What's a WineWonk?

Wine Blogs by Wonk

Footer

Recent Blogs

Footer

Wine Articles by Blog

Footer
Write about Wine. Read about Life. WineWonks, the Wine Blog Community.

2008 The Four Graces Pinot Gris

Date: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 Wine Tasting




At the end of January we attended the grand tasting at the 3rd annual Forks & Corks (recap here). One of the wines that I mentioned was The Four Graces Pinot Gris. Since then I have looked for it in stores but have not seen it as a stock item, so I asked my local shop to special order some for us.


We picked up 3 bottles at $17.99 each. If you read the recap, you will notice that I had notated $13.95 a bottle, which I now believe to have been a typo either in the original program or when I was transcribing it. The price we paid was actually a very good price for it, considering that on The Four Graces website it was about $20 if I remember correctly (they are currently sold out).


At the tasting I really liked this one a lot, and on previous occasions when I had tasted it I also liked it. We were really excited to have some at the house. Unfortunately, as with a lot of things, the expectation outshone the reality. Now, don't get me wrong -- this was still very good, it just was not as good as we were looking forward to.


The nose and palate were very floral with notes of melon and perfume. There definitely was some apple and melon along with hints of citrus. A bit of sage flirted in the background. Typically this wine shows a bit of flint and limestone minerality on the finish but I did not get any of that this time (in any of the 3 bottles). The overall impression of the wine was that it was much fatter than we expected, almost as full as a chardonnay might be.


While we liked the wine, I am not sure that we fully enjoyed it. It is always disappointing when the actual experience does not live up to the expectations.


Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

The Pineapple Avenue Panini Press - Sarasota, FL

Date: Sun, Apr 11, 2010 Wine Tasting

Yesterday while wandering through the Satasota Farmer's Market, I was handed a flyer for this panini shop in downtown Sarasota. Since Allison and I had to come back downtown for other business, we decided to give it a try.

This is a pretty new restaurant, having opened just six month ago. But they are making themselves known already and according to Sarasota Magazine, their meatball panini is one of Sarasota's top ten sandwiches.

We arrived around 1:45 on Saturday afternoon and were promptly offered the option to sit where we liked on the patio. The waitress was friendly enough, and quickly brought menus and took our drink orders. We elected to just go with water, and this was served in a highball glass rather than a proper water glass.

The menu is limited. Okay, the menu is really limited. Just a handful of sandwiches, salads and desserts to select from. I wanted to try the meatball sandwich, while Allison went with a chicken panini with mozzarella cheese and pesto.

Our orders seemed to take forever to arrive. This is not rocket science food here folks... it's a grilled sandwich. But after 15 minutes or so, arrive they did. The presentation was very good, with a nice helping of greens and fresh fruit, some interesting "chips" and the main course itself. There was a sprinkling of parsley and an orchid bloom to round out the plate.

Allison said her chicken had no flavor on its own. She thinks that it was probably boiled first with no salt or pepper to season. She said the pesto and mozzarella helped but it was not enough to spruce up the meat. She also thought that there was way too much bread for the amount of fixings included. But she did like the chips... which appeared to be various dried fruits and vegetables.

I really liked the taste of the meatballs, which were coated in a homemade red sauce as well as accompanied by a small bowl of extra sauce. Unfortunately, there just were not that many meatballs. In fact, I think that there were only 5 total. I have to agree with Allison... way too much bread for too little filling. And while the meatballs were tasty, they were also tiny. Maybe one-third of an inch across.

I mentioned above that the service started out good. Unfortunately, that was the best service we had during the meal. Our waitress pretty much disappeared except to bring us our check. Pretty sad considering it was not very busy at all.

Bottom line for us? We did not care for it much at all. Our bill, including tip, came to $20. For this there are better sandwiches to be had, and probably better service to boot.

Cheers!

The meatball panini



The Pineapple Avenue Panini Press on Urbanspoon


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Paso a Paso Tempranillo

Date: Wed, Apr 7, 2010 Wine Tasting



We were shopping for some wines the other day and I struck up a conversation with the representative from The Stacole Company, which is a large importer of wines located across the way in Boca Raton, FL. Upon his suggestion, we picked up a bottle of this 100% tempranillo from the La Mancha region of Spain.

As you know, tempranillo is one of the principal grapes used in red Rioja. In the Rioja region tempranillo based wines tend to lean towards an earthy, dusty style with very dark fruit and firm tannins which give them tremendous ageability. This one was nothing like that at all.

The inital nose was red cherry and cedar. On the palate, the fruit was more subdued that expected but still very prominent but was balanced by some notes of leather, cedar and a hint of spice. Lighter in body than we expected, leaning towards medium bodied. The finish was average.

This was a decent bottle of wine for $8.99. I would not call it a favorite by any stretch, but if someone offered me a glass I'd not turn it down.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Errazuriz Single Vineyard Carmenere

Date: Wed, Apr 7, 2010 Wine Tasting



Originally grown in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, carmenere is rarely found in France now but is one of the leading grapes in Chile. I am not a huge fan of the grape personally, but Allison likes them pretty well and this one in particular.

Vina Errazuriz is a well known and respected winery in Chile, and produces some good stuff. This carmenere comes from a single vineyard, known as The Don Maximiano Estate, and is their premier vineyard in the Aconcagua Valley.

The inital nose is that of mushroom and earth, mixed with blackberry and spice. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with notes of peppers and cherry fruit. The finish is moderate, and reveals some light tannins on the finish.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Mouton Cadet White Bordeaux

Date: Wed, Apr 7, 2010 Wine Tasting



Mouton Cadet, produced by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, tends to be a consistent wine from vintage to vintage. These are not made for cellaring, but rather to open and drink upon release, especially this white.

White Bordeaux is a blend if Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon typically. The sauvignon blanc gives it acidity and backbone while the semillon rounds it out and gives a more perfumed body to the wine.

This 2008 Mouton Cadet was tart on the palate, with notes of fresh citrus, green apple and jasmine. As it warmed up, notes of apricot and melon also played a role. The finish was short, with just a hint of wet stone.

For $8.99 this is a decent white wine for hot summer afternoons.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2006 Peterson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Date: Thu, Apr 1, 2010 Wine Tasting



During my recent visit to Scottsdale, AZ I had an opportunity to stop in a local wine store and pickup a bottle to enjoy at the hotel. While the store itself was a nice little shop, with a nice selection it was unfortunately (for me at the time anyway) one that focuses on upper end stuff. The least expensive bottle I saw was about $18 and a lot were well into 3 digits. Now, I appreciate this type of wine but all I wanted was something to open and have in the room for a couple of days.

I noticed a bottle of this Peterson Zinfandel, and not being familiar with this producer decided to give it a shot. It was $23 in the store, and on the Peterson Winery website it lists for $22 so I think it was a pretty good deal.

This zinfandel blew me away! I was absolutely stunned. The nose was rich and full of dark fruit and notes of black pepper. This was a very full-bodied wine, with some tannins that were slightly sweet. Blackberry, cherry and notes of cocoa intermingled with the black pepper spice.

It has been a long time since I have had a zinfandel that I have loved so much as I did this one. Looking at the list of distributors on their website, it appears to be distributed only on the west coast but it does look like they ship. I expect to be ordering some shortly.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

Estate House Restaurant - Scottsdale, AZ

Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 Wine Tasting



I spent the past couple of weeks in Scottsdale, AZ for my real job. While there was not a lot of time for getting out I did manage to try a couple of restaurants. The is the second one; the other is a a couple of posts further down.

This particular evening a couple of co-workers and I were searching for a good meal and happened upon the Estate House by using OpenTable reservations. I promptly made reservations and we were off.

Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted and quickly shown to our table. Things were not very busy when we arrived, but we were told that it picked up later in the evening and even as we ate it did indeed pickup somewhat.

Being on corporate expense we were somewhat more careful of our selections. We all decided to skip the appetizer course and go straight to an entre. We were served fresh, warm bread with silky smooth, soft butter. I love when restaurants bring soft butter! There was also an amuse from the chef, but as it was full of bleu cheese I did not partake. My co-workers were not terribly impressed with the amuse however.

I went with a filet, ordered medium rare which came with a manchego potato cake (86'd for my plate), roasted garlic spinach and Italian chive butter. They added extra spinach for me and it was fantastic. The spinach was not wilted down completely but still had a touch of crispness to it. I wish that there had been more roasted garlic however. The chive butter was okay; I would have been fine without it. I was disappointed that the steak was a bit overcooked, leaning towards medium well.

One of my co-workers also had the filet while the other had the NY Strip Steak. Both thought that their meals were good, but not great.

The wine list was pretty decent and seemed to be mostly moderately priced. The by-the-glass pricing was actually pretty well priced for a white tablecloth restaurant. I also had a whiskey sour at the end of my meal. This was absolutely one of the best that I have ever had --- hand made with fresh juice and simple syrup, it was perfectly proportioned between sweet and sour.

Overall, the meal was good but not particularly noteworthy. When in Scottsdale again I would be likely to eat here again, but probably would not go out of my way to do so.

Cheers!



Estate House on Urbanspoon


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2002 Bran Caia "Tre"

Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 Wine Tasting



It is always interesting to see what you might uncover in the deep, dark back corners of various wine shops. We have been fortunate on occasion to pick up a real gem hidden because a sloppy clerk or distributor did not bother to rotate the stock so that the oldest was in front. Gee, I hate it when that happens! (Ok, I really do with most wines but in cases like this one...)

Actually I can not even tell you that this one was buried; it was actually what was currently being offered. We have mostly switched our business over to one particular store in the area because they have a great selection and great prices plus they buy a lot of stuff that I do not think most people are shopping for there. I am not going to name it here, but if you asked really nicely I would probably tell you directly.

Last weekend we picked up a mixed case and I happened to grab a bottle of Bran Caia Tre 2002 from the cellar room. I did not pay much attention to the vintage until I went to start writing this review. Why? These definitely have a lot of aging potential and I did not realize that in December of 2008 we had written about our experience with the 2004 vintage. I might suggest taking a look at this review before continuing with this one.

....

Now that you are back with us, I am once again reminded how some bottle age can dramatically change a wine. The 2002 was nothing like the notes I see for the 2004. This one is massive, with no signs of slowing down. Lots of smoky earth on the nose, with some black cherry fruit. The palate was awash with tannins which are very well integrated but still very firm. There was gobs of fruit with some notes of raisin and tar on the finish which went on for minutes. This one is also throwing off sediment like there is no tomorrow. It definitely needs to be decanted.

I suspect that this has another 10 years of exceptional life to it. Amazing for a $21.99 bottle of wine.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

RA Sushi - Scottsdale, AZ

Date: Sun, Mar 21, 2010 Wine Tasting



So, I’m in Scottsdale for 9 days for my real job… you know the one that pays the bills? Yeah, that one. I got in Thursday afternoon and since I spent most of the day on a plane I was pretty hungry. I got myself checked into the hotel and then went off in search of dinner. The kind clerk at the hotel had suggested a sushi restaurant and said it was just a couple of blocks… easy walking distance. Well, I passed RA Sushi (which was not the recommendation) and went another block or so before deciding that I was really hungry and did not want to walk any further. A quick walk back and I was good to go.

This looked very promising in terms of atmosphere. There was a lively crowd sitting outside, even at 4:30 in the afternoon. The lighting was subdued inside but not dark. There was amble help and service was prompt and efficient.

RA Sushi runs some happy hour specials from 3 – 7 including half-price appetizers and a subset of the sushi menu, including both nigiri and maki sushi.

I started with my traditional Kirin Lager for a drink and quickly ordered a selection of sushi to get started. I had maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), ikura (salmon roe) as well as a spicy tuna roll. All of it was good, but just not great. There was no question of freshness but it just seemed to lack spirit. The sushi chef did not include any wasabi on the nigiri sushi which does not give it that kick. I boosted the amount of wasabi that I put on it and it was just fine though.

My server also suggested a kaisen ceviche for an appetizer dish. This is meant to be a Japanese take on a ceviche. Included are shrimp, scallops and squid mixed with tomato, avocado and salsa on top of a spring roll shell. The salsa was very fresh and included generous amounts of onion and cilantro. This was a good dish but it just did not really suit my tastes.

There were two facets of this restaurant that simply blew me away. First was the diverse mix of ethnic representation by the staff. Generally speaking I expect that Japanese restaurants are going to have Korean, Chinese and/or Japanese but to have Mexican and Caucasians working was a bit of a shock (and they were working front of the house, not back of the house! One of the sushi chefs is every bit as Caucasian as I am). The other interesting facet was the trendiness of the place. There was loud, but not unbearable, pop playing on the stereo as well as the aforementioned outdoor dining and the “see and be seen” crowd.

If you are in the Scottsdale area and are looking for sushi, this could be a good choice if you are also interested in a more “hip” setting that a traditional Japanese restaurant. However, the offset to that is that the food is more Western in flavor. They looked at me strangely when I ordered ikura and he said he did not have red clam, red snapper or amoebi. Be forewarned.

Cheers!




RA Sushi Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Read Full Wine Blog Post

RA Sushi - Scottsdale, AZ

Date: Sun, Mar 21, 2010 Wine Tasting



So, I’m in Scottsdale for 9 days for my real job… you know the one that pays the bills? Yeah, that one. I got in Thursday afternoon and since I spent most of the day on a plane I was pretty hungry. I got myself checked into the hotel and then went off in search of dinner. The kind clerk at the hotel had suggested a sushi restaurant and said it was just a couple of blocks… easy walking distance. Well, I passed RA Sushi (which was not the recommendation) and went another block or so before deciding that I was really hungry and did not want to walk any further. A quick walk back and I was good to go.

This looked very promising in terms of atmosphere. There was a lively crowd sitting outside, even at 4:30 in the afternoon. The lighting was subdued inside but not dark. There was amble help and service was prompt and efficient.

RA Sushi runs some happy hour specials from 3 – 7 including half-price appetizers and a subset of the sushi menu, including both nigiri and maki sushi.

I started with my traditional Kirin Lager for a drink and quickly ordered a selection of sushi to get started. I had maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), ikura (salmon roe) as well as a spicy tuna roll. All of it was good, but just not great. There was no question of freshness but it just seemed to lack spirit. The sushi chef did not include any wasabi on the nigiri sushi which does not give it that kick. I boosted the amount of wasabi that I put on it and it was just fine though.

My server also suggested a kaisen ceviche for an appetizer dish. This is meant to be a Japanese take on a ceviche. Included are shrimp, scallops and squid mixed with tomato, avocado and salsa on top of a spring roll shell. The salsa was very fresh and included generous amounts of onion and cilantro. This was a good dish but it just did not really suit my tastes.

There were two facets of this restaurant that simply blew me away. First was the diverse mix of ethnic representation by the staff. Generally speaking I expect that Japanese restaurants are going to have Korean, Chinese and/or Japanese but to have Mexican and Caucasians working was a bit of a shock (and they were working front of the house, not back of the house! One of the sushi chefs is every bit as Caucasian as I am). The other interesting facet was the trendiness of the place. There was loud, but not unbearable, pop playing on the stereo as well as the aforementioned outdoor dining and the “see and be seen” crowd.

If you are in the Scottsdale area and are looking for sushi, this could be a good choice if you are also interested in a more “hip” setting that a traditional Japanese restaurant. However, the offset to that is that the food is more Western in flavor. They looked at me strangely when I ordered ikura and he said he did not have red clam, red snapper or amoebi. Be forewarned.

Cheers!




RA Sushi Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay "Francine's Selection"

Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 Wine Tasting



We continue on our quest to find an inexpensive, everyday white wine. This one works much better than our last effort. I am adding it to our "everyday wine" grouping for now because it was quite tasty while not being very expensive.

Generally we shy away from chardonnay, particularly those from California as they tend to be pretty oaky. However, when we spy one that is unoaked we sit up and take some notice. Being clearly identified on the label makes a huge difference for us.

The nose showed some fresh melon. The initial palate was rich and chewy, with melon and some apple nuances. On the back, there was a hint of acidity that well balanced the fruit. This was a big feeling wine in the mouth, but the finish was shorter than expected.

At $11.99 this definitely is an affordable wine that is wonderfully easy to drink. As with most chardonnay I think this works better by itself than it would with food, but you could pair it up with a salad if you really wanted food with it.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay "Francine's Selection"

Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 Wine Tasting



We continue on our quest to find an inexpensive, everyday white wine. This one works much better than our last effort. I am adding it to our "everyday wine" grouping for now because it was quite tasty while not being very expensive.

Generally we shy away from chardonnay, particularly those from California as they tend to be pretty oaky. However, when we spy one that is unoaked we sit up and take some notice. Being clearly identified on the label makes a huge difference for us.

The nose showed some fresh melon. The initial palate was rich and chewy, with melon and some apple nuances. On the back, there was a hint of acidity that well balanced the fruit. This was a big feeling wine in the mouth, but the finish was shorter than expected.

At $11.99 this definitely is an affordable wine that is wonderfully easy to drink. As with most chardonnay I think this works better by itself than it would with food, but you could pair it up with a salad if you really wanted food with it.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Caposaldo Pinot Grigio

Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 Wine Tasting



In our never ending search for quality, inexpensive white wines that are suitable for afternoons on the lanai we are constantly on the lookout for something we have not tried. This was one of those efforts; unfortunately, it did not make the cut.

The initial nose was very ripe with fresh cut flowers and perfume. But, that is about as good as it got. The palate was that of overripe pears and baked apples. It seemed sweetish, even at 12.5% AbV. Very light-bodied, with a short and bland finish.

Overall our impression was of a wine that did not know where it wanted to go or what it wanted to be. Somewhat disjointed, with no remarkable qualities to redeem itself. I hate that I paid $7.99 for it.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Caposaldo Pinot Grigio

Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 Wine Tasting



In our never ending search for quality, inexpensive white wines that are suitable for afternoons on the lanai we are constantly on the lookout for something we have not tried. This was one of those efforts; unfortunately, it did not make the cut.

The initial nose was very ripe with fresh cut flowers and perfume. But, that is about as good as it got. The palate was that of overripe pears and baked apples. It seemed sweetish, even at 12.5% AbV. Very light-bodied, with a short and bland finish.

Overall our impression was of a wine that did not know where it wanted to go or what it wanted to be. Somewhat disjointed, with no remarkable qualities to redeem itself. I hate that I paid $7.99 for it.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post


Friends of Winewonks



Wine Spectator Online

#1 Online Wine Store

Manage Your Cellar

PokerStars Bonus Code

PokerStars Marketing Code


Check out some More Wonks Blog Communities!

Whether you like Baseball Blogs, Basketball Blogs, Beer Blogs, Car Blogs, Football Blogs, Poker Blogs, Wine Blogs....there is a Wonks Community you will enjoy!

WineWonks.com is owned and operated by Dimat Enterprises.


More about Dimat
"Dimat" is a major Poker Book publisher, with a popular Poker Forum, which originated from the book Internet Texas Holdem, by Matthew Hilger. Internet Poker Rankings tracks the top online poker players. Poker Bonos Gratis was designed to bring Free Poker Gifts to the Spanish Speaking Market.