Beaujolais Nouveau Day is coming!

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Beaujolais Nouveau Day is coming up on Thursday, November 20th.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November. This “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” used to see heavy marketing, with races to get the first bottles to different markets around the globe. The current release practice is to ship the wine ahead of the third Thursday of November, and release it to the local markets at 12:01 a.m. local time.

I am looking forward to sampling the 2014 releases soon. Reviews to follow. Just in time for Would Bukowski Drink It?’s 1 Year Anniversary and Thanksgiving.

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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

Bieler Pere et Fils “Sabine” Rosé (2013)

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20141020_190206Bieler Pere et Fils “Sabine”

Rosé:  55% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache

YEAR: 2013

REGION: France

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10

What they say about it:

“The Bieler Pere et Fils Rose displays a light, bright cranberry color in the glass. In addition to the usual raspberry, cherry, and wild strawberry red fruit aromas, there’s a citrusy (grapefruit) and slightly floral note with the important underlying savory structure of lavender, grass and herbs de Provence.

What I say about it:

With the days of summer now gone and the colder, wetter days descending on the city of Seattle, my occasions for drinking Rosé decrease much like the daylight. However on this night Thai was on the menu, which for me, means a Rosé. Always on the lookout for one I haven’t tried, the Bieler Pere et Fils Rose jumped off the shelf.

So out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color of the wine is blush pink with slight peachy tone coming through (amber). It’s clean and clear to the rim. The nose of the wine is full of citrus and floral with peach, apples, strawberries and a touch of cinnamon.

The tasting notes include apples, cranberries, strawberries, peach and watermelon. There is a slight minerally (slate) undertone as well. It’s what you expect in a Rosé but on the Medium to Dry side. It has a crisp finish that is balanced but leaning toward acidic. Enjoyable and easy to drink. It complimented my Thai dinner nicely and would go well with similar spicy Asian and Indian cuisine as well as BBQ. 

Would Bukowski drink it?  Let’s drink to Louis-Ferdinand Céline! Bottoms up. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-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