Tag: wine

2017 Green & Red Zinfandel Chiles Mill Vineyard

bottle of wine with greek style ship illustration on label

Peppery notes on the nose, with a bright maroon hue. Fruit-forward on the first sip, quickly followed by pointed tannins and tart pomegranate. A light an clean body with a finish of dried fruit and jolly rancher.

2021 Héroe Viognier (Paso Robles)

Bottle of wine, glass of wine, and potatoes.

Fresh linen and thick honey on the nose. Light straw colored. Hints of grapefruit, citrus, and freshly rinsed gravel on the tongue. Full-bodied and chewy. A long finish of apple-flavored hard candy. This wine feels vibrant and alive.

2018 Peppoli Chianti Classico

I suspect Ben Franklin would be more of a côtes du rhône man, but on Friday evenings I like to imagine him kicking back with a vibrant chianti at an Italian cafe in Paris. This 2018 bottle is mostly Sangiovese with other Tuscan reds blended in. On the nose, you get a face full of fruit (raspberry) with the suggestions of something so earthy it’s metal. A robust mouthfeel with fine white pepper prominently featured from start to finish. Tight tannin structure, with lingering hints of jalapeño and sour cherries.

2018 Tinto Arzuaga Crianza

bottle of Tinto Arzuaga with books in background

Wines from this DOP in Spain (Ribera del duero) must be aged at least two years, 12 months of which must be in oak. The influence of the oak definitely comes through here. Hot on the nose with lots of spice and vanilla. This vintage is juicy, with intense blueberry and cigar. The tannin structure is good: I should buy a few more bottles to store for 2-3 years. 

Arlaux Premier Cru Brut

arlaux champagne bottle and small paper dinosaur

I don’t need a celebratory reason to drink champagne, but drinking champagne always feels celebratory. This bottle, disgorged in 2019 after spending 3 years sur lie, opens with fresh bread crust and vanilla on the nose. With a surprising amount of structure, citrus jolly ranchers hit the tongue with hints of apple. A long, tight finish of cream soda.

2015 SonVida Malbec (Mendoza)

bottle of wine and decanter

With its luscious rosewood red color, this 2015 malbec from Argentina was just what I needed after an arduous, but successful week. As soon as I opened the bottle, this wine exploded with plum and oak on the nose. Seriously… you could smell it from 4 feet away. On the mouth, tight pepper and strong cherry (both fruit and stem). With its smooth, blueberry (or maybe boysenberry?) finish, this vintage leaves you feeling silky and smooth.

Chateau Mangot 2016 (Saint-Émilion)

bottle of chateau mangot wine with carafe

This Bordeaux-style red blend is mostly merlot, with a touch of cab franc and cab sauvignon, giving it a smooth, fruit-focused character. Drinking this bottle in 2021 found the tannins almost entirely subdued. A shy berry slowly gives way to cedar and spice making this extremely drinkable right now.

2018 Fritz Haag Riesling (Mosel)

fritz haag riesling bottle

Riesling is one of those wines that I rarely think about or crave, but when I find a good one, I will easily grab 2-3 bottles.

This riesling comes from the steep slopes of the Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr region in Germany. It has a dense, lemon chiffon color in the glass. The nose offers strong melon rind and floral notes. On the mouth, the slate earth of Mosel really comes through, along with a citrus that is both creamy and tart. Lingering lemon finish.

The sourness in this vintage is really fascinating. It almost stretches the taste profile out of “riesling-ness” but the wine stubbornly hangs on the spectrum.

2006 Insignia Red (Oakville/Napa)

2006 Insignia Red

There are many factors that determine a great bottle of wine, but one of the most important is “occasion”: when did you open it, why, and with whom. Sharing this bottle with my family during COVID-19 on the occasion of my birthday certainly made it memorable. It also helped that it was a remarkable vintage that, truth be told, could have survived another 10-15 years in the bottle.

With pepper and flowers on the nose, this Bordeaux-style red (95% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot) immediately draws you in. At first, it seems balanced but quickly tilts towards the tannins (again, my bad for opening it early). Big, silky mouth feel, with charcoal and plum, and a cherry finish.

This wine comes from the Oakville region of Napa, an area of deep gravelly and sandy clay loam soil. Most cabernet sauvignons from this region are not 100% cab grapes. The addition of 5% petit verdot (or merlot, cab franc, or malbec) is common and adds to the wine’s complexity.

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.