George Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau”(2014)

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20141120_180757George Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau”

Gamay

YEAR: 2014

REGION: FRANCE: Beaujolais

AVERAGE RETAIL: $12

What they say about it:

“This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau is the usual shade of grape juice-purple, with a jammy nose redolent of grape jelly, strawberry, some violet notes, and mud. The body runs through all of the above paces, introducing some shades of tea leaf, cocoa bean, and cranberry, before settling into a brambly, slightly dusty finish. The finish is less sweet than expected, but what fruit notes are there rapidly run from pulp to pits.”

What I say about it:

November 20, was the third Thursday in November this year and when the clock struck midnight,  the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau, was officially released to the world. This year myself, my fiance and two friends attended a tasting at Hommage in Seattle WA to celebrate the new release. More on Hommage and my review of the event to come (in my new Wine Bars and Events section). So without further ado my review of the 2014 George Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau”.

Out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the George Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau” is a nice clear and bright red leaning towards plum. The nose is full of strawberries and fresh fruit with violet and crushed stone and earth. The taste is full of the same big fresh fruit and berries flavors particularly strawberries and crushed blueberries and a touch of cocoa. Lots of jammy notes with a slightly short finish. It’s what you expect in a Beaujolais Nouveau. Overall I think the 2014 is better than the 2013 (out of the bottle).

Beaujolais Nouveau has become synonymous with Thanksgiving and it does match perfectly with Turkey and all of the usually Thanksgiving fare. We had it with a variety of French cheeses, rabbit pate and it matched excellent with just about everything.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Oui Oui monsieur. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Corvidae “The Keeper” Cabernet Franc (2012)

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20141112_204035Corvidae “The Keeper” 

Cabernet Franc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15 

What they say about it:

“The Keeper is an incredible value; it’s plush and full-bodied, and is approachable now but will age beautifully. Perfectly ripened grapes give this wine notes of savory spices, cigar box and black fruits. On the palate, a rich mouthful of blackberry, cassis and black tea commingle with a velvety, luscious mouthfeel and a long, generous finish.”

What I say about it:

Keeping with my Fall related wine picks, I stumbled on “The Keeper” from Corvidae with it’s bold label featuring a red eyed raven and had to give it a try. I don’t drink Cabernet Franc that often. No particular reason why and after trying “The Keeper” I need to try more.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

“The Keeper” is a big lush wine with a garnet to plum color. Short legs in the glass but very bright and clean. The nose is full of fruit, cherries, blackberries with a smoky note and spice, particularly clove with some oak. The taste is equally big and full of plums, Bing Cherries, fresh ripe fruit with slight oak. I also noted a slight peat, moss and earthiness with some cocoa. The finish is very long and there is a lingering velvety quality. Very soft and well balanced fruit. Complex yet clean.

“The Keeper” will match great with Chevre and other goat cheeses as well as Aged Gouda and Parmesan, and a sweet Gorgonzola. For heartier meals, this will go well with red meats, especially any grilled, salmon, and even Mexican.

Would Bukowski drink it? It’s all in a name, and this one’s a Keeper for sure

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Four Vines “Truant” Old Vine Zinfandel (2010)

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20141106_212043[1]Four Vines “Truant” Old Vine

Zinfandel Blend (Truant is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese*)

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15 

What they say about it:

Escape the everyday and take a little Truant vacay. This is our go-to pour when we feel too well to go to work. If these lush flavors can’t convince you to power down the gadgets and turn up the volume on a life well lived, then what will?

Blended from an array of fine appellations throughout California, Truant is 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese. On the nose you’ll find dark berry notes and enticing spicy notes from oak aging. The wine bursts with juicy blackberry, ripe plums with a surprising touch of blueberry. Generous in fruit flavors, Truant has plenty of structure and a velvety finish.”

What I say about it:

I don’t recall where I picked up this Zinfandel blend recently, but I discovered it in my wine fridge and decided to give it a try last night while snacking on some cheese and fruit. I was not disappointed.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a deep ruby red to purple. Rich and luscious much like the flavor, but I am getting ahead of myself. The Truant has long legs in the glass, mainly due to it’s high alcohol content (14.4%). The nose of the wine is complex with berries and big fresh fruit in the front with cocoa, cherries, slight smoke, spice, clove cardamom, and a touch of cinnamon and wet earth. The taste of the wine is full of rich plums, blackberries, with light oak, smoke, spice, a rich earthiness and a jammy quality. The finish is long and lingers with velvet soft tannins and a very pronounced chocolate flavor. Very well balanced. Great mouth feel. A really nice find and quite enjoyable.

As I mentioned I was eating some cheese and fruit while sampling the Truant. Like most Zinfandel wines this Zin blend will go great with sharp and robust cheeses like Blues, Gorgonzola, aged goat cheeses and Cheddar. It matched well with olives and balsamic cipollini onions as well as the salami and Spanish Chorizo I was also having.

* The blend for Truant is actually not listed on the bottle and by calling the wine Old Vine, a term often associated with Zinfandel, it is a tad misleading even though it also does not say Zinfandel anywhere on the bottle. Damn marketing people.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Truant. More like just true. Gimme a glass. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Dunham Cellars “Trutina” (2005)

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Dunham Cellars “Trutina”

Red Blend:  41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 13% Syrah, 5% Cab Franc

YEAR: 2005

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley: Walla Walla

AVERAGE RETAIL: $35

What they say about it:

“Rich, ripe pomegranate and lavender notes with hints of black cherry round off in the mouth with lush blackberry and floral notes. As in the meaning of the Latin word “Trutina,” we have found a wonderful “balance” in these four blended varieties.”

What I say about it:

Having recently tasted the Trutina from Dunham Cellars at the Full Pull Wines 5 Year Pull Event, I was lucky that my friend Matt had bought a couple of bottles and shared one this past Friday. We won’t hold it against them that they suggested it was too expensive to purchase, but I’ll address that one of these days in a post about wine snobbery.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a nice ruby red with a slight touch of rustiness. Long legs in the glass (13.8% alcohol content). Nose of the wine is smokey with pronounced Oak, leather, pepper, spice, cocoa, red fruits: cherries and blackberries foremost. The taste was equally full of red fruits: cherries and blackberries with Oak, slight spice and a jammy quality. The Trutina has a long finish with soft tannins with well balanced acidity.

Matt gave it 4 BUKS, while my fiance Nicole gave it only 3 BUKS. Keri, Matt’s wife, was not a fan.

For pairings, this would match well with red meat and more full flavored dishes. For cheeses I would try Roquefort or cambozola. Stick to more bold flavored cheeses. I would also suggest dried cured meats with this wine as the saltiness will contrast the jammy, sweeter characteristics of the wine as well.

The Trutina is available only direct from the winery and several local WA sellers. At last the winery had a very limited quantity of this vintage left.

More info on Dunham Cellars

Would Bukowski Drink It? Find what you love and let it kill you. Pour me another glass, I am in love.

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Sleight of Hand “The Conjurer” (2012)

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The ConjurerSleight of Hand “The Conjurer”

Red Blend:  42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc and 24% Merlot

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $25

What they say about it:

“This gorgeous blend is full-bodied and rich, with enough acidity to keep it bright and youthful, and make it a great “food wine”. The wine is brimming with fresh red fruits like cherries and pomegranate, and has a beautiful herbal note from the Cabernet Franc. The lush finish carries the fruit on forever with well-integrated, fine tannins. This wine is already ready to accompany a beautiful steak or roast, and should continue to delight over the next 7-10 years.”

What I say about it:

I am a big fan of Sleight of Hand Cellars and was surprised I hadn’t reviewed any of their wines so far. Having attended a tasting that included Sleight of Hand recently, I was thrilled when my buddy Jason offered a bottle to have after dinner at his and Stephanie’s house this past Friday.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The Conjurer is a big wine and it’s color is a deep rich purple with long legs in the glass. The nose is full of fresh fruit: cherries, berries, and plums with a pronounced but not over-the-top oakiness. I also caught leather, smoke, with some pepper, wet earth and a touch of lavender and herbs (tarragon; licorice). The taste was equally full of red fruits with cherries (dark and ripe as well as tart) with oak, tobacco, and nice even long finish with very soft well-developed tannins.

My only complaint was that we only had one bottle. It is very drinkable and easily recommended.

For pairings, this would match well with any grilled and savory red meats. For cheeses I would recommend nice sharp Cheddar, Blues, Gorgonzola, the saltier the better. Fresh pears or granny smith apples will also offer a nice contrast. Figs, dried cherries, and plums would compliment the flavors of the wine.

More info on Sleight of Hands Cellars

Oh and if you are wondering, the smiling lad in the background is my other buddy Matt whom I frequently drink (way too much) wine with on (way too many) occasions.

Would Bukowski Drink It? Is that Doogie Howser on that label? What the hell pour me a glass!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Corvidae “Rook” (2012)

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2012 RookCorvidae “Rook”

Red Blend:  52% Merlot / 43% Cabernet Sauvignon / 5% Syrah

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15

What they say about it:

“The Rook’ 2012 was made to showcase the world-class Merlot grown in the cooler, higher elevation sites located in the Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley. The wine was aged in mostly neutral French oak to enhance the rich flavors from an exceedingly stellar vintage.”

What I say about it:

Being October and the season of all things Halloween, I was drawn to the striking image of a crow by artist David Ladmore on the label of the 2012 Rook from Corvidae Winery. Ladmore’s artist statement states “My work is a response to the beauty and simplicity of the things I find around me. In figure and landscape, careful study reveals the undercurrents and rhythms of existence.”. This sounds like an appropriate outlook for wine-making and wine tasting as well.

So without further waxing poetic, out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the 2012 Rook is a bright plum purple. Clear to the edge and full of vibrant hues. Medium to long legs due to the 14.1% alcohol content. The nose of the wine is smoky with oak in the forefront with touches of tobacco, spice, cherries, wet earth and stone with cocoa on top. Very pleasant and warming. Perfect for this time of the year when the nights get a little crisper. The taste is peppery but again with the French oak and cherry in the forefront followed by other red fruits (raspberry) as well as leather, smoke, slight clove and currants. The finish is medium to long as well as slightly dry with lingering soft well developed tannins.

Being a devote Merlot hater (blame Sideways), I was surprised after tasting to discover the blend was 52% Merlot. I had guessed higher Syrah but lower Cab percentages. Perhaps the notes from the winery on the cooler, higher elevation create a more appealing Merlot to my palate, since I usually find them to be bland and too predictable. The Cab and Syrah that balance out the remaining blend also make the Rook a very drinkable and enjoyable red blend. Easily recommended and a good deal for under $20.

For pairings, the 2012 Rook would go nicely with slightly drier cheeses (Manchego, Grana Padana) as well as robut soft cheeses (Blue, Gorganzola, Cambozola) and of course any salted cured meats (salami, prosciutto, etc.); but what doesn’t?

Notes on the Winery:

Corvidae is Owen Roe’s value-driven second label. Much of the fruit for Corvidae is sourced from Owen Roe’s 280-acre Outlook Vineyard. David O’Reilly is meticulous in the winery and in the vineyard for both Owen Roe and Corvidae.

More info on Corvidae Winery.

Would Bukowski drink it?   I would certainly end up forever crying the blues into a coffee cup in a park for old men playing chess or silly games of some sort. So Rook to Knight blah-blah-blah – give me another glass. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Stevens Winery “Yes” Red Blend – 2010

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20140307_185545Stevens Winery “Yes” Red Blend – 2010

Red Blend:  N/A

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: Washington State: Yakima Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20

What they say about it:

Pleasing aromatics of herbal notes, black tea, and red fruit. Tart and filled with cherry flavors and chewy tannins. Capped off by a lingering finish. A lot of bang for the buck.” 

What I say about it:

Keri Rankin gets all the credit for recommending this wine to me at a recent wine tasting. Stevens Winery is small winery in Washington State and their wines are hard to find. I scored a bottle of the 2010 Yes Blend by chance when the owner dropped off a few bottles for a tasting at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle. The Yes Blend is a find and a wine I plan on enjoying again. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color of the wine is ruby red clear to the rim with medium to long legs. The nose of the wine has big berries and cherries with lots of spice: clove, cinnamon and a slight smoking note with a touch of oak.

The taste is full of berries and tart bing cherries with a slight anise note, earthy with cassis and slate and minerals. I also notes a medium oakiness. The 2010 Yes Blend is full-bodied and dry with a long finish that lingers.

Overall really enjoyable and recommended.

Would Bukowski drink it?  A wine called Yes? But of course. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS