Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spicy. Show all posts

Monday, December 7, 2009

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 4

Fess Parker Frontier Red Lot 91 is the latest in a series of non-vintage wines from Fess Parker's respected Santa Barbara County winery.  Their website lists the wine at $12, but it sells at some places for $10, and I got a bottle from Los Angeles Wine Company for $8.

The wine is a blend of six Rhone varietals, and it really drinks like an actual Rhone Valley wine rather than a California facsimile.  The nose features blackberry and spices in a very dark setting.  An herbal quality seems to come through a layer of smoke.  On the palate, Frontier Red has a dark edge as well, with plenty of smoky fruit and a licorice component adding to the dark flavors.  I picked up a bit of graphite, too.  Frontier Red drank better each of the three nights it was open.

It's got a medium-mouthfeel, which is rather surprising considering the grapes involved.  I thought of it at first as "thin," but later I felt that might be a bit harsh, since the taste is so good.  I do prefer a bigger feel on my palate, though.  I would recommend giving it some time to settle down, either sitting in the glass or by decanting.

My wife used some of it in a spaghetti sauce she made, and the result was fabulous.  Naturally, the wine paired extremely well with that sauce.

Winemaker:  Fess Parker
Varietal:  56% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 13% Carignane, 5% Sangiovese, 5% Cinsault & 1% Mourvedre 
Appelation:  California > Santa Barbara County
Vineyard:  Camp Four Vineyard (Santa Ynez Valley); Starlane Vineyard (Santa Barbara County); Rodney's Vineyard (Santa Ynez Valley)
Vintage:  NV
Alcohol Level:  15.5%
Price:  $8 (list $12)
Acquisition disclaimer:  I paid for this wine, on sale.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 2

TBD Rouge Lodi Red Wine 2007

Here's the second in my series of
Recession Buster wines
. This one hails from Trader Joe's, home to many value-priced wines. It sells for $6, which is what I paid for it. This may turn out to be a nice value, too, as I have noticed some fairly good vino coming out of Lodi at very reasonable prices.

The Bottle: Zinfandel is described as the lead character, with Petite Sirah and Malbec following. The label promises a robust, spicy and engaging wine which will drink well over the next five years. DnA Vineyards of Ukiah, California produces this wine, which is sourced mainly from Lodi. The alcohol clocks in at 14.5% abv. The color is a very deep purple, quite a lovely looking wine.

The Nose: There is a tar-covered fruit aroma here that I find quite appealing. It's blackberries, I believe. It's a nice, open, pleasant smell - one that I most often notice when tasting at a winery. Accordingly, it brings up some nice memories. There's not a lot of alcohol present on the nose, either. That's rather surprising at 14.5%. I could just go on smelling it, it's that good!

The Taste: Finally I relent and take a sip. These tannins are very active. The mouthfeel is medium-full, but it's rather acidic, unfortunately, and goes down hot. While it's rolling about in my mouth the taste is actually quite nice, but the rest of the experience is somewhat lacking. Perhaps letting it sit longer will tame it. I gave it about a half hour in the glass before drinking, and it does not appear to have been enough. Aside from that, it's not too bad. A spicy taste with lots of of black pepper on the berries gives way to a slightly vegetal sense that will hopefully increase over a couple of days. That's not too glowing a recommendation, I suppose, but my main problem with this wine is the extremely tannic nature.

Footnote: After making these notes, it had been in the glass an hour or so and calmed down quite a bit. It became a very nice quaff. I should mention that it seems a little unusual this is a Zinfandel blend. It strikes me much more like a Syrah.

Wine at South Point on Sunset, Los Angeles

It was raining in Los Angeles, which is never good news for the drive home from work. Added to that problem was word of a power outage in Laurel Canyon. Turning west on Hollywood Boulevard from Fairfax confirmed our worst fears. Slow moving traffic up the hill. We quickly decided to jog over to Greenblatt's. That quickly began to look like a bad idea, as the parking lot was jammed and service is never that good when we're the only people in the place. A five minute wait with no attention from the servers had us up and out the door. Let's try South Point, right across the street. The crowd was much more manageable at South Point and we sat near the window with plenty of elbow room. After quite a spell without wine, South Point Argentine Grill - formerly Gaucho Grill - has finally gotten the legalities squared away. It's a nice wine list, with a good variety of Argentine wines to go along with the meaty Argentine menu items. I had the Trapiche Malbec, from Mendoza. Trapiche is widely known as a good producer, growing grapes in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. I liked the look of it, deep purple as it was. The nose brought blueberries and cherries, with a little smack of vanilla as a result of the oak. The mouthfeel was quite full and complete. Black cherry and some spiciness were the stars of the show. I had it with the chorizo appetizer - which is enough for a meal, if you ask me - and the match was quite nice. The drive home was just fine after our little stopover, by the way.