Saturday, August 22, 2015

Issue XXX: Sixth Sense Syrah Edition

 Michael David Sixth Sense Syrah

Syrah, as noted in here frequently, is one of my very favorite grapes in a wine, though Petite Syrah (quite different) is one of my least, though that is perhaps because I have not yet moved into the idea of storing the wine. I admire the density of taste, the mouth feel and most of all, the rich flavor, though it never seems to me clunky ala the Cabs. At some point, perhaps when the HSC reaches 50, I will go back through and do some statistics (another enjoyable pastime of mine) and see which varietal shows up most often. I fully expect that blends will show up in there the most, but with the introduction of Syrahs, my wine consumption has certainly taken a turn and developed since I first started drinking wine regularly.

As to this particular wine, it is another fine example of the huge power-packed punch that Syrah can provide, all while maintaining its characteristic smoothness. This is a rich wine, with quite a lot of staying power, but all the while, it remains quite drinkable. It actually is a blend itself, with a degree of Petite Syrah and Petite Verdot, though those are mainly for grace notes. The real star is the Syrah, which here has notes of berry and some other darker tones.

It is also slightly higher in alcohol, so it does better with more air time. I like about half an hour to start, with the subsequent refills being gorgeous and velvety, but you can reduce that time, if you can’t wait and this delicious and succulent wine is difficult to back-burner, but it’s well worth it, if you can.

I’ve never seen this on SPA and at $17, it approaches the upper edge of cost, but it is a fantastic enough wine that I know I can always rely on it. For that reason, I’d say it’s more of a Mixed than Standard.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Issue XXIX: Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc Edition

Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc

This is somewhat of a rarity; of the three wines I’ve tried from this vineyard, I’ve liked all three tremendously, so much that they all have made the list. This entry is sort of a surprise as I really wasn’t looking to add another white to the stable, having found, more or less what I want, in the pair of French Chardonnays that we keep on hand for cooking, but that was to my detriment as it became clear, from the first sip of this, that I’d been truly missing out. It’s one of those times when the liquor store being out of the wine you’re after provides an opportunity to discover a hidden gem, which this one truly is.

This one is light, lively and a bit reminiscent, to me, of the sweeter side of perhaps a sake or mead, but not to the extent of a white Zin. It does have a bit of fruit, but it does have also a touch of that harsh cutting edge that we come to know and expect from whites. Still, that aspect is a bit lower on the scale and this overall is smooth and very refreshing. Chardonnays are capable of overpowering certain dishes, but this one definitely doesn’t stand much chance there, imparting a very nice flavor element to things, but losing most of the fruitiness and not impacting dishes to an excessive extent. It embellishes remarkably well. Frankly, this is simply a brilliant wine, combining the best of both drinkability and lending itself well to cooking. I quite enjoy it so much that this might be my new go-to for keeping a white on hand.

Whites are not rated by the usual criteria as reds, but for right around $10 a bottle, this is simply a stunning value. Overall, it is my current favorite white and yet another feather of the very deserving hat of the Sean Minor winery.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Issue XXVIII: Rosenblum Vintner’s Cuvée XXXVI [Zinfandel] Edition

Rosenblum Vintner’s Cuvée XXXVI [Zinfandel] 

Perhaps some definitions might be in order at this juncture for those not already familiar. “Vintner” can be taken to mean wine-maker and in this case, since this is a signature wine for the Rosenblum vineyards, it is marked with an anniversary number for the particular heritage of the grape used to make the actual wine in the bottle. This particular one is 36, of course, but if you can find other heritages, given the great care that Rosenblum takes, you can feel confident you are getting a quality wine. “Cuvée”, as you’ve no doubt already gathered, is a French word referring to vat or tank. Used here, it means a specific (and special) blend, in conjunction with the Roman numbering on the label.

Continuing on a bit from a previous discussion about the genesis of the list and the attendant sub-lists, a friend of mine who was traveling a great deal and also beginning his own sort of wine journey asked me for a list of wines to get. Now the generosity of this man, one of my very dearest friends, is both pronounced and profound and it is to my good great fortune that I have known him. I sent him some known gems, as well as some that I hadn’t gotten to yet, which looked promising, one of which was this. He very kindly bought a bottle for himself and one for me, as well. I’ve gotten wine before as gifts and the answer to the givers is always “thank you, it is/was quite good” or somesuch along those lines, as anything less would be exceedingly poor form. In this case, having had a few bottles, such a statement is actually true.

Zinfandels are one of the heavier wines and “heavier” can often be taken to mean “clunky.” In this case, however, we find a definite degree of thickness, but it is far from enough to bog anything down. It is a very full body and very notable mouth feel, but it is neither as heavy nor quite as biting as some of the other Zins out there. Zinfandel, I feel, is a very tricky grape, as it can wind up being very acidy – and indeed, plan on a good 30 minutes air time, minimum here – and unpleasant to drink, but this one displays a nice degree of roundness and smoothness along with just enough edge cutting through to keep this from the aforementioned clunkiness. It is a quite tasty wine, as well, thoroughly enjoyable. This one can also serve a dual purpose as serving as a very nice introduction to the Zinfandel grape as well as being a very drinkable all-around wine, as long as your taste runs more to the weightier side.

At around $10 or so normally, this is another I have as a Standard, at least when I want something heavier, fuller-bodied and more robust.  It is not intended to be storable, though, but is one of the better values out there.