Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tasting Notes: State-Specific Drinking at JavaMonkey

I've gotten behind on my JavaMonkey wine tasting notes, probably due to that little jaunt to Texas at the beginning of the month and another to the Pacific-Northwest after the Wine Bloggers' conference. I do have thoughts to post on the WBC excursion on Saturday and then our subsequent adventures. I'll get to those this weekend. Oh, and tomorrow night is the next JM tasting, pink wine!

Wines from Oregon were featured at the May 27 JavaMonkey tasting. We felt it was a good warm-up for our recent trip, during which we tasted down through Willamette Valley. We've been to the area before, but just the wineries north of Dundee.

The wines of the evening (only region given since they're all from Oregon):

2007 Rex Hill Chardonnay (Willamette Valley):
Interesting tidbits about this one: it's now owned by one of the couples from the A to Z winery, and the stainless steel barrels used for 95% of the fermentation may have, at one time, been used as Coca Cola barrels. That makes it practically local!

Overall, a nice, mild Chardonnay with good depth and structure. Mineral-grapefruit flavors with oak smoothness.
Rating: Good

2007 Rex Hill Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley):
Lemon! But with a creamy texture.
Rating: Good
Wants: Fish in butter sauce with capers.

2007 A to Z Riesling (Multiple Valleys in 5 different appellations):
Mineral nose and backbone, still citrus but with a hint of tangerine. Some of the grapes are grown in blue slate soil, which supposedly gives it a hint of petrol. Yes, I'm thinking about my neurologist friend here. He found a hint of petrol in every white.
Rating: Good to Very Good
Wants: Pasta with prosciutto and lemongrass

2008 A to Z Pinot Noir (Slutty -- sourced from all 30 AVA's in Oregon):
A little earthy/funky on the nose. More earthiness with dark cherry on the palate.
Rating: Good

2008 Rock Pinot Noir (maybe Del Rio -- info not available):
Still cherry, but more tart with a long buttery finish.
Rating: Very Good

2007 A to Z "Night & Day: Southern Crossing" (Rogue Valley): 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese, 4% Grenache, 4% Cabernet Franc
I can just picture them measuring this blend by the grape... My notes only say it's a "yummy red blend," and it would go well with steak. Apparently West Coast correspondent James Bassett also liked it (see previous post).
Rating: Very Good

Tasting in Texas seems to have been a good transition back to the East Coast because the June 10 tasting was all about Kluge Estate in Virginia. Hubby and I have visited there (mentioned in this blog post from our Virginia tasting trip), so we were curious to try the newer vintages. My notes on these are pretty sparse -- I had just flown in from San Antonio that day and was exhausted.

2007 Kluge Estate SP Blanc de Blancs (Albemarle County): 100% Chardonnay
A strong start with the bubbles. Citrus nose and well-balanced (not too citrusy, not too vanilla).
Rating: Very Good

2009 Albemarle Rosé (Albemarle County):
No notes for this one. As I recall, I didn't really get much from it.
Rating: Good

2007 Kluge Estate SP Rosé (Albemarle County): 95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir
Very elegant pink sparkling.
Rating: Good to Very Good

2005 Albemarle Simply Red (Albemarle County):
The name says it all -- a good red with nice fruit.
Rating: Good

2005 Kluge Estate New World Red (Albemarle County):
Earthy with some spice. Dark fruit and a little oaky.
Rating: Good to Very Good

Kluge Estate Cru (Monticello, Albemarle County):
Sweet -- could taste all components, but didn't really blend until I tried it with dark chocolate.
Rating: Good, Very Good with chocolate

So yes, Kluge Estate is worth a look if you're up there. I'm glad that more Virginia wines are making it into the Georgia market. Now if only Tarara would start shipping here... And according to the comments, they are! Thanks for the update! My monthly bugging them on Twitter must have worked. Never underestimate the power of social media.


Anonymous said...


Just to let you know, our goal is to be shipping to Georgia by the end of the summer.


Jordan Harris
Winemaker/General Manager - Tarara Winery

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thank you, Jordan, for the update! I've changed the post. Looking forward to your wonderful wines making it down here. :)