In Store Tasting 7/31: 2008 Archstone Pinot Noir

Today we are trying the 2008 Archstone Pinot Noir from Carneros.  We’ve been talking about the rumors for a while that high-end producers are selling off their wines under other monikers and this is what we have heard about this wine as well.  THIS DOES NOT TASTE LIKE A $11.99 WINE!! It has a nice nose of cherry, earth and a touch of cinnamon. The palate is where this delicate wine really shines though with flavors of cherry, raspberry, cola, and a touch of earth.  We could not believe this when I tasted it. Stop in and try it for yourself! 

In Stock $11.99

Notes from 3 Great Wines: All in Stock

I went over my father-in-laws house last night and his brother cooked these great pork chops with a peach marinade. The peaches just melted in your mouth! We broke out a few wines to share for the occasion. Earlier in the day my father-in-law stopped by the store to pick up a few wines to go with the pork and I brought another bottle from the store.  The notes are as follows:

2006 Bogle Pinot Noir

This wine had a little age on it for a Bogle wine but was interesting non-the-less. A light bodied wine, this had some nice cherry and earth notes on the nose. This led to cherry and some tart raspberry flavors that were very pleasant if a bit short.  This has nice balance and stuffing for a wine at this price.

In Stock $16.99

2006 Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

I have had this several times, including from magnum at the winery during my Napa Valley trip, and I do believe this is one of the best value wines on the market right now. A very full bodied Cab, with cherries, blue fruits and vanilla on the nose. It had flavors of dusty berry, currants, plum and a touch of spice. If you haven’t tried this yet, you really are missing out. You really are getting a high quality Napa Valley Cab for only $20, which I assure you is a rare thing. I’m sure I can convince Dave to open a bottle for one of the Saturday tastings.

In Stock $19.99

2008 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir

This is another terrific value wine from New Zealand.  This is even more soft and elegant than the Bogle we tried earlier. Light bodied and a beautiful nose of flowers, cherry and spice.  This goes down quite easy with some nice flavors of green tea, cherry and a touch of earth.  The most impressive Pinot Noir I have had from that region, although I must say I have only had a few. I think I preferred this to the Bogle we had earlier in the night.

In Stock $15.99

Notes from 3 Wines from a Weekend in the Cape

My wife and I had to come to Cape Cod for a wedding.  The wedding was on Saturday but we arrived Friday afternoon because all the hotels up here have a 2 night minimum (or so I’m told by my wife). Friday afternoon it was raining so we hung out in our room until some of my wife’s other friends arrived. We brought up with us a bottle of Chardonnay so we decided to crack it open while we waited.

2007 Mount Eden Chardonnay Wolff Vineyard

Hard to believe this is only $23.99. Someone brought this to one of our wine club meetings and I remember liking it then.  This is classic California Chardonnay.  It had a nice  nose of melon, butterscotch and citrus. On the palate, this was full-bodied and buttery with apple, pear and roasted nuts.  Very elegant and better than some bottles at twice the price! I’m going to have to throw a few more bottle aside for myself at the store!

In Stock $23.99

We went to dinner that night at an Italian restaurant that I found on Go BYO but when I called they said they weren’t BYO.  We ended up going there anyway and the food was very good but the wine was nothing memorable. Don’t even remember what I ordered so I have nothing to report.

The next day we went to breakfast then stopped by a local liquor store. Figured I could grab something for us to sip on in the heat while we were waiting to go to the wedding. I remembered seeing  a nice Pinot Gris from Oregon in one of the latest Wine Spectator’s so we grabbed that.

2008 Erath Pinot Gris

This was clean and refreshing but not too acidic ( I’ve been having trouble lately with acidic white wines for some reason). The wine had a floral nose to go with hints of lemon and a touch of minerality. It had flavors of peach, melon and a touch of minerality. Overall, a nice wine and great to beat the heat.

We then went to the wedding and it was probably one of the hottest weddings I have ever been too. It was inside but the AC wasn’t great. Combine that with the humidity outside and wearing a suit that means a lot of sweating. I stuck to Champaign early on. They had something from Kenwood that wasn’t your typical $3.99 crap that usually serve at weddings. Once we got inside the main reception hall, it was cooler in there and I ran out to the car to grab a bottle to go with the meal.

2005 Atticus John Cabernet Sauvignon

I think I have spoken about Atticus John in the blogs before but I think it is worth repeating.  With the recession hitting everywhere, wineries are looking for ways to get rid of high price wines that aren’t selling. Not because they are bad but because consumers have been cutting back.  Atticus John is supposedly from a high-end Napa producer who normally has the wine for almost $100 but bottles it under the Atticus John label because they were having trouble selling the wine. Rather than tarnish their labels name, they sell it under the Atticus John label so it doesn’t hurt their brand. I have heard three different producers make this from various sources. One was Shafer, which was refuted on my visit there but something they would obviously do. The second was Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars but I don’t think it tastes like one of their wines. The third was Vineyard 29 but I haven’t heard much about that nor have ever had their wines.  Regardless of where it comes from or if it is just clever viral marketing, it is a very nice wine. The wine has nice dark cherry, coffee, and mocha notes.  The wine is surprisingly not that tannic for a Cabernet, which means it is perfect for early term consumption.  We have had trouble getting our hands on this wine at the store but will continue to investigate it.

Stop in and Win a Bud iPod Cooler!!!

Oxford Liquor has yet another great contest. Win the Bud iPod cooler pictured above! No purchase is necessary! Just stop by the store and fill out an entry form. The drawing will be held August 25th. This is a great opportunity to pick up a neat item for late Summer picnics! Listen to your favorite songs while enjoying your favorite cold beverages!

Tasting Notes from 4 Wines This Past Weekend

Yesterday was my wife’s Birthday so today we had some family and friends over to celebrate.  It was one of those hot Summer days so we decided to start off with some white’s before I had to man the grill. We kicked things off with a wine my father-in-law brought over, a 2006 Buttonwood Sauvignon Blanc from the Santa Ynez Valley. This tasted really fresh for a 2006, the reason for this I think is because my father-in-law has kept it in a wine fridge since he got it.  The wine had some searing acidity that might have been too much for me.  It did have some nice citrus fruit flavors that reminded me a tad more of New Zealand than California but not a bad wine non the less.

I decided to do a toast to my wife next and we broke out a bottle of Pommery Brut Rose Champagne NV that we got on our trip to France last year. We have been saving it for a special occasion and figured now was the time. We have a habit to holding onto Champagne too long, although we don’t get stuff that is supposed to age that often. This was nice and refreshing in the heat, with some nice acidity to go along with some strawberry and raspberry flavors.  It was just a tad pink and could easily have passed for a regular Champagne which made it all the more interesting. After tasting this, I think this could have gone a while longer but it’s probably better we drank this when it is drinking so well.

We moved onto a 2006 Sanford Chardonnay. We have carried Sanford Pinot Noir since the movie Sideways popularized it, it being one of the more prominent wines in the movie. The Pinot has always been good but last year we brought in the Chardonnay, which I thought was also very good. I’m glad I had a chance to visit the winery back in October when I took a quick one day trip up to Santa Barbara with Oxford Liquor’s resident webmaster Alex Alapatt. Anyways, I opened the wine and I detected a strange smell.  I was afraid the wine had a bad cork. I tried the wine and it was rather odd. Some sips I swear I could taste cork while others the wine tasted fine. When it did taste ok you had a very typical California Chardonnay with some nice  apple, pear and vanilla flavors.  I remember this being a little fresher when I had it last year but that could be because of its age. This was the last bottle in the store and I’ll have to check with Dave to see if he is going to order anymore in case anyone is interested in buying a bottle.

Last but not least we cracked a 2005 Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir to go with the main course of grilled rosemary chicken, maple chipotle pork chops and some Summer pasta salads. I really needed to try another Kosta Browne after what happened last week with the bad bottle. Although this one was a year younger than the bottle from last week, it was drinking lovely. This was put together nicely and got even better as we drank it.  Had some nice black cherry and cola flavors that just went over your palate like a wave. This was much better than the Russian River Valley bottle I had two years ago and I think the additional age did it some good. I was very happy with the results of this wine and it gave me hope for the other bottles I still have. It brought an end to a very nice day.

Notes from 3 Wines: Pride, Kosta Browne & Chasseur

Got together with a friend of mine and his wife from New Jersey over this past weekend. He has gotten the wine bug bad and when I asked him what he was going to open up he said a 2006 Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. When I heard that I got really excited since I just went to Pride in May. We didn’t get the chance to try any of the reserve bottling but people throughout Napa raved about them and the regular bottlings of their wines were pretty damn good so I could only imagine what the reserves tasted like. I asked him what he wanted me to bring and he said a Pinot Noir. So I told him I would bring a 2004 Kosta Browne Cohn Vineyard. He mentioned we would be having seafood so I grabbed a 2007 Chasseur Chardonnay Lorenzo to compliment the food.

I got a text message at like 1:30 from my friend saying that the Pride was already decanting. We arrived at my friends at about 5 and hit the Pride first. The nose was utterly explosive with aromas of black currant, ripe berries, licorice and a few other things I could not put my finger on. I tasted it and was just hit with layer upon layer of complexity. At one point with my first sip I was able to pick out about five different things including mocha, cassis, blackberry, vanilla and a touch of something vegetal. The flavors were intense and the long decant really loosened up the tannins of this young wine. The best part was the finish that lasted at least 60 seconds.  I know this wine falls on the more expensive side ($125) but you really get what you pay for with this.  I would say it is right up there with the Shafer Hillside Select, Continuum and Alpha Omega Era that I had while in Napa in May.

We opened the Chasseur next. I thought this was a wonderful Chardonnay with great notes of green apple, pear, caramel and some toasty oak.  Very full bodied but elegant, it strikes a wonderful balance between the ripe fruit flavors and natural acidity. This went great with the stuffed clams and pasta with clam sauce that we ate.  Unfortunately my hosts are not big on Chardonnay so I was the only one who enjoyed this. If I had known I would have brought a different white.

We then moved onto our final wine of the night, the Kosta Browne. I opened the bottle and something seemed a little off. So I poured a glass  and took a whiff. I got the smell of stewed tomatoes. So then I took a sip. Barely any fruit and it was a hot alcoholic mess.  At first I thought that perhaps the bottle was past it’s prime. I have always heard people say that the Kosta Browne wines can’t stand the test of time.  I then remembered I had a 2004 Sonoma Coast like a month ago and it was great! I did a little research online and concluded that the bottle was definitely flawed.  It wasn’t corked but I think it was cooked. I remember the cork had receded into the bottle a little bit, which I believe if it was cooked it would have popped out the top.  Not really sure what to make of this but we were obviously all bummed out.  This stuff happens from time to time. Oh well. Felt bad because the two wines I brought my friends didn’t drink. I’ll have to make up for it next time for sure!