Showing posts with label M Resort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label M Resort. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Nathanson Creek Chardonnay

All-you-can-eat buffets have been a mainstay of Las Vegas dining since the Rat Pack was smoking by the carton at the Sands.  The only thing that has changed about that is the price.  Once touted as the way to get full if you only had $1.99 left after getting cleaned out at the craps table, Las Vegas buffets now top ten, fifteen and even twenty dollars - more for the really special ones.
At the M Resort, the buffet runs about $30 - rather steep even though the food is good and there's plenty of it.  The M's Studio B buffet adds the attraction of free beverages, incuding beer and wine.  But what kind of wine are they serving for free?  Even though I was there for a 9:00 a.m. breakfast, I felt compelled to at least sample the wine and report on it here.  That's the life of a struggling wine blogger: work, work, work.
You may have seen this coming - I did - but there is only one wine label offered for free at the buffet.  It's Nathanson Creek, and I saw three varieties on hand - Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and White Zinfandel.  It was a little early for a Cab, even for me, and I thought I'd pass on the White Zin.  The Chardonnay sounded like a nice breakfast wine, so I ordered a glass.
A little searching brought no wealth of information.  It's a California wine, but I can't locate the grapes any more specifically than that.  It sells for about $8 a bottle in stores and there's a drawing of a frog on the label, which didn't surprise me. 

On tasting, I was surprised - it really wasn't too bad.  Served fairly cold, the nose is quite obscured.  I get faint notes of peach and apple with an undercurrent of oaky aromas.  The wood is not overdone and the wine has a nice level of acidity.  The finish is short, but the mouthfeel is full and round.  It goes well with bacon, which is good because that's what's usually on my plate at a Vegas buffet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut

Fans of old-school Las Vegas remember fondly the $1.99 meals which, at one time, were prevalent in Sin City.  They were quite popular at a time when the casinos felt the need to throw a loss-leader out there to attract gamblers.
Nowadays, they have figured out the gamblers will be there no matter how much the meal costs.  In fact, Las Vegas has become quite the big ticket attraction in the opulent gambling palaces on The Strip.  Chefs of world renown have restaurants in every one of the glitzy hotels where $1.99 isn't likely to buy an iced tea, much less a meal.
When I visited the M Resort - a bit south of The Strip proper - I saw that their wine bar and cellar, The Hostile Grape, was advertising $2 sparkling wine on one particular evening.  Spying a way to enjoy a little wine break without tapping too heavily into the all-important gambling money, I decided to check out the offer.  It was my personal version of the $1.99 meal.
To the credit of The Hostile Grape, they were not lowballing the selection.  It wasn't Moet et Chandon, but it was Chandon, the California arm of the noted French Champagne house.
Chandon's Reserve Pinot Noir Brut was the $2 choice that night.  It's not a top-shelf sparkler, but it carries a little more prestige than Tott's.  Made from grapes that are 53% Napa County, 47% Sonoma County, this sparkler figures out to 76% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier.  That's the math.  Now, let's taste.
A pale golden color in the glass, the bubbles are quite fine and plentiful.  A wonderfully funky little nose shows yeasty apples.  The Febreze Factor that afflicts the rest of the hotel is not so prevalent down in the wine cellar.  A creamy palate is no doubt due to the minimum of three years spent on yeast.  Toast and earthy notes prevail, with almonds and custard very faint on the finish.
The wine was a hit with me - so big a hit, I went right upstairs and had a winning session at the blackjack table, finishing $10 up!  That's enough for several more glasses of their nice $2 sparkler.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Dillman Delight Riesling

All the watering holes at the M Resort in Las Vegas go a little heavy on the house brand wines.  There are, however, some good selections available on the wine lists throughout the bars and restaurants of the hotel and casino.
I took a break from the action on the casino floor to visit the M's Lobby Bar for a glass of Dillman Delight Riesling.  Despite the name - which I think sounds like a moonshine from The Dukes Of Hazzard - it's a German Riesling from Bernkastel in the Mosel-saar-ruwer region.  The steeply-sloped vineyards of the region produce some mighty fine Riesling grapes.
The waitress on duty at the nearly empty bar said she likes Dillman Delight because it reminds her of Pinot Grigio.  How ringing that endorsement is depends on your view of Pinot Grigio, I suppose.  After she assured me it was German, I decided to give it a try.  It's $9 per glass.
The Dillman Delight is very pale in color.  I'm told the nose carries tropical and mineral aromas, but the M perfumes their air conditioning, so getting past the Febreze scent was a challenge.  Pear juice comes through nicely on the palate with some citrus and mineral notes and a decent acidity.  There is a trace of petrol that lingers into the short finish, for which I an always grateful in a Riesling.  The waitress didn't seem to share my delight with that petrol emotion.
I tried a few other wines in a few other places while at the M Resort.  I'll be telling you about them in the coming days on this blog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Salmon Creek Merlot

Salmon Creek is one of the 60 or so labels under Fred Franzia’s Bronco Wine Company umbrella.  It would seem Franzia names the labels for his California company by randomly selecting two words: the first word is an adjective, food or animal; the second is a word describing a facet of nature.  In this manner, he would have arrived at names like Almond Creek, Silver Ridge, Foxbrook, Crane Lake, Black Mountain and, of course, Salmon Creek.

I’ve had Salmon Creek wines before, in restaurants.  They - and most of Franzia’s product - are usually the least expensive wines on the menu.  This Merlot was gifted to me by the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas.  At a rock-bottom price of $5.25 on the internet - and they probably paid less - it’s not the kind of wine I would want to give as a gift.  I have noticed that Las Vegas casinos don’t typically give great bottles of wine as gifts to their customers.  Maybe if our gambling contributions were larger, the wife and I would be on the list for some Gallo!

Sorry about all that peering into the gift Bronco’s mouth.  Let’s taste some cheap wine!

The color is medium ruby red, and I can see right through it.  The nose of ripe cherries and blackberries with a chimney smoke presence is pleasant, if not very commanding.  The taste shows cherry, red plums and a clove note that comes at mid-palate and lingers on the finish.  The tannins are less than spectacular.  The wine is smooth, but not really food friendly due to lack of acidity.  There is a fake-candy sort of quality to this Merlot that does not appeal to me, but might be right up someone else's alley.  The alcohol content is only 12.5% abv.  The grapes, according to the label, are sourced in Sonoma County.

I can’t say this is a good wine, but it’s really not a bad wine, either.  That depends a lot on your point of view, though.  In much the same way that Budweiser beer is drinkable, but not something to get excited about, so this Salmon Creek Merlot is nothing to cause you to pen a letter to the folks back home.  If you are looking for a cheap red wine to chill down on a hot summer day, or use in making sangria, this will do nicely.  If you are looking for a wine that will impress at a dinner party, keep looking.  And look higher up on the shelf.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Craggy Range

Hostile Grape at the M Resort in Las Vegas is where I got away from the casino floor for a bit and relaxed with a nice, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.  It was well into the triple digits outside, so a cool and fresh wine was definitely the order of the day.  Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc was my choice.  It's a single vineyard wine.

Craggy Range SB is very easy to drink.  The straw color is fairly innocuous but the nose gives a good, healthy dose of that fine grassy aroma I like to find in a Sauvignon Blanc.  This effort, from Marlborough, New Zealand, shows that grassy note as the dominant feature in a very fresh nose.  Pineapple aromas also come through.  The taste is fruity with a nice acidity.  The acid seemed a bit restrained at first, but became more noticeable on the finish.  Pineapple flavor is joined by guava, with a grapefruit trailing edge as a parting shot.

I thought it might be a wee bit lackluster at first, but it became more complex as I drank it.  If you stay away from Sauvignon Blanc because it comes on too strong for your taste, this may be a great wine for you to try.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Hostile Grape is the wine cellar and bar downstairs from the casino in the M Resort in Las Vegas. I should say "just south of Las Vegas," though. M is the southernmost resort hotel in Vegas - for the moment, anyway.  Things do change quickly in LV.

The wine cellar is a large room, and dark. 15 minutes after opening on a Friday afternoon, it was empty, too.  They tell me the crowd grows, but I was a little surprised at how few people had made their way there by 6:00 p.m.  A barrel stave ceiling makes a great thematic touch.  Six very large couches and tables line the center of the room, while the bar down the left side seats twelve. Jazzy, funky music plays on the sound system, but the quality of the selections varies widely.

There is an automated wine sample dispenser with samples ranging from $2 to $9 per ounce.  You can also order glasses or bottles from the list.

The menu features mostly California wines, with some French and Italian selections.  Marinelli seems to be the house wine, which I was told is produced by Napa Valley winery Cosentino.  By-the-glass offerings include three sparkling wines, six reds and six whites.

It's a beautiful room, and until the thrill-seeking hordes in Las Vegas find out about it, it's a great place for a quiet tête à tête.

I had the Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc, Te Muna Road Vineyard from Marlborough, New Zealand. I'll write more about that later.