, and found myself increasingly annoyed as the night went on. It started out all right, it was rustic and kind of leathery, but where the 2007 smoothed out as it sat, this one seemed to get incredibly pissed off that someone was drinking it. It somehow had a sour finish, maybe I was able to taste it more since I ate my meal already, but I did not really enjoy it without food.
We opened our first Cabernet of the grilling season with teriyaki steak, peppers, and onion kabobs and sausage stuffed mini pepper kabobs. The stuffed peppers were sweet and offered a nice contrast to the steak and vegetables. We’re getting back to basics with this wine pairing. I got this bottle from Bottles on Commercial St in Boston last year for $17.
colonelgrape: 78. Not a bad bottle but just not my thing. Classic jammy cab, huge dark fruit flavor, tannis were actually under control but we decanted for 30-45 mins prior to drinking. When I first started getting into wine I started with Cabernet and I would have absolutely loved this wine. If big jammy California Cabernet is your thing this bottle is for you. Over time though my palate has changed and I like wines with more structure, rustic flavors, subtlety, or finesse. If I am in the mood for a big wine I’ll go for a Chateauneuf du Pape, Barolo, Barbaresco, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Bordeaux vs a fruit bomb California. Not all California Cabernet is this jammy but many of them are so you’ll need to do your homework when choosing a bottle.
MobyGrape: 86. I don’t know what’s happening to my palate these days. This was
a delicious wine, it was fruity and in an odd way it almost seemed sweet. I don’t actually mean it was a sweet wine by any means, but we’ve been drinking so many decidedly not sweet wines, this tasted like licking a jar of Smucker’s. We decanted it for maybe 30 min before drinking, and there were hardly any tannins to speak of, just a whole lotta fruity goodness. Wasn’t overpowering, and for the price it was a perfectly acceptable weeknight grilling wine.
In today’s episode of Champagne meets sushi we have a guest star: Cava. Our first bottle of Cava comes from Wine Library and comes highly recommended by Ian. Cava is a sparkling white wine produced primarily in Catalonia, Spain and is typically made from Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarel-lo grapes. It’s produced via the champenoise traditional method which means the carbonation is produced via secondary fermentation in the bottle, just like Champagne. Dinner included the standard fare, some of which can be seen in the picture, as well as Ootoro sashimi and a new specialty roll. Since we often do take out we like to play a game and see how many sets of chopsticks they give us in the bag…basically suggesting how many people they think will be eating the food. The other night we set a new personal best with 5 sets of chopsticks! Of course we sat, drank, and conquered without issue.
colonelgrape: 90. This bottle followed through with Ian’s “wild and crazy” proclaimation at the store. I had no idea what to expect from these grapes but it was delicious. Beautiful apple, pear, honey, and citrus notes dominate the nose and palate, very alive and fresh tasting, refreshing. Interestingly enough I found it easier to drink than most Champagne, more like an Asti which is produced via the Metodo Charmat method. The bubbles looked larger and more prevalent in the flute and felt softer on the palate. Being brut natural I was worried it may be too dry for Moby but the citrus gave it just the right balance and it all came together for a great bottle of wine…one I’d definitely recommend. At $33 a bottle it’s cheaper than almost all similarly aged vintage Champagne and something you could bring to wow someone who loves Champagne.
MobyGrape: 91. Hola Cava! What a treat this was. The Colonel dropped a bomb on me by actually reading the label and informing me it was Brut Natural, which in my head translated to “this is going to be completely disgusting”. Color me surprised by the first sips though, because I enjoyed it more than some of the champagnes we’ve had. The bubbles were a healthy size, but they were softer. Keep in mind I have no idea if this is actually possible, it may have only been in my head. Normally the champagne bubbles are very agressive and in your face, like they’re trying to punch through the roof of your mouth and into your brain. Not the cava though! The cava bubbles just wanted to bounce around in there for a little bit and spice things up, then go on their merry way. And as far as the Brut Natural scare, I was pleasantly surprised with a flavor that wasn’t sweet by any means, but it wasn’t sour or too tart. Went down easy and paired excellently with sushi. Looking forward to more cava experimenting!