Monday, May 24, 2010

1st Avenue Wine House Meet The Winemaker David O'Reilly of Owen Roe Winery

Call it one hot evening but cheers to Traci & Ron 1st Ave Wine House for hosting an awesome event featuring a return visit by David O'Reilly winemaker at Owen Roe. I had the opportunity to visit with David discussing the wine he signed for me last year that I felt aged beautifully and drank even better from his last visit. We even discussed the blog and he asked "Can you make any money at it?" $27.00 and almost 2 years later I think we all know the answer. My reward really is when someone likes the wine I reviewed or I helped a winery sell a bottle to a new customer. 12 wines we tasted this evening and once again all were excellent. Even a couple pictures with David signing my bottles (I'll add when I get them sent from the event).

Table 1 started with O'Reilly's Riesling which I found very refreshing. Nice citrus flavor, slight mineral not too sweet awesome riesling. Next I tasted the Sharecropper Pinot which incidently I purchased and Mr O'Reilly signed. Nice cherry and cola on this pinot with a hint of spice at the finish. Great flavor and one of my favorites of the night. 3rd on the list at the first table I tasted the Carvidae Rook Blend (Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah). Plum, cherry, and so silky smooth. Finally I tasted the Corvidae Lenore-Syrah. Spicy and deep purple, I picked up some blackberry. Table 1 conquered and a success.

Table 2 and now the heat has set in. I started with the O'Reilly Pinot Gris. Nice citrus, and tropical fruit. Really crisp and enjoyable. Wine 2 no doubt was the Sharecropper's Cabernet Sauvignon another purchase this evening. Definate cherry, strawberry and dark berry flavor. Love the licorice finish on this wine. 3rd I went for the Abbot's Table Red Blend. Really smooth red wine which I got the flavors or cherry, red and black raspberry. Very juicy from start to finish and the flavors flowed nicely. Finally the ExUmbris Syrah. Dark berry, slight pepper middle and cherry/spice towards the end. Seems like we are going to fast but all the wines so far are extremely good.

Table 3 under the tent started with a Mirth Chardonnay. 100% stainless steel, nice crisp apple and a lemon citrus flavor just begs you to drink more. Love how the flavors explode in your mouth. Everyone seemed to be very complimentary on this chardonnay. Next my favorite a Pinot Noir Killmore. Very smooth, dark cherry, spice and a slight hint of coffee. Excellent wine and  Traci says its her favorite. Finally the Sinister Hand Blend. Dark berry and a spicy pepper finish. A great table full of huge flavored wine.

Inside the wine shop was the final wine of the evening called The Parting Glass. Really sweet wine which smells like a fresh bowl of fruit. I enjoyed the sweetness (which is not normal for me) of the pear/pineapple beginning with the butterscotch in the middle extending all the way to the finish. Some harassment towards the hired help pouring inside (and he loves it) finished the night off perfectly.

Another successful wine tasting from Traci and the gang at 1st Avenue Wine House. Always a great time thanks for making us feel welcome. Thank you Mr. O'Reilly for more awesome wines.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Howling Moon Pinot Noir Lodi California

Because I was completely out of Pinot (consider crisis mode) I stopped to see my friend Traci at First Ave Wine House . Looking for a Pinot Noir I had not yet tried, I spotted Howling Moon which she said they just started carrying (ironically she uses the same line on me everytime I spot a new one). Traci's Mom even gave it a thumbs up as well. How could I resist now!

Simple flavor pinot with a ripe cherry and spice aroma. Very light in color, but still 13.5% alc.

Nice cherry flavor and very juicy start to finish. Little spice on the end. Definately a light bodied wine. I would say this is a nice wine to start the evening off with friends.


2004 Chesler Napa Valley Red Wine

Another excellent sample offering from Mia at Selene Wines. The 2004 Chesler named for Mia's Mom Eileen Alma Chesler or "Ches" to her friends, is an excellent red blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. The picture on the bottle is really cool too.

The aroma was definately blackberry. Secondly I picked up some spice along with a hint of the vanilla. Nice harmony with nothing overpowering.

Silky and smooth like a fine milk chocolate, this wine definately blended the many flavors together perfectly. First taste reveals the blackberry closely followed by the blueberry. Quick tease of the sweet caramel in the middle blended nicely with the berries. Finally the hint of vanilla and a subtle spice flavor rounded out this experience. The finish that never ends and begs you to drink more. Impressive wine Mia!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

2007 Owen Roe Sharecropper's Cabernet Sauvignon

After over a year since I purchased this excellent cabernet from a wine tasting at First Ave Wine House in Cedar Rapids where I had the opportunity to meet the winemaker David O'Reilly, I figured with his approaching return next week it was time to see how this wine aged. Still excellent folks (for those who were wondering)!

Nice dark cherry hits my nose first on this Cabernet. Blackberry and some slight oak/spice finish my aroma's. Still wonderful deep red color and appears to have aged just fine.

First taste there is a nice dark cherry slightly earthy flavor. Juicy but not sweet. Second some nice dark berry, spice and a smooth easy finish of oak. The finish is so soft for a Cabernet you're almost fooled. I like this even better from the event day and wish I had more. Looking for an enjoyable Cabenet Sauvignon then I suggest Owen Roe. Wonder what gems David will be introducing us to next week!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

2007 Franciscan Chardonnay Napa Valley

I had the opportunity to taste a chardonnay new to me this past Thursday as part of the massive Twitter taste with folks all around the world. Great events to participate in as you meet many wine lovers as well as some cool wineries. I chose the 2007 Franciscan Chardonnay from Napa Valley because of their reputation for producing excellent wine. My visit to Napa will include a stop at their winery.

What outstanding aromas I enjoy from this chardonnay. First a crisp citrus filled my nose along with a pear/apple combination. Secondly, the oak seemed overpowering the more I swirled but lets give her a taste.

When tasting the pear/citrus combination shows its character first. Second I get a nice apple flavor followed by some creamy vanilla. Finally the wine finished with oak and mineral (minerality is something I have not experienced in a chardonnay. Usually its buttery/oak at the finish). Nice fruit definately full bodied, excellent California Chardonnay.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

2007 Selene Merlot Frediani Vineyard

One very special wine the 2007 Selene Merlot was this past Saturday evening. In the past I would by skip the Merlot varietal because I found it difficult to find good wine. Selene makes an excellent merlot.

First aroma I pick up is a dark berry followed by dark cherry and oak. Second time around I pick up some wonderful rich spice along with the dark berry.

Excellent full flavored wine. The blackberry flavor starts juicy and stays throughout the taste. Hint of vanilla in the middle and a touch of the molasses almost giving a quick sweet sensation. Nice little spice finish. Amazing wine and ranks very high on my list of best wines tasted. Mia has a special touch with wine and this one you will enjoy.