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Bridgman Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – Columbia Valley, Washington

From the label: ‘In 1917 W.B. Bridgman introduced European wine grapes to the Yakima Valley near Sunnyside. Bridgman wines are dedicated to this visionary man who helped make fine Washington wines what they are today.

Our Cabernet Sauvignon has rich aromas of berry and cherry fruit with a fine layer of sweet oak and a hint of walnuts. Excellent with red meats or pastas with a hearty tomato sauce. Try it with garlic stuffed leg of lamb rubbed with rosemary.’

Price: $13.99

This estate grown and bottled wine from Walla Walla, Washington (I just love saying that town name…makes me giggle…but I digress) is a nice clear garnet colored medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.

The bouquet (or smell, for us common folks) was very fruity and most definitely accentuated by cherries. The taste I found intriguing though. I have read reviews by people claiming that their wine had a ‘buttery’ taste and I admit up to now I had NO IDEA what they were talking about. I mean it’s WINE! How can it have a buttery taste? Well this wine, my friend, showed me what that meant. My first taste was so buttery and nutty that I had to really think about it for awhile. I’d never tasted a wine like that. After I finally got over that buttery punch the next thing I tasted was, of course, the cherry. This wine had a nice medium finish to it as well.

Overall I liked this wine. It was surprising to my palate and let me know that there really are wines out there that are distinct and new tasting (at least to me anyway).

I rate this wine at a score of 88. It’s a nice wine with a soft buttery taste. I drank this wine without the intervention of any specific food but due to it’s buttery, nutty flavor I would say that the recommendations on the bottle would be correct. This wine needs a strong, hearty meal to be able to stand up to it.

Winery Website: www.apexcellars.com

 

Interesting Wine Facts: Fact #3 – Determining the Body of a Wine is as Easy as Drinking Milk

At my recent visit to Total Wine an More’s ‘Wine 101’ class I learned a very easy way to determine what the body of a wine is. Up until taking that class determining the ‘body’ of a wine was a distant concept to me. I knew that they were talking about the ‘heaviness’ of the wine but still couldn’t figure out how everybody was coming to their conclusions so  easily and with conviction.

Well I now know that it is really easy to make this determination using something that most people have a daily experience with – drinking milk! Now I haven’t had a glass a milk in over 20 years but I am no stranger to the differences in consistency when it comes to dairy products. It was something that I wholeheartedly participated in prior to that 20 years.

Most people will agree that when drinking milk there is a distinct difference in consistency when it comes to skim milk, 2% milk, and whole milk. Skim milk, to most, has the weight and consistency of drinking a glass of water. 2% milk is slightly heavier/thicker and whole milk is the heaviest/thickest in the mouth. Knowing this simple fact is the key to determining the ‘body’ of the wine you’re drinking.

‘Light Bodied Wines’ are those that when you take a sip and move it around your mouth has the consistency and thickness of water or skim milk. It’s very ‘light’ on the tongue.

‘Medium bodied Wines’ are those that when  you take a sip and move it around your mouth has a slightly heavier weight and thickness. They are the equivalent of drinking 2% milk.

‘Heavy bodied Wines’ are those that are thick and…well…heavy on the tongue. They are reminiscent of drinking whole milk or even heavy cream. They loom large in your mouth as far as thickness is concerned.

Now that I’ve learned this little comparison trick it’s been easy for me to identify the body of every wine I’ve been drinking with little or no need for second thought. It’s an immediate ‘knowing’ now which frees me up to figure out more about the complexities of the wine like the bouquet and aromas that want to be identified.

I also want to add that a wine can fall between those categories of ‘light, medium, and heavy bodied’ too. Like anything else there’s a scale where something can be mostly light bodied but bordering on medium and thus you might say that that particular wine is a light to medium bodied wine or a medium to heavy bodied wine.

Nothing is absolute. It doesn’t have to fall neatly into just one category. Just like a person can be primarily an introvert but with some extrovert qualities a wine can absolutely do the same thing. It’s a living and breathing thing just like you and I are and even though a particular wine may be described as a medium bodied wine it can still have some slight variations too.

So now armed with this new knowledge (I am assuming it’s new to you too…if not then forgive my assumptions here) I challenge you to get out there and start to get to know the body of your wines. Feel them, touch them, get to know them! 🙂

Frei Brothers Reserve – Chardonnay 2008 – Sonoma, CA

From the back label: Russian River Valley, Sonoma’s premier Chardonnay appellation, is the source of our Chardonnay grapes. With a soft mouthfeel and long crisp finish, this medium-bodied wine has bright aromas and flavors of citrus, pear, peach, and a hint of vanilla and spice.’

Price: $16.99

This clear pale yellow Chardonnay may have just changed my opinion of myself. I have always considered myself a red wine drinker and I still do for the most part but this wine was a very nice surprise for me because I really enjoyed it.

In the past I would never buy a white wine for myself to drink. My past experiences have had me deem all white wines as heartburn makers. However in the interest of learning about wines I have been forcing myself to pick out white wines as well as reds. So when I saw this wine on sale at my local Publix grocery store with the words ‘Reserve’ on the bottle I felt it was worth a try and am I glad I took that leap of faith.

The bouquet of this wine is very lemony and citrusy and the taste was subtle, smooth and mellow. I would deem it a light to medium bodied wine although the label says it’s medium I would say it’s slightly lighter than that. It’s very fruity with a crisp, quick finish and very enjoyable.

I served this wine with a vegetarian chicken scallopini and I used a bit of this wine in the making of it as well. The chicken scallopini was accompanied by beautiful steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes. This wine perfectly complimented this meal and I would totally recommend this wine for light chicken, pasta, or risotto dishes especially if they have a lemony and light character to them.

My overall feeling on this wine was that I really liked it. I will definitely buy it again and have it as a regular wine in my wine rack. I am finding it really interesting that now that I am experimenting and learning about wines three of the wines that I gave a score of 90 and above are white wines. I never in a million years would have thought that that would happen.

I guess the lesson in this is to never say you’re a ‘red wine drinker’ or a ‘white wine drinker’. You need to experience many different types, brands, and vintages in order to really find out what suits you. All these years I thought I didn’t like white wine all that much and now I am realizing that when it comes to whites I just need to find the ones that I do like.

So the bottom line is I highly recommend this wine. I give this wine a score of 95 and will definitely have it again especially when my menu calls for a nice white to compliment it.

Here’s a nice recipe for chicken scallopini from AllRecipes.com if you’re a vegetarian like I am you can easily substitute the chicken in the recipe with any vegetarian chicken alternative. I used Gardein brand ‘Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini’ and then used the recipe on the back of the bag which is very close to this one from AllRecipes.com. It came out fantastic!

Stone Cellars by Beringer – Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – Napa, California

Last night I sampled this Napa Cabernet Sauvignon by Stone Cellars (Beringer). I found the color and clarity to be dark burgundy and clear.

When I inhaled its bouquet I could have sworn I smelled brown sugar. Is that possible? (I’ve really got to get to that wine course next week 🙂 ). I also detected dark berries and almost what seemed like damp leaves. Not too appetizing probably but that’s what I was smelling.

The taste was very spicy as well as gave me the impression of overripe grapes. I sat there for awhile trying to come up with a better description of what I was tasting but it just came back to a vision I was having of overripe fruit/grapes. I don’t know if this is actually the case with this wine but it’s what I was tasting and visualizing every time I took a sip.

This Cabernet had a long smooth finish though.

My overall feeling for this Cabernet Sauvignon was that it could have been a really ‘Wow’ wine had it not been for the overripe fruit that I was tasting. Now I’ve heard that sometimes this is a desirable thing in wines and that it pushes the limits of the grapes and proves for a more mature tasting wine and maybe that’s the case with this wine. I really don’t know what the intention was for this wine when they made it. I just know that I must prefer a more youthful wine. I generally like fruits and veggies when they are in their prime not when they are starting their demise. I feel like this wine was starting it’s demise before it was even made. Again, that’s just my opinion folks and it’s really more of a theory at this point.

I do know that I’ve recently read in magazines such as Wine Spectator that 2008 was a very trying year for most Napa wines. The growing season was less than ideal and many of the crops and therefore the wines were affected by that. I think that it may be possible that that’s the case with this wine. It is a 2008 vintage and it would really make sense that that is what happened here.

Overall I found this wine to be okay. It was drinkable but I wasn’t thrilled by it. I’ve heard that Napa is known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon so I won’t let this turn me off at all. Like I said it was drinkable but it just didn’t ‘wow’ me. I’ll try other Napa Cabs and see how they rate (I’ll make sure it’s not a 2008 though).

Buzz factor: 5, it gives a bit of a buzz but not much.

Overall likability: 7, I give it this high of a score because I really can see the potential of this wine. It’s smooth and I want to really like it but something is just off to me.

Price: $9.99

Conte Priola Pinot Noir – 2009 Italy

From Total Wine and More:

‘Silky smooth, this Pinot Noir has well defined flavors of red berries and cherries. Medium-bodied with soft tannins, this food friendly wine is easy drinking and pairs well with tuna, swordfish and flavorful vegetarian entrees.’

Price: $7.99

First off, if anyone reading this can tell me what Delle Venezie means I would really appreciate it. I believe it’s the wine region in Northeast Italy where this wine is from but a Google search revealed nothing but other sites trying to sell me Italian wine. And now…back to our regular scheduled program….

I found this to be a very nice wine. It’s color was a nice deep burgundy one. It tasted very oaky and earthy with a strong flavor of berries. It was a very mellow wine that went down easy with a long-lasting, dry finish. I found the finish mellowed out after the wine was left to breathe a little bit but I don’t really know if that was an actual reality or if it was just the result of the alcohol’s influence on my taste buds. I’ll have to try it again to know for sure.

I drank this wine by itself for the pleasure of having a glass of wine so I can’t comment on whether or not the food pairings that Total Wine and More referenced are correct though I would imagine it would be a great wine to accompany a fish or vegetarian meal.

Buzz factor: 6, it’s a nice wine with a bit of a buzz but not overly so. Very pleasant.

Overall likability: I rate this wine at a 9. I really enjoyed it. It was mellow without being weak or watered down. I will definitely be keeping a few bottles of this wine in my wine rack.