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.

Michael's on East - Sarasota, FL

Date: Tue, Dec 29, 2009 Wine Tasting



We have been looking forward to dining at Michael's on East for a while now. We have attending numerous events at Michael's Wine Cellar which is adjacent to the restaurant, as well as been to a brunch at the restaurant, but until last night had never sat down and eaten a meal there.

On Monday's they have an special Italian menu, and last night a new singer was performing Italian in the lounge. The singer is part of Allison's fitness class and so we went to support him in his new venture. We were amazed at how packed both the restaurant and lounge were; whether this is typical, or just because of the holidays we do not know but suspect that it contributed to the lackluster service we received... more on that in a bit.

The food was absolutely amazing. Allison started with Hoisin Duck and Crispy Vegetable Spring rolls. These were amazing. Full of meat and vegetables, then cooked perfectly. A lot of times spring rolls can be a bit greasy but these were not at all. Served on a large plate with plenty of sauce, these could easily be shared by two. I went with the Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi plate. At first I was hesitant to order this, as it appeared to be on the expensive side but the plate was full of top-notch tuna. While cut into smaller than normal sashimi sized pieces, there was probably the equivalent of 4-5 large pieces on the plate. My only complaint about this dish is that there was insufficient hot sauces to go with it -- the small bit of wasabi was hard and dried out, and there were but 3 small drops of sriracha sauce. Minor point overall, but still noticable.

For dinner I had Pan-Roasted Atlantic Salmon, which came with shittake mushrooms, shaved brussel sprouts, bacon, black eyed peas, baby root vegetables, heirloom carrots and a pinot noir reduction. The salmon was perfectly cooked to medium and the vegetables all were fantastic. No complaints about this dish at all! Allison chose Pan-Seared Scallops which were accompanied by Maine lobster, house-made ricotta, Gnocchi, roasted butternut squash and sage brown butter with crushed amaretti. She thought it was delightful and said no complaints about this one either.

We had several different wines by the glass, rather than going with a single bottle. Between us we had a Cotes du Rhone, Malbec and a Montepulciano. All were good, but not great... though that is not all that unusual with wines by the glass. The wine prices were reasonable, but leaned towards the high end.

So, I noted above that both the restaurant and the lounge were very busy. And we were a party of eight. But the service was just plain slow. The waiter was very attentive when he happened to be around, but more often than not he was no where to be found. And after we finished our meals, it took 10-15 minutes to get our bills and then another 20 minutes or so to go run the cards and return them. No matter how busy, I can not understand why it took so long. And to boot, there was an automatic 20% gratuity tacked on. Now, I understand that for larger parties this is customary (I understand it, but do not agree with it), but the level of service was definitely no up to that large of a tip.

Bottom line? We had a good time and a great meal. The prices were a bit on the high end, but we expected that and the quality and quantity was there so we were okay on that point. The wine prices also were on the higher side, but not out of line for similar restaurants. Service was not good, but there were some factors that probably played into it on this particular evening. I suspect that we will go back at some point, especially since we have a gift certificate and also get points for the Connoisseur Club as well.

Cheers!

Michael's on East on Urbanspoon

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Kumo Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar - Sarasota, FL

Date: Sat, Dec 26, 2009 Wine Tasting




We have been big fans of Kumo in Venice, FL since we found it back in September. Recently they opened a new location in Sarasota which is right down the street from us. We are very excited!

Today we stopped in for lunch. They have now been open about two weeks so we figured that the settling-in period should be over. We were right! This was every bit as good, and perhaps even better, than the Venice location.

We sat at the sushi bar and ordered from the lunch menu. A wide range of bento box lunches, sushi plates and habachi dishes were available.

We both went with a two roll combo which includes two sushi rolls along with a salad and miso soup. There are 3 different levels of this special - $7.95, $9.95 and $12.95. Within each level there are a variety of rolls available for you to pick the 2 that you want. I went with the mid level and had a salmon and avocado roll along with a spicy tuna roll, while Allison went with the 3rd level and had a volcano roll and a rock n' roll roll (basically shrimp tempura roll with extras). In addition, I ordered a ikura (salmon roe), maguro (tuna) and sake (salmon) sashimi. Everything was extremely fresh and quite tasty!

The other thing that we really appreciated here was the attentiveness of the staff. As we noted before, the Venice location did not excel in this regard.

We will certainly be frequenting this one a lot!

Cheers!

Kumo Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2004 Flora Springs "Trilogy"

Date: Sat, Dec 26, 2009 Wine Tasting




Back when I first started getting serious about wine, this was one that I tried to buy every year. While they have some aging potential, generally they did not stay in the cellar that long. It has been several years since we drank our last bottle out of the cellar, but while shopping a couple of weeks ago I spotted this one in the wine room at Norman's Liquors and it just seemed to be begging me to take it home.

This a classic Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I was not able to find the exact blend for this vintage, but it may also have some Petit Verdot and/or Malbec as well.

The initial nose was dark plum and hints of raspberry. On the palate there was a full-bodied core of dark fruit, cedar and some silky tannins with a inkling of sage on the edges. The finish lasted forever. This was absolutely a fantastic wine. Ready to drink now it probably could stand 7-10 more years in the cellar as well. As noted above though, it may be hard to keep it around that long!

This was definitely not in the everyday price range, clocking in at $57.99 but we thought it was absolutely worth it. If you need a special occasion wine, this would be a good bet.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2006 Mitolo "Jester" Shiraz

Date: Sat, Dec 26, 2009 Wine Tasting




From Mitolo Winery comes a classic shiraz from McLaren Vale. This typifies what really good Aussie shiraz can be.

This did not quite rich that "inky and brooding" level of shiraz but it was awful close. The color was dark, saturated purple that seemed at times to be almost black. Very full-bodied but with nice balance.

The nose gave up some rich chocolate and pepper while the palate carried over with some coffee bean, licorice, cherry and spice. A long, lingering finish was rounded out by sweet tannins and a touch oak.

$17.99 a bottle for this seems like a pretty reasonable price, considering the quality.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2006 Fleur du Cap Pinotage

Date: Sat, Dec 26, 2009 Wine Tasting




Pinotage is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault. While it is grown, albeit in extremely limited quantities, outside of South Africa it is considered by many to be the signature red wine varietal of South Africa.

Pinotage tends to be a rustic styled wine, with a lot of smoke and earthy notes. This was a classic example of Pinotage and is one of the better ones that I have had. The nose showcased black cherry fruit and some plum. On the front and mid-palate the fruit was dominant, but on the back palate you really could pick up the smokiness and touches of oak. The finish was moderate with virtually no tannin.

This one came in at $11.99 and we thought it was a great value. I think an outstanding pairing for this would be some ribs or perhaps some brisket.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Chateau de Chantegrive

Date: Sat, Dec 26, 2009 Wine Tasting




Our resident wine consultant over at the ABC store recommended this white Bordeaux to Allison a couple of weeks ago. This one is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon.

The nose was ripe with citrus fruit and some crispness that did not carry over to the palate. The palate was fairly fat and almost chardonnay like in weight. The fruit was present in the front, but quickly took on a secondary role to notes of wet stone and herbs with slight hints of white pepper on the finish.

This was not a bad effort by any stretch, and would probably be quite nice with a summer salad or lightly grilled seafood or chicken but it was a bit heavy for our tastes. We probably would not buy it on our own again but if it were offered to us at a party we would not turn it down either. This one was $14.99 a bottle here in FL.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Weingut Eugen Wehrheim Niersteiner Rehbach Riesling Spatlese

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting




For the past few weeks I have been on a Riesling kick. I am not sure why this is, but it seems to occur about once a year.

The first thing that we noticed on the nose was the petrol smell. Classic, German Riesling nose there. This was very acidic, and quite dry with apricot and melon on the palate.

I enjoyed it a lot. Allison refuses to admit that it was quite tasty, sticking to her disdain for these wines. Don't let that stop you... at $11.99 this would make a perfect wine to pair up with some spicy food like sushi.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Navarro Correas Malbec Coleccion Privada

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting




While in an earlier post I noted that we had been having good success with Malbecs from Argentina there are also those times when we are less than impressed.

While this was decent, it was not a favorite of either of ours. Lighter in body and more fruit driven this was reminded us somewhat of a merlot. Lots of red berry fruit up front, with touches of oak and tannin on the finish which was rather short.

For $9.99 it certainly was drinkable; however, there are a lot of other Malbecs in this price range that are better in our opinion.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2005 Stag's Leap Napa Valley Merlot

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting




If you have read much of our humble blog, you realize that we are not generally Merlot fans. But every once in a while one comes along that blows us away. This was definitely one of these wines.

Generally we do not like merlot because they tend to be more fruit forward and not as full-bodied as we like.

This one however was massive. The initial impression was that of plum and currant, and gave way to some vanilla and black licorice with good tannin structure underneath. The finish lingered for quite a bit which was a pleasant surprise.

This is a blend of 92% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though it is nearly 5 years old, the tannins were substantial enough that it probably could be kept for another 5-7 years while remaining approachable at anytime.

This was a touch higher than we have been spending on wine, but still not too unreasonable at $25.99 considering the quality.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2007 Bodega Tamari Reserva Malbec

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting




We have been having pretty good success with Malbecs out of Argentina lately. They hint at similarities to a lot of the Italian styles that we like -- bold and rustic, with dark fruit -- but are a heck of a lot less expensive. This was another really good example.

The nose was very earthy, with slight notes of black cherry and plum fruit. On the palate, the cherry and plum intermingled with some vanilla and black pepper with slight notes of green pepper on the finish.

We drank this solo, but I think it would have been better with some grilled meat. It is light enough that you could pair it will grilled chicken but also has enough body to pair up with steak as well. Overall, a very versatile wine and reasonably priced at $14.99.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2005 Nuvola Vecchia Toscana

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting



This past weekend we happened into our local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits where they were tasting a red that recently arrived in the store. We liked it a lot there and picked up a couple of bottles to bring home.

This is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. Considering the high amount of Sangiovese, it is surprisingly lighter in style but still retains the rustic, earthiness so typical of the varietal. The Merlot added some bright cherry fruit to the front palate.

For $11.99 this is a very good, ready-to-drink wine for pasta, pizza and just by itself.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

NV Jean-Noel Haton Brut Classic Champagne

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Tasting



Our friend Steve over at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits recommended this one to me about a month or so ago but we only just now got around to tasting it. We are always on the lookout for reasonably priced, quality sparkling wines. This one fits the bill nicely.

This was a bit lighter than a lot of Champagnes that we have had but that actually worked in its favor. The were a solid core of yeasty bread with creamy butter and peach highlights. The finish was moderate, with hints of almond on the very end.

This is regularly $29.99 and I thought that it was a very good deal for the quality. If you are in need of some bubbly for the holidays (or for any other reason) I think that you would do very nicely with a bottle of this.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2000 Rosemount "Traditional"

Date: Thu, Dec 10, 2009 Wine Tasting



We have not seen a bottle of this in a long time, so it was with some excitement that I picked up a bottle earlier this week at Norman's Liquors.

A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot I was really looking forward to drinking this. Unfortunately, it appears that it was a bit over the hill.

The nose seemed to suggest that it was going to be fantastic, with notes of earth and currant. While both were present on the palate, there was also a lot of heavy plum and mushroom notes and just a hint of prune. This really came across as almost port-like on the back palate but without the sweetness. The tannins were gone and this was quickly going down hill.

This can be a fantastic wine but, at least in this case, it does not appear to hold up well with age. I am thinking that this would have been good 3-4 years ago but I would definitely avoid this vintage now.

Cheers!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2008 Layer Cake Shiraz

Date: Thu, Dec 10, 2009 Wine Tasting




We reviewed the 2006 Layer Cake Shiraz and loved it; this, we did not care for so much (actually, Allison hated it).

This was extremely fruit forward with only hints of spice. A lot of red cherry and plum up front with a hint of licorice on the finish. Definitely more of a fruit bomb than we care for.

The 2006 was also Barossa Valley whereas this is notated as just South Australia which probably accounts for the differences. I bought two bottles, so I will update this review in a couple of days if it happens to just be bottle variation.

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.