Saturday, January 16, 2016

Issue XXXVIII: Bogle Essential Red Edition

Bogle Essential Red [Blend]

In many ways, this wine sort of sums up what the HSC is all about. You have here a very moderately priced wine that would be fine to take or bring nearly anywhere. It is not really an ultra-cheapie, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be out of place with wines costing much more, say 4 or 5 times the cost of this one, maybe even more. It is Blend and that blend is of some of the heavier ones, Syrah, old-vine Zin, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah, yet it does not drink that way at all.

This should be a somewhat aggressive and heavy wine, yet, while not quite light, the body is not imposing at all. The taste is something far more fruity. In fact, if someone asked me for an example of fruit-forward, this would be among my short list to choose. There is a decent depth to this as well, but it is balanced and structured extremely well and holds that nearly all the way through, one of the beauties of wine, I’d say, in that it doesn’t require constant agitation to keep all the elements in play. I’m not sure if stunning is too strong of a word to use for this one, but it is both spectacular and delicious.

This goes a long way to sort of bring to the fore that a blend, when done right, is nearly always competition for my favorite type of wine. It’s been quite a while now that I make it a habit to check the blend area of my favorite wine store in Salt Lake in the hopes I’m rewarded by gems such as this, which more than makes up for the more frequently misfires. Much of the HSC testing and drinking is frequently done to sort of establish favorites. My favorite region, by quite a margin, is the southern part of Italy, though California, with entries like this, keeps on banging my door, perhaps to remind me that while other parts of the world may be more famous, California can more than hold its own in terms of quality. Quite simply, some of the best wines in the world are made within the bounds of the United States and they produce wine just as good as – and frequently better than – anyone else on the planet.

This one I’ve never seen on SPA, but it is relatively new to the shelves, so that could change. It is low-priced enough at $12 or so that I wouldn’t ever hesitate to pick up a bottle, making it a Standard. It’s also one of the few I’m semi-interested in storing, just to see the complexions of it change and any of those wines I’ve mentioned tend to be good for racking. Then again, though, it is aged, so that strategy may not work. It is certainly one that is eminently drinkable now.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cumulative List Of Wines Posted (Circa 2015)

This is an update and continuation of the run-down I did for the wines I posted last year, which went to #17. The 20 I posted this year follow from there.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Issue XXXVII: Chaucer’s Mead Edition

Chaucer’s Mead

Ahhh, mead. Is it a wine or is it a beer? Perhaps this is the question first and foremost we should address. Given that I have made mead a number of times myself, I can assert that I used, every time and without fail, a wine yeast. This, in itself, leads then to the conclusion that what I made, at least, was more a wine than a beer…or was it? The process was also identical, nearly, to how I home-brewed beer, at least in the early stages, so perhaps it is more like a beer…except there are more similarities than differences in brewing any sort of alcoholic beverage at that level. Indeed, in the early stages, perhaps all alcohol fermentation is apt to be more alike than not and the secondary stages and the primary ingredients are then the main differences. All this academia aside, I’m sticking with it being a wine.

Now then, without a digression into the author of Canterbury Tales, we slip into another entry that is perhaps one of the more confusing ones as this is a wine we only drink once a year and that is on New Year’s Eve for our annual celebration of the crowning year upon the dead and shambled husk of the previous one…or just changing calendars. So, the wine is not nearly good enough to be a constant companion and is quite inferior to the ones I’ve brewed, so why is it on this list?

There’s a few reasons. The first is that it probably will be the only mead you can find. In this case, someone wisely saw and filled a void and it is fortunate that this is as good as it is…if you want to experience mead, that is. It is also a very, very light wine and like all entries on this list, easy on the senses, meaning that for a list to appear on here, it also cannot be skull-breaking for yours truly the next day. The taste here is more on the sweet side, but it is neither the full-on sweet blast of an early mead nor the very airy and dry taste of one that has spent more time in the rack.

The second reason is that it does have a bit of magic to it. My wife and I have greatly enjoyed having this as a tradition and it’s something to which we look forward to every year. Perhaps more an extension of the second reason, but third, maybe, is the fact that this is very accessible and flexible. We’ve had it cold, room temperature, hot and mulled and all of them were delectable with perhaps mulled, which we finally tried at the end of 2014, being our new favorite. This is not an easy task for any wine to pull off, yet this one did it easily and breathlessly. It also lists it as sort of being a dessert wine, but that is a bit of a misnomer. This one will come nowhere near any Moscato or ice wine or even a good Riesling.

As with all whites, this one will not be ranked, but given that this has become sort of an ironclad tradition for us now, this deserves to be noted and recognized thusly. Perhaps if more people experience the delight and unique taste sensation that only mead can deliver, it will become more popular enough to keep the bees at work and put this concoction in the ranks of its grape brethren.