Tuesday, March 30, 2010

United Slurps Of America- Iowa

Imagine the excitement when I was asked to participate in a tasting entitled United Slurps of America where each state has a winery chosen to taste. The winery picked for this project here in Iowa was http://www.tasselridge.com/ in Leighton Iowa. I've tasted and blogged some of their wine already and happy to join in the fun again. Tonight will start off with a 2008 Iowa LaCrescent  white wine and finish with a red blend In The Dark.

   A big thanks to Derek Whittington of Tasselridge for sending tonights samples and http://swirlsmellslurp.com/ wine blog for organizing the event.

So how was the wine you ask. Iowa LaCrescent is a semi-sweet white wine which I found interesting in aroma from very chilled to warming close to room temp. First in the glass chilled, the peach is so very alive, ripe and almost reminds me of fresh cut fruit. Crisp citrus and pear become more pronounced as the wine warms. Fruit fills your nose with each sniff. Alright enough of this procrastination and lets taste this juice.

A mouth full of fruit in every taste. Wow fresh peach starts this great wine off first. Lemon citrus middle with even a hint of pineapple. Finish showcases the grapefruit. I love how the flavors interchange with the temp of the wine . I can see why this grape is gaining popularity in the Midwest. #3 best selling white wine at Tasselridge. Imagine a hot day and as the evening approaches this wine being sipped by you and friends prior to a dinner party.

Next up is the red blend Derek has been after me to taste In The Dark. Created from St Croix grapes grown in Mahaska County Iowa, Syrah grapes grown in Lake County California and Marechal Foch grapes grown in Mahaska County this blend reminds me of a full flavored red wine.

In the glass my first sniff identifies the huge plum aroma. Another smell and my nose picks up spice, berry, and oak. Nice red wine aromas and now lets taste this bad boy.

First in the mouth I get a juicy cherry flavor. Next in the middle I get a peppery spice. Follows up at the finish with a shot of cherry/oak and a touch of the plum. Definately a full flavored wine but a soft finish. I should have tried this wine with my grilled burger to see how it paired.

While Tasselridge is such a young winery I would say they have some very nice Iowa wines. One of the largest producers in the state I can't wait to visit and tour their facility. Stop by the winery for a visit and say hello to Derek and the gang.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

2008 Velvet Devil Merlot Washington State

An awesome tweet-up I participated online the other night showcased Merlot's from the State of Washington (more like required). These are great events to participate in because a.) you drink a wine most likely new to your routine b.) you meet a ton of new folks drinking the same varietals both here and sometime abroad with new friendships struck up c.) wineries participate and you get to experience meeting all those folks, introduced to their wines and chat with them as well. I've always said and will never waiver, wine folks regardless of tasting room, winemaker, vineyard manager, marketing or owner these folks are the most friendly people on the earth (I'm sure I've asked enough dumb questions in my day but they never laughed thank god).

My friend Matt at Benz Beverage Depot http://www.benzbeveragedepot.com/ suggested my Merlot selection for the evening. The 2008 Velvet Devil from Charles Smith Wines who by the way (Charles Smith) was voted the 2009 Food and Wine Winemaker of The Year. We all know the bad rap Merlot received from the movie Sideways so I won't repeat it but yours truly even before watching the movie never found a merlot I fell nuts over. The Velvet Devil I did and now I want to experience more great Merlots like this one.

My friend Matt H down in Florida who for followers of twitter know him as MMWine http://agoodtimewithwine.com/ suggested I let this baby breathe for 30 minutes. Good suggestion Matt as when I first opened the bottle the smoke aroma hit me like a brick. After 30 minutes the smokey aroma subsided and fainted allowing the nose to pick up other great scents. Hey there is some plum, dark berry almost a deep black raspberry, vanilla, spice. My wife and daughter smelled and they described as "potent" (wine folks are laughing uncontrolled at this point). I must have had the "what the hell" look on my face as they said have fun and retired to watch one of their Thursday night programs.
Ok taste furious twitter post, taste, more twitter posts, read..... you get the picture. But how was the wine? Best damn Merlot I have ever tasted. Once in the mouth a nice dark berry flavor (also the wine is dark purple), spice follows and then a slight vanilla flavor at the finish. I would have sworn this wine was going to over power me but man was I wrong. Smooth and silky but a huge flavor throughout. No wonder Charles Smith won Winemaker Of The Year. Something tells me all his other selections are just as good. Happy Merlot drinking friends.
PS: Thanks Josh (nectarwine) for organizing this outstanding event.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2008 King Estate Pinot Noir Signature Collection

How absolutely excited I was when opening up my care package from King Estate to find some very nice samples. You knew (or should have known) I would head for the Pinot first. Actually I had some baked salmon and decided from much prodding this would be an excellent wine to go with dinner. Plus these folks in Oregon make great wine.

King Estate winery was started in 1991 by the King Family producing outstanding Oregon wines. They are committed to using organic and sustainable farming methods. Their 1,033 acres are certified organic and include 465 acres of organic vineyards along with 30 acres of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Please check out their website at www.kingestate.com for a beautiful picture of the winery.

In the glass you can really picture the fresh cherry in this wine. Next some raspberry and spice. Last thing I smell with the snoz fully buried in the glass is leather.

This pinot makes you go wow! With each taste the flavor flip flops from cherry to strawberry at the start (no I was not pickled prior to tasting). Creamy in the middle, vanilla and spice. Velvet in the mouth with so much flavor. Hint of oak and spice at the end. I really love this wine. The winemaker has every detail of this wine perfected.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

2008 Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

What a great time this evening participating in the online tweet taste organized by Rick Bakas and tonight was all about Sauvignon Blanc. While I have limited knowledge of this grape and tend to shy away from the wine because of the heavy grapefruit flavor I am finding more of them I really do enjoy. Spring is near and crisp wines are a must. Tonight I chose the 2008 Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc large in part because I knew their other wines are very good. Like the other varietals the Sauvignon Blanc does not dissapoint.

I decided to smell this wine longer than usual (it just seemed the right thing to do). What I found was a nice pineapple aroma first on the nose. Second here came the grapefruit and finally a citris aroma. Found myself wanted to continue but then how the heck would I know how the wine tasted.

Really enjoyed this wine. The pineapple/grapefruit flavor was very nice and I really enjoyed the subtle hint of grapefruit. The lemon/lime or better described citris really finished the wine nicely. If there was oak I did not find any and to me a plus for this wine. Crisp and refreshing. Big fan of this wine and I am excited to try more Sauvignon Blancs. Thanks Joe Shirley for creating an excellent wine.

Cheers Dan

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2007 O'Reilly's Pinot Noir Owen Roe Oregon

What a great way to spend St Patricks Day and Wine Wednesday sharing a bottle of O'Reilly's 2007 Pinot Noir Oregon courtesy of the Owen Roe Winery and wine maker David O'Reilly. My friend Brooke and I have been trying to hook up for damn near a year to enjoy this one. While at a tasting at First Ave Wine House in Cedar Rapids you probably read earlier, I had the pleasure of meeting the winemaker David O'Reilly and having him sign this bottle. Winemakers are great folks, polite and willing to talk wine with you and answer any of your questions. Plus they make darn good grape juice.

Poured into the glass you could really grasp the cherry and raspberry followed by a hint of spice. Maybe a touch of oak but really not much there. By this time old Brooke was ready to taste.

Ripe cherry as the wine warmed to room temp (I stored at 55*) followed by the raspberry and a quick spice finish. Short and to the point but very smooth. Not much oak in smell or taste which to me allowed the fruit to explode with flavor. I'm sorry I don't have more of this on hand but I'll be picking up more . We could have used a couple more glasses :)Was nicely priced at $14.99. Kudo's Mr O'Reilly from one Pinot fan to another.

Always remember to share a great bottle of wine with a friend.


Sua Red Argentina

I've probably had this wine in the silent cellar since a tasting last fall at First Ave Wine House and it was in my opinion a fun wine to drink. A combination of Sangiovese, Bonarda and Moscatel this fruity wine had the character of an asti.
Nice fruity aroma with hints of strawberry, raspberry and plum. Kind of tickled the nose as I smelled the wine. Out of my norm but that's really good because I need to broaden.

First drink was a blast of strawberry, plum and fizz. Refreshing and one my daughter also liked. I would refer to it as juice with alchohol. Nice wine on a hot day and to me acted like a refreshing rose. Drink as a starter to the evening or after the meal. Nice Argentinian wine.