Dunham Cellars “Trutina” (2005)

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20141017_193531

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

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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

Brazin’ “(B)Old Vine” Zinfandel (2012)

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20141014_215152Brazin’ “(B)Old Vine”

Zinfandel

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California: Dry Creek Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16 

What they say about it:

“The 2012 Brazin Zinfandel is big, bold and offers aromas of rich black fruit and mocha that mingle with hints of spice and soft vanilla. Intense, ripe plum and jammy blackberry rock the palate of this daring Zinfandel. Balanced acidity and lingering tannins add complexity, concentration and depth to the finish.”

What I say about it:

I have been a fan of Brazin’s Zinfandels for years. They are great affordable easy to drink and find reds for anyone that enjoys big, bold and spicy wine. This was my first spotting of the 2012 Dry Creek Valley so I picked up a few bottles.

So out of the bottle and into the glass….

The color of the wine is garnet to purple. Clean to the rim with short legs in the glass. The nose of the wine is full of rich bold features: smoke, leather, spice, pepper, ripe cherries, plums and a slight musk. The taste of the wine is full of cherries, blackberries and red fruit with slight cocoa, leather, oak, vanilla, violet and a touch of lavender. It has a medium finish with soft tannins and was slightly sweet at first but after breathing less sweet and more off dry.

In general it’s another big, bold and spicy Zin from Brazin that is easily recommended. This wine pairs well with any red meat dishes, especially anything grilled, and anything zesty (curry for example). For cheese pairings I would recommend Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, Aged Gouda, Asiago, or Dry Jack.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I am bold and old so hell yeah. 

Overall Rating: 3 BUKS

3-BUKS

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