Category Archives for "Wines I Like"

Dec 27

V. Sattui Moscato Frizzante 2009 from Napa, California

By Louise | 2009 , California , Moscato , Napa , White Wine , Wines I Like

This Napa wine is great with melon and prosciutto! That was how I first tried the wine, and that was also what I served with the wine during Christmas dinner. The first thing you notice about the wine is its delicate floral smell. You’ll also notice some small bubbles in your glass because the wine is slightly fizzy. It has a slightly sweet taste (but definitely not syrupy) with fruity flavors ranging from grapefruit to lychees. You can drink the wine by itself, but it tastes way better with the prosciutto and melon.

To taste wine with food, you put a little bit of the food (in this case, melon and prosciutto) into your mouth and then chew. While the food is still in your mouth, take a small sip of the wine. Chew some more with the wine in your mouth. Swallow the food and wine, then take another sip of the wine. This procedure allows you to taste the food by itself, taste the food with the wine, and taste the wine by itself. When I did this with the melon and prosciutto, the wine brought out the slightly salty flavor to the prosciutto and the sweet flavor of the melon. Everything was enhanced.

I’m sure you’re eager to try this pairing yourself, but sadly, I can’t find the wine anywhere. I bought it a few months ago when I visited Napa and tried the wine at the V. Sattui winery. It is sadly sold out (I called to double check!). The winery said that they will be bottling the 2010 vintage early next year. All of their wines are sold on their website so check for this wine sometime next year! If you’re lucky enough to spot this wine in a store, I suggest buying one to try since it’s a pretty cheap wine considering how delicious it is – around $25 per bottle.

Dec 24

Fonseca 2000 Vintage Port – Intro To PORT

By Louise | 2000 , Port , Portugal , Uncategorized , Wines I Like

I’ve always been a fan of dessert wines, and port is definitely one of my favorites. If you’re unfamiliar with port, it’s a sweet, red wine, usually fortified with a grape spirit (a brandy-like substance) to stop the fermentation early on. This then creates a high residual sugar content in the wine and raises the alcohol percentage. Port is generally produced in Portugal (from the Douro River Valley region), and, technically, only ports produced from Portugal may be called Port or Porto, although I don’t think this is that strictly policed. You can also find a lot of port-like wines from Australia, Argentina, and even the US. I found a lot of really amazing port-like wines in Australia, and they were dirt cheap for amazingly high quality wines. It’s a pity that they don’t import much of those to the States, but if you ever get the chance to go to Australia, I would definitely recommend trying some out there.

There are several common types of ports that you’ll see in the stores in the US:

  1. Tawny Ports are barrel-aged ports i.e., the red grapes are put into wooden barrels until they turn a golden-brown color. If there is no age labelled on the bottle, then it was probably in the barrel for around 2 years. Otherwise, they will usually label how many years they have been aged for. The characteristic taste for tawny ports is their nutty flavor (more of a hazelnut favor).
  2. Vintage Ports are made from grapes from a certain declared vintage year. In Portugal, the decision to declare a ‘vintage year’ is a decision made by each individual producer that year. Vintage years are generally declared only when the grapes produced that year are exceptional. Generally, only 3 out of 10 years are declared ‘vintage years’ by a producer. Vintage ports are often aged in the barrel for a maximum of 2.5 years and then aged in the bottle for another 10 to 30 years. They are known for their dark purple color and their fruity taste (both a result of the short barrel aging time).
  3. Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports are like Vintage Ports but don’t usually require bottle aging. Most can be drunk as soon as they are released by the producer, which means you can just buy one from a store and pop it open the same day. LBVs arose from Vintage Ports that were left in the barrel for longer than planned because of low demand. This then developed into a new style of port. LBVs are generally barrel aged for 4 to 6 years as opposed to the maximum of 2.5 years that Vintage Ports undergo. Of course, some commentators don’t think they’re as good as Vintage Ports that have been properly bottle aged.
  4. Ruby Ports are bottle-aged ports and are generally the cheapest and most mass-produced type of port. To make these ports, the grapes are stored in concrete or stainless steel tanks after fermentation, which prevents it from aging too much and keeps it ruby in color.
  5. White Ports are white in color as they are made from white grapes. Be careful when buying these for dessert as they can range from very dry to very sweet.

The bottle I enjoyed last night was a Vintage Port from 2000. I probably drank it a tad early as it’s only recommended for drinking after 2011, but it’s hard for any good wines to stay unopened in my apartment. This port has a great smell – full of blackberries, cherries, and maybe a touch of licorice. The taste isn’t as sweet as I like my ports to be, but there’s a lot of fruity taste to compensate for the lack of sweetness. And you can keep tasting that delicious faint grape/raisin/raspberry taste in your mouth for ages after swallowing. I think this port is great for people who like red wines but generally don’t like dessert wines that much, because it’s not super sweet or syrupy like many dessert wines.

This bottle was rated 95+ on Wine Advocate and 94 on Wine Spectator (if you care for ratings). Good ports are unfortunately quite pricey, and this one is $94.99 for a 750ml bottle (normal wine bottle size) at Astor Wine and Spirits. If you just want to try it, you might be able to find a half bottle (375ml) in some wine stores for around $45 to $50.

Dec 20

Domaine Roger Perrin Rouge 2008 from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France

By Louise | 2008 , Chateauneuf-du-Pape , France , Red Wine , Wines I Like

I had this wine at DB Bistro Moderne (Daniel Boulud’s restaurant in Midtown New York) a couple of nights ago. It was a delicious red with a very strong fruity (and slightly oaky) smell that reminded me of berries. In the mouth, it was slightly oaky with a hint of spices and very little tannin. What I really enjoyed about this wine was how nothing jumped out at me. I think some people classify that as a bad thing in a wine, but I like my red wines to be smooth and easy to drink. I tend to dislike wines that are described as “big!” The other people at dinner with me also enjoyed the wine (and they generally drink a lot more reds than I do!). The wine didn’t pair so well with the hanger steak that I got as my main course, but it did go amazingly well with Olivier’s Alsatian Tarte Flambee that I got for my appetizer. I would highly recommend trying those together if you get a chance to eat there.

If you just want the wine by itself, I see it sold on many websites for around $30 per bottle. I think the label on most bottles look slightly different from the picture I have up, but it’s the same wine. If you’re in NYC, it looks like K&D Wines and Spirits on Madison Ave. has it for $28.99. If you want to buy online, I think Discount Wine Buys has it for $28.94. At DB Bistro Moderne, the bottle was $75.

Dec 18

Chateau les Tuileries 2009 from Bordeaux, France

By Louise | 2009 , Bordeaux , France , Red Wine , Wines I Like

This was another wine in my box of 12 from Barclay’s Wines. This bordeaux was light and fruity on the nose and slightly oaky and spicy on the tongue. I definitely felt some tingling on my tongue due to the spiciness. I’m generally not a big fan of red wines because they either have too much oak taste or too much tannin. This wine, however, was a good balance of both. The tannin wasn’t so high that my mouth was filled with grittiness, and the oak taste was very subtle and not overpowering. All in all, a very enjoyable bordeaux.

According to barclayswine.com, this 2009 vintage won a gold award at the Bordeaux Wine Awards (Concours de Bordeaux). I don’t generally place much stock in awards like this one (which is apparently an award recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture in France) because my tastes may vary from their judges, but I have to admit that this wine is good enough in my view to win something! Barclay’s Wine seems to agree as they call it a “classic Bordeaux done to perfection, certainly deserving of its gold medal.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this wine sold anywhere other than on Barclay’s Wine’s own website (barclayswine.com), but it’s pretty cheap at $14.95 per bottle.

Dec 02

Four Vines ÔÇťOld Vine CuveeÔÇŁ Zinfandel 2007 from California

By Louise | 2007 , California , Red Wine , Wines I Like , Zinfandel

Sorry, I have no pictures of this wine bottle. I got a glass of it at Del Frisco’s in midtown New York for around $11, and I never got to see the bottle. This wine had a very strong raspberry smell to it. If smells were visual, then I’d describe this as a vibrant bright clash of reds and yellows. Maybe I’m crazy to think about it in colors, but there you go. I would definitely give this wine the thumbs up, not only because of its great aroma but also because it was slightly sweet and fruity on the tongue with relatively little bitter tannin taste (although there was a slight red wine grittiness left in my mouth after I swallowed). In some ways, it almost felt like drinking an alcoholic berry juice, although don’t worry, it was nowhere as sweet as juice! The only downside to the wine was that it didn’t go too well with my steak. A bitter taste emerged when I tried it with my steak, and there was even a slight spicy tinge to it. Sadly, none of that bitterness or spiciness added to the my steak, which was nonetheless delicious.

Where else can you buy this? I think this is a pretty common wine that you can find a lot of places – I’ve found on BevMo’s website for $9.99.

Nov 25

Gerstacker Nurnberger Markt Gl├╝hwein from Bavaria, Germany

By Louise | Germany , Red Wine , Sweet , Wines I Like

I’ve been secretly enjoying my sumptuous bottle of Gl├╝hwein for the past few days without telling you! Gl├╝hwein is the German version of what the English call “mulled wine.” It’s basically a spiced red wine served warm (usually spiced with ingredients such as cinnamon, sugar, cloves, vanilla, and lemon peel). This type of wine seems to be popular throughout Europe and is known by a different name in every country! For example, it’s called “vin fiert” in Romania (yes, I got that off Wikipedia so please don’t quote me!). This is really just the perfect drink for this season as it helps to keep you nice and toasty on the inside and rosy on the outside. Imagine yourself in southern Germany walking through a beautiful Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkts), holding a steaming cup of this wine in your hands as you peruse the market’s wares. If you have trouble picturing this, try squinting at the label on this wine bottle (see the bottom of this post) – it shows one of these traditional markets.

Let me tell you about this particular wine. It comes in a large, 1-liter, brown bottle, and it’s best served warm (although they say that it can also be drunk cold). Honestly, a warm glass of this on a blustery winter day will melt all your troubles away! And for me, it really does just take one glass! Don’t let that 10% alcohol label fool you, because I’m pretty sure the hot vapors or something in this wine gets you drunk real fast! As for how to heat it, I think the traditional way is to do it in a saucepan, but I’m lazy and will just put it in the microwave. I usually put around 3 or 4 shots worth into a small microwavable juice glass and heat it for 15 seconds. Just make sure you don’t boil it!

What does it taste like? A bit like warm sangria actually. You can definitely taste the citrus in this as well as that generous splash of cinnamon. It’s also nice and sweet, although I don’t think it’s sickeningly sweet. However, it is definitely a drink to sip slowly and enjoy. Maybe drink the bottle with friends after a night out in the cold or just save it for yourself to drink over several days. I’ll write a review about how I keep my wine fresh in a few days so you can do the same.

Price: dirt cheap at $7.99 for a 1-liter bottle! Where to buy? You guessed it – Astor Wine and Spirits. I honestly do not work for them!

Nov 19

Gunderloch Riesling 2009 Kabinett from Rheinhessen, Germany

By Louise | 2009 , Germany , Riesling , White Wine , Wines I Like

What could be more German than a meal of sausages and sauerkraut with a glass of riesling. It almost fills me with compulsion to spew out some random German phrases I picked up during my time in Stuttgart, but I’m going to save it for another day, especially since more German wines are going to be consumed in the near future. In fact, I’m planning a very seasonal review of Gl├╝hwein! If you haven’t come across Gl├╝hwein, or what the English call “mulled wine,” it’s a spiced red wine served warm and often drank during the winter months. Check back soon for that review.

Back to rieslings… Rieslings are generally known to be a sweet white wine, but there are actually several levels of sweetness, and you can tell how sweet the wine is by the label on the bottle. This wine has the label “Kabinett” attached to it, which indicates that it is considered “off-dry” i.e. there’s a little bit of sugar in it, but not much. If the wine is sweeter (i.e. the grape was left on the vine for longer before it was harvested), then the term “Sp├Ątlese” is used to describe it. For super sweet (almost dessert-wine style) reislings, “Auslese” is used. There are even sweeter German wines, so if you’re in the market for a dessert wine, look out for labels such as “Beerenauslese,” “Trockenbeerenauslese,” and “Eiswein.” However, if you just see the word “trocken” by itself on the label of a German wine, then it means that the wine is super dry (i.e. no residual sugar). Another way of estimating how sweet a wine is is to look at its alcohol content. A low alcohol content usually equates to a sweet wine. This is why some sweet rieslings have very low alcohol percentages e.g. 9%.

Onto the actual wine itself. This is my favorite riesling because it has that quintessential fruity, floral riesling smell but none of that nauseating sweetness that can sometimes be associated with rieslings. It has a very delicate yet refreshing grapefruit taste that just leaves you aching for more. The Kabinett label on the wine tells you that it has very little residual sugar, but there’s a subtle fruity essence to the taste that tricks your mind into thinking it’s sweet! I can enjoy this bottle by itself anytime. However, it does go great with food as evidenced by the fact that the 2008 version of this wine is on the wine list at Gordon Ramsey’s 2 Michelin star restaurant in New York ($52 for a bottle or $12 for a glass). In fact, that’s where I first discovered this wine. But if you just want to buy a bottle to drink at home, then you can get the 2009 one, which is shown in the photos, for $20.99 at Astor Wines and Spirits.

Nov 14

Clotilde Davenne Sauvignon 2008 from Saint-Bris, Burgundy

By Louise | 2008 , Burgundy , France , Sauvignon Blanc , White Wine , Wines I Like

What can I say…it’s acidic. Not my normal cup of tea (which is reislings), but quite interesting. The smell…well, to me it smells like dry white wine. Maybe if sniff hard enough I can detect a vague grapefruity smell, but then it could also be my imagination. I can’t really detect anything fruity in it. Other websites have described this wine as having a “mineral nose,” but having never fully understood the term minerality, I can’t really comment. Maybe minerality is just what I smell in the majority of dry white wines, in which case, this wine is most definitely full of mineral notes.

Onto the actual taste…again the acidity hits you immediately but filled with citrus flavor rather than just pure vinegar.Likewise, there’s a tangy aftertaste that you would associate with citrus fruits. I usually really dislike acidic wines, but the citrus aspect makes this wine far more enjoyable even beyond the first glass.

This wine comes from the French region of Saint-Bris (Saint-Bris-le-Vineux), a small town in Burgundy. Burgundy is traditionally known for Pinot noir so it’s unusual to find a Sauvignon from there. The wine maker is Clotilde Davenne, and she’s been making wine in that region of France for the past 17 years (according to her website).

Where can I buy it I hear you shout…well, I got this bottle at Astor Wines and Spirits in NYC for $15.99. There you go, you now know everything I know.