Domaine du Petit Bondieu Bourgueil (2010)

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BourgueilDomaine du Petit Bondieu Bourgueil

Cabernet Franc

YEAR: 2010

REGION: FRANCE: Rhone-Alpes

AVERAGE RETAIL: $12

What they say about it:

“Deeply-coloured. Distinctive nose with floral and fruity aromatics. On the palate, tightly-wound, refined stuffing framed by fat yielding a pleasant, supple attack. More structured mid-palate brimming with freshness. A Bourgueil showing wonderful expression that will keep.”

What I say about it:

I try as often as I can to pick up a bottle that is outside of my comfort zone. I am rarely more uncomfortable than with French wine. My two years of French in high school are long-lost (apologies to Mrs. Constanza and Ms. Hennesey). So I decided to not only go French but to go with a French varietal I have never had. The Bourgueil is basically Cab Franc. When I learned this I was much less intimidated. Thank you Google. Now on with the wine. Out of the bottle and into the glass….

Color was bright, scarlet garnet red clear to the rim.

The nose of the wine, aka how it smells, was full of berries, slight floral notes, violets with a little pepper, slight smoke and woody notes.

The taste was slightly bitter at first, but sweet with a pucker. Plums, tart pie cherries, with slight tobacco and oak. Finish was shorter than I would have liked with soft tannins, medium bodied.

Having few points of reference for Cab Franc and none for this French varietal, I liked this but wasn’t blown away. I’d try it again. I had this with and while I was preparing a meal. In this case it was a grilled beef tenderloin and grilled vegetables. It held up well but wasn’t the best match for me.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Hey fancy pants, just drink the shit will you

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Some additional notes on the wine:

Bourgueil is the appellation for red wines from Bourgueil (and six surrounding communes) in the central Loire Valley wine region of France. Although technically a part of the Touraine district (which is defined by the political boundaries of the city of Tours), Bourgueil is markedly different from its neighbors and is often grouped together as a separate unit with Chinon, just the other side of the Loire river.

Cabernet Franc is a black-skinned French grape variety grown in most wine producing nations. The variety is most famously known as the third grape of Bordeaux and can be found in many of the world’s top Bordeaux blend wines. Cabernet Franc most commonly appears in blended red wines, where it adds herbaceous accents of tobacco and dark spice.

As a varietal wine, Cabernet Franc is light to medium-bodied and often shows vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers. This has led many wine drinkers to incorrectly identify Cabernet Franc as unripe Cabernet Sauvignon, or even Carmenere. This has been highlighted in Friuli, Italy, where plantings that were thought to be Cabernet Franc were later classified as Carmenere.

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Bogle Vineyards Red Blend “Phantom” (2010)

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Bogle PhantomBogle Vineyards Red Blend “Phantom”

Red Blend: Zinfandel 51% – Petite Sirah 47% – Mourvèdre 2%

YEAR: 2010

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $18

What they say about it:

“This ruby red spectre entices with rich blackberry and briary boysenberry. Provocative dark fruits envelop the nose and palate, leaving the essence of flavors brought forth by the grapes during winemaking. Black cherry and anise abound, leading to a sturdy finish of black pepper, pipe tobacco and spicy oak. Aged for over two years in 1 and 2 year old American oak focus and intensify the Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre, creating yet another passionate and commanding red wine, impossible to ignore. Welcome the winery ghost into your home again with this latest vintage, and enjoy with full-flavored and hearty meals…before it vanishes again.”

What I say about it:

I love big wines. The Phantom from Bogle is a big bold spicy red that I really enjoy. A complex red blend that is ideal for a dark cold winter night. So out of the bottle and into the glass….

Visually the Phantom is a stunner. Deep ruby red and garnet true to the rim. Rich, bright and clear. Long legs and jammy.

The nose is equally pleasing with a lot of big berry notes – Plums, ripe black berries, and cherries (dark fuits). Also notable spice; cardamom, clove and pepper. Also subtle notes of tar, leather, wood and linseed oil.

The taste is big and a very full finish. Lots of spice with a peppery, fruity, smokey blend. The berry notes I detected in the nose as well as prunes and cassis. Leather and tobacco, pipe tobacco, like Captain Black’s, sweeter and mellow. Oak but not too oaked. Full long but round tannins. Softer yet pronounced. This is a very full bodied dryer wine with 14.5% alchohol.

I really can’t say anything bad about this wine. It pairs excellent with grilled red meats and rich spicey foods as well as hangs out well all on it’s own. For fruits, think complimentary fruits such as red grapes, dried cherries, blueberries, figs and on the contrast side apricots and pears, particually Bosc (for the skin). For cheeese, I would go Spanish, Manchego, Queso de Mahón and to the Blues, even smoked gouda. Break out the salted cured meats too as this wine will marry well with Soppressata and Finocchiona salami.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Get a room Dave. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire. I’d walk a lot easier with a bottle of the Phantom in my back pocket. 

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

Mark Ryan “The Vincent” (2011)

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Mark Ryan The VincentMark Ryan “The Vincent”

Red Blend: 

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20 

What they say about it:

“The 2011 Vincent Red offers clean, pure aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, cedar-lined spice and vanilla. The palate is bold, with mouth-filling blueberry and blackberry with more warm spice and subtle licorice flavor. The finish is remarkably balanced, focusing firm but round tannins and refined acidity.”

What I say about it:

One of the things that I really love about wine is finding a new winery and tasting their wines. Friends have mentioned Mark Ryan before and I’ve read about the wine maker and his wines from time to time. I finally picked up a few of his 2011 wines and The Vincent was the first I cracked open. I was not disappointed in the least and wish I hadn’t waited this long.

The Nose of “The Vincent” is big and fruity with some herbaceous tones. Black berries, spice, subtle leather notes, clover and a hint of coffee. I did not let the wine breath that long and it was pleasant from bottle to glass. The Vincent has a full long finish with long legs. Full bodied with lush mellow tannins. A deep purple color mixed with complex fruits; plums, prunes, cherry, currants, with background flavors of licorice and orange rind and a slight earthiness.

I enjoyed The Vincent on its own but could easily imagine it paired with blue cheese, olives, fig spread, onion jam, rustic breads, on the lighter side, and it would compliment grilled meats, particularly a nice Rib Eye, BBQ’d, perfectly. I highly recommend this wine and at $20 its a value. Expect more from Mark Ryan in my future reviews.

A little bit more on Mark Ryan: 

Mark Ryan McNeilly founded Mark Ryan Winery in 1999 with the goal of making the best wines in Washington State. Largely self-taught, Mark honed the craft of winemaking through rigorous study and the welcomed advice of some of the area’s most experienced producers.

In the early years the winery was transient. The first vintages of Long Haul and Dead Horse were produced crushed and pressed in garages of friends and family, barrels aged in warehouses in the Seattle Area, and finally settling in Woodinville, WA  in 2003.

Over a decade later, Mark Ryan Winery has grown in size, earned acclaim from wine-lovers and critics alike, and garnered respect from the state’s elite producers. The goal, however, remains the same. Make delicious wines that represent the vineyard from which they come, making every vintage better than the last…

More info: http://www.markryanwinery.com/

Would Bukowski drink it?  

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

Atalaya “Laya” (2012)

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Laya 2012Atalaya “Laya”

Red Blend: 

70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell

YEAR: 2012

REGION: SPAIN

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10 

What they say about it:

“Laya is 70% Garnacha Tintorera — Alicante Bouschet — and 30% Monastrell planted around 1000 metres (3280 feet) above sea level and aged for 4 months in French oak. Garnacha Tintorera is known for its deep color and here it coats the glass and imparts aromas of brooding black fruits, licorice, espresso, and pepper. Dense, savory, and rich.”

What I say about it:

This wine is another market find. I haven’t been branching out much beyond my safety zone of wines from the Northwest and CA lately so I decided to pick up the red blend from Spain recently. The 2012 Laya is a very big and bold wine and if you are a fan of bold “old world” wines, I recommend it. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass. This is a big wine and a letting it breath (or aerating) opened it up more. A very deep garnet to purple color with very long legs in the glass. My first impressions were deep and rich tones – earthy (flint), licorice, coffee / espresso, leather and tobacco. Oddly the fruit, mainly cherry, hit me afterwards on the finish rather than up front. Slight touch of oak and smoke also noted. Medium body but a little heavy on the tannins. For it’s price, it does have characteristics of older and more expensive wines. Proving that price isn’t the only indicator for a good wine. Overall I liked it. My only reservation, a little too bold on some notes for me, particularly the licorice and espresso, for my taste, but easily recommended.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I ever tell you about this Spanish broad I met at the track? Gimme that wine. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Colonia Las Liebres “Bonarda Argentina” (2012)

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20131119_201931Colonia Las Liebres “Bonarda Argentina”

Bonarda

YEAR: 2012

REGION: Argentina, Mendoza

What they say about it:

100% Bonarda Argentina grapes come from high-trellised vineyards located in a unique microclimate in the area of Medrano and Carrizal de Abajo, Mendoza. This area sits slightly higher than the neighboring vineyards to the north, which contributes to cooler nights, resulting in acid development and retention. The low fertility soils paired with parral trellising help control the natural vigor of the Bonarda vine, and deep soils with good drainage facilitate root development.

What I say about it: 

Out of the bottle and into the glass, the first thing that struck me was the color. Such a deep purple with a vibrant red hint. Really striking. My first nose of the wine was a little alcohol heavy. Letting it breath helped and I recommend aerating.  The wine opened up nicely. Lots of warm, deep berry flavors with slightly earthy tones.

Would Bukowski Drink It?  Most definitely.

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS