Thursday, September 24, 2009

Joseph Phelps, Le Mistral 2006 $35

Monterey county, CA

A few months ago I wrote about the 2005 Le Mistral. Granted it was the vintage I had on hand at the time, the 2006 was released this past March. After tasting the 2006 now, its safe to say this winery is producing once again a wonderful and consistent Rhone style wine for all to enjoy.

With aromas of black cherry, toasted oak and a hint of pepper I thought immediately this was on track to be one of those wines you’ll remember and desire again. The taste was a pleasing, medium body red blend with flavors of dark fruits such as cherries and blackberries. A subtle essence of cocoa really complemented well with the dark berry fruits. The finish had a gentle pepper spice that held nicely on the tongue yet didn’t get in the way or linger. Along with being very well balanced one of the best things I noticed was the silky, smoothness from sip to finish. Let this wine settle in your mouth for 10 or so seconds and you’ll see what I mean.

I couldn’t agree more with the winery that this is definitely in the style of a Chateauneuf du-Pape wine. One of my favorite French style wines yet generally a bit pricey for my wallet. The Le Mistral for the price point is well worth it and a wine I would keep on hand for that special dinner. It went great with an aged, grilled NY strip and sautéed spinach w/ garlic & olive oil. I could also see this going well with a seared, pepper crusted Ahi tuna steak.

Full disclosure: This was a sample bottle sent to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Loma Larga, Quinteto 2006 ($21)

Chile (Casablanca Valley)

Without knowing anything about this wine, I relied on an owner of a small wine shop nearby to guide me on my purchase based on our discussions. He definitely wasn’t wrong in directing me to this wine and I urge all of you looking for something new to just ask for help. It’s my belief that most all wine store personnel really do enjoy helping people find something you’ll like based on a simple conversation to share what types of wine you prefer. Don’t be shy in asking for something new, there are hundreds of wines out there and I know it can make your head spin.

We brought this wine out to enjoy a steak dinner with friends and it went wonderfully with everyone’s meal. Aromas of oak and a slight hint of wet leaves led me to request a decanter to let the wine open up. Sorry, I shouldn't take for granted that you know what “open up” means so in my own words…letting the wine breath to help some of it’s bottled up flavor out to enjoy more. Hope that helped…

The flavors after decanting are what I’m writing on here so if you drink it from a bottle pouring and not let it decant, you could find some different flavors. Blackberries and cherries filled my mouth along with some of the oaky flavors on a spicy finish. My guess is the Syrah brought this spiciness to the blend also including Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

It was a well balanced wine and in the end, I found this wine to pair very nice with our steaks. With only 5,000 cases produced, it might be more difficult to find. Click on the title in this posting to take you to the vineyards website for more information.

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