Saturday, December 24, 2016

Cumulative List Of Wines Posted (Circa 2016)

This is an update and continuation of the run-down I did for the wines I posted last year, which went to #37. The 13 I posted this year follow from there. Links are available for all of these in the Table Of Contents page, which can be accessed from any page on the HSC blog.

Rather than doing a year-end blog post, as I do on my hot sauce blog and as others in the so-called blogosphere do, this cumulative yearly post will instead serve as a sort of running list of names of the wines I keep on the official HSC wine list (see first couple of posts for criteria).

Please note this list is not weighted, so the numbers are just the order of chronological posting only.

01) Martini & Rossi Asti
02) Navarro Correas Colección Privada [Malbec]
03) Concannon Crimson & Clover [Blend]
04) Fat Bastard Chardonnay
05) Penfold Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cabernet
06) Bouchard Chardonnay
07) Colosi Sicilia Rosso [Nero d'Avola]
08) Terredora DiPaolo Aglianico
09) Marqués de Cáceres Crianza Rioja [Blend]
10) A By Acacia Pinot Noir
11) Dark Horse Big Red Blend
12) Columbia Crest Grand Estate Merlot
13) Apothic Red [Blend]
14) Penfold Koonunga Hill Shiraz
15) Sean Minor Pinot Noir Carneros
16) Castello Del Poggio Moscato
17) Atrea Old Soul Red [Blend]
18) Meiomi Pinot Noir
19) Montebuena Rioja [Tempranillo]
20) Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon
21) Peralillo Arenal Carmenere
22) Zantho St. Laurent
23) Clean Slate Riesling
24) Gloria Reynolds Tinto Real [Blend]
25) Prunotto Fiulot Barbera D’Asti
26) Menage A Trois [Blend]
27) Fantini Farnese Montepulciano D'Abruzzo
28) Rosenblum Vintner’s Cuvée XXXVI [Zinfandel]
29) Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc
30) Michael David Sixth Sense Syrah
31) Borja Borsao Tinto Seleccion [Garnacha]
32) 19 Crimes [Blend]
33) Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon
34) Tait Ball-Buster [Blend]
35) Bouchard Pinot Noir
36) Francis Ford Coppola Claret [Blend]
37) Chaucer's Mead
38) Bogle Essential Red [Blend]
39) Terra-Bossa Shiraz
40) Juan Gil 12 Meses [Monastrell]
41) Terra del Nero d'Avola
42) Waterbrook Melange Red  
43) E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge [Blend] 
44) Château Damase Bordeaux Supérieur [Merlot]
45) Château Tour d'Auron Bordeaux Supérieur [Blend]
46) Delas Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit [Blend]
47) Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon
48) Chateau Giscours Petite Sirene [Blend]
49) Château Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur [Blend]
50) Menage A Trois Midnight [Blend]

Issue L: Menage A Trois Midnight Edition

Menage A Trois Midnight [Blend]

Somewhat of a milestone in a couple respects here. This is the 50th entry on the HSC blog, itself now about 3 years strong and this is one of the few wines that I’ve found out of state and wasn’t available in Utah at the time I bought it (shhhh), though I expect by the time this is posted, it will be. In many ways, it is probably fitting that a variation of the wine I buy the most (Menaga A Trois, barely edging out Dark Horse), of a type I buy the most (blend), from the region I buy from the most (California), should be the 50th entry. Perhaps I make too much of this, but I find it to be a kind of cool touch.

Often a wine will introduce a darker version, which we anticipate to be a similar, but a lot more robust blend, but in actuality, will turn out to be nearly undrinkable (looking at you in particular, Apothic – as an aside, I guess another sort of milestone is me both referencing and calling out other wines in the context of an entry for a different wine – ok, I’ll stop now), but here, the blend is exactly right. This is a deeper, much richer, much more vivid and weighty version of the much beloved Menage A Trois. In many ways, this is the ultimate, as it is different, but equal in terms of quality.

The blend itself, Merlot, Cab, Petite Syrah and Petite Verdot (should be Menage a Quatre, technically and if this stops being a limited edition wine, perhaps they’ll switch the name to that, though the inverse of the regular label works very nicely with the “midnight” motif), works very well together. A ton of rich, heavy varietals in the Syrah and Cabs, as well as the usual concentrated punch from the Verdot, also contributes nicely to the darkness of the actual wine. Darker fruit is in heavy abundance here, so blackberries, dark plums and a touch of currant, yet the presence of Merlot keeps things from getting too clunky. Despite the largely astringent nature of the various grapes here, this mellows out quickly and becomes both smooth and flavorful, with a very nice mouth heft to it, another similarity it shares with the Original MAT blend.

A wine this good, like the Original, particularly at the very soft price point, can’t be anything but a Standard, so this one shares that same facet with the Original. Both of these are among the strongest offerings this list has to offer and it wouldn’t be the worst idea to get a bottle of each to compare…

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Issue XLIX: Château Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur Edition

Château Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur [Blend]

I suppose every once in a while, probably a long while, one needs a wine that will haul back and bust you a good one in the chops. This is probably more true with whisky, but I suppose it’s nice, for a chance of pace perhaps, for a wine to also do that. That is exactly what you can get here if you happen to partake of this before it’s aired sufficiently. This is a big bad Bordeaux, one of the styles that the French region from which it comes is famous for and it’s a good representative, perhaps one of the more well-known ones, in fact…just don’t jump in too early.

Once it has smoothed out (probably a good 45 minutes+, unless you use an aeration device), you can start to pick up on some intensive flavors without that sort of heavy, clunky feeling. This is due to a preponderance of Merlot in there, which is probably a good 75% or so of the blend. Merlot can also contribute heavily to astringency, which is what you will get initially. Once it does, you get a light, crisp and rather refreshing blend, which doesn’t have the tastiness of some of those other heavier varietals, but allows a lot more room for subtleties in fruitiness and with this particular one, smokiness.

I should probably also mentioned the “Supérieur” part of things. Adding qualifiers onto brandies and cognacs is a very French thing, so no real surprise it also extends to that element for which they are most famous: wines. Here, that terms has some mandates by law. The important ones for us are aging, in which it has to be aged at least 12 months and in the grapes themselves, which must undergo a denser growth. This tends to create competition for rooting but much heartier vines when they do and of course, any French winemaker – and perhaps any other as well – will tell you that this struggle makes it into the wine. It also tends to produce a much lower (and presumably higher quality) crop.
So, this one can serve a dual purpose, being both an excellent introduction into one of the more famed wines of France as well as illustrating very clearly what happens if you do dive into the pool early or, to paraphrase Orson Welles, if you drink it before its time.

As I find this one a touch finicky and don’t have it often enough to remember the fine tuning, it’s not a Standard. I’ve never seen it on SPA, so not that, either, which leaves Mixed.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Issue XLVIII: Chateau Giscours Petite Sirene Edition

Chateau Giscours Petite Sirene [Blend]

As I more fully populate the HSC column with entries for the various wines on the list, I note a lack of the white spaces in my Excel file that denotes which are still awaiting entries for the blog. Some of the names on that list won’t ever be getting HSC articles, unless I change the dollar criteria, as several are over $20/bottle and seemingly never go on SPA. Some I can no longer find, meaning those winds are now lost to time and live on only in memory. It seems ill-fitting to memorialize them in a way promoting their value and goodness when most of the populace will find it difficult at best to experience it themselves. No, we once more into the fray to find every increasing names for the list and where else to turn but dear old beloved France, where it all started, more or less, for the HSC and where most of the 40s for the HSC have been spent.

Here we have a relative newcomer to the shelves in that section - as a side note, Petite Sirene is the French translation of “Little Mermaid” - though here, it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, done in the Bordeaux style, one of my historical favorites. Prior to the HSC, I probably consumed more of that than any other type and maybe more than the other types combined. With this as a blend, there is a very nice amalgamation of the bold and assertive taste of the Cab, tempered with the more fruity, bouncy and lighter aspect of the Merlot. There is little to no astringency here, yet the balance is fantastic on all fronts, no heavy mouth feel, yet it is solid enough to be just the right amount of heft. Truly remarkable job mixing these and with the heavy dose of Cab, could probably take being stored for a bit.

This immediately catapulted to one of my favorite wines and if you’re not familiar with French wines and want a safe entry point for not a lot of money, this is a very good bet as it shows at once both the very strong points of that world, the Bordeaux style and what blends can be capable of. With this kind of a value, even though this is on the higher side of the price point for this list, this really couldn’t be anything other than a Standard.