Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nottage Hill: Week #11

I'm going back to work on Monday.  So, I had to do some grocery shopping on a Saturday.  A serious departure from my usual calm Monday morning shopping routine - well as calm as shopping with two kids can be.  Why am I telling you all this?  Well, it meant that I was already at the store, and the store has a little liquor store within it.  So, I couldn't justify a second stop at the free-standing liquor store - which meant I had less selection.  Because of this, I decided to stick with a sure-fire bet and hunt for my Shiraz in the tiny Australian section.  As usual, I browsed for the sale items first.  I came upon two that fit my price point and considered purchasing both to drown my "back to school" blues, but I showed some self-restraint and decided on the sophisticated, yet cottage-y feel of the Nottage Hill label.

Now that I am home, I notice the alcohol content and realize that was not a part of my comparison in-store.  D'oh.  But, it is on the high end, so I doubt the other bottle would have been superior in that area. 

Nottage Hill (Australia, 2007)

A word from the wine:
This full bodied dry red wine shows spicy varietal fruit flavours typical of this classic Australian style. 
I'm not finding a lot of figurative language on labels anymore... those first few bottles seemed to have it, but I guess it was just a fluke.  In any case, I think this literal description will fit the bill.

This was good wine.  It wasn't fabulous, but it was good.  Nottage Hill is definitely tangy - there is a lip-smacking spice, but it isn't jarring, and it doesn't change or get more spicy in the aftertaste.  It isn't exactly a true peppery taste, but it is interesting and enjoyable.  I also found I could "taste" the alcohol content... it kind of evaporated off my tongue, so on account of that, I didn't find it particularly rich.  However, this shit is p.o.t.e.n.t.  I was surely feeling my one glass with dinner.  The problem was, later in the evening, I had two glasses, and quite frankly, I felt I had skipped over being drunk and gone straight to feeling hungover.  I'm not sure that's what I'm looking for.

Helpful Husband Tip: "Yum"
Now that he's on to me, it is getting harder to find a good husband comment.  He tries too hard and says seriously non-husband things like "Exquisite!" - so I have to ignore those over thought mutterings and really wait for the true feelings to come out.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jackson Triggs: Week #10

This week I am kickin' it old school.  Jackson Triggs was my favorite wine back when I wasn't a total alcoholic.  This may surprise some of you, but, I didn't always like drinking wine.  (I'll give you a moment to pick your jaws off the floor... done?)  Okay, so back before my youngest was born I decided to try and be a grown up type person and like wine.  It was rough going.  Somewhere along the line, I discovered that I like Jackson Triggs Shiraz, like actually wanted to finish my glass - which was a departure from my usual pour and ignore method of wine tasting.  It must have been in late 2008 or early 2009, because I remember getting a bottle of "my favorite wine" for Christmas last year.... and well, 2009 wasn't a big wine drinking year for me (on account of me being occupied 36 of the 52 weeks with growing a human).  Basically, it was the only wine I would drink until early this year when I decided maybe I just like Shiraz in general and started to expand my wine-drinking comfort zone to include other brands and grapes.

Anyway, I was at the liquor store and was overcome by a nostalgic feeling and decided to give my "gateway wine" another shot.  I'm quite interested to taste the good old Jackson Triggs again.  I haven't had it in almost a year, and I'm curious to see if I still like it, or if it served its purpose of introducing me to the world of Shiraz and is no longer needed on my wine rack (which, by the way, is always empty). 

Jackson Triggs (Canada, ????)
13% alc/vol

A word from the wine:
"Jackson Triggs Unity expresses our wine maker's art of blending premium wines from the most renowned wine-producing regions in Canada and around the world...  Our unity Shiraz has aromas of raspberry, blackberry and hints of black pepper."
I guess I didn't stand by last week's statement of picking a wine with a more figurative label description - maybe next week.  Hey!  Did you know that this bottle has a weird code on the label that you can scan with your cell phone for additional tasting notes and offers??!!  Technology is crazy town.

First of all, the bottle has been redesigned since my last tasting... also, I don't remember this whole "unity" ordeal, so maybe this isn't exactly the wine I used to know and love.  One really nice addition, though, is a pull tab to remove the foil - no messing with cutting it!  After the first few initial sips, I can see why I used to like this wine.  It is very smooth, and very easy to drink.  There are no jarring flavors, bitterness, or long lasting after-tastes that would frighten my past non-wine-loving self.  It is a bit funny though, because my present Shiraz-sipping-self LOVES a wine with a good peppery aftertaste.  However, I can say that I still enjoy this wine and, as I type, I have a little buzz that makes me even more amorous. 

Helpful husband tip: "This is a great pouring wine"
(I think he is trying to be more "refined" in his comments... EPIC fail.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Casillero del Diablo: Week #9

We're on week #9 and I have to admit I am finding the selection process more difficult.  I find myself wanting to grab those bottles of Black Swan and Wolf Blass to enjoy again, and there are so many on sale which is also enticing.  Do I splurge or cheap out?  Do I venture into a new continent or stick with Australia (which has yet to fail me)?  How can I think with this four year old child babbling on and on and on with his flailing arms getting frighteningly close to glass bottle displays?  How can I make a decision with my husband making contradictory and useless comments?  It's a tough life, I know.

So, we (the whole happy family) walked to the liquor store (in the rain).  It was slightly embarrassing when I got a chastising look from an older lady after Drew's comment of "Hey Mom! Get this one!! This is the stuff you always like to drink! It's your favorite!"  From now one no one but the baby is allowed to come - until he can talk and/or no longer be properly restrained in a stroller, at which point he will immediately be cut from wine selecting ventures.  Helpful husband was quite pushy - and I (in a manner quite unlike me) gave in. Clearly,  I was in a post- 4 year old - birthday party - at an indoor playground -stupor and will claim temporary insanity for my surprisingly submissive nature.  Hubby's pick was a Chilean wine - and I felt it appropriate as:
a) I haven't yet reviewed a Chilean Shiraz
b) it is relevant to this week in history (Chile's mine rescue)
c) it was moderately priced and on sale ($12.99)
d) the alcohol content is 13.5%
e) I could not provide a viable alternative

Casillero del Diablo (Chile, 2008)

A word from the wine:
"A fruity, plump Shiraz full of forest fruits, bitter chocolate and a hint of black pepper"
Next week I may chose the wine based on the use of figurative language.  It is more entertaining. Although I do enjoy picturing the "forest fruits."

My research discovered that this wine was produced by Don Melchor de Concha y Toro (how's THAT for a name?) more than 100 years ago (wait... isn't it a 2008?).  He kept a special reserve of wine just for himself, and in order to keep others away he proclaimed the Devil  lived in his cellar.  Casillero del Diablo = Cellar of the Devil.  Oh, in case you're wondering what my research entails, basically it means not only did I read the BACK of the label, I also read the FRONT.  True Story. 

This wine was alright.  I drank it, I got a buzz, and I didn't complain too much.  It had a pretty short length of flavor, and was definitely more bitter than peppery (I guess true to the label's description).  I thought it was a bit plain, and I wouldn't describe it as "plump" - but the flavor was okay if a bit of a bitter lip smack is your thing. 

Helpful Husband Tip: "It's kinda like that other time when you said that thing about another wine.  Like it tasting like vinegar"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Robertson Winery: Week #8

This wine found me.  Well, a sample lady found me.  I already had Wolf Blass Yellow Label in the stroller (What? Babies find liquor stores amusing) when I was beckoned by the sample lady.  She had a SHIRAZ people!!  This does not happen everyday.  Last week she tried unsuccessfully to get me to drink whiskey at 10am, but this week she had me by the balls.  She said it was the "driest" wine (do I like dry wines?), but the kicker was it was on sale AND that had a stronger alcohol content than most (14%!) - SOLD.  Oh, and I liked the taste too.  I also told her about my little "project" and she seemed intrigued (and her interest was after I put the bottle in the stroller!) so maybe I need some little cards to hand out and confirm my Internet-geek/lonely-alcoholic status.

Robertson Winery (South Africa, 2009)

A word from the wine:
"At Robertson Winery we source our grapes from 43 specially selected grape growers.  Vines are grown in the deep, cool alluvial and rich lime Karoo soils."
Anyone else feel that if you're using grapes from 43 growers, then the selection process is not so "special" after all??  I think I'd be more impressed if they only used grapes from 1 elite grower, know what I mean?  I also don't like that I had to look up two words from this label in order to understand the sentence(alluvial = silty; Karoo = semi-desert region of South Africa).  I like it when wine makes me feel smart, not stupid like I really am.  Isn't that what drinking is all about?

This is not a thick, rich wine.  It has more of a vinegar-like quality to its aftertaste, so it is more sharp than smooth going down.  BUT, I still quite liked it - it had a good amount of flavor and wasn't boring.  Plus, I could really feel that extra .5% alcohol content, which is always appreciated!

Helpful Husband Tip: "It's good"... and (20 minutes later).... "certainly flavorful"
Gee... he's really starting to open up.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Las Moras: Week #7

Las Moras was a recommendation from a good friend's mother, and I haven't yet ventured into the realm of Argentinean Shiraz, so I decided to go for it.  She had given me two picks, and I originally had the other in hand at the liquor store, but I was swayed by (what else?) the label.  The other label looked like someone had typed it up in Word '98 and printed it off their ink jet.  I realize I am being shallow here, so in a lame attempt to seem more substantial, I will also note that Las Moras won the IWSC Argentinean Wine Producer Trophy in both 2005 & 2008 and I didn't see any such accreditations on the other bottle.  AND it was 14% vs. 13%.  So there!  In any case, on the heels of my $18.99 bottle of Wolf Blass, I knew I wanted to cheap out this week and both bottles were $9.99.  I really had an internal struggle with the pricier Las Moras: Black Label Reserve ($13.49 - a 2007) but decided to stick to my frugal guns. 

Las Moras (Argentina, 2009)

A word from the wine:
"Powerful yet elegant, with sweet tannins leading to a long, linfering finish"
Hmmm... I triple checked and the label does indeed read "linFering finish" - is this a typo or a wine-word that I am unfamiliar with?  Oh, someone will have to explain "tannins" to me as well.

I quite like this as a red wine and would drink it again, but I don't think I would reach for it if I was in dire need of a shiraz - it was just missing that special pep.  It was very smooth and easy to drink, though, and very nice "tipsy factor" - definitely felt after one glass.  I also thought it was more fruity than the others I've tried to this point.  It did have a nice flavor, but it didn't change or linger (or linfer?).  I do think it was a good quality wine for under $10, and might be a good option for someone who doesn't like a spicy shiraz. 

Helpful Husband Tip: "Seems really wet.  Does that make sense?" 
Then he proceeded to pour our second glasses with the cap still on the bottle.