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2006 Seven Sleepers

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting



This was an interesting blend of Shiraz (40%), Petit Verdot (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Grenache (7%) and Malbec (5%) from the Barossa Valley region of Australia. Known to those of German heritage as "Siebenschlafer" which supposedly fortells the weather conditions for the next 7 weeks as of June 27th. If it rains on this day, then the next 7 weeks will be rainy. Likewise, if it is sunny on this day then the next 7 weeks will be sunny and pleasant. Go figure... :-)

The nose was full of red cherry fruit with hints of some spice underneath. On the front palate, the cherry was dominant but as it opened up some blackberry, licorice and currant showed. The black peppercorn spice stayed in the background as a supporting role but never really stepped up and balanced the brightness of the fruit.

If you like a fruit driven red wine that also has good body, this could be a wine that you would like.

Cheers!

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2006 Seven Sleepers

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting



This was an interesting blend of Shiraz (40%), Petit Verdot (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Grenache (7%) and Malbec (5%) from the Barossa Valley region of Australia. Known to those of German heritage as "Siebenschlafer" which supposedly fortells the weather conditions for the next 7 weeks as of June 27th. If it rains on this day, then the next 7 weeks will be rainy. Likewise, if it is sunny on this day then the next 7 weeks will be sunny and pleasant. Go figure... :-)

The nose was full of red cherry fruit with hints of some spice underneath. On the front palate, the cherry was dominant but as it opened up some blackberry, licorice and currant showed. The black peppercorn spice stayed in the background as a supporting role but never really stepped up and balanced the brightness of the fruit.

If you like a fruit driven red wine that also has good body, this could be a wine that you would like.

Cheers!


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2005 M. Cosentino "Cigarzin"

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting



Remember back in the 1990's when cigars were all the rage? The first vintage of M. Cosentino's "Cigarzin" was released during the craze as a wine with the backbone and structure to standup to a great cigar.

This definitely was a big zinfandel but it did not blow me away. There was a lot of bright red fruit early on, which gave way to a good core of spice and darker fruits. Certainly not what I would call a fruit bomb, but I was surprised at how much fruit showed through. The spiciness was well represented, but did not seem to carry the undercurrent and balance out the fruit. The finish was somewhat short, leaving me to wonder where it went.

Definitely not a bad zinfandel for $17.99, but there are others out there that I would definitely recommend over this especially with a cigar.

Cheers!

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2005 M. Cosentino "Cigarzin"

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting



Remember back in the 1990's when cigars were all the rage? The first vintage of M. Cosentino's "Cigarzin" was released during the craze as a wine with the backbone and structure to standup to a great cigar.

This definitely was a big zinfandel but it did not blow me away. There was a lot of bright red fruit early on, which gave way to a good core of spice and darker fruits. Certainly not what I would call a fruit bomb, but I was surprised at how much fruit showed through. The spiciness was well represented, but did not seem to carry the undercurrent and balance out the fruit. The finish was somewhat short, leaving me to wonder where it went.

Definitely not a bad zinfandel for $17.99, but there are others out there that I would definitely recommend over this especially with a cigar.

Cheers!


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1999 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting


This past weekend, Allison was out of town which gave me an opportunity to drink some wines that I know she does not really care for. Some time back I happened to get to taste some Sauternes and fell in love with them and in particular Chateau Rieussec. Since that time I have tried to add at least a couple of bottles per vintage to the cellar. I also try to pick them up in half-bottle sizes (375ml) for two reasons... 1) Allison generally will not be sharing these with me and 2) just a little bit will do you!

So what exactly is a Sauternes? You can read all about it on Wikipedia but in short it is a dessert (sweet) wine from the Graves region of Bordeaux. The principal grapes include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle and they must be affected by Botrytis cinerea (Noble rot) to make Sauternes. They tend to be sweet, and have an incredible lifespan.

Even though this one is 10 years old I did not expect that it would be anywhere near its peak, but I was not expecting it to be as closed down as it was. The color was turning to a rich, golden honey color which is typical for older Saurternes. I have seen some that were closer to brown than white. The nose really did not show a whole lot, either upon the inital opening nor with over an hour of aeration. The palate was sweet, but not as much as I expected. It was not cloyingly sweet but rather reminiscent of honey and apricot. The fruit definitely was there, balanced with a good bit of acidity but again very subdued.

I took a peek to see what Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate) or Wine Spectator said about this vintage but neither one rated the 1999. My best guess for this is that it needs at least 5 more years in the bottle, and probably will last for another 20-25 years easily.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

1999 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes

Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 Wine Tasting


This past weekend, Allison was out of town which gave me an opportunity to drink some wines that I know she does not really care for. Some time back I happened to get to taste some Sauternes and fell in love with them and in particular Chateau Rieussec. Since that time I have tried to add at least a couple of bottles per vintage to the cellar. I also try to pick them up in half-bottle sizes (375ml) for two reasons... 1) Allison generally will not be sharing these with me and 2) just a little bit will do you!

So what exactly is a Sauternes? You can read all about it on Wikipedia but in short it is a dessert (sweet) wine from the Graves region of Bordeaux. The principal grapes include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle and they must be affected by Botrytis cinerea (Noble rot) to make Sauternes. They tend to be sweet, and have an incredible lifespan.

Even though this one is 10 years old I did not expect that it would be anywhere near its peak, but I was not expecting it to be as closed down as it was. The color was turning to a rich, golden honey color which is typical for older Saurternes. I have seen some that were closer to brown than white. The nose really did not show a whole lot, either upon the inital opening nor with over an hour of aeration. The palate was sweet, but not as much as I expected. It was not cloyingly sweet but rather reminiscent of honey and apricot. The fruit definitely was there, balanced with a good bit of acidity but again very subdued.

I took a peek to see what Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate) or Wine Spectator said about this vintage but neither one rated the 1999. My best guess for this is that it needs at least 5 more years in the bottle, and probably will last for another 20-25 years easily.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

Redux Libby's Cafe and Bar - Sarasota

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting


For valentine's day we had thought that we would head over the the Siesta Key Oyster Bar for dinner but upon arrival we found it to be quite crowded and rather chaotic with no clear process for getting a table. We decided that we would look for dinner elsewhere and come back when perhaps it would not be quite as insane. I whipped out the iPhone and launched OpenTable to see what we could find and Libby's had an opening that we decided to secure.

We wrote about our dining experience at Libby's earlier. Since then we had slipped in for lunch and were very pleasantly impressed so felt like this would be a good venue for dinner.

We arrived about 40 minutes early and sat at the bar while waiting on our table. Wow! The drink prices for cocktails are absurd! 2 glasses of wine and 2 tanqueray-and-tonics = $40!

Once we got to our table, we were presented with both the regular dinner menu as well as the valentine's day special menu. The special menu listed 5-6 appetizers and about as many entree's. Allison went with a couple of items from the specials and I took a couple off the regular menu.

For starters, Allison had the Maine lobster and gruyere bisque, accompanied by a Florida State Fair lobster corn dog (more the size of a hush puppy). She said it was very, very good. Being allergic to cheese I skipped it but she said she could not taste any in it at all. Interesting. I opted for the Peachtree Farms deviled eggs with Mote Marine American Sturgeon caviar and chives. Wow! These definitely had a kick to them (from cayenne pepper) and were very, very tasty. I would have preferred more caviar, but that is typical of me ;-)

For dinner I elected to try the yellowfin tuna "nori mignon": sashimi grade tuna with a mango-teriyaki and panko-nori crust, served with a sushi rice and Wakame cucumber salad and ginger-thai emulsion. If the panko crust were 86'd this would have been perfect; as it was, it was just outstanding. Allison choose duck breast served with foie gras and current tortellini, roast pear and port glace. She found this to be amazing as well.

Libby's has become Allison's go-to restaurant, and I have to agree that I am glad we have given them another chance. The food last night was absolutely perfect.

Cheers!

Libby's on Urbanspoon

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Redux Libby's Cafe and Bar - Sarasota

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting


For valentine's day we had thought that we would head over the the Siesta Key Oyster Bar for dinner but upon arrival we found it to be quite crowded and rather chaotic with no clear process for getting a table. We decided that we would look for dinner elsewhere and come back when perhaps it would not be quite as insane. I whipped out the iPhone and launched OpenTable to see what we could find and Libby's had an opening that we decided to secure.

We wrote about our dining experience at Libby's earlier. Since then we had slipped in for lunch and were very pleasantly impressed so felt like this would be a good venue for dinner.

We arrived about 40 minutes early and sat at the bar while waiting on our table. Wow! The drink prices for cocktails are absurd! 2 glasses of wine and 2 tanqueray-and-tonics = $40!

Once we got to our table, we were presented with both the regular dinner menu as well as the valentine's day special menu. The special menu listed 5-6 appetizers and about as many entree's. Allison went with a couple of items from the specials and I took a couple off the regular menu.

For starters, Allison had the Maine lobster and gruyere bisque, accompanied by a Florida State Fair lobster corn dog (more the size of a hush puppy). She said it was very, very good. Being allergic to cheese I skipped it but she said she could not taste any in it at all. Interesting. I opted for the Peachtree Farms deviled eggs with Mote Marine American Sturgeon caviar and chives. Wow! These definitely had a kick to them (from cayenne pepper) and were very, very tasty. I would have preferred more caviar, but that is typical of me ;-)

For dinner I elected to try the yellowfin tuna "nori mignon": sashimi grade tuna with a mango-teriyaki and panko-nori crust, served with a sushi rice and Wakame cucumber salad and ginger-thai emulsion. If the panko crust were 86'd this would have been perfect; as it was, it was just outstanding. Allison choose duck breast served with foie gras and current tortellini, roast pear and port glace. She found this to be amazing as well.

Libby's has become Allison's go-to restaurant, and I have to agree that I am glad we have given them another chance. The food last night was absolutely perfect.

Cheers!

Libby's on Urbanspoon


Read Full Wine Blog Post

NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting


About five or six years ago we happened upon a bottle of this in a wine shop in Atlanta for $19.99 a bottle. We had never heard of it, so did not know anything about it but decided to take a chance. It quickly became one of our favorite champagnes. After we learned a bit about it, we believe that it was mis-priced because we have never found it anywhere near that price since and would immediately buy as much of it as we could if we did.

This is full-throttle champagne. Full-bodied with lots of heady bread-yeast and white flower. There are notes of crisp apple and brown-butter nuttiness that are balanced by firm acidity. The bubbles are very tight throughout the bottle and the constant effervescence makes this a perfect food wine.

This one has steadily climbed in price, and we paid $69.99 a bottle for it recently. While it is still one of our favorites, the price point is simply too high when you realize the you could be drinking 2 bottles of Schramsberg or Roederer for the same money. Hopefully we can find some of this on sale in the near future as we do love it and would love to put some back in the cellar.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting


About five or six years ago we happened upon a bottle of this in a wine shop in Atlanta for $19.99 a bottle. We had never heard of it, so did not know anything about it but decided to take a chance. It quickly became one of our favorite champagnes. After we learned a bit about it, we believe that it was mis-priced because we have never found it anywhere near that price since and would immediately buy as much of it as we could if we did.

This is full-throttle champagne. Full-bodied with lots of heady bread-yeast and white flower. There are notes of crisp apple and brown-butter nuttiness that are balanced by firm acidity. The bubbles are very tight throughout the bottle and the constant effervescence makes this a perfect food wine.

This one has steadily climbed in price, and we paid $69.99 a bottle for it recently. While it is still one of our favorites, the price point is simply too high when you realize the you could be drinking 2 bottles of Schramsberg or Roederer for the same money. Hopefully we can find some of this on sale in the near future as we do love it and would love to put some back in the cellar.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Wente "Louis Mel" Sauvignon Blanc

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



The nose on this was quite a turn-off when I first opened this one up. A lot of asparagus and green leaf dominated. As it opened up over 15-20 minutes this mostly blew off, and gave way to some overripe melon, light citrus and a hint of pineapple.

The palate followed the nose pretty much hand-in-hand. There was some acidity on the back of palate but it was not at all pronounced as you might expect.

This one goes into the "we've tried it, but won't buy it again" bucket. At least it was only $7.99.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Wente "Louis Mel" Sauvignon Blanc

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



The nose on this was quite a turn-off when I first opened this one up. A lot of asparagus and green leaf dominated. As it opened up over 15-20 minutes this mostly blew off, and gave way to some overripe melon, light citrus and a hint of pineapple.

The palate followed the nose pretty much hand-in-hand. There was some acidity on the back of palate but it was not at all pronounced as you might expect.

This one goes into the "we've tried it, but won't buy it again" bucket. At least it was only $7.99.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Marquis Philips Shiraz

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Marquis Philips produces a number of very reasonably priced wines that consistently seem to get really good reviews and tend to be wines that people like to snap up when they are released. I had previously tasted several previous vintages of the Shiraz, and while I thought that it was a decent effort there was nothing that made it remarkable for me.

Notwithstanding this, I recently picked up a bottle to give it another try. Unfortunately for me, this one was consistent with the rest. It is a well made wine, with no major flaws yet it just does not show anything that would make it stand out. In a blind tasting, I would not give this anything but an average rating.

The fruit is somewhat subdued, showing most red fruit characteristics and just a subtle undertone of some peppercorn spice. The finish is fairly short and there is not a lot of depth to the wine.

At $11.99 a bottle, I think that there are certainly better ones out there but there are also plenty that are worse. If you are looking for a moderate, medium-weight red wine that probably would not offend anyone this could be your ticket.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Marquis Philips Shiraz

Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 Wine Tasting



Marquis Philips produces a number of very reasonably priced wines that consistently seem to get really good reviews and tend to be wines that people like to snap up when they are released. I had previously tasted several previous vintages of the Shiraz, and while I thought that it was a decent effort there was nothing that made it remarkable for me.

Notwithstanding this, I recently picked up a bottle to give it another try. Unfortunately for me, this one was consistent with the rest. It is a well made wine, with no major flaws yet it just does not show anything that would make it stand out. In a blind tasting, I would not give this anything but an average rating.

The fruit is somewhat subdued, showing most red fruit characteristics and just a subtle undertone of some peppercorn spice. The finish is fairly short and there is not a lot of depth to the wine.

At $11.99 a bottle, I think that there are certainly better ones out there but there are also plenty that are worse. If you are looking for a moderate, medium-weight red wine that probably would not offend anyone this could be your ticket.

Cheers!


Read Full Wine Blog Post


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