Tuesday, January 25, 2011

bang for the buck

Paso Robles has been getting more press as a wine region as of the last decade but mostly for Syrah. Zins have long been produced in the area and actually have consistantly high quality. Four vines has a few bottlings in the $ 25-up price range so this one at $ 12.95 represents what they offer for a more affordable wine. The color is dark and the alcohol pretty high but the wine is not overpowering and a fruity drink that will not kill the taste of your dinner. I give it a solid 7 swiggs......not the best of the area but certainly good for the price.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oregon Pinot

Ever since the release of the movie " Sideways", there has been more pinot noir showing up at my door in the way of gifts. I'm pretty picky about pinot and don't like most of them. I really like the classic floral style of pinot that no longer seems in fashion for California wineries. Up in Oregon , folks there still want to make wines that really showcase the pinot grape as a lighter , almost perfumed drink instead of the fruit WMD's of Napa and points south. This Siduri Muirfield vinyard Willamette valley 2007 does the job nicely. While it might put some folks off who like the more modern new world style of pinot, I like it for waht it is-the real deal pinot noir in the Burgundian style. 7 1/2 swiggs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One of the last '04 wines on the market.

Santa Cruz's own Storr's winery makes some great wines at the $20-40 price level. It isn't often that one finds one of their wines under $ 15.00 but I did just that yesterday. The '04 Central Coast Merlot at $ 14.99 is really a steal. This isn't one of those generic reds that typify what gave merlot a bad name a number of years ago. This wine is so full-bodied and flavorful that it is food-you'll have to drink this one slowly. It's a dense drink but really packed with excellent complex flavors , a real treat. Get some at New Leaf market before it is all gone. 8 swiggs.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Buy local !

I have had Zayante Zins before but this might be the first Cabernet I have tasted from this small local winery. All I can say is, yum ! This reminds me that the Santa Cruz mountains can produce some Cabernet that is up to Napa/Sonoma standards . This 2006 was really excellent-not overpowering but still substantial. Its a good weekend wine and I'll give it 8 swiggs. I have seen it for $ 26.95 at New Leaf market and I'm sure it can be had at the winery. If you are looking for something like a Ridge style Cab without breaking the bank , here's your bottle.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New years eve lineup at the swiggtator chateau

First I would like to say that these excellent bottles would not have been nearly as much fun if not for the excellent company of our friends on New years eve. To start , we had a Louis Roederer brut premeir NV champagne to go with our cracked crab appetizer. This has always been one of my favorite sparklers and this bottle was fantastic. It was on sale at Shoppoers corner for $ 44.95 and garnered a 9 swiggs easily. Next we had a lighter Julien Fouet cremant de Loire, another nice sparkler that I gave 8 swiggs. The first red was the Saint Cosme Chateauneuf du pape 2003. This turned out to be my favorite and nearly a perfect statement of Rhone excellence. This was a gift so I have no price but I did give it 9 1/2 swiggs . Next we had the Caymus 2007 Napa cabernet to go with our main course of linguini with clams. I have always been a fan of Caymus but haven't had the wine for many years. This bottle was a lot lighter in body than I remember for this brand. The dominant taste was buttercotch and it was so sweet I thought it was a dessert wine. I still feel it is a great bottle in the right setting, probably not the best to follow the Saint Cosme. I'll give it 8 swiggs. The last red as Storr's Rusty Ridge zinfandel 2006. While the Stoors was also very sweet, it was also paired with the last course, dessert of chocolate and really decadent cupcakes. The Storrs paired well with the sweet stuff and had a bit more complexity than the Caymus. This wine is usually $ 26.95 to $ 32.95 depending on where you find it and a bargain for such a boldly flavored red. 9 swiggs. Happy new year folks and happy bargain hunting !