Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wolf Blass Yellow Label: Week #6

I've enjoyed Wolf Blass wines before.  I cannot remember which specific variety, but I know it was Shiraz and I know it was good.  Feeling particularly celebratory today (having retrieved my diamond engagement ring from the depths of lost-forever-land) I decided to spring for the Yellow Label, even though the Red Label was on sale.  This is most unlike me, I assure you.  So, an $18.99 bottle!!  Is that swanky or what? I will admit I am still slightly confused by the name "Wolf" Blass in conjunction with a picture of an eagle on the label.  What do you think that is about?  Oh, also of note, Wold Blass also won the Internation Wine Challenge "Red Winemaker of the Year" in '08. 

I also wasn't sure if Red Label was allowed since it was a Shiraz Grenache or a Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon... are blends allowed on this venture of mine?  I ask you to help me decided!  Please vote in the poll to your right!

Wolf Blass: Yellow Label (Australia, 2007)

A word from the wine:
"The Yellow Label Shiraz displays attractive plum, spice and pepper characters, married with a subtle integrated oak, creating a rich, well structured wine with a good length of flavour"
Serious stuff.  No metaphors or similes or other foolishness here. 

This is a nice wine.  I knew it would be because I smelled it from across the room when the Husband opened it up.  Very rich - and true to its description as far as "length of flavour" goes.  I also really liked that while the initial feel of the wine was rich and velvety, it almost seemed like it melted into its true peppery flavor - a very smooth and easy transformation.  No buzz after the first glass, though - so I guess that is the only downside. 

Helpful Husband: Tip "I really like this one... mumble mumble mumble"
Me: "WHAT?"
HH: "Best one so far"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Copper Moon, Moonlight Harvest: Week #5

Coming off two weeks and three bottles of disappointing wine, I am feeling defeated.  So, this week's selection is a wine I have tried and drank before (and liked).  I feel it is more than fair to review wines I have already tasted as long as they have yet to appear on this blog.  Plus, isn't the label nice?  (And, there isn't even an animal on it!!)  Hopefully I still like it, because I am really looking forward to drinking (and enjoying) a whole bottle of wine.  Well, okay, I might share it with the husband.  Actually, after losing my wedding rings today, I may have the bottle to myself - seriously, why do random things always happen to me?

Copper Moon: Moonlight Harvest (Canada, ???)

Note to self: Take pictures of the bottles before they emptied.  It looks better, and makes me look like less of a lush.  Also, why do the wines from Canada seem to lack dates?  I'm guessing that means they are 2010 wines?  Or what? 

A word from the wine:
"Harvested under the light on the moon, this unique wine delivers the unexpected- a cool fresh taste that captures the mystery of the night itself"
A tall, dark, and handsome stranger!

Now this is what I'm talking about.  It isn't the same richness as Black Swan, but it similar in quality to the Little Penguin - it has that nice zippy aftertaste and that feeling of warmth spreading through your body as you swallow.  I also like that I felt tipsy after only one glass (and that was with supper!) - so I know it is an all-around-feel-good wine.  Bonus:  It was 10.99!!  Seriously cheap and yummy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Naked Grape & Fat Bastard: Week #4 *Special Bachelorette Edition!*

In order to maintain this project's claim of enhancing my quality of life, I decided to load up the baby boy in the stroller and walk to the liquor store - so now wine is making me healthy.  Saturday was the long awaited Bachelorette Party - and in honor of this special occasion, I decided to try to choose a wine that went with the theme of a naughty girls' night out.  I was disappointed not to find anything with a truly scandalous name!  The closest I could come was Naked Grape - I guess nakedness is as risque as grapes can get.

Also this week, I have a special "Guest-Tester" - my sister in Shiraz, if you will.  She also volunteered to pick up a 2nd bottle (what a smart girl!) to give us a little variety.  So, "Guest-Tester's" choice is Fat Bastard - with such a cute little hippo on the label, who could resist?

Naked Grape (Canada, no date??)

A word from the wine:
"Our winemakers has chosen not to oak age the wines, allowing the crisp fruit flavor and the true varietal characteristics to come through"
So, I guess we will see if I like oak.

Fat Bastard (France, 2007)

A word from the wine:
"Now zat iz what you call eh Phet bast-ard! (read with a strong French accent)  This very British expression perfectly described the wine's wonderful color and round, rich palate so that's what they called it"
I don't get it. 

Uh, we didn't like either one.  Both were boring.  Plain red wine.  Where is the Shiraz spice?  You would think with two bottles, we would have at least wanted to finish one... or attempted to.  But, alas, we drank only one glass a piece from each bottle.  I will admit, and my sister-in-Shiraz agrees, that we both liked Fat Bastard's taste at first- but we hated it more and more with each sip... it was like spotting a hottie across the room, but as you move in, you realize the error of your way.  The Naked Grape honestly tasted very similar, I was expecting something a bit different since it is "unoaked" but it was more of the same.  Neither of these wines were for us - it was a BIG disappointment, but we drowned our sorrows in alcohol of a different sort.

Guest-Tester's Review: "Can we drink something else?"

"Something else" consisted of Coconut Rum, Sour Puss, Grenadine, and some sort of Juice - plus several Jello-Shots and a couple glasses Dominican Rum Punch - so while the wine sucked, the rest of the evening was fantastic!

PS: If anyone is reading this (other than my mom) please comment!  The only thing worse than having no comments is only having comments from your mother.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the Little Penguin: Week #3

Husband picked up this week's selection  - this was one that I was debating last week and he actually remembered (or fluked out)!  I love the little cheery waddling penguin on the label - the red splash makes me feel like drinking it on the deck.  We're still hanging out in Australia and sticking to the animal theme it seems... and, did you know that penguins live in Australia?  Seriously?!  I had no sweet clue - see, wine is educational.

the Little Penguin (Australia - 2009)

A word from the wine:
"Little Penguins are very sociable and often gather to forage for delicacies.  We invite you to do the same"
I like being a penguin.  Does strolling the aisles of the liquor store count as foraging?  Or do I need to waddle?  Off to google what kind of goodies Penguins deem "delicacies." (PS: sardines, anchovies, squid and the like)

 I enjoyed this wine - even more so since I had just been subject to a 40min tantrum-scream-fest by a certain (very stubborn) 4 year old.  It was easy drinking and tasted great with a good kick - and the peppery taste really hung around after each sip.  It didn't seem to have as strong of an effect alcohol-wise as the other thus far, but I drank my glass with a supper of pasta & meat sauce, so perhaps as an accompaniment to a lighter meal or solo it would have been stronger.  It definitely had a more casual feel than Black Swan.  But, I will buy this again.

Helpful Husband Tip: "All these wines taste the same"

Black Swan: Week #2

After the African disaster of last week, I decided to head over to the Australian section of my local liquor store for tonight's venture.  While there I discovered that I definitely judge a wine by its label and I am drawn to wines named after animals.  So, these facts alone left me to choose Black Swan from the shelf.

Black Swan (Australia - 2008)

A word from the wine:
"The feeling of leaving work at three on a Thursday, the rush of having your favorite cafe name a dessert after you"
A dessert named after ME?  This wine knows the innermost feelings of my soul.

I loved  this one.  It is going on my personal favorites list.  Black Swan was very smooth going down, and left a great taste on the tongue - definitely richer and more substantial than last week's contender - and had a fantastic Shiraz zing.  Drinking this wine felt indulgent, sinful even.

Helpful Husband Says: "You only like it because you picked it out"

Sebeka: Week #1

I am three weeks into this project, yet this is my first official review post.  Clearly I can procrastinate anything... well, I guess I didn't procrastinate the drinking portion of my task - I'm right on track there.  .

Week #1 was husband's choice.  He brought home a bottle of Sebeka - it had a promotion to win an African Safari or something, so that was the attraction.  It has a Cheetah on the bottle, I like the label enough, but probably wouldn't have picked it up on that alone.  Although I chased the Cheetah in my Safari Jeep on their website and it did entertain me for a few minutes... I couldn't catch that damn thing.

Sebeka (South Africa - 2009)

A word from the wine:
"South Africa.  Where the Cheetah hunts.  Where nature reigns supreme.  Where Sebeka was born"
Does this sequence of short sentences seem LAME to anyone else?

I'm not a fan of this wine.  Even though it did have a good hit - I definitely felt the first glass, then felt the 2nd one a few hours later - it was really, well, weird.  The taste was alright, it went down pretty smoothly, but it didn't have that Shiraz spice.  There was just no kick.  It seemed really thin to me... like watery... it did not seem to have any substance.  While sipping it throughout dinner, I likened it to drinking rubbing alcohol - I could feel it evaporating off my tongue as soon as I sent it down the hatch.  Weird, just weird.

PS:  Husband said "It's good enough.  I like it - the only reason you don't like it is because I picked it out" - helpful.  Very helpful.

The Project

Everyone and their dog has started a blog (hey that rhymed! - I'm good at this writing gig).  People challenge themselves to a task - home cooking, exercising, weight loss, home renovations, etc, and write about it hoping people without anything better to do will read their words and stroke their ego. 

Well, I'm not very good at sticking to things.  I get distracted easily and lose interest.  I am a really awesome excuse-maker - I can justify ice cream for breakfast and not miss a beat.  I needed to think of something I could really invest in, something that would be a positive addition to my life.  I started thinking.... I have two young boys (4 & 10months - I'm constantly wiping bums and tripping over Lego), a husband who was laid off in June and is heading back to school next month, and I am on maternity leave but returning to my job as a high school English teacher in 8 weeks.  So, what could possibly improve my life?  I thought, I meditated, I consulted with my other personalities, and all paths lead to the same destination: the answer, my friends, is more alcohol, of course!

Here is the project:  Every Saturday I vow to test a new bottle of my favorite red, Shiraz.  It is going to be a difficult mission, but I am confident I will rise to the occasion in order to help others choose the best bottle (I'm selfless like that).  Actually it will really serve as a way for me to remember what I like, because, frankly, my kids are lucky if I remember to feed them.  My husband has generously volunteered to help me polish off each bottle - and I hope to share some Shiraz with Guest Testers along the way. 

I do not proclaim to be a wine expert.  I know nothing about the properties of wine or the process of turning a fruit that I feed my kids as a snack into a beautiful beverage that they can only watch me consume.  So, you won't find any talk of hind notes or aromas or whatever else wine-gurus talk about.  Here, on my blog, you will find only layman's terms of yummy-ness, tipsy-factor, pretty labels and price.