Monday, June 29, 2009

Let It Breath! ---------- VINTURI ($39)

I was introduced to the Vinturi during a tasting in Sonoma. At first I didn’t know what the tasting room person was doing by pouring their red wine through this clear, funnel-bullet shaped thing. I was so focused on watching the wine flow through it while hearing this fizzy, gurgling sound that I didn’t pay attention to the explanation of what the device was supposed to do. It became clear that air was being mixed into the wine while traveling through the Vinturi.

So fast forward to today and I’m on the hunt to get one of these things. It seems they’re popping up all over in small wine stores and even at some larger stores such as World Market. They cost around $39 and I must admit I’m impressed at what it does with red wines. You see I’m not so patient at waiting for red wine to decant (letting the wine breath before drinking and introducing oxygen into the wine to help “soften” it). Using the Vinturi sure takes the waiting out of this process and let’s you enjoy your wine immediately and by the glass if you want vs. a decanter. Did I mention I also don’t like to clean the decanter? Not that it gets dirty with wine but I do like to rinse and dry after using it.

Taken from the Vinturi website:
“When wine is poured in the Vinturi, it's internal design creates an increase in the wine's velocity and a decrease in its pressure. This pressure difference creates a vacuum that draws in air which is mixed with wine for perfect aeration.”

Sample the nose. You'll appreciate the subtle aromatic differences and the full aroma of the wine. Vinturi allows wine to display its intended aromas.

Go ahead, take a sip. Vinturi's wine tastes better. It is more flavorful and has better mouthfeel. It tastes like a richer, more expensive wine. It tastes like it was intended to and is more enjoyable.

Ahhhh. Vinturi's aeration is very effective at softening tannis which results in a much more pleasant finish. Any bitterness or bad aftertaste is reduced or eliminated.

You be the judge. Taste your next red wine before and after using a Vinturi. I think you’ll be impressed.

Please note, Vinturi did not send me a free device nor did they ask me to write this. I don’t want you to feel as if this is an advertisement for them. I just bought one of these and felt it was good enough to share with others.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Veramonte, Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, 2008 ($10)


It had been a few years since I tried a Sauvignon Blanc after mostly drinking reds for so long. In my efforts to engage in some more white wines this summer, this was recommended by a small wine shop owner. I was looking for something under $20 and not a Chardonnay.

The bottle uses a screw cap but don’t let that fool you in this wine’s quality. I’ve been told (but not an expert) that screw tops maintain a wine bottle’s seal from letting air in better than a cork. I digress but won’t lie, I still like a cork.

From the initial aromas of grapefruit and tropical fruits I thought this could end up being too tart for my taste. It definitely was not! Like most Sav. Blanc wines this too had a hint of freshly cut grass (without the lawn mower scent of course). The taste was fresh and crisp with citrus flavors. Trace flavors of asparagus followed by an almost sparkling, tart mouth feel on the finish. I had the bottle fully chilled in the refrigerator and some people may say this is too cold. I definitely feel this chilled temperature added to the wine’s refreshing flavors.

We had the wine with a grilled Mahi Mahi fillet caught by friends and I off the Atlantic coast. I would highly recommend this wine on a hot summer day and with lighter fare foods such as chicken, fish or shellfish.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dancing Coyote, Tango 2004 ($18)

El Dorado, CA

After receiving a gift certificate to a small wine store, which I hadn’t yet visited, we wanted to make the best of the certificate’s value and get 2 bottles. Tango was recommended by the store’s owner and after not having a wine from this region of California, it turned out to be very pleasing on the palette.

The first smell from this red blend hinted of an earthy aroma (no, not dirt!). With a second swirl in the glass, scents of ripe berries and coffee exuded to balance out the overall bouquet. On the taste, flavors of blackberry and a hint of cocoa blended together in an easy drinking wine. I would say this was a smooth drinking wine as well however it really gained a silky, smoother mouth feel after letting the bottle sit for 30 minutes. I would recommend decanting this.

Considered to be close to a Bordeaux blend, the wine is comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Tempranillo. The finish showed a slightly spicy, peppery taste yet nothing too strong. We enjoyed this wine with a grilled filet mignon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joseph Phelps, Le Mistral 2005 ($35)

Monterey county, CA

I first tried this wine a few years ago at a somewhat high priced steakhouse. It was priced, as most restaurant wine prices are, at higher than retail yet I couldn’t complain as it was moderately priced (around $75), compared to everything else at well over $100. Upon the server’s recommendation and after asking for their choices in red blends, I decided to try it. At the time, I remembered it to be a very nice, well-balanced wine, which accompanied our steaks perfectly.

Created in the style of a Rhone wine from France, the blend consists of the following grape varietals:
59% Syrah
23% Grenache
8% Carignane
5% Petite Sirah
5% Alicante Bouschet

Fast forward a few years now as I found this on the shelf of a local wine shop (Total Wine). I was curious to see how the current vintage (’05) was compared to what I had a few years back. Sorry, I don’t remember that vintage year. Once again, this proved to be quite nice and I probably should have grabbed a few more bottles to hang onto. I’m hoping the store has more ’05 when I return.

With subtle scents of leather, black pepper and ripe strawberries it suddenly brought me back to the wonderful steak dinner I originally had with this wine. The taste encompassed blackberries, cocoa and a hint of peppery-spiciness. On the finish you’ll find a pleasant, silky mouth feel making this a medium to full bodied wine. In my opinion, this wine is definitely ready to drink and may be cellared for 1-3 years more. The 2006 vintage is released now yet I haven’t had a chance to try it.

Enjoy with your next NY strip or rib eye on the grill this summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Indaba Chardonnay 2008 ($8)

South Africa

After a brief stroll through one of my local wine shops, which I hadn’t visited in a few months, I was stuck on what to purchase. My desire was for something unknown to me yet leaning toward white varietals such as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc in the $10 range. My recent postings have predominately been reds and with summer coming upon us I was feeling a bit guilty for not balancing out my tastings with some whites. I turned to the shop’s owner for a recommendation and I was pleasantly surprised after opening the bottle that evening for dinner.

Showing off aromas of pineapples, peach and a hint of vanilla I sensed there wasn’t an over abundance of oak. After some reading up on the wine maker’s process I found out a percentage of the wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. This was pleasing, as I’ve heard the recent trend for Chardonnay wines is to reduce some of the heavy oak flavors found in many wines of the past. The taste brought on similar flavors of the aromas with peach and hints of citrus and honey. The mouth feel was very smooth with minimal acidity and a light balance of oak. A slightly tart, grapefruit flavor held on the finish although it seemed to vanish quickly. I had the wine with fish tacos done with Spanish Mackerel in a Panko crust (yes, I caught the fish myself). The wine would also go great with other seafood or even a creamy pasta dish.

“Indaba” is the traditional Zulu forum for sharing ideas as the label reads. The wine has a great story behind it as a portion of its proceeds support scholarships to those in South Africa interested in a career in wine, wine making, etc. A great wine, great price and great story. We should all look for things in life to align this well.

I found this at Gran Cru in Orlando, FL and I’m told some of the grocery stores such as Publix carry the wine as well. If you can’t find it in your local store, ask for it to be brought in. You won’t be disappointed!

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