Thursday, August 30, 2012

...Aaaand I'm back for 2012 National Cabernet Day

Yeah.  I know.

I'm here right now, though, & that's what counts. I've been thinking about this day for a bit.  I mean, it's National Cabernet Day. I still can't believe that the banks & government offices weren't closed, for cryin' out loud.

You think I'm kidding. So cute.

Doug & I chose 2006 Robert Craig Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon for our celebratory bottle. It's a Bordeaux-style blend from Napa.  Oh, & we had it signed by Robert Craig when he was in town a couple of years ago.  I specifically remember meeting him. All he wrote was his name & barely spoke. Doug said "He & my dad shop at the same place for shirts, that's for sure." (Let me specify - we're talking about Doug's dad - not mine. Totally different animal, yet frighteningly similar in ways. Including the shirts. Robert Craig was very quiet,  like my father-in-law, & Gordon, my father, is the farthest thing from quiet.)

Now, for those of you that know me well, you know that I really do value our signed bottles. We've got quite a few that we've picked up along the way, & I've just always thought that was cool. Never mind that I have no idea what I'm going to do with the empties, & don't get Doug started on that subject, either. Hey, some people keep old Matchbox cars, I keep signed wine bottles.

Enough small talk - let's get to it, shall we?

If I had only one word? Classy.

Luckily, I have more than one word.

Initially, the nose was very intense with black cherry, accompanied by a nice spicy kick. After a bit, it evolved into this lovely perfume with waves of cassis & violet. Once we stopped huffing our glasses long enough to actually taste the stuff, we were both pretty blown away. Red fruit on the front - think cherry- red raspberry. When I paid attention to the middle, I picked up blackberries the most at first, along with some spice. We both did, actually. Black fruit throughout. Winding down to the finish took a while. Doug got more dark chocolate, while my tastebuds revealed more of a Turkish coffee kind of edge.  I think we both got it right. The chocolate/Turkish coffee bit faded into a caramelly toffee yet maintained a lush fruitiness. This wine sticks with you for ages with a finish that won't quit. Nice acidity, pretty tannins & graceful complexity made this wine an absolute delight.

I think we paid about $42-$46 for this bottle & I'd do it again tomorrow next payday, if I could. Of course, we have those less expensive bottles that we pick up for everyday drinking again & again, but I tell myself that there's just too much good wine out there to keep buying the same stuff over & over & over - but then I have a wine like this, & I sort of get it.  Even at this price range. Only 5,800 cases were made, & while that's not tiny, it's still small enough that I can have faith in the attention to quality.  Quality.

Worth every penny, folks.

Remember that next time you're tempted to drink Yellowtail.  Or hell, any time you reach for the ones that are most advertised.  Just because it has a lot of cool ads in magazines or even in the stores doesn't mean that it's a sound choice.  They just have more money to throw around at ad agencies, sales rep incentives, etc.

Uh oh, on the verge of getting on a soapbox, so I'm going to shut up & enjoy this wine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Blog Resurrecting Bottle...& Mini-Lesson

So, it's been a while.  Since I last wrote, a lot has happened (nothing bad, really, just a lot).  Doug & I went back to Paso Robles in January & tagged on a couple of days in Santa Barbara - fantastic trip.  Alas, I have yet to upload our photos.  Eh, older computers take a while.  That's my excuse & I'm sticking to it, by George (whoever he is).

I've been meaning to get back to the ol' keyboard but it just hasn't happened.  This is not a bad thing, but as I've explained before, I not only need inspiration, but I also need the time & the energy to do it, & maybe being sober enough helps, too.  Heh. 

Go ahead & judge.

Yesterday at work, not one, but TWO people mispronounced a word in a way that always grates on my nerves.  Meritage.  Now, I want you to remember this, lest you look like an idiot at your next tasting, winery trip, dinner out...really, any occasion that involves wine:  The word "meritage" rhymes with "heritage".  It is NOT pronounced "meritazh", like you would say the "Taj" in Taj Mahal.  (Thanks to my friend Tim for giving me that reference.  I was having a hard time coming up with one myself, since words with a "zh" sound at the end aren't all that common.)  I have no idea why people have gotten it into their head otherwise, perhaps they want to sound French.  I get it -  we all know that when you pronounce a word in a Frenchified way, you immediately sound so much classier.  Uh huh. Anyway, please think "heritage with an m" the next time you are buying, tasting or just talking about these wines, because if you don't, you're doing it wrong.  You probably won't be corrected - I didn't correct my pals - but you're still doing it wrong, & it will/should be noticed.

There.  I've said my piece, do with it what you will. 

On to the blog resurrecting wine....

Spring has sprung earlier than usual, which means my allergies have been plaguing me a bit.  We haven't had much wine lately.  Tonight, however, both of us really wanted wine, & a good bottle at that.  I graciously allowed Doug to choose a bottle - under my careful supervision, of course - & he chose the 2006 Four Vines Monarchy (now produced under the Cypher label, but still a Freakshow wine, for those of you familiar with the Four Vines story) that we picked up on our first trip to Paso a couple of years ago.  Since this was our only bottle of that wine & since it is one of our more unique wines due to the 59% Petit Verdot (I get happy just thinking about that) along with 41% Malbec, I was thinking that we would share this with friends. After all, it's a wine made from the 2 least utilized varietals in Bordeaux, & one of them is PV.  Man, I'm a junky for that stuff.  Ever wise, Doug said that we don't have to share every cool bottle with friends - he's right - & I relented.  Boy, am I happy we opened that wine!

On the nose, we both got an intense smack of blueberries with a bit of vanilla.  Yum, I'm in.  As the wine opened up a bit, I picked up some dried herbs & an earthy character of some sort.  Sorry, I don't know what sort it was, but it was interesting.   The palate is ripe with blackberries, both spicy & juicy. SO good.  This isn't a huge wine, but it is mouthfilling & downright delightful.  Really nice velvety mouthfeel & the tannins are fairly gentle with a very satisfying long finish.  (Please excuse my disjointed comments - I am drinking as I write.)  This wine is freakin' sexy.  Seriously. And graceful.  No rough edges here, even straight out of the bottle.  Oh, & I just got a whiff of pipe tobacco.  I'm both blissfully happy & somewhat sad - this wine rocks, but I will very likely never have this exact wine again.  Sigh.

Ok, enough writing.  I want to thoroughly enjoy this bottle & not get wrapped up in the details.  After all, we bought the wine to really experience it, & I can't do that while attached to a notebook or keyboard.  Whatever you're drinking tonight - even water - I hope you're loving it!