This past weekend was my father-in-law’s 60th Birthday. To celebrate, his wife had about 30 people over their new house and had a nice catered meal. My father-in-law loves wine so I knew this would be an opportunity to taste a few different wines. Obviously for a party this size your not going to be opening really expensive bottles but he came down the store the day of and picked out some nice stuff. I tried to take small pours so I was able to try all the wines open but I still wasn’t able to. Here is what I tried in the order I remember.
2009 Grayson Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 10 – In stock $10.99
Robert Parker raved about the 2008 so I had it a few times and loved it. We got the 2009 in a month or two ago but last week Parker tweeted Grayson had done it again in 2009 so I made sure I tried this. I must say that that the quality of the 2009 is equal to the 2008. It has some straight forward, moderately complex fruit that you would not expect for a $10.99 bottle of wine. It got better with some air too. Great for a party or everyday drinking. 88 Points.
2008 Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay – In Stock $14.99
This is a Dave favorite and I can see why. This unoaked Chardonnay has some nice citrus fruit flavors with a certain richness to it but also the minerality you would find in a dry Riesling. Although I do like my oaked Chardonnay, I can enjoy the unoaked versions as well. 89 Points
2009 Cupcake Chardonnay Central Coast – In stock $9.99
I have heard a lot about the Cupcake wines for a while but had never tried them. They source grapes from all over the world to produce their wines which certainly is impressive. This Chardonnay had some decent flavors of grapefruit and pear. Just a decent example of a straight forward California Chardonnay. While decent for serving to a large party, not nearly as exciting as the first Chardonnay. 84 Points.
2009 Dona Paula Estate Malbec – In Stock $14.99
We tried this a few weeks ago in the store and I did like it. I didn’t get too much on the nose but it had some pleasant up front fruit of black cherry and blueberry flavors. It ended with a decent finish. Certainly a nice wine and one that will do well for all the Malbec fans at a party. 87 Points.
2007 Castello d’Albola Chianti Classico – In Stock $16.99
This appeared as #47 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010 and got 90 points so I was excited to try it. I’m not sure if it clashed with the food or needed more time but I found this a tad disappointing. It had some nice cherry fruit but a ton of earth and a tad bitter. I was expecting more from a Top 100 wine. I’ll have to try it again with pasta. 87 points.
2008 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Kabinett Mosel Ockfener Bockstein – In Stock $19.99
St. Urbans-Hof is making some of the best reasonably priced Rieslings imported into the USA right now. This Ockfener Bockstein has a nice sweetness to it but it also has that minerality you find in some of the dryer Rieslings. A beautiful nose as well! I really enjoyed this and it went well with the pulled pork. 90 points.
2008 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump G/S/M Red blend – In Stock $9.99
Yet another wine that appeared on this year’s Top 100 Wines of the Year and got 90 points from Wine Spectator. This was very pleasant with some cherry, raspberry and grape flavors. Not an overly complex wine but very well put together for what it is. An outstanding value for $9.99! 89 points.
2007 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – In Stock $28.99
I have had this recently so I knew it benefited from a short decant. So when I got there I poured it into my father-in-law’s decanter to let it get some air. By the time we tried it it was ready to go. It had a wonderful nose of blackberry, smoke and a touch of earth. On the palate, it had flavors of mint, black cherry, and a dusty berry component I find only in Napa Valley wines. The finish was very decent, lasting about 20-25 seconds. A very nice entry level bottling from Mondavi. 91 points.
2009 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc – In Stock $9.99
Veramonte has done very well for themselves over the last few years. Paul Hobbs, the famous California winemaker, consults for them and their Pinot Noir appeared in the Top 100 Wines of the Year for Wine Spectator. Their Bordeaux blend called Primus has also gotten some acclaim for them. This night we had their Sauvignon Blanc. I only had a little taste because I had never tried it before. This, to me, was a cross between the California and New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blancs. Not overly complex but displayed some nice fruit and is certainly good for the money. 86 Points.
2009 Nik. Weis Selection QbA Mosel Riesling Urban – In Stock $9.99
The last wine I drank of the night and yet another great value. This is also made by St. Urbans-Hof and just a terrific inexpensive Riesling. It has some nice flavors of apple, pear and lime to go with a slate-like minerality on the finish. I think I liked this just as much as the Ockfener Bockstein bottling. 90 points.
And that was it for the Birthday bash. Great food and wine, what more can you want on your Birthday!