Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wednesday's Wines: Creekside Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

This past weekend a new Colorado wine event was born: Winter Wine Fest. The event was brought about by the Two Parts (formerly Imbibe) event planners and Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau to provide Denver with a Colorado-themed wine event. The slow winter months just happen to be the best time for wineries to attend such an event in Denver. For a first-year event it was very successful - over 400 guests attended to taste wine from 17 different wineries. Through my position with the CO Wine Board, I attended to pour a selection of wines from the 2015 Governor's Cup Case for VIP guests. The feedback from both consumers and wineries was positive. I will be interested to see how it grows in the future.

Creekside Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
One of the wines we poured was the Creekside Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (13.9% abv, Sample $35). There was bit more than half a bottle remaining, so instead of dumping it I brought it home to have during the Super Bowl. This Cabernet is rather light for Cabernet - in both color and body. More than one person at the Winter Wine Fest asked if it was Pinot noir when I poured it for them. It's not anything like Pinot, but I can understand their confusion with what comes in some of the more popular Cabernet bottles from California. In fact, we pour this one before the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot we also poured. It is a lovely translucent red color and is quite aromatic. On the nose there are aromas of flowers, spices and dark fruit. This wine is all about finesse and not power, but still shows a lot of complexity. The smooth tannins complement the clove, leather, herbs, cherry and blackberry flavors that caress the palate. The combination of flavors and brightness of the acidity harken to an old-school style of Cabernet Sauvignon not afraid of embracing the grape's savoriness. It is a lovely wine that will probably disappoint those looking for the upfront fruit and concentration that hijack so many Cabernet Sauvignon.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Beatrice's Blushes: Garbó Rosat

We had a mini-milestone this week on the baby front. Beatrice laughed for the first time! She has been smiling for awhile now, but she combined that with a chuckle the other day. A few funny faces and odd noises from mom and dad were just to much for her to contain herself anymore. She really is starting to show her personality and before we know it, she will demand her independence from her parents.

Garbó 2014 Rosat

This week's rosé comes from a region that has been trying gain its independence for quite some time. Montsant is a Catalan wine region in northeast Spain - near the esteemed Priorat region. Just a few months ago, the Catalan parliament voted to begin secession from Spain. Spain of course isn't on board, but this movement will definitely be interesting to follow in the future. The independent streak is apparent in the label with the Catalan word for rosé, rosat, instead of the Spanish rosado. The  Garbó 2014 Rosat (13.66% abv, Sample $19) is part of the Ferrer Family of wines - think Freixenet or Gloria Ferrer Winery in California. This beautiful bright pink wine is a blend of Garnacha (Grenache for you francophones) and Syrah. Delicate floral and fruit aromas can be found on the rather subdued nose. Flavors of raspberry and tart cherry combine with a lot of spice and some hints of herbs on the palate. It is not especially complex or exceptionally interesting, but it pairs nicely with homemade paella. It is a decent wine, but there is a lot other rosé that might be a better value for close to $20.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday's Wines: Scherrer Winery

One of my favorite things about the French wine industry is the use of controlled designations of origin. Not only does the AOP/AOC system guarantee the source of the grapes, but also the grape cultivars themselves. When you buy a bottle of Gevrey Chambertin you know it is made from Pinot noir. When you buy a bottle of Sancerre you know it is Sauvignon blanc. This system is great for providing a plethora of information to a savvy customer by only using a geographic on a label. This system is also great for stifling producer creativity. You will never find a bottle of Bordeaux made with Syrah. Ah, Château Palmer's Historical XIX Century Wine is an exception to that rule, you say! Yes, but this blend of Bordeaux and Syrah from the northern Rhône Valley is labeled as Vin de Table Français, or lowly French Table Wine. Though it occasionally happens, French wine producers produce wine from restricted cultivars, or by restricted methods, and then label the wine with the less prestigious Vin de Table Français designation. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beatrice's Blushes: Josef Weger Lagrein Rosato

Well, Beatrice reached the two month milestone last week! She's been smiling for a few weeks now and seeing her toothless grins is still one of the best things in the world. I was FaceTiming with my father other day while taking a walk with (a fussy) Beatrice and he mentioned that that might have been the first time he actually heard her cry. She'll occasionally fuss when she's tired, but mostly she's all about that cute happy face. I don't think seeing babies smile ever gets old.

Josef Weger 2011 Lagrein Rosato
Unfortunately, wine does get old. I probably keep rosé longer than most people and sometimes there's a downside to it. The Josef Weger 2011 Lagrein Rosato (13% abv. Purchased $12) was definitely past its prime. Lagrein produces tannic red wines in the Südtirol, but that trait didn't help keep this rosé going strong five years in. Now it wasn't bad, but it was on its last legs. It had some dried fruit - raspberries maybe? - and dried herb characteristics, but not much else. I had a second glass the following evening to see if it changed at all, but there definitely wasn't any improvement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday's Wines: Rutini Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a grape cultivar that seems to be a somewhat forgotten behind Chardonnay and Riesling. Both of those cultivars have faithful followers, as well as vocal detractors. Sauvignon blanc doesn't really reach either end of that spectrum. When it does get mentioned, two of the characteristics that get most often thrown around are "grapefruit" and "cat pee." The sea of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc might bear some repsonsiblitiy for its poor reputation. Yet, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for some of the world's great wines. Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Bordeaux blanc, and Fruili are home to some of the world's great dry white wines - and they're all made with Sauvignon blanc. And then throw in Sauternes - home to perhaps the greatest dessert wines on the planet - and you can see why Sauvignon blanc should get a bit more respect.

Here is a fun little bit of trivia you can use at your next dinner party. Few people also know that it's one of Cabernet Sauvignon's parental units! Some time in the 18th Century after a late night out with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon was born. Its name is hence Cabernet franc Sauvignon blanc. Interesting how a crisp white wine and a perfumed, somewhat lighter red can come together to create a cultivar that makes big, rich, tannic wines. Genetics are sometimes curious!

Rutini 2014 Sauvignon blanc
Argentina is one region that doesn't come to mind when I think of Sauvignon blanc. There shouldn't be any reason the cultivar wouldn't succeed in the vineyards of Mendoza, so I decided to give the Rutini 2014 Sauvignon blanc (12.5% abv, Sample $25) a try. It has an nose filled with aromas of green apple and limes. Those tart fruit flavors are complemented on the palate with the addition of grapefruits and cut grass. The green notes are in the background, but present nonetheless. Tasted blind it would be difficult to guess anything other than Sauvignon blanc. The mouthfeel is quite nice; there is a subtle creaminess balanced with loads of acidity. Overall, this is a very nice wine, but probably slightly overpriced.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Greatest Wine Sale Almost No One Knows About...

For a small group of wine lovers January 27 is a special holiday known as BerserkerDay. Each year, on this hallow day, wineries, retailers, and other peddlers of the wine industry are invited to offer berserk (adjective: out of control with excitement; wild or frenzied) deals on their products. This day of deals is a fantastic way for wineries to give back to consumers, and also the reverse, as many, many new and exciting wineries/producers/wines are discovered by the eager Wineberserkers community on BerserkerDay, with purchases made, and discussions from those who might have experience with them. Typically, you can expect discounts of at least 30% plus free shipping. Producers also tend you put together special packages - library releases, vertical sets, or special cuvées - just for this event. Fiscal restraint is difficult as the deals may make you spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on wine in a matter of hours. It is a great way to discover new wine, or stock up on wine you already know and love.

This year, be sure to tell your friends, just as I'm telling you, about this event. BerserkerDay is available anyone who wants to see it - you don't HAVE to be a registered member of the Wineberserkers community (unless you have an order that requires you to send a private message the winery, in that case, you better register!) to take advantage of the deals. If you're interested in following along on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #berserkerday. The deals will start showing up on the BerserkerDay VII forum around 8 am MST and run for approximately 12 hours.  There will be nearly 100 offers, with nearly 40 auction items, available! See you at Wineberserkers.com tomorrow...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Beatrice's Blushes: Snowy Peaks Winery Cinsault Rosé

It is interesting how certain wines remind you of other totally unrelated wines previously consumed. The same can be said of people. Sometimes these similarities can be good things or not so good. I notice things about Beatrice that I remember happening with Ben, but I know they're completely different people. I sometimes find myself tasting a wine and think it is something else when I know it can't possibly be. I've been put off by wines that reminded me so much of something I didn't enjoy in the past, only to be surprised when the labels were revealed. But the best instances of these mistaken identities are when you taste a wine that is a dead ringer for something either rare or much more expensive. Well, this week's rosé fits into that category.