Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Crasto Douro '09 $14

Douro Valley, Portugal

So my last few postings have been on California wines, so as not to rule out the rest of the world, let's go to Portugal. I've never been but I must say they make some great wines and especially wonderful Ports. Interestingly this wine comes from the same valley where many port wines are made, The Douro Valley. Additionally, the 4 grape varietals used in this wine are amongst the top 5 used for port wine production. However, by no means is this wine sweet like you would find in a port.

Comprised of 35% Tinta Roriz (also known as Tempranillo), 25% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Franca and 15% Touriga Nacional, this wine hit a big WOW factor with me. The aromas were full of dark cherries, white pepper and hints of leather and flint. Blackberries, dark ripe cherries and a soft hint of mocha brought the flavors together for a perfect structure. Medium bodied with a soft mouth feel and silky tannins definitely put this wine at an amazing level for the price point.

I paired this with a rosemary rubbed, thick, bone-in grilled pork chop. The wine complemented the meal perfectly as I feel it would with many other grilled meats. A 2010 is out now and I’ve seen nice reviews on it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ridge Pagani Ranch 2010 $35

Sonoma Valley, CA

While visiting this winery a few months ago I was informed this wine was receiving incredible reviews and selling out everywhere.  I don't usually jump on that type of hype however knowing that Ridge makes other great Zinfandels, I bought 2 bottles to try it.  The tasting room wasn’t sampling it due to limited supplies and strong demands.

Well I opened my first bottle the other night and wow, they weren't kidding about how good this wine really is.  From the first swirl and sip to finishing the bottle on night 2, it was probably one of the top 5 best Zinfandels I've ever had.

Tantalizing, rich aromas of plums, ripe cherries and hints of freshly cracked pepper filled my glass.  It was almost like the scents were warming my insides.  With a deep purple color and heavy legs falling slowly down the glass, I couldn't help but believe I was in for a rich, full-bodied experience to follow.  The flavors were full of dark cherries, ripe dark plums and a wonderful mocha on the finish.  Silky tannins, subtle and soft, displayed the care in crafting this beautiful wine.  Comprised of 82% Zinfandel, 16% Alicante Bouschet and 2% Petite Sirah this wine is barrel aged for 16 months on American oak.

So maybe hype for hype sake takes place all too often, however not in this case.  Listening to the our new friends in the tasting room paid off.  Ridge makes some other great Zinfandels as well in case you can't find this one.  Start your search now before the 2009 and 2010 vintages are gone.

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