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

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Steele “Shooting Star” Blue Franc (2011)

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20141114_191311Steele “Shooting Star” 

Blue Franc (Blaufrankisch)

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Washington: Yakima Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15 

What they say about it:

“This wine is very similar to the wines that I tasted in Austria more than 25 years ago. Unlike other Steele and Shooting Star red wine bottlings, our Blue Franc receives little, or no, oak aging. Some liken our Blue Franc, depending on vintage, to Pinot Noir in lighter years and Zinfandel in the riper vintages. Sometimes it is totally akin to a top-flight Gamay from Beaujolais. The wine is clean, crisp, and unpretentious with tons of fruit, including warm berry pie, complementing the traces of pepper, almond, cherry and cinnamon. Our Shooting Star Blue Franc has soft tannins, medium body, great color and is the perfect red wine to enjoy over the summer with any festive occasion. It is excellent with appetizers, cheeses, BBQ, and picnics. Recently we had the opportunity to try the Blue Franc on the deck with a toasted sandwich of smoked chicken, grilled onion, and avocado a quintessentially quaffable! -Jed Steele”

What I say about it:

Steele Chardonnay was one of the first wines I was introduced to by Russ Martin, a former co-worker and major wine aficionado, who gave me my earliest impressions that wine could be something more than just something to drink. Since then I have become a fan of Steele Wineries and Jed Steele. The “Shooting Star” Blue Franc is very unique and a wine you should try if you can.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a deep rich purple. Clean and clear to the rim with long legs in the glass. The nose of the wine is full of blueberries and blackberries with a touch of cocoa, pepper, slight oak with clove. The taste is packed full of cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries. A little bit of pepper, oak and a bit of a cinnamon, licorice / anise aftertaste. The finish is velvety smooth and lingers with soft tannins. It’s very rich and well balanced. Overall it’s a very well developed wine at an exceptional value. I’d agree with the comparison to Pinot Noir or Gamay and if you are a fan of either, I urge you to find a bottle.

For pairings, I would suggest Blue cheese, Gorgonzola, and Sharp Cheddar, dark chocolate, red meats and really just about anything.

Would Bukowski drink it? “Dave, look at that Shooting Star!” Bukowski then, while I am distracted, steals the bottle and chugs it down. “I think you have my answer.”

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-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

Fir Crest “Second Floor” Pinot Noir (2011)

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20141106_194339[1]Fir Crest “Second Floor” Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Oregon: Willamette Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15

What they say about it:

“Bright red fruits and floral notes on the nose, nicely concentrated berry flavors in the mouth, and a juicy, raspberry-tinged finish that trails on and on. Lovely now with grilled salmon or a simple roast chicken.”

What I say about it:

The “Second Floor” Pinot Noir is actually produced by the folks at Oregon’s Twelve Winery under a different label. I stumbled on it at my corner market and decided to give it a try. Always on the lookout for decent Pinot Noirs from Oregon in the $10-$20 range it was a good wine for tasting.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a light purplish red with medium legs in the glass (13.9% alcohol). The nose of the wine is full of red fresh fruits: strawberries and cherries, with a touch of oak, violet, crushed stone, slight spice, tobacco, moss and we earth. The taste again is full of berries and fruit. Less so berries for me. Closer to tart pie cherries with a touch of oak, pepper and smoke. It has a soft lingering finish with soft tannins. A touch acidic and not as well balanced as I’d like to see in a Pinot but still enjoyable.

For me Pinot’s need to be great and not just good. This was just a good Pinot. I wanted a little more complexity and better mouth feel. The Second Floor is drinkable and I’d recommended it if you are looking for a new Pinot to try from Oregon. It will pair well with softer robust cheeses and everything from red meat to turkey to even chicken.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Pinot? Pee yes. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-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

Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti (2012)

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20141022_175028Badia a Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti

Chianti (Sangiovese Blend): 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo

YEAR: 2012

REGION: Tuscany, Italy

AVERAGE PRICE: $14

What they say about it:

“Intense bright ruby red, cherry and blackberry nose with cinnamon and clove nuances. Full and well-balanced, soft but tasty, with good structure. Pleasant acidity, clean and persistent aftertaste.”

What I say about it: 

I am still very much a novice with Italian wines and hope to take a class or attend a region specific tasting to educate myself soon. I seem to be comfortable with Chiantis since they are affordable and the least intimidating. I was having eggplant parmesan for dinner and the Badia a Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti jumped off the shelf at my local market.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is a bright garnet plum red. Short legs in the glass. The nose of the wine is full of cherries with light oak and smoke as well as tobacco and leather with the above mentioned clove and cinnamon. I also detected a bit of a flinty (pumice) note. The taste of the wine is likewise full of cherries as well as plums with oak, a slight licorice and sassafras flavor with a touch of violets. Full bodied yet still fruity. Dry with a long finish and soft well developed tannins.

Overall quite enjoyable and recommended. Very much an old world style wine which is what you expect from a Chianti. For food pairing, of course, the Badia a Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti is a natural match for Italian foods especially those with tomatoes and more rustic flavors. For cheese I would recommend Pecorino, Grana Padano and Aged Asiago. The rich drier sharp flavors of these cheeses and the full bodied Chianti will compliment each other nicely.

Would Bukowski Drink It?  It is snowing, it is Italy, it is cold…and the bread is hard…and there is no butter,
only wine. Drink up!

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Four Vines “Skeptic” Petite Syrah (2012)

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20141020_213642Four Vines “Skeptic” Petite Syrah

Syrah (Petite)

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California: San Luis Obispo County: Paso Robles

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20

What they say about it:

“The ’12 Four Vines Skeptic Petie Sirah is smooth, showing an inherent fruitiness, with fresh crushed raspberry, cherry and plum flavors, and just a touch of spice and vanilla.”

What I say about it:

I have been forcing myself to try more and more Syrah and Petite Syrah wine lately. Tried this at a tasting at a national chain wine and spirits retailer that will remain nameless (since they don’t need any additional advertising) and picked up a few bottles. Revisited it for another taste.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is very deep purple with medium legs in the glass. Very clean to rim and bright. The nose of the wine is full of red fruit: cherries and berries, with a burnt sugar note, cocoa, a slight smoke but no oak. The taste of the wine is full of the same lush red fruit, cherries, raspberries and jammy, but not overly sweet. I picked up a little bit of a minerally finish and also touches of licorice and tobacco. Medium dry finish with soft well developed tannins and well balanced acidity.

Overall a nice drinkable red with a touch of spice but still fruity. I didn’t try this one this occasion with food, but would recommend pairing it with red meats, spicier, zesty fair, even a good burger. For cheese pairings sharp cheddar or gouda, anything robust.

Would Bukowski drink it? 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS