Saturday, December 10, 2011

A New Favorite in Old England

A few weeks ago, my friend, Meg, introduced me to a rioja she's been into lately - Vina Alberdi. It's hearty and somewhat smokey, but it's quite smooth with a lot of fruit and finesse. Really easy to drink by itself or enjoy with just about anything (I do not recommend taking a swig after having a Junior Mint).

Last night when I was picking out a bottle to enjoy while on my mini holiday in London, I was thrilled to find a bottle of Vina Alberdi at the Odd Bins wine store near my friends' flat. Total crowd pleaser. We drank with pizza last night and went back to pick u another bottle to have with dinner tonight. One of my friends picked up a bottle to keep at her place for a future occasion.

If you see this bottle, it's definitely worth the $20+ it will set you back.

Until, well, who am I kidding, I'm on vacation so I sniff, sip and quaff every day!

Alli M.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mulling It Over

Hello from the U.K! Why am I reporting frm a region that's not really known for wine? Well, the English are certainky known for their drinking. Plus, they tend to serve a lot of mulled wine during the holidays. And today I learned the difference between European mulled wine and the mulled wine they tend to serve in the U.S. - spirits. European mulled wine tends to be fortified with whiskey or bourbon or other spirits while U.S mulled wine tends to consist of just wine and spices. At least that seemed to be the case today. Or maybe it was just the jet lag...either way, it was an interesting difference to note.

Until the next sniff, sip, or quaff,


Alli M.

P.S. I've since learned that spirits are usually just an option for mulled wine over here. Just haven't seen the whiskey or bourbon option in the states (or maybe I've been drinking the wrong mulled wine all these years)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

When Free Isn't Worth It

I'm one of those people who tends to have an easy time staying away from open bars. It's not that I have some insane amount of will power, it's just that I'm now at the point where I can't drink crappy wine and most wine served at open bars is pretty bad. The bar at the United Club in the Newark Airport is no exception. The Cabernet and Chardonnay they serve as part of their free wine service is among the worst I've had in a long time.

I think the name of the label is Copperhead, which sounds about right because it's about a few notches more pleasant than I imagine a poisonous snake bite would be.

No real lesson to share here other than buyer beware. Oh, and stay away from Copperhead - snake, wine brand or otherwise.
Just checked the name of the wine - it's actually Copper Ridge. Oh well. The snake comparisons don't work, but you should still steer clear of this swill.
Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or quick mouth rinse,


Alli M.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Return Trip to Oregon - Kinda, Sorta

Last week I had the opportunity to attend an Oregon pinot noir tasting conducted by the Essex County Wine Society, a local club of fellow oenophiles.

Over the course of the evening we tasted 10 wines from some of the top wine makers in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  The wines were all from the 2008 vintage, which is thought to be one of the best
Oregon has ever produced. 

We tasted the wines blind so we didn't know who made them or how much they were before we tasted.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my palate mostly went the way I would have gone had I known the labels. 
The line-up (my favorites are in purple):

Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve, Chehalem AVA - Sweet spice on both the nose and palate, not much of a finish, tight tannins, pleasant; $27

Ribbon Ridge Ridgecrest Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA - Classic pinot noir notes of red raspberry and cola, Loved the nose, but it seemed to disappear on the palate; $63

Elk Cove , Yamhill Carlton AVA
- Gamey, but also bright red berry notes, One of my favorites of the night; $28 - good buy

Ken Wright Abbott Claim Vineyard, Yamhill Carlton AVA - Licorice nose but with some interesting sweet notes - floral?, Nicely balanced; $52

Lemelson Thea's Selection, Yamhill Carlton AVA - Sweet nose with spice notes, Currant, earth, a little pepper on the palate, Another one of my favorites; $26 - also a good buy

Archery Summit Arcus, Dundee AVA - Petrol on the nose, Not a fan, Only a few people in the room liked this wine, but it got better throughout the evening - still my least favorite; $91

Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Lovely nose of red berries with a hint of smoke, Absolutely loved this wine and it was a tough choice between this and the next wine for my favorite of the night, Glad to find out that Eola-Amity is still my favorite Willamette AVA - even in a blind tasting; $90

St. Innocent Freedom Hill, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Funky nose with a lot of game and herbal notes; Cherry, spices, savory herbs on the palate - this is my type of wine and it was my favorite of the evening; $40 - in my opinion, a good deal for an Oregon wine with this much personality and complexity

Ken Wright Carter Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Mint, eucalyptus, smelled almost like a mint tea, More fruit on the palate, but still a lot of mint which I couldn't get past, Lots of people loved this one but I didn't really like it, When I found out it was Ken Wright, I was not surprised because I tend not to love their stuff as much as everyone else - just makes me an outlier; $52

Ken Wright Canary Hill Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills AVA - Jammy nose, Cooked berries, Seemed to disappear on the palate, but when I came back later in the evening, it had a much longer finish, Was the favorite for the majority of the attendees; $52

Ultimately, there was only one wine (Archery Summit) I wouldn't want to drink again. Yet even the Archery Summit had its fans.  There were over 70 people at the tasting and each of the wines had at least a few fans so if you get the chance to try any of these, go for it.

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.