L’Ecole No 41Chenin Blanc “Columbia Valley” (2012)

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20140110_225045L’Ecole No 41Chenin Blanc “Columbia Valley”

Chenin Blanc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15

What they say about it:

“This fresh and vibrant Chenin Blanc shows abundant expressive aromatics of jasmine, orange blossom, and mango with flavors of star fruit, apple, and peach on a balanced, crisp mineral finish.”

What I say about it:

Amazingly, I think this may be my first taste from L’Ecole, one of the well known and earliest artisanal wine makers in Washington state. They produce in both the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley. The later I hope to visit this summer. The 2012 Chenin Blanc from Columbia Valley was a nice introduction on a Friday night. I sampled it chilled to about 54° F which is where I like whites.

Out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color is yellow to yellow straw. Clean to the edge of the glass with a hint of peach and orange to the hue. More mellow than bright yet clear.

The nose had a lot of floral, grassy and ciitrus notes: orange blossom, marigold,with a touch of wet wool, chestnut, wet earth and mushrooms. 

The taste was equally citrus and balanced with a long slightly mineral finish. Green pineapple, fresh white peaches, green apples with a touch of slate. Medium dry alcohol with a nice acidity.

Overall a really nice wine. Reminded of Spring right after a slight shower, the rain on the slate sidewalk of my childhood house. I’d pair it with lighter delicate cheeses, like brie, Dubliner, Humboldt Fog, along with fruits, pear, apples, and figs, to bring out the fuitiness of the wine more. I can also see this going nice with smoked salmon, lox, as well as most poultry, fish, shellfish and pasta in white or cream sauces. Definitely a wine I plan to come back to for return revisists.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I don’t hate people…I just feel better when they’re not around. When they are around good wine like this helps make life bearable.Crack open another Dave!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel” (2010)

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20131210_023105Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $18 

What they say about it:

“In the glass there are aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, black pepper and vanilla. There is mouth filling texture with spicy flavors of blueberry, black pepper and dark fruits. Kevin Hall says: “this is a big wine with a long finish.”

What I say about it:

Is the bottle half empty? Is the bottle half full? I am referring to the picture of Alexander Valley Vineyards “Redemption Zinfandel” above. In this case, it’s half full. This is my second tasting of the Redemption and I really enjoy this wine. I love Zins and this one is a new favorite.

Out of the bottle and into the glass, the wine is striking. Deep ruby red, long legs, with a lot of spice and berries that are easily recognized while just pouring. Sweet and spicy with just a touch of vanilla. Tasting notes are again full of berries and spice. Particularly blueberry, figs and plums, full and round flavors with touches of pepper, cocoa, smoke and a hint of clover. The Redemption has a very long mellow finish that lingers. 

I had the Redemption solo but previously sampled it with a meal. It went excellent with a grilled ribeye and would be an ideal wine to have with any grilled meats as well as similar full flavored foods. For cheese I would pair with any good blue, Gorgonzola, Gouda, even some drier harder cheeses like Pecorino and Manchego.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Redemption. How Poetic. Pour me a glass or four. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Joseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau” (2013)

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joseph drouhin 2013 beaujolais nouveauJoseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau”

Gamay

YEAR: 2013

REGION: France:Burgundy

AVERAGE RETAIL: $8-14 

What they say about it:

“Notes on the 2013 Harvest: The region has benefited from summery conditions during the month of July and the first two weeks of August. Hot, sunny and luminous conditions have enabled the vines to develop normally yet without catching up with the delay in growth of the beginning of the year. There were some rain storms, but which did not affect the vines. The grape count indicates a very good harvest in areas where the grapes ripen fast, and a moderate harvest in more slow ripening areas. We estimate the harvest to start around September 23rd to 25th.”- Frédéric J. Drouhin”

What I say about it:

OK well that doesn’t tell me anything about the wine actually…. This was the 2nd 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau I had picked up recently and my first from Joseph Droughin. This like most Beaujolais Nouveau wines was light, fruity, easy to drink and quite enjoyable. The nose had elements of violets, cherries, lavender, berries, and slight touch of vanilla. The texture was smooth, lush with very subtle tannins and a slight tartness with low acidity. Tasting notes included cherries, of the tarter pie cherry variety, berries, strawberry and raspberry, cassis and currants with a slightly earthy undertone. The wine has a striking light garnet color. 

The Joseph Drouhin “Beaujolais Nouveau” 2013 will go nicely with light savory meats and poultry as well as fish, particularly grilled salmon. It will also go nicely with appetizers, fruits and cheeses. Excellent slightly chilled (54-57° F).

Overall this was a great find and a winery I need to investigate further.

Would Bukowski drink it? Louis-Ferdinand Céline, now he was French. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Northwest Wine Academy “Baywatch Baxter” Rosé Wine (2012)

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20131201_172015Northwest Wine Academy “Baywatch Baxter”

Rosé

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16

What they say about it:

“Deliciously, mouthwatering and refreshingly dry: bright, with flavors of cherry, rhubarb and cranberry with a hint of white pepper and a bit of creaminess.‘”

What I say about it:

Last night’s lazy Sunday dinner was Thai take out. For me Thai and most Asian cuisine goes best with Rosé wines. This is also a throwback to my earliest wine indulging meals which usually consisted of Chinese food with only the finest white zinfandel (in the largest volume purchasable). Rosé is more readily available in the summer but more and more I am seeing it year round. Luckily my neighborhood market in the Fremont district of Seattle, has a great selection of wines including half a dozen or more Rosé wines year round. The Northwest Wine Academy “Baywatch Baxter” Rosé peaked my interest and I had it once before so I wanted to revisit it.

Like most Rosé wines, the “Baywatch Baxter” is first and foremost a fresh and fruity wine. It is slightly dry but very bright and has a really nice mouthfeel. In addition to the fruits the maker suggests, cherry, rhubarb and cranberry, I also tasted watermelon, particularly watermelon rind. This is actually a flavor / finish I love (not only in wine but also oysters go figure). I felt it paired really well with the spice of the Thai food and would recommend it with similar meals as well as BBQ and grilled meats and fishes. It would also go well with pizza. Very drinkable and quite enjoyable.

Would Bukowski drink it? This sh*t is like candy Dave. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Hahn Winery Pinot Noir (2012)

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Hahn Pinot Noir 2012Hahn Winery Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir 

YEAR: 2013

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $14-16

What they say about it:

“Dark purple in the glass, this Pinot Noir shows aromas of dried plums, black currants and cola. On the palate, black cherry flavors and a silky mouthfeel build on fresh acidity and well integrated oak flavors of vanilla and spice.”

What I say about it:

I was introduced to Hahn Winery about a year ago. The have a number of brands in their line and you can check them out online: http://www.hahnestates.com. I’ve become a big fan. Their wines are really excellent and a value in the price range. This is my first try for the 2012 Pinot Noir and it didn’t disappoint.

Very deep in color with the usual characteristics of a Pinot. The nose was a little musky out of the bottle but that lessened after it breathed. My first impression was tart yet sweet fruits, plums, raspberries and pie cherries, but also a distinct candied orange rind flavor on the finish. Other notes included a subtle earthiness, a slight vanilla spice with a touch of woodiness. It’s medium bodied, very smooth and easy to drink so the Hahn Pinot Noir goes excellent with food. For this tasting it accompanied a grilled flank steak and greens and went very well with the lime vinargrette dressing as the wine has nice acidity itself.

The Hahn Pinot Noir is another wine that I’d recommend for your Thanksgiving dinner as  Pinot Noir works well with turkey as well as the usual sides.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Hot Dog!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (2013)

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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013Georges Duboeuf “Beaujolais Nouveau”

Gamay

YEAR: 2013

REGION: FRANCE: Beaujolais

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10

What they say about it:

“Beautiful ruby-red color. A pleasant scent of fresh grapes and small juicy red fruits. This wine will scintillate your palate with the pleasure of an excellent ‘primeur.'”

What I say about it:

Yesterday, November 21, was the third Thursday in November this year and when the clock strikes midnight,  the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau, is officially released to the world. You may remember drinking Beaujolais Nouveau at a Thanksgiving or holiday get-together. Given its timely release it’s a popular wine throughout the holiday season. I love cracking into the first bottle every year and this year is no exception. This is the first of two Beaujolais Nouveau wines I will be reviewing. This, the Georges Duboeuf, is the more commonly available and probably the most recognizable name in Beaujolais Nouveau.

The 2013, doesn’t disappoint, if you are a fan of Beaujolais Nouveau. Overall it is very fruity and fresh, characteristics associated with wines like those made from the Gamay grape. Hints of strawberry were my first impression, with a sweet nose. The color is deep, ruby-red and very bright, much like its taste. Secondary taste were more tart and include rhubarb, dried cranberries and plums. Its very easy to drink (which could be great at family holiday dinners!). A really nice Beaujolais Nouveau and better than I recall the 2012 being.

Beaujolais Nouveau wines match well with just about anything. I don’t really follow the white with poultry and fish and red with red meat etc. rules. Drink what you like. I like it as a starter wine, due to it’s delicacy and subtle sweet fruit. It works well with just about everything in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so consider it for your Turkey Day.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Goes well with my F**kin frozen turkey dinner. Now F**K OFF!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Storyteller “Into the Fog” Pinot Noir (2012)

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20131117_185946Storyteller “Into the Fog” 

Pinot Noir

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: CA, Napa Valley; Los Carneros

ALCOHOL BY VOLUME: 13.5%

 What they say about it:

Dark ruby black color. Aromas of clay, cocoa, and craisin with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a long, elegant dried cherry, vanilla, and delicate spice nuanced finish. Very stylish and tasty. 

What I say about it:

My initial reaction was spicy and fruity at the same time. It had nice pop with a medium finish and a really nice mouth feel.

Would Bukowski drink it?    Hell Yes.

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS