Corvidae “Rook” (2012)

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2012 RookCorvidae “Rook”

Red Blend:  52% Merlot / 43% Cabernet Sauvignon / 5% Syrah

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington State: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15

What they say about it:

“The Rook’ 2012 was made to showcase the world-class Merlot grown in the cooler, higher elevation sites located in the Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley. The wine was aged in mostly neutral French oak to enhance the rich flavors from an exceedingly stellar vintage.”

What I say about it:

Being October and the season of all things Halloween, I was drawn to the striking image of a crow by artist David Ladmore on the label of the 2012 Rook from Corvidae Winery. Ladmore’s artist statement states “My work is a response to the beauty and simplicity of the things I find around me. In figure and landscape, careful study reveals the undercurrents and rhythms of existence.”. This sounds like an appropriate outlook for wine-making and wine tasting as well.

So without further waxing poetic, out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the 2012 Rook is a bright plum purple. Clear to the edge and full of vibrant hues. Medium to long legs due to the 14.1% alcohol content. The nose of the wine is smoky with oak in the forefront with touches of tobacco, spice, cherries, wet earth and stone with cocoa on top. Very pleasant and warming. Perfect for this time of the year when the nights get a little crisper. The taste is peppery but again with the French oak and cherry in the forefront followed by other red fruits (raspberry) as well as leather, smoke, slight clove and currants. The finish is medium to long as well as slightly dry with lingering soft well developed tannins.

Being a devote Merlot hater (blame Sideways), I was surprised after tasting to discover the blend was 52% Merlot. I had guessed higher Syrah but lower Cab percentages. Perhaps the notes from the winery on the cooler, higher elevation create a more appealing Merlot to my palate, since I usually find them to be bland and too predictable. The Cab and Syrah that balance out the remaining blend also make the Rook a very drinkable and enjoyable red blend. Easily recommended and a good deal for under $20.

For pairings, the 2012 Rook would go nicely with slightly drier cheeses (Manchego, Grana Padana) as well as robut soft cheeses (Blue, Gorganzola, Cambozola) and of course any salted cured meats (salami, prosciutto, etc.); but what doesn’t?

Notes on the Winery:

Corvidae is Owen Roe’s value-driven second label. Much of the fruit for Corvidae is sourced from Owen Roe’s 280-acre Outlook Vineyard. David O’Reilly is meticulous in the winery and in the vineyard for both Owen Roe and Corvidae.

More info on Corvidae Winery.

Would Bukowski drink it?   I would certainly end up forever crying the blues into a coffee cup in a park for old men playing chess or silly games of some sort. So Rook to Knight blah-blah-blah – give me another glass. 

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Le Vieille Ferme Recolte (2013)

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20140415_193345Le Vieille Ferme Recolte

Rosé:  Grenache, Syrah nad Cinsault (blend % not listed)

YEAR: 2013

REGION: France: Rhone

AVERAGE RETAIL: $8-10

What they say about it:

“The wine has a beautiful rose color, a flora nose with hnts of aniseed and brown sugar. The mouth is on notes of white flowers, cherries and fruit drops. The finish is fresh and balanced. 

What I say about it:

It was another Thai night in the Kurtiak/Jones household so that meant a search for a Rosé wine for dinner. I have had the Le Vieille Ferme Recolte on many occasions and thought a proper review was in order. It’s a relatively inexpensive wine easily found at wine shops and markets alike. At $10 or less, it’s a very drinkable Rosé wine.

So out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color of the wine is blush pink with the grenache tone coming through the most (more red than amber). It’s clean and clear to the rim. The nose of the wine is sweet with berry notes, sweet blossoms, and a slight touch of watermelon.

The tasting notes include cherries, berries, with slight acid, and lots of caramel brown sugar and tartness. It’s what you expect in a Rosé on the sweeter side. Easily drinkable and it compliments spicier meals and reminds me that it’s Spring with days outside and BBQ around the corner. 

Would Bukowski drink it? Come on Dave, $8 bucks? I am in. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

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

Charles & Charles Rosé (2013)

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20140227_185638Charles & Charles Rosé

Rosé:  Syrah (86%) Mourvedre (2%), Cinsault (6%) and Grenache (4%).

YEAR: 2013

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10-12

What they say about it:

“The aromas pop with wild strawberry, rose, cherry, subtle hibiscus and a touch of citrus, with underlying dried herb, crushed gravel and mineral tones (2012). 

What I say about it:

I was surprised to see the 2013 Charles & Charles Rose at my local market. It’s not even listed on the winery website yet. This wine is one of my buddy Matt Rankin’s favorite Rose wines so when I am in the mood for a rose and see it, I usually pick up a bottle to have in my arsenal for when he comes over (or to drink and replace one in my wine fridge). It’s a particularly good rose that is easily recommended. The 2013 is a slight variation of previous vintages but is no less enjoyable.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….the color is a nice clear pink with a rhubarb tone.

The nose is first and foremost big on berries and fruit with strawberries, slight melon, with a touch of spice and earthiness (slate and crushed stone).

The taste echoes the nose with berries and a slight pucker and evervesance with big fruit flavors: peach, pear, asian pear, strawberries and apple with a touch of citrus. The wine is dry to off-dry and not overly sweet. It has a nice lite and delicate finish that is very well-balanced.

Overall a nice Rose with a good balance of fruit, acid and fruit. Easily enjoyable with BBQ, Asian foods (Thai) and similar savory yet sweet meals.

Would Bukowski drink it? If it’s pink, it will sink (in my belly). 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

Tuck Beckstoffer Wines “Hogwash” Rosé (2012)

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20140227_165711Tuck Beckstoffer Wines “Hogwash” Rosé

Rosé: 100% Rose of Grenache

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10-12

What they say about it:

“Hogwash is all about fun in the warm summer months. Who could deny that most of our favorite summertime memories involve cold pink rose, toes in the sand, body surfing, and a plate full of pork. The design is as simple as the winemaking itself, basic components, clear expression, and simple satisfaction. 

What I say about it:

I was making a rack of ribs for dinner and a nice rosé was in order. I spotted the Hogwash Rosé in the meger winter selection of Rosé wine at my local QFC supermarket. The pig on the label jumped out at me and sometimes that’s all it takes to take a chance.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….The color is pink to peach with a slight light orange and cranberry hue. Very clean and bright.

The nose is full of berries with strawberries being front and center. A touch of vanilla and lavender with a slight sweet musky note as well.

On tasting, watermelon and strawberries were my first impression with a slight slate (minerally) finish that was a little short but pleasant but a little on the acidic side. The wine is sweet and it’s lower alcohol (12.9%) makes this a very easily drinkable wine to accompany BBQ, picnic meals and other food associated with summertime. Overall it’s a decent Rosé but nothing spectacular. I’d drink it again but not search it out.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Why not? I will drink anything. 

Overall Rating: 2 BUKS

2-BUKS

Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc (2012)

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Kunde Sauvignon BlancKunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California: Sonoma Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16

What they say about it:

A crisp yet smooth wine offering lemon zest and orange rind aromatics, grapefruit and yellow nectarine flavors, with lovely length across the palate.

What I say about it:

Every once and a while I stumble upon a wine that is exceptional. The Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc from 2012 is one of those wines. Having randomly picked it from the market made it that much more fun of a discovery. After tasting it I am not surprised to find out it’s won the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Gold Medal and the 2013 Pacific Coast Oyster Award.

Out of the glass and into the bottle….The color of the “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc is a clean yellow with a hint of peach to it. Short legs in the glass as the wine is dry.

The nose of the wine is very crisp with big citrus notes: green apples, lemon, grapefruit, orange blossom with honey and vanilla overtones.

The taste is perfectly balanced. Big, bright and crisp with nice acidity with tons of apple, pear, citrus, most notably grapefruit, with a nice full finish. As it warmed slightly I began to pick up more fruit, especially melon. The finish and mouth feel also made me think of the texture of ripe melon. It had a velvety smooth butteriness. There were some slight mineral notes as well.

The Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc will pair well with poultry, seafood and lite savory dishes excellently. For fruits I would recommend dried apricots, figs, apples, and the like. For cheese it will go nice with delicate soft cheese like Brie but even stand up to the robust flavors of a Blue.

Overall this is a fantastic wine and I highly recommend you pick up a bottle to try for yourself. It’s a steal for under $20 as well.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Hey Dave, get a room but leave the bottle. 

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

CK Mondavi “Willow Springs” White Zinfandel (2012)

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20140211_204959CK Mondavi “Willow Springs” White Zinfandel

Rosé: 88% Zinfandel, 10% Sauvignon Blanc,  2% Other

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California

AVERAGE RETAIL: $6 (or $10 if you are at a gas station, convenience store or similar retailer where you have limited options)

What they say about it:

Our White Zinfandel has a beautifully bright salmon color and aromas of strawberries and spice. Full of flavors, this wine has a refreshing crisp and clean finish. This wine is an ideal accompaniment to spicy Asian cuisine, chicken and picnic fare. Our family winery, established in 1943, has been committed to creating fine wines for four generations. We harvest grapes at their peak of ripeness from prime California vineyards, creating wines with fully developed flavors.‘”

What I say about it:

OK so I am traveling for work and I am stuck in San Antonio TX on a rather frigid night and did not want to venture very far for anything. It’s 34 out and in the last week I have been to Columbus Oh (where it was -4) and NJ where it was also quite cold. I ventured out to get some Thai, which in itself in downtown San Antonio meant quite a hike and my only option for wine that I came across was a discount liquor store. I walked in and the store’s shelves were more than half empty. The selection was non-existent and it was this or red moscato or pink sparkling wine. I at least have had Mondavi before, yes when I was 16 and took a chance.

Out of the convenient twist off cap and into the hotel glass….The color is pink with a hint of rustiness that may just be a really old bottle, judging from the dust on it.

The nose, amazingly is non-existent. Try as I might, I smell nothing but a slight berry soap smell. Sort of like the soap you’d expect in a teenage girl’s bathroom. Not even as good as something from Bath & Body Works or a Yankee Candle store.

The taste…oh lord. Sugar, sweet and an ever so slight touch of berries. Memories of Bartle and Jaymes , Boones Farm, and again some strange soapy flavor. The wine has no finish. It is very acidic and not very balanced.

Bottom line, if you are feeling nostalgic for the cheap wine you drank in high school, want a bad hangover, or feel like drinking wine that tastes like liquified Jolly Ranchers look no further. 

Would Bukowski drink it? Even I have standards Dave.  

Overall Rating:1 BUK (only because it is actually wine)

1-BUK

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

Airfield Estates “Bombshell Red” (2011)

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20140131_193528Airfield Estates “Bombshell Red”

Red Blend:  57% Syrah, 16% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Sangiovese, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc 

YEAR: 2011

REGION: US: Washington State

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16-$18

What they say about it:

“A beloved favorite of many, this approachable signature red blend has dark overlapping aromas of plum, blackberry, and a hint of cocoa, leaving lingering flavors of dark fruit and toasted oak on the palate. With firm tannins and a round, full-bodied mouthfeel, this blend pairs well with a wide range of foods.”

What I say about it:

Having enjoyed another wine from Airfield Estates, I ventured to try another, this time a red blend. Once again they didn’t disappoint and I am quickly becoming a fan of their wines. This blend was quite good. 

Out of the bottle and into the glass….The wine’s color is rich ruby-red with deep purple tones. It has very long legs in the glass.

The nose of the wine is big, bold and spicy. Notes of cassis, plums, cherries, smoke, oak, leather, cocoa, sassafras, pepper, cinnamon and clove. It’s a very big wine with a lot to take in.

Tasting notes include smoke and leather upfront followed by big fruit – plum, tart pie cherries, and berries. The body of the wine to me was more medium to full-bodied, with long soft tannins and a long lingering finish; a little chalky with a nicely balanced acidity.

Overall easily recommended and quite enjoyable. I had this wine on its own but it will easily compliment grilled meats, savory dishes, dry cured meats, cheeses like Asiago, Manchego, Blue and sharp aged Cheddar.

Would Bukowski drink it?  The babe on the bottle sold me. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-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