Monday, April 30, 2012

Tuscany versus All French tasting

Ready to taste!
Another Saturday Showdown of Vintage vs San Diego wine co!

We began as usual at Vintage. We forgot to bring some food again and it was upsetting as I always believed in something to munch on while tasting. We contemplated getting takeouts but rejected the idea after looking around and seeing Dennys and Togos.
Tuscany flight
Tenuta di Castiglioni Toscana IGT (2008)
 Bald and lacking flavors. It tasted watered down although it smells a little of minerality and grape juice. Dry. O

Rocca di Frassinello Maremma Toscana le Sughere di Frassinello (2009)
Not very flavorful. Had it at a Tuscany tasting and it was bland. It might be that I do not like the Tuscany style. It taste like it has been watered down. Dry. O

Carpineta Fontalpino Do Ut des Toscana IGT (2009)
Beautiful deep purple hue. Juicy with good minerality. Raspberry notes with a hint of sweet marshmallow at the end!  OOo
Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga 2004  
Taste watered down. o

Petranera Rosso di Montalcino 2008   
Distinctively reddish brown. Earthy and taste of minerality. O

Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino 2007
Reddish brown hue. Very dry. So dry that that is the only thing I can think of every time I taste. I might just not understand that it is young. It is definitely not for drinking now if that is the case. Well I definitely do not understand why this is so expensive or receive such high ratings (95 on Wine Enthusiast!). If I have not develop the taste bud for it, then I hope I never do because I do not want to pay 77 dollars just to be able to enjoy a bottle. We will see what happens in due time.  Oo

Awesome taste buds
We sat down in the rather empty (we were early!) 'bar' area, feeling a little neglected until a guy told us politely to wait just a moment until the pourer actually come out. During that time, there was a guy on the floor not doing much. Frown.

The pourer was super friendly and efficient. Same guy as before. He was attentive and we never had an empty water glass. Regarding their Tuscany selection, I was not a fan of either Tuscany or of their selection. We came up with the theory that perhaps these wines are those they are trying to get rid of. Maybe? 

Personalised boards
Bread and tasting notes
We realised how pale in comparison Vintage was when we stepped into San Diego Wine co yet again.

Torrey (adorable schnauzer and Maltese mixed with long lashes) was there to greet customers (added bias). A taste bud noted the personalised notes on the wine, friendly service and plenty of bread! 
Tasting was better in general. That makes me wonder how different settings affect your wine tasting experience. Does the wine taste better in a good environment?

Vibrant and bright lights compared to the dull lighting at Vintage and friendly personels who paid attention to you. I was taking pictures of the flight one by one and the guy who was pouring offered to line them up where they kept them! Super nice. 

First half of French flight
Here is my short notes on the flight according to their arrangement,

Les Charlottes Macon-Villages Chardonnay 2010
Citrus, reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc with the crispness. Refreshing. OO

Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay 2010
Light with notes of apricot and even plum. Very unlike oaky Californian Chardonnays. OOO

Reminds me of strawberries like so many other Rosé. Oo

Notes of apricot. Simple and easy. This wine is well balanced. OOo

Tortoise Creek 2010 Vin de Pays D'Oc Les Olivares Pinot noir
I had a boo on my tasting note. Sad day. o
Second half
Chateau Laurensanne Cotes de Bourg 2009
Green spices. Young wine. Sweet and juicy with hints of blueberry. Very dry.  OOo

Chateau de Perier Medoc 2009 
Smokey with cedar. Earthy and taste of cherry with hints of wood. I am surprised I could not find much information about this wine. OOo

Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Nature Organic 2010
Simple peppery and well balanced. Great value! OOO

Too dry. Reminds me of sundried raisins. Had notes of blackberry and minerality. OOo

Cuvee de Vatican Chateauneuf de Pape 2009
Sweet smoky with hints of cherry. Reminds me of a beaujolais. Young wine that could age. It has hints of sandalwood. I definitely like the notes of woodiness in there. Very fragrant. OOOo

All of us ended up with at least 3 bottles each! Sad day for Vintage. I got two varieties from their last bottle bin (adding Vermentino and Verdejo on my Quest list!) and a good valued Cote du Rhone. It was a beautiful day!
Intense wine discussion

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Zafrika Pinotage 2011

Zafrika Pinotage 2011

On a random night, I decided to visit Africa where Zebras roam free. This is my first documented African wine and first Pinotage (for the Quest list! Yeay for firsts!

Once a shunned variety, Pinotage is making a comeback, becoming a signature for Africa, where it was created from Pinot Noir and Cinsaut by Mr Perold. Thus the name Perold's Hermitage x Pinot.

This particular one smells of smoked meat with hints of cabbage (unusual for me). Taste of cherry, raspberry with a pinch of pepper. Simple and has a good mouthfeel. Don't let is sit out for too long because it became vinegary after 2 hours! Very dry.

Great value for only 4.99 at Trader Joes! Will definitely revisit!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Box Wine: Coachella cube

Sangria juice!

Ice cold Pinot Grigio!

For any of you who was at Coachella weekend two, it was hot. It was forecast to be the hottest ever. Warned countless times about wine drinking under the sun, I was still not going to give up and drink beer! And I am glad I found these Wine Cubes last minute at Target (no glass policy at Coachella) for $9.99 per pack.

Well, I didn't actually drink them straight but used them to make Sangria with OJ! Ice cold! Yummy... and cold. Definitely my drink of choice for the weekend. Non believers were asking for them too! Yeay! Wine Cube Sangria!

They were a little pricier than Block Red but still pretty decent for versatility and cuteness juicebox factor. Sadly, I could not tell you how good (or bad) the wine actually tasted. No matter, it made Coachella Awesome Possum. 

Coachella Sunset
Sharkie in da house

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Broke Oenophile

Two-buck-chuck collection

 As a graduate student, it is easy to go over budget with fermented grape juice. Many are on the same boat but want to experience wine nonetheless. Here is how to.

What to do 

1) Set a fix budget for Wine spending and stick to it.
I set mine at $100. It might seem a lot for those on budget but to a wine collector, $100 cannot get you much (Certainly not one of these!). Personally, I have my eyes on lesser known varietals (for Quest list!) which tend to be cheaper.

2) Go for tastings
Select those that are reasonably priced and have decent bottles available. In other words, do the research and math before you go! This way, you can taste a variety for the price of a bottle and have an outing with your friends! For those in San Diego, you might be interested in this! Or this!

3) Have tastings with friends
Get everyone to bring a bottle of wine and do blind tasting. It is not only fun, it saves you some cash too!

4) Keep a lookout for good deals
Build a good relationship with your local wine store so that whenever there are great deals, you are one of the first to find out! For San Diego, I recommend San Diego Wine Co or Vintage Wines for good prices. Or Costco! I found this in their discount bin at WineSteals!

5) Be on the lookout for cheap decent wine
There are plenty out there that are as good as those that cost more. Do not burn your pocket with expensive wine. Do your research before getting anything unless it is reasonable to pick up. Here is an article on Wall Street Journal for notable well priced wines. Also, there are always decent box wines for everyday consumption! Here is one I enjoy!

Here is a an example of spending in a month:
East County Vintners meeting FREE (Plenty of good vino too!)
Winetasting party $10
$2 or $5 tastings at Vintage 
$10 tastings at SD Wine co.
Tastings at local Wineries $10 (Choose the ones that lets you keep their glass!)
 Get a bottle for dinner. $10
Wine event $15 (Iron horse!)
Get another bottle for dinner $10 (Trader Joes' have good prices- like this one I got! Or this!)
Yet another bottle for dinner $10

What NOT to do. 

1) Blow on an expensive bottle
It offsets your budget and you are likely unable to drink that bottle anytime soon. If you do not have money for that kind of wine now, it is alright. Be patient and hold off. There are plenty of inexpensive wines to enjoy! 

2) Don't trust ratings, trust your own taste buds.
High rating wines does not mean it will taste good to you. Usually they have a high price tag with them too. Figure out what you like and explore a variety!

Take home, do your work before you buy!