Category Archives for "Wines I’m Neutral About"

Oct 06

Carl Sittmann 2010 Riesling

By Louise | 2010 , Germany , Riesling , Sweet , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

carl sittmann riesling 2010Just pulled this cool looking bottle out of my fridge (the color on my iphone photo is a bit off – the bottle is actually a very vibrant blue). 

Another Friday night and another German Riesling!  This Carl Sittmann Riesling is pretty common in the US, and it’s pretty cheap.  The 2011 vintage is only $9.99 at Gary’s  Wine.

Sadly, the wine quality matches the price!  It’s not bad, but not great either.  There’s a faint floral smell with a sweetish taste.  It’s not super sweet, but definitely not dry.  The main problem is there’s just not much other taste…

My verdict?  A cheap sweet swirl in the mouth is all you’ll get out of this one.  It’s especially disappointing considering you could get a great Riesling for around $20  (e.g., Gunderloch).  But if you’re looking for an easy-to-drink cheap sweet wine, then this is it!

Mar 10

Gilbert Picq 2010 Chablis

By Louise | 2010 , Burgundy , Chablis , Chardonnay , France , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

photo(35)This is a very typical Chablis.  It has hints of green apples, minerals, and citrus fruits in the nose and has a very crisp, rather acidic taste, and a medium to long finish.

I wanted to point out one key fact about Chablis.  Chablis is NOT a type of grape!  Chablis is actually a region in Burgundy, France.  The grapes produced from that region are mostly of the chardonnay grape varietal.  That’s why this wine tastes a bit like a Chardonnay.  However, unlike many Chardonnays, most Chablis tend not to have oaky tastes (i.e., they are not produced in oak barrels).  They also don’t have that vanilla, buttery taste and smell that’s sometimes associated with Chardonnays.

Chablis are noted for their acidity and crispness.  If you want to know what a typical Chablis tastes like, then this one is a great example for not that much!  I picked it up from Astor Wines for $20.

Dec 22

Catherine et Claude Maréchal Savigny-Lès-Beaune Vieilles Vignes 2007 from Burgundy, France

By Louise | 2007 , Burgundy , France , Red Wine , Vieilles Vignes , Wines I'm Neutral About

I’m almost shocked at how many red wines I’ve consumed since I started this blog a month and a half ago. I had initially thought this blog would be dominated by sweet white wines, but I am happily surprised by my willingness to experience wines outside of my normal riesling/dessert wine range. I bought this wine at Astor Wine and Spirits and took it to a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) French restaurant called La Sirene in the Village (NYC). I’ve recently started liking BYOB restaurants because it’s nice to have a good bottle of wine with dinner without breaking the bank! And what better bottle to take to a very traditional French restaurant than a French red.

The wine didn’t have a particularly strong smell, although I detected dark cherry and oak in it. The taste was a bit disappointing – it was quite bitter and had a higher tannin level than I would have liked. However, the wine did improve with food. I got the beets salad with pistachio, apple, and brie for my appetizer, and the wine paired decently well with that because the beets were fairly sweet. The wine also paired well with the goat cheese tart appetizer because that again was slightly sweet in flavor. I think the sweetness of the food calmed the bitter taste in the wine thereby enhancing the flavors of both the food and the wine. Unfortunately, the wine didn’t go too well with my main course, the baked seafood shepherd pie, but I could have guessed that. The conclusion: probably not a wine I’d drink again.

Where can you buy it? Although I had bought it at Astor for $29.96 only a few weeks ago, it does not appear to be on their website anymore, so I fear it may have sold out. However, it is sold at a few other places, e.g., Sussex Wines & Spirits (but for $44.99).

Dec 13

Inés de Monclús White 2009 from Andalusia, Spain

By Louise | 2009 , Spain , White Blend , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

I got this interesting white wine in a box of 12 wines from Barclay’s Wine online. The managers at the store at selected the 12 wines, and so it was quite fun opening the box to discover what had come! This wine is made from 50% chardonnay and 50% old vines macabeo, a white grape varietal grown mostly in Rioja, Spain. Macabeo (also known as viura) is often the main grape in white Riojas and is also used in many other white blends. On to the wine itself….

I detected a slightly floral and fruity nose (maybe some pineapples and oranges). In the mouth, it felt rather acidic and slightly bitter, although you could detect a grapefruit acidity/bitterness aspect to it. After you swallow, a slight tingling is left on your tongue and throat. I believe this wine is supposed to be a table wine in Spain, so it should go well with food (especially seafood apparently).

To purchase this bottle of wine individually, you can find it at for $12.95 a bottle (shipping is extra).

Dec 10

Charles Smith “Kung Fu Girl” Riesling 2009 from Columbia Valley, Washington State

By Louise | 2009 , Riesling , United States , Washington State , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

I tried this wine a few nights ago at Casellula Cheese and Wine Café on 52nd and 9th Ave (in NYC). It was an interesting place with a decent selection of wines and cheeses (although very few wines by the glass). My eyes naturally wandered down the wine list to their one riesling.

What did I like about the wine? Hmm, the name was cool…and the bottle label made it look like a sake rather than a wine bottle. I had trouble smelling the wine, although I detected a slight metallic whiff. Then, the first taste was at fairly pleasant – slightly sweet and fruity. I was briefly reminded of grapefruits during that sip. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more in favor of the wine. A mildly bitter aftertaste developed in my mouth, and the wine became more bitter with every sip.

I was told that I didn’t like the wine because it lacked “complexity.” My understanding is that a complex wine will have a variety of different flavors with distinct aftertastes. Complex wines will keep being interesting to you every time you drink it as you discover more flavors and more smells. I would agree that this wasn’t a complex wine. Nothing new came to me as I drank it, except for it becoming more and more bitter, which wasn’t very interesting or good tasting! All in all, it was fine to drink once, but probably not a repeat buy.

Price? I found it online for $12.99 or $14.99 a bottle for the 2008 vintage and as cheap as $10 a bottle for the 2009 vintage. At Casellula Cheese and Wine Café, it was $10 for a glass.

Nov 28

Domaine Parent Pinot Noir 2005 from Burgundy, France

By Louise | 2005 , Burgundy , France , Pinot Noir , Red Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

Initially, a dark and intense cherry smell greeted my nose. This was followed by the mouthwatering smell of blackberries mixed with a tinge of oak. It was definitely a burst of fruitiness. Upon tasting the wine, the oak taste became very prominent, and I could detect a slightly smoky quality to the oak. At the end, just before I swallowed, I felt a spicy kick emerge to finish the wine off. The aftertaste was slightly bitter and slight sour. Not a bad wine, although perhaps not my wine of choice.

This wine has quite a bit of history to it. The wine producer, Domaine Parent, dates back to the mid 17th century and boasts Thomas Jefferson as one of its earliest customers. It’s a wine from Burgundy (known as Bourgogne in French, which is what you see written on the bottle label), which is where Pinot Noir grapes are traditional grown. Indeed, Burgundy is thoroughly famous for its Pinot Noirs. The Pinot Noir grapes that are used to make this wine comes from 30-year old vines, which are grown in clay/limestone soils. The grapes are harvested by hand, and after fermentation, they are matured for 12 months in oak barrels. I’ve read suggestions that this bottle can be aged for 3-5 years. Some Pinot Noirs only reach their peak after aging for 15-20 years.

You can purchase this wine at PJ Wine in New York for $14.99 a bottle for the 2007 vintage. I saw the 2005 vintage sold online for $27.95 a bottle. I’m not sure what difference there is between these 2 vintages so I can’t tell you why the prices vary.

Nov 26

Weingut DĂĽrnberg “Falkensteiner Rieden” GrĂĽner Veltliner from Austria

By Louise | Austria , GrĂĽner Veltliner , No vintage , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

This is a cheap wine I picked up in Astor when it was on sale for $8.96 (although its original price was only $10.99 actually). For a cheap white, it wasn’t too bad. It had a slightly citrusy smell to it. I’d maybe describe it as a faint aroma of grapefruit tinged with apple. The first thought that came to mind when I tasted the wine was that it was acidic (and if you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I really dislike sour tasting wines). But this was a good acidic. It was very refreshing in a sparkling juice kinda way. But, don’t worry, it’s not a sweet wine! In fact, I’d call it decidedly dry! After a sip, the taste dies off very quickly – definitely no lingering sour taste in your mouth, which I also liked.

GrĂĽner Veltliner is a grape varietal grown mostly in Austria and the Czech Republic. It’s known to be a very light refreshing wine, fairly close in taste to an off-dry riesling (although I definitely still prefer the more fruity riesling), and it’s supposed to pair well with food. I had this wine at a byob restaurant and thought that it went reasonably well with some of the lighter sushi rolls, as long as you don’t put any soy sauce on it! Overall, it was a very easy to drink wine that could go well perhaps with fish or just by itself.

Nov 15

Collemattoni Sangiovese 2003 from Brunello di Montalcino

By Louise | 2003 , Italy , Red Wine , Sangiovese , Tuscany , Wines I'm Neutral About

A sangiovese for my second review. I never thought I’d review so many wines before getting to a bottle of reisling! And watch out for my seasonal review of mulled wine (or gluh wine if I can’t find a bottle of mulled wine). First, let me point out that I did not pick this bottle of wine, although I did enjoy it with my Italian dishes. My friend chose the wine when we were dining at Scarpetta in NYC last night. I managed to grab a quick photo of the bottle with only smattering of bewildered looks from neighboring tables. Unfortunately, it was dark in the restaurant so you will have to excuse the photo’s poor quality.

On to the wine itself… What I enjoyed most about this wine was its smell. Its rich aroma of cherries and black currants could easily be detected, and its taste was likewise fruity (full of berries). I was also happily surprised to find that its tannin concentration wasn’t too high (well, the inside of my mouth wasn’t coated with that grittiness I usually associate with high-tannin wines).

I seem to recall various knowledgeable-sounding wine connoisseurs talk about where on their tongue they taste the wine, so here’s my take on that! I detected a slight bitter taste at the back of my tongue near my throat. According to the “tongue taste map,” most people detect bitter tastes at the back of the tongue. I’m not quite sure what this tells me about the wine, but it does seem that I have the right taste buds on the right part of my tongue. I will post further on this whole tongue issue after some investigation.

Sangiovese is a type of grape often grown in Tuscany, Italy, although it is becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world, including Australia and Chile. It’s a wine typically drunk with Italian food (3 pages of Scarpetta’s wine list were dedicated to Classic Sangioveses!), but I, unfortunately, did not notice anything special when I drunk it with my short ribs and spaghetti. If you want to get your hands on a bottle, they seem to range from $50-$60 online, and I think it was around $120 at the restaurant (I can’t seem to find it on their winelist online).