monkey 1

monkey 1
Needing a glass or After a glass?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apologies for not keeping up! Happy Christmas!

My abject apologies for not posting as regularly as I've been drinking.  Thank you for bearing with me.

My New Year's resolutions are to strive...

1.  to post about every single bottle I open - wine,  craft beer and distilled spirit (mmmmmsinglemaltscotch).

2.  to hit the books again to read up on wine so I can write more useful commentary  than just ..."yummmmy" & a comment about blissfully curled toes.

3.  to make more cogent notes on tastings in the area.  I will not be able to list all wines tasted but I want to post about that great discovery which blows out the competition at a tasting - at least in my opinion.

Meanwhile, Happy Christmas!  I hope it finds you and your family well and with a bottle (or 2) handy.

One of the expected Christmas wines at Chez Monkey is Mumm Napa, brut prestige, a Napa Valley Sparkling wine.  

The other wines are still to be determined after a consult with local wine gurus.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ondarre Reserva 2004 Rioja

I originally bought this to make sangria.   I needed a diversion from summer whites so went to some of the older reds I had in the cellar which I wanted to drink through.  I was not in the mood for sangria.  I am more of a purist than not.  I don't like adulterated coffees, beers or wines.  I am of the opinion that coffees which need flavoring are inferior coffees to begin with, likewise beers and wines.  In terms of cooking and drinking, I believe that the better the base ingredients, the better the end result, though some cooking is very forgiving of some questionable choices.

Anyway,  this one started out a little firmer than what I was expecting.  At first swirl, it was hot with alcohol.  The tannins were there but were smooth.  There was very little fruit.  It was a very good food wine.

I do not have a picture of the did that happen? Was I enjoying the wine that much?  Maybe!

Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007

Nose: light citrus
Taste: not oaked, mild tasting with a pleasant citrus that I can't describe as one or another specific citrus.
Finish: medium long

This is another one which went down easily and well.  I am beginning to appreciate what white wines bring to the table.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Petite Arvine 2007

I think I waited a year too long to open this but it was still surprisingly good.  Since I have never heard of the grape before...I did not even know this was a white wine until I opened it.  It's from Switzerland.  Who knew Alpine regions grow grapes?  Okay, wine enthusiasts know that.  I'm new at this.

Thinking about it, I would have thought this would be a light wine: thinking cooler mountains, higher elevations - again, without looking up specifics.

It was a deep yellow in the glass with no change in color at the edges.  It smelled of pineapple and alcohol.  Oh it was so good.  It went down so easily and lightly.

An amazing thought: Switzerland which would not have known about pineapples without help from imports grows a grape which gives them some of that same great taste (but without the excessive juicy sweetness of an actual pineapple)

On the second day it was no longer pineapple: it was pink grapefruit.  I like pink grapefruit.  It's regular grapefruit I don't much like.

La Lapin Chardonnay

An odd waxy, weirdly floral (yukky geranium?) nose.

The taste wasn't much different.  It was that waxy oddness.  Maybe even some of that yucky geranium.  Some citrus was trying to overcome the odd tastes.   

With aeration: the oddness decreased but never fully went away.  Some apricot came through, which helped.

Copertino Riserva 2003

 If you love the stench of a fresh barnyard...and I mean horse apple fresh...then this is the one for you.  The stench does not go away with time.

I did not try this with an aerator.  Maybe that would have helped the smell.  It probably would have hurt the taste.  The color was past red heading into brick.  It probably won't last much longer.

The taste doesn't need any help.  If you can get past the smell, the taste is smooth, light berry, evenly slightly creamy yet food friendly.

The taste was the same into the second was the smell.   As I said, the nose did not dissipate or change into anything more pleasant.

Harmonie 2009

Muscadet de Serve et Maine sur lie. 

First sip is EEEEEEYOOOOOWWWWWW  sharp.  That's what happens when you just can't wait a little bit for it to open up and calm down.  

A short time later:  very light citrus on the nose.  Taste was smoother, maybe some light peachy type taste with just a touch of citrus, nice citrus but not grapefruity citrus.  Not exactly peachy but sort of peachy.  There was a hint of effervescence with every sip which dissipated almost before you knew it was there if you weren't looking for it.  I was looking for it.  I was curious about the 'Sur Lie.'  Yup, there's tiny bubbles at opening sip.  Short finish.

It was lovely.  A lovely summer wine.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hayes Ranch Cabernet Sauvingnon 2009

I couldn't take any more white wines.  I didn't even wait to chill this one.  The first glass was at 58 degree cellar temp.  It was barely okay reminding me of cheaper mass produced supermarket wines, if okay is defined as "okay for the price."  It was a smooth cab but a thin cab.  Few discernable tannins in that it did not give any hint of raspiness or mouth drying when sipped.

I did not notice the rich cherry taste which the label promised.  There was some blackberry.  Smoky oak?  Not in the cellar temp pour.  The following evening was different.

It took me 2 more days to finish this bottle.  The bottle was in the bar frig with a stopper in it.  It kept really well.  Chilled, it tasted very buttery and now I could pick up some ripe cherry.  I much prefer this chilled.  I will have to remember to do that if I get any future bottles of this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc & Viognier 2010

Fantastic patio pounder.  Great wine for the hottest days!

This is another case inwhich I don't much like Chenin Blancs or Viogniers but I love them together in this combination.  My nose was picking up floral notes but the taste was more citrus but not annoying, sharp citrus.  It was pleasant, refreshing citrus with some other elements that softened the citrus.

The was a tremendous $ value at under $9, for a refreshing wine which went well with a number of foods, again, general picnic, light dinner or summer type foods.  Or just by itself on the back deck.  I did not discern any degradation in quality or change in taste over a few days. 

Due Uve 2009

 50% Pinot Grigio, 50% Sauvingnon Blanc.

I am not a fan of most Pinot Grigios or Sauvingon Blancs.  I am not a fan of grapefruit juice, alcoholic or not, not to mention the stink of cat pee on the nose which describes most Sauvingon Blancs from New Zealand in my experience.  This was from Veneto so I felt a little safer in this choice.

The Due Uve was nicely aromatic (apricot?), not too tart, not too sweet, and very refreshing.  Light color.  The second day was as good as the first.  Works against an array of summer picnic type foods.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Domaine de la Bergerie Rose

Yes!  A rose (can't find my accents) .  A pink wine.  A neither here nor there wine.  There is a wine shop owner who won't passively accept my anti Rosee gestures (crossed fingers, garlic, rotating 3 times tossing salt over my shoulder).  She knows why I dislike rose.  Neither of us are shy about our opinions and views.   She has been on the money with all of her recommendations for the past few years.   She said I would like this one.

Notice the bottle.  It is empty.  No, I did not pour it down the sink.

The first night it was reminiscent of what I don't like about roses: neither here nor there.  It was okay.  It went well with the salad I ate that evening: more romaine, vidalia, gherkin and blue cheese dressing.  

The second night it was deeper, richer and fuller tasting.  It was still pink but it drank more like a light red only chewier.  I really liked it the second night.  If I were ever having this again, I would start drinking it from the second night onward.

Rosemount Chardonnay 1999

You heard me: 1999.  I had 3 bottles from a move a long time ago.  I drank 1 a couple of years ago it wasn't bad.  It was fuller, richer tasting than I thought it would be.

I wasn't so lucky this year.

My first clue that I was too late was the orange wine inside the glass.  It wasn't just a deep gold.  It was ORANGE.  I should have taken a picture of the glass of wine.   No worries.  I have that one other bottle.  I may save that for a demo.  I will take that picture.  I have never seen orange wine.

It had a vinegary tartness in the nose and yes, on the tongue.  I did take a sip just to test, which I promptly spit out.  Definitely gone.  Gone!  This is one reason I am using this summer to clear out the accumulated white wines from who knows when and where.  That and the consistent heat.

Chateau la Guilbonnerie

It's red.  It's Bordeaux.  I couldn't take anymore whites at the time.  I knew this was on the rich, robust side but I needed something different from what I was drinking through this summer.  I did not even chill it.

It tasted like it should have been more expensive than it was.  It had plummy richness.  It hit the spot.  I have to remember to get some more. 

I don't usually acquire too many of any 1 kind anymore because there are too many wonderful new tastes and types of wines coming around the corner but there are just some that act as not so old favorites; the known entities.  This is one of them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Macon Villages "Grand Elevage"

Also known as Chardonnay from Burgundy.  

  One sip is enough to tell me that this isn't from California (at least what I can usually afford from California) and definitely not Australian even if I couldn't read the label, which I can and this one doesn't even have that many French words in it.

Curiosity about French wines is a good reason to start refreshing all those years in Jr High/High School French from back in the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Way back when I first started to drink some wine here and there I liked Chardonnays.  Flash forward to  a couple of decades later when I returned to drinking wine I discovered I didn't like Chardonnays.   What happened in the intervening 20 years?  What happened was I drank French Chardonnays when I first started drinking - there wasn't much to choose from from California (at least at prices I was paying - somethings are consistent across decades).  20 years later there were more inexpensive Chardonnays available and they were not the type I remembered loving.   I ultimately learned there was a difference between wine regions (duh!), in many cases a big difference.  This was one of those cases. 

I tend to love more French Chardonnays and Chablis than Californian or Australian within the same price range.   I have tasted some $60 California Chardonnays which I have loved but unless they are selling for $20 or under I won't be having more than a taste.  That said I do have one squirreled away that might be making its appearance here before the summer ends.  It was a sale price I could not refuse.   But I digress.

Back to the Macon.  Another very light colored wine.  A floral nose with flowers I can't identify other than knowing it smells more flowery than citrusy -  another improvement over the basic 'yummmmmmm.'  Crisp.  Refreshing.  Tastes more citrusy than it smells.    It seemed to have more body last night than it does tonight.  It has a screw top so it couldn't have had THAT much oxidation but a little bit went a long way to giving it a more tartly acidic edge on the second day.

Works more as an aperitif for me than an accompaniment with the random accompaniments that came after another long hot sweating workday: a romaine, onion and pickle salad with ranch dressing and a handful of grated romano cheese.   You can tell it's been a very long time since I was a dedicated foodie.  Today's food choice was a peanut butter sandwich an hour ago.  I don't think that counts so it is aperitif night tonight.  The Auxerrois from the other night also had a screw top.  MMMMMM That Auxerrois was sublime both days.  Maybe I will have to break down and get some more before I swill my way through my already cellared whites.

I have to get back to opening up my older wines.  I was trying to alternate more recent acquisitions against the archeological ones which really have to be opened, drunk or tossed creating new cellar space to repeat this fun next summer with all new whites or maybe just chilled light reds.   I already miss my reds.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adelsheim Vineyards 2009 Auxerrois

I don't know how it is pronounced but it is a wonderful light white.

In the glass, it is nearly colorless.  The nose is of peaches?  And some other nice things.  Really nice.

First sips: slightly peachy but not sweet.  Light with nice finish, a short finish.  Some write ups list this as a great wine with oysters.  I don't happen to have oysters handy.  A fast dinner after a day at work, on my feet, in very bad to nearly nonexistent AC during 90F July day... fast, light and late dinner: 1 chicken-feta-spinach sausage with yellow mustard on a hotdog bun.  The wine worked well with something as pedestrian as that.

The peach was no longer on the tongue.  It tasted more 'winey.'  It tasted a little fuller with food, with a longer finish.

There are some press type notes here .  Lovely, lovely wine.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vin des Chanoines

Last summer I drank reds all summer long. This summer it has been whites with 1 foray into a chilled light red.  At least so far. 

Some of the local wine merchants are really pushing Roses.  Some of the Roses were even half decent and not just tasting like a 'tweener.'  Tweener defined as not a red and and not a white, something inbetween and tasting like the worst of that.  I will have some Rose notes eventually...but I might have to be desperate and out of whites.

Back to the lovely red.  Great at cellar temperature in cooler seasons or with a little chill in summer heat.

 Now the label on this particular Italian wine used to be wonderfully arty which the artist donated to the Institute to use on its bottles.  Alas, when he died that right to use the labels became prohibitively expensive.  The wine label is more prosaic but the wine inside is still lovely, lively and light.  Actually, with the slight chill a buttery-ness is more pronounced.

Even though this link refers to an earlier vintage it gives a little more information of this delightful wine.  I have had previous vintages and they were all good, good enough to keep buying the later vintages. 

Let's get this out of the way now.  I am just learning about wine.  I do not have the list of approved wine terminologies infront of me nor do I understand what most of them mean at this point.  Frankly, describing the wine as 'buttery' is an improvement over just saying 'yummmm.'

But back to the whites.  So far this summer I have been swilling through my motley assortment of whites.  Hopefully
I won't run out of my supply of dusty, forgotten or ignored whites which  have accumulated over the past few years until the summer ends.

Of the soldiers already swilled, I just wish I had thought to take pictures of their labels before I finished them but I had no plans to replenish them no matter how much I ended up enjoying them.   I might have to rethink that if the heat of summer outlasts my archeological stash.