2014 Westerly Côte Blonde (Santa Ynez Valley)

2014 Côte Blonde

I’ve had this bottle in my cabinet for a few months now and though I’m glad to finally get around to opening it (I mean, what else is wine for?), I wish I had waited just a few more years. The tannins rake the tongue and it feels a bit unbalanced. So it’s a good thing I bought two bottles!

Blood-red, clean and clear with shades of purple in the glass. The nose is strong, hot, well-peppered with notes of blackberry and… Wrigley’s Big Red chewing gum. Light-bodied on the tongue, with more pepper, tart cherry, and something floral I can’t quite place. The finish gets a tad bit sweeter with a hint of unripe strawberry.

2013 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany)

caparzo wine labelHow long has it been since I posted a wine review? Honestly, I don’t usually go for italian wine. I don’t have anything against it. I just don’t always reach for a bottle when I have other options. But this weekend I felt like picking up a brunello and this 2013 Caparzo did not disappoint.

Aged two years in Slavonian oak, this fire brick red wine has subtle notes of tar and cassis on the nose (even after decanting an hour… it was still hard to find!). Once it hits your mouth the first thing you’ll notice is the taste of roasted meat (and charred rosemary?) and raspberry. Clean, light berry finish. I picked up an extra bottle to save for 2-3 years.

You need to let it breathe

I wanted to enjoy this documentary about wine sommeliers, but I couldn’t get over how unlikable most of the subjects were. Plus, the whole “Master’s exam” has an unpleasant fraternal odor to it. Then again, maybe I’m just jealous that I don’t get to spend every waking moment consumed by (and consuming) wine history and culture.

2008 Tamayo Red (Contra Costa County)

I have no reservations against red blends: I love them unashamedly. Each sip provides a guided tour from one varietal to the next. This particular blend has seven: Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Tinta Cao, Malbec, Alicante Bouschet, and Carmeniere. The 2008 Red has a clean, blackish purple color. Blackberries and vanilla glide in through the nose. On the mouth, you will detect subtle hints of oak, blueberry skin, and spice. Tarteness lingers on the side palette while blueberries continue to dance on the tip of your tongue. Hold this wine in your mouth for just a few seconds to get the full effect.

For $15 a bottle, this is a high-value wine. According to the vineyard’s website, 825 cases were produced. The wine was aged 10 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels.

2007 Sanford Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills, CA)

We picked up a bottle of this wine on our trip to Santa Barbara this time last year (where we got engaged!). The bottle has aged nicely since then. On the nose, powerful suggestions of fruit, black cherry, spice (oregano?). On the palette, very smooth with light tannins, smoke, oak, and a bundle of fruit (think grape to the second power). Medium bodied and worth every penny ($40).

F.W. Langguth Black Slate pinot noir (Rheinhessen)

Have you ever come across a bottle of wine in your collection and not been able to remember where you got it from? I can’t think of where I picked this up. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of German reds (and the Rheinhessen region, especially, tends to produce generic wines) and the label is nothing worth looking twice at… yes, I sometimes buy based on label. Deal with it. This bottle, however, was worth the momentary memory lapse.

This non-vintage red is 90% pinot and 10% regent. Burnished red color with crystal clear complexion. Cranberry on the nose, sour fruit on the palette, with a sweet strawberry finish. It reminds me of one of my favorite candies. Light bodied and low tannins make this a delicate sipping wine that won’t interfere with dinner.