Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tasting Notes: ABC's at JavaMonkey, European Reds and Whites at Sherlock's

When someone mentions the "ABC's of wine," sometimes they mean the basics, and sometimes they're referring to "Anything But [that boring] Cabernet and Chardonnay, please!!!" The JavaMonkey tasting this week was the latter. Here are the wines in the order that they were poured (numbers one and two on the tasting list were switched):

2007 Falanghina dei Feudo San Gregorio (Sannio, Italy): 100% Falanghina grapes
Hard to say, but easy to drink, this one was probably the favorite of the evening. It's dry and mineral with a nice citrus finish.
Rating: Very Good

Trivento Torrontes (Mendoza, Argentina): 100% Torrontes
Has a peach/apricot nose with floral and honey flavors over a mineral base. Apparently it was very good with the garlicky bruschetta tasting munchie.
Rating: Good

2004 Rubrato Aglianico dei Feudi di San Gregorio (Aglianico, Italy): 100% Aglianico grapes (yes, they're serious about this anything but... business)
This light-bodied red had a lingering buttery finish. I liked.
Rating: Very Good

2005 Nobul Red Tempranillo (Madrid, Spain): 100% Tempranillo
Generally unremarkable until it opened a bit, then was a nice, smooth red wine with mild fruit.
Rating: Good

2007 Alamos Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina):
This one was all about the smoke and dark fruit. It wanted barbecue, and it wanted it right then.
Rating: Good, would be excellent with food

2004 Kunde Estate Syrah (Sonoma, California): 90% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon (is that cheating?), 3% Viognier, and 1% Zinfandel
I'll just skip to the rating, which I noted as being berry good. Yep, it's a berry bomb, and I liked it.

Hubby and I poured at Sherlock's yesterday before our Grange adventures (see previous post). The theme was European Reds and Whites with one wine snuck in from that strange European country of California (that's a joke -- yes, I am smarter than a 5th grader!).

We requested that Warner send us the wine list ahead of time so we could prepare ourselves for questions and tell stories about the wine. Those of you who know us irl should not be surprised by this. The problem is that every time I do research for Sherlock's wine tastings, the wine rep actually comes, so I don't get to talk. Yep, the wine rep showed up, and I sulked at first, but we ended up being busy enough that we both got to do a fair bit of talking and maybe even show off a little. The extra stuff is below the ratings.

NV Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana (Spain):
This one was interesting because it was a dry sherry, which is totally unfamiliar to most American palates.
Rating: Meh (or should I go with my recent idea of designating wines I didn't like at all with moo?)

A family winery in Andalusia (Southern coastal region) since 1792, the Hidalgos were originally in the salt business. It showed in the wine, which had a salty overtone to it. It was a little better with olives and almonds, but still not to my liking. I don't think any of our tasters liked it, either.

2007 Xarmont Txakolina (Spain):
This effervescent (see: slightly bubbly) white is all citrus and mineral and would be perfect for an afternoon by the pool or on the back patio with tapas. This was one of the more popular wines of the afternoon, maybe because it followed the dry sherry and was thus really good by comparison.
Rating: Very Good

From the Basque region, this wine is usually served from a great height into a small tumbler and allowed to settle. I did not allow Hubby to climb the shelves and try this.

2004 Roshambo Rock, Paper, and Scissors Chardonnay (Sonoma County, California): Peach-pear nose and hazelnut and peach on the palate, this Chardonnay was actually good. It's still slightly oaked, so I was surprised that I liked it so much, although I shouldn't be because Hubby and I went to the old Roshambo tasting room in 2004 and loved their wines. We're hoping that they'll ship to Georgia now that the laws have loosened up a bit. If not, we'll just have to visit them at their new tasting room in Sonoma.
Rating: Very Good

2005 C.H. Berres Riesling "Impulse" (Mosel River Valley, Germany):
This is a mostly dry Riesling with a little bit of residual sugar and peach-citrus flavors over mineral. Hubby liked it, which was his surprise for the afternoon because he's usually anti-Riesling.
Rating: Very Good

The "Impulse" in the wine's name comes from the new energy infused by the winemaker, Marcus Berres, who took over his family's winery with the 2004 vintage while still in his late 20's. Would go well with Asian cuisine.

2006 Vina Gormaz Ribera del Duero (Ribero del Duero, Spain): 100% Tempranillo
Seriously, two disappointing Tempranillos in a week? What is the world coming to? This one was all earth and leather with the berries sneaking out as it opened, but it was still too much terroir, not enough fruit for my palate. Others loved it, though.
Rating: Okay-Good

2005 Barco Negro Douro (Douro, Portugal): 30% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca, 40% Touriga Nacional -- all Portugese varietals, the second one is related to Tempranillo
Dark fruit nose with cherry and plum flavors with just the barest finish of mint, this red was definitely drinkable.
Rating: Very Good

The name comes from one of the Barco Rabelos, or boats used to transport Port on the Douro River from where it was made to Vila Nova de Gaia, where it was sold and stored. The Barco Negro ran at night and had a black hull. The Port barrels were also black, as supposedly were their contents, which was a dark, dense, and rich Port wine.

2004 Guelbenzu EVO Ribera del Quieles (Spain): Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Tempranillo (exact percentages apparently a trade secret)
Medium-bodied red with slight toasted bread and lots of currant flavors. The flavors dwindled disappointingly as it opened.
Rating: Good to Very Good

The town of Cascante in the Navarra region of Spain has been making wine since Roman times. The Guelbenzu winery has been selling commercially since the early 1800's. The EVO is not a Rachael Ray reference, as one taster guessed, but rather a Spanish word meaning eternity that was supposedly derived from the cry of the priestesses of Bacchus (god of wine and partying), who would shout, "Evohe! Evohe!" or, in modern parlance, "Party on forever!" in the course of their Bacchanalia.

Bottom line: A Chardonnay that I liked and a Riesling that he liked? They definitely had to come home with us.

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