Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days, Day 14! Let’s Evolve.

Sokol Blosser’s Evolution White has been a longtime favorite of mine. I do believe it was one of the first white wines I found myself liking. I shudder to think that there WAS a time in my life that I didn’t like white wine, but we all must come to terms with our younger, dumber selves. I like the Evo White because it stayed consistent year to year; I could always be guaranteed of its engaging, lively, fruit-forward palate and a thirst-quenching acidic finish. It also goes with pretty darn close to everything. But contrary to how I’m beginning this post, this review is actually of the Red version of the Evolution series, Evolution Red, NV Oregon. 

FullSizeRender (18)

I believe this is now the third incarnation of the Evolution Red (?) I might be incorrect there, but it seems like about three years ago that this wine was first poured for me at the restaurant as a brand-new introduction. Maybe four, actually. Oye. I feel old all of a sudden. So that was how they always labeled the White: it wasn’t a vintage or a non-vintage, it was an incarnation. I think they’re up to about 20 incarnations of the White. As I stated in a post last week, I think a Non-Vintage wine can be a real asset. It keeps a consistent style every year and the cost in a friendly zone.

With the white, it was always a blend of (up to) 9 varietals. In the Red, they’re playing their hand pretty close and not really disclosing much of the blend at all. They’ll go as far as to say “Syrah-based”, but the rest is up to our imaginations. So let us deduce: the color on this wine is medium-light, and we are in Oregon, so we can presume that a bit of Pinot Noir is at play here. The nose is abundantly fruity and big- maybe a splash of Zin? If there’s Syrah, then chances are there’s Zin, in my opinion. Sangiovese would be a likely player, too- similar bodied to the Pinot Noir, but adding some interest. The texture is soft and not overly acidic. For my taste, maybe a bit too soft- but you know the expression “you can’t please all the people all the time”? Well, this wine comes pretty close to such, and I think that was the intention. If you are having a party and need to please all or at least most of the people? Go for it. Its smooth, light, fruity and easy to get along with. Red currant, candied strawberry, blood orange, a streak of citrus peel, warm cinnamon and milk chocolate are all workin’ their way around in this wine.

I’ve just discovered that the website says there’s a touch of Evolution White in here, too. Coulda fooled me, for sure, although I’m sure it lifts the overall weight of the wine in a general “up” direction.

It's about time. True dat.

It’s about time. True dat.

This definitely isn’t a wine that demands a complex explanation; it’s meant to be a perfect Wednesday night wine. Which is what it is right now, and I really can’t complain. Stella approves as well:

Wine Wednesday on couch with dog. Not bad.

Wine Wednesday on couch with dog. Not bad.

I bought this wine for something like $17 at Safeway. Don’t judge. Cheers! We’re halfway through the week!

Advertisements

One Wine to Rule Them All- Verso Rosso Salento, 2012 Italy

THIS is your big Winter Red!!

photo (2)

I’m 1000% serious.  This is absolutely THE wine you are gonna fall head over heels for during the chillier months that are upon us.  The best part?  You’ve probably never heard of these grapes.  You might not know how to say Verso or Salento (VAIR-so and sa-LAIN-to).  Heck, you might not have had an Italian wine quite like this before.  But trust me, YOU’RE GONNA FLIP!!

This wine is special for several reasons– first, it comes to us from one of my favorite portfolios, Small Vineyards.  In order to be included in Small Vineyards, the wine must be hand-harvested, from a family-owned estate, and be farmed in an ecologically friendly manner.  Note the word organic is not in use here; in my opinion it’s a bit irrelevant- you can trust that this wine comes from people that really cares about their impact on the environment as well as making the best wine possible, which I trust over a USDA certification eight days a week.

Raisins are tasty.

Raisins are tasty.

Second, this wine is big and sexy for a cool reason; a portion of the grapes (no, I’m not sure which ones) were allowed to “raisin”- which is exactly what it sounds like!  Also known as “appassimento”, it is a process of allowing the grapes to hang out and dry a bit- concentrating their sugars.  It is a labor-intensive process, which results in the reduction of the yield.  A labor of love, I would call it.  So it means they end up with LESS total wine to put into bottles, BUT the wine that results is so rich and flavorful it’ll leave you speechless- and (AND!) it it not weighed down with a high alcohol content!  This wine comes in at a solid 14% abv.  That’s a full 1.5-2 percentage points less than your average Cali Cab, Zin or Shriraz- the typical wines “big red” drinkers tend to like.  Balance, people- balance!  And it means you can drink a bit more of this guy without that thick, heady feeling you get after two glasses of Zinfandel.

Alright, so I got wine-nerdy there for a minute- so let’s get moving with HOW IT TASTES!  Because that’s what’s gonna keep you coming back for bottle after bottle.  But before I forget, this wine is a blend of 60% Negroamarao, 35% Primitivo (aka Zinfandel’s parent grape) and 15% Malvasia Nera.  A giant nose of figs, cloves, anise, vanilla, raisins (go figure), a hint of olives and black peppercorns, a nice lift of dried flowers and red berries and blueberry.  The texture is silky, polished and mouth-coating.  There’s some unique spicing at work here that I can’t quite pinpoint… I want to say it’s Sumac, but I can’t be positive.  It’s taunting me.  The wine finishes with elegance and a tangy little pop.

So I saved the BEST FOR LAST!  This bottle will cost ya just $16!!  

To add to the fun, this wine is available as part of TURKEY PACK #2 at Cellar on Greene this year!  That means you can have it along with three other swell bottles to take to your Thanksgiving feast quickly and effortlessly.  Never heard of a Turkey Pack?  Well, you must click here and check them out.  They’re only our most popular wine club item every year!  Good news is, you can absolutely grab them as a walk-in purchase- it’ll take 2 seconds for us to pack you one.  So you can leave it til last minute, if you’re at all like me!  

Happy Thanksgiving, wine-lovers!

new wines for Friday that are Fabulous and Fun!

It’s FRIDAY, and that means it’s high time we chatted about some new juice.  Well, technically any day of the week is perfect for that, but today’s the day.  These three puppies are really, truly fantastic and individualistic.  They truly each deserve a post of their own, but multi-wine posts are a little easier to pull off on a Friday afternoon.  So let’s take a peek…

allthree82913

A total of five grapes and three countries!  One grape of which you probably have never heard of.  One brand-new to SC Pinot Noir.  And one freaking excellent Malbec blend from a forgotten place for Malbec- France!  Eeek, what fun!

First up is one of my favorite finds of the last few weeks: Cederberg Bukettraube, 2012 South Africa:

Buke-what?  Buke-who?

Buke-what? Buke-who?

When I first met this wine, I knew we would be fast friends.  I’m widely known as a weird white wine nerd, so it wasn’t exactly a shock that I took a liking to this one.  However, just cause you weird, don’t mean you good- but this one is!  To me, when I first smelled it, it reminded me of a really pretty Vouvray.  Which, when you consider that South Africa does really well with Chenin Blanc, isn’t too far of a stretch.  However, this Bukettraube (buke–rhymes with nuke–uh-traube) is not related to Chenin, as far as I could Google.  Apparently it is a grape of German origin.  It is a cross of Silvaner and Schiavia.  Not much else to be found on this one, but you shouldn’t be phased by that.  There’s only so much background info we really need.  What we do need to know is how incredibly TASTY it is!

An incredibly aromatic wine, it bursts with smells that are similar to a Muscat; ripe apricot, lychee, rose petals, peaches and prickly pineapple.  Nice floral accents set it off, the mouthfeel is soft and plush but not overbearing, and the finish clenches with a nice pop of citrus zest.  Truly a gorgeous and unique wine.  Who will like it?  Well, probably other white wine nerds like me.  But if you like Riesling, Chenin Blanc or even a Sauvignon Blanc (minus a little citrus), you will want to give this one a try.  It would be to DIE with spicy cuisine.  The 2010 vintage of this wine got a little press; 90 Points form Steven Tanzer and 89 points from Wine Enthusiast.  I’d not be shocked if this one earned itself a rating, too, so keep your eyes peeled.  Or don’t, if you don’t care.  This wine is a ridiculous value at $13 retail!

What’s next?  A personal fave.  Omero Cellars Pinot Noir, 2011 Willamette Valley, Oregon.  I actually had this wine prior to my trip to Oregon in June and was quite tickled by it.  My appreciation grew after the trip, where I tasted approximately 10,000 (okay, slight exaggeration) Oregon Pinot Noirs.  We just picked up this wine as a by-the-glass pour last week (hat tip- only the second account in SC to do such…).

serious Oregon juice.

serious Oregon juice.

So why do I like this particular one?  Well, an Oregon Pinot that is artfully made tends to really stand out.  When that wine offers what I perceive to be a great value, they stand out even more.  This is the first distribution vintage for this winery; they are very small and only 1500 cases of this 2011 were made.  It’s everything Oregon Pinot Noir should be: bright acidity, a nice mix of ripe red fruit on the forefront, followed by some sour cherry, pomegranate, wild strawberry and raspberry.  There is a nice softness and a flowery suggestion in the finish, and a touch of mild vanilla.  This wine tastes freaking phenomenal the second day after opening!  In and of itself, this is an indicator that this wine is a great candidate for a bit of time in the Cellar.  For a cooler vintage like 2011, this is a great quality for a wine to have.  The winemakers are pretty legit, making it their goal to express the true nature of Willamette’s climate and soil.  Their winery is located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA of Willamette, which is where the majority of this fruit is sourced.  This wine is currently available for tasting purposes and as a glass pour!  It’s retail cost is a modest $24.  (Side note: their single Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir is exemplary, too).  You will not find this on any other wine list in Columbia- BOO-YAH!

What’s the last thing on my mind today?  A little Frenchie!  From one of my favorite regions in France, Cahors.  Cahors is relatively close to the Bordeaux region.  Malbec is a grape that is considered a true Bordeaux varietal, but it is often seen in Cahors as a single varietal, or in this case used in a cool blend of 80% Malbec with a splash of Merlot and Tannat:

mmmmmm.

mmmmmm.

Chateau de Gaudou, 2011 retails for a sweet $15.  It is as close to a perfect house French red as you could find.  In my mind, approach this wine as 1.) a great value French red and then 2.) as a Malbec.  It will not taste like the Argentinian Malbec you had last week.  Sure, there are some definitive grape characteristics that are similar, but they’re treated much differently in each country.  I like both, but I find Cahors Malbecs to have density, color and depth that are quite striking.  A deep purple, almost black color, it has a whopper of a nose of blackberry liqueur, blackcurrant, toasty oak, black cherries, violets, and undertones of roasted sage and thyme.  Some higher notes of red raspberry are found if you search for them, too.  The mouthfeel is smooth with a little bite of tannin that makes it great with food.  Grilled or roasted game.  Maybe a beef or lamb tartare to make the mineral content pop a bit.  It’s quite versatile and great on it’s own.  This wine is also currently a glass pour at Cellar, so should you desire a taste, just stop on in!  Or have a glass with your next dinner!

Thanks for reading and HAPPY DRINKIN!

Spring. Whites. Lots of ’em!

Needless to say, I have not been off to a perfect start in 2013 when it comes to blogging.

Truth be told, I have no clue how this year has gone by SO. incredibly. FAST.  There hasn’t been a week where I haven’t tried to sit down and write, but… I just don’t know what happened.  Not going to waste a lot of breath trying to make excuses.  However, one exciting thing that took up most of my energy in March was that I passed the CSW!  I spent a lot of free time cramming for that thing in March.  I’m relieved to have passed, as that sucker was a combination of extremely easy and extremely hard; for example- one question would be: “Which of the following is a red grape?” with four choices (easy), then the next would be: “Put these Chilean wine regions in order from South to North.” (not exactly easy).  But it’s over with and now I get to have CSW next to my name in my gmail signature.  Yahoo!

But I am excited to be back in the saddle, especially because SPRING is one of my favorite times for WINE!  Why?  Well, Spring has that sort of infectious quality where excitement is tangible in the air (along with a healthy dose of pollen).  Although we don’t have particularly long winters here, clearly Columbians are fans of warm weather, and everyone gets happy in the Spring.  This year we had a freezing cold March, and even though we’ve sort of skipped straight to Summer, everyone is still happy.

And we have some absolutely perrrfect Spring whites in right now!  Another reason I love to hunt for Spring whites is that when you find one (or two or ten) that really captures the vitality and aliveness of Spring in a bottle, it is a truly magical event.  So here are three to get us started…

photo 1 (13)

First up (far left) is the Guild (Lot #6) Pinot Gris/Riesling, 2011 Columbia Valley (retail $16).  This is an effortless, silky little Pacific Northwest white.  There is definitely no mistaking that is is 85% Pinot Gris, and the remaining 15% Riesling is artfully blended and adds just a touch more aromatics to the wine as a whole.  Oregon Pinot Gris has always been a popular category for us, and stylistically this wine offers just a touch more uniqueness than your typical one.  In my mind this makes it a winner.  It’s nose is pure and clean, with aromas of white peaches, apricots, honeysuckle, green apples, pears and a touch of tropical fruit.  The mouthfeel is equal parts soft, textural and tautly acidic.  Finishes with a zip.  I would love to see anyone try to have just one glass of this. This wine is made by a co-operative of well-established Pacific Northwest winemakers who combined forces (Thundercats style) to make the best wine they could at the most reasonable cost.  They succeeded admirably.

Next up is a new installment of what I like to call Crack Juice:

photo 2 (17)

 

Crack Juice is a technical term for a white wine that is ideal for warm (and scorchingly hot) weather.  It must meet certain criteria, the top two being 1.) it must be thirst-quenching and 2.) it must be easy on the wallet, since we have such long, hot summers here.  Survey says?  This wine is showing signs of being the number one Crack Juice of Summer 2013.

So what is it?  Montgravet Colombard, 2011 France, Cotes de Gascogne (retails for a ridiculous $10).  What is Colombard?  Well, I’ll tell ya- all you really need to know is that it’s good- BUT, it is a genetic relative of Chenin Blanc, and to me, drinks much like a less-grapefruity Sauvignon Blanc.  It ripens early and is popular in California for inexpensive white blends.  The Cotes de Gascogne region of South West France is considered the place for Colombards of excellent expression, character and VALUE!  This wine is delightfully crisp and clean.  Beautiful fruit leaps out- especially vibrant notes of nectarines, a little pineapple, a nice hint of spring flowers; topped off with a slight bite of citrus zest on the finish.  This wine hits the nail on the head for a value wine- it does one thing, and does it well.  Crisp, pretty, refreshing.  Done!  $10.  Love it.

Finally is a fun little Portugese wine: Serrado Encruzado/Malvasia/Verdelho, 2011 Portugal (retail $12).

serradoThis is a funny little favorite of mine- a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia and Verdelho from the Dao region of Portugal.  Definitely not grapes you’ll see all over the Piggly Wiggly, but they are fairly common for this part of Portugal.  I like this wine because it offers a bit more body while still hanging on to plenty of nice citrus and zestiness.  It will definitely appeal to someone who likes Albarino; the viscosity and fruit content are similar, but this wine conveniently comes in a couple dollars less than your typical Albarino- and it’s fantastic!  Encruzado on it’s own can, to me, be a little oily.  But blended as in this case, that little touch of slickness makes the overall package very appealing.  It has a nice golden color, with a big nose of lemon zest with hints of honeydew melon and cantaloupe to follow.  There’s a nice richness in here- a bit of golden raisin?  I think so, but it’s hard to nail down.  Basically I just think this is a way cool wine, a great value, and I love to see weird grapes being embraced by the general public.  Come try!

Next week will likely be devoted to Rose, as we are supposed to have a Rose arriving that is so good, it will make you melt.  I will speak no more of it until then, but gird your loins, as this one is practically life-altering.  No joke.  No exaggeration.  Happy Spring and happy drinking!!

 

 

 

Recent obsessions, condensed…

So, as I’ve stated before, sometimes I allow weeks to lapse without writing a proper post.  And while this is partially because it can be extremely challenging to set aside the proper time slot, it’s also because I have a HUGE problem with indecisiveness!  This is because I simply love so many wines that I can’t choose just one.  And a lot of times, I choose one, then another one shows up that I love just as much, and I’m thrown into a quandary of the worst sort.  And by then it’s Friday, and once Friday happens, I just give up.  Woe is me, too much good wine.  

All of that is a way of introducing you to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fantastic wines that I’ve been loving lately!  Let’s start with the bubbles, because it’s before noon as I write this, and only bubbles are proper before noon:

Argyle Brut, 2009 Willamette Valley. $24

photo 1 (11)

This is a fun one, because there aren’t a *ton* of sparklers from Willamette Valley.  I’m racking my brain right now trying to think of some, but I’m coming up blank.  My suspicion is that many Willamette wineries make Sparkling, but don’t make a lot of it, and maybe only have it available at the winery.  Yet another reason why I need to visit Willamette ASAP!

I like this wine because it’s true to it’s roots; once you taste it, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a Willamette Valley wine.  They didn’t try to make it taste like anything other than what it should.  It shines a crystal-clear straw color, and cute tiny bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass like they’s supposed to.  This is a Methode Champenoise wine, which means the bubbles are created in the bottle, making them, in most people’s eyes, preferable.  Made from 59% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay, its light and clean, with a fresh palate of pears, green apples, a hint of almonds, light citrus, floral notes of honeysuckle and… something vaguely soapy, which I really like.  At just 12.5% alcohol, it drinks easily and frighteningly quickly.  A nice slap of minerality really lifts the finish to another dimension.  Fantastic.  At $24, it’s a great price range for a gift- and to boot, $24 is a bit less than what you might find it for elsewhere.

Next up!

Hugel “Gentil” Gewurtraminer/Muscat/Sylvaner/Riesling/Pinot Gris/etc etc, 2010 France, Alsace  $15

photo (26)

Truly, I should have posted about this wine around Thanksgiving, but – duh- I didn’t.  Which is to say, that I’ve been marveling at this wine’s awesomeness for weeks.  I think it is absolutely gorgeous.  In fact, I don’t know if I’ve had an Alsatian white that I liked quite as much as this before.  It’s balance and texture are truly sublime.  “Gentil” is a term for a traditional blending of Alsatian grapes, so I gather.  It’s sort of a serendipitous name, in my modern American mind, because one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this wine is gentle.  It is gentle and effortless, smooth and silky, refined and elegant.  Hugel et Fils is family owned and boasts over twelve generations of winemaking.  A nice tropical and floral nose is prominent, with aromas of kumquat, pineapple, lemon zest and lavender.  All of which are well-integrated and not in your face; gentle.  The palate is mouth-coating and has a touch of the oily-ness that is often found in Alsatian whites.  Calling something oily sounds disgusting, but it’s actually very pleasant- in this wine in particular, it feels like the wine is gently caressing your mouth.  Whoah.  Sorry, that got a little froo-froo sounding.  But it’s actually true!  The finish is tart, a bit dry, and thirst-quenching.  Really an exceptional value at just $15.

Onto the reds!

Decendientes de J. Palacios “Petalos” Mencia, 2010 Spain, Bierzo  $22 

photo 2 (14)

“Well helloooooo, lover!”  That’ what you should be saying to this wine.  First of all, I love the packaging on this bottle.  It’s just plain pretty.  Simple, pretty, and memorable.  This wine is my jam, y’all.  And it’s actually a lot of people’s jam, because it got a spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012, and a 93-point rating.  Mad props.  This wine has scored well most of the past few years, and it remains as delicious and consistant as ever.  So let’s start with the grape- Mencia!  Never heard of it?  I’m not surprised, although you might want to commit it to memory, because there are a lot of good ones out there, and it’s currently experiencing a bit of “trending” in the wine world.  Think of Mencia as a love child between a Tempranillo and maybe an earthy, cool grape like Carignan or Syrah.  It’s deceptively dark in color, a deep purple- the body is packed with fruit, but it is not weighed down in the slightest.  It’s what I like to call a drinker.  One of my more creative titles for a wine, I know.  But as I’ve elaborated before, a drinker is a wine that, upon completion of first sip, leaves your mouth with such a perfect acidic “quench” that you’d have to be straight-up cray not to desire another sip.  Or bottle.

So a beautiful nose of rose petals and violets will greet you, followed by a plush, plummy palate of red fruits, blackberry, and a perfect amount of fresh herbs- thyme and sage, mainly- plus a touch of peppercorn.  And again, the finish has such great lift, you’re gonna want to drink lots n’ lots.  Would be a great pairing for a roasted gamey meat- lamb?  Or- my personal love- a charcuterie plate filled with bountiful amounts of cured ham, sausage, and lots of cheeeeeeese.

One more!  And then I sign off…

Orin Swift “Locations F-1”, 2011 France  $22

photo 3 (4)

We’ve been sellin’ the bejeezus outta this wine for a few weeks!  The middle child in the “Locations” line by Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney, this is the French sibling.  As indicated by the giant letter F on the bottle.  The trio will be completed in Spring of 2013 with an Italian “I” family member (are you seeing a pattern emerging here?).  The idea behind this project is to blend fruit from major wine regions (aka locations) in each country.  So this wine here is a blend of Grenache from Roussillon, Syrah from the Rhone, and various unspecified Bordeaux varietals.  To me, it drinks like a Cotes du Rhone but with a nice creamy addition of vanilla and a bit of oak, and more fruit-forward.  It’s bright, fun, and remarkably easy to drink.  A sensible, straight-forward, yet playful wine that just begs to be drunk now.  It’s a great price point as well- most of the Orin Swift California wines are more in the high $30’s -$40’s, so at $22 it’s just a notch into the “treat yourself” territory.  But there won’t be any next-day “why did I open that” regret!  In fact, the next day you’ll probably want to buy another one.

Well, I started this at 11:30, and now it’s 3:30.   Along the way, I have tasted 17 additional wines from various distributors.  So that has been my day.  Jealous yet?  You should be.  My job rocks.

I’m formulating a “Best Wines of 2012” post for next week, and that will likely be all you hear from me this year.  ALL the wines listed in this post will be open this week either by the glass, or at Saturday’s tasting from 12-2!  So, please stop in and grab a taste or two or four!

Orin Swift “Locations E-1”, 2011 Spain

Okay, kiddos.  This post comes to you today from a sunny, beautiful Columbia, SC- AKA the Center of the College Football Universe.

Most of you that live in Columbia will probably not even read this until tomorrow, at the soonest.  Because your life has, of course, been put on pause until the conclusion of the USC-UGA game this evening.  I get it.  But I am for want of things to do this afternoon, as I am not one of those individuals who gets Football Fever.  I occasionally like install shock and fear in folks around here by telling them there is no such thing as College football in New England.  Horrifying, yes; but 100% true.  It’s like telling them there’s no Santa Claus.  In any case, I do have a vested interest in seeing the Cocks win tonight.  Mostly because I hate hearing my coworkers whine and pout if they lose.  That and I find most Georgia fans I’ve encountered to be a bit abrasive. (sorry, Lane. not you.).  But Bulldogs are cute.  That’s all I got.

So let us move on to a topic that can unite even  one of?? the biggest rivalries in the SEC- WINE! (we are in the SEC, right? I don’t really know.  I just remember someone saying “welcome to the SEC, Missouri.” or maybe it was Kentucky. Like I said, I don’t care about this stuff).  I’ll stick to what I like, which is WINE!!  Especially brand-new wine from Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney!

a study in simplicity, this package is.

Direct and to the point, the large capital letter E announces this wine’s company.  Functional, non-glamorous, yet appealing to the eye; I like it.  It reminds me of those bumperstickers that people put on their cars with the insider abbreviations for particular vacation spots.  For some reason, I like this bottle, yet I hate those stickers.  Like, if YOU were cool enough, YOU’D know what OBX stood for, and you’d go there!  But we won’t dwell on that.

Locations is a blend of three grapes from three of the most prominent growing regions in Spain; Grenache from Priorat, Tempranillo from Rioja, and Carignan from Ribera del Duero.  Despite some Googling, I can’t seem to find a breakdown of percentages.  I doubt it’s an even three way split, but stranger things have happened.  Now, I am a total slut for Spanish wine.  If I had to choose one country’s wine to drink for the rest of my life, it’d be Spain.  I would shed a tear for Rose from Southern France, but I’d get over it.  So maybe I’m predisposed to liking this wine, in which case I’m biased.  But I also have good taste, so you’ll have to take a gamble if you believe me when I tell you this wine is DELICIOUS.  It’s one of those wines I like to call “a drinker.”

specs.

Yes, all wines are drinkers, technically.  But the ones I call official “drinkers” have to have a specific characteristic- they have to leave your mouth feeling lighter OR as light as it was when you started drinking it.  In other words, it can’t weigh you down.  It can’t coat your mouth.  All you should feel after you sip it is a pleasant little tingle, AKA a lightening sensation.  Often it can make you want to smack your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  We could also call this the correct amount of acid, if we wanted to be technical.

But let’s get back to how it tastes, before I get too wordy.  I’ve actually consumed about a glass of this while writing.  So I’m an expert.  A very ripe and luscious nose of blackberry, black cherry, plums, blackberry liqueur, a hint of fresh sage and maybe juniper arrive in your olfactory glands ceremoniously.  The palate, as I said before, is zesty and bright with nice acid and a good balance of fruit.  Savory, robust and lip smackin’.  Structured, with a nice weight and again- very drinkable.  As is evidenced by me crushing a glass while sitting around at 2 in the afternoon.

In closing, I would say this; remember that this is a Spanish wine in addition to it being an Orin Swift wine.  For me, it is a nice venture into Spain from winemaker Dave Phinney- it IS an Orin Swift wine, because I (as should you) would have 100% confidence in buying it untasted, as I would know I’d be getting high quality wine, with precise, experienced and focused winemaking.  But these be Spanish grapes, not ‘Merican.  So if you buy it thinking it’s going to taste like The Prisoner, it won’t.  But you SHOULD buy it because it’s GOOD and because you love wine.  Also?  It’s only $22!  That’s a major win for this wine, and I’m really glad to see such a friendly price-tag on it.  A touch over your everyday price, but not so much that you’ll want to hoard it and feel bad for opening it.

Now here’s the kicker- this wine is in somewhat limited supply.  So I’d suggest stopping in and grabbing a bottle sooner rather than later.  Or, if you’re a transplant like me, come in tonight and have a glass- because in all likelihood, it will only be on by-the-glass until Tuesday of next week, the 9th.

get you some!

***Also!!  A special announcement for SPANISH WINE-LOVERS, if you’ve made it this far, about a way-awesome tasting we have Wednesday, October 10th from 5-7!!  Four brand-new Spanish reds from Well-Oiled Wine Company!  I was literally blown to pieces over these wines, and the PRICES are stunning.  None of them retail for more than $15.  And they’re all kick-ass.  Absolutely fantastic.  We’ll be trying the Pieza “El Coll” Garnacha, Gran Familia Rioja, Anciano 5 Year Tempranillo, and LAN Crianza Rioja.  I’m trying to talk Ricky into making some Spanish-style food to go along with them, too!  Put it on that calendar!

And okay, fine- after a glass of wine, I can say it- GO COCKS!!!

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!