Sunday, March 10, 2013

Four Graces Pinot Noir

Anyone who has spent any wine time with me knows I am not a raving Pinot Noir lover. Actually, I don't really like Pinot to be honest. And even more specifically, I don't like cheap crappy Pinot.
I led a wine tasting earlier in the week on Pinot (email me if you want a copy of the tasting notes) for a friend's company, and it got me back to giving the Heartbreak Grape another chance.

The Four Graces
Willamette Valley, Oregon
I actually tried this wine a couple weeks ago when a wine rep brought it in, and after tasting it I had to ask where to buy it. It is a well made, nice structured Pinot with wonderful earthy notes punctuated by cherry, cranberry and violets and a slight white pepper finish. At first the acidity was a bit startling, but once my palate got comfortable and then filet and lobster Oscar style was added into the mix it was the perfect sipper. That once shocking backbone of acidity really made it pop with rich food, just cleansing the palate without overwhelming the delicate lobster, yet still firm enough to hang with the steak. I could drink this wine with every meal.
The great thing about Willamette Valley Pinots is their Burgundy-style drive to make Pinots with finesse and delicacy that express terroir.  The team at Four Graces does that nicely with this wine. They even go so far to put "Estate Crafted and Defined By the Terroir of the Willamette Valley", they know what style they want and they hit it.
One of the best parts of this wine was its price... $24.99 at Total Wine (or $22.49 with their pick 6 discount, and let's be honest, I always pick AT LEAST 6). This is truly a food wine with the ease of drinking alone.
Make sure to serve this at cellar temp, it drinks much much better with s slight chill to it. You won't hear me say it often, but mmmmmm, Pinot.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

You like Cotes du Rhone?! I'm shocked!

Hi, my name is Rachael and I am a Cote du Rhone-aholic.
The thing about this wine is that it is like your boyfriend/husband/cat... reliably good, always there, cheap, and you know what you're getting without having to look too hard. It also stays well overnight.
Applause.. I'll be here always.

Alain Jaume & Fils
Grand Veneur, Reserve
Cotes du Rhone, 2009
Rhone reds from 2009 have surprised me with their overt jammy style. Dense blackberry cobbler when room temp and freshly opened... I would have mistaken it for a Central Coast, CA Syrah. Vanilla, baking spices, black fruit, and a full thick mouthfeel had this bad girl on the track to jam town, and not in a good way, blech.
Like a good lady, left to its own devices overnight she became much more sassy and spicy.
Chilled, but with the fruit still there, this wine came alive tonight. Sassy and punchy with a better showing of acidity, while still smelling like a cooling blackberry cobbler on a rainy day.
Not my favorite CDR,but reliable in its character and pleasantness.
I'm still drinking it, so despite a $20 price tag, I think it is worth it!

Barolo Me This Batman!

There are a few thins I love in wine life: an amazing under $20 bottle, Cab Franc, Cotes du Rhone, a good wine story... and Barolo.
I like to call Barolo the neighborhood bully, all acid and tannin and not very nice on his own. But throw in a bit of tender loving steak and a few hours in decanter timeout and you have a true gentleman.

Mauro Sebaste
Barolo Riserva, 2006
A little unnecessary background: I've been on a liquid diet for a week. I am hungry. I came home from a particularly long day of wine servitude to find Mr. Boyfriend had purchased this bottle ($50 at Total Wine) and made me steak and mushrooms. Whether this was sweet or self preservation is still up for debate, but I digress...
Yeah, I said it.
This particular brick red beauty was just what dinner called for.
Barolo, made from the butt kickin' Nebbiolo grape is one badass dude of a wine. High acid, high tannin and all the sweet sexy oaky sour cherry goodness could ever want in a wine. More than anything this outlaw has a heart of gold for delicious food.
I will admit, after 12 hours on my feet I needed nothing from this wine on its own, and still so young for a Barolo (don't get boyfriend started on the 2001 we had for Christmas), it was tough. Soon rare filets, garlic mushrooms, and lemon asparagus tips arrived, and the acid and fat of the meal made Mr. Wine very loveable (and Boyfriend always is). Like a Sour Patch Kid commercial, I had been slapped in the palate and now was being hugged by vanilla, spice, flowers, cherry and more red fruit.
I will still pick a Barbaresco (same Nebbiolo grape, different hillside... le sigh Italy) over Barolo any day,  but this was the slap back to reality me and my tongue needed. And reminded me that wine is meant for food and vice versa. Happy Wino at the end of it all.