Gen 5 Chardonnay, 2010 Lodi

It’s been a minute since I had a Cali Chard that I really flipped over.  Introducing… the Gen 5 Chardonnay from Lodi!

Nowadays, I feel that I’ve picked up on a slight stigma against Chardonnay, especially those from California.  Almost like it’s uncool to like it.  It still sells well, but the millenial generation, specifically, tends to perceive it as being lame.  Their Aunts and Grandmas love Chardonnay, and they’ve had one too many poor, manipulated, over-oaked, cheap Chards at an art opening or gathering that chances are came out of a jug.  Truly, if I had to name one grape of which there is entirely *too much* of poor quality in existance, it would be Chardonnay.  I don’t often want to spit wine out… but I’ve had a couple Chards in the past that I’d sooner take a razor blade to my tounge than drink again.

Okay, those were some harsh words.  But much like the Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay that I wrote about back in the wee early days of this blog, I really, really LOVE  a good Chardonnay at a good price point.  So, in comes the Gen 5!  I really think this is one of the cleanest, purest, most poignant Chards I’ve had in a long while.  It is focused and perky, with bright notes of kiwi, guava, pineapple, prickly pear and (now that its warmed up just a bit) a little hint of vanilla bean.  Check out its crystalline, clear coloring  (okay, I was just dying to use the word crystalline):

Well, the picture doesn’t do it a ton of justice, but it really is a beautifully clean and clear wine.  Maybe it’s because Gen 5 is a certified Sustainable winery?  Perhaps.  I would love this wine even if I didn’t know that about it, but it’s always awesome to hear that a winery is committed to planet Earth-friendly farming and policies.  Lodi actually has it’s own set of “Rules” and standards for Sustainability.  Yet another reason I need to visit that part of California- the Lodi area seems like a community with a sense of togetherness.  Pretty cool.

So what’s the best part of this wine?  Well, it only costs $13!  How’s about that.  This speaks volumes about this wines awesomeness, because I find that wines labelled as Sustainable are often over-priced.  They could probably sell it for $15 and no one would question it.  Sustainable?  Sure, I’ll pay $15!  Actaully, it’s definitely worth $15.  But how nice that it’s $13!  You can try it at the Wine Sale, TOMORROW!  Saturday, August 27th from 12-2 at Cellar on Greene.




Semaphore 7, 2009 Portugal

This wine sure does go pretty well with the blueberries I’m eating for lunch.  No joke.  Surely I will dig up something more substantial a little later, but for now it’s wine and blueberries.  It feels like morning to me, even though it’s 1pm.  So really this is breakfast.  Wine for breakfast?  it’s the new coffee.

Okay, maybe not.  And I’m not really drinking, I’m merely tasting.  So what’s the deal with this wine?  Welllll…. it’s made out of a bunch of grapes you’ve probably not heard of, but I’ll tell you anyway:  a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Aragones, and Trincadeira.  Portugal, Portugal.  They just cannot call a grape something we ‘Murricans can remember.  They sure are a stubborn bunch.  Don’t they know that America is the center of the universe??  And that everything revolves around us?

I’m kidding, in case that sarcasm went over any of your heads.  I actually really appreciate the fact that this wine is true to from whence it came.  I know of a particular bottle of Primitivo that goes as far as to print Zinfandel in parentheses under the word Primitivo on the bottle.  I bet it took a whole team of marketing experts to decide on that one.  “Study groups have shown that sales increase drastically when there is a recognizable word on the label!”  Okay, so I made that up.  But I’m sure it’s not far from the truth.  And it’s all about the sales quota, isn’t it?

Well, no.  Not for this wine.  This wine is just going to be who it is.  And if you are unfamiliar with the grapes?  Google them!  That’s what I did.  Educate yourself.  You might learn a thing or two, and have a little fun.  And impress your friends.  So here’s what I learned; Aragones is Tempranillo.  It’s known as Aragones/Aragonez in one part of Portugal.  It’s known as Tinta Roriz in another part of Portugal.  Alicante Bouschet is a cross between Petit Bouschet and Grenache.  Grenache!  There’s a familiar word.  I like Grenache.  And if you do too, you will probably like this wine.

Okay, that was a LOT of wine-nerding for this post.  I think I’ve filled the quota for today.  Let’s move on to experiential things like how it tastes, smells, and behaves!  It’s mostly black fruit n’ flowers.  Since Portugal is best known for port, a lot of times with Portugese reds I get more hints of dried raisins (what other kind of raisin is there?), prunes, plums, blackberries and dried currants.   The Semaphore is young and fresh, so it offers a bit more ripeness and juiciness than many of its cousins and step-siblings might.  There’s also a really nice undercurrent of violets and maybe a little jasmine, followed by some exotic spices.  All in all, an interesting and fun to drink little bottle.

And the best part?  It’s inexpensive!  Retails for $11!  You can grab a bottle and be on your way, or you can sip on a glass during dinner at Cellar on Greene, where it’s on by the glass.  OR if you really wanted to be cool, you could ask for this in your next Mystery Case purchase!  Yes, it’s available as a Mystery Case pick.  Quite a few of you picked it the last two weeks, so hopefully you liked it!  That’s all I got time for today, so happy drinking!

Alma Negra Sparkling Rose of Malbec, 09 Argentina

Okayokayokay.  I promise this will be the last Rose post for a while.  And for the record, this is a Rose sparkling, NOT strictly a Rose, so it’s a totally different category.  The first step was admitting I have a problem.  But honestly, I chose today’s wine based on what I feel like sipping on right now.  And it happens to be slightly pink in color.  Can you blame me?  It’s noon on Monday afternoon.  I’m chilling at Cellar listening to Fleet Foxes on Pandora.  And doing a little bit of work, too, I guess.  It’s truly a perfect storm of Rose necessity.

Okay, so I lied  a wee bit.  I didn’t just pick this wine for today  because I felt like drinking it, I also picked it because it’s awesome and different!  And I just found out it got 89 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.  So that’s cool, too.  And check out the spooky dude on the bottle!  He must be the one with the black soul (alma negra = black soul).  Yikes!

Well, black as his soul might be, this wine’s soul is anything but!  Winemaker Ernesto Catena is sort of a badass to begin with, and his other line- Tikal– produces some of my all time favorite big, nasty Argentine reds.  The Almanegra line is just a baby- started in 2003.  When I first opened this bottle, I was expecting a bold, bright pink wine- seeing as it’s Malbec and new-worldy.  But I was to be surprised!  Check out it’s fairly delicate, light salmon coloring:


Cute, lively notes of sweet tarts and candied strawberries are a-plenty.  Light and fresh, with additional aromas of rhubarb, raspberries and fresh biscuits.  Sort of reminiscent of a summertime strawberry shortcake.  But one of those semi-sweet, crunchy shortcake biscuits, not a sticky sweet fluffy one.  I like those.  Light on its loafers, but offering a lengthy and elegant finish.

We sold the bejeezus out of this wine last Tuesday night during Champagne Tuesday!  And we likely will again tomorrow night.

What?  you haven’t been to Champagne Tuesday?  I find this hard to believe, first of all- but you need to get in on the action because every Tuesday night at Cellar we pour glasses of champage, cava, prosecco, and anything else that sparkles for half-off!  Flocks of females flood Cellar with a burning desire for frothy bubbles.  Did you like that alliteration?  I thought it was fun.  I really don’t know why I’m plugging Champagne Tuesday on here, because it stays busy with little to no help from moi.  BUT it is a perfect opportunity for you to try THIS WINE for $4 a glass!  Then you can whisk away a bottle to take home for $18.  It’ll be a good start to your week, and a good way to celebrate that we FINALLY made it to August, which means there’s only two more months of summer to go.  Yes, September counts as summer.  It’s still hot.