Smasne Cellars Farm Boy “Bunk House Red” (2011)

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20140307_223224Smasne Cellars Farm Boy “Bunk House Red”

Red Blend:  Tempranillo (36%), Mourvèdre (20%), Malbec (16%), Zinfandel (11%), Syrah (10%) and Grenache (7%)

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $18

What they say about it:

This entry-level brand by Robert Smasne — Wine Press Northwest’s Washington Winery of Year in 2013 — continues to deliver bang for the buck. His wide-ranging blend of Tempranillo (36%), Mourvèdre (20%), Malbec (16%), Zinfandel (11%), Syrah (10%) and Grenache offers a nose of plum, Marionberry and blueberry with hints of cinnamon bark and dark cherry. There’s an amazing level of integration to the easy-drinking notes of black currant, red cherry and dark chocolate. An undertone of graphite leads into the rewarding acidity and tannin.”

What I say about it:

I recently attended a tasting at The Barrel Thief in Seattle WA for Smasne Cellars with some friends. I’d been introduced to the Farm Boy before and revisting it, I wasn’t disappointed. Smasne Cellars are really turning out some great examples of reds and red blends and are making their name as an exceptional WA State producer. Their wines are hard to find but worth searching out, special ordering or visiting their Woodenville WA tasting room. 

So out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color of the wine is Ruby red with purple and garnett tones. Clean and bright with very long legs. The nose is full of berries and cherries: strawberries, dark bing cherries with some floral and herbacious notes: lavender and marigold in paticular for me. There was also a slight muskiness with earthy notes and touch of oak. A nice amount of spice, most notably cinamon and cardamon.

The taste was likewise full of berries, tart pie cherries, starwberries with blackberry. The Farm Boy is very jammy with a very slight pickle juice note and minerals (wet stone, flint). The finish is long with a smooth medium body that slow and lingers. Great mouthfeel.

Overall easily recommended and exceptionally well balanced.  The Farm Boy “Bunk House Red” will easily compliment grilled meats, savory dishes, dry cured meats, cheeses like Asiago, Manchego, Blue and sharp aged Cheddar.

More info on Smasne Cellars.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I spent many a night (and day sleeping it off) in the Bunk House so sign me up. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

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Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red” Zinfandel (2011)

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20140203_191937Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: California: Paso Robles

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20 

What they say about it:

“With a rich candied cherry nose this vibrantly-hued red wine bursts with bright strawberry and cherry fruit flavors. Pleasing acidity and structure are balanced by softer fruits and leather nuances on the mid-palate, leaving you with spicy oak, fennel and mocha in a long, lingering finish.”

What I say about it:

Peachy Canyon’s wines are among some of my favorites. They are an excellent maker and their Zinfandel wines are really outstanding. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass….The “Incredible Red” is deep ruby-red, true to the rim, with very long legs. Rich, clean and clear with no impurities.

The nose of the wine is big and bold with tons of berries and spice: black berries, clove, cinnamon, leather, smoke, wet earth, plums and fresh cut green peppers.

Tasting notes includes big jammy fruits notably overripe strawberries, a slight toasted oakiness, and leather. Full bodied with a long lingering finish with mellow but still firm tannins. Good acidity and very well balanced.

Overall an excellent wine and recommended.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Incredible is right. I got a wicked buzz.

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Chateau de Lancyre “Pic Saint Loup” Rosé (2012)

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Chateau De Lancyre Rose Chateau de Lancyre “Pic saint Loup” Rosé

Rosé (Blend: Cinsaut – Grenache – Syrah) 

YEAR: 2012

REGION: FRANCE:  Languedoc-Roussillon: Languedoc: Coteaux du Languedoc: Pic Saint-Loup

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16-18

What they say about it:

“A big rosé! Raspberry and pear aromas on the nose, with distinctive spicy, minty garrigue notes. Big, bold and firm on the palate, ending with a long, clean finish.

What I say about it:

Last night’s dinner was Indian, which for me requires a nice Rosé. The Chateau de Lancyre “Pic Saint Loup” Rosé was a new addition at my local market with some good blurbs so a taste seemed in order. Out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color was a clear blush rose with slightly peachy orange tones bright and to the rim. Very clean.

The nose of the wine was a burst of fruit, floral and citrus with strawberry, orange, grapefruit and a touch of clove and spice.

On tasting, again, fruit was first and foremost (as it should be with a Rosé). Bursts of watermelon, strawberry and rhubarb with a little spice and herbs (most notably a little mint). The Chateau de Lancyre “Pic Saint Loup” Rosé is dry with a nice full finish. Slightly sour with a mouth-watering effect.

It’s great on its own but for pairings, I’d suggest this as perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, BBQ, shrimp, ethnic foods that tend to be sweet, spicy or savory, like Indian cuisine, as well as lighter yet hearty meals (Cobb Salad).

Overall a really really good Rosé. Highly recommended and easy to drink. I plan to add this to my short list of Rosé to enjoy now and definitely this summer.

Would Bukowski drink it? You had me at “easy”

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

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