Category Archives: Merlot

Fall NJ Trip

Moby and I took a half day Friday to take a trip down to visit Aunt, Uncle, and Cousingrape last weekend. We ate great food and drank fantastic wine making a perfect weekend. We also stopped by wine library and stocked up on Champagne and Cotes du Rhone. Here’s the wine lineup along with a few blurry pictures in here and some wonderful hand modeling by Auntgrape and Mobygrape:

2007 Domaine Bruno Clain Corton-Charlemagne

2007 Domaine Bruno Clain Corton Charlemagne

NV Albert Boxler Cremant

Albert Boxler Cremant

2010 Domaine Blain Gagnard Chassange-Montrachet

2010 Chassange-Montrachet Domaine Blain-Gagnard

1988 Chapoutier Cote Rotie

88 Chapoutier Cote Rotie

1990 Campo Delle Piane Boca

90 Campo Delle Piane Boca

1989 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron

89 Pichon

1990 Chateau Leoville Barton

90 Chateau Leaoville Barton

For me the wine of the night was hands down the 1989 Pichon. With the wine market the way it is Moby and I do not have the luxury of drinking mature Bordeaux regularly but thanks to Unclegrape it’s a special treat every so often. The tannis had melted away leaving structured and delicious fruit. From nose to finish you get a complete wine experience, just outstanding. I’ve developed a taste for younger Bordeaux but honestly it’s not even close…if you have the will power age your Bordeaux. Be patient, it’s worth it. Moby really enjoyed the Cremant as well. Light, refreshing, not as big as a Champagne it’s a great aperitif. We’ll definitely be having more Cremant in the future.

You may have noticed the oddball Nebbiolo in our otherwise French theme. I found this bottle at Vin Bin recently and brought it along. We enjoyed it quite a bit and will be purchasing a few more bottles. It wasn’t a fair fight vs. the 89 Pichon however a delicious mature Nebbiolo at $65 is a steal.

Plate of the Trip:

foie gras NJ

Foie Gras from Le Rendez-Vous Bistro. Wow. Perfectly cooked, creamy, melt in your mouth liver with a balsamic reduction and carmelized apple. There’s a strong possibility this was the best plate I’ve had all year.

Purchase of the Trip:


Completely unnecessary yet completely necessary at the same time. Aunt and Unclegrape have two parrots so this was the perfect purchase. Does it work? Who cares…It’s a Corkatoo and it’s hilarious.

2009 Chateau Rahoul Bordeaux

2009 Chateau Rahoul Bordeaux

A nice young Bordeaux from Graves I picked up for $20. We had it with steak tips and vegetables which was a nice pairing. This is a general regional bottle since it doesn’t include a village name but these wines are generally affordable and go well with every day red meat meals. They are also fine to drink young whereas a bottle from a classified Chateau I would prefer to age at least 7-10 years.

colonelgrape: 86. A very bold Bordeaux, not quite California Cab-esque but somewhere in the middle…youth probably having something to do with it. The tannis were smooth but prominent. Felt more Cab dominant than usual. Dark berries structured with the tannins and very smokey flavor lead into a long finish. I’m happy with this bottle for the price, great weeknight wine. I’d prefer something with more age for a good steak or roast.

MobyGrape: 82. Smelled like wet metal, which was not so pleasant to me.  Slightly woody and smoky tasting with some manageable initial tannins.  Considering we let it decant for -5 seconds I’m not surprised, but I wasn’t upset at all.  After a few sips I don’t think I would really want to savor this on its own, I was happy to have a it with a meal.


2009 Larose de Gruaurd Saint-Julien


This is our first venture into the great red wines of Bordeaux. There is so much information that’s needed to be even semi-educated on the region I am going to dedicate a whole post to it sometime in the near future. For now let’s talk about the basics of this bottle so you can understand where it’s from.

This is the second wine of Chateau Gruaurd-Larose in the Saint-Julien appelation which is located in the Medoc region of Bordeaux. What a mouthful right? Chateau Gruaurd-Larose is classified as a second-growth producer in the Official Classification of 1855. Being from the left bank it is Cabernet dominant blended with Merlot and other red grapes.

With all that being said the best value in Bordeaux is second label wines from classified Chateaus. Unless you’re making serious money you aren’t going to want to spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on classified wines. Bordeaux is a very complex region and I promise we’ll cover it all in an upcoming post!

We enjoyed this wine with ribeye steaks, grilled potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

colonelgrape: 87. This was a very young wine. Bordeaux is some of the finest wine in the world meant to be aged but I couldn’t wait to try this bottle. Being a second wine it was approachable earlier as was the case here. After decanting it was still tight with dark fruit flavors on the nose and on the palate they came through also with leathery earth taste. Being a Cabernet drinker I could tell I was drinking Cabernet but the blend really nullified a lot of the bite and astringency you’d expect. The tannins were still there but they acted more as a structural aide than a pillar of the wine. If I can find another bottle of this I’m definitely going to cellar it and try it again in a few years, I think it will open up nicely. Looking for a Cabernet-like wine that’s not so “cabby”? Try a Bordeaux.

MobyGrape: 83.  This wine is like the Destiny’s Child to Beyonce as a solo artist.  Having now drank enough straight up cab to swim in, I’m fairly confident in knowing what it can taste like.  This wine (so I’m told) is predominantly a cab, but it’s cut with other grapes, and for once, I think I can actually taste the difference!  It’s not big and bold in your face like a solo act (read: Beyonce, All the Single Ladies) but it’s definitely got some attitude and works well with he other group members (read: Destiny’s Child, Jumpin’, Jumpin’).  It doesn’t smell overly anything, we decanted for about an hour before we drank it, and it went down relatively smooth with a little tannin action, but by no means was this an ass-grabbing cabernet.  OK by itself or with a meal, actually it was quite nice if you were in the mood for something a little heavier but didn’t want to commit to something you had to eat with.  Bordeaux, you’re no Aretha Franklin but you’re on your way to being a solid soul sista.